The new Mercedes-Benz C-Class will be launched in spring 2011 and is a comprehensive modernisation. The front and rear sections of this best selling model have a more striking design. There is now a high-resolution colour display screen in the instrument cluster, an elegant new dashboard with grained surface and prominent decorative trim emphasising the premium character of the interior. Fuel consumption has been improved by up to 31 per cent. Efficiency-enhancing measures including new engines, the improved 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission and the ECO start/stop function also feature. Ten new driving assistance systems ranging from the standard ATTENTION ASSIST drowsiness detection system to the optional DISTRONIC PLUS proximity control system are also now available for this model series for the first time.
“In terms of drive and protection systems the new-generation Mercedes-Benz C-Class offers the same comfort and safety as our luxury models. High-grade interior features remind one of the new CLS, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class sets completely new standards in its segment with respect to perceived value and quality,” says Dr. Joachim Schmidt, Sales & Marketing Director at Mercedes-Benz Cars. This interior modernisation is supplemented with a new telematics generation that not only includes completely redesigned displays, but also makes onboard internet access available.
A total of more than 2,000 new components distinguish the latest generation of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class from its predecessor. Both the Saloon and Estate versions can be ordered from 10 January 2011. The European market launch will take place from March 2011. In addition to the standard appointments – which now include a leather steering wheel – the two design and equipment lines ELEGANCE and AVANTGARDE are the basis for the individualisation programme of the C-Class. The two lines are now even more readily distinguishable from each other.
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is the highest-selling model series for Mercedes-Benz. The current series has found well over one million buyers worldwide since its launch in March 2007. Since the introduction of the first Mercedes-Benz C-Class in 1982 (then known as the model 190), Mercedes-Benz has sold more than 8.5 million vehicles in total in this segment. In 2010 too, the C-Class has repeatedly won top places in the registration statistics.
An improvement of up to 31 per cent has been achieved in fuel consumption and all Mercedes-Benz C-Class launch models will feature the ECO start/stop function as standard. All the engine variants are now classed as BlueEFFICIENCY units, showing that they are particularly efficient and environmentally compatible in their use of fuel. In future all automatic versions will feature the further-developed 7G-TRONIC PLUS seven-speed automatic transmission. In addition, the overall ratio of all new powertrain variants has been optimised for better fuel economy.
All the petrol engines in the model series have direct injection. One of the highlights is the introduction of the new V6 petrol engine with its innovative and highly efficient BlueDIRECT process in the C 350 BlueEFFICIENCY. The quantum leap in efficiency is particularly well illustrated by the six-cylinder unit: Power has increased considerably, the C 350 BlueEFFICIENCY delivering 306 hp and 370 Nm (previously 292 hp and 365 Nm).
The four-cylinder petrol engines, which made a great evolutionary leap forward in 2009 and all feature direct injection and turbocharging and excel with high performance and exemplary economy.
The most economical model in the Mercedes C-Class range has also become even more frugal: the C 220 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY with the manual six-speed transmission and the standard ECO start/stop function. This corresponds to 117 grams of CO2 per kilometre. In conjunction with the improved 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission and the ECO start/stop function included as standard, the C 220 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY and C 250 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY both deliver top-class figures with a combined diesel consumption of 58.8 mpg. This corresponds to CO2 emissions of 125 grams per kilometre.
Design: Dynamic, resolute, self-assured
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class greets spring 2011 having undergone a comprehensive makeover. The front and tail-end section of the million-seller are styled more strikingly, the front being brought closer to the brand’s new design idiom. The front bumper has a more expressive and dynamic contour, and supports the shape of the radiator grille more prominently as the central element at the front.
The central air intake opens out upwards in a V-shape, forming a visual base unit for the radiator grille. Pronounced side sections extend from the sporty V‑shape at the centre. Continuing beneath the headlamps, these sections blend into the feature lines along the vehicle flanks, forming a link with the sides. The side air inlets in the bumper are positioned low down, giving the car a more road-hugging appearance.
Both the saloon and the estate have been given a new bonnet made of aluminium. Its contour in the area around the headlamps and the radiator grille emphasises the V-shape of the front end to a greater extent than previously.
