2011 C-Class New Car Test Drive
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is the most compact and least expensive of the brand's sedan offerings. Yet it's no less a Mercedes-Benz. You'll find everything you expect from Mercedes-Benz in a C-Class from safety features to predictable driving dynamics.
The C-Class Luxury grade does indeed feel like a small version of a traditional Mercedes four-door luxury sedan. For drivers who want something sportier, the Sport models provide that. Those want a street-legal racecar can order an AMG version.
The C-Class is a terrific driving experience; great driver feedback through the steering, rock-solid, and so stable it's very difficult to get into trouble, and delivering to the driver a superb grasp, both literally and figuratively, on what the car is doing. And it does this without taking away any of the refinement or comfort that makes driving one a fatigue-free process.
C-Class models are available with rear-wheel drive or 4MATIC four-wheel drive, the latter for improved active safety and winter weather capability.
The Mercedes-Benz C300 comes with a 228-hp 3.0-liter V6. The C350 comes with a 268-hp 3.5-liter V6. The racy C63 AMG features a 451-hp 6.2-liter V8.
Compared with Luxury models, Sport versions use wider rear tires and wheels, sit more than half an inch lower, use firmer suspension settings, and get a three-spoke steering wheel. Sport sedans use a different grille with the Mercedes-Benz ringed star in it as opposed to the Luxury with the star on the hood, and Sport models use AMG-style deeper front air dams, side skirts and rear aprons. AMG version are distinguished by unique styling cues.
The C-Class is not a big car, so tall drivers and business-people who routinely transport clients may find they need something bigger, such as an E-Class. But among its primary competition the C-Class is more than merely in the game; it's a real player.
For 2010, the C-Class offers a few new features. Standard equipment includes a new monitoring system that shows individual tire pressures. The outside mirrors are more aerodynamic and the steering wheel is wrapped in premium leather. The C300 Sport trim level also has new 17-inch five-spoke alloy wheels. A new option is a Dynamic Handling Package for Sport models that includes active damping suspension, faster, speed-sensitive steering, and 18-inch five-twin-spoke AMG alloy wheels; on those with the automatic transmission, this package includes steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles. In addition, for the first time on the C-Class, the Keyless-Go system is now available, which gives push-button starting. Other new options include a rear-view camera, four-way power lumbar adjustment, a tilting side mirror for parking, and a universal media interface.
The 2010 Mercedes-Benz C300 comes as a Sport sedan ($33,600), Luxury sedan ($35,300), 4MATIC Sport ($37,100), and 4MATIC Luxury ($37,300). All come with a 228-horsepower 3.0-liter V6. The C300 Sport comes with a six-speed manual gearbox, the others with a seven-speed automatic, which is also available on the Sport ($1,490).
The C300 Sport comes with dual-zone climate control, synthetic upholstery, tilt/telescoping multifunction wheel, power windows/locks/heated mirrors, moonroof, eight-way power sport seats, front and rear fog lamps, cruise control, trip computer/maintenance minder, AM/FM/Weather/CD audio system with aux input, Bluetooth, leather-wrapped wheel and shifter, alarm, central controller, five-inch flip-up color display, aluminum trim, 17-inch aluminum wheels.
The Luxury C300 replaces the sport seats and aluminum trim with cushier seats and burl walnut trim. Automatic transmission comes standard on Luxury, along with a heated washer reservoir.
The C300 Sport 4MATIC adds all-wheel drive, automatic transmission and a heated washer reservoir.
Options on the C300 include leather upholstery ($1,590), burl walnut trim ($320), metallic paint ($720), TeleAid ($650), iPod integration ($375), and Panorama roof ($1,070). The Premium Package I ($2,300) includes Sirius, heated front seats, auto-dimming mirrors, UGDO, rain-sensing wipers, power tilt/telescope and driver memory system. The Premium Package II ($3,700) includes Premium I plus bi-Xenon headlamps with heated washers and cornering lights, split-fold 60/40 rear seat, and power rear shade. The Multimedia package ($2,650) includes COMAND navigation and seven-inch screen, 450-watt harman/kardon Surround Sound audio system, voice control, and 6CD/MP3 changer.
The C350 ($39,750) adds a 268-horsepower higher-revving 3.5-liter V6, seven-speed automatic and rear-drive only, plus agility control variable shock damping, sport suspension, bigger brakes, AMG-style wheels, everything in the Premium I package, heated front sport seats, and black Birdseye Maple wood trim (walnut at no charge if you prefer). Options include the Premium II package ($1,400), metallic paint, leather upholstery, TeleAid, six-CD changer, iPod integration, Panorama roof, Multimedia package and 18-inch wheels with wider rear tires than C300 Sports.
The C63 AMG ($57,350) comes with a 6.2-liter 451-horsepower V8, AMG Speedshift seven-speed transmission, 18-inch wheels and high-performance tires, and unique brakes, suspension, steering, sport seats with adjustable side bolsters, AMG instrumentation and aluminum shift paddles behind the sport steering wheel. Cosmetically and mechanically it is a different car from the windshield forward. The C63 standard feature list is close to the C350 Sport sedan. Options include metallic paint ($720), Leather Package ($3,030), Premium II ($1,400), Multimedia ($2,650), iPod ($375), carbon fiber trim ($2,550) and the Performance P30 package ($4,050), with locking differential, composite brakes, leather/Alcantara steering wheel, and 186-mph limiter.
Safety equipment includes dual adaptive frontal airbags, front side thorax airbags, front side pelvic airbags (except on C63), side curtain airbags, active front head restraints, PreSafe system, electronic stability control and full traction and brake electronic assists. There are no optional safety systems.