The C-Class, now in its fifth year of production, is the most successful model series from Mercedes-Benz and boasts a wealth of enhancements. In terms of looks, the focus of the redesign work was on the front of the vehicle as well as the design of the headlamps and tail lamps. The electronic architecture is completely new. The customer benefits from a user experience with an optionally fully digital instrument display and multimedia systems with tailor-made information and music. The assistance systems are now at the level of the S‑Class. There are also new petrol and diesel engines.
The brand sold a combined total of over 415,000 Saloon and Estate models worldwide in 2017. The secret of the C-Class’s success is partly down to the wide model range, also including two sporty two-door versions: the coupé launched at the end of 2015 and the cabriolet available since the summer of 2016 address the heart and mind in equal measure. The C-Class is produced at four plants on four continents. These are the lead plant in Bremen (Germany) plus East London (South Africa), Tuscaloosa (USA) and Beijing (China). The Beijing plant also produces the long version of the C-Class Saloon, which is built and sold exclusively in China. China was the biggest market for the C-Class in 2017.
Electrification continues: C 200 with EQ Boost
A new generation of four-cylinder petrol engines Is being launched in the new C-Class. At the same time the 1.5-litre versions in the C 200 and C 200 4MATIC have an additional 48 volt system with a belt-driven starter/alternator:
- C 200: 135 kW/184 hp, 280 Nm; add. output of electric motor 10 kW, add. torque of electric motor 160 Nm; (combined fuel consumption 6.8-6.3 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions 154-144 g/km)2
- C 200 4MATIC: 135 kW/184 hp, 280 Nm; add. output of electric motor 10 kW, add. torque of electric motor 160 Nm; (combined fuel consumption 7.2-6.9 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions 165-156 g/km)2
The combination of a 48 volt on-board network and EQ Boost creates the conditions for additional functions that help to reduce fuel consumption even further, while improving agility and comfort characteristics. When accelerating, EQ Boost can assist the 135 kW (184 hp) engine with an additional 10 kW (14 hp), bridging the brief moment until the turbocharger has built up its full charge pressure. This boosting is also used to reach the engine’s ideal rpm as quickly as possible during gearshifts. The shift time of the automatic transmission is shortened as a result. During deceleration, the starter/alternator recuperates kinetic energy and charges the battery. The water pump is electrically driven and actuated by a characteristic map. This optimally adapts the cooling output to the current need.
Other advantages include the gliding mode with the engine switched off, and the recuperative braking with intelligent engine stop when the vehicle is coasting. The start/stop system operates particularly comfortably thanks to the belt-driven starter/alternator, as the engine restarts almost silently, with low vibrations and very rapidly.
In-engine measures to reduce friction round off the efficiency strategy of the new four-cylinder power unit. These include the Mercedes-Benz patented CONICSHAPE® process, known in-house as conical honing: When form-honing the cylinder walls, the cylinder wall is opened out slightly towards the bottom, so as to reduce friction at the piston skirt for lower wear and fuel consumption. Alongside the diesel engines, all the petrol engines are also equipped with a particulate filter in Europe.
The two-litre variant of this engine in the C 300 is likewise new:
- C 300: 190 kW/258 hp, 370 Nm; (combined fuel consumption 7.1-6.9 l/100 km, combined CO2emissions 163-157 g/km)2
Basic petrol models (initially with 9G-TRONIC):
- C 160 (only Saloon and Estate): 95 kW/129 hp, 210 Nm; (combined fuel consumption 6.8-6.6 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions 155-150 g/km)2
- C 180: 115 kW/156 hp, 250 Nm; (combined fuel consumption 6.8-6.5 l/100 km, combined CO2emissions 155-149 g/km)2
The top Mercedes-Benz engine variant is the C 400 4MATIC:
- C 400 4MATIC: 245 kW/333 hp, 480 Nm; (combined fuel consumption 8.7-8.1 l/100 km, combined CO2emissions 198-186 g/km)2
State-of-the-art diesel: C 180 d, C 200 d and C 220 d
The new 1.6-litre variant of the current diesel engine family is celebrating its world premiere in the C-Class. In the OM 654 D16, both the bore and stroke (78 x 83.6 mm) are reduced compared to the two-litre version, the OM 654 D20 (82 x 92.3 mm). The main focus of the development work was on further reduction of friction losses. Like their larger brother, the C 220 d, the C 180 d and C 200 d enter new dimensions in efficiency.
