Heels & Horsepower Magazine

The new Mercedes-Benz C-Class is here and it offers a new kind of comfort

By H&H Admin

A new type of comfort zone is here to challenge the status quo. The 6th generation C-Class boasts minimalist design, luxurious comfort and innovative assistance systems. 

The new C-Class, which reaches local showrooms from December 2021, is manufactured in the Mercedes-Benz Cars plants in Bremen, Beijing and East London. 

Mark Raine, Co- CEO for Mercedes-Benz South Africa and Executive Director for Mercedes-Benz Cars South Africa says the fact that East London is one of three global manufacturing plants for the new C-Class is a ‘massive success story’ for the local industry.

Mark Raine:Co- CEO for Mercedes-Benz South Africa and Executive Director for Mercedes-Benz Cars South Africa Image: Going Places/Malaysia Airlines
Bigger, better, sleeker

“The new C-Class is a sportive incarnation of luxury. It combines dynamic proportions with reduced design lines and sculptural surfaces. I have no doubt that the new C-Class will excite current and future customers with its wide range of high-tech features derived from the flagship S-Class”, said Mark Raine, Co- CEO for Mercedes-Benz South Africa and Executive Director for Mercedes-Benz Cars South Africa. 

Considerably larger than its predecessor, with a length of 4751 mm and a width of 1820 mm, the wheelbase of the incoming C-Class has been increased by 25 mm to 2865 mm.   It features a dynamic exterior design and a sumptuous interior that borrows heavily from the flagship S-Class. 

“The new C-Class is being launched into the South Africa market initially with the C200 and C220d engine derivatives, both sporting four-cylinder units from the current modular FAME (Family of Modular Engines) Mercedes-Benz engine family,” said Selvin Govender, Director of Marketing and Sales for Mercedes-Benz Cars. 

The C200 boasts power delivery of 150kw and 300Nm of torque, while the C220d delivers 147kw and 440Nm of Torque. The C220d achieves a combined fuel consumption of 4.6l/100km and the C200 achieves a combined fuel consumption of 6.6l/100km. 

Govender added, “The C200 is also available at launch in a limited debut edition known as Edition 6, which has numerous visual accents which underlines its exclusivity. Edition 6 will be limited to 400 units. 

Technical view at a glance:

  C 200C 220 d
Add. output (boost)kW1515
Peak torqueNm300440
Add. torque (boost)Nm200200
Combined fuel consumption[1]l/100 km6.6-6.24.6-4.3
Acceleration 0-100 km/hs7.37.3
Top speedkm/h246245
Total fuel consumption WLTPl/100 km7.2-6.35.2-4.4
Retail Price R849 000R908 500

End of an era : Mercedes-Benz Co-CEO Johannes Fritz bids farewell to South Africa

Mercedes-Benz South Africa has announced that Co-CEO & Executive Director Mercedes-Benz Cars Johannes Fritz, who steered South Africa’s top-selling premium car brand since September 2017, will be moving back to Germany to head up Mercedes-Benz Cars & Vans in Bavaria – one of the largest sales regions in the German market. 

Fritz will be succeeded by Mark Raine, who is currently Vice President of Product & Marketing at Mercedes-Benz Cars in Korea. The move is something of a homecoming for Raine, who grew up in Pretoria before joining Mercedes-Benz in Stuttgart in 2002. 

Mark Raine, new Co-CEO & Executive Director Mercedes-Benz Cars-Benz South Africa

Raine has played a key role in driving the company’s digital transformation and further enhancing its brand value in the Korean market, while working to reduce complexity and improve the product portfolio. He previously worked in the company’s Middle East operation, before heading marketing and sales for Mercedes-Benz in Malaysia. 

One of Raine’s main strategic objectives will be the successful introduction of the highly anticipated Mercedes-EQ range into the South African market from Q1 2022 onwards. To further drive the future-orientated transformation, essential strategic imperatives include to pursue sustainable sales growth by enhancing the digital e-commerce journey of Mercedes-Benz and its retail partners.

