You know we live in a strange world when Mercedes releases a new C-Class and it barely makes a blip. Some of this is a problem of Mercedes" own making — the company sells too many different models — though it"s equally a reflection on our current reality. The world is going electric, và cars like the Mercedes EQE and EQS are taking the spotlight. Plus, I don"t need khổng lồ remind you that sedans are out of fashion. So even though the C-Class has long been one of the most important cars made by Mercedes-Benz, it seems no one noticed there"s a new one.

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It"s possible the looks aren"t doing the new C-Class any favors. Especially in pictures, it both looks like the old C and also every other new Mercedes, that longtime exponent of same-sausage-different-length design. In person, it"s a different story. There"s a lot more visual drama than the old C-Class, và the steeply angled sharknose front is especially striking. Equipped here with the AMG Line package — which brings a number of visual tweaks in addition khổng lồ a 15mm drop in ride height, upgraded brakes, & retuned steering — and gorgeous 19-inch multispoke wheels, this C300 is a very handsome car.



Starting with the C-Class predecessor 190E, the idea behind this oto has been, essentially, S-Class luxury in a compact package, executed to varying degrees of success. It was a revolutionary idea in the Eighties và today, it"s what sets the C-Class apart from its competitors. Lượt thích the new S-Class, the C-Class gets an upscale interior with the focal point being an 11.9-inch horizontally oriented touchscreen infotainment system. Despite the size, the screen doesn"t feel lượt thích tech overload, with a default "Zero Layer" thực đơn system that permanently displays the navigation map with large shortcut controls for media, phone, và other car settings. All the climate controls are at the bottom of the screen, and while getting rid of physical controls và putting functions on the screen is cost-cutting masquerading as being tech-forward, they work well.

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Less successful is the C-Class" many touchpad controls. There are four touchpads on the steering wheel, a touchpad for all the controls below the infotainment system, a touchpad for both seat memory và heating/cooling, and even a touchpad for the sunroof. You get used khổng lồ them, but all feel cheap and are just more finicky than individual buttons. It"s not hard lớn find other cheap interior materials, if you go poking around, not that this impacts the functionality of the C-Class. Still, the interior generally looks and feels fabulous, và it won"t take long to get used to lớn all the haptic controls.

None of this is necessarily surprising. The interior is an evolution of what"s come before, & a reflection of Mercedes today. What is surprising is the way that the C300 drives. This is something of a driver"s car. Mercedes invited us lớn sample the C-Class on an excellent route that included a lot of our favorite roads north of thành phố new york City. Winding up through Harriman State Park và up khổng lồ the eastern Catskills, this C300 4Matic tester was engaging. The ride is pleasingly firm, not harsh, và there"s a sophistication lớn the way the C300 goes down the road. Some buyers won"t lượt thích that the ride isn"t totally plush across broken surfaces, & around 25-35 mph, there are plenty of bad roads that just feel unpleasant here. Still, the car feels solid, & even the worst bumps don"t send a judder through the structure. The smaller 18-inch wheels might help improve ride too, as would all-season tires in place of our tester"s surprisingly sporty staggered Goodyear summers. Unfortunately, adaptive dampers will only be available on the AMG C43. So definitely demo drive C-Classes of various specs to see whether the ride is to lớn your liking. It might not please Mercedes traditionalists, but if you think the BMW 3 Series has gone soft, you"ll like what you find.

Mercedes has been on a roll with steering as of late, & it continues with the C-Class. There"s not a ton of detailed feel, but the weighting is very precise, especially as you wind back khổng lồ center, & the rack is very accurate. No need lớn turn in twice after misjudging things. In "Sport" the steering is a bit too artificially heavy — which is true of virtually every oto that has adjustable-weight steering — though there"s an "Individual" mode that can be configured to pair light steering with sharper engine/transmission response.

The new C300 is the first U.S.-market Mercedes to offer a four-cylinder engine paired with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system. This 48-volt system, which consists of an integrated starter-generator mounted at the back of the engine, does away with belt-driven accessories and can actually provide an additional trăng tròn horsepower và 148 lb-ft of torque to help mitigate turbo lag. It"s been offered with six-cylinder cars from Mercedes for a few years now, & here, it works just as brilliantly. The engine fires up instantly, & when you put the oto in Eco mode, it can actually shut down entirely when the driver is off throttle. Of course, it takes a while for the gearbox to lớn re-engage & select the correct of its nine ratios when you suddenly need power, but for low-traffic highways, it"s a brilliant system.

Everything is tuned for low- & mid-range torque, and the C300 feels very strong up khổng lồ around 5500 rpm. On some nice roads, I found myself using the wheel-mounted paddle shifters to keep the engine in its ideal range, though the gearbox does a fine job left to lớn its own devices. Shifts are quick & smooth, và for once it"s nice to drive a car that doesn"t have the popular ZF 8-Speed, if for no other reason than it saves me having khổng lồ come up with yet another synonym for "ubiquitous." It"s a sweet little engine … for the most part. At idle, it can occasionally be quite rough, revs dropping và sending a vibration through the cabin. On the move, though, it largely stays out of the way.

The drive back from our overnight stay in Kingston, NY gave us our most aspirational view at how a C-Class will be used — as transport back khổng lồ a thành phố after your country getaway. You just turn on the (optional) adaptive cruise control và lane-keep assist & let the miles fly by. Even if you don"t have those optional assists, the C-Class is so easy khổng lồ guide down the road. This oto had optional double-pane glass, which helps keep tire và wind noise down — all the better for enjoying this top-of-the-line model"s Burmester surround sound system. At just $150 extra, it"s essential.

At some point during every nhận xét of a German car, we must complain about a la carte option pricing. But with the new C300, Mercedes is taking a different tactic, offering three different basic trim levels, and relatively few individual options. The base Premium mã sản phẩm comes with pretty much everything you need at its $44,600 base price, while stepping up khổng lồ the $46,850 Exclusive & $48,550 Pinnacle bring more S-Class-esque luxuries that are nice to lớn have, but far from essential. Opting for 4Matic all-wheel drive increases the cost by $2000, while the AMG Line package is a little steep at $3050. Our tester came equipped with virtually everything, including $2590 worth of Napa leather, & stickered for $63,440. That"s quite a lot, but I have to lớn imagine a C300 costing between $50,000 & $55,000 would not leave anyone feeling shortchanged.

The new C-Class should not be overlooked. A gas-powered sport sedan might not be in vogue, but that doesn"t change the fact that the C300 is an excellent luxury sport sedan. What else would you expect from Mercedes?

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