Johannesburg - It sounds a bit odd, but the locally built new-look Mercedes-Benz W206 C-Class has now officially arrived in South Africa with the local introduction this week of sedan, coupé and convertible variants, all with new styling, new S-Class electronics and a range of new engines.

The front end has been redesigned, with new all-LED lighting, including multibeam headlights with long-range high beam as an option for the first time in a C-Class. Order your sedan in AMG Line trim and you get Affalterbach’s signature diamond grille as part of the package; each trim line has its own distinctive front bumper design, while the rear bumper varies according to your choice of engine and equipment options.

The most important new interior feature is one you can’t see - an all-new electronic layout that’s compatible with all the S-Class’s driver aids, giving the new W206 the highest level of active safety yet in a C-Class and the ability to drive semi-autonomously in a wider range of situations.

What you can see is a new centre console, trimmed in your choice of either open-pore brown walnut or open-pore anthracite oak, while a new multicontour seat package has individually adjustable side bolsters and lumber supports by means of an electrically driven air-pump - and by pulsing the air on the lumber section, it gives you a proper massage.

The new flight deck includes an optional 31cm digital instrument panel, and the infotainment system has been upgraded to include adaptive cruise control and smartphone connectivity via switchgear on the steering wheel that responds to swiping motions, just like your smartphone.

New engines

The new C-Class introduces a new generation of four-cylinder petrol engines, with nine-speed automatic transmission across the range, starting with the C200, which has a 1.5-litre turbopetrol four backed up by a 48-volt starter-generator that give you an extra 10kW and 160Nm under acceleration.

The C300 has a new-generation two-litre turbopetrol four rated at 190kw and 370Nm, while a new 1.6-litre version of the previous-generation turbodiesel in the C220d 4Matic provides a quoted 143kW and 400Nm.

Leading the pack, however, is the C43 AMG 4Matic, its three-litre turbopetrol V6 tweaked in this application for an extra 17kW (now 287kW) with 520Nm on tap from 2500-5000rpm. That’ll take the sedan version from 0-100 in 4.7 seconds and on to an electronically limited 250km/h.

Fair warning

And lastly: an optional new feature called ‘push notification’ will send a message to the Mercedes Me app if your new C-Class is bumped while parked, broken into or towed away; what you do about that depends on who’s doing the towing.

PRICES - Including six-year or 100 000km Maintenance plan 

C180 Sedan 115kW and 250Nm R586 500
C180 Coupé 115kW and 250Nm R666 000
C200 Sedan 135kW and 280Nm R613 500
C200 Coupé 135kW and 280Nm R766 000
C200 Cabriolet 135kW and 280Nm R793 500
C220d Sedan 143kW and 400Nm R651 000
C300 Sedan 190kW and 370Nm R716 000
C300 Cabriolet 190kW and 370Nm R884 000
C43 AMG Sedan 287kW and 520Nm R948 500
C43 AMG Coupé 287kW and 520Nm R983 500
C43 AMG Cabriolet 287kW and 520Nm R1 100 000

IOL Motoring