2009 Mercedes-Benz C300

I wasn't an outright fan of the last C300 to grace our offices, but what a difference 4Motion--or the lack of it--makes. Benz's all-wheel-drive system comes in handy when facing droves of powdery snow, but it also tends to noticeably dog the car.

Without the extra half-shafts and differential weighing the car down, the C300 feels rather quick, even when comfort mode is selected for the seven-speed automatic. The transmission is smooth and fairly quick to downshift upon throttle input (especially in sport mode), but I'd still like to try a C300 with a stick on for size.

Although I love the Benz's styling, interior, and packaging, the BMW 3-series seems to have it beat in terms of chassis tuning. A base 328i seems sharp and quite responsive, while the C300's floaty ride seems more appropriate for a long interstate run.

Evan McCausland, Web Producer

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