In terms of appearance, the new C-Class adopts a progressive approach with its clear yet emotional design and its high-class interior. Many other innovations and interior touches underscore the Saloon's comfort and refined sportiness. In all, the perceived quality of the new C-Class feels like an “upgrade to a higher class of travel”.
The C-Class is the biggest-selling model series from Mercedes-Benz. Sales of the preceding model, which was launched in 2007, total over 2.4 million (165,194 examples in the UK). The new C-Class offers sensuous and clear design and a host of technical innovations as well as a comprehensive scope of standard equipment and exemplary emission and fuel consumption values.
"Mercedes at its best - that's the new C-Class, which sets new standards for the mid-range segment on many fronts," says Prof. Dr Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. "It is characterised by an emotional yet clear design which is continued in the high-quality and modern interior. Its efficient and high-performance engineering provides the basis for a high standard of driving enjoyment."
Ola Källenius, Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing Mercedes-Benz Cars, adds: "The new C-Class embodies Mercedes-Benz's claim "The best or nothing" in uncompromising style. This is immediately apparent when encountering our new Saloon for the first time, as it creates the impression that one is sitting in a higher class of automobile. I am sure that our customers will be delighted by the high-class appeal and agility of the new C-Class."
The C-Class has grown to take account of people's increasing average height. With an 80-mm increase in the wheelbase (2840 mm) compared with the previous model, the vehicle is 95 mm longer (4686 mm and 40 mm wider (1810 mm). The resultant additional space benefits first and foremost the rear passengers, who now travel in even greater comfort. The new C-Class also outstrips its predecessor in terms of boot capacity, at 480 litres (in accordance with ISO 3832).
Sensuous clarity and purist forms
On a visual level, the new C-Class represents a bold departure from its predecessor. Its striking, dynamic design exudes sensuous clarity and arouses emotions. Nature was a source of inspiration for the new Saloon's aesthetically sensuous lines and surfaces, whose harmony and dynamism create an immediate effect. The designers have created minimalist, purist forms for the C-Class, which emphasize its intelligent technology and engineering. The clearly defined surfaces deliberately display a degree of tension, lending them a muscular and sensuous character. Precise lines and sculptural surfaces create lively light and shade effects.
As Gorden Wagener, Vice President Design Daimler AG, notes: "The new C-Class showcases automotive passion by way of a contemporary design idiom. Progressive and emotional highlights underscore the ground-breaking design style of the new C-Class and demonstrate sensual clarity. The new C-Class interprets modern luxury on a new level.
In the side view a long bonnet, a passenger compartment set well back and short overhangs define the C-Class's classic, well-balanced Mercedes-Benz saloon proportions. Large wheels emphasise the rear and communicate a stylishly sporty character.
The new C-Class comes with H7 halogen headlamps as standard. In addition to the standard-fit headlamps, two energy-saving LED variants are available: a static system and a dynamic version with "LED Intelligent Light System". The characteristic night design lends the new C-Class its very own distinctive look in the dark, too. The rear lamp and brake light in the tail lights feature LED technology in all headlamp versions.
High-class interior with fine details
The Mercedes-Benz designers have styled the interior on a level, which is rarely encountered even in higher vehicle categories. This applies to the carefully chosen high-class materials and their pleasant touch and feel as well as the precision of the finely crafted details. The interior also embodies a new design idiom, which combines sensuousness and clarity perfectly with dynamic sportiness and contributes to the quality feel of the interior.
The driver and front passenger enjoy plenty of space and luxury in a discreet, modern guise on board the new C-Class. This gives rise to a feel-good atmosphere, which is new to this class of vehicle – settling into your seat in the C-Class, is akin to the uplifting feeling of being upgraded from economy to business class on an aeroplane.
The interior design demonstrates a bold new approach by Mercedes-Benz. Here the designers combine in accomplished style the architecture of Mercedes-Benz sports cars with an all new centre console featuring flowing lines. In automatic vehicles, a large one-piece centre console panel performs an elegant sweep from the centre air vents to the armrest. These seamless clear-cut lines create a sense of open space and convey a thrillingly purist and modern feel.
On vehicles with manual transmission, the centre console is slightly steeper and features two separate trim elements in order to create ample space for ergonomic operation of the shift lever.
A centrally positioned free-standing central display is the main eye-catching feature across the centre console – with a screen diagonal of 17.78 cm (7 inches), or 21.33 cm (8.4 inches) if COMAND Online is specified.
Five round air vents lend the dashboard a sporty touch. With their metallic cool-touch effect, they create a fascinating, tangible contrast to the warm look of the other materials – such as the wood in the centre console or the leather on the dashboard. The "upgrade" feel duly continues with the controls. All switches feature a high-quality, three-dimensional design befitting a luxury vehicle and benefit from a clear layout.
