The best-selling Mercedes-Benz sedan hides a ton of tech under its subtle new exterior styling.
Early on Tuesday, Mercedes-Benz took the wraps off the latest generation of its stalwart C-Class sedan and wagon. It’s a thorough re-engineering of the compact sedan, packing a ton of trickle-down tech from the big S-Class, and featuring an engine lineup comprised exclusively of four-cylinder engines.
It doesn’t look vastly different though, does it? Merc’s styling team has adopted a softer touch here, with thinner headlights, a “frowning” grille instead of today’s “smiling” shape, the latter filled with a pattern matching the brand’s logo. A set of triangular taillights bring the C in line with the rest of the sedan lineup.
Those low-key looks hide an entirely new platform, however. Longer, lower, and wider than before, the 2022 C-Class gains 2.5 inches from bumper to bumper, an inch of which happens between the wheels, with the wheelbase up to 112.8 inches. Mercedes says the stretch pays off for passengers, particularly in the rear, where legroom is up 1.5 inches, and headroom half an inch. Trunk space remains the same as before, at healthy 17.9 cubic feet.
As the title suggests, the new platform can’t fit Merc’s inline-six, thus the C-Class is moving to an engine lineup comprised exclusively of four-cylinder engines. Just one will be available at launch: a 2.0-liter turbocharged unit, producing 255 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. A standard 48-volt mild-hybrid system augments the ICE with up to 20 additional horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque for quick bursts. Merc’s nine-speed automatic remains the sole transmission choice, whether buyers choose rear- or all-wheel drive. The run to 60 mph will take 5.9 seconds, but we’ll have to wait longer to know the EPA fuel efficiency ratings.
Moving inside, the C-Class sports the sort of leather- and aluminum-heavy interior design we expect of a modern Merc. A two-tier dash design allows for liberal use of ambient lighting, including within the squircle-shaped air vents. There are very few physical buttons to the right of the driver: instead, a large, portrait-orientation 11.9-inch touchscreen handles nearly all control duties, a la S-Class. It runs the latest version of the well-liked MBUX system, now capable of over-the-air updates. A second 12.3-inch screen pulls instrument panel duty, and is standard.
The C-Class inherits much of its tech suite from big-brother S. Merc has upgraded the driver-assistance features, with better sensors and cameras expanding the C’s abilities. The lane-keep assist can now work in concert with the 360-degree camera for better road placement, for example. The S-Class’ cool augmented-reality navigation system is also available. LED headlights are standard, and other markets will have the option of the trick Digital Light system, which can project warning symbols and guidelines.
Speaking of goodies North America won’t get, don’t expect the C-Class wagon, either. The jury is out on the return of the coupe and convertible, as well.
The 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class will start arriving in North American dealerships near the start of next year. Full details on trims and pricing will arrive closer to its on-sale date.
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