Welcome to a new, even more digital and efficient world, and welcome home: the new C-Class stands for both, and in all respects creates a future-proof comfort zone in a time of worldwide transformation. As the first classic model series from Mercedes-Benz, the new C-Class is electrified throughout thanks to plug-in hybrids and mild hybrids with 48-volt technology and integrated starter-generator. Due to a high-efficiency battery system, it achieves an electric range of about 100 kilometres (WLTP) as a plug-in hybrid. That is unprecedented in this category to date. It also sets standards with respect to sustainability. And because the C-Class is one of the company’s highest-volume model series, this systematic electrification has a correspondingly strong effect on our carbon footprint. Other technical refinements include optional features such as DIGITAL LIGHT and rear-axle steering. The Saloon and Estate models première together, can be ordered from 30 March and will arrive in dealer showrooms in summer 2021.
Design: Sensual purity with a sporty and elegant touch
The new C-Class already looks to be in motion at a standstill with its dynamic proportions, thanks to the combination of short front overhang, long wheelbase and rear overhang. The sporty bonnet with power domes accentuates this urge of forward motion. The windscreen and passenger cell have been moved to the rear for these classic proportions known in the industry as “cab-backward design”. The preceding model was already a great step forward in terms of a high-value appeal in the interior, and the new C-Class goes even further with respect to modern luxury. The interior adopts highlights from the new S-Class, adding a sporty touch.
Exterior design: Profile with attractive light effects
When viewed from the side, elaborately sculptured surfaces create unique light effects. Conversely, the designers have reduced lines to a minimum, which accentuates the so-called catwalk line or shoulder line even more. In the Estate model, the progressive roof line in combination with the inclined rear window adds a sporty touch without functional compromises. Other features producing the sporty, superior appearance include the wide track and the flush 17- to 19-inch wheels in modern designs.
The brand’s hallmark radiator grille characterises the front. All models feature a central star, with the design and character of the radiator grille differing in the details. The base model has a central star and louvres. In the AVANTGARDE line, there are additional decorative elements in the louvres, while the radiator grille and front apron feature chrome surrounds. The distinguishing feature of the AMG Line is the diamond grille with the star design in chrome.
The rear-end design is typical of a Mercedes-Benz saloon. The high-quality design of the tail lamps fascinates with an unmistakable day and night appearance. In the Saloon, the lamps for the first time have a two-piece design in the
C-Class, with the light functions divided between the side wall and boot lid lamps. Their precisely configured interiors also showcase the standard of particularly high quality in detail. Optional or line-specific trim in the rear bumper attractively rounds off the rear view. Three new paint finishes – spectral blue, high-tech silver and opalite white – have been added to the colour range.
Interior design: sporty touches thanks to the driver-centred design
The dashboard is divided into an upper and a lower section: into a wing-like section with new, flattened round vents reminiscent of aircraft engine nacelles, and into an opulent expanse of trim. The latter flows from the centre console to the dashboard without interruption. Driver-focus adds to the sportiness: the dashboard and central display are slightly tilted towards the driver by six degrees.
The driver area features a high-resolution LCD screen. It is free-standing, and appears to float in front of the wing profile and the expanse of trim. This sets the driver display apart from traditional cockpits with classic round dials. Customers have a choice between a 10.25-inch (26.0 cm) or a 12.3-inch (31.2 cm) version.
The paradigm change to digitisation is also obvious in the central display: the vehicle functions can be controlled using the high-quality touchscreen. Its portrait orientation is particularly advantageous for navigation. The touchscreen likewise appears to float above the expanse of trim. Like the dashboard, the screen is slightly tilted towards the driver. The central display has a screen diagonal of 9.5 inches (24.1 cm) as standard. A larger version measuring 11.9 inches or 30.2 cm is optionally available.
A high-quality chrome insert divides the centre console into a rear, padded section for the armrest and a front section in lustrous jet black. The seemingly free-floating central display rises smoothly and seamlessly from this three-dimensional surface.
The modern, highly reduced design of door panels frames both ends of the dashboard. The door centre panel with integrated armrest evolves from a vertical surface into a horizontal orientation. Reflecting the design of the centre console, the front section takes the form of a metallic high-tech element. It can be used as a grab or closing handle, and houses the power window controls. Another highlight is the floating control cluster, into which the door opener and seat adjustment controls are integrated.
