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First drive: Mercedes-Benz C-Class



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An extensively revised C-Class range is expected to help Mercedes-Benz achieve double-digit growth in its UK new car registrations this year.

It’s a vital product line, responsible for almost one in four of the German brand’s sales in this country. Last year, 18,150 saloons and 4,673 estates were registered.

It’s also a car which enjoys appeal among retail buyers and fleet customers alike – sales are split almost equally.

However, Mercedes boss Gary Savage also wants to get the new car into the hands of more businesses.

Launched in March, this C-Class has 2,000 new components to distinguish it from its predecessor.

The focus has been on exterior and interior styling and improved specification in order to get it noticed by more young executives.

Ten new safety systems are available in the line-up and every engine is more powerful and more efficient, with BlueEfficiency technology and stop-start systems now standard to reduce emissions.

Visual changes include a more dynamic front end, with new headlamps and redesigned bumper, grille surround and air inlets.

A new dashboard updates the interior, with an integrated telemetric screen for the multimedia system.

On-board internet access is an option, enabled via the owner’s smartphone. Standard safety systems include attention assist to alert drivers to their drowsiness, and intelligent headlamps with adaptive highbeam assist are standard on the top-spec models.

Buyers can up-spec to their heart’s content with optional systems that keep the car within its lane, negate blind spots, alert the driver to speed limits and prepare it for impact if needed.

Three trim levels are offered, all equipped to meet the expectations of an executive class buyer.

Entry-grade SE comes with adjustable suspension, front and rear parking sensors, cruise control, leather, climate control and an electric tailgate on the estate.

Elegance, a £1,295 walk-up, adds chrome trim, bigger alloys, front foglamps and extra storage, while another £1,700 secures the Sport grade, chosen for one in two C-Class currently.

Sport gets 18in AMG alloys, AMG bodystyling, sports brakes, suspension and seats, plus bi-xenon headlamps with intelligent lighting and speed sensitive electronic steering.

C-Class still has some catching up to do with its more fleet-orientated Audi and BMW rivals.

However that means the three pointed star still enjoys a more exclusive image.

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