ср. мар. 22nd, 2023

The 2023 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Mercedes-Benz, like many automakers these days, is mostly pursuing a policy of providing the same style of vehicle in several sizes. The GT and GT 4-Door could be mistaken for one another from the front if you didn’t have them side-by-side for reference. The new all-electric EQE and EQS look nearly identical, and you can bet their future SUV siblings will as well. Even in their naming scheme, Mercedes rebranded the GLK, ML, and GL Class SUVs as GLC, GLE, and GLS, and the reason wasn’t because their badge supplier was giving them a discount on the letters G and L.

However, the C-Class at Mercedes has served as a model for a similar action. more than the E-Class, which frequently has a

But there’s precedent for this move at Mercedes — and it’s the C-Class. Even more than the E-Class, which often has a bit of its own distinct design flavor (remember the quad-headlight era of the 1990s?), the compact C has long been a shrunken-down version of the range-topping S-Class in looks and vibe.

So, with an all-new C-Class hitting the streets this spring for the 2023 model year, we took it for a spin in upstate New York to see if it still manages to serve up S-Class vibes at a Ford Mustang GT price.

What makes the 2023 C-Class special?

2023 mercedes benz c class c300 4matic in blue

Well, all the things that generally make a Mercedes-Benz special: elegant design, a supple ride, solid construction, loads of technology, etc. The C-Class is certainly built to a price point in a way the more expensive E and S aren’t; the doors feels a bit less substantial, the trim a bit cheaper in places. Still, it exudes the sort of Germanic stolidity and substance that has long characterized the brand’s cars.

For another, it will probably be one of the last completely new Mercedes models to debut with gasoline engine. According to the brand’s current plan, starting in 2025, every brand-new vehicle with a three-pointed star will be electric. Given the brand’s typical refresh cadence, this means that following the release of the new C-Class, we’ll likely see one more new E-Class, a new batch of GLC, GLE, and GLS SUVs, and then…nothing but EVs from this point until the sun sets.

What’s the new Mercedes C-Class like to drive?

2023 mercedes benz c class c300 4matic in blue

Luxurious and comfortable more than sporty — at least, in the form of the C300 that I test-drove and that will make up the entry point for the C-Class line in America. Don’t be fooled by the first word in the AMG Line package; the suspension is no more sporty, just 15 mm lower, the turbocharged inline-four makes the same raspy note under hard acceleration as in other new C-Classes, and the brake pedal feels soft as whipped cream for the first half of its travel.

But driving the C300 down a country road is quite fun. Although the suspension is soft, the body roll makes it feel faster than it is, which makes it more enjoyable to drive. More importantly, the steering is precise and direct, the body feels solid, and the car’s movements are predictable up until the point where understeer first appears. The C300 supports the idea that driving a slow automobile quickly is more enjoyable than driving a fast car slowly.

It bodes well for the forthcoming C43 and C63 AMG models, both of which, like the C300, will use turbo-four power, but with outputs ranging from the remarkable (402 hp in the C43) to the ridiculous (somewhere between 500–600 horses from a hybridized, amped-up four-pot in the C63).

But like most non-AMG Mercs, the C300 is most at home on the wide-open highway, leveraging its torque and power to zip up to autobahn-worthy cruising speeds and then hanging out there in stability and tranquility. Even at 80 miles per hour, it feels as composed as it does sitting at a traffic light.

What’s the Mercedes-Benz C-Class like inside?

2023 mercedes benz c class c300 4matic in blue

It closely resembles the S-Class, just like the exterior. The gorgeous reconfigurable all-digital instrument panel, the enormous 11.9-inch tablet-style infotainment touchscreen, and the occasionally frustrating but generally useful touchpads on the steering wheel are all carried over from the larger Benz, though there may be some differences in the details.

Work your way up the simplified options list — instead of picking everything á la carte, buyers now choose from Premium, Exclusive or Pinnacle trims, then from a smattering of other picks — and even more high-end features filter in. Once you reach Exclusive, you score the same sort of elegant multi-tone LED mood lighting found in fancier Benzes; opt for the top Pinnacle trim, for example, and there’s a widescreen full-color head-up display that packs nearly as much information as Iron Man’s HUD.

Once you adjust the driver’s seat through its myriad moves to find the ideal arrangement, it’s a delightful place to knock off a few hours of driving. The seats are well-bolstered to hold you in place in turns, but don’t overdo their swaddling the way some super-sporty thrones do. (Note to automakers: just because a car is meant to be driven fast doesn’t mean people want race car seats.)

The C-Class’s only real issue lies in the rear seat

2023 mercedes benz c class c300 4matic in blue

The biggest difference versus the S-Class is the back seat, however. That’s no surprise — the S is 21.2 inches longer and has a 13.4-inch-longer wheelbase — but the C’s second row winds up being tight enough as to be almost unusable for grown humans. With the driver’s seat pushed back to a comfortable, but not extreme, position for my six-foot-four frame, there wasn’t even enough room behind me to slip my midsize backpack between the back of my seat and the back bench cushion; legs would be pretty much impossible.

Of course, not everyone will have a problem with this; if you’re not very tall or if you mostly use the back seat to transport groceries, baggage, and/or dogs, the C-Class will work rather well for you. But if you want to drive and transport three or more individuals who are taller than normal, you should probably look for another form of transportation.

What does the 2023 C-Class compete against?

2023 mercedes benz c class c300 4matic in blue

As with many other things, you may blame the rise of SUVs for the fact that the compact luxury sedan segment isn’t as exciting as it once was, but there are still plenty of comparable options available in this range of dimensions and price. Aside from the obvious BMW 3 Series, other options include the Genesis G70, Infiniti Q50, Acura TLX, Lexus ES, and IS, as well as the Volvo S60, Genesis G70, Infiniti Q50, Acura TLX, and Audi wanting to show off something in an A4 to possible C-Class buyers. There is also the Tesla Model 3, which offers an electric variation on the same fundamental concept of a modestly sized luxury sedan.

Still, while each of those offers benefits distinct unto themselves, none of them has a three-pointed star on the nose. That would likely be enough to move plenty of units no matter how good the new C-Class is; luckily for buyers, though, Mercedes made sure the new version remains very much worthy of that badge.

The 2022 Mercedes-Benz C300

Base Price: $44,600

Powertrain: 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four; nine-speed automatic; rear- or all-wheel-drive

Horsepower: 255

Torque: 295 lb-ft

EPA Fuel Economy: Not yet rated

Seats: „Five“

By Kalcho Post

Website Administrator

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