C the future
It’s BMW worst dream. Lexus and Audi dread it, too
THIS is it — the initial favourite as the 2014 Carsguide Car of the Year.
Yes, it has an upscale Mercedes-Benz badge on the bonnet and it won’t be a $19,990 price fighter but the all-new C-Class is much more than just another luxury car. It will in fact be the best-selling mid-size import of any class.
Just like the Volksgwagen Golf MkVII that claimed this year’s COTY crown, the new C will rewrite the rules for everything in its class — and beyond — when it lands in six to seven months.
Pricing should be lineball with today, or even better, which means a bottom line just below $60,000.
But it’s the basics on driving and design that will reset the rules in a class where the outgoing C-Class is already the Carsguide choice ahead of the BMW 3 Series, Audi’s A4 and the Lexus IS.
The new C is a condensed S-Class, which means it’s a minilimousine with commensurate cabin quality and all-round class. Benz shook the small-car market this year with its new A and B-Class models, which have a similar starting price to a loaded Golf. The C’s increased dimensions serve to distance it from the new CLA. It’s 80mm longer in the wheelbase, 40mm wider and has a 480Lboot.
“Just as the new S-Class demonstrates exactly what our brand is about, C-Class is the counterpunch,” says MercedesBenz Australia spokesman David McCarthy.
“It will be here around the middle of 2014. There will be a hybrid for the first time, there will be two four-cylinder petrol engines and two four-cylinder diesels and there will be a sixcylinder petrol, but we’re not sure which one as yet. AMG? Count on it.”
The last all-new C-Class was in 2007 but its monster update in 2010 vaulted it over rivals into class leadership. This time , there will be breakthrough safety systems, air suspension option, seven-inch display screen in the dashboard, extra airbags — including pelvis and window bags — and more.
Much of the new gear will be optional or only on the upperend models. McCarthy says Benz intends to stick to its policy of loading local starter cars. Details are expected at next month’s Detroit motor show.