With an impeccable track record for delivering high-grade vehicles that provide some of the finest motoring experiences on the planet, it's little surprise that the new C Class is a leader in the sedan arena.
Packed with fresh tech, and with the added benefit of a plug-in hybrid option that reduces fuel costs, increases range and ticks those all-important green boxes, the C Class, always a desirable option, has just got even better.
Mercedes-Benz has always put quality at the heart of its production: whilst competitors have opted to cut costs in order to open up their vehicles to a wider range of budgets, Mercedes continues to create stylish, speedy motors that showcase breathtaking innovation and meticulous attention to detail.
High-end materials ensure vehicles that are solidly engineered, at the same time as boasting stunning good looks. The 2021 offering is available in four incarnations: the sedan; the estate (wagon); the coupe; and the convertible. Whilst a Mercedes C Class will never be the cheapest of cars, owners can expect to experience some of the finest motoring out there.
Mercedes tell us that the C Class has undergone thousands of revisions and upgrades in order to give us the present line-up. Whilst multiple aspects of the vehicle have been refined and updated, the two areas where major improvements have been made are, in our view, the engine and in-board tech.
The electric motor is a key feature of the 2021 C Class. As well as the top-of-the-range AMG C63, which benefits from a plug-in as well as hybrid features, the other engines in the C Class range are all designed to incorporate some electrical power. Kinetic energy from the engine is converted into electrical energy, allowing the car to "cruise" using electrical power. Electric power can also be deployed to enhance acceleration from a standing start: perfect for a fast getaway at the lights!
Mercedes tech has always been an appealing feature, and the new C Class doesn't disappoint. Online software updates mirror Tesla's approach to ensuring vehicles remain up-to-date.
Software includes an innovative piece of remote home automation, which allows drivers to adjust the heating, lights, curtains, and similar features in their home, as well as potentially detect intruders. Voice activation technology, as well as chic, phone-style scrolling on the infotainment screen, provide an intuitive user experience.
The high level of integration and connectivity gives owners a fantastic opportunity to align their tech with the vehicle's interface, giving seamless results.
Interior and exterior design
At first sight, the exterior of the 2021 C Class appears broadly similar to previous models. A closer look, however, reveals a number of changes that combine to bring it up-to-date as well as offer additional enhancements. Improvements include LED headlights (with the chance to upgrade to digital headlights if required), edgier front and rear bumpers, and a sleeker front grille. The overall impression is one of elegance and power.
The interior is where Mercedes have really put in some work, and the results are stunning!
The cabin has been reshaped to provide more room than previous versions. Uncluttered and spacious, the driver's area is dominated by an integral infotainment screen, which is available in a selection of different sizes.
The digital instrument display can be adjusted to one of three different, animated options. Features such as a keyless ignition (the car will start provided the fob is somewhere in the vehicle), fingerprint ID to access the infotainment screen, and voice-activated technology all make driving easier and more convenient.
The overall impression is one of sophistication, chic styling and a futuristic level of tech. Options for leather/leather trim seats ensure that those drivers who favour classic luxury in their C Class will be able to indulge themselves.
As indicated earlier, the engine in the C Class has been significantly overhauled for 2021. The old V-6 and V-8 configurations are a thing of the past, the current C Class uses a four-cylinder, unleaded petrol or diesel engine.
Buyers can select from the C180, the C200 and C300. The C200 and C300 come with 4MATIC - Mercedes' version of 4WD. The plug-in hybrid option enables drivers to travel up to 100km on electricity alone before the petrol engine kicks in to power the vehicle up to a distance of 600km before refuelling is required.
Fuel consumption is slightly higher for the cabriolet but broadly similar for the other three versions of the vehicle. The C 200 and C 300 fuel consumption is around 7l/100km, with the C 300e (the hybrid version) delivering a very respectable 2.1l/100km. The powerful C43 and C63S deliver around 9.41l/100km and 10.4l/100km respectively.
As already identified, Mercedes tech really is exceptionally good. The C Class utilises several features which have previously only been the preserve of higher-spec models, ensuring that, if tech is your passion, this is the vehicle to go for!
The ability to control the home environment through voice-activated technology in the car is a great innovation. Digital headlights warn drivers if they're moving to the wrong side of the road, and can also project lines onto the road, indicating the width of the vehicle.
Touchscreen technology with an intuitive scrolling mode of operation, as well as the ground-breaking MBUX software, ensures drivers are able to easily control the range of digital options on offer to them.
Something Mercedes does really well is use high-level graphics in its tech - the digital instrument screens, for example, have a beautiful, hi-tech aesthetic, as well as benefiting from the option for customisation. The infotainment screen again boasts superior graphics, providing drivers with information that's beautifully presented as well as accurate and responsive.
Mercedes-Benz aims for excellence in every facet of its car design, so it's little surprise that the C Class incorporates a wide range of digital and mechanical safety features.
The range has a 5-star ANCAP safety rating. Besides a high level of basic safety, owners can opt for additional, digital enhancements that provide further risk reduction. Features available include ABS; airbags; 360-degree cameras; rear motion sensors; blind-spot assist; doors that lock automatically, then unlock in the event of a crash; and tyre pressure monitoring.
The entry price for a basic, C 200 is about $66,900. Prices then increase, depending on the trim chosen, and the various add-ons that owners wish to take advantage of. At the top of the range, a cabriolet (convertible) with numerous add-ons and upgrades will cost somewhere around $194,000.
Most people would expect any offering from Mercedes-Benz to be something special, and the C Class really does live up to the hype! Reviews indicate that the car handles beautifully and has sufficient power to make driving an absolute joy. An improved suspension (with air suspension as an option) ensures a comfortable ride, whilst engine noise is kept to an absolute minimum.
A comfortable, luxurious interior has been heavily influenced by the higher-spec S Class - the use of high-grade materials and a minimalist, futuristic layout results in a car that's beautiful to look at as well as straight-forward and convenient to drive.
Stunning aesthetics epitomise the C Class: the premium graphics on the digital instrument screen, for example, or the repackaged, sportier front end. This is a car that's exceptionally easy on the eye, both inside and out.
Amazing to drive and packed with curb appeal, the C Class is also a very practical choice - a roomy boot, for example, and a very respectable fuel economy. If you're in the market for a luxury sedan, you really can't go far wrong with a C Class.