The executive fleet market continues to become increasingly competitive as Mercedes-Benz introduces two new, all-wheel-drive C-Class sedan models. The 2015 models include the C300 4MATIC with a 2.0L turbocharged direct-injection in-line four-cylinder, delivering 241 hp and 273 lb.-ft. of torque, and a C400 4MATIC with a 3.0L bi-turbo direct-injection V-6, producing 329 hp and 354 lb.-ft. of torque.
A rear-wheel drive version of the C300 will be launched in the first quarter of calendar-year 2015.
For corporate executives, the most noticeable exterior change is that the C-Class has increased its dimensions. With a 3-inch wheelbase increase (112 inches) compared with the previous model, the vehicle is 3.7 inches longer (184 inches) and 1.6 inches wider (71 inches). The trunk capacity also increases to 17 cubic feet. These changes will increase the appeal of the C-Class in the executive fleet market since these vehicles are often used as mobile offices.
Assembled in the U.S, the 2015 models also boost improved fuel efficiency, with lightweighting being a key contributor. The new models feature a lightweight aluminum hybrid body154 pounds lighter than a conventional steel body, reducing the vehicle’s overall weight by around 200 pounds. The lightweight construction reduces fuel consumption without loss of performance. The share of aluminum has risen compared with the predecessor model from under 10 percent to almost 50 percent. In addition, the body structure uses ultra-high strength steel for maximum passive safety.
The interior features an all-new center console with centrally positioned free-standing central display with a screen diagonal of 7 inches or 8.4 inches if the Multimedia Package with the COMAND Infotainment System is selected.
Another noteworthy interior feature is a touch sensitive touchpad in the hand rest over the controller on the center tunnel, which is standard for all C-Class models sold in the U.S. As on a smartphone, this provides simple and intuitive operation of all the head-unit functions using finger gestures. The touchpad also permits letters, numbers and special characters to be entered in handwriting – in any language.
In addition, a heads-up display is also new to the C-Class. Information on vehicle speed, speed limits, and navigation instructions is displayed directly in the driver’s field of vision on the front windscreen.
The 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission provides smooth automatic gear shifting. The 4MATIC permanent all-wheel-drive system serves to improve traction and driving stability.
The suspension on the new C-Class is also new, providing nimble and agile handling, and features a newly designed 4-link front axle. 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.
All models of the C-Class family will feature the electromechanical Direct Steer system as standard. This combines road-speed-dependent power assistance from the speed-sensitive power steering system with a steering ratio which varies according to the given steering angle.
Numerous Safety Features
The 2015 C-Class is equipped with many vehicle and driver safety systems. For example, it is fitted as standard with ATTENTION ASSIST to warn the driver of inattentiveness and drowsiness. The ATTENTION ASSIST function offers an adjustable level of sensitivity to inform the driver about his or her level of drowsiness.
In addition to Adaptive Brake Assist, which offers protection from collisions from speeds as low as 4 mph, COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS 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, reducing the severity of collisions. The system also brakes in response to stationary vehicles at a speed of up to 31 mph, and is able to prevent rear-end collisions at speeds of up to 25 mph.