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The new Mercedes-Benz C-Class: Sheer attraction
The all-new C-Class heralds a new chapter in the Mercedes-Benz success story and sets new standards in the premium medium-size category. Thanks to an intelligent lightweight-design concept boasting weight savings of up to 100 kilograms, excellent aerodynamics and new economical engines, the C-Class establishes new efficiency benchmarks in its segment. A host of new assistance systems offers safety of the highest standard, while a new optional air-sprung suspension provides for exemplary ride and driving comfort as well as nimble and agile handling. In terms of appearance the new C-Class adopts a progressive approach with its clear yet emotional design and its high-class interior. Many other innovations and equipment features underscore the Saloon's energising comfort and refined sportiness. In all, the high-class appeal of the new C-Class feels like an "upgrade to a higher class of vehicle".
The new C-Class offers sensuous and clear design and a host of technical innovations as well as a comprehensive scope of standard equipment and exemplary emissions and fuel consumption figures. This all adds up to substantial added value and long-term savings on motor vehicle tax and at the filling station.
The C-Class has grown to take account of people's increasing average height. With an 80-millimetre increase in the wheelbase (2840 millimetres) compared with the previous model, the vehicle is 95 millimetres longer (4686 millimetres) and 40 millimetres wider (1810 millimetres). The result is a more spacious interior. At 480 litres the new C-Class also surpasses its predecessor in terms of boot capacity (in accordance with ISO 3832).
Sensuous clarity and purist forms
On a visual level, the new C-Class represents a bold departure from its predecessor. Its striking, dynamic design exudes sensuous clarity and arouses emotions. Modern aesthetics were the source of inspiration for the new Saloon's sensuous lines and surfaces, whose harmony and dynamism directly touch everyone. The designers have created minimalist, purist forms for the C‑Class which emphasise its intelligent technology and engineering. The clearly defined surfaces also deliberately display a degree of tension, lending them a modern and at the same time emotional character. Precise lines and sculptural surfaces create progressive light and shadow effects.
In the side view a long bonnet, a passenger compartment set well back and short overhangs define the C-Class's classic, well-balanced Mercedes-Benz Saloon proportions.
There is a choice of two different fronts: sporty with a central star or – reserved solely for the EXCLUSIVE line – the classic Saloon radiator grille with the Mercedes star on the bonnet. This grille can close the louvres completely to optimise the Cd value, and with its overall appearance superbly emphasises the status of the refined Saloon.
The new C-Class comes with H7 halogen headlamps as standard. In addition to the standard-fit headlamps, two energy-saving LED variants are available: a static system and a dynamic version with the "LED Intelligent Light System". The characteristic night design lends the new C-Class its very own distinctive look in the dark, too. The rear lamp and brake light in the tail lamps feature LED technology with all headlamp versions.
High-class interior with fine details
The Mercedes-Benz designers have styled the interior on a level which is rarely encountered even in higher vehicle categories. This applies to the carefully chosen high-class materials and their pleasant touch and feel as well as to the precision of the finely crafted details. But also equally to a new design idiom which perfectly combines sensuousness and clarity with dynamic sportiness, and thus contributes to the high-class appeal of the interior.
The driver and front passenger enjoy a great deal of space and luxury in an unobtrusive, modern style on board the new C-Class. This gives rise to a feel-good atmosphere which is new to this category of vehicle – settling into your seat in the C-Class is akin to the uplifting feeling of being upgraded from economy to business class on an airliner.
The interior design demonstrates a bold new approach by Mercedes-Benz. Here the designers combine in accomplished style the architecture of the Mercedes-Benz sports cars with a totally new centre console featuring sporty flowing lines. In vehicles with automatic transmission, a large one-piece centre console panel performs an elegant sweep from the centre air vents to the armrest. These seamless, clear-cut lines create a sense of open space and convey a thrillingly purist and modern feel.
On vehicles with manual transmission, the centre console is slightly steeper and features two separate trim elements in order to create ample space for ergonomic operation of the shift lever.
