2020 Mercedes-benz C-class Expert Review

No longer a mere gateway to Mercedes-Benz ownership, the C-Class has matured into a prestigious, elegant and advanced car in its own right. Today, it serves as a step up from the A-Class and CLA-Class models, and is offered in sedan, coupe and convertible body styles.

Looking and feeling like a smaller version of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class flagship models, the C-Class received a mid-life freshening for the 2019 model year. For 2020, it gains standard equipment across the board, making it a better value at its starting price of nearly $42,500.

That’s higher than primary rivals, including the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series. Newer competitors such as the Cadillac CT5 and Volvo S60 promise greater value, while the often-overlooked Genesis G70 supplies thrilling dynamics at a bargain price.

But then, Mercedes ownership has never been about the deal, has it?

Driving the 2020 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Driving a Mercedes-Benz C 300 is similar to the experience found in its larger and more expensive E-Class and S-Class siblings, but in a smaller and nimbler form.

While it looks stately and dignified on the outside, a C 300 is willing to hustle. In spite of its turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, it accelerates to 60 mph in just 6.2 seconds. Aside from being quick, this car is remarkably stable and smooth. We tested the latest version of the C 300 on the Autobahnen of Germany, happily cruising at 100 mph and confidently reaching the car’s governed speed of 130 mph.

The C 300’s 9-speed automatic transmission works well with the 255-horsepower engine, and a driving-mode selector offers a choice among Eco, Comfort, Sport and Sport+ settings. In use, changing the driving modes clearly alters the car’s character, and 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 a bit sportier than the C 300 Sedan, while the C 300 Cabriolet isn’t quite as rigid, what with its missing roof structure and all. In any case, a 2020 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is a proper German driving instrument, making it enjoyable during both commutes and road trips.

Driving the 2020 Mercedes-Benz C-Class


The C-Class might be expensive in relationship to its competitors, but the interior makes it feel worth every penny — especially when you load it up with supple leather, heated and ventilated front seats, and the cabin air-ionization and fragrance system.

This German audio brand might be unfamiliar to American buyers, but once your ears experience the high-quality sound, you’ll never forget it. 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.

2020 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Interior

Sometimes, you fall in love with a car’s styling only to find disappointment on the inside. That’s not the case with the 2020 Mercedes-Benz C-Class. In fact, the inside of the car is more stylish than the outside, possessing an elegant glamour that is uncommon in more expensive vehicles let alone in this Benz’s primary competition.

Available with an array of leather, wood and aluminum materials and in a variety of colors, the C-Class is easy to personalize. And when you’ve chosen your favorite combination, you’ll find the cabin to fit like a custom-tailored suit — a little snug, but comfortable.

Equipment upgrades for 2020 make the larger 10.25-inch infotainment display standard for sedans, while coupes and convertibles benefit from standard Burmester sound and 64-color ambient cabin lighting. Get the C 300 Cabriolet, and when the top is dropped a newly standard AirCap system prevents excessive turbulence in the cabin.

Favorite Features

Curvy, bold and beautiful, every version of the C-Class looks just like a shrink-wrapped S-Class. In fact, depending on equipment and the angle from which you’re viewing the car, you might be hard-pressed to tell the difference without more than a glance. The design might be a half-decade old, but it still looks just as fresh as it did in 2015.

Coupes and Cabriolets look similar to the Sedan from the windshield forward, but from the front doors back they adopt their own styling, most notably in the horizontal taillights that bleed into the decklid. As is true of any car, larger and more expressive wheel designs give the C-Class more presence, and the C 300’s AMG Line design package adds a gorgeous chrome-studded grille that really helps the car to stand out.

2020 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Standard Features

This year, perhaps in an effort to add perceived value, Mercedes adds standard equipment to all three versions of the 2020 C-Class. Sedans now have standard 18-inch AMG-style aluminum wheels, a 10.25-inch infotainment system display screen, keyless passive entry, hands-free access to the trunk, and a power trunk lid closer.