The special design of the optional AVANTGARDE or sport seats of the new C-Class uses layers and enveloping surfaces to create a visual impression of lightness. The head restraints are a completely new design and are attached to the backrest with a sealed piece of trim under which the adjustment mechanism is located.
A dashboard covered with man-made leather and featuring nappa-look beltlines is available for the C-Class (optional equipment, standard with AMG Line). The range of available trim showcases innovative surfaces. These include new interpretations of open-pored veneers in brown tones and a black, open-pored wood veneer featuring fine inlays of genuine aluminium that follow the dashboard’s contours.
The driver display and media display offer a holistic, aesthetic experience. The look of the screens can be individualised with three display styles (Discreet, Sporty, Classic) and three modes (Navigation, Assistance, Service). In “Sporty”, for example, the colour red is predominant and the central rev counter has a dynamic design. If any of the lines are selected, the new C-Class is equipped with ambient lighting featuring optical fibres as standard.
Latest generation of MBUX: intuitively operated and learning
Like the new S-Class, the new C-Class is equipped with the second generation of MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience). The vehicle interior becomes even more digital and intelligent, 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 driver display and media display offer a holistic, aesthetic experience. The information is presented in a clearly structured way. Mercedes-Benz developed a new display aesthetic for the S-Class, which now is systematically used as the basis for other models.
The look of the screens can be individualised with three display styles (Discreet, Sporty, Classic) and three modes (Navigation, Assistance, Service).
- In “Classic” style, the driver is welcomed with a familiar display environment. The proven display with two tubes and changing content between them provides all the information relevant to the driver.
- “Sporty” is dominated by the colour red, with dynamic design of the central rev counter.
- In “Discreet” style, the content is reduced to what is essential. In addition, both screens can be shown in seven colour schemes with the ambient lighting. This makes for an impressive colour experience in the interior.
- In the new “Assistance Mode”, the traffic situation is shown in real time and supplemented with important displayed information.
The full-screen navigation was adopted from the S-Class, and gives the driver the best possible guidance on a journey.
Hey Mercedes: the increasingly sharp voice assistant
The voice assistant “Hey Mercedes” becomes more interactive and capable of learning by activating online services in the Mercedes me App. Moreover, certain actions can be performed even 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 the first-aid kit can be found. “Hey Mercedes” is also able to recognise the vehicle occupants by their voices.
Smart Home: Mobile intelligence for maximum operating convenience from a distance
With the MBUX Smart Home function, the C-Class now becomes a mobile control centre for the home of many people. Because Smart Home refers to WLAN, sensors and actuators make the home increasingly intelligent and communicative: temperature and lights, shutters and electrical appliances can be remotely monitored and controlled. Motion detectors and window contacts inform the user of welcome or unwelcome visitors.
“Hey Mercedes, is there anybody in my home right now?” “I checked. The last movement detected was in the kitchen one hour ago.” This is how future conversations between the driver or passenger and the user’s smart home might go using the MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) voice assistant. At the market launch, the MBUX Smart Home function will support numerous devices offered by important smart home providers – corresponding contracts have already been concluded with Bosch Smart Home and Samsung SmartThings. Further providers will follow, and be announced at a later stage. Right from the start, Hey Mercedes understands queries and commands in four languages (German, Chinese, American and British English). One can address lamps, sockets, thermostats, shutters and blinds, motion detectors and door or window contacts, as well as temperature sensors. So the system can also answer this question: “Did I remember to turn the heating down?” Depending on the response and the thermostats installed in the home, it is possible to change the setting: “Set the temperature to 18 degrees in the whole house!” In this way, Smart Home integration into MBUX helps to reduce home energy consumption. It also enhances comfort, because the heating can also be remotely turned up again in good time.
Music streaming: millions of songs to choose from
With the “Online Music” service, Mercedes-Benz has now fully integrated the major music streaming services into the MBUX infotainment system. MBUX enables seamless access to the personal user profile at the linked music provider. This not only gives customers convenient access to their favourite songs and personal playlists, but also the opportunity to discover millions of songs and curated playlists. Operation is intuitive, using the MBUX voice assistant “Hey Mercedes” or touch controls on the steering wheel, or directly on the central display.
Augmented Video is available as optional equipment. 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, e.g. traffic signs, directional arrows, lane-change recommendations and house numbers. This can make navigation much easier, especially in urban areas.
A colour head-up display can be ordered as optional equipment. The driver sees a virtual image measuring 9 x 3 inches (approx. 23 x 8 cm) floating above the bonnet at a distance of about 4.5 m.
