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Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedans



  • mac320mac320 Posts: 147
    I've heard the C240's engine described as electric motor smooth.
  • 404c404c Posts: 146
    Don't get me wrong - I've driven 6 speed C 240s before and I like them a lot more than the 325i. However, the notion that its torque is superior to that of the 325i is what I was questioning. The 90 degree V6 is inherently unbalanced (60 degrees would be the correct angle) since it is a partially-amputated V8. It's relative smoothness is due to its internal balance shaft. It's certainly not as smooth as an electric motor though, and for good reason. I'd still rather own the C 240 than a BMW 3.

    Our C 230 K with the 2.3 pulls like a steam engine, and since I've always driven 4 cylinder engines, I like its feel and sound. They're appropriate for a sporty car like this.

    The new 1.8 sold in North America is not direct injection; it is good old indirect injection.
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,367
    For the few of you who have asked, I made a followup visit to our dealer in Sacramento today to finish the saga of dealing with the wheel alignment. To reiterate, our '02 C240 was delivered last month with a tendency to want to slowly roll to the right at highway speeds; tires and pressures are fine, and the alignment was originally classified as "in spec". However, a combination of caster and toe-in adjustments have cured the problem, though it took two visits to finish the job.

    The actual difference between the caster on the right vs left was only about 0.25 deg, but there is some small toe-in difference, as well. So, "within spec" has been manipulated to cure the problem, and the car now tracks straight, will follow road crown to either side, and is completely neutral [you can take your hand off the wheel and it will track right on, as long as the crown is neutral] at any speed up to 80 mph, which was all I was willing to risk on our heavily patrolled freeway.

    The bulk of the cure was to have a bit more caster on the right side, so the car doesn't want to "wander" that way. But I was surprised at how small the difference was - I also took a complete printout of the final alignment spec for my records, should the issue come up in the future.

    Otherwise, the car, at 1000 miles or so, has been a delight in every important respect. I am especially impressed with the quiet and general refinement at speed, with longer trips no longer being the endurance tests that seemed to characterize our Toyotas and Hondas. And it is a noticeable step forward over our '94 W202 C [a C220] in just about every respect, notwithstanding the fact that the deal we got meant we actually paid less than we did for the '94.

    To sum up, I too tested a pretty basic 325 before making the final decision, and the price for the 3er we tried [an automatic with only the sunroof as an option] would have been very close to what we paid for our more generously equipped C [about $30k]. But the BMW just didn't feel as quiet and comfortable, especially on less than perfect surfaces, as the C, so the handling advantage that the 3er enjoys just didn't cut much mustard compared with the space and general refinement of the C.

    Anyone who takes the decision the other way would get no serious argument from me - it really depends on what you want, and we just don't care about the "sporty" advantage that the BMW has. For those who do, a lightly optioned 325 can actually be a mild bargain, if you can find one at your typical dealership. The car we saw was literally one in a thousand, and had been in stock a long time [for that matter, this was also true of the C we eventually bought].

    Anyway, so far, so good...
  • avro2avro2 Posts: 6
    I have a 2002 C240 and have been using premium gas/ petrol 91 octane. That’s what the dealership said I should be using. Now, I was wondering if I could step a notch down to 89 octane – the cost of gas is crazy up here in Canada and with the onset of a war (hope not), things are not going to get better.

    I truly believe that what the dealership is telling me is a bit of a crock! Would they be a detrimental affect on the engine – I do not think there would be a considerable drop in performance or reduction in mileage.

    Your comments would be appreciated!
  • Please continue to use premium gas. If you want to save a few bucks each week, try brown bagging your lunch to work. In addition to the reduction in performance, the mid-grade fuel will not give as clean a burn as premium. Over the long haul, with the cost of these vehicles, you will be happy you spent the extra on gas in years to come. Good luck with the upcoming Canadian winter!
  • 404c404c Posts: 146
    With a 10.5:1 compression ratio, you had better keep using 91 octane gas! If you don't, the timing will be retarded by the ECU to the point where the power and fuel efficiency drop will be noticeable.

    Hey, you bought a Benz, why skimp on gas? If 85 Canadian cents per litre is too much for you to pay, maybe a 1989 Hyundai would have been a better choice...just kidding ;-)
  • mbnut1mbnut1 Posts: 403
    Thanks for keeping us posted on the allignment and C240.
  • 404c404c Posts: 146
    Yes, maybe my "amputated" comment was unduly cruel. But there is some truth to it...

    Mercedes-Benz apparently did not want to invest in the extra tooling that would have been necessary to make a 60 degree V6, so they made a technical compromise by using the same boring equipment to do the V8 as the 90 degree V6. For a 90 degree V6 engine, it is quite smooth thanks to the counter-rotating balance shaft, but it's not as smooth as a 60 degree V6 typically found beneath the hood of a FWD car like a Honda Accord or Toyota Camry. Too bad, but no big deal.

