While you may not think of Mercedes-Benz as having a split personality, the 2008 Mercedes-Benz C Class suggests it does.
First, there's the luxury version of this fourth generation upscale sedan, with the usual comfortable drive, the expected three pointed star poking into the air atop the nose, the sense of entitlement when negotiating a 15 mph racetrack also known as freeway at rush hour. A prettier body to show off for sure. A resolution of some natty problems that have plagued earlier C editions, a pledge.
Second, there's the decidedly different Sport models inspired by Mercedes-Benz's performance studio AMG versions. A tauter looking exterior, no Tristar nose cone (it's a logo on the grille), a hunkier coupe look overall. The intended customer? A younger, less traditional buyer who might take a road home that snakes through the mountains just for fun.
This 2008 fourth gen C Class is very important to Mercedes-Benz, the Teutonic auto maker that has long worn "class" as a birthright.
Besides introducing a dual lineage line to suit all tastes, it's aimed at tempering relentless grousing from previous C Class owners who've been dissing M-B in frustration at earlier quality issues through scathing internet blogs. M-B had a chance to get it right this time. It promises that is has, and some intial reviews suggest they may be right. (I get my turn shortly).
V-6 engines underscore the three volume C Class models: C300 Sport or Luxury (228-HP 3.0-liter that can run on alternative fuel) or C350 Sport (268-HP 3.5-liter). Transmissions are a new six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic. C300 versions can add optional 4MATIC four-wheel-drive. Base pricing ranges from just below $32 K to the C350 Sport's $37 K range, before options. Best mileage is the C300 Luxury model's 18 city/26 highway mpg.
Yes, there is a C63 AMG version starting at $54,625, with a 451-HP, 6.3-liter V-8 that can blow the doors off a cop car on any straight stretch of empty asphalt. Of course, that's assuming a green squad isn't blocking the road.