2020 Mercedes C-Class Review
  • Car Review

2020 Mercedes C-Class Review

By Autolist Editorial | August 24, 2020

Pros

  • An extensive selection of standard and available cutting-edge features
  • Comfortable and classic-yet-modern interior; elegant and iconic exterior
  • Several high-horsepower powertrains available

Cons

  • An unintuitive touchpad infotainment interface
  • More expensive than some rivals
  • Common features are sometimes costly options

Summary

Four years since its last redesign, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz C-Class continues with some styling and technological changes to keep it fresh. Though competitors such as the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series have seen more recent full redesigns, the C-Class holds its own thanks to its extensive list of modern features, high-performance engines and stylish interior.

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Available in three body styles, sedan, coupe or cabriolet (convertible), the 2020 C-Class not only competes against the A4 and 3 Series. It's also a rival for the Audi A5, BMW 4 Series, Genesis G70, Infiniti Q50, Jaguar XE, Lexus IS and Volvo S60. Yet the Mercedes-Benz C-Class is an excellent new car choice for those who prioritize lots of available technology, luxury and the pedigree of one of the most famous brands in the world.

To suit the diverse tastes of premium car buyers, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is available in five basic versions: C 300, C 300 4Matic, AMG C 43, AMG C 63, and the AMG C 63 S. The C 300 and the C 300 4MATIC (an all-wheel-drive model) come with a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 engine and a 9-speed automatic transmission. AMG C 43 models get a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6, while a turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 powers high-performance AMG C 63 and C 63 S variants. All models receive a 9-speed automatic transmission, while Mercedes' 4MATIC all-wheel-drive (AWD) is available as the C 300 4Matic and AMG C 43.

Recent updates to the C-Class include restyled headlights and taillights to go with modestly redesigned bumpers, a 14-horsepower increase on C 300 models to 255 horsepower, standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, an optional 12.3-inch digital instrument panel and 10.25-inch infotainment system and a new steering wheel to control the screen functions.


Exterior

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The 2020 Mercedes-Benz C-Class features an exterior that is reminiscent of the company's flagship vehicle, the S-Class.

2020 Mercedes C-Class vehicles are available in a myriad of colors, while the available AMG Line package for C 300 and the C 300 4Matic models adds distinctive bodywork like a diamond grille and a rear spoiler. The C 300 and C 300 4Matic models have 17-inch wheels standard, while AMG C 43, AMG C 63 and AMG C 63 S models have 18-inch wheels.

All models get various wheel upgrades that range up to 19 inches.


Interior Quality and Comfort

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One of the high points of the C-Class is its classic and comfortable interior. It's been praised by reviewers as "a special place," and "impeccable interior that has aged exceptionally well and is still packed with technology."

Suffice it to say that quality is a strong suit, from the dash through the seats in all 2020 C-Class models. C 300 and C 300 4Matic models get simulated leather upholstery called MB-Tex, power-adjustable front seats with driver's seat memory settings, LATCH anchors for child safety seats in the rear and 40/20/40-split folding rear seatbacks all as standard equipment. Heated and ventilated front seats, as well as real leather upholstery, are just a few of the available interior options.

Up front, the C-Class features a dash configuration, available in several wood and aluminum finish options, that's distinctly clutter-free. Central the absence of clutter a simple rotary dial used to select drive modes. New for 2020 are options for a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 10.25-inch high-resolution infotainment display that are both fully-configurable to display desired vehicle and media information.

Standard technology includes the COMAND infotainment system, a console-mounted dial controller, and a 7-inch central display screen. A sunroof is standard on all models, while a panoramic sunroof is available as an option for all models.


Utility and Practicality

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Though a premium vehicle, the C-Class features many modern and time-tested design features that are the pinnacle of practicality.

The C-Class sedan has 12.6 cubic feet of trunk space, which puts it right at the average for the compact luxury car class. Cargo space drops to 10.5 cubic feet in the coupe and 8.8 cubic feet in the cabriolet.

To make storage more accessible and more flexible, a split-folding rear seat is standard, while a power trunk lid is standard on the C 43 and C63 models, and available on C300 and C 300 4Matic with the Premium Package.


Technology and Entertainment

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The Mercedes-Benz C-Class offers a competitive amount of modern technology and infotainment features. Some of the comfort-based technology on the C 300 and C 300 4MATIC includes dual-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable front seats with driver's seat memory settings and a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel.

Standard infotainment technology on the C 300 and C 300 4MATIC includes a 7-inch central display screen and console-mounted dial controller equipped with the COMAND infotainment system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, Bluetooth, two USB ports and HD radio. The Premium Package adds a power tailgate, push-button start, keyless entry and satellite radio. The Multimedia Package includes a 10.25-inch infotainment screen with a touchpad controller, built-in navigation and voice controls.

AMG C 43, C 63 and C 63 S models include everything on the Premium Package standard, as well as the 10.25-inch infotainment display. C-Class cabriolet models come with heated front seats and the so-called Airscarf neck-level heating system.

While the COMAND infotainment system offers a robust array of features, reviewers have found it somewhat tricky to use. The touchpad infotainment controller, which hovers over the central rotary controller, is described as "challenging to get accustomed to."


Safety

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In terms of safety, there are few better luxury compact cars than the 2020 Mercedes-Benz C-Class on the road today. The 2020 models earned coveted Top Safety Pick Plus honors from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), the agency's highest rating. It achieved crash test scores of "Good" in all categories except for headlights, where vehicles without available adaptive high-beam assist received an "Acceptable" rating. The C-Class also earned a "Superior" score in the front crash prevention category for both its standard and optional frontal crash systems.

