The return of the V8 Lexus IS may have stolen all of the compact luxury sedan headlines yesterday, but today is a new day. It also happens to be the day Mercedes-Benz has chosen to unveil its all-new 2022 C-Class. With 2.5 million copies of the previous generation sold worldwide since it was introduced in 2014, there's a lot riding on this car. Perhaps that's why Mercedes has decided to make it a little bigger.
Even though its proportions and hardpoints don't look all that different from the old C, this new version is indeed all-new. It's 2.5 inches longer overall while wheelbase grows by an inch. It's also half an inch wider and sits 0.4 inches lower. Mercedes says the new W206 C-Class is a more spacious car whether you're sitting in the front or rear as all interior dimensions have grown by anywhere from fractions of an inch to an entire inch. Despite the slight ballooning, the old car's drag coefficient of 0.24 remains intact.
Style-wise, it's pretty much everything you'd expect a new Mercedes C-Class to be. A corporate front end that looks angry-yet-soft, and a rear end and interior that's best described as a shrunken-down S-Class. Heavily mimicking Merc's flagship sedan, its new compact entry rocks a 12.3-inch instrument display accompanied by a portrait-mounted 11.9-inch center touchscreen that appears to float and flow from the center armrest.
Running second-gen MBUX, the new C-Class' infotainment system can respond verbally to "Hey Mercedes," features integrated music streaming, has a fingerprint scanner that logs the driver into their particular user profile, can provide augmented-video nav directions, and receives over-the-air updates, among other cool things that'll surely impress a fair number of passengers. The whole thing is also canted towards the driver (by six degrees, to be exact), for a more fitted, "driver's car" feel.
Under the hood, Mercedes has reaffirmed that this entire C-Class range will exclusively be powered by four-cylinder engines. Alas, the C 300 you see here comes with a 2.0-liter bi-turbo unit assisted by a 48-volt mild-hybrid system. Fun fact: this new C-Class will be the first non-EQ Mercedes model range in which all variants are electrified in some way, shape, or form.
The C 300's hybrid system is able to let the car "glide" with the 2.0-liter turned off or temporarily add as much as 20 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque onto the gas engine's 255 hp and 295 lb-ft. That internal combustion engine's turbos now feature a newly-developed segment charger that owes its existence to the Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 team while the standard nine-speed automatic transmission now integrates the electric motor, power electronics, and transmission cooler more tightly together. Mercedes says the gearbox is more efficient and 30 percent lighter than before.
The C 300 hits 60 miles per hour in 5.9 seconds and tops out at 130 mph, although if speed is what you crave from your compact Mercedes sedan, it's best to wait until the inevitable AMG versions arrive. Agility Control suspension is standard with continuously adjustable damping and is attached to a new four-link front axle.
The 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class will be coming to U.S. dealerships early 2022.
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