2011 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Review

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Pros & Cons

  • Solid build quality
  • smooth ride
  • quiet interior
  • distinct sport- and luxury-oriented models
  • ultra-high-performance C63 model.
  • V6 engines down on power compared to rivals
  • austere cabin
  • pricier than most competitors.
List Price Range
$8,977 - $19,998

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Impeccably built to a standard befitting its legendary status, the 2011 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is an impressive luxury car. At the same time, the C-Class's pricing tends to be higher than its rivals despite giving away a bit in terms of performance.

Vehicle overview

Even those who don't know much about automobiles associate the three-pointed star with engineering excellence and superb construction. While it's true that Mercedes-Benz let quality slip at the beginning of the decade (largely due to electronics reliability), its current offerings show a return to the company's long-standing glory. A solid example would be the 2011 Mercedes-Benz C-Class, which provides much of the luxury, performance and refinement of its large-size sedan siblings but in a more affordable package.

Within the C-Class lineup, buyers can choose from three very distinct versions of this compact sedan. The C300 Luxury offers a plush, quiet ride along with a few classic styling cues such as the traditional Mercedes grille with its stand-up hood ornament. The C300 Sport and C350 Sport models cater to the driving enthusiast with a firmer suspension, a Mercedes SL-style grille, LED running lights and darker wood accents within the cabin. The C63, Mercedes' answer to BMW's M3, is in another league altogether with its thundering 451-horsepower V8, ultra sport-tuned suspension and aggressively bolstered sport seats.

Whichever version you consider, the C-Class will impress you with excellent fit and finish, good build quality, user-friendly high-tech features and a refined ride (even the C63 is relatively comfy). The few demerits include the C300's acceleration, as this model's V6 is outgunned by a few rivals, notably the 2011 Audi A4's turbocharged four-cylinder. And the C-Class can be pricey alongside comparably equipped competitors such as the Infiniti G37 and 2011 Lexus IS 350. It's also worth noting that the 2011 BMW 3 Series offers a more involving drive for the enthusiast. Still, the 2011 Mercedes-Benz C-Class remains a shining star, offering luxury sport sedan intenders a well-rounded, well-regarded choice.

2011 Mercedes-Benz C-Class models

The 2011 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 C300 models come standard with 17-inch wheels (different designs, however), a sunroof, automatic headlights, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, eight-way power front seats, 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, a 10-way power driver seat, power driver lumbar support, driver memory functions, a power-adjustable steering wheel, automatic wipers, heated front seats, satellite radio, a power rear sunshade and a split-folding rear seat. A lighting package adds active xenon headlights with washers, LED running lights (standard on Sport version) and LED taillights.

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.

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 AMG Seating package available on the C63 adds front memory seats, a power-adjustable steering wheel and upgraded leather upholstery. The AMG Development package available on the C63 adds 30 more horsepower, upgraded brakes, a limited-slip differential, a track-calibrated suspension, a higher top speed and leather/faux suede steering wheel.

This year brings a new prepaid maintenance option (not available on the C63, though) that covers maintenance requirements for 3 years or 30,000 miles, whichever comes first. Other stand-alone options include 18-inch wheels, a panorama sunroof (not available 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.

2011 Highlights

For 2011, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class is unchanged save for some shuffling of options and feature packages. A new pre-paid maintenance option debuts, while last year's Dynamic Handling package has been eliminated.

Performance & mpg

The 2011 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 equipment for 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 is optional.

In Edmunds 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. All-wheel drive drops these 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 plenty 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 Edmunds testing, the C63 reached 60 mph in a scant 4.4 seconds. Fuel economy estimates are 12/19/15.

Safety

The 2011 Mercedes-Benz C-Class comes standard with front side airbags, side curtain airbags, front-seat-mounted pelvic airbags, a driver knee airbag, 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, the C-Class received four out of five stars for frontal crash protection and five stars for front and rear side protection. In testing done by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the C-Class received top marks, including a "Good" rating for frontal-offset, side impact and roof-strength tests.

Driving

In a straight line, the 2011 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 their somewhat sporty character, the Sport variants are never harsh on the road and can tackle long road trips with ease. The C300 Luxury rides a little softer than the Sport model and has a quieter exhaust system, resulting in a more serene driving environment.

The C63 is a completely different species. Packing a ferocious V8, the C63 is the German equivalent to a muscle car. While not quite 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.

Interior

Just tugging on the door handle makes you feel as if you've cracked open an impenetrable vault. The C-Class's 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 straightforward for this class of car, and Mercedes' optional COMAND electronics interface is fairly easy to use. The iPod interface is particularly user-friendly.

