From the initially experimental 190 that evolved into the Mercedes-Benz C-Class we recognise, the ‘small’ Merc has grown into a global success with more than 10,5-million customer deliveries since 1982.
Now, it is time for the new generation C-Class – earmarked for local launch in Q3 – where both the front and rear passengers benefit from the moderately increased exterior dimensions of the new model generation.
Elbow-room has been increased by 22 mm in the front and 15 mm in the rear over the previous model and headroom in the rear has increased by 13 mm with up to 35 mm more kneeroom in the rear.
The interior now has highlights such as the display and operating concept adopted from the new S-Class, with a sporty interpretation. This is accentuated by another design feature where the dashboard and central display are slightly tilted towards the driver.
Domestic equipment and household appliances can be controlled using the ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice assistant of MBUX? Thanks to the Smart Home function, they can be networked with the vehicle and controlled remotely.
The light in each DIGITAL LIGHT headlamp is refracted and directed by means of 1,3-million micro-mirrors? The resolution is therefore more than 2,6-million pixels per vehicle. DIGITAL LIGHT with projection function is available as an option. This system can make driving safer by projecting guide lines, symbols and animations onto the road.
The turning circle is reduced by some 40 centimetres to under 11metres with rear-axle steering? With this optional feature, the steering angle at the rear axle is 2,5 degrees.
“The letters C and S sit at opposite ends of the alphabet. However, in our portfolio they’re now moving closer together. The C-Class is already our best-selling saloon. Still, I’m certain our new C-Class will excite even more customers with a wide range of high-tech features derived from our flagship S-Class.
“With the latest generation MBUX, rear-axle steering and comprehensive electrification, our most successful model range will once again raise the bar as the most sophisticated offering in its segment,”says Ola Källenius, CEO of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG
“After its introduction in the S-Class, the second generation of MBUX already débuts in new C-Class. All the possibilities for intuitive operation and personalisation have been adopted, plus driver-orientation as a new feature specific to the model series: the dashboard and central display are slightly tilted towards the driver, underlining the sportiness of the C-Class as a first in a Mercedes-Benz passenger car,” adds Georges Massing, Senior Manager Digital Vehicle and Mobility, Mercedes-Benz AG
The new C-Class offers the combination of short front overhang, long wheelbase and rear overhang and the windscreen and passenger cell have been moved to the rear for these classic proportions known in the industry as ‘cab-backward design’.
When viewed from the side, the sculptured surfaces create unique light effects. Conversely, the designers have reduced lines to a minimum, which accentuates the so-called catwalk line or shoulder line even more. In the Estate model, the progressive roof line in combination with the inclined rear window adds a sporty touch without functional compromises.
All models feature a central star, with the design and character of the radiator grille differing in the details. The base model has a central star and louvres. In the AVANTGARDE line, there are additional decorative elements in the louvres, while the radiator grille and front apron feature chrome surrounds.
The distinguishing feature of the AMG Line is the diamond grille with the star design in chrome.
The driver area features a high-resolution LCD screen. It is free-standing, and appears to float in front of the wing profile and the expanse of trim. This sets the driver display apart from traditional cockpits with classic round dials. Customers have a choice between a 10,25-inch or a 12,3-inch version.
Like the new S-Class, the new C-Class is equipped with the second generation of MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience). The vehicle interior becomes even more digital and intelligent, as both the hardware and software have made great strides: Brilliant images on the LCD screens make it easy to control vehicle and comfort functions.
The voice assistant ‘Hey Mercedes’ becomes more interactive and capable of learning by activating online services in the Mercedes me App. Moreover, certain actions can be performed even without the activation keyword ‘Hey Mercedes’. These include taking a telephone call.
The engine range has only four-cylinder units from the current modular FAME (Family of Modular Engines) Mercedes-Benz engine family. Accordingly, the engine range plays a major role in the flexibility of the international production network, with needs-based electrification.
In addition to turbo-charging, both the diesel and the petrol engines now have an integrated starter-generator (ISG) for intelligent assistance at low engine speeds as a mild hybrid of the second generation.
The ISG uses a 48 volt on-board electrical system that ensures functions such as gliding, boosting or energy recovery, and makes significant fuel savings possible. The engines also start very rapidly and comfortably as a result, so that the start/stop function is almost as imperceptible to the driver as the transition from gliding with the engine switched off to strong acceleration under engine power. When idling, the intelligent interaction between the ISG and the combustion engine ensures outstandingly smooth running.
The four-cylinder M 254 petrol engine with a second-generation starter-generator with an additional output of up to 15 kW and 200 Nm more torque is also celebrating its première in the C-Class. Thanks to energy recovery and the ability to ’glide’ with the engine switched off, the petrol engine is highly efficient.
The 9G-TRONIC transmission was developed further for adapting the ISG, and is installed in all C-Class models. The electric motor, power electronics and transmission cooler have now moved into or to the transmission. Previously required lines are eliminated, which offers advantages with regard to installation space and weight.
The new C-Class is especially agile and stable with the optional rear-axle steering and the accompanying, more direct steering ratio at the front axle.
At speeds below 60 km/h, the rear wheels steer in the opposite direction to the front wheels – and by up to 2,5 degrees opposite to the front-axle angle during parking. Depending on the situation, this virtually shortens the wheelbase, and the vehicle is more manoeuvrable, light-footed and agile as a result.
At speeds above 60 km/h, the rear wheels steer up to 2,5 degrees in the same direction as the front wheels. This virtual increase in wheelbase has noticeable advantages in the form of improved handling stability and safety at high speeds, during fast lane-changes or sudden evasive manoeuvres.
More details on the actual specifications for the local variants will be provided as soon as they are released by Mercedes-Benz South Africa – but it does appear the Estate will be on the launch list.