Used 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C 63 AMG
Edmunds' Expert Review
With striking style, a luxurious interior and high-tech safety and driver assistance features, the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is one of the best cars you can buy among small sport-luxury sedans and coupes.
The C-Class has long been Mercedes-Benz's entry-level car for North America and the car that most commonly welcomes people to the Mercedes brand. But recently the company has introduced the less expensive CLA-Class and GLA models to be the new "baby Benzes." That's provided room for Mercedes to move the fully redesigned 2015 C-Class up a bit higher in terms of luxury and prestige. A little longer and a lot lighter, the redesigned 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan furthers its successful formula with new four- and six-cylinder engines, world-class interior refinement and safety features that lead the segment.
In the United States, the C-Class sedan launches with C300 4Matic and C400 4Matic models. The C300 uses a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, while the C400 gets a turbocharged V6. Both engines are joined to a seven-speed automatic transmission routing power to a standard all-wheel-drive system. A rear-drive C300 sedan arrives in early 2015, while a new-generation coupe, a diesel model, a plug-in hybrid and a high-performance C 63 AMG model will eventually fill out the lineup. For now, C-Class coupe models carry over unchanged except for minor feature tweaks.
The new C-Class sedan adds 3 inches of wheelbase and grows 3.7 inches overall. It's also 1.6 inches wider. Rear seat passengers benefit most from the growth spurt, earning about 2 more inches of legroom and fixing one of the C-Class's traditional drawbacks. Despite its growth, the sedan sheds 200 pounds with a body and chassis that is now nearly 50 percent aluminum. A new suspension design improves handling and steering, while an optional self-leveling air suspension -- a rarity in this class -- is also available to provide an unmatched level of ride comfort.
Any new C-Class reminds us that Mercedes takes its safety and driver assistance tech very seriously. A new standard collision mitigation system can automatically brake the car if the driver fails to respond to an imminent collision. Optional systems can follow a vehicle ahead and provide steering assistance at speeds under 37 mph. Lane-keeping assist can also apply braking to whichever side of the car drifts out of its lane.
In this fast-moving segment, the C-Class redesign is timely. The 2015 BMW 3 Series still gives the C-Class its toughest run for the money, although the performance and excitement gap between the two is no longer so wide. The 2015 Audi A4's stylish design and high-quality interior make it the equal of its European rivals, while the 2015 Lexus IS, Cadillac ATS and Infiniti Q50 are also worthy alternatives. But for its blend of classic luxury with modern style, design and conveniences, the Edmunds.com "A" rated 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is hard to beat.
2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class configurations
The 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is available as a sedan and coupe. The sedan was redesigned for this year, while the coupe continues on unchanged (a redesigned coupe should arrive in late 2015).
The sedan is currently available in C300 and C400 trim levels. The C300 is further available in either base, Luxury or Sport sub-trims, which differ in wheel design, suspension tuning, and interior/exterior styling details (such as different grille and steering wheel designs). The C400 is offered with the Sport sub-trim only.
The C300 comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights and wipers, auto-dimming mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, 10-way power front seats (with four-way lumbar), driver memory settings, MB-Tex synthetic leather upholstery and a 60/40-split-folding rear seat.
Electronic features include the COMAND interface with a dial controller and a new smartphone-style touchpad interface that overlap many functions, a 7-inch display screen, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, an in-car WiFi hotspot and an audio system with a CD player, USB and auxiliary audio jacks and HD radio.
Additional options for the C300 4Matic are grouped into several packages. The Premium package bundles LED headlights, heated front seats, satellite radio and a premium 13-speaker Burmester sound system. The Interior package adds leather upholstery, ventilated front seats and ambient cabin lighting, while the Multimedia package brings a navigation system with voice control, a rearview camera and an 8.4-inch display screen.
Adaptive LED headlights with adaptive high-beam control come with the Lighting package, while filtered and scented cabin air is available with the Air Balance package. The Airmatic package offers an adjustable air suspension. Picking the Driver Assistance package gets you adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane keeping assist, partial autonomous steering and forward collision warning with automatic braking.
Other stand-alone options include a panoramic sunroof, front and rear parking sensors, automatic parking assist, a head-up display, a power rear window sunshade, manual rear side window sunshades, keyless ignition and entry and a power-closing trunk.
