Mercedes-Benz C-Class changes completely in the fifth generation that arrives before the summer. Sportier design, modernized, spacious, and driver-oriented interior, all electrified engines, and a great chassis evolution are its main evolutions. The new generation of Mercedes C-Classe can consider that, for Mercedes-Benz, this market segment was born with the 190 models born in 1982 and of which, from then until today, 10.5 million units have been sold worldwide.

In 1993, the second generation was renamed the C-Class for the first time, receiving the company from the estate version (Estate) in 1996, which is the preferred form of bodywork in Europe (in Germany, the largest European market, two in three Class C registered are Estate), but not even sold in the two largest world markets: the United States and China(Which, in 2016, became the country where the most C-Class units are sold per year). In 2019, worldwide sales of the C-Class exceeded 400,000 units. This fifth-generation is materialized in a totally new model, both due to the evolution of the MRA II platform, as well as the adoption of a new electronic platform (and a user experience concept very close to that recently introduced in the new S-Class ), evolution in the chassis and, of course, new design. But let’s go in parts.

Design and performance of the new Mercedes C-ClassStylistically, Mercedes-Benz has changed more in the last five years than in the previous 20, and this is also evident in the new C sedan, specifically in the slightly reclined cabin (the hood is smaller, as we will see later in the explanation of engines), wider rear pillars (which give it the air of a fashionable coupe), the disappearance of several edges in the body (which, in general, now has cleaner surfaces) and the creation of two thin rises in the hood, somehow indicating the power of the engine it houses. All versions have the Mercedes star inserted in the radiator grille (with slight variations depending on the equipment level) and in the rear, the narrower and horizontal optics enter more through the boot lid than in the predecessor and each one is formed, for the first time in this model, by two pieces.

Taking advantage of the references to the optics, the standard headlights are LED, and you can pay an extra for the Digital Light system (released in the new S-Class), which has new advanced functions such as the projection of guidelines or symbols of warning on the road, extremely bright lighting (but not dazzling other road users) and identification of pedestrians in dark areas in front of the carThe variation in proportions is minimal in width and height (plus 1 cm in the first case, minus 1 cm in the second), while the length is stretched 6.5 cm and the wheelbase increases 2.5 cm. The tracks (distance between the wheels on each axle) grew 2 cm at the front and 5 cm at the rear, in this case also to make room for a steer axle (it is the only car in this segment to have it, even if it turns considerably less than in the S-Class system).

Below 60 km / h, the rear wheels turn in the opposite direction to the front wheels (and up to 2.5 ° in the opposite angle to the front axle when parking), reducing the turning radius by 43 centimeters (to 10, 64 meters). Starting at 60 km / h, the rear wheels turn up to 2.5 ° in the same direction as the front wheels and this ‘virtual increase’ in wheelbase benefits stability and safety at high speeds, during quick lane changes, or in sudden evasive maneuvers. Inside, space offers improved little it grew by about 2 cm in width and legroom in the rear, hardly varying in height.

The trunk continues to offer the same 455 liters in the saloon, having increased by 30 liters ( from 460 to 490 ) in the Estate, but the main advance is registered in the plugin hybrids that they will indeed continue to have smaller trunks (315 liters in the sedan and 360 in the Estate) the truth is that the enormous intrusion in the trunk floor (which stole volume and, mainly, functionality by making it difficult to use the trunk floor when the seatbacks were folded) no longer exists. As the chief engineer explains, “now there is no such restriction and the only thing is that the objects cannot be placed under the floor, which is a little higher .” This even though the high-voltage battery, which powers the hybrid powertrain and which is mounted under the trunk, has doubled its capacity. In the front seats, the focus is more on the driver, as the central infotainment screen is now slightly directed towards him, a more common solution in brands with a sportier image.

It is a 9.5 ” (or 11.9″) screen, with a format, position, and operating system very similar to that of the new S-Class (both of the second generation of MBUX ) and that, together with the new instrumentation (actually a tablet of 10.25 “or 12.3” fully configurable), allows the entire user experience to evolve, in the same way, that driving assistance systems progress a lot. There are three display styles ( Discreet, Sport, and Classic ) and three modes ( Navigator, Assistance, Service ) to choose from, the voice control system is available in multiple languages ​​and it is possible to specify a front display screen that projects information to ‘float’ 4.5 meters in front of the vehicle (in the case of the S-Class the information is seen 10 meters in front of the car and there are graphs in Augmented Reality). The front seats optionally have a massage function with a wider intervention area on the back of the occupants (there are eight cameras inside each seat).

The driver can even have the privilege of receiving a vibrating massage (there are four motors under the seat for this) and, for the first time in the C-Class, heated rear seats are available. Also noteworthy are the five ventilation outlets (three central and two at the ends of the well-finished dashboard) and the new steering wheel, which, like that of the renewed E-Class, has a smaller diameter, a thicker rim, and a flattened lower section. , which gives it a much sportier look. Behind the wheel there are paddles for the manual transmission and also two controls to increase or decrease the brake recovery force in the ‘plug-in’ (except in Sport driving mode) which, at maximum deceleration, should allow solo driving with the right pedal, almost making it possible to forget the brake in most traffic situations (energy recovery of more than 100 kW is now possible).

The driver only has to release the accelerator and the car loses speed through an electrical process that sends energy to the lithium-ion battery. The engine of the new Mercedes Models and power engine range has also progressed. There are only four-cylinder blocks and there are no manual gears (only a 9-speed automatic ), while all engines are electrified: in some cases with the starter/generator system (ISG) and 48V electrical system (which assists the engine 22 hp / 200 Nm combustion in situations of medium and strong acceleration, lowering consumption and improving performance, while allowing energy recovery), in others with the much improved plug-in hybrid system.

