Chassis and suspension – Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate
Comfort meets dynamism
Exemplary suspension comfort and road vibration characteristics coupled with outstanding dynamic vehicle handling – these are the hallmarks of the newly designed suspension of the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate. It comes across as light-footed and agile, delivering a high level of driving pleasure coupled with superb ride comfort in its segment.
A newly designed 4-link front axle makes the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate more agile than ever before. The 4-link concept isolates the spring strut from the wheel location function and ensures favourable axle kinematics. It allows for an improved camber change, and in turn, higher cornering forces, making the suspension respond more sensitively to steering movements and allowing a sporty, agile driving style. Furthermore, the components of the new front axle are made of aluminium, making them two kilograms lighter than a corresponding steel design. All of which provides a sensitive response. This reduction in weight also contributes to the high efficiency of the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate.
An optimised multi-link independent rear suspension with 5-links ensures unsurpassed wheel location qualities and supreme straight-line stability. The rear axle carrier and the spring control arms are made of forged aluminium. A large rear-axle bearing contributes to isolating vibrations and thus to the outstanding NVH characteristics and ride comfort of the sedan.
As with the sedan, the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate comes with steel springs and a DIRECT CONTROL suspension as standard. It is available in three variants:
- As a comfort suspension with selective damping system which adjusts automatically to the condition of the road surface,
- As an AVANTGARDE suspension with selective damping system, which combines high levels of comfort with sporty looks and
- As a sports suspension - which is lowered by 15 millimetres - also features a selective damping system and sports tuning. In addition, the sports suspension is combined with a more direct steering ratio, 18-inch mixed tyres and sports brakes to achieve maximum sportiness.
First air suspension in this category
Alternatively, the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate, like its sedan stablemate, can be fitted with an air suspension (AIRMATIC) at the front and rear axles. Thanks to electronically controlled, continuous variable damping at the front and rear, it offers outstanding road roar and tyre vibration characteristics even with the vehicle loaded.
AIRMATIC also features all-round self-levelling for optimum ride comfort even with the vehicle loaded. It controls the ride height automatically depending on the speed and reduces fuel consumption on the motorway by lowering the vehicle, for example. This also improves driving safety. Furthermore, the ground clearance can be increased at the push of a button using the ride-height adjustment switch on rough roads or poor access roads.
Since neither the air suspension struts at the front axle nor the free-standing air spring at the rear are responsible for wheel location and absorbing cornering forces, AIRMATIC offers outstandingly comfortable driving characteristics which are otherwise the reserve of the luxury segment. It smooths out expansion joints, asphalt patches and undulating asphalt caused by trucks braking at traffic lights.
Without impairing comfort, the adjustable damping can deliver a high level of driving dynamics. During evasive manoeuvres, the system adjusts, for instance, the damping forces to the vehicle's driving dynamics in fractions of a second.
Choose your own driving experience
In the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate the driver can determine the desired driving experience at the push of a button. Depending on the equipment level, the driver can choose from various pre-configured drive programmes and one the driver can design personally. The choice of drive programme affects various components, for instance, changing how the Estate reacts to certain driving situations. It influences the characteristics of the throttle response, the speed-sensitive power assist, the shift points of the automatic transmission and the suspension damping.
Depending on the installed equipment the following drive programmes are available:
- Sport +
The "Comfort" mode is the most balanced drive programme with corresponding suspension tuning and consumption-optimised powertrain set-up.
The "ECO" drive programme trims the vehicle for minimal fuel consumption. In this context small compromises with regard to comfort are accepted - for example, reducing the output of the seat heating and the heated rear window or the adaptation of the cooling performance of the air conditioning system. In addition, "ECO displays" can help the driver adopt a more economical driving style. Economical accelerator pedal characteristics also help the driver adopt a fuel-saving driving style. With some engines the vehicle is moreover capable of sailing when the driver releases the accelerator and lets the vehicle roll in overrun mode. In this event the combustion engine is decoupled from the powertrain and the associated friction losses. The vehicle uses its current kinetic energy for a certain distance and consequently glides on the road with almost no fuel consumption.
