Three horizontal bars, one vertical support, no badge.
The “Luxury” grille was also accompanied by unique bumper treatment and softer suspension.
But how were you to advertise the fact that you were, in fact, driving a Mercedes-Benz? There was a three-pointed star perched on top, a hood ornament in automotive parlance.
Unfortunately, the C-Class hood ornament that harkened back to a more elegant era has gone the way of crank windows.
Rare was the Luxury-packaged C-Class to begin with. According to Car And Driver, dealers didn’t want to stock C-Class sedans with the empty grille/hood ornament combo because buyers, particularly younger buyers, don’t actually want it.
Instead, Mercedes-Benz’s modern grille — seen across the brand’s SUV, coupe, and roadster lineups and on most sedans — includes a large badge that much more ostentatiously advertises the origins of a Benz.
Despite its departure from the C-Class, the hood ornament isn’t entirely dead across Mercedes-Benz’s U.S. lineup. There are E-Class and S-Class variants that continue to operate under traditional Mercedes-Benz styling norms. But sadly, the C-Class sedan joins its coupe and convertible brethren in banishing a classically Benz element.Much as the three-pointed star standing proudly erect atop a long hood fosters a degree of nostalgia for a time when Mercedes-Benz still represented high-end exclusivity, it’s beginning to look out of place — like a leaper accessorized onto the hood of a Jaguar F-Pace or a wreath-and-crest alighting on a Cadillac CTS’s bonnet.
Unfortunately, relatively small hood ornaments have been replaced by increasingly broad grille emblems, often tasked with accomplishing great technological feats.
“It’s a Mercedes-Benz,” the C-Class’s upright three-pointed star used to say, politely, and with the faux British accent used by an entire generation of American actors.
“IT’S A MERCEDES-BENZ!” the C-Class’s grille now shouts.
[Images: Daimler AG]