Ladies and gentlemen, the new W205 Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The popular compact exec sports a new look inside and out, and is up to 100 kg lighter than before, thanks to its lightweight Modular Rear-drive Architecture (MRA) that sees almost half of the body made from aluminium. It’s now 4,686 mm long (+95 mm over the W204) and 1,810 mm wide (+40 mm), and sits on a 2,840-mm wheelbase (+80 mm), while the boot can hold 480 litres of luggage.
C 180, C 200 and C 220 BlueTec diesel variants are available at launch. The C 180 is powered by a 156 hp/250 Nm 1.6 litre engine (0-100 km/h in 8.2 seconds, 5.0 litres per 100 km, 116 grams of CO2 per km), the C 200 by a 184 hp/300 Nm 2.0 litre engine (0-100 km/h in 7.5 seconds, 5.3 litres per 100 km, 123 grams of CO2 per km) and the C 220 BlueTec diesel by a 170 hp/400 Nm 2.1 litre engine (0-100 km/h in 8.1 seconds, 4.0 litres per 100 km, 103 grams of CO2 per km).
Coming soon are a new 1.6 litre force-inducted four-cylinder diesel (115 hp/280 Nm and 136 hp/320 Nm states of tune), an updated version of the proven 2.2 litre four-cylinder diesel (ranging from 115 to 204 hp) and a BlueEfficiency edition of the C 220 BlueTec diesel. All engines are equipped with start/stop and are Euro 6-compliant, while all diesels come with selective catalytic reduction (SCR).
A total of five four-cylinder petrols ranging from 156 to 238 hp will eventually be available, along with a 333 hp V6. There’ll also be 4Matic all-wheel drive versions and a C 300 BlueTec diesel-hybrid with a four-cylinder diesel engine and an electric motor (204+27 hp, 3.9 litres per 100 km). A plug-in hybrid will arrive in due course. Gearboxes are a new six-speed manual and a seven-speed 7G-Tronic Plus auto – reports say a nine-speed auto is on the way, and a full-fledged AMG version should surface by the end of 2014.
Looks-wise, the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class has been updated to bring it in line with the W212 E-Class facelift and W222 S-Class. The side profile shows a long bonnet, a passenger compartment set well back and short overhangs. A choice of two different faces are available: a sports grille with centrally-positioned star or a classic grille with three bars and the star on the bonnet – the latter is for the Exclusive line only. Avantgrade, Exclusive and AMG Lines are available.
Fins in the grille can close completely to optimise aerodynamics. H7 halogen headlamps and LED tail and brake lamps come as standard, but two energy-saving LED variants are available: a static system and a dynamic version with ‘LED Intelligent Light System’ that gives the car a distinctive look at night.
The interior – which you’ve seen before – debuts Mercedes’ new touch-sensitive pod that’s placed over the S-Class-style COMAND dial. This controls the seven-inch floating central display; specify COMAND Online and you get an 8.4-inch display. In automatic vehicles a one-piece centre console panel sweeps from the air vents to the armrest; in manual vehicles the centre console is slightly steeper and features two separate trim elements in order to give space for operation of the gear lever.
Also new to the C-Class is a head-up display which displays information such as speed limits, navigation instructions and Distronic Plus messages. An electronic parking brake comes as standard. NVH has been improved through optimisation of the blower, power windows, seat adjustment functions and other actuation and operating noises.
The new Mercedes-Benz C-Class has a newly-designed four-link front axle – the front independent suspension is fully decoupled from the spring strut, improving grip and lateral stability. At the back is a five-link independent setup. Steel suspension with selective damping is fitted as standard; this comes in three versions: comfort, comfort/sporty for Avantgarde and a sporty 15-mm lower setup for AMG Line.
Additionally, Airmatic self-levelling air suspension is offered for the first time in the C-Class. The electronically-controlled, continuously-variable damping applies to both front and rear axles. A system called Agility Select offers Comfort, Eco, Sport and Sport+ and Individual modes.
All Mercedes-Benz C-Class models will feature the electromechanical Direct Steer system as standard in future. This combines road-speed-dependent power assistance from the speed-sensitive power steering system with a steering ratio that varies according to the given steering angle. The power steering assistance provided by the rack-and-pinion steering gear is controlled on-demand, contributing towards efficiency.
Standard safety systems include Attention Assist, Adaptive Brake Assist, Collision Prevention Assist (autonomous braking at speeds of up to 200 km/h), while Distronic Plus with Steering Assist and Stop&Go Pilot, BAS Plus Brake Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Active Parking Assist, a 360-degree camera, Traffic Sign Assist with Wrong Way Alert and Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus are optionally available.
Airbags include pelvisbags for the driver and front passenger, a newly-developed windowbag, sidebags for the outer rear seats and a kneebag for the driver. The front passenger seat can also be fitted with automatic child seat recognition, which now works by a weight mat, enabling any child seat to be used. The airbag is automatically deactivated when a child seat is fitted and reactivated once it has been removed.
Even the air-con system benefits from enhancements – when the car enters a tunnel, the air recirculation flap is automatically closed, and reopened when the car exits. This is done through map information from the navigation system. Also, opt for the Air Balance package and you get active fragrancing, air ionisation and more efficient filtration.
The navigation system features an animated compass, a ‘Drive Show’ with information for passengers similar to the on-screen presentations on board aeroplanes and Google Maps. It can also show live traffic information. A unique Frontbass system uses the space within the cross-member and side member in the body structure as a resonance chamber for the bass speakers, while a Burmester surround sound system is available as an option.
While on the move, Mercedes-Benz Apps such as Weather, Google Local Search with StreetView and Panoramio, Destination/Route Download and Facebook can be used – just pair up your data-enabled mobile phone via Bluetooth to the basic Audio 20 system. CD/DVD playability is available on Audio 20 CD or higher and with COMAND Online.
COMAND Online offers a 8.4-inch display with a resolution of 960 x 540 pixels and a special bonded glass cover. It enables digital TV/radio reception as well as fast hard-disc navigation, automatic tailback avoidance via live traffic information, integrated WLAN functionality and the Linguatronic voice control system.
The new W205 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is set to debut at the Detroit Motor Show in January.