The 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Better Come With A Microfiber Hanky

2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Photo: Mercedes-Benz

The 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class has been revealed a couple of days early after pretty much all of it leaked online yesterday. Considering the company claims the sedan has been its global best-seller for the last decade, it’s no wonder this model’s changes are most noticeable on the inside. I hope you like screens!

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2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Photo: Mercedes-Benz

As we saw from the leaked photos yesterday, the exterior design of the 2022 C-Class has not undergone a major visual overhaul compared to the outgoing model introduced in 2014. It’s an all-new car, but it’s still more update than conceptual overhaul. The wheelbase is 1.0-inch longer, the car is 2.5-inches longer overall, and despite being 0.4-inches lower in roof height than the previous design, rear headroom has increased by 0.5 inches.

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2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Photo: Mercedes-Benz

Both the new C300 and C300 4-Matic feature a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas engine that should produce all of 255 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. Every model also features a 48-volt starter generator unit offering boosted mild-hybrid performance gains of up to 20 HP and 148 lb-ft of torque when using the car’s EQ Boost feature. Mercedes claims the powertrain setup is at least 10 percent more efficient than the previous non-hybrid effort.

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2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Photo: Mercedes-Benz

The C-Class keeps its familiar 8-speed automatic transmission and comes standard with a continuously adjustable damping suspension system. An AMG-Line model is available, which doesn’t get any sort of power bump but does get a sport-tuned suspension. The AMG-Line trim features some AMG-inspired sporty styling on the bumpers and a “striking diamond” grille that repeats a pattern of the center prongs of the Mercedes-Benz logo. More powerful AMG performance models will undoubtedly come soon enough.

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2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Photo: Mercedes-Benz

It’s inside where the major overhaul has occurred. A new “waterfall” touchscreen measuring 11.9-inches hovers awkwardly over a sleek and shiny grey dashboard in the center of the car, tilted slightly toward the driver, replacing almost all physical knobs and buttons.

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2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Photo: Mercedes-Benz

As if that wasn’t enough glass, a 12.3-inch screen now replaces the instrument cluster in front of the driver. The circular digital instruments — which because they are digital could take any form a designer chose —just look like digital representations of traditional gauges. This is common across the industry, but it’s just sad — they could have so much more fun with it.

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2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Photo: Mercedes-Benz

Based on the photos, I do not like this interior design. In a vehicle designed around passengers who have to interact with some sort of interface, this interior layout and choice of material textures makes it seem like you’re not supposed to touch anything.

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2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Photo: Mercedes-Benz
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2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Photo: Mercedes-Benz
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Without even diving into how tired I am that American and German automakers still can’t seem to extend their imaginations beyond the iPhone and iPad yet, the interior of of this C-Class has far too much real estate that requires the same level of constant cleaning as an iPhone.

The 2022 C-Class will go on sale in the U.S. in “early 2022” and pricing has yet to be announced, though the outgoing C-Class currently starts at $41,600. It seems likely we’ll actually get another coupe and convertible model, eventually. There’s also this sweet blue wagon version, but the U.S. won’t get that:

2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Photo: Mercedes-Benz

Reviews Editor, Jalopnik

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DISCUSSION

I think this is a small step back in exterior design and a major step back in interior design from the current C. I know screens are all the rage, but the sheer amount of buttons on the steering wheel (there are two directional pads! Four shelves of buttons? Why??), general cluttered feeling of MBUX and the fact that EVERYTHING will attract fingerprints is a major turnoff.

What happened to luxury cars using premium materials? Everything is shiny plastic or a glass screen. I want a luxury car to surround me with leather, metal, wood, and things that feel soft and warm. This is none of that.