By Jennifer Geiger on December 16, 2013
Competes with: Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Cadillac ATS
Looks like: Bolder lines and a more sculpted body lend the sedan a more aggressive look
Drivetrain: 235-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder or a 329-hp, turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6; the sole transmission is a seven-speed automatic; both models will launch with all-wheel drive; rear-wheel-drive sedans will be available after launch
Hits dealerships: Fall 2014
The information about the fourth generation of Mercedes-Benz's most popular car has been trickling in. We've already seen the interior; today the automaker released full details about the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
The luxury automaker's smallest car is seeing some big changes for 2015, including a jump in size, new powertrains and a host of high-tech safety features. The sedan also gets a new home this year; the current model is imported from Europe, but the 2015 C-Class will be built at Mercedes' plant in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
All are welcome changes for the sedan that landed at the bottom in this year's $46,000 Sport Sedan Challenge. We expect to be able to get up close to the sedan at Detroit's 2014 North American International Auto Show in January, but here's what we know so far:Exterior
A longer hood, shorter overhangs and heavily sculpted lines give the sedan a more muscular character for 2015. Sport and Luxury versions return, each with a unique face. Similar to like last year's car, Sports features an aggressive-looking two-slat grille and a large three-point star. Luxury trims wear a three-slat grille and a smaller, more understated star. Each has a specific bumper. Both versions feature LED head and taillights.
The C-Class is 3.7 inches longer and 1.6 inches wider this year. Despite the gains in size, it's actually considerably lighter than the outgoing version. The new model's body is composed of much more aluminum than the old version, chopping its weight by around 220 pounds.
No word yet on when and if coupe and wagon versions will return to the C-Class lineup.
"High class" is how Mercedes describes the 2015 C-Class' cabin. Luxurious real metal and wood materials, along with a more elegant looking design, certainly fit the bill. Highlights of the redesigned interior include more shapely contours and larger circular air vents; a tabletlike screen similar to what's in the new CLA is front and center, displaying navigation and multimedia information. It's available in two sizes: 7 or 8.4 inches, depending on the multimedia package.
Also new are a head-up display and a touchpad; the latter sits above the Comand system's control knob. To make room for the new touchpad, the transmission shifter moves from the center console to the steering column. Mercedes says the touchpad permits letters, numbers and special characters to be entered in handwriting in any language.
The 2015 C-Class uses the next generation of Mercedes' multimedia system, which features "elaborate animations and visual effects," according to a statement. The sedan also uses mbrace2, the brand's app integration system; drivers can select more than 20 apps that are compatible with the Comand system.
The added wheelbase length translates into additional passenger space for 2015, with rear passengers benefiting the most from additional legroom. Mercedes says cargo room has also grown in the new generation.
"Out there" options include a GPS-sensitive climate control system that detects tunnels and switches the climate system to air recirculation mode to prevent fumes from entering the cabin. Another is the Air-Balance system that dispenses perfume into the cabin to mask odors.
Under the Hood
Two powertrains will be available: the C300 4Matic uses a 235-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder; the C400 4Matic gets power from a 329-hp, turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6. The seven-speed automatic transmission returns. Both cars will launch with all-wheel drive; rear-wheel-drive sedans will be available after launch.
A new multilink front suspension replaces the outgoing C-Class' strut setup; also newly optional is Mercedes' Airmatic adaptive setup that allows the driver to choose between Comfort, Eco, Sport and Sport-Plus suspension modes.
Like the S-Class, the C-Class will be available with a comprehensive suite of safety features, including lane departure warning and prevention systems, cross-traffic pedestrian sensing, forward collision sensing with automatic braking, rear seatbelt airbags and rear collision injury mitigation.
Assistant Managing Editor Jennifer Geiger is a reviewer, car-seat technician and mom of three. She wears a lot of hats, many of them while driving a minivan. Email Jennifer