    But Mercedes-Benz makes a V12 too, which does have a 60 degree cylinder bank spacing. So why could the V-6 blocks could not be done on the V12 line? Probably because there is precious little production capacity for the V12 and it was cheaper to invest in new equipment common to the V8 and V6, higher volume engines.
  • mac320mac320 Posts: 147
    I'd have to agree about the comment, "partially amputated," as having a derogatory connotation that I think is inapplicable to MB's component engine concept.

    As I understand it, as part of the "planned from the beginning" design, as noted, the V6's cylinders are not simply lined up on-center, and this, combined with a weighted crankshaft, produces as fine an engine as the more traditional 60 degree "V" design. Wards thought the E's 320 was among the top ten best for about three years running.

    Having oversized exhaust valves instead of two smaller exhaust valves to make room for the twin-spark design wasn't traditional either but I give MB credit for their pioneering new ideas and bringing them to reality, usually with results that demand to be copied by MB's competitors, e.g., the new E's brake by wire that all cars will have someday.

    Regarding the comparatively higher torque of the two engines, we'd need the torque curves of both engines to show what is happening there. The engine that reaches a high torque quickly and maintains it over a broad range has the most usable torque, i.e., the fattest horses.

    A good example of that is the C320's engine which reaches a high torque at about 3000 rpms and maintains over a long flat plateau. However, I'm only assuming the same applies to the 240, based on the 320's example and driving cars with both 240 and 325 engines. Additionally, the 240 does have 4% more cubes and that always has been a good indicator of better torque, and I would think that would especially hold true when comparing engines with the same compression.
  • 404c404c Posts: 146
    Without having a torque curve for both the C 240 and 325i, we'll just have to guess about which car has the broader torque plateau.

    My guess is the BMW - here's why - engine architecture:

    BMW bore x stroke: 84.0 x 75.0 mm
    M-B bore x stroke: 89.9 x 68.2 mm

    The BMW engine design is, all other things being equal, more likely to have good torque caracteristics than the Mercedes-Benz one due to its more "square" bore:stroke ratio. On the other hand, the M-B design might, theoretically, be more easy to rev.

    Regarding your other point, I would not cite the Mercedes V engine head design as being anything that gave rise to copies from competitors, as it is not efficient.

    When they chose the three valve design with the single exhaust port and two sparkies, the idea was to get a quick warm up in order to heat the catalyst(s) up as soon as possible. Mercedes engineers were on record at the time as stating that upcoming emission control standards in Europe and the USA could only be met with such a design. BMW and the Japanese manufacturers proved them wrong, and the restricted breathing caused by the single exhaust port proved to be detrimental to high-rev output and fuel efficiency.

    BMW's equivalent engines are not only more powerful than the C Class' V6 engines, but they are around 20% more fuel efficient too. The upcoming Valvetronic versions will be even moreso. This efficiency penalty is tough for me to accept, and it's why I would not buy a present generation Mercedes V6. But I don't like the other aspects of the BMW much.

    The revised head design for the Mercedes V engines will be coming out late in 2003 (according to MB Spy). It will include....4 valves per cylinder....and one spark plug per cylinder. Just like the old C 230 K four cylinder engine, and the new 1.8. The new V engines will undoubtedly meet upcoming emission control standards, be more powerful and significantly more fuel-efficient than the present version.

    The three valve heads were an interesting experiment, but a dead end evolutionarily speaking, and not influential on other engine designs.

    Of course Mercedes-Benz has pioneered many other technologies that were major advances, so I am not disputing that, but just pointing out that your example of design leadership was not particularly à propos.

    Actually, two of these advances are causing problems on our 2002 C 230 K - we've had two ESP error messages and a BAS error message too in the past 4 days. We hope to get the car into the dealer later this week for a diagnosis and cure.
  • soylentsoylent Posts: 25

      Iam not sure if you are interested but I may have found an exceptional deal that happens every 6 months. Caliber Motors Mercedes Benz of Anaheim Hills, sells their service loaners both C and E class. I leased(new car lease) from them a 2002 C320 Wagon with sunroof,3800 miles for $32,800. This is a 40K car. Starmark 5/100,000 warranty included. This was in August. They had 5 available at this price.(buy or lease)
    According to the fleet manager this deal happens every 6 months. I stumbled on the ad in the LA Times, thought it was too good to be true. Went to their web site( great site, you can scroll thru actual inventory,pics and all), set up a test drive for the weekend, I was able to snag the last one(they go fast. while negotiating the deal, the rep received 3 calls on the car!) Great car/nice lines, I have seen a total of 3! on the streets of LA, and I run the 405 corridor to LAX daily. good luck.


