2021 Mercedes-benz C-class Expert Review
The 2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class has matured into a prestigious, elegant and advanced car. Among luxury compact cars, the C-Class has long been and still remains special, from the lowliest C 300 to the blistering C 63 S.
Available in sedan, coupe, and convertible body styles, the C-Class looks and feels like a smaller version of the flagship Mercedes-Benz S-Class range. But the C-Class has its own attributes that make it excellent for darting around town, yet still an attractive choice for driving from New York to Chicago or Los Angeles to San Francisco.
C-Class prices are generally higher than equivalents from primary rivals like the Audi A4/A5 and BMW 3 Series/4 Series. Newer competitors such as the Cadillac CT5 and Volvo S60 promise even greater value, while the Genesis G70 supplies thrilling dynamics at a bargain price. But Mercedes-Benz ownership has never been about the deal.
Driving the 2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Driving a Mercedes-Benz C 300 is similar to the larger and more expensive E-Class and S-Class siblings, but in a smaller and nimbler form.
Despite a stately and dignified exterior design, even the C 300 is willing to hustle, accelerating to 60 mph in just 6.2 seconds. Aside from being quick, this car is also stable and smooth. Drivers in Germany could cruise happily in the C 300 at 100 mph on the autobahn.
The 9-speed automatic transmission works well, and selectable driving modes offer Eco, Comfort, Sport, and Sport+ settings. Changing the modes alters the car’s character noticeably. In Sport mode, a C 300 feels much like a BMW 3 Series or 4 Series from behind the wheel.
Naturally, the C 300 Coupe feels slightly sportier than its sedan counterpart; the C 300 Cabriolet isn’t quite as rigid, but that’s inevitable when there isn’t a fixed metal roof.
The AMG C 43 versions hit a sweet spot of accessible power and handling prowess, showing how talented a C-Class can be. The C 63/63 S cars are phenomenal, rivaling enthusiast icons like the BMW M3 and M4. In any case, every 2021 C-Class is a proper German driving machine, enjoyable for commutes and road trips alike.
The C-Class is undeniably pricey, but the interior makes it feel worth every penny. Especially when it’s loaded with supple leather, heated/ventilated front seats, and the cabin air ionization/fragrance system.
This German brand might be unfamiliar to American buyers, but once its high-quality sound is experienced, it’s unforgettable. Standard in the coupe and convertible, and a remarkably affordable option for the sedan, this upgrade is an aural delight. Even the stainless-steel speaker grilles please the senses.
2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Interior
It could be argued that the inside of a 2021 C-Class is more even stylish than the outside, with an elegance rare in more expensive vehicles, let alone the main rivals.
Available with leather, wood, aluminum, and a variety of colors, the C-Class is easy to personalize. Once the ideal combination is chosen, the cabin will fit like a custom-tailored suit — a little snug, yet comfortable and flattering.
C-Class coupes and convertibles benefit from the Burmester system as standard as well as 64-color ambient cabin lighting. When the top of a C-Class cabriolet is dropped, a standard Aircap system prevents excessive turbulence in the cabin.
2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Exterior
Curvy, bold, and arguably beautiful, every version of the C-Class looks like a scaled-down S-Class. The basic design is more than five years old, but still looks as fresh as it did in 2015.
Coupes and Cabriolets look similar to the sedan from the windshield forward, but adopt their own styling from the front doors back. Especially in the horizontal taillights that seem to blend into the trunk.
More expressive designs on larger alloy wheels give the C-Class greater presence. And the C 300’s AMG Line design package adds a chrome-studded grille that really makes the car stand out.
2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Standard Features
Standard equipment highlights for all three C-Class body styles include LED headlights/taillights, 18-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry/ignition, rain-sensing wipers, driver attention monitoring, blind-spot monitoring, power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, and hands-free trunk lid operation.
Infotainment systems bring a 10.25-inch infotainment display, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, and a free 3-year subscription to Mercedes Me Connect services.
This year brings a 12.3-inch digital driver information display as standard across the board, along with heated front seats.
Coupes and Cabriolets have power-folding side mirrors, a Burmester surround-sound system, satellite radio with a free 6-month subscription, and 64-color ambient interior lighting with illuminated doorsills. The Cabriolet also has a power-folding fabric roof, special rollover protection, Airscarf neck-warming vents in the front seats, and a semi-automatic trunk separator.
2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Options
Features like metallic paint, leather seats, and navigation are extra in the 2021 C-Class. Some driving-assistance and collision-avoidance technologies, which are standard in much less expensive vehicles are also on the options list.
