In January 2007 Mercedes-Benz presented the sedan of the new C-Class of model series 204 in the Mercedes-Benz world in Stuttgart. In late March 2007 the new C-Class then went on the market in Europe, with the market launch in North America following a few weeks later. The market launch was connected with the integrated 'C-for Yourself' marketing campaign, which combined innovative offers like exclusive driving events with classical advertising. The aim of the campaign was to convince customers all over the world of the versatile product concept of the new C-Class sedan with the distinctive faces of the vehicles and with their outstanding qualities in comfort, responsiveness and safety.
For the first time, in the 204 model series the equipment lines of a Mercedes-Benz sedan differed according to independent vehicle faces. For example, the AVANTGARDE equipment line with the Mercedes star centred in the radiator grille presented a sporty C-Class in a dynamic design. Comfort and elegance were the key values of the ELEGANCE and CLASSIC equipment lines with the classical Mercedes radiator grille.
The 4,581 millimetre long sedan was 55 millimetres longer than the predecessor model of the 203 model series. The width of the body also increased by 42 to 1,770 millimetres, while the wheelbase grew by 45 to 2,760 millimetres. These dimensions made for an even more spacious and comfortable interior. For example, the front shoulder room was 40 millimetres larger than previously.
The new C-Class also significantly developed beyond these spatial dimensions, as Mercedes-Benz developers considerably expanded their model series philosophy. The outstanding qualities of this fourth generation of the compact class from Stuttgart were safety, comfort, responsiveness and an especially versatile product concept. In this way, Mercedes-Benz was able to fulfil the expectations of significantly different customer target groups.
The three equipment lines of AVANTGARDE, ELEGANCE and CLASSIC variously accentuate comfort or responsiveness. All model variants come with numerous technical innovations besides the driving culture typical for Mercedes-Benz. The latest examples of this included the AGILITY CONTROL package with selective damper control, the Intelligent Light System with five different light functions and the PRE-SAFE® system with preventive protective measures for the occupants. The C-Class of 2007 was driven by four-cylinder and six-cylinder engines that produced 13 percent more power than the engines in the previous model series, but consumed less fuel.
The design of the C-Class was based on the contemporary stylistic featuring of Mercedes-Benz, which through the interplay of tautly drawn lines with large, calm surfaces reflected the technical superiority of the car with the star. In the C-Class, the clear sweep-back of the front section moreover expressed typical qualities like responsiveness and performance potential. For the first time, the radiator grille in a Mercedes-Benz sedan served as a sign of recognition for positioning the model variants more clearly. For example, three horizontal, stretched louvres and a large, centrally arranged Mercedes star governed the appearance of the AVANTGARDE model, displaying traditional design elements of sporty Mercedes models. In the interplay with the sporty equipment, this design element underscored the young and nimble appearance of this C-Class. The AMG sport package, containing strikingly styled front and rear aprons and side skirt panels, among other features, emphasised the sporty appearance even more.
In the ELEGANCE model Mercedes-Benz employed a three-dimensionally shaped, high-gloss painted louvre radiator grille to highlight other attributes typical of the brand, like comfort and luxury. The new CLASSIC C-Class had a deliberately low-keyed and traditional look, while offering the same technical innovations of the two other model variants. By means of this concept customers could make their individual touches to the vehicle configuration and gear the C-Class even more than before to their personal tastes and lifestyles.
Under the concept AGILITY CONTROL Mercedes-Benz comprised all new and further developments improving comfort and responsiveness equally. This standard package included the AGILITY CONTROL suspension, which regulated the shock absorber forces depending on the driving situation: In a normal driving style with low excitation of the shock absorbers, the damper forces automatically decrease, noticeably affecting rolling comfort - without loss of driving safety. In a dynamic driving style, on the other hand, the maximum damping force was applied, and the car was effectively stabilised. The AGILITY CONTROL steering of the new C-Class operated with a gear ratio of 1:14.5, becoming six per cent more direct than the steering of the predecessor model. The equally available AGILITY CONTROL gearshift corresponded to the sporty character of the C-Class through short travel and precise guidance.
In addition, Mercedes-Benz developed the ADVANCED AGILITY package with a sport driving mode as an option available as of fall 2007. It offered the driver a choice between two shift programs: Sport and Comfort. Within these shift programs continuously variable electronic control of the shock absorbers occurred for each wheel. In addition, the package contained a newly developed, more directly translated speed-sensitive power steering with variable hub centring as well as adaptation of the accelerator pedal characteristics and the shift points of the automatic transmission. ADAPTIVE BRAKE was a further new development in the field of suspension technology. It was based on the technology of the S-Class and offered additional assistance functions for even more safety and comfort. Examples were the starting-off aid for gradients, the prudent build-up of pressure in the brake system in critical situations and dry braking of the brake discs when wet.
With a noteworthy increase of up to 13 per cent in power and a torque increase by around 18 per cent, the engines governed the active driving character of the new C-Class. The four-cylinder and six-cylinder units were not only distinguished by spontaneous power development, but also contributed through smoother running to the high ride comfort of the sedan.
