2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Among luxury brands, the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class midsize sedan is a heat-seeking missile from Stuttgart targeted at the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4.
Completely redesigned for the 2015 model year, the swoopy C-Class stands out in terms of design language and technology, and it is just sporty enough to find buyers among brand-and-style conscious women and upwardly mobile customers who want to park a brand-new three-pointed star car that can carry five people comfortably in their driveways for less than $40,000.
Prodigious power is not the priority here: the C-Class doesnt belong in the sports car category by a long shot. But its fluid design, which owes a big-time debt to the larger, far more expensive S-Class, and its bulletproof on-road stability and wealth of technology lends it a personality all its own.
The new C-Class sedan is the brands biggest-selling offering and the first Mercedes-Benz based on a newly developed aluminum/steel platform, which will be employed in a variety of future vehicles.
The 2015 C-Class offers buyers the choice of two power plants and rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
The C300 uses a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that outputs 241 horsepower and 273 foot-pounds of torque. The C300 is rear-wheel drive. The C300 4MATIC is all-wheel drive.
The higher-performance C400 4MATIC has a 3-liter bi-turbo V6 good for 329 horsepower and 354 foot-pounds of torque.
All C-Class models use a version of the companys tried and true 7-speed automatic transmission; no manual transmissions are available for the U.S.
While the car is nicely equipped out of the factory box, there are scads of options and accessories: packages to enhance comfort, safety tech, navigation and upgraded sound offerings. We would pass on many to keep the price down, but we liked the available air suspension that fits to both axles. This technology makes for electronically controlled damper adjustment that compensates for heavy car loads and imperfect road surfaces. We found it quickened turn-in and improved steering feel in the Sport and Sport Plus modes.
Safety elements are front and center in the 2015 C-Class.
The C-Class has grown in size for 2015, which is welcome news for rear-seat passengers who were slightly cramped in the older model. The 2015 C-Class wheelbase is stretched three inches, and the overall length adds 3.7 inches. Width is up 1.6 inches.
The midsize luxury sedan faces established competition from the Audi A4 sedan (starting MSRP $41,475) and A5 coupe ($44,575), as well as the BMW 3 Series ($37,195) and Cadillac ATS sedan ($37,145). Theres the Lexus IS 250 sedan ($37,475), as well.
Fuel efficiency for the all-wheel-drive C400 4MATIC is an EPA-estimated 22/29/24 mpg City/Highway/Combined. The 2015 C300 4MATIC is EPA-rated at 24/31/27 mpg. Both require Premium gasoline.
Based on our auditions, BMW has nothing to worry about with its all-wheel-drive 3 Series when it comes to driving dynamics. And, while stunning in its own right, the C-Class does not have the drop-dead gorgeous lines of the Audi A5 coupe.