2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Review
Pros & Cons
- The interior is impeccably crafted
- There are plenty of available cutting-edge features
- Exterior styling turns heads everywhere
- Clumsy touchpad infotainment interface
- Features that other marques offer as standard equipment are bundled into pricey option packages in the Mercedes-Benz
Edmunds' Expert Review
Power from the 2.0-liter four-cylinder will be more than adequate for getting up to highway speeds and passing slower traffic. In Sport mode, hard acceleration is also accompanied by surprisingly burly engine and exhaust noises. It sounds good enough that you can forgive those noises for being synthetic and pumped through the C300's speakers. At cruising speeds, the theatre quiets down, replaced by a noticeable amount of road and wind noise.
This midlevel Benz takes to the curves with ample athleticism, predictable handling and responsive steering, whether you stick with the standard suspension or opt for the air suspension. Ride quality in the coupe and convertible is a very different story, however, as the base suspension is so stiff that we consider it harsh. That's why we urge shoppers to try the air suspension for adding compliance with no discernible loss in handling.
In everyday driving, the C300 is pleasantly luxurious, but the automatic stop-start system is rather rough, and some shifts from the transmission could be smoother. These do little to detract from the car's overall execution as a stylish luxury coupe that simply feels more special than most rivals.
The AMG C43 offers strong acceleration and a burly exhaust note and handles its power with very little drama. Stepping up to the twin-turbo V8 offers breathtaking thrust and a tremendous soundtrack. The exceptionally capable AMG-tuned models are noticeably tauter over broken pavement, but regardless of trim, the C-Class is built for long-haul comfort. We drove for several hours straight in a C300 Sport model with sport seats and never once longed for a comfier perch. Even the convertible's fabric top filters out road and wind noise better than you might expect.
As the first interior developed in Mercedes' Italian design studio, the C-Class cabin artfully blends modern high technology with evocative classic design. One of the few questionable elements is the tabletlike infotainment screen mounted atop the dashboard, but its perfect placement in the driver's sight lines makes up for any awkwardness. Opting for the panoramic sunroof also reduces headroom, though 6-footers will still have enough space.
Materials quality is excellent, whether you stick with the standard MB-Tex simulated leather upholstery or upgrade to genuine leather. The center stack is particularly attractive, as it's cut from a single wood veneer sheet. The cabin also gets high marks for usability thanks to Mercedes' COMAND infotainment interface. The dial controller is very intuitive, but the trackpad hovering above it does take some getting used to. The trackpad uses smartphone gestures (pinch, taps and swipes) to operate some of the features, but it's not initially clear when to use them.
Front seats provide excellent support and a wide range of adjustments for all-day driving comfort. The sedan also offers adequate room for rear passengers; only the tallest riders will wind up feeling cramped in the backseat. However, the two-door's rear seats are cramped by comparison, and only smaller passengers may be comfortable back there.