By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 9/5/2012
While Mercedes-Benz is mostly associated with providing high-priced cars to the rich and ultra-rich, the company also has a series of coupes and sedans built to the same high-quality standards but wearing a 5-digit price tag. Offering younger buyers a way into the Mercedes-Benz fold is the C250, a turbocharged 4-cylinder model with a sub-$40,000 price tag. With the C250, Mercedes hopes that first-time buyers will remain loyal as their ages and incomes rise. But the C-Class isn't all about price, with a number of enticing upscale models including the fire-breathing V8-powered C63 AMG.
If you're shopping a loaded Chrysler 300 or Nissan Maxima, it's not a far leap to land in an equally well-equipped 2013 Mercedes-Benz C-Class. And, when it comes time to move to a bigger Benz, the C-Class promises a good return on your investment.You May Not Like This Car If...
While a 2013 C-Class is within reach of most professionals, there is a higher price to be paid for long-term care and service down the road. The C-Class also isn't as accommodating to rear-seat passengers as a similarly-priced Hyundai Genesis, Chrysler 300 or Buick LaCrosse.What's New for 2013
New for 2013 is the C300 4Matic's 3.5-liter direct-injection V6 that bumps output to 248 horsepower. A fuel-saving ECO start/stop feature is added to the C350 and C300 4Matic, while Distronic Plus becomes a stand-alone option. Mbrace2 internet and app connectivity is made standard on all trims.
Even the basic C250 sedan feels as solid and screwed together as the best S-Class. Stable and confident, the C-Class for 2013 is loaded with creature comforts and overflowing with technology. With the exception of the C63 AMG, the C-Class sedans and coupes tend to favor a ride that is more about comfort and quiet than tight turns and blistering acceleration. That's not to say that the rear-drive C-Class is slow or ponderous, far from it. Nimble in the corners and providing strong acceleration through the 7-speed automatic transmission, the C-Class is truly an enjoyable driving experience. Just don't expect it to perform like the BMW 3-Series. We found the C250's 1.8-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder a willing partner, but only when left in Sport mode. In the Comfort setting the power is only acceptable for a car of this cost and caliber. Models with the new 3.5-liter V6 are plenty potent even in Comfort mode.Favorite Features
This standard feature can detect when a driver is drowsy and alerts him or her via visual and audible warnings. How does it do that? The car uses sensors that "observe driver behavior," based primarily on steering wheel movements.
A true leap forward in telematics, Mbrace2 is a Cloud-based subscription service that uses your smartphone to connect to the internet, allowing apps like Facebook, Google and Yelp to be online and at work whenever the car's in motion. Mbrace2 can even download system and map updates.
The 2013 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is elegant yet relatively understated inside. A 4.5-inch color display sits before the driver relaying trip, audio and navigation information. Even when outfitted with the base M-B Tex vinyl upholstery, the C-Class seats are comfortable and supportive. Rear-seat space is a bit tight in the 5-passenger sedan, and even more cramped in the coupe, which seats four and has a lower roofline that can bump against heads. Like other luxury cars, audio, telephone and navigation are controlled via a console-mounted dial whose functions are viewed on a color-LCD screen in the center dash.
While most of the updates for the 2013 C-Class are under the hood and dashboard, Mercedes has made tweaks to the outer design of its smallest car. The biggest news is last year's introduction of a curvaceous coupe. Though it has two fewer doors than its sedan siblings, the C-Class coupe is nearly identical in length, width and wheelbase, but lower in height, giving it a more sporty appearance. C-Class Sedans retain their angular look and feature a lighter aluminum hood, revised front and rear bumpers and redesigned headlights and taillights.
All C-Class models come with a 7-speed automatic transmission, Attention Assist drowsiness monitor, 11 airbags, Mbrace2 telematics, a power sunroof, rain-sensing wipers, garage door opener, auto-dimming mirrors, dual-zone climate control, 8-way power front seats, 5.8-inch color screen with center controller and AM/FM/HD Radio with CD player and auxiliary/USB inputs. Coupes add a panorama roof, split-folding rear seats and paddle shifters for manual gear selection.Notable Optional Equipment
Comfort, tech and safety options abound in the 2013 C-Class. Among them are an in-vehicle hotspot for internet connectivity, blind-spot monitor, rear-view camera, push-button start/stop, and a navigation system loaded with useful information such as ATM locations and Zagat Survey restaurant ratings. The high-end audio option is a 12-speaker, 450-watt harman/kardon Logic7 Surround Sound system. A new AMG Sports Package Plus adds enhanced exhaust tuning, sport interior, 18-inch 7-spoke wheels and, on coupes, a revised front suspension.
After a long absence, Mercedes is again using a 4-cylinder engine for its base model C-Class. The fuel-efficient 1.8-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder makes 201 horsepower, enabling the C250 to accelerate from zero to 60 mph in just 7.1 seconds. More powerful still is the C350, with a direct-injection 3.5-liter V6 that makes 302 horsepower (248 in the C300 4Matic). The incredible C63 AMG boasts a 6.3-liter V8 that makes 451 horsepower - and has fuel-economy numbers that add a one-time $1,700 gas-guzzler tax. All models now use a 7-speed automatic transmission with manual-shift mode (no manual transmission is available).
C250 sedan and coupe:
1.8-liter turbocharged inline-4
201 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
229 lb-ft of torque @ 2,200-4,300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/31 mpg
C300 4Matic sedan:
248 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
251 lb-ft of torque @ 3,500-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/28 mpg
C350 sedan and coupe:
302 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
273 lb-ft of torque @ 3,500-5,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/29 mpg (gasoline), 15/21 mpg (E85)
C63 AMG sedan and coupe:
451 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
443 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/19 mpg
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for a 2013 C250 Sedan is a little over $36,000, including destination. At the other end, a C63 AMG Sedan is over $62,000. In between, a C300 4Matic sedan starts around $40,000 and a C350 sedan starts at over $42,000. Coupe versions of the C250, C350 and C63 increase their cost about $2,000. Options can easily add $10,000 or more to the base price. The 2013 Mercedes-Benz C-Class has a similar starting price to the BMW 328i Sedan and matches the rest of the 3-Series closely up the model line. It has a higher starting price than the Lexus IS 250, Infiniti G Sedan, Audi A4 or Cadillac ATS. A relative bargain, the C63 starts lower than a Lexus IS F, BMW M3 and Cadillac CTS-V ($65,410). To see what buyers in your area are paying for a Mercedes-Benz C-Class, be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price. Down the road, the C-Class boasts exceptional resale value.