KBB Logo Expert review written by the Kelley Blue Book vehicle review editorial team.

Editor's Overview

Once a rather stoic and safe design, the 2016 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is now a shining star. Heavily influenced by the CLA-Class’ styling, the C-Class is finally free to light a fire under the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series. With improved performance, road manners and an interior worthy of the S-Class, the new C-Class is once again in vogue.

You'll Like The 2016 Mercedes-Benz C-Class If...

If your idea of a luxury car is one that pampers, impresses and occasionally thrills when the road turns winding, the 2016 Mercedes-Benz C-Class should prove a very satisfying purchase. Vast improvements in interior design and materials help the 2016 C-Class shed its “entry-level” status.

You May Not Like The 2016 Mercedes-Benz C-Class If...

While the C-Class’ styling is decidedly less stodgy than MB cars of yore, the chassis and steering feedback still don’t approach that of BMW, Cadillac or Audi cars. Those seeking similar creature comforts but not the lofty price tag might find more to like in a Chrysler 300 or Hyundai Genesis.

What's New

For 2016, Mercedes-Benz’s C-Class gains a new trim, the C450 AMG, and drops the C400 from the lineup. The new C450 AMG performance sedan is intended to take on the Audi S4 and BMW 335i. Later in the year, a C-Class plug-in hybrid will be introduced.

Interior Features

Lovely. Few other words suffice when it comes to describing the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan's interior, especially on the heels of the former generation, which had a cold, clinical demeanor. The C-Class comes available with an attractive array of wood and aluminum finishes, and a relatively clutter-free layout that manages to still feel elegant. Central to the de-cluttering is a simple rotary dial and touch pad that responds to gestural inputs, swipes and handwriting. Adding to the upscale feel is an available Air Balance Package with a fragrance diffuser that atomizes perfume into the air-conditioning system.

Exterior Features

At first glance, the Mercedes C-Class bears a strong resemblance to the E-Class and S-Class – and yes, it certainly does borrow cues including the aggressive front grilles, sweeping character lines, and taut rear end. However, the C’s compact proportions give it a more purposeful appearance that’s a bit sterner than the jaunty CLA. If you crave a snazzier look, the 3-pointed star on the grille can be lit up with LEDs for an extra $480, while a Sport package brings more aggressive bodywork and wheels.

Driving Impressions

With the exception of the AMG cars, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class was never known for its stellar athleticism. But, in the 2016 C-Class sedan something is stirring that might begin to change hearts and minds. A lightweight body makes the C-Class feel more tossable, although there is still more steering isolation than with a similar-size BMW or Cadillac. On the flip side, the C-Class chassis demonstrates an undeniable solidity that reinforces a feeling of safety and competence. The C300’s 241-horsepower turbocharged engine is more than adequate for luxury buyers, but thrill seekers will want to opt for the 362 horses found in the C450 AMG, a car that splits the difference between the comfortable ride of the C300 and the sometime abrupt feeling found in the pricier C63 AMG. Traction is bolstered by MB’s excellent 4Matic all-wheel-drive (AWD) system, which is standard on the C450 AMG and available on the C300.

Pricing Notes

The 2016 Mercedes-Benz C-Class has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $39,875 for a base, rear-drive C300 sedan. It’s easy to boost the price closer to $50,000 by adding a $2,700 Premium Package (heated seats, keyless ignition, premium sound), a $2,690 Multimedia Package (rearview camera, navigation). Opt for the C450 AMG ($51,725), and you'll still need to spring $2,880 for leather upholstery. At the top end, the AMG C63 S begins at nearly $74,175. With the Lexus IS sedan starting around $38,000 and the BMW 3 Series under $35,000, that leaves the C-Class on the premium end of the spectrum. But the Mercedes C-Class is expected to have strong resale and residual values, and it won last year’s 2015 Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Award in the Luxury Car segment. Check out the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for the new C-Class.

Notable Equipment

The Mercedes-Benz C300 for 2016 features a decent amount of standard equipment, including dual-zone climate control, keyless start and a touch-pad-operated multimedia interface. A rearview camera is bundled into a $2,690 Multimedia Package, though it can be ordered a la carte for $460. Standard items on the C450 AMG get more substantial, including Bluetooth audio streaming, 14-way-power sport seats, AMG adaptive sport suspension, adaptive braking, Collision Prevention Assist and ECO start/stop. Optional features that are standard on most of the C-Class’s competitors include heated seats, navigation and leather upholstery.

