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