The new Mercedes C-Class was never going to be revolutionary, but it is the right evolution for the current reality of the brand and the market
More than ten and a half million Mercedes C-Class units have left the Mercedes factory, making it the brand’s most commercially significant model. Forever perceived as the S-Class junior, the C may finally have come of age in the new W206 generation. Both in terms of aesthetics, cabin quality and technologies, the baby-Benz has never been closer to its big brother.
Amid a revolution, the car industry needs to tear down old creeds, and Mercedes seems to have no problem with that. The new C-Class now exists only with four-cylinder engines — including in future AMG versions. Six and eight cylinders are a thing of the past. What’s more, all versions will be electric, either via a 48v mild-hybrid system or plug-in diesel and petrol technology.
On the road, the C is magnificent, providing a comfort that reflects the brand’s pedigree. But the biggest surprise is the dynamic evolution, which owes a lot to the new four-arm suspension at the front and multi-link system at the rear. In the city, the Mercedes’ agility is remarkable and the ease and smoothness of progression of the C300d engine on stop-start drives impresses by the quality of its ease of use.
The 9G-Tronic nine-speed gearbox is perfect to explore the 265 horsepower available, perfectly balancing performance and fuel consumption when choosing the right driving mode for each moment. Proof of this are the 5.7 seconds that this version takes to go from 0 to 100km/h and that combine with an actual consumption always around six litres.
The interior, dominated by the huge screens in the central console and the instrument panel, but mainly by the quality of all materials, the care in the assembly and the ambience created by the architecture of the cabin, reflect the brand’s will to raise the new C-Class to a level a few steps above its predecessor. The infotainment systems are a copy of the S-Class and excel by the elegance of the graphics and ease of use.
This will be a key model in the shift from a purely fuel to a purely electric reality that Mercedes is fashioning. The C-Class is the backbone of the brand, and it must balance modernity with history, attracting new customers without losing the indefatigability of the three-pointed star. And this has been a successful mission.