WATCH: Safety features on the Mercedes‑Benz Tourismo, a bus we’d like to see on South African Roads

For years, Mercedes-Benz has been producing buses and coaches with increasingly varied and effective assistance systems, thus providing the best possible protection for all passengers and other road users. 

Active safety to prevent accidents takes centre stage in the three-pointed star busses and coaches and these include:

  • the Anti-lock Braking System in 1981
  • the Electropneumatic Braking System in 1997
  • the Adaptive Cruise Control
  • the Electronic Stability Programme
  • the Lane Assist
  • the Continuous Braking Limiter
  • the Active Brake Assist

The Mercedes‑Benz Tourismo represents continuous safety innovation. Within an already generous safety specification, key highlights include Active Brake Assist 4 (ABA 4) with pedestrian detection, standard fitment as of 2021, and optional Sideguard Assist turning warning system.

Mercedes-Benz Buses South Africa delivers 100th bus to Putco Limited

Mercedes-Benz Buses and Putco Limited have continued their successful partnership at the official handover of the 100th bus to the bus operator.

The milestone handover is subsequent to a significant order of 100 Mercedes-Benz buses made by Putco Limited in 2020. The delivery of the fleet was done in batches beginning in December 2020 and culminating in the last 12 buses being delivered end of August 2021. 

The special occasion was graced by the presence of amongst others; Larimar/Putco Managing Director, Franco Pisapia; Head of Mercedes-Benz Buses, Jason Brunninger; General Manager Marcopolo South Africa, Lucus Garbardo.

The first 23 buses were delivered in December and we have already seen a shift in perception from the general public and happier passengers.


The handover is a strong reaffirmation of the brand’s ongoing commitment to redefining and shaping the future of the transport industry in Southern Africa.

The new buses comprise of OF1726, front-engine bus chassis equipped with the Marcopolo Torino G7 bus bodywork, adding to Putco’s remarkable fleet of over 1 850 vehicles.

Putco Limited is the biggest commuter bus operator in South Africa and proudly transports more than 230 000 commuters daily in and around Mpumalanga, Gauteng, and Limpopo providing safe and convenient commuting services.

We are humbled by the faith and confidence that Putco Limited has placed in our brand

– Jason Brunninger, Head of Mercedes-Benz Buses

“The handover of the 100th Mercedes-Benz bus today, is a culmination of hard work, dedication, and collaboration from both the Larimar/Putco and the Mercedes-Benz Bus teams.  The first 23 buses were delivered in December and we have already seen a shift in perception from the general public and happier passengers, said Franco Pisapia, Managing Director, Larimar/Putco.

Jason Brunninger, Head of Mercedes-Benz Buses had this to say about the partnership: “We are humbled by the faith and confidence that Putco Limited has placed in our brand. Together with our body builder partner Marcopolo South Africa, we have been working tirelessly to ensure premium quality in every detail. We are proud that our vehicles are contributing to the economic success of Putco Limited and to the overall transport industry across the region to ensure our people are safe at all times”.

Mercedes-Benz East London Plant starts production of the New Generation C-Class

Following on Mercedes-Benz’s rich heritage of over 6 decades in South Africa, the East London Plant has officially started production of the New Generation C-Class. 

Since the investment announcement of R10 billion in 2018, the East London Plant has undergone numerous Plant upgrades in preparation for the production of the new model. 

At an event commemorating the start of production of the New Generation C-Class on 24 June 2021, Mercedes-Benz Cars announced an additional R3 billion investment into the East London plant. A sure sign of commitment and a concerted effort to revive the economic growth of South Africa as well as the socio-economic development of the East London region.

The launch of this new Mercedes-Benz C-Class, positions Buffalo City and the rest of Eastern Cape to continue its legacy of advanced manufacturing.

– Ebrahim Patel Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition

The R10 Billion investment was utilised for a wide modernisation of the East London Plant, including upgrades to a new Body Shop and additional buildings.

