A long time favorite in the entry level luxury/sport sedan market, the “Baby Benz” as it’s been called is a close competitor the BMW 3 Series and the Audi A4. The C series falls in between the sportiness of the three series and the poshness of the A4. It’s styled to resemble the larger Mercedes models.

As with most Mercedes models, there are several variations on the c series theme. Four major trim levels are present: the C300 luxury, the C300 Sport, the C350, and the C63 AMG. Both 300 series share the 3.0 liter V-6 producing 228 HP. The C300 Luxury comes standard with a 7 speed automatic. On the C300 sport, this is an option, but they mount a 6 speed manual as standard. Both models of the C300 can be equipped with all wheel drive. The C350 is gets its motivation from a larger 3.5 liter V-6. This engine produces 268 Hp and is only available with the 7 speed automatic.

The C63 AMG is the Mercedes’ Rocket ship in the C class. A huge 6.2 liter V-8 sending power through a seven speed automatic to the rear wheels.

Bodystyles: Sedan
Engines: 3.0L V-6, 3.5L V-6, 6.2L V-8
Transmissions: 6-speed manual, 7-speed automatic
Models: C300 Luxury, C300 Sport, C350 Sport, C63 AMG

For 2011, the C-Class receives mbrace, the next generation of the automaker’s telematics system with emergency assistance, current weather and traffic information, and a Concierge function. Sport models now get standard LED daytime running lights. Those models without bi-xenon headlights get black headlight inlays. The C-Class receives a new headlight control switch, and the ESP button has been relocated.

The 2011 C-Class echoes the shape and lines of the S-Class. Fender flares are more aggressive, headlights and taillights are angular — all in all, its design is sharper and much more current than the previous generation C-Class.

Features such as Bluetooth and SmartKey are standard, as are eight-way power front seats, a power sunroof, and two-zone climate control. However, interior plastics look too cheap for the car’s entry-level-luxury status.

While the 3 Series is still the better performer on a canyon road, the C-Class’s dynamics are catching up. The C350 Sport offers 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, reaches 60 mph in 5.9 seconds, and needs only 117 feet to stop from 60. And for those who have the money, the 4.1-second to 60, race-track-ready C63 is arguably the best C-Class ever.

Dual front airbags are standard on the C-Class, along with dual side front airbags, pelvic airbags, head curtains, and a driver-side knee bag. Also standard are roadside assistance, ESP, tire-pressure monitoring, and four-wheel discs with ABS.

C300 Luxury, Sport: 18 mpg city/25-26 mpg highway
C350 Sport: 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway
C63 AMG: 12 mpg city/19 mpg highway

  • Quick acceleration
  • Good handling
  • S-Class styling
  • Fantastic AMG model

  • Overall interior design
  • Lack of manual trans in C63

Getting closer to the 3 Series

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  • BMW 3 Series
  • Audi A4
  • Lexus IS
  • Infiniti G37

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