Mercedes-Benz C-Class (2014-2018)

By Jonathan Crouch

Models Covered

4dr saloon / 5dr estate (1.6 diesel, 2.1 diesel / 1.6 petrol, 2.0 petrol, 3.0 V6 petrol / 4.0 V8 petrol)


From its launch in 2014, the fourth generation ‘W205’-series C-Class set out to really democratise Mercedes luxury for a wider audience, being lighter, cleverer, nicer to ride in and beautifully finished. Pricing continues to reflects its premium positioning but in this guise more than ever, this more efficient, more desirable design has a look and feel worth every penny. A cut above its BMW 3 Series and Audi A4 rivals? Many will think so on the used market.

The History

The Mercedes C-Class has traditionally campaigned in offering all that its brand knows about luxury saloons distilled into smaller form and in its first two decades of life, over 8.5 million global buyers happily bought into the concept. For all that though, this was in truth for too many years a car a little short on quality and a little long on price tag. It may have been good enough to account for 20% of total Mercedes sales but that wasn’t enough to prevent it still always lagging a distant third in the compact executive sector sales charts behind its arch-rivals, BMW’s 3 Series and Audi’s A4. In 2014 though, we got a very different C-Class, this fourth generation version designed to change the status quo in this segment and redefine what a car of this kind should be.

That was a big ask, but there was a greater level of focus with this ‘W205’ model series C-Class than with any of its predecessors. These were often trying to be too many things to too many people. If you bought one, it was usually for a ‘quality feel’ rather than because it was the best contender in its segment to drive, the nicest to sit in or the cheapest to run. With this MK4 design though, things changed. In the 2014-2018 period we’re looking at here, it was to this C-Class that aspiring middle management executives turned first in their search for something different from – and possibly a bit nicer than – their usual 3 Series or Audi A4 choices.

There was certainly more than enough reason for them to seriously consider this car in its fourth generation form. It was slightly bigger and a lot more advanced than the previous model and boasted the nicest cabin you could have in this kind of model. But more important than all of that was the way that this ‘W205’-series model’s advanced hybrid aluminium structure brought the significant weight savings which made possible some of the lowest running costs in the segment. This then, was the C-Class that BMW and Audi always feared Mercedes would build. It sold until 2018 when it was heavily facelifted, but it’s the earlier version which sold between 2014 and 2018 that we look at here as a potential used buy.

What To Look For

We found plenty of satisfied C-Class customers, but also a few rogue examples. Software problems cropped up quite frequently in our survey. In one case, the car had to limp back home with its owner on reduced power. In another, the auto ‘box refused to change up higher than 3rd gear. The Audio 20 navigation system is notoriously slow; try for a car with the much better COMAND navigation set-up fitted instead. A few owners complained of creaks too – from the dashboard, the roof lining, the sunroof and the door seals/ door cards; look out for this on your test drive.

Insist on a full Mercedes dealer service history, especially for the most recent models whose lengthy warranty - effectively for the life of the car - is dependent on proper servicing by an authorised agent. Check that all the accessories work and watch out for cosmetic damage which can be expensive to correct. These are popular family cars, so check for wear and tear in the rear. Also look for the usual signs of wheel kerbing and poorly repaired accident damage.

On The Road

There are all kinds of reasons why this ‘W205’-series car is a more involving thing to drive than its predecessor. First and foremost, it really ought to be sharper, thanks to the fact that its structure contains five times more aluminium than before. That took over 100kgs from this fourth generation model’s total kerb weight and gave it a lower centre of gravity. Secondly, as a driver, you’ve all the necessary tools to make the most of this newfound appetite for corners, thanks to aluminium-fashioned rear wheel drive architecture. And ‘Agility Select’, Mercedes’ version of the ‘drive select’ and ‘Drive Performance Control’ drive mode systems you respectively find in rival Audis and BMWs.

Fewer changes were made under the bonnet with the original version of this MK4 model. The 2.1-litre diesel that almost all buyers chose continued pretty much as it was in the previous generation design, originally badged ‘BLUETEC’, then simply ‘d’. As with the MK3 model, the majority of customers wanted the 170hp version of this powerplant – the C220 BlueTEC model. But it was also offered in 204hp C250 BlueTEC form. Or in C300 BlueTEC Hybrid guise, a variant which uses the same diesel engine but mates it to a 27bhp electric motor. There was also a rare Plug-in Hybrid C300e model – but that uses petrol power.

And further up the range? Well, the engine choice is dominated by desirable turbocharged petrol power, with turbo four, twin turbo V6 or twin turbo V8 engines. It is of course a V8 that’s fitted to the flagship C63 AMG model, a gloriously sonorous 4.0-litre powerplant tuned to produce well over 500bhp in the top C 63S.


This ‘W205’-series MK4 C-Class model took a decent step forward. Potential Audi customers will like the high technology – the intelligent headlamps, the class-leading safety kit and so. Wavering BMW buyers may be tempted by neat Agilty Select performance driving system and the unique air suspension option. And both groups will appreciate the far-reaching running cost savings that in day-to-day terms, made ownership of the Three Pointed Star in this sector surprisingly affordable. Find a well looked-after example and you’ll enjoy this car very much.