BRAND NEW MERCEDES-BENZ C-CLASS WALTZES INTO MZANSI

Affection for the 3 pointed star brand has long been ingrained in me from a very tender age. It is one of those feelings one can’t explain. I have also been fortunate to have had experiences in just about every generation of C-Class, which has also given a clear idea of the brands perception of its core customer needs, wants and aspirations.

With over 10 million units sold all over the world, it is quite clear this is one of Mercedes-Benz’s best sellers. This new generation is proudly made here in Mzansi, in East London or eMonti, in the province of the Eastern Cape. The investment into the Monti Plant has been extended by another R3 billion to accommodate three full shifts of production. This particular Plant makes up 5% of the world’s export over and above Beijing (China) and Bremen (Germany). It may also be in line to produce some of the hi-performance AMG derivatives in due course.

The new car has benefited immensely from the new big S-Class, including in looks. The design is very close, the silhouette is sleek, smooth, no creases, and shoulder lines look lower. Then front end is bolder, yet distinctly C-Class, with the new grilles (AMG-Line and Avant Garde), the bumper houses more pronounced air intakes, and sports lip on the AMG-Line. From the side things are smoother with a shorter overhang, leading to a wider rear stance. The rear is dominated by the LED taillights, chrome tailpipes a detailed bumper with reflectors and side vents.

The interior is probably the biggest talking point of the C-Class. High quality materials, futuristic design, and technology to outshine NASA. The new design leather seats are the highlight for me, swiftly followed by the 30.2cm centre console touch screen, the flow of the dash with those hexagon styled vents, and the multi-function steering wheel. It is quite an occasion being in the new car, with 64 ambient colour choices. Everything simply screams class and luxury.

I got to sample the two models available at the moment, namely the C200 with a turbocharged 1.5-litre, 4-cylinder petrol unit with 150kW of power and 300Nm of torque. Second is the C220d powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel with 147kW and 440Nm of torque. Both powerplants have a mild hybrid system, thanks to an intergrated starter generator that gives them an extra 15kW and 200Nm. Mated to them is the trusted 9G Tronic transmission, putting power to the rear wheels. Another feature from the S-Class is the rear axle steering, turning 2.5 degrees. All this equates to a very good driving experience; comfort, and performance are combined with ease. Handling is bliss, thanks to a well sorted suspension and that minute rear axle steer. The two models deliver swift power, but the C220d feels far more superior as it easily accesses its torque. The C200 is fine but my pick for now is the C220d.

This new C-Class is stacked with serious tech, safety and luxury nice-to-haves. The centre console can’t be missed though; it really is the mainframe for just about everything. The sound system on both units I drove did not really impress myself and my driving partner, especially when you consider that we are both DJs. On-the-road safety is always a major priority at Mercedes-Benz, so the new C-Class has also been assigned to carry the baton. New lighting tech that turns night into day is what the brand promises with no less than 2.6 million digital lights (optional) in the LED cluster.

The overall offering is complete, thus making it as “Mercedes-Benz” as this could be, which means a great combination of luxury, performance, technology and great looks.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Prices

C200 – R849 000

C220d – R908 000

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