Singapore - Considering Mercedes-Benz's first compact rear-drive sedan appeared only in the early 1980s with the W201 '190 Series’, it's amazing that the (once) baby of the family has gone from strength to strength across six generations to today's W206 C-Class.
Before the arrival of the 190 in 1982, Mercedes-Benz was better known for its luxury limos – the mid-sized to large luxo-barges that were the epitome of comfort and cutting-edge technology.
With such a stellar base to build a compact car like the 190 on (the C-Class moniker would only be adopted from the W202 onwards right up to today's latest W206), it is small wonder that the C-Class has historically been over-engineered… and this is something appreciated by its fans who are looking for big car qualities in a compact car.
The C-Class takes on the same family face (and derriere) as its bigger S- and E-Class siblings.
However, we're told that a distinct headlight signature differentiates the three: one dot for the C-, two dots for the E- and three dots for the S-Class.
If you're at all familiar with the brand, it's no surprise that folks are happy to jump from one C-Class to the next, simply because you know what you're going to get.
I like to think I know what I'm talking about, because we've had every C-Class since the W201 190 Series right up to the W205, which continues to serve daily runabout duties.
Prices for the new C-Class start from S$247,888, with launch models currently priced at S$255,888 for the C 180 AMG Line and S$279,888 for the C 200 Avantgarde.
It's never about the flash factor in terms of design and incorporating OTT technology, because every generation of the 'baby S-Class' exudes a solid, unflappable sense of dependability that combines suave sophistication with a ride quality, as well as infotainment (it gets the S-Class' mega centre-screen and second gen MBUX interface) and safety tech that belies its size and is certainly class-leading for its segment.
As far as Singapore is concerned, we're getting the C180 and C200 in AMG Line and Avantgarde sedan variants (both C180 and C200 are powered by a 1.5-litre 4cyl in different states of tune), with its fourth generation plug-in hybrid C 300e arriving before the end of 1H 2022.
We hear that the first units of the C180 and C200 will be delivered in time for the Chinese New Year.
To underscore the brand's commitment towards inevitable electrification, all the W206 models are underpinned by 48V mild-hybrid tech with Integrated Starter Generator (ISG for short) for a useful boost to engine performance (the C180 and C200 enjoy +20hp and +200Nm).
Even without the benefit of the ISG's boost, we're looking at 170hp/250Nm for the C180 and 204hp/300Nm for the C200 channelled to the rear-wheels via the 9spd 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission.
Although the subtly sporty AMG Line trim level is available for the entry C 180, all models boast a power bulge on the bonnet with a minimum rim size of 18-inch for the C 180 and 19s for the the C 200.
Like all new cars, the C-Class has grown in size, including a 25mm longer wheelbase than the previous model.
Rear-axle steer is standard on the C 200 AMG Line, which allows the rear wheels to steer in an opposite direction at up to an angle of 2.5° at speeds up to 60km/h to reduce the turning circle in tight confines - this effectively simulates the agility of a car with a shorter wheelbase.
The higher-spec C200s will also get the MBUX Navigation Pro with Augmented Reality, as well as a 360° Camera with Auto Parking package.
“Since inception, the C-Class has historically always occupied a very special place among the Mercedes-Benz passenger car model lineup all over the world– it continues to be one of the most popular, and sought-after Mercedes-Benz among car owners both globally and here in Singapore. With this new C-Class, we’ve truly outdone ourselves once again with unique drivetrain innovations and an intuitive connectivity concept; all while extending the C-Class’ luxurious appeal and keeping the environment top-of-mind. There are plenty of reasons for our customers in Singapore to fall in love with the new C-Class,” said Mr. Claudius Steinhoff, President & CEO of Daimler South East Asia/Mercedes-Benz Singapore.
With the latest W206 tour de force, it looks like Mercedes-Benz has once again shown us what the 'Heart of the C' is all about...