2016 C-Class New Car Test Drive
Anchored by the C300, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class was redesigned for 2015. For 2016, a new C450 AMG Sport replaces the C400.
The C-Class is more lovely, more charming than ever. With its striking exterior, the current C-Class might easily be mistaken for the much larger (and more expensive) S-Class sedan. Though slightly larger and a lot more luxurious than the previous generation, the C-Class remains the smallest Mercedes-Benz sedan.
The highlight of the C-Class is its interior. No competitor manages to develop the kind of luxury that exudes from the C-Class cabin. Quality of materials, fit and finish, and overall design are all class-leading.
Rivals include the BMW 3 Series, Cadillac ATS, Audi A4, and Infiniti Q50. Several C-Class versions are available.
The C300 uses a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated 241 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque, teaming with a 7-speed automatic transmission. For most driving needs, the C300 is swift and satisfying. And, of course, the C300 yields the C-Class's best fuel economy. It's the only rear-wheel-drive model, as well as the only model to use regular steel springs. The C300 4MATIC is all-wheel drive.
The 2016 Mercedes-Benz C450 AMG Sport replaces the previous C400. A twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 generates 362 horsepower (up from 329 on the C400), sufficient for 0-60 mph acceleration in 4.9 seconds. Adaptive controls affect the sport-tuned air suspension, steering feel, throttle input, and transmission shift timing.
Stepping higher yet on the performance scale are the Mercedes-AMG C63 and C63 S. With its twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 whipping up 469 horsepower, the C63 can reach 60 mph in 4 seconds, just one-tenth of a second slower than the 503-horsepower C63 S. Diesel and plug-in hybrid versions are coming.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the C-Class five stars overall, with four- and five-star ratings for individual tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives it Good scores for frontal and side impacts.
Technology in the C-Class approaches the E-Class and S-Class in terms of safety and driver assistance. An Intelligent Drive package includes adaptive cruise control and steering assist, a stereo-camera system that aids lane-keeping, active parking assist, and a surround-view camera setup. Major options include leather upholstery, a power passenger seat, LED headlights, fragrance dispenser, panoramic sunroof, and Active Curve Illumination.
C300 ($38,950) includes the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine, cloth upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-speaker audio, and 17-inch alloy wheels. C300 4MATIC ($40,950) adds all-wheel drive.
C450 AMG 4MATIC ($50,800) comes with a 3.0-liter V6, rev-matching, all-wheel drive, adaptive suspension, 13-speaker surround sound, 18-inch wheels.
C63 AMG ($65,250) has a 469-horsepower V8 engine. C63 S AMG ($73,250) has a 503-horsepower V8.
Standard safety equipment includes pelvis airbags, window airbag, rear side airbags, and a driver's knee airbag.