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Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedans



  • edarteedarte Posts: 41
    Way back in April 2001 I started looking for a replacement for my 1996 Lexus ES300. This was a fantastic car even though I bought it used. Plus Lexus service was always flawless even though I was only there once for other than routine maint (Moonroof wind noise - fixed). As the '96 still handled like new the 2001 ES's I drove didn't seem much different.

    The GS wasn't bad but the BMW 3 series handled better but I didn't like the interior. I was surprised and disappointed that the 5 series was only really about 1.5 inchs larger inside and did not feel as nimble as the 3.

    Then I thought I would give the MB E320 another shot since I hadn't tried it since '96. It handled better but the interior was dull, dull.

    It was then I saw the C and thought I found the perfect car. It handled well, looked fantastic, had a great interior and was in my price range.

    So I put $2000 down on a C320 with all options but sport. Then I waited, and waited and waited. I always had to call the dealer (Mark Motors in IL) to find out anything and I would have to leave multiple messages before I would get a response. Finally after waiting until August!! I was told it would probably be October.

    This news came after following this board for months, learning about problems, fixes, Brazil, lousy service, new or crappy loaner cars, service denials, etc. , etc., etc.

    I had had enough. Wrote a letter to the dealer and MB execs explaining my frustration with the whole situation. I got my full deposit back but no word at all expressing regret or explanation from MB. It appears they don't care about losing customers.

    When the 2002 Lexus ES came out I went for another testdrive. Again Lexus has a hit. Maybe it does not feel quite as sporty as the C but, knowing Lexus, I know it will be be exceptionally well made.

    But I didn't buy one. Because they had one last, new, 2001 LS430 on the lot that I bought for almost the same amount($49,900) as the C320 ($47,700) was going to cost me!!!

    And this car is IMPRESSIVE. Again it ain't no sport car. But it is an 8 cyl 4.3L beast. The handling is surprizing tight. As quiet as all the ads claim. Perfectly engineered and finished. Plus the rear seat room is enormous, a concern I had with the C.

    Now I admit the exterior styling is not as smooth as the C, but it does grow on one. A big plus is that I will continue to get the quality Lexus service that I have become accustomed to. Plus Lexus gives Lexus loaners (or they will pick up and drop off your car for service)

    I fear this is starting to sound too much like a gloat but that is not what I intend. I learned many interesting things on this board and at the time I really felt the C was a perfect fit.

    I will await the new E and if MB can get its act together re. quality control and customer service I will definitely give it a chance. In the meantime happy motoring.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Good God, your price on a C320 is within $1,000 of what I could have gotten a 2001 E430 for when MB had a $2,000 incentive in June. What's worse, it's only $4,800 less than the price of the 2002 C32 I have on order (which I probably won't take for some of the same reasons you mentioned).

    I can't blame you for going for the Lexus, if you were seriously considering spending $47,700 for a C320 without a sport package. Just out of curiosity, did you consider a 540i 6-speed which you could get for about $50k through European Delivery and if so, what are your thoughts?
  • kenyeekenyee Posts: 738
    Unfortunately, a good dealer is a requirement in satisfaction w/ a car. If you have a crappy service department, you'd hate your car. Ditto w/ sales.
    Sounds like your local MB dealer could use some competition.
    Best of luck w/ your LS430. Some Lexus dealers don't give out loaners too. I was surprised at this (found out on the RX300 forum). Goes to show you that you should research dealers and satisfaction closely before purchase of any car...
  • rs64rs64 Posts: 64
    It seems as though my car forgot how to adjust the mirror when I put it in reverse. So far, the key dependent settings have worked fine for the seat/steering column. Purchased the C240 May/01 and have 10,000 miles on it. Anyone else having trouble?
  • rainersrainers Posts: 50
    That was what happened to me. The rest is history. Check my post above (#4580). Try using the other remote in the ignition and see if the mirror begins working.
  • edarteedarte Posts: 41
    Actually that price was very good at the time I ordered. That included a discount of $1380 from MRSP back in April. At that time I don't recall anyone better than $1000 off MRSP. Remember this included all the options: Full Leather, Metallic Paint, Xenon, Moonroof, Heated Seats, Command(Voice-CD--Nav-Phone), Multi-contour seat. (working from memory here so I may have missed something. As I said ALL the options except sport) Plus taxes. Not sure what the discounts are now.

