Parkers overall rating: 3.9 out of 5 3.9
  • Choice of petrol or diesel
  • No high power options yet
  • Plug-in hybrid coming soon

What engine options are there?

The Mercedes C-Class is available with four different engine options. All come with a nine-speed automatic gearbox as standard. 

Sporty AMG models will join the range later – although these will eschew the previous AMG’s thumping V8 powertrains for a four-cylinder plug-in hybrid.

Petrol engines

Engine Power and torque
0-62mph time
Top speed
C200 204hp, 300Nm 7.3secs 153mph
C300 258hp, 400Nm 6.0secs 155mph

We’re yet to try any of the petrol engines. But on paper the C200 looks like it’ll be enough for most people. The 0-62mph time is respectable and it’s usefully cheaper than the diesel models.

The C300 is a nice bridge for now until the potent AMG performance cars come online.

Diesel engines

Engine Power and torque
0-62mph time
Top speed
C220d 200hp, 440Nm 7.3secs 152mph
C300d 265hp, 550Nm 5.7secs 155mph

We’ve only sampled the C220d four-cylinder diesel. It feels just about perfectly suited to the car. 0-62mph takes 7.3 seconds, and it feels responsive from low revs and relaxed at a cruise.

It’s silent at low speeds and stays refined unless you head to the upper echelons of the rev range – put it into Sport mode and it proves as responsive as you could hope for.

The C300d is the most powerful C-Class currently on offer. While the 0-62mph time is really impressive, we can’t help but feel most owners would be better served by the C220d because of its cheaper price and better fuel economy.

Plug-in hybrid engines

The plug-in hybrid C300e isn’t out yet but we’ve sampled one. If you’re after even more efficiency, the C300e is by far the best option. It pairs a 2.0-litre petrol engine with a sizeable electric motor giving a combined 312hp giving brisk acceleration with the engine awake. Performance is a bit more subdued in electric-only mode, but the 127hp output of the motor is enough for the vast majority of sensible driving.

You’ll certainly be running in electric mode a lot – Mercedes claim a seriously impressive 62-mile electric-only range with over 50 miles achievable in mixed conditions in our experience. With emissions from just 14g/km, it’s in the 7% company car tax bracket, some 4% below the BMW 330e. It’ll also mean good things for economy even on a long run, although you’ll have to run on volts for most of your journeys to match the official rating of 403.5mpg.

That’s made easier by the 300e’s ability to charge at up to 55kW on a DC rapid charger. That means a 100% charge will take just 30 minutes, while it can accept up to 11kW on a more common AC charger. In fact, our only real complaint is that the petrol engine is quite boomy when you accelerate hard, punctuating the calm that proceeded the accelerator pedal being mashed to the floor,

How does it handle?

  • Stiff suspension
  • Not as good as a BMW 3 Series
  • Objectively pretty good though

Mercedes-Benz has typically focused more on comfort than sportiness in comparison to main rival BMW, but this latest version has decided to spice things up.  Step onto some twistier tarmac and while it’s not the last word in involvement the C-Class is perfectly agreeable. It handles quite tidily, although it doesn’t feel as sharp and agile as a BMW 3 Series, with less grip up front and more body roll, too.

While it out handles the previous model, we do find it to be less comfortable. It doesn’t deal with speed bumps well at lower speeds, while sharp-edged obstacles such as potholes generate a bit of a thump.

The nine-speed automatic gearbox fitted to all models is slick-shifting under most conditions, and you can easily take control with the paddles behind the wheel. The only time the combination comes unstuck is when the mild hybrid stop-start system gets confused.

This is most noticeable at roundabouts, or other areas where you’ll slow right down, not quite stop, and then ask for a swift getaway. The plug-in hybrid is more quick-witted, although of course the much more powerful electric motor can get things going whilst the engine fires up if needed.