A centrally positioned free-standing central display is the main eye-catching feature across the centre console – with a screen diagonal of 17.78 centimetres (7 inches), or 21.33 centimetres (8.4 inches) if COMAND Online is specified.
Five round air vents lend the instrument panel a sporty touch. With their metallic cool-touch effect they create a tangible contrast to the warm look of the other materials – such as the wood in the centre console or the ARTICO man-made leather on the instrument panel. The "upgrade" feel duly continues with the controls. All switches have a high-quality, three-dimensional design befitting a luxury vehicle and benefit from a clear layout.
The innovative touchpad developed by Mercedes-Benz in the handrest above the controller on the centre tunnel marks a further evolutionary step. As on a smartphone, this provides for very simple and intuitive operation of all the head-unit functions using finger gestures.
The touchpad also permits letters, numbers and special characters to be entered in handwriting - in any language supported by Audio 20 or COMAND Online. The user receives clear tactile feedback when operating the touchpad's control surface, which is highly conducive to genuine intuitive use.
A head-up display is also new to the C-Class. Like in a fighter jet, it displays important information directly in the driver's field of vision on the front windscreen, thus providing for clear legibility and less distraction from the road ahead. The system provides information on speed, posted speed limits, navigation instructions and messages from the DISTRONIC system.
Three different design and equipment lines for the exterior and interior each offer further scope for individualisation in addition to the standard equipment and appointments. The AVANTGARDE line showcases the C-Class as a sporty Saloon, the EXCLUSIVE line places the emphasis on an elevated status and modern luxury while the AMG Line lends the C-Class a decidedly sporty appearance.
Rigid body – lightly done
The body-in-white of the new C-Class provides an innovative basis for reduced weight, outstanding rigidity, including load introduction rigidity for excellent handling, combined with optimum noise and vibration characteristics and a high level of crash safety. Thanks to intelligent and innovative lightweight construction, the aluminium hybrid body is around 70 kg lighter than a conventional steel body. The vehicle's overall weight is even reduced by up to 100 kilograms. As such, the new C-Class leads the "lightweight rankings" in its segment. This spawns numerous benefits: the lightweight construction of the new C-Class cuts fuel consumption by up to 20 percent without any loss of performance, while at the same time enabling a lower centre of gravity, which in turn gives rise to the vehicle's noticeably sporty and agile handling.
Mercedes-Benz achieves this technological leap in lightweight construction by various measures, including a completely new design and an unusually high aluminium content for a vehicle built in large-scale series production. Compared with the successful predecessor, the aluminium content has increased from less than 10 percent to almost 50 percent.
In keeping with Mercedes-Benz traditions, the body shell is designed for exemplary crash safety. The Saloon not only meets all current national and international laws, but also all rating requirements as well as the more stringent internal Mercedes-Benz safety requirements, which are based on what actually happens in real-life accidents.
A high-strength passenger safety cell forms the core of this concept. It is surrounded by specifically computed and field-tested deformation zones, which ensure maximum safety for the occupants by virtue of optimised force paths and a combination of die-cast aluminium components and ultra-high-strength materials. An outer skin consisting almost completely of aluminium provides a protective shell for the body structure.
Leading the field in aerodynamics and quiet running
A low drag is crucial to achieving outstanding efficiency. From a speed of just under 70 km/h, aerodynamic drag exceeds the sum total of all other driving resistance factors. As such, drag constitutes a major leverage in efforts to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. With a Cd value of 0.24 for the C 220 BlueTEC BlueEFFICIENCY Edition, the new C-Class Saloon sets a new benchmark in the medium-size category. The wind noise level, which was already very low in the preceding generation of the C-Class, has been lowered still further.