    In fact I suspect, for that time, it was a deal too good to be true. The dealership requested a high ($2000) deposit and I later learned that most were only putting $500 - $1000 down. While I cannot prove this, some posters have suggested that my car probably arrived much sooner and was sold to a customer who would not wait as long as I. The dealership had my money and me on the hook. Certainly sounds plausible. So either MB has a poor production system or a poor dealer - either way I lose. There was also the hoof & mouth delay on the leather and the salesman used this excuse. However I later learned of several others who had ordered then same type of configuration after me and received their car sooner.

    So, in future, if I have to wait for a car on order I hope to build something in the contract that puts it more in the dealer's interest to deliver ASAP. (maybe an incentive (e.g., $500) if the car shows up by some date?? Anyone have any ideas?

    By the way I got this big discount by first faxing all the dealers in the four bordering states. I negotiated fairly with all and never tried to play one off against the other. Just two go rounds asking for their best price on a specific car. I settled on Mark Motors because of the low price. My wife and I are systems consultants that move to the client so I had no strong expectation that I would still be in the same area half a year later - so no real affinity to the local dealer (who also sells Lexus and from whom I eventually bought). I think this may have also contributed to the lack of commitment from the dealer even though I was quite open about my tactics.
  • ahostahost Posts: 36
    I also experienced that. You can actually program the reverse setting of the mirror (something like pressing the M button while pressing the mirror adjustment at the same time, I don't remember exactly). It is somewhere in the manual.
  • edarteedarte Posts: 41
    Sorry I forgot to respond to the second part of your post re the 540. Yes, I did consider it. I started out assuming the 530 series was the car I would get. I had always like the exterior styling and had heard so much about the superior handling. However, as I said, I found the interior too bland. This probably offends the serious enthuisats but, for me, while driving, I spend all of my time inside of the car and only a small portion of that time taking S curves at 80+ MPH.
    My wife talked me into trying the 330 series. I had just assumed that the 5 would be better all round. IMO I was wrong. The 3 was more nimble and the newer interior was an improvement but still did not do it for me. What really surprised me was the minimal difference in interior space between the 3 and the 5. I can't understand why anyone would get a 5 series unless they just had to have the 8 cyls of the 540. So by that point having the extra power of the 540 did not make enough of a difference.
    I knew the new 7 was coming and did not want to buy the last model year. Plus I expected the new 7 to be more than I wanted to spend.
  • acco20acco20 Posts: 208
    Please, MB lovers... do not jump all over me,but..... comparing a Lexus LS430 to a MB C model is just not fair. That model Lexus is in another league. Edarte able to acquire a new 2001 within a few thousand dollars of what he was going to spend for the C is fortunate. Good luck with the new LS 430.
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,367
    ...I have observed more than once in this forum that some of the elevated MSRPs that have occasionally been mentioned here for heavily optioned C320s struck me as food for thought. Specifically, thinking about some of the alternatives out there that can be had for this kind of money, or perhaps a bit more. I regard the C240 as a reasonable value, a basic C320 as OK, a C230 Coupe as the sleeper bargain of the year...but a loaded C320 is really questionable in light of what this kind of $$ can fund. To each their own, of course....
  • edarteedarte Posts: 41
    First I want to set the record straight. I went back and checked my C purchase contract and it was actually $44,280, after discount & before taxes. This included all options I mentioned plus split seat. The LS price before taxes was $49,900. So I did pay about 5K more. Sorry for the error.

    However while Acco20 contends it is not fair to compare I respectfully disagree, as I think jrct9454 does as well. Yes, one is the top of the line Lexus and the other is closer to the bottom of the MB Line (no offense - still has potential to be a great car) the actual price difference for me seemed minor compared to the quality and feature improvement. Granted I was buying a 2001 but it is really brand new with full warranty. If you are considering the C (or especially the current E) especially with a lot of options you really should check out the Lexus line. I suspect this is obvious but for the odd person who had ruled Lexus out because it does not (yet) have the prestige that MB has you could be making a big mistake.

    Thanks to the other posters who wished me well in my Lexus I wish the same to all of you in your C's.

  • michhalamichhala Posts: 375
    >Yes, one is the top of the line Lexus and the >other is closer to the bottom of the MB Line

    OH! How can you be so cruel! My second 2001 C320 cost $50K out-the-door -- a cash purchase, not a lease. What to do now with my one-million dollar new home! I am happy with the house, but it is also closer to the bottom in a neighborhood where there are two-million dollar homes :).

    Enjoy your Lexus and drive safe. I went for the Lexus top-of-the line but found the seats too low for me in all but their entry level. Then I went to Mercedes for a CLK and found it and the E Class seats also not high enough for me. Gave it some thought and concluded it would be easier driving a car out of which I could see. The 320 was perfect for me. Whether it be near the bottom or not, I have not regretted my decision. I love looking at the car and driving it. It seems value cannot always be put into dollars -- value is what works for you.

