Stealing a few design cues from its far more expensive S430 sibling, the muscular $29,950 Mercedes-Benz C240 sedan has an all-new design for 2001 and continues as a favorite choice for businesspeople. New, too, is its 2.6-liter V6 engine with 168 horsepower, mated for the first time to a six-speed manual transmission. If you hate working a clutch, you can choose the optional five-speed automatic transmission equipped with Touch Shift that lets you play with the gears without a clutch pedal. Included in the base price are front, side and door airbags; extra-large brakes; an antilock braking system; and scrollable steering wheel buttons to control the audio system and trip computer. Standard, too, are a traction control and integrated stability system and Tele Aid for emergency calls.
Jill Amadio has reported on the automotive industry for 24 years as an editor and consultant.