Though the current-generation C-Class is bigger than previous editions, it's hardly the best choice for growing families. Some might find a child seat difficult to install in the narrow, bucketlike backseat positions, and the 12.4-cubic-foot trunk is on the small side.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2011 Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Been a good ride in my c300
Harris,03/19/2016
C300 Sport 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 6M)
Early faults were the light issues which were resolved under recall .Replaced one low beam light thus far. My 2011 c300 was a cpo with no previous owner just dealer driving etc with very low miles < 4000. I have now gone over a 100k miles since I purchased it in early 2012. I am on the same brakes and religiously get all of my checks and changes on time. It has been a problem free car thus far and I hope the trend continues. The only mark I put on it was the curb effect when I first purchased it and since then I park accordingly .
Wonderful vehicle
RU02206,04/10/2017
C300 Sport 4MATIC 4dr Sedan AWD (3.0L 6cyl 7A)
I very much enjoy this car each and every time I get inside and have the privilege to drive it. There are so many aspects of the vehicle that are excellent. And all of them together make for a wonderful ownership experience. I can tell that so many small aspects of the car have been thought about and engineered in a way that allows for optimal performance and comfort over many years of ownership experience. The engine and transmission are smooth as butter and are always in the right gear. The way the horn sounds, the way the windows sound when opening and closing, the way the doors sound when opening and closing. The way the sound system sounds at all volume levels. I can go on and on. The worst part of owning this car is that, at some point, I will need to give it up. I purchased the car at 29,000 miles. Current mileage is approximately 81,000. Update: At 90,000 miles I had to have both engine mounts and the transmission mount replaced. It seems to be a common problem for this generation of cars. That repair gave the car a lot more life, however at 100,000 miles I opted to trade it in for something newer. The cost for the engine mount service at a private shop was about $1,600. The car rode solid all the way to the end. I do miss the ride in this car. It seems the new C-Class does not ride the way this one did.
Love it all, but one thing....
dwr1979,02/16/2011
Been car shopping for 5 months. Tested everything, then saw apr rates for MB and decided to go in and drive one. I was sold. It's the best car I have personally owned- road noise is low, smooth/ solid over bumps, autorain wipers are amazing, the mbtek keeps the car smelling new and no one knows its not leather. the transmission is not even a consideration....i never feel it shift. the baby turns tight and crisp. I am getting about 25 mpgs right now, but just rolled over to 2000 miles so this is still probably not accurate.
So far so good except seat
Mike T,09/16/2010
Great looking car, love the new front grill design. The low price 27 month lease is what sold me on this. It's only going to really be a 24 month commitment I was not sure I wanted to lock into a 36 month lease since I am used to driving an SUV. Love the ride, the look and the interior. Chambers was a great dealership. In economy mode, car starts in second gear so it's a little hesitant. Sport mode MUCH improves this as does tiptronic. No trouble with passing moves on highway. Rock solid to 80 mph and then I can feel a slight jitter. Maybe noisier than Lexus but quiet to me coming from SUV. Nice compromise on sport/comfort. Front seat is killing me. I am 6'0", 195 lbs.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz C-Class features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall3 / 5
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger2 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat4 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover10.5%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2011 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Overview

The Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is offered in the following submodels: C-Class C63 AMG, C-Class Sedan. Available styles include C300 Luxury 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 7A), C350 Sport 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 7A), C300 Luxury 4MATIC 4dr Sedan AWD (3.0L 6cyl 7A), C63 AMG 4dr Sedan (6.2L 8cyl 7A), C300 Sport 4MATIC 4dr Sedan AWD (3.0L 6cyl 7A), and C300 Sport 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 6M).

What's a good price on a Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz C-Class?

Price comparisons for Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz C-Class trim styles:

  • The Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C300 Luxury 4MATIC is priced between $8,977 and$13,800 with odometer readings between 41879 and125351 miles.
  • The Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C300 Sport 4MATIC is priced between $10,995 and$15,450 with odometer readings between 51420 and102057 miles.
  • The Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C350 Sport is priced between $19,998 and$19,998 with odometer readings between 53108 and53108 miles.

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Which used 2011 Mercedes-Benz C-Classes are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2011 Mercedes-Benz C-Class for sale near. There are currently 9 used and CPO 2011 C-Classes listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $8,977 and mileage as low as 41879 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2011 Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

Can't find a used 2011 Mercedes-Benz C-Classs you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Mercedes-Benz C-Class for sale - 1 great deals out of 7 listings starting at $19,912.

Find a used Mercedes-Benz for sale - 1 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $16,028.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mercedes-Benz C-Class for sale - 1 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $13,194.

Find a used certified pre-owned Mercedes-Benz for sale - 1 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $17,707.

Should I lease or buy a 2011 Mercedes-Benz C-Class?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Mercedes-Benz lease specials
Check out Mercedes-Benz C-Class lease specials