The shape of the clear-lens headlamps has been modified to create a more dynamic and resolute impression, and to act together with the bonnet, radiator grille and bumper to give the Mercedes-Benz C-Class a new face. This impression is reinforced by both the exterior form of the headlamps and the interior of the housings. The headlamps show their modernity by precision and an interplay between matt and high-gloss areas. The halogen headlamps are arranged in the classic way, with low beam on the outside, main beam on the inside and the indicators neatly arranged in the outer corner formed with the front wing.
If the optional bi-xenon headlamps with the Intelligent Light System (ILS) are ordered, the impression of depth is reinforced by a row of lighting modules. A position light with a distinctive C-shape emphasises the night design. Behind it is a cornering light extending to the main headlamp module on the outside. A visual base in the lower section of the headlamp is formed by a horizontal broadband LED indicator unit. The horizontal LED daytime running lamps in the bumper also make the Mercedes-Benz C-Class unmistakable from a distance.
In the case of the rear bumper, the light-catching contours and dividing lines have been modified to emphasise the width of the saloon and estate even more strongly. This change is particularly obvious in the more steeply rising course of the side light-catching contours towards the tail lights. A continuous light-catching contour at the upper end of the rear bumper extends into the flanks to connect the tail end with the sides to emphasise the sporty character of the rear aspect.
In the facelifted model, the tail lights are even more neatly integrated into the tail end by a continuous covering lens. The characteristic surface meander is now on the inside of the light, and reminiscent of preceding model series. The particular impression of depth is achieved by a centrally located LED indicator, which appears to float in front of the red upper and lower light bands.
In all its finery: restyled dashboard and high-grade surfaces
One of the design work’s main points of focus in the interior was on restyling the dashboard with the aim of creating a sporty, high-quality look. At the same time the trim concept was also enhanced. The touch surfaces of the controls are more finely detailed and galvanised. With its stepped extension, the instrument cluster’s panel now also accommodates the central display. The instrument cluster and a discreet light-catching contour continue to the front-passenger side. The central, trapezoidal air vents and the round vents on the outside are highlighted in detail by galvanised trim.
The large section of trim is an important part of the newly designed dashboard. This extends from the centre air vents across the front-passenger side to the outer air vent and creates a much wider look for the interior. The upper part of the dashboard with its new surface grain continues into the beltlines of the door panels.
The control panel of the new-generation communication and information unit has keys with high-gloss surface inserts. The combination of matt keys, high-gloss areas and a new knurled wheel design accentuates the higher perceived value of the interior. Together with the new telematics generation, the facelifted Mercedes-Benz C-Class also comes complete with a new instrument cluster with an integral display. Directed towards the driver are three tube-style surrounds with a galvanised surface, openly demonstrating the C-Class’s sporting ambitions.
The premium character of the interior is underlined by the new-generation steering wheel, which was introduced with the new CLS and is now available in the sporty AVANTGARDE line for the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The steering wheel with its chromed central spoke stylishly accentuates the sporty atmosphere in the C‑Class.
Interior: Higher quality and more comfortable
Brimming with a wealth of high-grade details in the interior, all reminiscent of the new CLS, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class sets new benchmarks in its segment when it comes to quality and comfort. The interior designers have paid painstaking attention to restyling the dashboard, whose new features include its surface grain, the integral screen, prominent trim and, as an option, a high-resolution colour display in the instrument cluster. A nappa leather steering wheel comes as part of the standard specification. Time spent in both the saloon and the estate is now even more pleasant, thanks to the C-Class’s tried-and-tested dimensional concept, along with its new comfort-enhancing equipment and appointments such as climatised seats and the luxury automatic climate control THERMOTRONIC, which now makes it possible for the occupants to select their own individual climate styles.
Generous: the interior dimensions and load capacity
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is amongst the most spacious vehicles in its segment. The front shoulder room and the elbow width amount to 1390 and 1440 millimetres respectively. In the rear, the saloon and estate offer shoulder room of 1398 millimetres and an elbow width of 1462 millimetres.
And the Mercedes-Benz C-Class offers plenty of space for luggage, too: the saloon’s load capacity is 475 litres (in accordance with the VDA measuring method). For the saloon Mercedes-Benz offers a divided backrest which can be quickly and easily folded forward on a 1:2 ratio. The head restraints move forward together with the backrests and do not need to be removed first.
