The new C-Class is technically advanced, aerodynamically efficient and boasts lightweight aluminium construction, underpinned by class-leading levels of sophisticated safety, connectivity and convenience features. The extensive model range is powered by EU6-compliant turbo-charged petrol and diesel engines with six-speed manual or 7G-Tronic Plus seven-speed automatic transmissions; there are two ultra-efficient petrol and diesel hybrid models that top the emissions and economy charts, and drivers have the choice of luxurious SE, engaging Sport or dynamic AMG Line trims.
SE models are generously equipped with the following standard equipment; 16-inch alloy wheels; Artico leather; Audio 20 sound system with seven-inch colour display and DAB digital radio; Touchpad with multi-touch control; Agility Control comfort suspension; halogen headlamps with LED daytime running lights; reversing camera; Collision Prevention Assist; pre-wiring for Garmin® Map Pilot navigation system; rain-sensing wipers; Speedtronic cruise control; tyre pressure monitoring system; three-spoke steering wheel; Agility Select; Direct-Steer with speed sensitive steering; Media Interface; Storage Package including front cup holders.
In addition, Sport models are equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels; sports seats in Artico leather with brushed aluminium interior trim and contrast stitching; exterior chrome trim; heated front seats; Interior Lighting Package; LED High Performance headlights; lowered comfort suspension; Mirror Package; Parktronic with Active Park Assist; and split-folding rear seats.
This adds 18-inch AMG alloy wheels; AMG bodystyling and floor mats; AMG Line contrast stitching; AMG Sports pedals; AMG sports seats in Artico leather; AMG sports steering wheel; Artico leather upper dashboard with contrast stitching; chrome splitter; Sports Direct-Steer system with speed-sensitive steering; Sports suspension; gearshift paddles when fitted with automatic transmission.
The 1,991 cc petrol engine that powers the C 200 features turbo-charging, BlueDIRECT efficiency technology – first introduced into production by Mercedes-Benz – and third-generation direct injection with electronically-controlled spray-guided combustion. ECO stop/start is fitted as standard, and the engine surpasses stringent EU6 emission levels.
The diesel engines fitted to the new C-Class – a 1,598 cc unit in the C 200 d and a 2,143 cc unit in the C 220 d, C 250 d and C 300 h – all feature turbo-charged induction and third-generation common-rail technology with the rail pressure increased to 1,800 bar. Refinement-enhancing features include two Lanchester balancer shafts, markedly longer connecting rods both help reduce friction and a dual-mass flywheel. ECO stop/start is fitted as standard as is SCR selective catalytic reduction, helping the engines exceed stringent EU6 emission levels.
The C 300 h is powered by a EU6-compliant 2,143 cc biturbo diesel engine that works hand-in-glove with an electric engine to drive the rear wheels through a recalibrated 7G-Tronic Plus seven-speed automatic transmission. Despite dynamic 150 mph performance, all SE, Sport and AMG Line models sit on or below the 100 g/km CO2 barrier, and return 78.5 mpg on the combined cycle.
The C 350 e plug-in hybrid features the same advanced plug-in hybrid technology as the award-winning new S-Class. Powered by a 1,991 cc turbo-charged petrol engine and a powerful electric motor for a total system output of 279 hp and torque of 600 Nm, the C 350 e has a pure-electric range of 19 miles and posts the equivalent of 134.5 mpg and CO2 emissions of 48 g/km on the combined economy run. Performance figures are equally impressive – the C 350 e will accelerate to 62 mph in just 5.9 seconds and posts a 155 mph electronically limited top speed. Its high-voltage lithium-ion battery has a total capacity of 6.2 kWh, and can be fully charged in 1 hour 45 minutes at a wall box.
A Cd value of 0.26 for the C 220 d sets a new benchmark in the mid-range segment. Wind noise has been reduced, with engineers also optimising the noise characteristics of the interior, including the ventilation, power windows, seat adjustment functions and many other actuation and operating noises. The result is an incredibly refined and quiet driving environment, irrespective of conditions outside the car.
The deployment of aluminium in the construction of the C-Class has increased from around 10 per cent in the outgoing model to 50 per cent. The result is an aluminium hybrid bodyshell that is around 70 kg lighter than a conventional steel body. This has played a key role in reducing the vehicle's overall weight by around 100 kg, slashing fuel consumption by up to 20 per cent.
Depending on the output ratings, there are two new six-speed manual transmissions for the four-cylinder engines with enhanced ease of shifting coupled with increased shifting precision. Automatic gear shifting is provided by the 7G-Tronic Plus seven-speed automatic transmission, which has seen further development to enhance its efficiency and responsiveness.
The innovative touchpad in the handrest over the Controller on the centre tunnel was developed in-house at Mercedes-Benz. As on a smartphone, this provides a simple and intuitive operation of all the head-unit functions using finger gestures. The touchpad also allows letters, numbers and characters to be entered in handwriting - in any language. The Head-up display is also new. It displays important information directly in the driver's field of vision on the front windscreen, providing clear legibility and reducing driver distraction.
A newly designed four-link front axle plays a major part in the car’s agility – the front independent suspension is fully decoupled from the spring strut, with axle kinematics allowing for more grip and higher lateral stability. An optimised multi-link independent rear suspension with five-link concept ensures unsurpassed wheel location qualities and straight-line stability.
The new C-Class is the first vehicle in its segment that can be fitted with AirMATIC air suspension on both the front and rear axles. AirMATIC also features all-round self-levelling for optimum ride comfort even when loaded.
The new C-Class boasts an 80 mm increase in wheelbase to 2,840 mm compared with the previous model. The vehicle is also 95 mm longer (4,686 mm) and 40 mm wider (2,020 mm), with this growth benefiting rear passengers in particular – the width at the rear is now a generous 1,462 mm, and boot capacity has also increased by five litres to 480 litres.
The air conditioning system has had further development and substantial improvement to the control quality, performance, efficiency and air quality. The new C-Class is also the only vehicle in the segment to offer tunnel detection via satellite navigation to start air recirculation automatically when entering a tunnel, and stopping it once the vehicle emerges from the tunnel.
New interactive features include an animated compass, a ‘Drive Show’ with information for passengers similar to the on-screen presentations on board airplanes and Google™ Maps displayed on the head unit. The navigation system is also able to provide more accurate real-time information when it receives its traffic data via online ‘Live Traffic Information’ service. Additionally, the new C-Class is also equipped with the unique Frontbass system, which uses the space within the cross-member and side member in the body structure as a resonance chamber for the bass speakers.
A Bluetooth-capable mobile phone with data option is all it takes to make the Audio 20 system internet-capable, enabling the internet to be used without restrictions when stationary. While on the move, Mercedes-Benz Apps such as Weather, Google™ Local Search with StreetView and Panoramio, Destination/Route Download and Facebook can be used.
The C-Class has a length x width x height of 4,686 x 2,020 x 1,442 mm, with cargo space ranging from 480 litres to 335 litres depending on model, and a wheelbase of 2,840 mm. Kerb weights range from 1,445 to 1,715 kg.