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Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedans

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Comments

  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    Absolutely! I drove the E90 3er very early on, a 325 with sports suspension, and a 330 without. Very impressive ride. Like all first-year cars, however, there are already issues:

    -The run-flat tires as the ONLY available shoes are a real problem for me, and they are proving to be a real problem out there for some early E90 owners. Two issues: some cars are experiencing mid-speed-range shakes, apparently due to tires being out-of-round [looks like an issue with about 20-30% of the cars produced so far]; and if you actually USE the run-flat capability [run the car after the air goes out of a tire], then they are unrepairable and have to be replaced at $150-250 apiece, depending on size and type.

    -Other issues include drivetrain software problems, some interior noises, and the usual
    German electrical failures.

    That said, I would say the E90 325 is probably a better car than the '06 C230 with a manual transmission; with an automatic, I think it is a complete wash - depends on how much you like your local dealer, and the slightly larger trunk of the C. I think a C280 is a noticeably better car than the E90 325, but that assumes you want an automatic, and can exercise restraint with the options list. The 330 is another animal, but most cars are selling for $40k, and I would never spend that kind of money on either a C or a 3er, period.

    I haven't driven the new Lexus IS yet, but I think it would give both of these cars [C230 and BMW 325] a real run for their money, based on what I've read so far - and of course, even a first-year IS will be more trouble-free than any German car.

    Based on what I know:

    -MB: Better ride, more space, 5th year of production for most of the car's components, most useable room
    -BMW: Great handling, quieter than it used to be [but still not up to MB], first-year ownership risk
    -Lexus: Quietest of all, great interior finish, best dealer service, should be the most reliable, but still the tightest package in terms of interior space and trunk

    You could argue that you can't go wrong, though in the case of the Germans I would want a good dealer around to back me up - whether anyone else will tell you or not, I will - you will spend some time there, so they had better know what they are doing.
  • podrespodres Posts: 58
    Thanks for the info, jrct. I will be going to the auto show here in Boston this weekend with my wife, who will be seeing these cars for the first time. Her preference will have some effect, but in the meantime I will ask around about the relative reputations of the MB and BMW shops.
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    ...always love a car show, especially when I'm actually in the market for something new.
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,305
    in here.

    I've posted on other boards regarding my requirements for my next car, since I've been active on Edmunds for more than five years: 1) manual transmission, 2) rear-wheel drive, 3) fold-down rear seats (to accomodate my bicycle), 4) luxury or entry-level luxury features.

    I currently drive one of the nine (or so) Lincoln LSs with a manual transmission, and have a boatload of issues with Ford/Lincoln regarding what we were told was going to happen when the car was introduced relative to how it turned out.

    So. . .I want to replace it, and the Lincoln is no longer an option. I'd decided that my only choices were the BMW 3, the G35 coupe or the CTS. Also-rans included the I250 (tiny & no fold-down seats) and Audi (no RWD available). I've posted elsewhere to that effect.

    Someone on one of those boards pointed out that Mercedes was an option that I didn't mention. I responded that I didn't think Merc sold anything with a manual transmission in the U.S., after which I did research.

    Well, I'm impressed. The dealer I visited to pick up the "C" brochure was top-drawer. Part of what I like about the 325 is the ED option, and Merc offers it as well. Then, to top it off, I learned that the Mariott I'd been using over weekends on business trips in Germany was walking distance from the Merc ED centre. . . Sindelfingen attracted me originally because the Mariott rates were so low on the weekends. Now, there's clearly omething else.

    Okay, that's the preamble. Here's the question/comment: Mercedes has a miserable delivery quality and/or robustness reputation, especially regarding electrical or electronic stuff. I tend to avoid bells & whistles, but still expect basic electrcal bits to work. Are these things as bad as they're made out to be?

    That said, having driven rental vehicles in Germany, Switzerland & Austria on business, I'm very favorably inclined toward the cars that are grown there.

