The C-Class has been kicking butt in the compact prestige segment and Mercedes-Benz’s latest upgrades are intended to boot its rivals right between the C pillars.
Upgrades to the C-Class coupe sees the $59,990 base model now use just 6.3 litres/100km, a substantial one-litre improvement on the current model.
At the other end of the spectrum is the C250 Sport based on AMG tweaks to the steering and suspension. The C-Class is already a sharp steerer and an exclusive Carsguide drive shows the recalibrated wheel brings more precision to the party, with crisper turn-in and better on-road feel at speed.
More aggressive camber settings keep the wheels flatter under cornering load and, along with upgraded spring and damper settings, give the car tenacious mid-corner grip.
There’s no more power on the $78,550 Sport model - buyers need to spend another $6840 for AMG performance pack to gain an extra 22kW - but the accelerator response has been remapped for better response and the seven-speed auto’s gear changes have been sharpened up.
Price and posture have made the C-Class the car to be seen in so far this year. BMW has held its own in the sedan field where pricing are similar to its arch rival but its coupes are around $10,000 dearer than comparable Benzes.
A new propeller-badged coupe is due late next year and BMW spokesman Piers Scott says as the current model enters run out mode buyers can “expect to be able to get seriously good deals at the retail level”.
Merc’s B-Class line-up has also earned a top-to-bottom overhaul. The entry level B180 rises by $1000 to $39,990 but gains 17-inch rims, a reversing camera and a 0.3-litre improvement in fuel use to 5.8L/100km. The B250 now heads the range - at least until the arrival of the AMG version - and runs on 18-inch rims and lowered suspension.
The $49,500 front-wheel drive “sports tourer” hits 100km/h in just 6.8 seconds and still manages an official fuel use of just 6.5L/100km. Benz spokesman Jerry Stamoulis says the company is determined to maintain market leadership. “The C-Class has been an outstanding success in every variant - coupe, sedan and estate - and we’ll keep on improving the product,” he notes.