In-depth reviews

Mercedes C-Class review - Engines, performance and drive

The C-Class offers a range of capable engines, with an appealing blend of power and efficiency

The latest Mercedes C-Class uses a heavily revised version of the previous model’s MRA architecture. This set-up also supports the new luxury S-Class, with the smaller compact executive benefiting from an overhauled suspension system and improved ride comfort.

All models in the C-Class range include 48-volt mild-hybrid assistance, which uses an integrated starter/generator that recoups energy lost under braking. The system then uses the small electric motor to help boost the efficiency of the combustion engine when you accelerate. It sounds a little complicated, but the tech works away unobtrusively out on the road, allowing you to focus on driving.

We’ve tried the C 220 d mild-hybrid model and found it an incredibly smooth drive: with 440Nm of torque available from 1,800rpm, the C-Class was able to effortlessly shift up to higher motorway speeds and remained relatively quiet and composed under harder acceleration. 

There are five individual driving modes to choose from: Comfort, Eco, Sport, Sport+ and Individual. Each mode is tailored to suit a particular driving preference, with the softer Comfort setting being our choice for everyday driving. Eco mode adjusts the throttle, climate control and other settings to help reduce overall fuel consumption, while also automatically shutting off the engine when you come to a standstill. 

Switching to Sport and Sport+ means you’ll benefit from sharper steering and throttle responses, along with a firmer suspension set-up; a better option if you’re taking on a twisty B-road. The nine-speed auto transmission works intuitively and isn’t often caught out, although when we tried the plug-in model we found the hybrid system required a little moment before catching on that we were looking for a lower gear.

Mercedes has managed to improve the C-Class’s dynamic performance, but it still doesn’t trouble a BMW 3 Series for driving fun. Keen drivers will find that the brakes don’t offer enough feel and the steering could be more communicative, despite the various drive modes on offer.

Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed

Outside of the sporty AMG-tuned models, the performance crown goes to the C 300 d which manages a 0-62mph time of 5.7 seconds and a 155mph maximum.

The petrol C 300 isn’t far behind, sprinting from 0-62mph in 6.0 seconds flat, with the plug-in hybrid model just a tenth slower. Both the C 200 and C 220 d accomplish the same feat in 7.3 seconds.

Most Popular

15 Tesla Supercharger sites open to non-Tesla vehicles in the UK
Tesla Supercharger
Tesla

15 Tesla Supercharger sites open to non-Tesla vehicles in the UK

Pilot scheme to open up Tesla-only charging network to all electric cars lands at selected UK locations
18 May 2022
New all-electric Alfa Romeo Duetto Spider shapes up
Alfa Romeo Duetto Spider - watermarked front
Alfa Romeo

New all-electric Alfa Romeo Duetto Spider shapes up

Alfa Romeo bosses have confirmed that a new two-seat electric roadster is in the company’s rejuvenation plans and our exclusive images preview how it …
19 May 2022
Shell and ABB team up to deliver world’s fastest electric car charger
Shell charger
News

Shell and ABB team up to deliver world’s fastest electric car charger

New Shell and ABB-developed Terra 360 EV charger can add 62 miles of range in less than three minutes
16 May 2022