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2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

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2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Review

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Now that Mercedes-Benz’s CLA handles entry-level duties for the triple-pointed star, the 2015 C-Class grows closer to its upscale stablemates and more competitive against the likes of the Audi A4, BMW 3-series, and Lexus IS. Larger, lighter and posher than its predecessor, the all-new 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan lineup makes a more compelling case for itself than ever in this competitive segment. Though it never was – and might never be – the choice for weekend autocrossers, the C-Class has matured into a big luxury car trapped in a compact-car body. Launching the latest-gen C-Class is a sedan lineup consisting of the C300, C400 and performance-oriented AMG C63 and AMG C63 S models. Coupe versions are still available but await their own metamorphosis.

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If you’re a more conventional luxury enthusiast who digs the occasional fast-paced drive, the Mercedes C-Class could be your cup of tea. With its reassuringly traditionalist interior, the C-Class is more like a scaled down premium car than an aspirational entry-level offering – which we think is a good thing.

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Though it’s more stylish than ever, the C-Class still recalls Mercedes-Benz’s stodgy reputation, and while it’s sprightlier to drive than its predecessor, there’s still a trace of restraint when pushing the C-Class to the limit. Hardcore driving enthusiasts might find more satisfaction from the C-Class' Munich-based competition, the BMW 3 Series.

What's New for 2015

All-new for 2015, the C-Class sedan loses as much as 220 pounds despite growing 3.7 inches longer (in sedan form). Fuel economy increases about 20 percent as well, and a thorough interior and exterior restyling lends the lineup a slick new look.

Driving the C-Class
Driving Impressions

The outgoing Mercedes C-Class, at least in its milder non-AMG form, was never known for its athleticism. Thanks to the new model’s lighter weight, the C-Class feels more tossable and...

... lithe – though there’s still a sense of insulation from road feel and steering feedback. However, the chassis exudes a feeling of unflappable solidity, which goes a long way towards making the C-Class feel crisp and responsive. While C300 models are equipped with 241-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinders, the C400 versions get a 329-horsepower V6 mated to an adjustable Airmatic suspension. Those who love to drive will find more satisfaction from the rear-drive models (versus the available 4Matic all-wheel-drive versions). Those seeking serious performance in what looks like a sleeper will find it in the new AMG C63 that packs a 469 horsepower biturbo V8 or the even more extreme AMG C63 S that houses 503 horses under the hood. Coupe variants carry over with previous-gen hardware that includes a trio of engines ranging from a just-adequate 1.8-liter turbo 4-cylinder to a muscular 6.3-liter V8.

AIRMATIC SUSPENSION
Optional air suspension joins the Mercedes C-Class lineup for the first time, and atones for the otherwise firm feedback provided by the car’s run-flat tires. The system can be dialed to one of four styles – Comfort, ECO, Sport and Sport+ – and can help smooth out the ride dramatically.

DRIVER ASSISTANCE PACKAGE
This bundle of safety features includes blind-spot assist and active lane-keeping assist, though our favorite item is adaptive cruise control, which makes driving in traffic a wonderfully mindless task.

2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Details
Interior

Lovely. Few other words suffice when it comes to describing the new Mercedes C-Class sedan's interior, especially on the heels of the outgoing model, which had a cold, clinical demeanor. The new C comes available with an attractive array of wood and aluminum finishes, and a relatively clutter-free layout that manages to still feel elegant. Central to the de-cluttering is a new rotary dial and touchpad that responds to gestural inputs, swipes and handwriting. Adding to the upscale feel is an available Air Balance Package with a fragrance diffuser that atomizes perfume into the air conditioning system. Because the 4-passenger C-Class coupe variants are carryover, they have yet to be blessed with these new features.

Exterior

At first glance, the Mercedes C-Class bears a strong resemblance to the E-Class and S-Class – and yes, it certainly does borrow cues including the aggressive front grilles, sweeping character lines, and taut rear end. However, the C’s compact proportions give it a more purposeful appearance that’s a bit more stern than the jaunty CLA. If you crave a snazzier look, the 3-pointed star on the grille can be lit up with LEDs for an extra $480, while a Sport package brings more aggressive bodywork and wheels. The coupe variant retains its handsome but familiar looks until the curtain lifts on its own revamp, still yet to be announced.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The C300 receives a decent amount of standard equipment, including dual-zone climate control, keyless start and a touchpad-operated multimedia interface. A rearview camera is bundled into a $2,690 Multimedia Package, though it can be ordered a la carte for $460. Standard items on the C400 get more substantial, including a Burmester audio system, adjustable suspension, torque-vectoring brakes, and heated seats. A base 2015 C250 coupe comes nicely equipped with a 14-way power driver's seat, dual-zone climate control, 8-speaker harman/kardon audio and a 5.8-inch color display with central controller.

Optional Equipment

There are seemingly endless to load up the C-Class’s amenities (and MSRP). Opt for the Interior Package, and you’ll get leather (which you’d think would be standard on a car of this caliber), ventilated seats, and multicolor LED ambient lighting. A Multimedia Package adds an 8.4-inch navigation screen, voice control and a 10-gigabyte music hard drive. Airmatic suspension adds $1,190 to the C300’s premium, and if you’re looking for features you never knew you needed, you’ll want the cabin fragrance system for $350. The C-Class coupe can be upfitted with leather, navigation and driver-assist systems like blind-spot monitoring, radar cruise control, and performance upgrades.

Under the Hood

The new C-Class sedan comes with a potent turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that acts as the base powerplant in the C300 or an optional turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 found in the C400. Both models are mated to 7-speed automatic gearboxes. The C300 can be had in standard rear-wheel drive (RWD) or optional 4Matic all-wheel drive (AWD). For now, the C400 for is linked to all-wheel drive. The rear-drive AMG C63 models use a new 4.0-liter biturbo V8 that makes 469 horsepower or a headier-still 503 in the AMG 63 S. 2015 C-Class coupes retain the engine choices formerly found across the C-Class range: a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder in the C250, a 3.5-liter V6 in the C350, and the 6.3-liter V8 in the AMG C63 Coupe.

1.8-liter turbocharged inline-4 (C250 coupe)
201 horsepower @ 5,550 rpm
229 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000-4,300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/31 mpg

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (C300 sedan)
241 horsepower @ 5,550 rpm
273 lb-ft of torque @ 1,300-4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/34 mpg (RWD), 24/31 mpg (AWD)

3.0-liter turbocharged V6 (C400 sedan)
329 horsepower @ 5,250-6,000 rpm
354 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600-4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/29 mpg

3.5-liter V6 (C350 coupe)
302 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
273 lb-ft of torque @ 3,500-5,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/28 mpg (RWD), 19/27 (AWD)

4.0-liter turbocharged V8 (AMG C63 sedan)
469 horsepower @ 5,500-6,250 rpm
479 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25 mpg

4.0-liter turbocharged V8 (AMG C63 S sedan)
503 horsepower @ 5,500-6,250 rpm
516 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25 mpg

6.3-liter V8 (C63 AMG coupe)
451 horsepower @ 6,800 rpm
443 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/19 mpg

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