2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
The 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class family of cars counts three body styles and four powertrains. The sedan, coupe, and cabriolet (convertible) were last redesigned as 2015 models.
Revisions for the 2019 model year are both visible and beneath the surface. Most notable is the new base engine, with 14 more horsepower. The AMG C 43 version has gained 23 horsepower.
Front and rear ends, including bumpers, have been restyled, with newly-designed LED headlights and taillights. Smartphone integration is now standard, with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility. A new multifunction leather-wrapped steering wheel is standard, and the AMG C 63 model gains an AMG-specific grille.
Striking in profile, today’s C-Class is among the best-looking automobiles in its category, regardless of body. Each body style comes in four trim levels.
In the base C 300, the new 2.0-liter turbo-4 engine makes 255 horsepower. Its 9-speed automatic transmission is carried over. Acceleration to 60 mph takes about 6.0 seconds. Rear-drive is standard, with all-wheel drive an option.
The Mercedes-AMG C 43 turns to a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6, developing 385 horsepower (up 23). Equipped with 9-speed automatic, an AMG-tuned suspension, and driver-selectable settings, the C 43 can reach 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. Adaptive shock absorbers are standard, but an air suspension is not included.
The retuned AMG C 63 holds a 4.0-liter V-8 that generates 469 horsepower and 479 pound-feet – or 503 hp and 516 pound-feet in C 63 S form. Serving as the snarling beast of the C-Class family, the C 63 needs a tad less than 4 seconds to hit 60 mph.
Every C-Class contains a generous collection of standard crash-avoidance technology. The NHTSA has given the recent C-Class a five-star overall rating, while the IIHS has reported “Good” results.
Every C-Class comes with automatic emergency braking. An optional suite of safety features includes blind-spot monitors, active lane control, and adaptive cruise control.
Prices do not include $995 destination charge.
C 300 Sedan ($41,400 with rear-wheel drive, $43,400 with 4Matic all-wheel drive) comes with a power driver’s seat, synthetic leather upholstery, LED headlights and taillights, a sunroof, keyless ignition, wood trim, smartphone integration, and 17-inch wheels. Mercedes-Benz’s infotainment system includes a 7.0-inch display screen and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility.
C 300 Coupe ($43,800 with RWD, $45,800 with AWD) includes a 10.25-inch infotainment display, 18-inch wheels, sport-tuned suspension, panoramic sunroof, and wireless smartphone charging. A 12.3-inch instrument cluster display is optional.
C 300 Cabriolet ($51,850 with RWD, $53,850 with AWD) adds neck-level air vents, heated front seats, and choice of four fabric top colors.
AMG C 43 Sedan ($55,250) steps up to the 385-horsepower V-6 with rear-drive, adding a sport suspension, adaptive three-stage damping, AMG Speedshift 9-speed automatic, 10.25-inch screen, and 18-inch wheels.
AMG C 43 Coupe ($57,450) is equipped similar to C 300 coupe, but with aero-enhanced 18-inch AMG five-spoke wheels.
AMG C 43 Cabriolet ($63,650) is equipped similar to C 300 cabriolet.
AMG C 63 Sedan V-8 ($67,000) gets an AMG-specific grille, extended drive modes, electronic limited-slip differential, nine-setting traction control, and ride-control suspension.
AMG C 63 Coupe V-8 ($68,750) is equipped similar to C 63 sedan.
AMG C 63 Cabriolet V-8 ($76,100) is equipped similar to C 63 sedan.
AMG C 63 S Sedan V-8 ($74,600) features dynamic mounts for its 503-horsepower V-8, plus leather upholstery.
AMG C 63 S Coupe V-8 ($76,450) is equipped similar to C 63 S sedan.
AMG C 63 S Cabriolet V-8 ($83,800) is equipped similar to C 63 S sedan.
Blending fluid shapes and well-balanced details, the current C-Class is elegant in sedan form, and especially enticing as a coupe or cabriolet. Between the long nose and stubby trunk is a tall area of window glass. The diamond-pattern grille features crosswise twinned ribs. LED headlights and taillights are standard.
Even the C 300 can be dressed up with AMG-style wheels and carbon-fiber or blacked-out trim. AMG versions reach forcefully into enthusiast-driver territory, with sizable air intakes up front and a small spoiler bringing up the rear. An illuminated three-pointed-star logo can be installed on any C-Class.
Suggestive of the full-size S-Class sedan, the lovely C-Class cabin is tightly composed and smartly finished. Except for newly available coffee-colored, open-pore wood trim and an optional wide-screen infotainment display, little has changed inside. Its controls sit in a waterfall-style panel. Circular air vents highlight the wide dashboard, while the new steering wheel offers touchpad infotainment selection.
The C-Class’ front seats offer lots of support, including extensions for thighs. Optional performance seats add excellent upper- and lower-body grip. AMG models get a flat-bottom steering wheel, along with grippy sport seats with power adjustment for thigh bolsters and headrests. Sedans offer sufficient back-seat space, but not vast amounts. Coupes and cabriolets are very snug for all but the smallest passengers.
Mercedes-Benz’s COMAND infotainment, operated by roller or touchpad, is time-consuming to learn. For 2019, it can be overridden by Apple CarPlay/Android Auto capability. Some models have a 10.3-inch screen atop the dashboard, and a 12.3-inch digital instrument display is available.
Cargo space is limited, especially in cabriolets. Sedans hold 12.6 cubic feet of luggage, coupes 10.5, and convertibles only 8.8 cubic feet. Sedans have fold-down rear seatbacks and a pass-through from the trunk.
In any form, the C-Class delivers the goods for ride and handling, resulting in confident motoring. It’s a worthy competitor to BMW’s 3-Series cars. The AMG C 43 provides additional delight, while maintaining a compliant, smooth ride – without the rowdy exhaust notes emitted by the C 63’s V-8.
Base-model performance isn’t bad either, as the 9-speed automatic squeezes out a healthy helping of the turbo-4 engine’s output, which is strong even at low speeds. As its 9-speed runs through the gears, the 6-cylinder AMG C 43 dashes ahead with gusto, not far behind the more raucous C 63 rendition with its V-8. The C 43 also benefits from bigger brakes and sticky 19-inch tires.
Base models come with coil springs and standard shock absorbers, but optional air springs and adaptive dampers ensure a smooth, comfortable ride. In any form, this is the best-handling C-Class. Even the C 300 offers quick responses and a precise feel, delivering helpful feedback to the driver. A C 300 stays flat through tight corners, too.
Fuel economy is reasonable. The base C 300 sedan is EPA-rated at 23/34 mpg City/Highway, 27 Combined. All-wheel drive lowers the estimate slightly, to 22/33/26 mpg. A C 300 convertible is EPA-rated at 21/29/24 mpg, while the coupe does better at 22/31/25 mpg.
Among AMG variants, the C 43 sedan and coupe are EPA-rated at 19/27/22 mpg, with the cabriolet at 18/25/21 mpg. The C 63 sedan is EPA-rated at 18/27/21 mpg; coupe 17/26/20 mpg; and cabriolet 17/24/20 mpg.
Standard equipment is generous with each 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and powertrain choices are hard to beat in performance. Luscious cabin trim and excellent front-seat comfort make up for the slim rear seat and limited storage space.
Driving impressions by The Car Connection. James M. Flammang contributed to this report.