The AGILITY CONTROL suspension, which is standard equipment in both the C-Class Saloon and Estate, harmonises perfectly with the dynamic design. It is based on an amplitude-dependent damping system:
when driving normally with low shock absorber stimulus, the damping forces are automatically reduced for a noticeable improvement in ride comfort – but without any compromise in handling safety. When shock absorber stimuli are of greater magnitude, for example when cornering at speed or taking evasive action, the maximum damping forces are set and the car is stabilised effectively.
The C-Class’s AGILITY CONTROL suspension is complemented by a rack-and-pinion steering system. Positioning the steering gear 80 millimetres in front of the wheel centre makes for predictable self-steering characteristics with a slight tendency to understeer. Speed-sensitive steering with variable steering-wheel support and a variable steering ratio is available as an optional extra.
Precise wheel location: the front axle with McPherson struts
At the front axle a three-link construction with McPherson struts is used. The lower link level consists of two separate elements which act as torque and cross struts and which are both forged from aluminium. In addition to more precise wheel location, this construction has the particular advantage of compensating vibrations caused by tyre imbalances or fluctuating brake forces better than rigid wishbones.
The third component in the three-link system is the track rod, which connects the transversely installed steering gear with the wheels. The reinforced stabiliser is linked to the spring strut, which is also actively involved in front wheel location.
The struts consist of cylindrical, lateral force compensated coil springs, twin-tube shock absorbers and newly developed three-phase head bearings. If severe body roll occurs, the stabiliser is supported by rebound buffer springs to ensure agile handling accompanied by a high level of comfort.
Controlled compression and rebound: the multi-link independent suspension
The series-production launch of the Mercedes-Benz 190 in 1983 also marked the beginning of the multi-link independent suspension’s career. In many respects this is a feature that remains without parallel to this day, which is why this patented axle principle – naturally in a modified form – is also employed in the C-Class. With the multi-link independent suspension the wheel is fixed to five elastically mounted links that are independent of each other and which restrict its scope for movement in five directions:
1. The lower transverse control arms activate the suspension springs and dampers
2. The upper transverse control arms regulate the camber over the spring travel
3. The torque struts take up the drive and braking forces, and compensate for dive and squat when accelerating and decelerating
4. The diagonal struts are arranged differently from the torque struts, and also help to prevent dive and squat when braking and accelerating
5. The track rods limit changes in the wheel’s toe-in to a desirable minimum
Owing to this intelligent control arm construction, each rear wheel basically retains freedom of movement in one plane only: namely during controlled compression and rebound.
Even more agile: sports suspension and Dynamic Handling package as an option
In addition to the standard-specification AGILITY CONTROL suspension, the C‑Class offers two other options for adjusting the suspension’s characteristics in line with drivers’ personal preferences. As an optional extra a sports suspension can be selected – it has shorter springs, shock absorbers with tauter tuning, and stronger torsion bars.
A Dynamic Handling package is available as an alternative. It offers the driver two shift programs to choose from: Sport and Comfort. Within these shift programs the shock absorbers are electrically adjusted on a continuously variable basis. Sensors monitor each driving situation and send the information they gather to an electronic control unit. Depending on the current road or operating condition the system adapts the damping forces individually for each wheel – with infinite adjustment and fully automatically.
New styling: light-alloy wheels for AVANTGARDE and ELEGANCE
The saloon and estate both sport seven-spoke light-alloy wheels as part of their standard specification, whilst the AVANTGARDE and ELEGANCE lines are shod in newly styled twin-spoke wheels. Individuality comes courtesy of the extensive range of light-alloy wheels featuring around a dozen different designs in 16, 17 and 18 format. In place of the standard-fit 7.5 J x 17 wheel, the AVANTGARDE model can also be ordered with a 7 J x 16 wheel – providing an alternative for customers who want to make use of the consumption potential offered by a smaller and narrower wheel/tyre combination.
Source: Daimler AG