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Old 05-19-2022, 12:57 PM   #7
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Redesigned 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Delivers S-Class Luxury for Less

Edmunds by Cameron Rogers

The C-Class was historically Mercedes-Benz's entry-level model until the more affordable CLA debuted in 2014. Since then, the C-Class has assumed the role of a legitimate luxury vehicle, bringing the features and styling cues of the large S-Class sedan to a more palatable price point. The C-Class is fully redesigned for 2022, offering elegant new styling, cutting-edge technology, and elevated levels of comfort and refinement.

The 2022 C-Class is influenced by its newest sedan siblings, inside and out. With a trapezoidal grille and LED headlights wrapping around the front corners, the front end strongly resembles that of the A-Class and the CLA. The previous generation's sharply creased side body panels have given way to a smoother, sculpted look that is reminiscent of the new S-Class.

With all of the potential surrounding the 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class, we wouldn't be surprised if it took the top spot among other small luxury sedans. Current top-tier rivals include the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Genesis G70 and Volvo S60.

What's under the C-Class' hood?

Initially, the C-Class will launch in the base C 300 trim level. Power primarily comes from a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine (255 horsepower, 295 lb-ft of torque). It is augmented by a 48-volt mild hybrid system that contributes up to an additional 20 hp and 148 lb-ft for short bursts of acceleration. It can also turn the engine off while coasting, which should result in reduced fuel consumption compared to last year's model. A nine-speed automatic transmission sends power to the rear wheels, with Mercedes' 4Matic all-wheel drive available as an option.

More powerful engine choices from Mercedes' AMG performance arm are also coming. The first of these will appear later this calendar year in the form of the 2023 Mercedes-AMG C 43. It will be powered by an upgraded version of the C 300's four-cylinder powertrain generating a healthy 402 horsepower. We also expect a more eco-friendly alternative, probably in the form of a plug-in hybrid variant.

How does the C-Class drive?

The C 300's turbocharged four-cylinder is more powerful this year, while the 48-volt mild hybrid system is a completely new addition. While the on-paper specs look impressive (especially that extra 148 lb-ft of torque from the electric motor), the reality is that acceleration is acceptable rather than awe-inspiring. Pulling away from a stop is smooth, uneventful and thanks to the electric assist for the first few mph silent. The engine fires up imperceptibly as you build speed, and the transmission never really gets caught out in a wrong gear.

But the C 300's estimated 0-60 mph time of 6.0 seconds is actually slower than Mercedes' cited 5.7 seconds for the previous generation. Moreover, the new regenerative braking system that feeds the battery pack and electric motor makes the brake pedal's action feel overly mushy and soft. While the lack of grabbiness allows for gradual and smooth stops, you have to press the pedal pretty far to actually halt the C-Class. It's not quite the same as braking a big truck like a Ford F-150 or Chevy Tahoe, but it's close.

The steering is typical for a small luxury sedan these days it's a little light and lacking in feel in the standard Comfort mode. Selecting Sport increases the effort as you move from dead center, allowing to more accurately place which way the tires are turned.

How comfortable is the C-Class?

The 2022 C-Class sedan has a fairly comfortable ride, absorbing bumps and cracks in the pavement without transmitting too much unnecessary roughness into the cabin. That said, the suspension setup definitely doesn't lean too far into the cushy side; Mercedes (and perhaps C-Class buyers) prefers a more engaging and lively feel for this small sedan. Hitting a square edge on the highway, for instance, produces a single thunk through the cabin but no residual shudders or oscillations. You might not hear or feel this kind of impact in an S-Class, for instance, yet the C 300 also doesn't feel brittle when confronted with the rough stuff. This is fairly typical of small luxury sedans; competitors like the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4 lack the softness of their more expensive siblings but are a bit more enjoyable to drive given their more connected road feel.

Our test C 300 was equipped with the AMG Line with Night package, which, among other add-ons, includes front sport seats with slightly thicker side bolsters than the standard thrones. The seats have plenty of cushion and lots of adjustment, so finding a comfortable driving position didn't take much time at all. Worth noting too is that heated front seats continue to be standard, but you can now add on ventilated seats in conjunction with the standard MB-Tex leatherette upholstery previously, you had to opt for leather. Wind and tire noise was a little more elevated than expected on our initial drive, but that could be due to the AMG Line package's 19-inch wheels and Goodyear Eagle F1 summer tires.

How's the C-Class' interior?

In many ways, the new C-Class interior has a lot in common with the new S-Class. A large, vertically oriented 11.9-inch touchscreen dominates the center of the dash and is canted 6 degrees toward the driver for easier operation. The gauge cluster display remains fully digital, though it's no longer inset into the dashboard as it was before. Overall, the cabin has a clean and classy look to it. There are also some interesting touches such as the ambient lighting elements in the air vents and wood trim threaded with aluminum that make the C 300 look like a much more expensive vehicle than it actually is.

Previous C-Class owners might notice that there's no longer a console-mounted controller knob for the center display. Instead, you control the car's various media and navigation systems through the touchscreen. This could be considered a step backward, as we've generally found it less distracting to use a controller knob than looking at a touchscreen and reaching out to press virtual buttons.

Thankfully, the redesigned steering wheel features two directional pads to help reduce the amount of distraction. The left pad controls instrument panel navigation, while the right pad actually allows you to move a cursor on the touchscreen. It's an evolution of Mercedes' old controller, but this application keeps both of your hands on the wheel. Moreover, since the C-Class now features the MBUX entertainment system (more on that later), you can use voice commands to control most vehicle settings, from choosing a radio station to changing the level of seat heating.

The cabin is slightly roomier than its predecessor and indeed, the interior is far more adult-friendly than the diminutive CLA's but the C-Class still isn't a big car. Headroom up front will be sufficient for anyone 6-foot-2 or shorter, but the modest amount of rear headroom and legroom is a tight fit for tall backseat passengers. If passenger space is a priority, you might want to consider getting an E-Class or wait for the upcoming redesigned GLC, which is Mercedes' small SUV.

How's the C-Class' tech?

The 2022 Mercedes-Benz C 300 comes standard with the latest iteration of the brand's excellent MBUX infotainment system, which Mercedes says benefits from a 50% increase in processing power over the current MBUX system. Other standard features include a fingerprint scanner to activate individual driver profiles and wireless connectivity for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, so you no longer need to use a USB cable to connect your smartphone's apps and functions with the touchscreen. A suite of advanced driver assist features such as forward collision mitigation and blind-spot monitoring is also included, along with a damage detection feature that notifies you if the vehicle was bumped when parked.

Optional features include an augmented reality overlay for navigation prompts, a head-up display, a wireless smartphone charging pad, a surround-view parking camera system, an automated parking system and an integrated dashcam. Available driver assistants include lane centering assist and adaptive cruise control, which can now perform route-based speed adjustments that will slow the vehicle when entering curves. Numerous systems will be kept current thanks to over-the-air software updates.
Edmunds says

The redesigned 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class seeks to amplify everything we liked about the previous model. We'll have to wait before we get the C-Class in for instrumented testing and a full rating, but based on early impressions, the C-Class could take the top spot in our rankings of the Best Small Luxury Sedans.

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