MERCEDES C-CLASS REVEALED
The carmaker had previously detailed a number of key features that will debut with the new C-Class, but this latest release offers a first official look at the complete package.
Depending on the engine and specification, the new C-Class will be offered with a number of styling kits, from the basic C 180 through to the top-shelf C 400.
In full AMG Sport trim, the new C-Class also gets deep ports and a lip spoiler in the front bumper, along with larger alloy wheels, a vented rear bumper and twin exhaust tips.
The new C-Class measures 4686mm long and rides on a 2840mm wheelbase, making it 95mm longer overall than its predecessor, while stretching the wheels a further 76mm apart.
That growth gives rear passengers 25mm of extra leg room, and boot capacity in the sedan grows to 480 litres - up from 450.
Built on the new 'Mercedes Rear-drive Architecture' (MRA), Mercedes says the new C has the lightest body shell in the segment, with added rigidity over the outgoing model.
The new body is a ‘hybrid’ construction, using a combination of aluminium and high-strength steel.
This makes the body 70kg lighter than the conventional steel body of the outgoing C-Class, while contributing to an overall weight reduction of 100kg.
Mercedes says this has improved fuel consumption figures by as much as 20 percent.
The new C-Class will initially debut with three engine options in the European market, with more to follow as the line-up's global rollout begins.
The launch range kicks off with the 115kW 1.6 litre C 180 and 135kW 2.0 litre C 200 petrol models, and the 125kW 2.1 litre C 220 BlueTEC diesel.
For those three engines, Mercedes claims fuel consumption figrues of 5.0, 5.3 and 4.0 l/100km respectively.
The line-up will be fleshed out after launch with a new 1.6 turbodiesel developed with Renault, to be offered in 85kW and 100kW tunes.
More versions of the 2.1 litre diesel model will also be offered, with top variants delivering 150kW.
The A-Class hatch's M274 four-cylinder turbo engine will be flipped for rear-wheel-drive duty in the C-Class, where it will offer 175kW.
A six-cylinder turbo engine is also promised - following "in due course" - and Mercedes promises a hefty 245kW output for that model.
On the extra-green front will be the C 300 BlueTEC Hybrid, matching a 2.1 litre diesel with an electric motor. A plug-in petrol-electric version of the C 350 is also planned.
Two transmissions will be offered, including a six-speed manual and a seven-speed dual-clutch auto.
Merc's new nine-speed auto has also been rumoured for the new C-Class, although the carmaker has yet to confirm.
Rear-wheel-drive is standard across the range, but 4Matic all-wheel-drive models will be offered in Europe sometime after launch.
Underneath, the 2014 C-Class gets a new four-link front axle, which Merc says will make the new C-Class light-footed and agile while maintaining ride comfort.
Three versions of a steel suspension system with selective damping is standard, with AMG models getting a sports tune lowered by 15mm.
The new C-Class is also the first in its segment to accommodate Mercedes’ Airmatic air suspension. The optional system is electronically controlled and features continuous variable damping.
Steering assist across the range is through a speed-sensitive electro-mechanical system.
In the cabin, the new C-Class debuts a classically-styled sports with SLS-inspired circular vents, a large standalone display screen and silver highlights throughout.
Various trim and highlight options will be offered, from various wood grains to aluminium, again depending on the model.
A key new feature in the cabin is a location-aware air-conditioning system. The system uses satellite navigation to determine when the vehicle enters a tunnel, and automatically switches from fresh to recirculated air.
Mercedes calls it the “Air Balance” package, and it’s a valuable trickle-down feature from the bigger and more upmarket S-Class. It also features fragrance control and ionisation.
Joining the touchpad is a head-up display, similar in execution to the technology now appearing with other brands, including BMW.
Mercedes says the display projects important information such as current speed, speed limits and navigation instructions in the driver’s field of view “like in a jet fighter”.
Benz also says the information appears to float over the bonnet, around two metres in front of the driver; and it’s fully adjustable.
The new C-Class will also be safer, with a new sensor which deactivates the front passenger airbag when a child seat is installed. Removing the child seat reactivates the system.
The new C-Class will make its global premiere at the Detroit Auto Show next month, with an Australian launch expected to occur around July.
Rear- and all-wheel-drive models are expected to be offered in Australia, and the diesel-electric C 300 hybrid is also on the cards for a local launch.
Watch for the wagon, coupe and new cabriolet models to appear in the coming months.