Car lovers worldwide got their first real look at the 2008 Mercedes-Benz C-Class when the car was officially unveiled at a ceremony in Stuttgart, Germany on January 18. Scheduled to go on sale in the U.S. this summer, the C-Class will be offered in two models — a Sport Sedan and a Luxury Sedan. The two models are distinguished by their front grilles, with the Sport Sedan getting the Mercedes star positioned centrally in the grille and the Luxury Sedan receiving the traditional grille treatment, with the Mercedes star mounted on the front of the hood. In addition, the front end of the new C-Class has an accentuated wedge shape that is designed to emphasize the car’s agility and aggressive nature.
The new C-Class will be larger than its predecessor, with more legroom in the rear seats and more hip and shoulder room in the front and back seats. Among its improvements will be a new suspension system called Agility Control, which will automatically control the firmness of the shock absorbers according to driving conditions. Also new will be Agility Control steering and an Agility Control gearshift, which will enable precise shifts. And an Adaptive Brake system borrowed from the S-Class will assist drivers when braking on hills and in wet conditions.
Safety upgrades will also be part of the new C-Class. The car will be equipped with seven airbags, including dual front and side airbags as well as windowbags. In addition, the car’s body shell has been strengthened and the front end has four independently acting impact zones to distribute the force of any impacts around the passenger cell.
Inside, the gauges have been given a sportier look with black dial faces, white markings, orange needles, and silver bezels. The two-tone dashboard and center console have been cast from a single mold. A new multifunction steering wheel provides access to climate and audio controls, and a standard Bluetooth interface enables a mobile phone to be linked wirelessly to the hands-free system. A 6-CD changer and COMAND APS system with DVD navigation and a music server are among the options.
Mercedes sold more than 1.4 million units of the previous C-Class since its redesign in 2000, and there’s no doubt that the venerable German automaker expects to have similar success with the new C-Class when it hits showrooms later this year.