The light hybrid diesel (one of the first on the market) received several changes a new crankshaft to allow an increase in the stroke of the cylinders to reach a displacement of 1,992 ccs (instead of 1950), injection pressure increased from 2,500 to 2,700 bar, the two turbos now have variable geometry and the catalysts and particulate filters have been improved. It will be available as C 200 d (163 hp), C 220 d (200 hp) -also with four-wheel drive- and 300 d (265 hp). In the petrol range, the 1.5-liter engine serves the C 180 (170 hp) and C 200 (204 hp) versions (also as 4Matic) and the 2-liter engine equips the C 300(258 hp), with two or four-wheel drive. Driving thrills (and well-stuffed wallets) may be disappointed to learn that the C-Class AMGs no longer have the 4.0-liter V8 (in the C63 AMG ) or the turbocharged six-cylinder in the C43. AMG.

The sportiest element of the family will then use a 2-liter, four-cylinder block with a sensational performance of 421 hp to which is added the thrust of an electric motor for a cumulative total performance of 550 hp. Although Mercedes engineers claim that it was a matter of lack of space under the hood, the truth is that if this were a priority the car would have been designed to fit the big engines (as in the past), but the truth is that other values ​​(like low consumption/emissions) have spoken louder. Mercedes plug-in hybrid signs of the times … which also explain why the biggest advance has been in the petrol plug-in hybrid that links the 2-liter ( 204 hp ) petrol block with a 129 hp electric motor (permanent magnet synchronous) (7 more than before) and 440 Nm, for a total performance of 313 CV and 550 Nm. As usual, there is the possibility of managing the propulsion strategy by associating it with the navigator, which allows lower consumption and maximizes electric autonomy.

Also, the plug-in hybrid has a haptic accelerator pedal module with a pressure point (at an angle of 9.7 degrees) up to which acceleration is purely electric (up to 140 km / h) and after which the gasoline engine kicks in, providing power and torque. Signs of the times. which also explains why the greatest advances have been made in plug-in hybrid gasoline and diesel engines. In the case of the gasoline version ( 300 e ), it joins the 2-liter block ( 204 HP ) with a more powerful electric motor (synchronous with a permanent magnet) of 129 HP (7 more than before) and 440 Nm, for a total performance of 313 hp and 550 Nm (less than in the previous generation, which had 320 hp / 700 Nm ).

About the diesel ( 300 of ) we only know that it will continue to use the 2-liter engine with the new 129 hp electric, but the final total performance has not been confirmed, because this version will arrive a few months later (it should be close to 300 hp / 700 Nm ). The gasoline unit is expected to have an approved average consumption close to 1.5 l / 100 km and the diesel of 1.1 l / 100 km. Like the plug-in hybrid system, the high-voltage battery is now in its fourth generation, increasing the energy density to reach a capacity of 25.4 kWh, practically doubling that which existed until now, which explains why the electric autonomy has increased to 100 km. The battery has a new temperature management system that improves its performance in extreme climates while allowing direct current (DC) charging, potentially making the process much faster with the optional on-board charger from 55 kW only takes half an hour for a full charge, but even the standard 11 kW charger(three-phase in a Wallbox) allows to do the same in approximately three hours.

And, as we have mentioned, being more compact, the battery has been installed so as not to invade the boot, with important advantages especially in the case of the family, the volume increased to 360 liters 45 more that can go up to 1,375 more 40 than before if the rear seats are folded supports a 40:20:40 partition. In addition to the steered rear axle, the suspension is also new, with independent front and rear geometries, in both cases with the wheels connected by multiple arms and a subframe on the rear axle. Optionally, it is possible to pay extra for a variable electronic damping system and sportier tuned suspension, while the plug-in hybrid C is always equipped with air suspension on the rear axle on both the sedan and the Estate to mitigate the negative effects caused by the overweight of the large battery of high voltage mounted on said shaft.

All the tuning of the chassis was done to make the new C more dynamic and sporty and the reduction in the number of laps at the wheel from one extreme to the other corroborates this intention from 2.35 to 2.1 laps in this new generation. Christian Frueh, C-Class Chief EngineerHe is the ‘father’ of the new C-Class, whom we ask to highlight what has progressed the most in the new model. As a former athlete for the German Alpine Skiing Team, he greatly appreciates the best agility of the new generation. Question. What are the main novelties of the new C?Answer. I clearly highlight the new fourth generation of the plug-in hybrid system with an electric range of about 100 kilometers that completely changes the daily use of the car which makes it very easy for most people to drive all week without emissions.

On the other hand, being the first car in this segment with a steered rear axle, the C-Class becomes much more maneuverable (it needs less than 40 cm to complete a full turn on its own axis) and also gains a lot in behavioral agility. And of course, the fact that the infotainment system has a slight but significant tilt (6 degrees) towards the driver creates a sportier interior environment. Question Is the fourth-generation plug-in hybrid system also more powerful and less detrimental to the functionality of the C? Answer: Yes, the power of the electric motor went from 122 to 129 hp and the battery doubled from 13.5 to 28 kWh. In fast charge, it is possible to fill the battery in just 30 minutes.

And despite this exponential increase, the boot floor has no intrusion, being only slightly higher and, compared to the non-plug-in versions, it loses the underground compartment, because that is where the battery is installed. As a former professional skier, surely the family member will be your favorite version, Answer I am a big fan of the Estate, yes, and in the snowy surroundings that I still visit for leisure, I especially like the 4×4 version. And by the way, let me tell you that we will have a surprise for those who like family members with a very attractive design and matching road behavior.