After a development period that started three years ago, countless spy images, pre-production test drives and leaked images of the car, the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class has officially been revealed.
Billed as a mini S-Class as evident by its slimmer teardrop headlights, rounded grille and sloping coupe-like rear, the new W206 generation C-Class rides on a revised version of the MRA platform. The car measures 4 750 mm in overall length with a height of 1 438 mm, wheelbase of 2 865 mm and width of 1 821 mm.
Dimensions amounting to a 63 mm gain in overall length, 10 mm in width and 20 mm in the wheelbase department, the W206 loses 10 mm in height, but according to Mercedes-Benz, comes with 15 mm more rear headroom with shoulder space increasing by 13 mm.
The biggest beneficiary is the estate that measures 49 mm longer than before with its boot space increasing from 460-litres to 490-litres with the rear seats up. With the bench down, the estate has a claimed capacity of 1 510-litres with that of the sedan remaining unchanged at 455-litres.
With styling cues not only from the S-Class but also the E-Class and CLA, the latter pair most prominent when viewed from the rear, the W206 will be offered with three grille options as well as the popular AMG Line bodykit and alloy wheel choices ranging from 17 to 19-inches.
As already seen via the mentioned leaks, the biggest departure from not only the W205 but also previous generations is the interior, which is modelled heavily on the S-Class. Resplendent with not only the 10.25-inch or optional 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, the centre console is dominated by the new tablet-like MBUX infotainment system no longer standing on top of the dashboard. Measuring 9.5-inch or 11.9-inches, the system comes with the familiar Hey Mercedes activation command, as well as over-the-air updates, an augmented reality satellite navigation option and fingerprint scanner.
Depending on the trim level, and indeed the options list, other features include LED or digital headlights, colour Heads-Up Display, massage seats, the rear wheel steering and a segment first setting of the mentioned digital lights that projects warning signs or guidelines on the road. As ever, a selection of materials ranging from leather, Alcantara and wood to aluminium and piano-key black will be offered, along with the Dinamica micro-fibre option.
As is already known, the W206 represents the first time the C-Class is not offered with a six or eight-cylinder engine since replacing the 190E in 1993. Instead, all models combine their engines with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system capable of producing 15kW/200Nm for short spells, as well as the 9G Tronic automatic gearbox. A manual is no longer offered regardless of market, although certain models do have the option of the 4Matic all-wheel-drive system.
In Europe, the line-up will comprise of the C180 whose 1.5-litre turbo punches out 125kW/250Nm and the C200 which uses the same engine, but rated at 150kW/300Nm. Top speed is 231 km/h for the former and 246 km/h for the latter, with the 0-100 km/h dash taking 8.6 and 7.3 seconds respectively.
Until the arrival of the AMG models, the most powerful C-Class is the C300 which employs a 2.0-litre turbo that makes 190kW/400Nm. Like the C200, the mentioned 4Matic system can be had, but in conventional rear-wheel-drive form, the C300 will get from 0-100 km/h in six seconds before hitting the electronic stoppers at 250 km/h.
On the diesel front, the line-up will be spearheaded by the C220d and C300d, both powered by a 2.0-litre oil-burner rated at 147kW/440Nm and 195kW/550Nm respectively. Top speeds are capped at 245 km/h and 250 km/h with the 0-100 km/h sprint dispatched with in 7.3 and 5.7 seconds.
With an all-electric models ruled out for now, the C-Class will also offer a plug-in hybrid model in the shape of the C300e which combines the 2.0-litre engine with a 25.4 kWh battery pack for a total system output of 230kW/550Nm.
The claimed all-electric range is 100 km with emissions-free driving possible at up to 140 km/h. According to the three-pointed star, up to 440 Nm is available from pull-off with a 30 minute wait expected from 0-80% using the optional 55 kW charger. No charging time was given for the standard 11 kW charger though.
An important model in terms of not only sales but also exports, the W206 C-Class will once again be built at Benz’s plant in East London, but more than likely from next year only and in sedan guise as the estate and incoming C-Class Estate All-Terrain are poised to be ruled-out for the local market.
Final details will only be announced later with the same applying to the AMG models, which will allegedly include the C53 in place of the C43, and the C63 whose bi-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 will give way to an electrified 410 kW version of the 2.0-litre M139 used in the A45 S.