8 smart tips to beat sunshine glare

The setting (or rising) sun during "rush" hours can temporarily blind drivers. Make sure you're protected - read our handy guide.

KIA: Now it's the edgy, wedgy Koup

Kia continues to pleasantly surprise the South African car market with its growing product choice. The addition of the sexily sporty, 225km/h, Koup, says DAVE FALL, has just made things even better.

New Mercedes-Benz C-Class

2007-08-07 11:04

New Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Safety, comfort, agility: these are some of the outstanding attributes of the new C-Class. The saloon excels with a many-faceted product concept which meets the expectations of various customer target groups. With the Avantgarde, Elegance and Classic lines, Mercedes-Benz offers three individual models whose emphasis is on comfort and agility. All model variants share the latest, state-of-the-art technology.

This includes the newly developed agility control package with situation-responsive shock absorber control, the Intelligent Light System with five different lighting functions and the PRE-SAFE? preventive occupant protection system. There is a choice of four and six-cylinder engines with up to 13% more output than the preceding model, accompanied by up to 6% lower fuel consumption.

With a length of 4 581mm, the saloon is 55mm longer than its predecessor. The body width has increased by 42mm to 1 770mm, and the wheelbase by 45mm to 2 760mm. These dimensions create a generously sized interior, and therefore more comfort. Front shoulder room has increased by 40mm.

The design of the new C-Class is based on the modern Mercedes-Benz idiom, which reflects the technical superiority of automobiles bearing the star, with taut lines and large, tranquil surfaces.

The pronounced wedge-shape of the front end serves to emphasise attributes such as agility and performance. For the first time in a Mercedes-Benz saloon, the radiator grille is used as a distinguishing feature to position the model variants more clearly.

Three extended, horizontal louvres and a big centrally positioned Mercedes-Benz star characterise the Avantgarde model as a traditional design feature of sporty models.

Together with the high-quality appointments, this feature emphasises the youthful, agile appearance of this C-Class. This can be enhanced even further with the AMG sports package, which includes striking front and rear aprons plus side skirts.

In the Elegance model Mercedes-Benz employs a three-dimensional, louvred radiator grille with a high-gloss paint finish to accentuate other brand-typical attributes such as comfort and luxury. The Classic model in the new C-Class is intentionally more restrained and traditional, but offers the same technical innovations as the other two model variants.

This "product-in-product" concept enables Mercedes-Benz customers to accentuate individual choices, and configure the C-Class to suit their personal taste and lifestyle even more than before.

All the models offer the same, extraordinary driving experience by virtue of further technical improvements. Both by its outstanding long-distance comfort and its dynamic handling, the C-Class sets new standards in this market segment.

Shock absorbers automatically adapt to the driving situation

Agility control - this is the term used by Mercedes-Benz for all new and further developments that improve both comfort and agility in equal measure. This standard package includes the agility control suspension, which controls the shock absorber forces according to the driving situation: when driving normally with low shock absorber impulses, the damping forces are automatically reduced for a noticeable improvement in ride comfort - but without any compromise in handling safety. When driving more dynamically, the maximum damping forces are set and the car is effectively stabilised.

The agility control steering of the new C-Class has a ratio of 14,5, and is therefore 6% more direct than that of the preceding model. The agility control gearshift reflects the sporty character of the C-Class with short travel and precise shifts.

Mercedes-Benz has also developed the Advanced Agility package with a sporty driving mode, which will become optionally available later in 2007. This offers the driver a choice of two gearshift programmes: Sport and Comfort. Within these programmes the shock absorber for each wheel has infinitely variable electronic control.

A newly developed speed-sensitive steering with a more direct ratio, variable centering and adaptation of the accelerator characteristics and automatic transmission shift points are also included in the package.

Adaptive brake is another new development in the area of running gear technology. Based on the technology of the S-Class, it provides additional support functions for more safety and comfort.

Start-Off Assist for uphill gradients, priming the braking system in critical situations and light contact to dry the brake discs in wet conditions are some of the features of this system.

Output of the supercharged four-cylinder engines increased by up to 13%

With a remarkable boost in output by up to 13% and an increase of around 18% in torque, the engines also add to the lively nature of the new C-Class. The four and six-cylinder units not only excel with powerful responsiveness, but also contribute to the excellent ride comfort of the saloon with their improved smoothness.

Mercedes-Benz has paid particular attention to further development of the four-cylinder engines. In the petrol range, the output of the entry-level C 180 Kompressor (Late availability) has increased from the previous 105kW to 115kW, with maximum torque improved by 4,5% from 220 to 230Nm, while the C 200 Kompressor develops 15kW more than before. It has an output of 135kW and generates its maximum torque of 250Nm from 2 800 r/min. These modified engines considerably improve the performance and fuel consumption of the four-cylinder models.

When accelerating from standstill to 100 km/h, the C 200 Kompressor is 0,5 seconds faster than its predecessor. Improvements in fuel consumption are equally impressive: the C 180 Kompressor consumes 0,3l/100 km less than before, while the combined fuel consumption of the C 200 Kompressor has been reduced by 0,5l/100 km.

Fuel consumption of the four-cylinder CDI engine reduced

Further development of the four-cylinder unit was also the main focus for the diesel engine. Further improvements have been made to the engine, turbocharger and common-rail direct injection, modifying more than 90 components. As a result of these measures the C 220 CDI develops a peak output of 125kW (previously 110kW), and generates a torque of 400Nm from 2 000 r/min -- around 18% more than before. Fuel consumption has been reduced by up to 0,3l/100 km: in the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), the C 220 CDI is able to travel 100km on just 6,1 litres of fuel.

