Sleek, low-slung, and boasting a classic rear-wheel-drive architecture, the 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is a lineup of sedans, coupes, and convertibles with a downright luxurious feel.
Revamped for 2022, the C-Class lineup sticks to tradition with its swoopy lines inspired by the automaker’s big S-Class four-doors.
For now, only turbo-4 engines come under the sedan’s hood: a 255-hp version in the C300 kicks off the redesign, with a mild-hybrid C43 AMG eventually on the way. Carryover coupe and convertible models still offer a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 in their C43 variants.
On all, power can go to either the rear or all four wheels via a 9-speed automatic transmission. Thanks to a newly standard mild-hybrid setup, the C300 earns a decent 25 mpg city, 35 highway, 29 combined, or 27 mpg combined with all-wheel drive. Premium fuel is required.
The C-Class sedan hasn’t been crash tested yet – it’s a brand-new model, after all – but automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, and adaptive LED headlights all come standard. A driver assistance package optional on all trim levels bundles active lane control and an adaptive cruise control system with a stop-and-go assist function that can stop, restart, and keep the car centered in its lane.
Mercedes offers the C300 sedan in Premium, Exclusive, and Pinnacle trim levels, which start at $44,600. At that level, the automaker includes 18-inch wheels, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, heated front seats, ambient lighting, a 12.3-inch instrument panel display, and a portrait-oriented 11.9-inch center touchscreen display with a fingerprint touchpad that calls up the driver’s profile.
The Exclusive trim costs $2,250 more and it adds parking sensors, a surround-view camera system, wireless phone charger, enhanced ambient lighting, and a Burmester sound system, plus access to a few more features.
Topping the lineup, the Pinnacle runs $48,550 with its head-up display and augmented reality navigation system.
Mercedes charges extra for leather seats, cooled front seats, a panoramic moonroof, and a heated steering wheel, among other niceties. An AMG trim package adds spicier looks, too.
The Coupe begins at about $49,000, while the slick roadster starts around $57,000.
Sedans wear fresh duds with a long hood that helps give these four-doors a slung-back look. It’s confident and understated, even when adorned with AMG bits.
The broad grille points toward big intakes in the front bumpers, and it’s flanked by complex lights that carve almost all the way back to the wheel openings. Speaking of those wheels, Mercedes offers more than half a dozen choices plus a slew of extra-cost metallic and even matte paint finishes.
The future is here. The C-Class features a portrait-style central touchscreen that absorbs nearly all buttons and knobs. It hovers over a swath of wood or metal trim, which is topped by a small dash pad housing five aeronautically-inspired climate control vents. A separate screen framed by the steering wheel handles instrumentation.
Mercedes offers synthetic and real leather trim in a host of hues. The front seats are terrifically comfortable with considerable power adjustment as well as ample bolstering and thigh support for longer stints.
Rear-seat riders will find limited head room paired with decent leg space. The 18-cubic-foot trunk is on the large side for a smaller sedan.
Coupes and convertibles carry over last year’s cabin with an older version of the Mercedes-Benz infotainment system that lacks some of the latest tech. Predictably, their rear seats and trunks can be a tight squeeze – but that’s the tradeoff for coupe style and convertible fun.
For now, only the C300 sedan is offered. Its turbo-4 delivers 255 hp and 295 lb-ft with help from a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that can toss in plenty of extra torque for zippy passing. The 9-speed automatic transmission slips its way through the gears, and power can either go to the rear or all four wheels.
Overall, the C300 feels more plush than it does downright sporty. The multi-link suspension setup soaks up big bumps and helps these cars glide over grumpy pavement. Adaptive dampers help compensate for bigger wheel options when left in standard mode, while the sport mode adds tautness without upsetting ride quality overall.
The C-Class leans more in corners than its sharper BMW and Audi rivals, but the upcoming C43 AMG may nudge these cars in a more performance-balanced direction.
A redesign makes the 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class a stylish, tech-forward choice with reasonable pricing and plenty of turbocharged punch.
—by Andrew Ganz, with driving impressions from The Car Connection