2009 Mercedes-Benz C300

Like Amy Skogstrom, I emerged from the C300 thinking it was a fine entry-level luxury car, only to realize it cost more than our well-equipped, V-8-powered Hyundai Genesis Four Seasons car. (On an unrelated note, I hear that company is doing quite well).

Then again, most of the options on this particular model are ones that I could very well do without. A hesitant seven-speed automatic for $1460? Thanks, I'll go with the no-cost, short-throw six-speed manual. Multimedia package for $2980? How about I just stick a copy of Automobile Magazine in the map pocket and listen to the radio? The panorama sunroof brightens up the somewhat somber cabin, so it's worth a grand, as is leather seating, which absurdly remains a costly option on both this car and the BMW 3-series.

What the C300 has in its favor is a genuinely luxurious, expensive feel that often eludes small luxury sedans. It's squared-off styling and business-like cabin ooze Mercedes character. And though it is a bit softer than a 3-series, it's no Buick LeSabre, either. I found it easy to drive the C300 quickly and smoothly, even if the slow-to-respond auto sometimes diminished the fun.

David Zenlea, Assistant Editor

New Car Research

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