Reviews

2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Driving Impressions


Five powertrains comprise the C-Class, all turbocharged, with four, six or eight cylinders; transmissions with seven or nine speeds, with rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.

C300 models have sharp handling, and the four-cylinder turbo feels wonderful, whizzing to 60 mph in 6.0 seconds, according to Mercedes-Benz. Turbo boost is almost instantly available, and it’s strong throughout its full range. Power is rated at 241 hp and 273 foot-pounds of torque.

The C350e adds a 60kW electric motor for a massive increase in torque to 443 foot-pounds, allowing it to accelerate slightly more quickly than the C300 can.

The potent AMG C43 uses a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 making 362 horsepower and 382 pound-feet of torque. It’s strong and willing in any gear or at any rpm, able to accelerate to 60 in 4.9 seconds. The exhaust note is muted and pleasant, joined in the cabin by induction sounds to provide that familiar AMG whuffle.

A snarling 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 powers the C63. It makes 469 horsepower and 479 kick-in-the-butt pound-feet of torque. It’s not as mental as the masterpiece motor in the Cadillac ATS-V, or as clinical and tactical as the BMW M3 and M4, but it’s the envy of every other enthusiast. It comes only with tire-smoking rear-wheel drive.

The engine in the S version of the C63 is tuned to make 503 hp and 516 lb-ft. If we called the C63 motor mental, then this one is mentally insane.

AMG versions use a different steering geometry for sharper cornering, bigger brakes, adjustable dampers to better control the ride, and torque vectoring at the rear. The standard all-wheel-drive system provides 33/67 front/rear bias. The transmission has five modes, including manual, rev-matching, and sport exhaust. With the 18-inch staggered wheels (19-inch available), the AMGs not only handle more crisply than the regular models, but also better than the competition from BMW.

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