Not so way back, a four-cylinder luxurious automobile was one thing you settled for—the bare-bones entry to the membership, a reduce under the “actual” luxurious automobiles with six cylinders, V8s or lordly V12s. The all-new 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class reveals how a lot issues have modified.
Mercedes has declared that each new C-Class—even the mightiest, ultra-high-performing AMG variations—shall be propelled by a four-cylinder engine. And even the brand new “base mannequin” C 300 (ranging from an affordable $44,600) is a many-layered marvel of luxurious, know-how, security and efficiency. That’s regardless of a turbocharged 255-horsepower four-cylinder that doesn’t sound significantly outstanding on paper.
But when the automobile and engine are handled to Mercedes’ latest and greatest applied sciences—a 48-volt gentle hybrid system, turbocharger tech from Mercedes’ System One racing, and infotainment straight from the S-Class flagship—the C-Class immediately turns into one of the compelling, high-value fashions in Benz showrooms.
That S-Class Really feel
The brand new C sedan (no coupe has but been launched) seems like a junior-suite S-Class, solely smaller, sportier, dramatically extra fuel-efficient and inexpensive. What’s to not like, particularly when the C 300’s cabin makes a convincing case for being the richest and most technically adept in a wickedly aggressive phase. That features the BMW 3-Collection, Audi A4, Cadillac CT4, Lexus IS and extra. Even the acclaimed Genesis G70 inside should bow to this Benz with its almost-unfair inheritance from the luxury S-Class.
It’s inherited the high-drama MBUX infotainment system, its freestanding shows (with the middle display tilted six levels towards the driving force) and non-obligatory augmented actuality navigation and full-color head-up show.
Pure woods, gleaming metals, an endlessly touchable steering wheel, 64-color ambient lighting, delicate leathers on pampering seats, Burmester audio—there’s actually nothing lacking right here. Mercedes contains most options of its security and driving techniques, together with adaptive cruise management with automated steering and self-parking.
Goodbye ‘Child Benz’
The excellent high quality extends to the driving expertise, a finely balanced cocktail of consolation, efficiency and shocking effectivity. We drove the 2022 C 300 over two days from Brooklyn to Mercedes’ media drive within the Catskills area of New York and noticed how one of many phase’s greatest automobiles has solely gotten higher.
The C-Class was Mercedes’ longtime entry-level automobile—fondly dubbed the “Child Benz” within the Eighties, below its former 190 mannequin identify. As its mannequin lineup proliferated within the 2000s and 2010s, Mercedes moved the C upmarket, forsaking smaller fashions just like the CLA-Class and A-Class to fill the entry-level slots.
Extra Mature, Inside and Out
Mercedes amplifies the more-mature standing by making it barely bigger: about 2.5 inches in size, an inch extra in wheelbase. At 187 inches in size, it’s a few tenths shy of an Audi A4 or Cadillac CT4. The Benz grows about 0.5-inches wider and decrease, although rear headroom truly elevated by 0.4 inches.
The stretch provides the C-Class the roomiest again seat within the class, with 36 inches of legroom. There’s a contact extra shoulder and elbow room entrance and rear. An ordinary panoramic sunroof boosts the impression of a near-midsize sedan.
Baggage area stays common for the category, with a protracted, huge but shallow area that may battle with bins or bulkier gadgets. Break up-folding rear seats, with a pair of helpful switches within the trunk, assist lengthen the area.
Mercedes performs up the C-Class’ traditional sedan proportions by pushing the windshield and seats even additional towards the rear wheels, in a “cab-backward” design. That makes the elegantly extruded, power-domed hood much more imposing.
Inside, putting cantilever armrests, seat-control housings that appear to drift on the doorways and illuminated aircraft-style vents add to the visible enchantment. Issues get particularly expressive with numerous inside colours and trims. A wealthy AMG Sienna Brown options advantageous wooden with actual aluminum in its silver pinstriping, one other nod to its S-Class parentage. Kind-A drivers could go for an extroverted red-and-black scheme.
