This is a big year for Mercedes-Benz, the famous German premium carmaker. It celebrates 125 years. Karl Benz also patented the automobile - his first was powered by his own four-stroke cycle petrol engine which was built in Mannheim, Germany in 1885.
With 8.5 million sold around the world, one of the big new models arriving this year for Mercedes-Benz is the new revamped C-Class range. Saloon and estate versions will go on sale here in early next mont (April ) at prices that remain relatively unchanged despite the higher level of specifications being offered.
Following what they term ‘a comprehensive modernisation’ the range has been given a brighter and more athletic appearance and fitted with a number of new features that Mercedes-Benz believes will give it a significantly more competitive edge. In total, Mercedes says it has made 2,000 enhancements to the new C-Class - the most comprehensive facelift in its history.
It gets an imposing new fascia that brings the C-Class more into harmony with the brand’s new more corporate design. Bumpers have a more dynamic contour while a more pronounced V-shape grille gives it a more sporty look. This impression is enhanced by new headlights, LED indicators and front daytime running lights.
Front side air inlets positioned low down in the bumper give the car a road-hugging appearance while rear modifications create an even greater impression of width. A lightweight aluminium bonnet, front wings and door sections reduce weight and increase fuel efficiency.
The interior has been completely revamped. An enhanced level of trim now includes Artico leather upholstery as standard. Other features include a restyled dashboard with elegant grained surface and decorative inlays, a redesigned instrument cluster and updated controls, new three and four-spoke leather steering wheels and new telematics.
Internationally, the new C-Class range consists of 11 models. In Ireland, attention will focus on three diesels and one petrol unit of which the 200 CDI version will be the most popular. Other models going on sale here are a 220 CDI and 250 CDI diesel and a C180 petrol.
New engines that deliver increased performance, improved fuel economy and lower emission all come equipped with emissions-reducing BlueEfficiency package as standard – a feature that positions them solidly within the lower road tax bands. This is reflected in the 200 CDI BE manual version whose CO2 rating of 138 qualifies it for Band B road tax of just €156.
The estimated 31per cent reduction in fuel consumption that the new C-Class is expected to deliver is another feature that should add to its appeal. This outcome is helped by a CD rating of 0.26 (which the manufacturers claim is a benchmark in its category ), an ECO start/stop function which is fitted as standard on manual and automatic versions and fuel-efficient 7G-Tronic automatic transmission.
Safety is also to the fore and Mercedes-Benz claim that the 2011 revamped C-Class has more driver assisted systems as standard, that are normally only associated with upper-end models.
Some available systems will include drowsiness detection, adaptive headlight beam adjustment, active lane keeping and blind spot assist, park assist and proximity and speed control systems depending on model choice.
Despite its many improvements and higher level of standard specifications, the new C-Class enters the Irish market at prices that are exactly the same as its predecessor. Entry level models are the C180 BE petrol at €35,055 (ex works ) and C200 CDI SE BlueEfficiency at €36,350. Across the range, customers have a wide choice of models and specifications in Standard, Elegance and Avantgarde with lots of additional options available in each case.
In a comment, Mercedes-Benz sales manager Ciaran Allen said: "Thanks to its more attractive appearance and a very competitive position in terms of price and specifications, we expect that sales of the new C-Class will grow from one-fifth to one-third of total Mercedes-Benz sales in Ireland and thereby help us to retain our strong position within the luxury segment”
The C-Class was the global market leader in this class last year. The revamped model looks better, drives better, has a higher standard specification and will cost you less to run.
What is not to like about the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class?