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Mercedes-Benz C-Class Performance

Though it isn’t the sportiest car in its class, reviewers agree that the redesigned 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class has a composed ride and a strong base engine.

  • "But this C-Class isn't trying to be a sports sedan-and that's a key point. As a luxury machine, it's spectacular." -- Road and Track
  • "The new C-Class is not a sport sedan, though, no matter how aggressively you set it, but it is an exceptionally sporty luxury sedan when it bares its teeth." -- Autoblog
  • "But the C-Class is still no 3 Series or Cadillac ATS; the tail was loathe to drift in my all-wheel-drive test cars, and the sole rear-driver of the lineup - the non-4Matic C300, available in 2015 - doesn't come with the bigger engine." -- Cars.com
  • "… the new C-Class is designed to deliver, first and foremost, a luxurydriving experience." -- Motor Trend

Acceleration and Power

The base 2015 Mercedes-Benz C300 sedan is powered by a 241-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, while the C400 sedan has a 329-horsepower, twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6. The C250 coupe has a 201-horsepower, turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, and the C350 coupe has a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 302 horsepower. All four models come with a seven-speed automatic transmission. According to the EPA, the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C300 4MATIC gets 24/31 mpg city/highway, which is better than most all-wheel-drive rivals’ estimates. An engine start-stop system is standard, which helps conserve fuel by shutting the engine off when the car is stopped.

The C63 AMG sedan is powered by a new twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine that produces 469 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque. The C63 S model has the same engine but produces 503 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. The C63 AMG coupe is powered by a 6.3-liter V8 engine that produces 451 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed automated manual transmission is standard in all three models. Mercedes-Benz says that the C63 S will accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds and has a top speed of 155 mph.

Test drivers report that the 2015 C300 has plenty of power for darting through the city or tackling mountain roads. Reviewers agree that the C400 is noticeably faster than the C300, but they think the C300 will be quick enough for most drivers. However, auto writers criticize the seven-speed automatic transmission’s slow, unrefined gear changes.

  • "Despite its lower output, the four-cylinder is the athlete; midrange torque is excellent, and the C300 simply feels lighter on its feet than the C400. The 2.0-liter mill delivers maximum torque from 1,300-4,000 rpm and in situations ranging from heavy traffic to spirited mountain driving it had more than enough power to entertain." -- AutoWeek
  • "We were impressed with both engines, and while the C400's V6 certainly provided more oomph, we'd have no problem recommending the smaller-engined C300 to the vast majority of buyers. With the 2.0-liter engine's immediate torque providing great throttle response, it's absolutely adequate for enjoyable daily use, especially given the significantly lighter weight it brings (3,417 versus 3,737 pounds)." -- MSN Autos
  • "We prefer the 2.0-liter's peppier, more instantaneous responses. The C400 is significantly faster, but in the real world, the C300 has a more useful character because it has slightly less lag." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Unfortunately, the seven-speed automatic proved clumsy, slow, and clunky." -- Road and Track
  • "The seven-speed transmission is somewhat of a letdown in both models, however, with the system reluctant to hold gears or kick-down when needed." -- Left Lane News

Handling and Braking

The 2015 C-Class is rear-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive (4Matic) is available. The C-Class sedan is available with sport-tuned or comfort-tuned suspension systems, as well as an adjustable air suspension (Airmatic). Some critics note that the BMW 3-Series and Cadillac ATS are more agile than the C-Class, but most write that the C-Class has composed handling, responsive brakes and a comfortable ride. They add that the sport-tuned suspension tightens up handling noticeably, while the Airmatic suspension’s settings range from sports-car stiff to limousine smooth.

  • "This is not a high-performance sports sedan that encourages you to explore its limits on every turn; for better or worse, the C-class excels at comfortable, quiet daily driving." -- AutoWeek
  • "It's clear this is a luxury car first and a sports sedan second. That's not to say that the 2015 C-Class isn't a nice drive; it is. It performs competently and predictably, but just isn't terribly engaging or exciting." -- MSN Autos
  • "Thanks to the new model's lighter weight, the C-Class feels more tossable and lithe - though there's still a sense of insulation from road feel and steering feedback. However, the chassis exudes a feeling of unflappable solidity, which goes a long way towards making the C-Class feel crisp and responsive." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Brakes are textbook Mercedes: firm, with crisp braking action at the top of the pedal travel." -- Car and Driver
Review Last Updated: 4/29/15

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