Monday, 5 February 2007

Mercedes-Benz All-New C-Class (W204) in Malaysia

By Dr Long

Having just had its world premiere recently, it would be now commonly asked among the many Mercedes-Benz owners and fans alike: When will this new replacement model come to our shores?

Sources close to DaimlerChrysler Malaysia (DCM) and Cycle & Carriage Bintang (CCB) have hinted towards a Q4 local launch, possibly as early as October 2007. Sales and deliveries are likely to begin in CKD form too – for obvious competitive pricing advantage.

This fourth generation baby-Mercedes sedan (if the 190-series is to be considered 1st gen) is wider and longer – with a useful increase of 45mm in wheelbase dimension to 2760mm. Interior space and legroom, especially for the rear passengers, are likely more generous in tandem.

Petrol engines are largely carried over from the W203, somewhat a surprise (disappointing even! - for some Merc enthusiasts) considering that DC AG and its AMG division have expressed in a media statement of their plans to abandon the trusty Kompressor (supercharger) for a more-advanced turbocharger. It isn’t that the supercharged M271 is coarse or rough, a lot of W203 and W211 (even a BMW E90 325i owner) owners agree that it’s pretty smooth for a 4-pot. Well, maybe just a bit hoarse (vocally) at higher revs/high speed cruising compared to the 2.5 and 3.0V6, found respectively in the C230 and E280 - and that's to be expected.
What’s desired for this complete makeover are probably crispier/quicker throttle response and lower end-flatter-higher torque afforded by the new generation low-inertia turbocharger (read: quick spooling, lag-free). An added bonus if coupled with direct gasoline injection! Never mind the camless electronic valve gears so much boasted-about and rumoured before to be found in this new W204 C-Class. DC AG better gets serious about turbocharging in the wake of BMW-Peugeot tie up (an engineering extension from the new New Mini - R56 - project) in direct injection-turbocharged small capacity four-cylinders, with high output. Unconfirmed reports are that these 1.8 and 2.0L engines will find their way into the BMW 1 and 3 series facelifts in the near future. The new Audi A4 (B8) due in 2008 will surely continue its ‘tradition’ of forced-feeding by TFSI.

Having said that, DCM will likely introduce the ‘entry-level’ C180K first with 156bhp and 230Nm. Likely available too will be a higher-trim C200K capable of pushing out 184bhp and 250Nm. The top-of-the-line W204 in Malaysia will probably be the C230 V6. Similar to its predecessor, its 2.5L (M272) normally aspirated motor churns out 204bhp and 245Nm driving the rear wheels, through Merc’s superb 7G-Tronic ‘box.

CDI variants of the all new C-Class have improved engine specs too – mirroring the output figures found in the facelifted E-Class. But these oil burners are unlikely to see the light of day locally, unless and until public perception of diesel Mercs and/or the Euro-1 diesel grade at pumps gets up rated.

Pricing indications are at best sketchy at time of writing. Barring any sudden changes in automotive policy (tariff structures), starting price is expected circa RM260k but it may be slightly 'cheaper' if DCM gets it CKD pricing-trim combo right. Thereafter, it would be a nice showdown in this much-watched and keenly fought junior-executive segment.


Paul Tan said...

I wonder where the inline4 turbo in the B200T comes from. Is it a shared engine with someone else or just used in Mercs? Because it seems very weird for them to limit its usage in the B-class only, not good economies of scale.

drlong said...

No news from DC AG regarding application of the B200T's engine for its RWD models.Yeah, you're so right about such a great engine not transplanted elsewhere!