Classy Merc has more youthful appeal

By Grant Edwards

C-Class packed with high-tech gear, writes Grant Edwards

The C-Class, shown here at the Detroit motor show, takes many of its cues from its big brother S-Class.
The C-Class, shown here at the Detroit motor show, takes many of its cues from its big brother S-Class.

There is more than a hint of styling cues from its bigger S-Class brother, and this fourth generation compact sedan is forecast to reach our shores later this year.

Mercedes-Benz promises weight savings of about 100kg plus improved aerodynamics and more economical engines.

With an 80mm increase in the wheelbase the vehicle is 95mm longer at 4686mm and 40mm wider at 1810mm. That helps deliver improved rear-seat space.

The new C-Class also outstrips its predecessor in terms of boot capacity, at 480 litres.

Buyers can choose between a traditional chromed grille with hood ornament or the more contemporary avant-garde style with the three-pointed star featured prominently within the grille.

Following the footsteps of other offerings within the latest range, the C-Class will have a more youthful appeal, with a range of infotainment and multimedia features plus modern interior finishes. Among the options will be a high-end Burmester audio.

Among the big changes are the movement of the gear shifter to a steering wheel mounted stalk, while the dreadful foot-operated park brake has, thankfully, been banished in place of an electronic function.

Early indications are that engines will include a C180 turbo 115kW/250Nm 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol, promising 0 to 100km/h in 8.2s and fuel economy of 5 litres for 100km.

The C200 is forecast to feature a 135kW/300Nm turbo 2-litre four-cylinder petrol with official 0 to 100km/h of 7.5s and 5.3 litres for 100km economy.

The C220 Bluetec is powered by a 125kW/400Nm 2.1-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel, which achieves 0-100km in 8.1 seconds and gives 4 litres for 100km economy. Transmission choices for the launch models are a six-speed manual and seven-speed automatic.

The C-Class is the biggest-selling model series from Mercedes-Benz. Sales of the preceding model, which was launched in 2007, total more than 2.4 million worldwide. We can expect four more body styles to follow in the C-Class family, including a wagon.

Driven will bring you a full test and more details on the C-Class from the international launch in early March.

- NZ Herald

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