Three models are offered for 2011: C300, C350 and C63. The C300 comes in either a Sport or Luxury trim, and is available with either standard rear-wheel-drive configuration or with Mercedes-Benz' 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system. The C350 and C63 are offered only in rear-wheel drive form. The base C300 Sport with rear-wheel drive comes with a 6-speed manual transmission, while the other models come standard with a 7-speed automatic transmission.
C300 models are powered by a 3.0L V6 engine that makes 228 horsepower and 221 foot-pounds of torque. The C350 models get a larger 268-horsepower 3.5L V6 engine and a transmission with dual shift mode. The high-performance, limited-production C63 AMG is powered by a monster 6.3L V8 engine that produces 451 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque.
Luxury models offer standard Comfort Suspension that incorporates a special damper system, which effectively has two modes: a stiff one for uneven surfaces or quick handling motion and a softer one to dampen vibration and road noise.
The C63 AMG model distinguishes itself with fender flares, a bulging hood, larger front air intakes and LED tail lamps to make it stand out, while inside there are special sport seats and a distinctive trim.
Standard equipment on all trims includes aluminum wheels, performance tires, sunroof, leather wrapped steering wheel, trip computer, and a host of other comfort and performance features. Optional equipment on all models includes navigation, harman/kardon surround-sound audio, HID headlights, rear parking aid, backup camera, hard disk drive, panoramic roof, leather seats and remote engine start. Rain-sensing wipers, woodgrain interior trim, power folding mirrors, heated seats and 4-way power lumbar is standard on the C350 and C63 and optional on the C300. Mercedes-Benz' Universal Media Interface with USB connectivity is optional on all C-Class cars.
Safety features on all C-Class cars include 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS, front side airbags and full-length curtain bags, in addition to Mercedes-Benz' unique pelvic air bags. Electronic stability control is also standard, along with adaptive braking, tire pressure monitoring system and a brake-drying feature to help maintain peak brake performance when wet or dry. Rear body air bags are available as an option.
A number of packages offer a variety of luxury upgrades. The Premium 1 Package includes an auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated front seats, power-adjustable seats, a power rear sunshade, split-folding rear seats and SIRIUS satellite radio. A Lighting Package adds HID bi-xenon headlamps and LED tail lamps, while a Multimedia Package includes navigation and an upgraded stereo with 6-GB hard drive.
While the C63 is an admirable performer already, it can be upgraded with the AMG Development Package, which adds a limited-slip differential, compound brakes, a track-calibrated suspension and a special Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel.
For 2011, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class receives modest styling updates, particularly a redesigned front end, with a new look to the bumper, headlights and grille. The rear end has been reshaped slightly as well, with new taillights.
Coming later in the model year is a new C-Class coupe, which will feature a long, swooping C-pillar and no B-pillar.