Nuts & Bolts

Overall reliability for the current C-Class has been average. In crash tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the car earned the top score of Good in front, side, rear and roof-crush tests, making it an IIHS Top Safety Pick for 2010. Standard features include antilock brakes, an electronic stability system and nine airbags; click here for a full list. Seat-mounted airbags for the rear seats are optional, but the car secured its Top Safety Pick status without them.

The C300 Sport starts at $33,600 Ч at the high end of the segment, but it comes well-equipped. Standard features include dual-zone automatic climate control, vinyl upholstery, eight-way power front seats, a moonroof and a CD stereo with an MP3 jack. The C300 Luxury runs $35,300; it has a standard automatic transmission, which costs $1,490 on the C300 Sport. All-wheel drive C300s command just over $37,000 in Sport or Luxury trim, but both include the automatic. The C350 starts at $39,750 and is available only with rear-wheel drive and the automatic. The same goes for the C63 AMG, which starts at $57,350 Ч plus a $2,100 gas-guzzler tax.

Climb the options ladder, and available features include a navigation system, genuine leather, additional power seat controls, full iPod compatibility, heated seats and a backup camera. Typical of Mercedes, some common luxury features are optional no matter how high you go: The C63, despite its near-$60,000 starting price, still upholsters its sport seats in vinyl Ч and charges extra for real cowhide. "Ridiculous" defined.

Check all the factory options, and the C63 can top out over $75,000. That's an eye-watering price, to be sure, but an M3 sedan loaded to the gunwales costs just as much.

    See also:

    Activating/deactivating DSR
    Activating You can only activate DSR if you are driving at 25 mph (40 km/h) or slower. Ц Press button 1. Indicator lamp 2 lights up. The following messages appear in the multifunction displa ...

    Side impact air bags
    WARNING   The pressure sensors for side impact air bag control are located in the doors. Do not modify any components of the doors or door trim panels including, for example, the addit ...

    Fuse box in the engine compartment
    Make sure that the windshield wipers are turned off. WARNING Make sure that the windshield wipers are switched off and that the SmartKey is removed from the ignition lock before you open ...