The 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class model lineup is a mixture of old and new. This year, the four-door sedan benefits from a complete redesign, while the two-door coupe and convertible continue unchanged.
Sedans are initially available in C300 specification with a new, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine equipped with mild-hybrid technology. At the same time, C300 coupes and C300 convertibles feature a different turbo-four plus an AMG-tuned, turbocharged V6 in the AMG 43 variants. In addition, the C300 models offer rear-wheel drive (RWD) or 4Matic all-wheel drive (AWD), while the AMG 43s come with standard 4Matic AWD.
This review focuses on the redesigned C-Class sedan and not the coupe and convertible models.
What's New for the 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan?
Mercedes bestows upon the 2022 C-Class sedan a complete redesign. The exterior retains the car's classic, rear-drive proportions, now with details inspired by the automaker's S-Class flagship sedan. Inside, more S-Class influence is evident, and the new C-Class sedan boasts a significant upgrade in technology.
Launching first as the C300 with RWD or 4Matic AWD, the 2022 C-Class sedan comes in one of three core trim levels called Premium, Exclusive, and Pinnacle. Option packages enhance each with additional design, comfort, and technology upgrades. Additionally, the C300 has a new, turbocharged, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine with mild-hybrid electrification, including an integrated starter/generator (ISG) and a 48-volt electrical system.
Choose the optional Driver Assistance Package, and the 2022 C-Class sedan comes with 12 driver-assist and collision-avoidance technologies, some of which are among the most sophisticated in the segment. The newly optional Digital Light LED headlights are also impressive.
How Much Is a Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan?
As the first redesigned 2022 C300 sedans rolled into U.S. showrooms, prices ranged from the mid $40,000s to the low $50,000s, including the destination charge to ship the car to your local dealership from its Bremen, Germany factory. As is tradition, you can expect the C-Class lineup to expand in the years ahead, adding AMG performance-tuned variants and electrified models.
2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan Trim Levels and Configurations
For the 2022 model year, the new Mercedes-Benz C300 sedan comes in three trim levels. Highlights of each are detailed below:
Mercedes-Benz C300 Premium – Standard equipment for the new C300 Premium includes 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and taillights, automatic high-beam headlights, and a hands-free, power-opening trunk lid. The interior features a power sunroof, ambient cabin lighting, a 12.3-inch, digital instrumentation display, wood interior trim, MB-Tex simulated leather upholstery, and heated, power-adjustable front seats. The Premium trim also includes a parking damage detection system.
The Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system includes an 11.9-inch touchscreen display with biometric fingerprint scanner technology, natural voice recognition capability, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Safety systems include a driver monitoring system, Pre-Safe forward collision preparation technology, automatic emergency braking, and blind-spot monitoring with Exit Warning Assist.
Mercedes-Benz C300 Exclusive – Upgrade to the C300 Exclusive for improved interior lighting, a wireless smartphone charger, a Burmester surround-sound audio system, a surround-view camera system, and parking sensors with semi-autonomous parking assistance technology.
Mercedes-Benz C300 Pinnacle – The top trim level equips the C300 sedan with a navigation system, augmented video-for-navigation technology, and a head-up display.
2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan Review and Test Drive
By Michael Harley
Mercedes-Benz has been selling its C-Class sedan for nearly 40 years, and it's been the automaker's highest-volume model for the past decade, so a lot is riding on the completely redesigned 2022 version. Whereas the C-Class used to represent the automaker's entry-level offering, making equipment levels and pricing considerations primary concerns, the smaller A-Class sedan and GLA-Class small crossover SUV now fill that role. This has allowed Mercedes-Benz to move the all-new 2022 C-Class upmarket.
Focused on that mission, Mercedes-Benz references its S-Class flagship numerous times when speaking about the new C-Class. The smaller sedan shares infotainment software, safety technology, and design cues with its biggest brother, significantly improving the new car in the process. These attributes will also appeal to the young, affluent buyers who Mercedes hopes the sedan will lure and prepare them for future E- and S-Class ownership.
