Mercedes reveals the tech secrets behind its new C-class, including aluminium-steel platform crash test results
24 October 2013

The all-new Mercedes C-class has 'broken the mould' by moving dramatically away from the traditional recipe for the company’s smallest rear-drive model, according to company bosses.

It’s also claimed that the new aluminium-steel hybrid architecture also sets new standards in global crash tests – some of which are more onerous than those used by Euro NCAP.

The new model – which arrives in the UK next Spring – gets an all-new aluminium and steel platform, all-new suspension – with a new four-link, double-wishbone  system upfront and a much more 'dramatic and expressive' interior design.

The W205-series C-class will also offer executive car options including air suspension (unique in this segment, Mercedes claims), 360deg radar sensors, front and rear stereo cameras, a climate control system offering filtered and ionised air, and a head-up display.

Inside, the C-class's interior is much more dramatically styled, leaving behind all the influences of the classic W124 model. The interior quality is also claimed to have been improved markedly over the current car.

All versions of the C-class (even the five per cent of sales that are expected to leave the factory with a manual transmission) get the new-generation central controller, which combines a smartphone-style touchpad with a control wheel. The touchpad can also be used a rest for the driver’s wrist without being activated.

This week in Munich, Mercedes engineers revealed some of the key structures in the new C-class platform, including the front and rear cast aluminium suspension mounts and the new cast aluminium rear axle mount. The latter component replaces the current C-class's sub-assembly, which is made up of 13 different steel pressings as well as being nearly 40 per cent lighter.

The front suspension tower is also cast in one piece, replacing the three-part steel assembly used on the W204 C-class. The cast suspension mounts are bonded, riveted and screwed to the adjacent steel pressings with the layer of glue acting as a barrier to prevent the corrosion that would normally occur between steel and aluminium.

Overall, the body-in-white is 70kg lighter than that of the current C-class, mainly because the new structure is '24 per cent aluminium by weight'.

Mercedes safety engineers told Autocar that the new C-class architecture – which is not related to the new S-class structure or that of the upcoming new-generation E-class – was designed to excel in the world’s most demanding crash tests.

The company displayed part of the rear structure of a prototype W205 C-class, which had undergone one of the US-standard crash tests. This sees the car hit from the rear at 50mph with an 80 per cent overlap of the Mercedes’ rear and the front of the impacting vehicle.

A live video from inside the crash test car showed the Mercedes’ rear overhang crumpling right up into the rear wheel arch, but no further than the rear axle mounting point, despite the huge forces involved.

Our Verdict

Mercedes-Benz C-Class 2007-2014

The Mercedes C-Class marks a return to the company's old-school values of all-round quality and maturity

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Comments
8

24 October 2013

This is the first time in a long while that I'm actually quite excited over the prospect of a new Merc! I like almost everything about the new interior too (a long time Merc bug-bear of mine) with the exception of the exposed 'floating' touch-screen, which appears a little tacky to me.

Cyborg

24 October 2013

Sounds a really serious fight this time round. Seconds out....

24 October 2013

It seems that Mercedes have put a good deal of effort into their new C-class... Perhaps they realised what their customers might have wanted. Still, I don't see anything wrong with it, as long as it has the option of a proper manual transmission, with a clutch pedal. I must say, I'm not a big fan of automatics, of any description.

Bodge to the Future

24 October 2013

Loving these Mercedes articles!

24 October 2013

If I remember correctly a JLR spokesperson stated that they (JLR) were going to "blow the competition out of the water" or somesuch with their new small Jag. Meanwhile Mercedes is not left snoozing at the wheel and are about to come up with a product that seems like a direct challenge to this statement. It is getting interesting at this end of the market. While JLR is spending a lot of effort in hyping the would be product Mercedes just goes ahead and does it.... something that JLR should do. I am hoping the the baby Jag is a real winner and we are left with an abundance of excellent choices.

GeToD

 

25 October 2013
GeToD wrote:

If I remember correctly a JLR spokesperson stated that they (JLR) were going to "blow the competition out of the water" or somesuch with their new small Jag. Meanwhile Mercedes is not left snoozing at the wheel and are about to come up with a product that seems like a direct challenge to this statement. It is getting interesting at this end of the market. While JLR is spending a lot of effort in hyping the would be product Mercedes just goes ahead and does it.... something that JLR should do. I am hoping the the baby Jag is a real winner and we are left with an abundance of excellent choices.

I have said something very similar concerning Volvo, JLR talk the talk, but Volvo have just released its new designed in house range of petrol and diesel engines, a new 8 speed auto, and are releasing a new range of vehicles based on a brand new modular platform, but still upgrading and expanding its current range at the same time. JLR in the meantime are still sticking with products designed during the days of PAG and its only truly new products are not really new at all. The new Jaguar will have to absolutely amazing to achieve the claims being made about it, the problem is it will be too late arriving and all the competition will have moved on.

24 October 2013

I hope they've done something about their long-vanished build quality.

It's not difficult to find Mercs, even at less than a decade old, with rust in places not even a Lancia would rot.

25 October 2013

Norma - your point is quite old and outdated now I'm afraid. Although they did have a period of sub-standard quality (approximately during the DaimlerChrysler era, i.e. roughly 1996-2008), they are once again paying a-lot of attention to quality. The current W204 C-Class was already tested extensively over a combined total of millions of miles, and the performance of Mercedes has been improving steadily in surveys. In fact, Merc came out on top in a recent customer satisfaction survey...

 

- Follow your own star -

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