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz C-Class has not yet been tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

In keeping with its modern suite of technological features, the 2020 C-Class also offers an extensive selection of standard safety features and advanced driver assistance innovations, each of which contributes significantly to its stellar safety scores. Included on all trim levels are an automatic emergency braking system and an intelligent onboard system that continuously monitors for driver drowsiness.

The best package available to get the most advanced safety features for the C 300 and C 300 4MATIC, however, is the Driver Assistance Package, which offers radar-guided adaptive cruise control, forward collision mitigation, navigation-based speed limit assist, lane keep assist and other active driver assistance technologies. Blind spot monitoring is available as a standalone option for C 300 and C 300 4MATIC vehicles.

All 2020 Mercedes-Benz C-Class vehicles feature a total of 8 airbags located in the driver, passenger, front head, rear head, front side and rear side positions. All 2020 Mercedes-Benz C-Class vehicles also feature LATCH anchor systems for child safety seats.


Driving Experience

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The Mercedes-Benz C-Class offers a comfortable and quiet driving experience that doesn't cut corners on performance. Described Kelley Blue Book as a "smaller, nimbler form" of the larger S-Class and E-Class vehicles, the 2020 C-Class handles quite well and shifts smoothly, no matter the speed. Visibility is excellent across all models (especially the cabriolet with the top down), while loudness is minimized thanks quality construction and suspension.

The AMG Line Package on C 300 and C 300 4Matic includes upgraded brakes and sport suspension for better handling. AMG C 43 models receive a sport-tuned suspension with adaptive suspension dampers. AMG C 63 and C 63 S models add an electronic limited-slip rear differential.

The 2020 C-Class owes much of its driving performance to its equipment under the hood. There, each model features powerful powertrains optimized for acceleration, speed, and efficiency. The C 300 and C 300 4MATIC get 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 engine packing 255 horsepower (a bump up from last year's 241 horsepower) and 273 lb.-ft. of torque. The C 300 is a rear-wheel-drive, while the C 300 4MATIC is all-wheel-drive.

AMG C 43 models upgrade to a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine with 385 horsepower and 384 lb.-ft. of torque with standard all-wheel-drive. AMG C 63 and C 63 S models get a powerful turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine that boasts 469 horsepower and 479 lb.-ft. of torque on the C 63 and 503 horsepower and 516 lb.-ft. of torque on the C 63 S. Both C 63 trim models are rear-wheel-drive only.

All C-Class variants have a 9-speed automatic transmission.


Fuel Efficiency

The 2020 C-Class performs well in the area of fuel economy when compared to its compact luxury car peers.

C 300 sedans achieve an EPA-estimated 23 mpg in the city, 34 mpg on the highway and 27 mpg combined — identical to competing Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series models. C 300 4MATIC sedans get 22 mpg in the city, 33 mpg on the highway and 26 mpg combined. All C 300 coupe models are rated at 22 mpg city, 31 mpg highway and 25 mpg combined. C 300 cabriolet models are estimated to achieve 21 mpg city, 29 highway and 24 combined.

AMG C 63 and AMG C 63 S models are rated at18 mpg in the city, 27 mpg on the highway, and 21 mpg combined, while AMG C 43 models are expected to achieve19 mpg in the city, 27 mpg on the highway, and 22 mpg combined.

AMG C 63 and AMG C 63 S coupe models with real-wheel drive get an EPA-estimated 17 mpg in the city, 26 mpg on the highway, and 20 mpg combined, while AMG C 43 coupe models with 4MATIC all-wheel-drive get 19 mpg in the city, 27 mpg on the highway, and 22 mpg combined.

Lastly, AMG C 63 and AMG C 63 S cabriolet models with real-wheel drive get an EPA-estimated 17 mpg in the city, 24 mpg on the highway, and 20 mpg combined, while AMG C 43 cabriolet models with 4MATIC all-wheel-drive get 18 mpg in the city, 25 mpg on the highway, and 21 mpg combined.


Trim Levels and Pricing

The base-level C 300 model is listed at a starting price of $42,395, including destination charge. The C 300 Coupe starts from $44,795, and the C 300 Cabriolet is listed from $52,845. Prices, including destination fee, for other models and trim levels are as follows:

  • C 300 4MATIC Sedan: $44,395
  • C 300 4MATIC Coupe: $46,795
  • C 300 4MATIC Cabriolet: $54,845
  • AMG C 43 Sedan: $56,245
  • AMG C 43 Coupe: $58,445
  • AMG C 43 Cabriolet: $64,645
  • AMG C 63 Sedan: $67,995
  • AMG C 63 Coupe: $69,745
  • AMG C 63 Cabriolet: $77,095
  • AMG C 63 S Sedan: $75,595
  • AMG C 63 S Coupe: $77,445
  • AMG C 63 S Cabriolet: $84,795

Value

The base prices for the 2020 Mercedes-Benz C-Class make it a more expensive new car than most of its competitors. The Mercedes sits just above the BMW 3 Series in terms of price, and significantly above competitors including the Infiniti Q50, Lexus IS, Volvo S60, Jaguar XE and the new Genesis G70 (which is nearly 20 percent cheaper). However, many drivers seem to be content to pay a higher price for a combination of features, including a modern and comprehensive infotainment system, an interior with a lot of style and quality and competitive performance with every engine choice.

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Due to the prestige of the Mercedes-Benz name, as well as the longevity and desirability of older Mercedes models, the C-Class is expected to hold its value well based on analyst projections. Whether you are looking for a practical new car in the compact luxury class or a power-optimized performance vehicle with today's top modern features, you'll find an excellent sedan, coupe, or cabriolet in every version of the 2020 Mercedes-Benz C-Class.


More Photos

See more 2020 Mercedes C-Class Photos.