One aspect in particular focussed on by Mercedes-Benz engine specialists was the further development of the four-cylinder engines. In the case of the spark ignition engines, the power of the C 180 KOMPRESSOR basic model increased from previously 105 kW (143 hp) to 115 kW (156 hp), while the maximum torque improved 4.5 per cent, from 220 to 230 newton meters. The C 200 KOMPRESSOR approached the starting line with an engine that was more powerful by 15 kW (20 hp). Its output was 135 kW (184 horsepower) and as of 2800 rpm achieved a maximum tractive power of 250 newton meters. These modified engines significantly improved the driving performance and consumption levels of the four-cylinder models: In the acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h the C 200 KOMPRESSOR was now 0.5 seconds faster than the predecessor model. Equally remarkable were the results in fuel consumption: The C 180 KOMPRESSOR consumed 0.3 litres less of premium petrol per 100 kilometres than previously, while the combined fuel consumption of the C 200 KOMPRESSOR dropped 0.5 litres per 100 kilometres.
Further development of the four-cylinder diesel engines was also a major priority. The Stuttgart engineers had further improved the particular system consisting of engine, turbocharger and common rail direct injection, modifying more than 90 components. Through this range of measures the new C 200 CDI generated eleven per cent more power than the predecessor model: 100 kW (136 hp) instead of the previous 90 kW (122 hp). The C 220 CDI developed a peak output of 125 kW (170 hp) instead of the previous 110 kW (150 hp) and as of 2000 rpm unleashed a torque of 400 newton meters - around 18 per cent more than before. The fuel consumption dropped by up to 0.3 litres per 100 kilometres: In the European driving cycle (NEDC) C 200 CDI and C 220 CDI covered 100 kilometres with only 6.1 litres of diesel oil each.
Initially the state-of-the-art V6 engines remained unchanged in the new C-Class range. Three spark ignition engines and one diesel engine were available for selection The C 230 with 150 kW (204 hp), the C 280 with 170 kW (231 hp) and of the C 350 with 200 kW (272 hp). The six-cylinder engine of the new C 320 CDI generated 165 kW (224 hp). With the exception of the C 350, a six-speed transmission with AGILITY CONTROL gearshift was standard on all models of the new C-Class. The standard C 350 top model rolled of the assembly line with 7G-TRONIC, the world's unique seven-speed automatic transmission. It was also optionally available for the other six-cylinder models of the C-Class.
Thanks to state-of-the-art engines, consistently lightweight design and good aerodynamics, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class of the 204 model series consumed up to 17 per cent less fuel than the predecessor model from 2000. An environmental balance sheet confirmed by the German Technical Inspection Association in February 2007 over the entire life cycle of the new sedan also showed that carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) of the current model series were 15 per cent less compared with the predecessor.
The 204 model series sedans cost between EUR 29,988 and EUR 44,328 from the factory. Despite comprehensive standard equipment and a more powerful engine, the new C 180 KOMPRESSOR basic model was only 119 euros more expensive than the predecessor, for example. The prices of the diesel sedans also increased only by 1.3 to 1.6 per cent The new C 200 CDI now cost EUR 31,892 from the factory. Altogether four four-cylinder and four six-cylinder models of each were available for selection.
In the course of its development the new C-Class passed more than 100 crash tests. Included were the especially demanding internal impact tests, whose requirements partly extended far beyond the legal minimum. An intelligently designed body consisting 70 per cent of high-strength and ultra-high strength steel grades formed the basis of the occupant protection system. Compared with the predecessor model Mercedes-Benz enlarged the deformation zones and further optimised the power flow. The new C-Class had in the front structure four mutually independent impact planes across which forces could be extensively distributed and diverted past the passenger cell.
In the interior the safety technology was completed by state-of-the-art protection systems. Seven airbags belonged to the standard equipment: two adaptive airbags for the driver and front passenger, a kneebag for the driver, two sidebags in the front backrests as well as two large-area windowbags spanning the area between the A and C-pillars in the event of a side collision. In addition, emergency tensioning retractors and belt force limiters were standard features available to the driver, front passenger and rear passengers at the outer seats. The standard head restraints operated according to the NECK PRO principle: In a rear-end collision the upholstered areas were pushed forwards within a few milliseconds, in order to catch the driver's and front passenger's heads in due time. This reduced the risk of whiplash injury.
As an important measure for avoiding rear-end collisions, Mercedes-Benz had developed flashing brake lamps. They also belonged to the standard equipment of the new C-Class. If the driver needed to brake sharply when travelling over 50 km/h, the brake lamps flashed rapidly to warn drivers behind.
PRE-SAFE® was a further special feature of the new sedan. The preventive occupant protection system (available as optional equipment) was linked to driving safety systems like the ESP® Electronic Stability Program and the BAS Brake Assist, and was able to detect even the onset of critical driving manoeuvres. Should an accident threaten the C-Class threaten through sudden understeering or oversteering, or should the driver have to slam down on the brake in a hazardous situation, PRE-SAFE® activated precautionary measures in order to prepare occupants and the car for an immanent accident. This meant that passive vehicle safety measures were initiated before an imminent collision, rather than upon impact.
Another first in this vehicle class was the Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Light System. Powerful bi-xenon headlamps allowed five different light functions configured for typical driving and weather conditions: country mode, motorway mode, enhanced fog light function, active light function and cornering light function. Mercedes-Benz thus made a further important contribution to driving safety in poor visibility conditions.
Mercedes designers based the cockpit on sporty models and drew clearly arranged dial-type gauges as also found roadsters and coupes. Silver-coloured scale rings, black dial faces, white lettering and orange-illuminated pointers combined form and function through high value appeal and good clarity.
