Introduction: First introduced back in 1982 under the Mercedes Benz 190 name plate (code-named W201), the luxury sedan was placed under the E Class and S Class sedans. The term C Class was coined later in 1993, when the W201 was replaced with W202. Third generation of the C Class, W203 was launched in 2000, while W204 was launched in 2007.
Globally, the C Class is Mercedes Benz’ best selling model. The previous gen C Class managed to clock over 22 lakh in sales. This pushed the bar even higher for W205 variant, even before it was launched. The latest gen C Class, the car we have reviewed in this post, W205 model was first revealed in official images back in December last year, and was publicly unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show earlier this year.
Exteriors: Designed on their philosophy – Best of Nothing, Mercedes Benz designers have arguably provided us with the best-looking C Class till date. Based on the new design language, which was first seen in their flagship S Class last year, the new C Class is fondly called as the baby S Class. And believe us, it is the baby S Class, especially if you look at the rear design, or at the dashboard.
The front features a combination of precise flowing lines, which not only gives the car character, but also defines its sporty character. These lines are easily visible – two on the bonnet, flowing into the grille, two emerging from the front apron, flowing into the wheel arches from under the headlights. Accentuating the front look further is two slat grille with a large three pointed star logo in the centre.
The new C Class gets H7 halogen headlamps as standard. Apart from this, it also gets full LED intelligent light system and DRLs. Side indicators are smartly embedded into ORVMs. Other point worth mentioning here is the presence of Karl Benz’ signature on the wind-shield!
Moving towards the side, long bonnet and short overhangs give the new C Class a well defined and balanced look. Then there are the two body lines, which are placed exactly like in the S Class. You will also notice a matte titanium garnish on the door sills on the outside, which runs across the side body of C Class. This same garnish is also seen on the front and rear bumper. Window sills get chrome strip.
As standard, the new C Class in India gets 225/50 with 17 inch, 5 twin spoke alloys. The rear design is very similar to that of the S Class. It has the same tail-light and boot design. The rear is proportionate and not as melty looking as that of the CLA Class. Tail-lights get full LED treatment, while there is also a chrome garnish running across the bonnet, just above the licence plate. Somehow, I do not think that the tail-light design matches elegantly with the overall look of the car.
Interiors: Mercedes Benz claims that the interiors quality of the new C Class is sometimes unmatched by cars in a higher segment. Well, they are not wrong. The design, touch and feel of the interiors is simply top notch, to such an extent that if one is blind-folded and placed inside the new C Class’s driver’s seat, it will be difficult for him/her to tell whether it is the S Class or not.
The soft leather on the dashboard, plush big seats, centre dash featuring wood with glossy finish, premium leather steering wheel with paddle shifters, 8.4 inch hi-resolution colour screen, matte titanium finish on air-con vents, steering wheel, door handles, plush door mats, etc. All in all, the C Class will get you the WOW factor the minute you enter the cabin. The front seats get electronic control with memory functions. They offer good overall support for you back, neck and thighs. Rear seats offer ample legroom and back support.
Keeping in mind the comfort levels, rear seats are designed in such a way as to offer optimum back and neck support – so that you can be driven back home in utmost comfort after a tiring day. Compared to the old C Class, the new C Class is 95 mm longer, and 40 mm wider. This extra space is visibly experienced on the inside. On the downside, the transmission tunnel makes it uncomfortable for the centre passenger on the rear seats.
The three spoke steering wheel gives good, sturdy feel. Being small in diameter, it is also easy to handle. As compared to the the old C Class, which got the hydraulic steering system, this one gets an electric steering system. Though this has made the steering very responsive and sharp, at the same time it has lost a bit of its charm when speaking about delivering feedback to the driver. The steering wheel is nimble at low speeds, and gradually starts weighing as the car accelerates to higher speeds.
The colour screen’s position is fixed. It can be controlled via the mouse-like touch control in the centre, or with the wheel, or with steering mounted controls. From this screen, you can access satellite navigation, connect your phone via bluetooth, play music, change the drive mode, access AM/FM radio, internet and much more. You will also find a small analogue clock on the centre dash. This adds to the premium feel of the interiors. Also found on centre dash, are two cup holders and a 12V charging socket.
