The upcoming 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is receiving some long-overdue updates, both inside and out. It's the first time the current-generation C-Class, which debuted for the 2015 model year, receives significant changes.
The visual differences are pretty subtle, but the 2019 C-Class' front and rear bumper designs have been massaged a bit. They are accompanied by mild visual tweaks to the headlights and taillights that now use LEDs as standard equipment. The wheels have a new design, too.
The hardware changes are a little more significant. There's a new turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (255 horsepower, 273 pound-feet of torque) for the C300 models. That's 14 more horsepower than the current 2018 model's 2.0-liter engine puts out. Mercedes says it's more fuel-efficient, though EPA-estimated fuel economy has yet to be released. This engine is paired to the same nine-speed automatic transmission as before.
The latest generation of driver assist features from the Mercedes-Benz E-Class are trickling down to C-Class models for 2019. Improved camera and radar systems scan a 360-degree area around the car, allowing for semiautonomous operation in specific situations. The C-Class will also use map, navigation and road hazard data to support system operations. For example, if it sees you're approaching a bend or traffic hazard in the road, the adaptive cruise control will adjust vehicle speed appropriately.
Other new safety features for 2019 include Active Lane Change and Active Emergency Stop. The former scans traffic in the adjacent lane and performs a lane change when prompted and safe to do so during adaptive cruise control operation. Active Emergency Stop will bring the C-Class to a stop, turn on the hazard lights, and phone emergency services for help if the vehicle detects the driver has become unresponsive during cruise operation. Active Brake Assist, which automatically applies brakes to help mitigate front collisions with stopped vehicles or crossing pedestrians, is also standard equipment for the new model year.
Inside the 2019 C-Class are new touch-sensitive steering wheel controls that, like a smartphone, respond to swiping motions. You can use them to interface with the infotainment system and a newly available, fully digital 12.3-inch gauge cluster. The cluster has different layout themes to suit various driving scenarios, and it can even display the navigation map if you choose. The optional COMAND infotainment system gets a larger 10.3-inch display and is operated by the familiar touchpad controller that has added haptic feedback. Enhanced voice controls can now operate the seat heaters, and the head-up display benefits from an expanded adjustment range.
Lastly, for those who care to know about the smallest of detail changes, Mercedes-Benz says it has redesigned both the key fob and the push-button ignition button. We've yet to see images and so we'll have that to look forward to at its official debut at the 2018 Geneva Auto Show.
The 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is expected to arrive at U.S. dealerships in late 2018.