Four years after launch, Mercedes-Benz is significantly enhancing the technology, equipment and design of the successful C-Class. The newly sports-tuned chassis, steering and six-speed manual transmission make the C-Class an even more agile performer.
From spring 2004, a four-cylinder powerplant with compressor supercharger and an output of 141 kW/192 hp will be added to the engine line-up for the Saloon and Estate models. The C 220 CDI will develop 110 kW/150 hp, thus making it 5 kW/7 hp more powerful than its predecessor, whilst the new C 55 AMG developing 270 kW/367 hp is the first car in this Mercedes-Benz model series to feature an eight-cylinder engine.
The C-Class interior is enhanced further by a new cockpit design featuring exceptionally well designed controls and the THERMATIC automatic climate control system, which comes as standard. Also standard is the new paint which is based on nano-particle technology and offers greater scratch resistance. Optional hitech equipment includes bi-xenon headlamps with cornering light function, steering-wheel gearshift buttons for the automatic transmission and a new range of audio/navigation systems.
Available in Saloon, Estate or Sports Coupé guise, this Mercedes model series features a new-look front section - bumper, radiator grille and headlamps - that gives the cars a dynamic appearance even when stationary.
Sales of the current C-Class - which was launched in May 2000 offering state-of-the-art technology, a high level of long-distance comfort and sporty agility -have now topped the 1.26 million mark. Never before has Mercedes-Benz sold so many cars from the same model series in such a short space of time.
Exterior: new-look front section, wider tyres and paintwork with greater scratch resistance
Major styling elements that define the cars' dynamic looks include the newly designed front bumper, featuring a prominent lower air intake with sports-car over-tones, as well as the new radiator grille which now has three louvres, giving a wider and hence more powerful feel. These louvres are either painted or feature an even more dynamic perforated design, depending on the model and appointments. In addition, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class will have clear-lens headlamps fitted as standard.
Further aspects which reinforce the dynamic nature of the C-Class include the wider track width - increased from 1493 mm to 1505 mm - as well as standard-fit 16-inch wheels and wide 205/55 R 16 tyres. Furthermore, the CLASSIC and ELEGANCE lines are equipped with the sportier side skirts and the rear bumper from the AVANTGARDE model.
Added lasting shine will be provided by the newly developed clearcoat which is based on nano-particle technology, offers greater scratch resistance and increases the renowned long-term value of this Mercedes model series. This paint finish is part of the extensive standard package.
Interior: new cockpit design and strong appeal throughout
The enhanced interior of the C-Class is a testament to the great care and meticulous attention to detail displayed by the Mercedes designers. This is immediately apparent in the tasteful use of chrome trim around many of the controls on the dashboard. It is also reflected in the newly developed switches and the modified seats which feature a different design for each line and provide added comfort.
Four circular dials with white lighting, which are designed in the style of high-class chronometers and easy to read, form the centrepiece of the all-new cockpit. A vertically arranged central display situated between the speedometer and rev counter works in tandem with the buttons on the multifunction steering wheel, thus allowing the driver to customise numerous settings.
Even the standard CLASSIC model comes with new fine-wood trim as standard, thus further improving the appearance of the centre dome and centre console. Meanwhile there is a choice of trim for the AVANTGARDE line: aluminium (standard) or bird's-eye maple (optional).
The C-Class Sports Coupé underlines its youthful and dynamic credentials with a new three-spoke steering wheel featuring silver control buttons, aluminium appliqués in the centre console and sports seats.
Chassis: sports-tuned axles, steering and transmission
To improve the already outstanding driving dynamics, the C-Class chassis, steering and manual transmission have all been modified. The raft of measures implemented - collectively referred to as DIRECT CONTROL - includes newly developed bearings on the front and rear axles, which allow even more agile cornering without impairing comfort, as well as a more direct steering ratio and a reinforced anti-roll bar at the rear. The standard-fitted six-speed manual transmission is easy to use and ensures extremely precise gear changes.
Engines: new, powerful petrol model and a boost in output for the C 220 CDI
Mercedes-Benz is extending the engine line-up for the Saloon and Estate models by introducing the supercharged powerplant developing 141 kW/192 hp, which was previously only available for the Sports Coupé. With a peak torque of 260 Nm, the four-cylinder engine propels the C 230 KOMPRESSOR from 0 to 100 km/h in 8.1 seconds (Estate 8.7 seconds) and enables a top speed of 240 km/h (Estate 235 km/h). Thanks to the TWINPULSE system, which combines various technologies such as a compressor, balancer shafts, intercooler, variable valve timing and four valves per cylinder, the engine consumes just 8.9 litres of fuel per 100 km (NEDC combined consumption, Estate 9.3 litres per 100 km).
The power output of the tried-and-trusted four-cylinder diesel engine at the heart of C 220 CDI has been boosted to 110 kW/150 hp (from 105 kW/143 hp). This state-of-the-art powerplant features second-generation common-rail direct injection and is equipped with balancer shafts to ensure exemplary refinement. Its fuel consumption is a mere 6.1 litres per 100 km (NEDC combined consumption, Estate 6.6 litres per 100 km).
C 55 AMG: record-breaking performance in this vehicle category
The new C 55 AMG is the first of the current Mercedes-Benz C-Class models to feature an eight-cylinder engine and delivers performance on a par with a thoroughbred sports car: the power output of 270 kW/367 hp and peak torque of 510 Nm are new records in this vehicle category. From a standing start, the new C 55 AMG acceler-ates to 100 km/h in just 5.2 seconds. Furthermore, the AMG sports suspension - fitted as standard -and the five-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel-mounted gearshift buttons and AMG-SPEEDSHIFT make for a very sporty driving experience.
On the outside, the C 55 AMG is clearly distinguishable from the other C-Class models by virtue of its unique front end which has been extended by around 80 mm in order to accommodate the powerful V8 engine and now incorporates elliptic twin headlamps. Not to mention a nose end that. Further features which emphasise the high-performance characteristics of the eight-cylinder model include the sporty side skirts, boot lid and rear bumper.
Technology: premiere for new cornering light system
New innovations that are designed to provide even greater comfort and safety serve to underpin the reputation of the C-Class as a technology trendsetter in this market segment. Notable examples include the powerful bi-xenon headlamps which Mercedes-Benz combines with a special cornering light function. For the first time, the cornering light system has been integrated in the fog lamp.
From spring 2004, the C-Class will feature a further-improved generation of car radios. Among the systems available are a radio/CD combination (Audio 20 CD) and two devices with an integral navigation system (Audio 50 APS and COMAND APS).