The all-new range of the biggest-selling model from the world’s leading car-maker was never going to be less than spectacular – and that’s the best describe the all-new Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Over its 30 year history, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class has always been the trendsetter and more than 45,000 of the previous generation were purchased by Australian buyers.
So the all-new C-Class range has arrived with standout looks inside and out, extra technology and better environmental credentials thanks to technology enhancements and a strenuous weight-saving program which sees it tip the scales 40kgs lighter than before. Best of all, the all-new Mercedes-Benz C-Class has ramped-up the glamour inside with looks and style more akin to the larger E-Class.
Make no mistake, in the year in which Mercedes-Benz will probably finish 1-2 in the World F1 Championship, the German giant has also drawn a line in the sand in its battle with BMW 3 Series and Audi A4 – the C-Class has raised the bar again. And the all-new Jaguar XE has some serious work to do when it arrives.
Mercedes-Benz C-Class Overview
At launch, Mercedes-Benz is offering the all-new C-Class sedan in C 200, C 250 (both petrol) and C 250 BlueTEC diesel plus C 300 BlueTEC diesel-hybrid. The Estate (wagon) versions mirror the sedan except it is not available with the hybrid engine.
Mercedes-Benz says that all-new C 200 presents more than $10,000 worth of extra kit when compared to its predecessor. The previous ‘Avantgarde’ equipment is now standard, there’s 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, Active Park Assist, Blind Spot Assist, leather, electric seats, DAB+ audio, reversing camera, three-colour ambient lighting, Pre-Safe and nine airbags just for example.
Amongst the extras over the entry model C 200, C 250 and 300 gain the Driver Assistant Plus system we know from the E-Class and S-Class, leather upholstery, 19-inch alloy wheels, dark tinted privacy glass aft of the B-pillar, keyless entry, automatic boot closing and a 50-litre fuel tank for the hybrid model.
The full lineup is:
C 200 BlueTEC$62,400
C 250 BlueTEC$70,400
C 300 BlueTEC Hybrid$74,900
C 200 BlueTEC$64,900
C 250 BlueTEC$72,900
Mercedes-Benz C-Class Engine
It’s an all-turbocharged engine lineup. Mercedes-Benz C 200 and C 250 employ different versions of the single turbocharged 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine and the C 250 BlueTEC gets a twin-turbocharged 2.0-litre diesel which is shared with the C 300 BlueTEC Hybrid.
So for the C 200 we’ve got 135kW of power at 5500rpm and peak torque of 300Nm from 1200-4000rpm. C 250 is up to 155kW/350Nm.
For the C 250 BlueTEC and C 300 BlueTEC Hybrid you can chalk-up 150kW at 3800rpm and peak torque of 500Nm from 1600-1800rpm.
Mercedes-Benz C-Class The Interior
Inside the all-new Mercedes-Benz is all class. The extra size is immediately apparent and in fact, dimensionally the latest C-Class is virtually identical to the larger E-Class model from 1995.
Front shoulder and leg-room is up by as much as 33mm and there’s noticeably more leg-room in the rear.
For the styling, Mercedes-Benz says the design borrows many cues from its sports cars – noticeable in the centre console’s flowing look and the five air vents have followed the current ‘Benz look by going round. Likewise the central display screen (7.0 or 8.4 inches) is free-standing – a look which we like.
Centre console is the control unit which gains a touchpad in the handrest which permits handwriting functionality.
The instrument panel is highlighted by Artico leather trim and metallic-look gauges which, while maintaining the hallmark ‘Benz functionality, are thoroughly modern. A head-up display debuts in this generation of C-Class (speed and navigation instructions) and of course the beautiful Mercedes-Benz steering wheels adjust for rake/reach for a perfect driving position.
And here’s an example of ‘Benz Smarts’ – the air-conditioning system is linked to the GPS navigation system so when the car enters/exits a tunnel the air-recirculation flap automatically closes/opens.
The new multi-media system includes a Frontbass system, animations and visual effects for the functions while the navigation system is interactive and includes a ‘Drive Show’ function displaying aircraft style presentations. An upscale Burmester surround sound system is optional.