The C-Class also offers AMG Line body and interior styling with sport-tuned performance components, various wheel designs, ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, and fancier interior trim.
The sedan’s Premium Package adds ambient interior lighting, Burmester audio, satellite radio, panoramic glass sunroof, and 3-zone automatic climate control.
Each variant offers a Multimedia Package with navigation, Car-to-X communication, a head-up display, and wireless charging.
2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Engine
The 2021 C 300 variants have a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine making 255 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque.
A 9-speed automatic transmission (with paddle shifters mounted beneath the steering wheel) sends drive to the rear wheels (RWD), unless the 4Matic all-wheel-drive (AWD) system is present. This system monitors driving style and traction continuously, optimizing power delivery to each wheel.
An automatic engine stop/restart system is standard. It helps to improve fuel economy, but can be disabled if desired. With rear-wheel drive or 4Matic all-wheel drive, the 2021 C 300 sedan is rated at 27 mpg combined.
AMG C 43 variants are propelled by a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 developing a highly agreeable 385 horsepower and have all-wheel drive as standard. C 63 and C 63 S models employ a hand-crafted, twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 generating a mighty 469 horsepower or an even mightier 503 horsepower in the S, which goes just to the rear wheels.
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (C 300)
255 horsepower @ 5,800-6,100 rpm
273 lb-ft of torque @ 1,800-4,000 rpm
EPA fuel economy (city/highway): 23/35 mpg (RWD sedan), 23/33 mpg (AWD sedan), 24/33 mpg (RWD coupe), 23/32 mpg (AWD coupe), 23/31 mpg (RWD cabriolet), 22/30 mpg (AWD cabriolet)
3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 (C 43)
385 horsepower @ 6,100 rpm
384 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500-5,000 rpm
EPA fuel economy (city/highway): 19/27 mpg (coupe and cabriolet), 18/27 mpg (sedan)
4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 (C 63/C 63 S)
469/503 horsepower @ 5,500-6,250 rpm
479 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-4,500 rpm (C 63)
516 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000-4,500 rpm (C 63 S)
EPA fuel economy (city/highway): 17/26 mpg (sedan & coupe), 17/25 mpg (cabriolet)
How Much Does the 2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cost?
The 2021 Mercedes C-Class range starts with the rear-drive C 300 sedan, which has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $41,600, plus the $1,050 destination charge, coming to $42,650. All-wheel drive is an extra $2,000. Load up a C 300 4Matic Sedan with options, and it soon closes in on $60,000.
The 2021 C 300 Coupe starts at $48,250, while the 2021 C 300 Cabriolet is priced from $55,750. The 2021 C 43 sedan kicks off the Mercedes-AMG section with $57,550, going up to $86,650 for the C 63 S Cabriolet.
Compared with other luxury compact cars — like the Audi A4/A5, BMW 3 Series/4 Series, Cadillac CT5, Genesis G70, Infiniti Q50/Q60, Lexus IS/RC, and the Volvo S60 — the C-Class is generally more expensive.
Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new C-Class. If you have an old car to sell, consider the simple, easy, and fast KBB Instant Cash Offer program. Resale values of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class are strong, nearly in line with Lexus.
Which 2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Model is Right for Me?
2021 Mercedes-Benz C 300
18-inch alloy wheels
Simulated leather upholstery
Heated front seats
Dual-zone automatic climate control
12.3-inch digital driver information display
10.25-inch infotainment display
2021 Mercedes-Benz C 300 AMG Line
AMG Line body styling with specific wheel design
Chrome diamond-block grille
Sport tuning for suspension, steering & brakes
Sport front seats
AMG Line interior design
2021 Mercedes-Benz C 300 Night Edition sedan
Black exterior accents
Black-finished 19-inch AMG alloy wheels
Simulated leather/simulated suede-covered AMG sport seats
Simulated leather/simulated suede-covered AMG steering wheel
Black, white or blue paint choices
2021 Mercedes-Benz C 300 Coupe
Burmester audio system
64-color ambient cabin lighting
Automatic seat belt extender
2021 Mercedes-Benz C 300 Cabriolet
Power-folding fabric roof
Aircap wind deflector
Airscarf neck warming
Semi-automatic trunk separator
2021 Mercedes-AMG C 43
Twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6
64-color ambient cabin lighting
Burmester surround-sound system
2021 Mercedes-AMG C 63
Hand-crafted twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8
Performance exhaust system
Extended AMG driving modes
Electronic limited-slip differential
2021 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S
Dynamic engine mounts
Adjustable 9-setting AMG traction control