With a slew of updated competition such as the BMW 3-Series, the Audi A4 and the Lexus IS, it was only a matter of time before Mercedes-Benz modernized its most popular model, the C-Class, for 2021.
The C-Class’s looks have been revamped with the same design language that follows the rest of the recently updated Mercedes lineup. Using a revised version of the Mercedes Rear Architecture platform, the car offers more interior space and better handling and ride comfort compared to the outgoing model.
It also comes with a plethora of powertrain choices—all using turbocharged four-cylinder engines mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. Customers can choose from a selection of gasoline or diesel mills, some of which can be combined with a mild or plug-in hybrid system. It’s a bit confusing, so here’s a breakdown of the various trim levels with their respective engines:
- C180 – 1.5-liter turbocharged gasoline (170hp; 250Nm)
- C200/C200 4Matic – 1.5-liter turbocharged gasoline (204hp; 300Nm)
- C220d – 2.0-liter turbocharged diesel (200hp; 440Nm)
- C300/C300 4Matic – 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline (258hp; 400Nm)
- C300d – 2.0-liter turbocharged diesel (265hp; 550Nm)
Choosing to spec any of these with the 48V mild-hybrid system will get a slight performance bump by 20hp and 200Nm from the electric motor when needed. There aren’t any specific performance figures for the PHEV variants of the diesel, but the gasoline version will have an all-electric range of 100km from a 25.4kWh battery, while having an additional 129hp and 440Nm available from the get-go.
The front of the C-Class is inspired by its larger sibling, the E-Class, with a new face highlighted by a revised grille and thinner LED headlights that give the car a more aggressive fascia. The AMG Line upgrade has a bespoke grille adorned by dozens of tiny Mercedes emblems, which works quite well with the rest of the design despite how absurd it may seem.
From the side, Mercedes has gone for a smoother, cleaner look with less cuts and creases versus the outgoing model, and with alloy wheels ranging from 17 inches all the way to 19 inches for AMG Line variants. The back of the car is where most of the changes were made. There are slimmer, trapezoidal taillights similar to the S-Class and the A-Class, with sportier proportions at the back.
One interesting thing about the car is that the passenger cell has been pushed to the rear to adopt a cab-backward design to give the car an overall sportier silhouette. For more luggage space, an estate version is also available.
The interior is heavily inspired by the S-Class, which is good for passengers experiencing the C-Class for the first time. Sweeping curves, futuristic vents and ambient lighting all add to the luxurious ambience. But the centerpiece is the 10-inch central infotainment screen running the latest version of MBUX. The tech-savvy can have this display upgraded to 12 inches as an optional extra. Some safety features have also been filtered down from the S-Class, such as an active steering assist that works all the way up to 210km/h.
There’s no word on pricing yet, but expect this car to be available toward the end of 2021 worldwide.