What is it?
If you buy a new Mercedes C-class from launch, this is the finest model Stuttgart can offer – the new six-cylinder, petrol powered C350 Sport. Until the AMG C-class appears in September, it must carry the mantle of the most sporting, powerful C-class and with it the hopes of Mercedes that it can attract a younger, more dynamic constituency of punter into its new and conspicuously attractive small saloon.
What's it like?
Heavier and less powerful than its closest rival, the BMW 335i, the C350's performance is unexceptional. Mercedes reckons its 272bhp, 3.5-litre motor will propel it to 62mph from rest in 6.4sec but to me it simply didn’t feel that fleet. Moreover, if you really start rummaging around in the upper reaches of its rev range, the V6 starts to sound a little hoarse and strained.
Left in the mid-range, however, and it fares much better. This is an engine that hits a peak torque figure of 258lb ft at just 2400rpm and maintains it all the way to 5000rpm, so the way to drive it is to select a higher gear than you might naturally choose, and let the engine rather than the gearbox do the work. Besides, left to its own devices the seven-speed auto is as trigger-happy as ever when applied to this engine and only really calms down when bolted to the back of the 3.0-litre diesel motor.