2014 DETROIT AUTO SHOW

New Mercedes C class moves upscale in features

Styling on the redesigned Mercedes C-class is crisper with more angles and slippery lines, giving the car the appearance of a baby S class.

Photo credit: MERCEDES

Mercedes-Benz is moving the new C-class sedan further upmarket and making it lighter, bigger and better equipped than its predecessor.

The new C class will be more luxurious and positioned further away from the new entry-level CLA sedan. To widen the gap between the vehicles, Mercedes has equipped the C class with a more upscale interior and added optional driver assistance packages.

The styling is crisper with more angles and slippery lines, giving the car the appearance of a baby S class. It will be the first car in its segment to have an optional air suspension, Mercedes says.

“In all, the perceived quality of the new C-class feels like an upgrade to a higher class of travel,” Mercedes-Benz said in a statement.

The new C class will be unveiled at the Detroit auto show in January. The car is the best-selling model worldwide for Mercedes. Since the current model was introduced in 2007, more than 2.4 million have been sold.

Mercedes said the new C class has grown to take account of people's increasing average height. It is 95mm longer and 45mm wider than the current model with an 80mm longer wheelbase, resulting in more space for rear passengers.

It is also up to 100kg lighter thanks to weight-saving measures including a higher use of aluminum for its body structure. The share of aluminum has risen to nearly 50 percent compared with under 10 percent for the outgoing car, an unusually high proportion of aluminum for a mass-produced range, Mercedes said.

The C-class sedan is available to order now in Europe where prices start at 33,558 euros in Germany, Mercedes said. The model will be arrive in U.S. showrooms next autumn. U.S. pricing has not been announced.

New technology

The new C-class sedan will get upgraded and new driver assistance systems that debuted on the redesigned S class. Some of those systems will be optional and have been bundled into what Mercedes-Benz now calls Intelligent Drive.

They include Distronic Plus, a semiautomatic system that keeps the car at a safe distance from the vehicle in front at speeds under 27 mph. The Brake Assist System boosts brake force if the driver doesn’t apply the brakes. The Pre-Safe Brake system can detect stationary vehicles and pedestrians and brake automatically. The car also has optional Enhanced Lane Keeping and Active Parking Assist features.

The air suspension on the front and rear axles is standard on the awd C400. The driver can choose among Comfort, Eco, Sport and Sport + settings.

A head-up display is also optional and displays information on the front windshield, including speed, the speed limit, navigation, and messages from the Distronic Plus system.

Mercedes will add U.S. production of the C class in Vance, Alabama, to its other production sites in Germany, China and South Africa.

Automotive News Europe contributed to this report

You can reach Diana T. Kurylko at dkurylko@crain.com. -- Follow Diana on Twitter


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