Mercedes redesigned its C-Class sedan in 2015, and it was a clean break with the recent past. Bigger, more directly linked with the S-Class than ever, the latest C-Class has a slippery, sexy shape that bids farewell to most of the sharp corners and blunt details of the previous car.
Two-door coupes return in beautifully redefined form for the 2017 model year.
The latest C-Class sedan has a more upright grille, one that's flanked by more intricately styled headlamps—they wear brows of LEDs, and can be composed of LEDs themselves. The lower front end is punctuated by big air intakes, flared and curved to convey performance without leaning too heavily on racing-derived shapes. Flared front fenders and three big creases that rise out of the nose give it a more streamlined appearance. The tail has a more rounded appearance that's a softer, pleasant complement to the front end.
On sporting AMG models, distinct touches include a tweaked front bumper with larger air intakes, new trim in matte silver, a trunk-lid spoiler, and chrome-plated dual tailpipe outlets. There's a gloss-black package for an extra layer of glitz, and the usual cues like painted brake rotors are options.
Inside, Mercedes has also moved design language found in its other new vehicles into the C-Class, with long lines wrapping around the cabin's belt line, layered into tiers. Front and center is a free-standing display at the top of the center stack, three circular vents below, and two thin strips of buttons to control key functions.
AMG models can wear different grades of optional leather—regular or sueded Nappa on the seats—as well as a choice of Linden wood, piano-black trim, carbon-fiber, or silvered fiberglass. An analog clock is an option; seat belts can be red, black, or silver; and you can have Mercedes wipe all the badging off the front and back of the car, and add an illuminated three-pointed star.
The latest iteration of the COMAND controller for the vehicle's infotainment system sits atop the center tunnel, with a mouse-like touchpad puck hovering over a control wheel. In front of the driver, the steering wheel is flat-bottomed and offers a familiar set of controls on either of the horizontal spokes. The instrument panel offers a speedometer and a tachometer in separate analog gauge housings, with a full-color LCD screen between. It's by and large the most luxurious cabin in its class, though some of the small buttons that flank the steering wheel are finished in gloss black.
Altogether in design, details, and features, the cabin is a knockout. It really could fit right into a luxury flagship with double the price. Whether you expect something contemporary and fresh, or whether you want an updated take on the traditional, it fully fits.