The four-cylinder models are fitted as standard with the agility control six-speed manual transmission and can be ordered with the optional five-speed automatic transmission.

The V6 engines in the C-Class range remain unchanged, with a choice of two petrol units, C 280 and C 350, developing 170kW and 200kWrespectively. The six-cylinder of the new C 320 CDI has an output of 165 kW. All six-cylinder models in the new C-Class are equipped with the 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission, as standard equipment.

The latest Mercedes-Benz inventions ensure maximum safety

During the course of its development, the new C-Class successfully passed more than 100 crash tests, including the particularly demanding in-house impact tests of which some go well beyond the legal requirements.

Passing these is a precondition for the highest accolade in automobile safety: the Mercedes-Benz star. Occupant protection is based on an intelligently designed bodyshell, 70% of which consists of high-strength and ultra high-strength steel. Compared to the previous series, Mercedes-Benz has enlarged the deformation zones even further and improved energy flows.

The front-end structure of the new C-Class has four independently acting impact levels, which enable forces to be distributed over a wide area while bypassing the passenger cell.

The safety technology in the interior has been complemented with the very latest protection systems. Six airbags are included as standard equipment: two adaptive airbags for the driver and front passenger, two sidebags in the front seat backrests and two large windowbags which extend from the A to the C-pillar during a side impact.

The driver, front passenger and the passengers on the outer rear seats also benefit from belt tensioners and belt force limiters as standard. The standard head restraints operate on the NECK PRO principle: during a rear-end collision the padded surfaces are pushed forward within milliseconds to support the heads of the driver and front passenger at an early stage. This significantly reduces the risk of a whiplash injury.

Mercedes-Benz has developed flashing brake lights as further step in reducing rear-end collisions, and these are also standard equipment in the new C-Class. If the driver brakes hard at speeds in excess of 50 km/h, the brake lights flash rapidly to warn drivers following behind.

PRE-SAFE is another special feature of the new Mercedes-Benz saloon. This preventive occupant protection system is linked to active safety systems such as ESP? and Brake Assist, and is able to recognise critical driving manoeuvres at a very early stage.

If the C-Class is in danger of crashing as a result of heavy under or oversteering, or if the driver brakes heavily in a dangerous situation, PRE-SAFE activates certain systems as a precaution to prepare the vehicle and its occupants for an impending accident. Accordingly the passive safety phase does not begin when the impact has already occurred, but before an impending collision. PRE-SAFE is fitted as standard equipment.

The Intelligent Light System developed by Mercedes-Benz is also available in this vehicle class for the first time. Powerful bi-xenon headlamps provide five different lighting functions suited to typical driving and weather conditions: country mode, motorway mode, enhanced foglamps, the Active Light System and cornering lights. This is yet another important contribution by Mercedes-Benz to safer driving in poor visibility.

Interior design "cast from a single mould"

When developing the cockpit, Mercedes-Benz designers took their lead from the sporty sector and included clearly laid-out dial instruments as may be found in roadsters or coupés. Silver-coloured bezels, black dial faces, white markings and glowing orange needles perfectly combine form with function for a high value impression and easy legibility.

Equally clearly laid out and well-arranged, the two-tone dashboard and centre console of the new C-Class form a harmonious unit in line with the "design cast from a single mould" principle. The same applies to the integration of the colour display in the upper central portion of the dashboard. This is perfectly positioned within the driver's line of vision, but can also be covered or folded away as required, without switching off the radio, navigation system or other units linked to the display. If the pivoting cover of the display aperture is closed, the infotainment units continue to operate.

New control concept for clarity and comfort

The central colour display is part of the new control and display concept which the new C-Class has adopted from the luxury-class Mercedes-Benz models. Its major advantage is rapid access to frequently used functions, which meaning that the driver does not need to relearn, is able to maintain familiar habits and feels at home immediately. All the control and display elements required during a journey are located in the cockpit, in immediate proximity to the driver.

In the same way, linking the standard multifunction steering wheel with the instrument cluster is an important precondition for rapid access to a wide range of information and functions in the driver's direct line of vision. Other functions such as infotainment are shown by the display at the centre of the dashboard. The driver and front passenger are able to control the radio, navigation system or telephone by using a controller on the centre console, or access the main menus using direct selection keys.

COMAND provides voice operation, a music server and DVD navigation

The Audio 20 and COMAND APS systems are a range of newly-developed, infotainment units for C-Class passengers. They all feature a keypad for entering telephone numbers and radio frequencies, as well as a Bluetooth interface which wirelessly connects the mobile phone to the hands-free system.

The optional multimedia system COMAND APS offers even more functions than before in the new C-Class. One new feature is a navigation system whose data are stored on a hard disc (30Gb). The high-resolution maps are shown on a colour display (7-inch) which pivots away and disappears beneath a cover at the touch of a button.

Other functions of COMAND APS include a music server with a 4 Gb memory, a DVD-player for video and audio, and the LINGUATRONIC voice control system, which Mercedes-Benz has improved further: the driver is no longer required to spell out the names of countries, towns or roads, but is able to speak them as whole words. The voice control system is just as convenient when selecting radio stations or entries in the telephone directory.

The C-Class is the bestseller in the Mercedes lineup

The new C-Class saloon replaces a model series of which more than 1,4 million units have been sold since 2000. All in all, Mercedes-Benz has delivered more than two million of the Saloon, Estate and Sports Coupé models in the previous C-Class to customers all over the world. This makes the C-Class the bestseller in the Mercedes-Benz passenger car range. Germany is the largest market for the C-Class, accounting for around 30% of worldwide sales.

The new C-Class will be available for sale on the South African market from August 2007.


Driver's lucky escape

2013-09-03 07:42

Inside Wheels24

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.