The new Mercedes-Benz C-Class range will kick off from $60,900 plus on-road costs when it launches here in August.
The latest generation of Mercedes’ best-selling model is therefore $1000 more expensive than its predecessor, but Benz claims this new one, codenamed W205, offers a remarkable $10,000 worth of extra equipment over its predecessor, and up to 20 per cent better fuel economy.
Despite being into its seventh year, the outgoing C-Class still outsells its major rivals the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Lexus IS, (and even mainstream rivals like the Mazda 6 at times). This new one, says Mercedes-Benz Australia Pacific CEO Horst von Sanden, is expected to sell at least as well or even better.
“In relative terms we certainly want to keep our market share,” von Sanden told CarAdvice — some would suggest conservatively — before pointing out that the luxury market as a whole was growing at a clip, suggesting a sales increase is on the cards.
“The outgoing C-Class was and is the number one selling luxury car in Australia and we’re confident the all-new C-Class will continue on the same path.”
In a bid to keep the model range simple, Mercedes’ local arm will offer a pair of C200 models — one petrol and one diesel — and a pair of C250 models, one petrol and one diesel. New to the range is the C300 BlueTec hybrid.
Mercedes expects the C250s to make up at least half of all total C-Class sales combined, while the price-leading C200 petrol should net about a third. The other small fraction will be the more niche economy leaders, the C200 diesel and C300 hybrid.
Each of these variants will be available in sedan form from August, while the Estate version — without a hybrid option for now — will launch in November at a $2500 premium and with a standard electric tailgate on all models.
The twin-turbo 4.0-litre C63 AMG will arrive in the first half on 2015 on current projections. Coupe and convertible versions are yet to be revealed, but will emerge soon.
Kicking things off is the C200 petrol sedan, powered by a Euro 6-compliant 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine (up from 1.8) producing 135kW of power and 300Nm of torque, enough for a 7.3-second 0-100km/h sprint time and claimed combined cycle fuel consumption of 6.0L/100km.
The $60,900 opening gambit puts it over and over the entry price of rivals the A4 ($55,500 for the 1.8 TFSI), BMW 316i ($52,300) and Lexus IS250 Luxury ($56,500), but it also offers a longer list of features.
Next up in the range is the $62,400 C200 BlueTec, powered by a downsized 100kW/320Nm 1.6-litre turbo diesel that uses fewer than 4.0L/100km. Both of these variants, along with the rest of the range, feature a standard seven-speed automatic transmission.
Both C200 offerings come with a lengthy list of standard features including the formerly-optional Avantgarde chrome trimming pack, 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights with DRLs, park assist for parallel and 90-degree bays, front and rear parking sensors, electric-folding mirrors, Artico ‘leather’ electric seats, a 7.0-inch screen, Garmin sat-nav with touchpad control (a la the S-Class), DAB+ digital radio, ambient cabin lighting, illuminated door sills and keyless start.
There is also the welcome addition of an electric park brake.
On the safety front, all C-Class models get nine airbags (ANCAP gave the range five-stars today), pre-safe crash sensors with autonomous braking and a reversing camera.
Further up the range are the C250 twins. The $68,900 petrol version sports a 155kW/350Nm 2.0-litre turbo with a 0-100km/h time of 6.6 seconds and claimed fuel economy of 6.0L/100km. The C250 diesel sports a 2.1-litre turbo engine with 150kW/500Nm and fuel economy of 4.5L/100km.
Additional features over and above the $8000 cheaper C200s aside from the bigger engines include 19-inch alloy wheels, hands-free keyless go, a Driver Assistance Plus pack pinched from the new S-Class with steering assist, radar-guided cruise control, a blind-spot monitor and lane-keeping assist (that nudges you back between the lines) and genuine leather on the seats.
The $74,900 C300 BlueTec hybrid combines the 150kW diesel engine with a small 20kW electric motor, cutting claimed combined cycle fuel consumption to a Prius-beating 3.6L/100km.
Options packages available across the range include the $4990 Vision Pack (adds a head-up display, LED intelligent headlights including active high beams and panoramic sunroof), and the $2990 Comand Pack (an 8.4-inch screen, 10Gb of music storage and a 13-speaker Burmester surround sound system).
The AMG Line package adds $4490 to the C200s and $3490 to the C250s and C300, in return for unique 19-inch AMG alloys, AMG body kit, sports suspension lowered by 15mm, sports seats, sports steering with with a flat bottom, special dash and belt-line stitching, AMG sports pedals, black ash wood trim, perforated front brake discs, sharper steering tuning and AMG floor mats.
As reported, the new C-Class range has an 80mm longer wheelbase than before, liberating more rear legroom (2840mm total), is 95mm longer overall (4686mm), 40mm wider (1810mm) and has more boot space, at 480L (still less than a Nissan Pulsar sedan, but more than on par for the luxury class).
Extensive use of aluminium in the MRA architecture and the panels — 48 per cent aluminium content total — means this larger and more luxurious new car is also up to 40kg lighter than before.
Initially, all C-Class’s sold here will be sourced from Germany, though in time some variants including the C200s will also come from South Africa, which Mercedes says will give it adequate supply levels and the ability to get orders onto the ground faster.
Mercedes-Benz C-Class pricing (plus on-road costs):
C200 - $60,900
C200 BlueTec $62,400
C250 - $68,900
C250 BlueTec - $70,400
C300 BlueTec Hybrid - $74,900
C200 - $63,400
C200 BlueTec - $64,900
C250 - $71,400
C250 BlueTec - $72,900