Mercedes-Benz’s entry-level sports sedan has been thoroughly redesigned for the 2022 model year but the C-class sticks with its winning formula of luxury and prestige at an affordable price. The modernization gives the C-class what it needs to better battle rivals such as the Audi A4, BMW 3-series, and Genesis G70. The cabin is where we see the most modernization, as the C-class inherits styling elements and technology from the S-class sedan. Like the outgoing C-class, the 2022 model is built on a rear-drive platform, is powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, and offers all-wheel drive as an option. Handling is confident and the C-class can easily be hustled through twisty bits of road, but we’ve found the ride to be unforgiving over rough patches of pavement and the steering less communicative than the car’s sports-sedan mission requires. Besides its dynamic shortcomings, the C-class continues the tradition of mimicking the style and substance of the flagship S-class sedan in a smaller, more affordable package.
What’s New for 2022?
In short: Everything. Even though the new C-class’s styling isn’t a huge departure from the 2021 model, the 2022 model year marks the start of a new generation with more luxury and a greater number of high-tech features.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
Rather than serve up options a la carte, as it did on the previous generation car, Mercedes-Benz offers three distinct trim levels on the 2022 C-class: Premium, Exclusive, and Pinnacle. We think the mid-range Exclusive trim should satisfy the broadest swath of buyers, as it includes niceties such as a 360-degree exterior camera system, a self-parking feature, wireless smartphone charging, and a Burmester premium stereo system. Although we expect Mercedes will continue to offer the C-class in coupe and convertible body styles, only the sedan will be available at launch. All models come standard with a large infotainment display, a digital gauge display, heated front seats, automated high-beam headlamps, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a sunroof, and much more. Mercedes-Benz’s 4Matic all-wheel drive system is optional, but we’ll leave that up to you to decide if you need it.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
All 2022 C-class models are powered by the same 255-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder and wear the name C300 on their shapely trunklid. The turbo four is enhanced by a 48-volt hybrid system that can temporarily provide up to 20 extra horsepower. Mercedes-Benz says this is enough to get the C300 to 60 mph in 6.0 seconds, but we believe that number is fairly conservative; the previous generation C-class managed a 5.4-second result in that test. All-wheel drive remains an option with rear-wheel drive being the standard setup; a nine-speed automatic is the only gearbox offered. Handling is spry, as expected from a compact sports sedan, but we were disappointed with the lack of steering feel and the flinty ride quality. When we get a chance to test the C-class at our test track, we’ll update this story with results and more driving impressions.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA estimates that rear-wheel drive examples of the C-class should deliver up to 25 mpg city and 35 mpg highway; adding all-wheel drive drops those figures by 2 mpg each. When we get a chance, we’ll put the new C-class through our 75-mph highway fuel economy test and report its results here. For more information about the C-class’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The most dramatic change for the C-class comes in the form of a new high-tech cabin. All models come with a digital gauge display, touch-sensitive controls, and a host of amenities. The new model sports a steering wheel that looks similar to that of the S-class sedan, and Mercedes offers a generous list of standard luxury features such as heated front seats with memory settings, a sunroof, open-pore wood trim, and aluminum accents. Overall, the C-class is about 2.5-inches longer than the outgoing model and its wheelbase has been stretched by an inch. Mercedes-Benz says that results in more rear-seat legroom, but in real-life the difference is negligible.
Infotainment and Connectivity
A large, 12.3-inch vertically oriented infotainment display similar to the one in the redesigned S-class sedan sweeps up from the center console and toward a trio of round air vents on the upper dashboard. The touchscreen is tilted slightly toward the driver for easier use while driving and runs the most up-to-date version of Mercedes’s MBUX infotainment system— complete with the voice-activated digital assistant, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and online access via a Wi-Fi hotspot. All models also come with an 11.9-inch digital gauge display and a fingerprint sensor to authenticate the driver’s unique profile for memory settings. A head-up display, a wireless smartphone charging pad, an ambient lighting system, and a Burmester surround sound stereo system are all optional extras.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Mercedes equips the C-class with a host of standard driver-assistance features but unfortunately the car’s coolest tech, which includes an adaptive cruise-control system that utilizes navigation data to adjust the vehicle’s speed for upcoming curves and roundabouts, is still optional. For more information about the C-class’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features are likely to include:
- Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Available lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
- Available adaptive cruise control with a lane-centering feature
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Although rivals such as BMW, Genesis, and Volvo offer three years of complimentary maintenance, Mercedes-Benz omits that benefit from its standard warranty offerings. Otherwise, all new Benz’s come with an industry-standard plan that covers most things for up to four years or 50,000 miles.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance
2022 Mercedes-Benz C300 Sedan
Vehicle Type: front-engine, rear- or all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan
Base: rear-wheel drive, $45,250; 4Matic, $47,250
turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 121 in3, 1991 cm3
Power: 255 hp @ 5800 rpm
Torque: 295 lb-ft @ 2000 rpm
Wheelbase: 112.8 in
Length: 187.0 in
Width: 71.6 in
Height: 56.6 in
Passenger Volume: 94 ft3
Trunk Volume: 13 ft3
Curb Weight (C/D est): 3900–4050 lb
PERFORMANCE (C/D EST)
60 mph: 5.6–5.7 sec
1/4-Mile: 14.2–14.3 sec
Top Speed: 130 mph
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 27–29/23–25/33–35 mpg
More Features and Specs