- C 180 d with 9G-TRONIC: 90 kW/122 hp, 300 Nm; (combined fuel consumption 4.7-4.6 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions 124-122 g/km)2
- C 200 d with 6-speed manual transmission: 118 kW/160 hp, 360 Nm; (combined fuel consumption 4.7-4.5 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions 124-118 g/km)2
- C 200 d with 9G-TRONIC: 110 kW/150 hp, 360 Nm; (combined fuel consumption 5.0-4.8 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions 132-126 g/km)2
- C 220 d: 143 kW/194 hp, 400 Nm; (combined fuel consumption 5.1-4.8 l/100 km, combined CO2emissions 136-126 g/km)²
- C 220 d 4MATIC: 143 kW/194 hp, 400 Nm; (combined fuel consumption 5.5-5.3 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions 144-139 g/km)²
Both variants of the OM 654 employ the Mercedes-Benz stepped-bowl combustion process – named after the shape of the combustion bowl in the piston. The innovations also include the combination of an aluminium engine block and steel pistons, as well as the further-improved NANOSLIDE® coating of the cylinder walls.
Alongside optimised airflow on the intake and exhaust sides and the use of fourth-generation common-rail injection with pressures up to 2050 bar, the outstanding power delivery is due to a reduction in internal friction by around 25 percent. On top of this, the engine is also more compact than its predecessor. All components relevant for emissions reduction are installed directly on the engine. Thanks to the near-engine configuration, the exhaust aftertreatment system quickly reaches its operating temperature after cold-starting, and has a low heat loss and therefore excellent operating conditions.
Mercedes-AMG: More performance for the C 43 4MATIC
The V6 biturbo engine of the Mercedes-AMG C 43 4MATIC excels with a powerful output together with low consumption and emissions. Installed close to the engine, the two turbochargers are especially spontaneous in their response. For the new C-Class, the AMG development engineers have increased the output of the 3.0-litre V6 engine by 17 kW (23 hp) to 287 kW (390 hp). The peak torque of 520 Nm is available from 2500 to 5000 rpm.
- C 43 4MATIC: 287 kW/390 hp, 520 Nm; (combined fuel consumption 9.8-9.3 l/100 km, combined CO2emissions 223-213 g/km)²
This package allows impressive performance figures: the new C 43 4MATIC Saloon accelerates from a standstill to 100 km/h in 4.7 seconds, and the Estate in 4.8 seconds. The top speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h.
The engine is combined with the AMG SPEEDSHIFT TCT 9G transmission, which the Mercedes-AMG developers have specially configured for a dynamic driving experience. This has a model-specific software application to achieve very short shift times.
4MATIC all-wheel drive: Traction even in difficult road conditions
The C 200, C 220 d and C 400 are available with 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive for improved traction and driving stability, especially in adverse road conditions. The 4MATIC has an active all-wheel torque distribution of 45 % to the front and 55 % to the rear. As ever, the combination of the ESP® driving dynamics control system with the 4ETS electronic traction system makes regular differential locks superfluous. This saves weight and noticeably improves handling safety as well as ride comfort.
The all-wheel drive is standard equipment for the Mercedes-AMG C 43, and features rear-biased torque distribution with a front/rear axle split of 31 to 69 percent.
The exterior: headlamps with new interior design
The new-look C-Class combines emotionality with intelligence. The vehicle’s appearance is defined in particular by its front and the design of the headlamps and tail lights.
With the model facelift, both the Saloon and Estate feature the diamond grille as standard in combination with AMG Line. The front bumpers have been redesigned for all lines. These new designs render the EXCLUSIVE exterior of the Saloon and Estate even more expressive, and lend the AVANTGARDE exterior a yet more dynamic character. The front bumper features either a silver trim strip (standard), a chrome-plated trim strip (in combination with AVANTGARDE exterior) or a three-part chrome trim strip (EXCLUSIVE exterior). In conjunction with AMG Exterior, the vehicle sports an AMG front apron with a new geometry and at the rear the insert in diffuser-look comes in a new design. The rear bumper of these models has a new lower section; geometry, trim and tailpipe trim vary according to the selected equipment and engine variant.
The design of the front and rear lamps is defined by clear-lined contours. Exquisitely crafted details add highlights and underscore the modern character. The C-Class (Saloon and Estate) comes with halogen headlamps incorporating LED daytime running lamps as standard. LED High Performance headlamps featuring a particularly striking interior design are optionally available (standard for Cabriolet and Coupé). For the first time in this model series, MULTIBEAM LED headlamps with ULTRA RANGE high beam are additionally available (see below for details).
Interior design: exquisite fine-tuning
The sporty interior exudes class, featuring flowing forms in a new interpretation of modern luxury.
The centre console is characterised by an elegant flowing trim element – optionally with new materials: open-pore brown walnut or open-pore anthracite oak. The 3D real wood veneer in the centre console combines a hand-crafted character with a modern feel. Newly available interior colours include magma grey/black, plus saddle brown for the AMG Line interior. A change of colour also applies to the option of seat belts in a special colour, which now come in magma grey instead of crystal grey.
The KEYLESS-GO starting function is standard. The start/stop button comes in a new turbine-look design. The vehicle key also features a new design.