It's crucial to note that the all-new C-Class resides in a competitive segment with no fewer than a half-dozen excellent alternatives. So rather than chase (and imitate) the competition as it battles to build a better sports sedan, Mercedes has refocused the all-new C-Class to be a better luxury sedan, emphasizing comfort and ride as much as the driving dynamics.
For this 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class review, I test-drove a C300 4Matic equipped with Pinnacle trim in Los Angeles. It came with AMG Line styling, a Night Package (blacked-out trim), a Driver Assist Package, and a Multimedia Package. These upgrades brought the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) to $63,440, including the $1,050 destination charge. Mercedes-Benz USA provided the vehicle for this C300 review and paid for lodging and meals during the evaluation period.
2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Review: The Design
Casual observers will be hard-pressed to distinguish the all-new 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class from its predecessor, but that's understandable when an automaker is redesigning its best-selling model with a "don't mess up a good thing" approach. A closer look reveals that the new C-Class is a bit longer, slightly wider, marginally taller, and features a wheelbase stretched about an inch.
Taken as a whole, it's considerably larger than the outgoing model. However, the exterior shape is nearly identical to the previous car’s, and the new C-Class even retains the predecessor’s impressively low drag coefficient of 0.24. Yet, delicate tweaks, including an attractive power bulge on the hood and more prominent sculpting on the front and rear fascias, allow the new model to project a more aggressive and sporty overall appearance.
Few will fault the passenger cabin as it is indisputably gorgeous. Think of it as a slightly smaller version of the flagship S-Class, but with a sportier and more youthful demeanor. The dashboard, center console, and door panels are artfully sculpted and visually pleasing to the eye, and at night they are beautifully illuminated with 64-color ambient lighting. Mercedes has also ensured that all buttons, switches, and levers demonstrate precise movement and deliver excellent tactile feedback.
The often-used primary controls are well-placed and easy to reach, although the capacitive touch buttons on the steering wheel require a bit of acclimation. We would have preferred an easy-to-use volume dial on the center console, but the automaker has chosen to use a capacitive slider instead. Kudos to Mercedes-Benz for its excellent door-mounted seat controls and high-mounted, turbine-like air vents that supply plenty of flow and are intuitive to use. As a bonus, occupants can tell at a glance if the duct is open or closed based on the position of the center knob.
Mercedes uses a new seat design in the C300 that employs layers and enveloping surfaces to create a visual impression of lightness. The upholstered cushions appear to float on the seat, and the head restraints are attached to the seatback with a sealed piece of trim. In addition, the C-Class employs a more innovative and less complicated Seat Kinetics feature in place of massaging seats. The system uses the seat's motors to effectively make subtle adjustments to the seating position during the drive, slightly moving the occupant's position to reduce pressure spots. I put more than 300 miles on the new C-Class, often using Seat Kinetics, and the buckets were supportive and comfortable for the entire 8-hour day.
Thanks to deeply sculpted front seatbacks, 6-foot-tall adults can fit in the second-row outboard positions without squishing their knees. The fit is cozy, with just enough legroom, headroom, and shoulder room, but not uncomfortable. The middle seat, which is slightly elevated and lacks proper cushion-sculpting, is uncomfortable for anyone but a child. There are air conditioning vents and power outlets at the rear of the center console for those seated in back.
In terms of utility, the rear seats fold in a 40:20:40 split to increase the 12.6 cubic-foot trunk's versatility. The cargo hold is large enough to swallow a half-dozen carry-on suitcases, and its hinges do not impede capacity. In addition, there are anchored, metal tie-downs at each corner, grocery hooks on each trunk wall, and remote releases to drop the second row of seats while standing at the rear of the C-Class.
2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Review: The Technology
The all-new C-Class gets the same advanced MBUX infotainment technology that debuted in the all-new S-Class in 2021. This second-generation version of MBUX evolves to incorporate improved voice control and artificial intelligence coupled with over-the-air (OTA) updates, so owners can forgo visiting a service center for the most current software.
