A few nips and tucks for the Teutonic standard

As if it weren’t already obvious from the vast quantity of examples seen on the road, the current generation of the C-Class compact four-door is officially the German brand’s best-selling model, moving as many as 417,000 units worldwide last year. Now, there’s a new model on the horizon, and it’s promising refreshed goods inside and out.

Let’s start with the stuff outside, where the high-powered AMG-spec’d models make their presence known thanks to a diamond grille fitted in front as standard, plus a new front apron and a rear diffuser for the 2019 model year. The rest of the line includes a bevy of silver and chrome trim, as well as halogen headlights with LED daytime running lights. Options include full-LED headlights, which also include goodies like “High Performance” elements with an “Ultra Range” high beam. The exterior paint options now throw in shades like Mojave silver metallic and emerald green metallic, while standard 17-inch wheels are found in the corners.

Step inside, and you’ll find an interior layout that looks more or less identical to the outgoing model, but Merc swears it’s updated for 2019, and includes a redesign for the center console. Optional interior materials include open-pore brown walnut trim and open-pore anthracite oak, while new interior color schemes include magma grey and black, plus saddle brown for the AMG line. There’s also a new multi-contour seat package which allows for individually adjustable side bolsters and lumbar support, as well as a massaging effect.

In terms of tech, the new C-Class is offered with a fully digital instrument display taken from the S-Class, and complete with three individual viewing modes. Standard spec throws a 5.5-inch display in between the gauges, but with the full digital option, you get a 12.3-inch screen instead. The center screen on the dash measures in at 7.0 inches as standard, but there’s also a high-resolution 10.25-inch screen if you’re willing to pay a bit more. Further features include touch-sensitive controls on the steering wheel, a Qi wireless phone charging system, and the optional Comand Online navigation system.

Mercedes says the C-Class can “drive semi-autonomously in certain situations,” and includes optional features like Active Distance Assist, Active Lane Change Assist, Active Steering Assist, and Active Emergency Stop Assist. Active Brake Assist is standard.

Motivation is once again derived from a turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, which gets up-rated in the latest 2019 model year to produce as much as 255 horsepower. A 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic transmission routes the power aft as standard, with AWD offered as an available option.

Pricing will be announced in March when the C-Class makes its formal debut at the Geneva International Motor Show. Look for the first batch to arrive hot off the presses in August.

References

Mercedes C-Class

2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
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Read our full review on the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

2016 - 2022 Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2016 – 2022 Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe.

2018 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe Exterior Spyshots
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Read our full review on the 2018 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe.

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Read more Mercedes-Benz news.

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Read more Geneva Motor Show news.

Note: all images courtesy of Mercedes-Benz.

The C-Class in its current generation was Mercedes-Benz’s top-selling model in its fourth year on sale. Worldwide sales topped 415,000 in 2017. The C-Class is produced at four plants on four continents. These are the lead plant in Bremen (Germany) plus East London (South Africa), Tuscaloosa (USA) and Beijing (China). The Beijing plant also produces the long version of the C-Class Saloon, which is built and sold exclusively in China. China was the biggest market for the C-Class in 2017. UK pricing and specification will be announced in March 2018, with first cars arriving from August.

The exterior: headlamps with new interior design
The new-look C-Class combines emotionality with intelligence. The vehicle’s appearance is defined by its front and the design of the headlamps and tail lights.

On the new version, the AMG Line features the diamond radiator grille as standard. The front bumpers have been redesigned for all lines. These new designs render the EXCLUSIVE exterior even more expressive and lend the AVANTGARDE exterior an even more dynamic character. The front bumper features either a silver trim strip (standard), a chrome-plated trim strip (in combination with AVANTGARDE exterior) or a three-part chrome trim strip (EXCLUSIVE exterior). In conjunction with the AMG Line exterior the vehicle sports a newly designed AMG front apron and rear diffuser. The rear bumper on the Saloon and Estate has a new lower section; geometry, trim and tailpipe trim vary according to the selected equipment and engine variant.

