The 2023 Mercedes-Benz C300 sedan has been redesigned for 2022, and while the advanced technology and fun-to-drive elements undoubtedly make it an attractive car, they can’t overlook the serious flaws. Our professional opinion is that prospective buyers should carefully examine this car to ensure they are getting a quality vehicle.
Regarding luxury cars, Mercedes-Benz stands at the forefront of the competition. With its cutting-edge technologies and advanced Mercedes-Benz User Experience system, it is revolutionizing the market with its EQ lineup of electric vehicles and its attempts to electrify its AMG performance vehicles. However, the C300 sedan is a perfect example of where the automaker could work on its execution. Mercedes-Benz is trying to keep up with the rapidly changing luxury market, but it still needs some help consistently delivering on this promise.
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class has been taken up a notch to be just like its S-Class big brother. The exterior and interior design have been impeccably crafted with excellence and quality. The C300 boasts a standard 11.9-inch touchscreen with the latest MBUX operating system, ensuring the ultimate technology experience. This sleek and robust car is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine featuring a 48-volt mild-hybrid design. This combination produces an impressive 255 horsepower and 295 pounds-feet of torque, further facilitated by a maximum boost capability of 20 hp and 148 pounds-feet of torque. Make a statement in the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
The 2022 C300 sedan with a 4Matic all-wheel drive proved reliable and capable during our test drive experience. The sedan was unchanged for the 2023 model year, yet we could equip it with numerous impressive and useful options that pushed the starting price of $46,600 (with AWD) to $60,870 (all prices including destination). Included among these options was the Multimedia Package, which included a head-up display and augmented reality navigation, a Driver Assistance Package that featured adaptive cruise control, lane change assist, and blind spot assist with intersection collision warning, as well as the AMG Line with Night Package that provided an accented, performance-oriented design. In addition, our C300 test car was fitted with winter tires, though it, unfortunately, missed out on a chance to show its stuff under icy conditions, given the unseasonably high temperatures during our November evaluation.
The new mild-hybrid turbo four-cylinder and nine-speed automatic transmission offer an outstanding combination of power and performance. With just a tap of the accelerator pedal, the car practically leaps forward, providing an effortless power delivery that some editors found to be overly sensitive. The mild-hybrid system ensures seamless operation of the stop-start engine system, adding a greater sense of luxury to the overall experience. A push of the accelerator yields a continuous supply of power that enables a truly dynamic driving experience.
The C300’s handling impresses with elegant, agile performance that surpasses any non-high-performance model in its class. The AMG line with Night package features a sport suspension, sport-tuned steering, and a thicker sport steering wheel for confident control. While the C300’s agility is thrilling, the steering feel is less so, exhibiting a nonlinearity that can leave the driver feeling like their manoeuvre was finished before the wheel was fully turned.
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class technology has been trickled down to the C-Class, resulting in the same and some additional issues. Notably, the 11.9-inch tablet-style touchscreen is where most of the controls are located – the first issue. The lack of physical controls on the centre console can be addressed by implementing steering-wheel controls – a feature included in the C300 – but its touch-sensitive controls, particularly the volume slider, can be especially aggravating. Professional in tone and backed by Mercedes-Benz’s assurance of quality, this technology will provide a smooth and intuitive experience.
The C-Class is a commendable attempt from Mercedes to offer a modernized multimedia system; however, even given its likely target market of tech-savvy millennials, the MBUX still needs to be more complex and can be distracting. Take the illuminated buildings and shimmering bodies of water shown in the navigation map, for example. While these additions may be visually appealing, they can also be distracting when you’re meant to focus on the road.
The augmented reality navigation display featured in the central touchscreen is another example of the complexity that could be distracting. Although featured in the head-up exhibition in more expensive Mercedes models, it is kept in the driver’s line of sight, diverting attention away from the road. The camera system displays the view ahead, but it could be better and may take some time for people to get used to.
In summary, the C-Class is an impressive attempt from Mercedes to introduce an intuitive modernized multimedia system, but the MBUX needs to be more complex and could become a distraction.
This all points to an attempt to compete with the Tesla Model 3. Though features such as AR navigation may seem impressive, it’s hard to argue that they improve the driving experience. The lack of physical buttons may present a futuristic feel, but it isn’t easy to associate this with luxury. By doing away with physical controls, the S-Class fails to provide the luxurious experience one would expect.
The interior of the C300 could be more comfortable – even for us editors! We had difficulty finding a comfortable driving position, and the backseat felt cramped. A large centre floor hump reduces foot room for those sitting in the back, and head- and legroom are also on the tight side. While this is typical for this vehicle class, it does not make it any less frustrating.
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class has earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s highest designation, the 2022 Top Safety Pick+, for its exceptional safety features. Its trim levels bundle multiple crash tests and Advanced front crash prevention systems with standard Active Brake Assist and optional Active Brake Assist with Cross-Traffic Function. Although Mercedes-Benz’s a la carte options structure delivers a highly customizable vehicle, the advanced safety features remain an added-cost option. Other luxury brands, such as Genesis and Lexus, provide many of these features as standard quality. Experience world-class safety with the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.