The driver and occupants interact with the vehicle through two high-definition, configurable displays with three unique visual themes (Sporty, Classic, and Understated) that operate in three different modes (Navigation, Assistance, and Service). While this sounds confusing, it takes nothing more than a simple swipe to change the visuals—even while driving.
Positioned directly behind the steering wheel is a 12.3-inch, digital instrument panel. The driver controls the display's settings and visualizations via tactile steering wheel buttons. When it comes to interfaces, the Classic theme projects digital representations of traditional analog gauges, which are easy to decipher. On the opposite extreme is the Sporty theme, which appears futuristic, but borders on confusing—it looks like a video game display. Assistance mode works best with the adaptive cruise control, as it displays the vehicles on the road around the sedan.
A second 11.9-inch touchscreen infotainment display is mounted in portrait orientation in the middle of the dashboard and tilts slightly toward the driver. It operates or configures nearly every vehicle feature, including navigation, audio, telephone, climate control, and most vehicle settings. It's an immense workload, but Mercedes uses a unique "zero-layer" interface to put the most critical applications on the top-level view so that they always float above the navigation-map display. The innovative interface works well, effectively eliminating the issue of having too many menus and submenus to navigate. For those who prefer to use Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the MBUX infotainment system integrates wireless versions of both.
Impersonating a miniature S-Class, the C300 offers numerous conveniences as standard or optional equipment. Highlights include an available head-up display with a massive color projection area that allows drivers to keep their eyes on the road. In addition, the MBUX system includes a hands-free, artificial intelligence voice control system you activate by saying, "Hey, Mercedes." The latest MBUX is so sophisticated that you can accomplish most operations simply by speaking commands out loud. The new C-Class even has a biometric fingerprint scanner on the lower part of the MBUX center display. With a simple fingertip scan, it allows registered users to make purchases outside of the vehicle, for fuel or road tolls as examples.
Standard Mercedes-Benz Pre-Safe prepares the car's occupants for a crash. Sensors interpret an impending impact and instantly tighten the front seatbelts, close the windows and sunroof, and adjust the front seats to a safe position. The audio system also plays a "pink noise" to protect the occupants’ ears from the harmful sound waves of the crash and detonating airbags. In addition, Mercedes bundles its most advanced driving-assist features into the various trim levels or an option package.
Because the C-Class sedan gets a complete redesign this year, neither the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) nor the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) had evaluated the all-new 2022 Mercedes-Benz C300 for crash protection as this review was written.
2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Review: The Drive
Mercedes-Benz fits the new 2022 C300 with a turbocharged, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine making 255 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque on premium fuel. It powers the C300's rear wheels through a nine-speed automatic transmission. A 4Matic AWD system is optional.
The automaker uses its EQ Boost mild-hybrid technology to supplement the engine's output with an ISG; a 48-volt motor that replaces both the engine starter and the 12V alternator. The ISG provides an additional 20 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque for short bursts; the boost in power is brief because the system uses a relatively tiny 0.9 kWh, 48-volt, lithium-ion battery.
EQ Boost is a noteworthy part of the powertrain as the system's electronics define how the C-Class accelerates and brakes. In short, acceleration involves combustion propulsion with electric motor-assist, coasting shuts off the engine (Mercedes calls this "gliding"), while braking induces electrical regeneration.
As expected, the C300 accelerates strongly. The EQ Boost system eliminates the lag commonly associated with turbocharged engines, and it works effectively. According to Mercedes, the 3,957-lb. sedan can sprint to 60 mph in 6 seconds. In addition, the nine-speed transmission is silky-smooth during everyday driving (it could be one of the most refined we've ever experienced), and it imperceptibly downshifts a few gears if more power is needed to pass slower vehicles.
