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Schumi tests new SA-bound C-Class

2013-12-17 13:06

PUT THROUGH ITS PACES: F1 legend and Mercedes-Benz brand ambassador Michael Schumacher, put the new C-Class through its paces ahead of its SA arrival in 2014. Image: Newspress

Seven-times Formula 1 champion Michael Schumacher tests the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class in Germany. What's more, the next-generation C-Class will arrive in South Africa by mid-2014. Check out our GALLERY and VIDEO!

SINDELFINGENDEN, Germany - Seven-times World F1 champion Michael Schumacher tests the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class in Germany. 

The new C-Class is due in South Africa by mid-2014.

Schumacher is a brand ambassador for the automaker and a development partner for Mercedes Benz Intelligent Drive - the collective name for the networked assistance systems that relieve driver workload and improve traffic safety.  Schumacher tested the safety systems of the next C-Class at the Mercedes Technology Centre in Sindelfingen, Germany.

2014 Mercedes-Benz image gallery
VIDEO: Michael Schumacher test the new C Class

Measuring 4686mm in length, the new sedan has a 80mm wider wheelbase (2.84m) compared with the previous model and is 95mm longer. The new model is 100kg lighter, has new engines, a host of assistance systems and a improved suspension.

Three engines will be available at launch in 2014. The petrol line-up consists of the 115kW/250Nm 1.6-litre  turbo C180 and 135kW/300Nm 2.0-litre C200. The diesel option, for now, is a 2.1-litre unit capable of 125kW/400Nm.

A new 1.6-litre supercharged diesel will join the range, offering outputs of 85kW/280Nm and 100kW/300Nm. A C300 BlueTEC diesel-electric hybrid will also join the range.

The automaker reports that the petrol range will feature four-cylinder motors offering up to 175kW and a six-cylinder engine capable of 245kW.

Depending on the engine, the C-Class will be available with either a new six-speed manual or a 7G-Tronic Plus auto.


Schumacher said: "Nobody is able to give 100% concentration all the time over a longer period to cope with the car and traffic situation. Sometimes just a moment of inattention is enough and that is why I support intelligent assistance systems.

"These systems are never distracted and never get tired; it has no delay for reaction time. It can save lives."

Jochen Hermann chief engineer for assistance systems and active safety said: “We have ushered in a new era of active safety, and are once again confirming our position as a safety pioneer.

"Preventing crashes and minimising their consequences: this is the holistic approach taken by the Mercedes-Benz safety philosophy, which the company refers to collectively as 'Real Life Safety'."

For Hermann, the tests with Schumacher are a useful supplement to the millions of test kilometres in the simulator, on the roads and on test tracks around the world.

Hermann said: "It is enormously enjoyable to work with Michael Schumacher. He is not only sensationally good at maneuvering cars; he has an extraordinary understanding of technology and driving physics combined with the ability to identify potential solutions precisely and rapidly. I think this co-operation will bear a great deal of fruit in the future. Our shared aim is more safety for all road users."

The new C-Class sports H7 halogen head lights and two energy-saving LED variants are available: a static system and a dynamic version with LED Intelligent Light System. The brake and rear lights feature LEDs. Boot space is measured at 480 litres.


As seen in the new A-Class, the new C-Class dashboard has five round air vents and a free-standing central display available in 17.78cm or 21.33cm sizes. New features include a touchpad with hand-writing recognition and a head-up display.

More information about the South African range will be revealed closer to the launch, which according to the automaker will take place in the second quarter of 2014.

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