The C-Class has been a hugely important car for Mercedes over the years, with this mid-sized executive car being a common sight on UK roads, and constantly in battle with the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4 in this class.
It’s always been a refined, comfortable and premium affair, and even the outgoing model – which was sold between 2014 and 2021 – clocked up 2.5 million sales on its own. So it’s no understatement to say that this new model is a big deal.
Gaining a design that aims to bring it closer in-line with Mercedes’ larger saloons, it also receives a range of new technologies from the brand’s flagship S-Class. There are new, cleaner engines too – along with a range of new plug-in hybrid versions. But is the new C-Class good enough to take honours? Let’s get behind the wheel and find out.
Though the new C-Class has only recently been introduced, it’s already available with a wide range of petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid powertrains. The standard units all now feature a mild-hybrid system, while a nine-speed automatic gearbox is standard across the range.
Starting with the petrol options, there is a 201bhp 1.5-litre known as the C200, followed by a 254bhp 2.0-litre C300. Perhaps the most impressive version is the plug-in hybrid C300e, which features a 2.0-litre petrol and electric motor setup to generate 312bhp, while its large 25kWh battery allows for a seriously impressive electric range of up to 68 miles – twice that of many rivals.
Our test car is one of the more conventional diesels, though – the C220d, which uses a four-pot 2.0-litre that produces 199bhp and 440Nm of torque. That means it can accelerate from 0-60mph in 7.1 seconds, and is capable of 151mph when maxed out. Its mild-hybrid system also aids efficiency, with 60mpg easily possible on longer trips, while CO2 emissions stand at 121g/km.
At the top of the range is the 261bhp C300d.
Ride and handling
This C220d engine is a terrific all-rounder, with brilliantly comfortable seats making it easy to relax. Our test car was even fitted with the larger 19-inch alloys and the ride was still excellent.
This diesel C-Class especially is meant for motorway driving, and it’s here where it truly excels. The engine, while it can be a touch coarse under acceleration, settles down at speed, with very little road or wind noise making it stand out as a fantastic car for those that are spending lots of time behind the wheel, as many C-Class owners do.
The latest C-Class’ interior moves away from its predecessor, and now has a far more modern and minimalist feel than before. It’s the cabin where its S-Class inspiration can be noticed most, with the whole cabin centred around a large new touchscreen. It’s largely upmarket too, though some of the plastics feel a bit cheap, and not quite up to the standards found on the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series.
There will be plenty of space for most in the C-Class, with a decent amount of rear seat room and a 480-litre boot. There’s the option of the Estate mode too, should you require more space.
Four trim levels are offered on the C-Class, with the range beginning with the Sport. Standard equipment is pretty generous, including 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, an 11.9-inch touchscreen, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, heated front seats and a reversing camera.
AMG Line versions will account for the bulk of sales, with these featuring larger 18-inch wheels and a sportier AMG bodykit, with an AMG Line Premium model then bringing 19-inch alloy wheels, adaptive headlights, keyless entry and a 360-degree camera system.
Right at the top of the range is the AMG Line Premium Plus, which brings revised 19-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof, a head-up display and climate control for passengers in the rear.
Prices for the C-Class start from £38,785 for the C200 in Sport guise, but if you want a different engine or the more desirable AMG Line, prices quickly rise to beyond £40,000. It’s quite close in terms of price to rivals from Audi and BMW, though as the C-Class is only offered with slightly more powerful engines, it can make it seem a bit more expensive at first.
The latest C-Class continues to be a fine all-rounder, and this C220d certainly shows this Mercedes at its finest. It’s smooth, impressively refined and ideal for those that spend plenty of time on the road.
The tech-laden interior also makes it feel smart and modern, while there’s still a decent amount of interior space too. It’s not quite the perfectly rounded package that we expect from the C-Class, but it really isn’t far off at all.Enquire on a new Mercedes-Benz C-Class