The uncluttered and clearly sectioned two-toned instrument panel and centre console that formed an elegantly styled unit in the new C-Class embodied the principle of a 'design all of a piece'. This also applied to the integration of the colour indicator display in the upper middle part of the instrument panel. The display lay well within the driver's visual field, but if necessary could also be folded up or folded away without turning off the car radio, the navigation system or other devices coupled with the display. When the swivelling cover over the display compartment was closed, the infotainment devices continued operating.
The centre colour display was part of a new control & display concept adopted by the C-Class from Mercedes-Benz top models. Its essential advantages was quick access to frequently used functions. All control & display elements necessary and important for driving were located in the cockpit, in the driver's immediate vicinity. The connection of the standard multifunction steering wheel with the instrument cluster was an important prerequisite for quick access to numerous types of information and functions, which the driver had directly before his or her eyes. Other functions, such as infotainment, were shown on the display in the middle of the instrument panel. The driver and front passenger could operate the car radio, navigation system or telephone using a controller on the centre tunnel or access the main menus with one-touch keys.
Audio 20, Audio 50 APS and COMAND APS were three newly developed devices optionally available for the infotainment of the C-Class passengers. All offered a keyboard for entering telephone numbers and radio frequencies, as well as a Bluetooth interface for wireless connection of the mobile phone to the hands-free system. The Audio 50 APS displayed the route guidance instructions with graphically attractive intersection zooming - as arrows on the fixed 4.9-inch colour display in the instrument panel. An integrated 6x DVD changer and LINGUATRONIC voice control were also optionally available.
The COMAND APS multimedia system in the W 204 offered even more functions than previously. New was a European-wide navigation system with data stored on a hard disc (30 GB). The high-resolution map display appears on the 7-inch colour display in the instrument panel that swivels away underneath a cover at the press of a button. In addition, COMAND APS also included, among other items, a music server with 4GB memory, a DVD player for video and audio and LINGUATRONIC voice control, also further developed by Mercedes-Benz: The driver no longer had to spell out the names of countries, cities and streets, but could say them as whole expressions. Equally convenient was the voice control for accessing radio stations or entries from the phonebook.
Compared with the 203 model series, engineers from Mercedes-Benz had already optimised the fourth C-Class generation with respect to consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. At the Geneva Auto Salon in February 2007, Mercedes-Benz showed what the future of even environmentally safer drive technology would look like: the Stuttgart brand presented for the first time the BlueTEC exhaust treatment technology in combination with a consumption-optimised four-cylinder engine. The C 220 BlueTEC Vision showed how the stricter EURO 6 emission standard, to go into effect in 2015 for all new vehicles throughout Europe, could be fulfilled. At an output of 125 kW (170 hp) and a maximum torque of 400 newton meters, the C 220 BlueTEC Vision required 5.5 litres of diesel oil per 100 kilometres. A prerequisite was the further development of the diesel engine technology and an intelligent energy management system.
The C 220 BlueTEC Vision from Mercedes-Benz afforded a concrete look ahead to further steps of the BlueTEC programme launched by the company in the US in fall 2006. Initial ignition was the market launch of the E 320 BlueTEC, beginning in North America in October 2006, on time for the introduction there of low-sulphur diesel fuel. The first BlueTEC four-cylinder engine now made clear in the C-Class how variegated the possible uses of the innovative technology were.
BlueTEC was a Mercedes-Benz technology for reducing emissions from diesel vehicles, in particular nitrogen oxides. The latter made up the single exhaust component that in contemporary diesel engines still lay above the spark ignition engine level for physical reasons. The C 220 BlueTEC Vision equipped the state-of-the-art four-cylinder unit with an oxidation catalytic converter that reduced the emission of carbon monoxide (CO) and unburned hydrocarbons (HC) and with a particulate filter. The further developed, especially long-lived NOx storage catalytic converter with patented on-board ammonia generation was combined with an additional SCR catalytic converter for especially low nitrogen oxide levels. This exhaust aftertreatment did not require any additional equipment, in contrast to BlueTEC engines with AdBlue® injection. The basis of the drive presented in the study was a diesel engine with four-valve technology, common rail direct injection of the third CDI generation, turbocharger with variable geometry and exhaust gas recirculation. A highly sensitive, electronic engine control system responded precisely to the widest variety of operating conditions to optimise the combustion processes.
Shortly after the European market début of the C-Class, connected with a German tour of twenty 350 AVANTGARDE cars with AMG sport packages from the Bremen plant to Stuttgart, Mercedes-Benz announced a further special technical feature of the new model series: 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive. Starting in summer 2007, the further developed system was available for the six-cylinder models C 280, C 350 and C 320 CDI.
The Mercedes all-wheel drive technology of the latest generation differed from the previous 4MATIC through greater efficiency, lower weight and through a more compact design. These advantages made themselves apparent through lower-cost fuel consumption and even better traction The new C 280 4MATIC with the 170 kW (231 hp) six-cylinder engine consumes 9.6 litres of premium petrol per 100 kilometres, making it 0.2 litres more economical than the predecessor model. For the first time, a diesel-engined C-Class was also available with all-wheel drive: the new C 320 CDI 4MATIC generated 165 kW (224 hp) and consumed 7.7 litres of diesel oil per 100 kilometres.