The C400 4Matic comes only in Sport guise with a more powerful V6 engine, a choice of 18- or 19-inch wheels, and the contents of the Premium package as standard.
Mercedes says a new C 63 AMG sedan is set to arrive in the spring of 2015. Check back later for full details on its features and equipment.
In coupe form, the C-Class comes in C250, C350 and C 63 versions. The C250 coupe gets most of the same equipment as the C300 sedan, but also adds a panoramic sunroof, heated front seats, satellite radio and a Harman Kardon premium audio system with an iPhone/iPod interface as standard equipment. Optional equipment includes blind-spot monitoring and the Sport Plus package, which adds 18-inch wheels, a performance-tuned suspension, upgraded brakes, a rear spoiler and sport seats.
The C350 coupe adds a more powerful V6 engine and an adaptive suspension. Most of the sedan's options are also available for the C250 and C350 coupes.
The C 63 AMG is equipped with similar comfort and convenience features, but gets a vastly more powerful engine, 18-inch wheels, high-performance tires, an adaptive sport-tuned suspension, upgraded brakes, sport seats, more aggressive styling and different interior trim.
Performance & mpg
The 2015 Mercedes-Benz C300 is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 241 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. Either rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive ("4Matic") versions are available. The C400 comes with a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 rated at 329 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. With the C400, all-wheel drive is standard. A seven-speed transmission and all-wheel drive come standard on both trim levels, as does fuel-saving automatic engine stop-start.
In Edmunds testing, a 2015 C300 4Matic sedan dashed from zero to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy for the C300 4Matic is 27 mpg combined (24 city/31 highway), while the C400 4Matic returns 24 mpg combined (21 city/29 highway).
Mercedes says the upcoming C 63 AMG sedan will feature a new turbocharged 4.0-liter V8. It will produce 469 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque. An upgraded version, the C 63 S, will boost that output up to 503 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. Both will put their power to the rear wheels through a seven-speed automated manual transmission.
The C250 coupe uses a turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder that generates 201 hp and 229 lb-ft of torque. Rear-wheel drive and a seven-speed automatic transmission are standard, and EPA-estimated fuel economy is 25 mpg combined (22 city/31 highway). The C350 gets a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 302 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque and returns 23 mpg combined (20/28). Opting for all-wheel drive drops those numbers slightly to 22 mpg combined (19/27).
The C 63 coupe is powered by a 6.2-liter V8 that sends 451 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels through a specialized seven-speed automatic transmission. Opting for the Edition 507 package ups power to 507 hp and 450 lb-ft. The C 63 can cover zero to 60 mph in between 4 and 4.5 seconds, depending on engine output and body style, but you pay for it with fuel economy ratings of 15 mpg combined (13 city/19 highway).
Every 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class comes standard with antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags, front pelvic airbags (which deploy lower than the side airbags), a driver knee airbag, full-length side curtain airbags and a rearview camera. The C-Class now also comes standard with Collision Prevention Assist Plus and PreSafe, two features that can autonomously apply the sedan's brakes to avoid a collision and increase the effectiveness of the car's restraint systems in a collision. Attention Assist can also warn the driver of drowsiness or fatigue and, in conjunction with the navigation system, suggest possible places for a rest.
Additional safety features are bundled in the Driver Assistance package and include adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist, semi-autonomous steering and rear cross-traffic alert.
In Edmunds brake testing, a C300 4Matic equipped with performance tires stopped from 60 mph in 114 feet, an average time among its peers.
The snappy response from the C300's turbocharged four-cylinder makes it feel slightly more agile than the larger V6-powered C400. Then again, the V6's additional 90 hp offers the sensation of big Benz acceleration in a small sedan package. There's no shame in choosing the turbo-4, however. Although it generates a raspy, un-Mercedes-like racket under the hood when the driver demands max power, it's an occasional sacrifice to make for useful everyday low-end power and fuel economy.
All C-Class sedans come with four drive modes (called Agility Select) that adjust throttle, transmission and steering response. The optional Airmatic air suspension offers a further degree of ride quality refinement. A performance-tuned suspension gives the C-Class Sport variant a firmer ride around town, but also makes it the sharper tool for spirited drives on twisting roads.
