This is the first full image of the new C-Class Mercedes-Benz station wagon, or estate, expected in New Zealand early in 2015. It has just been leaked on to the social media pages, some months after Mercedes-Benz officially revealed photos of the sedan.
The sedan will land in New Zealand in September and it was rumoured the wagon would perhaps arrive before Christmas. “No, definitely not before Christmas,” said the carmaker’s New Zealand general manager Ben Giffin. “We will see it (wagon) in the first quarter of next year.”
Mercedes-Benz is expected to release the wagon’s official details over the next few days. Don’t expect any great surprises because it uses the same running gear as the sedan, a mix of petrol and diesel engines mated to seven-speed dual-clutch transmissions.
The standard independent suspension is the same, too, steel springs with adjustable dampers on a four-link front and five-link rear independent set-up said to make the new models more agile.
Also borrowed from the sedan is the high-tech equipment. It includes:
• an autonomous braking system that works when the driver doesn’t react soon enough
• a radar-guided cruise control system that can keep a safe distance from the car in front by ‘locking’ on to it
• sat-nav that automatically sets the air-conditioner to re-circulate when driving through a tunnel.
What is a point of difference is the wagon’s dimensions compared with the outgoing model. Expect a 96mm increase in overall length and an 80mm longer wheelbase, measurements that mean extra space for passengers. Cargo capacity is said to be up a little on the previous wagon’s 490 litres, or 1510 litres with the 40:20:40 spilt-fold rear seats laid flat.
Under the bonnet in New Zealand is likely to be four-cylinder diesel and petrol units, perhaps a C200 petrol delivering 135kW/300Nm and C220 diesel 125kW/400Nm. The four-cylinder C250 and six-cylinder C400 are also in the mix.
The wagon, like the sedan, is rear drive. All-wheel-drive variants using the Benz 4Matic system are available for the first time in right-hand drive, although NZ general manager Giffin has not decided if there is a business case for four-paws on an estate.
Why? Because the new Benz GLA and next year’s GLK – both SUVs – have 4Matic and the SUV market is where sales are at. “We are looking at it (C-Class 4Matic) and I won’t say no just yet,” he said.
In effect, Giffin has to choose between limiting 4Matic to the SUVs and staying with traditional rear-drive powertrains in the car-based models, or offering 4Matic in a more powerful C-Class station wagon – say the twin-turbocharged C400 – to rival the four-paw BMW 3-Series wagon and Audi A4 Avant quattro.