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The all-new Mercedes-Benz C-Class is here

Featuring mild-hybrid engines as standard and a controversial S-Class style interior

Published: 23 Feb 2021

Over the past ten years, Mercedes has sold more C-Classes than any other model. This is very good news – saloons (and estates) are far from dead yet. And whilst we’re on the subject of good news, there’s now an all-new C-Class to take on the BMW 3 Series and the Audi A4. 

Looks smart, doesn’t it? Bits like the grille and the front and rear bumpers will change depending on which trim level you spec and whether you tick the box for the new Night Package, which darkens the otherwise chrome accents. The bonnet bulges are new, though, and come as standard on all trim levels, and Merc says the side profile is cleaner to accentuate the shoulder line. Works for us. There’ll be plenty of wheel options between 17- and 19-inches too, and both the saloon and the estate will go on sale in March. 

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Quick fact #1 – two thirds of the C-Classes sold in Germany are estates. 

Whereas the styling might not be dramatically different to the current W205’s, the changes under the skin are fairly comprehensive. For example, the W206’s wheelbase is 25mm longer, every engine is now ‘electrified’ in some way and there’ll be a plug-in hybrid with a hefty 62 miles of all-electric range. Impressive.

Quick fact #2 - Christian Früh has been Merc’s Chief Engineer for the C-Class since 2009. Before that, he was the project manager for the SLR McLaren. That’s a strong CV. 

Those engines, then. Mercedes has dropped six-cylinder units altogether for the new C-Class, so it’s 48V mild-hybrid, turbocharged four-pots only in both petrol and diesel flavours. We’re yet to find out what’ll make it to the UK, but the full lineup currently looks like this…

A 1.5-litre petrol powers the C180 and C200 with 168bhp and 201bhp respectively (the latter can be had with 4MATIC four-wheel drive). There’s then a 2.0-litre petrol that produces 254bhp for the C300 and C300 4MATIC – both of which will crack the 0-62mph sprint in 6.0 seconds. The mild-hybrid systems are integrated into the starter generators and essentially maximise the start/stop system’s fuel saving ability, but they’re also able to provide an additional 20bhp of boost whilst the turbo is spooling up.

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The only diesel is a 2.0-litre turbocharged unit that’s also combined with the mild-hybrid system – a first for Mercedes. The C220d makes 197bhp whilst the C300d gets 261bhp. Both claim an average of around 50mpg, and the 300d will do 0-62mph in 5.7 seconds. Merc’s nine-speed automatic gearbox is now standard fare across the range with petrol and diesel engines alike. That’s your lot. 

The aforementioned plug-in hybrid uses the 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine combined with a 127bhp electric motor and a considerable 25.4kWh battery. It’ll be the most powerful C-Class, with a combined 309bhp and 406lb ft of torque. An optional 55kW DC charger can fully top up the battery in 30 minutes and packaging has been improved to allow a flat floor in the boot. Rear air suspension will be standard on the PHEV and there’ll be all the usual battery hold and one-pedal driving tech. 

Quick fact #3 – Mercedes says diesel plug-in hybrid saloons and estates are in the pipeline. 

A couple of interesting options on the new C-Class worth pointing out: you’ll now be able to get Merc’s super smart DIGITAL LIGHT up front, and you’ll also be able to spec rear-wheel steering that reduces the turning circle by over 40cm at slow speeds and increases high-speed stability. 

The interior is by far the most controversial part of the W206. Arguments in the comments section below please. The C-Class is getting the second generation of MBUX, complete with either a 10.25-inch or 12.3-inch driver display and a 9.5- or 11.9-inch central tablet. Unlike in the S-Class though, the dashboard and that massive central screen are now angled slightly towards the driver. 

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Apparently, the Hey Mercedes voice assistant is also “increasingly sharp” and the driver assistance tech is on a par with the S-Class. What do we think, Internet?

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