The redesigned Mercedes-Benz C class scheduled to debut at the Detroit auto show in January has a new lightweight body structure that Mercedes says will shave as much as 220 pounds, depending on the engine used.
The aluminum hybrid structure will contribute to a 20 percent cut in fuel consumption on certain models without a decrease of power, Mercedes said in releasing a few details about the fourth-generation C class.
Aluminum content in the C-class body structure will rise to 48 percent, up from 9 percent on the outgoing model. The amount of hot-formed steel and high-strength steel also has been increased.
Nine primary cast components are used in the body structure, with the suspension mounted on aluminum die-cast elements that Mercedes says are much more rigid than the steel components used on the current model.
The chassis consists of a four-link front and five-link rear suspension that Mercedes says will deliver "supreme straight-line stability" and "outstanding NVH [noise, vibration, harshness] qualities."
Mercedes-Benz also says the redesigned C class gets an optional Airmatic air suspension with some engines that offers four stiffness settings. It also provides an automatic self-leveling feature that lowers the car at highway speeds to improve aerodynamics and boost fuel economy.
The redesigned C class will have a reworked interior with optional head-up display, a fingertip-controlled touch pad within the center console and a free-standing central display with a standard 7-inch or optional 8.4-inch color monitor.
-- Greg Kable