If you want to keep running costs low, the C 200 d offers the best fuel economy by some margin, but a C 200 petrol is cheaper to buy in the first place. Go for the petrol if you only use it for shorter journeys, and pick the diesel if you’re on the motorway a lot.
If you’re a company car driver, the C 200 petrol offers the lowest BIK if you get it with an auto gearbox in AMG Line trim.
The Mercedes-AMG C 63, a proper super saloon with a fantastic engine, searing performance and the sound to match, won’t disappoint performance fans. This is set to launch in the UK late in 2018.
The Best Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon models we've tested:
Mercedes-Benz C 350 e Sport Saloon 7G-Tronic Plus auto
(Tested 26 July 2016)
The main advantage of hybrid motoring comes in running costs. This car has an official CO2 emissions figure of 48g/km, which qualifies it for free VED car tax but more notably far lower benefit-in-kind bills than an equivalent diesel engine.
Fuel bills will depend on how you use the car, though. Most people can ignore the 134.5mpg Mercedes-Benz states – that might be possible in lab conditions but on the road that’s quite unrealistic unless you spend nearly the entire time on electricity alone. Its batteries hold enough charge for a theoretical maximum range of 19 miles, but to achieve that you’ll have to be incredibly careful with the application of your right foot.
Thankfully, said limb sits on a very clever feature. Known as a haptic throttle pedal, it provides feedback (pushes back against your foot with varying force) on your driving and encourages you to be as efficient as possible.
Quartet of hybrid configurations
There are four driving modes for using the drivetrain as effectively as possible too. Most drivers will probably leave this in default Hybrid, which lets the car decide for itself how to meter out power delivery.
E-Save keeps charge in the battery when you don’t need it, while E-Charge uses the engine to provide more electrical energy, and E-Mode simply prioritises electric propulsion - which works best at low speeds such as in city centres. Incidentally this is also where you’ll appreciate the standard Airmatic air suspension, which along with wonderfully cossetting seats, allows the C-Class to really shine. It’s definitely among the comfiest cars in its class.
You can plug the car in either via a three-pin mains connection (which takes around three hours to fully charge the C 350 e), or a wallbox, which should take half that time.
Fast, but not that much fun
But despite its interesting-looking dash from 0-62mph in 5.9 seconds, drive this car quickly and cracks begin to show. The engine becomes noisier than we’d expect but it never really feels all that quick either – presumably thanks to the heavy batteries it has to carry on board, which eat up a fair bit of boot space too. Where a regular C-Class Saloon’s luggage area is 475 litres, the C 350 e’s is 335.
This extra heft coupled with the soft suspension means the C-Class wallows a little in corners, and the steering isn’t as sharp as you might expect either. Confusingly, it has another four driving modes too. Quite why you’d stray out of Efficiency mode (where the hybrid system works best) and into Sport, Comfort or Individual is beyond us, however. That’s the point of the car.
The Parkers Verdict
The C 350 e is a compelling car for many motorists, but especially for company car drivers thanks to the low tax bills. If you don’t have a long commute you could end up saving a lot of money in benefit-in-kind, and more still if you live in London because at present there’s no Congestion Charge for cars with CO2 output this low. If you’re a keen driver you may be better off looking at BMW’s 330e, but as a comfortable city cruiser the C-Class is the one to buy.
Mercedes-Benz C300 Hybrid AMG Line Saloon (Tested 22 October 2015)
Is hybrid the way to go?
Under the bonnet of our test car is a 204hp 2.0-litre diesel engine accompanied by a 27hp electric motor which means you have over 230hp at your disposal. Combine that with the 500Nm of torque and 0-62mph can be officially achieved in just 6.4 seconds.
Mated to the engine is a slick seven-speed automatic gearbox and there are different driving modes available (accessed via a system called Agility Select via a switch on the centre console) which adapts the throttle and steering set-up. Select Comfort for a more relaxed experience behind the wheel while Sport and Sport+ modes sharpen up the car's dynamics.
When driving at low speeds, parking, or sat in stop/start traffic, the electric motor takes over and is charged-up again by regenerative braking. The changeover from engine to battery is not as seamless, and the engine can be a little noisy when accelerating hard.
On the motorway the car is effortlessly smooth and around town on electric power is quiet, refined and easy to drive. The suspension is a little on the stiff side but ride quality only really suffers when tackling bumpy B-roads – but you can adapt the suppleness of the suspension if needed via a system called AirMATIC Agility, which costs an extra £895.
Our test car produces 100g/km of CO2 and according to the official data can achieve 74.3mpg combined. To get close to this figure though you’ll need to maximise the electric power available; we only managed 43mpg on test.
It’s a very expensive car to buy too and it’s worth bearing in mind that you can pick up a 168bhp 2.0-litre diesel in the same trim for over £5,000 less with only a slight compromise on running costs (officially) and a marginally slower 0-62mph time of 7.7 seconds.
