The new C-class was revealed at an event prior to the Detroit show
The car shown here is a C400, a model unlikely to reach Europe
The C-class is Mercedes' perennial best seller
The range will include a sub-100g/km model
Air suspension will be among the available options
Mercedes has chosen to give the C-class styling elements from the S-class, to help differentiate it from the CLA
The larger proportions of the new C-class are clear
The car was revealed in the eve of the Detroit motor show
Full internet connectivity is also available when the car is stationary
Refinement has reportedly improved in all areas on the new C-class
Full internet connectivity is also available when the car is stationary
Legroom for rear passengers has increased by around 25mm over the previous C-class
The car had been spotted testing numerous times in the run up to its reveal
A head-up display is offered as an option on the C-class for the first time
The new C-class feature AirMatic suspension, which will be optional on all models sold in the UK
The C63 AMG version will be powered by a new twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 engine
The C-class will go on sale in June
The C-class has no visible exterior radio antenna. It is now housed in the mirror on the passenger door
Most models of the new C-class will be offered with rear-wheel drive
Mercedes will allow customers to upgrade to its 4Matic all-wheel drive system for a cost, however
Most cars will come with a standard six-speed manual gearbox
A new nine-speed automatic transmission will be available with some engines further down the line
For now, customers wanting an automatic transmission can have a seven-speed DCT unit
Myriad safety options — including a level of autonomous driving at low speeds — are borrowed from the S-class
This fourth-generation C-class line-up will be the model's largest yet
The saloon will be followed by an estate version in autumn of next year
The C63 AMG is set to arrive at the end of this year
A replacement for the C-class coupé will also follow, most likely in 2016
A liftback version has also been mooted to rival the new BMW 3-series GT
Our first ride in the new C-class revealed a model with stunning potential
It'll have to be good to offer serious competition to the likes of the BMW 3-series and Audi A4
It's clear that the new C-class has borrowed plenty of styling elements from the S-class
Our ride showed that the C-class is much smoother than before, both in the operation of its engine and its ride
The C220 model we rode in can reach 62mph in 8.1 seconds
Infotainment functions in the new model include video and audio playback
The car can connect to the internet to give extra functions for navigation and other apps
Live traffic updates and Google search are among the other apps which are available
A 7-inch screen is standard, with an 8.4-inch one fitted should the buyer opt for the Comand Online infotainment package
A new touchpad in the centre console allows users to control multimedia functions
All C-class models will be fitted with an electronic parking brake as standard
On the interior options list are various wood and metal trims, plus ambient lighting
The new model, Mercedes’ global best-seller, has a dramatic new look inside and out, a 100kg weight reduction and a more efficient engine line-up that includes a model with sub-100g/km CO2 emissions for the first time in the fiercely contested compact premium saloon segment.
Other features of the new W205-generation C-class include the option of air suspension (another segment first), a more agile chassis, greater use of aluminium in its structure and a whole suite of advanced driver-assistance systems shared with the recently-launched new S-class.
Underpinning the C-class is the new lightweight modular rear-drive MRA (Mercedes Rear-drive Architecture) platform that will underpin all core rear-drive models from the C-class and above, including saloons and SUVs.
This new platform will be rolled out across a C-class line-up that will extend to include estate, coupé and AMG variants as well as a new cabriolet version and 4Matic all-wheel-drive models that will be sold in the UK for the first time from the end of next year.
The new C-class is 4686mm long, 1810mm wide and 1442mm high, the length and width growing by 95mm and 40mm respectively over the current car and the height reducing by 5mm. The wheelbase is up by 80mm to 2840mm.
The increase in size is due to the recent arrival in Mercedes’s line-up of the CLA, a model that closely matches the current C-class in length. The fifth-generation C-class has thus grown longer and wider to distance itself from the CLA.
Visually, the new C-class shows a clear family resemblance to the latest S-class and recently revised E-class, as well as the smaller A-class family. Following Mercedes’ ‘sensual purity’ design theme, the fundamental classic rear-drive saloon proportions, including a long bonnet and set-back cabin, remain, but the Mercedes design team, headed by Gorden Wagener, have reduced the overhangs, raised the beltline, narrowed the glasshouse and added sculpted, flowing lines and surfaces that taper back to give a more classic profile inspired by the Streamliner models from the 1920s and 1930s.
This ‘soft’ treatment, which includes front and rear ends that avoid sharp edges and creases by curving into the car’s sides, contributes to the C-class’s class-best drag coefficient of 0.24.
The overall result is a more modern-looking C-class that Mercedes hopes will appeal to a much younger audience without alienating the more traditional C-class buyer.
The new look for the modern, luxurious interior is bolder still than that of the exterior. Its ‘wraparound’ dashboard design is derived from that found in the A-class family and the new S-class and features three central circular air vents, greatly reduced switchgear on the centre console and improved overall fit and finish.
A free-standing screen on top of the dashboard displays key information and infotainment options and is controlled by a standard rotary controller, or an optional touchpad that mimics the controls of a touchscreen smartphone.
In the rear, the longer wheelbase means back-seat passengers get 25mm more legroom, while the increase in overall width further boosts space. Boot capacity is up by five litres over the outgoing C-class, to 480 litres.
The structure of the new C-class is now almost 50 per cent aluminium, contributing to an overall weight reduction of up to 100kg, model to model. This not only helps to reduce fuel consumption but also improves strength, ride and handling characteristics and safety performance.
The new C-class’s chassis has been tuned to offer a more sporty and agile drive without compromising ride comfort. Stiffness has been increased by around 20 per cent.
The suspension consists of a four-link set-up at the front and a five-link arrangement at the rear. A steel suspension system with selective damping is fitted as standard in three different versions, including a sports set-up lowered by 15mm in AMG Line models.
The big news, however, is the option of AirMatic air suspension, the first time it has been offered in this class. This fully adaptive, self-levelling system offers four driving modes, from Comfort to Sport+, or allows the driver to tailor his own preferences in the Individual mode. The steering set-up, meanwhile, is a speed-sensitive electro-mechanical system.
All engines in the C-class range are Euro 6 emissions compliant, come with stop-start as standard and offer up to 20 per cent better economy than the previous line-up but with no loss of performance.
The engine range at launch includes a 168bhp 2.1-litre turbodiesel in the C220 Bluetec, a 154bhp 1.6 petrol in the C180 and a 181bhp 2.0-litre petrol in the C200.
A series of other engines will be rolled out soon after launch, including a new 1.6-litre turbodiesel co-developed with Renault. It will be offered with power outputs of 113bhp and 134bhp and will see the C-class’s CO2emissions dip below 100g/km in its most frugal form. Other variants of the familiar OM651 2.1-litre turbodiesel will also follow, with power outputs ranging from 113bhp to 201bhp.
The launch petrol line-up will be expanded with further versions of the M274 engine already familiar from its transverse application in the A-class. In the C-class, it will be offered with power outputs of up to 235bhp. A V6 petrol engine is also planned.
The C-class will be offered in a C300 Bluetec Hybrid version, which mixes a 2.1-litre turbodiesel engine with an electric motor and comes with a provisional 72.4mpg claimed economy figure. Also planned from 2015 is a plug-in petrol-electric drivetrain in the C350.
Two transmissions are offered: a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. A nine-speed automatic has also been rumoured for introduction further down the line. Rear-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive being offered later in the year on selected C-classes for the first time.
A whole host of technologies derived from the S-class is also being offered on the C-class. These include a level of autonomous driving at low speeds and in traffic jams, along with drowsiness detection, steering assistance, lane assistance and numerous parking assistance systems.