by John Tallodi
The C-Class has been one of the few models in the ever-evolving and growing Mercedes-Benz range to have remained true to its roots. The four-door luxury performance sedan class has long been a German specialty and the C-Class still offers an alluring combination of pace and style with the usual Mercedes levels of quality that have made it so popular. For 2018, increased base equipment levels and an upgraded base transmission keep things competitive.
The C-Class shares its interior with a number of other mid-range Mercedes offerings and the fit and finish as well as the general trim quality is as you would expect in this class. The modern dashboard design means that there are few physical buttons and most functions are taken care of by the touchscreen display which takes a while to get accustomed to.
Occupant space is decent both front and rear and only very tall adults will have issues with head and knee room in the back. The trunk is deep too with above average space for the class.
When it comes to the driving experience modern Mercedes’ have shifted focus to a more dynamic feel and while the C-Class is a sporty drive it still retains that relaxed ride and laid-back cruising ability that originally defined the marque.
The suspension is well-resolved over bumps while still giving the chassis a taut and accurate feel in direction changes, this is definitely the sweet spot in the range as the AMG and convertible models exhibit a much harder ride quality. Available larger diameter alloy wheels look great but will also decrease the ride quality.
The base Mercedes Benz C300 is equipped with a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine which pumps out 241 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. A 9-speed automatic transmission is standard (up from the 7-speed unit in last year’s model) and the 4Matic version adds four-wheel drive.
With a claimed 0-60 mph time of 5.8-seconds for the C300 (6.0 for the 4Matic) this entry-level C-Class provides strong acceleration and good highway overtaking capabilities. Fuel consumption too is up there with the best in its class, no doubt aided by the smooth-shifting 9-speed automatic transmission, and the overall feeling from behind the wheel is that of a very competent sports sedan.
Despite its base status the C300 comes equipped with a comprehensive list of standard features. Noteworthy items include a rearview camera, power front seats with driver memory, 7-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth audio streaming and USB connectivity, auto wipers, keyless-start, dual-zone climate control, split-folding rear seats and 17-inch wheels.
Of the large range of available packages, the Premium Driver Assist Package (Blind spot, lane and speed limit assist, Distronic plus and keyless go) and the Multimedia Package (8.4-inch touchscreen with navigation, touchpad controller and voice control) are worth considering. The Smartphone Integration Package also adds Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.
A massive range of additional customizability is available to the well-heeled shopper and includes numerous paint colors and interior detail options as well as packages that offer an AMG body styling kit, sport suspension, upgraded wheels, LED exterior lighting, panoramic sunroof, Burmester surround audio system and a head-up display.
The midsize sport sedan class has always been a hotly contested segment and the 2018 Mercedes-Benz C300 offers shoppers one of the best resolved options out there.
It offers a blend of performance, luxury and practicality that places it right up there with the dynamically excellent BMW 3-Series, while still offering traditional Mercedes ride comfort and restrained style.
Getting aggressive with the options list will soon see the base price rise but choose wisely and the C300 is one of the very best sedans in its class.