Mercedes-Benz is on a sales roll lately, with a variety of fresh new products that are receiving a lot of attention from consumers. One that stands out is the C-Class four-door sedan. Launched about two years ago, the C-Class took centre stage with new aggressive styling that included a sports package designed by AMG, the performance division of Mercedes-Benz. In Canada, the C-Class comes in one body style with four engine choices, two transmissions (six-speed manual for the C250 and C300) and two drivetrains (RWD or full-time AWD). The engine choices start with the 201-horsepower 2.5L V-6 in the C250. Next up the ladder is C300 with the 3.0L 228-hp V-6 and then the C350, equipped with the 268-hp V-6. The top dog C-Class is the AMG-powered C63 with a huge 6.3-L V-8 putting out an insane 441 horsepower! It also includes racy bodywork with four large exhaust pipe outlets to match the exotic car-like performance.
Being the top grade in the C-Class family, outside of the outrageous AMG-powered C63, the C350 looks decidedly racy as it gets the standard sport package with large 18-inch five-spoke alloy wheels. Look closely and you’ll notice that the rear tires (255/35R18) are much wider than the fronts (225/40R18), promising excellent cornering grip. The wide rear tires also add to the solid stance when viewed from the rear. Breaking from past Mercedes-Benz passenger car styling convention, the C350’s standard sport package also includes the front grille design traditionally found on Mercedes coupes. The rest of the styling package includes a deeper front air dam, lower side sills and rear apron. Completing the aggressive styling are two large exhaust outlets on either side of the lower rear bumper. Those who still want the traditional styling that includes the upright chrome front grille with stand-up hood ornament are limited to the C250, as it is the only model in the C-Class family that offers the “old-school” design.
Inside, the C350 is easily recognizable as a Mercedes-Benz; the cabin shows off elegance and good taste and has the familiar three-gauge instrument panel that harks back to past designs. The gauges themselves have a finely crafted look and look really great at night. As expected, Burl Walnut wood trim is standard, adding to the luxury feel expected in the C350. Fine detailing can be seen in the use of metal trim surrounding various areas of the dash and door panels. Specially cut metal dials are also used in the climate controls and also in the COMAND control system for added style. Looks can be deceiving as the C350’s cabin is unexpectedly spacious, especially in the rear cabin with a useable amount of leg and headroom. Both front and rear seating offers good support and long distance comfort. A panoramic moonroof is available, which is becoming more popular these days and totally transforms the look and feel of the interior.
Under the hood, the C350 with its 3.5-L 268-hp V-6 gives out a nice deep sounding exhaust note, especially under hard acceleration. Matched to the engine is a smooth shifting seven-speed automatic transmission. For drivers who want added involvement, the transmission offers a sequential shift system that also throttle blips the engine during downshifts for smoother operation and also a sportier engine note.
When it comes to handling, the C350 is surprisingly fun and agile in the corners, with little body roll when pushed hard, and offers very good steering feedback and feel to the driver. The brakes with crossed drilled front discs bite hard with excellent modulation giving a lot of driver confidence. The C350 is offered in rear-wheel-drive and 4MATIC full-time-all-wheel-drive that is great for all-weather driving.
There is no denying the strong appeal of the C350, with its sporty sophisticated styling, solid as a bank vault feel, high safety content and excellent driving dynamics that puts it on the very desirable list of cars to have.
Engine: 3.5-L V-6 DOHC 24-valve
Torque: 258 lb. ft.
Fuel economy L/100km: City – 12.2 / Hwy – 7.9
Transmission: 7-Speed Automatic Transmission with Sequential Shift
Drive train: Rear-Wheel-Drive or available 4MATIC Full-Time-All-Wheel-Drive
Base MSRP: C350 – $48,600 / C350 4MATIC – $50,600