No car is more important to Mercedes-Benz than the C-Class. It has been the best seller in the Mercedes range in many countries for years – and the German giant would like to keep it that way. Hence the advance publicity campaign that began in mid 2013 with a reveal of the shape of the sedan. Now the first photographs of the station wagon have been rolled out to the media.
Like the sedan, the new wagon (‘Estate’ in Mercedes-speak) is larger than before, but at the same time is lighter. Clever engineering, including the use of high-strength steels and aluminium in many areas have reduced the mass of the car by as much as 65 kilograms. Weight saving is primarily carried out to reduce fuel consumption and emissions, but a lighter car often feels nimbler in its steering and keen drivers really appreciate this.
The rear end shape of the all-new Mercedes C-Class wagon has a definite family likeness to the Mercedes CLS Shooting Brake.
The new C-Class wagon has grown, with an 80 millimetre increase in the wheelbase, to 2840 millimetres. It’s 96 millimetres longer, at 4702 mm, and 40 mm wider, now 1810 millimetres.
Mercedes tells us this increase in size primarily benefits the rear-seat passengers who now get 45 mm more legroom. There is also more shoulder room, elbow room and headroom than in the previous model. As yet we haven’t seen a new C-Class estate, let alone sat in one, but will give you our impressions as soon as we do so.
The rear seats now have a 40/20/40 split instead of the 60/40 division in the old model. This substantially increases versatility as there’s the choice or folding one, two or three rear seats. The rear-seat backrests can be unlocked and folded electrically at the push of a button.
Despite the extra size the load volume has only grown by 10 litres over the soon to be superseded C-Class wagon and now sits at a maximum size of 1510 litres. The compartment volume when all the rear seats are in use has increased by five litres to 490 litres.
A power tailgate has been designed, presumably it will be standard on topline models and optional in others, but details are still to be announced. It will incorporate hands-free operation by way of a kicking motion underneath the back bumper
With the latest Mercedes A-Class selling its socks off and potentially taking some sales from the bottom end of the C-Class range, Mercedes has made the smart move to shift the C-Class upmarket, particularly in the use of high class materials and style in the cabin.
What sounds like an interesting new touchpad system has been developed by Mercedes-Benz in what the company says, “marks an evolutionary step”.
As on a smartphone, all the head-unit functions can be operated using finger gestures. The 65 x 45 millimetre control surface of the touchpad is built into the central control panel.
A head-up display will be fitted to the C-Class for the first time. It gives vehicle speed, posted speed limits, navigation instructions and messages from the car.
The all-new Mercedes-Benz C-Class estate wagon goes on sale in Europe in September 2014 and we would anticipate it reaching us downunder before Christmas.