I first heard concerning the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class from a manufacturing facility employee on the firm’s meeting line in Pune. I used to be informed that it was extra like an S-Class with the all of the new-age expertise and options with which the bigger Mercs had been normally outfitted. The automotive was dubbed the “Child S”, a reference to the corporate’s flagship luxurious limousine. It sounded too good to be true, but it didn’t make sense.
Why would a luxe participant like Mercedes combine an entry-level premium automotive with so many bells and whistles that it will begin being in comparison with its top-of-the-line flagship product. Seems the grapevine was proper and Mercedes has its causes. For one, the brand new C is lots just like the S-Class when it comes to phenotype and genotype, which implies look, really feel and, to some extent, behaviour. Two, the world of luxurious automotive patrons could also be dominated by older business captains and people on the Fortune 500, however there’s a newer breed of entrepreneurs, younger enterprise house owners, artists, entertainers and various professionals who desire a luxurious automotive that doesn’t burn a gap of their pocket. For this latter class of patrons, the Child S provides an possibility of proudly owning the three-pointed star with out having to spend as a lot as one would to purchase a small house in Mumbai.
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Mercedes-Benz itself says 48% of all C-Class patrons are first-time luxurious automotive house owners (the remaining are present Merc house owners). This makes the brand new C-Class an necessary transition or entry mannequin for patrons who may later improve to an E-Class, an S-Class, or a Maybach. The way in which individuals choose luxurious vehicles has additionally modified up to now 5 years. In 2018, simply 12% of premium vehicles bought had been within the ₹1 crore-plus bracket, 48% had been within the ₹50 lakh to ₹1 crore vary, and the remaining within the ₹40-50-lakh class. At this time, it has modified to just about 30% of luxurious vehicles bought being priced at ₹1 crore-plus. The mid-range of ₹50 lakh to ₹1 crore has not modified a lot. It’s nonetheless at 47% of vehicles bought, however the quantity within the ₹40-50 lakh value band has dropped to 24%. The C-Class sits between two classes, priced at ₹55-61 lakh, relying on the variant and specs.
The dashboard has been minimalized to mission a floating impact, chrome brushed accents make it really feel a category greater than it’s, and there are huge expanses of premium leather-based throughout the seating and interiors.
However to return to the automotive: Does the C seem like the S? It does, actually, with design cues that characteristic extra rounded curves. Seated contained in the sedan, the explanation for the comparability with the S-Class turns into clear. The dashboard has been minimalized to mission a floating impact, chrome brushed accents make it really feel a category greater than it’s, and there are huge expanses of premium leather-based throughout the seating and interiors. The round air-conditioning vents mild up, and there’s a giant sun-roof. The LED lighting, a typical characteristic in most top-end vehicles now, has been included for the C-Class and the lights across the door handles are a nifty little contact, particularly useful when getting into the automotive at the hours of darkness.
There’s, nevertheless, extra than simply the cosmetics that make this automotive really feel like it’s extra luxurious than it was. There’s the latent and refined energy lurking below the hood. The C-Class provides a buyer three completely different engines, all assisted by a 48V Built-in Starter Generator, meant to enhance efficiency and gas effectivity. In fact, gas effectivity is hardly a priority when one is shopping for a Mercedes-Benz however it does assist to know that the automotive provides above 20km per litre stats for each its diesel fashions and close to 17kmpl for the petrol mannequin. The model I drove, the top-end C200 petrol mannequin, additionally featured energy domes on the bonnet paying homage to the Corvette, and an engine with output of nearly 200hp. Environment friendly dynamics and basic Merc engineering make sure that’s sufficient for mountain driving or cruising briskly on straight roads. For those who’ve pushed older C-Class fashions, you’ll realise that is nimbler and sportier. Push the C onerous on tight corners, and it’ll not pitch or lean in a way that some older Mercs used to. Not everybody could just like the drastic modifications to the mannequin. One C-Class proprietor and CEO of a brokerage home who test-drove the automotive lately stated whereas the trip and luxury was superlative, he most popular the extra conservative design touches of the older fashions.
With costs between ₹55-61 lakh, the brand new C veers near what an E-Class value just some years in the past. In fact, all vehicles—whether or not German sedans or Indian hatchbacks—have change into dearer because of inflation in previous few years. That’s one thing Mercedes-Benz is clearly conscious of, but fortunately, it hasn’t misplaced focus of both high quality or buyer satisfaction.
Pavan Lall is a Mumbai-based enterprise journalist and writer of Sure Man: The Untold Story Of Rana Kapoor.
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