The innovative touchpad in the handrest over the Controller on the centre tunnel marks a further evolutionary step developed in-house at Mercedes-Benz. As on a smartphone, this provides for very simple and intuitive operation of all the head-unit functions using finger gestures. The touchpad also permits letters, numbers and special characters to be entered in handwriting - in any language. The user receives clear haptic feedback when operating the touchpad's control surface, which is highly conducive to genuine intuitive use.
Head-up display is also new to the C-Class. Like in a jet fighter, it displays important information directly in the driver's field of vision on the front windscreen, thus providing for clear legibility and ensuring that the driver is distracted less from the road ahead. The system provides information on vehicle speed, speed limits and navigation instructions and displays messages from DISTRONIC PLUS.
Three different design and equipment lines for the exterior and interior respectively offer further scope for individualisation in addition to the standard equipment and appointments.
Robust yet lightweight bodyshell
The body-in-white of the new C-Class provides an innovative basis for reduced weight, outstanding rigidity for excellent handling, combined with optimum noise and vibration characteristics and a high level of crash safety. Thanks to intelligent and innovative lightweight construction, the aluminium hybrid body is around 70 kg lighter than a conventional steel body. The vehicle's overall weight is reduced by around 100 kilograms. As such, the new C-Class leads the "lightweight rankings" in its segment. This spawns numerous benefits: the lightweight construction of the new C-Class cuts fuel consumption by up to 20 per cent without any loss of performance, while at the same time enabling a lower centre of gravity, which in turn gives rise to the vehicle's noticeably sporty and agile handling.
Mercedes-Benz achieves this feat of lightweight construction by various measures, including a completely new structural design and the use of an unusually high proportion of aluminium for a mass-produced range. The share of aluminium has risen compared with the successful predecessor from under 10 per cent to almost 50 per cent.
In keeping with Mercedes-Benz traditions, the body is designed for exemplary crash safety. As a result, the Saloon complies not only with all current national laws but also with all rating requirements, as well as meeting the more stringent internal Mercedes-Benz safety standards based on what actually happens during accidents.
A high-strength safety passenger compartment forms the core of this concept. It is surrounded by specifically configured and field-tested deformation zones, which ensure maximum safety for the occupants by virtue of optimised force paths and a combination of aluminium castings and ultra-high-strength materials. An outer skin consisting almost completely of aluminium provides a protective shell for the body.
Leading the field in aerodynamics and quiet running
Low drag is crucial to achieving outstanding efficiency. From a speed of just under 43 mph, aerodynamic drag exceeds the sum total of all other driving resistance factors. As such, drag constitutes a major parameter in efforts to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. With a Cd value of 0.24 for the
C 220 BlueTEC ECO, the new C-Class Saloon sets a new benchmark in the mid-range segment. The wind noise level, which was already very low in the preceding generation of the C-Class, has been lowered still further.
The engineers have also devoted painstaking attention to optimising other potential sources of disturbance which may have an adverse effect on the driver's and passengers' wellbeing and concentration, even though they may not consciously notice the effects. NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) is the technical term for such nuisance factors. The specialists have optimised the noise characteristics of the interior blower, the power windows, the seat adjustment functions and many other actuation and operating noises, for example. As a result, the new C-Class occupies a benchmark position in its segment.
Outstanding CO2 values with new small diesel engine
Powerful and efficient petrol and diesel engines, all equipped with the ECO start/stop function and complying with the Euro 6 emissions standard, provide for lively performance and great driving enjoyment. They also cut fuel consumption by up to 20 per cent compared with the preceding model.
Three engine variants are available at the market launch - a diesel in the guise of the C 220 BlueTEC and the two petrol models, C 180 and C 200:
Soon after the launch, Mercedes-Benz will expand the range of engines including a new, small diesel engine with a displacement of 1.6 litres. Reduced weight, compact design and low fuel consumption are among its special merits. Depending on its configuration, the single-stage supercharged four-cylinder engine generates 115 or 136 hp of power from a cubic capacity of 1598cc and delivers 280 or 320 Nm of torque. Its common rail direct injection system operates at a maximum injection pressure of 1600 bar. This engine places the new C-Class in a leading position within its segment in terms of CO2 emissions.
In addition to this new small diesel engine, an advanced version of the proven 2.2-litre four-cylinder diesel engine is also to become available in several output variants. The diesel engines will then cover an output range from 115 hp to 204 hp. The C 220 BlueTEC will also be available with an output of 170 hp. All the diesel engines of the new C-Class are equipped with the established SCR technology (selective catalytic reduction) for environmental friendly driving and to ensure that the C-Class models with diesel engines attain efficiency class A at least, and in most cases even efficiency class A+.
