Mercedes Benz have just unveiled the fourth-generation of their compact luxury sedan, the C-Class. The C-class is the major volume generator for Mercedes Benz with around 2.4 million copies of the previous generation model being sold worldwide. This model will make it’s public debut at the Detroit motor show in January 2014 and is set to hit european showrooms by June 2014 which means we will see the car on Indian roads by Late 2014. At first glance, the fourth-generation car looks to be a huge improvement over the outgoing model .The compact luxury sedan segment is heating up, so the question is will the C-class be able to compete with the German competitors?
Engine and Gearbox:
Mercedes Benz have equipped the new C-class with the same set of engines as the outgoing car. The diesel option is a 2.2-litre four-cylinder BlueTEC diesel engine which produces 168bhp. Mercedes engineers claim that the efficiency has been increased by around 20%. Joining this will be the petrol C180 and C200 models. The C180 is a 1.6-litre petrol engine producing 154bhp. There is also a powerful C200 on option. It is powered by a 2.0-litre petrol motor developing 184bhp, it does 0-62miles per hour in just 7.5 seconds! Shortly after the C-class is launched Mercedes Benz are expected to launch a downsized 1.6-litre diesel sourced from Renault. There would also be hybrid options following. Mercedes Benz will offer two gearbox options. Customers can choose either the 6-speed manual or the 7-speed automatic with paddle shifts.
The new C-Class sees a 95mm increase in length, 80mm increase in wheelbase, 40 mm increase in width and a 5mm reduction in height when compared to the outgoing model. The dimensions have been increased in order to accommodate the all-new CLA model whose dimensions are also similar as it is based on the C-class.
The fourth-generation C-class is based on the new design theme by Mercedes Benz which has characteristics such as a long bonnet, set-back cabin ,reduced overhangs and a raised beltline .From the front the new C-Class looks basically like a much more scaled down version of it’s elder sibling, the S-Class. The oversized full-LED headlights, front grill and bumpers look very similar to the S-Class. The side profile with the sharp lines and characteristic door handles and window line are based on the familiar Mercedes Benz design language. The rear end again has an uncanny resemblance to the S-class with the similar set of taillights and tailgate design. Overall the C-class looks good from almost all the angles, but some owners might not be happy as it does not have it’s distinctive character, it just looks like a small S-class.
The interior has also seen a lot of changes just like the exterior. It is now more modern and luxurious. The ‘wraparound’ dashboard design theme has been derived from the smaller A-class. There are a few bits such as the three central circular air vents and switchgear which has been borrowed from the S-class. Mercedes have equipped the new C-class with an improved version of the COMMAND interface (borrowed from the S-class).There are two digital TFT screen, one between the dials one in the center of the dashboard above the central console. The one in the center displays information and infotainment options and it is controlled by a rotary controller which comes along with a fascinating touchpad. The amount of buttons and switches on the central console has been minimized in order to avoid unnecessary cluttering .Overall the choice of materials, fit and finish and build quality has been vastly improved. Also, due to the increased dimensions the back-seat passengers get more legroom and there is also a marginal increase in the boot capacity.
One of the biggest areas of development in the new C-class is construction. The underpinnings of new chassis are based on the recently introduced Mercedes Rear-drive architecture(MRA) platform. This means that the C-class will now be more agile, lighter and fun to drive when compared to it’s predecessor as there is a lot more use of aluminium in the structure(around 50%). Mercedes Benz have also introduced the much awaited AirMatic suspension kit with four different driving modes. This will be a segment first feature on offer and surely a one which all buyers are looking forward to. The C-class will also offer a hoard of advanced driver-assistance systems like the ones seen on the newly launched S-class, such as autonomous driving, drowsiness detection steering assistance, lane assistance and also parking assistance systems.
Mercedes Benz seem to be constantly showing improvement in their products and the C-class is no exception. They have worked on the weaker points of the car and ironed out any issues present on the previous generation car. As a result we are left a much better package. Only time will tell though if it is able to compete with the likes of the Audi A4 and BMW 3-series. Expect to see the new C-class on Indian roads by late-2014.