With this 2022 Mercedes-Benz C300 review, we ask if the iconic prestige car builder’s ever more premium push pays off.
- Consummate touring comfort
- Impressive scope of infotainment ability
- Improved driver interface, especially touch-sensitive controls
- Inconsistent brake pedal reactions
- New pricing out of step with competitors
- Rear seat short on highlights
Is the Mercedes-Benz C300 a good car?
With the arrival of the 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the pecking order of the medium luxury sedan class comes up for reassessment.
Can the new C-Class top its competitive class, will the BMW 3 Series be a thorn in its side, or should you look at an Audi A4, Alfa Romeo Guilia or Jaguar XE?
With trademark confidence, Mercedes-Benz has positioned the new C-Class at a premium compared to competitors, with the range starting at $78,900 plus on-road costs for the C200, or $90,400 plus on-road costs for the Mercedes-Benz C300 review you see here.
That’s a step up of over $15,000 compared to the outgoing C300, and frames the BMW 330i ($79,900 +ORCs) and Audi A4 45 TFSI ($73,500 +ORCs) as sharp value by comparison.
To offset the price, the C-Class range packs a massive 11.9-inch portrait display, LED headlights, AMG styling, 10 airbags, illuminated sill plates, 64-colour ambient lighting, and power-adjustable sports seats. Not too shabby.
Externally there’s not too much to set the C300 apart from the C200, but you might spot privacy tinted windows, 19-inch alloy wheels (instead of 18s), and inside you’ll perch upon full leather trim instead of imitation leather.
Under the bonnet, the C300 runs a 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine with mild-hybrid assistance. It’s good for 190kW and 400Nm, and paired to a nine-speed automatic with rear-wheel drive.
Right now the C300 claims top-dog status in the range, but will be joined down the track by a more performance-oriented AMG C43, with a more potent 2.0-litre engine related to that of the A45 hyper hatch.
|Key details||2022 Mercedes-Benz C300|
|Price (MSRP)||$90,400 plus on-road costs|
|Colour of test car||Selenite Grey|
|Options||Vision package – $3800
– Panoramic sunroof
– Front seat memory and heating
– Head-up display
– Traffic sign recognition
– Augmented reality navigation prompts
Metallic paint – $1700
Black lime wood and gloss black interior trim – $700
|Price as tested||$96,500 plus on-road costs
$104,646 drive-away (Victoria)
|Rivals||BMW 3 Series | Audi A4 | Genesis G70|
What is the Mercedes-Benz C300 like inside?
There’s no shortage of seating adjustment and myriad ways to find the ideal driving position. Awkwardly, though, the fiddly short-travel switches mean you’ll find three incorrect planes of movement before stumbling on the one you want.
The low-slung seating moves the C-Class more towards the driving stance you’ll find in a BMW 3 Series. Oddly, the driver’s footwell is very narrow (likely giving foot space preference to left-hand-drive cars) meaning the driver’s left leg is pressed hard into the centre tunnel.
The dash and console design will be familiar to past Benz buyers, there’s plenty going on, but nice details like the wood-veneered dash and stitched dashtop bring things up further.
The driver grips a thick-rimmed steering wheel, again calling BMW to mind. It could be a touch too chunky for some, and feels a touch too sporty for relaxed cruising.
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Cabin amenities include power-adjustable sport seats, leather seat trim, 64-colour Vegas-strip ambient lighting, dual-zone climate control, illuminated door sill plates, and rear privacy tint.
In the rear seats there’s more space than before. The wheelbase is a touch longer than the previous-generation car, increasing the distance between axles by 25mm (to 2865 overall), which translates into extra cabin length.
The C-Class isn’t limo-like just yet, but for adults there’s sufficient knee and foot space, and the side-to-side pinch is less noticeable with more space for a full rear row.
Rear seat passengers will find air vents in the rear of the console, but no rear seat temperature controls. There are storage nooks and a fold-down armrest with a phone stay and cupholders, but rear seat amenities are otherwise in short supply.
With everyone packing power-hungry devices, the lack of rear charging outlets feels like an out-of-touch omission.
In the boot there’s 455L of space with folding rear backrests to load larger items. The boot features power opening and closing.
|2022 Mercedes-Benz C300|
How big is the screen in the Mercedes-Benz C300?
The new C-Class runs Benz’s praiseworthy MBUX infotainment platform, offering a variety of ways to interact with the system, quick responses, and high-resolution screens.
In the centre of the dash is an 11.9-inch portrait-orientated screen, with dedicated climate controls incorporated at the bottom and a large display area occupying the majority of the display. It’s joined by a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. Both can be accessed via touchpad controllers on the steering wheel, while the infotainment system uses touch inputs or ‘hey Mercedes’ voice commands.
The new upsized central screen and minimal physical buttons keep the layout clean, but losing the old touch pad remote controller tends to make things more difficult to interact with on the go. I may be alone in holding this as a gripe, though.
Time heals all wounds, and my previous gripes with the Mercedes-Benz touch-sensitive steering wheel buttons have been allayed. It’s now much easier to use and more responsive to inputs, suggesting Mercedes may have tweaked the software behind it.
Mercedes Me connectivity provides a live feed of data to the car for services like traffic information, and with the smartphone app installed you can access vehicle info, remotely lock and unlock, or send navigation destinations to your car before you hit the road.
Is the Mercedes-Benz C300 a safe car?
Standard safety features across the C-Class range include adaptive cruise control, active lane-keeping, blind-spot assist, driver fatigue detection, speed limit assist, tyre pressure monitoring, 360-degree cameras and autonomous emergency braking.
