Mercedes-Benz will introduce two plug-in hybrid drivelines to its facelifted C-Class lineup as part of plans for an extended range of EQ-Power-badged models from the German automaker.
The electrified drivelines are based on a newly developed EQ-Power hybrid system boasting greater power than the technology in the existing C350e. It operates in combination with either a 4-cyl. gasoline engine in the new C350e or a 4-cyl. diesel in the C350de.
The new EQ-Power system, which also is to be offered in other Mercedes-Benz models based on the company’s modular rear architecture platform, sees the power offered by the electric motor increase 40 hp over that used by the existing 4-year-old 350e to 120 hp.
The capacity of its lithium-ion battery is increased from 6.4kWh to 13.8 kWh in a move aimed at extending the two new hybrid models’ electric range to over 31 miles (50 km), as specified under China’s New Energy Vehicle regulations – a market where the C-Class is sold in both standard and long-wheelbase versions.
Mercedes-Benz is remaining tightlipped on the combined system outputs of its new C350e and C350de models due to their pending certification with the German transport authority, although the turbocharged 2.0L engine in the former is claimed to deliver 208 hp, while the turbocharged 2.0L diesel in the latter is said to offer 191 hp.
The C350e and C350de go on sale later this year in Europe as part of a facelifted C-Class lineup that will make its public debut in both sedan and wagon body styles at the upcoming 2018 Geneva auto show.
Details of North American sales of the facelifted C-Class are yet to be released.
Revealed here officially for the first time, the reworked C-Class receives a number of subtle styling upgrades, including re-profiled bumpers with added chrome highlights and a new diamond-pattern grille insert for AMG-line models.
The headlights also have been redone. Standard are halogen units with LED driving lights, though buyers can opt for the facelifted C-Class with new Multibeam LED units offering the same optional Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus function as on the E- and S-Class. The taillights receive new LED graphics.
Inside, Mercedes-Benz’s strong-selling rival to the3-Series, Audi A4 and Jaguar XE retains the same basic dashboard design as the outgoing model, together with updated analog instruments and a 7.0-in. (17.8-cm) infotainment display.
Optional on the new model is a new 12.3-in. (31.2-cm) high-definition digital instrument display offering three themes – Classic, Sport and Progressive, a revised multifunction steering wheel with touch-control pads, a 10.25-in. (26-cm) freestanding infotainment display and a touchpad controller within a reworked center console.
Further changes to the interior include revised wood-trim elements and a new range of optional seats that can be ordered with a massaging function for the first time in the C-Class. Also new is keyless entry and a new key fob as standard.
The C-Class’s Comand infotainment system has been upgraded to the same Generation 5.5 standard as that used by the facelifted S-Class. However, it forgoes the touchscreen control and MBUX connectivity functions of the more advanced Generation 6.0 system recently unveiled on the new fourth-generation A-Class.
The ʼ18-model-year C-Class also gets an optional smartphone integration supporting Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink, as well as a wireless charging pad. An update in driver-assistance systems also sees it offered with new remote-parking pilot and driving-assistance-package plus systems, the latter incorporating so-called drive pilot and speed limit pilot functions.
Further changes are focused on the optional air body control rear suspension, which receives a new dynamic body control function.
Although Mercedes-Benz is yet to detail the engine lineup for the facelifted C-Class, WardsAuto can confirm it will continue to be produced with three diesel models: the C200d, C220d and C300d. Each runs Mercedes-Benz’s latest turbocharged 2.0L 4-cyl. diesel engine, the OM645, with a respective 148 hp, 192 hp and 241 hp. These figures represent increases of 13 hp, 24 hp and 40 hp over the older turbocharged 2.2L 4-cyl. diesel engine, the OM642, used by the outgoing C200d, C220d and C250d.
Also listed on internal sales documents seen by WardsAuto are two gasoline models, the C200 and C300. Both feature Mercedes-Benz’s new M264 4-cyl. gasoline engine. The turbocharged 2.0L features mild-hybrid properties with boost from the alternator and 48-volt electrical system in the C200, but it goes unassisted in the C300.
In the C200 EQ-Boost, the M264 engine delivers a nominal 188 hp, with an added 17 hp available on kickdown when the alternator acts as an electric motor to boost performance. In the C300, it gets a higher state of tune at 241 hp, but without electric assistance. These figures represent increases of 8 hp and 13 hp over the old C200 and C300, the latter of which will be sold with the option of 4Matic all-wheel drive in the U.S. when the facelifted C-Class goes on sale in mid-2018.