Over the past 10 years, Mercedes-Benz has sold more C-Classes than any other model. This is very good news: Sedans—and wagons—are far from dead yet. And while we’re on the subject of good news, there’s now an all-new C-Class to take on the BMW 3-Series and the Audi A4.
Looks smart, doesn’t it? Bits like the grille and the front and rear bumpers will change depending on which trim level you spec and whether you tick the box for the new Night Package, which darkens the otherwise chrome accents. The hood bulges are new, though, and come standard on all trim levels. Merc also says the side profile is cleaner to accentuate the shoulder line. Works for us. There’ll be plenty of wheel options from 17- to 19-inch designs, too, and both the sedan and the wagon will go on sale in March.
Whereas the styling might not be dramatically different to the current W205’s, the changes under the skin are fairly comprehensive. For example, the W206’s wheelbase is 25mm longer, every engine is now ‘electrified’ in some way, and there’ll be a plug-in hybrid with a hefty 100km of all-electric range. Impressive.
Those engines, then. Merc has dropped six-cylinder units altogether for the new C-Class, so it’s 48V mild-hybrid turbocharged four-pots only in both gasoline and diesel flavors. The full lineup currently looks like this...
A 1.5-liter gasoline powers the C180 and the C200 with 168hp and 201hp, respectively (the latter can be had with 4Matic four-wheel drive). There’s then a 2.0-liter gasoline that produces 254hp for the C300 and C300 4MATIC—both of which will crack the 0-100kph sprint in 6sec. The mild-hybrid systems are integrated into the starter generators and essentially maximize the start/stop system’s fuel-saving ability, but they’re also able to provide an additional 20hp of boost while the turbo is spooling up.
The only diesel is a 2.0-liter turbocharged unit that’s also combined with the mild-hybrid system—a first for Mercedes-Benz. The C220d makes 197hp while the C300d gets 261hp. Both claim an average of around 50mpg, and the 300d will do 0-100kph in 5.7sec. Merc’s nine-speed automatic gearbox is now standard fare across the range with gasoline and diesel engines alike. That’s your lot.
The aforementioned plug-in hybrid uses the 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine combined with a 127hp electric motor and a considerable 25.4kWh battery. It’ll be the most powerful C-Class, with a combined 309hp and 550Nm ft of torque. An optional 55kW DC charger can fully top up the battery in 30 minutes, and packaging has been improved to allow a flat floor in the trunk. Rear air suspension will be standard on the PHEV, and there’ll be all the usual battery hold and one-pedal driving tech.
A couple of interesting options on the new C-Class worth pointing out: You’ll now be able to get Merc’s super smart Digital Light up front, and you’ll also be able to spec rear-wheel steering that reduces the turning circle by over 40cm at slow speeds and increases high-speed stability.
The interior is by far the most controversial part of the W206. Arguments in the comments section below, please. The C-Class is getting the second generation of MBUX, complete with either a 10.25- or 12.3-inch driver display and a 9.5- or 11.9-inch central tablet. Unlike in the S-Class, though, the dashboard and that massive central screen are now angled slightly toward the driver.
Apparently, the Hey Mercedes voice assistant is also “increasingly sharp” and the driver-assistance tech is on a par with those on the S-Class. What do we think, Internet?
More photos of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class:
NOTE: This article first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor edits have been made.