Mercedes-Benz’s bestselling sedan sees a massive redesign, adopting elements from the new S-Class. After a 6-year run with the W205 generation model, the brand spanking new W206 is set to hit the streets by toward the end of 2021.
The genesis of the Mercedes C-Class dates all the way back to 1982 with the W201 190 model, which was hugely popular and sold in huge numbers. Over 1.8 million units for the first-generation model alone. 39 years on, the Mercedes has sold a total of 10.5 million C-Class units, making it the best selling model in Mercedes’s line-up.
Design-wise, the Mercedes C-Class follows in the footsteps of the much larger W223 Mercedes S-Class. The exterior design shies away from the more conservative styling of the previous generation models, with new slimmer headlights and taillights that look remarkably similar to the much larger S-Class. It’s not hard to see where the C-Class draws its design cues from the flagship saloon. From the upturned grille, short overhangs and longer bonnet. Even the taillights adopt the same slimmer design that we’ve seen on the newer Mercedes models like the CLA-Class.
The simplest way to put it, it looks like a baby S-Class. With some bits of CLA.
The Estate equivalent is equally sleek too, with its wide quarter panels that blend into the rear hatch to give it wider hips. It slightly better looking than the sedan if I do say so myself. The changes to the wagon aren’t just cosmetic. The rear boot space in the C-Class Estate is actually over 30 litres larger than the previous model.
Inside, it’s all watered down S-Class. The new Mercedes C-Class adopts the same floating digital gauge cluster seen on the A-Class based models and the S-Class. Customers have a choice of a 10.25-inch or an upgraded 12.3-inch display.
A large central touchscreen dominates the centre stack and does away with many of the physical buttons fin the previous generations. The HVAC settings are integrated into the screen itself, with just a thin strip of buttons on the bottom of the central display. It looks almost identical to the one in the latest S-Class and measures 9.5-inches across. Customers can opt for an 11.9-inch display, a smidge smaller than the 12.8-inch display offered in the larger S-Class. Both screens will be powered by the latest and greatest iteration of the MBUX interface, which Mercedes claims has more processing power than the previous generations. Like before, a Burmester sound system is available as an option.
Like the W205 model that preceded it, the new C-Class retains its three centre-mounted air-con vents, but they are not incorporated with the ambient lighting system that spans across the whole cabin. The centre stack is treated to a healthy dose of glossy piano black, with several options for the dashboard trim including the lovely wood and aluminium material pictured above.
Reas seat passengers are treated to the same levels of luxury, with rear-mounted air-con vents and a small display to adjust the rear climate settings. Lovely trim pieces adorn the doors, along with the beautifully milled speaker grilles from the Burmester sound system.
The steering wheel adopts the same 5-spoke design with MBUX touchpads integrated into the spokes at 10 and 2 0’clock. Metal paddle shifters, like the ones seen on the current facelifted Mercedes E-Class, are tucked discreetly behind the spokes. The driver’s display also changes according to the various drive modes.
Perhaps the most controversial feature of the new C-Class will be the hybridized powertrains available across the range. All C-Class variants will be powered by four-cylinder engines with 48-volt mild-hybrid systems. A plug-in hybrid (PHEV) will be offered too, with a 129-horsepower electric motor and a 25.4kwh battery pack. The PHEVs will have a rated WLTP range of 100km on pure electric drive alone. According to Mercedes, the battery pack can be fully charged in just 30 minutes with a 55kw DC charger.
The C180 and C200 models will have 1.5-litre turbocharged engines and have power outputs of 170bhp/250Nm for the C180, and 204hp/300Nm in the C200. The range-topping C300 will get a 2.0-litre turbocharged unit that is good for 258hp and 400Nm of torque. The C200 and C300 models will also be available with 4MATIC all-wheel-drive systems. And thanks to the mild-hybrid tech, EQ boost is available on all models, adding an additional 20 horsepower and 200Nm.
Sadly, the turbocharged V6 and V8 powerplants from the C43 and C63 AMG models will be replaced by uprated versions of the four-pot engines (Breaks my heart that to think the C63 will be a four-pot hybrid). Power in the C63 is expected to nudge into the 400 to 500 horsepower regions, with a large portion of that being generated by the electric motors. Performance figures for those cars would remain if not better than the outgoing AMGs, but of course, many of us will miss the raucous growl of the charismatic V8s.