2021 Mercedes-Benz C Class

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2021
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2020
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Andrew Ganz Andrew Ganz Senior Editor
November 10, 2020

Buying tip

Spend up for the Driver Assistance Package, which offers an impressive array of safety features.

features & specs

AMG C 43 4MATIC Convertible
AMG C 43 4MATIC Coupe
AMG C 43 4MATIC Sedan
MPG
18 city / 25 hwy
MPG
19 city / 27 hwy
MPG
19 city / 27 hwy
MSRP
$65,500
MSRP
$59,000
MSRP
$56,500

Svelte, sporty, and somewhat understated, the 2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class should be at the top of your compact luxury sedan shopping list.

What kind of vehicle is the 2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class? What does it compare to?

The 2021 Mercedes C-Class is a compact luxury sedan, coupe, or convertible. Long a fixture of the Mercedes lineup, it is worth shopping against the BMW 3-Series, Audi A4, and Volvo S60. 

Is the 2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class a good car/SUV?

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Though you’ll pay for the privilege—plus the prestige and luxury—associated with the three-pointed star, the 2021 C-Class is a great choice among small sedans. On our TCC Rating scale, it gets a 7.3 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What's new for the 2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class?

Not much. Heated seats and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster are now standard, while a new Night Edition trim blacks out what’s typically chrome and tosses in some AMG styling and comfort bits, but no performance features.

The C-Class comes in coupe, convertible, and sedan forms, all of which share a 111.8-inch wheelbase, a slew of engines, and a swoopy dashboard. Rear-wheel drive is standard, though shoppers outside the Sun Belt will find all-wheel drive to be more common. 

The standard C300 is a solid choice with its 255-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-4 matched with a great 9-speed automatic. If a cushy ride is your thing, stop reading and order a C300. From here, the lineup gets sporty. The AMG C43 delivers 385 hp through a twin-turbo V-6, while the real gem of this lineup (and it’s priced like a diamond) is the C63 with up to 503 hp from its boosted V-8.

None is especially thrifty, even the C300. A 27-mpg combined rating from the EPA is just OK for a compact four-door. Mercedes doesn’t offer a hybrid C-Class. 

For the most part, coupes and convertibles mirror the more popular sedan lineup, albeit with heftier price tags. All boast a curvy interior with twin 12.3-inch screens housed under a single pane of glass, plus simple climate controls. The high-tech infotainment setup takes some time to master, though it’s quick to respond. 

The C-Class has performed well in crash tests and the car comes with automatic emergency braking. Systems that allow limited hands-free driving, blind-spot monitors, and adaptive cruise control are on the options list—and they are surprisingly expensive. 

How much does the 2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class cost?

Don’t expect to go into a Mercedes showroom with less than $43,000 to spend, although sticking with rear-wheel drive and saying “no thanks” to every option will squeeze you in under that threshold. 

For most users, our money would be on a C300 with a few reasonable options, so figure around $50,000, or another $2,000 with all-wheel drive. The lineup skyrockets toward six figures by the time you’ve optioned up a C63 with must-haves such as carbon fiber mirror caps and LED lights that project the AMG logo onto the ground when you open the door. Because, of course. 

Where is the 2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class made?

Mercedes builds the C-Class all over the globe, though most bound for U.S. dealers are assembled in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. This will change as Mercedes moves the C-Class again for the next generation, coming in the next year or so.

8

2021 Mercedes-Benz C Class

Styling

Though its curves have been around for a few years, the 2021 Mercedes C-Class remains a gorgeous choice—especially in coupe form.

Is the 2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class a good-looking car?

Mercedes offers three body styles all with a C on their trunklids. The prettiest of the pack is arguably the coupe with its sloping roofline, but all share styling pleasant enough to garner 8 out of 10 on our scale. 

Generally speaking, these are relatively conservative sedan, but with more flair and cohesion than you’ll find in most rivals. The airy greenhouses prevent the C-Class models from looking too sinister, though AMG-penned touches in 43 and 63 variants amp things up.

Inside, the 2021 C-Class has a modern cockpit full of nods to the past. This year, twin 12.3-inch screens tucked under a single glass display are standard fare. The left screen serves as a configurable instrument cluster, while the right is a touchscreen for infotainment. Round air vents add a classy look, though you’ll want to spend some time sorting through the myriad upholstery and trim choices. Keep in mind that Mercedes has hefty upcharges for many features, though.

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2021 Mercedes-Benz C Class

Performance

From sedate to sporty, the 2021 Mercedes C-Class range is as flexible as they come.

Is the Mercedes-Benz C-Class 4WD?

Yes, at least in most configurations. Only the base C300 is offered with rear-wheel drive, which is optional there and standard otherwise. 

How fast is the Mercedes-Benz C-Class?

No version of the C-Class is pokey, though AMGs are quite a bit faster than the base C300. We rate the lineup at 7 out of 10 based on the C300. AMG versions would add at least a point for their performance. 

