http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/new-made-in-sa-c-class-cuts-fuel-consumption-offers-internet-access-2011-07-18

New made-in-SA C-Class cuts fuel consumption, offers Internet access

Published 18 Jul 11
Mercedes-Benz’s made-in-East London C-Class has been updated, and now offers nine new assistance systems to improve driver safety, new engines using up to 29% less fuel, as well as new-generation telematics with Internet access.

More than 2 000 new components distinguish the latest generation C-Class from its predecessor. These include aluminium bonnets for the saloon and estate, reducing the car’s weight and, therefore, fuel consumption. Other aluminium features include the front wings and doors.

The C-Class is Mercedes-Benz’s highest-selling model series. More than a million units have been sold since the current model’s launch in March 2007.

Since the market introduction of the first C-Class in 1982 (then known as the 190 model), Mercedes-Benz has sold more than 8.5-million of these vehicles.

The C-Class has been rolling off the production line in East London for the last ten years. The current C-Class is the third-generation of this model built in the Eastern Cape.

The East London plant has also been exporting sedans to markets such as the US since 2000.

FUEL-SAVVY

All the four-cylinder diesel C-Class models are equipped with the fuel-saving Eco start/stop function as standard. This means the engine switches off when at a traffic light, for example, but switches on again as soon as the driver is ready to drive off.

All the engine variants are now also classed as BlueEfficiency units, showing that they are more fuel-efficient.

One of the highlights is the introduction of the new V6 petrol engine with its BlueDirect process in the C 350 BlueEfficiency model.

The quantum leap in efficiency is illustrated by the six-cylinder unit, where power has increased considerably, with the C 350 BlueEfficiency delivering 225 kW and 370 Nm of power, compared with the previous 200 kW and 350 Nm. However, fuel consumption has reduced significantly, with efficiency at 7 l/100 km – which is 3.3 l or 29% less than the previous C 350 model.

The most economical model in the C-Class range has also become more frugal.

The C 200 CDI BlueEfficiency with the 7G-Tronic Plus automatic transmission and the standard-specification ECO start/stop function has a diesel consumption of 4.9 l/100 km.

This corresponds to 131 grams of carbon dioxide emitted a kilometre.

NEW TECHNOLOGY INTRODUCTIONS

The C-Class’ nine new assistance systems are based on the latest radar, camera and sensor technology, and cover frequent accident causes such as driving too closely to another vehicle, fatigue and darkness.

The new assistance systems, some of which only warn and some which actively intervene in hazardous situations, include help to stay awake, staying in the lane the car is travelling in, and becoming aware of vehicles in the blindspot.

The new C-Class also sees the debut of a new telematics generation, which will gradually be introduced in other model series.

New features include larger displays, phone book transfer, display of SMS messages, wireless music reproduction via Bluetooth, and a USB interface now accommodated in the centre armrest.

The multimedia system, Comand Online, now also provides Internet access for the first time.

When the car is stationary, customers are able to browse freely or surf to a Mercedes-Benz Online service.

The integral services include weather information and a special destination search via Google, as well as the option of downloading a route that has been previously configured on a personal computer using Google Maps and sending it to the car.

The navigation system of Comand Online also has added functions. Routes covered can be recorded and repeated later, specific personal destinations can be imported via an SD card, and four alternative routes can be displayed on the navigation map, one of them a particularly economical variation.

Pricing for the new C-Class starts at R359 000.