After the successful predecessor rolled off the assembly line for seven years, Mercedes has now presented the seventh generation of the C-Class. Visually, the sedan and station wagon of the new W206 series offer few surprises. They adopt the basic shape by and large from their predecessors, while the front and rear of both have been adapted to the current brand design. The radiator grille and the standard LED headlights are similarly familiar from the current facelift version of its big brother, the E-Class. The rear lights are now also mounted horizontally on the sedan. The coupé variant will follow next year.
Overall, Gorden Wagener’s team has created a very clean and therefore probably timeless design. The C-Class will in future stretch to 4.75 meters and has thus become 6.5 centimeters longer, while the width has increased by one centimeter. The wheelbase has also been lengthened slightly, which should provide more legroom in the second row. At the same time, the roof of the Stuttgart middle class was lowered by around one centimeter, which gives it a more crouched silhouette. The trunk volume of the station wagon, called the estate, increases by thirty units to 490 liters with the model change, or 1,510 if the rear seat is folded down. The size of the luggage compartment of the notchback limo does not change.
Innovative cockpit from the S-Class
While it appears quite conservative on the outside, the C-Class has the most modern interior in its segment. The layout with the two screens and the basic design of the dashboard are already familiar from the S-Class presented last September. As with the flagship of the Swabians, a tablet-like touchscreen sits enthroned on the center console, via which most of the vehicle functions as well as the revised MBUX infotainment system are operated. The latter will update itself in the future with over-the-air updates.
In the basic model, the screen measures 9.5 inches, while the screen in the higher-end versions has a diagonal of 11.9 inches. There are a few buttons underneath that can be used, for example, to control the air conditioning or regulate the volume. The fully digital instrument cluster, which comes as standard, sits behind the steering wheel. When it comes to assistance systems, the C-Class leaves little to be desired, as one is used to from a real Mercedes. In addition to the now taken for granted and improved parking and lane keeping assistants, there is a new head-up display with augmented reality function.
No more six and eight cylinders
The new model is based on the shortened MRA II platform, which enables both pure rear-wheel drive and full all-wheel drive. The technical basis is also used by the E- and S-Class and for the first time gives the middle class rear-axle steering, which is intended to significantly reduce the turning circle. Instead, the Stuttgart-based company is removing the optional air suspension from the range. Only the plug-in variants that follow later will benefit from an air-sprung rear axle in the future. In contrast to its big sisters, the C-Class had to do without large-volume engines. The main reason for this is the strict EU fleet consumption and emissions standards. The drive range of the new C-Class consists exclusively of charged four-cylinder engines equipped with a 48-volt electrical system.
When it comes to transmissions, Mercedes leaves the customer no choice. In the future, a nine-stage automatic converter will be standard for all engines. The petrol engines have either 1.5 or 2.0 liter displacement and are available in three power levels at market launch. The entry-level model is the 170 hp C 180. Above that ranks the 204 hp C 200 and the C 300 with 258 hp. The two more powerful 2.0 liter engines are also available with all-wheel drive at an additional cost. Mercedes has equipped all gasoline engines with an integrated starter generator with which the C-Class learns to recuperate. The IGR can also briefly increase the torque by 200 Newton meters. The only compression-ignition engine is forcibly ventilated by two water-cooled turbochargers and also has a displacement of two liters. It is available in three performance levels with 163, 200 and 265 horses. The golden middle 220d can also be ordered with all-wheel drive.
The plug-in hybrid 300 e will follow later
More powerful, but also only four-cylinder variants from Mercedes-AMG and the plug-in hybrid 300e will follow later. The latter is said to have a purely electric range of up to 100 kilometers and a system output of 313 hp. The new C-Class can be ordered from the end of March and is expected to roll out to dealers in June. Mercedes has not yet published prices, but it can be assumed that the Stuttgart-based company is also paying for the modern technology well. Therefore, the middle class is likely to be a bit more expensive in the future. So far it started at around 37,000 euros.