What does Mercedes have up their sleeve for the new C-class? Mercedes-Benz is vying for the luxury compact crown with the redesigned 2015 C-class sedan, equipped with new technology and features trickled down from the S-class flagship.
BMW is the market leader in the segment, with the 3- and 4-series compacts. But Mercedes-Benz executives say the C class may finally give them the edge.
The C class looks like a smaller version of the S-class sedan, and it has the optional $2,800 Intelligent Drive package of integrated safety features. They include adaptive cruise control, rear-end collision protection, Pre-Safe braking and steering, and cross-traffic and lane-keeping assist.
“Mercedes-Benz is demonstrating that we are not just going to set the standard with the S class, our goal is to set the standard in every segment — even one that might be traditionally associated with the 3 series and BMW,” said Steve Cannon, CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA. “We have spent the last few generations closing that gap.”
With the new-generation C class that goes on sale Aug. 25, “we are going to set a standard for style, for interior fit and finish and standard features,” Cannon said. “We have been more of an S- and E-class company.”
To further separate the C class from the CLA sedan — the entry to the brand that went on sale last year — Mercedes made the C-class sedan about 4 inches longer and 1.5 inches wider than the previous model.
With the frame and body structure made of aluminum, it will be more agile and handle better than today’s model, said Bart Herring, general manager of product management for Mercedes-Benz USA. The redesigned C class is up to 200 pounds lighter than today’s model.
The C class will have Collision Prevention Assist Plus as a standard feature. The system senses if a collision is imminent, and if the driver doesn’t respond, it autonomously brakes the car at speeds up to 124 mph. It also can brake to avoid a stationary vehicle ahead and to prevent rear collisions.
Competing brands don’t offer this feature in this segment — or on many of their high-end vehicles, Cannon said.
Collision Prevention Assist Plus “is us throwing down the gauntlet — no one has it in the segment,” he said. “Our competitors do not have it on their highest cars. It demonstrates where we are going.”
The Intelligent Drive package is another edge, said Herring. “We have networked it to almost give the car senses to set you up to make better decisions or assist to keep you out of danger. That is cool on a $100,000 S class. Their are big difference between the S-class and the C-class but both are beautiful vehicles.