2013 Mercedes-Benz C 300 4Matic
2013 Mercedes-Benz C 300 4Matic. Click image to enlarge

First Drive: 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Test Drive: 2012 Mercedes-benz C 350 4Matic
Test Drive: 2012 BMW 328i Luxury
2013 Audi A4
First Drive: 2013 Cadillac ATS

Manufacturer’s web site
Mercedes-Benz Canada

Review and photos by Greg Wilson

Photo Gallery:
2013 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Though it was given a mid-cycle refresh last year, the compact Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan offers a few more changes for 2013, notably in the C 300 model, which now features a bigger, more powerful, yet more fuel-efficient V6 engine, new rear side airbags, and a substantial drop in its base price: 2013 C 300 4Matic models now start at $39,990, reduced from $45,200 in 2012.

The C 300’s new 3.5L V6 engine, which replaces the previous 3.0L V6, is a de-tuned version of the 302-hp direct injection 3.5L DOHC V6 found in the C 350 (and other Mercedes models). In the C 300, it puts out 248 horsepower and 251 lb-ft of torque compared to 228 horsepower and 221 lb-ft in last year’s 3.0L V6 engine. Despite the increase in displacement, the new V6 engine gets better fuel economy, at least according to official NRCan figures: 10.5 L/100 km city and 7.3 L/100 km highway compared to 11.8/7.9 city/hwy with the 3.0L engine. But the 3.5L V6 still uses premium unleaded gas.

2013 Mercedes-Benz C 300 4Matic
2013 Mercedes-Benz C 300 4Matic. Click image to enlarge

The improved fuel economy is due in part to the inclusion of a new automatic engine stop/start system, which automatically turns off the engine while the car is stopped at traffic lights and restarts it as soon as the brake pedal is released, thus saving fuel while “idling.” Drivers who don’t like the constant starting and restarting of the engine (like me) can deactivate it by pressing a button on the dash, but of course, that will increase city fuel consumption.

The 2013 C 300 continues to come with a standard seven-speed “G-tronic” automatic transmission and 4Matic all-wheel-drive system, the latter featuring some technical improvements for 2013. Incidentally, as the entry-level C 250 no longer offers 4Matic AWD, the C 300 is now the least expensive C-Class model available with AWD.

Other changes to the 2013 C 300 4Matic include “double-round” daytime running lights, dual exhausts, a new colour scheme for the instrument cluster, repositioned turn signal and cruise control stalks, new rear side airbags, and a choice four new exterior paint colours.

2013 Mercedes-Benz C 300 4Matic
2013 Mercedes-Benz C 300 4Matic
2013 Mercedes-Benz C 300 4Matic. Click image to enlarge

Today’s 2013 C 300 test car is equipped with $6,690 worth of options including the COMAND Navigation Package and DVD changer with electronic compass and garage door opener ($2,250); Premium Package with automatic dimming mirrors, sunroof, power folding mirrors, and heated front seats ($2,350); Sport Package with AMG bodywork, LED daytime running lights, flat-bottom sport steering wheel, aluminum studded pedals, sport suspension, upgraded brake calipers, and five-twin-spoke alloy wheels ($1,200), and Iridium Silver metallic paint ($890). With a freight charge of $1,995 and A/C tax of $100, the as-tested price came to $48,775.

Available options that our test car didn’t have are the Driving Assistance Package ($800) that includes Passive Blind Spot Assist and Passive Lane Keeping Assist; and the Bi-xenon Headlamps Package ($1,000) with active bi-xenon headlights, adaptive high-beam assist, LED daytime running lights, and headlight washers. Standalone options include leather upholstery ($1,990), satellite radio ($475), media interface ($375), a 115-volt power outlet ($150), and Parktronic parking sensors ($900).

The C 300’s new 3.5L DOHC, 24-valve V6 engine develops 248 hp at 6,500 rpm and 251 lb-ft of torque between 3,400 rpm and 4,500 rpm. Though this is an increase of 20 hp and 30 lb-ft of torque over the previous 3.0L V6, the smaller V6 delivered its maximum horsepower at 6,000 rpm and maximum torque at 2,100 rpm, which gave it very good throttle response at lower engine speeds. If you were to drive both cars back to back, you may not even notice a huge difference in the overall performance around town, but passing performance on the highway seems stronger. Mercedes-Benz hasn’t yet published official acceleration figures for the 2013 C 300 4Matic, but unofficial times posted on the internet indicate it’s about a half-second faster to 100 km/h (6.8 seconds vs 7.2 seconds) than the 2012 model. That’s not far off the 2013 C 350 4Matic’s published 0 to 100 km/h time of 6.0 seconds, according to Mercedes-Benz’ website. On the freeway, the V6 burbles along quietly at just 1,700 rpm at a constant 100 km/h in top gear.

Connect with Autos.ca