► All-new Mercedes C-Class saloon and estate
► Four-cylinder AMG C43 also confirmed
► On sale now, C43 coming later in 2022
Mercedes is expanding its C-Class range with the warm-ish new C43. Gone is the sweet-sounding V6 of the old one, now it’s a four-cylinder.
The new C43 model from AMG joins the regular C-Class saloon and hatchback that got a thorough update in 2021. As always, it rivals the likes of the BMW 3-series, Audi A4, Jaguar XE and Alfa Romeo Giulia.
It doesn’t look that new…
Not from the looks of the exterior, no. 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 AMG C43 variant gets a slightly different front and rear apron, as well as quad exhaust pipes and new wheel designs.
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. AMG versions feature the new-trad twiddly dials on the steering wheel for quick-access to the car’s myriad settings.
I need engine and spec details
The biggest paradigm shift under the skin is the use of nothing else but four-cylinder engines regardless of powertrain type or performance. There’s a C300e plug-in hybrid in the range, and this new engine plan also applies to the AMG variants, with the C43 using four-pot power and the upcoming C63 due later in 2022 arriving with a plug-in hybrid powertrain.
The four-cylinder engine in the new AMG C43 uses Affalterbach’s new electronically-assisted turbocharger. An e-motor is integrated into the turbo shaft between the turbine wheel on the exhaust end and the compressor wheel on the intake end. Mercedes says it helps eliminate turbolag at idle revs.
Here’s a brief overview of the whole C-Class engine range:
- 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
- C300e: 2.0-litre petrol PHEV, 308bhp, 6.1sec 0-62mph, 403.5mpg
- C300d: 2.0-litre diesel, 261bhp, 5.7 sec 0-62mph, 50.4-56.5mpg
- AMG C43: 2.0-litre, 402bhp, 4.6sec 0-62mph, 25.5-26.7mpg
All cars feature a nine-speed automatic gearbox, and the C200 and C300 petrol models are also available with 4Matic all-wheel drive as an option. The AMG C43 is all-wheel drive as standard.
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.
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?
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
The standard C-Class saloon and estate are on sale now, with prices for the saloon starting from £39,860. The warm C43 will arrive later in 2022.