Mercedes-Benz has lifted the covers off the all-new C-Class sedan and wagon, with the fifth-generation medium car due in Australia before the end of the year.
Appearance-wise, the new C-Class is more evolutionary than revolutionary.
Benz has aimed for a sporty look, moving the windscreen and passenger cell back to accentuate the power-domed bonnet, while designers have aimed to minimise exterior lines.
All models have a central star logo in the grille, while the rear tail lights have a two-piece design.
Though Australian specifications and pricing will be revealed closer to the C-Class’ local arrival, Benz has revealed some details of the car for overseas markets.
Initially, power will be from four-cylinder engines all with mild hybrid power, with overseas markets getting the choice of three petrol (C180, C200, C300) and two diesel (C220d, C300d) engines, ranging from 125-195kW and 250-550Nm.
However, more interesting powertrains will follow soon after launch.
Benz will offer petrol and diesel plug-in hybrids offering up to 100km of purely electric driving, twice the distance of the current C-Class PHEV and far beyond the usual range of most plug-ins on the market..
We’d assume the diesel plug-in would be a no-go for Australia.
Interior space has improved due to the C-Class growing bigger, with elbow-room increasing by 22 mm in the front and 15 mm in the rear, while those in the back also benefit.
Rear headroom in up 13mm in the sedan and 11mm in the wagon, while second row knee room has improved by 35mm.
Inside, the new C-Class adds a sportier touch to the new S-Class’ cabin.
The dashboard is split into an upper and lower section, with the dash and central display tilted towards the driver by 6 degrees.
Unlike others, the LCD driver display is freestanding, with overseas customers able to choose from a 10.25-inch or 12.3-inch screen.
The portrait-oriented central touch screen also stands out, appearing to float above the trim and rnaging in size from 9.5-11.9 inches.
It will have the second generation of Benz’s MBUX infotainment system, which allows for over the air updates.
The suspension scores a new four-link axle at the front and a multi-link axle at the rear mounted to a subframe, continuously adjustable damping and a sport suspension available as options.
Air suspension at the rear is standard for both the Saloon and Estate models of the plug-in hybrids.
Rear axle steering is also an option for those wanting improved agility.
Though medium car sales are in decline in Australia, the C-Class is still an important model for Mercedes.
It’s the brand’s biggest global seller over the past 10 years and was its third most popular model in Australia last year, accounting for more than a quarter of all luxury medium cars sold here in 2020.