I first drove the newest Mercedes-Benz C-class in Europe in the summer of 2007. I was impressed. The steering was a big step up from the old car's yet the baby Benz still felt like a proper Benz. My impressions of the car in the USA later in 2007 weren't as good. I found the ride quality a bit harsh on U.S. roads, the interior plastics not up to spec, and the steering not as linear as the model I tested in Europe. This latest C-class test car reminded me that the small Mercedes is indeed a very nice car. Sure, I prefer the way the newest BMW 3-series drives when pushed, but this latest C-class runs the BMW much closer than ever before. I'd still like to see nicer dash materials, and the seven-speed automatic transmission is sluggish, but if you want a Mercedes but don't want to spend big money, the C-class delivers.
Marc Noordeloos, Road Test Editor