There is little wrong with Mercedes’ W204 C-Class, which is probably the best model to date wearing that nameplate. Compared to its fierce rival, the BMW 3 Series, the C-Class is aging rather well, indicating the solid quality of engineering work that Mercedes poured into the car when developing it. One million units sold world wide since March 2007 is as good as customer testimony gets.
Having said that, it is still about time for the C-Class to receive its customary mid-life upgrade, and Mercedes-Benz has released a set of official pictures of the new C-Class which is set to make its world debut at next year’s Detroit Auto Show. Besides a revised appearance, Mercedes changed more than 2,000 components from the old C-Class to make the new one. Order taking in Europe starts on 10 January 2011, and cars will hit the road from March onwards.
From the outside, the new C-Class is readily distinguishable from the old from the front, with all-new headlights and bumper making the visual differentiation. The revised bonnet is now made of aluminium, which contributes to reduced weight and improved fuel efficiency. The new headlamps have halogen bulbs as standard, but bi-xenons are optional with Intelligent Light System.
One notable running change on the C-Class seen in more recent units of the model is a row of LED daytime running lights at each corner of the bumper. This feature has been carried over to the facelift. Changes are less obvious at the rear, but the familiar looking taillights now house LED bulbs as per market trends.
Inside, Mercedes has completely reworked the C-Class’ dashboard. The COMAND central display is now fixed as an extension of the instrument cluster and no longer a pop-up like before. At a glance, this already looks like a massive improvement to the outgoing model, and by the time it reaches here, we hope that Mercedes would have included updated maps into the built-in GPS as well. When we reviewed the C 250 CGI earlier this year, one major peeve on that car was that its GPS maps were hopelessly out-of-date.
Revisions are made under the hood as well, with a mixture of new and carry-over engines on offer. Rear-wheel drive models additionally feature ECO Start/Stop as standard, though it remains a question mark if this feature will follow the C-Class to Malaysia. Reviewers have often criticized Mercedes for stubbornly refusing to move up from 5-speed autos in its 4-cylinder models, and that criticism is now being addressed. With the exception of the C 300 CDI 4MATIC (which we won’t be getting anyway), all future auto variants of the C-Class will feature Merc’s new 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission.
In Germany, there will be five petrol variants on offer, even if there are actually only two engines on the table. The 1.8-litre M271 CGI engine is featured here in three states of tune – C 180 BlueEFFICIENCY, C 200 BlueEFFICIENCY, and C 250 BlueEFFICIENCY. Note that Mercedes has dropped the CGI moniker in its model designation. The C 200 and C 250 produces 184hp / 270Nm and 204hp / 310Nm respectively, both states of tune which we are already getting in our market with the current C-Class. Sitting below them is a detuned version of the engine in the C 180 making a still decent 156hp and 250Nm.
V6 power is offered in the rear-wheel drive C 350 BlueEFFICIENCY or the all-wheel drive C 350 4MATIC BlueEFFICIENCY, both featuring the 3,498cc M276 direct injection engine introduced in the Paris Motor Show in the all-new CLS. Like in the CLS 350, the C 350 makes 306hp @ 6,500rpm and 370Nm @ 3,500rpm.
Diesel power, meanwhile, is offered in six different variants, five of them featuring the 2.2-litre OM651 four-pot. The line-up starts with the C 180 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY with 120hp and 300Nm going all the way up to the C 250 CDI in RWD and AWD guise making 204hp and 500Nm. Right at the top is the C 300 CDI 4MATIC BlueEFFICIENCY with a 2,987cc V6 making 231hp and 540Nm. Fuel economy is a heavily touted virtue; the C 220 CDI with 6-speed manual transmission and ECO start/stop is rated to consume 4.4 litres/100km of fuel. If equipped with the new 7-speed auto, both the C 220 CDI and C 250 CDI hits 4.8 litres/100km.
Pictures: Official Mercedes-Benz release.
– Upbeat New Mercedes-Benz C 200 For Young Buyers (4/10/2007)
– Mercedes-Benz C 250 CDI – Waiting For Euro 4 Diesel (27/1/2010)
– Mercedes-Benz C 250 CGI BlueEFFICIENCY (27/5/2010)
– Mercedes-Benz C 200 CGI – Now With a Turbo Charger for Improved Driving (29/8/2010)
– Mercedes-Benz C300 Avantgarde – The C-Class Gets More Muscle (16/11/2010)