The engineers have also devoted painstaking attention to optimising other potential sources of disturbance that may have an adverse effect on the driver's and passengers' well-being and concentration, even though they may not consciously notice their effects. NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) is the technical term for such nuisance factors. The specialists have optimised the noise characteristics of the interior blower, the power windows, the seat adjustment functions and many other actuating and operating noises, for example. As a result, the new C-Class occupies a benchmark position in its segment in terms of NVH.
Outstanding CO2 values with new small diesel engine
Powerful and efficient petrol and diesel engines, all equipped with the ECO start/stop function and complying with Euro 6 emissions standards, provide for lively performance and great fun at the wheel. They also cut fuel consumption by up to 20 percent compared with the preceding model.
An innovation is a small diesel engine with a displacement of 1.6 litres. Reduced weight, compact design and low specific fuel consumption are among its special merits. Depending on its configuration, the single-stage turbocharged four-cylinder engine generates 85 or 100 kW (115 or 136 hp) of power from a displacement of 1598 cc and delivers 280 or 320 Nm of torque. This engine puts the new C-Class in a leading position within its segment in terms of CO2 emissions. Among other things, this was made possible by the first-ever use of steel pistons in a passenger car diesel engine.
In addition to this new small diesel engine, an advanced version of the proven 2.2-litre four-cylinder diesel engine is also available in several output variants. The diesel engines thus cover an output range from 85 kW (115 hp) to 150 kW (204 hp). The C 220 BlueTEC is optionally also available with an output of 120 kW (163 hp) as a BlueEFFICIENCY Edition. All diesel engines of the new C-Class are equipped with the established SCR technology (selective catalytic reduction) for particularly environment-friendly driving, and ensure that the C‑C lass models with diesel engines attain at least efficiency class A, and in most cases even efficiency class A+. The only exceptions are the 4MATIC four-wheel-drive models which are rated as efficiency class B.
BlueDIRECT petrol engines with third-generation direct injection
Four-cylinder petrol engines with power outputs ranging from 115 to 180 kW (156 to 245 hp) will also be available. These include the C 180 BlueEFFICIENCY Edition special model, which qualifies for efficiency class A. A six-cylinder petrol engine rated at 245 kW (333 hp) will follow in due course.
The BlueDIRECT four-cylinder petrol engines of the C-Class combine spontaneous response and exemplary power delivery with high efficiency and best-in-class emissions. To this end, Mercedes-Benz has transferred the BlueDIRECT technology from the V6 and V8 engines to the four-cylinder engine. The direct injection system with spray-guided combustion, first introduced into passenger-car series production by Mercedes-Benz, employs an electronically controlled precision multiple injection process. The third-generation direct injection technology is complemented by "fast multiple ignition".
Hybrid with four-cylinder diesel and petrol engine
As in the S and E-Class, Mercedes-Benz offers a diesel engine combined with a hybrid module. The C 300 BlueTEC HYBRID with four-cylinder diesel engine and compact electric motor generates an output of 150 + 20 kW (204 + 27 hp) and runs on only 3.6 litres of diesel per 100 km/h in NEDC combined mode (provisional figure). A further particularly economical hybrid model which is to follow at a later juncture will feature state-of-the-art plug-in technology.
Depending on the installed output ratings, Mercedes-Benz offers a new 6-speed manual transmission for the four-cylinder engines in the new C-Class, which stands apart first and foremost by virtue of its enhanced ease of shifting coupled with increased shifting precision and a harmonious gear change sequence. Smooth automatic gear shifting is provided by the 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission, which has undergone further development at Mercedes-Benz in the interests of enhanced environment-friendliness and driving pleasure.
The 4MATIC permanent all-wheel-drive system, which will be available starting in September 2014, serves to improve traction and driving stability in the C-Class while additionally underscoring the vehicle's refined sportiness.
Suspension – sporty yet comfortable
The suspension on the new C-Class is a totally new development. It provides for nimble and agile handling that makes driving a great pleasure on winding roads while also offering the highest standard of ride comfort in the segment.
