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In-depth reviews

Mercedes C-Class review - Interior, design and technology

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 and Sport trim cars get 17-inch wheels, chrome treatment and LED lights, while 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 cars are the most potent and a bit more distinctive as a result. They’re marked out by deeper front bumpers with aerodynamic lips, subtly flared front wheelarches, quad exhausts and a bonnet that features a pair of ‘power’ bulges. The C 43 and standard C 63 get 18-inch alloys, while the C 63 S has larger 19-inch front wheels, with a 20-inch pair attached to the rear axle.

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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 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 Sport and AMG Line cars add desirable extras such as heated seats, sat-nav and LED headlamps. 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.

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