AMG Line luxuries
Our test car is in AMG Line trim. The highlights from the standard kit include LED lights, a reversing camera, heated seats, the aforementioned Agility Select, dual-zone climate control, eye-catching 18-inch alloys and a Park Assist system which will help steer you into parallel spaces.
The Parkers Verdict
It’s true that few can compete with Audi's interior build quality or the driveability of BMW, but when it comes to sophisticated kit, the C-Class is among the best in class.
Although the most expensive trim, AMG Line comes with lots of design extras and advanced kit which, if you can afford it, will make a real difference to your driving experience day-to-day.
It’s an engaging, comfortable car, and a consummate all-rounder on the road, but as the comparable diesel is a lot cheaper and probably more economical over longer distances, we’d pick it over the hybrid here.
Mercedes-Benz C250 BlueTEC Sport automatic
(Tested 06 November 2014)
While the C250’s looks pay homage to the larger S-Class, the ride quality most certainly doesn’t, proving to be surprisingly hard riding, suggesting Mercedes is chasing those attracted to the firmer Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series even more keenly that it has previously.
Lowering the suspension by 15mm appears to have dialled in a harshness to the C-Class’ previously superb ride quality, meaning each thud transmitted through to the cabin is acknowledged by a slightly wallowy response as it rgeains composure. Toggling between the settings on the Agility Select controller varies parameters such as throttle response, but with no effect on the car's damping.
On the flip side, there’s no doubting the C250’s greater agility compared to its predecessor. This is a Sport model after all, although don’t assume that’s the reason for the ‘sport grille’ – the latest C-Class can’t be ordered with the traditional chrome variety complete with three-pointed star gun sight atop it in the UK.
Direction changes are immediate, although a degree more feedback through the steering wouldn’t go amiss when pressing on along windier routes, and you can gently tease the tail out with a dose of extra throttle pedal application – just be prepared for the raft of on-board electronics to quickly rein in that rear-wheel drive exuberance quicker than you’d hope.
Powerful yet economical diesel
Diesel’s a dirty word in some circles hence the euphemistic BlueTEC badging on the C-Class’ boot lid. And don’t be fooled into thinking the C250 moniker on the other side of the tail hints at engine size either. Under the shapely bonnet’s curves lurks a 204hp iteration of Mercedes’ familiar 2.1-litre diesel; it's particularly clattery when cold, but evens out to a mellower thrum at speeds.
Summoning up an impressive 500Nm of torque from just 1,600rpm, delivered to the back wheels via a smooth seven-speed automatic gearbox, it produces a 0-62mph acceleration time of 6.6 seconds, running on to a top speed of 153mph, although admittedly the C250 doesn’t feel particularly quick.
Despite the performance, most C250 customers will be interested in the economy: Mercedes claims an official average of 64.2mpg, reflected in the very mixed conditions of our test with an impressive 48mpg.
The Parkers Verdict
Combining the best engine (so far) in the C-Class range with the attractive features of mid-level Sport specification means the Mercedes-Benz C250 BlueTEC Sport is our pick of the range, albeit with a caveat: spend an additional £895 order it with the AirMatic air suspension option. Then your miniature S-Class will ride more like its larger stablemate, as well as looking at one.
Mercedes-Benz C220 BlueTEC Sport Auto (Tested 01 July 2014)
As before the badge on the Mercedes’ rump is a touch misleading – both this and the C250 diesel use the same 2.1-litre unit with different power outputs. Here the 220 makes 168bhp from the familiar – if revised – turbodiesel and can complete the 0-62mph test in 7.7 seconds.
It certainly feels fast enough, and refinement is better than before, but there’s still an audible rattle when extended – something that’s not as noticeable in its contemporaries. At least the 103g/km CO2 figure and official 70.6mpg (expect around 50mpg in the real world) are impressive.
As is the seven-speed automatic that was found in our test car.
It’s telling that Mercedes didn’t have any manuals to try, and has little expectations for manual sales figures; the self-shifter is clearly the gearbox to have. Ignore the shift paddles behind the steering wheel and let it do its own thing for the best results though.
The Parkers Verdict
Should you get a Mercedes-Benz C-Class? Yes. Just not this one.
The more powerful C250 is a much stronger performer, emits just 6g/km of CO2 more and trails the 220 for fuel economy by just 4.9mpg. It feels smoother, and the extra performance is clearly noticeable too.
Just do yourself a favour and order one with the optional Airmatic air suspension as well; that way you can get back to gliding around like the very best Mercedes’ of old. It really is £895 well spent.
Mercedes C220 BlueTec AMG Line (Tested 17 September 2014)
In Mercedes tradition, the C-Class range is divided into a confusing list of numbers. There’s the C200 petrol (1.9-litres, 182bhp), the C220 diesel (2.1-litres, 168bhp) and the C250 diesel (the same 2.1-litre engine but with 202bhp). The C220 is expected to be the biggest seller, no doubt partly because it emits the least CO2 and therefore rests in the cheapest company car tax bands.
