OUT OF OFFICE | Merc
by Andrew Ngozo
Mercedes Benz C-Class: Sheer Attraction, Sheer Enjoyment
The all-new Mercedes-Benz C-Class not only sets new standards in the premium, medium-luxury segment, but also sets the benchmark with its progressive design. Not only is the engine more economical and more powerful, but it is also much more refined – and even the 220 diesel is as silent as any petrol engine. A host of new assistance systems offers safety of the highest standard, while a new, optional air-sprung suspension provides for an exemplary ride and driving comfort as well as nimble and agile handling.
Depending on the model chosen, you will be rewarded with a classic smaller S-Class look or the much more aggressive AMG look. The new C-Class oozes charm and agility all in one. It is one of the most eloquently sculpted cars and sets the pace for competitors to follow. The side view shows a long
bonnet, and a passenger compartment set well back and short overhangs define the well-balanced proportions.
There is a choice of two different fronts: sporty with a central star or – reserved solely for the EXCLUSIVE line – the classic sedan radiator grille with the Mercedes-Benz star on the bonnet.
Gone are the days when you could identify the separate models by way of their bulk and body differences. If you are not a Mercedes-Benz connoisseur, you will easily be wrong to call the models when they approach from the front.
“The C-Class has always been a bestseller and a trendsetter in the mid-size luxury segment. This tradition is continuing with exceptional qualities only previously found in or reserved for higher-class vehicles: environmentally responsible, technologically advanced, and high levels of comfort and driving enjoyment,” says Florian Seidler, Vice President, Mercedes-Benz Cars South Africa.
The new C-Class offers a comprehensive range of standard equipment, and this all adds to the value that makes the C-Class exceptional.
“Our new C-Class embodies what we understand modern automotive luxury to be and showcases automotive passion by way of a contemporary design idiom. We are confident that our new C-Class will be a huge success,” adds Seidler.
The C-Class has grown 80-millimetres in its wheelbase, and the vehicle is 95 millimetres longer and 40 millimetres wider. The result is a more spacious interior. Add to that the 480 litres of boot capacity and you have a really spacious vehicle for this sector.
The level of quality and diversity of the interior is one rarely encountered even in higher vehicle categories. High-class materials have been carefully chosen and are pleasant to the touch.
The driver and front passenger enjoy a great deal of space and luxury in an unobtrusive, modern style in the new C-Class, while the back-seat passengers still have adequate legroom.
The interior design demonstrates a bold new approach with a totally new centre console featuring sporty, flowing lines. In vehicles with automatic transmission, a large one-piece centre console panel performs an elegant sweep from the centre air vents to the armrest. These seamless, clear-cut lines create a sense of open space and convey a thrillingly purist and modern feel.
A centrally positioned, free-standing central display is the main eye-catching feature across the centre console.
Five round air vents lend a sporty touch to the instrument panel. With their metallic, cool-touch effect, they create a tangible contrast to the warm look of the other materials – such as the wood in the centre console or the ARTICO artificial leather on the instrument panel.
The innovative touchpad in the hand rest above the controller on the centre tunnel is a further evolutionary step. As on a smartphone, this provides for very simple and intuitive operation of all the head-unit functions using finger gestures.
The touchpad also permits letters, numbers and special characters to be entered in handwriting – in any language supported by Audio 20 or COMAND Online. The user receives clear, tactile feedback when operating the touchpad’s control surface, which is highly conducive to genuine intuitive use.
A head-up display is also new to the C-Class. As in a fighter jet, it displays important information directly in the driver’s field of vision on the front windscreen. The system provides information on speed, navigation instructions, and messages from the DISTRONIC system.
The three different designs are: the AVANTGARDE line showcasing the C-Class as a sporty sedan; the EXCLUSIVE line, which places the emphasis on an elevated status and modern luxury; and the AMG line, which gives the C-Class a decidedly sporty appearance.
“Powerful and efficient petrol and diesel engines, all equipped with the ECO start/stop function, provide for lively performance and great fun at the wheel. They also cut fuel consumption by up to 20 percent compared with the preceding model,” says Selvin Govender, Divisional Manager, Mercedes-Benz Cars.
“In May 2014 we launched four model derivatives with power outputs ranging from 115 to 155 kW. Three of these were petrol models and included the C 180 BlueEFFICIENCY, the C 200 BlueEFFICIENCY and the C 250 BlueEFFICIENCY. The one diesel model made available in May was the C 220 BlueTEC. Coming later in September 2014 will be the C 250 BlueTEC diesel with the C 300 BlueEFFICIENCY due in June 2015,” says Govender.
Depending on the installed output ratings, Mercedes-Benz offers a new six-speed manual transmission or automatic gear shifting through the optional 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission, which is standard on the C 250 BlueEFFICIENCY.
The suspension on the new C-Class is a totally new development that is nimble and agile, which makes driving a great pleasure – as was proved to us while driving on the racetrack and making use of the agility setting. The driver can use a switch to choose among the various characteristics: ‘Comfort’, ‘ECO’, ‘Sport’ and ‘Sport+’. The additional ‘Individual’ setting enables drivers to configure their vehicles according to their own preferences. Winding roads and fast corners do not impact adversely on the high standard of ride comfort.
