The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is entering a new chapter. The fifth generation of the C-class is here. This W206 is very similar to its predecessor, but there is plenty of news under the sun!
- Only four cylinders
- Mild hybrid and plug-in
- 2.5 cm longer wheelbase
- Sedan and Estate have the same length
- Large central screen as in S-class
Anyone who has just bought a new Mercedes-Benz C-class and is afraid that a large part of the residual value will evaporate with the arrival of the new generation, can breathe somewhat calmly. The new C-class continues the well-known course and does not bring any big surprises in terms of appearance. Both the Sedan and the Estate keep roughly the lines of the outgoing generation between nose and butt, and that can be seen as a compliment for the 2014 W205.
In the wake of the E and S
Yet, of course, more has changed than you might see at first glance. To begin with, the new C-class has a nose that is strongly reminiscent of that of the new S-class and the facelifted E-class. The standard headlamps, equipped with LED technology, are slender in shape and run less deeply downwards than is currently the case. The headlights can optionally be equipped with Mercedes’ Digital Light. This can, among other things, project auxiliary lines or warning signs onto the road. The biggest change at the front, however, is the grille. In terms of shape, it is a vertical reflection of the grille that is in the current C-class. All in all, the new C-class therefore looks a bit more aggressive. The curves in the hood also provide a touch of extra sporty looks. Nice detail: in the grille we see small Mercedes stars, although that is reserved for the AMG line. As standard there are louvers, optional the radiator grille is framed with chrome.
At the rear, the innovation is completely eye-catching. In contrast to its big brothers, the C-class Sedan was previously not equipped with the wide-spread rear lights that are now so characteristic of Mercedes. That is about to change. As with the E- and S-Class, the slender rear lights equipped with LED technology now extend to a sharp point on the tailgate. On the Estate, the lights already had that shape, but on the new C-class they are a bit wider and a bit sharper in shape. The chrome strip that lay somewhat remarkably ‘on’ the rear lights on the Estate and visually connected the two, has disappeared.
Do not be fooled by the perhaps already well-known appearance of the new C-class, because the car has indeed grown compared to the current generation. The wheelbase has increased by 25 mm and has now been rounded to 2.87 m. The overall length of the C-class increased by 65 mm on the Sedan and by 49 mm on the Estate. Remarkably, the Sedan and Estate are now exactly the same length: rounded 4.75 m. Of course, all of this should benefit the space in the C-class. Legroom increased by 21mm in both cases. The C-class grew 10 mm in width, but the Sedan has become 9 mm lower and the Estate 7 mm. On the face of it, the C-class will therefore have a slightly more impressive stature. Incidentally, it is striking that in the case of the Sedan, Mercedes really used the growth purely for legroom; with 455 liters, the luggage space in the trunk has remained the same. With 490 liters to 1,510 liters, the Estate consumes 30 liters more than before.
Modern and classic
The interior of the new C-class can best be described as a mix between modern and classic. Classic partly because of the round chrome ventilation grilles that we already knew from the previous C, but modern because of the more tidy design and the quite substantial infotainment screen, central to the optional leather-covered dashboard. Indeed, again the C sees the trick for the new S-class. In the C-class, the screen measures 10.25 inches by default, but those who find that not big enough can also sign for a 12.3-inch model. There is also a digital instrumentation available and optionally you can also get the C-class with a head-up display, with which, for example, driving data is projected on route directions for you.
The latest version of Mercedes’ proven MBUX system runs on it and that offers some interesting features. Popular music streaming services are integrated, you can store personal settings for the car for several people and of course the voice assistant is better than before. By saying ‘Hey Mercedes’ you can give the car numerous commands. Not only calling people or setting the navigation system, but with ‘Smart Home’ you can even change things or call up information from smart devices in your house. This way you can already turn on your lights when you get home, or ask if someone is home. The C-class can then answer you based on the activity of your devices. You can use a fingerprint scanner to quickly log in and access your personal settings. Installing new or optional functions from the Mercedes Me Store over-the-air is also possible.
Mercedes-Benz has developed three different modes for some extra atmosphere. With ‘Classic’ you will see the most relevant information on a neutral colored screen. If you choose ‘Sporty’, everything will be colored red on both the large screen and the digital instruments and you will see the rev counter in the center of the screen in front of you. With ‘Discreet’, the car keeps it all in terms of information a bit more minimalist and you can choose from seven different ‘soothing’ colors. Finally, there is ‘Assistance Mode’ that provides you with as extensive information as possible about the traffic situation and the route you are driving.