    This board appears to be more-or-less as dead as Elvis. It's the only one I could find on Edmunds dealing with the C, however. Is it such that the C is no longer of interest to anyone (besides me)?
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    Our 02 C240 automatic has been one of the best cars we've owned, and I've had 54 cars since 1962. Its list of problems is shorter than the last Honda and Toyota products we had.

    Of the cars you list, only the new IS can be described as a car without issues, because it's too new to have any. ALL of the Germans have their list of problems - I could bore you with the experiences of the first owners of the new 3er - but let's just say that the C in its current form strikes me as an excellent choice. And yes, the ED program is fun and well-organized by MB.

    I've been around these boards even longer - and I like to tell it as I see it. And as I see it, the W203 is a very good car that will carry the stigma of the first couple of model years, apparently forever. All I know is that our car, produced in Bremen in Jan of '02, and put into service in Sept of '02, and been easily our favorite since the late, great 300SD of 1981.
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,305
    Good to hear, and glad to hear from you.

    I've gone back a couple hundred posts to try to catch up with what's been said here, and it's clear you're one of the key players on the board.

    I'm not going to be doing anything right away, but it's good to consider ALL the options.
  • cdnpinhead: You're certainly not the only one! I had categorically excluded MB from my wishlist, thinking that they were too expensive, until earlier this year. My employer offered special discount pricing (a $1,000 discount) on MBs, which motivated me to check out the MB website. Even though I have a long time to wait for my next car--realistically a year--I am certainly intrigued by the C class.

    I like sporty, but really, I want a car with a smooth and quiet highway ride. From what I've read, MB offers that. Plus, I can get a manual tranny to boot.

    I, too, am concerned about the reliability issues (at least according to Consumer Reports) that seem to have plagued MB for several years now. I wish there was more model-specific data, say for the C230 with manual transmission, without all the "bells and whistles".

    Recently I've been noticing MBs on the road, especially the C-class, and I just can't get over how elegant and sleek those cars are! The C's look like their bigger and more expensive siblings.

    Hopefully, by the time I'm ready to make a purchase, MB's reported reliability will improve. Even if it doesn't, I feel like I owe it to myself to test drive a C230.

    Anyway, I hope you'll keep us posted on your search!

    Thanks,

    Greg
  • While the reliability issues (at least for electrical) are very real (for my car at least), the highway ride is simply outstanding.

    Last year my Mazda was in the shop for over a month (long story) and (another long story) I ended driving a Lincoln Town Car from Enterprise during that period. The Town Car wa by far the quietest highway car I'd ever spent time in. It was smooth and totally isolated from the road, with almost no wind or road noise. The one I drove was a brand-new 2005 model with only 4,500 miles on the odometer.

    Compared to the Town Car, my 2001 C240 with over 70,000 miles on the clock is even quieter! Less wind noise, less road noise, an engine that is absolutely silent while droning at 70, 80 or even 90 MPH, made the twice-as-large Town Car seem rather poorly engineered by comparison.

    Even more impressive, the Town Car achieves its quiet ride by means of super-soft suspension and loads of sound-deadening material. Mercedes does it the better way, with very slippery aerodynamics, premium tires and an engine and transmission designed for autobahn speeds. The result is a car that at 90MPH feels like the Town Car did at 70MPH, while still providing proper road feel and semi-sporty handling. The Americans set their luxury cars to be wallowy soft, while the Germans know how to make a soft and serene ride while preserving the high-speed cornering ability that makes driving on a twisty road fun instead of nausiating.

    In short, I've had my share of electrical glitches on my new-to-me 2001 C240 (still dealing with the exterior temperature sensor), but the actual driving experience of the car have totally converted me to Mercedes Benz. My wife is due for a new car next year, and the C-class is at the top of the list.
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,305
    who have posted your helpful comments. I've come to grips with the concept that I'm actively involved in considering a Mercedes-Benz as my next car. I've even confessed to one of my sons.

