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2014 Mercedes-Benz C-Class goes more upmarket

Mercedes has given the coming C-Class a boost to a more upmarket level, drawing on styling and features from its flagship S-Class. The new C gets technology and cabin treatment that raise the bar against key rivals like the Audi A4 and the BMW 3 Series and 4 Series.

Arriving in the second half of next year, the C-Class is aimed at trying to draw younger buyers than its traditional fan base, so has been given fresher styling and more up-to-date infotainment, including hand-stitched leather upholstery, 7-in touchscreen that can be optioned up to 8.3-in with scrawlable touchpad control, high-end Burmester audio, heads-up display option, and internet connectivity and apps.

The initial engine line-up kicks off with the entry level C180's turbo 115kW/250Nm 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol, promising 0-100km/h in 8.2 seconds fuel economy of 5.0L/100km. The C200 carries a 135kW/300Nm turbo 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol with official 0-100km/h of 7.5 seconds and 5.3L/100km economy.

The C220 Bluetec is powered by a 125kW/400Nm 2.1-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel with an urea injection system to reduce emissions to the tighter coming EU6 standards, and claims a 0-100km time of 8.1 seconds  and 4.0L/100km economy.

Transmission choices for the launch models are a six-speed manual and seven-speed auto, with all models getting stop-start and brake energy recovery systems to improve economy. The first roll-out will be rear-wheel drive, but an optional all-wheel drive is on the plan for later in 2014, along with more engines -- including a petrol-electric hybrid and a new handbuilt twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 for the AMG version.

This reporter is on Twitter: @KarlaPincott