The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is a compact executive car that’s constantly fighting it out with its Audi and BMW rivals for the affection of company car drivers. It’s now better than ever to drive, and its interior is festooned with lovely materials and plenty of tech. So, if you fancy a little luxury in your life, walk this way.
The Mercedes C-Class is available in four body styles - saloon, coupé, cabriolet and estate. All have purposeful looks, just like their BMW and Audi adversaries. The Merc’s more rounded features arguably hold more appeal. The saloon and coupé’s swoopy rears are particularly attractive – hitting that perfect point between fluid luxury and muscular executive. If a five-star hotel lobby was a car, it’d be the C-Class.
As you’d expect, the saloon has four doors, the estate has 5 and the coupé and cabriolet have just two – perfect for your business lunch trips. Which you choose will depend on how many passengers and what sort of luggage you need to carry.
Hits that perfect point between fluid luxury and muscular executive
What’s it like to drive?
This version of the C-Class is Mercedes’ best drive so far in its compact exec range. Lighter than its predecessor, it’s enjoyable to drive and boasts decent fuel efficiency (as we’ll see later). It’s easy to find a comfortable driving position and the standard suspension does a fair job of isolating occupants from the road surface. The optional air suspension is better, but the steering on all versions (bar the C43 and C63) may not be as precise as rivals’.
There are petrol, hybrid and diesel engines, all of which are more than capable of helping the C-Class to keep up with motorway traffic. The V6 and V8 petrol units in the C43 and C63 turn the Merc into a supercar.
The V6 and V8 petrol units in the C43 and C63 turn the Merc into a supercar.
You know you’re in something special as soon as you step inside the C-Class. Crucially, it’s easy to get comfortable behind the wheel, with electric seat adjustment that extends to the lumbar support.
At the SE entry-level trim, you get heated front seats covered with man-made leather, parking assistance, cruise control, a 10-inch multimedia screen controlled via a dial, a reversing camera, a DAB radio, Bluetooth, two USB ports, and oodles of leather and gloss black trim – a pretty decent line-up.
The Sport Edition adds LED headlights, while the AMG Line includes sport seats and swaps the analogue dials ahead of the driver for a digital screen that can show your sat-nav route. The standard sound system is good but a Burmester upgrade takes it to another level.
As you’d hope, no one is likely to complain about the amount of space on offer up front, where there’s plenty of room to stretch out. The rear seats in the saloon and estate are best reserved for two people because the floor tunnel gets in the way. Both occupants will be comfortable with the leg and headroom on offer, although the Skoda Superb offers more space. The coupé and cabriolet have two rear seats.
Storage space in the cabin includes a bin under the front armrest, a decent glovebox, door bins and a pair of cupholders (although you don’t get the latter on cars with manual gearboxes). The coupé and cabriolet add another pair of cupholders between the rear seats, so you can take your coffee meeting on the road.
The saloon’s boot will hold a maximum of 455 litres with the rear seats in use – perfect for all your business travel needs. Capacity varies according to whether your model is a hybrid or has four-wheel drive. The coupé’s boot holds a pretty decent 400 litres, while the estate’s takes 460 litres. So no matter which model you go for, you’ll not be too short on storage.
The rear seatbacks are split 40/20/40 and can be folded to boost boot volume. Let’s face it, if you’re going to be visiting the golf club or the nursery on a regular basis, the estate is going to be the car for you boot-wise.
Running costs and reliability
The hybrid models – the petrol-electric C300e and C350e, plus the diesel-electric C300de – are the most economical as you can drive them for up to 30 miles on pure-electric power. They may prove a wise option if you spend most of your time on urban roads nipping between offices instead of the motorway.
Expect to average around 40mpg from the C200, and only slightly less from the C300 petrols. The C220d and C300d diesels will return economy into the 50s if you take things easy.
The C43 and C63 AMG models (not forgetting the flagship C63 S) are incredibly quick, with sub-5.0sec 0-62mph times, so you’ll have to expect economy in the low 20s or even the teens.
What we love
We love the sense of occasion that the C-Class’s interior brings to the party. It’s luxurious and functional, but not too flashy. We also love the amount of standard equipment you get, even on entry-level cars. It’s perfect for parents with children of all ages, as well as couples and commuters who may have opted out of a company car scheme but still want to project that executive image.
Still looking for the one?
Use our comparison tool to find the car for you
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class adds that executive touch for anyone looking for a saloon, estate, coupé or cabriolet with a bit of pizzazz. It has a great safety rating from crash test experts Euro NCAP, and is brimming with tech and comfort that’ll help make your journey more enjoyable.
This review was