Competes with: Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Cadillac ATS, Lexus IS
Looks like: A mild update on the 2015-18 C300
Drivetrain: 255-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with nine-speed automatic transmission; rear- or all-wheel drive
Hits dealerships: Late 2018
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan, which earned Cars.com's top award with its 2015 model-year redesign, enters the fifth model year of its current generation with styling updates, more power and new technology. The visual changes are mild, but new technologies close the gap with the larger E-Class sedan, which Mercedes redesigned more recently.
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The updated C-Class will debut at the 2018 Geneva International Motor Show in C300 sedan form — that is, with the base engine most Americans buy. It goes on sale in the U.S. late in 2018. No details are available yet on the 2019 C-Class coupe, convertible (cabriolet) or higher-performance AMG versions.
Mercedes-Benz claims redesigns for the bumpers, headlights and taillights, but the revisions are light. Full-LED lights, which were previously optional, are now standard. They have reorganized elements but the same basic shape; the same goes for the bumpers. With an optional AMG styling package, the C300 gets a diamond-pattern grille with a single crossbar that was previously reserved for AMG C43 versions of the sedan. The outboard bumper openings have crossbars, too, similar to certain versions of the E-Class and S-Class.
Inside, the 2019 C-Class gets a redesigned steering wheel with touch-sensitive buttons and cruise controls directly on the wheel instead of the previous steering-column stalk. The larger change comes with the optional information displays, however. A 7-inch multimedia display is standard, as are physical gauges with a 5.5-inch center display. But new options include configurable 12.3-inch virtual gauges that replace the physical units and a 10.25-inch multimedia screen instead of the 2018's optional 8.4-inch screen.
Wireless smartphone charging is available, as is a Burmester premium stereo.
Under the Hood
The 2015-18 C300's turbocharged four-cylinder pulled middling acceleration numbers among seven luxury sports sedans in our last acceleration tests, but some extra power might move it up a notch. Output for 2019 is now 255 horsepower, up from last year's 241 hp; torque, at 273 pounds-feet, remains unchanged. A nine-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive is standard; all-wheel drive (4Matic) is optional.
Mercedes-Benz touts similar safety and autonomous tech in the 2019 C-Class as it offers in the E-Class. Improved cameras and radar can see up to nearly a third of a mile ahead, as well as 130 feet to the sides and 260 feet behind — all of which enables the C-Class to drive "semi-autonomously in certain situations," according to Mercedes. Forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking is standard, but it's unclear which additional features are optional or standard.
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