- All-new Merc C-Class is the most high-tech Baby Benz they've ever made.
- More than 10.5 million of these vehicles have found homes worldwide since their introduction in 1982.
- Petrol and diesel options are available at launch, and you can have them in Avantgarde or AMG-Line.
- For motoring news, go to Wheels24
The new Mercedes-Benz C-Class has officially launched in South Africa this week. Pricing starts at R849 000 for the C200 and extends to R908 500 for the C220d. Both cars come standard in Avantgarde trim, while an AMG-Line pack is available as an option.
This sixth-generation C-Class boasts luxurious comfort, minimalist design, and innovative assistance systems. Since its introduction in 1982, with the so-called 'Baby Benz' 190, more than 10.5 million C-Class vehicles have been sold in more than 100 markets worldwide.
The new C-Class is manufactured at Mercedes-Benz Cars production plants in Bremen, Beijing, and East London. R13 billion has already been invested in numerous upgrades at the East London plant to accommodate the new model.
Wheels24 is attending the launch of the all-new Mercedes-Benz C-Class in the Western Cape this week, so stay tuned for our Launch Drive report coming soon. For now, here are five things you ought to know about the new model.
1. It's packing S-Class tech, but for a third of the price
The new C-Class is equipped with the second generation of MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience), as you would get in the new S-Class. The C interior has become even more digital and intelligent in this generation, as both the hardware and software have made great strides: Brilliant images on the LCD screens make it easy to control vehicle and comfort functions.
The information is presented in a clear, structured way. Mercedes-Benz developed a new display aesthetic for the S-Class, which now is systematically used as the basis for this C-Class and other models like the SL coming soon.
2. The most agile C-Class they've ever conceived
It's said to be incredibly agile and stable thanks to optional rear-axle steering and an accompanying, more direct steering ratio at the front axle. The steering angle at the rear axle is 2.5 degrees, which reduces the vehicle's turning circle by 43cm. The driver also needs fewer turns of the steering wheel for full lock.
With rear-axle steering, this requires 2.1 instead of 2.35 turns, depending on the drive concept. At speeds below 60km/h, the rear wheels steer in the opposite direction to the front wheels - and up to 2.5 degrees opposite to the front-axle angle during parking. Depending on the situation, this virtually shortens the wheelbase, and the vehicle is more manoeuvrable, light-footed, and agile as a result.
3. They kept the diesel engine in the line-up
Although it seems that most carmakers are turning their backs on diesel unless it's a commercial vehicle, Mercedes-Benz is continuing the tradition of the luxury diesel sedan in the C-Class. The new OM 654 M engine is leading the diesel charge with an integrated second-generation starter-generator (ISG). It has a 48-volt partial onboard electrical system.
An energy recovery function and the ability to "glide" with the engine switched off makes the engine even more efficient. It's powerful, too, producing 147kW (plus an additional 15kW from the ISG) and 440Nm (plus an additional 200Nm from the ISG).
4. It leverages artificial intelligence for an improved drive
The voice assistant 'Hey Mercedes' becomes more interactive and capable of learning by activating online services in the Mercedes Me app. Moreover, drivers can perform specific actions without the activation keyword 'Hey Mercedes'. These include taking a telephone call. 'Hey Mercedes' also explains vehicle functions and, for example, can help when asked how to connect a smartphone by Bluetooth or where you can find the first-aid kit. 'Hey Mercedes' can also recognise the vehicle occupants by their voices.
Augmented Video is available as optional equipment too. A camera registers the surroundings in front of the vehicle. The moving images are shown on the central display. In addition, virtual objects, information, and markers are superimposed on the video image. These include traffic signs, directional arrows, lane-change recommendations, and house numbers. This can make navigation much easier, especially in urban areas.
5. Over the updates will maintain its software and firmware
As soon as a new update from Mercedes-Benz becomes available, a message appears in MBUX. The update is downloaded and installed in the background. The driver then has to agree explicitly to its activation again. In this way, the vehicle is always up-to-date. Features that have not been invented yet can also be installed using OTA updates in cars already sold.
Mercedes-Benz relies on mobile communications technology and the communication module installed in the vehicle due to the high-security standard to transfer the data. Additionally, Compared to the previous-gen C-Class series, the latest generation of the company's Driving Assistance Systems (ADAS) offers advanced functions to reduce driver workload in day-to-day driving situations for more comfortable and safe driving. When danger threatens, the assistance systems can respond to impending collisions as the situation demands.
We'll bring you more information on the new C-Class and tell you what both the C200 and the C220d were like to drive at the launch later this week.
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