BlueDIRECT petrol engines with third-generation direct injection
The BlueDIRECT four-cylinder petrol engines of the C-Class combine spontaneous response and exemplary power delivery with high efficiency and best in class emission performance. To this end, Mercedes-Benz has transferred the BlueDIRECT technology from the V6 and V8 engines to the four-cylinder engine. The direct injection system with spray-guided combustion, which was introduced into series production by Mercedes-Benz as the first automotive manufacturer, employs a multiple injection process, which is precision-controlled by means of an electronic system. The third-generation direct injection technology is complemented by "fast multiple ignition"
Hybrid with four-cylinder diesel and petrol engine
As in the S and E-Class, Mercedes-Benz will additionally be offering a diesel engine combined with a hybrid module. The C 300 BlueTEC HYBRID with four-cylinder diesel engine and a compact electric motor generates an output of 204 + 27 hp and runs on only 72.4 mpg in NEDC combined mode (provisional figure). A further particularly economical hybrid model, which is to follow in time, will feature state-of-the-art plug-in technology.
Depending on the installed output ratings, Mercedes-Benz is offering two new 6-speed manual transmissions for the four-cylinder engines in the new C-Class which stand apart first and foremost by virtue of their enhanced ease of shifting coupled with increased shifting precision and a harmonious gear-change sequence. Smooth automatic gear shifting is provided by the 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission, which has undergone further development at Mercedes-Benz in the interests of enhanced environmental-friendliness and driving pleasure.
Suspension – sporty yet comfortable
The suspension on the new C-Class is an all-new development. It provides for nimble and agile handling that makes driving a great pleasure on winding roads while also offering the highest standard of ride comfort in the segment.
A newly designed 4-link front axle plays a major part in the agile handling characteristics. Thanks to the 4-link principle, the front independent suspension is fully decoupled from the spring strut. Axle kinematics allow more grip and higher lateral stability. As a result, the suspension responds more sensitively to steering movements and allows a sporty, agile driving style. An optimised multi-link independent rear suspension with 5-link concept ensures unsurpassed wheel location qualities and supreme straight-line stability.
The new C-Class Saloon is fitted as standard with steel suspension. Three DIRECT CONTROL suspensions with selective damping system are available in conjunction with this suspension:
- a comfort suspension
- a lowered comfort suspension with a sportier character
- a sports suspension lowered by 15 mm
Alternatively, the new C-Class is the first vehicle in its segment that can be fitted with an air suspension (AIRMATIC) on the front and rear axles. Thanks to electronically controlled, continuous variable damping at the front and rear, it offers outstanding road roar and tyre vibration characteristics even with the vehicle loaded. The driver can use the AGILITY SELECT switch to choose between the various characteristics: "Comfort", "ECO", "Sport" and "Sport+". The additional "Individual" option enables drivers to configure their vehicle according to their own wishes. AIRMATIC also features all-round self-levelling for optimum ride comfort even when the vehicle is loaded.
The new C-Class also comes with an electric parking brake as standard. This brake is released automatically when the driver ends parking mode with the aim of moving off.
Steering with a sporty character
All models of the C-Class family will feature the electromechanical Direct Steer system as standard. This combines road-speed-dependent power assistance from the speed-sensitive power steering system with a steering ratio, which varies according to the given steering angle. The power steering assistance provided by the rack and pinion steering gear is controlled on-demand, thereby contributing towards efficiency.
Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive: The intelligent car
It is the declared aim of Mercedes-Benz to make the highest standard of safety available to everyone. To this end, the new C-Class incorporates almost all of the new assistance systems with a host of enhanced functions, which celebrated their world premiere in the S-Class and E-Class only a few months ago. The assistance systems enhance both comfort and safety. Mercedes-Benz calls this Intelligent Drive.
The new C-Class offers numerous innovative safety and assistance systems. It is fitted as standard with ATTENTION ASSIST, which can warn the driver of inattentiveness and drowsiness. On motorways, the COMAND system navigation function flags up nearby break options as stopovers, providing the system has been specified in the vehicle. The ATTENTION ASSIST function offers an adjustable level of sensitivity and can inform the driver in a separate view in the instrument cluster about their level of drowsiness and how long they have been driving since their last break.
In addition to Adaptive Brake Assist, which offers protection from collisions from speeds as low as 5 mph, standard-fit COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS also features an additional function: when a danger of collision persists and the driver fails to respond, the system is able to carry out autonomous braking at speeds of up to 125 mph, thereby reducing the severity of collisions with slower or stopping vehicles. The system also brakes in response to stationary vehicles at a speed of up to 31 mph, and is able to prevent rear-end collisions at speeds of up to 25 mph.