A fingerprint scanner is located in an ergonomic position below the central display. This allows users to log into MBUX quickly, conveniently and securely. The reason being that personal settings and data such as favourites, most recent destinations, behaviour-based predictions, business calendar entries or emails are protected. Payment processes via Mercedes me are also reserved to authenticated users.
“Over-the-air” (OTA) updates: The software is always kept up-to-date
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 user then has to agree explicitly to its activation again. In this way the vehicle is always up-to-date. Features which have not even been invented yet can also be installed by means of OTA updates in vehicles already sold. To transfer the data, Mercedes-Benz relies on mobile communications technology and the communication module installed in the vehicle due to the high security standard.
Another way to ensure an up-to-date and improved user experience is to book new functions in the Mercedes me Store, e.g. music streaming services or In-Car Office. Subscription services can also be renewed or newly added directly online via the Mercedes me Store.
Powertrain: systematic electrification of the modern four-cylinder engines
Thanks to systematic electrification and intelligent downsizing, the new C-Class sets new standards in efficiency. The engine range has only four-cylinder units from the current modular FAME (Family of Modular Engines) Mercedes-Benz engine family. Accordingly, the engine range plays a major role in the flexibility of the international production network, with needs-based electrification.
In addition to turbocharging, both the diesel and the petrol engines now have an integrated starter-generator (ISG) for intelligent assistance at low engine speeds as a mild hybrid of the second generation. This ensures outstanding power delivery. The ISG uses a 48 volt on-board electrical system that ensures functions such as gliding, boosting or energy recovery, and makes significant fuel savings possible. The engines also start very rapidly and comfortably as a result, so that the start/stop function is almost as imperceptible to the driver as the transition from gliding with the engine switched off to strong acceleration under engine power. When idling, the intelligent interaction between the ISG and the combustion engine ensures outstandingly smooth running.
First diesel with an integrated starter-generator
Spearhead of the efficiency improvement measures is the new OM 654 M with an integrated second-generation starter-generator (ISG). It has a 48-volt partial on-board electrical system. An energy recovery function and the ability to “glide” with the engine switched off make the engine even more efficient. Along with electrification, which also includes the use of an electric refrigerant compressor for the air conditioning system, the most important modifications that make an output of up to 195 kW plus an additional 15 kW from the EQ Boost system possible are:
- A new crankshaft increases the stroke to 94.3 mm and the displacement to 1992 cc (previously: 92.3 and 1950).
- The injection pressure is increased to 2700 bar (previously 2500).
- Particularly fast response times and uniform power delivery thanks to two water-cooled turbochargers, both now featuring variable turbine geometry.
- A sodium-filled cooling duct in each of the steel pistons. This helps to dissipate temperature peaks in the combustion cavity of the pistons.
In terms of exhaust gas aftertreatment, this most powerful of the four-cylinder diesel engines also takes things one step further. Its components include:
- a close-coupled NOx storage catalytic converter for reducing nitrogen oxides
- a DPF (diesel particulate filter with special coating for reducing also the amount of nitrogen oxides)
- an SCR catalytic converter (selective catalytic reduction with metered injected quantity of AdBlue®) and
- an additional SCR catalytic converter in the vehicle’s underbody, with a separately metered injected quantity of AdBlue®
Four-cylinder petrol engine also with a second-generation ISG
The four-cylinder M 254 petrol engine with a second-generation starter-generator with an additional output of up to 15 kW and 200 Nm more torque is also celebrating its première in the C-Class. Thanks to energy recovery and the ability to “glide” with the engine switched off, the petrol engine is highly efficient. In the M 254, Mercedes-Benz has for the first time combined all the innovations of the modular engine family of four and six-cylinder petrol and diesel units in a single engine. They include NANOSLIDE® cylinder coating, CONICSHAPE® cylinder honing (trumpet honing) and the exhaust aftertreatment system positioned directly at the engine.
A completely new feature is the segment charger with flow connection, an advancement of the twin-scroll technology for even more instantaneous response of the forced induction system. The completely newly developed segment turbocharger is a result of cooperation between Mercedes-Benz turbocharger developers and the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 team. The technology transfer to series production sets new standards with respect to power combined with maximum efficiency. For short periods, the output of the C 300 (combined fuel consumption:
7.0-6.6 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions: 159-150 g/km)2 can additionally be increased by up to 20 kW overboost.