The C250 coupe's smaller four-cylinder isn't quite as potent as the turbocharged fours in the Audi A5 or BMW 428i, but it's still a quiet and refined power plant. The C350 coupe's sharply responsive V6 and rear-wheel-drive handling make it the enthusiast choice, while the C 63 AMG's snarling V8 and world-class handling prove that this old-world brand is not above a bit of new-world hooliganism.
Regardless of trim, the C-Class is built for long-haul comfort. We drove for several hours straight in a Sport model equipped with sport seats (tighter shape, more pronounced side and thigh bolsters) and never once longed for a comfier perch.
Elegance and class are hallmarks of Mercedes-Benz interiors, but the 2015 C-Class delivers a new level of visual panache. Whether upholstered in standard MB-Tex synthetic leather or the optional genuine article, the cabin features exceptional materials quality and a cool contemporary design. Door panels fuse wood, soft-touch surfaces and metallic accents, and integrate tightly with the dash and instrument panel. It's a notable break from traditional Benz understatement and it's no surprise to learn that the cabin was conceived by Mercedes' design studio in Italy.
With added length, the new C-Class sedan addresses a previous shortcoming. Rear passengers now get 35.2 inches of legroom, up nearly 2 inches from last year's model. It's not a significant increase among the class -- the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series offer the same -- but it does make the C-Class more competitive. Trunk space also grows slightly, now up to 12.8 cubic feet. The standard front seats are built for long-haul comfort, and even the firmer sport seats keep driver and passenger snug without fatigue.
The two-door, however, is still coupe-ishly cramped in the backseat. Legroom measures up against the rest of the segment, but headroom is nonexistent for anyone taller than about 5-feet, 8 inches. Trunk space is also smaller than the sedan, but average for the small luxury coupe class at 11.7 cubic feet.
The new C-Class gets an updated infotainment and navigation interface with a standard 7-inch or optional 8.4-inch tablet-like display. Both are fixed, freestanding displays that look like an iPad perched atop the center vents, the sole moment of inelegance in an otherwise stunning cabin. A new touchpad interface is now also standard for the COMAND infotainment system, which is still our favorite from a luxury automaker.
Floating above the traditional dial controller, the touchpad mimics tablet and trackpad gestures like swiping, pinching and tapping. You can also trace letters and numbers on the surface, for inputting a street address for example, but we found it requires a patient and steady hand to produce anything better than chicken scratch. The touchpad is a neat idea, but takes some getting used to. We found it faster to access many functions using the dial-and-button controller.
Features & Specs
More About This Model
A little longer and much lighter than last year's car, the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class builds on a successful formula of four- and six-cylinder engines, an upgraded suspension and stunning new cabin design. All-wheel drive and segment-leading safety features make this C-Class one of the best small luxury sedans you can buy today.
What Is It?
The 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class marks the fourth generation of what was, until recently, the gateway to a three-pointed-star hood ornament. That role now falls to the new compact CLA-Class sedan and frees up the C-Class to grow in both size (almost 4 inches longer and 1.5 inches wider than the outgoing model) and stature. It also helps justify the existence of the smaller CLA-Class sedan.
The C300 4Matic is the base model C-Class and comes standard with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive. A rear-wheel-drive C300 is scheduled to join the lineup in early 2015. The C400 4Matic offers a V6 engine and all-wheel drive only. The sole transmission is a seven-speed automatic with manual shift capability.
The C300 4Matic blends an impressive list of standard and optional features, including four customizable driving dynamic modes, a 7-inch display with touchpad control for controlling entertainment and vehicle settings, and forward collision warning with automatic braking.
Options include 19-inch wheels, a rearview camera, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, LED headlights, heated and ventilated seats, a navigation system that adds an 8.4-inch display with crisp 3D graphics, and a premium Burmester audio system.
Pricing starts at $41,325 for the C300 4Matic. Adding a V6 under the hood pushes the starting price to $49,515.
What Body Styles and Trim Levels Does It Come in?
For now, the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class comes in just two flavors: C300 4Matic and C400 4Matic ("4Matic" denotes all-wheel drive). The C300 4Matic uses a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder rated at 241 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. It's a dramatic departure from the outgoing C300 4Matic, which used a 3.5-liter V6, but the smaller engine actually delivers more low-end power and nearly the same peak horsepower. It also promises better fuel efficiency than the larger engine.
The C400 4Matic, meanwhile, gets a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 rated at 329 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. This, too, is a smaller engine than its predecessor, yet it makes more power.
