MercedesBenz CClass 2014 Review – Car Reviews News & Advice carsales com au

30 Мар 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи MercedesBenz CClass 2014 Review – Car Reviews News & Advice carsales com au отключены
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Mercedes-Benz C-Class 2014 Review

Mercedes’ crucial new C-Class looks certain to raise the medium prestige bar even higher

Mercedes-Benz C-Class (sedan)

International Launch

Marseilles, France

Barring a mild facelift in 2011, it’s now been seven years since we last saw an all-new C-Class. Now, the longer, wider and lighter W205-series arrives boasting more passenger and cargo space, better aerodynamics and even greater driver assistance and safety levels. With new steel and air suspension options and a choice of petrol, diesel and hybrid engines, Merc’s best-selling model is now on sale in Europe.

Australian pricing will be announced closer to the model’s local launch in July this year but is not expected to change much from the current model, which opens at just under $60,000 (plus on-road costs).

The mid-sized C-Class is Mercedes-Benz’s bread and butter. It outsells every other passenger vehicle the three-pointed star brand produces and in its previous iteration sold more than one million units globally in its first three years of production — and over 2.4 million examples in aggregate (2007-14).

In Australia, the C-Class’ sales figures are equally impressive, and against its direct rivals the model is a stand-out performer. Last year the C-Class sold 5963 examples locally against 5562 for the BMW 3 Series, 2843 Lexus IS variants and 2488 Audi A4s.

Now, an all-new model looks set to continue that trend, arriving leaner, greener, stronger and longer than any C-Class before it.

Bearing the series designation W205, the new C-Class arrives initially in four-door sedan format, but will be joined by a five-door wagon variant in September and as a sleek two-door coupe from March next year.

There’s no word yet on a convertible variant, though both this and the first hatchback variant are expected later in the model cycle (the latter in response to the likes of Audi A5 Sportback and BMW 3 Series GT).

Mercedes says the new C-Class is smarter and safer than before. and that it also offers even better dynamics and comfort. Special attention has been placed on increasing occupant and cargo capacity as well, Mercedes growing the wheelbase 80mm (to 2840mm), body length 95mm (to 4686mm) and overall width 40mm (to 1810mm).

Boot space grows by five litres (to 480), although the aperture itself seems reduced slightly from that of its predecessor’s.

Styled to resemble Mercedes’ flagship S-Class limousine, the new C-Class is almost 100kg lighter than the outgoing model, and utilises as much as 50 per cent aluminium (up from less than 10 per cent) in the construction of its frame.

It also features many of the technical innovations debuted in its bigger brother, most of which arrive as standard fare.

Like the previous model, the new C-Class will be offered with two distinctly different front grilles: sporty, with a large centrally-mounted badge, or classic, with a smaller star atop the bonnet.

The latter grille also forms a crucial piece of the C-Class’ much-improved aerodynamic performance, with fins that can be completely closed when the car deems fit, sliming the aero value to just 0.24Cd (down by as much as 0.09Cd, depending on variant), and saving up to 0.1L/100km of fuel.

Energy-saving LED technology is available optionally in the headlights (halogen as standard), as is a dynamic cornering function. The tail-lights are LED in all variants and carry Mercedes-Benz’s signature wrap-around formation, a style also seen on, you guessed it, the S-Class.

Inside, the youthful new C-Class cabin feels cosseting yet commodious. Head, hip and legroom are all improved, though the former is reduced somewhat when the optional sunroof is fitted. The materials used appear of an even higher quality than before, and although some elements of the decor’s design are familiar, the C-Class is not without its own personality.

The architecture of the dashboard and door cards appear visually uninterrupted around the driver and front seat passenger, who are separated by a one-piece, gearshift-free (on automatic models) console. It is dominated by an ergonomically placed central controller with handwriting recognition, which commands a free-standing infotainment screen measuring seven or 8.4 inches, depending on the variant.

A head-up display is also available, and conveys not only speed but speed limit, navigation and other selected display messages.

But perhaps most importantly are the changes we can’t see. We noted earlier an improved, lightweight yet more rigid modular monocoque body (known as MRA, or Mercedes Rear-drive Architecture, in Mercedes-Benz parlance) and improved aerodynamics, but mechanically, too, the new C-Class is much improved.

Revised hybrid, turbo-diesel and turbo-petrol engines are offered with standard idle stop-start technology across the range. All engines are Euro 6 emissions compliant and, says Mercedes, cut fuel consumption by up to 20 per cent when compared with the preceding range.

Available soon, the smallest supercharged four-cylinder diesel now displaces just 1.6-litres and, depending on configuration, outputs 85kW and 280Nm or 100kW and 320Nm. It is topped by the carry-over 2.1-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel which is available from launch with outputs ranging between 125kW and 400Nm or 150kW and 500Nm.

Mercedes’ third-generation BlueDIRECT four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engines are also offered from launch with a total of five variants providing outputs between 135kW and 300Nm to 155kW and 350Nm. A gutsy twin-turbocharged six-cylinder petrol engine developing 245kW and 480Nm is also offered.