The design of the front and rear lights is defined by clear-lined contours. Exquisitely crafted details add highlights and underscore the modern character. The C-Class comes with halogen headlamps incorporating LED daytime running lamps as standard. LED High Performance headlamps featuring a particularly purist interior design are optionally available (standard in the UK). For the first time in this model series, MULTIBEAM LED headlamps with ULTRA RANGE high beam are additionally available (see below for details).

The colour spectrum has been broadened by the addition of Mojave silver metallic and emerald green metallic.

Interior design: exquisite fine-tuning
The sporty interior exudes class, featuring flowing forms in a new interpretation of modern luxury.

The centre console is characterised by an elegant flowing trim. This is available in open-pore brown walnut or open-pore anthracite oak. The 3D real wood veneer in the centre console combines a hand-crafted character with a modern feel. Magma grey/black are new interiors, plus saddle brown for the AMG Line interior.

The KEYLESS-GO starting function is standard. The start/stop button comes in a new turbine-look design. The vehicle key also features a new design. Customers have a choice between three variants here: black with high-gloss chrome surround, white with chrome surround or high-gloss white with matt chrome surround.

The Multicontour Seat package is new to the C-Class. With this package, the side bolsters and lumbar support can be individually adjusted by means of an electrically driven pneumatic pump. A massage effect in the lumbar area is provided by air chambers which are inflated and deflated in a pulsing or wave-like motion when the function is activated. The seat’s pneumatic functions are operated via the multimedia system.

The display concept: fully digital instrument display available as an option
The C-Class adopts the display concept of the current S-Class, with an optional fully digital instrument display offering the three different display styles “Classic”, “Sport” and “Progressive”.

The screen options at a glance:
Instrument cluster: The basic model features a classic two-tube instrument cluster. Between the tubes there is a 5.5-inch colour display (resolution: 383 x 600 pixels). The display style here is “Classic”.

The fully digital instrument display is available as an option. The screen has a 12.3-inch diagonal and offers high resolution of 1920 x 720 pixels. The cutting-edge screen design offers the three very different display styles “Classic”, “Sport” and “Progressive”. The styles can be switched quickly according to personal tastes or to suit the selected interior. Alongside certain menu items such as trip data or consumption figures, the driver can now additionally view the navigation display data or the ECO display in the instrument cluster. The latter supports the driver in adopting a fuel-efficient driving style.

Central display: The multimedia screen above the centre console is also available in two sizes. In combination with Audio 20 it has a 7-inch screen diagonal and a resolution of 960 x 540 pixels. Here too, the display style is “Classic”.

In conjunction with Audio 20, a high-resolution central display in 16:9 format is available for the first time, with a 10.25-inch screen diagonal and a resolution of 1920 x 720 pixels (standard in conjunction with the optional COMAND system). As with the instrument cluster, a choice of three display styles is also available here. The state-of-the-art mode of presentation enables the displayed information to be grasped intuitively, with clear and informative graphics accompanying the text information under the Vehicle menu item, for example.

The C-Class has touch-sensitive controls mounted on the steering wheel. They respond to swiping motions like the screen of a smartphone. They enable the driver to control the functions of the instrument cluster and of the entire infotainment system without having to take their hands off the steering wheel. The operation of DISTRONIC and cruise control with controls directly on the steering wheel is another new feature.

The infotainment system can additionally be operated via the touchpad with controller (new: haptic feedback) in the centre console or by means of LINGUATRONIC voice control. Vehicle functions such as the heated seats can now also be operated by voice control. The optional head-up display is now adjustable throughout an even larger range.

Intelligent Drive: state-of-the-art active safety
The new C-Class features the latest driving assistance systems, offering the driver cooperative support and providing a higher standard of active safety than its predecessor. The C-Class is able to drive semi-autonomously in certain situations. To do this it keeps a close eye on the traffic situation: improved camera and radar systems allow it to see up to 500 metres ahead. The vehicle’s surroundings are scanned by radar across a distance of up to 250 metres to the front, 40 metres to the sides and 80 metres to the rear, while with the camera a range of up to 500 metres is possible to the front, including 90 metres in 3D. The C-Class also uses map and navigation data for assistance functions. For example, Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC as part of the Driving Assistance package is able to support the driver in numerous situations on the basis of map information and predictively adjust the speed e.g. when approaching bends, junctions or roundabouts. Other new developments include intuitively understandable Active Lane Change Assist and Active Emergency Stop Assist as new functions of Active Steering Assist.

