2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class debuts: seductive tech updates inside and out

March 20, 2018

The 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class has even more in common with its S-Class flagship sibling this year.

On Tuesday, Mercedes unveiled swoopy coupe and convertible versions of the C-Class ahead of their big debut at next week’s New York auto show. They're the style-oriented follow-ups to the C-Class sedan that debuted earlier this month at the Geneva auto show.

Hidden underneath a modest exterior styling update, the C-Class—available as a coupe, a convertible, and a sedan in the U.S.—grabs some oversized technology updates from the S-Class that vault it ahead of other compact luxury cars. The 2019 model is also more powerful, although it doesn’t quite approach the S-Class underhood. And there's still no word on a turbodiesel version of the C-Class.

A trio of C-Class models will be available: the C300 with its 255-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-4 and a choice of rear- or all-wheel drive and the Mercedes-AMG C43 with its standard all-wheel drive and 385-hp 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6, increases of 14 and 23 hp, respectively. Both C-Class versions use a 9-speed automatic transmission. The C300 rides on a suspension tuned more for comfort, while the C43 features high-performance tires, stiffer springs, and beefier steering. An updated Mercedes-AMG C63 hasn't been announced, but is a safe bet.

Inside, the C-Class now comes standard with a 10.25-inch display screen, while a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster is optional. The two work in concert, much as they do in the S-Class, and can be configured in three display “themes.” New touch-sensitive buttons on the cars’ redesigned steering wheels work like smartphone controls to switch between audio, climate, and navigation functions. Unlike the S-Class, however, the C-Class features screens that sit independently of one another and not under a shared pane of glass.

2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet

2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet

The new C-Class diverges from arch-rival BMW by making Apple CarPlay and Android Auto technology standard, too. In comparison, BMW only offers CarPlay and the automaker will soon make it an annual subscription item for users. Last year, Apple and Android connectivity required paying extra on the C-Class.

The C-Class also pulls from the S-Class line for its self-driving car tech. Mercedes says that updated camera and radar systems allow it to see more than a quarter of a mile down the road to accelerate, brake, and steer on its own for limited distances. Standard equipment for 2019 includes automatic emergency braking, while a slew of features–active lane control, blind-spot monitors that can brake a single side's wheels, and adaptive cruise control–are bundled together in an extra-cost option package.

Newly standard LED headlights may point the way better at night, too, and they highlight the changes outside the C-Class Coupe and Convertible. Subtly revised front and rear bumpers and new wheel designs help the C-Class stand out, but only against last year’s model. On the C300, 18-inch alloy wheels are standard equipment, while the C43 upgrades those to 19-inchers.

Mercedes says that its updated C-Class Coupe and Convertible will go on sale late this year, but the automaker has not announced pricing or fuel economy details.

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