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New Mercedes-Benz C-Class drops weight, adds new engines, diesel hybrid, w/ plug-in to come; up to 20% cut in fuel consumption
16 December 2013
|The new C-Class. Click to enlarge.|
Mercedes-Benz has launched its new C-Class, featuring a lightweight design concept with weight savings of up to 100 kg (220 lbs); excellent aerodynamics; and new, economical engines along with a hybrid model. The C-Class is the top-selling model series from Mercedes-Benz; sales of the preceding model, which was launched in 2007, total more than 2.4 million.
Ordering for the C-Class sedan have begun in Europe, with the model range initially comprising the C180, the C200; and the diesel C220 BlueTEC. All are equipped with the ECO start/stop function and comply with the Euro 6 emissions standard. They also cut fuel consumption by up to 20% compared with the preceding model. The US market launches with two C-Class models: C300 4MATIC and C400 4MATIC.
|New C-Class launch engines|
|Model||Displacement (cc)||kW/hp||N·m||l/100 km/mpgUS||CO2 g/km|
Soon after the market launch, Mercedes-Benz will expand the range of engines substantially. A new small diesel engine with a displacement of 1.6 liters will be added, featuring reduced weight, compact design and low specific fuel consumption. Depending on its configuration, the single-stage supercharged four-cylinder engine generates 85 or 100 kW (115 or 136 hp) of power from a cubic capacity of 1598 cc and delivers 280 or 320 N·m (207 or 236 lb-ft) of torque. Its common rail direct injection system operates at a maximum injection pressure of 1600 bar.
In addition to this new small diesel engine, an advanced version of the proven 2.2-liter four-cylinder diesel engine is also to become available in several output variants. The diesel engines will then cover an output range from 85 kW (115 hp) to 150 kW (204 hp). The C 220 BlueTEC will also be optionally available with an output of 125 kW (170 hp) as the BlueEFFICIENCY Edition.
All the diesel engines of the new C-Class are equipped with the established SCR technology (selective catalytic reduction) for emissions compliance.
Five four-cylinder gasoline engines rated at 115 to 175 kW (156 to 238 hp) will also be available. These will include the special C 180 ECO Edition model, which qualifies for efficiency class A as the BlueEFFICIENCY Edition. A six-cylinder gasoline engine rated at 245 kW (333 hp) will follow.
Mercedes-Benz has transferred the BlueDIRECT technology from the V6 and V8 engines to the four-cylinder BlueDIRECT engine. (Earlier post.) The direct injection system with spray-guided combustion, which was introduced into series production by Mercedes-Benz as the first automotive manufacturer, employs a multiple injection process which is precision-controlled by means of an electronic system. The third-generation direct injection technology is complemented by fast multiple ignition.
In the US, the C300 4MATIC will feature the 2.0L turbocharged direct-injection in-line four-cylinder engine with preliminary power figures of 235 hp (175 kW) and 273 lb-ft (370 N·m) of torque. The C400 4MATIC will use a 3.0L turbocharged direct-injection V6 at 329 hp (245 kW) and 354 lb-ft (480 N·m) of torque.
As in the S and E-Class, Mercedes-Benz will additionally be offering a diesel engine combined with a hybrid module. The C 300 BlueTEC HYBRID with four-cylinder diesel engine and a compact electric motor generates an output of 150 + 20 kW (204 + 27 hp) and runs on 3.9 liters of diesel per 100 km (60 mpgUS) in NEDC combined mode (provisional figure). A further particularly economical hybrid model which is to follow at a later juncture will feature advanced plug-in technology.
Depending on the installed output ratings, Mercedes-Benz is offering two new 6-speed manual transmissions for the four-cylinder engines in the new C-Class. Smooth automatic gear shifting is provided by the 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission, which has undergone further development at Mercedes-Benz. The 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive system serves to improve traction and driving stability in the C-Class.
The new C-Class Saloon is fitted as standard with a steel suspension. Three DIRECT CONTROL suspensions with selective damping system are available in conjunction with this suspension: a comfort suspension; a comfortable Avantgarde suspension with a sportier character; a sports suspension lowered by 15 millimeters.
Alternatively, the new C-Class is the first vehicle in its segment that can be fitted with an air suspension (AIRMATIC) on the front and rear axles. With electronically controlled, continuous variable damping at the front and rear, it offers outstanding road roar and tire vibration characteristics even with the vehicle loaded. The driver can use the AGILITY SELECT switch to choose between the various characteristics: “Comfort”, “ECO”, “Sport” and “Sport+”. The additional “Individual” option enables drivers to configure their vehicle according to their own wishes. AIRMATIC also features all-round self-leveling for optimum ride comfort even when the vehicle is loaded.