There’s even a digital version of the owners’ manual as part of the Comand online system. The backup printed version runs to 100 pages instead of the normal 450 pages – and that’s a fuel-saving weight reduction of half a kilogram right there.
Rear seat passengers are well catered for with more legroom than the current C-Class and boot space in the sedan is up over the previous model – now 480-litres.
Mercedes-Benz C-Class Exterior & Styling
Fact is humans are getting taller and, responding to this, the all-new Mercedes-Benz is bigger in all dimensions over its predecessor – 95mm longer at 4686mm, 40mm wider at 1810mm and 80mm loner in the wheelbase at 2840mm. Hence the critical growth in interior space.
Visually, the all-new Mercedes-Benz C-Class is clearly different to its predecessor. Lines are precise, the hallmark grille is more upright and it’s aerodynamically better with a Cd of 0.27.
And with increased aluminium (bonnet doors and some chassis components), weight is down by around 40kgs.
The front sees a purposeful look with that upright version of the Mercedes grille, three shapely lower air intakes and slick-looking headlights. LED headlights are standard.
Side view is punctuated by prominent character lines running from the front fenders to the rear doors, a curved roof, three side windows and sporty curved rear three-quarters. The AMG kit includes chrome-finish and side sills.
The rear is very sophisticated with some serious curves and large, modern tail-lights. Styling is intended to enhance the width and the difference to the current model is most marked from this view.
Mercedes-Benz C-Class On The Road
For the national media preview we sampled Mercedes-Benz C 200, C 250 and C 250 BlueTEC sedans over the familiar roads from Melbourne Airport to the Yarra Valley and return. No Estates in the country as we write.
Underneath, the latest Mercedes-Benz C-Class is all-new with a four-link front suspension and five-link rear. Steering is Benz’ electromechanical ‘Direct-Steer’ system.
Our C 250 was fitted with the sporty AMG line which includes the 19-inch alloy wheels with Continental tyres, 15mm lowered sports suspension, sports steering wheel etc. So, from a drivers’ perspective this was the pick of the bunch.
Over the majestic roads behind Healesville, in ‘Sport +’ setting, the Mercedes-Benz C 250 delighted with its crisp responses to changes of direction and its all-round excellence (a combination of that great chassis, and ample power from that punchy turbocharged four-cylinder).
But, it must be said the less output of the 2.0-litre engine in C 200 form was hardly a negative. In fact, in many ways, the C 200 is the star of the lineup – especially when you factor-in value for money.
At $60,900, the Mercedes-Benz C 200 delivers heaps of technology and luxury and drives like a gem. You do appreciate the extra torque over the previous model (not to mention the improved fuel consumption) and there’s no doubt the all-new chassis delivers improved dynamics and refinement.
Same for the diesel models.
Good as the previous C-Class was, the all-new model is noticeably better to drive in every way.
Mercedes-Benz C-Class Issues
Zip – as you’d expect for an all-new version of its biggest-selling model, Mercedes-Benz has left no stone unturned to ensure the all-new C-Class is as good as it gets.
Mercedes-Benz C-Class The Competition
We’re fans of the Audi A4 which offers a massive range starting from $55,500. The pick of the lineup is probably the 2.0TFSI Quattro (from $62,000) with 165kW/350Nm and all-paw grip. The Audi A4 is all class, beautifully built and a worthy contender in this league.
BMW’s slick 3 Series is also a cracker, starting at $52,800 but that buys the 100kW/220Nm 1.6-litre 316i. Now the $60,500 BMW 320i is outgunned by the Mercedes-Benz C 200 (135kW/300Nm for the ‘Benz to 135kW/270Nm for the ‘Beemer’). And the BMW ActiveHybrid3 at $100,200 with 225kW/400Nm is looking pricey compared to the $74,900 C 300 BlueTEC Hybrid delivering 150kW/500Nm. ‘Benz also wins for driving dynamics but we’ll have to wait until early 2015 for the M3-rivalling C 63 AMG.
Make sure you test drive the Infiniti Q50 (priced from $51,900 to $73,900). Nicely styled and great to drive the Q50 comes loaded with technology and is a great drive.