Highlight: The 2015 C400 4MATIC Sport sedan with the 329-horsepower engine is replaced by this year's C450 AMG, which is powered-by a 362-horsepower engine.
Test Vehicle's MSRP: $60,920 (Base Model: C300 is $39,875)
Seating Capacity: 5
Standard Features: ABS; airbags; an electronic brake hold system; a tire pressure monitoring system; a collision preventive assist system; a cross wind assist system; LED running lights (and tail lamps); an electronic stability control system; and a rain sensing wiper system
Standard Equipment (Base Model): 17-inch wheels; a 7-speed automatic transmission; a start/stop fuel saver ignition system; a power driver's seat with memory; a push-button keyless entry ignition system; a dual zone automatic climate control system; a keyless entry system; a touch pad controller; and a 3-spoke steering wheel
Standard Features On C450 AMG: 18-inch wheels; all wheel drive; an AMG enhanced 6-cylinder engine; a 362-horsepower engine; satellite radio; a blind spot lane changing system; an AMG performance braking system; an AMG adaptive sport suspension system; an exclusive front axle and wider track; a multi-stage electronic stability program; brushed aluminum sport pedals; AMG sport carbon fiber interior; leather seats; an AMG sport steering wheel with a flat bottom; a Burmester premium sound system; sport seats; sport pedals; a keyless go system; a 7-speed AMG automatic transmission; a Diamond-bloc grille; and red seat belts
Optional Features On Test Vehicle: 19-inch wheels; a driver assistance package, which includes pre-safe braking with pedestrian recognition, a lane keep assist system, a traffic sign assist system and steering wheel assistance system; an electronic trunk closer; a multimedia package, which consists of a rearview camera and a navigation system; AMG performance front seats; natural grain black ash wood trim; and heated front seats.
Other Trim Levels:
Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: AM/FM/HD
Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes
iPod Connectivity: Yes
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles
Standard Engine/Horsepower: 2.0-liter turbo, 4-cylinder/241-horsepower
Recommended Fuel: Premium
Standard Fuel Mileage: 24-city/34-hwy
What's New: The AMG Series is added to the C-Class line up for the 2016 model year.
Pros: The all-new C450 AMG is arguably one of the best entry-level performance sedans that have landed in our hands this model year. From the red seat belts to the form-fitting sport front seats to the precision-tuned ride to the easy-to-use infotainment system, the engineering and design team has definitely earned its keeps with this vehicle.
The new C450 AMG 4MATIC 3.0-liter engine is powered by a super crisp 362-horsepower twin turbo engine. Mercedes-Benz's engineering team has managed to give us the agility and sportiness one would expect from the two door, 8-cylinder AMG C63, but at a lower price point. Not only is the C450 AMG 4MATIC more affordable and more fuel efficient, its roomier too, as a result of the two additional doors. Added to that, the vehicle includes an engine start-stop function to reduce fuel consumption, while idling at a traffic light.
Moreover, the throttle response of the sports sedan can be altered by changing from Eco to Sport Plus modes. This alters the sound pitch of the vehicle.
Furthermore, the sports performance sedan can be accessorized with such features as 19-inch wheels, a rear view camera and a navigation system.
Cons: While the understated styling of the C450 AMG is somewhat conservative, there is no denying the vehicle mimics the larger S-Class flagship, which rides on a longer wheel base.
Added to that, from the naked eye alone, many folks may not be able to justify the $60,000 price tag of the German-engineered performance sports sedan that wears the Mercedes-Benz badge, with its cozy rear seating.
Furthermore, a panoramic roof, a navigation system, a rearview camera and a manual transmission should be standard features, right? Wrong, according to the Germans. All but the manual transmission are add-on options. A manual isn't an available feature for the premium brand.
Verdict: While the base C450 AMG is close to $12,000 more than the base price of the standard C-Class, its well worth the investment. The C450 AMG is a well-executed precision machine that incorporates the best of Mercedes-Benz engineering, while offering a ride and handling experience that makes the vehicle great for short or long term commutes. Additionally, the vehicle incorporates the right mix of technology and thoughtful luxury touches without being over intimidating.
Competition: Audi S4, BMW M3 and Cadillac ATS-V