- Where Mercedes copied from BMW in the C-Class
- Incredible dynamism
- Frequent downshifts are irritating
- Your feet hardly fit under the seat
- The trick with weight
- Long version and station wagon are coming
Where Mercedes copied from BMW in the C-Class
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The new C-Class is the real star in the Mercedes sky, even if the S-Class offers more luxury. But the C-Class naturally comes with the larger quantities.
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Thanks to a lot of aluminum in the body, the body of the C-Class has lost 180 kilograms despite its larger format.
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Even if 80 kilos were then packed back into it for comfort and safety, the sedan is still two hundred pounds lighter than before.
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On the other hand, the Swabians also rely on what is perhaps the most elaborate chassis in this class.
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After all, they not only re-programmed the steering in several stages and installed a new four-link front axle, but…
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…For the first time in this segment, they are also offering air suspension.
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The engines with which the sedan starts are designed cautiously.
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It starts with a modest four-cylinder diesel with 170 hp in the C 220 and two petrol engines with 1.6 liter displacement and 156 hp in the C 180 or 184 hp and 2.0 liter displacement in the C 200. …They are up to 20 percent more economical than their predecessor models and have a standard consumption of between 4.0 and 5.3 liters.
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How sportily the C-Class can be moved is shown by an inconspicuous shift drum in the cockpit…
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…on the center console. With this rocker, the driver can adjust the chassis appropriately. BMW has been using a similar system for years, now Mercedes is moving with the “Agility Cont…rol "after.
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The ambience is no less spectacular than that of the new S-Class, and the C-Class even goes into the template for the instruments: after all, it will be the first Mercedes series …with a head-up display and a touchpad.
It drives dynamically and has a lot of technology from the S-Class: The middle class from Mercedes impresses with a great chassis and is as quiet as a Stromer. It starts with the blinker.
Vier generations, over eight million cars and last year more than 20 percent of the company’s fleet – the C-Class is a really big thing for Mercedes. Now the Swabian manufacturer has upgraded the classic again.
An ambience and equipment almost like in the S-Class should keep the competition at a distance, a design like a fountain of youth also appeal to customers on this side of the pension limit and a new chassis ensure that the fun doesn’t let up with the pace. And of course the new bearer of hope will also be a little bigger.
While Mercedes has already garnered plenty of praise in the run-up to the middle class, the C-Class also impressed during the first test drives with its dynamic qualities and, above all, with a lot of sensitivity.
Literally the linchpin for this is the new agility control regulator on the center tunnel, with which the developers copied the driving experience switch from BMW and gave the C-Class several faces. In four stages plus individual programming, you can use it to change engine and transmission control, steering and chassis, and feel greater differences than with any competitor.
In sport mode, the C-Class is unusually sharp and snappy, you feel firmly connected to the road, and you experience a quick reaction to steering and throttle movements. The little Baby Benz has not felt so young and so dynamic in ages.
If, on the other hand, you switch to comfort mode, the car seems to age by a generation at the push of a button: you lean back, your blood pressure drops, your hands on the steering wheel loosen up and lawn becomes travel again. You don’t have to like that. But nobody in this class offers so much variance.
That the C-Class leaves such a good impression is mainly due to the lavishly renovated chassis, which the engineers have given a fresh four-link front axle and an optimized multi-link rear axle. There is also a new, more precise steering system and, in addition to the steel spring, three variants with variable dampers and the first air suspension in this class.
The Swabians are not doing this by chance: Firstly, this architecture must also support the next generation of the E-Class, and secondly, the gap to BMW was simply too great for the developers to keep fine-tuning the details.
Frequent downshifts are irritating
As sporty and luxurious as the sedan may be – under the hood, reason sets the tone. If you don’t want to buy AMG or import a US model, you have to do without six- or eight-cylinder for the time being. The four-cylinder engines are not lacking in vigor and determination either – at least if you choose the 250 and thus let the diesel 204 and the petrol 245 HP trot.
With a maximum of 500 Nm for one and up to 350 Nm for the other, the slightly accelerated seven-speed automatic and a heavy gas foot, that’s enough for sprint values of 6.6 seconds each. Overtaking on the country road is risk-free and with 247 km / h for the diesel and 250 km / h top speed for the gasoline engine, both engines are also suitable as kilometer-guzzlers for frequent and company drivers.