When we tested the same car on regular springs earlier in the year we found the ride crashy and uncomfortable. You certainly wouldn’t accuse the Airmatic suspension of that. There are three settings to dictate how firm you’d like the ride to be and even in the least forgiving Sport+ mode it’s supple and comfy – almost more so than the softest ‘Comfort’ mode as there’s less body roll on twisty roads. £895 well spent, we’d say.
You might want to consider the seven-speed auto gearbox too. Better suited to the car’s character than the regular manual, it’s smooth and unobtrusive for the most part, with only the occasional jolt when you catch it unawares.
Mercedes claims 65.7mpg on average. According to the trip computer, over 408 miles on a mix of roads during our time with the car it averaged 46.3mpg. Carbon emissions are rated at 113g/km for relatively friendly company car and VED tax bands.
Oodles of torque (400Nm – that’s a lot) means the C220 can belt down the road quickly if you ask it to, but cruises serenely when you don’t. One of our few complaints is that the engine is surprisingly noisy around town, although it settles down at a cruise.
The Parkers Verdict
The hard work in Stuttgart has paid off – the C-Class is a worthy rival for every mid-sized exec saloon it’s up against. Though the beautifully balanced BMW 3 Series is the slightly nicer car to drive, the C-Class is a fine steer nonetheless and its shiny new interior is a match for the Audi A4’s cabin.
Though a little noisier than you might expect, the C220 engine cruises well and we doubt many drivers would need the extra shove of the pricier C250 (although if they do they won’t pay much of a penalty in CO2 and attendant company car tax). Without a doubt, get the auto box if you can afford it and the same goes for the Airmatic suspension – don’t leave home without it.
- February 2014 – New C-Class available to order in 2.0-litre petrol C 200 and 2.1-litre C 220 BlueTec diesel options, with a choice of SE, Sport and AMG Line trims. Deliveries expected in June. C 200 BlueTec diesel, C 250 BlueTec diesel and C 300 BlueTech hybrid versions join the range later in the year.
- April 2016 – Mercedes-AMG C 43 4Matic 3.0-litre V6 petrol added to the range, with deliveries due in September. 4Matic also made available on C 200 d, C 220 d and C 250 d diesels (which have been rebadged from BlueTec). New SE Executive trim also added to the line-up.
- May 2018 – Facelifted C-Class launched with refreshed exterior styling (tweaks to the bumpers and lights) and upgraded interior. SE, Sport and AMG Line trims remain, while engine options consist of C 200 petrol, C 220 d diesel and C 43 4Matic.
Buying a new Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon
- Plenty of Merc dealers out there
- Discounts won’t be generous
- Go easy on the options list
The C-Class Saloon is very popular with company car drivers, but it’s a strong seller for private buyers, too. Specifying very particular optional extras may have a negative impact on delivery time (and your wallet), but you need to weigh that up against the fact that options such as the panoramic sunroof and air suspension are going to be very attractive to second-hand buyers.
There isn’t likely to be much of a discount on offer since demand is so high, but we’d still aim for a couple of optional extras thrown in, or perhaps a servicing package.
Internet brokers aren’t a bad place to look for a good deal, but don’t forget you won’t have any say in the equipment or finish on the car.
If you’re specifying your own C-Class, consider the Premium or Premium Plus equipment lines. While they can be expensive, they add a lot of desirable kit that future buyers will be looking for as a used buy. We’d also aim for AMG Line trim as there’s an extra dose of kerb appeal.
Buying a used Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon
- Lots of choice on the secondhand market
- Try to buy through a Mercedes-Benz dealer
- Look out for cars with extra kit
A savvy car buyer may be wise to investigate ex-fleet cars. The C-Class is an incredibly popular company vehicle, and so there are likely to be cars on the market with relatively high mileage representing great value. While the miles are high, such cars are well maintained and should be in tip-top condition.
To get the best value for money it’s wise to try and find cars with lots of optional extras installed. They’ll be more desirable for your ownership but will also be easier to sell on later – we’d seek out an AMG Line model with Premium or Premium Plus equipment packages fitted.
For extra peace of mind, you could consider buying from a Mercedes dealership too so you can benefit from a manufacturers’ warranty.
Don’t forget to carry out a Parkers Car History Check as part of your car-buying process. Many cars have a hidden past which reaches back to bite new owners, but carrying out one of our checks will absolve you of that concern.
Selling your Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon
- Ensure your car is in tip-top condition
- Construct a comprehensive advert
- Take a set of detailed, quality pictures
There are a lot of C-Class models around on the secondhand, so it’s going to pay to spend some time making sure your car is absolutely pristine. Make sure there’s a good set of pictures showing off your car in the best way possible, and ensure it’s clean and in good condition. It could pay to have any scuffs to the bodywork or wheels sorted out before you sell.
This detail extends to its service history file too, where you need to keep all previous servicing, maintenance and MOT details where applicable.
Cars with desirable optional extras such as a panoramic sunroof or air suspension are going to be easier to sell than those of a standard specification, so make sure you highlight the extras fitted in your ad.
You can also make sure you are asking the right price for the car by using the Parkers Valuation tool to get an accurate value of the car.