2009 Mercedes-Benz C300

I agree with Evan that the BMW 3-series is sportier than the C300, but the Benz's superior ride and better styling (to my eyes) definitely keep it competitive with its Bavarian rival. Evan's also right that the lack of all-wheel drive changes the character of the car--in a good way.

The 228-hp V-6 is the least powerful engine currently offered in the C-class, but it still has a nice, grunty sound and adequate power for most drivers. The seven-speed automatic helps make the most of the powerplant, too, although downshift response was sluggish at times. (Granted, I left the transmission in comfort mode most of the time, so as not to wake the baby, but you shouldn't have to push a button before you're allowed to briskly pass slower traffic.)

The panoramic sunroof, which consists of two large glass panels that essentially take up the entire roof, lets in enough light to make the stylish interior feel even more comfortable and refreshing. The trunk has an airy feel, too. I was a bit befuddled, however, that the driver's seat is adjusted through power controls on the driver's door (like many Mercedes vehicles) whereas the passenger's seat has power controls on the side of the cushion (like most power-seated cars on the planet). Strange ...

Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor

New Car Research

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