2009 Mercedes-Benz C300 4Matic

I never much cared for the exterior styling of the last-generation C-class, but I really like the aesthetics of the current car. No, it's not radical or ornate; it's cleanly sculpted with just a pinch of boxiness. Some may say it's too conservative, but I see it more as a throwback to the original W202 C-class, along with its oh-so-successful 190 (W201) forebear. For some reason, it just feels like a proper baby Mercedes.

So, too, does the interior. Although it's a bit boring to look at (especially in this all-black scheme), it's ergonomically first-rate. Everything, from the bank of window switches to the Comand wheel on the center console, is positioned within a wrist's flick away from the steering wheel or armrest. The interior may not excite the senses, but it's totally Teutonic-and I love it.

I'm sadly not quite as enthused for the powertrain combination. Yeah, that 228 hp figure for the 3.0-liter six cylinder isn't bad, but I thought the seven-speed automatic would truly help it shine. It's smooth as can be when you're casually rolling through town, but it loses its composure once a surge of power is demanded. You'll wait forever for a downshift (when it comes, it may be a bit harsh), which belies the 'SPORT' designation our C300 carries.

Evan McCausland, Web Producer

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