The C300 adds additional features, including active bind-spot assist and active lane-change assist, active lane-keep assist, active steering assist (active functions can assist to avoid or steer away from trouble), and traffic sign assist.
There’s also a feature in the C300 called Pre-Safe Impulse Side, which attempts to move occupants away from the sides of the car by inflating the front-seat side bolsters, effectively increasing the space between soft occupant bodies and hard vehicle surfaces in a side impact.
Although the C-Class range first launched without an ANCAP crash test score, latest results published by the safety body give the C200 and C300 models a five-star score based on 2022 assessment criteria.
The new C-Class scored 91 per cent and 90 per cent adult and child occupant protection rating respectively. Vulnerable road user protection (pedestrians and cyclists) was rated at 80 per cent, and safety assist systems received an 84 per cent score.
What does the Mercedes-Benz C300 cost in Australia?
It’s hard not to be wooed by the C300’s presentation, both inside and out. The styling is pleasant and cohesive, the interior looks technical and sophisticated, and functionality is impressive.
But – the engine is perhaps not at the level of a car pushing six figures (more on that below). At $90,400 plus options and on-road costs, or $96,500 for the car we have here, it sails right past the $100,000 mark by the time you include on-road costs. That’s knocking on E-Class money.
The hard part for Benz is, whereas once you used to be able to negotiate on pricing, Mercedes-Benz Australia uses a no-haggle pricing model. The sticker you see on the window won’t budge. Your trade-in might be the best bargaining chip when trying to reduce your changeover amount.
With cars like the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Genesis G70, and Jaguar XE all markedly cheaper, the C-Class is playing a dangerous game – but for most buyers the monthly lease payments might still be within reason, and that’s the big selling point.
Positioned in roughly the same spec-zone, a BMW 330i has a starting price of just under $80,000 before options and on-road costs, and an Audi A4 45 TFSI from under $75,000 before you tick options looks like a veritable bargain.
|At a glance||2022 Mercedes-Benz C300|
|Warranty||Five years / unlimited km|
|Service intervals||12 months or 25,000km|
|Servicing costs||$2650 (3 years), $5200 (5 years)|
Once you’ve parked a C300 in the driveway, it’ll be covered by a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty for private buyers (or 200,000km for commercial-use vehicles).
Mercedes-Benz offers buyers prepaid servicing packages, meaning three years’ scheduled maintenance will cost $2650 or five years for $5200. Service intervals are every 12 months or 25,000km.
Factory-claimed fuel consumption puts the C300 at 7.3 litres per 100km. On test, running to and from work for the most part, but with round trips from Melbourne to Ballarat and Melbourne to Castlemaine on the weekend, the freeway-skewed actual figure came to rest at 7.5L/100km.
|Fuel Useage||Fuel Stats|
|Fuel cons. (claimed)||7.3L/100km|
|Fuel cons. (on test)||7.5L/100km|
|Fuel type||98-octane premium unleaded|
|Fuel tank size||66L|
What is the Mercedes-Benz C300 like to drive?
As an Aussie-road, rural-town hopper, the C300 gets a massive gold star for its impressive comfort and refinement.
Engine noise, wind and road intrusion are nice and quiet. It sits firmly on the road from a steering perspective, with a nice airy float over bumps and dips in the road surface.
If your trip is from city limits to a weekend coastal or country house, take the C-Class every time.
Interestingly, the C300 felt less accomplished around town. Not bad, but not at the top of its field.
Steering is hyper-alert right off centre, but then becomes light and lacking in feel as lock is wound on. I don’t quite understand what Mercedes’s engineers were striving for, but it can make the car feel nervous rolling around town.
The brakes also take some getting used to. Actually, I never quite got the hang of them. The pedal stroke is inconsistent, meaning in some situations a big push on the pedal will barely slow the car, but other times a light graze will throw out the anchor.
It makes stopping smoothly difficult, and a bit frustrating if you have passengers in the car, who think you’re just trying to upset them.
No issues with the 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine, however. It offers accessible performance, and is happy trundling about town, but can dig deep and launch with plenty of energy if you need.
Running alongside the engine is a 48-volt mild hybrid system. It can fill in gaps from the engine between gears, contribute a little push under acceleration, or help the engine shut down while coasting. It’s not like a Lexus hybrid, though, and can’t fully power the car in low-speed driving.
The nine-speed automatic is as good a companion as you’ll find too. For the most part you won’t pick what it’s doing, and that’s about as good as you can hope for in a prestige car.
Probably not something most owners will be too worried about, but the C300 also brings a cheerful little exhaust note with it too. Something that’s missing from the C200’s smaller 1.5-litre engine.
|Key details||2022 Mercedes-Benz C300|
|Engine||2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol,
48-volt mild hybrid
|Power||190kW @ 5800rpm|
|Torque||400Nm @ 2000–3200rpm|
|Drive type||Rear-wheel drive|
|Transmission||Nine-speed torque converter automatic|
|Power to weight ratio||109kW/t|
|Tow rating||1800kg braked, 750kg unbraked|
Should I buy a Mercedes-Benz C300?
I really do wish the Mercedes-Benz C-Class was better, but not because it’s bad. The exceptional ride comfort and serenity leave outliers like the oddball brakes sticking out conspicuously.
For me, it feels like Mercedes-Benz has put so much time and effort into the tinsel on top that some of the driving fundamentals came off second-best.
Still, the included tech is incredibly impressive. Everything from Mercedes’s predictable and co-operative driver assist features to the infotainment impresses – even if it needs a deep dive to learn first off.
If you can look past, or live with, its small foibles, the 2022 Mercedes-Benz C300 puts a couture-clad foot forward. Albeit with a high-street price tag to match.