New Mercedes-Benz C-Class to shake up mid-range executive fleet car sector

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The executive fleet car market is set to get a welcome boost with the arrival of the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class, which has just gone on sale in Ireland.

Taking distinct styling cues from the flagship S-Class, the striking looking saloon promises to be Mercedes-Benz’s most sophisticated and refined offering yet in the mid-range executive sector. An estate version has recently been unveiled and will arrive here later in the year.

A C220CDI diesel-powered 2.2-litre with 170bhp is available from launch priced from €43,300.  The fleet-friendly diesel emits 103g/km of CO2, and returns fuel consumption of 4-litres/100km. It is joined by two petrol-powered options, a C180 1.6 litre with 156bhp priced at €37,750, and a C200 2.0-litre, 184bhp version at €39,500.

The remainder of the range arrives in September and will include the C250 and C300 petrol models, and C180, C200, C250 BlueTEC diesels as well as a C300 Diesel Hybrid. Transmission options are a 6-speed manual or 7G automatic while permanent all-wheel drive is also available. A new suspension system can be adjusted electronically, with air suspension on front and rear axles available as an option.

Three design and equipment lines are offered – an Avantgarde version with grille-inset star aimed at younger buyers; an Exclusive version with a distinctive bonnet-mounted standing star aimed at the more conventional buyer; and an AMG line aimed at the sporty buyer.

Larger than the outgoing car – in fact Mercedes-Benz says it will compete with the BMW 5-Series as much as the 3-Series – the new C-Class has an 80mm longer wheelbase, 95mm longer body and 40mm wider frame. Thanks to a 100kg reduction in weight, fuel consumption is an average 20% lower. Boot capacity is 480 litres.

Technology features include infotainment display, interactive touchpad and apps that give the driver online access to all forms of route planning, guidance, weather and traffic information. A new ‘head-up’ display system can project data directly on to the windscreen, while the C-Class features an airpanel mechanism that closes the air flap to prevent pollutants entering the passenger compartment.

Safety elements include Attention Assist drowsiness detection system and Collision Prevention Assist – an adaptive braking system that activates automatically if the driver fails to respond to danger ahead. Additional offerings include systems to control distance from the vehicle in front, lane keeping assist, active parking, adaptive head beam, traffic sign and wrong way alert systems and a 360-degree camera. Pelvis bags, a newly developed window bag, side bags and a driver’s knee bag also form part of the safety story.