Driven: 2009 Mercedes-Benz C300 4Matic

April 15, 2009
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We just returned a 2009 Mercedes-Benz C300 4Matic after a week's stay at's Detroit office. It was this editor's first time in the new C-Class, an all-new car introduced last year.

The C300 is the more luxurious version of the C-Class, and this is a car that would make Mercedes-Benz traditionalists smile. The car's exterior is handsome and has personality ... in other words, as your eyes follow the body's character lines, you know you're looking at a Mercedes-Benz and not a Lexus or BMW. A more significant impression is the overall feeling of solidity that this car delivers.

The doors close securely. The steering has some heft to it (but is not overly weighty). Interior controls and materials convey thoughtful quality.In a move that combines a traditional dash design with current high technology, the optional NAV system remains hidden in what would otherwise be a rather plain looking instrument panel. When called upon, the nav screen emerges from what looks to be a top-of-dash glove box in a Transformer-like fashion. Very cool.

We also liked the manner in which Mercede-Benz presents the C300's gauges, with the center of the largest gauge being left open for other information.

On the road, the 2009 Mercedes-Benz C300 feels the way you want it to. If the driver feels like being a chauffer, the ride is smooth enough to feel like a larger car. Remember, the C300 is Mercedes-Benz' smallest sedan. However, if the driver wants more on-road action, the C300 can deliver.

The winter weather abated for the week we had the Benz, so we never had an opportunity to enjoy the added all-weather security the 4Matic provides. Consider the cars we've had when snow fell by the foot, we felt rather gypped.


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The 3.0-liter V-6 puts out 230 horsepower, which by today's standard's is modest. But the smooth engine channels its power through a seven-speed automatic transmission that makes the most of those 230 horses. The C300 felt plenty fast and sporty, especially when the powertrain is set in the "Sport" mode.

Perhaps more time in the driver's seat may have helped us to get used to the C300's longish pedal travel. This characteristic made driving smoothly easy, but in quicker driving, it made it harder to modulate the power.

Check out our full review of the 2009 Mercedes-Benz C300 here and see what this German manufacturer has done with their smallest sedan.

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