The next generation of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class arrives for the 2022 model year with high-tech features, a more luxurious interior and a powerful new engine with a 48-volt mild hybrid system. Adopting technology and design from the S-Class, the 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class features a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel and a portrait orientation 11.9-inch center touchscreen multimedia display.
For many years the C-Class was the entry compact sedan in the Mercedes-Benz lineup for the U.S. market but with the addition of the compact CLA 4-door coupe and the A-Class sedan to the lineup, the C-Class has moved upmarket in both size and refinement. The latest generation adopts more upscale interior materials and technology to become the baby S-Class in the Mercedes-Benz lineup.
The next generation C-Class has a sporty exterior design with a long hood, cab back profile, power domes on the hood and aggressive A-shaped grille with a Mercedes star in the center. At the rear, the revised taillights are a two-piece design for the first time on the C-Class. The 2022 C-Class is 2.6 inches longer than its predecessor, as well as 0.47 inch wider and a 0.98 inch longer wheelbase, adding 0.79 inch of additional rear-seat legroom.
The 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is offered as a C 300 with rear-wheel drive and a C 300 4MATIC with all-wheel drive, as well as three different trim levels for both configurations. Starting price for the C 300 Premium is $43,500 followed by Exclusive at $45,800 and the Pinnacle at $47,500. The additional cost for the C 300 4MATIC is $2,000, with the C 300 4MATIC Premium starting at $45,500, the Exclusive at $47,800 and the Pinnacle at $49,500. Prices do not include a destination and delivery charge of $1,050.
The 2022 C 300 Premium offers a high level of standard equipment including a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, an 11.9-inch center touchscreen display and the new generation MBUX infotainment system with voice control, natural language understanding and keyword activation. Additional standard equipment includes heated front seats with memory and lumbar support; a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel with capacitive touch buttons; LED headlights with adaptive high-beam assist; LED taillights; Dynamic Select drive modes; a sunroof and 18-inch wheels.
In addition to the standard equipment on Premium, the C 300 Exclusive adds a Burmester 3D surround sound system with sound personalization, PARKTRONIC with active parking assist, a surround view system, enhanced ambient lighting, illuminated door sills and inductive wireless charging. The top Pinnacle trim level adds MB navigation, head-up display and MBUX augmented video for navigation. Options for all trim levels include Nappa leather upholstery, a driver assistance package, an AMG Line with Night Package, a DIGITAL LIGHT intelligent lighting system, a panorama roof and a heated steering wheel.
Mercedes-Benz invited us to drive the new C-Class and provided us with a 2022 C 300 4MATIC Sedan finished in Starling Blue Metallic with a black Nappa leather interior and Silver Diamond Pattern interior trim. Additional options on the car included a digital light package and a driver assistance package for a total price as tested of $57,270 including the destination and delivery charge.
The new engine for the 2022 C-Class features the German automaker’s first use of the EQ Boost 48-volt mild-hybrid system with a 4-cylinder engine. The turbocharged 2.0-liter produces 255 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. The engine gets combined with the Integrated Starter Generator electric motor system that adds up to 20 horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque over short periods of time. The ISG also supplies power to the battery through high-efficiency regeneration. Power gets delivered through 9G-TRONIC 9-speed automatic transmission, and the 4MATIC system is revised with new front-axle drive to allow more torque distribution to the front wheels.
The interior of the 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class adopts the look and feel of the S-Class with a standard digital instrument panel and a portrait-oriented center display screen. The interior trim sweeps up from the center console and flows out to the lower portion of the dash. Available trim options include natural grain veneers and wood veneer with aluminum inlays. The screens can be customized with three display styles: Sporty, Classic and Understated, as well as three modes: Navigation, Assistance and Service.
The 2022 Mercedes-Benz C 300 is a stylish sport sedan with the aggressive grille and large Mercedes-Benz star at the center. The exterior design promises the car will be sporty and a fun drive. Inside, the influence of the S-Class is immediately felt so the C 300 feels more upscale and high-tech than previous generations. The large center display is intuitive and easy to use; the customization options allow the driver to adapt the instrument cluster and the center display to different driving situations.
The new 2.0-liter engine combined with the EQ Boost mild hybrid system works well in the C 300, with maximum torque available at a mere 2000 rpm. The Integrated Starter Generator makes start/stop seamless, eliminating the rough start usually associated with 4-cylinder engines by using the ISG to start the car moving while simultaneously starting the gasoline engine — no need to start the engine before moving the car yet doing both at the same time for a smooth launch.
The 2022 C 300 4MATIC is smooth and comfortable in Comfort setting but changes personality in Sport mode. Holding lower gears longer and increasing steering effort, in Sport mode the steering is direct and responsive, with power always available due to more aggressive transmission settings. The C 300 4MATIC is a fun experience on winding back roads. With the all-wheel-drive system delivering power to the front wheels, the car has virtually no understeer even when entering slow corners aggressively.
The driver can shift manually with steering-wheel mounted paddles at any time, although the C-Class has no manual mode. The transmission defaults back to automatic after a period of no manual shifts. If a driver prefers to remain in manual shifting, Individual mode can be used to select manual shifting only.
Mercedes-Benz continues to produce sport sedans both comfortable and fun to drive, and the new generation C-Class fits the bill. The influence of the S-Class on the 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class interior design, dual-screen digital instrumentation and a center touchscreen give the C-Class a more upscale and high-tech feel. The integration of the EQ Boost mild-hybrid system adds extra power but also makes the start / stop seamless for a smooth launch. For a driver seeking a fun, sporty sedan with an upscale interior and the latest technology, the next-generation C-Class could make that search a bit easier.
Pros: Sporty design; high-tech interior; powerful mild-hybrid powertrain.
Cons: Price climbs with top trim and options.
Bottom Line: Sporty sedan with powerful mild hybrid, upscale interior and latest technology combine to create an attractive choice.