Mercedes C-Class saloon
Price £27,195 - £73,500
- Cheap to run
- Classy new interior
- Comfortable suspension
- Fastest diesel is too noisy
- Slightly cramped rear seats
- Limited choice from launch
At a glance
"The Mercedes C-Class is classier, more comfortable and even cheaper to run than before."
Think of the new Mercedes C-Class as a smaller version of the top-of-the-range Mercedes S-Class. Mercedes has given the car a luxurious interior, lots of clever equipment and a choice of petrol or diesel engines. As a small executive saloon, the C-Class competes with models such as the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Lexus IS.
Right now, the C-Class can be fitted with a choice of a 2.0-litre petrol or one of two 2.1-litre diesels (the latter badged C220 BlueTEC and C250 BlueTEC respectively). The diesels offer excellent fuel economy, but are also quite noisy. The range will soon be joined by a petrol-electric hybrid and a super-frugal C350 Plug-In Hybrid. For the first time in the UK, C-Class buyers can also specify four-wheel drive.
The new Mercedes C-Class is available in three trims – SE, Sport and AMG Line. All models come with alloy wheels, synthetic leather interior, dual-zone climate control, auto headlights and wipers, cruise control and a seven-inch colour display.
Find out what we think is the best compact executive car by watching our video below.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Fuel economy is up by 20% across the Mercedes C-Class range
The C220 BlueTEC is the most economical Mercedes C-Class on sale today. When paired with the six-speed manual gearbox (you can also choose a seven-speed automatic) it can return 70.6mpg. CO2 emissions of 103g/km means that road tax costs just £20 a year. The car also has a low 16% BiK (Benefit in Kind) rating, which makes it attractive to company-car drivers.
The C250 BlueTEC is faster, yet still manages 65mpg and CO2 emissions of 123g/km for road tax of £110 a year. The C200 petrol has exactly the same CO2 emissions, so costs the same to tax, and returns 53.3mpg economy.
By the end of 2014, the Mercedes C-Class will be available as an even more economical C200 diesel model, as well as a fast C300 diesel-electric hybrid that'll return up to 72mpg. But the really interesting engine will be the new C350 Plug-In Hybrid, which will return more than 100mpg and emit less than 65g/km of CO2.
Insurance for the Mercedes C-Class runs from group 29 for the C200 petrol to group 34 for the C250 diesel.
Engines, drive & performance
The Mercedes C-Class is quick and economical, with a plug-in version promising 100mpg from 2015
Mercedes has managed to make the C-Class 100kg lighter than the old model. As a result, it now feels more agile in corners and more enjoyable to drive in general. Drivers can also choose between four modes: Comfort, Eco, Sport and Sport+. They can make the car more comfortable or sportier to drive, depending on your mood.
For now, all engines are closely matched in terms of performance. Quickest is the C250 BlueTEC diesel, which can get from 0-62mph in just 6.6 seconds, while the C220 BlueTEC diesel does the same in 7.7 seconds. With the C200 petrol, 0-62mph takes 7.5 seconds. Fitting your C-Class with the seven-speed automatic gearbox will also make it slightly quicker.
A slightly cleaner, slightly more economical C200 BlueTEC diesel will join the range before the end of 2014, along with a C300 BlueTEC diesel-electric hybrid. An ultra-efficient C350 Plug-In Hybrid is due to arrive in 2015, boasting sub-65g/km CO2 emissions and an electric-only driving range of more than 20 miles.
A performance-orientated Mercedes C63 AMG model is also planned, which will give the C-Class near-supercar speed.
Interior & comfort
The interior of the Mercedes C-Class is relaxing and quiet, but the diesel engine is noisy
The interior is one of the new Mercedes C-Class' best features. Fit and finish are excellent and the design looks smart, too. Getting comfortable behind the wheel is easy thanks to reach and rake adjustment for the steering wheel and a height-adjustable driver’s seat.
Mercedes is the first manufacturer to offer air-suspension (a £900 option) in this class. In effect, this means the C-Class floats on a cushion of air. The system can be adjusted to offer more comfort or added poise, yet even the standard SE model does a good job of absorbing bumps on the road.
Sport and AMG Line cars have larger alloy wheels and stiffer suspension, so it makes sense to try out all three options to find out which is best for you. All C-Class' also come with a reversing camera to help with parking.
Practicality & boot space
Boot space in the Mercedes C-Class is better than before, but some might find the rear seats tight
Mercedes has made the new C-Class longer and wider than the car it replaces. Space up front is excellent, and the pedals are not as offset as they were in the old model. Leg and shoulder room in the back should also be fine for most adults, but the C-Class' sloping roofline eats into rear-seat headroom.
Boot space is also up five litres from the old model, at 480 litres in total, but only Sport and AMG models get a 60:40 split rear seat as standard. It’s a £900 option on SE models with the Executive Pack, which includes heated seats and sat nav. As with most saloons, the Mercedes has a high boot lip that you have to lift heavy items over. The boot opening is large, but not as big as that offered by the BMW 3 Series GT.
Storage spaces include door bins and a number of useful cubbyholes in the dashboard.
Reliability & safety
The Mercedes C-Class should be reliable and very safe, thanks to loads of clever tech
The new Mercedes C-Class only went on sale this year, so it has yet to feature in our Driver Power owner satisfaction survey. In the 2014 manufacturer rankings, Mercedes placed 9th out 33 brands, just ahead of BMW but behind premium marques such as Jaguar and Lexus. The C-Class also uses engines that are already fitted across the Mercedes range, so they should be tried, tested and free of problems.
No matter which model you choose, all Mercedes C-Class have a huge range of safety features including Attention Assist (which warns the driver when they need to take a rest) and Collision Prevention Assist (which can warn of an imminent potential crash). A tyre-pressure monitor, automatic headlights, cruise control and a reversing camera are also included. With all those safety features, it's no surprise that the C-Class was awarded the maximum five-star rating when it was crash-tested by Euro NCAP.
If you want even more safety features, Sport and AMG Line models fitted with an automatic gearbox can also be specified with the Driving Assistance pack. This adds features such as adaptive cruise control (which matches the speed of the car in front), a blind-spot warning sensor and lane-keeping assistance, which is able to gently steer the car back into its lane if you drift out.
Price, value for money & options
The Mercedes C-Class is extremely efficient, but quite expensive to buy
The Mercedes C-Class is pretty expensive, but it does come with plenty of equipment, including a leather interior, dual-zone climate control and a seven-inch display screen. C-Class Sport models add 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, lowered suspension, sat nav and chrome exterior trim. AMG Line models have 18-inch alloy wheels, an AMG bodykit, sports suspension, a sports steering wheel and a leather finish on top of the dashboard.
Buyers can also choose from a range of option packs including the Executive Pack (£995), which adds sat nav, heated front seats, and split-folding rear seats. The Premium Pack (£1,595) brings a panoramic sunroof, electrically adjustable front seats, and an ambient lighting pack. If you value ultimate comfort, we'd recommend choosing the £895 air-suspension.
Although the Mercedes is an expensive car to buy, used values should be strong – the car will hold its value better than equivalent models from BMW and Jaguar.