“The launch of this new Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the latest generation to grace the roads of South Africa and the world, positions Buffalo City and the rest of Eastern Cape to continue its legacy of advanced manufacturing. Through the South African Automotive Masterplan, and the Automotive Production and Development Programme (APDP), we have created a platform for investment in the industry, deepening our technological expertise, creating local value chains, and securing jobs,”said Ebrahim Patel Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition,

East London Plant Sustainability

Mercedes-Benz is aware of the impact that its activities and products have on the environment, and the Company is addressing this in a holistic way along the entire value chain. With Ambition 2039, Mercedes-Benz strives for a fully networked and completely CO₂neutral vehicle fleet in less than 20 years, aiming to have plug-in hybrids or all-electric vehicles to make up more than 50% of its sales by 2030.

In support of Ambition 2039, locally, the Mercedes-Benz Plant in East London has embarked on numerous initiatives to help preserve the environment for future generations.

The new paint shop is more energy-efficient, reducing energy consumption per vehicle by 25 percent. The new buildings have been equipped with energy-efficient LED lighting, which uses up to 90 % less energy per lumen output. 

Through the implementation of energy efficiency measures and the adoption of more efficient technologies and processes, the Plant produces an annual saving of over 16 MWh. This is the equivalent of the annual energy usage for the East London Plant body shop and the buildings of the logistics put together.

Additional plant sustainability initiatives include battery storage containers; rainwater recycling with a water storage of 1 Million Litres; green areas which have been installed on the corridors and the roofs as well as soluble labelling which is being utilised on production parts packaging to minimize waste reduction.

From 2022, the Mercedes-Benz East London Plant along with all own Mercedes-Benz Plants will produce CO2-neutral products. This includes more than 30 passenger car and van plants worldwide and is a further step in the implementation of the Ambition 2039. 

New on the Tarmac: Meet the new trendsetting GLE 53 4MATIC+ and GLE 53 4MATIC+Coupe

The newest SUVs from Mercedes-Benz have finally arrived in South Africa and are set to liven up the market

Mercedes-AMG’s long-awaited performance offering for the GLE generation has reached South African shores, with the GLE 53 4MATIC+ and GLE 53 4MATIC+ Coupé set to liven up the mid-size SUV market with a combination of head-turning looks and scorching performance.

At the heart of the new AMG GLE 53 is a 320 kW 3.0-litre six-cylinder in-line engine, which is good for a 5.3 second 0-100km/h sprint, thanks to fully variable all-wheel drive and an agile 9-speed automatic transmission. 

Sporting the AMG-specific radiator grille the wheel arches, in the same colour as the car, provide space for the large 20-inch light alloy wheels with AMG lettering, which comes as standard. There are seven rim variants available, from 20 to 22 inch.

The new GLE 53s offer more power than their predecessors, and the Coupé adds style and elegance to our SUV family

– Johannes Fritz, Co-CEO for Mercedes-Benz South Africa and Executive Director for Mercedes-Benz Cars

“As the inventors of the performance SUV, it is important to us to continue to lead when it comes to innovations, driving dynamics, individuality and design. The new GLE 53s offer more power than their predecessors, and the Coupé adds style and elegance to our SUV family. Both guarantee a thrilling driving experience,” says Johannes Fritz, Co-CEO for Mercedes-Benz South Africa and Executive Director for Mercedes-Benz Cars.

An SUV highlight is the optional, foldable third row of seats, which make the GLE 53 4MATIC+ a seven-seater. Thanks to the Easy Entry function of the fully electrically adjustable second seat row, the two rearmost passengers can conveniently reach their seats.

The luxurious, sporty look and feel typical of the AMG brand continue through the high-quality interior. Characteristic colour highlights such as red contrasting topstitching on the upholstery and red seat belts ensure a thoroughly sporty ambience with a dynamic and exclusive touch. AMG-specific interior features and controls lend a typical AMG atmosphere to the cockpit and support the sporty, precise handling. 

Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 4MATIC+  is priced from: R1 837 000

Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 4MATIC+ Coupé is priced from: R1 925 000

Technical data at a glance:

 Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 4MATIC+  Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 4MATIC+ Coupé
Cylinders/arrangement6/in-line  6/in-line 
Displacement (cc)2999  2999 
Combustion engine output (kW)320320
at rpm61006100
Output from EQ Boost (kW)1616
Max. torque  Combustion engine (Nm)520520
at rpm1800-58001800-5800
max. EQ Boost torque (Nm)250250
Fuel consumption, combined (l/100 km)9,3*9.3*
Combined CO2 emissions (g/km)212*212*
Acceleration 0-100 km/h (s)5.35.3
Top speed (km/h)250**250**
Retail PriceR1 837 000R1 925 000

WATCH: The 2021 World Car Awards winners announcement

The World Car Awards recognizes the widespread impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and extends its support and recognition of the industry for rising to the many challenges it has faced. For the organizers part, the reveal of the 2021 World Car Awards winners have been limited to an announcement via digital media, on World Car TV. Click to watch the full event below.

New on the Tarmac: Meet the new look Mercedes-Benz E-Class

The E-Class has proved extremely successful, with more than 1.2 million customers around the world

– Johannes Fritz, Co-CEO of Mercedes-Benz South Africa and Executive Director for Mercedes-Benz Cars

With over 14 million units delivered since 1946, the E-Class is the bestselling model series in the history of Mercedes-Benz, with many regarding it as the ‘heart of the brand’. 

Produced in the state-of-the-art Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen plant, the new E-Class comes off the same line as the Mercedes-Benz CLS and the Mercedes-AMG GT 4-door Coupé. 

Johannes Fritz, Co-CEO of Mercedes-Benz South Africa and Executive Director for Mercedes-Benz Cars, says customers of the E-Class are among the most loyal fans of the Mercedes star: Eight out of ten customers of the E-Class Sedan remain loyal to Mercedes-Benz when buying their next vehicle.

“The tenth generation of the E-Class set styling trends in 2016 with its clean, yet emotionally appealing design and an exclusive, high-quality interior.

Together with the wealth of innovation in areas like driving assistance systems, it proved extremely successful, with more than 1.2 million customers around the world buying a current-generation E-Class Sedan,” said Fritz. “Our latest extensive facelift builds on that platform to deliver the most advanced E-Class Sedan yet.”

The facelifted front end, with increased chrome content, shows the new E-Class means business, with two chrome louvres and vertical high-gloss black struts providing a sporty and elegant appearance. The designers also updated the Sedan’s rear end with a new bumper, split tail lamps and a new boot lid. 

Inside, there’s even more comfort in the interior, including a new steering wheel with touch controls, large display screens as standard (2 x 10.25 inches), and the latest generation of the MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) multimedia system. MBUX incudes the now-familiar ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice control and augmented reality that displays additional information, such as house numbers, in the video image of the surroundings.

The new E-Class features Urban Guard, which offers all-round surveillance of the parked vehicle. This includes functions like warnings for collision damage warning, tow-away protection and ant-theft.

Other innovations include:

  • Active Tailback Assist, which can substantially assist the driver with lane-keeping and maintaining a safe distance at speeds up to around 60 km/h, with a high degree of availability.
  • Active Blind Spot Assist, which lowers the risk of a collision with other road users, like passing cyclists. It also monitors the blind spot when at standstill, and can warn the driver of approaching vehicles, motorcycles or bicycles when opening the door.
  • Parking Package with 360° camera: Side View gives the Parking package a new function that keeps an eye on the entire side of the vehicle. The extended side view makes it easier to manoeuvre alongside nearby, parallel obstacles such as kerbs and garage walls.

The Mercedes-AMG E 63 S 4MATIC+ offers not only outstanding performance and vehicle dynamics at the highest level

– Selvin Govender, Marketing and Sales Director for Mercedes-Benz Cars.
Energizing comfort control 

Energizing seat kinetics is another new feature in the E-Class. It supports beneficial changes in seated posture by means of minute movements of the seat cushion and backrest when on a journey. Energizing comfort control networks various comfort systems in the vehicle, and uses musical and lighting moods plus a number of massage modes for a wide range of feel-good programmes. The aim is for passengers to feel well and relaxed even during demanding or monotonous journeys.

