2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class first drive review | RACV (2022)

Review

2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class first drive review | RACV (1)

Craig Duff

Posted March 03, 2022

The new generation of the popular Mercedes sedan has gone on sale, promising more space, improved efficiency … and a hefty price jump.

The C-Class has been the flag-bearer of the Mercedes-Benz brand for well over a decade. It adopts a conventional rear-wheel-drive vehicle, unlike the front and all-wheel-drive versions that populate the A and B-Class models.

Traditionalists appreciate the style and the space; as newcomers to the brand rejoice in the fact they’re driving a “real” Mercedes.

And this version, codenamed W206, delivers substantially more style than its predecessor.

On this page

  • How much does the Mercedes-Benz C-Class cost?
  • How safe is it?
  • What's it like inside?
  • What's under the bonnet?
  • Is it efficient?
  • How does it drive?
  • Should I buy one?

      The C-Class dash borrows heavily from the luxurious S-Class limousine.

      This 11.9-inch touchscreen always has the airconditioning settings on display so owners don't have to flick through menus.

      The outboard seats of the C-Class are comfortable, with the centre pew OK for short trips but best-suited to being used for the flip-out cupholders and armrests.

      How much does the 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class cost?

      The price of entry rises substantially with the latest generation vehicle.

      The outgoing C200 sedan was priced at $66,900 before on-road costs. The new C200 starts at $78,900.

      Likewise, the price of the C300 has expanded from $75,300 to $90,400.

      Traditional rivals such as the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4 start at $71,900 and $59,900 plus on-road costs respectively for their entry variants.

      In Mercedes’ defence, they’ve added a lot more equipment into the C-Class, either due to improved technology or because the majority of last-generation C-Class buyers optioned the gear onto their vehicles.

      So, the AMG-Line exterior and interior styling package is now standard fit. Merc has also fitted the 48-volt “mild hybrid” electrical system that improves both efficiency and performance, bolstered the safety features and installed an 11.9-inch touchscreen.

      Service intervals are 12 months or 25,000km. A five-year service plan corresponds to the warranty period and costs $5,200.

      As is always the case with prestige cars, a variety of optional packs can be fitted to the car. These range from a $1,600 anti-theft and interior monitoring system to a $3,400 deal that bundles rear-wheel steering and adaptive dampers. It’s worth noting the latter pack can’t be had right now … the semiconductor shortage strikes again.

      How safe is the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class?

      Increased safety specification has contributed to the C-Class’s elevated pricing. A centre airbag, which is now needed to secure a five-star rating, is standard-fit and brings the total count to 10. Merc has also fitted the entry C200 with a 360-degree camera, adaptive cruise control and active lane change assist, which provides steering torque in the direction of the indicator if it detects it is on a road with multiple lanes in the same direction of travel.

      The C300 extends the software and sensor list with active steering assist, active blind-spot assist, active lane-keeping assist and traffic sign assist.

      What is the Mercedes-Benz C-Class like inside?

      As is norm for new cars, this C-Class is bigger than the previous model. The wheelbase has been stretched by 25mm and the car is now 4793mm long. That’s a big mid-sized sedan.

      The expansion contributes to more elbow room front and rear, 35mm more knee room for back-seat passengers and more headroom.

      Design cues from the S-Class luxury sedan are evident throughout the C-Class cabin, from the distinct upper and lower dashboard segments that flow into the centre console to the flattened round vents that are meant to be reminiscent of aircraft engine nacelles.

      The C-Class also adopts an 11.9-inch portrait-oriented infotainment display. This can be operated in any manner of modes, from voice recognition to physically touching the screen, using the touchpad in the centre console, or scrolling through the track pads fitted to the steering wheel.

      The driver’s screen remains a hi-resolution 12.3-inch digital unit with multiple display modes.

      The C200 features faux-leather wrapped front seats with four-way powered adjustment, dual-zone climate control, and remote vehicle monitoring including the ability to lock or unlock the car.

      The C300 adds leather upholstery, tinted privacy glass in the back windows and more advanced driver assistance functions.

      Boot space in both variants is unchanged at 455 litres.

      The sedan's increased dimensions has liberated extra head, knee and elbow room for rear-seat occupants.

      Boot capacity in the new C-Class sedan is unchanged at 455 litres.

      New lamp design front and rear help differentiate the W206 C-Class from its forebears.

      What’s under the Mercedes-Benz C-Class bonnets?

      A 1.5-litre turbo four-cylinder engine powers the C200, augmented by the 48-volt electric system that includes an integrated starter/generator. Benz says the system can add up to 15kW and 200Nm to the engine’s 150kW/300Nm outputs.

      That contributes to a 0-100km/h time of 7.3 seconds.

      The C300 increases engine displacement to 2.0-litres. Outputs climb to 190kW and 400Nm, lowering the run to 100km/h to 6.0-seconds.

      Both vehicles use a nine-speed automatic transmission driving the rear wheels.

      How efficient is the Mercedes-Benz C-Class?

      The C200 officially consumes 6.9 litres every 100km on the combined cycle. That compares with 6.1 litres/100km for the front-wheel-drive Audi A4 35TSFI and 6.3 litres/100km for the BMW 320i.

      Fuel use in the C300 is rated at 7.3 litres/100km. Buy the comparable 330i BMW and fuel use is 6.6 litres/100km, while an al-wheel-drive Audi A4 45TFSI drinks at a claimed combined rate of 7.3 litres/100km when rolling on 19-inch wheels.

      The C-Class is a big mid-sized sedan at almost 5m in length.

      The 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class adopts the AMG-Line styling package as standard.

      How does the Mercedes-Benz C-Class drive?

      The AMG versions of the C-Class sedans are yet to break cover and they’re tasked with delivering the handling and performance that have made the C-Class such a desirable vehicle.

      The C200's 48-volt electrical system ensures a seamless start off the line and under typical throttle loads, the 1.5-litre turbo engine is capable of hauling the 1650kg sedan with acceptable alacrity.

      Push the right pedal harder and there can be a momentary disconnect between the engine and transmission as the computer calculates which gear is the preferred ratio.

      It’s something that won’t typically be evident in the urban environment but can be felt on the freeways. Switching the drive mode into Sport ameliorates it but can’t make it disappear.

      The C300 is far more compelling and worth the premium - if you can afford it. The engine actually has a narrower torque range than its smaller sibling, but with 30 per cent more torque to play with, isn’t found wanting on the back roads or around town.

      Should I buy one?

      Test drive the BMW, then jump into the Mercedes and see if the extra luxury is worth the premium.

      Given how style-conscious buyers in this segment are, the answer for many is likely to be “yes”. Note that Mercedes-Benz’s move to an agency selling model means prospective buyers can’t negotiate on the price of a new C-Class with the dealer and therefore need to haggle hard over the trade-in vehicle (if they have one).

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