Will the New Mercedes C Class Make or Break the Brand?

2014-Mercedes-C-Class-2The staid and sometimes boring Mercedes C-Class gets a distinctive makeover for the 2015 model year. The common preoccupation with smooth exterior panels to optimize fuel efficiency is not a burden that this new, dynamic C-Class wishes to bear. The front end looks like it wants to aggressively scoop up every bit of air that it may encounter, at any speed. The sculpted exterior is so dramatic that the “Baby Benz” moniker may eventually disintegrate.


Bigger and Safer


The baby Benz also matures as it grows larger with a longer wheelbase, more interior space and updated, higher-torque engine options. Designers say that, as average consumer height grows, vehicular dimensions must grow as well. The wheelbase on the new 2015 C-Class is 80mm longer, and the overall length of the vehicle is 95mm longer. Meanwhile, occupants can spread out left to right as well; the new design is 40mm wider. More headroom is offered to those in the front row, and rear legroom expands as well. Trunk space is another beneficiary of the expanding dimensions.


If you want to keep your baby “safe,” this new version will not disappoint. This vehicle will keep its driver out of trouble on many levels. Automatic distance-keeping, automatic emergency braking, parking assist and automatic lane-keeping show off Mercedes’ safety engineering capacities.


More Powerful


German performance is retained and even upgraded in the new C-Class. The American version of the C300 will get a 2-liter turbo four that is capable of 235 horsepower and 274 pound-feet of torque. The six-cylinder power plant in the C400 will wow the driver with 329 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque. Is it also a turbo? Of course. Drivetrain decisions are simplified: both the C300 and C400 will come only with a 4matic all-wheel drive. All this power translates into even more enhanced performance thanks to the vehicle’s overall 220-pound weight reduction.


Is the Mercedes C Class Helping or Hurting the Brand?


Of course, some wonder whether the radical new C-Class design is going to breathe life into the brand or steal away buyers from Mercedes’ more expensive, and therefore more profitable, product lines. In the past, it could be argued, rather persuasively, that the entry-level Mercedes held back enough in the way of flair, performance and power that enthusiasts ponied up for the higher-priced models in greater numbers. However, the counter-argument is that other luxury performance brands, BMW and Cadillac among them, are quickly moving toward loading up their “basic” models with the latest innovations, technology and style. Arguably, Mercedes needs to respond to the competition or get left behind. Better to sell a customer a lower-cost Mercedes than none at all.