Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.

All Grown Up Baby Benz
2008 Mercedes-Benz C300 Sport
Four Star out of Five
by Alain Gayot
Mercedes-Benz C300 Sport

In short: A luxurious compact sport sedan.

Not only does the brand with the three pointed stars have a winner with rookie sensation Lewis Hamilton on the Formula One circuit, but we think the new C-Class deserves a podium, too. On a recent drive through the majestic back roads of Portland, Oregon, whether on straights along the Columbia River, bends during ascension of volcanoes or in city traffic, the new generation Mercedes-Benz C300 behaved like a true charmer. It certainly seduced us, the drivers, passengers and curious onlookers.

Mercedes-Benz C300 Sport C300 Sport Motor

As if the previous generation were not captivating enough, especially with attractive financing terms, this fourth edition is sure to capture a wide audience and deliver some sales records for the brand in the process. What’s new, you may ask? In a nutshell, much more for the money. The entry level car is actually playing catch-up to the company’s flagship, the S-Class. Its design is more in line with the big car, with sporty and dynamic looks. It is larger (4 inches longer) and therefore more roomy all-around than its predecessor. The C300 is quite a satisfying car as is, offering more value, safety (see sidebar), room, features and dynamic behavior.  Also, in these days of environmental consciousness, it will deliver more power and use the same amount of gasoline (or less) than the outgoing version.

C300 Sport Interior C300 Sport Mirror

Our “Sport” tester had some AMG-inspired dynamic components. We’re talking mega-wheels (optional 18 inch), a three-prong steering wheel, a sport braking system, dual exhaust, body styling and a huge integrated star logo in the three-louvered grille.  The interior was black leather with aluminum trim finish and the exterior had a redoubtable flashy red that contrasted nicely with the snows of Mt. Hood. It is also 15 millimeters lower than the classic car. There is a manual option, but our 7-speed automatic gave us a good feel. We noticed the huge exterior mirrors, and rear passengers will appreciate all that extra space, especially with an upgraded hydro-mechanical rear suspension. Let’s not forget the convenient Bluetooth connectivity, dual-zone climatic control with charcoal filter, power sunroof, 8-way power front seats with lumbar support and the relatively user-friendly central controller for clutter reduction, which all come as standard equipment.  In the audio department you will do fine with the standard equipment but it might not be bad to treat yourself to the Multimedia Package.  For an extra $2,700, you get COMAND Navigation featuring a 7-inch power retractable screen with attractive graphics, a 30 GB hard drive,  in-dash 6-disc DVD-Changer (yes, you can watch movies in the parking lot, or if you’ve been banned from the living room), 450-watt Harman Kardon LOGIC7 surround sound system with 12 speakers, PCMCIA slot and voice control.

For those addicted to the ever-present all-wheel drive option, rest assured that the 4-Matic will be offered. And yes, there is a beefier V6 with 40hp more if you really have to have it.

Improved Safety Features
  • 70% of the car is built with high-strength/ultra-strength steel
  • Six airbags
  • Adaptive Braking System
  • Active Safety (ESP, ABS, BAS)
  • Active front head restraints

“With its exceptionally balanced driving characteristics, the fourth generation of the C-Class embodies a new culture of driving in the compact premium car segment. This allows us to offer our customers the most versatile and effortless superior C-Class ever – and in not just one, but two attractive outfits.” - Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Head of the Mercedes Car Group

Read a review of the Mercedes Benz C350.

Mercedes-Benz C300 Sport

Warranty/Service: Four-year/50,000-mile new vehicle warranty, four-year/50,000-mile drivetrain, four-year/50,000-mile rust, 3,000-mile maintenance, unlimited-mile roadside assistance

Base Price: $31,975/As Tested: $40,265

Technical Specifications

Vehicle type: four-door, five passenger sedan

Engine: 90-degree V6
Horsepower: 228 SAE @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 221 lb-ft @ 2700-5000 rpm

Curb weight: 3,421
Wheelbase: 108.7
Turning circle: 35.6 ft.

Brakes: four-wheel vented disc with ABS and power-assist
Suspension: independent front and rear with sport shocks and springs

Safety: two stage front air bags, side and curtain air bags, active front head restraints, structural side impact protection, ASR traction control

0-60 mph: 7.1 seconds
Top Speed: 130 mph

EPA Highway: TBA

Mercedes-Benz C300

Check out other Mercedes-Benz models
See all of our Automobile Reviews
Visit the Mercedes-Benz website

Photography: AlphaMedia

(Updated: 07/07/08 SCV)