Return of the wagon
Following a long delay after a fourth-gen version of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class wagon was initially shown to the public back in 2016, it has finally arrived to market: the 2018 C300 Wagon.
“The new C-Class Wagon is not only extremely practical thanks to its once again enlarged, variable load compartment. With innovative lightweight construction and its state-of-the-art technical features it also strikes out in new directions in this segment with regard to safety, efficiency and comfort. Worldwide we are the first to offer a comfortable air suspension in this segment. And both men and women drivers enjoy noticeably more driving pleasure,” says Thomas Weber, member of the Daimler AG Board of Management.
Bigger and bolder than ever before, the gorgeous vehicle has striking bodylines. If you’ve seen the sedan variant, the story is much the same save for, of course, the tail section. Compared to the outgoing model, the 2018 has grown its wheelbase by 80 millimetres (now 2,840 mm in total), overall length 96 mm (4,702 mm) and width 40 mm (1,810 mm). The result is that rear passengers gain quite a bit of extra legroom, and increased headroom to boot.
In terms of cargo size, the news is good as well. There is 490 litres of space behind the rear seats, or if you fold them down, 1,510 litres, an improvement of five and 10 litres, respectively. The back bench is also more versatile, featuring a 40:20:40 split instead of the previous 60:40, meaning two people can still be seated comfortably in the rear while the middle section is folded down to accommodate things like skis or furniture.
The upscale interior is classic Mercedes-Benz, again similar to the one found in the standard C-Class. A neat addition is the touchpad interface built into the hand rest on the centre console. Like a smartphone, the unit accepts finger gestures and is easy to operate thanks to the ergonomic placement. The head-up display is a nice touch allowing drivers to read the current speed, navigations instructions and other important messages without having to take their eyes off the road.
Under the skin
Available in a number of engine configurations, which change depending on the sales region, we tested the scrappy 241-horsepower 2.0-litre variant. The modest mill feels just fine pushing the German family car around, helped by 367 Nm of torque generated at a low 1,300 rpm and the fact that 49 per cent of the shell is constructed out of lightweight aluminum. While not fast per se, acceleration from the boosted four cylinder is buttery smooth and even produces a faint but pleasant exhaust note.
Handling is, as usual, on point, the wagon sitting on a sporty steel suspension setup. All members of the C-Class family are equipped with an electromechanical Direct-Steer system — it combines speed-sensitive servo assistance and a steering ratio that changes with the given steering angle so feedback is tight and responsive. Furthermore, power steering assistance provided by the rack-and-pinion steering gear is controlled as needed, thereby upping efficiency. And, as mentioned above, the C-Class may have an optional AIRMATIC air suspension bundled in for the first time.
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz C300 Wagon is proof that practicality does not have to come at the cost of performance and style. For prospective customers who can wait a little longer, a refreshed 2019 model was just recently announced during the middle of this year’s international automotive show circuit. Updates include never-before-offered MULTIBEAM LED headlamps, made up of 84 individually controllable quick-reaction LED bulbs in each housing, and a fully digital 12.3-inch high-resolution instrument cluster capable of showing turn-by-turn navigation.