This Baby has grown up. After giving us a tease of the new interior of the completely redesign 2015 C-Class a couple months ago, Mercedes-Benz is finally offering a full look – and details – about a car that no longer should be thought about as the “Baby Benz.”
No surprise the 2015 re-make is moving up-market, of course. Not only are buyers are getting more demanding but Mercedes also had to make room for the now sold-out CLA model which notches in as the brand’s lowest-priced offering at just under $30,000 – if you can find one.
The 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is a larger, decidedly more stylish, sporty and well-equipped offering, with a much-expanded array of both creature comfort and safety features that would have impressed even an S-Class buyer not all that many years ago.
“Mercedes at its best – that’s the new C-Class, which sets new standards for the mid-range segment on many fronts,” proclaims Thomas Weber, the Daimler AG board member overseeing Research and Development. “It is characterized by an emotional yet clear design which is continued in the high-quality and modern interior. Its efficient and high-performance engineering provides the basis for a high standard of driving enjoyment.”
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Among the new safety features, Mercedes has not only the traditional frontal airbags, but front seat pelvis bags, a new window bag, side bags and even a knee bag for the driver. There’s – to keep it alphabetical: Active Park Assist, Adaptive Brake Assist, Attention Assist, Brake Assist System Plus, Collision Prevention Assist Plus, Distronic Plus with Steering Assist, and Enhanced Active Lane Keeping Assist. Oh, and in some markets, Mercedes will offer a 360-degree camera and Traffic Sign Assist with Wrong-Way Alert.
In keeping with general market trends, the new “Baby” is both larger and lighter, shedding about 220 pounds despite a three-inch longer wheelbase, while the car grows 1.6 inches in width.
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The exterior design breaks from the C-Class tradition, adopting a more dynamic shape that is more sculpted, and features a longer hood and shorter overhangs. “The new C-Class showcases automotive passion by way of a contemporary design idiom,” contends Gorden Wagener, Vice President Design Daimler. “Progressive and emotional highlights underscore the ground-breaking design style of the new C-Class and demonstrate sensual clarity. The new C-Class interprets modern luxury on a new level.”
Inside, there’s a new center console designed to open up the compact interior, and a free-standing center display that can be fitted with either a 7- or 8.4-inch LCD screen. There’s a new mix of more elegant metals and “organic” materials.
From a tech standpoint, the maker appears to be trying to address long-running concerns about its COMAND infotainment system with an “innovative” touchpad controller that will permit a motorist to operate basic functions through finger gestures. The new system also will provide haptic – or touch – feedback when using the touchpad. There’s also a new head-up display option.
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The high-tech push is apparent everywhere. There will be three suspension options, for example, including the first air suspension offered in a Mercedes C-Class, and there are even two LCD headlight upgrades above the standard halogen lamps. The new 2015 sedan will even feature a GPS-synced climate control system that will shut off the outside vents when the car enters a tunnel.
The reduction in mass is one reason, Mercedes says, that the new 2015 C-Class will be able to deliver about 20% better fuel economy without sacrificing performance.
American buyers will have two versions to choose from, the C300 4Matic, which is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four making 235 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. The alternative is the C400 4Matic with a 3.0-liter turbo V-6 bumping the numbers up to 329 hp and 354 lb-ft. As this suggests, all-wheel-drive is the new standard at Mercedes, with both C-Class models sharing the maker’s 7-speed automatic.
Don’t expect these to be the last options, however. We’d bet on the arrival of an AMG version within short order. We’ll have to wait to see if we might also get the new BlueTec diesel, as well.
As to timing of the C300 and C400 models, look for sometime next autumn. And anticipate an official reveal of the new Baby at the upcoming Detroit Auto Show. Pricing will be announced closer to the car’s on-sale date.
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