    As I continue to study the literature, I was surprised at the Mercedes choice of 6-cylinder engine configuration for the 230. In descending order of smoothness and/or mechanical elegance, we have:

    1. straight six (BMW 3 & my beloved 240-Z)
    2. 60 degree V6 (most others)
    3. 90 degree V6 w/ balance shafts (Mercedes)
    4. 90 degree V6 w/o bal shafts (cheap GM)

    Is this a sign of budget-cutting within D/C, or am I missing something? The balance shafts may cancel the vibration inherent in a 90 deg setup, but they add: 1) complexity, 2) weight, 3) noise & 4) width.

    Help me understand why this could possibly be a good thing.
  • A 90 degree engine is shorter from top to bottom than a 60 degree engine, with a wider space between the V. If you look at the hoodline on the C-class and some other MB models (SLK), you will notice they are rather low. I know the C class has a .27 cd, which is excptionally slippery, perhaps a lower engine is part of the formula?

    As far as smoothness, take it for a test drive and all concerns will vanish.
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    Actually, there is another, even more practical reason for the 90 degree cylinder angle, apart from engine height....

    These engines were designed [first in the mid-90s] to share a common block and other engine architecture with the V8s. ALL of the sixes and eights share a common block design, and are machined on the same line at the engine factories. This was the primary consideration for the decision to go to a 90 degree angle.

    Nothing beats a straight six for smoothness, but only BMW considers it a religion. I have absolutely no compaints about this with either of our MB sixes, a '98 E320 [the first year the V6 appeared in our market] or our current '02 C240.

    The current cars have new 4-valve heads [starting with the '06 model year], but the guts of the engines are the same. Very soon, they will also be converted to direct injection, but again, everything below the heads will remain the same. Altogether, MB has gotten a lot of miles out of this engine design, both in the sixes and eights.
  • Optimal configuration or not, I've never driven a car with a smoother engine than my 01 C240, including MB V8s and BMW inline 6s, the balance shafts in the MB V6 do their magic perfectly.
  • u2jrmwu2jrmw Posts: 13
    I am an 03 Audi A4 1.8T owner looking to change cars. I have been very happy with my A4, and I am also considering the new A4 2.0T. I am yet to drive the MB but plan to this weekend.

    I plan to get Black ext, black int, sunroof package, heated front seats(?), Power drivers seat, Split rear seats and the ipod integration

    Am I missing anything?

    Owners of this model seem a little think on the ground, I'd like to hear experiences if you have one.

    I have a few questions I hope you can answer:

    1: Does anyone have a picture of the car with the factory offered spoiler?

    2: I have read mixed opinions on the h/k stereo, I'd love to hear more.

    3: The MB site lists heated seats as an option for the C280 non 4Matic, but not for the 4Matic version. Is that correct?

    4: The specs say that the front armrest is height adjustable. But I can't see how from the images. Can anyone clarify?

    5: What is the difference between getting the full leather and the leather inserts?

    6:I plan on getting the iPod integration, I understand the parts are about $300 but is it true they will charge $200+ to install?

    7: What is your estimate on how much service will cost over 4 years (Audi provides this in the cost of the car)

    8: If you don't get the split rear seat options the rear seat does not fold at all, correct?

    9: I read a lot of people getting very close to invoice. Is it reasonable for me to use $1000 over invoice as a guide?

    Thanks for any answers you can provide.
  • Well I have a 2002 C320, so I can't answer most of your questions, but the adjustable armrest on console is simply a racheting device so that when you pull up on the latch that opens it, that adjusts the height up or down ever so slightly. It is a rather cheap low tech solution, but it works. The armrest does NOT move front to back; only the height is adjustable.

    I believe the full leather (like my C320) means that the door panels are covered in real leather rather than vinyl and that the seats are fully leather-covered, not just the seat cushions.

    I have the split rear seat option and that is the only way the seats fold. The standard seats do NOT fold at all.