The new C-Class comes with extended Active Brake Assist as standard. Depending on the situation, this can help to mitigate the consequences of rear-end collisions with slow-moving, stopping or stationary vehicles ahead, and even with crossing pedestrians and cyclists, or prevent them altogether.

MULTIBEAM LED headlamps: optimum visibility in all conditions
The optionally available MULTIBEAM LED headlamps are new to the C-Class. Each headlamp incorporates 84 individually controllable LEDs. These allow extremely quick and precise, electronically controlled adjustment of the headlamps to suit the current traffic situation.

New functions in comparison to the previously available LED Intelligent Light System are junction light, roundabout light, city light and bad-weather light.

In high-beam mode, Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus enables continuous long-range illumination of the road ahead without dazzling oncoming traffic. When no other road user is detected, the road ahead is straight and the vehicle speed is above 40 km/h, ULTRA RANGE high beam is switched on automatically. This produces the maximum light intensity permitted by law, which results in the brightness of the main beam headlamps only falling below the reference value of 1 lux after a distance of more than 650 metres. When there are oncoming vehicles or vehicles ahead, the LEDs of the main beam modules are partially switched off, masking out a U-shaped area of the light beam. The other areas of the road continue to be illuminated with the high beam (partial high beam). The ULTRA RANGE high beams are only always active if high beam mode has been manually switched on.

ENERGIZING comfort control: for enhanced well-being
ENERGIZING comfort control (optional) links various comfort systems in the vehicle. It systematically uses the functions of the climate control system (including fragrancing) and the seats (heater, ventilation, massage) as well as lighting and musical moods, and enables a specific wellness set-up tailored to the mood and need of the customer. This has positive effects on wellbeing and driver performance.

Depending on the equipment level, up to six programmes are available. The programmes all run for 10 minutes. They are visualised in the central display with colour graphics, and backed by suitable music. Five songs are already stored in the programme. The key function in the “Vitality” programme, for example, is fast music with many beats per minute. If personal music selections are available, e.g. via the Media Interface, the system analyses them in the background and assigns them to a programme based on the beats per minute (bpm). Individual functions of the programmes can be deactivated.

ENERGIZING comfort control also incorporates ambience lighting, which is harmoniously tailored to each of the individual screen designs. With 64 colours, the optional extended ambience lighting offers a wealth of individual settings.

The multimedia systems: customised information and music offerings
The C-Class comes as standard with the Audio 20 multimedia system featuring two USB ports, an SD card reader, Bluetooth connection and media interface.

The latest-generation COMAND Online system (option) boasts fast 3D hard-disc navigation with topographic map display, photo-realistic 3D buildings and 3D map rotations. Comprehensive information is displayed on the navigation map: in addition to real-time traffic density information it can e.g. include Car-to-X warning messages, the weather, filling stations including current fuel prices and free parking spaces.

With the Concierge service (available as a subscription service), Mercedes me connect customers have a host of individual services at their disposal: from making restaurant reservations and obtaining tips about tourist routes, to gathering information on cultural or sporting events and sending navigation destinations directly to the vehicle.

Mobile devices corresponding to the Qi standard can be charged conveniently while on the move with the optional wireless charging system. The charging surface in the stowage tray at the front of the centre console is also suitable for large smartphones. This function also includes multifunction telephony, which additionally pairs the smartphone with the vehicle’s exterior aerial. This equips the vehicle for the best possible telephone connections and data transfer.

An additional sound system is now optionally available. With nine speakers and an output of 225 W (2 x Frontbass with 50 W, remaining five channels each with 25 W), it is positioned between the standard sound system and the Burmester® surround sound system.

UK pricing and specification will be revealed at the end of March, with first cars arriving from August 2018.

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