2009 Mercedes-Benz C300

The Mercedes-Benz C300 packs an amazing amount of luxury and technology into a remarkably clean package, inside and out. And that cleanness and simplicity is the most remarkable thing about the C300. It's refreshing to be surrounded by an interior free of clutter and jet-fighter control panels. Instead, you focus on the very sastifying driving experience. The V-6 is adequate, the controls precisely M-B. There's a big, thick steering wheel and brakes that bite. Leaving the office, I found the ride was fairly harsh on the Ann Arbor's broken roads, then noticed the comfort/sport mode button was parked in the sporty shock-your-ass mode. Huh. Someone must talk to these motor gophers.

The extra-large three-pointed star embedded in the grille and the crisply folded lines of the C300 give it an edgy look that previous generations of C-class cars didn't have. The base price is super, although I'd be hard-pressed to drop enough options from our test car to get it back down below $40,000. It's the perfect introduction into the world of Mercedes-Benz engineering excellence and would be a nice little present to yourself, especially if you can forgo some of the add-ons.

Jean Jennings, President & Editor-in-Chief

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