The instrument cluster consists of two dials, one is a speedometer, and the other is a tachometer. Both are analogue. Between these two, there is a colour LCD display. Apart from showing real time information like drive mode, range, outside temperature, speed, fuel efficiency, etc, it also shows some interesting data like attention level (in cruise mode), and ECO display. Apart from this, the interiors also gets ambient lighting – 3 colours, which you can select from the vehicle settings. The ambient lighting is not as detailed and elaborate as the S Class, but still adds to the car’s feature-list.
For storage spaces inside the cabin, all four doors have big enough pockets to store 1 litre bottles, and some space for other personal belongings. Centre arm rest for front passengers also opens up and provides good enough storage space. Inside here, you will find two USB ports, from where you can charge your smartphones. The glove box design is such that it does not open fully, and feels restricted (as shown in the image above, that is how much it can open). Space inside glove box is not impressive, but is sufficient to keep a few documents.
The front-seat’s electronic adjustment controls are designed in the same way as seen on the S Class. Fitted on the front door, they are are finished in matte titanium. Other important aspect of the cabin is state of the art Burmester surround system with 13 speakers. These provide excellent music listening experience. The huge panoramic sun-roof lets you fresh air and natural light inside the cabin. Rear passengers also get air-con vents with temperature and fan-speed control. They also have two charging points, one for mobile phone (12V), and the other for laptop (230V).
Coming to the boot space, though rated at 480 litres, some of it has been eaten into by the space saver tyre (about 130 litres space gone). This makes storing large suitcases a problem. Under the boot you will find a tool kit and a collapsible plastic box. This box comes handy when you are changing tires.
Engine, Transmission and Mileage: As of now, the new C Class is only offered with a 2.0l petrol 4 cyl engine. This engine delivers 184 PS at 5500 rpm and 300 Nm torque between 1200 – 4000 rpm. This power is transmitted to the rear wheels via 7G Tronic Plus automatic gearbox. Though the transmission is smooth, shifts are a bit slower. This combination gives the C200 a top speed of 235 kmph and a 0-100 kmph time of .3 seconds. Claimed mileage stands at 14.74 kmpl. We managed to get a decent mileage of 10 kmpl overall.
Driving Dynamics: 2015 Mercedes C Class comes with 5 different driving modes, called ‘Agility Select’. This allows you to drive the car in five modes – Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual. In the Eco mode, the engine and transmission’s priority is to attain maximum fuel efficiency, due to which the gear shifts happen at lower rpms. Comfort mode is not much different than the Eco mode, but in this mode, the accelerator gets a bit more responsive. As you keep going up the modes, the response of transmission and accelerator too gets getting better, obviously at the cost of fuel efficiency.
In Sport+ mode, the engine and gearbox are most responsive. In this mode, the automatic start-stop system for saving fuel also gets deactivated (in other modes too you can deactivate, but manually from the button near centre armrest). In Sport+, you can also switch automatic gearshifts off, and take control of them manually via paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel. In other modes as well, you can use the paddle shifters, but after a set rpm, the gearshifts take place automatically, which is not the case in Sport+ mode. You can shift between different modes on the fly.
Compared to the old C Class, this one is a whole lot better to drive. This is because of the new lighter chassis, which has reduced the overall weight of the car by about 100 kgs, and a powerful motor. This is the same engine which does duty on the petrol E Class, which is much heavier as compared to the C Class, which has a kerb weight of 1545 kgs. Thus, the new C Class is much more responsive and fun to drive.
Suspension settings is on the stiffer side, and as the Indian variant does not get AIRMATIC system, which would have allowed change in settings in accordance with drive modes, thus ride on bumpy roads feels a bit hard. Upside of this is that the C Class holds perfectly well on smooth roads. On the highways, the car is well planted, even at high speeds. In city traffic, put the car in Eco mode, and enjoy the light steering. Even though the new C CLass is longer than predecessor, the car holds its ground even while cornering at high speeds.
Verdict: The outgoing C Class was still a performer, and would have survived a couple of more months in India. But, the aggressive strategy from Mercedes Benz India has made sure their customers get the ‘Best or Nothing’. The new C Class has not only set new benchmarks in the segment, but has also questioned the segment above itself. Fully loaded, and priced at Rs 40,90 lakhs, ex-showroom, New Delhi, the new C Class feels a bit overpriced on paper, but the bells and whistles which come along with it, including the ‘Made in Germany’ tag, you don’t get much to complain.
Why would you buy new C Class
– Petrol motor with RWD
Why would you not buy new C Class
– CBU price
– No diesel option (until March 2015)