2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class first drive
A touch of (S-) Class helps Benz’s new C stand out amongst rivals
Photo: John LeBlanc
Marseille, France – As has been the case since the original arrived in 1993, the new 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class has been designed to appear like a shrunken-down version of the German automaker’s flagship sedan.
But then again, there’s been little reason for Mercedes-Benz to change this successful formula. The outgoing generation, launched in 2007, remains the German automaker’s bestselling vehicle worldwide, and in Canada last year, the C-Class led the way with over 9,000 copies sold — well over half of the automaker’s total passenger cars sales. Although there’s a bevy of competitive rivals like the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Cadillac ATS (not to mention the ultra-stylish CLA-Class sedan found in the same showrooms), Mercedes-Benz claims to be ready to tackle the world’s best with a C-Class that is more sophisticated, more powerful, and more luxurious than ever before.
Former “Baby Benz” graduates to mini-S-Class status
Photo: John LeBlanc
While the new 2015 C-Class might actually fool your neighbours into thinking that you’ve splurged for the more prestigious S-Class, it’s no longer the “Baby Benz” of the automaker’s lineup. The aforementioned front-drive CLA-Class’s sub-$34,000 price tag and compact-car dimensions have seen to that.
This gave Mercedes room to move the 2015 C-Class upmarket, highlighted by a new lightweight design that ups aluminum usage by 20 per cent, shaving some 100 kilos off the old model’s curb weight. This is despite having a larger footprint on the road and a considerably more luxurious cabin. Improved aerodynamics and a range of new engines will help it achieve class-leading fuel-efficiency, too.
While previous C-Class models may have felt like the entry-level products they were, based on the European-spec models we drove, that’s no longer the case. On all fronts — from exterior and interior design, to the way they go down the road and protect their occupants from harm’s way — the 2015 C-Class family has clearly benefitted from the work done to its S-Class big brother.
Both inside and out, the 2015 C-Class is the most stylish yet
Photo: John LeBlanc
Compared to the stub-nose profile of the front-drive CLA, the new C-Class has proportions that emphasize its rear-wheel-drive platform, with a long hood, and a rear-mounted cabin that’s positioned far back like a sports car. Short overhangs emphasize the sedan’s longitudinal engine layout.
As swoopy as its sheetmetal is, its bodywork pales in comparison to the functional but stylish interior. Riding on a wheelbase that’s nearly the same length as the larger E-Class, the 2015 C-Class offers more interior room (particularity for rear passengers) and more trunk space than its predecessor. And when you factor in the various aluminum and wood trims available, the overall feeling is not only much more upscale than the outgoing C-Class, it’s also a big jump up from the less refined cabin found in the cozier CLA.
In what is becoming a Mercedes-Benz interior theme, a pair of large round vents separate the C-Class’s sweeping, one-piece centre console, from an iPad-like colour display screen that sits atop the dashboard. Well-organized HVAC and audio controls can be found below. All interior buttons and toggles have a quality feel and weight when operated, and various trim bits have been assembled with precision — something that cannot be said about the current BMW 3 Series. As well, Mercedes-Benz’s familiar Comand control wheel now has an accompanying touch pad with haptic feedback.
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