The top-selling Mercedes in Singapore is revamped: C 180 for now, with AMG C 43 and mild hybrid C 200 variants to come
Despite being the time of year where business and life in general start winding back and easing up a touch, Mercedes-Benz Singapore is still going flat out. That’s because, just in time for the holiday season, it just debuted the facelifted version of its popular compact executive saloon, the C-Class; barely three weeks after the launch of another significant model, the A-Class hatchback.
As far as facelifts go, this one is fairly major, with 50 percent of parts claimed to be new, including the car’s electronic control units (its “brains”), a very significant change.
That said, you wouldn’t really know it from the outside, as the visual changes are subtle. Basically it’s just the usual suspects – LED-ier headlights and taillights, reshaped bumpers with larger air intakes, that sort of thing. Otherwise, dimensions are identical to before.
On the inside, there’s been tech improvements to keep the C up to date with digital trends: a larger 10.3-inch infotainment screen (the old one was 8.4-inch), a digital and configurable 12.3-inch instrument cluster (though it retains its traditional twin-dial outline), and a new steering wheel with touchpads to control the aforementioned screens, similar to the also-recently-facelifted S-Class flagship.
For now, three body styles are available – sedan, coupe and convertible – along with only one engine: C 180, which, as the model’s base powerplant, is Singapore’s volume seller. It’s a 1.6-litre turbo with 156bhp, and 250Nm of torque, mated to a 9-speed automatic (previously 7-speed). In sedan form, it’ll do 0-100km/h in 8.3 seconds, top out at 225km/h, and fuel economy is claimed at 6.6L/100km.
For the coupe, those figures are 8.5 seconds, 226km/h and 6.7L/100km, while the convertible’s are 8.9 seconds, 220km/h and 7.0L/100km. All versions fall into VES band C1 ($10k surcharge).
But while the introduction of the new version of anything is bound to be exciting, the really interesting stuff is yet to come. The other volume seller, the C200 is currently undergoing homologation with the Land Transport Authority, and is due on sale in Q1 next year.
This is part of a completely new engine family, a 1.5-litre turbo four-pot with the same horsepower (184hp) but slightly less torque (280Nm) than the outgoing 2.0-litre. How has this been achieved? Not with witchcraft, but with science: like its handsome big brother, the athletic Mercedes CLS, the C 200 uses 48V ‘mild hybrid’ technology, and a belt-driven starter/alternator.
C 180 engine pictured here – downsized again to a 1.5-litre inline 4 turbo, now with hybrid boost
The upshot is that even though performance is the same, economy will be improved, as the new engine architecture can cut the engine when coasting along, provide a 14hp boost to quickly bring the engine into its ideal operating range, and also allow the start/stop system to operate much more smoothly.
It’s such a smooth operator in fact, that had we not been aware of the C 200’s electrified nature, we wouldn’t have been able to tell when we drove it at its international press launch earlier this year.
If performance is the only thing on your mind though, there’s the AMG C 43 to look forward to.
The wait for this won’t be as long as the 200 – a source from Mercedes Singapore was cautiously optimistic of it joining the price lists before the year is out, albeit in sedan form only for now. It’s received much fewer revisions as compared to the lesser Cs, but it still squeezes 23hp more from its twin turbo 3.0-litre V6, for a total of 390hp, and as we discovered, has simply made one of our all-rounder performance favourites even more of a hoot to drive.
But away from the future and back to the present: standard features on the C180s include 64-colour ambient lighting, smartphone connectivity, 17” wheels, reverse camera, six airbags, electric front seats, paddleshifts, selectable drive modes and cruise control; the coupe and convertible adds Agility Control Suspension (lowered 15mm, and selectable damping) to that mix.
Highlights in the options list include a head-up display ($4,100), 360-degree camera ($2,700), Lane Tracking Package (blind spot assist + lane keep assist, $3,300), navigation ($3,100), Burmester 13-speaker audio system ($3,500), and air suspension ($5,800), although this last one is only in conjunction with the 18” or 19” wheel options (ranging from $2,700 to $7,700).
For a sportier look, an AMG Line package (the blue car in the pictures) is also available – at $10,000 for the sedan, $9,000 for the coupe, and $10,300 for the cabriolet – which comprises a bodykit, a sports steering wheel (above), 18” rims, perforated brake discs, and sports suspension.
It may not look like much from the outside, but all this new tech means Mercedes is king of the high Cs (high seas? geddit? ), at least until the new BMW 3 Series comes along.
(Prices stated here are all inclusive of Certificate of Entitlement)
C 180 Avantgarde (the red car) – $182,888
C 180 Exclusive (the green car) – $185,888
C 180 Coupé (the white car) – $192,888
C 180 Cabriolet (not pictured) – $222,888
C 43 Sedan (not pictured) – $339,888