Even if there is nothing wrong with the paper values, the four-cylinder engines lack that certain something in practice. The gasoline engine sometimes sounds a little strained and irritates with frequent downshifts, which is due to the long seventh gear. And the diesel makes no secret of its combustion noises. The driver may still care that he can be heard for meters outside while idling.
But the fact that it is sometimes in the foreground inside doesn’t really match the luxury standards of the small limousine. And yet it is precisely based on it. With optimized insulation and fine tuning down to details such as the clicking of the indicator, the new C-Class is so quiet that even a quiet Stromer would probably be perceived as a troublemaker.
Your feet hardly fit under the seat
But not only demands and expectations are great, the car has also grown significantly. As the first model to be constructed on the new rear-wheel drive platform from Mercedes, the C-Class is ten centimeters in length and eight centimeters between the axles and is also four centimeters wider. At 4.69 meters, you sit at the front at least as well as in the E-Class.
And the trunk now holds 480 liters. But at the back the progress disappears just as quickly. Yes, knees and headroom are okay, and despite the strongly retracted C-pillar on the rear, which is rounded in the wind tunnel, there is still enough space for the shoulders. But the seats are so inconveniently mounted on the floor that you can barely push your feet underneath them, making it difficult to enjoy the new freedom.
But there is an interior that is hardly inferior to that of the S-Class. On the contrary. Of course, the space is not quite as generous and you have to do without massage seats as well as the digital cockpit in the format of a multiplex screen. But the ambience is similarly elegant and the army of assistants is no less vigilant. Basically, the newcomer is even ahead of the flagship.
Because finally Mercedes is now also offering a head-up display and is also bringing a touchpad to the center console that can recognize fingered letters as well as gestures such as swiping or zooming.
Although the C-Class offers more in all categories and has been heavily upgraded, it has slimmed down a lot. In the shell construction, the developers got up to 180 kilos out of the limousine thanks to new aluminum sheets and lots of lightweight construction. They did have to put a lot of equipment into it afterwards. But the bottom line is that the car is still 100 kilos lighter than its predecessor, the engineers advertise.
The trick with weight
You not only feel this while driving, because every kilo counts in tight corners. You also notice that when you refuel. Because the Swabians have again very successfully fine-tuned air resistance and, for example, can install lockable radiator fins on request, consumption has been reduced by up to 20 percent.
The most economical model therefore comes out on the test bench with a record-breaking 3.8 liters, and across the board all diesels end up in efficiency class A +, the developers boast. To do this, however, they dug deep into their bag of tricks and stole another small weight advantage: The standard tank of the four-cylinder has shrunk from 66 to 41 liters and the diesel only comes with a small AdBlue reservoir as standard, which has to be refilled between the inspection intervals.
Although the large tanks only cost 60 euros more each, those of the C-Class together add another half a quintals and push the sedan into the next weight class.
At the start there will be at least three more diesels down to the new 1.6-liter with 115 hp and four petrol engines from 156 to 245 hp for the C-Class in addition to the two 250 cc engines. A V6 with 333 hp and the AMG model, which is valued at over 500 hp, followed later.
In addition, the all-wheel drive versions will be available from dealers before winter. And of course the C-Class will also be electrified: this year with a C 300 hybrid that needs 3.6 liters of diesel, and probably in 2015 with a plug-in hybrid that will then also really do meters purely electrically and as global The model to be marketed will of course otherwise fill up with gasoline.
Long version and station wagon are coming
But Mercedes does not only focus on diversity under the hood. The tinsmiths also have big plans for the C-Class: For the Europeans there is of course another station wagon, which will probably make its debut in autumn. The Chinese get a long version, for the rest of the world there is again a coupe, and a convertible is at least not excluded.
In addition, a new GLK based on the C-Class will be coming next year, and if the rumors are true, there could also be a C-Class van for the first time.
At least half a class ahead of the competition – this claim applies to the design as well as to the ambience and equipment, to the efficiency and, in its broad spray, certainly also to the driving behavior. But the C-Class is also way ahead in terms of price. It only increases by a moderate 250 euros with the generation change, so that the C180 now starts at 33,558 euros.
But the BMW 3 Series starts with hardly less power, 4000 euros below that and for an even weaker A4 you only have to pay 28,100 euros.
Series boss Michael Kramer is nevertheless convinced that the new C-Class can actually change the play of forces in the middle class and has hung this order in large letters behind his desk: "Now or never".
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