Then the motorisation of the new C-class. Although there is no fully electric variant of the C-class, electrification plays a big role. Mercedes-Benz equips every powertrain with some form of electrical power. There are now only four cylinders, both petrol and diesel power sources, which either receive mild hybrid electric acclaim, or work together with an electric motor (plug-in hybrid). In the case of the mild hybrids, there is a starter generator that works on 48V on-board voltage, which, for example, jumps into the drive when ‘sailing’, but can also provide an extra boost of power of 20 hp. Obviously, this should reduce consumption and therefore CO2 emissions. From now on, only an automatic transmission is available, the nine-speed 9G-Tronic.
The petrol range starts with the C180 and C200, which both have the 1.5 four-cylinder in the nose and are 170 hp and 204 hp respectively. The maximum torque is 250 Nm and 300 Nm respectively. The C200 is also available with 4Matic all-wheel drive. The C180 sprints to 100 km / h in 8.6 seconds and stops at 231 km / h. The C200 does the sprint in 7.3 seconds (7.5 for the Estate) and continues to 246 km / h (240 for the Estate). With 4Matic, it is just a bit faster at 100 km / h, in 7.1 seconds, but the top speed is slightly lower; 240 km / h.
Higher in the range, we find the C300, with a 258 hp and 400 Nm strong 2.0 four-cylinder on board. It propels the C-class to 100 km / h in 6 seconds and has a top speed of 250 km / h. With 4Matic all-wheel drive, those specifications remain the same. Of course, Mercedes-AMG versions will also follow in the long run. They also all have a four-cylinder on board, but thanks to the support of an electric motor, they must deliver performance that at least equals the outgoing AMGs.
For diesel drivers, it now starts with the C200d. It has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder on board that delivers 163 hp and 380 Nm. The Sedan reaches 100 km / h in 7.7 seconds, the top speed is 230 km / h. The C220d is above it and has 200 hp and 440 Nm at its disposal. That sprints to 100 km / h in 7.3 seconds and continues to 245 km / h. As a 4Matic, it is a tenth slower to 100 km / h and accelerates to 239 km / h. The top diesel is the C300d, which draws 265 hp and 550 Nm from the same block. It only needs 5.7 seconds for the sprint to 100 km / h and stops at 250 km / h.
Mercedes-Benz announces one plug-in hybrid version of the C-class. That’s the C300e. It combines the 2.0 four-cylinder with a 129 hp electric motor, resulting in a system power of 313 hp, with 550 Nm of maximum torque. Although it is of course especially interesting because of its – at the time of writing still unknown – consumption, the electric range is especially commendable. Mercedes reports that you must be able to drive 100 km fully electric according to the WLTP cycle. The top speed in electric mode is 140 km / h. With the standard 11 kW three-phase charger you can charge it 25.4 kWh at home, but you can optionally opt for a 55 kW DC charger. With that you should be done charging in 30 minutes. Also not unimportant; the cargo space is 360 liters, which is almost 100 liters less than normal, but 45 liters more than in the current C-class with plug. With the seats flat, you can use up to 1,375 liters in the Estate.
In order to improve the steering behavior of the C-Class, Mercedes-Benz has included a self-steering rear axle on the option list. The steering response to the front wheels must also be more direct and the all-new suspension promises more comfort and maneuverability for the C-Class. The plug-ins have standard air suspension at the rear and of course variable damping is also optionally available.
Driving aids such as a lane assistant and traffic sign recognition are present, but you can also sign for Active Driving Assist. This keeps the C-Class itself a preset distance from the vehicle in front. The Active Steering Assist ensures that the C-class itself remains in its lane and that is now effective up to 210 km / h. The 360-degree camera can now also properly assess more situations, so that the car follows the lane neatly even on winding country roads. Furthermore, Pre Safe ensures that the C-class brakes or stops automatically in the event of imminent collisions. Handy for the driving force: the parking assistant in the C-Class Estate can optionally also handle trailers.
The new C-class can be ordered from March 30 and is expected at dealers next summer. Prices will follow.