Mercedes-Benz C-Class – which version is best for you?

  • We dissect the Mercedes-Benz C-Class range
  • Should you go for the estate, saloon or coupe?
  • Wide range of engines, trims and options to choose from

When people say Mercedes-Benz C-Class, thoughts usually go straight to the saloon. No surprises there - it’s the biggest seller after all.

However, many might not know that you can buy the C-Class as an estate and coupe too.

First launched in 1993 (the estate didn’t join the line-up until 1996), replacing the aged 190E, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class quickly became renowned for its supreme build quality, classic upmarket design and refined interior, all of which are still very much true today.

If you’re undecided on which C-Class to pick, we’ve taken a closer look at the range to find out which model could suit you best.  

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon


Star rating: 4.5 stars 

New price range: £27,665 - £41,925

Rivalling the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon is a popular choice with company car drivers and retail buyers alike thanks to its supreme ride comfort and practical features, as well as its sleek, conservative looks.

This current generation was launched in 2014 and brought with it many characteristics from the ultra-luxurious S-Class. So as you may expect, interior quality and the amount of kit on offer is impressive (especially safety features) and something which sets the C-Class apart from its rivals.

There are three trim levels to choose from; SE, Sport and AMG Line. Entry cars come equipped with 16-inch alloys, leather upholstery, reversing camera, DAB radio, cruise control and a touchpad system for the infotainment control as standard.

Engine-wise you've got a range of petrol and diesel power available, plus a hybrid which, although offering low running costs, comes with a pretty hefty price tag, in fact you can pick up a comparable diesel for about £5,000 less.

For the best compromise in price, running costs and performance, we’d go for the 220 diesel Sport which offers 168bhp and 400Nm of torque enabling the car to accelerate from 0-62mph in just 7.7 seconds, while still offering an official combined fuel consumption of 70.6mpg and CO2 emissions at just 103g/km.

Sport trim bags you a few more luxuries over SE including 17-inch alloys, heated sports seats, LED lights, a lowered comfort suspension set up and split-folding rear seats.

Saloon cars are not renowned for their practicality, however the C-Class saloon offers a respectable 480 litres of boot space, matching the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4.

Click here to read our Mercedes-Benz C-Class saloon review.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate


Star rating: 4.5 stars 

New price range: £28,865 - £43,125 

If you need a more practical car for everyday life, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate is ideal. Offering a 495-litre boot up to a huge 1,510 litres with the rear seats folded, there’s plenty of room if you need to transport some flat-pack furniture.

The rear seats can usefully be folded in a 40/20/40 configuration and you also get an auto-tailgate as standard and black roof rails for further practicality.  

For value for money we’d stick with SE trim, but if you feel like blinging the somewhat conservative look of the estate up a bit, AMG Line may be worth a look as it includes 18-inch alloys, AMG styling touches and badging, sports pedals and AMG sports seats and steering wheel.  

A couple of options we'd consider is the Executive package which currently costs £1,295 and includes a sat-nav, heated front seats, silver roof rails and a parking assistance system, and the Airmatic Agility Package (£895) which adds air suspension to each axle and ensures the C-Class sits level regardless of load.

Like the saloon you have a wide choice of diesel, petrol and hybrid powertrains available - the latter is only available with Sport and AMG Line trims though. Depending on how many miles you travel will govern which engine you pick. The diesel will cost you roughly £1,800 more than the petrol equivalent so you'll need to travel a fair few thousand miles each year to make the cash up in fuel savings.

If you're a low-mileage driver and want to consider petrol, there is really only one choice - the C200. This four-cylinder engine develops 181bhp and 300Nm of torque and when coupled with the six-speed manual gearbox, can complete the benchmark 0-62mph sprint in 7.7 seconds. Running costs also impress with an official combined fuel economy of 51.4mpg. 

We're big fans of the firm's smooth and slick seven-speed auto gearbox, which costs an additional £1,500.

Click here to read our full review of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe


Star rating: Coming soon 

New price range: £30,285 – £36,945 

New for 2015, order books for the next-generation C-Class Coupe have only just opened with first deliveries expected to start next month.

The Coupe is all about looks and the new model is particularly striking. Its sweeping curves and sloping roofline give it a sporty and elegant look, 17-inch alloy wheels and a diamond grille with black-painted pins complete the eye-catching design.

Although the least practical of the range with three doors and the smallest boot, there’s a surprising amount of room in the back seats, which can be easily folded if you need more luggage space too.

As well as the C200 engine, the new C-Class Coupe is also available with a brand new C300 petrol engine, which is paired exclusively to the seven-speed auto gearbox. With 242bhp at your disposal, the 0-62mph sprint can be achieved in just six seconds, plus you get a sports exhaust with a button to further enhance the engine sound as standard.

Running costs suffer though with a combined fuel economy of 44.8mpg and CO2 emissions at 146g/km. It’s also worth noting that the C300 engine costs more than £4,000 more than the lower-powered C200.

Two diesel engines are available and both can be fitted with the firm's nine-speed auto box for a premium. The 201bhp C250 is particularly appealing considering it achieves an official combined fuel economy of 67.3mpg as well as a sub-seven second 0-62mph time.

Unlike the estate and saloon, which are available in three trims, the Coupe range is limited to two: SE and Sport. Unless you want the additional styling features that AMG Line trim brings, we'd stick with Sport models as they come generous equipped.

Two key options packages are worth considering: Premium and Premium Plus. The £1,695 Premium Package includes a panoramic glass roof, keyless go, seat memory package and ambient lighting. To this the £2,995 Premium Plus Package also adds a surround sound system and the firm's online multimedia interface with eight-inch screen.

If you’re looking for the latest advanced safety kit then we would recommend the £1,695 Driver’s Assistance Package, which includes adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist, and a pedestrian detection system.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class AMG

Star rating: 5 stars

Price range: £60,060 - £79,900

A Mercedes-Benz range wouldn’t be complete without a hot AMG version and you’ve got the pick of all three bodystyles here for the C63 AMG.

All three AMG cars secure the same 4-litre V8 which produces 469bhp and 650Nm of torque, but the S version upplers the power by a further 34bhp and 50Nm of torque.

Performance figures impress with a 0-62mph time of 4.1 seconds for the saloon, 4.2 for the estate and 4.0 for the coupe. Opting for the C63 S takes a further tenth off each of the above times.

Whichever engine and bodystyle you choose, it’s an exceptional car on the road with exquisite handling.

As you’ll probably expect, this car is far from cheap with prices starting over £60,000 and the S model is £6000 more.

Although from the outside there are little sporty design features which make the C63 AMG stand-out, the engine note demands attention as soon as you hit the ignition.

AMG versions come with plenty of standard kit including a reversing camera, sat-nav, heated front seats, park assist, leather upholstery, sports seats and steering wheel, DAB radio and Bluetooth.

It’s not a car you buy with your head and customers require a big bank balance and a love for speed. We’d opt for the estate model to get the best of practicality along with the blistering performance - a case of having your (expensive) cake and eating it.

Click here to read our full review of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class AMG

Still not sure which car to buy? These articles may help…

Volkswagen Golf: Which version is best?

Top 10 new cars for under £200 a months

Car finance: which option is right for you?

It’s cheaper than petrol – but should everyone go diesel?

Top 10 cheap new hatchbacks