The 4MATIC sedans offered the same comprehensive safety & comfort equipment as models with rear wheel drive. The AGILITY CONTROL package with shock absorber regulation appropriate to the situation was standard equipment as were the seven airbags, crash-active head restraints, automatic air conditioning and light alloy rims. The 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission was also on board, which Mercedes-Benz had developed specially for the all-wheel models.
The heart of the all-wheel system was a transfer case with central differential integrated in the seven-speed automatic transmission and distributing the drive torque between the front and rear axles in the ratio of 45 : 55. A newly developed multidisc clutch at the central differential transmitted the engine power with a locking force of 50 newton meters between the front and rear axles to all wheels, enabling the new C-Class to start off better on slick roads and with greater stability than the 4MATIC predecessor models.
As a standard feature, Mercedes-Benz combined MATIC with the ESP® and Electronic Stability Program and the 4ETS traction system, for targeted braking of spinning wheels and increased drive torque at the wheels with good traction. On the basis of sensor signals, the system proportioned the automatic brake pulses for improved traction when starting off on slick subsurfaces and for greater stability in critical driving manoeuvres. 4ETS thus achieved the effects of conventional differential locks while offering noticeably better comfort than other all-wheel drive models.
In summer 2007 Mercedes-Benz introduced the C 63 AMG - the new top model of the 204 model series. While a new generation of the AMG C-Class racing car had already provided exciting motor sport on the highest level in the 'German Touring Car Masters' (DTM), there followed a roadworthy version from Affalterbach. The market launch of the new top V8 model occurred in early 2008 - already the fifth model version of the AMG C-Class. Its family tree went back to the C 36 AMG of 1993 - the first vehicle jointly developed by Mercedes-Benz and AMG.
The 6.3-litre V8 engine of the current AMG version offered a maximum performance with 336 kW (457 hp) and a maximum torque of 600 newton meters. The C 63 AMG accelerated from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds; the maximum speed was electronically limited to 250 km/h. Combined with the totally new front axle, the AMG sport speed-sensitive power steering and the new 3-stage ESP®, the AMG sports suspension afforded the utmost driving pleasure and distinct vehicle dynamics.
The appearance alone of the C 63 AMG made a strong impression: The broad sedan crouched way down on its wheels. Underneath the new engine bonnet with the impressive power domes operated the independently developed AMG 6.3-litre V8 motor, technically closely related to the 350 kW (470 hp) unit of the AMG C-Class racing touring car. The high power also profited the power/weight ratio, at a very favourable 3.6 kilogrammes/hp.
The special strengths of the AMG V8 engine included deeply contoured free-revving and high tractive power. The 8-cylinder engine found a perfect partner in the AMG SPEEDSHIFT PLUS 7G-TRONIC. Equipped with AMG steering wheel shift paddles and three transmission modes, the seven-speed automatic allowed a distinct sporty or rather comfort-oriented driving style, depending on the driver's taste. The C 63 AMG was the first vehicle from AMG also to offer automatic double clutching for downshifting, which significantly reduced load change reactions.
C 63 AMG owed its high dynamic talent to the newly developed AMG sports suspension and the fully redesigned three-arm front axle. A whole series of measures provided greater stability and precision in all driving situations. Vehicle dynamics on the highest level with Mercedes-Benz-typical long-distance suitability was also ensured by the new 18-inch AMG light-alloy wheels with a five-spoke design. Optionally available were 19-inch AMG light alloy wheels. Behind the spokes of the AMG wheels operated ventilated and perforated disc brakes on all wheels.
The ESP® Electronic Stability Program was specially geared to the high vehicle dynamics. The C 63 AMG was the first AMG model with the new 3-stage ESP® with sport feature. This system offered three different rule settings and was a consistent development of the AMG ESP® philosophy. At a button in the centre console the driver could choose between the stages of 'ESP ON', 'ESP SPORT' and 'ESP OFF', with the particular state activated appearing in the central display of the AMG instrument cluster. At 'ESP ON' a brake intervention at one or more wheels as well as take-back of the engine torque occurred at the onset of an unstable driving condition. Briefly pressing the ESP button activated 'ESP SPORT'. In this mode, oversteering and understeering as well as the flanking engine torque interventions allowed higher dynamic states, such as corresponding drift angles, with significantly greater driving pleasure for the driver of the C 63 AMG. Depressing the brake pedal returned ESP® to full availability. First, pressing long on the ESP button activated 'ESP OFF'. Then no more dynamic interventions occurred, and the engine torque was generally no longer reduced. 'ESP OFF' was intended only for sophisticated drivers on cordoned-off race tracks. In this mode, too, all ESP® functions became available on operation of the brake pedal. The traction logic remained active in all three ESP® modes. Should a drive gear start to spin, the selective brake intervention achieved the effect of a mechanical limited slip differential for the best possible transmission of the engine power to the road.
The new C 63 AMG visually differed from the standard C-Class more than ever before. The front view dominated the new engine bonnet with the two deeply contoured power domes as well as the independent AMG radiator grille with central star and two louvres with chrome inserts. The honeycombed structure of the radiator grille recurred in the large cooling air openings of the new, athletically shaped front skirt of the AMG styling. Front fog lamps moved far outwards with chrome holders underscored the breadth of the vehicle as did the exposed front wings. Hot air from the oil coolers was dissipated through the side air outlets in the front skirt. With the optional bi-xenon headlamps or Intelligent Light System the C 63 AMG had tinted headlamps.
