in 2013 Upscale Midsize Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $26,348 - $43,708
Original MSRP: $35,350 - $62,330
MPG: 21 City / 31 Hwy
Search Used Listings:

2013 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.

While the 2013 Mercedes-Benz C-Class isn’t as sporty as rivals like the Infiniti G37, the automotive press is pleased with its balanced handling and comfortable ride.

  • "C-Class Luxury sedans ride comfortably with a fine blend of compliance and control over even rough pavement. Coupes are slightly firmer overall, but the ride remains generally comfortable." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "With the exception of the C63 AMG, the C-Class sedans and coupes tend to favor a ride that is more about comfort and quiet than tight turns and blistering acceleration." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "We spent most of our driving time behind the wheel of a C350 sedan and enjoyed the 3.5-liter V6's ample power and the smoothness of the new seven-speed automatic." -- Popular Mechanics (2012)

Acceleration and Power

The base 2013 C250 sedan and coupe come with a 201-horsepower, turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, which is paired with a seven-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive. C300 and C350 models come with 3.5-liter V6 engines that generate 248 and 302 horsepower, respectively. C300 sedans have 20 more horsepower than last year, and now come standard with 4Matic all-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is also optional on the C350 coupe. The EPA reports that C250 models get 22/31 mpg city/highway, which is fairly good for the class. C300 and C350 models earn slightly lower estimates.

High-performance C63 AMG sedans and coupes come with a 6.3-liter V8 engine that generates 451 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 443 pound-feet of torque at 5,000 rpm. Mercedes says that the C63 sedan will accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds.

Not all reviewers are pleased with the base C250’s power. Some say that it’s adequate in most situations, though one reviewer comments that the C250 doesn’t feel as responsive as the Audi A4. Another test driver says that the C250’s acceleration is only pleasing if the car is left in Sport mode. As a result, the bulk of reviewers prefer C300 and C350 models. The seven-speed transmission found in all C-Class models is generally considered smooth and refined. However, one critic writes that in some instances he’d like it to downshift quicker to maximize power.

  • "C250 models have good acceleration around town and enough power is in reserve for highway passing. ... The automatic transmission is smooth, but at times it can be a bit slow to downshift when more power is needed." -- Consumer Guide
  • "We found the C250's 1.8-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder a willing partner, but only when left in Sport mode. In the Comfort setting the power is only acceptable for a car of this cost and caliber. Models with the new 3.5-liter V6 are plenty potent even in Comfort mode." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Most of the time, the four is barely audible, but it emits a healthy growl when worked hard." -- Car and Driver (2012 C250)
  • "Initial response, however, is weak before the turbo kicks in. This turbo boost isn't nearly as well integrated as in Audi's 2.0-liter TFSI four-cylinder, and the engine note is uninspiring." -- Automobile Magazine (2012 C250)

Handling and Braking

Auto writers agree that the 2013 C-Class offers strong brakes, agile handling and a comfortable ride, which makes it a well-balanced upscale midsize car. Complaints are few, but one reviewer notes that the C-Class’ steering feels a little vague. Another test driver writes that while the C-Class is composed, sport sedans like the BMW 3-Series offer more athletic handling.

  • "C250 and C350 models corner confidently with little body lean. The steering feels a little numb, but the level of power assist is fine. C63s feel racier with sharp steering and excellent body control. All have strong braking and fine pedal action." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Nimble in the corners and providing strong acceleration through the 7-speed automatic transmission, the C-Class is truly an enjoyable driving experience. Just don't expect it to perform like the BMW 3-Series." -- Kelley Blue Book 
  • "While not floaty or detached feeling, the C-Class rides well over imperfect pavement and transmits little road noise to the cabin. Handling is direct and predictable." -- Popular Mechanics (2012)

Next Steps: 2013 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Find used cars near you: submit