The new Mercedes-Benz C-Class has been rounded off not only from a design perspective, but from a quality standpoint as well. This German family sedan points the way towards Mercedes’ electric vehicle future and that future is bright.
Literally bright thanks to the 11.9” vertically mounted central display screen, 12.3″ LCD colour driver’s display and ambient lighting. Figuratively bright with AI becoming increasingly part of your everyday driving experience from learning your commute, to finding your ideal driving position based on your height and making driving safer.
The new C Class range has a 5-star ANCAP (2022) safety rating with an Adult Occupant Protection score of 91% (34.60 out of 38) and a Child Occupant Protection score of 90% (44.10 out of 49). There are 10 airbags including front, combined pelvic / thorax bags for driver and front passenger, centre front, side bags for rear occupants, window bags and knee bag for driver. For added convenience you also get auto lights and auto wipers.
Active safety on the C 300 I recently drove was extensive thanks to the Driving Assistance package Plus comprising Active Blind Spot Assist, Active Brake Assist with Cross traffic function, Active Distance Assist (adaptive cruise control), Active Emergency Stop Assist, Active Lane Change Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Active Steering Assist, Active Stop-and-Go Assist, Evasive Steering Assist, Extended automatic restart function on motorways, PRE-SAFE Impulse Side, Route-based speed adaptation and Traffic Sign Assist.
ANCAP tests of the autonomous emergency braking (AEB) (Car-to-Car) system showed GOOD performance with collisions avoided or mitigated in most scenarios, including AEB Junction Assist where the test vehicle can autonomously brake to avoid crashes when turning across the path of an oncoming vehicle. Overall, effectiveness of the AEB (Car-to-Car) system performance was rated as GOOD. ANCAP tests for functionality of the Lane support system showed GOOD performance in the lane keep assist scenarios, and ADEQUATE performance in the more critical emergency lane keeping test scenarios, with overall performance classified as GOOD. ANCAP rated the safety support systems on the new C Class at 84%.
The camera setup on the C 300 is something special as well combining a 360o view with the multiple 3D views available. In addition, there was a projection in the head up display as I approached the wall in my garage so I could see how close to the wall I was. Merc has another camera feature it calls Traffic Light view and this activates when you stop at an intersection and the camera displays on the screen, but I don’t really see the point of this function.
I got to experience this driving future in the new Mercedes-Benz C 300 with the optional Vision Pack and it was quite impressive. The C 300 welcomes you with a large puddle light in the shape of the Mercedes-Benz emblem and when you take a seat in the vehicle and immersed in the beautiful smell of the leather upholstery.
Sitting in the C 300 is a relaxing experience to start with, but can be even more so if you select seat kinetics with the heated seats on. I tried out the feature which automatically sets the driving position for you based on your height, but I did like the end result so resorted to setting the position myself with the comprehensive power adjustment selections. From the head rest to the front leg extension and everything in between there is adjustment available using the touch sensitive seat controls that are located on the door with three memory positions to save to.
I loved the feel of the leather steering wheel and that the shape of the stalks mounted on the steering wheel were such that they can easily be seen. The touch controls on the steering wheel did take some getting used to, but were generally good to use. I found the voice control was a bit hit and miss for making phone calls and worked well for entering a destination on the sat nav once I figured out the right commands to use, but it did not want to work for me when I was trying to change the radio station.
The wireless Android Auto connected easily and I liked that your phone is stored in a cubby out of sight at the front of the centre console. This cubby has wireless charging for compatible devices and one USB-C adjacent if needed and under the arm rest there are another two USB-C ports, but no 12V outlets. One element I did not like in the cabin was the optional gloss black on the sliding cover, which is over the two cupholders and wireless key changing pad, as this shows finger marks and already had scratches on the C 300, I drove. There is also gloss black trim on the doors and this gets finger-marks on it as well.
Adult-sized rear seat passengers have enough leg room, but head room may be tight for taller individuals and for younger passengers there are two ISOFIX/three rear tether child seat restraint points, but only enough room for two seats due to the width available. The centre seat folds down as an arm rest and the cup holder at the front of the arm rest has a two-stage slide out mechanism. The first gap is large enough for a smart phone and the second stage is for the cup holders, but this is a bit tricky to release. For larger bottles there is good-sized drink bottle storage in the rear door cubbies.
Rear passengers can stay comfortable thanks to two central air vents with manual on/off and direction control. A couple things the rear seats don’t have though are USB ports or mat over the transmission tunnel to protect the carpet from wear and tear.
The rounded boot lid has gesture open/close as well as from the key fob, a button in the cabin and the button under the boot lid. The boot is a good size either for the weekly shop or the luggage for a family weekend away or if more space is needed the rear seats can either be folded as 60:40 or 40:20:40. There are four substantial tie down points with two hooks, but no 12V outlet. Under the boot floor there is a tyre repair kit and a foldable basket that would be handy if you have forgotten your shopping bags.
Powered by a 2.0 litre, in-line 4-cylinder petrol engine that produces 190kW and 400Nm torque, the C 300 offers a smooth ride for occupants and the only thing that annoyed me were the squeaky rear brakes. The C 300 officially uses 7.3L/100km of 98RON fuel for the combined fuel consumption and for my week I used 7.9L/100km.
Drive is sent to the rear wheels via a 9-speed automatic transmission, which can be ‘manually’ changed using the attractive steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. There are five drive modes to select from Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport + and Individual and the driver’s digital dash can be configured to change depending on the mode selected.
All new Mercedes-Benz vehicles come with a 5 year/unlimited kilometre warranty and this also includes 24/7 roadside and accident assistance. The service interval for the new C Class is 1 year/25,000km and service plans can be purchased from $2,650 for the first three scheduled services.
Prices for the well-round new Mercedes-Benz C 300 start at $85,590 excluding dealer delivery and on-road costs. As tested with Spectral Blue Metallic ($1,600), Vision Package ($3,800), and Anthracite line structure lime wood trim with Centre console in high-gloss black ($700) the C 300 I drove was $95,690 excluding dealer delivery and on-roads. Visit your preferred Mercedes-Benz retailer for more information or buy a C 300 online.
|The smooth ride||Gloss black trim elements|
|The active safety features||Voice control operation not up to standard|
|The elegant interior||Rear seat cup holder was difficult to open|
Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.