This is the most interesting and characterful car I have ever owned, and they are becoming very affordable now - and so much more interesting (and rare) than the M3 competition. The formula of light body-shell and big engine gives great performance (160 mph, 0-60 in 5.5) and excellent economy (I get 24 mpg average). The body is stiff, the mechanicals are unstressed, it's very comfortable in supportive seats, and the AMG feature-set is very attractive. Dealers are expensive but parts are very available and affordable on the web. And the C43s have it all over the later supercharged C32s mechanically; why do you think AMG went back to the big engine C55/C63? I plan to keep it for a long time
Quiet and unobtrusive, it's a real sleeper which sounds like a NASCAR* when you hoof it. Muscular sound-track, great foul-weather security, brakes like a Porsche (same brakes as E55, which is 700 lbs heavier); I love it. * Actually, not quite: MB uses a different firing order from US V8s.
Steering lacks feel, especially around center, and a rack and pinion system (the next C-class is much better) would have helped. Euro versions are 1" lower, and the car would benefit from that.