Mercedes’ new C-Class – the S-Class ‘mini-me’ – arrives in Ireland

Merc’s rival to BMW 3 Series aimed at wide cross-section and starts at €53,350

New Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon

New Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon

 

Mercedes wants you to think of the new C-Class saloon – the Stuttgart firm’s rival to the likes of the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4 – as being the mighty S-Class in miniature. Perhaps that goes some way to explaining the new C’s somewhat chunky €53,350 basic price for the most affordable C180 version, which has just gone on sale in Ireland.

For comparative purposes, the cheapest BMW 3 Series starts at €44,435, while Audi will flog you a basic A4 for just €42,885.

The C-Class hits back with both tech and an arguably more upmarket cabin than either of those two rivals. The interior gets the same gigantic, laid-back-at-an-angle central 11.9-inch touchscreen as the big S-Class, as well as a big digital instrument display behind the wheel.

Indeed, Mercedes Ireland admits that the C-Class’s “enhanced specifications now sees it rub shoulders with S-Class and E-Class, and has the effect of raising C-Class to a new position of prominence within the Mercedes-Benz range”. Mercedes’ sales manager in Ireland, Ciaran Allen, says: “It will be poised to attract an even wider cross-section of owners.”

Turbocharged

All of the new C-Class models come with four-cylinder turbocharged engines, and a nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic gearbox as standard. The range kicks off with the C180, C200, and C200 4MATIC four-wheel drive models, which all share a common 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine with mild-hybrid assistance.

Interior of the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Interior of the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class

The C300 and C300 4MATIC get a 2.0-litre engine, while the diesel lineup is built entirely around a common 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, in C200d, C220d, and C300d forms. The range of models will expand pretty quickly through 2022, to encompass plug-in hybrids in both petrol and diesel forms with more than 100km of electric-only range. There will be an all-electric C-Class, but probably not until 2024, and will use Mercedes’ upcoming MMA electric-only platform. In the meantime, this model will be available, as ever, in estate form as well as the saloon (and the estate gets an extra 30 litres of boot capacity compared to the old C-Class) but don’t expect a Coupe or Cabriolet this time around.

Replace

That’s because Mercedes is going to replace the existing C-Class Coupe and E-Class Coupe lineups with a new, single model, badged GLE, which will come in both hard-top and soft-top forms. It’s part of a general drive to trim back the Mercedes model lineup, and to focus on those segments which are the most profitable – for which we can pretty much read: we want to make more SUVs and fewer coupes. Shame.

In the cabin, the new C-Class gets leather-effect trim for the dashboard, more leg and headroom than before, and the “Hey, Mercedes” digital voice assistant. Safety features include distance assist, steering assist, lane-keeping assist, improved surround sensors, emergency braking functions, and a feature that can detect and raise the body height in anticipation of an impending collision. High-performance LED headlamps are standard.