Mercedes-Benz is moving in a new design direction, both inside and out. Going forward, completely new models not named G-class will feature smooth, creaseless bodies created to be, Mercedes says, beautiful, pure forms. The interiors continue to evolve as some of the most luxurious cabins on the market, and will center around one large display screen that spans to incorporate the driver’s instrument cluster and the center infotainment screen. Daimler has already applied these motifs to the latest CLS-class and A-class models. The C-class sedan will have to wait a few more years to fully embrace the new themes, though, as the new 2019 model is a mere refresh.
Yet even while the C isn’t due for an all-new replacement for a few more years, this mid-cycle update brings some notable changes. Most significantly, in the engine bay the turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four now produces 255 horsepower, up from 241. Torque remains the same at 273 lb-ft, routed through a nine-speed automatic transmission that joined the range in 2017 (replacing a seven-speed auto). Mercedes also claims that the tweaked engine is more efficient, but fuel-economy estimates are pending.
The front and rear fascias have been nipped and tucked to reflect bits of the latest design language. The front bumper now comes standard with chrome-plated trim and redesigned LED headlamps. An optional lighting setup—deemed Intelligent Light System, so assume automatic high beams, curve illumination, etc.—was announced but not detailed beyond promising high-performance headlights and ultra-wide high beams.
The C-class shown in the initial photos provided by Mercedes is equipped with the AMG Line package, which brings a diamond-pattern radiator grille, an AMG-esque front bumper, and a diffuser-looking element at the rear. The taillights have been redesigned (and now are LEDs as standard), as has the rear bumper, which varies in appearance depending on the trim. New paint colors choices are Mojave Silver Metallic and Emerald Green Metallic, and there is a new standard 17-inch five-spoke wheel design.
Inside, the C-class retains its standard 7.0-inch center-mounted, tablet-like infotainment screen, while a new 10.3-inch screen is optional. A 5.5-inch color display resides between the traditional pair of round analog gauges in the instrument cluster, but a fully digital 12.3-inch panel now is available as the top-of-the-line choice. Walnut or grey oak wood trim and Magma Grey/Black upholstery are new additions to the standard cabin, while Saddle Brown and Silk Beige/Black schemes are offered as part of the AMG Line option. The C-class also gains Mercedes’ latest leather-wrapped steering wheel, which has touch-sensitive pads that control the two screens and now include buttons for cruise control functions previously set by a steering-column stalk.
Mercedes-Benz also upped the C’s tech game for 2019. It has a new key fob, a redesigned engine-start button, standard smartphone integration, and available intelligent driver-assist systems that were first introduced on the E-class (and have now trickled up to the 2018 S-class). Attention Assist and automated emergency braking are standard on all models, while the Premium Driver Assistance package, which includes more advanced features, is available at extra cost.
The 2019 Mercedes-Benz C300 sedan will be available with either rear-wheel drive or 4Matic all-wheel drive. Pricing has not been announced, but more details will be available closer to its dealer launch in late 2018.