Transmission: Automatic now standard across the board
The 9G-TRONIC transmission was developed further for adapting the ISG, and is installed in all C-Class models. The electric motor, power electronics and transmission cooler have now moved into or to the transmission. Previously required lines are eliminated, which offers advantages with regard to installation space and weight. In addition, the efficiency of the transmission has been increased. Amongst other things, the optimised interplay with the electric auxiliary oil pump reduces the delivery rate of the mechanical pump by 30 percent compared with the predecessor – good for efficiency. Furthermore, it uses a new generation of the fully integrated transmission control with multi-core processor and new design and connectivity technology. In addition to the increased computing power, the number of electric interfaces has been drastically reduced, and the weight of the transmission controls have been cut by 30 percent compared with the predecessor.
The 4MATIC drive system of the all-wheel drive models has been advanced. The new front-axle drive allows higher torque levels to be transferred with an ideal axle load distribution for driving dynamics. Moreover, this has a significant weight advantage compared to the corresponding component in the preceding series – a contribution to CO2 reduction. The technicians were also able to reduce the friction losses in the new transfer case. In addition, it also a closed oil circuit, and requires no additional cooling measures.
Overview of Saloon and Estate models (petrol engines):
|C 180||C 200||C 200 4MATIC||C 300||C 300 4MATIC|
|Add. output (boost)||kW/hp||15/20||15/20||15/20||15/20||15/20|
|Add. torque (boost)||Nm||200||200||200||200||200|
|Combined fuel consumption||l/100 km||6.5-6.2||6.6-6.2
|Combined CO2 emissions2||g/km||149-141||150-141
|Acceleration 0-100 km/h||s||8.6||7.3 (7.5)||7.1||6.0||6.0|
|Top speed||km/h||231||246 (240)||241||250||250|
And here are the consumption values according to WLTP
|C 180||C 200||C 200 4MATIC||C 300||C 300 4MATIC|
|Total fuel consumption WLTP||l/100 km||7.2-6.2||7.2-6.3 (7.4-6.5)||7.6-6.6||7.4-6.6||7.9-7.0|
|Total CO2 emissions WLTP||g/km||163-141||163-143 (168-149)||172-151||169-150||180-160|
Overview of Saloon and Estate1 models (diesel engines):
|C 220 d||C 300 d|
|Add. output (boost)||kW/hp||15/20||15/20|
|Add. torque (boost)||Nm||200||200|
|Combined fuel consumption1||l/100 km||5.2-5.0
|Combined CO2 emissions1||g/km||138-131
|Acceleration 0-100 km/h||s||7.3 (7.4)||5.7 (5.8)|
|Top speed||km/h||245 (242)||250 (250)|
And here the consumption figures as per WLTP
|C 220 d||C 300 d|
|Total fuel consumption WLTP||l/100 km||5.6-4.9 (5.8-5.1)||5.6-5.0 (5.8-5.1)|
|Total CO2 emissions WLTP||g/km||148-130 (152-134)||148-131 (152-135)|
Plug-in hybrids with an electric range of around 100 kilometres (WLTP)
Fourth-generation plug-in hybrids will follow soon after the launch. Electrification is taking a great step forward while using the same base engines. With an electric output of 95 kW (129 hp) and an all-electric range of around 100 kilometres (WLTP), the plug-in hybrid C-Class will operate in all-electric mode in many cases – and on many days without using the combustion engine at all. This is the two-litre variant of the ultra-modern M 254 four-cylinder engine. The complete package is not only very efficient, but also decidedly sporty. Diesel plug-in hybrid Saloon and Estate models will follow.
The new high-voltage system is more compact and more powerful, while the number of high-voltage interfaces has been significantly reduced. The integration of the power electronics into the transmission housing reduces the installation space required, while also simplifying the assembly processes at the production plant. Increasing the system voltage also increases the output, without the need for larger cable cross-sections.
The high energy density of the hybrid traction head is achieved using a permanently excited synchronous motor with internal rotor. The 440 Nm peak torque of the electric motor is available right from the start, resulting in high agility when moving off, along with dynamic driving performance. The full electric power is available up to 140 km/h, at which point it is softly capped.
