Mercedes-Benz has lifted the veil off of the all-new 2015 C-Class sedan ahead of its scheduled public debut at next month’s Detroit Motor Show.
The fourth-gen C-Class is 3.7 inches longer and 1.5 inches wider than the outgoing model, a modification that Mercedes says is necessary because the average height of passengers is growing each year.
As before, the sedan is available with two front end treatments called Luxury and Sport, respectively. Heavily inspired by the S-Class flagship, the Luxury model wears an elegant three-slat grille with a small Mercedes three-pointed star protruding from the hood. The Sport variant falls in line with the front-wheel drive CLA-Class thanks to a more aggressive two-slat grille adorned by an oversized emblem. Both variants are fitted with specific bumpers on both ends.
Mercedes has managed to trim 221 pounds off of the C thanks to a new body structure made up of aluminum, high-strength steel and composite materials. Increased rigidity and improved safety are some of the other by-products of the new architecture.
Mercedes is moving the C upmarket in order to differentiate it from the entry-level CLA-Class. The next C’s dashboard is more evocative than before and the cockpit is packed with numerous high-tech features borrowed directly from the S-Class. The big standouts include a 7-inch screen on the dash, a smartphone-esque surface on the center console and a control knob that lets the passengers operate the various functions of the infotainment system. An electric parking brake and electromechanical power steering are standard on all models.
The added length provides more space for both front and rear passengers, and trunk space checks in at 16.9 cubic feet, a noticeable increase over the current model’s 12.4 cubic feet.
Interestingly, a GPS-sensitive climate control unit can detect tunnels and switch to air recirculation model in order to prevent fumes from entering the cabin. Additionally, an AIR-BALANCE system discreetly dispenses perfume to dispel unwanted odors.
Buyers can customize their car’s interior thanks to three design and equipment lines, and the list of options includes a class-first air suspension on both axles, a heads-up display and upgraded the 7-inch screen to a 8.4-inch unit that runs Mercedes’ COMAND Online, a navigation and multimedia system that also provides an internet hotspot
On the safety front, the C comes standard with numerous airbags and a host of high-tech driving aids including Attention Assist and Collision Prevention Assist Plus. Extra cost items include Distronic Plus, which can take control of the car during a traffic jam, Brake Assist System Plus, a 360-degree camera and Adaptive High Beams Assist Plus.
In Europe, the C will launch with two gasoline-burning four-cylinder engines and a lone oil-burner. The entry-level mill is a 1.6-liter four-cylinder rated at 156 horsepower and 184 lb-ft. of torque, enough to propel the car from zero to 62 mph in 8.2 seconds while returning 47 mpg in a mixed European cycle. The second gas-burning engine is a 2.0-liter unit that churns out 184 ponies and 221 lb-ft. of twist. With it, the C reaches 60 mph from a stop in 7.5 seconds and returns 44 mpg in the aforementioned cycle.
The diesel-burning model uses a 2.1-liter turbo four that generates 170 horsepower and a generous 295 lb-ft. of torque. The sprint from zero to 62 mph is achieved in 8.1 seconds, and gas mileage lies in the vicinity of 58 mpg.
Both manual and automatic transmissions will be offered on the old continent, and buyers will be able to pick between rear- and all-wheel drive. Technical details for U.S.-spec models will be published later today.
A gasoline-electric hybrid will join the lineup later in the production run, and Mercedes is busily developing a plug-in hybrid variant whose launch is still several years away.
The Alabama-built 2015 C-Class will arrive in showrooms several months after its debut in Detroit. A convertible, a coupe, and a BMW 3-Series GT-fighting hatchback will expected to debut later in 2014, while buyers in Europe will have access to a station wagon.