What’s the Difference Between the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and E-Class?

There are lots of differences between the E-class and the C-class, the most prominent ones being the price, size, segment, and engine options. The C-class represents an entry-level Mercedes sedan that is set to compete with the likes of the Audi A4 or the BMW 3-series.

The E-class is the mid-size luxury sedan, and it represents a step above the entry-level C-class. The E-class is the most popular Mercedes sedan, and the E-class competition consists out of the Audi A6 and the BMW 5-series.

Both of these models offer everything you’d expect from a 2021 Mercedes model. The E-class was refreshed in 2020, and the C-class got a complete redesign, especially to the interior. No matter which one of these two you might end up choosing, both offer exceptionally crafted exteriors and interiors.

Price difference

The cheapest entry into Mercedes C-class ownership goes through the C300 model which retails at $41k and offers a 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder mated to a 9G TRONIC 9-speed transmission with around 255 horsepower. If you pay 2 grand more, you can opt for the C300 4MATIC which represents the top-of-the-line non-AMG C-class.

The cheapest entry into Mercedes E-class ownership goes through the E350 sedan which retails at $54k, and also offers a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo with the same transmission and power outputs. If you pay 2 grand more you can opt for the E350 4MATIC, but the E-class lineup does not stop here.

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The C-class lineup does not consist out of any 400 models, but you can spend $62k and buy the Mercedes E450 4MATIC. This sedan is powered by a 3.0-litre inline 6 cylinder engine not available in the C-class lineup. This engine produces 362 horsepower and represents the top-of-the-line non-AMG E-class model.

Size and segment difference

The obvious difference between these two models is the size. The C-class is also designed as a sedan primarily, and it offers seating for up to 5 people, but it can not match the E-class when it comes to interior or exterior dimensions.

The E-class wheelbase measures 115.7 inches, and the C-class wheelbase measures 111.8 inches. Furthermore, the E-class is 193.8 inches long, and the C-class is 184.6 inches longs. The E-class is also a few inches wider and taller. These exterior dimension differences translate into the E-class being a larger car by a considerable margin.

The interior dimensions are also fairly different with the E-class measuring more inches in headroom or legroom dimensions respectively. The E-class also offers a bigger trunk at 13.1 cubic feet as compared to the 12.6 cubic feet of the C-class sedan. The E-class feels bigger, looks bigger, and drives bigger.

Mercedes E-class vs Mercedes C-class

If you put these two legendary Mercedes sedans head-to-head, you’d be hard-pressed to choose the winner. Usually, the E-class would always come out on top, but the newly released 2022 Mercedes C-class offers more than the E-class does in many different areas, such as the interior design and layout or engine efficiency.

The E-class is a better automobile if you plan on chauffeuring, the E-class is also a bit more comfortable, larger, and more powerful. The C-class on the other hand offers an incredibly high-tech interior, advanced LED headlights, advanced AI functionality, and a more modern design.

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You can not buy a 6-cylinder Mercedes C-class as of right now, but you can choose the E450 as the 6-cylinder Mercedes E-class. Choosing any of these two ensures you are getting a full-on Mercedes Benz experience.

But, if you are not in a hurry, you should wait a few years for when Mercedes releases the new E-class, as the new E-class will certainly be a huge step up from the current C-class.

FAQ Section

What are the most expensive E and C-class versions?

The most expensive E-class variant is the E63 AMG S model which retails for $107k. The E63 comes equipped with a 4.0-litre BiTurbo V8 engine producing 600 horsepower mated to a 9-speed AMG Speedshift transmission. The E63 manages a sub 3 second 0-60 time, but it does lack in the fuel efficiency department.

The most expensive variant of the C-class is the C63 S AMG Coupe. The C63 coupe retails for $78k and it also packs a 4.0-litre V8 BiTurbo engine mated to an AMG 9-speed Speedshift transmission. The C63 offers 503 horsepower, a 0-60 time of 3.5 seconds, and it also suffers from low fuel efficiency ratings.

Does the C-class offer a better value compared to Audi A4 or a BMW 3-series?

The Mercedes Benz C-class sedan retails for about $41k for the entry-level model, the A4 starts at around $39k. The BMW 3-series is the priciest one, starting at $42k. It’s safe to say that all three of these are comparably priced, and many dealers are keen on offering discounts and special prices and packages.

The Audi also comes with a manual transmission option which is not available on the other 2 models. The C-class is the most comfortable car to drive out of the three, and the 3-series is the sportiest one with the smoothest transmission.

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The A4 sits somewhere in the middle. It does offer a slightly sportier drive compared to the Mercedes and is also is a bit more comfortable compared to the 3-series, but is due for a full refresh in a few years. Before the new C-class hits the road, the best value out of these three is the new BMW 3-series.


Does the E-class offer a better value compared to Audi A6 or a BMW 5-series?

In the mid-size luxury car segment, Mercedes offers the entry-level E-class for $54k. This version does not offer a 4MATIC system and you can get the 4MATIC system for 2 grand more.

The entry-level Audi A6 retails for around $55k, and the benefit of the A6 is the fact that even the entry-level A6 comes with a Quattro AWD system as standard.

The BMW 5-series starts at around $54k for the rear-wheel-drive version, if you want AWD you will also have to pay a few grand on top of the asking price. All three of these offer exceptional comfort and luxury levels with the E-class being the leader in suspension softness, the BMW being the leader in driving dynamics.

But the best value out of these three is the Audi A6 with a perfect blend of comfort and sportiness. Without feeling dull nor lacking any character the A6 is the all-around best German midsize sedan.

Marko Mikulic

Why do you love writing about cars? I love writing about cars as cars are a huge personal interest of mine. I was raised in a car enthusiast community and ever since I was young, I always wanted to do car-related work.

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