Variability is the name of the game where the estate is concerned; its rear seat backrests are divided on a 1/3 to 2/3 ratio and can be folded forwards. The luggage compartment capacity can be extended from 485 or 690 litres when the vehicle is loaded to roof height up to 1500 litres (when the rear seat backrests are folded forward and the vehicle is loaded to roof height). And there is yet another peak value to note: the maximum usable interior length – from the tailgate to the front passenger’s footwell – is 2.82 metres.
Thanks to a host of practical details, the Mercedes estate can be loaded easily, conveniently and safely. For instance, two bag hooks and four eyelets for anchoring loads are included in the load compartment as standard. Stowage compartments with net covers and a collapsible shopping crate are also part of the standard specification, as are the combined luggage cover and retaining net. The EASY-PACK tailgate opens and closes at the push of a button. Finally, the optional EASY-PACK load-securing kit presents drivers with even more possibilities for securing the load being carried.
Comfort on long journeys as standard: the front seats
The seats in the Mercedes-Benz C-Class make a valuable contribution to comfort on long journeys. As an optional extra, climatised seats are now available for the driver and front passenger. They ensure a high degree of thermal seating comfort thanks to small electric fans in the upholstery of the cushion and in the backrest which draw in ambient air, then push it through the perforated seat cover up to the surface. As well as this ventilation feature the climatised seats also include seat heating.
The height and backrest angle of the front seats can be electrically adjusted. Even more ease of operation is available as an optional extra in the form of fully electric adjustment of the driver’s and front-passenger seat. In conjunction with the Memory package three settings can be stored.
The multicontour seat (available as an optional extra) has separately controllable air chambers under the upholstery material. They make it possible for the occupants to adapt the shape of the seat precisely to suit their anatomy or their preferences. This is all thanks to inflatable air chambers underneath the upholstery material which enable the contouring of the side bolsters to be individually set. Another attribute is the function for pneumatically adjusting the seat cushion length. At the push of a button the seat cushion length can be extended, allowing occupants to relax their legs and ensuring good blood circulation.
Comfortable and safe: the rear seats
The rear seat unit is of one-piece construction. Three head restraints and three inertia-reel seat belts ensure the safety of the occupants. The outer rear seats are also equipped with belt tensioners and belt force limiters, as well as head restraints adjustable for height and angle. ISOFIX, the standardised attachment system for child seats, is included as part of the standard specification.
Even more comfort: THERMOTRONIC now with climate modes
As part of the standard specification, all Mercedes-Benz C-Class models include the two-zone THERMATIC automatic climate control. Yet more climate comfort is available courtesy of the optional luxury automatic climate control THERMOTRONIC, which allows individual temperature settings for three zones – for the driver, the front passenger and the rear passengers. What are known as the THERMOTRONIC’s climate modes constitute a new feature in the C-Class: the car occupants can select “Diffuse”, “Medium” or “Focus” settings at the push of a button and thus adjust the air quantity and air distribution to their liking without having to leave the convenient automatic mode.
In “Diffuse” mode, for example, the THERMOTRONIC system operates with a low air speed and distributes the air over a wide area so that there are fewer draughts. In “Focus” mode, meanwhile, the air outlets in the centre area of the dashboard are used for the most part, meeting the need for a direct flow of a larger quantity of air.
More operating comfort, better connectivity: new-generation telematics
The new Mercedes-Benz C-Class also sees the debut of a new telematics generation which will also be gradually introduced in other model series. Major new features include greater operating convenience, larger displays, telephone directory transfer, display of SMS messages, wireless music reproduction via Bluetooth and a USB interface now accommodated in the centre armrest.
The multimedia system COMAND Online now provides internet access for the first time (via the customers data enabled mobile phone). When the car is stationary, customers are able to browse freely or surf to a Mercedes-Benz Online service whose pages load particularly rapidly and are also easy to use while on the move. The integrated services include weather information and a special destination search via Google, as well as the option of downloading a route that has been previously configured on a PC using Google Maps and sent to the car. The navigation system of COMAND Online also has added functions.
