FOR those who are looking for the good things in life on four wheels, Mercedes-Benz has launched an improved version of the C-Class that features more power, more fuel savings and more luxurious interior.
The refinement package is most noticeable on the C200, thanks to the new M264 1.5- litre four-cylinder engine that offers more power and torque from less capacity and improved fuel economy.
The engine comes with a 48-volt electrical system and combined alternator and starter motor unit that performs like a mild hybrid, providing short boosts of 13hp during accelerations. This brings the total power output to 184hp.
The C300 AMG had to make do with the same engine 2.0-litre turbo unit while the C43 AMG’s already powerful V6 Biturbo gets a 23hp bump in power to 390hp and 520Nm of torque.
The refreshed C200 is endowed with better pothole absorption capabilities from the Agility Control Suspension.
Safety-wise, the C300 gets seven airbags, PRE-SAFE, blind spot monitoring, and the usual array of anti-lock brake system and vehicle stability control.
It is also equipped with a 10.25 inch centre screen and touch pad controls with haptic feedback. It also gets active parking assist, full LED headlights and Keyless Go function.
The C300 is packed with more features such as Airmatic suspension, 19- inch five twin-spoke AMG wheels, intelligent headlight and panoramic roof. It also gets an additional driver assist feature called lane keeping assist.
The price of the C300 AMG starts from RM304,888.
The range-topping C43 AMG, which is priced at RM421,888, gets a bigger kit pack to make it a believable junior supercar in a sedan body.
The AMG ride control suspension plays a crucial role in giving the car a compliant ride even on rough surfaces while the dynamic select function creates a different character for different situations.
It also comes with a sports exhaust system that allows drivers to enjoy a more throaty note.
Segment benchmark for next few years?
WITH more than 9.5 million units sold since it was introduced in 1982, the C-Class has been a phenomenal success for Mercedes-Benz.
The C-Class is produced in four plants on four continents, with the lead plant in Bremen plus East London (South Africa), Tuscaloosa (the United States) and Beijing (China).
In China, a long version of the C-Class Saloon is built and sold exclusively in the country. China was not only the largest, but also the fastest growing market for the C-Class last year.
Before the release of the new C-Class earlier this week, Mercedes-Benz Malaysia flew Cars, Bikes and Trucks to Luxembourg, where we picked up the cars and headed to the Mosel region of Germany.
Our drive started at Luxembourg airport, where a bevy of shiny new C-Classes were lined up.
A first glance of the exterior reveals that the facelift is modest to say the least. However, Mercedes-Benz says there are 6,500 new parts in the new C-Class, enough to call it an entirely new model.
One of the biggest changes for the new C-Class is a new generation of four-cylinder engine with electrical improvements. These new models are equipped with an additional 48-volt on-board network with a belt-driven starter/alternator that stops the engine to save fuel and restarts the engine very rapidly and almost silently.
The new petrol 1.5-litre unit can be found in the C 200 and C 200 4MATIC, giving improved mileage with a combined fuel consumption of 7.2 to 6.3 litres per 100km; with reduced impact on the environment (combined CO2 emissions: 165-144 g/km)3 .
Mercedes-Benz says the 48-volt on-board network and Mercedes-Benz’s EQ Boost allow the car to reduce fuel consumption further while giving it improved agility and comfort characteristics.
Under acceleration, EQ Boost nudges the engine with an additional 14hp at the crucial moment before the turbocharger has built up its full boost. During gearshifts, this trickery is also used to get the engine to reach its ideal rpm as quickly as possible, shortening the shift time of the automatic transmission.
The new “electrified” engine also allows the starter/alternator to recover kinetic energy and use it to charge the battery.
The two-litre engine in the C 300 is likewise new with 258hp and 370Nm.
On the outside, the new C-Class does not diverge significantly even after the facelift, with only minor changes to the grilles and bumpers to differentiate it, along with new wheel designs.
These changes also extend to the headlamp, where there are now LED high-performance headlamps with a new design (standard for CoupÈ and Cabriolet) or optional multibeam LED headlamps with ultra range high beam.
While the changes to the exterior may be modest, on the inside, however, the C-Class has been spruced up significantly, with a 12.3-inch “digital cockpit” replacing the analogue dials and a larger 10.25 inch media display for the Comand system.
One big change is the handsome new steering wheel with touch control buttons, and ambience lighting with 64 colours.
There is also a new nine-speaker sound system with an output of 225W as an optional extra between the standard sound system and the BurmesterÆ surround sound system.
This new C-Class also marks the introduction of a range of new driver assistance systems, which were initially found in the S-Class.
Aids such as active distance assist distronic and active steering assist systems support the driver with keeping a safe distance and steering. The distronic system now adjusts the car’s speed automatically before coming to bends, junctions or roundabouts.
Other aids include active emergency stop assist and active lane change assist.
The core characteristics of the C-Class family are retained in this iteration, with accurate, composed handling that turns precision sharp in the C43 AMG version.
We started off our introduction in the C300 Coupe.
The C 300 is endowed with Mercedes’ new M264 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with 255hp, or 14hp more than its predecessor.
From the get go, the car was a treat to drive through the winding roads and scenic countryside. On the unrestricted sections of the Autobahn, however, it positively shines.
Our next switch was the C200. If we hadn’t read the spec sheet before driving the car, it would be hard to guess that under the hood was a 1,497cc engine.
While raucous, there was more than enough power for the sedan to carve its way through the German countryside at a tremendous pace.
Indeed, a quick look at the spec sheet reveals that it is no slouch, with a 0-100 kph time of 7.7 seconds and top speed of about 240kph.
The C43 AMG was the last car we drove during this drive, and it was a perfect instrument for the high speed run to the airport.
Precise, predictable and always sure footed, the C43 gave a sense of assuredness that there was a wide margin for us to play with before ever pushing it close to the edge.
Riding on 19-inch twin-spoke AMG alloy wheels, wrapped with 225/40 front and 255/35 rear profile tyres, the car felt positively glued to the smooth German tarmac.
The M276 3.0 litre twin-turbo V6 has been coaxed to produce 390hp, which is 23hp more than before. It still has the same maximum torque, but the map has moved lower down the rev range, making it feel even more rambunctious than before.
This is truly a different car compared to the other two.
With drive going through a nine-speed AMG Speedshift TCT 9G automatic transmission to an all-wheel drive system, it is ironic that electronically limited top speed of 250kph is just 10kph more than the C 200. However, the C 43 will do the century sprint in an amazing 4.7 seconds.
Whatever form, Mercedes-Benz has built on an already competent C-Class base, updating it into another product that will likely be a benchmark leader for the next few years.