This fifth-generation Mercedes C-Class adopts Mercedes’ updated Modular Rear II model architecture employed so far on only the latest Mercedes S-Class. That’s a factor Stuttgart is keen to communicate, as it has always talked up the effect of technology migrating from its flagship limousine down to its biggest-selling saloon. Mercedes followers will know, however, that the last S-Class (2014-2020) and C-Class (2014-2021) also shared their underpinnings.
The W206 is a little larger than the model it replaces, and sticks with a traditional executive car mechanical layout of a longways-mounted engine up front, from where drive is taken to either the rear axle exclusively, or to both. The car’s combustion engines are all four-cylinder units, now with 48V mild-hybrid assistance.
A 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol powers both the entry-level, 168bhp C180 (which isn’t part of the UK model range) and the 201bhp C200, while primary power for both the 255bhp C300 and the C300e comes from a 2.0-litre turbocharged four. The 197bhp C220d and 261bhp C300d diesels, meanwhile, are powered by a revised version of Mercedes’ OM654 engine with a new crankshaft and integrated starter-generator motor.
All C-Classes use a nine-speed automatic transmission, and the C300e PHEV adds a 127bhp permanently excited electric motor into its mechanical mix that can power the car all by itself at speeds of up to 87mph. It draws charge from a lithium ion drive battery that is smaller than the equivalent component in the outgoing C300e but also has nearly twice as much energy capacity: 25.4kWh in total.