What is it?
Mercedes’ new fourth generation C-Class, the car that the men in Stuttgart hope will woo business car drivers out of their 3-Series BMWs, Audi A4s and Jaguar XFs.
This new Mercedes C-Class is the latest in a line of models that stretches back 32 years, when the Mercedes 190 was the first ‘baby Benz’, renamed C-Class when its successor was introduced.
So what’s new about this one?
Well for a start it looks much more stylish, with sculpted body lines that give it a sleek, sportier look.
It has also taken a distinct turn up-market to emulate a baby S-Class, with lots of the technology and safety features percolated down. For example, collision prevention assistance that applies the brakes if you fail to react in time to a looming hazard.
In terms of comfort, the cabin has leaped forward in both quality and design. The new C-Class interior has a posh ambiance that will make the other German manufacturers pay attention.
Mercedes has stretched the C-Class a little – it’s now 4686 mm in length – but also trimmed down its weight. The result is a car that is slightly longer but around 70kg lighter.
This has been achieved with a body structure that is half steel, half aluminium, Fuel consumption is improved and CO2 emissions have been cut.
OK, but what’s it like to drive?
Watch out BMW, Merc is playing catch-up. Compared with the previous C-Class, this new one is noticeably better to drive, with taut behaviour and handling that is now close to the benchmark set by the class-leading 3-Series.
The electro-mechanical steering has a good feel and the Airmatic air suspension that will be on most versions has a cushioning ride quality. Refinement is generally very good too, although the 2.2 litre diesel engine gets a bit gruff when you work it hard.