In 2016 Mercedes-Benz releases the all-new 2017 C-Class. Ours will be the all-wheel-drive C 300 4MATIC model. autoTRADER.ca got a chance to see and drive the C 300 in Malaga, Spain.
After the C 300 come the enthusiast models, the 2017 Mercedes-AMG C 63 and C 63 S. They brought these to Spain as well, strapped us in and put us on a track so we could fully appreciate the formidable performance of these cars.
We were introduced to the C 300 at the Museo Automovilístico de Málaga. Having some proficiency in foreign languages, I hazarded a guess that this was the Malaga Museum of Automobiles, which turned out to be absolutely correct.
The museum's current exhibition focuses on car design, so it wasn't much of a stretch for Mercedes-Benz – who have been working hard on the design of the new car – to locate its C-Class coupes at the museum's front door. Before we move on to the Coupé exclusively, here are a couple of pictures of the museum's interior.
As you can see, it's an exquisite place. Great light, fascinating vehicles, mostly European but not all, and each vehicle paired with fashion design of the era.
One more thing (I had the same problem at the museum... leaving it, that is), did you know people transform engines into art objects? Check these out. They are, or were, Bristol six-cylinders.
Okay, speaking of engines... back to the subject at hand. The 2017 C 300 will be powered with a four-cylinder, 2.0-litre turbocharged engine that makes 241 horsepower and 273 lb-ft torque. So yes, it's another small displacement, high horsepower motor that has the benefit of being a fuel sipper as well (albeit a premium fuel sipper). 0-100 km/h in a shade over 6.0 seconds in case you're wondering. The sole transmission available is the 7G-TRONIC PLUS seven-speed automatic.
Compared with the current C-Class Coupé, the 2017 model is fully 95 mm longer. Add the sharp character line down the side and lower the roofline by 37 mm compared with the sedan, and this car really looks long, low and sleek. The wheelbase, longer by 80 mm, contributes to the impression of length while smoothing out the ride.
The C 300 is also lighter, wider and stronger, using more aluminum and more high strength steel in its construction.
Why Spain? Twisty mountain roads and great weather to demonstrate the car's improved driving dynamics. Standard wheels are 17-inch “double five-spoke” but you can order 18- or 19-inch rims if you want. Suspension's redesigned as well, and the chassis is stiffer for better handling.
Canadian C 300s will be 4MATIC all-wheel-drive, although at the press introduction only rear-wheel drive models were available. We'll also get standard Dynamic Select, which allows you to choose between Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus and Individual modes via a switch on the centre console. Comfort actually feels quite sporty, but Sport really wakes the C 300 up. Now you get a raspier exhaust note, sharper gearshifts and quicker steering. The whole car just seems to firm up.
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The interior's terrific in this car. Everything looks and feels high-end, which of course it should. As you can see, the controls are minimal but I can tell you they're completely sufficient. Most everything's managed from the HMI on the centre console, which is easy to use without having to look at it. There's also a nifty touch-pad on the controller on which you can actually write letters and numbers. You can also pinch, expand and swipe as on a tablet.
This will be a connected car, of course, and one that can be ordered with the latest active safety technologies such as Active Lane Keeping Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist, Intelligent Cruise Control (DISTRONIC PLUS) with steering assist and a range of collision avoidance and mitigation assists.
Canadian cars will be equipped with power seats, memory package with power steering column, rain sensing windshield wipers, panoramic sunroof, automatic climate control, SmartKey remote, interior chrome package, heated front seats and windshield washers, eCall system, split folding rear seats and 17-inch twin five-spoke wheels.
Front seat occupants have it great in the C 300. The seats are exceptional, both comfortable and form-fitting. The cabin is spacious and the materials and design do a great job combining a sports car feel with luxury ambience. That seatbelt's a bit of a reach, though. Fortunately, Canadian cars get an electronic seat belt feeder.
Rear seat passengers get everything the front seat occupants have except room. Getting in it tough enough, but legroom is limited as is headroom. Getting out can be comical. But really, this is a 2+2, right? A genuine coupe designed primarily for the driver and guest.
Surprisingly, there's a large, useful trunk. The rear seats are split-folding, so this is actually a car that you can travel in. Lots of room for luggage, in other words.
The C 63 is a whole other car, even though it looks similar (looks can be deceptive...). Notice, first of all, that it's a Mercedes-AMG, not a Mercedes-Benz. The only body panels it shares with the C 300 are the roof, trunk lid and doors. The rest is all bespoke, including front splitter, rear diffuser, rear spoiler, 60 mm longer hood with power domes, 19-inch wheels.
The engine is twice the displacement, adds a turbocharger and puts out almost twice the power as the C 300. It's a 4.0 L twin-turbocharged V8 making 469 hp in the C 63 and 503 hp in the C 63S. Your acceleration times 0-100 km/h are stated as 4.0 and 3.9 seconds respectively. These cars only come with rear-wheel drive.
Here's the engine. Pistons and cylinders, right? Same basic technology as those old geezers in the museum. But this one's a lot smarter.
When it comes to driving the C 63, you need adjectives that exceed the mere “fun.” Both front and rear axles are wider than the C 300, necessitating flared fenders to accommodate the added width and wider tires. Cornering grip is remarkable.
Optional performance seat. No problem with lateral g's when you've got this kind of bolstering.
We had a chance to experience that at the Circuito Ascari, a racetrack about 100 km from Malaga. This technical track just over five kilometres in length gives you a great opportunity to experience the C 63's awesome acceleration, cornering and braking.
This is the Mercedes-AMG C 63 German Touring Car version, the DTM (Deutche Tourenwagen Masters). Look closely and you can find the lines of the C 63. It's kind of like it's evolved.
Next to the Touring Car is the Edition 1. This is a special model inspired by motor sport for the market launch of the Mercedes-AMG C 63 and Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Coupés, inspired by the DTM version. We'll get about 10 of these in Canada.
You'd have to live near a track if you're a C 63 Coupé owner. It's one thing to blast onto a highway or push things on an isolated pubic road, but you're never going to get what this car's about until you track it. Mercedes-AMG has a driving academy, you know....
Back on public roads, you can enjoy the C 63 within limits. Passing? In a heartbeat. This is a supercar, remember – light and agile – with enough horsepower (when you think about it) to propel three mainstream vehicles. But these cars look great standing still as well. Here are three colour choices. Hard to pick!
You can have a choice of calliper colours, too. Red, gold or white. There is also a ceramic brake option.
Or you could go for this look. 255-35/19 on the front (285s on the rear).
These cars are too photogenic, but they have way more than just a pretty face. The C 63 S gets an electronic limited-slip differential, AMG Speedshift MCT seven-speed transmission, AMG ride control sport suspension with adjustable damping, Active LED lighting that is super effective on twisting roads at night.
This is how we got from Malaga to the airport in Madrid. Operated by RENFE, the Spanish High Speed Rail system is smooth, comfortable and very fast. Amazing that we have nothing like this in Canada!
This is our speed. Only 11 km/h faster than the Mercedes-AMG 63 S with AMG Driver's Package. You'd want that. Just in case.
The new C-Class arrives next year. Late first quarter (March) for the C 300; Third quarter (July) for the AMG C 63 and C 63 S.