The new Mercedes-Benz C-Class will be launched on the Singapore market from October onwards. To whet our appetites, Daimler AG earlier offered us a brief test drive of the new model at its testing facility in Germany. Here are our first impressions of the new car. The 3rd generation C-Class will be built on a modular architecture for compact and mid-size cars known as the “MFA2” (Mercedes Future Architecture). This will result in higher structural strength with lower weight and CO2 emissions. The car has grown slightly larger – its length is now almost 4 meters, and its wheelbase measures 2650 mm. With a longer front overhang, it has a more dynamic appearance, while maintaining its trademark proportions of a sports saloon. Outside, it’s more squat than before with an unmistakable athletic presence, thanks to a long greenhouse and short rear deck combined with steeply raked windshields and LED daytime running lights forming visible V shapes above the front fenders. Its prominent trapezoidal double wings mounted on black paneling look wider than before but still not overly so. There’re also new LED tail lamps resembling inverted trapezoids with integrated stoplights above them. Inside, there are plenty of small but welcome improvements that add up to better ergonomics and user experience: The gearlever is now positioned slightly higher; the driver can reach all buttons without leaning forward; there is more
The New Mercedes C-Class: Cornering
The C-Class has always been known for its handling prowess, and the new model is even better. The stiffer platform, wider track and shorter overhangs enhance the car’s agility and make it more responsive to steering inputs. The ride is taut but not jarring, and the car’s stability is remarkable. It’s predictable, communicative and confidence inspiring at all speeds. The C 250 is sprightly and eager to please, but it is the C 43 that will truly delight driving enthusiasts. It’s as fun to drive as the latest generation BMW 3 Series, with a smooth and powerful engine (it has been boosted to 329 bhp), and an 8-speed transmission that can be shifted manually using paddles mounted on the steering wheel. The C 43 comes with the Curve Selective Adaptive Suspension that can read the road ahead, and automatically adjust the suspension settings and steering assistance according to the corner type.
The New Mercedes C-Class: Engine range and driving dynamics
The C 320 and C 350 use the same 2-liter turbo petrol engine as the previous generation, but outputs have been slightly increased. The C 320 produces 258 bhp and 420 Nm of torque, and the C 350 has 302 bhp and 450 Nm. The C 350 is a little more eager to rev and stronger in the mid-range, but not dramatically so. The C 350e plug-in hybrid uses a 2-liter petrol engine mated with an electric motor to deliver a combined output of 357 bhp and a huge 680 Nm of torque. It is reputedly capable of accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.3 seconds. The C 43 is powered by a 3-liter straight-six engine with 329 bhp and 400 Nm of torque. It can be fitted with a 9-speed automatic or a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.
The New Mercedes C-Class: Interior & Infotainment
There are no radical departures in the interior, but it’s quite a bit richer and nicer than before. The dashboard and console are now soft-touch materials, and there is more stowage space. The touch controls have been re-arranged to make them easier to use, and some of them can be operated via gesture control. The infotainment system has also been upgraded and now includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The C-Class will be offered in 18 variants, distributed among 3 trims for the C 350 and 3 trims for the C 350e hybrid. The 2.0-litre C 320 comes in 2 trims. It will be available in both Rear-wheel drive and All-wheel drive, with optional Steering Pilot that can steer the car at low speeds in stop-and-go traffic.
The new C-Class is a solid improvement over the car it replaces. Though it is not an entirely new model, the manufacturer has used the opportunity to refresh the C-Class and make it better in every way. It is more dynamic and stylish, has a more spacious and refined interior with better materials, and comes with a range of powertrains that are more efficient and powerful than before. It’s a worthy successor to what has been for many years the class leader in the premium mid-size car segment.
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