The Mercedes-Benz C-Class will undergo a big revamp in 2014 but before that the firm has given its 2013 model a shot in the arm designed to help it compete with the latest BMW 3 Series. If you're wondering how the new, updated car compares to the previous model then take a metaphorical step this way as we break down the changes.
Looks-wise, the 2013 C-Class is pretty much identical to the current car. It's available in a few new colours, has some new indicator stalks and they've changed the background colour on the central display from that old-school yellow to a more contemporary, easier to read silver.
More significantly, Mercedes-Benz has introduced a new entry-level petrol engine to the range. The C180 BlueEfficiency model packs a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine that kicks out 152bhp and 250Nm of torque while netting 47.9mpg and 138g/km of CO2. The previous engine had almost identical power and torque figures but was thirstier and dirtier, returning 38mpg and spewing 169g/km.
The new engine can be paired with a new entry-level Executive SE spec. This brings with it a sports grille, newly designed 16-inch alloys, a slightly different upholstery design and LED daytime running lights for just £35 more than you'd pay for the previous entry-level SE grade. Executive SE is also available on C200 CDI and C220 CDI engine options.
For those that want to add a layer of swank to their C-Class, there's a new £2,000 Luxury Package that bolts onto the Executive SE spec. This, offered in place of the previous Elegance trim, includes a three-louver grille with a bonnet-mounted star, larger seven spoke 17-inch rims, folding exterior door mirrors, auto dimming rear view mirror, chrome trim on the outside and ash wood trim.
The C-Class's Sport model has been dumped in favour of a new AMG Sport spec, which brings with it 17-inch AMG alloy wheels and halogen headlights. Not much change there, you might think, but its C220 CDI engine is now cleaner and more efficient. The previous unit chucked out CO2 at a rate of 133g/km, but the lump in the new car spews just 123g/km, meaning it's cheaper to tax (18 per cent benefit in kind tax instead of 20 per cent).
Those who fancy a slightly more exclusive package can opt for the new AMG Sport Plus. It'll cost £1,000 more than AMG Sport (although just £35 more than the outgoing Sport model). It brings with it 18-inch bi-colour AMG alloys, bi-xenon front lights with adaptive high beam assist, AMG sports seats with black upholstery and contrasting red stitching, red seat belts, AMG floor mats with red edging and silver gearshift paddles if you buy the automatic transmission.
Mercedes-Benz also offers a £530 handling package that delivers a more sporty steering, engine, exhaust and transmission response.
Last but not least, all versions are now available with eCall, which alerts a Mercedes-Benz call centre with details of your location and possible condition in the event of an emergency. Start saving those pennies.