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
It's been two years since the redesigned C-Class sedan came to market, but the design still feels fresh. Now it's the two-door model's turn, and it was well worth the wait. The new 2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class coupe and convertible (Cabriolet) share some of the sedan's best traits that include meticulous craftsmanship, a long list of available high-tech features and the kind of luxury you expect from Mercedes-Benz.
In the process of shedding the two rear doors, the C-Class increases its visual appeal. Up front is a striking grille with the three-pointed star proudly emblazoned in its center. With the large air inlets and wraparound headlights, the coupe echoes the look of the more expensive AMG GT supercar's styling more than that of the C-Class sedan. The coupe's profile is just as sporty, with deep sculpted character lines in the bodywork and a pillarless look for the side windows that accentuates the sloping rear roof line. Then again, you can also go roofless with the convertible C-Class.
Of course the 2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class isn't the only game in town, and its toughest rivals come from its own backyard. The BMW 4 Series coupe and 3 Series sedan are similarly priced and slightly favor the sporty side over luxury. The 2017 Audi A4 sedan is redesigned this year, boasting a high-tech cabin all its own. Other possible alternatives include the sporty Cadillac ATS, the new Jaguar XE and the well-rounded Lexus IS sedan and RC coupe. Among these worthy alternatives, the Mercedes C300 is definitely worth your consideration.
Standard safety features for the 2017 Mercedes-Benz C300 include antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front and rear side curtain airbags, a driver knee airbag, a drowsy driver monitor and frontal collision warning and mitigation. Other optional features include a surround-view camera system, a blind-spot monitor, adaptive headlights, automatic high beams, lane keeping assist, upgraded frontal collision mitigation, and rear-end collision warning with automatic braking.
In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the C-Class sedan earned a top score of Good in all crash-test categories. The C-Class' frontal crash mitigation system also earned a top Superior score.
2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class models
Mercedes-Benz offers the 2017 C-Class in three body styles: sedan, coupe and convertible (Cabriolet). But you'll need to pay attention as Mercedes-Benz's handling of options, packages and trims can be a bit arcane.
The C-Class sedan, coupe and convertible are available in five flavors. The base C300 trim comes with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, and the C300 4Matic adds all-wheel drive. From there, three AMG models are available: the new AMG C43 with its twin-turbo V6, and the AMG C63 and AMG C63 S, which use slightly different versions of a twin-turbo V8. A plug-in hybrid version, the C350e, will also be available later in the model year.
The C300 sedan is available with two subtrims, Sport or Luxury. These offer slightly different suspension, wheel design and styling details for a minimal cost. Fans of the stand-up Mercedes-Benz hood star will want to opt for the Luxury package.
Standard equipment highlights include 17-inch wheels, automatic wipers, a rearview camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power-adjustable steering wheel, 10-way power front seats (with four-way lumbar), driver-seat memory settings, synthetic leather upholstery (the rather good MB-Tex), 40/20/40-split folding rear seatbacks, the COMAND infotainment system (with a 7-inch central display screen and a console-mounted dial controller), Bluetooth and an audio system with a CD player, dual USB ports, an SD card reader and HD radio.
Opting for the C300 coupe means that 18-inch wheels and the panoramic sunroof come as standard equipment, but the rearview camera becomes an optional extra. Convertible models get the camera standard, along with a power-folding fabric top, Mercedes' Airscarf system — which delivers warmed air to the neck and shoulders of front passengers — a removable wind blocker, and a blind-spot monitor.
Primary options packages differ slightly between the four-door and two-door versions of the C300. The Premium 1 package adds blind-spot monitoring, keyless entry and push-button start, and satellite radio. In the coupe and convertible, the Premium 1 package also includes the upgraded Burmester sound system.
In the sedan, the Premium 2 package includes the Premium 1 upgrades and adds LED headlamps and the premium sound system. The Premium 3 package really starts loading in the tech, with an electronic trunk closer, voice controls, ambient interior lighting, an upgraded 8.4-inch screen with navigation, and a touchpad infotainment controller. Premium 4 adds a host of active safety and collision mitigation and avoidance features, as well as adaptive cruise control, a cabin air purification and fragrance system, and cornering headlamps with automatic high beams.
Adding these packages also requires opting for either heated and ventilated, or just heated, front seats.
For the coupe and cabriolet, the Premium 2 and Premium 3 packages are the equivalent of the sedan's Premium 3 and Premium 4 packages. There is no Premium 4 package for the two-door models. The Airmatic package adds an air suspension with multiple suspension tuning modes.
Standalone options for the C300 include a panoramic sunroof, a head-up display, heated and ventilated seats, a heated steering wheel and a number of interior and exterior trim pieces.
AMG C43 models get the Premium 1 package (as that applies to the two- and four-door models) standard, along with slightly different interior trim that includes natural grain, black wood trim on the sedan, and gloss black trim in the coupe and cabriolet. The AMG C63 and C63 S sedan also get the Premium 2 package standard. Sport seats, red seat belts and a special AMG head-up display are available for the AMG models' interior, while — for the two-door models — optional carbon-ceramic brakes, exhaust and upgraded wheels and tires can be had to up the sporting credentials.
Powering the 2017 Mercedes-Benz C300 is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 241 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed automatic is the only available transmission, and sends power to the rear wheels. Opting for the 4Matic system gets you all-wheel drive.
Mercedes estimates the C300 sedan and coupe will reach 60 mph in 6.3 seconds. The EPA estimates fuel economy at 26 mpg combined (23 city/30 highway) for the rear-wheel drive and 25 mpg combined (23 city/29 highway) for the 4Matic.
The AMG C43 receives a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that produces 362 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque. A new nine-speed automatic transmission is standard, and Mercedes estimates the AMG C43 will reach 60 mph in 4.6 seconds.
Meanwhile, the AMG C63 shoehorns in a turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 that thumps out an impressive 469 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque, and the C63 S increases output to 503 hp and 516 lb-ft. Both have a seven-speed automatic. Estimates put them at 60 mph in 4.0 and 3.9 seconds, respectively, and both receive a multiclutch, high-performance seven-speed automatic transmission. Zero-to-sixty times for the convertible models are uniformly a tenth of a second slower.
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.