Last post on Jan 17, 2010 at 6:44 PM
You are in the Mercedes-Benz C-Class
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Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Sedan
#291 of 391 Now I've driven it for a few weeks in LA.
Oct 04, 2005 (6:39 pm)
My car came 3 weeks ago, but I picked it up 2 weeks ago because it came too late in the weekend to have it prepped for delivery.
For the first 1000 miles in Germany, I averaged 37mph only. That included super fast and long autobahn stretches. That goes to show how congested and full of construction Germany is. I got 21.5 mpg for those 1000 miles, and that included lots of gridlocked freeways and 100+mph runs. Not the most efficient way of driving.
Here are gas mileage figures, based on the trip computer, which is relatively accurate, after having the car in the US and driving it with premium fuel under the US chip programming (the reprogram it for Euro delivery).
If you average 15mph on a trip, very common in city traffic, you will get about 17mpg
If you average 20mph, you will get about 18mpg
If you average 25-30mph, you will get the 19mpg claimed city mileage, which is nice, as it really does describe 'city speed' driving on a non-highway commute.
Highway driving gets you above 25mpg easily, which is what the EPA says too, which makes this one of the first cars I've ever owned where the EPA estimates are accurate!
And on a flat rear tire (8psi), you get 13mpg around town! Yes, a flat will cut mileage down that much. I had no idea the tire was flat as the car was so balanced, but I had been driving on it for about 4 miles total. There was a screw in it, and it was easily repaired, but now you can see why proper tire inflation is so important.
I still dislike the Continental tires, though as city tires, you don't hear the loudness so much, and they are a forgiving tire. I will leave them on through the rainy season, then put my 17" AMG rims on for summer with new tires, and get new all season tires for these very sharp stock 16" rims for next rainy season.
This car is smooth, and just like the 350 was described above, you can get into trouble as you routinely drive faster than you think. This might have to do with the speedometer being in the wrong place. They should swap it with the tach, as that would put the area of both you will look at most in front of your eyes.
The 4matic is not detectable in normal driving, and the 5speed is fine, shifting relatively well, though you must train it to know you, or you'll get slow shifts. I am sure the 7speed is more forgiving in that regard, but it wasn't too long ago that a 5speed was exotic. My C230K had the 5speed as well, and this one is smoother, but you do have to stomp a little harder if you want an immediate downshift. The manumatic mode is precise and quick.
You can physically see why the 7speed and the 4matic don't fit together. There is a foot well intrusion in the pax side where the 4matic mechanism transfers the power from the transmission back to the front wheels, and one can see that there is no room or physical way that the two could easily mate with the 7speed.
As stated, the standard sound system is great. The HK system adds some "sound stage" features, more power, and volume adjusting with speed that the standard audio doesn't have. Thing is, in my experience with the speed sensitive volume in the MB from 1990 through 2005, is it is not good enough and you end up adjusting it anyway.
The Nav system is great. I liked the old one fine, this one is 10 times better, but for some reason, MB still does not list MOVIE THEATERS on the POI list. They believe that if you drive a mercedes, you only want to see legitimate theater. LOL.
The trip computer is so much better than the one from my 2002. I also love how if you have the trip computer in NAV mode when you are not following a route, it shows direction heading and the name of the street you are on! I wish I had that when driving in Germany, but alas, the US nav system has no compatible Euro DVD maps. I got lost so many times...
The interior fit is great, though there is a squeak in the wood on the door when my elbow rests on it that is not there on the metal version of the door in the C230/350 sport. They are replacing the door panel to see if it fixes that, but since mine is blue with a blue leather insert, it's rare and had to come from Germany. Oh well, it's a thing that most people wouldn't notice, but due to my exact height and where I rest my elbow, I notice it.
This car is not the sportiest car on earth, but I wanted a car with pep, that handled well, that drove well, that was big enough to not feel tight but small enough to feel connected and to throw around. This car is nearly perfect in those aspects.
I would recommend the C280 to anyone looking for a car in this class, or even those considering an E for the luxury (not the space). The E is no more luxurious than a leather clad C from the driver's POV, and both are striking from the outside, and the C is just more fun to drive.
#292 of 391 Re: Now I've driven it for a few weeks in LA. [ikramerica]
Oct 05, 2005 (3:59 pm)
When you say, "a leather clad C," I was curious to know if you opted for the all-leather option and if you are saying that it provides a more opulent look compared to the standard package.
#293 of 391 Ordered a C350 - its a beaut !
Oct 05, 2005 (4:33 pm)
I am in Sacramento/CA, and have ordered a MB c350 (obsidian black/stone) with all options excluding all-leather and 4Matic, for invoice price+750 (costco deal). I am a first time luxury-car buyer, and had test drove BMW 325, Lexus ES330 and Avalon Ltd (all 2006) within a span of 2 days.
The MB test drive was fantastic - smooth ride, effortless and quiet acceleration, very responsive steering, rich interior (interior/exterior looks are much better than the 2006 BMW 3 series). I had test driven the BMW 325 in tight corners at about 40-50 mph (as I did with the MB), and did not notice any "significant/superior handling" that the beemer-fans rave about. I tested the BMW just hours before the MB, and soon as I got into the MB I could see the superior appointments - the different can be instantly felt. It was love at first sight! The BMW had very bland interior, and a straight black front panelling that I disliked (old Corolla look). Plus, I found the driver seats a bit tight for my comfort. Both BMW and MB have horrible cup-holders - the rear ones are too shallow for comfort.