At the heart of the new Mercedes-AMG E 63 S 4MATIC+ lies a 4.0 litre V8 biturbo engine with twin-scroll turbochargers, which delivers 450 kW and a maximum torque of 850 Nm. This is enough to complete the 0- 100 km/h sprint in 3.4 seconds, with combined fuel consumption of 11.9-11.6 l/100 km. 

“Thanks to our efficient V8 engine and the fully variable all-wheel drive, the Mercedes-AMG E 63 S 4MATIC+ offers not only outstanding performance and vehicle dynamics at the highest level, but significantly increased comfort while retaining the hallmark AMG character. In conjunction with the extensive design update, we’re offering our customers an even more attractive package,” said Selvin Govender, Marketing and Sales Director for Mercedes-Benz Cars.

The job of stopping the Mercedes-AMG E 63 S 4MATIC+ effectively is taken care of by the AMG high-performance brake system, which is reliable, quick and fade-resistant, even under high loads.

The AMG RIDE CONTROL+ suspension ensures the hallmark Mercedes E-Class comfort, combined with the high levels of precision and driving dynamics of the AMG brand.

And now, for a personalised experience

With up to six DYNAMIC SELECT drive programs – Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport+, Individual and RACE (standard in the S version), the characteristics range from efficient and comfortable to very sporty. The modes modify key parameters, such as the response of the engine, transmission, suspension and steering. 

Independently of the DYNAMIC SELECT drive programs, the driver has the option of switching directly to manual mode, in which gearshifts are executed exclusively using the shift paddles on the steering wheel. 

The E-Class Sedan at a glance:

  E 200E 220dMercedes-AMG E63 S 4MATIC+
Transmission 9G TRONIC automatic9G TRONIC automaticAMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 9G 
Engine 4/in-line4/in-line4.0-litre V8 with direct injection and twin turbochargers
Displacementcc199119503982 cc
OutputkW145143 450 kW 
atrpm5500-61003800-3800 5750-6500
Peak torqueNm320400850 Nm 
Drive   AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive with fully variable torque distribution
Fuel consumption, combined1l/100 km6.9-6.54.9-4.7 11.6
CO2 emissions1, combinedg/km158-149130-123267
Acceleration 0-100 km/hs7.47.43.4
Retail Price R920 000R984 000R2 423 000

At a Glance: Meet the Mercedes-Benz GLS: The S-Class of SUV’s

At the recent media presentation of the SUV range from Mercedes-Benz, our editor Vuyi Mpofu briefly interacted with the Mercedes-Benz GLS. Here is a bird’s-eye-view of what the luxurious vehicle has to offer.

Mercedes-Benz’s largest and most luxurious SUV to dates now available in South Africa, offering more space, more comfort and more luxury than ever before. The new Mercedes-Benz GLS is even larger than its predecessor, with a 60 mm longer wheelbase that provides increased interior spaciousness, and combines striking looks with outstanding comfort, agile handling and a high degree of off-road capability.

South African customers will be able to choose from the new Mercedes-Benz GLS 400d 4M and Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 4M, which marks the world première of a new electrified V8 petrol engine with 48-volt on-board electrical system and integrated starter-generator.

“The new GLS is the S-Class of premium SUVs. It embodies luxury, confidence and intelligence like no other vehicle. In addition, it is the market leader in its segment – just like the S-Class Sedan,” says Johannes Fritz, Co-CEO for Mercedes-Benz South Africa and Executive Director for Mercedes-Benz Cars South Africa.

The GLS 580 4MATIC’s new electrified V8 petrol engine has a displacement of four litres and produces an output of 360 kW and 700 Nm of torque, with another 250 Nm of torque and 16 kW of additional output temporarily on tap via EQ Boost. Combined fuel consumption is around 10.1-9.8 l/100 km. The GLS 400 d 4MATIC produces 243 kW and 700 Nm of torque, with combined fuel consumption of 7.9-7.6 l/100 km.

In both variants, power is transmitted by the 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission. 

