The upgraded C-Class looks quite similar to the car it replaces, but it’s new and improved in some very important ways. It packs an all-new mild hybrid power unit too.
Over 4,15,000 units of the C-Class were sold globally in 20017 alone, making it the most popular product to come from the house of Mercedes-Benz. The fact that the current generation of the C-Class – now in its fifth year of production – still manages to bring in such numbers is simply astounding. But with the next generation of the C-Class still a few years away, so Mercedes has decided to give this model a much-needed update.
While Mercedes likes to claim that the car is all-new, the fact is that most changes are too subtle to be noticed, unless you’re a ‘Where’s Wally’ world champion. According to Mercedes, a total of 6,500 components on the updated C-Class are brand new, including a new set of engines – leading to a list of features and upgrades that are meant to make it feel and drive better.
First things first, the C-Class has been visually tweaked quite a bit, with newly crafted bumpers and a brand-new set of ‘Performance LED headlamps,’ which endows the car with an air of beauty and elegance – especially in its ‘Exclusive’ trim package. Though the Multibeam LED headlamps are offered as an option and are more functional, I couldn’t help but feel that the Performance LED setup looks more tasteful. The rear, meanwhile, has undergone only minor changes, including a new bumper and newly designed tail lamps.
Inside, the design looks quite similar to the older model, but a closer look will reveal various subtle updates. The cockpit, however, is brand new with a new steering wheel design and touch-sensitive buttons borrowed from the latest S-Class. The driver also gets a 12.3-inch TFT screen, which acts as a fully digital and customisable instrument cluster. But, unlike the new A-Class, Mercedes has decided against the new MBUX system for the C-Class, so it’ll only come with the latest version of the COMMAND infotainment system. The C-Class, however, does get a 10-inch display. Additionally, Mercedes has replaced the piano black trim on the dash with ash or oak wood finish.
From the driver’s seat
From behind the wheel, it’s quite evident that the idea of the new cockpit is to make it comfortable and not necessarily sporty. The engines are tuned to be calm, and the new quilted leather seats are sumptuous. Together, they make driving the C-Class around the city a very relaxing experience.
Our test car was the brand new C 200, which comes with an all-new 1.5-litre, turbocharged petrol engine with a 48-volt mild hybrid system – it’s being branded by Mercedes as EQ Boost. While the small 1,497cc motor itself can generate 181bhp, the EQ Boost adds an additional 13bhp. But you hardly notice anything at all, for it drives like any other motor with a similar power output. Eco mode activates the EQ Boost, which aids initial acceleration. Meanwhile, in Comfort mode, the car responds to throttle, brake and steering inputs in an exceedingly smooth manner. But, when pushed hard, you do feel the intense effort that this downsized engine has to make to deliver the necessary performance. In Sport and Sport+ modes, the EQ Boost fills in the gaps between gear changes and minimises turbo lag. But, as you climb up the revs, the lack of grunt is noticeable despite the electrical boost. Due to this relative lack of grunt, the 9-speed torque converter ‘box is forced to hold gears longer, and you get somewhat of a rubber band effect that you would ordinarily get from a CVT. You can, of course, take control of the gearbox by changing gears manually.
While the gearbox has been tweaked a little, it still remains just as smooth. The steering also is quite light and effortless. But, at higher speeds, it weighs up quite well. The all-new electronic architecture has altered the suspension, which has had a magnificent effect on the ride. For the first time, Mercedes is to offer the C-Class with an optional air suspension, but we’ll reserve judgment on this aspect of the updated C until we drive the cars on our roads.
Still the obvious choice?
The new C-Class is expected to arrive in India around October this year, and the C 200 has already been confirmed. However, what remains to be seen is if Mercedes will introduce the 1.5-litre EQ Boost version or a different 2.0-litre petrol engine without the hybrid system. Additionally, as diesel options, the C 220d will be launched and the C 250d will be replaced with a more powerful C 300d.
The upgrades on the C-Class may not seem obvious at first glance, but the changes, however subtle, have made a significant difference and give the C-Class a new lease of life. The updates to the car indeed give it premium appearance and make it look like an S-Class for the masses. So, if you’re looking for something sporty, you need to look elsewhere, but if comfort and style is what you’re after, the C-Class is the car for you.
- Mercedes-Benz C200 EQ Boost
Engine: 1.497cc / 4-Cylinder / Turbocharged / 48-volt Mild Hybrid
Transmission: 9-Speed Automatic / Rear-Wheel Drive
ICE Power: 181bhp @ 5,800 - 6,100rpm
Mild Hybrid Power: 13bhp @ 0 - 3,500rpm
Torque: 280Nm @3,000-4,000rpm
X-factor: The upgraded C has a clear and quite evident lineage that links it to Mercs’ flagship, the S-Class.
• Upgraded cabin
• Looks & feels premium