Mercedes Benz are in the throes of a major regeneration programme which will see 30 new models introduced over the next five years, 13 of which will have no predecessors.
The latest model to hit the market is the classy and popular C-Class, which accounts for 20% of Mercedes Benz cars sold in Ireland. The latest C-Class is packed with new offerings and equipment, including an easy to use five ‘touch button’ suspension setting system to suit the individual likes of driver, and all with an increase in the pricing structure of about 2%.
“We expect the C-Class to be a very competitive model offering in the mid-range luxury segment,” said sales manager, Ciaran Allan at the Irish launch. “It will be marketed on the three platforms of design and appointments, technical innovation and performance and a highly-competitive specifications-to-value offering.”
The C-Class was first introduced over 30 years ago, and was referred to as the original ‘Baby Benz’, selling over 8.5 million units. Now it is all grown up and is frequently referred to as the ‘Baby S-Class’ because it offers so much high end equipment.
The full line up when it arrives here will consist of four petrol and five diesel engine versions. The entry prices are €37,750 (ex-works) for petrol and €37,950 for diesel models. Petrol versions will include the C180, C200, C250 and C300 models. Diesel versions will include the C180, C200, C220, C250 BlueTEC models and a C300 Diesel Hybrid.
One car, two distinct faces and personalities, is how Mercedes described the offerings at the Irish launch.
First to arrive is a C220CDI diesel-powered 2.2-litre, 170bhp version (€43,300). Features include a 0.24 Cd value, 103g/km CO2, 4-litres/100km fuel consumption and €190 road tax. With it come two petrol-powered versions – a C180 1.6-litre, 156bhp model at €37,750 with 116g/km C02 and 5.0 –litres/100km and annual road tax of €200 and a C200 2.0-litre, 184bhp version at €39,500 whose equivalent features are 123g/km CO2, 5.3-litres/100km fuel consumption and annual road tax of €270.
The remaining models, which including a C300 Hybrid, will arrive in September.
There are touches of the S-Class all over with long bonnet, short overhangs and set back passenger compartment. This is a vehicle one step up in size from its predecessor; extra room from a 80mm longer wheelbase; 95mm longer body and 40mm wider frame to make rear seat travel more comfortable. A 100kg reduction in weight means fuel consumption is an average 20% lower. Boot capacity is 480 litres.
There are tree design and equipment lines – an Avantgarde version with grille-inset star aimed at younger buyers; an Exclusive version with a distinctive bonnet-mounted standing star aimed at the more conventional buyer; and an AMG line aimed at the sporty buyer.
Features include infotainment display, interactive touchpad and apps that give the driver online access to all forms of route planning, guidance, weather and traffic information. New is a ‘head-up’ display system that can project data directly on to the windscreen.
Transmission is 6-speed manual or 7G automatic. Permanent all-wheel drive is available. A new suspension system can be adjusted electronically with air suspension on front and rear axles available as an option.
Safety elements include the acclaimed Attention Assist drowsiness detection system and Collision Prevention Assist – an adaptive braking system that activates automatically if the driver fails to respond to danger ahead. Additional offerings include systems to control distance from the vehicle in front, lane keeping assist, active parking, adaptive head beam, traffic sign and way alert systems and a 360-degree camera.
Pelvis bags, a newly developed window bag, side bags and a driver’s knee bag also form part of the safety story.