The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is a four-door, five passenger luxury sedan. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class has been the German luxury automaker’s entry level sedan since it first debuted in 1993. Competing against the likes of the BMW 3-Series and the Audi A4, the C-Class has at times seemed stodgier and a little less sporty than either of those vehicles, despite the introduction of a hatchback in the early 2000’s. When the C-Class was re-designed for 2008, the vehicle underwent a significant cosmetic and mechanical evolution in order to better capture the youth market that had so far eluded the company.

The 2008 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is certainly a much more attractive vehicle than its predecessor. Gone are the somewhat anonymous straight body panels of the departing C-Class and in its place are an aggressive front grille, a strong mid-body crease which runs the length of the car and a long hood that helps the vehicle resemble a baby S-Class.

The C-Class is also available with a new, more powerful range of engine options. The base engine, found in the C300 is a 3.0 liter V6 which generates 228 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque. Depending upon which trim level is ordered, this motor is matched with either a 7-speed automatic or 6-speed manual transmission. All-wheel drive is also available with the C300. The range-topping C350 substitutes a larger 3.5 V6 for the entry-level 3.0, pushing output to 268 horsepower and dropping the time it takes to accelerate to 60 miles per hour to a respectable 6.1 seconds. This still leaves the car lagging behind the BMW 335i, but it is an overall improvement for C-Class power. The C350 is only available with the 7-speed automatic transmission.

For true speed demons, Mercedes offers an AMG edition of the C-Class, the C63, which uses a 451 horsepower V8 engine to achieve blistering acceleration and impressive top speed.

Aside from the AMG trim, the C-Class is available in Luxury, Sport and 4MATIC (all-wheel drive) trim levels. The Sport is priced lowest, but that doesn’t mean that buyers will be cheated out of a generous helping of standard equipment – not only does the Sport come with rain-sensing windshield wipers, dual-climate controls and heated leather seats, but it also provides a voice-controlled navigation system and a beautiful panoramic roof which uses a series of glass panels to give an unfettered view of the sky above. The Luxury model forgoes the glass roof but does add the slick automatic transmission, along with a more reserved front grille and wooden interior trim. The 4MATIC is quite similar to the Luxury model in terms of amenities.

It goes without saying that the Mercedes-Benz C-Class is a pleasure to drive. While it may lack some of the sports appeal of its BMW equivalent, the C-Class makes up for it with a striking interior and a more comfortable ride. The styling of the C-Class is also much less polarizing than any of the Bavarian automaker’s current offerings, and unlike Audi it can be ordered in rear-wheel drive. The C-Class represents good value for those looking to get into a Mercedes-Benz without having to take out a second mortgage on the house.

The 2009 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is a carryover from 2008. The 2009 C-Class can be ordered in three different trim levels, the C300, C350 and C63 AMG. The C300 features a 3.0 liter V6 that provides 228 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque. Buyers can choose between either a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed automatic transmission, and fuel economy is rated at 17 miles per gallon in city driving and 25 miles per gallon on the highway. All-wheel drive is also available as an option. The C350 upgrades power via a 3.5 liter V6 that is capable of producing 268 ponies and 258 lb-ft of torque. A 7-speed automatic transmission is the only gearbox option, and fuel economy is identical to the smaller displacement model. At the apex of the C-Class food chain is the C63, which pulls out all the performance stops thanks to the inclusion of a fire-breathing, 451 horsepower 6.2 liter V8. In addition to 443 lb-ft of torque and a 7-speed automatic, the C63 turns in fuel mileage numbers of 12 miles per gallon around town and 19 miles per gallon on the highway.