Optional on SE and Elegance (£205) and standard on Sport models is Parameter speed-sensitive power steering which adapts the degree of power assistance to the vehicle speed: the lower the speed, the greater the assistance. What’s more, the degree of centring also increases with speed to provide the driver with a secure and stable feeling in the straight-ahead position.
Dynamic Handling Package – even sportier characteristics
Sport models already have 35 per cent flatter handling compared to the previous C-Class Estate thanks to a 15 mm lower suspension, shorter springs, firmer shock absorber settings and thicker stabiliser bars. But for those customers seeking an even sportier driving experience there’s the optional Dynamic Handling Package (£490). This offers a choice of either Comfort or Sport modes in which the shock absorbers are regulated by means of an infinitely variable electronic control together with an even quicker steering ratio, sharper accelerator response and, on models equipped with an automatic transmission, quicker shift times, initiated via steering wheel shift paddles.
All Sport models feature an enhanced braking system with larger discs, perforated at the front. They look the part too, with front callipers featuring Mercedes Benz lettering.
Established suspension design: detailed improvements
A new design of sub-frame mounted MacPherson strut front suspension with two separate aluminium lower link elements achieves more precise wheel location and compensates for any vibrations caused by tyre imbalance or fluctuating brake forces.
At the rear is the tried and tested Mercedes Benz five-link design has undergone subtle modification – the subframe is now supported by an additional strut which reduces weight and improves comfort levels.
A new self-levelling rear suspension is available for £560. This uses an automatically pumping hydropneumatic system in which all components are fully integrated into the rear shock absorbers, saving space and weight. The energy required by the system is derived while the vehicle is on the move from the relative movements between the axle and body.
Brakes: Adaptive Brake with handy support functions
The sophisticated braking system includes Adaptive Braking as standard, which means that when the driver switches abruptly from the accelerator to the brake pedal during emergency braking, the system is primed by increasing the pressure in the brake lines and bringing the brake pads into light contact with the brake discs. In this way, the system complements the functions of the standard Brake Assist which maximises the braking force in the same circumstances. What’s more, it will also briefly apply the brakes at regular intervals in wet conditions to wipe the film of water from the brake discs – prompted by the windscreen wipers operating for a certain length of time.
The new C-Class Estate is available to order now, with deliveries starting on 1st March 2008.Published 21 February 2008