New Mercedes C-Class unveiled

* Mercedes unveils face-lifted C-Class * New look and new safety systems * Six engines available from launch...

New Mercedes C-Class unveiled

This is the face-lifted Mercedes C-Class, which will go on sale in March.

The updated car has been restyled inside and out, is more efficient, has new safety systems and can connect to the internet.

Exterior styling changes include new front- and rear bumpers, new headlight clusters, a redesigned grille and a new lightweight aluminium bonnet.

Inside, there's a new dashboard, with a redesigned display and instrument cluster. The updated C-Class will also get a new-generation multimedia system that will go on to appear in other Mercedes models.

According to the company, the new system will be easier to use and have a larger display. SMS messages can be shown on the screen, and internet connectivity is available for the first time the COMAND Online system hooks your car up to the internet via a data-enabled mobile phone.

Wiring for a Becker Map Pilot will be fitted as standard, although the clip-in unit itself is optional. If specified, it integrates fully with the car and gives both two- and three-dimensional mapping, which can be updated via the internet.

Mercedes also says the new C-Class will also have a raft of new driving assistance systems, based on its latest radar, camera and sensor technology. These are:

• Adaptive Highbeam Assist
• Active Lane Keeping Assist
• Active Blind Spot Assist
• Attention Assist
• Distronic Plus
• Speed Limit Assist
• Parking guidance including Parktronic
• Pre-safe Brake

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Cleaner, more-efficient engines
Three petrol and three diesel engines will be available from launch, all fitted with stop-start technology. Automatic versions come with Mercedes' latest version of its seven-speed 7G-Tronic Plus gearbox.

The petrol engine line up includes a C350 Blue Efficiency version that features Mercedes' latest V6 engine. It is 34bhp more powerful than the engine it replaces, but is more efficient. As before, the C180 and C250 complete the petrol line-up, but the new versions are also more efficient that the models they replace.

Its much the same story with the diesel engines, with the new range continuing with C200, C220 and C250 CDI models, all badged Blue Efficiency.

They develop the same power and torque as the current units, but generally have better economy and emissions figures. The C220 CDI, combined with a six-speed manual gearbox and the stop-start system, emits just 117g/km CO2 and averages 64.2mpg, while both it and the C250 CDI average almost 60mpg even when paired with the seven-speed automatic transmission.

The saloon and estate models go on sale towards the end of March, with an updated high-performance C63 AMG version due to follow in June. The cars pricing has yet to be revealed, but the company says the new model will be a little more expensive, although the standard equipment is 'significantly enhanced'.