A newly designed 4-link front axle plays a major part in the agile handling characteristics. Thanks to the 4-link principle, the wheel suspension is fully decoupled from the spring strut. The resultant favourable axle kinematics allow more grip and higher cornering forces. As a result, the suspension responds more sensitively to steering movements and allows a sporty, agile driving style. An optimised multi-link independent rear suspension with 5‑links ensures unsurpassed wheel location qualities and supreme straight-line stability.
The new C-Class Saloon is fitted as standard with a steel suspension. Three DIRECT CONTROL suspensions with selective damping system are available in conjunction with this suspension:
- a comfort suspension
- a comfortable Avantgarde suspension lowered by 15 millimetres
- a sports suspension lowered by 15 millimetres
First air suspension in this category
The new C-Class is the first vehicle in its segment that can be fitted with an optional air suspension (AIRMATIC) on the front and rear axle. Thanks to electronically controlled, continuously variable damping at the front and rear, it offers outstanding road roar and tyre vibration characteristics even with the vehicle loaded. The driver can use a switch to choose between the various characteristics: "Comfort", "ECO", "Sport" and "Sport+". The additional "Individual" setting enables drivers to configure their vehicle according to their own preferences. AIRMATIC also features all-round self-levelling for optimum ride comfort even with the vehicle loaded.
The new C-Class also comes with an electric parking brake as standard. This brake is released automatically when the driver ends parking mode with the aim of moving off.
Steering with a sporty character
All models of the C-Class family will feature an electromechanical Direct-Steer system as standard from now on. This combines road-speed-dependent power assistance from the speed-sensitive power steering system with a steering ratio that varies with the given steering angle. The power steering assistance provided by the rack-and-pinion steering gear is controlled as needed, thereby contributing towards efficiency.
Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive: the intelligent car
It is the declared aim of Mercedes-Benz to make the highest standard of safety available to everyone. To this end, the new C-Class incorporates almost all of the new assistance systems with a host of enhanced functions which celebrated their world premiere in the S-Class and E-Class only a few months ago. The assistance systems enhance both comfort and safety. Mercedes-Benz calls this Intelligent Drive.
The new C-Class offers numerous innovative safety and assistance systems. It is equipped as standard with ATTENTION ASSIST, which can warn the driver of inattentiveness and fatigue. On motorways the COMAND Online navigation function offers nearby break options as stopovers, providing the system has been specified in the vehicle. The ATTENTION ASSIST function offers an adjustable level of sensitivity and can inform drivers in a separate view in the instrument cluster about their level of drowsiness and how long they have been driving since their last break.
In addition to Adaptive Brake Assist, which offers protection from collisions from speeds as low as 7 km/h, standard-fit COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS also features an additional function: when the risk of collision persists and the driver fails to respond, the system is able to carry out autonomous braking at speeds of up to 200 km/h, thereby reducing the severity of collisions with slower or stopping vehicles. The system also brakes in response to stationary vehicles at a speed of up to 50 km/h, and is able to prevent rear-end collisions at up to 40 km/h.
In addition, new assistance systems and existing assistance systems with significantly enhanced functions from the new S-Class and E-Class are also optionally available, combining data from various sensor technologies as part of the Intelligent Drive concept to substantially enhance comfort and safety:
- DISTRONIC PLUS with Steering Assist and integrated Stop&Go Pilot is a semi-autonomous Stop-and-Go assist system, which in addition to using the lane markings is able to follow the vehicle ahead at speeds below 60 km/h, thus providing a safe and convenient means of following the flow of traffic.
- BAS PLUS Brake Assist can now also detect crossing traffic and boost the braking force if the driver fails to apply the brakes sufficiently; the PRE-SAFE® Brake can detect stationary vehicles and even pedestrians, brake autonomously if the driver fails to react and thus prevent accidents at speeds of up 50 km/h and mitigate the severity of collisions at speeds of up to 72 km/h. In flowing traffic the PRE-SAFE® Brake provides assistance according to the same mode of operation throughout the speed range from 7 to 200 km/h.