The high-voltage (HV) battery has been developed in-house by Mercedes-Benz AG. It is part of a fourth-generation family of batteries and represents a logical evolution of the previous generation. It consists of 96 cells in a so-called pouch configuration. The battery has a total capacity of 25.4 kWh, thereby bringing about a significant increase in electrical range to around 100 kilometres. To account for the high energy density, the HV battery has an internal cooling system. The thermal management system can therefore control the operating temperature irrespective of the climate control in the vehicle interior. In addition to continuous operation in hot and cold regions, this also allows quick charging with direct current. Even when the battery is completely discharged, it can be fully charged in around 30 minutes with the optional 55 kW DC charger. A standard-fit 11 kW charger (depending on the market) is available for three-phase charging at a Wallbox connected to the domestic AC mains.
The positioning of the battery in the vehicle brings advantages on a day-to-day basis compared with the previous model: there is no longer a step in the boot, and through-loading is now possible. This improvement is particularly noticeable in the Estate model: the length of the luggage compartment floor has increased by 63 mm to 1043 mm. Tall crates or cases of bottles can be loaded under the cassettes of the retractable luggage cover and dividing net without problems, as the height of the luggage compartment has increased by 150 mm to 732 mm. Compared to the previous model, the luggage capacity has increased by 45 litres to 360 litres, while with the rear seats folded down the Estate model can even accommodate 1375 litres (40 l more). Air suspension and level control at the rear are standard for both the Saloon and Estate models.
The driving experience: considerably more electric
All in all, the driving experience is significantly more electric. In view of the increase in electric range to around 100 kilometres, drivers will be able to cover most everyday journeys under electric power alone. The energy recovery function allows kinetic energy to be recuperated during deceleration or downhill driving, a process that has now also been improved in interaction with the hydraulic brake. The energy recovery output is now over 100 kW. The intelligent, route-based operating strategy activates the electric driving mode where this is most appropriate for the route. It takes into account such factors as navigation data, topography, speed limits and the traffic conditions for the entire planned route. A driver wishing to influence the energy recovery rate can do so directly in three stages controlled by rocker switches behind the steering wheel. This is possible in all driving modes except SPORT. In the driving mode D-, for example, the driver can experience the “one-pedal feeling”: When the driver takes his foot off the accelerator the vehicle slows down, purely by electric means, to such an extent that the hydraulic foot brake is often not needed.
The operating strategy communicates with the sensors of the assistance systems and thus efficiently supports the driver in many driving situations. Over longer distances in urban areas, for instance, the car will prioritise electric driving. Two additional driving modes enable the driver to make particularly advantageous use of the plug-in powertrain:
- BATTERY HOLD: Maintaining the charge state of the high-voltage battery is given priority, e.g. when intending to drive in a city centre or green zone later on; selection of the most suitable drive configuration by the hybrid powertrain system, depending on the driving situation and route.
- ELECTRIC: Electric driving up to 140 km/h, adjustable energy recovery rate in overrun mode, adaptation of Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC for electric driving, activation of the combustion engine using a pressure point of the accelerator pedal (kick-down)
The plug-in hybrids in the new C-Class have a haptic accelerator pedal module with a pressure point at an accelerator pedal angle of 9.7°. In ELECTRIC mode, this power surge is activated and allows all-electric vehicle operation up to the additional pressure point. If the pressure point is overridden, the combustion engine starts and delivers additional torque. The Power Nap function of ENERGIZING COMFORT is likewise reserved for the plug-in hybrids.
Suspension: comfort and agility
The key components of the new, dynamically configured suspension are a new four-link axle at the front and a multi-link axle at the rear mounted to a subframe. The new suspension provides the basis for a high level of suspension, ride and noise comfort, agile handling and driving fun. The new C-Class is optionally also available with continuously adjustable damping and a sport suspension. Air suspension at the rear is standard for both the Saloon and Estate models of the plug-in hybrids.
Rear-axle steering: more agile and dynamic
The new C-Class is especially agile and stable with the optional rear-axle steering and the accompanying, more direct steering ratio at the front axle. The steering angle at the rear axle is 2.5 degrees. This reduces the turning circle by 43 centimetres to 10.64 metres.
The driver also needs fewer turns of the steering wheel for full lock. With rear-axle steering, and depending on the drive concept, this requires 2.1 instead of 2.35 turns (rear-wheel drive with comfort steering) or 2.3 turns (4MATIC versions with comfort steering).
