Several months ago, we spent a week with Mercedes-Benz’s S580 flagship sedan and were thoroughly impressed. Everything about its construction, luxury and driving experience was superb and left us wistfully longing for its return. Fast forward a few months to when Mercedes sent us its new, totally redesigned C300. 

After just a week of driving, we’re convinced the 2022 Mercedes-Benz C300 is one of the best luxury values on the market. In more ways than one, the new C-Class feels like a baby S-Class. From the styling, interior and materials, it’s evident that the elegant and fun C300 shares some of the best genes of its brother — for a fraction of the cost. 

Price and Value 

The average new car price is now above $48,000. Through that lens, this loaded $57,000 Mercedes C-Class seems more than reasonable. The MSRP range for the all-wheel drive 2022 Mercedes-Benz C300 is $45,550-$49,500. It is available in three trim levels, with standard features such as heated front seats, dual digital displays and ambient lighting. Some of the major differences in trim levels are noted below.

 

  • Premium: $45,550

Blind spot assist

18-inch wheels

Keyless-go

 

  • Exclusive: $47,800

Burmester 3D surround sound system

Wireless charging with NFC pairing

Parktronic with active parking assist

 

  • Pinnacle: $49,500 

Navigation

MBUX augmented video display

Head-up display

Whether you think the new C-Class is a good value or not will come down to what you want out of a car. Want a unique and thoughtful interior? A conservative, timeless exterior? This sedan has it in all trim levels. The C-Class features a 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty and a 4-year/50,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Performance 

The C300 might appear to be just a luxurious cruiser, but don’t let that assumption stop you from exploring its sporty side. The new C300 is punchy, quick and dynamic in every drive mode. The C300 may not look especially exciting, but from behind the wheel, it's as exciting as you want it to be.

Engine 

All 2022 C-class models are powered by the same 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, producing 255 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. A 48-volt hybrid system temporarily provides up to 20 extra horsepower. The 4-cylinder isn’t as refined in its sound as you might expect from a Stuttgart powerplant. But push it, and it rewards with ample thrust throughout the powerband. 

2022 Mercedes-Benz C300 4Matic

Fuel Efficiency

As with other Mercedes-Benz products, fuel efficiency was impressive in the C300. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates 23 mpg for city driving, 33 for highway and 27 combined. Our real-world testing proved to be on par with those estimates, returning just over 27 mpg in combined driving. Pretty impressive figures for a fairly heavy, all-wheel drive sedan with a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. 

Drivetrain

The C300 comes standard with a rear-wheel-drive setup, but our tester had the Mercedes 4Matic all-wheel-drive option. The 4Matic had a robust grip, even around sharp corners. The 9-speed automatic did an admiral job of intuitively shifting and keeping power where you need it, which was especially evident in the different drive modes. The ride quality was a bit snappier than we were expecting, revealing neither an overly dynamic nor serene driving experience. I guess not all things from the S-Class carried over here.

Acceleration and Handling 

The C300, despite weighing over 4,000 pounds, moves surprisingly quickly once you coax it into having fun. Car and Driver clocked the C300 from 0-60 mph in 5.3 seconds. The best part is the engine’s torque. With 295 pound-feet under the hood, it almost feels diesel-like in its ability to charge up hills and canyons.

Handling is relaxed and composed when you want to cruise, and sharp and direct when switched into sport mode. We were genuinely surprised at how sporty the C300 can feel, but its sweet spot seems to be somewhere between highway cruising and aggressive canyon carving.

Braking 

Braking was interesting in the C300. The brake pedal was squishy, requiring several inches of depressing before real bite came into play. Once the brakes grab, stopping power is good. But we’d like it to be more responsive. The C300 also includes several braking assist features that worked well and were not overly intrusive.

Interior Comfort and Convenience 

The interior of the C300 is easily one of the standout selling points of this new C-Class. The 2022 S-Class is a masterclass in luxury and design, and that same styling language has been carried over and resized for the C300. With interesting curves, lines, screens and miles of ambient lighting, the interior of the new C-Class sets itself apart from the competition in luxurious and detail focused ways.

The interior space is slightly more cramped than expected — especially in the back seat — but the design and materials more than make up for those shortcomings.

Seats 

The front seats in the C300 are almost perfect. Comfortable, soft and adjustable, anyone should be able to find a perfect seating position in this car. The leather is high quality, and the supple cushions provide plenty of support. We were surprised at the lack of a ventilated feature, though. For this price, we expected ventilation to be standard. Thankfully, ventilated seats are an option for the C300 — an option our tester did not have. 

2022 Mercedes-Benz C300 4Matic

The rear seats, while also comfortable and luxurious, are a tight fit, even for children. If you’re over 6 feet tall and regularly transport people in the rear seat, you may want to consider the larger E and S-Class Mercedes sedans. 

Climate Control 

Driving the C300 in the heat of the summer revealed one of its shortcomings: air conditioning. To be fair, many air conditioners struggle when paired with smaller 4-cylinder engines, but our experience was nonetheless a warm one. We were disappointed with how warm the cabin stayed, even after 10-20 minutes of driving with the fan speed turned up all the way. The lack of any tint on the windows did not help. The dual-zone climate controls worked well and are elegantly designed, we just wish there was more oomph from the air conditioning system. 