For the side view, the 18-inch AMG light-alloy wheels, the elegantly styled integrated '6.3 AMG' lettering on the wing as well as the AMG side skirt served as eye-catchers. At the rear, the standard LED rear lamps, the AMG rear apron with black diffusor insert and three pronounced diffusor fins as well as the AMG sport exhaust system with two chrome-plated dual outlets set the accents typical for the brand. The AMG spoiler lip on the trunk lid reduced the abrasion and provided greater driving stability in the maximum speed range.
The consistently sporty line continues in the interior. For example, the C 63 AMG offered for the first time stand-alone AMG sport seats in the front with integrated head restraints and adaptive backrests with adjustable side bolsters and lumbar support. The standard ARTICO imitation leather / AMG fabric upholstery was available in black or reef grey - the interior could also be optionally upgraded with especially high-quality nappa leather equipment in black, reef grey or black/sahara beige. The new AMG Performance steering wheel with the 3-spoke design and flattened bottom, 365 millimetre steering wheel rim was covered with perforated leather at the grips. Two aluminium silver-coloured shift paddles enabled the manual gear selection. A self-sufficient AMG instrument cluster with tubular design offered newly designed dial faces, specific fonts and a new night design. In the central display the main menu offered numerous setting options The buttons in the Performance steering wheel allowed selection between the 'Warm Up', 'Set Up' and 'Race' modes.
From April 2008 onwards, the C 63 AMG became the DTM's official Safety Car. The C-Class top model received for this special application a heavy-duty radiator, two side engine oil coolers placed in the front skirt as well as an additional and larger transmission cooler. The rear axle differential had cooling fins and a separate oil cooler. The C 63 AMG-specific three-arm front axle with wide track, the AMG sport speed-sensitive power steering, the AMG Performance suspension with firm tuning as well as the 3-stage ESP® with sport feature combined to afford the best possible vehicle dynamics. Ever since 2000 Mercedes-AMG has continually served as the DTM Safety Car, alternating with Audi between races. Participating in the Formula 1 of the 2008 season were an SL 63 AMG as the official F1TM Safety Car as well as C 63 AMG wagon as the official F1TM Medical Car.
The C-Class of the 204 model series was initially built in the German Mercedes-Benz plants in Sindelfingen and Bremen. On 6 September 2007 volume production then also began in the East London plant in South Africa. Production of the C-Class began there in 1994. The current C-Class already belonged to the third vehicle generation manufactured in South Africa's Eastern Cape. At this time it was already planned to manufacture the model also in China for the local market.
In September 2007, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class was also voted by readers of AUTO BILD, the largest German automotive magazine, as the most beautiful car of all sedans and wagons newly arriving on the market during the preceding year. The highly esteemed 'Carolina' Internet Auto Award also went to the C-Class in 2007. More than 350,000 participants from six countries had voted. In January 2008 the Mercedes-Benz C-Class moreover won by a healthy margin the largest German vote on the best like car The ADAC accordingly awarded the coveted 'Yellow Angel of 2008' to the public's favourite from Stuttgart.
By this time the popularity of the 204 model series had been long attested also by the market success: Already eight months after the production start in March 2007, on 21 November 2007, the 100,000th C-Class, a carneol-red right-hand drive C 280, rolled off the assembly line in the Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen plant. The AVANTGARDE sedan of the new generation was earmarked for a customer in Singapore. The most-sold model of the new generation among the first 100,000 vehicles was the C 220 CDI. In early December 2007 the first wagons of the new C-Class were delivered from the Bremen plant.
In December 2007 the sedan of the C-Class was awarded five stars for its outstanding results in crash tests according to the European NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme). The Euro NCAP Organisation found the W 204 to be among the cars with the best safety, confirming the safety concept of the C-Class as based on realistic accident testing.
At the Geneva Automobile Salon in March 2008 Mercedes-Benz presented three especially economical BlueEFFICIENCY sedans of the C-Class. In the high-selling C 180 KOMPRESSOR and C 200 CDI models (available as of spring 2008), fuel consumption was further reduced by up to 12 percent without compromising the high level of comfort and Mercedes-Benz-typical safety, thanks to a package of measures and technologies. The BlueEFFICIENCY version of the 100 kW (136 hp) C 200 CDI consumed only 5.1 litres of diesel oil per 100 kilometres, while the C 180 KOMPRESSOR (115 kW/156 hp) covered 100 kilometres with 6.5 litres of premium petrol. That corresponded to 135 and 156 grams of carbon dioxide emitted per kilometre, respectively.
As the third BlueEFFICIENCY model of the C-Class, Mercedes-Benz presented in Geneva the C 350 CGI with petrol direct injection. The six-cylinder engine consumed around ten per cent less fuel than the sedan with the current V6 engine. The model available at the end of 2008 completed the BlueEFFICIENCY programme of the C-Class with the world's first spark ignition engine with spray-guided direct injection. The C 350 CGI BlueEFFICIENCY offered in this vehicle category a previously unavailable combination of performance, responsiveness, safety, economy and environmental compatibility.
