First Drive: 2015 Mercedes Benz C Class (C 300 and C 400) mercedes benz luxury cars first drives
First Drive: 2015 Mercedes Benz C Class (C 300 and C 400) mercedes benz luxury cars first drives
First Drive: 2015 Mercedes Benz C Class (C 300 and C 400) mercedes benz luxury cars first drives
2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Jonathan Yarkony

A New Standard

Not every generation can be a drastic leap when a new car model is launched. The 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is.

You can tell from the first glance that this is a wholly reconceived vehicle, the lines softer, the design more fluid, the profile more distinguished. The details and finish are impeccable, but some angles are hit or miss, seeming awkward with its cab-rearward proportions at times. From others it is achingly seductive and evoking the power and agility of its performance potentieal.

The interior renovations are even more drastic. The 2015 C-Class interior shares more with the new S-Class than its staid predecessor. And you should all know by know how we feel about the 2015 S-Class interior. We love it. It is simply unassailable for quality and comfort, with an unmatched blend of luxury and well-integrated technology.

The C-Class doesn’t quite reach those levels of opulence, but it is a fine place to enjoy some beautiful scenery unfolding or to appreciate the beauty within. There were plenty of scenic vistas on our drive through Washington State – a nice loop out of Seattle and around Mt. Rainier before heading back into the city. Even in crowded city rush hour, the C-Class provides a comfortable and appealing cabin with easy access to a host of features to make the halting traffic more bearable, the spectacular Burmester audio upgrade chief among them.

Power and handling

On the first day we drove the C 300, the standard powerplant a 2.0L turbo four-cylinder with engine start/stop paired with Mercedes’ 7G-Tronic plus automatic transmission. All C-Class models will be 4Matic, a decision driven by complete lack of interest in anything but AWD models in the Canadian market. This light, efficient engine generates 241 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque, sufficient for the 1,625 kg sedan to storm up steep inclines with confidence and control, though it never delivered that heady rush of acceleration found in the new V6 turbo. The transmission is admirably refined, but doesn’t reach the level of sportiness and quick shifting as BMW’s eight-speed auto or Audi’s S tronic dual-clutch automatic.

This new model retains the typical Mercedes steering feel and poised ride. Steering is light and not terribly direct but consistent and easy to control, well suited to the tradition luxury associated with Mercedes-Benz brand. The ride also puts luxury first, smoothly absorbing road imperfections without undue sloppiness in the corners. However, there was more tire noise than we would expect in this class.

First Drive: 2015 Mercedes Benz C Class (C 300 and C 400) mercedes benz luxury cars first drives First Drive: 2015 Mercedes Benz C Class (C 300 and C 400) mercedes benz luxury cars first drives
2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class driver’s seat, drive modes. Click image to enlarge

Standard on all Canadian C-Classes is Agility Select, which allows control of the engine, transmission, suspension, steering, climate control and the start/stop for more relaxed efficient cruising or aggressive sporty dynamics. They can be adjusted in lock step or configured individually, for example setting the engine and transmission to comfort with the steering set to sport. Cars equipped with the optional Airmatic suspension (available as a standalone option on the C 300 and on the C 400 with the Sport package) have the ability to add suspension tweaks to the range of adjustability in this suite. The C 300’s fixed suspension was poised and showed a good range of comfort and sport, though the C 400 we drove on the second day was capable of even greater flexibility. From a smooth, well-cushioned ride in Comfort to a firm, tightly controlled ride in Sport, the difference was clear and effective at altering the personality of the car.

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