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10.5 million. That's how many C-Class vehicles Mercedes-Benz has sold since 1982. 40 years later, the C-Class has been on a wildly successful run as the best-selling Mercedes-Benz of all time and now the car has entered its 5th generation with its most advanced model to date. And advanced is an understatement. The fifth-generation C-Class compresses the technologies, amenities, and styling from its range-topping sibling into a compact sedan that feels anything but. The sleek four-door is both modernist and minimalist, translating the longer lines of the S-Class into a silhouette that's aggressive and sporty. 

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Under the hood is a turbocharged 2.0L inline-four with a 48V mild-hybrid system that produces 255 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Paired with the EQ Boost system, an additional 20 hp and up to 148 lb-ft of torque are at the ready in short bursts when needed while still maximizing efficiency and performance. Available in rear-wheel-drive or 4MATIC all-wheel-drive, the car's overall feel is agile and smooth, combining the comfort you would expect in a Mercedes with sports car-like handling and responsiveness.

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But the real magic is how the car handles the entire driving experience. Mercedes has called the new C-Class the benchmark in its segment and we would have to agree. The previous generations have always been a sort of appetizer to the full-blown Mercedes experience. Short of the size of power of the S-Class, the C takes many of those flagship features and still delivers them without compromise. 

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The cabin is well-pointed and carefully thought out. From the dashboard trim to the angled 11.9" central touchscreen (model exclusive) that is tilted toward the driver by six degrees so it's comfortably within your view and easy to access. One of our favorite features is one of the best implementations of AR we've seen in an automobile. MBUX Augmented Video for Navigation enhances GPS guidance by giving you a live feed of your surroundings and graphic overlays like animated arrows that glide into the streets you need to turn into. 

The car also has an optional array of Driver Assistance Systems that include everything from adaptive cruise control to sophisticated systems like Active Stop-and-Go Assist which offers a semi-autonomous experience in high traffic situations at up to 37 mph and it even has Active Lane Change Assist from the S-Class that can help the car safely merge all on its own. 

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And that's all just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to technology. We didn't even mention the fingerprint reader that activates your individual profile or the Guard 360 system that keeps an eye with its surround view system that alerts you to any suspicious activity. The C-Class has been stuck with the "Baby Benz" nickname for quite some time now and while it's still appropriate, the new C has reached a new level that not only puts it at the top of the segment, it's a car that can comfortably hold its own with models 2-3x its price when you factor in the standard features and options that you just can't get anywhere else. So will it continue to be the brand's best-seller in a market that continues to buy more and more SUVs and crossovers? We think so and we think it'll set the bar for years to come. Well, that is until the brand's EV equivalent comes along...


From $43,500, mbusa.com

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