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2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class first look

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2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

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Set to arrive here next fall, the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class represents a comprehensive redux of the automaker's top-selling model. This fourth-generation C-Class sedan benefits from a host of major upgrades that give it a more sophisticated appearance, better performance, upgraded technology from its pricier E-Class and S-Class siblings and an even longer list of premium creature comforts.

Once the smallest car in the Mercedes-Benz lineup, the “Baby Benz” has grown up to become the top money maker for this luxury automaker. Other models may earn more per sale, but the C-Class pays the bills. As important as the C-Class is to Mercedes-Benz's health, it no longer has the responsibility of entry into the luxury brand. That chore gets passed on to the smaller CLA-Class which now becomes the new Baby Benz.

With the CLA in place as the entry model in the Mercedes-Benz lineup, the automaker has repositioned the 2015 C-Class to fill out what it characterizes as the "premium mid-range" market. A bigger C gives Mercedes a balanced progression in cars, size and price, starting with the CLA and includes the E-class and S-class.

Larger than the model it replaces, the new 2015 Mercedes C-Class is 3.7 inches longer, 1.6 inches wider, and sits on a wheelbase stretched by 3 inches. The additional space benefits mostly the rear passengers. At 17 cu. ft., the trunk is larger than that of the typical midsize family sedan.

Despite its growth, Mercedes says the C-Class is up to 220 pounds lighter than its predecessor, with a chassis and body that is nearly 50 percent aluminum (compared with 10 percent for the outgoing model). Offered with either a base or sport suspension design, the C-Class also uses a new four-link front suspension design intended for improved grip and sharper turning. An optional self-leveling air suspension with driver-adjustable modes is also available.

As with the previous generation C-Class, you can choose between Luxury and Sport styling themes, the former providing a traditional grille design with a stand-up hood ornament, and the latter providing a sportier appearance with the Mercedes star emblem embedded into the grille. An optional Sport package adds a more aggressive appearance to the Sport model.

The C300 will come with a 2.0-liter, turbocharged direct-injection four-cylinder engine that will produce an estimated 235 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. Like many other automakers, Mercedes is getting six-cylinder power out of a four-cylinder engine while maintaining four-cylinder fuel economy.

The C400 will have a 3.0 liter turbocharged direct-injection V6 that produces an estimated 329 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque. Both models will be offered exclusively with seven-speed automatic transmissions and 4Matic all-wheel drive. Rear-wheel drive versions will be added later, along with an AMG performance model.

The cabin has received plenty of attention, and has a much less cluttered look
Interior design themes includes an elegantly sculpted dash and one-piece console, fine wood and leather accents, a new 12-button multifunction steering wheel, M-B's embrace2 connected-car technology plus a standard 7.0-inch central display that increases in size to 8.4 inches if the car is fitted with the optional Multimedia Package.

Topping the options list is a new version of the automaker's Comand telematics system with Navigation that features a multifunction touchpad controller with supplemental handwriting recognition functionality that allows it to operate all of the car's infotainment functions as well as a new head-up display.

Pricing and fuel economy figures will likely be revealed in Detroit, during the media preview on January 13-14.

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