The current W203 C-Class has been on the road since the year 2000, and has already been facelifted. Despite being so old, the post-facelift model still manages not to look dated on Malaysian and international roads, however that is not a reason for Mercedes Benz to sit on their asses all day and not come up with a successor. This is the new W204 Mercedes Benz C-Class, which had it’s world premiere this month.

More details after the jump.

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The new W204 Mercedes Benz C-Class is 55mm longer than it’s precedessor at a 4581mm length. Body width has increased by 42mm to 1770mm, and the wheelbase by 45mm to 2760mm. This increase in exterior dimensions also translates to improvements on the interior – for example, front shoulder room has increased by 40mm. Passengers in the rear benefit from 11mm more legroom, while kneeroom has improved by 9mm. The exterior look is similar to the recently announced Mercedes Benz CL-Class, except in a small 4-door sedan form. The Classic and Elegance trims get a traditional Mercedes Benz front end, chrome grille with a hood ornament. The Avantgarde model gets a grille with three extended, horizontal louvres and a big centrally positioned Mercedes star, which is the traditional Mercedes Benz front end design for the sports models. There is also an AMG sports package, which includes striking front and rear aprons plus side skirts, 17 inch six twin-spoke AMG wheels, as well as large, perforated front brake discs with aluminum brake calipers, and a modified intake for a sportier engine note. The headlamps are no longer the peanut-shaped design which has become one of the usual ways the layman identifies the C-Class here in Malaysia, but go back to a traditional Mercedes Benz squarish design. Drag coefficient for this new design is approximately 0.27 cD.

As for ride and comfort, Mercedes has developed a new moniker for how it improved this in the 2007 Mercedes Benz C-Class – Agility Control. It includes Agility Control suspension, steering, and gearshift. The Mercedes Benz Agility Control suspension (three-link front suspension and multi-link independent rear suspension) controls the shock absorber forces according to the driving situation: when driving normally with low shock absorber impulses, the damping forces are automatically reduced for a noticeable improvement in ride comfort – but without any compromise in handling safety. When driving more dynamically, the maximum damping forces are set and the car is effectively stabilized. The Agility Control steering of the new C-Class has a ratio of 14.5, six percent more direct than the steering of the W203 model.

For even more “agility”, Mercedes Benz offers an optional Advanced Agility package, only available from Autumn 2007. This offers the driver a choice of two gearshift programmes: Sport and Comfort. Also, the shock absorber for each wheel has infinitely variable electronic control. You also get a speed sensitive steering.

There’s also Adaptive Brake, based on the technology of the S-Class and provides additional support functions like Start-Off Assist for uphill gradients, priming the braking system in critical situations and light contact to dry the brake discs in wet conditions.

As for the engines, the M271 4-cylinder 1.8 litre supercharged Kompressor engine as well as the turbodiesel 4-cylinder engines have had power boosts by up to 13 percent and an increase of around 18 percent in torque. The output of the entry-level C 180 Kompressor has increased from the previous 143 hp to 156 hp, with maximum torque improved by 4.5 percent from 220 to 230 newton meters, while the C 200 Kompressor develops 20 hp more than before. It has an output of 184 hp and generates its maximum torque of 250 newton meters from 2800 rpm.

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The turbodiesel 4-cylinder models has had 90 component changes to them. The new C200 CDI has 11% more output than the preceding model, with 136 hp versus the previous W203’s 122 hp. The C220 CDI develops a peak output of 125 170 hp, previously 150 hp, and generates a torque of 400 newton meters from 2000 rpm — around 18% more than before.

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The 6-cylinder engine options remain unchanged from the W203 model, with a choice of three petrol units developing 204 hp, 231 hp and 272 hp. The turbodiesel 6-cylinder C320 CDI makes 224hp. All 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder models come with 6-speed manual transmissions with an optional 5-speed auto, which is one cog less than BMW’s offerings except for the C350, featuring Mercedes Benz’s 7G-Tronic transmission with 7 forward gears.

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The rear lamps are unique, they actually help with the aerodynamics eliminating the need for a spoiler. Both rear lights of the new W204 C-Class feature several small air vents. Air is sucked in from under the car and flows behind the rear lights, which are sealed against the body, in the area between the rear cross-member and the rear bumper. The air is conducted to the air vents in the lights, where it flows out and influences the airstream along the side walls. This eliminates turbulence which would otherwise negatively influence the air resistance, rear axle lift and yaw characteristics of the W204 2007 Mercedes Benz C-Class.

As for safety, the W204 2007 Mercedes Benz C-Class has seven airbags included as standard equipment: two adaptive airbags for the driver and front passenger, a kneebag for the driver, two sidebags in the front seat backrests and two large windowbags which extend from the A to the C-pillar during a side impact. During a rear-end collision the padded surfaces of the headrests are pushed forward within milliseconds to support the heads of the driver and front passenger at an early stage – significantly reducing the risk of a whiplash injury. The W204 2007 Mercedes Benz C-Class has an intelligently designed bodyshell, 70 percent of which consists of high-strength and ultra high-strength steel. Compared to the previous W203 series, Mercedes-Benz has enlarged the deformation zones even further and improved energy flows. The front-end structure of the new C-Class has four independently acting impact levels, which enable forces to be distributed over a wide area while bypassing the passenger cell. The chassis uses a process called RobScan, based on the latest laser welding technology. This process is used in the door, side wall and rear-end areas – with a total of around 640 welding seams.

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Other safety features include flashing brake lights to help reduce the possibility of rear-end collisions, which activates at speeds of more than 50km/h. If the C-Class is in danger of crashing as a result of heavy under or oversteering, or if the car thinks the driver needs to brake very heavily in a dangerous situation, a system called PRE-SAFE activates certain systems as a precaution to prepare the vehicle and its occupants for an impending accident. PRE-SAFE is linked to safety systems like ESP (Electronic Stability Program) and Brake Assist, which primes the brakes. Powerful bi-xenon headlamps are part of an Intelligent Light System which provides five different lighting functions suited to typical driving and weather conditions: country mode (illuminates the drivers-side edge of the road more widely and brightly), motorway mode (more intense, longer throw of light for highways), enhanced foglamps, the Active Light System and cornering lights.

Interior trim is different between the three models – Classic, Elegance and Avantgarde. Mercedes Benz decided to hide the GPS navigation screen in the top section of the center console, as to not spoil the flow of the interior with a large screen. The meter cluster has silver-colored bezels, black dial faces, white markings and glowing orange needles. The infotainment and optional navigation system uses the COMAND APS system with LINGUATRONIC voice control, and you can connect your mobile phone to the system via Bluetooth wireless transmission. In the Elegance and Avantgarde
trim lines, the instrument cluster is linked to a luxury multifunction steering wheel. THERMOTRONIC climate control has three zones, two for the front and one for the rear: yes, the much needed rear air conditioning for a car of this level is there, please take note Audi!

Other than adding the exterior options mentioned earlier in this article, the AMG Sports package enhances the interior with sports seats for the front, upholstery in fabric/ARTICO man-made leather with an option for real leather, a three spoke steering wheel, paddle shifts, an aluminium-look shift lever with leather boot, sports pedal cluster of brushed stainless steel with black rubber studs, black roof liner and floor mats with AMG lettering.

It’s not known when the new W204 C-Class will come to Malaysia, since CKD production of the W203 C230 V6 has just begun recently, so I suspect it will be quite some time.

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[ GALLERY: High resolution images of the new W204 2007 Mercedes Benz C-class. View the high resolution gallery to see more detail. ]

[ GALLERY: High resolution images of the new W204 2007 Mercedes Benz C-class. View the high resolution gallery to see more detail. ]

New 2007 Mercedes Benz C-Class (W204) Classic Line

[ GALLERY: High resolution images of the new W204 2007 Mercedes Benz C-class. View the high resolution gallery to see more detail. ]

New 2007 Mercedes Benz C-Class (W204) Avantgarde Line

[ GALLERY: High resolution images of the new W204 2007 Mercedes Benz C-class. View the high resolution gallery to see more detail. ]