Baby, baby, baby, oh!
Cue Justin Bieber and put this song in your head. “Baby, baby, baby, oh!” It’s what you’ll be humming as you step into the recently redesigned 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class which takes a lot of luxury and technology from its more luxe (and pricey) S-Class sibling. This sedan from Mercedes-Benz is a sweet ride, no doubt about it. It’s sporty and perfect for those looking for the luxury of S-Class but in a smaller package, at a very palatable $45k- $58K. And there is so much new technology (“Hey Mercedes” voice assist! Fingerprint recognition!) and an abundance of lavish touches inherited from the brand’s flagship, it feels like a ‘mini-me’ version, but make no mistake, the C-Class is it’s own person. Er, car.
The sedan’s look is fully modern Mercedes-Benz, rounded and aerodynamic. The 2022 redesign gave it elegant new rear tail lights and 2.5″ longer over all for more interior room. Buyers can add 4 Motion all wheel drive, which also impacts the exterior; the front end of these models nearly an inch wider and the rear end is almost 2″ wider for a lean, muscular look and performance.
This Interior Is a Baby S-Class With So Much to Love
The modernized driver cockpit inherited a lot of technology and aesthetics from the newly designed S-Class revealed in 2021. But these details feel more like a fancy inheritance than hand-me-downs. The multimedia system is a tilted vertical media screen and is the central point for all climate, media, and settings for the C 300. The driver instrument screen is customizable; you can choose a classic layout or a themed screen. You can select if your instrument cluster shows navigation or music, and other options too.
The all new MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience system) means fewer buttons, no more touch pad, and a cleaner interior overall. And it incorporates fingerprint recognition: a small, square pad on the MBUX system, once set up, will recognize the driver’s fingerprint and set the cabin–seat position, temperature, radio, lighting and more–to her specifications. Drivers can also use it to make purchases such as gas, parking or food.
MBUX now also accommodates wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and has customizable options like heads-up display and drive mode to set suspension, steering and and throttle. While it may take a minute to get used to not having touch controls for something like the dual automatic climate, I adapted quickly and fell in love with its simplicity.
Related: The Mercedes-Benz S Class Is the Industry’s Crystal Ball. And the Mercedes-Benz S580 Lets You Peek into the Future
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A Little Bit Bigger Means the C-Class Is a Lot Better
The new C-Class re-design results in a bigger cabin, providing more legroom for your rear passengers. If you’re opting for a sedan as a family car versus an SUV, minivan or wagon, every inch counts. The back seat is not only spacious but beautiful with soft touch surfaces, comfortable seating and ample headroom.
A Mild Hybrid Means Faster Acceleration, and It’s New for Mercedes-Benz’s 4-Cylinder Lineup
Mercedes-Benz has added mild hybrids, a battery-powered electric motor that assists the gas engine for added boost, to several of their models in recent years. They call it EQ Boost. The new C-Class is the first in the Mercedes 4 cylinder family to get the addition of this electric motor. This gives the C 300 extra torque for faster acceleration, bringing the power to a total of 255 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque.
Available All-wheel Drive Provides Traction in All Conditions
The C 300 is available in a rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. I tested the 4MATIC all-wheel drive through canyons, hills, vineyards and winding roads of Southern California. I felt confident and enjoyed the drive through every twist and turn. I just know that I would feel no different in the sometimes unpredictable weather conditions in British Columbia.
The C 300 really shined on these roads and felt sporty and capable. The steering wheel is fat with a flat bottom, giving a race-inspired feel in the driver’s seat. The wheel’s spokes are sharp and add a cool visual touch that is very different than the stately S-Class version.
Pick your Passion: Three Trim Levels to Choose From
The new C-Class comes in three trim levels: Premium, Exclusive and Pinnacle. I drove the Pinnacle edition for two days and was spoiled; it has every option you could want: red leather, enhanced navigation and ambient lighting.
The C-Class Premium trim comes nicely equipped with the new generation MBUX multimedia and voice assistant system, new displays and fingerprint sensor technology. Heated front seats, leather steering wheel, LED lighting, sunroof and 18″ wheels are also standard. The Premium C 300 starts at $43,500. Make it a 4MATIC for $45,550.
The Exclusive trim ads active parking assistance, surround view camera, enhanced ambient lighting, and wireless charging plus an astonishingly good Burmester 3D Surround System. The Exclusive trim starts at $45,800. Make it a 4MATIC for $47,800.
The top Pinnacle trim adds navigation, head-up display and augmented video for navigation. It starts at $47,500 but will go up to a starting price of $49,500.
My test model had the optional plush Nappa leather seating and AMG Line cosmetic additions. The as-tested price is $58,470.
Related: The 2021 Lexus IS 350 AWD F Sport Is an Athletic 4-Door Sport Sedan that Will Thrill Your Socks Off
Everybody Loves the Baby
While my drive wasn’t long, it was enough to dazzle. I loved that I could get all the S-Class goodies in a smaller car, and that the C-Class has its own personality. I enjoyed my time behind the wheel and know it would fit nicely into my life. That said, I wouldn’t mind taking another test drive just to be sure.
Disclosure: I attended the C 300 First Drive with Mercedes-Benz, with travel and accommodations provided, to facilitate this test drive.