To this list, Coupes and Cabriolets install power-folding side mirrors and the contents of the previously optional Premium Package: a Burmester premium surround-sound audio system, SiriusXM satellite radio with a free 6-month trial period, and 64-color ambient interior lighting with illuminated doorsills. Additionally, the Cabriolet has a standard AirCap system that reduces cabin turbulence when the convertible top is down, and a semi-automatic trunk separator that makes using the top easier.

Standard equipment highlights for all three C-Class body styles include LED headlights and taillights, rain-sensing wipers, a driver-monitoring system, power-adjustable front seats, and dual-zone automatic climate control. Infotainment systems equip the cars with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a free 3-year subscription to Mercedes Me Connect services.

2020 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Interior

When you buy a luxury car, you expect luxury. Often, however, features like metallic paint, leather seats and navigation are options, which is the case with the 2020 C-Class. You’ll even pay extra for driving-assistance and collision-avoidance technologies that are standard in much less expensive vehicles.

Aside from these upgrades, the C-Class offers AMG Line body and interior styling with sport-tuned performance components. A variety of wheel designs is available, along with heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and fancier interior trim.

The Sedan’s Premium Package adds ambient interior lighting, Burmester audio and satellite radio, and both a panoramic glass sunroof and triple-zone climate control are options for the 4-door. Each version of the C-Class offers a Multimedia Package with navigation and Car-to-X communications technology, digital instrumentation, a head-up display, and wireless smartphone charging.
2020 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Engine

Every 2020 Mercedes-Benz C 300 is equipped with a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine good for 255 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. The peak torque arrives at 1,800 rpm, holding steady until 4,000 rpm. After that, peak horsepower kicks in from 5,800 rpm to 6,100 rpm.

A 9-speed automatic transmission equipped with paddle shifters transfers the power to the rear wheels (RWD) unless you’ve specified the 4Matic all-wheel-drive (AWD) system. This system is continuously monitoring driving style and traction at the surface, optimizing power delivery to each of the car’s four wheels.

An automatic engine stop/start system is standard. It helps to improve fuel economy, but you can disable this function if it bothers you. With rear-wheel drive, the C 300 gets between 24 mpg and 28 mpg in combined driving, depending on body style. With 4Matic, those numbers dip to a range of 23 mpg to 26 mpg.

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
255 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm
273 lb-ft of torque @ 1,800 rpm
EPA fuel economy (city/highway): 24/35 mpg (RWD sedan), 22/31 mpg (RWD coupe), 21/29 mpg, (RWD cabriolet), 23/33 mpg (AWD sedan), 21/30 mpg (AWD coupe), 21/29 mpg (AWD cabriolet)
2020 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Exterior

To buy a 2020 Mercedes C-Class, you’ll need to cough up at least $43,395, including the $995 destination charge for the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP). That’s what a C 300 Sedan goes for before adding any options. Coupes cost $46,945, and Cabriolets run $54,945. Load a C 300 4Matic Sedan up with options, and it effortlessly closes in on $60,000.

Compared to other compact-luxury cars, the C-Class is more expensive than all of its primary rivals in terms of base price. Those include the Audi A4 and A5, the BMW 3 Series and 4 Series, the Cadillac CT5, the Genesis G70, the Infiniti Q50 and Q60, the Lexus IS, and the Volvo S60.

Before buying a new Mercedes-Benz C-Class, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying. If you have an old car to sell, be sure to consider the simple, easy and fast KBB Instant Cash Offer program. The resale value of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class is good, nearly in line with the Lexus.

Which 2020 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Model is Right for Me?
2020 Mercedes-Benz C 300

  • 18-inch aluminum wheels
  • MB-Tex Leatherette upholstery
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • 10.25-inch infotainment display
  • Driver-monitoring system

2020 Mercedes-Benz C 300 AMG Line
  • AMG Line body styling with unique wheel design
  • Chrome diamond-block grille
  • Sport tuning for suspension, steering & brakes
  • Sport front seats
  • AMG Line interior design


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