The 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class, should continue to impress, remain the top-seller and make people smile, one acceleration or turn at a time…
Mount Rainier in Washington State stands 4,392 metres high.
Its majestic presence topped off with an icy garnish, as well as wispy tufts of clouds that surround its peak. It leaves onlookers in awe.
The crystal white hue of a Mercedes-Benz C400 seems to have a similar effect on people. They can’t help but stare. Some take photos. Some admire from up close, some from afar.
The C-Class is a staple product in the Mercedes-Benz lineup and is their most popular-selling vehicle in the family. It’s also one that plays a vital role in the Canadian market, one that usually involves snow!
While the all-new C-Class isn’t covered in snow (just yet), it can certainly handle it with minimal effort. All C-Class sedans come standard with Mercedes’ 4MATIC all-wheel drive system.
Though it’s summertime and that feature isn’t being put to use, there are plenty of other new fun things to play with in this five-person sedan.
First off, five people will fit more comfortably inside. It’s larger in every dimension compared to outgoing C-Class.
Then you’ll be able to bring out that smile more often when it comes to accelerating.
There are two all-new 4- and 6-cylinder turbocharged engines from which to choose.
The C300 features a turbocharged 2.0L, 4-cylinder that produces 241 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. (Note, this isn’t the same engine currently found in the CLA or GLA.
Then there’s the C400. With 329 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque, this new V6 has more torque and better fuel economy in comparison with the outgoing 2014. Both engines are paired with a 7G-TRONIC transmission.
Whether using the steering wheel paddle shifters or just letting the car change the gears on its own, you also have the ability to change your driving modes thanks to the AGILITY SELECT system that gives you five choices. There’s Eco, Normal, Sport, Sport+, and Individual. The modes are self-explanatory. Driving in the city and want to save more fuel? Pop it in Eco mode. Heading to a track and want the best access to power? That’s a Sport+ kind of day.
My weapon of choice, even for everyday driving, was the Sport mode. It gives the vehicle enough edge to make it fun and exciting, but without the harshness and abrupt gear changes that would be better suited for the track.
In Sport mode, the modified shifts and throttle response was sensitive enough to add immediate power but not overwhelming, especially in an urban setting. Then there was the steering response, whose curve is adjusted to give you a better grasp for the road, but without the abruptness, a Sport mode could potentially offer.
Regardless, whether I was in the 300 or 400, I was a happy driver. And I had a happy passenger because we both sat in comfort for the hundreds of kilometres we put on this next generation sedan.
Along with its new interior and exterior look, the C Classes are equipped with the next generation of infotainment systems. That comes complete with Touchpad, integrated Media Interface and MB Apps.
The touchpad and I still need more bonding time. I found it confusing to use at first and I ended up pressing buttons I shouldn’t have! But if that’s the harshest criticism of the vehicle I have, it’s not doing too badly.
Okay, the B pillars are quite wide and intrude on my blind spot visibility, but again, properly adjusting the mirrors and a shoulder glance will eliminate those anxieties.
When it comes to driving, it checks off all the boxes necessary to make it a luxury sedan. It’s quiet. Road and engine noises are kept at bay. Its interior materials are soft touch and pleasing to the eyes. And it feels great to drive at slow or high speeds.
The 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class, should continue to impress, remain the top-seller and make people smile, one acceleration or turn at a time.
The C300 has a starting MSRP of $43,000, while the C400 has a starting MSRP of $51,400.
Visit mercedes-benz.ca for more information.
Superbly engineered, technically sophisticated and pleasure to drive…
The mid-sized C-Class is the most popular and affordable Mercedes-Benz sedan and about 8.5 million of them have been produced, since it was originally introduced in 1993.
Mercedes engineering typically operates on a seven-year “circle of life” production run and an all-new generation of C-Class will arrive in Canada, as a 2015 model year vehicle, this summer.
In brief, it’s a bigger and better C-Class, however, real progress is in the details. This C-Class is lighter, safer, comes with a choice of two more powerful (yet more fuel-efficient) new engines, uses even more advanced technologies, plus its body is more aerodynamic and, to my eyes, better looking. The South of France global launch location, even though I had to share it with over 800 other auto hacks, was another nice bonus – more later…
There’s no pricing available at this time, but we do know the initial trim levels offered in Canada will be a C300 and a C400. A sporty AMG edition, called the C63, will also be added to the line in January 2015. Although not official, a diesel edition is also expected to be added in 2015. At this event Mercedes was also showing a Euro-destined hybrid-diesel edition.
An optional (Airmatic) air suspension is offered for the first time in C-Class. It allows a driver to choose between Comfort, Eco, Sport, and Sport+ settings via an Agility Select switch on the console. The 4MATIC all-wheel drive system is, as before, the other major option. Also available is a Sport Package that includes AMG trim upgrades, wheels and front brake system.
The C-class has classic rear-drive vehicle proportions with a long hood (with a choice of two front grilles) and a short rear deck. It looks like a smaller version of the top-line, and redesigned last year, S-class, especially the new LED headlights and taillights. Compared to the current C-Class it’s longer, lower and wider and is now close in size to a 90s E-Class. Its extended wheelbase also helps create more interior space, especially for rear seat passengers.
The big change under-hood is a four-cylinder turbocharged 2.0-litre, in the C300, that’s max rated at 235 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. While it produces more power than the outgoing base V6, I found the initial power surge, when you push on the gas pedal, overly aggressive. In fairness, the North American edition will come with different throttle mapping.
The twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 in the C400, on the other hand, is a beauty. It can pump-out up to 329 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque. More importantly, it does so in a quieter, smoother and effortless fashion that most drivers expect when at the wheel of a Mercedes. Both engines come with idle fuel saving start/stop systems and are mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission.
The list of standard and available high-tech active safety features is simply amazing. It includes almost everything that’s available in the top-line S-Class, which is touted as the world’s safest car. Intelligent Drive is an optional suite of technologies that includes autonomous braking with pedestrian recognition, a low-speed heavy traffic auto-pilot feature, active parking assist and a 360-degree camera setup with numerous views of immediate surroundings.
Bordering on frivolous, there’s an Air-Balance in-car perfuming system … to prolong that new-car Mercedes smell. Another one is a GPS-linked climate-control system tech feature that automatically switches it to “recirculation” mode when a C-Class is driven into a tunnel.
The test drive actually did include a few tunnels and there are lots of them in and under Marseille. It’s the second largest city in France and its busiest port with numerous ferries to other Mediterranean destinations.
Our drive route took us out of the city on a circular mostly rural route around the outskirts of Marseille and ended at the picturesque small harbor community of Cassis. A mountain drive along the Route des Cretes (Route of the Ridges) was spectacular. It’s a narrow, winding high-elevation road with pull-offs at numerous view locations.
Even with the (100 kg) weight reduction, this C-Class is sublimely stable on the road. The switch to a full electronic assist rack and pinion steering system, called Direct Steer, is also flawless. There are fuel economy and active safety benefits.
Inside the seating is typical Mercedes with easy to find power controls on the door panel. Generous in size, yet excellent support and a good range of adjustable elements didn’t give my weak back a reason to complain, even after many hours of driving.
The restyled dash is an elegant and less fussy design, thanks mainly to a new Touchpad controller that eliminates a multitude of switches. It can recognise both single and multi-finger gestures, wiping movements, zoom finger gestures, even user handwriting.
That said, the stand-alone display screen looks out of place, as if an afterthought I-Pad was attached to the dash.
Overall, this C-Class is sure to please both purists and newcomers. Superbly engineered, technically sophisticated and pleasure to drive.