Review: Mercedes-Benz C-Class (2007 – 2014)
A big improvement on the previous C-Class. Feels well built and robust. Very comfortable and refined. High quality ride. Good CDI diesels.
Looks are heavy rather than svelte and graceful. Interior isn't very inviting. Steering is precise but lacks feel. Timing chains failing regularly on C180 CGI engines.
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Mercedes-Benz C-Class (2007 – 2014): At A Glance
Image goes a long way when it comes to selling cars. Just ask Mercedes-Benz. The famous three-pointed star still holds immense stature among the public and remains one of the most desirable brands to own. Stature doesn't last forever though and in the 1990s Mercedes-Benz was in danger of losing its reputation for build quality and solid engineering with various rust problems and electric issues.
All credit to Mercedes-Benz though because the firm identified the problems and has come back brighter and better. And most crucially, it's image hasn't been seriously damaged, although that said, there are still plenty of former Mercedes-Benz owners who won't be buying another one. Which is a shame because as the C-Class shows, the brand has gone back to its roots and is once again producing cars that are well built and robust.
The styling has improved too and the new Mercedes-Benz design has a far stronger identity to it than previously with sharp lines and neat angles. The same goes for the interior with a robust and solid touch to everything plus a logical layout, although it's perhaps not as appealing as other executive models like the Audi A4. But it does feel it could go 500,000 miles in 10 years without anything going wrong.
Where the C-Class doesn't quite live up to expectations is the handling and steering. For all the Mercedes-Benz talk of dynamics and agility, it's not as sharp as a you'd expect and the steering is too light and artificial. But when it comes to ride quality, the C-Class is incredibly accomplished and refined. And it's these two words which really sum up this high quality saloon beautifully.
In March 2011 the C-Class was facelifted with a sharper look on the outside plus interior upgrades. However the biggest changes came under the bonnet with turbochargers replacing superchargers on the petrol engines, improvements of up to 31 per cent in fuel economy and the addition of an ECO start/stop function as standard. The most economical model - the C220 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY - was made even more frugal and now averages a claimed 58.9mpg with CO2 emissions of 117g/km.
What does a Mercedes-Benz C-Class (2007 – 2014) cost?
Buy a used Mercedes-Benz C-Class from £11,830
Mercedes-Benz C-Class (2007 – 2014): What's It Like Inside?
There have been some sweeping changes inside the C-Class. Compared to the previous model it's bigger and wider so consequently feels more spacious, especially in the rear thanks to decent leg and headroom. The boot is generous too and with a wide opening and wide load floor so it's practical for a saloon. Thanks to a superb driving position and plenty of adjustment in the seat and steering wheel the driving environment feels spacious, but there are some criticisms.
Considering this is labelled as an 'executive saloon' we’re disappointed by the feel of some of the plastics used. Don’t get us wrong, after all the fit and finish are top notch, but the cabin feels a little utilitarian and lacks a sense of charm. Overall though it’s a clean and unfussy design while the switchgear has a quality touch to it. There's reasonable room in the back (for this type of car) and good headroom although it's disappointing that folding rear seats don't come as standard. One change we’d like to have seen was the move away from a foot-operated parking brake, which seems old-fashioned when most other cars at this level are moving to electric systems.
At least it stays ‘live' for a few seconds and which means an end to the problems when moving off from rest on a hill. The foot-operated brake is fine when allied to automatic gearbox - but for manual cars it can be a nerve-racking experience trying to match the clutch and accelerator with the release of a dead-feeling handbrake when parked on a slope, particularly at a busy junction. The new system, called Hill Start Assist, senses when the vehicle is on an incline and, with the car in gear, delays the release of the brakes after the driver's foot is removed just long enough for the accelerator to be covered and the parking brake to be disengaged.
When it comes to equipment levels, the C-Class range has been simplified from the previous five levels to just three: SE, Elegance and Sport. The Sport model is easily distinguished by a large Mercedes star positioned in the middle of the grille instead of sitting on top of the bonnet.
Child seats that fit a Mercedes-Benz C-Class (2007 – 2014)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Mercedes-Benz C-Class (2007 – 2014) like to drive?