First Air Suspension in This Category
“The C-Class is the first vehicle in its segment that can be optionally equipped with an air suspension – AIRMATIC – on the front and rear axle. AIRMATIC offers outstanding road roar and tyre vibration characteristics, courtesy of electronically controlled and continuously variable damping at the front and rear,” adds Govender.
The new C-Class also comes with an electric parking brake as standard. This brake is released automatically when the driver ends parking mode with the aim of moving off.
“The new C-Class incorporates almost all of the new assistance systems which were only just recently introduced in the new S-Class and E-Class. The assistance systems, which are called ‘Intelligent Drive’ by Mercedes-Benz, are fully integrated and enhance both comfort and safety,” says Govender.
There are numerous innovative safety and assistance systems as standard with ATTENTION ASSIST, which can warn the driver of inattentiveness and fatigue. The optional COMAND Online navigation function offers nearby break options as stopovers. The ATTENTION ASSIST function offers an adjustable level of sensitivity and can inform drivers via a separate view on the instrument cluster about their level of drowsiness and how long they have been driving since their last break.
In addition to Adaptive Brake Assist, which offers protection from collisions from speeds as low as 7 km/h, standard-fit COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS also features an additional function: when the risk of collision persists and the driver fails to respond, the system is able to carry out partial autonomous braking at speeds of up to 70 km/h, thereby reducing the severity of collisions with slower or stopping vehicles. The system also brakes in response to stationary vehicles at a speed of up to 50 km/h, and is able to prevent rear-end collisions at up to 40 km/h.
► DISTRONIC PLUS with Steering Assist and integrated Stop&Go Pilot is a semi-autonomous Stop-and-Go assist system, which, in addition to using the lane markings, is able to follow the vehicle ahead at speeds below 60 km/h, thus providing a safe and convenient means of following the flow of traffic.
► BAS PLUS Brake Assist can now also detect crossing traffic and boost the braking force if the driver fails to apply the brakes sufficiently. The PRE-SAFE® Brake can detect stationary vehicles and even pedestrians, and can brake autonomously if the driver fails to react and thus prevent accidents. In flowing traffic, the PRE-SAFE® Brake provides assistance according to the same mode of operation throughout the speed range from 7 to 200 km/h.
► Enhanced Active Lane Keeping Assist can now also prevent the vehicle from unintentionally drifting out of a lane by applying the brakes on one side when the lane markings are broken and there is a risk of collision, e.g. as a result of vehicles overtaking at high speed, parallel traffic or even oncoming traffic.
The numerous assistance systems also include the following:
► Active Parking Assist, which enables automated parking with active steering and brake intervention in both parallel and end-on parking spaces.
► A 360-degree camera, which is able to show the vehicle and its surroundings from various perspectives, including a virtual bird’s-eye view.
► Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus (part of LED Intelligent Lights) allows the high-beam headlamps to be kept on permanently without dazzling traffic by masking out other vehicles in the light cone of the high-beam headlamps.
Another highlight contributing to a feel-good atmosphere is the AIR-BALANCE package with active fragrancing, air ionisation, and more efficient filtration than is available on the base model.
A completely new multimedia generation offers intuitive-featuring animations and visual effects. It is also equipped with the unique Frontbass system. The result is a listening experience almost on a par with a concert hall. A Burmester® surround sound system is optionally available.
The navigation system presents its contents in interactive mode. Its features include an animated compass, a ‘Drive Show’ with information for passengers, and Google Maps displayed on the head unit. COMAND Online is now also able to provide more accurate real-time information about the situation on the roads when it receives its traffic data via the Internet by means of the ‘Live Traffic Information’ service.
Internet and Diverse Data Sources Already Available in the Basic Version
A Bluetooth®-capable mobile phone with data option is all it takes to make the Audio 20 system Internet-capable. This allows surfing of the Internet without restrictions when the vehicle is stationary.
In conjunction with COMAND Online, Mercedes-Benz Apps such as Weather, GoogleTM Local Search with StreetView and Panoramio, destination/route download and Facebook can be used while on the move.
COMAND Online with Hotspot Functionality
COMAND Online offers a host of other features, including fast hard-disc navigation, automatic tailback avoidance via up-to-date and accurate ‘Live Traffic Information’ traffic data, integrated WLAN hotspot functionality, and the LINGUATRONIC voice-operated control system.
Telephony via Bluetooth® is standard.PremiumDrive – Class-leading Maintenance Package
As with all Mercedes-Benz passenger cars, the new C-Class comes standard with a six-year/100 000 km maintenance contract with no customer contribution and the option to extend. The new C-Class is introduced at:
► C 180 BlueEFFICIENCY R415 900
► C 200 BlueEFFICIENCY R436 600
► C 250 BlueEFFICIENCY R502 600
► C 220 BlueTEC R459 000
(exempt from CO2 tax – 113 g/km)