The "Sport" drive programme is characterised by agility and driving pleasure with a sporty suspension tuning and direct accelerator pedal characteristics. The suspension is crisp and firm but still offers good ride comfort.
In "Sport+" mode the powertrain consistently reacts directly to dynamic load changes with a spontaneous response. The optionally available AIRMATIC air suspension has even sportier tuning and turns the Estate into the "cornering champion". The ECO start/stop function is then deactivated.
The "Individual" drive programme provides the option of varying individual parameters for the suspension, steering and powertrain that go beyond the preconfigured programmes. They are complemented by additional adjustment options such as ECO start/stop, climate control and ECO Assist dependent on the vehicle.
On vehicles with manual transmission an automatic double-declutching function is active when one of the sporty drive programmes is selected. It determines the target engine speed after a gear change and sets the appropriate engine speed automatically. The result is sporty driving characteristics one can feel, accompanied by enhanced comfort.
Steering with a sporty character
All models of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class family features an electromechanical Direct-Steer system as standard. This combines speed-sensitive servo assistance from the speed-sensitive steering with a steering ratio that varies according to the given steering angle. The power assistance provided by the rack-and-pinion steering gear is controlled on demand, thereby contributing to efficiency
STEER CONTROL provides steering clues in dangerous situations
The new Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate comes standard-equipped with the STEER CONTROL steering assistance function. It can help the driver to stabilise the vehicle in difficult handling situations. To this end, the electronics determine in which direction the driver has to steer to defuse a critical situation, and introduces a corresponding steering-wheel moment into the steering that the driver feels clearly. In this way STEER CONTROL provides the driver with noticeable prompts in which direction to steer in order to stabilise the vehicle.
Fade-resistant brakes for short stopping distances
The brakes of the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate meet high requirements with regard to stopping distance, response, fade resistance, directional stability and service life of the brake pads. Single-piston sliding callipers at the front and rear axle with brake discs whose size is dependent on the engine provide for rapid deceleration. This task is handled by brakes with four-piston sliding callipers at the front in the C 250 BlueTEC and to vehicles specced with the AMG Line design and equipment line, whose brake callipers bear Mercedes-Benz lettering.
The brake system of the Estate comes as standard with ADAPTIVE BRAKE. It features the following:
- Hill-Start Assist which prevents the vehicle from rolling backwards on a hill and thus facilitates starting off
A HOLD function (standard with automatic transmission, with manual transmission in conjunction with cruise control optional extra), which holds the vehicle stationary without having to depress the brake pedal
- A brake-drying function which regularly wipes the moisture from the brake discs to make full braking power instantly available
- The priming function lightly puts the brake pads into contact with the discs the instant the driver releases the accelerator quickly, and can consequently shorten the stopping distance during subsequent braking.
Electric parking brake with Comfort Go
For the first time the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate is standard-equipped with an electric parking brake that offers convenience and weight benefits over a foot-operated parking brake. The electric parking brake is operated with a control element below the rotary light switch - pushing the control element sets the parking brake, pulling releases it. The driver can also use the automatic release function Comfort Go. It automatically releases the parking brake when the driver intends to start off.
Normally the parking brake engages completely and permanently at speeds below 4 km/h independent of the duration of the actuation. However, at higher speeds it can also be used for emergency braking. If it is activated at a speed of more than 4 km/h, the vehicle will decelerate with the service brakes of all four wheels including ABS and ESP® control interventions.
Brakes with character
Other brake functions:
- As a torque vectoring brake it provides for additional safety at the limit by purposefully vectoring the torque between the wheels of the driven axle by means of one-sided brake interventions.
- The adaptive brake lights can warn vehicles following behind of heavy braking and shorten their reaction time.