Ever since its launch, the C-Class has been among the best-selling Mercedes-Benz cars in India. Mercedes-Benz’s C-Class has been ruling the entry-level executive luxury sedan segment for years, thanks to the updates given to the saloon at regular intervals. In 2015, the car entered the new generation when it received the S-Class inspired design. Though, the engine options remains unchanged. The new-gen C-Class is continued to be available in a 2.0-litre petrol and a 2.2-litre diesel engines.
Mercedes-Benz has taken a completely new approach towards the design of the new C-Class. The company has ditched the previous car’s conservative looks for a new design, which looks heavily inspired by the new S-Class. The design has been also influenced by aerodynamics to keep wind resistance at a minimum level. The front fascia with the Avantgarde grille and the teardrop-shaped headlamps look very similar to that of the super saloon and together with larger air vents and bumper design, give the new C-Class a new aggression. It also gets an intelligent full LED headlamp system with an adaptive main beam. The side profile gets a strong shoulder line, which divides the profile into three sections- window and door handles, door profile and skirt line running in line with the wheels. The new C-Class is offered in five colours – cavansite blue, citrine brown, polar white, iridium silver and obsidian black.
The C-Class has been Mercedes’ entry-level sedan for quite a long time but not anymore. The introduction of the CLA has led to the C-Class going upmarket and as soon as you step inside the car, that’s immediately apparent. The interiors of the new C-Class are a class above its predecessor, while inspiration from the S-Class is obvious, the dashboard has its own aura with a mix of sporty and luxury in it. The dual tone dash of the new C-Class look rich and the centre console gets high gloss lime wood finish (also the traditional Mercedes clock) which further amplifies the overall appeal of the cabin. Neat placement of buttons along with terrific fit and finish are the highlights of this cabin. The round AC vents are very S-Class like and so are the buttons and touchpad in the centre to operate the COMAND system. Even the buttons on the doors (specially the front where the electric adjustment for the seats is placed) have taken more than a leaf out of the S-Class design book
Yielding more space inside the C-Class is the removal of the gear lever, the baby rear-wheel drive Benz gets the gear selector lever on the right stalk like all other Mercs. There are quite a few storage places inside the cabin and the Stuttgart automaker has gone ahead and loaded this car with plenty of kit too. The C200 variant we tested had everything you would expect from a car of this price and that includes things like an 8.4-inch screen for the infotainment system which is loaded with a lot of features like 3D satellite navigation, phone connectivity (including apps), etc. You can also control vehicle settings including ambient lighting (3 colours – ice blue, white, amber), seat belt adjustment, door locking, locator illumination, etc. Other features include a rearview camera with guidelines, reverse parking sensors (the display is on the cluster as well), three zone climate control, front and rear panoramic roof, ARTICO leather upholstery, push button start/stop and a 13-speaker Burmester sound system that sounds excellent.
The front seats offer good support and have been designed to fit all kinds of people, you sit snug and the seat hugs you thereby ensuring no fatigue even on long drives. Both the front seats are electrically adjustable with memory function. The new C-Class is aimed at the rear passenger, as so evident by the sun blinds on the windows of the rear doors as well as an electrically operated one for the rear windshield. The rear AC vents have seven fan speeds and we love the way the buttons operate, you push up or down to toggle. The rear seat now offers much needed improvement in legroom which makes the C-Class a good chauffeur driven car, there is also good amount of headroom for tall passengers but under-thigh support is a bit lacking. The rear bench is best for two as the transmission tunnel intrudes massively at the rear, thereby preventing a third person from sitting comfortably. Cabin lights at the rear are placed at either ends as the panoramic roof prevents a centre cabin light from being placed. While boot space is decent, the placement of the space saver tyre in the boot (and not under it) hampers its usage.
The new-gen C-Class is available in two engine options – a 2.0-litre petrol and a 2.2-litre diesel. The former produces a maximum power of 181bhp at 5, 500rpm and 300Nm at 1, 200rpm – 4, 000rpm, while the latter offers 167.62bhp at 3, 000rpm – 4, 200rpm and 400Nm at 1, 400rpm – 2, 800rpm. Transmitting power to the rear wheels is a 7-speed automatic transmission (7G-TRONIC Plus).
The petrol engine is refined, and offers strong mid-range performance. It claims to achieve 0-100kmph in 7.3 seconds. The aerodynamic body construction reduces wind resistance, and aids to its handling and high speed performance. The current generation of the sedan gets ‘Agility Select’ driving modes – Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual – that alter engine, steering, gearbox and climate control. The new MRA platform makes the new C-Class 100kgs lighter and stiffer than the previous model. This also contributes to its fuel economy and drivability. The new electric steering is more responsive than the old hydraulic unit. With higher ground clearance, robust tyres and AIRMATIC suspension, the C-Class offers balanced and smooth ride quality on rough Indian terrains.
Braking capabilities of the sedan are superb. With adaptive braking system, the car stops instantly, even at high revs. It also gets advanced ABS (anti-lock braking system), EBD (electronic brake-force distribution), electronic stability program, dynamic cornering assist and skid control function.
The 2143 cc Diesel – powered variant delivers a fuel economy of 17 kmpl in city and 19 kmpl on highways, while the Petrol variant offers a mileage of 10 kmpl on urban roads and 14 kmpl and freeways, respectively.
RIDE AND HANDLING ;
The C-Class isn’t designed as a sport machine, and it lacks the athletic feel of rival cars like the BMW 4 Series. Still, the C-Class is composed around corners with sharp steering. The top AMG models are more focused in their handling prowess, with sharper responses.
The real pride of the C-Class is its soft ride, which remains smooth under virtually any condition. And if you want to have a smoother ride or sportier performance, then you can switch through the C-Class’ four drive modes – which adjust steering and throttle response – until you find one to your liking. There are also three available suspensions in sedan models, depending on which trim you choose – Sport, Comfort, and Airmatic, which is adaptive air suspension – with varying degrees of stiffness that affect ride quality. Coupe and convertible models are only available with Sport and Airmatic suspension.
Standard safety features for the 2017 Mercedes-Benz C300 include antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front and rear side curtain airbags, a driver knee airbag, a drowsy driver monitor and frontal collision warning and mitigation. Other optional features include a surround-view camera system, a blind-spot monitor, adaptive headlights, automatic high beams, lane keeping assist, upgraded frontal collision mitigation, and rear-end collision warning with automatic braking.
The entry-level rear-wheel drive luxury car class is an important segment for the German trio. The C-Class was facing tough competition from the F30 BMW 3-Series which took the game forward by several notches. With the new C-Class, Mercedes hasn’t just replied but also re-written the rules of the segment. The fourth generation C-Class is not only better in most respects, it’s way more desirable too. While early adopters will have to do with the petrol only option, those looking for a diesel car in this segment should definitely wait as the new C-Class is as thoroughly impressive as a Merc should be.