    Hope that chips away a bit at your questions....
  • ab3ab3 Posts: 2
    i am considering a few cars and the MB c 230 is top on my list. I won't lie like everyone else and say it's the greatest ride, acceleration, refinement etc., but will come out and say the truth: I want a Mercedes and this is the only one I can afford!!! (i am considering a G 35 coupe, and Lexus IS 250 as well).

    Not including the iPod thing you can buy, the dealer says the stereo is mp3 compatible. Does this mean it can play a CD full of MP3s, or does it mean i can simply buy a package to be able to plug an iPod into it?

    Also, i'm wondering how people have found the reliability on teh '05 models? I know from 2001 the reliability sucked, but have read recently since 2005 it's been great.

    Thanks!
  • shankyshanky Posts: 36
    I have 2006 C-350 Luxury, with 6600 miles on it so far - runs beautifully, and absolutely no issues. The ride is smoooth, and accels very well.

    All CD slots can play mp3 cds. The car also has an audio input port in the glove. We did not get the ipod integration since it takes away the ability for rear seat passengers (kids) to play with the ipod, so i simply use the Audio IN and a long cable.
  • jcat707jcat707 Posts: 168
    We have an 05 C230 with about 19,000 miles that we bought in June 2004. It has been absolutely flawless. It did have to go back to the dealership about a month after we bought it because there was something wrong with the rear power sunshade but the dealership service was excellent and they gave us a nice E320 as a loaner. Overall there are no regrets about the car and we would definitely buy it again if we had to do it over.
  • shankyshanky Posts: 36
    Am I missing anything?
    How about the lighting package, sunroof/moonroof, rear air bags, power/memory passenger seats, chrome wheels, leather seats, DVD Nav ?

    I have a very good experience with my C-350 - starting with the price...I used the costco deal ($750 over invoice). Performance and mpg has been superlative! So far 6.6 k miles, and I have not faced any issue about quality - and I am watching for it!

    The HK 12-speaker system is not too impressive. But then I did not even like the Mark Levinson that Lexus offers.

    Leather inserts are only the middle seat parts that are leather, the rest is something called MBTex. None of them have a premium soft leather feel which I would have liked.

    iPOD integration (I opted out of it) takes away ability of the external glove box Audio INPUT port. My kids love to play the IPOD from rear seats, so I simply have to use a long cable and the Audio Input. I was not quoted $200 for installation.

    Service - I was told that the annual service costs (at each 13k miles) would be about $300 per visit.

    If you do not hav Rear split seats, the seat does NOT fold at all.. But it is a pretty low-cost upgrade.
  • The current C-class (2001-2006) have been reliable from the start, with the exception of electrical annoyances in the early cars. Hard parts like engines and transmissions were reliable from the start.

    My 2001 C240 has 74,000 miles on the clock and both looks and feels like a brand-new car. It likes to eat light bulbs (those electrical gremlins), but otherwise it is perfect.

    For the current models they are not as sporty as the BMWs, but are more luxurious. I'd pick a new C-class were I buying today.
  • tony24tony24 Posts: 15
    I have a 2002 c240 and it is not very reliable. The car has been back to the dealer over twenty times for various reasons. I only have 26000 miles on the car. Yes, I only took the car to MB service center. If you need to get a MB then please get the extended warranty for the car. It will save you a lot of problems in the long run. The choice should be yours to buy or not to buy. Please do as much research as you can then make your decision.

    I don't know if the above helps you are not. It is a hard decision to make.
    Regards
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    ...has been the best of our 14 Mercedes since 1968. Only two unscheduled service visits since delivery, to replace a horn that was getting distinctly sheep-like, and to perform a TSB update on the wiring harness for the ESP/BAS system. We have about 24k miles on ours. It is the best long-distance touring car since our last S-Class, which was over 20 years ago. I only wish I'd bought a C wagon before they pulled them from our market - we never seem to have enough trunk for all the junk I like to carry on extended trips.

