Full 2010 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Review
What's New for 2010
For 2010, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class gets a more advanced tire-pressure monitoring system, more aerodynamic mirrors and a higher-quality leather-wrapped wheel. The new Dynamic Handling package available on rear-drive Sport models includes an active suspension, quicker steering, shift paddles and 18-inch AMG wheels. Other new options include a rearview camera, keyless ignition/entry and a new iPod interface.
It doesn't take much to convince someone to get a Mercedes-Benz. That big three-pointed star is usually enough to do the trick, while a low lease payment can seal the deal. It would be easy for a company in such an instance to rest on its laurels, and for about a decade Mercedes did just that. Yet the 2010 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is one in an ongoing list of recently redesigned models that are restoring this great marque to its former glory. While it certainly isn't for everyone, the C-Class is an entry-level luxury sedan worth much more than just its badge.
One interesting aspect to this latest C-Class is that Mercedes offers it in a diverse lineup to better cater to distinct types of buyers. The C300 Luxury is intended for the person mostly interested in a luxurious ride, a coddling interior and classic styling. The C300 and C350 Sport models, meanwhile, are equipped with a sport suspension, a more austere Germanic interior and brash styling. Then there's the C63 AMG, a little motoring monster with a 451-horsepower V8 shoehorned under its hood that competes with BMW's seasoned M3.
Regardless of flavor, though, the 2010 Mercedes C-Class delivers with excellent fit and finish, iron-clad build quality, smart electronic features and a refined ride (even the C63 is relatively comfy). If there's a downside to the C-Class, it's that its base engines are a bit down on power relative to the competition. While acceleration is certainly adequate, it's no doubt a little embarrassing to know that the turbocharged four-cylinder Audi A4 can outrun the C300.
Mercedes' C-Class is also a bit pricey compared to similarly equipped models like the Infiniti G37 and Lexus IS, while those interested in a more involving driving experience will find the BMW 3 Series a better choice. Yet, for that quintessential, classic Mercedes-Benz automotive experience in a smaller, less expensive package, the 2010 Mercedes-Benz C-Class will not disappoint. It doesn't take much to convince someone to buy a Mercedes, but the C-Class still puts in plenty of effort to do so.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2010 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is an entry-level luxury sedan available in four trim levels: C300 Sport, C300 Luxury, C350 Sport and C63 AMG. The C300 models share the same engine and are both available with 4Matic all-wheel drive, but differ in exterior styling elements, interior trim, suspension tuning, front seat design and standard transmission.
Both come standard with 17-inch wheels (different designs), a sunroof, automatic headlights, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, eight-way power front seats, MB-Tex premium vinyl upholstery, Bluetooth and an eight-speaker stereo with a CD player, auxiliary audio jack and a pop-up 5-inch display screen. The Premium I Package adds auto-dimming mirrors, driver memory functions, a power-adjustable steering wheel, automatic wipers, heated front seats and satellite radio.
The C350 Sport is essentially a C300 Sport with the Premium I Package, a bigger V6 and black bird's-eye maple wood trim. The C63 AMG is equipped similarly, but ups the performance ante considerably with a V8 engine, firmer suspension, bigger brakes, 18-inch wheels, AMG interior and exterior sport cues, leather AMG sport seats and aluminum paddle shifters.
The Premium II Package, available on every C-Class, includes all Premium I equipment plus bi-xenon headlights, LED taillamps, a rear sunshade and a split-folding rear seat. Opting for the Multimedia package gets you the COMAND electronics interface, a hard-drive-based navigation system (with real-time traffic updates), a six-CD changer, an iPod interface, 6GB of digital music storage and a bigger pop-up display. The COMAND package available on all but the C63 includes all the previous items except the navigation system. The Dynamic Handling package available on the C300 and C350 Sport models adds 18-inch AMG wheels, a driver-adjustable suspension, a quicker steering ratio and steering wheel shift paddles (when equipped with the automatic).
The AMG Seating package available on the C63 adds front memory seats, a power-adjustable steering wheel and upgraded leather upholstery. The AMG Performance package available on the C63 adds upgraded brakes, a limited-slip differential, track-calibrated suspension, a higher top speed and leather/faux suede steering wheel.
Stand-alone options include 18-inch wheels, a panorama sunroof (not on C63), a rearview camera (requires Multimedia package), leather upholstery, heated front seats, keyless ignition/entry, satellite radio, the iPod interface and a premium Harman Kardon surround-sound stereo.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2010 Mercedes-Benz C300 is powered by a 3.0-liter V6 that produces 228 hp and 221 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed automatic transmission is standard on the C300 Luxury and optional on the C300 Sport, which comes standard with a six-speed manual. Rear-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive (dubbed 4Matic) is optional. In performance testing the C300 Sport with the automatic went from zero to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 18 mpg city/26 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined with rear-wheel drive. 4Matic drops those estimates to 18/25/20.
The C350 Sport gets a 3.5-liter V6 good for 268 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Rear-wheel drive and the seven-speed auto is the only drivetrain combo offered. The C350 did the 0-60 sprint in 6.3 seconds, which is off the pace of more potent competitors but still quick. Estimated fuel economy is 17/25/20.
The C63 AMG gets a burly 6.2-liter V8 that delivers 451 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels via a seven-speed automatic with three different shift modes. In our testing, the C63 reached 60 mph in a scant 4.4 seconds. Fuel economy estimates are 12/19/15.
The 2010 Mercedes-Benz C-Class comes with standard front side airbags, side curtain airbags, front-seat-mounted pelvic airbags, active front head restraints, stability control, traction control and adaptive antilock brakes (that feature brake assist, brake drying, pre-pressure and hill-start assist). Rear side airbags are optional.
In government crash testing of the 2009 model, the C-Class received four out of five stars for frontal crash protection and five stars for front and rear side protection. In crash testing done by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, an '09 C-Class received the highest possible rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset and side crash tests.
Interior Design and Special Features
Just tugging on the door handle makes you feel as if you've cracked open an impenetrable vault. The C-Class' interior is beautifully crafted, though its austere ambience and angular design may convey a less luxurious feel to some. Opting for wood trim or a two-tone color scheme at least introduces a small amount of warmth. The controls are fairly simple for this class of car, and Mercedes' optional COMAND electronics interface is fairly easy to use. The new iPod interface is particularly user-friendly.
Though the C-Class is bigger than previous editions, it's hardly the best choice for growing families. Some may find a child seat difficult to install in the narrow, bucketlike backseats, and the 12.4-cubic-foot trunk is on the small side.
In a straight line, the 2010 Mercedes-Benz C300 and C350 won't set any records. But steering and handling are precise, and in terms of overall dynamics, the car measures up just fine compared to others in this segment. Despite its somewhat sporty character, the C-Class is never harsh on the road, and it can tackle long road trips with ease. The C300 Luxury rides a little softer than the Sport versions and has a quieter exhaust system, resulting in a more serene driving environment, though naturally this model doesn't handle quite as well.
The C63 is a completely different species. Packing a ferocious V8, the C63 is the closest thing you can get to a German-made muscle car. While not as tactile or agile as the BMW M3, the C63 responds to driver inputs with added sharpness and a degree of communication few Mercedes-Benz models have ever offered.