Whatever you think or thought about the Mercedes C-Class. And I bet it wasn’t very nice. You can unload because they’ve redone this car in a major way. Here’s what a CNet test driver had to say on his most recent test drive of the Mercedes-Benz C400.
The C-Class used to print small and kind of affordable. Now it prints a lot of presence. And begs the question, did you just get a big raise? The front end is longer. The rear end is short and tidy and in the middle, it’s a whole lot of S class flourishes. The vehicle’s four inches longer over all. Half of that went to rear seat leg room by the way. LED headlamps up front, those are standard. A trend we’re starting to see on mid market cars as of 2014. The big panel roof up top that’s not standard but I’d spend the money. It’s big and very nice. A C400 with all wheel drive is pushing 50 delivered. We’re gonna add 2,700 for multimedia. That gives you navigation, camera, bigger screen. You want all that. HUD is nearly $1,000. We’ll check that out in a moment. The airmatic adaptive suspension brings a lot of agility to this car, for $1,200.
Nearly 3,000 for adaptive cruise. It’ll stop and go. Lane centering. Sensing for forward cross traffic alerts. That’s interesting. And active blind spot check. And a great, big, panoramic roof is 1500. all, in, we’re about 58 five.
Now in here is where you really do a double-take. This is a C class? This is kind of an S class, beautiful cabin. I love this kind of waterfall console design they’re using now, and the ergo for the way your hand hits it, really comfortable and nice. All these C’s are going to have a floating LCD up here. This is the larger one with nav. A smaller one is based. They all unfortunately have this big, thick, horsey bezel around it. If it weren’t for that, it would really appear to float in mid-air. What a shame. It’s controlled by the knob down here, we’ve seen before. But this is standard nav. A touchpad that also has a click function. You can use it for all kinds of pinch and zoom. Moving back and forth just about any natural gesture you want. Also there are at least three and sometimes five ways to do almost anything in this car. Like look at a radio station, find a station, select media, enter a destination. They got too many layers going on but you will find something you like. Please say the house number. Voice command is optional, by the way. Generally though, very good and very fast. HD Radio’s handled unusually well, surfacing all the stations at once and not making you dig. And notice the Burmester Audio, previously a mega-dollar option, is actually standard on the C400. I was surprised by that.
These are all automatic transmission cars. You have this little dainty shifter over here, in current Mercedes style. And down here you’ve got your agility control, which give you a lotta drive modes, from eco to comfort to sport to sport plus to an individual setting where you call the parameters. Very much reminiscent of Audi drive select. And, of course, you’ve got the now almost ubiquitous paddles on the wheel. The forward collision tech won’t stop the car, but partial brake. The blind spot and lane keeping tech are very much interweaved, giving you either a vibration warning, or moving the car back into the lane or out of the way of other cars, it can also sense cars that are overtaking you and predict if they’re going to be a problem. Now inside our Alabama born and bred C400 is a German engine. A three liter V six with a turbo on each side and the numbers are really good. 329 horsepower, 354 pound feet of torque. I like that kind of ratio. All the C’s have 7-speed automatics. Our 4Matic means all wheel drive. Zero to 60 in Sport Plus Mode is well under five seconds. MPG is okay, considering the performance. 21 city, 29 highway. You bet it kills them they couldn’t crack 30.
First off Let me tell you a little story about an engine, one that I’m in love with. This little V-6 is great. It’s silky, it’s liquid. The power is right there, tight when you want it. This is a great motor. The transmission is a class below it. Not a bad gear box but it’s not up to the engine in some of the fast shift modes. I find this car very tossable and handle-able, even though it’s not an AMG. It’s not in that BMW tenseness, though. It’s always a comfortable car. The head-up display is good, but not quite perfect. It gives you speed and either compass or nav. I would like to also see a drive mode. Sport, comfort, whatever. And a gear position indicator in there. That’d be really handy. The quality of the rendering is really good. But the execution is a little blurry. And the windshield seems kinda wobbly. As you move your head around, the thing changes shape. And gets distorted. That’s not good. In sum, this is the most I’ve enjoyed driving a non-AMG Mercedes in years. It’s light, bright and precise.