Official images: Mercedes-Benz C-class facelift

2011 model year C-class
Mercedes-Benz has revealed a facelifted version of the third generation C-class.

The new-for-2011 sedan and wagon, which will be shown to media representatives at a presentation in Detroit in early January but isn’t planned to make it into the Cobo Hall for a public appearance at the Detroit auto show, gains a series of subtle styling changes together with higher quality interior fittings, a longer list of hi-end options together with revised engine and gearbox combinations – all aimed at raising its appeal against more contemporary luxury car competition.

Among the styling changes Mercedes-Benz designers have brought to the three year old C-class are edgier looking bumpers, reshaped headlamps, a more contoured aluminium hood, revised tail lamps graphics and a new choice of optional alloy wheels.

It’s a mild but effective re-style that not only serves to freshen the appearance of the mid-range Mercedes-Benz model but also helps improve its aerodynamic properties, with new front end sealing credited with lowering the co-efficient of drag to a class leading 0.26.

Inside, the new C-class sports a new dashboard with a more angular instrument binnacle, a redesigned steering wheel in selected models, new controls and the latest version of the German car maker’s Command system, which groups the navigation, communication and entertainment functions together.

Mercedes-Benz has also provided the C-class with many of its latest safety features as optional equipment. Included is its fatigue detecting AttentionAssist, Pre-Safe brakes that automatically provide braking force to pull the car up when an imminent collision is detected and radar controlled Distronic Plus cruise control.

In Europe, the new C-class retains the same line-up of four-cylinder engines. On the gasoline side there’s three turbocharged 1.8-litre direct injection units. It develops 156bhp (115kW) in the C180, 184bhp (135kW) in the C200 and 204bhp (150kW) in the C250.

Among the diesels are five turbocharged 2.0-litre common rail diesels. It produces 120bhp (88kW) in the C180 CDI, 136bhp (100kW) in the C200 CDI, 170bhp (125kW) in the C220 CDI and 204bhp (150kW in the C250 CDI – the latter of which is claimed to return an excellent 49mpg (4.8L/100km) on the combined European consumption cycle, a figure which translates to a CO2 emission rating of just 78g/mile (125g/km).

New to the new C-class line-up is Mercedes-Benz’s recently unveiled M276 engine in the C350. The 3.5-litre V6 direct injection unit delivers 306bhp (225kW) - an increase of 14bhp (10kW) on the older M272 engine it replaces. At the same time it is claimed to a combined average of 34.6 mpg (6.8L/100km), better its predecessor by 11.4mpg (3.3L/100km).

Also available is a 3.0-litre V6 common rail diesel in the four-wheel drive C300 CDI. It develops the same 231bhp as the discontinued C3550 CDI with 231bhp (170kW).

An across the board improvement in fuel consumption can be traced to the Mercedes-Benz’s decision to equip European versions of the C-class with an automatic stop/start system. Four-cylinder models also receive an optional seven-speed automatic gearbox in place of the older five-speed unit offered up to now.

In the US, the new C-class will come with just three engines: a 201bhp turbocharged 1.8-litre in the C250, a 3.5-litre V6 with 228bhp in the four-wheel drive C300 4Matic and new 302bhp 3.5-litre V6 with direct injection in the C350.

The facelifted C-class is planned to go on sale in Europe in March. North American sales aren’t likely to get underway until July.


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