By BRENWIN NAIDU
MERCEDES-Benz has always stood for solid reliability, indestructible quality and of course, prestige. But where the marque lacked, was when it came to excitement and stirring the soul – barring AMG models and Merc’s supercars. Think of old models like the W123 E-series – absolutely beautifully-built cars, as most will know, but cars that one would only see age-experienced (read: old) people driving.
Things appear to be changing in the world of the three-pointed star, however, with models seeming to reflect a new, sharper, more striking approach to design. Look at the current E-Class, with its tailored-suit look that manages to make a strong impression, while retaining the typically Mercedes essence of elegance.
And more recently, the new SLK – with its styling seeming to be inspired by the highly desirable SLS supercar. The Mercedes-Benz competes in the busy mid-size executive saloon segment, where its most obvious competitor is the formidable BMW 3-Series. The Beemer has always been a choice I’d opt for when shopping around for a vehicle of this kind – its styling is something special, with saloon proportions that look ineffably right.
But the recent update executed on Merc’s executive sedan has certainly upped its game, and given it some new leverage in its segment. The most significant change you are bound to notice first, is on the face of the C-Class. It’s got some new headlights with a bit more shape, in comparison to the rectangular sort found on the previous version. There’s also an aluminium bonnet on both saloon and estate models, to reduce weight and improve efficiency. The revised front is meaner, and looks more aggressive. To give you an idea of the extent to which the C-Class was tweaked, the press release says that more than 2000 components distinguish the latest model, from its predecessor.
Changes on the updated C-Class were not limited to the exterior. Get inside and you’re greeted by a re-designed dashboard, with a more upmarket, plush feel. They’ve also spruced it up with glossy trim, and matt keys – which, according to the release, “accentuates the higher perceived value of the interior.”
The C-Class sees updates beneath the hood, too. BlueEfficiency technology – Merc’s programme to boost efficiency , to extract more from less, has been applied throughout the range – with all engine variants getting Blue Efficiency classification. There are two trim lines in the new C-Class: Elegance and Avantgarde. The Elegance is a more reserved persona, while the Avantgarde appears to have a more athletic edge to it. For those who want more visual attitude, the AMG Sports package is available.
Interestingly, there’s also a C-Class Coupe on offer – this would appeal to someone who wants something more exclusive. With the coupe, they also aim to inveigle a more youthful scope of customers into the brand. “With the new C-Class Coupé we are extending the C-Class portfolio, and are consciously targeting new customers. This new model is youthful, stylish and dynamic and what we are offering is an exceptionally sporty way to enter the world of the Mercedes-Benz coupé,” said Eckart Mayer, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Mercedes-Benz South Africa.