At one time, the C-Class was Mercedes-Benz’s entry-level car in North America, but those days are long gone: first, there was the B-Class (which goes away after this year), the CLA- and GLA-Class sedan and crossover and, most recently, the A-Class, which comes to Canada for the first time in 2019 after many years on the European market.
But the C-Class is no less important to Benz in light of those newer models, and as evidence of that, Mercedes has made a number of changes to the car in a mid-cycle update to the current generation, which was introduced as a 2015 model. As you’ll see, this is a significant set of changes to a model available in one of the industry’s widest range of body styles: there’s a sedan and wagon, and a coupe and convertible. There aren’t many other cars sold under a single model designation conceived to appeal to four distinct groups of buyers as the C Class is.
By now, you’re probably well-acquainted with the C-Class’s main competition: Benz goes up against heavyweights like the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4, plus the Cadillac ATS/CTS (soon to be replaced by a single car called CT5), the Volvo S60 and newcomers like the Jaguar XE and Alfa Romeo Giulia.
Trim levels include C 300, C43, C 63 and C 63 S for sedan, coupe and convertible, while the wagon comes in C 300 and C 43 only.
Changes to all four C-Class variants include refreshed styling; a new steering wheel with touchpads; a new key; the omission of the CD/DVD player; upgraded ambient interior lighting; a newly available 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster; a newly optional 10.25-inch central media display; smartphone integration with wireless charging; standard rear cross traffic alert; a more advanced blind spot monitor that warns the driver of approaching cars after opening a door, even if the ignition is off; and improvements to the car’s available driver assistance features.
There’s more: the base C 300 trim’s 2.0L turbo four-cylinder engine gains 14 hp for 255 (its 273 lb-ft of torque remains the same; the C 43 trim’s turbo 3.0L V6 adds 23 hp for a new total of 385 (likewise, its 384 lb-ft of torque carries over); and the C 63 and C 63 S get a new nine-speed automatic transmission to replace last year’s seven-speed. The 4.0L turbo V8 used in those cars retains its outputs of 469 hp/479 lb-ft of torque (C 63) and 503 hp/516 lb-ft (C 63 S).
While we’re on the topic, all C 300 and C 43 models are AWD, while the C 63 is a rear-driver. C 300 and C 43 get a nine-speed transmission carried over from last year.
Driver assistance enhancements include adaptive cruise and active steering assist that can follow the car in front at a wider range of speeds; an emergency stop assist feature that will unlock the doors if it senses the driver is incapacitated; and the ability to adjust the car’s speed in advance of road features like roundabouts and exit lanes.
As we write this, Mercedes had yet to publish fuel consumption estimates, but we figure the 2019 numbers will be similar to those for last year: 10.5/7.5 L/100 km (city/highway) for the C 300; 11.8/8.8 for C 43 variants; and 13.4/9.6 in the C 63 models.
This vehicle has not yet been reviewed