While EQ Boost works faultlessly during acceleration, it introduces an issue during deceleration. The initial application of the brakes triggers electrical regeneration to charge the small battery, making the brake pedal feel soft and squishy underfoot. Furthermore, the pedal's travel is long, which doesn't inspire driver confidence. However, aside from the inferior brake feel, the system is quite capable, ensuring that panic stops are short and drama-free.
Dynamically, the C300 drives like a luxury sedan with a sporty personality. The ride is comfortable over nearly every surface type, and the vehicle's independent, active suspension smoothly absorbs even the harshest impacts. The chassis maintains excellent poise on all roads, and handling is stable and predictable. When pushed extremely hard into a corner, the Mercedes only loses some of its composure, felt by the driver as excess body roll. Nevertheless, the steering feel is spot-on with ideal effort and feedback, and on-road stability is impeccable at all speeds.
Mercedes-Benz equips the C300 with its Dynamic Select system that allows the driver to tailor the vehicle's chassis with four standard drive modes (Eco, Comfort, Sport, and Individual). In addition, models with the AMG Line Package get a Sport+ mode. The settings alter the engine, transmission, throttle, and steering sensitivity—none of them changes the suspension.
The EPA is yet to finalize fuel economy figures for the 2022 Mercedes-Benz C300 4Matic, but we expect its efficiency to be superior to its predecessor:
Is the 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan a Good Car?
Mercedes-Benz knows its core customers seek technical innovation, advanced engineering, superior safety, impeccable driving dynamics, and world-class luxury. For them, pricing isn't a primary concern. The all-new C-Class doubles down on those attributes in a compact package that will appeal to young professionals looking for a traditional, four-door sedan instead of a family-oriented crossover or SUV.
In contrast to most of the competitors in this shrinking segment, which emphasize sportiness and futuristic design, Mercedes accentuates luxury and tradition. As a result, the new C-Class comes across as a smaller and equally noteworthy version of the automaker's benchmark S-Class sedan.
Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan Competitors for 2022
The new Mercedes C-Class sedan faces numerous competitors in the compact luxury car segment. They include the Acura TLX, Alfa Romeo Giulia, Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Cadillac CT4, Genesis G70, Infiniti Q50, Lexus IS, and Volvo S60.
Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan Features
The redesigned 2022 C-Class sedan does not significantly depart from the previous-generation model. Instead, it adopts current Mercedes design themes inside and out, and adds the latest technologies to ensure it can compete with, and set new standards for, rivals in its segment.
2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan Safety Features
- Pre-Safe Plus – Available* feature that prepares the C-Class and its occupants for a rear-impact crash
- Active Brake Assist with Turning and Cross-Traffic Function – Available* automatic braking that works when entering or making turns at an intersection
- Active Steering Assist – Available* lane-centering assistance system
- Active Emergency Stop Assist – Used in conjunction with the optional adaptive cruise control and Active Steering Assist systems, this available* feature can recognize an unresponsive driver, bring the C-Class to a safe stop, and make a call for help
- Digital Light headlights – Available* feature with ultra-wide high-beam and curve illumination functions
2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan Technology
- Infotainment system – Standard 11.9-inch touchscreen display
- Smartphone connectivity – Standard Bluetooth, wireless Apple CarPlay, wireless Android Auto
- Digital voice assistant – Standard feature responds to "Hey, Mercedes" wake-up command and accommodates natural-language prompts
- Online Music Streaming – Available* feature
- Guard 360 – Available* feature records images when another vehicle bumps the C-Class while it is parked or when thieves break into the car
2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan Specs
- 2.0-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine with 48-volt, mild-hybrid technology
- 255 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque (275 hp and 443 lb-ft for short bursts with ISG)
- Nine-speed automatic transmission
- Rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive
2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan Interior
- Digital instrumentation – Standard 12.3-inch display
- Leather upholstery – Available* feature
- Ventilated front seats – Available* feature
- Panoramic sunroof – Available* feature
- Premium sound system – Available* Burmester surround-sound audio system
*Availability is subject to specific trim level selections