Notable Options

There are seemingly endless ways to load up the C-Class’s amenities. Opt for the Interior Package, and you’ll get leather (which you’d think would be standard on a car of this caliber), ventilated seats, and multicolor LED ambient lighting. A Multimedia Package adds an 8.4-inch navigation screen, voice control and a 10-gigabyte music hard drive. The Parking Assist Package ($1,290) adds the Surround View camera and Parktronic w/Active Parking Assist. Airmatic suspension adds $1,190 to the C300’s premium, and if you’re looking for features you never knew you needed, you’ll want the cabin fragrance system for $350.

Favorite Features

AIRMATIC SUSPENSION

Once a feature found only on high-end Mercedes cars, the Airmatic suspension on the 2016 C-Class sedan helps control the ride and lessen the somewhat harsh feel afforded by the car’s run-flat tires. Four driver-selectable settings include Comfort, ECO, Sport and Sport +.

DRIVER ASSISTANCE PACKAGE

The Driver Assistance Package on the 2016 C-Class features active lane-keeping and blind-spot assist, available via the adaptive cruise control that makes driving in heavy traffic an effortless affair.

Under the Hood

The 2016 C-Class sedan from Mercedes comes with a potent turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that acts as the base powerplant in the C300. It is mated to a 7-speed automatic gearbox. The C300 can be had in standard rear-wheel drive (RWD) or optional 4Matic all-wheel drive (AWD). The C450 AMG comes standard with 4Matic. The rear-drive AMG C63 models use a new 4.0-liter biturbo V8 that makes 469 horsepower or a headier-still 503 in the AMG 63 S.

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (C300 sedan)

241 horsepower @ 5,550 rpm

273 lb-ft of torque @ 1,300-4,000 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/34 mpg (RWD), 24/31 mpg (AWD)

3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 (C450 AMG)

362 horsepower @ 5,500-6,000 rpm

384 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000-4,200 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/29 mpg

4.0-liter turbocharged V8 (AMG C63 sedan)

469 horsepower @ 5,500-6,250 rpm

479 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-4,500 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25 mpg

4.0-liter turbocharged V8 (AMG C63 S sedan)

503 horsepower @ 5,500-6,250 rpm

516 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-4,500 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25 mpg

Editors' Notes

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class for 2016 has come into its own, a worthy adversary to cars like the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4. Fresh from a complete redesign last year, the 2016 car is larger, wider, lighter and more posh than previous-generation C-Class sedans. The C-Class offers new levels of luxury on the inside and ever greater performance under the skin, where a new C450 AMG model adds another option to the multifaceted C-Class lineup. And, while we’re pretty sure the C-Class won’t excite BMW autocrossers, it should appeal to those seeking big luxury-car trappings in a body not much bigger than a midsize sedan. Although the C-Class coupe was a carryover from last year, the new coupe will debut as 2017 model.

Road Test Video Reviews

2016 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Owner Reviews

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Safest sedan out there and has the best resale value.

2016 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

It is sporty. It is fuel efficient. Has the latest safety features and crash tests ratings are extremely high. Comfortable to drive and easy to maneuver while parking. I have 13, 000 city miles on odometer and have not had a maintenance issue or repair yet. The dealer has been great with loaner cars for maintenance items like oil change. That wasn't required until 10, 000 miles. The midnight blue color is beautiful and I have received many positive comments on the overall looks. The engine took some getting used to because it stops at extended idle times like at a stop light. It restarts automatically when foot taken off brake to resume driving. This is for fuel efficiency. Other than that, it has been a breeze and fun to drive. Great pickup as well.

- Mary T

Best interior layout compared to other Benz

2016 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C 300

I like the interior of the C class, and have come to rely on features such as 4matic, side mirror indicators and land assist. I have owned other Benz models and find this one to be quite adequate if not as flashy as some others. Having previously owned an E class with the entire glass roof, I chose to not order that again as it seemed the car was hot all the time due to constant sun even through the semi see through covering.

- Natalie M

Love my Mercedes Benz c300.

2016 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

The car is sporty, but not too small. It goes very fast in sport mode. I like that it has eco-mode as well, which cuts the engine and air conditioning when you are sitting in traffic or running low on gas. The car could be better on gas, does not get much mileage compared to other competitors. Love the interior options, I chose amg option with red seats which looks very expensive. The car drives very smooth.

- Sarah S

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