At speeds below 60 km/h, the rear wheels steer in the opposite direction to the front wheels – and by up to 2.5° 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. At speeds above 60 km/h, the rear wheels steer up to 2.5° in the same direction as the front wheels. This virtual increase in wheelbase has noticeable advantages in the form of improved handling stability and safety at high speeds, during fast lane-changes or sudden evasive manoeuvres.
Moreover, considerably less steering input is required during dynamic manoeuvres, e.g. when driving on country roads – and the vehicle responds to steering movements in a more sporty manner. This is supported by the integrated dynamic control function of the ESP®.
Driving assistance systems: stress-relief and support in hazardous situations
Compared to the previous C-Class series, the latest generation of the Driving Assistance Package has additional and advanced functions. These reduce driver workload in day-to-day situations, for more comfortable and safe driving. When danger threatens, the assistance systems are able to respond to impending collisions as the situation demands. The operating principle of the systems is visualised on the driver display by a new display concept.
Advancement of the assistance systems: three examples
- On all types of roads – motorways, country roads or in town – Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC can automatically maintain a preset distance from vehicles ahead. One new feature is the response to stationary vehicles on the road at speeds up to 100 km/h (previously: 60 km/h).
- Active Steering Assist helps the driver to stay in lane at speeds up to 210 km/h. New features include additional lane recognition with the 360° camera, forming an emergency corridor especially at low speeds, significantly improved availability and performance in bends on country roads and improved lane centring on motorways.
- In addition to conventionally posted speed limits, Traffic Sign Assist recognises signs on overhead gantries and at roadworks. Even conditional instructions (e.g. “when wet”) are recognised by evaluation of all on-board sensors. New are the stop sign and red light warning functions (as part of the Driving Assistance Package).
Intelligent parking systems support the driver when manoeuvring
Thanks to improved surround sensors, the parking systems give the driver even better support when manoeuvring at low speed. Operation is faster and more intuitive thanks to integration into MBUX. The optional rear-axle steering is integrated into the parking assistants, with the calculation of the trajectories adapted accordingly. Emergency braking functions also serve to protect other road users.
In addition to stabilising the combination when reversing, the optional trailer manoeuvring assistant for the Estate model can now also handle freely selectable cornering manoeuvres up to 90° for the first time. This allows precise and safe positioning of a trailer.
Crash safety: fit for all global requirements
Few models are sold in as many markets as the C-Class, which is currently available in over 100 countries. Around 1000 load stage variants are therefore examined during the course of development, as all engine and body variants, right and left-hand drive, hybrids or 4MATIC models meet the same requirements. Plus there are special equipment items to meet specific rating criteria – vehicles for Europe have a centre airbag, for example. During a severe side impact, it positions itself between the driver and front passenger seat, reducing the risk of their heads making contact. It is integrated into the driver’s seat backrest in the middle of the vehicle.
Together with the familiar PRE-SAFE® protection concepts for frontal and rear collisions, PRE-SAFE® Impulse Side (available in conjunction with the Driving Assistance Package Plus) forms a kind of virtual crumple zone that extends all around the vehicle. As only a limited crumple zone is available in a side impact, PRE-SAFE® Impulse Side (availability depending on selected equipment) can move the affected driver or front passenger away from the danger even before the crash as soon as the system detects that a side collision is immediately imminent. For this purpose, air chambers in the side bolsters of the front seat backrest are inflated in fractions of a second.
All in all, the safety concept of the C-Class is based on an intelligently designed body shell with a particularly rigid passenger cell and crash structures that deform in a specific way acting together with seat belts and airbag systems. In an accident, systems such as belt tensioners and airbags can be activated to protect the occupants as the situation demands. With the help of numerous numerical simulations, the vehicle structure was configured to ensure particularly good occupant protection in the event of a crash. In all aspects of the vehicle configuration that are relevant in an accident, the legal requirements were further bolstered by internal testing requirements and test criteria derived from the findings from real-life accident scenarios.
High-tech features: impressive comfort in terms of driving at night, climate control, and seats
The new C-Class is equipped with LED High Performance headlamps as standard. The DIGITAL LIGHT system familiar from the new S-Class is available as an option. This revolutionary headlamp technology allows new functions, e.g. the projection of guide lines or warning symbols onto the road ahead. The AIR-BALANCE Package provides an individual fragrance sensation in the interior. At the touch of a button or by voice command, the holistic “Fit & Healthy” approach of ENERGIZING Comfort provides a tangible experience of the different comfort systems in the S-Class, and features programmes that group them into worlds of experience.
