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#7

in 2011 Upscale Midsize Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $20,647 - $23,443
Original MSRP: $33,990 - $39,990
MPG: 18 City / 26 Hwy
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2011 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

The 2011 Mercedes-Benz C-Class has one of the most tautly-sprung suspensions Mercedes has produced in years, aiming directly at the BMW 3-Series. It's still bested, though, by many others in the segment. Its base V6 engine is no weakling, but doesn't boast the same low-end torque that some of its rivals have.

  • "This car has no bad dynamic habits. It might not be as much kinky fun with the road-to-neuron connection of a BMW 3-series, but I would be surprised if the Benz can't hang with the Bimmer around a short road course." -- Los Angeles Times
  • "C-Class Luxury models exhibit a commendable blend of compliance and control." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The C350 Sport gets a 3.5-liter V6 good for 268 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Rear-wheel drive and the seven-speed auto is the only drivetrain combo offered. The C350 did the 0-60 sprint in 6.3 seconds, which is off the pace of more potent competitors but still plenty quick." -- Edmunds
  • "While the 3 Series is still the better performer on a canyon road, the C-Class's dynamics are catching up."-- Motor Trend
  • "I'd volunteer to drive this one cross-country in a heartbeat." -- Washington Post

Acceleration and Power

C-Class cars are rear-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is available. C300 models have a 3.0-liter V6 under the hood, making 228 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. That's enough for most drivers. Paired with its standard seven-speed automatic, the EPA rates it for 18/26 mpg. C350s are powered by a larger, 3.5-liter V6 making 268 hp, which more closely tracks the performance of the 3-Series. The EPA estimates the C350 can obtain 17/25 mpg.

  • "The C300 isn't drunk with power, but with 221 pound-feet of torque from 2,700 to 5,000 rpm, and a quick-witted adaptive transmission with seven gears in the transom, the car always seems to be on the right foot. ... I took the car out for a flog up through the hill country to Kern County and came away thinking the larger engine option (and diminished fuel economy) couldn't pay for itself in adrenaline." -- Los Angeles Times
  • "C300 models provide good acceleration both around town and in highway passing sprints." -- Consumer Guide
  • "C350 is stronger at all speeds, particularly in highway passing." -- Consumer Guide
  • "In a straight line, the 2011 Mercedes-Benz C300 and C350 won't set any records." -- Edmunds

Handling and Braking

The most significant improvement brought on by the 2008 redesign of the C-Class came in handling. Luxury and Sport models offer buyers a choice of a compliant or an enthusiast's ride.

  • "Steering is a bit numb but properly weighted." -- Consumer Guide
  • "steering and handling are precise, and in terms of overall dynamics, the car measures up just fine compared to others in this segment." -- Edmunds
  • "On the road, the C350 Sport...gives a firm ride that may be a bit taut for some customers, but I found it just fine. Handling is excellent. Steering is precise, with just the right amount of feedback and road feel. Mercedes has really upped its game in this area." -- Orlando Sentinel

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