2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Review

5/5

Overview

The new Mercedes-Benz C-Class is an important venture for the German giant, with more than 2.5 million sold since the fourth-generation car was introduced in 2014. The new C-Class sits on a heavily revised version of the outgoing cars underpinnings, but is technically a larger car in every respect. It borrows much of its technology from the current S-Class, including the basic layout and concept of its interior. Rivals include the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, Tesla Model 3, Volvo S60, Alfa Romeo Giulia and Jaguar XE. 

Pros
  • Typical Mercedes comfort and refinement
  • Ergonomic interior design
  • Excellent driving dynamics
  • Easy-to-use infotainment system
Cons
  • Paddle shift can be a bit hesitant off the line

Exterior

Cosmetically the C-Class differs depend on which guise you go for. The C-Class Sport Edition gets 18-inch alloy wheels, Agility Control comfort suspension lowered by 15mm, LED headlights, gearshift paddles, a new steering wheel and Artico leather sports seats as standard - all this on top of the SE’s technology and equipment count. It’s a similar story with the AMG Line model. 18-inch alloy wheels are added alongside an AMG bodykit, AMG Sports seats and further sporty looking tweaks in the cabin. This car also gets lowered Agility Control sport suspension, brakes and steering, and a 12.3-inch digital instrument display, but the basic level of equipment otherwise remains the same as on the SE. Other trim options include AMG Line Night Edition Premium, which comes with 19-inch alloys and gloss black exterior highlights.

Interior

The 11.9-inch portrait touchscreen is taken directly from the S-Class and is pretty intuitive and crammed with too many features to list. Merc’s ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice assistant gets more ingenious with every generation and is the safest way of operating the system while you drive. You expect a Mercedes to be comfortable and the new C doesn’t let you down in this regard.  The seats and driving position are excellent and there is a very quiet drive.

Performance

So far we’ve tried the C300d 4Matic and C200. The former claims 261bhp and 406lb ft of torque, 0-100kmph in 5.7 seconds, a limited 155mph top speed. Of course it’s not as nice as the straight-six diesel in the BMW 330d, but for a four-cylinder it is still refined, doesn’t make much noise and pushes the C along at a reasonable pace. The diesel is a much better fit than the 201bhp 1.5-litre petrol in the C200, which is fine normally but sounds a bit reedy when you’re pushing on. It claims 221lb ft, 0-100kmph in a still respectable 7.3 seconds. Both engines work well with the standard nine-speed auto, which shuffles between ratios quickly and smoothly. Responds well to the paddles on the wheel, but I couldn’t find a way to lock it in manual mode. 

Reliability

Mercedes’s recent reliability record is as good as you would expect and all new Mercedes-Benz’s come with a two year / unlimited mileage warranty.

Running Costs

Despite the declining popularity of diesel engines, they remain a popular element in the C-Class range. The C 220 d is likely to account for a good proportion of C-Class sales. It returns between 50.4mpg and 57.6mpg depending on trim level and wheels, with CO2 emissions of 130-148g/km. This compares with 60.1mpg for the BMW 320d M Sport, and the C-Class' also has slightly higher emissions. There is also the C 300 d, which is also a four-cylinder 2.0-litre turbodiesel with virtually identical running costs to the more affordable version. The petrol range has the C 180 and C 200, which both use a 1.5-litre turbocharged engine, returning similar efficiency to each other and can manage up to 45mpg, with emissions figures from 141-163g/km. With a larger 2.0-litre petrol engine, the C 300 is more powerful, and also a bit more costly to run. It manages between 35 and 42mpg depending on the trim, while emitting 150-180g/km of CO2. A plug-in hybrid C 300 e is set to follow on with a much larger 25.4kWh battery than the 13.5kWh version found in its predecessor. This should see its EV range jump from around 34 miles to just over 60 miles.

Handling

The C-Class acquits itself equally well on B-roads and motorways, feeling agile and stable. The steering itself is direct and well-weighted but not overly laden with feel, as is the way with modern cars. 

Safety

The 2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class comes with a wide range of standard safety equipment and we expect it to rate highly on Euro NCAP safety rating. 

Summary

Exterior
80%
Interior
90%
Performance
80%
Reliability
90%
Running Costs
90%
Handling
90%
Safety
100%

The new Mercedes-Benz C-Class is an important venture for the German giant, with more than 2.5 million sold since the fourth-generation car was introduced in 2014. The new C-Class sits on a heavily revised version of the outgoing cars underpinnings, but is technically a larger car in every respect. It borrows much of its technology from the current S-Class, including the basic layout and concept of its interior. Rivals include the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, Tesla Model 3, Volvo S60, Alfa Romeo Giulia and Jaguar XE.