After a long wait, we have a new generation Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the most popular car in the Stuttgart manufacturer range.

When viewed from the side, elaborately sculptured surfaces create unique light effects. Conversely, the designers have reduced lines to a minimum, which accentuates the so-called catwalk line or shoulder line even more. In the Estate model, the progressive roof line in combination with the inclined rear window adds a sporty touch without functional compromises. Other features producing the sporty, superior appearance include the wide track and the flush 17- to 19-inch wheels in modern designs.

The brand’s hallmark radiator grille characterises the front. All models feature a central star, with the design and character of the radiator grille differing in the details. The base model has a central star and louvres. In the AVANTGARDE line, there are additional decorative elements in the louvres, while the radiator grille and front apron feature chrome surrounds. The distinguishing feature of the AMG Line is the diamond grille with the star design in chrome.

The dashboard is divided into an upper and a lower section: into a wing-like section with new, flattened round vents reminiscent of aircraft engine nacelles, and into an opulent expanse of trim. The latter flows from the centre console to the dashboard without interruption. Driver-focus adds to the sportiness: the dashboard and central display are slightly tilted towards the driver by six degrees.

The driver area features a high-resolution LCD screen. It is free-standing, and appears to float in front of the wing profile and the expanse of trim. This sets the driver display apart from traditional cockpits with classic round dials. Customers have a choice between a 10.25-inch (26.0 cm) or a 12.3-inch (31.2 cm) version.

The paradigm change to digitisation is also obvious in the central display: the vehicle functions can be controlled using the high-quality touchscreen. Its portrait orientation is particularly advantageous for navigation. The touchscreen likewise appears to float above the expanse of trim. Like the dashboard, the screen is slightly tilted towards the driver. The central display has a screen diagonal of 9.5 inches (24.1 cm) as standard. A larger version measuring 11.9 inches or 30.2 cm is optionally available.

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A high-quality chrome insert divides the centre console into a rear, padded section for the armrest and a front section in lustrous jet black. The seemingly free-floating central display rises smoothly and seamlessly from this three-dimensional surface.

The modern, highly reduced design of door panels frames both ends of the dashboard. The door centre panel with integrated armrest evolves from a vertical surface into a horizontal orientation. Reflecting the design of the centre console, the front section takes the form of a metallic high-tech element. It can be used as a grab or closing handle, and houses the power window controls. Another highlight is the floating control cluster, into which the door opener and seat adjustment controls are integrated.

Like the new S-Class, the new C-Class is equipped with the second generation of MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience). The vehicle interior becomes even more digital and intelligent, as both the hardware and software have made great strides: Brilliant images on the LCD screens make it easy to control vehicle and comfort functions.

The driver display and media display offer a holistic, aesthetic experience. The information is presented in a clearly structured way. Mercedes-Benz developed a new display aesthetic for the S-Class, which now is systematically used as the basis for other models.

The voice assistant “Hey Mercedes” becomes more interactive and capable of learning by activating online services in the Mercedes me App. Moreover, certain actions can be performed even without the activation keyword “Hey Mercedes”. These include taking a telephone call. “Hey Mercedes” also explains vehicle functions, and, for example, can help when asked how to connect a smartphone by Bluetooth or where the first-aid kit can be found. “Hey Mercedes” is also able to recognise the vehicle occupants by their voices.

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Augmented Video is available as optional equipment. A camera registers the surroundings in front of the vehicle. The moving images are shown on the central display. In addition, virtual objects, information and markers are superimposed on the video image. These include, e.g. traffic signs, directional arrows, lane-change recommendations and house numbers. This can make navigation much easier, especially in urban areas.

A colour head-up display can be ordered as optional equipment. The driver sees a virtual image measuring 9 x 3 inches (approx. 23 x 8 cm) floating above the bonnet at a distance of about 4.5 m.

A fingerprint scanner is located in an ergonomic position below the central display. This allows users to log into MBUX quickly, conveniently and securely. The reason being that personal settings and data such as favourites, most recent destinations, behaviour-based predictions, business calendar entries or emails are protected. Payment processes via Mercedes me are also reserved to authenticated users.

Spearhead of the efficiency improvement measures is the new OM 654 M with an integrated second-generation starter-generator (ISG). It has a 48-volt partial on-board electrical system. An energy recovery function and the ability to “glide” with the engine switched off make the engine even more efficient. Along with electrification, which also includes the use of an electric refrigerant compressor for the air conditioning system, the most important modifications that make an output of up to 195 kW plus an additional 15 kW from the EQ Boost system.

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The four-cylinder M 254 petrol engine with a second-generation starter-generator with an additional output of up to 15 kW and 200 Nm more torque is also celebrating its première in the C-Class. Thanks to energy recovery and the ability to “glide” with the engine switched off, the petrol engine is highly efficient. In the M 254, Mercedes-Benz has for the first time combined all the innovations of the modular engine family of four and six-cylinder petrol and diesel units in a single engine. They include NANOSLIDE® cylinder coating, CONICSHAPE® cylinder honing (trumpet honing) and the exhaust aftertreatment system positioned directly at the engine.

A completely new feature is the segment charger with flow connection, an advancement of the twin-scroll technology for even more instantaneous response of the forced induction system. The completely newly developed segment t urbocharger is a result of cooperation between Mercedes-Benz turbocharger developers and the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 team. The technology transfer to series production sets new standards with respect to power combined with maximum efficiency. For short periods, the output of the C 300 (combined fuel consumption: 7.0-6.6 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions: 159-150 g/km)2 can additionally be increased by up to 20 kW overboost.

Fourth-generation plug-in hybrids will follow soon after the launch. Electrification is taking a great step forward while using the same base engines. With an electric output of 95 kW (129 hp) and an all-electric range of around 100 kilometres (WLTP), the plug-in hybrid C-Class will operate in all-electric mode in many cases – and on many days without using the combustion engine at all. This is the two-litre variant of the ultra-modern M 254 four-cylinder engine. The complete package is not only very efficient, but also decidedly sporty. Diesel plug-in hybrid Saloon and Estate models will follow.