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New-look Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Modest facelift hides significant updates for 2011 Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class saloon and estate will receive a mild-looking update for the 2011 model year. The Merc SL style front lights are the most striking feature of this facelifted C-Class. There's a lot more to the update than meets the eye.

It doesn't look very different, granted, but most of what you see at the front and back is changed, including LED rear lights. It also gets an aluminium bonnet for better weight distribution.

Inside, the dashboard redesign is a little more differentiating. In fact, compare the two side-by-side and the new one really does look much better. Standout features include the completely redesigned centre console, the better integrated colour screen and instruments (now under a bigger cowl), the circular outer air vents (they were square) and the dash trim above the glove box.

Under the aluminium bonnet there are changes too, with Mercedes claiming economy improvements of up to 31 percent across the range. Start-stop is standard now and all the engines are called BlueEFFICIENCY (BE), which doesn't innately mean much apart from telling you Mercedes is proud of its parsimony work.

All the petrol engines are direct injection, for more power and less fuel use. Kicking off the range is the C 180 BE, which has 156hp and uses 6.4 litres/100km (44.1mpg). The C 350 BE tops the petrol line-up, which impressively boasts almost twice the power (306hp) but still 6.8 litres/100km (41.5mpg).

Diesels are the C 200, C 220 and C 250 CDI BE, with power from 136- to 204hp and consumption close to 4.7 litres/100km (60mpg) regardless.

Mercedes is also bragging about ten new driving assistance systems, including adaptive cruise control, automatic parking, blind spot assistance and lane keeping assistance. All by another name, of course - and most reserved for the options list.

No prices yet. The new 2011 Mercedes-Benz C-Class will be officially revealed at the Detroit Auto Show in January.

Published on December 23, 2010
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