The redesigned Mercedes-Benz C-Class is stepping up its game in a major way for 2022. It's about time, considering the sedan hasn't been fully redesigned since the 2015 model year. A fresh look, updated interior technologies, and a torquier four-cylinder engine should make this already-plush sedan more competitive against newer rivals including the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, Genesis G70, and Volvo S60.
We've given the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class the highest compliment it can dream of achieving: It feels a lot like an S-Class. That's especially evident inside the cabin, which offers pretty much the same upscale feel, as well as the same sleek and effective second-generation MBUX interface as its larger sibling. Although it lacks some of the fancy tech features of the S-Class, the C-Class' interior is excellent for its segment, and more luxurious than that of the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4.
As we noted in our First Drive, the C-Class sedan benefits from a quiet, comfortable ride. It's important to note, however, that our testers had the adaptive-damping suspension that's an option in Europe. The C-Class feels calm and controlled even while traveling at speed. The refinement continues in the sharp steering.
We can't wait to put the C-Class through a full battery of instrumented testing. For now, we're content in knowing that the C-Class has adopted quite a bit of the styling and road mannerisms of the venerable S-Class.
New for 2022, the C300 sedan is powered by a 2.0-liter turbo-four engine with mild hybrid technology. Output comes to 255 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, and electric boost allows this model to produce an additional 20 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque in short bursts. Power is routed through a nine-speed automatic transmission to the rear wheels or all four wheels via the automaker's 4Matic system. Mercedes says the C300 sedan will hit 60 mph in 5.9 seconds and a top speed of 130 mph, regardless of the drivetrain configuration.
Mercedes offers an impressive array of safety features on the 2022 C-Class. Standard goodies on the sedan include automatic emergency braking, parking damage detection, blind-spot assist, and attention assist.
Expect to pay more for the fanciest features, though. A driver assistance package brings along an advanced adaptive cruise control system with route-based speed adaptation and stop-and-go traffic assist. It also includes active steering assist, lane change assist, an Active Blind Spot Assist, brake assist with cross-traffic function, lane keeping assist, and a function that automatically moves the front seat occupant away from the impact zone before a crash.
Sedan models seat five people. Front-row legroom measures 41.7 inches, the same as the old C-Class sedan, while rear legroom has increased slightly from 35.2 inches to 36.0 inches. These new measurements put the C-Class on par with the 2021 Audi A4 sedan, which offers 41.3 inches of front-row legroom and 35.7 inches of rear legroom.
Taking a page from Tesla, the C-Class sedan features a large portrait-oriented central touchscreen. Measuring 11.9 inches, this standard screen is canted toward the driver for easier use. A new 12.3-inch fully digital instrument cluster also comes standard. The C-Class makes use of the latest generation MBUX infotainment system, which the driver can choose to activate with a fingerprint scanner below the central display.
Options include a head-up display and Augmented Video for Navigation, a feature that superimposes arrows, house numbers, and lane change recommendations onto the navigation screen, making it easier for drivers to find their way around town.
Besides the aforementioned tech and safety features, other standard goodies on the C-Class sedan include keyless entry, push-button start, a sunroof, heated front seats with memory and lumbar support, and a leather steering wheel with touch control buttons to control the infotainment system. Optional convenience features include ventilated front seats, inductive wireless charging, and a heated steering wheel.
Mercedes tries to make choosing a C-Class more straightforward by breaking it into three distinct trim levels. It starts with the Premium trim, which includes features like 18-inch wheels outside, and those big infotainment and gauge cluster displays inside. Basic driver-assist features are standard.
The Exclusive trim brings technologies and niceties. These include a 360-degree parking camera system, extended interior ambient lighting, and premium audio system
At the top of the range is the Pinnacle trim, which is loaded with equipment like a head-up display and built-in navigation with augmented reality.
Options are available on every trim level, ranging from adaptive headlights to a heated steering wheel to a panoramic sunroof. As ever, the AMG Line package is offered to increase the C-Class' sporty styling.