- C300 Luxury gains Comfort Suspension
- Memory driver's seat and steering column standard on C350, optional for C300
- 6-speed manual transmission again available
- Eight air bags, including two new pelvic air bags for front occupants
- Newly available compass integrated into rearview mirror
- Larger, 40-gigabyte hard drive for models with navigation
- 4Matic all-wheel drive (AWD) available for C300 Luxury and Sport models
Redesigned for 2008, the current C-Class is the fourth generation of the smallest sedan offering from German luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz. After seven years of development, the 2008 C-Class was larger, wider and more refined than the model it replaced, according to Mercedes. In a first for a C-Class, the wedge-shape front end featured a signature radiator grille to distinguish the Luxury model from the Sport offerings.
For 2009, two new pelvic air bags for front occupants are installed, bringing the total air bag count to eight. A compass has been integrated into the inside mirror of C350 and C63 AMG sedans. Models with a navigation system get a bigger (40-gigabyte) hard drive that holds 6 gigabytes of music as well as Zagat restaurant information. The C300 Luxury model adds a Comfort Suspension. A 10-way driver's memory seat and steering column now are standard on C350 sedans and optional for the C300.
Once again, four different models make up the 2009 C-Class lineup. They include the C300 Luxury Sedan, C300 Sport Sedan, C350 Sport Sedan, and the high-performance C63 AMG. The C300 Luxury and C300 Sport Sedans share the same 228-hp V-6 engine, yet offer different standard transmissions (the Luxury model is equipped with a 7-speed automatic transmission, while the Sport receives a standard 6-speed manual transmission). The C350 Sport Sedan boasts a more powerful 268-hp V-6 engine and is only available with a 7-speed automatic transmission.
Both Sport models offer AMG-style body cladding, Mercedes Agility Control sport suspension, and a unique grille treatment. Sport models feature twin-spoke wheels of staggered width, and have a ride height one-half inch lower. They also receive a 3-spoke steering wheel, rather than a 4-spoke. For 2009, Sport instrument clusters are similar to the C63 AMG's, with three recessed analog gauges. Standard C-Class equipment includes a sunroof, power front seats with lumbar support, dual-zone automatic climate control, and Bluetooth connectivity.
The C63 AMG is a performance-oriented version of the C-Class. It shares the same chassis, but many of the mechanical and cosmetic components have been significantly upgraded. The C63's 451-hp V-8 engine is considerably more powerful, and it is supported by numerous suspension and braking enhancements. The interior of the C63 AMG receives many AMG-specific appointments. These include deeply bucketed sport seats, special upholstery, and a distinctive instrument cluster.
Three engines are available in the 2009 Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The standard powerplant for both C300 models is a 3.0-liter, 228-hp V-6 engine that produces 221 lb.-ft. of torque. A 7-speed automatic transmission goes into the C300 Luxury sedan, but the Sport model gets a standard 6-speed manual gearbox. 4Matic, a full-time AWD system offered by Mercedes, is available on both C300 models. The C350 Sport model features a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that makes 268 hp and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. The standard C350 transmission is a 7-speed automatic with Touch Shift manual control. Seventeen-inch wheels are standard on the C300 and C350 models, with 18-inch wheels available as an upgrade. The C63 AMG offers a 4-valve, 6.3-liter V-8 engine rated at 451 hp. In the C63 AMG, the torque output of 443 lb.-ft. is transferred through the standard AMG 7G-Tronic transmission.
In the C300 Luxury sedan's new Comfort Suspension, each shock absorber contains a hydraulic bypass piston, which lets it behave like a soft shock. When rolling over bumps or uneven roads, the bypass ceases to function, tightening the shock absorber's action.
The EPA estimates fuel economy for the C300 Sport sedan with the automatic transmission at 18 mpg city/25 mpg highway. The manual transmission increases the fuel economy slightly, to 18 mpg city/26 mpg highway. The AWD drivetrain, mated to an automatic transmission, earns an estimated 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway, a fuel-economy rating shared by the C350 Sport sedan. The performance-oriented C63 AMG sedan receives an EPA fuel-economy estimate of only 12 mpg city/19 mpg highway.
Drivers and passengers in the 2009 Mercedes-Benz C-Class are protected with dual-stage front and side-impact air bags, active front head restraints, and 3-point seat belts with an emergency tensioning device and force limiters. In addition, all models are equipped with window curtain air bags protecting the outboard passengers in both the front and rear rows. The C63 AMG has an additional knee air bag for the driver. For 2009, all models add pelvic air bags for front occupants.