In an era of crossovers and superminis, Mercedes-Benz is out to prove that compact cars still have a place on the road. The German automaker is introducing the all-new C-Class for the 2021 model year, setting its sights on compatriots (and rivals) BMW and Audi.
This latest iteration comes in both sedan and estate guise, with a revamped design that aims to convey more sportiness. The changes are not just skin-deep though, as the C-Class adopts electronic wizardry from the more premium S-Class and packs a special surprise under the hood.
Now on its fifth generation, the 2022 C-Class comes with reduced overhangs, courtesy of extensive tweaks on the Mercedes Rear Architecture (MRA) that underpins the outgoing model.
Both body styles of the new C-Class gain an additional 65mm in length at 4,751mm, as well as being 10mm wider at 1,820mm. The wheelbase now stands at 2,865mm, an increase of 25mm. Apart from extending cabin legroom, the new dimensions also grant an additional 30 liters of space on the estate for cargo.
The new C-Class showcases an updated exterior with cleaner lines
The fascia features two power bulges on the hood, which now looks a little longer with the cabin slightly recessed to the rear. A wider-looking grille is now flanked by a redesigned headlamp cluster consisting of full LEDs, inspired by the Mercedes E-Class. Even the rounded tail lamps have been ditched in favor of slimmer units.
Even the rear lamps have been slimmed down
Unlike the model it replaces, the new C-Class features a much cleaner profile, with the top crease practically eliminated to emphasize the shoulder line. Meanwhile, the roofline on the estate slopes a little earlier towards the rear. Wheel options span 17- to 19-inch alloys.
The biggest influence exerted by the Mercedes-Benz S-Class on the new C-Class is in the cabin, with the dashboard feeding directly into the center console, pushing the three middle air vents higher up on the driver’s sightline.
The interior sports a two-tone color palette
A two-tone gray and brown color palette is present on various surfaces such as the interior door panels and seats, with room for up to five occupants. The padded center armrest still employs a split-opening lid, albeit slightly reshaped.
Tech & Safety
For the first time, the C-Class now comes with a fully digital instrument panel, available in either 10.25- or 12.3-inch sizes.
Customers can customize both with Discreet, Sport, and Classic themes. Even the touchscreen head unit is offered in two dimensions, the standard being 9.5 inches and 11.8 inches for the bigger screen.
Controls are still oriented towards the driver
Powering the interface is a more powerful second-generation MBUX infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, also benefitting from over-the-air updates. The redesigned center stack removes the rotary dial, with most multimedia functions accessible through touch-sensitive pads on the steering wheel.
The new C-Class comes with a semi-autonomous driving system that can independently control functions such as acceleration, braking, and steering, all up to 209 km/h. A 360-degree camera system removes blind spots, while the radar cruise control can work in a variety of driving conditions.
Engine & drivetrain
Another first for the new C-Class is that 48V mild-hybrid powertrains are now standard across the range. The base 1.5L gasoline engine produces 168 hp and 263 Nm of torque, while an uprated version kicks up 201 hp and 300 Nm.
A bigger 2.0L is capable of 255 hp and 400 Nm of torque.
All 2021 C-Class engines now come with hybrid power
Three 2.0L diesel variants are also available, with outputs ranging from 161 hp to 261 hp, and up to 500 Nm of twist. At least two plug-in hybrid versions will also be offered, and one of them is reported to generate up to 305 hp and 550 Nm of torque.
All engines work in concert with a 9-speed automatic gearbox, which Mercedes claims are lighter and more efficient than the previous version. The 4Matic four-wheel-drive system is available for select models in the range.
Pending the release of finalized prices, the 2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is estimated to cost $43,000 (Php 2,093,455), with the 4Matic variant priced at $45,000 (Php 2,190,825). It’s expected to arrive in European showrooms by the middle of this year, followed by a speculated U.S. release in early 2022.
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Know more about Mercedes-Benz C-Class
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is a classic sedan that carries a sleek and athletic design, veering away from the executive-only persona of the brand. It boasts of the same level of performance that the German brand is known for, plus more technological advancements to compete with other luxury sedans in the market. Through these updates, the nameplate transcends markets catering to the taste and needs of the younger generation. On the exterior, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class comes off as a sports sedan with its lines and contours that make it simple yet sophisticated. The interiors are equally compelling with neutral tones, premium leather upholstery, and timeless details. The dashboard of the new C-Class is decked with a high-resolution multimedia system and modern controls. Currently, there are three variants of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class marketed in the Philippines. These are the C180, the C200, and the C250. Engine sizes range between 1.6L and 2.0L, depending on the variant. All models run on gasoline with automatic transmissions.
Joseph Paolo Estabillo