- Engines range from C180 BlueEfficiency to C63 AMG Edition 507
- Readers report Real MPG to be between 15–64 mpg
Want proof of how important the new C-Class is to Mercedes-Benz? Well even before it was launched the model completed the most comprehensive test programme in the Stuttgart firms history. Over a three and a half year period the prototypes and pre-production models clocked up more than 15 million miles all over the world. Considering it’s the best selling model in the firms line-up, with more than 1.4 million cars sold worldwide since 2000, Mercedes had to get he new model exactly right.
It's certainly very refined. Wind and road noise are impressively low at speed but the best aspect of the Merc is the excellent ride. Even over extremely rough roads it copes effortlessly but that doesn’t mean it’s soft through bends. The Agility Control selective damping system ensures that body control and stability are both excellent without compromising comfort. This means it corners precisely and inspires plenty of confidence - it’s a shame then that the steering lacks a little sharpness and can feel disconcertingly light at higher speeds.
The Agility Control system is impressive though, especially as it comes as standard on all models. This includes selective damping which controls the shock absorbers according to the driving conditions. It uses hydromechanics to offer soft damping when driving along a straight road for example, or a firmer damping action for cornering. An optional Advanced Agility program with a ‘sport’ driving mode is also available.
There are plenty of engines to choose from in the C-Class range - all of which are carried over from the previous C-Class but with improvement to power, torque and efficiency. The entry-level model is the C180 Kompressor which is the same 1.8-litre engine that's used in the more powerful C200 Kompressor (confusing we know but it's the same way BMW badges its cars so we shouldn't be surprised).
We’ve never been truly convinced by the supercharged four-cylinder Kompressor units Mercedes persists in using, but this improved 1.8-litre unit may redress that balance. Thanks to modifications the high output C200 K version now has 20bhp more and generates its maximum 250Nm of torque at 2,800rpm, while both fuel economy and performance have been improved. It feels punchy enough low down and although lacking in a decent engine note, it’s surprisingly responsive when mated to the five-speed automatic gearbox and it's no slouch.
Most people go for a diesel though and the C200 CDI and C220 CDI models both use the same 2.2-litre diesel engine that's smooth and responsive, although we'd suggest sticking to an automatic model as the manual gearbox on the C-Class is a little springy and not that enjoyable to use.
|C180 BlueEfficiency||42–48 mpg||8.5–9.0 s||138–169 g/km|
|C180 BlueEfficiency Automatic||40–48 mpg||8.5–9.0 s||138–163 g/km|
|C180 Kompressor||40 mpg||9.5 s||167–168 g/km|
|C180 Kompressor BlueEfficiency||44–45 mpg||9.5 s||154–158 g/km|
|C200 CDI BlueEfficiency||57–59 mpg||9.2 s||125–139 g/km|
|C200 CDI BlueEfficiency Automatic||51–58 mpg||9.1–9.7 s||129–144 g/km|
|C200 Kompressor||40 mpg||8.6 s||169–174 g/km|
|C220 CDI||48 mpg||8.5 s||156–160 g/km|
|C220 CDI BlueEfficiency||59–69 mpg||8.4 s||109–133 g/km|
|C220 CDI BlueEfficiency Automatic||50–64 mpg||7.6–8.1 s||116–149 g/km|
|C230||31 mpg||8.4 s||216–221 g/km|
|C250 BlueEfficiency||42 mpg||7.2 s||156–161 g/km|
|C250 CDI BlueEfficiency||49–59 mpg||7.0 s||131–153 g/km|
|C250 CDI BlueEfficiency Automatic||57–59 mpg||7.1 s||131–136 g/km|
|C350||29 mpg||6.4 s||232 g/km|
|C350 BlueEfficiency||40 mpg||6.0 s||164 g/km|
|C350 CDI BlueEfficiency||43–48 mpg||6.0–6.4 s||154–174 g/km|
|C63 AMG||24 mpg||4.5 s||280 g/km|
|C63 AMG Edition 507||24 mpg||4.2 s||280 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Mercedes-Benz C-Class (2007 – 2014)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
What have we been asked about the Mercedes-Benz C-Class (2007 – 2014)?
Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.
Should I swap my old C220 CDI for a C350 petrol?
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