  • mejitamejita Posts: 6
    I had the same problem with my mirror - it turned out that the toggle that switches the power mirror adjustor from the driver to the passenger side has to be set for the passenger side. In other words, the button on the right has to be pressed in.
  • rs64rs64 Posts: 64
    Thanks for the info. I will give it a try.

  • I have decided on a C320 and wish to take delivery after the last snow, say April 1, '02. I prefer to have it built to order, so we need to factor in an order date of at least Feb 1 or earlier. Any guidance on negotiating a price. Am I apt to get a better price ordering/negotiating now, for a large lead time, or closer in. e.g., Would the end of Dec. be best to boost the dealers end of year ##s, or is that irrelevant since delivery and full payment would not be til '02.

    Moreover, anyone have experience with negotiating a price on a trade a few months prior to delivery. I imagine this agreement would presume, e.g., no more than x additional miles and substantially the same condition.

    Further, given the long lead time, any other possibilities/options to consider.

    Thanks in advance for any insight.
  • mejitamejita Posts: 6
    I have been watching the board for months now and have enjoyed everyone's insight. I have a 2001 240 that I took delivery of 6/01. The car now has 4500 miles on it.

    Overall, I love the car - I just have a couple of annoying issues I'm hoping someone can help me with.

    1. The car has never been in alignment - it pulls to the right, at first slightly, then severely. The dealership (Park Place - Dallas) supposedly aligned it last Saturday, although I cannot tell any difference in the way it drives. And yes, I am driving on flat, non-crowned surfaces. Any suggestions?

    2. My driver seat has forgotten the easy entry/exit feature. The steering wheel still moves up, but the seat won't budge. I have tried both keys, turning the feature on and off via steering wheel controls, etc. Has anyone else had this problem, and if so, what was the solution?

    Thanks in advance for your help!
  • sddlwsddlw Posts: 361
    Why is comparing $ for $ not a valid comparison? I think it is the only way to compare becuase that is usually the first factor I use in selecting cars to evaluate for purchase. When a car gets to the $45-50K range, there are a lot of alternatives. Heck, even at the basic C240 level, there are a lot of very nice alternatives. I'm not meaning to bash MBs. My wife and I have owned 3 over the years. And there is not another brand that compares in the "feel" that an MB gives you while driving ...well even when it is parked. There is something about that 3-point star. ..... It works like Prozac and may be a lot cheaper than therapy. ....But, even so MB has got to be more competative $ wise and more reliable if they want to continue to dominate the near lux and lux market.
  • Mejita, I can't help you with your issues, sorry, but maybe you can help me. I have a C 320 on order from Park Place that I should take delivery of in the next few weeks. What has your experience been with Park Place's Service Department? I hate the Service Department for my current car (Classic BMW) and am hoping that Park Place is an improvement. Also, did you get a good deal on your purchase or did you pay MSRP, which is what my sales guy tells me is standard. Thanks for any help you can give and good luck with your C!
  • rainersrainers Posts: 50
    I just got a call from the MB dealership and was told that MB has a total of 8 remote key memory slots for the C Class. The original remotes were for memory slots 1&2. They replaced them with 3&4 and this is why the seats do not adjust to the key that is inserted. They have re-ordered for new 1&2 remotes and will call me when they come in. Once these remotes are programmed to the car everything should be fine and the seats will adjust to the individual remote seat settings as they did before. I will let everyone know next week my outcome.
  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    I'm not bashing Mercedes, and I think they're fine cars, but in response to your comments...

    "...MB has got to be more competative $ wise and more reliable if they want to continue to dominate the near lux and lux market."

    MB does not come close to dominating the near-lux and lux market even now. They are simply a major player like Lexus and BMW. Lexus outsold MB last year as a whole. The LS consistently outsells the S-Class, cars like the Acura TL and 3-Series outsell the C-Class and the M-Class has been no match for the RX 300. Only the E-Class is at the top of its category. That is not domination by any stretch.

    "And there is not another brand that compares in the "feel" that an MB gives you while driving ...well even when it is parked. There is something about that 3-point star."

    Maybe this is true for you, and I'm glad if it is. By I'm in my early 30s, and not me nor any of my friends would care to have a Benz at this stage in our lives. I don't know how old you are, but for my age group Lexus and BMW seem to provide the feeling you're describing. The 3-pointed star means nothing to me.

    Again, I'm not bashing MB, just separating your opinion from some facts and my own opinion.
This discussion has been closed.