Also new: routes covered can be recorded and repeated later, specific personal destinations can be imported via an SD card and four alternative routes can be displayed on the navigation map, one of them a particularly economical variation.
As a first in the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the Becker® MAP PILOT makes a low-cost navigation function, which can also be retrofitted, available for the entry-level Audio 20 CD radio. Its advantages over aftermarket solutions include integrated operation via the central controls and the Audio 20 display, a concealed location in the glove compartment and updating via an internet portal.
Chassis and suspension: Agile handling and high comfort
The AGILITY CONTROL suspension, which is standard equipment in both the C-Class Saloon and Estate, harmonises perfectly with the dynamic design. It is based on an amplitude-dependent damping system: when driving normally with low shock absorber stimulus, the damping forces are automatically reduced for a noticeable improvement in ride comfort – but without any compromise in handling safety. When shock absorber stimuli are of greater magnitude, for example when cornering at speed or taking evasive action, the maximum damping forces are set and the car is stabilised effectively.
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class’s AGILITY CONTROL suspension is complemented by a rack-and-pinion steering system. Positioning the steering gear 80 millimetres in front of the wheel centre makes for predictable self-steering characteristics with a slight tendency to understeer. Speed-sensitive steering with variable steering-wheel support and a variable steering ratio is available as an optional extra.
Precise wheel location: the front axle with McPherson struts
At the front axle a three-link construction with McPherson struts is used. The lower link level consists of two separate elements which act as torque and cross struts and which are both forged from aluminium. In addition to more precise wheel location, this construction has the particular advantage of compensating vibrations caused by tyre imbalances or fluctuating brake forces better than rigid wishbones.
The third component in the three-link system is the track rod, which connects the transversely installed steering gear with the wheels. The reinforced stabiliser is linked to the spring strut, which is also actively involved in front wheel location.
The struts consist of cylindrical, lateral force compensated coil springs, twin-tube shock absorbers and newly developed three-phase head bearings. If severe body roll occurs, the stabiliser is supported by rebound buffer springs to ensure agile handling accompanied by a high level of comfort.
Controlled compression and rebound: the multi-link independent suspension
The series-production launch of the Mercedes-Benz 190 in 1983 also marked the beginning of the multi-link independent suspension’s career. In many respects this is a feature that remains without parallel to this day, which is why this patented axle principle – naturally in a modified form – is also employed in the C-Class. With the multi-link independent suspension the wheel is fixed to five elastically mounted links that are independent of each other and which restrict its scope for movement in five directions:
- The lower transverse control arms activate the suspension springs and dampers
- The upper transverse control arms regulate the camber over the spring travel
- The torque struts take up the drive and braking forces, and compensate for dive and squat when accelerating and decelerating
- The diagonal struts are arranged differently from the torque struts, and also help to prevent dive and squat when braking and accelerating
- The track rods limit changes in the wheel’s toe-in to a desirable minimum
Owing to this intelligent control arm construction, each rear wheel basically retains freedom of movement in one plane only: namely during controlled compression and rebound.
Even more agile: sports suspension and Dynamic Handling package as an option
In addition to the standard-specification AGILITY CONTROL suspension, the C‑Class offers two other options for adjusting the suspension’s characteristics in line with drivers’ personal preferences. As an optional extra a sports suspension can be selected – it has shorter springs, shock absorbers with tauter tuning, and stronger torsion bars.
A Dynamic Handling package is available as an alternative. It offers the driver two shift programs to choose from: Sport and Comfort. Within these shift programs the shock absorbers are electrically adjusted on a continuously variable basis. Sensors monitor each driving situation and send the information they gather to an electronic control unit. Depending on the current road or operating condition the system adapts the damping forces individually for each wheel – with infinite adjustment and fully automatically.
New styling: light-alloy wheels for AVANTGARDE and ELEGANCE
The saloon and estate both sport seven-spoke light-alloy wheels as part of their standard specification, whilst the AVANTGARDE and ELEGANCE lines are shod in newly styled twin-spoke wheels. Individuality comes courtesy of the extensive range of light-alloy wheels featuring around a dozen different designs in 16, 17 and 18 format. In place of the standard-fit 7.5 J x 17 wheel, the AVANTGARDE model can also be ordered with a 7 J x 16 wheel – providing an alternative for customers who want to make use of the consumption potential offered by a smaller and narrower wheel/tyre combination.
