The new-generation Mercedes-Benz C-Class wowed the market with its debut last year, and now the highly successful four-door is getting a number of enhancements for the 2009 model year.

The C-Class line features three V6-powered models – the C350 Sport, the C300 Luxury and the C300 Sport – and the high-performance V8-powered C63 AMG.

For 2009, the C300 and C350 models come with new pelvic airbags that work in conjunction with the curtain and side airbags to provide additional protection for front passengers in side impact collisions. With the pelvic airbags, C-Class sedans now boast eight supplemental restraints.

The C300 Luxury model for 2009 comes with Comfort Suspension, which provides the benefits of both soft and stiff shock absorbers. Each shock absorber is fitted with a hydraulic by-pass piston that acts like a very soft shock absorber to effectively dampen road noise and tire vibration. However, over bumpy or uneven roads, the by-pass piston is out of the picture, which preserves the outstanding steering and handling response of a stiffer shock absorber.

A driver’s 10-way memory seat and power steering column are now standard on the C350 and optional on C300 models, while the C350 and C63 AMG get a compass in the inside mirror. New options for 2009 include a 40-gigabyte hard drive, with six gigabytes reserved for music and a Zagat restaurant guide.

Base model estimated mpg: 18/26

Estimated starting price: $32,975


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