The new GLS is the S-Class of premium SUVs. It embodies luxury, confidence and intelligence like no other vehicle.

– Johannes Fritz, Co-CEO for Mercedes-Benz South Africa and Executive Director for Mercedes-Benz Cars South Africa

A new standard feature is the Carwash function, which moves the suspension to the highest position, folds in the exterior mirrors, closes the side windows and the sliding sunroof and switches the climate control to air-recirculation mode. It deactivates automatically when the driver drives out of the carwash and accelerates to a speed above 20 km/h.

Video credit: Opak Media

Exterior design: powerful presence 

The front section of the new GLS exudes presence and power, with a striking appearance emphasised with an upright radiator grille and distinctive headlamp design.

Interior design: luxuriously elegant and powerfully progressive 

The interior combines the comfort of a Mercedes-Benz luxury sedan with the robustly progressive detailing of an SUV.  There are three fully electrically adjustable seat rows 

The centre console offers a wireless-charging compartment for smartphones (Standard in the GLS 580) and standard additional USB ports. Rear passengers are further indulged with the optional Rear Comfort Package plus which includes luxury head restraints with additional cushions and the rearward-extended centre console between the front seats with cup holders.

The GLS combines modern luxury with the character of an off-roader. It combines powerful highlights of off-road design & capability with an elegance reminiscent of a classic luxury sedan.


The Rear Comfort package Plus also includes removable 7-inch Android tablet in its own docking station in the second row’s larger luxury centre armrest, coupled with wireless charging in the rear. The tablet allows touch control of all the MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) comfort and entertainment functions from the rear seat rows, such as access to radio, media, phone and web browser. It can also be used to control the Rear Seat Comfort package and the five-zone automatic climate control for the rear seats. The driver can assume control of all options and features from his or her seat at any time.

Driving assistance systems: even better support 

The new GLS is equipped with the latest generation of Mercedes-Benz driving assistance systems. Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC with route-based speed adaptation allows the new GLS to recognise and respond to tailbacks or slow-moving traffic before the driver becomes aware of the hazard. When a traffic jam is detected on the highway (and if the driver does not choose a different response), DISTRONIC reduces the speed to around 100 km/h as a precaution. Once the tailback clears, the GLS accelerates back up to the pre-set speed.

Trailer Manoeuvring Assist is available as an option for drivers not familiar with towing trailers, or more experienced drivers towing longer trailers.

Suspension: AIRMATIC air suspension as standard 

The GLS comes with the enhanced AIRMATIC air suspension system with Adaptive Damping System Plus fitted as standard. In addition to this, the air suspension keeps the car at the same level, regardless of the load on board. The off-road functions include recovery mode when coupled with the optional Off Road Engineering package.

If the GLS has become bogged down in a sand dune, for example, the suspension level is automatically raised and lowered several times, which changes the ground pressure of the tyres and therefore improves traction – the GLS rocks itself free. Individual wheel actuation allows the level at each wheel to be individually adjusted via the touchscreen of the media display, thus improving the vehicle’s alignment on rough terrain when one wheel is stuck in a ditch or a wheel spring is fully contracted, for instance. This also helps to increase traction and the torque at the wheel.

This is how the two GLS models compare:

 GLS 400 d 4MATICGLS 580 4MATIC 
Number of cylinders/arrangement 6/in-line V8
Displacement (cc) 2925 3982 
Rated output (kW)243 360 
at rpm 3600-4200 5500
Extra output from EQ Boost (kW) on take-off16 
Rated torque (Nm) 700 700 
at rpm 1200-3200 2000-4000 
Add. torque from ECO Boost (Nm) on take-off250
Fuel consumption combined (l/100 km) 7.9 – 7.6 10.0 – 9.8 
Combined CO2 emissions(g/km) 208 – 201 229 – 224 
Acceleration 0-100 km/h (s) 6.3 4.7 
Top speed (km/h) 238 250 
Image courtesy of Motorpress

We will be in a better position give a more in-depth overview of the GLS once we get it on test.


Mercedes-Benz GLS 400d  – R1 842 000
Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 – R2 025 000