The BMW 3-series is the de facto small exec choice, right? Not if Mercedes can help it.
To fight the brand new Three, Merc has set up an all new trim structure for the C-class, and added a fleet-friendly engine to the C180. Read on for all the details.
New engine in the 2013 Mercedes C180
As per the usual Mercedes nomenclature nonsense, don't expect the C180 to feature an 1800cc engine. It's actually got a turbocharged, 1.6-litre direct-injection petrol and is accompanied by electric power steering to further bolster economy.
With an output of 152bhp at 5000rpm, the new engine is slightly less pokey than its predecessor, but develops an identical 184lb ft of torque across a wider rev range – 1250 to 4000rpm.
Saloon and estate variants both return 47.9mpg and 138/139g/km respectively, while the coupe is slightly worse off, at 44.1mpg and 149g/km. The 3.5-litre V6 petrol has quietly disappeared from the saloon and estate range, but you can still have it plumbed into the coupe. Otherwise, oily bits remain as-you-were, including the C63 AMG's mighty 6.2-litre V8 engine.
What about the 2013 Merc C-class's new trim levels?
Entry to the C-class range begins with Executive SE trim, which includes a sports grille, new 16-inch alloy wheels, and LED daytime running lights. The price rise is: wait for it - £35 more than before. Crikey, don't Merc know there's a recession on?
Spending a further £2000 allows speccing of the Luxury Package, replacing the former Elegance trim option. Your extra outlay buys enhancements like the snouty triple-louvre grille with bonnet-mounted badge, 17-inch alloys, an automatically dimming rear-view mirror and folding exterior door mirrors, and chrome trim.
The Sport trim makes way in the 2013 C-class for two new variants: AMG Sport and AMG Sport Plus. The AMG Sport saloon and estate start from £960 less than the previous Sport models, and feature 17-inch AMG wheels and halogen headlights. Strangely, despite the sporting pretensions, the AMG-trim models have better CO2 figures than before, meaning a reduction in compnay car tax.
And AMG Sport Plus?
Ah yes, the little 'Plus' is critical. Priced £1000 above AMG Sport, this raciest of trim lines includes 18-inch bi-colour alloys, bi-xenon lights, AMG sports seats, contrast red stitching on the upholstery, and matching red seat belts, AMG floor mats with red edging and silver gearshift paddles on the auto 'box cars.
A £530 AMG Handling Package is now offered on the C-Class coupe to fettle the steering, engine, exhaust note and transmission response like the flagship V8 car. You can spec the same upgrades in the more commodious saloon and estate-shaped C-class, too.