On a price comparison, loading the comparable BMW 330 with the same options as the c350 gave me a price higher by about $400 for the 330. So the beemer did not have price advantage over the MB (except when you factor the free-maintainence for 4 years offered by BMW versus the $300/year needed for the MB).
The Lexus ES 330 was cool, but a bit elephantine for my needs. Same with the Avalon, which I found smoother/quiter than the Lexus. Good thing about the Avalon was the new engine (260 hp plus) and the flat flooring in the rear seat (very cool for the center seat). Also, the Lexus/Avalon looks very Camry-ish to me, and I wanted to stand out from the crowd (heh! heh!)
I did not notice significant difference between the C and S modes (Comfort/Sport) in the feel of the car, except during startup, when it starts in 2nd gear in C mode for a smooth start.
I love the 21/29 mpg rating since most of my driving is on freeways to work.
I will opt for Michelin tires though (instead of the standard all-weather Continental). I also plan on getting the wheels chromed. MB's look best when they shine!
#294 of 391 Re: Ordered a C350 - its a beaut ! [shanky]
Oct 05, 2005 (7:41 pm)
You said, "I did not notice significant difference between the C and S modes (Comfort/Sport) in the feel of the car, except during startup, when it starts in 2nd gear in C mode for a smooth start."
Unless they changed more than the letters, there would be no difference between the two settings other than what you observed. On our '02 model, the letters are "S" for standard and "W" for winter (for reduced wheel spin when startiing off in 2nd on snow or ice) .
The costco deal sounds like a good idea. I would ordinarily wait for the car that I wanted to show up on the lot--even if it took a year--but, I've been on the local lot a few times and they hardly stock any 350s. Odd too because they sold about 50-50 between 240s and 320s when we purchased a "C" in '02.
#295 of 391 Re: Now I've driven it for a few weeks in LA. [ikramerica]
Oct 06, 2005 (6:09 am)
ikr: Thanks for the post; as usual - quite helpful. I'm curious, though, why you went for the 4-matic rather than the 7-speed, given that you live in an area where weather conditions are not severe enough to really need it. I live in Chicago, and am leaning toward the 7-speed, and we get a lot more snow.... but haven't yet decided.
I notice the mention on recommending the C-class even in comparison with the E. I'm also one who prefers the C to the E. For me, the E is too big. I live in an urban area and welcome the power and handling, but prefer a smaller car that can fit into parallel parking and maneuver in city parking lots and streets. Most manufacturers associate bigger with better. Once they improve a car, its only offered on the bigger models. Glad to see MB is offering improvements on the smaller ones.
#296 of 391 Re: Now I've driven it for a few weeks in LA. [ikramerica]
Oct 06, 2005 (3:49 pm)
Thanks for the update, I appreciate it.
What grade fuel are you using? Do you try to run the lowest grade, stick to the recommended premium, or run mid-grade and what are your thoughts on this?
I've always tried to run the lowest grade that didn't result in detonation on previous vehicles but I've only owned one previous vehicle which recommended Premium (an Acura Integra) and it ran fine on regular unleaded ~87 octane.
I spoke to my dealer last week and he told me mine is in production, so I'll need to drive vicariously through you until mine gets delivered, if you don't mind.
#297 of 391 Fuel grades
Oct 07, 2005 (7:51 pm)
The C280 compression ratio is 11.1:1--that's pretty high, and I doubt that you can escape pinging/detonation in anything but the highest octane fuel you can find at the pump. Speaking of fuel, the shop foreman at my local Mercedes dealer suggested that it's a good idea that every 3 or 4 tanks to buy a bottle of Chevron's fuel additive "Techron" and add it to the tank when it's empty just before it's filled. He said that will help keep the injectors clean.
My car is "on the water" and will arrive in LA port on October 16, I'm told. So I should have it home in my garage by the end of this month and to say I'm anxious would be understating it. This is my fourth Mercedes, and they just keep getting better and better.
#298 of 391 Car and Driver C350 Review
Oct 11, 2005 (8:49 pm)
Car and Driver has a full road test of the C350 Sport in their November issue. They liked the engine, interior build quality (called it peerless) and the sturdy/solid feel of the whole car. You know the traditional Mercedes stuff. They didn't like the fact that the C350 Sport looks exactly like the C230 Sport. They really harped about that, and the price (45K as tested). They also said the interior had too much plastic and wasn't that inviting, but it had "peerless" build quality? Uh..ok I guess they're saying its well built but not inspired or inviting, kinda like German cars of a few years back I guess. The manual tranny C350 Sport did 0-60 in 5.5 seconds, faster than everthing else in this class except the new IS350. That is pretty impressive imo.
#299 of 391 Re: Car and Driver C350 Review [merc1]
Oct 12, 2005 (11:45 am)
Thanks for mentioning. Several of their complaints seem to be either "sport" specific vs. "luxury sedan" or option specific. For instance, C&D complains about the aluminum interior, but the luxury sedan doesn't have that. They complain about the seat adjustment; but that's an option to improve which may not have been included in the test model.
In general, its a positive review of the C350 - they even almost apologized for not including it in the comparo of the previous month.
#300 of 391 Re: Car and Driver C350 Review [dfc3]
Oct 12, 2005 (8:16 pm)
Yeah sometimes Car and Driver does take themselves too seriously, but all in all it was a good review. I really like the comments about the traditional Benz things like build quality and solidity and the "tiger" of an engine. Car and Driver can be very fickle sometimes. Though I too would like for Mercedes to drop that aluminum look plastic. A Mercedes should have wood. They could bring back that dark ash wood for their sportier models. I grudgingly agree that the C350 should have something the way of looks over the C230, but that isn't a big deal imo.