- Enhanced Active Lane Keeping Assist can now also prevent the vehicle from unintentionally drifting out of lane by applying the brakes on one side when the lane markings are broken and there is a risk of collision, e.g. as a result of vehicles overtaking at high speed, parallel traffic or even oncoming traffic.
The numerous assistance systems also include
- Active Parking Assist, which enables automated parking with active steering and brake intervention in both parallel and end-on parking spaces,
- a 360° camera, which is able to show the vehicle and its surroundings from various perspectives, including a virtual bird's-eye view,
- Traffic Sign Assist with wrong-way warning function, which warns of speed limits and alerts the driver to no-overtaking zones and no-entry signs, as well as
- Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus, which allows the high-beam headlamps to be kept on permanently without dazzling traffic by masking out other vehicles in the light cone of the high-beam headlamps.
Airbags for safety
In addition to 3-point safety belts with pyrotechnical belt tensioning and belt-force limitation for driver, front passenger and those in the outer rear seats, numerous airbags serve to protect the vehicle's occupants in an accident. These include:
- combined thorax/pelvis sidebags for driver and front passenger
- a newly developed windowbag
- sidebags for the outer rear seats (optional)
- a kneebag for the driver
The front passenger seat can additionally be fitted with automatic child seat recognition, which dispenses with the previous transponder in favour of a weight mat. This enables any child seat to be used. The airbag is automatically deactivated when a child seat is fitted and reactivated once it has been removed.
Air conditioning: signals from space
Mercedes-Benz has systematically advanced and substantially improved the air conditioning system in the new C-Class. This applies in particular to the control quality, performance, efficiency and air quality. The new C-Class is also the only vehicle in the segment to offer tunnel detection via satellite navigation. It uses map data from the navigation system and the GPS location data to close the air-recirculation flap automatically when the vehicle enters a tunnel, subsequently re-opening it when the vehicle emerges from the tunnel.
Another highlight contributing to a feel-good atmosphere is the AIR-BALANCE package with active fragrancing, air ionisation and more efficient filtration than is available on the base model.
A completely new multimedia generation offers intuitive operation in the new C-Class, featuring elaborate animations and visual effects which present all the functions in a clear and highly attractive manner. Furthermore the new C-Class is equipped with the unique Frontbass system. This avant-garde acoustic system uses the space within the cross-member and side member in the body structure as a resonance chamber for the woofers. The result is a listening experience almost on a par with a concert hall. A Burmester® surround sound system is optionally available.
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 airliners and Google Maps displayed on the head unit. COMAND Online is now also able to provide more accurate real-time information about the situation on the roads when it receives its traffic data via the internet by means of the "Live Traffic Information" service.
Internet and diverse data sources already available in the basic version
A Bluetooth®-capable mobile phone with data option is all it takes to make the Audio 20 system internet-capable. This enables surfing the internet without restrictions when the vehicle is stationary.
Mercedes-Benz Apps such as Weather, GoogleTM Local Search with StreetView and Panoramio, destination/route download and Facebook can be used while on the move in conjunction with COMAND Online. Audio and video playback is possible from various sources, for example, via Bluetooth®, from an Apple iPod or iPhone®, from an SD card, USB stick or CD/DVD (with Audio 20 CD or higher and with COMAND Online).
COMAND Online with hotspot functionality
COMAND Online not only offers a larger display with a resolution of 960 x 540 pixels and a special bonded glass cover such as is familiar from consumer devices like the iPhone® or iPad. It also enables digital TV / radio reception, for example, and offers a host of other features including fast hard-disc navigation, automatic tailback avoidance via up-to-date and accurate "Live Traffic Information" traffic data, integrated WLAN hotspot functionality and the LINGUATRONIC voice-operated control system.
Telephony via Bluetooth® as standard
The basic system Audio 20, the Audio 20 CD and COMAND Online all come with a basic telephony feature as standard, which connects the mobile phone with the vehicle via a standardised Bluetooth® interface.