To develop the BlueEFFICIENCY models, the engineers drew on the potential from practically every technical discipline to reduce weight, wind resistance and rolling resistance, and to organise the saloons' on-board energy management more efficiently. The sum of measures allowed fuel savings of 0.9 litres per 100 kilometres with the C 180 KOMPRESSOR and 0.6 litres with the C 200 CDI in the NEDC. The Sindelfingen professionals perfected the comprehensive lightweight design principle of the C-Class down to the last detail and were able to save as much as 19 to 32 kilogrammes of weight depending on the model. One factor contributing to this result was a newly developed windscreen made of laminated glass, for example, which weighed around 1.2 kilogrammes less than previously. The employed technology cam from the Maybach luxury car.
Besides the lightweight design principle, Mercedes-Benz also devoted particular attention to further reducing rolling resistance and aerodynamic drag. In cooperation with Michelin, engineers developed lightweight tyres especially low in rolling resistance. The aerodynamics were also improved. A Cd of cd= 0.27 made the C-Class in any event one of the most drag-reducing notchback sedans in its market segment. In the new BlueEFFICIENCY versions of the C 180 KOMPRESSOR and of the C 200 CDI, Mercedes engineers improved upon this very good cd value through detailed measures: For example, a smooth-surfaced covering of the underfloor allowed the airstream to flow underneath the body without swirling. The complete engine compartment and underfloor panelling of the diesel models were also standard in the BlueEFFICIENCY version of the C 180 KOMPRESSOR. Partial covering of the radiator grille reduced the volume of air flowing into the engine compartment and increased the aerodynamic drag, further ensuring sufficient cooling of the four-cylinder engines. The lowering of the body by 15 millimetres also reduced the aerodynamic drag.
The practical control of the ancillaries and the reduction of friction loss in the steering and transmission, as well as information systems for the driver with instructions on energy-saving driving rounded off the equipment of the BlueEFFICIENCY models of the C-Class.
Under the bonnets of the new model variants operated established & proven four-cylinder engines belonging to the most-sold engines of the C-Class: Nearly a fourth of all buyers of the Mercedes-Benz model series choose these units. While in the C 180 KOMPRESSOR, Mercedes-Benz reduced the displacement from 1796 to 1597 cubic centimetres, die BlueEFFICIENCY version offered the same performance (115 kW/156 hp) and the same torque (230 newton meters) as the standard variant. The downsizing of the displacement alone allowed a potential saving of around 0.15 litres of premium petrol per 100 kilometres. Altogether the C 180 KOMPRESSOR in the BlueEFFICIENCY version consumed only 6.5 litres of premium petrol per 100 kilometres in the NEDC. That was 0.9 litres or twelve per cent less than with the standard model. The displacement, output and torque of the CDI engine remained unchanged. The range of measures reduced the combined NEDC fuel consumption of the BlueEFFICIENCY variant of the C 200 CDI by 0.6 litres (10.5 per cent) to only 5.1 litres per 100 kilometres. That corresponded to a CO2 emission of 135 grammes per kilometre.
The C 350 CGI BlueEFFICIENCY with the world's first petrol engine with spray-guided direct injection arrived on the market at the end of 2008. At a higher output and even better torque, it consumed around ten per cent less fuel than the sedan of the C 350 with the conventional V6 engine. The CGI engine generated 215 kW (292 hp) and at 3000 rpm a maximum torque of 365 newton meters. That was kW (20 hp) and 15 newton meters more than with the V6 engine with port injection. State-of-the-art engine technology reduced the fuel consumption of the C 350 CGI BlueEFFICIENCY in the European driving cycle to around 8.4 litres per 100 kilometres - more than a litre below the value of the C 350. The significant improvements of the output and consumption levels were attained without change on the basis of the cost-efficient premium petrol (RON 95).
The spray-guided petrol direct injection that Mercedes-Benz was the first to mass-produce in 2006 was superior to the wall-guided combustion system with direct injection: through greater thermodynamic efficiency the Mercedes-Benz technology allowed thoroughly better fuel economy and therefore lower exhaust emissions in addition to reduced fuel consumption. The crucial advantage was afforded by the six-cylinder engine in stratified-charge mode, when the engine operated with much excess air and therefore very economically. For the first time, this beneficial 'lean-burn operation' was possible for Mercedes direct-injection engines also in higher rpm and load ranges, since at each power stroke the combustion chambers of the engine were supplied with fuel several times in succession in fractions of a second, resulting in significant improvement of mixture formation, combustion and consumption significantly.
Fast and ultra-precise piezo-injectors were among the most important components of petrol direct injection of the second generation. On its invention were based practically all progress in spray-guided combustion systems. The piezo valves opened their nozzle tips to the outside to form an annular gap of only a few micrometres, which shaped the fuel jet and provided uniform, hollow-cone propagation. Thanks to millisecond-fast switching times, the piezo injectors also allowed the multiple injection advantageous for lean-burn operation, an important precondition for the exemplary consumption levels of the engine. A high-pressure pump with downstream distributor and pressure valve supplied the fuel, controlling the quantity as required. With up to 200 bar, the system exceeded the fuel pressure of conventional port injection by nearly fifty times.
Since early 2008 the C-Class of the 204 model series was the market leader in its segment worldwide. Since the official market launch on 31 March 2007, way over 300,000 customers have chosen a sedan or a wagon of the new model series.
