2019 Mercedes-Benz C 300 First Test: More Power—Same Luxury?

We have long praised the Mercedes C-Class for having one of the most luxurious interiors in its class, but a stiff ride prevented it from joining the very top players in its segment. Newly refreshed for 2019, we tested the C 300 again to see how it has changed.

Although the previous version never felt underpowered, Mercedes equips the 2.0-liter turbo-four with 14 extra horses this year. The C 300 now makes 255 hp, and torque holds steady at 273 lb-ft. Peak horsepower arrives later from 5,800-6,100 rpm instead of 5,500 rpm, while peak torque is now at 1,800-4,000 rpm instead of 1,300-4,000 rpm.

The extra horsepower contributes to a noticeable improvement in acceleration from 0—60 mph. We clocked the C 300 hitting 60 mph in 5.5 seconds, making it half a second quicker than a 2017C-Class we tested. A 2017 BMW 330i also hit the mark in 5.5 seconds, although we have yet to test the completely redesigned 2019 model. Our Mercedes tester was quicker than a 2017 Lexus IS 200t F Sport (7.0 seconds, and since renamed the IS 300) and a 2019 Genesis G70 2.0T (7.4 seconds). But it was slower than a 2017 Audi A4 2.0T Quattro (5.2 seconds).

The quick throttle response makes the C 300 feel sprightly off the line. Unlike some luxury cars, the driving mode you select makes a difference. When accelerating from a stop, you’ll notice the sharp throttle response of Sport+ mode as your head gets sucked into the headrest, and the suspension is noticeably sharper. Like the previous model, the ride is firm for a luxury cruiser, even in Comfort mode. Still, the refreshed C-Class doesn’t conjure up the same feelings of brittleness as the old version.

The updated 2019 Mercedes C 300 also made progress in the quarter-mile, with a time of 14.1 seconds at 99.9 mph, compared to 14.5 seconds at 96.1 mph with the old Benz. The new number is up there with the BMW (14.2 at 98.5) and Audi (14.0 at 98.2). And it’s markedly better than the Genesis (15.7 at 91.7 mph) and Lexus (15.4 at 89.9).

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