Sturdy bodyshell – made easy.
Lighter cars are more efficient. That is why Mercedes-Benz has substantially reduced the weight of the future C 180. Thanks to intelligent and innovative lightweight construction, the aluminium hybrid body is around 70 kg lighter than conventional production using steel. The gross vehicle weight has been cut by around 100 kilograms compared with the predecessor, which translates into up to 20 percent lower fuel consumption without any loss in power. Mercedes-Benz has pulled off this technological leap primarily through an entirely new design and the extensive usage of aluminium, hot-formed steel parts and ultra-high-strength steels – an unusual combination in volume-production vehicles.
The proportion of these materials has therefore increased noticeably compared with the successful predecessor. Simply by using these materials, the weight of the bodyshell structure has been reduced by some 40 kilograms compared with the outgoing saloon.
Virtually the entire outer skin, consisting of front wings, bonnet, boot lid, doors and the roof panelling, has been made from sheet aluminium, thus helping reduce weight further. The bodyshell engineers delivered further benefits – both in terms of weight and as regards other important body characteristics – by means of intelligent conceptual lightweight construction. As part of this process, they have redesigned each detail optimally and not simply replaced steel with aluminium. After all, the specification not only required a reduction in weight, but also called for a bodyshell which in many respects sets new, challenging standards, with hitherto unprecedented performance in this segment. New bodyshell concepts proved the most direct way of meeting these requirements. The designers exploited the greater design leeway offered by die-cast aluminium, for instance, compared with steel.
The body thus consists of nine large cast components. The same designers also managed to integrate and merge various components in a single die-cast component, which would otherwise have to be made up of several steel components with conventional steel designs. Other design details include larger cross-sections as well as precisely calculated stabilising beading in the floor and bulkhead.
Body and bodyshell clearly exceed the values for overall vehicle rigidity, which are traditionally outstanding for Mercedes-Benz, and set a new benchmark in this segment. As a result, the ambitious goals regarding driving dynamics and noise level have even been exceeded.