Mercedes has been building the C-Class for almost 40 years and in four generations so far. As far as the sales figures are concerned, the classic from Bremen, which in the 1980s was still reviled as “Baby Benz”, has advanced to become the most important model of the southern German car manufacturer.
Mercedes has sold more than 2.5 million units worldwide of the Generation 4 alone, which has been built since 2014. Now the successor is in the starting blocks, which optically and technically dispenses with revolutionary changes and yet takes big steps towards the future of driving.
Read now: Test report Mercedes-Benz C 300 de T-Model
Slightly larger, T-model with more trunk
Visually, the C-Class, which has grown in length by seven centimeters to 4.75 meters, appears as a sedan (W206) like a little brother of the S-Class. The shape of the front and rear lights, the character lines in the flanks or the course of the roof are similar to the flagship of the luxury brand.
There are LED headlights as standard, which, like the S-Class, can be upgraded to high-resolution digital light. The station wagon version (S206) that was unveiled at the same time is exactly as long and wide as the sedan, while the Mercedes star on the bonnet has lost a lot of aerodynamic optimization.
Parallel to the general growth of the body, the amount of space in the interior has also increased. The leg room in the rear and shoulder and elbow widths at the front have increased by over two centimeters. The sedan offers an unchanged 455-liter trunk, while the storage space in the T-model has increased by 30 to 490 or 1,510 liters.
Inside like a small S-Class
The C-Class is taking a big step forward in terms of displays and infotainment. Behind the steering wheel there is a display for the driver, which is available in two versions with a 10.25 or 12.3 inch diameter. In addition, the optionally available head-up display projects driving-related information directly into the driver’s field of vision.
In the center console there is also a floating touchscreen in portrait format, which is available as standard with a 9.5 inch and optionally with an 11.9 inch screen diagonal. Many vehicle functions are controlled via the touch-sensitive screen, the previous rotary pushbutton in the center console has had its day.
Control surfaces are grouped in large numbers on a bar on the lower screen and on the steering wheel. Accordingly, the passenger is offered a particularly tidy cockpit free of switches and buttons.
Six and eight cylinders have had their day
As before, the C-Class is available with petrol and diesel engines. Three gasoline engines from 125 kW / 170 PS to 190 kW / 258 PS and two diesels with 147 kW / 200 PS and 195 kW / 265 PS are planned for the start. What is new is that all engine variants are mildly electrified by means of a 48-volt belt starter generator (vehicles are not yet for sale, homologation pending²).
There is no alternative to a 9-speed automatic converter, the manual transmission has finally had its day. Furthermore, the future C-Class AMG models will only have four-cylinder engines. The long-serving six- and eight-cylinder machines have been eliminated.
Hybrid variants continue to run on petrol and diesel
It is expected that Mercedes will offer various plug-in hybrid drives for the new C-Class at the beginning of 2022. As always, the customer will be able to choose between a combination of an electric motor and gasoline or diesel. Thanks to a 25.4 kWh battery, the electric range of the PHEV-C class is expected to be around 100 kilometers. In order to be able to quickly recharge the electric range again, Mercedes will also offer the option of charging the C-Class with up to 55 kW direct current.
Better chassis, more safety
Thanks to a new four-link axle at the front and a multi-link rear axle, Mercedes promises more comfort and agility than before. There is an optional sports suspension with continuously adjustable damping and rear-axle steering.
The many assistance systems take the burden off the driver even more than before and ensure greater safety. In addition, crash safety has been increased thanks, among other things, to a new airbag between the driver and front passenger. In addition, the air conditioning system and seat massage offer new functions.
Market start and prices
The market launch of the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class is planned for April, with the first delivery then taking place in the summer. The prices are likely to rise slightly compared to the current generation. Most recently, the now no longer available sedan C 180 cost around 37,500 euros. (Text: tv, mh / sp-x | Images: manufacturer)