DETROIT — Prior to the introduction of the compact, front-wheel-drive CLA Class earlier this year, the C-Class was the entry point to the Mercedes-Benz lineup — and often the make’s best-selling car. Now the C-Class gets redesigned, growing larger and more sophisticated in the bargain.
To be built at the company’s plant in Alabama, the new C is 3.7 inches longer overall on a 3-inch-longer wheelbase, and will be offered in two models, both with all-wheel drive: the C300 4Matic with a 241-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, and the C400 4Matic with a 329-horsepower 3.0-liter turbocharged V6. Despite the increase in size, the new C-Class is claimed to be more than 200 pounds lighter.
In addition to first-time availability of air suspension, the redesign brings numerous safety and technology features not previously offered in the C-Class, including Distronic Plus cruise control with steering assist that allows the car to match the speed and follow in the tracks of the car in front, Active Park Assist, and a 360-degree camera.
With the arrival of the CLA, Mercedes is now working with a four-sedan plan. This allows both the C-Class and E-Class to grow a little as they are updated. One of Consumer Guide’s few criticisms of the C-Class was its lack of rear-seat cabin space, a flaw now likely addressed, if not entirely corrected.