2015 Mercedes C-Class Review
Car Tested: 2015 Mercedes C-Class
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 35-45 lakhs (est.)
The fourth generation C-Class is a giant leap over its predecessor in multiple ways.
Mercedes-Benz unveiled the new W205 platform based C-Class at a month long event held for international media in Marseilles, in the south of France. As part of the event, media got an opportunity to drive the new iteration of Mercedes’ C-segment sedan in various trim and engine combinations, including the hybrid diesel engine combination. Over two days, the routes chosen allowed participants to enjoy the beauty of the village roads of southern France along with substantial highway and city driving. In addition, in a series of workshops, participants were taken through the technological improvements that the new car enjoys, with one on one sessions with designers, engineers from chassis, aerodynamics, structural and interiors as well as telematics and electronics.
The Mercedes C-Class is set to be a technological tour-de-force with its new structure having been lightened by almost 180 kgs to allow for new systems and features – the end car is 100 kgs lighter and enjoys a CD of 0.24, by far the lowest in its segment. In addition to extensive restyling of exterior panels and addition of underbody airfoil members, an innovation in the form of a closable louvre arrangement for the front grille too adds to the low drag coefficient. This system is fully automated, opening to allow the engine to get extra air as required and is available for exclusive trim levels and above.
The platform itself is the first major iteration of the new modular Mercedes Rear-wheel drive Architecture (MRA) – one on which we will see the next E-Class as well. Both the MRA and MFA (front-wheel architecture) allow for variations of four-wheel drive, albeit with different arrangements, with the C getting 4Matic. The body shell of the new C-Class also has far more aluminium integrated into it, with almost all hang-on parts made from the silver metal, the roof and even suspension mounts and such. The front door now weighs in at a little over 12 kgs, with even the anti-intrusion member made from formed extruded aluminium.
Of course the C-Class is also available with the complete range of engines, from a 180 combo till 400 (that’s a 3.0-litre turbo V6) as well as an AMG variant in petrol engines, while the diesel range also rises from a new 1.6-litre unit through to the C300 diesel hybrid with 204 HP and 27 HP from the assist (with an efficiency of 3.6-litres per 100 km in the bargain).
The interiors of the Mercedes C-Class have also undergone major improvements, with more leg and headroom, a sportier driving position, redesigned steering wheel and centre console and a grade of finish that benchmarks the S-Class for quality of touch and feel. In most configurations, the area in front of the car will be dominated by the heads-up display and large centre panel, that seems so much in connect with the times with its Pad like contours.
The console is kept clutter free by moving the gear selector up to the steering wheel, matched by paddles behind the steering for manual overrides of the 7-speed auto transmission. The extra space on the divider is used for hidden storage and the enhanced multimedia input that clearly looks like it came off a Star Trek set. The combination of touch pad and click-and-dial with haptic feedback is extremely intuitive to use.
On cars equipped with the Airmatic suspension system, ride height and quality is controlled from the selector right next to the Command interface. The car can sit as much as 50 mm lower at speeds (in tune with the Sport and Sport+ settings), or can be raised by almost as much to overcome bad surfaces (albeit reverting to datum at speeds above 80).
However, the real BMW 3-Series beating elements can be found in the seamless manner in which the engine and gearbox play with each other, transferring every input to the wheels with less than 300 milliseconds of lag. On this tighter platform, with an almost perfect weight distribution, the car responds with alacrity to every blip on the throttle, making the Mercedes C400 so good that we would take it over any 3-Series (except the M) any day.
– Raj Warrior