Test-Drive: 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

The typical process for our test-drive reviews at Leith is fairly formulaic, going as follows:

  1. Research – As writers, we employed due diligence in researching popular models, new models, and under-appreciated models.
  2. Contact – We contacted the dealership to schedule a day and time to review the selected vehicle.
  3. Enjoy – Our team would drive to the dealership, meet the appropriate brand ambassador, and enjoy an extended drive.

Recently, we experienced an atypical process; that’s because the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is not the typical car, and Mercedes-Benz of Cary is not the typical dealership.

One of our favorite brand ambassadors, Ryan Gury, called us to say that he “couldn’t wait” to take us out in the new C-Class. “It’s unlike any previous generation of it,” he explained. We were sold. The C-Class offers enough to relish in its form of yesteryear, so to hear this new version eclipses all others piqued our interests.

If you haven’t driven a Mercedes-Benz C-Class, it is referred to as an “entry-level” (industry standard nomenclature) vehicle. Entry-level remains a burdensome term for the Mercedes-Benz brand. It seems to imply a deficiency as compared to other models and classes – quite contrary to the German automaker’s culture. We like to call it the “discovery-level,” for you discover all that distinguishes our brand from the rest.

So that brings us to the very question we asked ourselves when Ryan called: What could they have done to improve the industry’s most luxurious discovery-level model?

It Has the Looks, the Power, and the Prestige

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It would take no sleuth to determine how the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is distinct from its predecessors. The exterior design integrates sharper angles and a more aggressive front end attributed to two scowling headlights punctuated by LED running daylights – and a tri-sectioned honeycomb front air dam for girth. As always, the three-pointed star served as an elegant centerpiece. For shoppers seeking the more classic look, there is a luxury option in trim that features shutters on the grille for better aerodynamics, a hood-mounted marque, and more subdued color options.

One of the more striking differences that deserve recognition are the side-view mirrors on the C-Class. These are part of the upgrades for this year’s model, mirroring the S-Class. The mirrors are vented and house the antennas for added aerodynamics.

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On this particular 2015 Mercedes-Benz C300, prominent character lines accentuate the muscular framework, even lending greater form at the tail end. It is here that dual chrome tail pipes perfectly complement the tuxedo black paint. This design illustrates the seamless flow that gives every Mercedes-Benz a robust elegance.

The interior reflects the same commitment to excellence as demonstrated in the exterior’s architecture. Supple leather seats with ventilation and leg boosters, a first for the C-Class, welcome the driver and front passenger into a cabin of absolute luxury. Open-pore wood trim provides a sense of refinement, a staple of Mercedes-Benz’s unwavering fidelity to high-quality materials.

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So far we’ve spoken of the 2015 C-Class’s design, but our team would be remiss by neglecting the bevy of available technology and features:

All drivers appreciate a hardy sound system. The Burmester audio system installed in the C-Class comes replete with speakers, including bass speakers in the car’s frame to act as a resonator, amplifying the sound and feel of the music. A tablet-styled infotainment center on the dash displays information on an unparalleled 8.4” LCD screen. This bespeaks that Mercedes-Benz does not treat technology as an afterthought – it, instead, offers a crisp hub. To scroll through all of the options, a touch pad is installed where typical vehicles place gear shifts. Drivers can flick and scrawl among dozens of well-delineated functions.

Buckle In, Kid. Time to Ride.

With a 2.0-liter turbo direct injection 4-cylinder engine, the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C300 4MATIC® creates a formidable presence on the road. This model was manufactured with all aluminum, lightening the frame’s load by 200 pounds without compromising its safety. There are few things more inspiring than starting the engine of the C-Class, hearing a muted exhaust note – just enough to know it’s there while not disturbing the serenity of the cabin.

A soft press of the accelerator engages the terrifically responsive engine. It heartily growls when revved and quickly returns to the subdued hum of the tires on the road. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is the only car in its segment with adjustable air suspension, so it mitigates the feedback of roadway imperfections through the frame and into the seating of the vehicle. This car offers the most comfortable drive thanks to the coupling of great interior ergonomics and superior German engineering.

Winding through the sinuous suburban roads provides an ideal format to discern the effectiveness of the 4MATIC®. The C300 clung tenaciously to the curves, maintaining the cabin’s equilibrium. Slight turns of the wheel offer a fluid, easy drive regardless of environmental conditions. If comfort were currency, the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is genuinely priceless.

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Drivers also have the benefit of agility control, which has five different settings – one that can be completely customized. It adjusts when the transmission changes gears, responsiveness of the accelerator, and other functions that optimize how the car matches to individual driving preferences. All of the options make this one of the most dynamic vehicles we’ve been fortunate enough to drive, but that’s not surprising with the Mercedes-Benz brand.

As part of the driving route, Ryan Gury took us to hop onto Route 1 to test the C300’s capabilities a bit more. At the beginning of the on-ramp, we saw nothing but open road – and acted accordingly. With a current speed of 20 MPH as we took the on-ramp and a maximum speed of 70 MPH on our route, the accelerator swiftly closed the gap between the two speeds. In a C-Class, you’ll learn just how adept the car is at instantaneously recognizing potential driving mistakes (e.g. Blind Spot Assist) while offering enough power and performance to govern the road. Traffic seems just a bit less daunting.

Off the main highway, the buttery smooth braking halts the C-Class at every stop light to garner more attention from fellow motorists, as well as to provide better fuel efficiency with its Start-Stop Mode – if initiated. Everything about the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C300 cultivates a reputation for unrivaled luxury, performance, safety, and comfort; each part and feature works synergistically all to our benefit.

As we placed the car into park, each of us suddenly became aware of a faint scent. This is also part of the upgrades to the C-Class; it now offers an array of fragrances similar to the brand’s more expensive models. Ryan showed us the selection, housed in the trunk, as we departed the vehicle. We then learned that the scents are distributed through the vents via the fragrance jars placed inside the glove box.

Final Thoughts

Mercedes-Benz created what should be a perennially successful model. It surpasses the precedent set by previous generations, and the effort placed into engineering and design merits the C-Class’s position as the “mini S-Class.” So many characteristics of the C300 we drove echo what our team noted during the S-Class test drive. For professionals seeking the prestige of the three-star marquee but want to cap the amount of money spent, the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is certainly the premium choice.

Test-Drive: 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class was last modified: April 21st, 2015 by Mercedes-Benz of Cary

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