Mercedes C-Class review - Interior, design and technology
The C-Class has a cabin that’s among the most sumptuous in the class, and new tech keeps it at the sharp end, too
Looks count for a lot in the executive car park and the Mercedes hits the spot. Taking its inspiration from the brand’s flagship S-Class limousine, the C-Class’ neatly styled lines, sculpted sides and swept-back headlamps provide plenty of appeal. Mercedes offers the C-Class with the 'classic' Merc grille in some territories, but in the UK we only get the sportier option, featuring a large Mercedes badge in the centre of the grille rather than a bonnet ornament up top.
SE trim cars get 17-inch wheels while Sport models add larger 18-inch alloys and LED headlights. AMG Line models have an even sportier cabin, 18-inch wheels and body styling to look like the most potent versions of the C-Class.
The flagship C 43 and C 63 S cars are the most powerful and a bit more distinctive as a result. They’re marked out by 19-inch alloys, deeper front bumpers with aerodynamic lips, subtly flared front wheelarches, quad exhausts and a bonnet that features a pair of ‘power’ bulges.
The C-Class’ upmarket feel is emphasised inside where the luxurious cabin sets high standards. Again it’s influenced by the S-Class, so you get high-quality materials and a beautifully designed dash with eyeball air vents and wood or metalwork finishing depending on your chosen specification.
The tactile metal finish of the air conditioning controls, power seat adjusters and the rotary Comand system controller are further highlights, while the leather multifunction steering wheel is lovely to hold. In the AMG Line models, this is a flat-bottomed affair.
Changes in the cabin are limited with the facelift, the only real tweaks being the adoption of the new multifunction steering wheel from the S-Class, the new infotainment display and the availability of digital dials for the first time.
Standard equipment is generous, too. All versions get cruise control, a DAB radio, Bluetooth and Mercedes’ trademark Artico man-made leather, while AMG Line cars add sports seats, privacy glass and bodystyling kit. The C 63 is given a low key makeover with bespoke AMG instruments, a pair of high-backed sports seats and its own flat-bottomed steering wheel.
Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
The infotainment system in the pre-facelift car couldn’t match BMW and Audi’s latest efforts with low-resolution graphics, clunky menus and poor navigation. However, the new system equipped on the updated C-Class is now easily right at the top end of the market.
All cars get a 10.25-inch central display as standard, and it’s a huge improvement with much clearer graphics and far more intuitive menus, operated through the COMAND rotary dial.
The optional 12.3-inch digital dials are worth considering too, placing key information and directions right in the driver’s line of sight and operated through the touch sensitive pads on the new steering wheel. It’s on option on all cars except the C 63 though.
- 1VerdictThe upmarket Mercedes C-Class brings the usual air of quality, although you'll need to upgrade to the AMG cars to find a truly exciting drive
- 2Engines, performance and driveThe C-Class remains a solid, stable cruiser, while AMG offerings are still huge fun
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsEconomy is strong compared to rivals, with new mild-hybrid petrol model designed for fuel-free coasting
- 4Interior, design and technology - currently readingThe C-Class has a cabin that’s among the most sumptuous in the class, and new tech keeps it at the sharp end, too
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe C-Class offers a good amount of room up front for driver and passenger, but the boot size is nothing special
- 6Reliability and SafetyThe C-Class brings a solid air of quality, with proven components and a five-star safety rating