Electronic helpers: the new assistance systems in the Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Adaptive Highbeam Assist. When vehicles are detected ahead of or approaching the vehicle, this system automatically dips the beams and adjusts the range of the headlamps appropriate to the distance. This means that main beam can be used more frequently.
Active Lane Keeping Assist. The system kicks into action if the Mercedes-Benz vehicle inadvertently drifts over a solid line to the right or left of a lane. In such a case, a warning sign in the instrument cluster and vibration of the steering wheel give the driver warning. If the driver does not heed the warning in the case of the solid line, Active Lane Keeping Assist can use the ESP® to brake the opposite wheels and thereby prevent the vehicle from crossing the solid line. The Lane Keeping Assist, which warns but does not actively intervene, is available as a favourably-priced alternative.
Active Blind Spot Assist. It warns the driver when changing lanes if a risk of collision is detected due to another vehicle in the neighbouring lane being in the blind spot of the exterior mirror. If the driver ignores the warning and nevertheless initiates the lane-changing manoeuvre, the Active Blind Spot Assist intervenes. By applying braking force to the wheels on the opposite side of the vehicle, a yaw movement is created which counteracts the collision course. The Active Blind Spot Assist was recently awarded the “Yellow Angel” prize for being a pioneering innovation by a jury of experts from the ADAC, the German automobile association and the biggest of its kind in the world. The favourably-priced alternative is the Blind Spot Assist; it warns the driver but does not actively intervene.
ATTENTION ASSISTwarns drivers when it detects that they are over-tired. Studies have shown that around a quarter of all serious motorway accidents are caused by drowsy drivers, making this factor an even bigger cause of accidents than drink-driving. With ATTENTION ASSIST (standard for Elegance and Avantgarde), Mercedes-Benz is therefore making another important contribution towards helping to avoid accidents: it employs high-resolution sensors to observe driver behaviour and can recognise whether the driver is tired or not paying attention, based primarily on steering wheel movements.
BRAKE ASSIST PLUS: this system is able to recognise an impending rear-end collision using radar sensors. It calculates the necessary degree of braking assistance and makes it available immediately when the driver presses the brake pedal.
DISTRONIC PLUS: the radar-based proximity control supports the driver at speeds between zero and 200 km/h by automatically adjusting the distance to the vehicles in front. In doing so it is able to apply the brakes to bring the vehicle to a complete standstill and also accelerate it again. As a result, the system is also particularly convenient in stop-and-go traffic. If the system detects that the distance is being reduced too quickly, it warns the driver with both visual and acoustic signals. The control system has also been refined even further through the inclusion of information from digital maps.
Speed Limit Assist: a camera fitted behind the windscreen detects speed limit signs at the roadside and compares this data to information contained in the GPS system. The relevant speed limit is then displayed in the instrument cluster.
PARKTRONIC including Parking Guidance:ultrasonic sensors measure the length of parking spaces as the car drives past; the cockpit display provides a schematic representation of the recommended parking manoeuvre. Ultrasonic sensors then support the driver whilst parking.
PRE-SAFE® Brake:autonomous braking if acute danger of an accident is detected. At first the driver is given both an acoustic and an optical warning if the system identifies that there is a danger of collision. If the driver does not react to this, the system brakes the vehicle autonomously. This occurs in two stages: around 1.6 seconds before the calculated impact point the system decelerates the car with around 40 percent (approx. four m/s²) of the maximum braking power, gives the driver an additional, haptic warning of the impending impact and as a precaution activates the reversible PRE-SAFE® occupant protection systems. If the driver still fails to react, the PRE-SAFE® Brake activates the maximum braking power around 0.6 seconds before the now unavoidable collision – this emergency braking can greatly reduce the severity of the impact. The system therefore acts like an “electronic crumple zone”, offering the car occupants even greater protection. The PRE-SAFE® Brake is active at speeds of between 30 and 200 km/h when moving vehicles are detected in front of the car. The system also reacts if the car approaches a stationary queue of traffic, providing its speed is below 70 km/h.