In the autumn of 2008 Mercedes-Benz introduced a totally newly designed generation of diesel engines. For the début the Stuttgart automotive manufacturer offered a new four-cylinder engine in the C 250 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY Prime Edition. From a displacement of 2.2 litres the unit generated 150 kW (204 hp) with a torque of 500 newton meters. The première model accelerated from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.0 seconds and attained a maximum speed of 250 km/h. Despite these outstanding power data the Prime Edition consumed on the average merely 5.2 litres (NEDC) of diesel oil per 100 kilometres, with a CO2 emission of 138 grammes per kilometre. With its impressive spontaneous response times and smooth running characteristics the engine proved to be a potential alternative to six-cylinder engines with their greater displacement. Limited to 5000 units, the Prime Edition of the C 250 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY followed the concept of the other BlueEFFICIENCY models in the detailed solutions for optimising consumption.
By November 2008, Mercedes-Benz had delivered 500,000 models worldwide since the market launch of the new C-Class - nearly 440,000 sedans and nearly 60,000 wagons. Since March 2008 the sedan of the C-Class was being produced in Beijing, in addition to Sindelfingen, Bremen and East London. The C 220 CDI had established itself as the most popular engine version, being chosen thus far by about every third customer. Equally popular was the C 200 KOMPRESSOR, ordered by every fifth buyer of a C-Class sedan.
Around a fourth of all C-Class vehicles were delivered to German customers. The sedan was thus able to lead the domestic market in its comparison class since the beginning of 2008. With a share of about 20 per cent in worldwide unit sales, the second most important market was the USA, followed by Great Britain, Italy and South Africa. Very successful proved to be the clear visual differentiation between the CLASSIC, AVANTGARDE and ELEGANCE equipment lines: every second customer in Germany decided in favour of the AVANTGARDE line, with the share being even significantly higher in some core markets.
In June 2009, Mercedes-Benz presented further developed diesel and petrol engines for use in the C-Class. The C 220 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY was now also powered by the four-cylinder diesel engine of the new OM 651 engine generation already familiar from the C 250 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY "Prime Edition". Equipped with common-rail direct injection, the engine, with a displacement of just under 2.2 litres, was set to 125 kW/170 hp as before and impressed with its maximum torque of 400 Nm. Despite this total output, the achievable combined average fuel consumption was a mere 4.8 l diesel fuel per 100 km. The CO₂ emissions were correspondingly environmentally friendly, at a best-in-class 127 g/km.
The C 250 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY, which was simultaneously offered for the first time as a regular production version, had an output of 150 kW/204 hp from its compression-ignition engine equipped with a two-stage exhaust gas turbocharger. The peak torque of 500 Nm available here ensured even better pulling power and a great effortlessness in driving with a likewise exemplary low average consumption of 5.1 l/100 km. At the same time, the C 250 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY's CO₂ emissions of 134 g/km were hardly less advantageous than those of its less powerful sister model; both variants already met the Euro 5 emissions standard.
The new model with petrol engine was the C 250 CGI BlueEFFICIENCY, whose four-cylinder engine featured direct injection and also delivered 150 kW/204 hp. With its considerable specific power output, this engine ensured excellent driving performance: the top speed was quoted as 240 km/h. Petrol engine enthusiasts particularly appreciated the refined characteristics of the turbocharged 1.8-litre four-cylinder unit. Configured according to the downsizing concept, the engine also impressed with favourable combined consumption figures in conjunction with the standard 5-speed automatic transmission: just 7.2 l/100 km along with CO₂ emissions of 168 g/km were recorded here. The direct-injection petrol engine was also certified according to Euro 5.
June 2009 also saw the introduction of the Special Edition special model, which gave the C-Class an even higher-quality and at the same time sportier look, thanks to special equipment and design elements. The focus of the package, which was available for all models in the series, was on visual accents for the bodywork and interior as well as technical highlights included in the scope of delivery. The exterior appearance of the C-Class Special Edition was characterised by darkened headlamps, a new paint colour called indium grey and 17-inch light-alloy wheels in a 5-spoke design with 225/45 front and 245/45 rear tyres. Less bulky 16-inch tyres on 7-spoke light-alloy wheels could be ordered as an alternative. Chrome accents on the silver-coloured louvred radiator, bumpers, protective strip, front fog lamps and boot lid rounded off the upgraded exterior of the C-Class Special Edition, along with the glossy black-painted B-pillar trim.
The interior design of the Special Edition models, based on the AVANTGARDE design and equipment line, caught the eye with seats with special upholstery materials, special floor mats and exclusive brushed aluminium trim elements. Standard features included a folding rear seat back with 2/3 to 1/3 split and through-loading feature, heated front seats, a multifunction steering wheel complete with 4.5-inch display in the instrument cluster, and a leather gearshift/selector lever gaiter.
The Special Edition equipment package was similarly well-equipped in technical terms: in addition to the fuel-saving and environmentally friendly BlueEFFICIENCY Efficiency Package, the vehicle also featured an AGILITY CONTROL suspension, ADAPTIVE BRAKE, the Intelligent Light System with bi-xenon headlamps that optimally adapts to the visibility conditions, and the PARKTRONIC parking aid with visual and acoustic distance warning.
Depending on the model and version, premiums of between 2689.40 euros and 5819.10 euros were charged for the Special Edition.
Finally, the change of a number of model nomenclatures also became effective in the first half of 2009. In the case of the six-cylinder diesel models, the C 320 CDI and C 320 CDI 4MATIC mutated into the C 350 CDI and C 350 CDI 4MATIC respectively, while the six-cylinder petrol models C 280 and C 280 4MATIC were renamed C 300 and C 300 4MATIC respectively - in each case without any changes to the technical specifications.
