Mercedes C-Class (2014-2021) Review

The Mercedes C-Class is a is a luxurious and hi-tech family car

Strengths & weaknesses

  • Beautiful interior
  • Low running costs
  • Smooth and comfortable
  • Pricier than some rivals
  • Diesel engines a bit noisy
  • Some poor reliability reports
Mercedes-Benz C Class prices from £10,750.
Finance from £273.83 / month.

The Mercedes C-Class, now in its fourth generation, sits in one of the most prestigious and hotly contested sectors of the car market – the ‘compact executive’ class. Its age-old rivals in the company-car parking lot are the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4, but more recently the Volvo S60, Lexus IS and Jaguar XE have joined the fray, raising the level of competition further still.

Starting at just under £35,000, the C-Class is definitely among the more expensive of the bunch, but the prestige attached to its famous three-pointed star badge means the premium can be justified. The current C-Class also mirrors the styling of the larger and more expensive Mercedes E-Class, further strengthening its image, but a new 2021 C-Class takes on newer design language from the likes of the 2018 A-Class and 2020 S-Class.

Diesel is generally the engine of choice for C-Class buyers, although if you don’t fancy it there are petrol, plug-in petrol and plug-in diesel options as well as performance-orientated C43 and C63 S models to choose from. The hybrids actually outstrip the already pretty frugal diesels when it comes to fuel economy, although they can cost a bit more to buy in the first place.

This is the smallest of Mercedes’ three main saloon models, so it’s not entirely surprising to find things are a little cramped in the back – largely due to the swoopy, coupe-like roofline. It’s not too bad, though, so as long as you’re not regularly carrying four adults on long journeys, it should be fine.

The latest C-Class is a very safe car, and it’s not just about protecting you in the event of a crash - although it’s very good at doing that. It also features a raft of technology designed to avoid an impact in the first place, such as Attention Assist (which detects if you’re getting sleepy at the wheel) and Collision Prevention Assist (which can sense nearby cars and objects and apply the brakes to avoid a crash). Higher-spec models also get lane-keeping assistance, which stops you unintentionally drifting out of your lane on the motorway.

Key facts

Warranty Three years/unlimited miles
Boot size 480 litres
Width 1,810mm
Length 4,686mm
Height 1,442mm
Tax (min to max) £0 to £265

Best Mercedes-Benz C Class for...

Best for Economy – Mercedes-Benz C300de Sport Edition 4dr Auto saloon

Diesel is usually the engine of choice for good fuel economy, but here it’s outstripped by a hi-tech plug-in hybrid. The ability to travel on electric power alone means the C300de is theoretically capable of over 217mpg.

Best for Families – Mercedes-Benz C220d SE 4dr Auto diesel saloon

As this is a luxury executive car, even the entry-level SE model has pretty much everything most family buyers will want, while the 220d diesel engine strikes the best balance between everyday driving ability and low running costs in the range.

Best for Performance – Mercedes-Benz C63 S 4dr Auto AMG saloon

Mercedes uses the AMG name for all its high-performance models and the 510hp AMG C63 S saloon is a particularly fine example. The V6 engine in the C43 isn't much more efficient that this V8.

One to Avoid – Mercedes-Benz C200 AMG Line 4dr saloon

There’s nothing wrong with the C200 petrol-engined C-Class, but it’s a pretty unremarkable performer and won’t hold its value very well on the used market compared to the vastly more in-demand diesels. Going for expensive AMG Line trim only exacerbates the issue.


March 2014 Fourth-generation C-Class saloon goes on sale in the UK
September 2014 Recall of 8,145 cars for potential steering column issue
November 2014 C300h 2.1-litre diesel hybrid engine joins the range
May 2015 Recall of 437 diesels for software problem that could cut engine
May 2015 Recall of 1,371 petrols for potential fuel pump problem
July 2015 High-performance Mercedes-AMG C63 and C63 S go on sale
September 2015 Recall of 5,385 cars for potential oil lea
February 2018 A refreshed C-Class arrived with more up-to-date technology
February 2021 Next-generation C-Class announced with petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid offerings

Understanding Mercedes-Benz C Class names

Engine 220d

Except the high-performance C43 and C63 S, C-Class engines have three-digit names, with the higher numbers indicating greater power. Petrols have no letter at the end of their name, diesels have a ‘d’, diesel hybrids a ‘de’ (previously 'h) and petrol hybrids an ‘e’.

Drive 4MATIC

Two-wheel drive models are standard, while four-wheel drive models are distinguished by their 4MATIC badge.

Gearbox 9G-TRONIC

Mercedes offered a choice of six-speed manual and seven-speed automatic transmission on early versions of the C-Class. The C63 got its own seven-speed sports automatic. Later, all models got a 9-speed automatic transmission as standard, although the C63 S featured a 9-speed 'MCT' transmission.

Trim AMG Line

From least to most expensive, the different version of the C-Class are SE, Sport Edition, AMG Line Edition, AMG Line Night Edition, AMG Line Night Edition Premium Plus, C43 versions and the C63 S.

Mercedes-Benz C Class Engines

C200d, C220d, C250d, C300d, C300h, C200, C300, C300e, C350e, C63, C63 S

Mercedes offers a wide variety of engines to C-Class buyers: along with petrol and diesel offerings are a diesel hybrid and a plug-in hybrid. There's also the hugely powerful Mercedes-AMG C63 high-performance model.

The most efficient of the diesels is the entry-level 160hp C200d - later models promise over 65mpg. A reduction in demand meant it was dropped in favour of the 194hp C220d which blends performance and fuel economy, which is why we recommend this engine. Older models featured an even more powerful C250d variant, while newer models see the introduction of the 245hp C300d.

