2008 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

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Flash Drive: 2009 Mercedes-Benz C300

This 2009 review is representative of model years 2008 to 2011.
By Staff of MSN Autos

Mercedes seems to have some of the best-looking cars on the road, and this C-Class is no exception. But this car competes in the tough, near-luxury market, and you need more than good looks to win. Our C300 tester was equipped with Mercedes' 4Matic all-wheel-drive system, which helped provide great traction while adding weight. The C300 feels underpowered — strong acceleration results in a noisy engine but not much in the way of increased speed. The interior has nice features including a panoramic sunroof and comfortable front seats. However, the rear seat is a bit cramped. Controls for the audio and navigation system are confusing and require too many steps to get to different menus. The C300 is not a bad car, but the sticker price (our test car costs more than $46,000) seems too high for what you get. -Perry Stern

The new Mercedes-Benz C-Class is a winner. Its design is fresh, retro, yet, above all, immediately recognizable as a Mercedes — particularly the sport version, which features the Mercedes-Benz star in the center of the grille like the famed 300SL. The C300 4Matic adds the security and confidence of all-wheel drive to cope with adverse weather conditions. That stability comes at a price: more weight on the front axle. Consequently, steering doesn't feel as crisp as the rear-wheel-drive version. At 228 horsepower, the 3.0-liter delivers sufficient but not abundant power, and the high-tech 7-speed automatic transmission keeps the engine in the power band almost all the time, with a fuel-economy rating of 20 mpg city and 25 mpg highway. The C300 moves up a step on the inside with nice-quality materials and a clean design that does exactly what this model is designed to do: make the occupants feel like they are in a higher model in the range. -Mike Meredith


Mercedes is making a big deal of the extensive engineering effort they've invested in creating the new C-class, but they've still not recovered the reputation for best-of-the-best luxury cars they once held. Happily, the 300C does bring them closer to past glory. The new 300C is the most attractive car in the entire Mercedes lineup, to my eyes, and there is a sense of enduring quality to every inch of the car. Although many recent Mercedes have absurd engine outputs, the 300C isn't one of them. The 3-liter engine can't get this sturdy machine going as quickly as one might desire, but it is perfectly acceptable during normal driving and it sounds fantastic all the time. Even though I'm a bit of a speed junkie (and the Mercedes-Benz 300C doesn't really deliver the goods I'm looking for), this car does so many things right that I'd certainly consider buying one. -Paul Hagger

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BB03 - 7/24/2014 8:25:36 AM