The W206 C-Class brings sporty aesthetics with a combination of short overhangs, long wheelbase and an elongated sculpted bonnet that was achieved by moving the windscreen and passenger cell rearward, otherwise known as "cab-backward design".
It also shares design attributes with its bigger E- and S-Class stablemates including slim headlights, high waist line and two-piece triangular tail lights separated by the boot lip.
Mercedes-Benz’s mid-sized luxury passenger car dials the luxury up another notch with interior highlights shared with the S-Class flagship, including the ‘waterfall’-look dashboard that descends into the centre console.
Like most Mercedes-Benz models, it's the screens that impress when you first slide into the front seats. Driving information is viewed via free-standing hi-res LCD instrument cluster screen, which will be standard across the range, totally doing away with analogue dials.
Where Mercedes-Benz previously pioneered a single piece of glass joining the digital gauge cluster and infotainment screen, the two are separated again, with the floating infotainment touchscreen dominating the centre of the dashboard in a Tesla-like portrait orientation. The screen is slightly tilted towards the driver and comes primarily as a 9.5-inch display, with a bigger 11.0-inch version also available.
The look of each screen can be individualised with three display styles (Discreet, Sporty, Classic) and three modes (Navigation, Assistance, Service).
In "Sporty", for example, the colour red is predominant and the central rev counter has a dynamic design.
Another party trick is the Digital Light system, that also debuted on the S-Class, and is available on the new C-Class as an option.
This revolutionary 2.6 megapixel headlamp technology allows new functions, such as the ability to project guide lines or warning symbols onto the road ahead.
Back inside, redesigned seats feature all-new headrests that are attached to the backrest with a sealed piece of trim under which the adjustment mechanism is located.
Front and rear passengers benefit from a slight increase in exterior dimensions that sees elbow room stretched by 22 mm in the front and 15 mm in the rear over the previous model, with rear knee room and headroom also seeing a slight increase of 35mm and 13 mm (wagon, 11 mm) respectively.
The 2022 C-Class sedan and wagon are also bigger than their predecessors overall, with a length of 4751 mm and a width of 1820 mm, and the wheelbase increased by 25 mm to 2865 mm.
Boot space remains at 455 litres for the sedan, with the wagon gaining 30 litres to carry 490 litres overall, or up to 1510 litres with the rear seatbacks folded down.
New MBUX infotainment
The new C-Class also features second-generation MBUX infotainment with more advanced functions, sharper graphics and an improved user experience.
The "Hey Mercedes" voice assistant becomes more interactive and, if asked, can explain how different vehicle functions work and recognise different occupants’ voices.
As well as operating vehicle systems, MBUX can also operate smart home functions such as lights and electrical appliances, and can even tell you if there is an intruder at your house.
Other highlights include optional augmented video to make finding addresses or traffic signs easier, a colour head-up display, a fingerprint scanner to log into MBUX more securely.
The 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class has dropped six- and eight-cylinder engines in favour of four-cylinder petrol and diesel powertrains and a plug-in hybrid, all coupled with a nine-speed automatic transmission.
These include three M254 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engines in various tunes ranging from the 125kW/250Nm C180, 150kW/300Nm C200 and C200 4MATIC (AWD) and 190kW/400Nm C300 4MATIC that’s capable of 6.0-second 0-100km/h acceleration.
New to the C-Class, each engine features a second-generation EQ Boost integrated starter-generator that provides a quick 15 kW boost under heavy acceleration.
Diesel powertrains, which are unlikely to be sold in Australia, include the 147kW/440Nm C200d and 195kW/550Nm C330d, which are the first diesels to feature the integrated starter that provides the 15kW EQ Boost as well as mild-hybrid functions such as electric gliding and energy recovery.
An all-new fourth-generation plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrain will follow soon after launch and, according to Mercedes, will have a 100km all-electric range, one of the longest of any PHEV vehicle.
The PHEV powertrain will feature a 147kW/320Nm 2.0-litre version of the M254 petrol engine as well as an electric output of 95kW. Peak torque of 440Nm is on tap right from standstill, resulting quick acceleration and dynamic driving performance.
In full EV mode it can be driven up to 140 km/h, at which point it is softly capped.
The extra range and power comes from a 25.4kWh battery that’s about twice the capacity of most PHEV batteries, and is capable of being charged from a 55kW DC rapid charger. Charging time from empty is said to take just 30 minutes.
A new diesel PHEV powertrain is set to arrive at a later date.
Mercedes says ride comfort has been refined with a new four-link axle at the front and a multi-link rear axle at the rear mounted to a subframe. Air suspension is standard on PHEV variants.
And you can make the C-Class more agile with optional rear-axle steering that reduces the turning circle by 43 centimetres to 10.64 metres.
When does it arrive?
The all-new 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class will be first go on sale in Europe from mid-2021, with Australian customers having to wait longer.
Expect it to arrive in Australia during Q4 of 2021, with a petrol and PHEV line-up similar to the current model.