Mercedes has renewed the C-Class for 2015, to keep it in current with the extremely competitive premium sedan market. Unlike its perennial rivals from Audi and BMW, the C-Class is taking a more refined route, with lightweight design, more comfortable appointments and a more conservative design. Mercedes’ top-selling sedan takes cues from the larger models to present a face that marks it as a cut above the rest.
The C-Class has dropped over 200 pounds after a diet that includes lightening measures in the unibody and suspension. The new styling is svelte, with a longer hood and muscular lines providing a sports coupe-like look. Short overhangs front and rear emphasize the sporty character. The C-Class offers a choice of front-end treatments, as it has in the past, to provide either a sporty or elegant style. The radiator grille’s vanes are adjustable to improve aerodynamics.
The interior is likewise upgraded, taking a step upmarket similar to the most recent S-Class. Mercedes has improved the materials and interior room. The new center console flows smoothly from front to back, and the central display screen is free-standing, similar to the S-Class. Seven-inch or eight and a half-inch screens are available, depending on which infotainment system is chosen. A smartphone-style touchpad with haptic feedback is mounted low on the console, making control of the various functions easier. Also new is a head-up display.
The C-Class will hit the streets in the US as a C300 4MATIC, featuring a 2.0 liter direct-injection turbocharged four-cylinder making 235 horsepower, or as a C400 4MATIC whose turbocharged 3.0 liter V6 produces 329 horsepower. Seven-speed automatic transmissions have been retuned for smoother shifting.
The new C-Class is available with a conventional suspension featuring a four-link front axle and a five-link rear, or with an air suspension. The air suspension’s continuous damping provides a smooth ride similar to the S-Class, and the level of input and intrusion can also be varied according to preference. Mercedes’ suite of driver-assistance features enters the C-Class in full-force, including Attention Assist drowsiness detection, crash-avoiding Collision Prevention Assist, Distronic Plus intelligent cruise control, a lane keeping assist, an active parking assist and a new Traffic Sign Assist system which can remind the driver of the correct speed limit or offer alerts regarding no-passing zones.