The first compact Mercedes was called the baby Benz—and often, you had to know the person uttering those words to know whether it was a compliment or a snarky aside. The fact is, that first 190E was more important for what Mercedes would become than it was for luxury buyers. Cramped and kind of cheap inside, the 190E nonetheless marked the shift in thinking in Stuttgart, away from few model lines and directly into head-to-head competition with BMW.
The baby Benz has, in fact, come a long way, baby. And that’s the thrust of our test drive this week of the new C-Class, where we dodged bullet-like fragments of terra cotta roofs in Spain to bring you the first test drive. After sampling the C300 and C350 V-6 editions and the upcoming AMG model, publisher TCC Team confirms that the new C-Class has the reflexes it needs to hang with BMW’s 3-Series.
“The 3.5-liter V-6 launches like a cat,” he says. “It is quick and confident, boasting 0-60 times of 6.3 seconds, with an electronically-limited top speed of 130 mph.
“Our conclusion: with the AMG suspension package, the new C-Class does a good judge chasing its arch-rival, the 3-Series.
“The new, fourth-generation C-Class is just about everything earlier buyers would have liked: it’s stylish, swift and lavishly-equipped, even without all the option packages.”
What more do you need, a full review? Fine, then. Have it.TCC DRIVES: 2008 BENZ C-CLASS