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Mercedes C-Class Hybrid and wagons land

Wagon on: You can now get a big-booted version of Mercedes' C-Class sedan with four new Estate versions joining the mid-sized prestige range.

Frugal C300 Hybrid and boot-boosted Estates added to local Mercedes C-Class range


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4 Dec 2014

MERCEDES-BENZ Australia/Pacific (MBAP) says its latest clutch of C-Class arrivals will continue the popular prestige car's success, with the C300 BlueTec Hybrid sedan and four Estate variants now joining the first sedan options, broadening the mid-sized segment appeal.

Since the new C-Class sedan arrived in August, Australian customer response has been strong with approximately 817 finding homes each last month alone, and the German car-maker says that trend is set to continue.

Each of the four C-Class sedan variants is now available as a five-door wagon with a starting price of $63,400 before on road costs for the C200 Estate and the sedan is also available as a new flagship and top-performing C300 Hybrid.

Speaking at the Estate and C300 model launch this week, MBAP senior manager public relations, product and corporate communications David McCarthy predicted a bountiful year for the C-Class range in 2015.

“I don't think we will have any problem doing 100 a month possibly more. There's a potential in a full year to do 10,000 Sedan and Estate C-Class,” he said. “I'd like to think we could do a couple of hundred C300 a year.” Mr McCarthy's colleague, public relations and product communications manager Jerry Stamoulis repeated his optimism for the recently broadened range.

“Estate we expect will do a little bit better than the previous one purely because C-Class is doing so well,” he said. “Last month we did 817 C-Class so it's doing very well for obvious reasons: It is a fantastic car, it’s well priced and it’s got the right spec so I think Estate will grow a little.” While the more conventional Estate recipe is expected to largely look after itself, Mr Stamoulis said breaking new ground with a hybrid powered C-Class required a new approach and dramatic sales are not a priority.

Bringing new technology under the three-pointed-star badge is part of a strategy to maintain the brand's association with innovation, and the C300 will test the alternative power waters.

“Hybrid is a different story all together,” he said. “We won't say no to hybrid just because Australia isn't the type of market where hybrids sell extremely well but we will engage in it.

“We want the latest technology. Anything we can get our hands on we want to bring it in even though the business case might not stack up.

“If you don't have the product, you don't know if people want it.” Pairing the 2.1-litre diesel four-cylinder of the C250 BlueTec with an electric motor and hybrid management system, Mercedes has cut fuel consumption of its most frugal C-Class variant from 4.5 litres per 100km to 4.0L/100km.

Carbon dioxide emissions have also fallen from 116g to 105g per km, but performance has not suffered with the extra electric push cutting zero to 100km/h acceleration from 6.6 seconds to 6.4s despite the C300 Hybrid weighing 120kg more than the 1595kg C250.

Like the rest of the C-Class range, the Hybrid sends power to the rear wheels via Mercedes' 7G-Tronic Plus seven-speed automatic transmission.

The Hybrid's battery robs 45 litres of boot space taking the volume down to 435 litres but folding rear seats bump that figure back up, allowing longer items to be carried. Fuel tank space has also been encroached on with a 16 litre smaller capacity at 50 litres.

Equipment levels for the hybrid C-Class align with the C250 and C250 BlueTec, which adds leather upholstery, 19-inch wheels, privacy glass and keyless entry and start in addition to the C-Class range standard equipment.

Safety equipment also gets a boost in the three C250 variants with the Driver Assistance Package Plus. The pack brings active cruise control which functions in stop and start traffic, lane keep assistance, cross traffic alert and blind spot monitoring.

Joining the new hybrid in the local C-Class line up is the fresh volume-added Estate range with larger-booted wagon versions of the sedan variants touching down in Australia at the same time as the most frugal C-Class.

Estates can be ordered with all the engine options of the sedan except the hybrid powertrain with two diesels and two petrol engine options on offer alongside the sedans. A short delay on C200 BlueTec will see the 1.6-litre diesel versions arriving in April next year.

The entry level C200 Estate kicks off with a $2500 premium over the sedan version at $63,400 and until the hyper C63 AMG version arrives, the flagship C250 BlueTec rounds out the range at $72,900 with the same price increase over the smaller booted variant.

With a small weight penalty over the four-door C-Class range, Estate versions sacrifice some fuel economy for the load lugging advantage.

C200 and C250 Estates use 0.2-litres per 100km more than the sedan versions at 6.2L/100km while the larger boot version of the C250 BlueTec increases consumption by 0.3L/100km with a combined figure of 4.8L/100km.

With space the key feature of any wagon, Mercedes' newest version of the C-Class Estate has grown over the outgoing model with a 80mm stretch of the wheelbase, a 96mm overall length extension and a 40mm boost to width.

That growth has freed up 45 extra millimeters of rear seat legroom as well as more generous occupant space width and headroom over the previous C-Class wagon variant.

Rear folding seats now have a more versatile 40/20/40 split compared with the outgoing 60/40 divided seats allowing 1510 litres with seats folded or 490 litres with the three rear spots in use.

Electric release for the folding rear seats increases ease of use, as does the optional Easy-Pack power tailgate with hands-free operation, which can be opened with a wave of a foot in a similar fashion to the system Ford introduced on its Kuga SUV.

Mercedes says the new Estate offers rewarding handling and road manner thanks to a 65kg weight saving over the previous model and its optional Airmatic self-leveling air suspension – a first for the mid-sized segment.

Estate variants also get Mercedes' newly introduced Frontbass which locates a low-frequency speaker in each front footwell and enhances bass frequencies through voids in the vehicle structure.

Base C200 and C200 BlueTEC variants include satellite navigation, ambient lighting, keyless start, electric parking brake, imitation leather upholstery, active park assist, five-mode Agility Select driving system and anti-collision technology as standard.

The C-Class climate-control air-conditioning uses sat-nav guidance to turn off the air intake in tunnels reducing load on the cabin microfilters. And if that is not enough, customers can order an option that injects your fragrance of choice into the air system.

Among the many safety features included with every C-Class, collision warning, autonomous braking below 80km/h, driver fatigue warning, blind spot warning and nine airbags are all standard.

A number of extra-feature packages are available, including a Vision package that provides panoramic glass sunroof, auto LED lights and head-up display.

A Comand package swaps the standard seven-inch LCD screen for an 8.4-inch device with an upgraded infotainment system that includes a high quality Burmeister audio system.

The package also adds internet connectivity, a hard-drive and access to internet based information systems such as real-time traffic and weather information, and Google services.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class pricing*
Sedan range
C200 $60,900
C200 (a) $68,900
C200 BlueTec (a) $62,400
C250 BlueTec (a) $70,400
C300 Hybrid (a) $71,900
Estate range
C200 (a) $63,400
C200 BlueTec (a0 $64,900
C250 (a) $71,400
C250 BlueTec (a) $72,900
*Excludes on-road costs.

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