Mercedes adds lightness and S-Class tech to its new C-Class


Mercedes-Benz is aiming its all-new C-Class directly at the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4, betting on the inclusion of both high-tech options and some frugal new engines to move it into pole position in the mid-sized family market.

Key to this latest C-Class is its new light structure, dubbed MRA (Mercedes Reardrive Architecture), which will also underpin the next E-Class, M-Class and other large Mercedes cars.

Although the car will launch with familiar 2.1-litre diesel versions, a new C160 CDI, using a Renault-sourced 113 bhp 1.6-litre engine, will arrive later next year and will score a 99g/km CO2 rating.

In spite of the weight loss and the low emissions, the new C-Class is bigger than before, with a 90mm stretch in the wheelbase bringing more space to rear seat passengers. Mercedes will offer Airmatic air suspension as an option, which will allow drivers to choose between four driving modes.

Other high-tech options being airlifted in from the S-Class include drowsiness detection, steering and parking assistants and a self-driving mode for traffic jams. The new C-Class will make its debut at the Detroit motor show in January and should be on sale in Irish dealers by next summer.

Intrado gives a glimpse into the future of Hyundai’s model plans
It seems a bit early for news of the 2014 Geneva motor show, but Hyundai is getting the ball rolling early with its first sketch of its Intrado concept. While it may or may not be a direct preview of a new production vehicle, it’s an intriguing look into the potential future of Hyundai’s model plans. The Intrado is the first sight of Hyundai’s new Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 “design language”.

“Intrado is built around a super-lightweight structure made from a mixture of advanced materials and joined using a revolutionary technique that has the potential to change the way cars are constructed in the future,” says the accompanying press release. “The car also features a next-generation hydrogen fuel cell drivetrain that is both smaller and lighter than that powering the assembly line-produced Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell.”

Seat may look to Skoda to build its new compact SUV for Europe
Volkswagen is still struggling to make a business case for Seat’s much-anticipated compact SUV, in spite of booming sales in that market in Europe. Small SUV and crossover sales are pretty much the only bright spot in an otherwise still-dreary European car market, but with Seat’s continuing losses, the Spanish brand is still finding it hard to make the numbers add up.

Seat president Jurgen Stackmann has said that a small SUV would be an ideal fit for the brand and would help Seat build its numbers up even further. Seat has been doing rather better of late, even if it does continue to make losses. The introduction of the new Leon has boosted sales, while strong demand for the Toledo and the Mii city car has boosted Seat’s overall numbers by 10 per cent this year.

Seat’s new SUV could be built at Skoda’s plant in the Czech Republic. Production costs there are still significantly lower than at Seat’s Martorell plant near Barcelona, so a Skoda solution could finally be the answer to Seat’s crossover conundrum.