‘MRA’ is the new initialism for those amused by the occasional game of platform architecture bingo.
It allows the car to be about 100kg lighter than its predecessor, model for model, with an underbody constructed of almost 50 per cent aluminium, a lightweight material that’s still rare in compact executive saloons. The car is 95mm longer and 40mm wider, new for old.
The six-speed manual gearboxes fitted to entry-level models are new, and the seven-speed 7G-Tronic Plus auto (which more than 80 per cent of C-Class buyers choose) is kept on.
The range of engines consists of 134bhp 1.6-litre, 168bhp and 201bhp 2.1-litre, four-cylinder turbodiesels in the C 200 d, C 220 d, C 250 d and C 300 h models respectively, and a 181bhp 2.0-litre turbo petrol in the C 200 and C 350 e, while the range will be headed up by the 3.0-litre V6 C 43 and the 4.0-litre V8 C 63. The coupé and cabriolet models come with the same engine range bar the hybrid models and the inclusion of the C 300 - which uses the same 2.0-litre petrol engine but produces a hefty 242bhp.
The C-Class’s suspension is made up of a revised version of the five-link rear set-up that Mercedes has been faithful to for decades, and an all-new multi-link front axle alleged to offer excellent grip and stability.