Mercedes Benz’s best-selling model has finally received a new face which will enable it to slot in between other models and match the new design language overlooking a complicated fascia for a sportier and elegant architecture. The designers have described this new model as an entry into a digital age considering all the new innovative features that have been transplanted from the S-Class. Actually, the new C-Class is basically a baby S-Class which is not a bad thing because you get all those high-end features for less.

This shows that they have spared none of the goodies on the C-Class which puts it at the top of the range in the segment it’s in. However, this doesn’t mean it has completely obliterated the competition, ideally the BMW 3 Series G20 which still hangs on with looks, performance and technological features. But like before, each of these cars has a set of buyers who will forever remain loyal to the respective models but the market will always find flaws from each car and try to outweigh them.

Design

Well, there isn’t much to discuss but the fact that this looks exactly like the S-Class but only smaller. However, there are some key design features only unique to the C-Class such as the lights. Before you start quarreling, yes I agree, it has Digital Lights and headlight proportions like the S-Class but whereas it has 3 LED dots, the C-Class has only 1 LED dot. The E-Class which sits in the middle of the pack has 2 LED dots and that is another way to distinguish these cars. Let us reverse back to the Digital Lights, the light component is refracted and directed by 1.3 million micro-mirrors which results in a resolution of 2.6 million pixels per vehicle plus the lights can project images onto the road.

Here’s something unique to note on the exterior look, the radiator grille has small Mercedes three-pointed stars in a diamond-like pattern. The grille design also changes for each model trim and there are three of them: Base trim, Avantgarde which adds chrome surrounds on the front apron and AMG Line which has the diamond grille.

There is a range of wheel designs available sized from 17 to 21 inches such as the multi-spoke AMG wheels. It comes with active rear-wheel steering which can turn the rear wheels at angles of up to 2.5-degrees. The changes on the rear end include a light design divided by the sidewall and boot lid and new LED patterns. Three new paint finishes are offered: Spectral Blue, High-tech Silver, and Opalite White.

Engines

This is the part where Mercedes Benz keeps boasting about because they have managed to downsize all their engines to only 4 cylinders. That’s right, the V6 engine and possibly the V8 engine will never see their way into the C-Class line-up ever again. But fear not as they have managed to recover and increase the power output through these following methods. Mercedes has a new technique which they state is, “an advancement of the twin-scroll technology for even more instantaneous response of the forced induction system”. In simple words, they have installed a hybrid turbo derived from Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team technologies.

The other part is including a starter generator for both petrol and diesel engines and not only does it fill in the delayed response experienced with the start-stop system but adds an extra 20 hp (15 kW) and 200 Nm of torque. So, there are two displacement variants for the four-cylinder petrol engines, a 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre, both turbocharged with three different power outputs. The 1.5-litre variant is in the C 180 and the C 200 producing 170 hp (125 kW) & 250 Nm and 204 hp (150 kW) & 300 Nm respectively. The high-powered C 300 has the 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine with 258 hp (190 kW) & 400 Nm of torque allowing it to sprint from 0-100 km/h in 6.0 seconds and it has a top speed of 250 km/h.

The C 200 and C 300 are optionally available with the 4Matic all-wheel drive system. The diesel variants are both powered by a 2.0-litre turbodiesel 4-cylinder engine. The C 220d produces 200 hp (147 kW) & 440 Nm of torque whilst the C 300d is rated at 265 hp (195 kW) and 550 Nm of torque.

New Plug-in hybrid models have been announced to join the line-up and are available with the 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine. There will be diesel versions coming later on. The system alone produces 129 hp (95 kW) thanks to a 24.5 kWh lithium-ion battery which comes with an optional 55 kW DC charger capable of a 30 minutes quick charge, the standard one in only a 11 kW DC charger. On electric power alone, it can do 100 kilometres of range with a top speed of 140 km/h.

Interior

As you take a look around the interior, you will notice that it looks exactly like the S-Class interior except for the air vents design which are much circular in this one. The C-Class is the second Mercedes Benz model to feature the new portrait-style touchscreen tilted towards the driver side with the new MBUX system that can show multiple information. There is a choice of two screen sizes for the central display, 9.5-inch and 11.9-inch.

The system also features the latest voice assistant which can be activated by saying ‘Hey Mercedes’ and this one has been developed with A.I. tech which learns more about the driver and response in a more natural manner. Moving to the upper section of the driver is a multi-spoke steering wheel and a standard 10.25-inch digital cluster or can be optioned for a larger 12.3-inch screen with augmented reality. The materials used in the interior are Nappa-like leather, brushed aluminium and open-pored veneers in either brown or black colours. This is as luxurious as it gets in this interior and the active ambient lighting perfectly signs it off.

Safety features include Active Distance Assist Distronic which maintains a distance at 130 km/h, Active Driver Assist to keep in lane at speeds of up to 210 km/h and Traffic sign Assist which recognizes stop signs and traffic lights.

Production of the new C-Class is expected to start soon with units to arrive in SA at the end of the year at least. Prices have not been announced yet but we can expect it to start around the R700 000 mark.

Source: New Mercedes Benz C-Class Press Release