While the favorite ride of the rich and famous is undoubtedly a well-appointed S-Class, Mercedes-Benz builds a smaller luxury ride that is well within reach of most upper-middle-class Americans. Offered in coupe and sedan form, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is more than just an entry ticket into an exclusive car club, it is a safe, reliable and luxurious mode of transportation respected for excellence. Be it the classy coupe, the sub-$40,000 4-cylinder turbo C250 or the pricey yet thrilling V8 powered C63 AMG, there is a C-Class to fit most tastes and budgets. While not as performance tuned as rivals from Cadillac and BMW, the C-Class offers a more compliant ride preferred by many luxury buyers.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you think the price of German engineering is out of reach, think again. The 2014 Mercedes-Benz C-Class costs about the same a nicely equipped Chrysler 300 or Nissan Maxima, plus when it comes time to move up the M-B ladder, the C-Class' strong resale will help with the down payment.
You May Not Like This Car If...
If rear seat accommodations are an important part of your buying decision, the C-Class can't match the legroom found in the Hyundai Genesis or Buick LaCrosse. Cost of ownership post-warranty is likely to be much pricier than with a simple family sedan such as the Honda Accord.
Changes for the 2014 Mercedes-Benz C-Class include the addition of 18-inch wheels to the C350 and a standard split-folding rear seat on all models. The sport-oriented C63 AMG receives a new Edition 507 package that bumps output to 507 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque.
Driving the C-Class
During our test drive of the 2014 C250, it quickly became apparent that Mercedes-Benz puts as much care into assembling the C-Class as it does it most expense luxury sedan....
... Beyond its smooth and solid driving characteristics, the C-Class is loaded with features, including a stylish and modern interior long missing from past C-Class cars. Our C250 provided plenty of power provided we left the adjustable automatic transmission in Sport mode, and its handling, while not BMW 3 Series-like, was nevertheless controlled and responsive. The 7-speed automatic performed flawlessly, and while we love the touch-shift manual mode, we still wish a manual transmission were available on the coupes. In the automatic's Comfort setting, the C250's power is only acceptable for a car of this cost and caliber. Models with the 3.5-liter V6 are plenty potent even in Comfort mode. The exception to the smooth-riding C-Class is the C63 AMG, which is all about blistering acceleration and razor sharp cornering.
ATTENTION ASSIST Standard on every 2014 Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Attention Assist 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.
MBRACE2 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.
2014 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Details
The 2014 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 2014 C-Class are under the hood and dashboard, Mercedes has made tweaks to the outer design of its smallest car. The front grille now features black painted slats as standard equipment, while the C350 gains new turbine-blade 18-inch wheels. 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, split-folding rear seat, 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 and paddle shifters for manual gear selection.
Comfort, tech and safety options abound in the 2014 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.
Under the Hood
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz C-Class offers a host of engine and drivetrain choices, starting with the C250's 4-cylinder engine. 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. Not enough power? Order the Edition 507 package and output is elevated to an insane 507 horsepower. All models 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
C350 sedan and coupe: 3.5-liter V6 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: 6.3-liter V8 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 2014 C250 Sedan is just a shade under $37,000, including destination. At the other end, a C63 AMG Sedan starts around $62,000. In between, a C300 4Matic sedan starts around $40,500 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 2014 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 slightly higher starting price than the Lexus IS 250, Infiniti Q50 Sedan, Audi A4 or Cadillac ATS. A relative bargain, the C63 starts lower than a Lexus IS F, BMW M3 and Cadillac CTS-V. 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.
"beautiful car that gets noticed. Good price point for buying but wished it retained better value. In 4 years it has lost $20,000 in value. Very good performance, have had no repairs done except maintenance."
Cons: "Paint on the power window button rubbed off"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Purchased new in 2008. While annual maintenance can be high (oil change, etc), the car was superbly reliable, fun to drive. We test drove all luxury vehicles in similar price range. This was to only one that felt like a luxury brand. My wife totaled the car a couple of days ago. She hit a guard rail head on, peeled back 20 feet of rail and walked away w/o a scratch or bruise.
We are going in today to purchase our new 2015 version with all the safety features today."
Cons: "Poorly engineered and not what an MB should be"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"I had a 2008 then 2011 now 2014 C sedan and the engineering quality decline is staggering. The 2011 transmission shifts were noticeable but the 2014 are terrible. Living in CA we encounter a lot of traffic and the car lurches as it shifts or is slow and then hard revs before it kicks in. Dealer says this is normal when the engine is cold which seems like an excuse. The other oddity is it is hard to put gas in the car because of an oddly designed vacuum feature at the filler. You have to contort the gas hose to engage the pump into the filler otherwise the pump kicks off after a few drops of gas go into the tank. It takes forever to fill the tank. Rather than fixing the engineering flaw MB published a diagram how to pump gas. I think they hired the cast off engineers who said not to use a key ring so your car won't shut off on its own!
The design of the car is great outside and inside but it is not a great driving car for what it cost. I will look at an Audi or BMW in 2016."