After a lengthy period void of change, Mercedes-Benz has finally heaped some love on its popular C-Class — unveiling an all-new model overnight.
Although it may look a fair bit like the last C, Mercedes’ new entry level sedan features a raft of significant changes. Eagle eyed fans of the three-pointed star will note plenty on its exterior — the familiar proportions now wearing headlights and taillights similar to the more swoopy examples on the recently updated E and S-Class.
The lines connecting the front and rear are now cleaner and ‘swoopier’ than they were on the outgoing C-Class. This is part of an ongoing styling direction change for Mercedes, having been introduced first on the A-Class in 2018. The one area where this doesn’t really apply is the bonnet, with each C-Class now adopting ‘power-bulge-style’ contours — a former AMG-exclusive trait.
Inside the C-Class carries on its ‘S-Class junior’ aesthetic with a dashboard layout and steering wheel similar to those featured on the larger, more posh models. A large portrait-orientated 11.9-inch screen dominates the cabin — integrated into the centre arm-rest section and complemented by a 12.3-inch digital cluster behind the steering wheel. Plenty of glossy finishes are present, as well as a variety of upholstery options.
There’s more room in there now, too. An extra 25mm of wheelbase gives rear passengers an extra 20mm of legroom compared to the old model. Headroom is up, too, but some 15mm
Technology naturally plays a big part in the C-Class update. Most notably, the nameplate steps up significantly in terms of semi-autonomous driving tech. Curiously, the C-Class gets fingerprint recognition, allowing the driver to access some of the infotainment system’s more in-depth features (while also housing the car’s on-board payment interface).
It also gets a raft of creature comforts, including a B&O sound system, Mercedes’ updated MBUX interface, over-the-air updates, augmented reality navigation, and more.
Apart from the inevitable overload of tech, the other big talking point with the C-Class has been engines. In the build-up to the model unveiling, Mercedes confirmed that it would no longer sell the model with any eight- or six-cylinder options — including in its hypo AMG models. Just one engine has been unveiled so far for the model; the Mercedes M254 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo mild hybrid borrowed from the E-Class with power either sent to the rear wheels or to all four wheels.
The 48V powertrain comes with an EQ Boost feature, which can add an electric zap of an extra 15kW and 200Nm when summoned by the driver, ideal for quick getaways or passing on the motorway.
For most though the twin-scroll turbo engine will be quick enough for most activities. Mercedes claims the engine is partially inspired by its Formula 1 powertrains. Each comes paired to a 9-speed dual-clutch transmission (Mercedes boasts that it’s 30 per cent lighter than in the outgoing model).
The new C-Class is scheduled to arrive in New Zealand in the fourth quarter of 2021, with pricing and specification for local models to be revealed closer to arrival.