THE MERCEDES-BENZ C-Class operates in one of the toughest market arenas in the world - that cash-enriched sector in which it has to fend off rivals such as the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4.
But this solid mid-sized Merc goes about its business in its own traditional way - wooing buyers with its own brand of first class travel and notjust howling performance.
Although the C250d AMG Line saloon I tried recently proved it was king of all worlds with 153mph top speed and a 0-62mph acceleration factor of 6.6 seconds - figures that would put many out and out sports saloons to shame.
And with a combined fuel economy of 65.7mpg and a CO2 emissions figure of 121g/km, its planet- friendliness stats are of the highest order.
First impressions count a lot with any car and for this one, which will set you back £37,485 it was the superb interior that ticked the box for me.
I have driven many C-Class variants over the years, but this car just shouts "come in!" to the discerning driver.
All the interior trim and surfaces look as though they are from a much more expensive car and even the switches and buttons feel tuned and damped to soft touch operation.
AMG Line models go a stage further with dashboards wrapped in imitation leather.
Much lighter than the previous version, the current C-Class is a nimble beast featuring a lot of aluminium in its construction and multi-link suspension.
A particular like was the 7G-Tronic Plus seven-speed automatic transmission which handled the 204bhp of the 2,413cc four-cylinder common-rail diesel so smoothly when the car was pushed hard.
Although not the fastest or most powerful of the C-Class variants, the C250d does raise the question of whether you really need more power, it being such a capable package.
As far as standard specification is concerned this model has a raft of comfort, safety and security features that make the mind boggle. And there is a list of options that can gild the lily and also add to the basic price.
One such item that was fitted to the test car at extra cost was the £350 Air-Balance system in which the interior fragrance can be changed as can its intensity. The system also governs oxygen ionization and improves the filtering system.
But this is the amazing world of Mercedes-Benz in which the fastest and most ferocious performers are suave rather than boy racer-ish.
In terms of looks, this version is dominated by the long and imposing bonnet which really shouts its name and sporty AMG style front apron, rear apron and side skirts.
Standard fit are high-performance LED lights and AMG sport seats which give superb support.
And there is a full sat-nav infotainment and connectivity suite to satisfy the most discerning technophile.