DIGITAL LIGHT: extremely powerful with optional projection functions
The new C-Class is equipped with LED High Performance headlamps as standard. The DIGITAL LIGHT system familiar from the new S-Class is available as an option. This revolutionary headlamp technology allows new functions, e.g. the projection of guide lines or warning symbols onto the road ahead. DIGITAL LIGHT has a light module with three extremely powerful LEDs in each headlamp, whose light that is refracted and directed by 1.3 million micro-mirrors. The resolution is therefore more than 2.6 million pixels per vehicle.
With these dynamics and precision, this intelligent system creates virtually endless possibilities for high-resolution light distribution which optimally adjusts to the surrounding conditions. However, the deciding factor is not only the technology in the headlamp, but rather the digital intelligence behind it. On-board cameras and sensor systems detect other road users, powerful computers evaluate the data plus digital navigation maps in milliseconds and give the headlamps the commands for optimally adapting the light distribution in all situations. The result: optimal vision for the driver without dazzling other road users, as well as innovative functions with added safety. “DIGITAL LIGHT” is not chasing world distance records, but rather wants to achieve excellent visibility and maximum, dazzle-free brilliance at all times through an innovative overall concept. Innovative functions for supporting the driver and enabling communication with other road users significantly improve safety when driving at night.
DIGITAL LIGHT with projection function is available as an option. This system can make driving safer by projecting guide lines, symbols and animations onto the road.
- For example, DIGITAL LIGHT projects two guide lines when encountering roadworks. These roughly delineate the vehicle’s . The driver is therefore given even better guidance in the narrowed roadway.
- The intelligent technology highlights pedestrians in the danger zone with a spotlight function and clarifies their position with projected direction points.
- Drivers travelling against the prescribed direction on motorway slip roads or one-way streets are warned by a symbol.
- The same warning symbol appears before running red lights or stop signs.
Comfort appointments: improvements in many details
The optional massage function of the front seats has been expanded to cover the entire back area: eight chambers in the backrest ensure an improved deep-tissue effect. A vibrating massage is also possible on the driver’s side, with four motors installed in the seat cushion. Seat heating in the rear is available for the first time in the Saloon and Estate models.
At the touch of a button or by voice command, the holistic “Fit & Healthy” approach of ENERGIZING Comfort provides a tangible experience of the different comfort systems in the S-Class, and features programmes that group them into worlds of experience. At the same time, the system creates a matching atmosphere in the interior – for example, invigorating in case of fatigue or relaxing in case of an elevated stress level. The ENERGIZING COACH suggests an appropriate fitness or wellness programme based on vehicle and trip data. It also factors the information about sleep quality and stress level into its intelligent algorithm if the driver has a suitable wearable. In plug-in hybrid models, it offers the “Power Nap” programme, which is useful e.g. when making a stop at a service station or to charge the battery. The programme has three phases – falling asleep, sleeping, waking – and can increase performance and provide new energy.
The AIR-BALANCE Package provides an individual fragrance in the interior – in line with personal preference and mood. Thanks to refreshing ionisation and filtering of the outside and interior air, it also helps to ensure improved air quality and a greater sense of well-being.
Dimensional concept and practical features: more space in the front and rear
With a length of 4751 mm and a of 1820 mm, the Saloon and Estate models are considerably larger than their predecessors. The wheelbase has increased by 25 mm to 2865 mm. Both the front and rear passengers benefit from the increased exterior dimensions.
The good drag coefficient of the preceding models (Saloon: Cd 0.24, Estate: Cd 0.27) has been preserved despite the larger exterior dimensions.
Here are the most important dimensions:
|C-Class …||… Saloon||Preceding model||Diff.||… Estate||Preceding model||Diff.|
|Exterior dimensions (mm)|
|incl. exterior mirrors||2033||2020||+13||2033||2020||+13|
|Interior dimensions (mm)|
|Max. headroom, front, driver||1041||1039||+2||1046||1046||0|
|Elbow room, front||1476||1454||+22||1476||1454||+22|
|Elbow room, rear||1477||1462||+15||1477||1462||+15|
|Shoulder room, front||1430||1404||+26||1430||1404||+26|
|Shoulder room, rear||1411||1398||+13||1411||1398||+13|
|Luggage capacity acc. to VDA (L)||455||455||0||490-1510||460-1480||+30/+30|
The luggage compartment of the Estate model is 30 litres larger than before, with a capacity of 490 to 1510 litres. Other practical improvements: The height of the load compartment under the retractable cover, as well as the load compartment length, have been increased compared to the preceding model. The loading sill is slightly lower.
