The updated Mercedes C-Class made its public debut at the 2018 Geneva International Motor Show, but the Stuttgart automotive giant let some details on the baby Merc slip before the show began. Did you know they sold 415,000 of these guys in 2017? That’s a lot, and that’s also a sales success Mercedes doesn’t want to mess with. So, for the new model, the high points are a more powerful and efficient engine that adds 14 horsepower, and a buffet of tech stuff called Intelligent Drive nicked from its E-Class big brother.
The 2019 C-Class, which goes up against the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4, will be getting a slight facelift. The front and rear bumpers have been tweaked and the diamond radiator grille is standard if you pick the AMG-Line options. Also part of that AMG package is a new diffuser. The headlamps and taillamps are LED affairs, and an optional Intelligent Light System comes with “high performance” headlamps and “ultra wide” high beams. Mercedes even added two new colors: Mojave Silver Metallic and Emerald Green Metallic.
The interior got a full going over, of course. The center console has elegant flowing trim, available in Natural Grain Walnut Wood or Natural Grain Grey Oak Wood. New Magma Grey/Black upholstery is available, as is Saddle Brown and Silk Beige/Black for the AMG-Line Interior option.
The 2019 C-Class also has this trick, fully digital instrument display option. The display used to be found only on the current S-Class, but the driver can tune it to one of three different display styles: “classic,” “sport,” and “progressive.” The basic instrument cluster features a traditional two-tube design. In between those is a 5.5-inch color display – this would be the “classic” display choice.
If you go for the fully digital instrument display, the screen now measures in at a vast 12.3-inches of real estate. With this, you can stay with the above “classic” look or go with “sport” or “progressive.” You get readings for important data, like trip information and consumption figures. The central display is where all the multimedia stuff happens on a screen above the center console with three display styles available. That screen comes in one of two sizes: seven inches or 10.25 inches.
Safety & Security
Safety tech? C’mon man, it’s a Mercedes. These things have been built like bank vaults since Paul Hindenburg was around. The refreshed C-Class comes with Active Brake Assist as standard, for a start, so you don’t mow down pedestrians and cyclists, and it helps mitigate rear-end collisions with other vehicles ahead of you. The C-Class is able to drive semi-autonomously in certain situations too. How? Improved camera and radar systems that can see 1,640 feet ahead. The radar reaches out 820 feet in front of you, 130 feet to the sides, and 260 feet to the rear.
Power & Performance
Ah yes, you say, but what about the performance stuff? Oh, that’s taken care of my friend. There’s a new 2.0-liter inline-4 turbo plant that cranks out 255 horsepower, up from the previous 241 ponies. The engine puts out 273 lb-ft. of torque, which is considerable, given its size. The engine is mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission that seems to be ubiquitous across the Mercedes range these days.
Pricing & Availability
The 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is available now for a starting MSRP of $41,400. AMG variants start at $55,250.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz.