Mercedes C350 Estate

We take wheel of V6 carrier to see if facelift is a success

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

These changes have made a huge improvement to the way the C-Class looks, drives and feels. The interior oozes quality, and the engines – even this flagship V6 petrol unit – are among the most efficient in the sector. Factor in the estate’s spacious boot, and this model is well placed in the race for compact executive honours.

It's makeover time for the C-Class – and while at first glance it might be hard to spot the changes, this is one of the most comprehensive overhauls ever carried out on the Mercedes compact executive. 

In all, there are more than 2,000 improvements over the old car. But are they enough to keep the Audi A4-rival fresh? 

We drove a flagship petrol estate model to find out.

It’s distinguished by a new bonnet, headlights, bumpers and LED daytime running lamps. These combine to give the C-Class a sharper shape.

Inside, there is a host of tweaks aimed at improving build quality and appearance. 

In comes a range of classy metal-finish switches, while the flip-out media screen has been replaced by a much sleeker unit which is integrated into the dash.  

There are plenty of mechanical alterations, too, including updates to the 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine fitted to our model. Power is up from 268bhp to 302bhp, while torque has also increased to 370Nm. When fitted with the super-smooth seven-speed automatic box, the C350 is capable of relaxed cruising and lightning-fast acceleration. 

The official 0-62mph time now stands at six seconds flat – down from 6.4 seconds – while top speed is an electronically limited 155mph. The C-Class’s green credentials still impress, though, with combined fuel economy at 38.7mpg and CO2 emissions of only 165g/km. 

Most buyers will opt for Sport trim, which has uprated suspension and brakes, speed-sensitive steering, 18-inch AMG alloy wheels and aluminium accents in the interior. This set-up is best for an all-round driving experience, with body roll well controlled and a ride that is comfortable in general driving, but can feel a little stiff over speed bumps and potholes. 

Those who put comfort above handling can opt for Elegance trim, which brings the kind of soft and supple ride normally associated with Merc’s flagship S-Class saloon. However, it does mean more body roll and slightly dulled steering. The C-Class is as practical as ever, with plenty of space for rear passengers, and a large 450-litre load bay – this rises to 1,500 litres with the back seats folded down. All estates also feature an automatic tailgate.

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