As soon as occupants scale an preliminary studying curve, they’ll coo over the MBUX screens. AR navigation superimposes useful directional arrows, avenue indicators and even hovering addresses over a real-time digital camera view.
As for privateness, MBUX’s biometric fingerprint reader can shield knowledge for particular person customers, unlocking issues like calendars, emails and extra. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are commonplace. And the C-Class expands the repertoire of Siri-style voice instructions, summoned by saying, “Hey, Mercedes.”
A Joyful Sport Sedan
With horsepower unchanged from 2021 at 255 horsepower, the C-Class could seem as if it’s standing pat—no less than till a brand new 2023 AMG C 43 arrives later this 12 months. However that’s not the case.
The C 300’s all-new engine combines all of Mercedes’ newest applied sciences for the primary time in its new, modular engine household.
Which means a 48-volt gentle hybrid system to seamlessly begin or cease the engine to save lots of gas, together with whereas “gliding” on the freeway. The hybrid electrical motor, mated to the superb nine-speed automated transmission, can provide quick, highly effective bursts of as much as 20 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. In comparison with 2021, the C 300’s most torque rises 22 pound-feet to 295. Subsequent, a twin-scroll turbocharger adopts tech developed with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 crew.
The result’s a automobile with “solely” 255 horsepower, that occurs to romp to 60 mph in roughly 5.4 seconds. (Mercedes formally says 5.9 seconds.) Mixed with a classy Agility Management suspension and finely weighted steering, the C-Class is as a lot a joyful sport sedan as it’s a smooth-riding luxurious automobile. Our C 300 Pinnacle model rode on good-looking 19-inch, multi-spoke AMG wheels with summer season efficiency tires.
The mild-hybrid powertrain additionally boosts gas financial system, in a manner that official measures could not totally credit score. The EPA pegs the C 300 at 23/35 mpg in metropolis and freeway, or 2 mpg higher on the freeway than earlier than. However on a mellow, 60-mile freeway jaunt, the C-Class was simply over 41 mpg, excellent for such a quick, feature-stuffed sedan.
The nine-speed transmission performs a key function right here, conserving the engine barely respiration on the freeway, turning simply 1,400 rpm at 70 mph, and 1,700 at 80 mph. And if there’s a quieter sedan on this measurement or value vary, I haven’t pushed it. That stated, the journey is on the firmer facet over the nastiest pavement, however nonetheless lots luxurious and remoted.
A Simplified Lineup
Mercedes has added welcome transparency to the C-Class’ previously complicated lineup. Three simplified trim traces—Premium, Unique and Pinnacle—add progressively extra options, with fewer a la carte choices. A C 300 Premium begins from $44,600. That rises to $46,850 for an Unique, with a Pinnacle for $48,500. Consumers can add 4Matic AWD for $2,000.
This being Mercedes, one can at all times spend extra.
My C 300 Pinnacle hit $57,970, with extras resembling a $1,950 Driver Help Bundle. However later this 12 months, the brand new, 402-horsepower AMG C 43 is anticipated to begin at nicely over $60,000 and demand greater than $70,000 for a well-stuffed model. Mercedes-Benz additionally hasn’t but launched coupe or convertible variations, and each the C and E-Class two-doors are anticipated to get replaced by a brand new CLE-Class in 2023.
Go straightforward on the extras, and an impressively outfitted C 300—we’d lean towards the mid-range Unique mannequin—might be had for proper round $50,000. Within the present inflationary local weather, a sporty, scaled-down S-Class for $50,000 appears like a relative discount.
Mercedes-Benz offered lodging, meals and journey to allow us to deliver you this first-person report. Though Forbes Wheels generally participates in manufacturer-hosted occasions, our protection is impartial, unbiased and geared toward providing shoppers an goal view of each automobile we check.