Used Car Review

2011 Mercedes-Benz C-Class: Used Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Joe Tralongo July 2015

For many, the thought of dropping $40,000 or more on a new luxury sedan is just a pipe dream. Thankfully, while many luxury cars are unattainable when new, a low-mileage late-model used version can cost about the same as a new midsize Honda Accord or Toyota Camry. This is the case with the 2011 Mercedes-Benz C-Class, which is a midsize luxury sedan that's recognized around the world for its detailed luxury, superior engineering and outstanding safety. Other than some minor changes to the features list and a redesigned headlight switch inside the cabin, the 2011 C-Class remains unchanged from the 2010 model.

While the thought of buying a used luxury car is tempting, keep in mind that the routine maintenance intervals can leave owners with sticker shock. Future repairs can also be rather expensive. If you're still keen on the idea of a used luxury car, you may want to consider some of the C-Class' competitors. The Audi A4, Infiniti G37 and Cadillac CTS all offer luxury features such as adaptive cruise control, heated rear seats and adaptive front lighting, none of which can be found on the 2011 C-Class. Still, the C-Class' 3-point star is, in the eyes of many, the ultimate status symbol.

What We Like

Excellent safety ratings; comfortable ride; handsome interior; enthusiast-oriented AMG model; good reliability and resale figures

What We Don't

Missing some key luxury features found on competitors; standard maintenance can be expensive; not the most powerful engines in its class; all-wheel drive is only available on the weaker C300 trim

Fuel Economy & Engine Specs

The C300 is powered by a 3.0-liter V6 engine, which is good for 228 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque. A 7-speed automatic is standard on all but the C300 Sport, which has a 6-speed manual. 4MATIC all-wheel drive is also available. Fuel economy for the rear-drive C300 with the manual or automatic transmission is rated at 18 miles per gallon in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. All-wheel drive lowers those numbers to 17 mpg city/24 mpg hwy. The C350 uses a larger 3.5-liter V6 with output rising to 268 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy is rated at 17 mpg city/25 mpg hwy, and the C63 AMG is equipped with a 451-hp 6.2-liter V8 with 433 lb-ft of torque. Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy ratings for the C63 AMG are rather dismal at 12 mpg city/19 mpg hwy, but that's the price you pay for power.

Standard Features & Options

The 2011 Mercedes-Benz C-Class offers six possible models: C300 Luxury, C300 Luxury 4MATIC, C300 Sport, C300 Sport 4MATIC, C350 Sport and C63 AMG.

Standard on the C300 Luxury is a power sunroof, an 8-speaker 100-watt sound system with a CD player and auxiliary input jack, 8-way power front seats with manual lumbar support, MB-Tex vinyl seating, Bluetooth, 17-inch alloy wheels, the Agility Control selective-dampening suspension, a 7-speed automatic transmission, a motorized LCD display with a central controller, cruise control, auto on/off headlights, dual-zone automatic climate control and a tilt-telescopic steering wheel.

The C300 Sport receives a 6-speed manual transmission, LED daytime running lamps, different 17-in alloy wheels, a sport suspension, a 3-star grille badge (deletes the 3-star hood ornament), a 3-spoke steering wheel and either matte-aluminum or burled-walnut trim.

The C350 Sport adds a 7-speed automatic transmission, heated front seats, a 10-way power driver's seat, upgraded audio, a power tilt-telescopic steering column, rain-sensing wipers, and power-folding and auto-dimming side mirrors.

The C63 AMG adds a 6.2-liter V8, 18-in wheels and performance tires, 6-piston performance brakes and AMG interior trim, which includes bolstered sport seats, a flat-bottomed steering wheel and aluminum paddle shifters. Styling changes include a bulging hood, ground effects, a rear trunk-lid spoiler and slated vents in the front air dam.

Options for the C300 and C350 trims include navigation, 450-watt Harman Kardon Logic 7 surround-sound audio with iPod connectivity and six gigabytes of music storage, leather upholstery, a panoramic glass sunroof, bi-xenon headlights, satellite radio, keyless entry with push-button starting, a rear sunshade and 18-in wheels.

Optional in the C63 AMG are the Seating (leather seats, a power tilt-telescopic steering wheel and 2-position memory for the driver's seat, mirrors and steering wheel) and Performance packages, which include upgraded brakes, an Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel, stiffer suspension settings and a limited-slip rear differential.

Pricing

The C-Class holds its value fairly well in the first 3 years, then sees average depreciation values after that. A 2011 model with low miles that's in good condition shouldn't be hard to find. If you can find a certified pre-owned (see the Safety Ratings & Warranties section for details) model, it may be your best bet. You can also search the Autotrader Classifieds to see what models are currently for sale in your area.

Recalls

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued the following recalls for the 2011 C-Class from Mercedes-Benz:

A recall was issued for a possible faulty ground that may cause the taillights to dim or fail to illuminate.

A recall was issued for a possible defective fuel filter flange that may crack and leak fuel.

Recall repairs are required by law, even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed, and if not, will fix the car at no charge to you.

Safety Ratings & Warranties

Standard safety features on the 2011 C-Class include eight airbags, adaptive braking, traction and stability control, and active front head restraints. In crash tests, the government gives the C-Class four out of five stars overall, with three stars in the front-end crash test, five in the side-impact test and four stars in the rollover test. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives the C-Class top ratings in all but its small-overlap crash test, which scored a Poor rating. Still, IIHS named the C-Class a Top Safety Pick for 2011.

Mercedes-Benz provided the C-Class with a 4-year/50,000-mile fully transferable warranty for the engine, powertrain and bumper-to-bumper coverage. Although this warranty is now expired for the 2011 C-Class, there is another option. If you buy a certified pre-owned (CPO) C-Class, you'll receive a vehicle that has undergone a rigorous inspection by a certified Mercedes-Benz technician. The CPO vehicle warranty covers the car for 12 months, with no mileage limit, from the date of sale. Buyers can also opt for extended coverage for up to 2 years (and unlimited miles) from the original service date, after the limited warranty expires. All CPO cars must be less than 6 years old to qualify for the program.

Other Cars to Consider

2011 Audi A4 -- The A4 offers a more luxurious interior, better audio and navigation interfaces, and better fuel economy, but no V6 option.

2011 Infiniti G37 -- The G37 offers more features, a more powerful V6 engine and better handling. It also offers a manual transmission on the sportiest trim.

2011 BMW 3 Series -- The 3 Series offers more power, superior handling and more features, plus equally strong resale values. The C-Class Luxury, however, offers a softer ride.

Autotrader's Advice

If you're looking for a comfortable car with premium luxury features and a reasonable price, the C300 Luxury is the way to go. Opt for all-wheel drive if you live where it snows. Those seeking a more powerful engine and better handling should seek out a C350 Sport.

Find a Mercedes-Benz C-Class for sale

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2011 Mercedes-Benz C-Class: Used Car Review - Autotrader