The rear seat backrest of the Estate model has a 40:20:40 folding split. Operation is by two push buttons on the left and right side of the rear seat backrest. The optional Load Compartment Comfort Package includes electric folding. It is operated by switches in the left and right sidewalls of the load compartment.
The Estate model features the EASY-PACK tailgate as standard. The tailgate opens and closes conveniently at the touch of a button: with the button on the ignition key, the switch in the driver’s door or the release handle on the tailgate. More operating convenience: the retractable luggage cover and dividing net have a two-piece design for the first time. Each has its own roller cassette. The reduced weight of the individual cassettes makes operation easier.
A success story: bestseller for many years
In the last decade, the C-Class was the highest-volume Mercedes-Benz model. Since the introduction of the still current generation in 2014, over 2.5 million Saloon and Estate models have been sold. China has been the largest sales market for the C-Class Saloon since 2016. In addition, the USA, Germany and Great Britain have been the largest sales markets for the C-Class Saloon and Estate models in the last ten years. In 2020, the C-Class Saloon and Estate were delivered to customers in more than 100 markets around the world. Two out of every three C-Class cars sold in Germany are the Estate variant.
The C-Class success story began in 1982. This was when the Mercedes-Benz 190 was launched as a mid-size model. Because it was the smallest car in the Mercedes-Benz range at the time, it soon earned the nickname ‘Baby Benz’. It was not only with combustion engines – for example the sporty 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution with a four-valve engine – that Mercedes-Benz repeatedly made its mark, but also with alternative powertrains: For example, the 190 E Elektro as an experimental car based on the 201 series was presented at the Innovation Market of the Hanover Fair in 1990, and at the Geneva Motor Show in 1991. Two electric motors excited by permanent magnets, each with 16 kW (21 hp), fed by sodium/nickel chloride batteries powered the rear wheels.
The first car under the C-Class designation was introduced in May 1993. All in all, over 10.5 million Mercedes-Benz cars in this category have been delivered to customers since 1982. For many customers, the C-Class is the entry-level model to the premium car segment. In China and South Korea, the C-Class Saloon is their first vehicle from a premium brand for around 50 percent of buyers. In many markets, the C-Class Saloon attracts a high proportion of female customers. The percentage of women is particularly high in the USA and South Korea: nearly one in every two C-Class Saloons is purchased by women.
Mercedes-Benz also broke new ground at the time, not only in terms of engineering but also because of the wider range of body shapes. The Estate model introduced by the company in 1996 was its first sporty, mid-size estate car. When Mercedes-Benz launched the next C-Class model series in 2000, it included the Sports Coupé, a completely new body variant. The market launch of the fourth C-Class generation in 2007 also saw the introduction of a new design feature. For the first time, the front-end design of a Mercedes-Benz Saloon varied according to the design and equipment line. While the ELEGANCE design and equipment line featured the three-pointed star in its traditional position on the bonnet, it was mounted in the centre of the radiator grille in the more sporty AVANTGARDE design and equipment line.
Production: in a global network with digital cutting-edge technologies
The new C-Class will be produced in the Mercedes-Benz Cars plants in Bremen (Germany), Beijing (China) and East London (South Africa). The Bremen plant, the largest private employer in the region with a workforce of more than 12,000, is the lead plant for this model series for the international C-Class production plants, e. g. by offering digital training. In this way, the new C-Class will be flexibly integrated into ongoing series production around the world. Close, digitally supported cooperation between the employees in the global C-Class production network will allow a smooth production start-up in all the plants around the world.
The worldwide production network of Mercedes-Benz Cars provides maximum flexibility. The company is therefore well-positioned in volatile times with changing parameters. The ability to breathe is a major success factor, and to this end new technologies are integrated into production. One example of smart production in Bremen is digital shop floor management, which allows production data to be monitored in real time. The QUALITY LIVE system enables the employees to check the quality of every vehicle in real time on a clearly arranged user interface. QUALITY LIVE and digital shop floor management are part of the MO360 digital production ecosystem of Mercedes-Benz Cars.
From 2022, all Mercedes-Benz Cars and Vans plants will produce on a carbon-neutral basis. Many Mercedes-Benz plants already source their electrical power from renewable energy sources today, and this also applies to Bremen.