It is therefore of particular importance that the C-Class - its bread-and-butter car (with over2.4 million previous-generation units sold) - receives the German marques newly found vigour.
The latest generation C-Class is destined for local shores shortly and is a completely new car, engineered with an emphasis on lightweight design, aerodynamics and efficient powertrains. In terms of the design, it appears to be a more visually striking car with a long bonnet, a passenger compartment that appears to be set far back as well as desirable short overhangs.
As seems to be the trend these days, Merc’s latest mid-size sedan has grown. Itswheelbase is 80mm longer, overall length is up by95mm and it sees a 40mm increase in width, as well as a bigger boot. The use of aluminium in the body construction means that the new C-Class weighs up to 100kg less than its predecessor, resulting in a fuel consumption improvement of around 20%.
Aerodynamics is something that Mercedes-Benz has placeda tremendous amount of effort into of late, as seen with the slippery new CLA. The new C-Class also features an impressive drag coefficient of just 0.24 for the C220 BlueTec Eco, which allows it to sip a claimed 4.0 litres/100km.
The rest of the model line-up is expected to consist of the C180 base model which produces 116kW and 250Nm of torque with carbon emissions of just 116g/km. Also in the range is the C200, which produces 137kW and 200Nm and completes the sprint to 100km/h in 7.5 seconds.
Expect a smaller 1.6-litre supercharged diesel engine to make its way to South Africa a bit later, along with the C300 BlueTec Hybrid, which will feature a diesel engine coupled with an electric motor.
The four-cylinder petrol engines have each received a direct-injection system with spray-guided combustion. The transmission options will consist of a six-speed manual for the four-cylinder engines with the option of having the enhanced 7G-Tronic Plus transmission.
The C-Class’ suspension comes as standard with three settings, namely a Comfort, Lowered Comfort and Sport, which lowers the vehicle by some 15mm. There will also be the option of adding air suspension to the new model, which then adds variable damping and reduces noise and vibration.
Safety systems as seen on the new S- and E-Class models will be made available on the latest C-Class. There will be the option of the Distronic Plus and Bas Plus Brake Assist systems, Active Lane Keeping,Park and Traffic Sign Assist. Standard across the range are front and passenger are pelvis-, window- and side airbags, as well as one for the driver’s knee.
The interior features an all-new centre console design that has been designed with flowing lines in mind. There is a touchpad in the handrest that works in a similar fashion to a smartphone and allows the user to control the head-unit functions using finger gestures. There is also a head-up display system that displays important information to the driver on the windscreen in front of them, such as when they breech the speed limit.
The navigation system presents its contents in interactive mode. Its features include an animated compass, a ‘Drive Show’ with information for passengers similar to the on-screen presentations on board aeroplanes and Google Maps displayed on the head unit. The navigation system is also able to provide more accurate real-time information about the situation on the roads when it receives its traffic data via internet by means of the Live Traffic Information service.
Launch dates will be announced soon.