Mercedes C 300: Sedans are Still Cool

Four doors, fun to drive, and not an SUV

2022 Mercedes C 300 parked, head-on

There’s a hidden treasure in the automotive world right now. No, it’s not some tall-riding sport-ute or fancy pick-up. It’s not the latest high value offering from Kia or Hyundai. It’s a Mercedes.

The 2022 C 300 sedan to be precise. New pretty much from the ground up, with more space inside, more luxury, and some very clever hybrid technology. Oh, and it has a price tag that starts at a positively blue-light-special $44,600.

Sadly, its arrival in Mercedes showrooms didn’t have luxe-car lovers lining up with their noses pressed-up to the windows and checkbooks in hand.

2022 Mercedes C 300 parked, from above

Alas, this quite gorgeous, immensely appealing new C-Class landed in the U.S. a few months back with all the razzmatazz of a new addition to the breakfast cereal shelf at Publix.

Of course, there’s a reason. First and foremost is our growing love-affair with sport-utes. Mercedes’ best-selling model in the U.S. these days is the C-Class-based GLC compact SUV.

And it’s easy to understand why. The GLC sits you up high, has more flexibility and versatility with its tall roof and high-lifting tailgate, and it’s priced pretty much the same as the C-Class sedan. No contest then.

2022 Mercedes C 300 parked, very front

But for lovers of style, sophistication, and a little elegance, the C 300 four-door I’ve been driving has plenty of appeal. Plus, it’s sportier and way more fun to drive, and is a lot like a scaled-down version of Mercedes’ flagship S-Class sedan.

It’s also a hybrid. Well, at least a hybrid-lite. Its 255-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder comes with an integrated starter-generator mounted to the back of the engine coupled to a meaty, 48-volt battery pack. Mercedes calls it EQ Boost.

This clever little system can provide an additional 20 horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque to the mix, delivering extra oomph in off-the-line acceleration and smoothing-out the automatic stop-start system.

2022 Mercedes C 300 engine

Mercedes has been offering the EQ Boost set-up on its six-cylinder engines for a while, but this is the first time it’s been offered with four-cylinder models.

So now, when red light turns green, there’s immediate response and instant thrust. Click the stopwatch, and you’ll see 0-to-60mph sprinting in under six seconds. That’s quick, and the C feels quick all through the rev range.

Part of this instant-on responsiveness is also down to the Merc’s always-terrific 9-speed automatic, which shifts gears with the speed of flicking on a light switch. Nice, too, that there are paddles on the steering column in case you want to do D-I-Y shifting.

2022 Mercedes C 300 dashboard

And this EQ Boost not only boosts performance. Its electric assistance gives 23mpg economy around town, 33mpg on the highway, and a combined 27mpg.

But for me, what really sets this new C 300 apart from, say the GLC SUV, is the way it handles itself. It feels like a four-door sports coupe, with its lovely, laser-precise, full-of-feel steering and planted feel.

Our $46,600 C 300 Pinnacle test car came with Mercedes 4Matic all-wheel drive for extra poise, balance, and traction. It adds around $2,000 to the sticker, but it’s worth every cent for the peace of mind it gives, especially when the weather turns yucky.

2022 Mercedes C 300, rear seats

Inside, this new C has all the quality and class you expect of a Mercedes. There’s space for five, and no shortage of knee room in the back, or space for stuff in the trunk.

I’m a big fan of the new 12.3-inch digital instrument screen in front of the driver, and the “floating” 11.9-inch central touchscreen, both with crystal-clear graphics and intuitive functionality. Don’t want to touch anything? Just say “Hey Mercedes” and your wish is her command.

2022 Mercedes C 300 parked, rear

Less impressive was our tester’s somewhat bland, Silver Diamond Pattern trim on the dash and center console, and the “it’s-leather-but-looks-like-vinyl” upholstery. Any of the latest Genesis models looks way more luxurious inside.

But this latest C 300 is a true hidden gem, a reminder of how cool sedans have always been. And a reminder that they shouldn’t disappear off your shopping list just yet.

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