Cargo Space and Cabin Storage 

As with the rest of the somewhat compact interior, cargo and cabin storage is surprisingly light. There are small door pockets and a decently sized center console and … that’s about it. In other words, try to bring only one of your Louis Vuitton bags. With the C300’s attractive cab-back design, there are some sacrifices. The trunk — and its 12.6 cubic feet — is one of those. 

Infotainment System 

If you like screens and touchy, slidey things, you’re going to love the infotainment system in the new C300. And yes, while there are a lot of screens and touch-sensitive buttons in this car, it all works very well. The 12.3-inch vertical screen is nicely integrated into the center stack, very responsive and fairly easy to use once you’ve oriented yourself. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included. The Pinnacle trim also includes a head-up display, an 11.9-inch digital cluster, a wireless smartphone charging pad and much more. Tech is the name of the game here. While we question how well it will age — especially the touch-sensitive buttons — Mercedes-Benz has done an excellent job at making an attractive and well-conceived infotainment system for the modern age. 

2022 Mercedes-Benz C300 4Matic

Exterior Appearance and Functionality 

For the new C-Class, Mercedes-Benz has returned to a more subdued, classic and timeless style. Its long hood, stretched dash-to-axle ratio and wide grille gives it a stately appearance, with proportions that are just right. Some might think it’s too subdued. But in a world of loud styling and swooping lines, the C300 is sure to find an audience craving an understated, elegant and slightly sporty appearance. 

Our tester looked classically Mercedes-Benz in its Selenite Grey Metallic. Other colors include Patagonia Red Metallic, Starling Blue Metallic and nine shades of gray, including a matte finish of Selenite Grey.

Wheels 

The C300 comes standard with 18-inch wheels. Our tester had optional 5-spoke 19-inch wheels that, while nice looking, didn’t help with the ride quality — especially when shod with high-performance summer tires ours had. The combination of the stiffer sidewall and larger wheels exacerbated the already flinty ride quality and felt unnecessary in a car that isn’t all that sporty. We suggest sticking with the 18-inch wheel, with an all-season tire to help smooth things out. 

Lights and Turn Signals 

The C300 is equipped with an amazing array of lights, inside and out. The cabin’s Enhanced Ambient Lighting package — and its 64 colors — elevate an already beautiful interior to Caribbean nightclub levels. The optional LED headlights and taillights give off a good amount of light and the turn signals are easily seen. 

2022 Mercedes-Benz C300 4Matic

Cameras and Side Mirrors 

We expected a lot of cameras, and that’s exactly what we got thanks to the $950 Surround View System package and integrated dash cam with the Pinnacle trim. The resolution is sharp and looks very good on the large, 12.3-inch center screen. It’s easily worth the money, as it makes parking in tight spaces a breeze. The side mirrors provided clear views down the sides of the vehicle and were easily adjustable. 

Front and Rear Windshield 

Visibility was good in the C300, even with its long hood. The windshield wipers have an automatic setting that worked well detecting rain drops and clearing the view. 

Safety 

The new C300 is big on tech, and that includes its safety features. Combined with the typical solid build quality you expect from Mercedes-Benz, you’ll feel secure. 

Features 

For $57,000, you get nearly every safety feature available from Mercedes-Benz. Among them you’ll find: 

  • Parking damage detector
  • Attention assist
  • Active steering assist
  • Evasive steering assist
  • Active speed limit assist
2022 Mercedes-Benz C300 4Matic

Awards and Ratings

The 2022 Mercedes-Benz C300 has not been evaluated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety as of this writing. But the 2021 version fared very well, earning the Top Safety Pick+ award from the IIHS, and a five-star safety rating from the NHTSA — the highest awards possible from both organizations. We expect the 2022 version to perform the same.

Final Impression 

Overall, the C300 offers great value. It’s sporty when you want it to be, and a comfortable cruiser when you need to relax. While the interior space is slightly cramped, and the ride isn’t as plush as we’d hoped, the new C300 is a truly excellent vehicle that stands on its own. Given the marginal price differences, we’d recommend the Exclusive or Pinnacle trim.

Find your next C-Class on KSL Cars today. 

2022 Mercedes-Benz C300 4Matic

FAQs 

Is the C300 fun to drive? 

It is. The turbocharged 4-cylinder engine is fun to exercise, especially with its ample torque delivery. Handling is taut, most notable in sport mode. If you’re looking for a comfortable cruiser by day that can just as easily be a sports sedan by night, the C300 is an excellent choice. 

Is the C300 a good family vehicle? 

Eh, not really. While it’s moderately comfortable in the backseat, rear occupants will probably yearn to stretch out before too long. It also doesn’t have a lot of storage space, so choose your child's snacks and supplies carefully. 

The makes and models mentioned in this article are not placed in any particular order, nor intended to be viewed as a ranked list. KSL Cars does not endorse any vehicles. The views or opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer and do not reflect the views or opinions of KSL.com or its employees.