Mercedes-Benz Australia is confident that the style, equipment, price and performance of the next-generation C-Class will propel it past the less luxurious (but more affordable) Mazda6 when it arrives in local showrooms from July.
That would make the C-Class the second most popular mid-size car in Australia, putting it behind the evergreen Toyota Camry.
And despite being right at the end of its lifespan, the current C-Class is already catching up to the Mazda in the sales race. Last month Mazda sold 593 Mazda6s, while the Benz wasn't far behind with 532 cars sold.
Year to date, the C-Class trails the Mazda6 by some 300 units.
"The new C-Class is going to blow you away, I guarantee it," Mercedes-Benz Australia Senior PR Manager David McCarthy told TMR.
"It’s a deeply impressive car. It is as good as the S-Class"
"The price of the [next generation] car and the equipment in the car is a very clear statement of our intent. We’ve owned that [luxury mid-size] segment for a long time, and we don’t intend to surrender it.
The range is expected to launch with the C 250 petrol and C 250 Bluetec, with the C 300 Hybrid and C 400 twin-turbo V6 expected to join later in the year.
The C 63 AMG is also a sure thing for Australia, though the next generation model will drop the familiar 6.2 litre naturally-aspirated V8 in favour of a twin-turbocharged 4.0 litre V8.
When probed on power and torque outputs, McCarthy remained coy.
"Output-wise it will be… sufficient," he said with a grin.
"The sound of it will also be appropriate."
However with anticipated production delays for RHD cars, McCarthy said it was highly unlikely that the next-gen C 63 AMG will arrive in Australia before the end of the year.
Meanwhile the C 300 Hybrid will take the C-Class into new territory when it arrives, being the first hybrid to wear a C-Class badge on its rump.
"It probably won’t come absolutely at launch, but we will be taking it," McCarthy said to TMR.
"It’s the same drivetrain that’s in S 300 and E 300 Hybrid, but in a significantly lighter car.
"I think it’ll have a pretty strong case going for it. Low emissions, low fuel consumption and pretty impressive performance.
"It won’t be a slow car, but you’ll also get extremely good fuel economy. And it will be priced well below $100,000.
Though it won't be offered with a plug-in capability (a feature which rival Lexus has yet to add to its own range of hybrids), the diesel-electric C 300 Hybrid is expected to consume just over 3.0 l/100km on the combined cycle.
And compared to the 4.9 l/100km figure quoted by Lexus for its IS 300h (below) and the 6.9 l/100km consumed by the Infiniti Q50 Hybrid S, the Mercedes can easily lay claim to being the most efficient luxury midsizer.
However pricing will dictate how the C 300 fares against the $58,900 IS 300h - which is proving a strong seller for Lexus - and the $67,900 Q50 Hybrid S.
Local specifications and pricing of the new C-Class range will be announced closer to launch.
- Interested in buying MAZDA ? Visit our MAZDA showroom for more information.