Mercedes-Benz C-Class is designed to set new standards in its market segment.

Vladimir ARKUSHA

The doors of the Mercedes-Benz car dealership (somewhere in Europe) parted silently, letting the customer in. He looks about 35 years old, an early tan for this time of the year, most likely from a ski resort; a neat hairstyle and a suit of good cut hint at their owner's belonging to business circles. We will violate (of course, only on paper!) Privacy and listen to his dialogue with the seller …

- I heard about the new C-Class model - I think this is exactly what I need.

- You probably know the former


- Yes, I have an official C220 five years old. Reliable, comfortable and perfectly consistent with the serious image of the insurance company where I work. I would gladly use it further, but here the new model, as they say, deprived me of peace.

“Well, here you are not alone.” Obviously, in addition to emotions, specific questions arose - at your service.

- Then we will not squander compliments of appearance - we will begin right from the driver's seat.

- Well. All that he will have to deal with - instruments, controls, a seat - is sustained in the spirit of “intelligent automation”. In other words, the driver has the opportunity to concentrate on the road, and also - do not consider it as praise - on his personal feelings from the car. This is ideology; now specifics. It is necessary to remove the ignition key, as according to the previously established program, the seat will "move back", and the steering wheel - up, making it easier to exit and, therefore, landing. The key is in the lock - everything will return to its place. On the steering wheel - buttons to turn on the radio, CD-changer, phone and board computer. At your request, it will display a lot of data on the central display - here, on the speedometer dial: from the oil level and coolant temperature to the frequency of the received station and the disc number in the CD changer. In total, over 50 functions are programmed …

- Please do not bother listing. Let's digress into something more traditional …

- Willingly. Take the glove box: the new model is almost three times more voluminous than the previous one - 8.2 liters versus 3! Without much damage to their belongings, a CD changer was mounted here. I note that all this did not prevent the airbag for the passenger from being placed on the right.

- I hope as standard?

- Exactly. The advertising slogan is not exaggerating - Mercedes really sets a new scale for this class: two front airbags, two side airbags and two "curtains" on each car. For a fee - even side cushions at the rear. But it's not just the number of pillows …

“Then what is it?”

- For the safety of passengers, many systems work, united by clear logic. One signals that a dangerous driving mode has been reached, the other (it includes ABS, “brake assist” and ESP - electronic course stabilization program) allows you to maintain control of the machine, the third (it includes energy-absorbing areas of the body, preloaded belts, mentioned airbags blocking the fuel supply) provides survival if the accident could not be prevented. And he does it not blindly: say, two-stage frontal pillows are inflated completely or partially; the passenger pillow will not work if the right seat is free or the child seat is not installed; side cushions and “curtains” also react in accordance with the direction of impact. In a collision at high speed, when the inertia of the body is high, belt tension limiters are also triggered. Finally, after the accident, the doors automatically unlock, the flashers turn on, and the Tele-Ayd system sends an alarm signaling the coordinates to the nearest rescue service.

- You want to say…

-… That all this is part of the standard equipment (only Tele-Ayd - for an extra charge). Of the "free" little things I’ll add, for example, the Tairfit kit - a means for sealing a puncture plus an electric compressor. And the reserve was abolished, having won 45 l of volume for the trunk. (I am convinced that the Russian owner will insist on the wheel, even for a surcharge! - author). Servo front seats, rear - inertial belts and head restraints for three; foglights, power mirrors and heating - I can continue. A curious detail: the new CDI diesel engines have very high thermal efficiency, so the heat of the coolant is not enough to heat the passenger compartment. An additional heater is standardly provided here. To put an end to the “i”: in comparison with its predecessor, the list of serial equipment “went up” by 3, 700 brands.

- And the car itself?

- An average of 3%: the starting price of the C180 model (it has a two-liter engine) in Germany is slightly below 50 thousand marks, or about 25 thousand dollars. The most expensive C320 is almost 75 thousand marks (37 thousand dollars) .

- The standard equipment is so complete that asking for additional …

-… More than appropriate. Something I have already named; In my opinion, the Thermotronic automatic climate control unit, a rain sensor for a wiper, a headlight wiper, xenon headlights, an integrated rear child seat, a driver wheel with an adjustable back profile or sports seats, a “tuned” suspension are noteworthy.

There are a couple of “little things” that friends and colleagues will envy for sure. Order the Lingvatronic device - then, to their own pleasure, you can use your voice to control the radio, telephone, on-board computer, CD changer. And the COMAND system (Cockpit Management and Data System) combines the management of all the mentioned devices plus an on-board navigator, and the monitor of the latter is interconnected with the central display in the speedometer dial - we started the conversation with it. In addition, the fiber is used to transmit signals, not copper wires - it has a lot of advantages.

- Excuse me, what kind of car do you offer: C- or S-class?

- Of course, C-class. But the question is logical: in the current generation, the creators tried to invest all the innovations (more than 20!) Previously implemented on the E- and S-class models, if possible without burdening the buyer with additional costs.

- So I want to believe - especially since I am not inclined to excesses. By the way, what are the capabilities of the "minimum" gasoline engine?

“With it, the C180 model reaches 210 km / h, spending an average of 9.3 l / 100 km, ” the figures speak for themselves. By the way, this sixteen valve is a novelty in the firm's program. In total, there are four gasoline engines and three diesel engines, two gearboxes to choose from, and a six-speed manual is also the first time. It is worth recalling: the Mercedes-190, to which the current C-Class dates back, in 1983 was equipped with only two-liter engines, including a carburetor.

- Well, there was such a thing in my first car - I bought it as a student.

- Other times, what can I say. But note: the new C-class is again addressed to a dynamic, modern, forward-looking generation.

- It sounds promising. Perhaps I will take these prospectuses - to study at your leisure before making a final decision. See you!

See you with the new Mercedes - let’s say we, ending the imaginary dialogue. Car sales in Europe begin just in May; presumably, the appearance in Russia is also not far off. Then it will be possible to evaluate the practicality of certain innovations and, of course, the driving qualities of the car.