Mercedes-Benz C-Class vs. Mercedes-Benz E-Class

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Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009 and has been published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also hosts a web-series car-review show and dabbles in the world of personal-finance writing.

His specialty is in the high-performance realm, but he has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Before diving into the world of writing, Justin was an automotive technician and manager for six years and spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

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, Automotive Editor - November 21, 2018

When you’re standing in a Mercedes-Benz dealership, seeing the massive price gap between the C-Class and the E-Class may lead to an internal debate over which is the better buy. Can the E-Class’ little brother give you all the luxury and performance you need? We dug deep into each model to find out.

See a side-by-side comparison of the C-Class & E-Class »

What the C-Class Gets Right

As the little brother to the E-Class, the base Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the 2019 C 300, starts at $42,395 (all prices include the $995 destination charge), making it $12,100 cheaper than the base 2019 E 300. There are a lot of option boxes buyers would have to check to get the C-Class even close to the E-Class’ price. The C-Class also makes great use of the corporate design language, as it looks the part of a downsized S-Class without the huge price tag.

Being a nearly 10 inches shorter and over two inches narrower than the E-Class makes the C-Class better suited for zipping through city traffic and pulling into those ever-shrinking parking-garage spaces. Plus, with the E-Class’ safety features trickling down to the C-Class, it's nearly as safe for the whole family as its big bro.

What the E-Class Gets Right

Like the C-Class, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class has style for miles. Give Mercedes’ design team a larger canvas to paint on, like the mid-size E-Class, and this style gets even sharper. And with so many engine, body style, and chassis options to pick from, there's an E-Class for everyone.

The E-Class also gets a huge leg up in performance. Sure, the base E 300 and C 300 share a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, but the E-Class’ platform delivers a better combination of handling and ride quality. From there, it’s a matter of the E-Class adding power numbers the C-Class can’t match: a 329-horsepower V6, a 396-hp V6, and a 603-hp V8.

Finally, while it may be pricey, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class comes loaded to the gills with premium features and the best tech features. A great example of the latter is the Level 2 semi-autonomous driving tech available in even the base E 300. And things just keep getting better as you move up through the lineup.

On a Tight Budget? The C-Class isn't a Bad Option

There's just no way the C-Class can stand up to the E-Class, but it's a great option for buyers who just can’t pull off that $50K-plus MSRP. It has all the luxury you need, great performance, and a legendary name behind it.

Verdict: Mercedes-Benz E-Class

The Mercedes-Benz E-Class is one of the best-balanced luxury cars on the market with its delicate combination of luxury and performance. Plus, it has options to fit any buyer’s needs and even has red-hot performance models ready to tackle a curvy country road.

Take a closer look at the Mercedes-Benz C-Class »

Take a closer look at the Mercedes-Benz E-Class »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009 and has been published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also hosts a web-series car-review show and dabbles in the world of personal-finance writing.

His specialty is in the high-performance realm, but he has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Before diving into the world of writing, Justin was an automotive technician and manager for six years and spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

Follow On: Twitter

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