New assistance systems and existing assistance systems with a host of enhanced functions from the new S-Class and E-Class are also optionally available, combining data from various sensor technologies as part of the Intelligent Drive concept to enhance comfort and safety substantially:
- DISTRONIC PLUS with Steering Assist and integrated Stop Go Pilot is a semi-automatic traffic jam assistant which at speeds less than 37 mph is able to follow the vehicle ahead even where lane markings are unclear or completely lacking, thus providing a safe and convenient means of following the flow of traffic.
- The BAS PLUS Brake Assist System can now also detect crossing traffic and boost the braking force if the driver fails to apply the brakes sufficiently; the PRE-SAFE® Brake can detect stationary vehicles as well as pedestrians, brake automatically if the driver fails to react, thus preventing accidents up to 31 mph and mitigating the severity of collisions at speeds of up to 45 mph. In flowing traffic, the PRE-SAFE® Brake provides assistance according to the same mode of operation throughout the speed range from five to 125 mph.
- Enhanced Active Lane Keeping Assist can now also prevent the vehicle from unintentionally drifting out of lane when broken lane markings apply and a risk of a collision arises, e.g. as a result of vehicles overtaking at high speed, parallel traffic or even oncoming traffic, by applying the brakes on one side.
The numerous assistance systems also include
- Active Parking Assist, which enables automated parking with active steering and brake intervention in both parallel and end-on parking spaces,
- a 360° camera, which is able to show the vehicle and its surroundings from various perspectives, including a virtual bird's eye view,
- Traffic Sign Assist with Wrong-Way Alert, which warns of speed limits and alerts the driver to no-overtaking zones and no-entry signs,
- Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus, which allows the high-beam headlamps to be kept on permanently without dazzling traffic by masking out other vehicles in the cone of light from the high-beam headlamps.
Airbags for safety
In addition to 3-point seat belts with pyrotechnical belt tensioning and belt force limitation for the driver, the front passenger and those in the outer rear seats, numerous airbags serve to protect the vehicle's occupants in an accident.
- pelvisbags for driver and front passenger
- a newly developed windowbag
- sidebags for the outer rear seats
- a kneebag for the driver
The front passenger seat can additionally be fitted with automatic child seat recognition, which dispenses with the previous transponder in favour of a weight mat. This enables any child seat to be used. The airbag is automatically deactivated when a child seat is fitted and reactivated once it has been removed.
Air conditioning: signals from space
Mercedes-Benz has undertaken systematic further development and substantial improvement of the air conditioning system in the new C-Class. This applies in particular 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. It uses the map information from the navigation system and the GPS location data to close the air recirculation flap automatically when the vehicle enters a tunnel, subsequently re-opening it when the vehicle emerges from the tunnel.
Another highlight contributing to a feel-good atmosphere is the AIR-BALANCE package with active fragrancing, air ionisation and more efficient filtration than is available on the standard model.
A completely new multimedia generation offers intuitive operation in the new C-Class, featuring elaborate animations and visual effects, which present all the functions in a clear and highly attractive manner. The new C-Class is also equipped with the unique Frontbass system. This avant-garde acoustic systems uses the space within the cross-member and side member in the body structure as a resonance chamber for the bass speakers to conjure up a listening experience almost on a par with a concert hall. A Burmester® surround sound system is optionally available.
The navigation system presents its contents in interactive mode. Its features include an animated compass, a "Drive Show" with information for passengers similar to the on-screen presentations on board aeroplanes and Google Maps displayed on the head unit. The navigation system is also able to provide more accurate real-time information about the situation on the roads when it receives its traffic data via internet by means of the "Live Traffic Information" service.
Internet and diverse data sources already available in the basic version
A Bluetooth-capable mobile phone with data option is all it takes to make the Audio 20 system internet-capable. This enables the internet to be surfed without restrictions when the vehicle is stationary. While on the move, Mercedes-Benz Apps such as Weather, GoogleTM Local Search with StreetView and Panoramio, Destination/Route Download and Facebook can be used.
Audio and video playback is possible from various sources, e.g. via Bluetooth, from the Apple iPod and iPhone, from SD card, USB stick or CD/DVD (with Audio 20 CD or higher and with COMAND Online).
COMAND Online with hotspot functionality
COMAND Online not only offers a larger display with a resolution of 960 x 540 pixels and a special bonded glass cover such as is familiar from consumer devices like the iPhone or iPad. It also enables digital TV / radio reception, for example, and offers a host of other features including fast hard-disc navigation, automatic tailback avoidance via up-to-date and accurate "Live Traffic Information" traffic data, integrated WLAN hotspot functionality and the LINGUATRONIC voice control system.
Telephony via Bluetooth as standard
The basic Audio 20 system as well as Audio 20 CD and COMAND Online all offer basic telephony as standard, which links up a mobile phone to the vehicle via a standard Bluetooth interface.
UK specification and pricing are still to be confirmed.