New Mercedes C-Class injects some limo-like luxe

Published: 23 February 2021

► All-new Mercedes C-Class saloon and estate
► Tech and refinement from bigger S-Class
► Orders open March 2021, summer deliveries

Mercedes has revealed its new contender for your new company car: the 2021 C-Class saloon and estate.

As always, it rivals the likes of the BMW 3-series, Audi A4, Jaguar XE and Alfa Romeo Giulia, and it’ll be available to order at the end of March 2021.

It doesn’t look that new…

Not really. This is another case of a new Mercedes saloon’s exterior design barely evolving from its forebear – just like the S-Class. Still, the exterior surfacing is cleaner and new rear LED lights feature. The new C-Class also brings with it three new colours.

c-class interior

Inside is where the differences are much more noticeable. The C has taken a leaf out of the S-Class’ book, cleaning up the dashboard of buttons and introducing an upward-angled central portrait touchscreen that’s 9.5 inches big as standard, with a larger 11.9-inch display on the options list. Digital instruments are now standard.

I need engine and spec details

The biggest paradigm shift under the skin is the use of nothing else but four-cylinder engines. CAR understands that this’ll apply to the upcoming new AMG C-Class, which is expected to morph into a PHEV after more than a decade of big, brutish V8 power.

Anyway, back to the engine range – here’s a brief overview:

  • C180: 1.5-litre, 168bhp, 8.6sec 0-62mph, 39.2-45.5mpg
  • C200: 1.5-litre, 201bhp, 7.3sec 0-62mph, 39.2-44.8mpg
  • C220d: 2.0-litre diesel, 197bhp, 7.3sec 0-62mph, 50.4-57.6mpg
  • C300: 2.0-litre, 254bhp, 6.0sec 0-62mph, 38.1-42.8mpg
  • C300d: 2.0-litre diesel, 261bhp, 5.7 sec 0-62mph, 50.4-56.5mpg

All cars feature a nine-speed automatic gearbox, and the C200 and C300 petrol models are also available with 4Matic all-wheel drive.

c-class rear tracking

Still to come will be a plug-in hybrid versions C-Class, which Mercedes promises will achieve up to 62 miles on a single charge. The first will use a 2.0-litre petrol engine and a 127bhp electric motor, with certain markets also being offered a diesel plug-in hybrid option later on in the life cycle.

Elsewhere, the C-Class is now available with rear-wheel steering – much like the S-Class limo. If applied, the rear wheels will be able to turn by up to 2.5 degrees, and works like any other rear-wheel steering system: under speeds of 37mph, the rears turn the opposite way to the front for manoeuvrability; above 37mph, they turn the same way for better stability.

What about tech upgrades?

Along with the S-Class inspired interior, new technology like Merc’s digital lights (much like Audi’s Digital Matrix LEDs, which we've tested here), which project guidelines on the road in roadwork contraflows, highlight pedestrians that could be in danger and even flash at you if you drive the wrong way down a slip road or one-way street.

c-class interior screen

The MBUX infotainment system can be linked to smart home devices to streamline navigation planning, or you can ask the voice assistant questions checking whether anyone is home. The brand’s augmented-reality navigation, that first debuted on the A-Class hatch, is available, and a fingerprint scanner can load up your Mercedes Me profile in an instant.

Mercedes' augmented-reality navigation: does it work?

Are there any estate-specific details?

c-class estate overhead

Both the saloon and estate versions of the C-Class have the same passenger room both front and rear, with rear legroom increasing by 21mm over the previous generation C-Class. The saloon’s luggage area is rated at 455 litres (the same as before, slightly smaller than an Audi A4 saloon or BMW 3-series), while the estate clocks in at 490 litres with the rear seats up.

The Estate has rear folding seats to increase boot volume to 1510 litres, and features 40:20:40 split folding seats. An electric tailgate on the Estate is standard, electric folding of the rear seats is an option.

Mercedes C-Class: release date

Prices in the UK aren’t confirmed yet, but you’ll be able to order your new C-Class from 30 March 2021, with the first deliveries arriving in the summer.

Read our Mercedes reviews here

By Jake Groves

CAR's deputy news editor, office Geordie, gamer, lover of hot hatches