Locally-built C-Class offers new levels of looks, safety and performance
Mercedes-Benz South Africa has launched the new edition of its highly successful C-Class range to the local market at an event in Johannesburg’s inner city, celebrating its strong links to South Africa amidst themes of improvement and renewal.
The C-Class is the most successful model series from Mercedes-Benz, and the new edition boasts a wealth of enhancements. In terms of looks, the car features a redesigned front end, with new-look headlamps and tail lamps. The electronics are completely new, with safety and driver assistance systems now at the level of the flagship S‑Class series. There are also new petrol and diesel engines across the range.
The current generation C-Class was Mercedes-Benz top-selling model, selling more than 415,000 cars 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 and the Cabriolet, which have opened up entire new audiences in the local market, says Selvin Govender, Marketing Director of Mercedes-Benz Cars South Africa.
“South Africans just love the C-Class. This new model is our sportiest and most dynamic C-Class to date, and with its looks, safety and performance, we’re confident it’s going to appeal to a broader audience than ever before,” says Govender.
The new C-Class has a strong South African flavour: it’s built in Mercedes-Benz East London plant. Mercedes-Benz recently announced the investment of R10-billion to significantly expand the C-Class production plant in East London and to equip it for the future. The decision to have the new generation of C-Class (W206) in East London re-affirms the plant and Mercedes-Benz commitment to South Africa.
“This investment represents Mercedes-Benz confidence in South Africa and its labour force for our popular C-Class range,” said Johannes Fritz, CO-CEO of Mercedes-Benz South Africa and Executive Director of Mercedes-Benz Cars.
The exterior: the best-looking C-Class yet?
The new-look C-Class boasts a striking new front, and a new design of the headlamps and tail lights. The sedan features the diamond grille as standard in combination with AMG Line, with front bumpers redesigned for all lines, and rear bumpers varying according to the selected equipment and engine variant.
The C-Class comes with LED High Performance headlamps featuring a particularly striking interior design. For the first time in this model series, MULTIBEAM LED headlamps with ULTRA RANGE high beam are additionally available.
Interior design: exquisite fine-tuning
The new C-Class features a brand new electronic architecture, with the major addition being the latest Mercedes-Benz driving assistance systems. This puts the new series on a par with the S-Class, providing a higher level of active safety than ever and the ability to drive semi-autonomously in even more situations.
The interior has also been given a facelift. The sporty interior’s centre console is characterised by an elegant flowing trim element, with the option of new materials: open-pore brown walnut or open-pore anthracite oak. The new Multicontour Seat package now literally offers a massage: the side bolsters and lumbar support can be individually adjusted by means of an electrically driven pneumatic pump, with a massage effect in the lumbar area available through air chambers which are inflated and deflated in a pulsing motion.
The car’s new display concept includes an optional, fully-digital 12.3-inch instrument cluster, and the upgraded infotainment system includes standard smartphone integration that can be accessed through touch-sensitive controls in the steering wheel, which 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.
New engines: electrification continues
The new C-Class sees the launch of a new generation of four-cylinder petrol engines. There is a new 4-cylinder, 1.5-litre turbo-petrol engine in the C200, with 9-speed automatic transmission across the range. The 1.5-litre engine is supplemented with a 48-volt on-board network and the EQ Boost integrated starter-generator that produces an additional 10 kW and 160 Nm while accelerating. There’s also a new-generation 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine in the C300, with outputs of 190kw and 370Nm.
The new 1.6-litre variant of the current diesel engine family will celebrate its world premiere in the C-Class. The C 220 d 4MATIC providing a healthy 143 kW and 400 Nm.
There’s also more performance for the mighty range-topping C43 4MATIC, which boasts a V6 biturbo engine that combines powerful output with low consumption and emissions. For the new C-Class, the AMG development engineers have increased the output of the 3.0-litre V6 engine by 17 kW to 287 kW. The peak torque of 520 Nm is available from 2500 to 5000 rpm.
This package allows impressive performance figures: the new C 43 4MATIC Sedan accelerates from a standstill to 100 km/h in 4.7 seconds, with top speed electronically limited to 250 km/h.
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 standard "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.