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2-Door Coupe 4MATIC C350Premium Unleaded V-6, 3.5 L
All Wheel Drive
|$ 42,641||$ 45,850|
2-Door Coupe RWD C250Intercooled Turbo Premium Unleaded I-4, 1.8 L
Rear Wheel Drive
|$ 36,456||$ 39,200|
2-Door Coupe RWD C63 AMGPremium Unleaded V-8, 6.2 L
Rear Wheel Drive
|$ 58,358||$ 62,750|
2-Door Coupe RWD C350Premium Unleaded V-6, 3.5 L
Rear Wheel Drive
|$ 40,781||$ 43,850|
With the arrival of the CLA 'four-door coupe' this past year, and the GLA small crossover this year, Mercedes-Benz has at last given the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class some room to grow. With all-new underpinnings, plus class-leading features, technology, and safety equipment, the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is significantly improved over the previous version. And instead of simultaneously playing entry model, luxury sedan, and sport sedan, it's been allowed to simply be one thing: a very charming, very good luxury sedan.
The first thing you’re likely to notice about the 2015 C-Class is its striking exterior. You’d even be forgiven for mistaking it for the much larger and more expensive S-Class from a distance. But we like how the new C-Class doesn't just ape the Mercedes flagship; it has its own profile, and its own details. Inside, the styling upgrade is even more apparent, and even more in line with the S-Class. Large round vents, a flowing center console, and inlaid metallic-look panels in the door all speak a design language that’s usually reserved for larger and more expensive cars.
Due to go on sale at the end of August, the 2015 C-Class will launch in just two forms, both coming with standard 4Matic all-wheel drive: the C300 and the C400. The smaller designation denotes a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 241 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. The larger, the C400, gets a twin-turbocharged V-6 engine good for 329 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque. Later on in the model year (early calendar-year 2015), a rear-drive version of the C300 will become available, and diesel and hybrid versions are also expected to be offered in America. All announced versions of the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class in the U.S. use a seven-speed automatic transmission.
As the most potent form of the 2015 C-Class to reach America (short of the AMG model due in early 2015), the C400 has rather a lot riding on its shoulders in terms of performance. But the C400 4Matic, which comes standard with Mercedes’ Airmatic suspension, does not intend to be a sport sedan first and foremost. Instead, it’s a luxury sedan with ample power and a planted, stable ride. The C400 isn't aimed for track-day enthusiasts; don’t count that as a demerit, however, as the 2015 C400’s on-road demeanor is expertly balanced, putting passenger comfort and confident dynamics at the fore.
Between the two models, the C300 is our preference. In most kinds of driving, it feels just as quick as the 400; and only when your right foot is mashed to the floor do you notice that it's actually a bit faster -- especially in highway passing situations. It should return significantly better fuel economy, too. And at an event where we drove both, we didn't notice any real improvement in ride, and we preferred the more straightforward handling of the standard suspension.
A highlight of the new 2015 C-Class is its interior, which is the new class leader in terms of style and sophistication. Even apart from the headline option items, like a Burmester sound system, new touch-controlled COMAND infotainment system, or Mercedes’ suite of safety technologies called Intelligent Drive, the cabin of the new C-Class exudes luxury in a way that none of the existing alternatives from other brands—or even Mercedes’ own outgoing C-Class—can manage. Material quality, fit and finish, and design are all top-notch, class-leading. There’s no aspect of the cabin that feels like a cut corner or a cost-savings measure. Optional trims include a gorgeous open-pore black ash wood that feels like it comes from a car several classes higher.
The luxurious cabin has grown larger for the new generation as well, a freedom gained by the introduction of the smaller CLA-Class below. Greater wheelbase means more rear-seat leg room, and while six-footers won’t have abundant space for knees, elbows, or noggins, they’ll fit with adequate comfort for even fairly extended drives. The front seat is spacious, with plenty of leg, head, and shoulder room, though the width of the (rather beautiful) center console can impinge on side-to-side knee room for the longer-legged. Entry and exit to the back seat also seems to have fallen victim to the roofline and more aggresive door cutlines. Trunk space, however, is a spacious 17 cubic feet, and the rear seatbacks flip forward easily (and flat).
As an all-new model that hasn’t yet arrived in the U.S. for retail sale, neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has yet crash-tested the car. Likewise, the EPA hasn’t yet established gas mileage ratings for either the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C300 or C400.
Mercedes’ suite of technology in the 2015 C-Class puts it almost on par with the E-Class and S-Class in terms of safety and driver assistance. In fact, many of the systems are identical to the others, while a few are arriving in the C-Class first, before moving to there set of the lineup. The Intelligent Drive package rolls up many of the headline aspects, and includes Distronic Plus adaptive cruise control and steering assist, a stereo-camera system that further aids lane-keeping and semi-autonomous functions, brake assist, active parking assist, and a surprisingly effective 360-degree camera system, among other features. A head-up display can relay navigation instructions, vehicle speed, and other driving data.
The new COMAND infotainment system gets Mercedes’ latest mbrace2 app suite and an all-new touchpad controller that hovers above the familiar (but now knurled) COMAND control wheel. This new touchpad system offers gestural input, including swipes, pinch-zoom, and tap/click maneuvers, all familiar to computer or tablet users. The touchpad is better in idea than in execution, however, bunchy, inconsistent responses and behaviors that aren't as well-coordinated with the menu system as they could be (or as smooth as in a typical tablet).
- Knockout good looks inside and out
- Excellent steering
- Improved interior design
- Strong turbocharged engines
- High-tech safety options
Next: Interior / Exterior »
- Very near the E-Class in price
- COMAND infotainment continues to lag
- Back seat isn't all that usable