The redesigned C-class is the first Mercedes sedan to get two nose jobs: Classic and Elegance versions get a conventional grille and bonnet-mounted three pointed star while the sportier Avantgarde gets a massive star in the grille centre, like Merc’s sportscars.

As usual, the automaker emphasises occupant safety, with the C-class adopting big brother S-class’ adaptive braking system and the intelligent light system with five automatic lighting functions. The redesigned car is said to meet significantly higher standards than are required around the world by the various statutory regulations and standard equipment includes seven airbags and active head restraints. The pre-safe anticipatory occupant protection system is only optional, however.

V6 engines are unchanged but engineers focused on getting more power and less emissions from the now more economical fours. Launch versions, from March, are the C 200, C 280 and C 350 and four-cylinder diesel C 220 CDI. A C 320 CDI V6 diesel and C 180 and the C 200 CDI follow later.

Prices will start below EUR30,000 in Germany. Two million units of the previous model were sold, making it the most popular C-class to date.

Germany is the model’s largest market, accounting for approximately 30% of worldwide sales. The new cars will be built at the Sindelfingen and Bremen plants in Germany and at the East London plant in South Africa; the latter previously built all RHD sedan models.