A Baby S Class
We drove the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C400 back in January, albeit briefly and at the time we came away fairly impressed. It was only a short 30 minute drive and it was difficult to assess the car properly, so when Mercedes delivered our Palladium Silver C400, we were pretty excited. Our car was fully loaded, with Sport Cranberry red leather and black ash wood with perfectly aligned grain. I found myself not wanting to open the small panel that covers the cup-holders so as not the spoil the smooth lines. Very Impressive attention to detail.
Engine and Transmission
So what do we have under the hood? Well if you opt for this car you get a 3.0 twin turbo V-6 with 329 hp @ 6000 rpm and 354 lb-ft @ 1600 rpm, which is a decent amount of grunt to hustle this car along but that’s not what I expect prospective buyers would have in mind. This is not a sports sedan like the Audi S4 or BMW 3 series, instead it’s a luxury car that can be driven fast. In order to understand this let me explain the driving modes available.
In Sport ++ mode, which I found myself in most for the time , it’s a lot of fun to drive. The 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 has the perfect amount of power for the car, at any time. Select one of the 4 modes ECO, COMFORT, SPORT + and the aforementioned SPORT ++. Wafting along the V6 is like a kitten but flick the selector into Sport ++ and this car comes alive. One thing we couldn’t figure out is how to get it back to auto mode from manual mode. I am sure the answer is in the manual but we just toggled from one mode then back again and it changed.
Performance and Handling
We attached the VBox and got it to launch to 60 in 5.02 secs. The engine never feels strained it just does it’s job. One thing of note is that Mercedes has reduced the weight of the C class by approximately 220 lbs with extensive use of aluminum, which had us searching for a place to attach our magnetic VBox antenna. The door frame eventually worked.
The C400 has a fixed-split all-wheel-drive system (45 percent front, 55 percent rear) puts all the power to the ground, all the time. We heard the tires squealing a couple of times but only in the bends not on launch. Brakes are safe and secure and bite well, but you need a good amount of pressure to make them come on strongly. Once you do the C stops from 60 mph in 117 feet.
Sitting on air suspension it rides rides well, although some uneven pavement around San Diego caused some crashes. Body roll is almost eliminated and we were pretty impressed with the steering which feels pretty direct, which is unusual these days.
We took a trip into the mountains to the small town of Julian, CA. The Benz carved through the twisty bits with finesse and it’s only when pulling to a stop in Sport ++ that the transmission becomes a tad jerky but it’s a small price to pay for the fun factor.
Our loaded C400 came with, a navigation system, satellite radio. A touchpad over a mouse wheel, where you can accidentally change the radio station, adaptive cruise control, lane assist, blind spot warning, parking sensor, LED lighting and a power trunk lid.
To keep you cool or warm heated and cooled seats are available, the latter virtually freezing my behind on the max setting. I did enjoy changing the ambient lighting across the interior, polar blue was my favorite. There’s is a terrific Burmester sound system in here, beautifully designed with speakers that look like shower heads. The only niggles we had were a quicker way of changing into Sport mode and deeper cup holders, which had a tendency to fling our Starbucks cup around in spirited driving.
This is a beautiful place to be, it really is a scaled-down S-class, which is reflective in the price of our heavily optioned car at $62,725. Now that the C is no longer the entry level car in the range Mercedes have gone mad with the details, it is spectacular inside, every element of its cabin is a piece of modern art and as a bonus is a pretty damn good drive as well. The new C-Class proves, Mercedes is still very much able to produce some of the best luxury cars in the world.
|VEHICLE TYPE:||front-engine, 4-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan|
|PRICE AS TESTED:||$62,725|
|ENGINE TYPE:||twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve V-6, direct fuel injection|
|POWER:||329 hp @ 6000 rpm|
|TORQUE:||354 lb-ft @ 1600 rpm|
|TRANSMISSION:||7-speed automatic with manual shifting mode|
|CURB WEIGHT:||3816 lb|
|ZERO to 60 mph:||5.02 secs|
|30-70 mph||4.39 secs|
|50-70 mph||2.62 secs|
|STANDING ¼-mile:||13.4 sec @ 107 mph|
|TOP SPEED(governor limited):||136 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 mph:||117.27 ft or 2.83 secs|
|EPA city/highway driving:||21/29 mpg|
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