The new-look C-Class displays the latest Mercedes-Benz design evolution; the short front overhang, long wheelbase and rear overhang creates a cab-rearward profile that draws the eye forwards to the bonnet with its twin power bulges. A smooth, sweeping shoulder line and a minimum of fussy panel contours add to the impression of sporty elegance. Inside, there’s more elbow room, headroom and rear-seat knee room than in the outgoing model. The C-Class is available in both saloon and estate form.


In the interests of fuel efficiency, the C-Class is now exclusively powered by four-cylinder engines with a range of power outputs and capacities. All models (apart from the Plug-in Hybrid C 300 e) come with a mild-hybrid 48V belt-integrated starter generator (BISG) that recovers energy under deceleration, for engine-free ‘gliding’ at cruising speed and imperceptible stop-start progress. The petrol line-up starts with the C 180, powered by a 170hp 1.5-litre engine, and progresses via the more powerful 200hp C 200 to the 2.0-litre C 300, which develops 258hp and hits 0-62mph in just 6.0 seconds. Diesels feature the BISG mild-hybrid tech too – all are powered by 2.0 litre engines and come in C 200 D, C 220 D and C 300 D variants. All C-Class models are rear-drive via a nine-speed auto box, although three – C 200, C 300 and C 220 D – can be chosen with 4Matic all-wheel drive. Coming soon, the C300e Plug-in Hybrid will offer a best-in-class 62-mile electric-only range.


The new C-Class boasts the latest iteration of the Mercedes-Benz Driving Assistance Package, reducing the potential for accidents in day-to-day driving. Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC automatically maintains a pre-set distance from vehicles ahead on motorways, Active Steering Assist helps the driver to stay in lane while Traffic Sign Assist can now recognise signs on overhead gantries and at roadworks. Every C-Class has the latest version PRE-SAFE® protection in the event of a front or rear collisions as standard, while the optional PRE-SAFE® Side (part of the Driving Assistance Package Plus) can sense an imminent side collision and move driver or passenger away from the impact zone.


The interior of the new C-Class shares many of its features with the flagship S-Class, including a large, portrait-format central touchscreen that’s angled towards the driver and which largely dispenses with the need for switches and buttons. There’s a choice of three different display styles while the driver instrumentation is displayed on a high-resolution LCD screen that appears to float above the dashboard. The central display screen is 9.5-inches in standard form though a larger, 11.9-inch screen is an option. The now-familiar MBUX operating system with its ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice commands is now more intuitive and sharper than ever, and it’s claimed that you can even use it to control the lights, heating and electrical appliances in your home remotely when using the ‘Smart Home’ function.