- Fuel economy (C250)
- Responsive handling (Sport and C63)
- Strong engine lineup
- Quiet, refined interiors
- Limited rear legroom
- Base trims lack pizzazz
- Numb steering
For those who have a want a value-oriented car that projects the right image, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz C-Class makes a lot of sense.
The 2014 Mercedes C-Class once was the entry-level model in the German automaker's lineup. All that's changed for 2014, with the arrival of the compact CLA-Class sedan. Now in its final year on the market before its own revamp scheduled for the 2015 model year, the C-Class is offered in a huge range of flavors, from V-8-powered performance sedan and coupe to relatively affordable turbocharged four-cylinder. And still today, after a mild refresh in 2012, the C-Class still feels modern, complete with all the current connectivity and safety technologies.
The C-Class remains essentially the same car that debuted in 2008, but it has since receive a series of engine upgrades and a mild interior and exterior refresh. It can still be purchased in Luxury or Sport guise, with the Sport trim most noticeable for its dinner-plate-sized Mercedes emblem mounted in the center of the grille. The C-Class is offered in both sedan and coupe models in the U.S., and the coupe wears a more aggressive roofline than the four-door model. Both styles have modern, sporty interior–while not as luxurious as the S-Class, the Mercedes C-Class makes for a solid competitor for the Audi A4 and BMW 3-Series.
The C Class models provide the utmost comfort for front occupants, but those in back, even if they can get in, will be left wedging their legs against the back of the front seats whether you're looking at the sedan or coupe. In all fairness, when looking at rival models like the Audi A4 or BMW 3-Series, that's just how it is in this class. You do tend to hear the engine a bit, but road noise is hushed much better in the Mercedes C-Class models than in other small sport sedans.
Mercedes-Benz continues to sell the C-Class in two main trim lines, Luxury and Sport, which get a number of details that can give them a dramatically different look. If you're unsure between these two lines, choose first by appearance, as within the basic feature set of each you can otherwise pick and choose options to build whatever you want. Standard equipment even on the base C250 includes dual-zone automatic climate control; Bluetooth hands-free calling; Bluetooth audio streaming; cruise control, a HomeLink universal garage-door opener; and a power tilt/sliding sunroof.
The C-Class also comes with the next-generation mbrace2 telematics and concierge system, which now includes a mobile app for remote horn and light operation and Valet Protect functionality, as well as Speed Alert, Driving Journal, and Curfew Minder services. There are also apps for Google Local Search, Facebook, and Yelp, among others.
With the base C 250 models you get a turbocharged, direct-injected 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, rated at 201 horsepower and 229 pound-feet of torque. This engine is fuel-efficient and fun, and it actually feels quicker than the previous V-6 C 300 (its official 7.1 seconds to 60 mph is the same). The C 250 is available only in rear-wheel drive, with a seven-speed automatic transmission changing gears. In the middle, the all-wheel-drive C 300 models get their motivation from a new 248-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 and are again offered with a seven-speed automatic. A 302-hp version of this same smooth 3.5-liter engine, making 273 pound-feet of torque is installed in C 350 models. At 5.9 seconds to 60 mph, they're quick, but not shockingly so. Like its stablemates, the rear-drive C 350 is available only with a seven-speed automatic transmission.
Up at the top of the lineup stands the C 63 AMG Coupe, which can get to 60 mph in a very brisk 4.4 seconds thanks to a 451-horsepower, 443-pound-foot 6.2-liter V-8 engine. It's not all about straight-line performance, however, with a highly tuned suspension that raises the C 63's performance to something on par with the class benchmark, the BMW M3. New for 2014 is the C63 AMG "507 Edition," which boosts the car's output to 507 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque, and includes additional high-gloss black trim pieces outside, with Alcantara trim inside.