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All-new Mercedes C-Class revealed: bigger, smarter and set to be built in SA

Published Feb 23, 2021


STUTTGART - The new Mercedes C-Class wasn’t much of a secret, having leaked online earlier this week, but now the German carmaker has officially revealed the new sedan and wagon along with all the pertinent information that we’ve been waiting for.

As with the current model, the fifth-generation Mercedes C-Class will be built right here in South Africa for both local consumption and export at MBSA’s East London plant. Mercedes SA says we can expect to see the new sedan around the third quarter of this year.

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So what makes it special?

The new C-Class boasts an elegant yet evolutionary exterior design that appears to have taken some inspiration from the latest CLA and CLS models. It has grown in all key dimensions too, the new saloon being 65mm longer and 13mm wider than its predecessor, with the wheelbase having grown by 25mm, but overall height has been reduced by 9mm. As a result cabin space has also been improved for both front and rear occupants.

The new cabin design is perhaps more revolutionary than evolutionary, taking much digital inspiration from the latest S-Class. The LCD digital instrument cluster and touchscreen infotainment system both appear to float in front of the dashboard and customers can choose between two sizes for both screens: 26cm or 31.2cm for the instrument cluster and 24.1cm or 30.2cm for the central screen.

Like the S-Class, the new C is fitted with the second-generation MBUX digital system with three distinct display styles: Discreet, Sporty and Classic and three modes: Navigation, Assistance and Service.

Control your home devices from the car

What’s more, the “Hey Mercedes” voice assistant is said to be more interactive and capable of learning by activating online services in the Mercedes me App. Interestingly, Mercedes also offers an MBUX Smart Home function that allows owners to control home appliances from the vehicle. It also connects with motion detectors which can tell the owner if anyone is in their home.

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Other available cabin features include integrated music streaming services, colour head-up display and a navigation system with augmented video.

Four cylinder, hybridised engines

The engine range has been hybridised across the board, with base models featuring a 48V mild-hybrid system with integrated starter-generator and an overboost of 15kW and 200Nm. The upper-end hybrids, meanwhile, offer a plug-in facility and around 100km of electric-only range.

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The mild-hybrid range kicks off with the new C180, which is now good for 125kW and 250Nm, while the C200 produces 150kW and 300Nm. Both are powered by 1.5-litre turbopetrol engines, while the C300 gets a 2-litre unit and outputs of 190kW and 400Nm.

On the diesel front, Mercedes offers a C220d with 147kW and 400Nm and a C300d with 195kW and 550Nm and as with the petrol models, the mild hybrid system provides a momentary overboost function with 15kW and 200Nm.

Mercedes hasn’t mentioned any AMG versions as yet, but you can be sure that they are on the way, and likely with four-cylinders only.

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Rear axle steering, digital lights

Optional tech highlights include rear-axle steering, Digital Light headlights as per the S-Class, Active Steering Assist (which helps keep the vehicle in its lane at up to 210km/h) and Active Distance Assist - the latter two features giving the vehicle semi-autonomous driving capability.

Of course, the South African features and model line-up will be announced closer to launch.

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