Lightweight bodyshell; aluminum use almost 50%. The body-in-white of the new C-Class provides a basis for reduced weight, and rigidity, combined with optimum noise and vibration characteristics and a high level of crash safety. The aluminium hybrid body is around 70 kg (154 lbs) lighter than a conventional steel body; overall weight is reduced by around 100 kilograms. As such, the new C-Class leads the “lightweight rankings” in its segment.
The share of aluminium has risen compared with its predecessor from less than 10% to almost 50%. The lightweight construction of the new C-Class cuts fuel consumption by up to 20% without any loss of performance, while at the same time enabling a lower centre of gravity, which in turn gives rise to the vehicle’s sporty and agile handling.
A high-strength safety passenger compartment is surrounded by specifically configured and field-tested deformation zones to ensure maximum safety for the occupants by virtue of optimized force paths and a combination of aluminium castings and ultra-high-strength materials. An outer skin consisting almost completely of aluminium provides a protective shell for the body.
Aerodynamics. From a speed of just below 70 km/h (43 mph), aerodynamic drag exceeds the sum total of all other driving resistance factors. As such, drag constitutes a major parameter in efforts to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. With a Cd value of 0.24 for the C 220 BlueTEC ECO, the new C-Class Saloon sets a new benchmark in the mid-range segment. The wind noise level, which was already very low in the preceding generation of the C-Class, has been lowered still further.
Safety and assistance systems. The new C-Class is fitted as standard with ATTENTION ASSIST, which can warn the driver of inattentiveness and drowsiness. On motorways, the COMAND system navigation function flags up nearby break options as stopovers, providing the system has been specified in the vehicle.
|The new C-Class offers tunnel detection via satellite navigation. It uses the map information from the navigation system and the GPS location data to close the air recirculation flap automatically when the vehicle enters a tunnel, subsequently re-opening it when the vehicle emerges from the tunnel.|
The ATTENTION ASSIST function offers an adjustable level of sensitivity and can inform the driver in a separate view in the instrument cluster about his or her level of drowsiness and how long he or she has been driving since their last break.
In addition to Adaptive Brake Assist, which offers protection from collisions from speeds as low as 7 km/h, standard-fit COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS also features an additional function: when a danger of collision persists and the driver fails to respond, the system is able to carry out autonomous braking at speeds of up to 200 km/h (124 mph), thereby reducing the severity of collisions with slower or stopping vehicles. The system also brakes in response to stationary vehicles at a speed of up to 50 km/h (31 mph), and is able to prevent rear-end collisions at speeds of up to 40 km/h (25 mph).
New assistance systems and existing assistance systems with a number of enhanced functions from the new S-Class and E-Class are also optionally available, combining data from various sensor technologies as part of the Intelligent Drive concept to enhance comfort and safety substantially:
DISTRONIC PLUS with Steering Assist and integrated Stop&Go Pilot is a semi-automatic traffic jam assistant which at speeds under 60 km/h (37 mph) is able to follow the vehicle ahead even where lane markings are unclear or completely lacking, thus providing a safe and convenient means of following the flow of traffic.
The BAS PLUS Brake Assist System can now also detect crossing traffic and boost the braking force if the driver fails to apply the brakes sufficiently; the PRE-SAFE Brake can detect stationary vehicles as well as pedestrians, brake automatically if the driver fails to react, thus preventing accidents up to 50 km/h and mitigating the severity of collisions at speeds of up to 72 km/h (45 mph). In flowing traffic the PRE-SAFE Brake provides assistance according to the same mode of operation throughout the speed range from 7 to 200 km/h (4 to 124 mph).
Enhanced Active Lane Keeping Assist can now also prevent the vehicle from unintentionally drifting out of lane when broken lane markings apply and a risk of a collision arises, e.g. as a result of vehicles overtaking at high speed, parallel traffic or even oncoming traffic, by applying the brakes on one side.
Other assistance systems include:
Active Parking Assist, which enables automated parking with active steering and brake intervention in both parallel and end-on parking spaces;
A 360° camera, which is able to show the vehicle and its surroundings from various perspectives, including a virtual bird’s eye view;
Traffic Sign Assist with Wrong-Way Alert, which warns of speed limits and alerts the driver to no-overtaking zones and no-entry signs; and
Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus, which allows the high-beam headlamps to be kept on permanently without dazzling traffic by masking out other vehicles in the cone of light from the high-beam headlamps.
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