The C240 gets a new 2.4-litre V6 engine, replacing the four-cylinder 2.3-litre C230, while the existing straight six-cylinder engine in the C280 has been upgraded to a more efficient and powerful lightweight V6. All C-class models built from this month will be fitted with side airbags, meaning that every Mercedes-Benz car sold in Britain, with the exception of the V-class, will now have driver and passenger airbags and two side airbags as standard.
Radio cassettes are fitted as standard to the C-class for the first time, with customers able to choose between Blaupunkt and Sony. Other additions include an outside temperature gauge and one-touch opening electric windows with safety stops.
Set servicing intervals have been abandoned across the class, with models relying instead on the Mercedes-Benz Active Service System which uses sensors in the engine to monitor oil quality and calculate when the car is next due for service. The manufacturer says this can extend service intervals to nearly 12,500 miles. The C240 and C280 also get air conditioning, a five-speed automatic transmission and Speedtronic cruise control.
Sample prices (on-the-road including road tax): Classic/Esprit saloons C180 £19,990 (£19,900), C200 £22,240 (£22,050), C280 £30,390 (£27,900), C220 D £21,740 (£21,450). Classic/Esprit estates C180 £21,420 (£21,330), C200 £23,670 (£23,480), C250 DT £25,670 (£25,380). Elegance/Sport saloons C180 £22,990 (£22,600/£23,000), C280 £32,440 (£30,600/£31,000). Elegance/Sport estates C180 £24,420 (£24,030/£24,430), C200 £26,470 (£26,180/£26,580), C220 D £25,970 (£25,580/£25,980), C250 DT £28,470 (£28,080/£28,480).