The C-Class is Mercedes-Benz’s champion in the hotly-competitive “compact executive” segment.
Head-to-head against the likes of the Audi A4 and the BMW 3 and 4 Series, it represents a class of grown-up premium car that sells in big numbers and forges deep brand loyalty.
The latest generation has now arrived at Mercedes-Benz Stockport, and it is unsurprisingly the most high-tech, safest and most comfortable C-Class yet. With the familiar design cues that blend sportiness and luxury in a dynamic package, it is instantly recognisable as a Mercedes-Benz and worthy of standing alongside its larger and more expensive siblings in the core E-Class and S-Class ranges.
The latest family of C-Class saloon and estate cars starts from just under £40,000 (saloon), with a choice of four engines available from launch: C 200; C 300 (Saloon only); C 220d and C 300d. All these engines are more efficient than their predecessors thanks to the new 48v Integrated Starter Generator (ISG) mild hybrid system. The mild hybrid system features an energy recovery function and the ability to ‘glide’ with the engine switched off to boost efficiency, while supplying an additional 20 hp and 200 Nm to the car’s overall output.
It’s clever inside too – with the stunning new big-screen MBUX media system that’s super intuitive to operate by voice or touch.
The C-Class has always been one of the most important models for Mercedes-Benz, since it introduced the first generation back in the ‘90s, because of the competitive price-point it occupies. For many Mercedes-Benz drivers, it’s the first experience they might have with the brand, so it’s imperative that the experience be unforgettable.
The level of luxury and refinement in the 2022 range is surely a new high-point. The range-topping 300d models with the Premium Plus spec level are still remarkably good value for money, at under £54,000 for even the fully-equipped estate. That includes 19-inch AMG five-double-spoke alloy wheels, panoramic sliding sunroof, head-up display and Thermotronic four-zone automatic climate control.
But even the entry-level Sport model line includes standard gadgetry including LED high performance headlights with Adaptive Highbeam Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist, parking package with reversing camera, heated f ront seats and wireless smartphone charging.
There are sure to be AMG-badged high-performance variants to follow, when perhaps we’ll see the return of the thunderous V8 to the new C-Class – but until then the current top of the range is very much about luxury and comfort rather than all-out thrust.
Fact file / Mercedes-Benz C300d / Peak power output: 285hp Torque: 750Nm / Range: 53.3 to 55.4 mpg / Price: £52,125 Launch date: on sale now