The Mercedes-Benz E-Class and S-Class have long defined their respective segments.
Implicit in this statement is the unspoken notion that the C-Class never has been as good as it could be, or rather should be. Worse still, the C-Class in general, and the last-generation W204 in particular, simply didn’t define its class. The BMW 3 Series has long had the C-Class’ number both dynamically and in terms of sales. Meanwhile, the Audi A4 is considered better-looking, with a more luxurious interior and generally greater desirability. Mercedes-Benz has emerged from the woodshed and is back for another crack at a segment long defined by the 3 Series and cars that want to be just like the 3 Series (Lexus IS, how you doin’?). The question then becomes: Is the 2015 C-Class capable of defining a crowded, important segment and joining its larger siblings as a true class leader?
What immediately stands out when you’re behind the wheel of the 2015 C-Class is the interior. For cabins at this price point, it is revolutionary. Those of you fortunate enough to have spent time inside the new W222 S-Class will be immediately familiar with the surroundings. Shared between the two are the S-Class’s Eames Chair-look seat controls, the fancy Burmeister speaker grilles, the knurled Command wheel, the round, pearl-necklace air vents, the heavy-duty, high-quality switchgear and high-res, user-friendly graphics in the nav screen
When I first drove the new S-Class, my takeaway was that the full-size techno-limo doesn’t steer all that well compared to say a Jaguar XJ, but does everything else in an exquisite manner. Truly, one of the finest automobiles the world has ever seen. With the 2015 C-Class, Mercedes has decided to build a baby S-Class rather than a 3 Series -- or should I say Cadillac ATS -- competitor. The truth is that there are scores more luxury buyers than there are sports sedan enthusiasts. Ask BMW why the damping rates are so different between the 3 Series sedan and 4 Series coupe. As such, and I hope I’m not breaking any hearts here, but the W205 isn’t a born canyon carver.
Glance at the new C-Class and you’ll mistake it for a S-Class, the design is that similar. Spend some time with Mercedes’ volume model however, and you become aware that looks are more than skin deep. I’m happy to report that for the first time, the C-Class feels cut from the same cloth as the E- and S-Class cars. It doesn’t feel like any corners were cut nor were any compromises made. The 2015 C-Class has the right stuff in the right places. Class, meet your new leader.