From October of the same year, the high-performance model of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the C 63 AMG, was available in even more sharpened form. An AMG Performance Package Plus, available as an option, offered not only an output increase to 358 kW/487 hp but also, among other things, an AMG high-performance brake system with composite technology on the front axle, a carbon spoiler and a nappa leather/Alcantara AMG Performance steering wheel. The additional output of 22 kW/30 hp was primarily achieved by using forged pistons from the SLS AMG super sports car, new connecting rods and a lightweight crankshaft, which helped the 6.3-litre V8 engine to achieve even greater agility and higher revs. A new engine management system completed the package of measures.
The already outstanding road performance data of the C 63 AMG changed only slightly with the Performance Package Plus: The sprint from zero to 100 km/h was a tenth of a second faster at 4.4 seconds, and the 0 to 200 km/h figure was 13.9 seconds instead of the previous 15.2 seconds. The top speed remained unchanged at a governed 250 km/h. A limitation raised to 280 km/h coupled with participation in a driving training course of the AMG Driving Academy was also available as an option from that same date under the name AMG Driver's Package. The Performance Package Plus equipment had a price tag of 7080.50 euros for the C 63 AMG Saloon, while the Driver's Package sold for 3213.00 euros.
As part of ongoing measures to increase efficiency, the C 350 CDI and C 350 CDI 4MATIC models were given the additional designation BlueEFFICIENCY at the turn of the year 2009/2010. The V6 diesel of the OM 642 engine series with a displacement of 2987 cc now complied with the Euro 5 emissions standard and also benefited from a slight increase in power and torque with a simultaneous reduction in fuel consumption and CO₂ emissions. Instead of 165 kW/224 hp as before, this tried and tested engine was now set to 170 kW/231 hp, and the maximum torque had also increased from 510 to 540 Nm. In contrast, the fuel consumption of the two BlueEFFICIENCY models was reduced by 15 to 20%: according to the applicable measuring standard, this averaged out at just under and just over 7 l/100 km, respectively.
At the Geneva Motor Show in March 2010, Mercedes-Benz presented the C 220 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY with further reduced fuel consumption and CO₂ emission figures. Thanks to the use of a further developed, automatic ECO start/stop system as well as targeted internal engine measures and improvements to the engine peripherals, it was possible to reduce the combined fuel consumption of the version with manual transmission to 4.4 l/100 km and its CO₂ emissions to 117 g/km. This most economical C-Class of all time became available around six months later.
Mercedes-Benz had already expanded its range of direct-injection petrol engines with the C 180 CGI BlueEFFICIENCY and C 200 CGI BlueEFFICIENCY models launched at the beginning of 2010. While the two four-cylinder models were initially combined exclusively with a 5-speed automatic transmission, they were equipped as standard with the new ECO start/stop function and the standard 6-speed manual transmission as early as April 2010. Although the new 1.8-litre direct-injection engines equipped with exhaust gas turbochargers showed identical performance figures of 115 kW/156 hp in the C 180 CGI BlueEFFICIENCY and 135 kW/183 hp in the C 200 CGI BlueEFFICIENCY compared to the predecessor engines with conventional intake manifold injection and supercharging, they offered higher torque figures and significantly reduced fuel consumption. Combined with the manual transmission, fuel consumption was reduced by up to 12% with correspondingly lower CO₂ emissions, depending on the model. The combined fuel consumption according to the NEDC standard was only 6.7 l/100 km for the C 180 CGI BlueEFFICIENCY and 6.8 l/100 km for the C 200 CGI BlueEFFICIENCY.
The two petrol direct-injection models were available at gross list prices starting at 32,219.25 euros and 34,242.25 euros respectively.
In September 2010, shortly before the world premiere of the updated C-Class models scheduled for January 2011, series production of the C 250 CDI 4MATIC BlueEFFICIENCY began. The package, consisting of the equally economical and high-torque 150 kW/204 hp common-rail direct-injection engine, the new 7G-TRONIC PLUS seven-speed automatic transmission coupled to it as standard and 4MATIC permanent four-wheel drive, made this model stand out from the competition. The efficiency-optimised C 220 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY and the C 250 CDI 4MATIC BlueEFFICIENCY started at respective gross list prices of 36,384.25 and 43,524.25 euros at the time of their market launch in autumn.
The C 220 CDI or C 220 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY remained the most popular C-Class Saloon of the current generation. By the end of the first production cycle in early 2011, almost 175,000 units of this model had come off the production lines. The best-selling petrol-engined model, the C 200 KOMPRESSOR, was similarly successful, with over 160,000 vehicles. The figures for the six-cylinder petrol model C 280, which was renamed C 300 from the beginning of 2009, were also strong. More than 150,000 vehicles of this model rolled off the production lines. Even the C 280 4MATIC and C 300 4MATIC models equipped with all-wheel drive became best-sellers, with almost 100,000 units produced. This was just as true, if not more so, for the C 63 AMG performance saloon, which was exceptional in every respect and of which - with gross list prices starting at almost 70,000 euros - more than 15,000 vehicles were built. Overall, the production volume of the C-Class Saloons of the 204 series had just passed the threshold of 1 million units by the time of the major model update.