    I do agree that this car, like ALL makes in this class [including Lexus], is one that needs an extended warranty to cover you for as long as possible - we have the MB warranty to 7/100. I'm covered until Sept of 2009 - by then I'll be ready for something new, anyway.
  • I've had the C280 4M for ~3 months (White/Ash). Opt's I chose were the Power Driver seat, bun warmers, the HK and the Sunroof pkg.

    No Spoiler - Sorry.

    The HK is better definitely than the std unit, although mine had a glitch and was replaced. No problems since.

    Heated seats are an opt. on the C280 4Matic, but I believe they are std on the C350 4Matic. (Probably to justify the extra $)!

    I don't see any adjustments on the front armrest for height. Coulkd that have been on the Sport model?

    Without the split rear seatback the seat does not fold (although there is an integrated fold-down armrest with built-in cup holders).

    I'm pretty happy with the car overall. Combined MPG is running ~23.5mpg. We took a trip on the interstate and keeping it below 85 got ~27.5mpg. :)

    Hope that helps.
  • tony24tony24 Posts: 15
    I forgot to mention that you should probably look under the following discussion title here on edmunds: Mercedes-Benz C-Class: Problems & Solutions

    Just as another way to find out more information positive or negative. Maybe, you can find your answer there....

    Regards,
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    ....is hinged at the back, and can adjust upward from the front in 2 increments. The small cover lever, on your right, can be used not only to open the top shelf part of the console, but also move the whole lid upward about an inch. Hard to explain, but read the owner's manual for instructions.
  • shankyshanky Posts: 36
    This weekend, I travelled to Bay Area from Sacramento and obtained the following measurements:

    Non-stop distance reading : 123 miles
    Avg speed reading : 70 mpg (includes traffic slowdowns, and mostly in the 80's, and a few rushes to the 100s)
    MPG reading: 31.6

    The car continues to amaze me!
  • bristol2bristol2 Posts: 736
    I love the reputation and quality that MB carries, my only question is whether the C class is available with a manual transmission and if so, how hard to get a hold of?
    I heard an ugly rumour that they were only available in auto.
  • You can get both the C230 and C350 with a manual transmission. I test drove a manual C230 at Star Mercedes in Glendale, CA and they had a few others on the lot a well. Not sure about your area.

    The manual, by the way, was excellent. It wasn't quite up to BMW standards for feel at either the lever or the clutch pedal, but it was close. Very crisp shifts and the clutch wasn't too heavy. It really made the car feel a whole lot sportier than my automatic C240.
  • Anyone have reliable information on the v8 C55AMG. My local dealer has one on his used car lot. Less than 10,000 miles on it. Been there since November, 2005. They keep lowering the price but it does not sell. Interesting beast but given MB's reliability issues the past few years I keep wondering if I'm just looking at a potential heap of trouble.

    Thanks for any insights.
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    No special issues with the C55, apart from the higher mtc load associated with the AMG mods. Great car if you can afford the maintenance and fuel, but overpriced in my opinion for what it gives beyond an ordinary, "cooking version" C350.

    Typically, dealers have the habit of inflating used car prices beyond reason, then offering great "deals" to offset the fact that the asking price was ridiculous to begin with.
  • shermankshermank Posts: 3
    This car was a dealer demo and had 14k when i bought it. I have had it in the dealer's shop for about a week, as the tech working the car confirmed he experienced the random surge on idle, as well as hesitation on ocassional acceleration. When it happens, I have been stopped at a signal, foot on brake, engine idle at about 600. suddenly the car will surge to 1000rpm+, and move forward, fortunaely without hitting the car in front, thanks to foot on brake. OS has been changed and idle adjusted. However, my wife had this expereince again earlier this week. have you had any similar experience, and if so, how was the problem resolved. Thanks from a newbie to this board and a long time MB owner.

    Sherm
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