That said, few drivers will find the C300 lacking. Its 2.0-liter turbo-4 ticks out 255 hp, hustled rearward or to all four corners through a 9-speed automatic transmission. The combo is good for a 5.7-second 0-60 mph sprint. 

Mercedes’ in-house tuner arm spent some time with the C43, massaging its turbocharged V-6 to 385 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque. Ultimately, the C43 is more like a sported-up version of the C-Class than a true performance thoroughbred, though it’s enough of a thrill ride to keep most drivers entertained.

Enthusiasts will want the C63, rated at 469 hp in base trim or 503 hp as the C63 S (spend the extra coin, please). 

Base C300s are plush and comfortable, but shy of sporty. They offer good steering heft and a comfortable, predictable ride that recalls Mercedes sedans of decades past.

C43s toss in stiffer springs and adaptive dampers, plus unique steering tuning and grippier rubber. They’re a hoot, but they’re no match for the air suspension included with the C63. Though a C63 with a few options and a couple of passengers can tickle 4,000 pounds, these compact cars are a genuine pleasure to hustle down a winding road. Few small coupes and sedans are as engaging.

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7

2021 Mercedes-Benz C Class

Comfort & Quality

Luxurious and spacious as long as you’re not in the back seat, the 2021 C-Class is a fine car that helps justify its hefty price tag.

The 2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class has a plush interior, at least once you’ve ticked a few options. We rate it at 7 out of 10 on account of its luxurious trim and its comfortable front seats. 

Synthetic leather is standard, but it’s hard-wearing and most occupants will think it’s the real McCoy. Spend instead on one of the attractive woodgrain options Mercedes offers. 

Sedans are better for second-row passengers, but it’s not easy for tall passengers to get it, and the low roofline trims head room. Coupes and convertibles are borderline inhospitable for anyone taller than a fourth grader. 

Cargo isn’t a C-Class virtue—reminder your dealer that Mercedes sells a spacious C-Class wagon in many other countries but not our own. Sedans offer fewer than 13 cubic feet of luggage room, while droptops slice that to a mere 8.8 cubes.

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9

2021 Mercedes-Benz C Class

Safety

The 2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is a very safe small car choice.

How safe is the Mercedes-Benz C-Class?

Very. We don’t recommend you test it out, but the 2021 Mercedes C-Class can do its best to avoid an impact, and federal and independent testers have decided that it will hold up well should one occur. We rate the range at 9 out of 10.

That figure’s based on a Top Safety Pick+ award from the IIHS and five stars from the NHTSA during their last evaluation, as well as standard automatic emergency braking and available safety equipment. The Driver Assistance Package is a pricey option, but it’s one we’d select because it includes adaptive cruise control that can speed up or slow down the car based on speed limit signs, plus the ability to automatically steer the car away from a potential collision.

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2021 Mercedes-Benz C Class

Features

A wide lineup and many options make the 2021 Mercedes C-Class a feature-rich lineup.

If you’re new to Mercedes-Benz, you may be shocked to know that you could buy two zero-option C300s for the price of a loaded AMG C63. But it’s that massive degree of customizability that makes the C-Class range an 8 out of 10 on our features scale. Base models offer plenty, including a big infotainment screen and collision-avoidance tech, while a high-zoot C-Class is a very fancy compact luxury sedan. 

Which Mercedes-Benz C-Class should I buy?

Most shoppers will understandably start at C300 and end at C300—maybe 4Matic all-wheel drive if they live where snow falls with regularity. 

Plan to spend around $50,000 by the time you’ve paid extra for metallic paint, fancier interior trim, and a handful of safety and convenience packages worth selecting. 

How much is a fully loaded 2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class?

All in, a C63 Cabriolet can stretch to more than $86,000, though admittedly much of that extra cost is for avoidable items like paint upcharges and vanity items like an illuminated grille star.

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5

2021 Mercedes-Benz C Class

Fuel Economy

The 2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class range is reasonably green, once you consider the power underhood.

Is the 2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class good on gas?

The most popular versions of the 2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class are relatively miserly at 24 mpg city, 33 highway, 27 combined for the C300 with rear-wheel drive. (Dial 1 mpg back in the city for the all-wheel-drive version.)

Convertibles and coupes may have fewer doors, but they’ll use more gas. Look for 1 to 2 mpg less combined.

And if it’s power you’re after, C43 and C63 versions guzzle at a rate of 22 and 21 mpg combined, respectively. 

No matter the C-Class, expect to use premium fuel. No hybrid C-Class is currently available, though Mercedes has toyed with gasoline-electric small sedans in the past. 

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$41,600
MSRP based on C 300 Sedan
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7.3
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 8
Performance 7
Comfort & Quality 7
Safety 9
Features 8
Fuel Economy 5
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2021 Mercedes-Benz C Class Pricing Insights

  • 2021 C-Class is available
  • Discounts: Up to $4,500 off (sedan)
  • Lease: $439/mo. (sedan)
  • Finance: 1.99% APR for 36 mo.
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