The C300 4Matic can be further tailored with Luxury or Sport sub-trims. The Luxury trim is a more traditional Benz approach, with 17-inch wheels, softer suspension tuning, walnut trim, a louvered grille and, most importantly, a standing star on the hood.
The Sport trim trades tradition for performance with a choice of 18- or 19-inch AMG wheels, a firmer suspension, upgraded brakes, sport seats, AMG body styling and a flat-bottom steering wheel. No classic grille or hood ornament here. Instead, the star is a large, round badge that bisects a simple, two-bar grille design. The C400 4Matic comes in Sport trim only.
The C-Class sedan can be further tailored with a handful of packages and stand-alone options, including an adjustable "Airmatic" air suspension ($1,190), which is offered on the C-Class for the first time. Opting for the Premium package adds LED headlights, heated front seats and a Burmester audio system, while the Interior package brings ventilated leather seats, customizable ambient lighting and a power-adjustable passenger seat with memory function.
The Multimedia package ($2,690) adds a navigation system with a 8.4-inch tablet-style display and voice control, a 10GB hard drive for music storage and real-time traffic and weather. Finally, the Driver Assistance package ($2,800) distills advanced safety technology from Mercedes' larger sedans and adds adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, steering assist, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. A rearview camera is also available.
For buyers who don't require all-wheel drive, a rear-wheel-drive C300 will follow in early 2015. A diesel model, a plug-in hybrid and a high-performance AMG model will eventually fill out the lineup.
How Does It Drive?
What a difference 200 pounds makes. That's roughly the weight difference between the new C-Class and its predecessor, largely thanks to increased use of aluminum in the body panels. From the driver seat, it means a sedan that feels more direct and alert. The C300 4Matic in particular, with its smaller engine, crisp power delivery and all-wheel drive, feels light and sharp on its feet. The C400 4Matic is no slug, but after driving both cars back to back, the V6's added mass is apparent. Then again, so is its additional power.
A longer, leaner body isn't the only upgrade to the C-Class's handling. A revised four-link design gives the front suspension more independence from its fixed moorings for better steering response. C-Class buyers can also choose from among four suspension setups.
The standard tuning balances ride quality and handling in a way that's acceptable in a wide range of conditions. The Sport suspension has a much firmer, performance-biased setup, while the Luxury package delivers a comfort-oriented ride. Then there's the newly available Airmatic air suspension. It allows you to adjust the suspension to one of four dynamic modes: Comfort, Eco, Sport and Sport+.
With the Sport setup and a set of optional 19-inch wheels, our C300 test car was noticeably firm around town. It's great for those who like to feel every crack and crevice in the road, but it's probably too extreme for the average commuter.
Is It Worth Stepping Up to the V6?
The turbo four-cylinder blends power and fuel economy in a lightweight package, making the C300 4Matic feel like a proper small sport sedan. But the smaller engine is less charming under heavy acceleration, when quick sprints to highway speed generate a raspy racket under the hood. Although the cabin is nicely insulated from road roar, the noise of a four-cylinder under hard labor still sounds out of place in a Mercedes. It's a reality we're adjusting to as nearly all small turbo engines, luxury badge or not, share this characteristic.
But these are isolated moments. For most buyers, the C300 4Matic is the right combination of performance and efficiency, with sprints from zero to 60 mph requiring just 6.5 seconds during our testing. The V6 holds the advantage of power and refinement, at the expense of slightly more dulled handling. We also found the seven-speed transmission more prone to low-speed lurching while decelerating and braking when paired with the V6.
The 2015 Mercedes-Benz C300 4Matic also delivered impressive feel and stopping power during our instrumented tests. From 60 mph, its best stop measured just 114 feet, and the distances were consistent in test after test.
How Does It Rate in Terms of Interior Comfort?
Settling into the cabin of the C-Class is a reminder of money well spent. Our test car came with leather seats and a dash wrapped in MB-Tex synthetic leather (both included in the Interior and Sport packages), complemented by chrome and dark open-pore ash wood accents.
A single piece of ash, laser-cut to accommodate vents and controls, flows gracefully down the center stack while the door panels combine wood, soft-touch surfaces and chrome speaker grilles in a tasteful display that's tightly fused with each end of the dashboard. The C-Class is simply an elegant, classy place to sit and drive.