Early C300h diesel hybrid models manage to beat both the C200d’s fuel economy and C250d’s performance – however they're also more expensive to buy, so they're hard to fully recommend. Also, unlike the petrol hybrid discussed below, the diesel hybrid is not a plug-in, so it doesn’t have the ability to drive on electric power alone for a significant distance. This later became the C300de, combining the 194hp C220d engine with a 122hp electric motor.

Turning to the petrols, the C200's economy and performance numbers look a bit average next to the diesels. It’s the cheapest to buy and remains a good choice if you don’t do many long journeys, but residual values aren’t great. Opt for a newer model and the petrol engine gets paired to a mild hybrid setup for slightly more power and a more achieveable 46mpg. Later variants introduced a 258hp 2.0-litre C300, although this is the least efficient standard C-Class.

A petrol plug-in C350e was once offered with a 20-mile electric-only range, so if you have a short commute and somewhere to charge the car, you could do almost all your driving without using any petrol. Performance is impressive, too: the C350e takes less than six seconds to do the 0-62mph sprint. The later C300e replaced this model with the same 122hp electric motor from the C300de and a 211hp 2.0-litre petrol engine.

Even that pales in comparison next to the Mercedes-AMG C63, which in standard form makes around 470hp and rockets to 62mph in around four seconds. If for some reason that’s not enough, there’s an even faster C63 S, though the difference between them isn’t huge. Somewhat of a compromise is the C43 which sports a V6 in place of a V8 engine, producing 390hp and reaching 62mph in a respectable 4.7 seconds.






0 - 62mph

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C63 S







Mercedes-Benz C Class Trims

Trims: SE, Sport Edition, AMG Line Edition, AMG Line Night Edition Premium & Premium Plus, C63, C63 S

The SE is the entry-level trim – or version – of the C-Class, but it certainly doesn’t feel cut-price. Later models get 17-inch alloy wheels, a collision-prevention system, five driving modes, automatic wipers, cruise control, a reversing camera, a 10.3-inch colour display, digital radio and heated front seats.

Sport Edition is the next model up in the range, although it was previously known as just Sport. As standard, it has 18-inch alloys, LED headlights and lowered suspension for a classier look overall. The older C350e plug-in hybrid got its own trim level, called ‘C350e Sport’. It had everything the SE and Sport had, plus very smooth air suspension.

The AMG Line Edition, previously known as just AMG Line, is the sport-orientated C-Class trim level. It’s not any faster or more powerful than the other versions, but it does have 18-inch alloy wheels and a bodykit that mimics the look of the high-performance C63 model. It also gets upgraded brakes, steering and suspension for a sportier driving experience – although the ride quality may be a bit harsh for typical UK roads. Inside, there are brushed-metal pedals and AMG sports seats, as well as a 12.3-inch digital display in place of the conventional intrument cluster.

AMG Line Night Edition Premium offers 19-inch alloys to all engines bar the plug-in hybrid options, which stick to the more efficient 18-inch options. Inside, leather extends to the dashboard while an upgraded sound system makes for a strong offering. The same trim in Premium Plus brings a panoramic glass roof, 360-degree cameras, and a top-of-the-range Burmester surroudn sound system.

Your cheapest way into a fully-fledged C-Class AMG is with the C43. Outside, 18-inch alloy wheels and a seriously sporty AMG bodykit means there's no mistaking this car for a regular C-Class, while AMG styling continues inside with the likes of red seatbelts. C43 Edition Premium upgrades the offering to include 19-inch alloys and an upgraded sound system. Premium Plus follows the same style as the Night Edition Premium Plus.

Flagship C63 S models get even more aggressive body styling with alloy wheels up to 20 inches in diameter, though Premium Plus is where the kit's really at.

In the C63 itself, as well as that mighty engine under the bonnet, you get a special design of 18-inch alloy wheel, a beefy AMG bodykit and plenty of AMG lettering and sporty-looking visual additions inside and out. The C63 S is mainly about extra horsepower, but it does throw in even bigger 19-inch wheels for good measure.

Mercedes-Benz C Class Reliability and warranty

Its engines have all been tried and tested in other Mercedes models for some time, so it was surprising to see it ranked a disappointing 188th for reliability out of 200 cars looked at in Auto Express magazine’s 2015 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey. The build-quality score was a lot better, fortunately: 44th out of 200. Should any issues crop up, they will at least be covered by Mercedes’ three-year warranty (which, like BMW’s, has no mileage limit).

Used Mercedes-Benz C Class

Cars with a prestigious badge on the nose tend to hold their value well on the used market, and they don’t come much more prestigious than the three-pointed star of Mercedes. Our earliest C-Class models can be had on BuyaCar for as little as  , but if it's an AMG you're after, expect to fork out a minimum of  .

For those seeking a newer model, nearly new examples offer a significant saving over buying direct from the dealership. Prices on BuyaCar start at   or   per month.

Value on the used C-Class market is most likely to be found in a low-mileage, two-year-old example, which will have a year of its manufacturer warranty still to run, but possibly be available for nearly 30% less than new.

Other Editions

C Class Estate (2014 – 2021)

The Mercedes C-Class estate is a stylish, comfortable family car but its boot could be bigger and its handling more satisfying

C Class Coupe (2015)

Sporty, stylish and upmarket: the Mercedes C-Class Coupe covers all the bases

C Class Cabriolet (2016)

Cruise in style with this handsome four-seat cabriolet