Want a taste of the good life without eviscerating the kids' college fund? Buy an entry-luxury sedan like the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, a car that's anchored the bottom of Mercedes' U.S. lineup for more than two decades.
Or not. The outgoing C-Class sedan sputtered into last place in 2013's $46,000 Sport Sedan Challenge. That was for a turbocharged four-cylinder C250 Sport, but we drove a V-6 C350 soon after, and it didn't redeem much. If this is the baby Benz, a lot of bathwater needed draining.
Drain it, Mercedes did. With the CLA-Class now anchoring the bottom of the lineup, Mercedes moved the redesigned C-Class upmarket in terms of both quality and price. The redesign hits dealers late this month in all-wheel-drive C300/C400 form and early 2015 in rear-drive C300 form, and it's eminently more desirable than the car it replaces.