Mercedes’ designers held up their end of the bargain when it came making the new C-class distinct from the CLA, because although the cars share their basic styling language, their proportions are totally different. Unlike the front-drive CLA, the C-class gets long-hood, short-deck proportions ripped straight from the range-topping S-class. For good measure, Benz also tossed in S-class–like headlights, taillights, and other assorted details. This association is no accident—the S might carry Mercedes’ styling torch, but the C-class will end up in far more driveways and thus grab more eyeballs.
The C-class’s graceful proportions come thanks to a sizable increase in key dimensions, with the wheelbase growing by 3 inches to 112, overall length stretching by 3.7 inches to 184, and width swelling 1.6 inches to 71. Earlier this year, we were given access to the 2015 C’s final interior, and it’s clear that the growth pays off in the back seat, which is noticeably roomier than the current model’s. You can read the details of the cabin here, but let us paraphrase those impressions with this: The C-class’s interior styling, materials, and fit and finish are exemplary. It’s also fresh-looking, melding elements from both the CLA and the S-class into a format not found in any other contemporary Benz. Several interior color and trim combinations will be available, with a choice of wood or aluminum accents and numerous leathers.
A new COMAND infotainment system with a touch-sensitive pad makes its debut on the C-class as standard equipment. We also tried out this nifty bit of tech, which responds to the same touch-screen finger inputs common to smartphones for audio, climate, and navigation controls, and found it was surprisingly slick and as easy to use than the intuitive COMAND knob. (The familiar knob stays, as do voice controls, giving users two other options for controlling infotainment functions.) The center-stack screen floats above the instrument panel like the CLA’s and measures seven inches across; a Multimedia option package ups that to a huge, stunningly clear 8.4 inches. Rounding out the interior tech is a newly available color head-up display, which can present speed, navigation, cruise control, and audio information.
At launch, the C-class engine lineup will be pared down from the current car’s quartet of gas-fed motors to just two. The outgoing C250, C300, C350, and C63 AMG models give way to the C300 and C400. Whereas last year’s C300 came with a lower-output version of the C350’s V-6, the 2015 C300 gets a turbocharged 2.0-liter four tentatively rated at 235 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. The C400 designation is new, and that model gets a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 pumping out 329 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque. While the C250 and its 1.8-liter turbo four seems dead for good, the high-performance C63 will return (likely for the 2016 model year). We expect that a diesel C-class variant will be headed our way sometime after launch, and we’re told a plug-in hybrid variant is being considered, as well.
Thanks to: Car and Driver