The Multicontour Seat package for the Saloon and Estate is new. With this package, the side bolsters and lumbar support can be individually adjusted by means of an electrically driven pneumatic pump. A massage effect in the lumbar area is provided by air chambers which are inflated and deflated in a pulsing or wave-like motion when the function is activated.
Intelligent Drive: State-of-the-art active safety
The new C-Class features the latest Mercedes-Benz driving assistance systems offering the driver cooperative support, and therefore provides a higher level of active safety than its predecessor. The C-Class is able to drive semi-autonomously in even more situations.
The C-Class also uses map and navigation data for assistance functions. For example, Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC as part of the Driving Assistance package is able to support the driver in numerous route-specific situations, and predictively adjust the speed e.g. when approaching bends, junctions or roundabouts. Other new developments include intuitively understandable Active Lane Change Assist and Active Emergency Stop Assist as new functions of Active Steering Assist.
The new C-Class comes with extended Active Brake Assist as standard. Depending on the situation, this can help to mitigate the consequences of rear-end collisions with slow-moving, stopping or stationary vehicles ahead, and even with crossing pedestrians and cyclists, or prevent them altogether.
MULTIBEAM LED headlamps: Optimum visibility in all conditions
The optionally available MULTIBEAM LED headlamps are new to the C-Class. New functions in comparison to the previously available LED Intelligent Light System are junction light, roundabout light, city light and bad-weather light.
In high-beam mode, Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus enables continuous long-range illumination of the road ahead without dazzling oncoming traffic. When no other road user is detected, the road ahead is straight and the vehicle speed is above 40 km/h, ULTRA RANGE high beam is switched on automatically. When there are oncoming vehicles or vehicles ahead, the LEDs of the main beam modules are partially switched off, masking out a U-shaped area of the light beam.
The display concept: fully digital instrument display available as an option
The C-Class has a new display concept which includes an optional, fully-digital instrument cluster with the three visually distinguishable styles “Classic”, “Sport” and “Progressive”.
The screen options at a glance:
Instrument cluster: The basic model features a classic two-tube instrument cluster. Between the tubes there is a 5.5-inch colour display (resolution: 383 x 600 pixels). The display style here is “Classic”.
The fully digital instrument display is available as an option. The screen has a 12.3-inch diagonal and offers high resolution of 1920 x 720 pixels. The cutting-edge screen design offers the three very different display styles “Classic”, “Sport” and “Progressive”.
-Media display: The multimedia screen above the centre console is also available in two sizes. In combination with Audio 20 it has a 7-inch screen diagonal and a resolution of 960 x 540 pixels. Here too, the display style is “Classic”. On request, in conjunction with Audio 20, a high-resolution media display with a 10.25-inch screen diagonal and a resolution of 1920 x 720 pixels is available for the first time.
The C-Class has touch-sensitive controls in the steering wheel. They respond to swiping motions like the screen of a smartphone. The operation of DISTRONIC and cruise control with controls directly on the steering wheel is another new feature. The infotainment system can additionally be operated via the touchpad with controller (new: haptic feedback) in the centre console or by means of LINGUATRONIC voice control. The optional head-up display is now adjustable over an even wider range.
ENERGIZING comfort control: for enhanced well-being
ENERGIZING comfort control (optional) links various comfort systems in the vehicle. It systematically uses the functions of the air conditioning system (including fragrancing) and the seats (heater, ventilation) as well as lighting and musical moods, and allows a specific wellness set-up tailored to the mood and need of the customer. This has positive effects on well-being and driver performance. Depending on the equipment level, up to six programmes are available (Freshness, Vitality, Warmth, Cosiness, Joy, Training). The programmes all run for ten minutes. They are visualised on the media display with colour graphics, and backed by suitable music.
The multimedia systems: Tailor-made information and music offerings
The C-Class comes as standard with the Audio 20 multimedia system featuring two USB ports, an SD card reader, Bluetooth® connection and media interface. The latest-generation COMAND Online available as optional equipment offers fast 3D hard-disc navigation with topographical map display, photo-realistic 3D buildings and 3D map rotations. Extensive additional information is displayed on the navigation map. With the Concierge service (available by subscription), Mercedes me connect customers have a host of individual services at their disposal.
Anti-theft alarm system: Also recognises parking damage and sends a message
Another new feature is the automatic notification if the vehicle suffers an impact caused by another vehicle when parked, is towed away or there is a break-in attempt. The highly sensitive sensors of the optional “Anti-theft alarm system (ATA)” can detect such situations and immediately send a “push notification” message to the Mercedes me App. The optional feature includes the new sensors and the corresponding software.
2 The stated figures were obtained using the prescribed measuring procedure. These are the “NEDC CO2 figures” according to Art. 2 No. 1 Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/1153. The fuel consumption figures were calculated on the basis of these figures.