Finally, and as in the E- and S-Class, a diesel-electric hybrid option will also be available [in Australia by the end of 2014], the C 300 BlueTEC HYBRID combining a 150kW and 500Nm four-pot oiler with a 20kW and 260Nm electric motor to achieve a combined consumption figure of just 3.6L/100km and CO2 emissions of 94g/km (on the NEDC cycle).

A plug-in hybrid version, boasting as much as 50km all-electric range, is also said to be in the works, though it’s not due for sale until at least 2015. A nine-speed automatic is also tipped to join the range at its mid-life facelift, while the hotly-anticipated C 63 AMG (with its fire-breathing 360kW/700Nm 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8) will come either late this year, or early next.

Of the current models, all are offered with a choice of six-speed manual (not for Australia) or seven-speed 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmissions and with the option of 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive (also not for Australia). Otherwise, the C-Class remains rear-wheel driven.

Each new C-Class rides on totally new four-link independent suspension at the front which is fully decoupled from the spring strut to achieve what Mercedes says is a class-leading ride/handling compromise. At the rear, a five-link system remains, albeit ‘optimised’ for the new underpinnings.

The steel suspension is offered with DIRECT CONTROL adaptive damping with three settings, though a segment-first self-levelling all-air system dubbed AIRMATIC is available optionally, and is variable through five modes.

Mercedes-Benz has also done away with the clunky foot-operated park brake in favour of an electric unit for all models. Direct Steer speed-sensitive electromechanical steering is also standard and, depending on variant, adjustable for resistance through two settings, Comfort and Sport.

Not surprisingly it’s on the road that these improvements combine with great effect. The new C-Class is composed, calm and especially quiet, and even in its most regular form offers an impressive compromise between comfort and confidence.

Tested on AIRMATIC suspension at launch were C 250 (turbo-petrol), C 220 BlueTEC (turbo-diesel) and cracking C 400 4MATIC (twin-turbocharged petrol) variants which, although possessing individual character traits, are on the whole refined and impressively well-built new entries in the medium prestige category.

Mercedes’ speed-sensitive electro-mechanical steering is perfectly linear in its weighting and assistance, though in Comfort mode feels a little too light for the application. Although Sport mode felt just right, we wonder if in the case of the C 400 4MATIC this could be a little firmer again. Fortunately, the rack is quick at higher road speeds, directing the C-Class through bends with precision while remaining free and easy at parking speeds.

The good thing about having a range of settings to choose from is that the steering, suspension and engine response can be tuned to suit your driving style and the road being driven. For the none-too-challenging test route, the Comfort settings were found to be most appropriate, allowing greater throttle modulation for around-town traffic and freeway cruising, and a supple suspension tune for pockmarked country lanes.

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The air dampers soak up all but the harshest of bumps very well and rebound quickly to keep rubber to road. Even if unsettled momentarily by bumps ahead of a corner, the AIRMATIC system responds with near-instant effect. Combine that with the traction offered by the 4MATIC all-wheel drive system in the cracking C 400 variant and the drive from corners is simply astonishing — it’s almost a shame Australian C 400 models will be rear-wheel drive only.

Noise, vibration and harshness attenuation is appreciably improved from the previous-gen C-Class with only a hint of wind noise experienced at freeway speeds, and then only at limits we’ll never (legally) encounter back home.

There’s almost no road noise to speak of, even on optional 19-inch rubber, and all mechanical noise is suitably restrained. The C 200 BlueTEC did present a little diesel ‘rattle’ at the lights, but with the idle stop-start system killing the engine at rest, this too is hardly a concern.

In case you’re the kind that enjoys your aural feedback you’ll be pleased to know you do get to hear a little bit of ‘whoosh’ from the exhaust of the C 400 during heavy throttle inputs, though this too is quite suppressed.

I’m not sure that’s the way most fans will like it, but if you’re the type to enjoy your performance without attracting unwanted attention you’ll love this car.

The 7G TRONIC transmission always chose the appropriate cog for the job and we never once found ourselves needing to override the transmission’s decision, even if the steering wheel-mounted paddles do elicit a little more control between bends. Also adaptable to preference, the transmission is unobtrusive of operation and easy to use via the column-mounted lever.

Not quite as easy to operate is the new human-machine interface. This multi-faceted controller is easy enough to get used to, especially if you’re an Apple user, but it does present so many screens, prompts and settings that it can be a little distracting.

We’re sure that with a little familiarity this won’t be an issue, but found it better to adjust most attributes before we set off, rather than attempting to alter the myriad of settings on the go.

If the new C-Class is Mercedes-Benz’s bread and butter then this new model is best thought of as French toast. It’s richer, with lots of cinnamon and icing sugar to make it feel more special.

In fact, it’s more like an S-Class than any previous C-Class, and is sure to give its rivals something to aspire to. Mercedes has lifted the mid-size luxury sedan bar considerably with the new C-Class, and we’re certain Australian buyers will feel the same come July.

2014 Mercedes-Benz C 220 CDI BlueTEC price and specs:

Price: TBA

Engine: 2.1-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel

Output: 125kW/400Nm

Transmission: Seven-speed automatic

Fuel: 4.0L/100km (NEDC Combined)

CO2: 103g/km (NEDC Combined)

Safety Rating: TBA (Expect five stars)

Transmission: Seven-speed automatic

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