With a wheelbase of 112 inches, the new C-Class has a couple of extra inches between its wheels compared to the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series. It doesn't result in a significant advantage in terms of head- and legroom versus its competitors, but the cabin does feel plenty spacious for the class. It's a similar story when it comes to cargo space, as the C-Class has 12.8 cubic feet of space in the trunk, which splits the difference between the Audi and the BMW.
What Kind of Driver Interface Does It Use?
The C-Class comes with a standard 7-inch or optional 8.4-inch tablet-like display for infotainment and navigation. The free-standing display is fixed, but mostly looks like an iPad perched atop the center vents. You briefly sympathize with designers (where else do you put this thing?) but ultimately it's a wayward moment of inelegance in an otherwise stunning cabin.
Not quite as egregious is the new touchpad controller mounted forward of the armrest. Floating above the long-serving COMAND dial controller, the touchpad mimics tablet and trackpad gestures like swiping, pinching and tapping. A swipe upward reveals a shortcut to audio functions, for example. Tapping to confirm a command is acknowledged with haptic (pulse) feedback. It's an interesting interface, and only Mercedes knows if it's meant to replace the current dial-and-button array.
We'd advise the automaker against it, for now anyway. For all its sheen and wonder, the touchpad isn't quite ready for prime time. We found it overly sensitive to swiping motions, often scrolling past a desired submenu. The alphanumeric function, which allows you to trace letters and numbers into the navigation system, displays the same kind of scrawl you might find when signing your name into a credit card processor at the grocery store. Fortunately, the dial and buttons act as a redundancy to the touchpad and we found it faster to simply twist and scroll our way through the navigation, phone and entertainment menus.
How Safe Is It?
Antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and a driver knee airbag are standard safety features on the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
A collision mitigation system called Pre-Safe now comes standard (it was optional on the last C-Class) and monitors the traffic ahead by radar. If the system detects an imminent collision, it warns the driver with audible alerts and initiates braking if necessary. Pre-Safe works in tandem with braking assist, which pre-loads brake pressure to shorten stopping distances.
What Kind of Mileage Does It Deliver?
The 2015 Mercedes-Benz C300 4Matic is rated by the EPA to deliver 27 mpg in combined driving (24 city/31 highway). That's 2 mpg better than the current C250, which delivers less power from a smaller engine to the rear wheels only.
The C400 4Matic is estimated to return 24 mpg combined (21 city/29 highway), also an increase of 2 mpg combined compared to the closest current model.
During its stay with us, the C300 delivered an overall average of 25.8 mpg. On our standardized test loop, the combined number was 25.4 mpg.
What Are Its Closest Competitors?
The BMW 3 Series still gives the C-Class its toughest run for the money. It has long set the benchmark for bridging luxury and performance. But the 3 Series has softened a bit recently, especially in its steering feel. The performance and excitement gap between a 3 Series and a C-Class equipped with the Sport package is no longer so wide.
The Audi A4 gets better every year and delivers handling to rival the 3 Series, if lacking some of the feedback. The Audi's stylish design, high-quality interior and smooth turbo four-cylinder engine make it the equal of its contemporaries, although it's only available with front- or all-wheel drive. Among these three, it's hard to go wrong and really comes down to personal preference.
There are others to consider. The Lexus IS offers two V6 engines (one impressive, the other underwhelming) and an upscale interior, but lacks the handling finesse of the German models. The Cadillac ATS delivers capable handling and an upscale interior. Likewise, the Acura TLX and Infiniti Q50 feature premium cabins and respectable performance, but don't excel in any one area, nor do they carry the badge cachet of their European rivals.
Why Should You Consider This Car?
This is as close as Mercedes-Benz has come to delivering a downsized version of its S-Class flagship. The new C-Class is far more refined, comfortable and elegant-looking than its predecessors and gives up little to its competition when it comes to performance and features.
Why Should You Think Twice About This Car?
If you're one of the few enthusiasts who has to have a manual transmission in their luxury sport sedan, the C-Class has nothing to offer. And if all-wheel drive is something you consider unnecessary and restrictive to your driving habits, the C-Class won't have anything for you until 2015.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.
Used 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C 63 AMG Overview
The Used 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C 63 AMG is offered in the following styles: C 63 AMG 2dr Coupe (6.2L 8cyl 7A).
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Should I lease or buy a 2015 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.