SEATTLE – Without question, the Mercedes-Benz CLA sedan, the brand’s latest low-cost entry point, is achieving its objective in welcoming more luxury aspirants to the fold. Stuttgart can’t make enough of them.

Before the CLA, Mercedes customers often joined the club by purchasing the C-Class, a popular, trusty waypoint until one could step higher into the E-Class or S-Class or a sporty roadster.

Thankfully, the hoopla about the CLA has not taken management’s eye off the C-Class.

Instead, the new fifth-generation C is a proper redesign integrating many of the features that made last year’s S-Class flagship such a luscious car.

The new C-Class gets two clean-sheet (and excellent) gasoline engines, more space, top-notch active-safety equipment, solid driving dynamics, an available air suspension (for $1,200), a spot-on interior that looks and feels truly premium and a standard central digital display that is graphically engaging and easy to use.

OK, the 7-speed automatic transmission can feel a bit lazy, the steering could be a bit more direct and the styling might be considered pleasantly evolutionary.

Where the sheet metal of the previous-generation C (codename W204) was angled downward toward the front, the new model (W205) is designed to emulate the S-Class, with a more prominent front end and a character line that slopes down toward the rear. Point is, the restyled C looks great, but the old one remains handsome.

The new sedan is just the beginning, to be followed by C variants that will include a coupe, high-output AMG model, diesel engine and plug-in hybrid (but no wagon). Until the new coupe arrives, Mercedes will continue selling the current C250, C350 and C63 AMG.