Thursday, 16 January 2014 00:00
DETROIT: Mercedes-Benz knows its midsize C-Class is feeling the heat from competitors â€“ including one model within its very own showroom.
An update should take some pressure off. The 2015 C-Class, which debuted Sunday ahead of the Detroit auto show and goes on sale in the fall, has sexier, chiselled looks and a host of new features. The company says the new car will feel like an upgrade from economy to business class.
The C-Class was last redesigned seven years ago. It was Mercedesâ€™ top seller in the US last year at 78,747 sold. But sales were flat compared with a year earlier â€“ even though sales in the midsize luxury market rose 12%, according to Autodata Corp.
Among those stealing the C-Classâ€™s share: Mercedesâ€™ own CLA-Class sedan. The CLA, which went on sale in the fall, racked up an impressive 14,113 sales in its first four months.
The CLA starts at $ 29,900, while the current C-Class starts at $ 35,800. But Kelley Blue Book says both cars are selling in the mid-$ 30,000 range right now, as customers load up the CLA with features like panoramic sunroofs ($ 1,480) and an illuminated logo ($ 480) but demand discounts on the aging C-Class.
Here are some details:
Outside: The 2015 C-Class will have the dynamic, sculpted sides of the CLA, but a longer hood and more elegant proportions. Itâ€™s nearly 4 inches longer and 2 inches wider than the outgoing model. Increased use of aluminium on the body panels has helped reduce the carâ€™s overall weight by 220 pounds, improving driving dynamics and fuel economy. Buyers can choose a grille with the Mercedes logo in the centre or a classic grille with the logo on the hood.
Inside: Mercedes has redesigned the interior and upgraded the materials.
A new heads-up display shines the carâ€™s speed, speed limits and navigation directions onto the windshield. In the hand rest, a new touchpad allows drivers to give commands by writing letters and numbers â€“ in any language â€“ with their fingers. A system that alerts the driver if it detects drowsiness or inattention and a collision warning and system with automatic braking at speeds of up to 124 mph are now standard.
Options includes an enhanced lane-keeping system, which automatically applies brakes to keep the driver in a marked lane; a system that automatically brakes to avoid pedestrians or parked cars; a system that can detect wrong-way signs and warn the driver; and cruise control designed for speeds lower than 37 mph.