Its origin goes way back to 1982. Back then, the Benz 190 was labeled as ‘Baby Benz.’ Over a decade later, the ‘kid’ earned the C-class designation and worldwide sales of more than 10.5 million units, with China holding the lead for the past six years. The rest, as they so lovingly say, is history.
But Mercedes engineers have not just kept up with history, but they’ve also taken a step ahead by redesigning the C300 for 2022 inside and out. Under the hood of the steel unibody structure still resides a 2.0-liter inline-four cylinder turbo engine putting out 255 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 295 pounds-feet of torque at 3,200 rpm. An integrated starter-generator with a 48-volt capacity provides mild hybrid power delivery of an extra 20 hp. Zero to 60 is possible in just six seconds with a top speed of 130 mph in this fine, snug and effective ride.
The 4MATIC all-wheel-drive vehicle is mated to a standard nine-speed automatic, which can be driven in eco, comfort, sport, sport+ and individual modes. The independent four-link axle front and multilink rear suspension works splendidly to absorb unpleasant highway bumps and sudden sharp turns. Returning a weighted response to the driver’s input is razor-sharp, electromechanical power rack-and-pinion steering.
The compact luxury sedan is 2.6 inches longer with a wheelbase up by 1 and width more than .4 than its predecessor. Also receiving a lift are elbow, head and knee room. Up front, the trademark three-pointed star on the power dome hood meets up with a larger Benz emblem centered in the A-shaped radiator grille with chrome surrounds. It is flanked by horizontal LED headlights.
A lavish, elegant cabin is expected of any Mercedes with dual auto AC, 40/20/40 rear seat, steering wheel paddle shifters, Apple CarPlay and Android wireless phone capabilities, illuminated door sills, a panoramic sunroof and heated front seats. The flattened round sets of air vents with ambient lights are a sight to behold, especially at night. A central and jet-black, tablet-like, 11.9-inch touch screen, now tilted toward the driver, serves as an audio, navigation and phone infotainment guide. Indeed, top-notch materials and craftsmanship give the car a rich vibe.
Dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, four-wheel antilock brakes, electronic stability program, pre-safe (partial braking in an emergency), active brake assist and blind-spot assist, forward-collision warning, rearview camera, keyless go/start, daytime running lights and tire-pressure monitoring system are standard.
There is no doubt that the revamped fifth-generation C300 augments the Benz sedan lineup. If you’re in the market for a gorgeous sedan that provides punch around town, impressive handling/balance and a sumptuous cabin bar none, take the C300 for a test drive. It will be well worth your time and effort.