Now it’s official! There she is — the next made in South Africa Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
Following those grainy leaked pictures yesterday, W206 Mercedes-Benz has now officially revealed the all-new W206 C-Class. Mercedes likes to think of the new C as the Baby S-Class. It has big brother’s new second generation big screen MBUX infotainment and it’s based on the MRA II modular platform it actually shares with the E and S-Class. So in part that statement rings quite true.
BIG NEWS FOR SOUTH AFRICA
The new C-Class is of course once again big news for South Africa, with much of the newcomer’s global production set to come out of Plant East London. C has grown by 65 to 4,751 millimetres, is 1.82 metres wide and is 9 mm shorter, but its wheelbase grows 2.5 centimetres to 2.86 meters for a larger boot and more rear legroom.
Another evolutionary styling step, the biggest change comes inside where a large 11.9 inch screen dominates the centre console as it does in the new S-Class. Powered by the latest second-generation MBUX infotainment, the system blends seamlessly to a strip that operates the air conditioning and the like, while classic round air vents continue.
Base models will have a smaller nine-inch screen, while the digital instrument cluster now sits alone behind the three-spoke steering wheel and ther’s also an all-new augmented reality full colour head-up display with navigation. MBUX gains significantly more powerful hardware and an integrated Online Music feature to unite all major streaming providers.
FOUR CYLINDERS ONLY
In a major detour however, the new C-Class will now only be powered by four-cylinder engines. That starts with an all-new 125 kW 1.5-litre M254 petrol with a particulate filter in the C 180, and making 100 kilowatts per litre in the 150 kW C200. Next up is a 190 kW C300 4-Matic AWD with a 25 kW 30 second overboost.
A 233 kW 550 Nm plug-in hybrid C 300 e follows later in the year with a 95 kW electric motor and up to 100 km of purely electric range. A future plug-in hybrid will deliver a 150 km electric driving. The plug-in hybrids will have smaller fuel tank volumes because those cars will mostly be driven on electric power and require less fuel on board.
Flagship AMG C43 and C63e models also will be four-bangers only, but making comparable power and torque to the V6s and V8s they replace when they follow.
MUCH IMPROVED TURBODIESELS
Three much improved OM 654 four-cylinder turbodiesels include the 121 kW C 200 d, 150 kW C 220 d and 200 kW C 300 d, with all-wheel optional on the 220 d. The new turbodiesels all share a new 94.3 mm stroke crankshaft to up displacement to 1,992 cm³, while both twin watercooled turbochargers now have variable turbine geometry for improved response. There’s also a new NOX storage catalytic converter, diesel particulate filter and two SCR cats.
The new C platform is designed to accommodate both combustion engines and electric drives. W 206 rolls on new four-link front and steering multi-link rear axles with optional continuous adjustable damping and a sports suspension. That rear axle steering turns up to 2.5 degrees to reduce the turning circle by 43 cm.
Security system enhancements include latest digital headlights pioneered in the S and latest sensor technology for improved lane keeping and lane change, adaptive cruise control and emergency braking assistant performance. And the improved deployment of airbags more in the event of a collision.
MADE IN SA
Comfort equipment is also improved with tweaked driver and front passenger seat massage functions, heated rear seats for the first time optional filtered and ionized Air Balance package among the enhancements.
A definite for South Africa, work continues apace at Mercedes’ East London plant in preparation for C-Class production, once again for both local consumption and export.