So to speak... but actually, in the C-class (for sure), the RPMs are still high on the HWY. I have a friend with a 99 C230k, and her RPMs match mine identically.
I have driven a friends 97 C230 many times... and 1st gear seems to be the same, as does our 4th gear, and their 5th gear.
In other words, the 2nd and 3rd gears in our cars, are more or less the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th gears in her car.
2006 E350 w/ 155k miles (Daily Driver)
1993 300E 3.2L Sedan w/ close to about 300k miles
2003 E500 Brilliant Silver (Had 217k miles when totalled!)
1989 300E with 289,000 miles (had for <1 yr while in HI)
03 CLK 500 cabrio (Mom's)
2006 C230k (Dad's)
1999 S420 (Mom's/Dad's)
2000 C230k Sport sedans
2001 CLK320 Cabrio (Mom's)
1995 C280 My First Mercedes-Benz... (155k miles. EXCEPTIONAL AUTOMOBILE. Was Very hard to let go of!)