C the fu­ture

It’s BMW worst dream. Lexus and Audi dread it, too

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige - PAUL GOVER CHIEF REPORTER paul.gover@carsguide.com.au

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.

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