    Caliber Motors:

    C320 Sport Wagon:

  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,367
    ...that the year-end dealer incentive for NEW '02 Cs is still in effect for those dealers who still have unsold new car stock.

    $1000 for Coupes
    $1500 for both C sedans [240 and 320]
    $3000 for Wagons

    In our case, the deal resulted in $4500 off for a C240 with an MSRP of $34500 [$30k net]. The deal would be correspondingly sweeter on a higher priced car, assuming you find the right dealer.
  • mac320mac320 Posts: 147
    The E320, I believe in '99, achieved better mileage results that year than any other V6 in any other car. Amazing, but that was based on the MSRP mileage data for all cars, which of course would include Honda's V6 in a far lighter Accord, for instance.

    Maybe someone can find the 240's torque curves. I've seen the curves for the 320 v 330 motors and the 320 reaches a higher torque sooner and maintains it over a longer range than the 330 reaches at its peak.

    There will be big sacrifices in engine longevity due to the higher piston speeds required of the smaller bore 325 motor to develop close to the same power per revolution. I don't know the 325's heritage, but the stroke probably was increased to achieve needed displacement because there was no room for additional bore. The 325 also requires a higher 10.5 compression to achieve the same power. According to the engine manual, the 240 has a 10:1 compression ratio, just like the 320, so MSN's or some other site might have gotten that stat wrong. And, the manual also says the 240's higher peak torque of 177 is reached at 4500 rpm, not 4,700 as reported on Edmunds' site. The lower compression required indicates the 240's motor does not have to work as hard to develop a higher torque over its lifetime.

    I think most persons would equate MB's motors with a longer life compared with the competition, and believe that in twenty years, there's a better chance of a C320, for instance, still being on the road with its original engine. Both the 240 and 320 have a huge 8.5 qt. engine oil capacity and also the same transmission as in the 430, 500 and even the hammered 55 AMG V8s so it seems certain to me that the C's also have lifetime drivetrains.

    There's no reason to believe there is any reason for concern about restricted breathing due to one oversized exhaust valve instead of two smaller valves. A circle encompasses more area per like amount of circumference than any other geometric figure and it's easy as pie for a larger diameter circle to encompass more area than two smaller circles.

    A 3-valve design also results in less complexity. This year, for instance, Wards picked the ML500's version of the 3-valve, twin spark engine as its pick of those among the top ten best engines.

    MB's component engines also have variable intake runners which has only just now been copied by the competition for its newest engine in its latest flagship 7 series.

    I'd think that rather than ending, it probably is just beginning as it is more likely MB's 3-valve, twin spark motors will end up powering a new generation of Chryslers. Ultimately, perhaps, the design will achieve a venerable status as one of the greats.
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,367 started, but the torque curves of all the engines currently offered in the Cs in the USA are in the '03 C brochure, which means that they can also be accessed online via the MBUSA web site.

    As to the future, yes, the 3-valve heads are going away, to be replaced with 4-valve heads and induction systems that will eventually take advantage of direct-injection, though the latter will be some time in coming across the board. All MB engines [except the brand-new 4 cyl family] will get new heads, induction, and exhaust systems over the next few years.

    I think the original question was "does the C240 have enough power?" It certainly does in my opinion, but "enough" in the current driving climate in the US seems to evolve daily - I can't remember a time since the late '60s when everybody seemed so absolutely obsessed with hp. All I care about is that the car seems safe and comfortable on the road in real-world situations [on-ramps and passing]...everything in the current MB lineup in North America meets that test with ease.
  • 404c404c Posts: 146
    Quote: "There's no reason to believe there is any reason for concern about restricted breathing due to one oversized exhaust valve instead of two smaller valves. A circle encompasses more area per like amount of circumference than any other geometric figure and it's easy as pie for a larger diameter circle to encompass more area than two smaller circles."

    If this were actually the case, then no manufacturer would have cars with more than two valves per cylinder. Cylinder filling is always improved in multi-valve designs. Also, very large "circles" for valves are kind of hard to fit into a hemisphere that has at least one spark plug in it. It is for these two reasons that multi valve designs are necessary for decent cylinder filling.
  • lg5lg5 Posts: 6
    Has anyone (in the northeast) had concerns with the rear wheel drive 2002.? 2003 model has the all wheel drive option but at a costly 3K. Wondering if it's worth it... Thoughts please>>>
  • I sort of live in the Northeast (New York - Long Island area). My 2001 C320 is grounded in the garage on snowy days. This was a big disappointment for me during my first year of ownership, because I was "sold" on MB's new electronic traction control. My experience is that is does not work with the stock tires. Not that a BMW would be any better, but please don't count on this vehicle in even a few inches of snow. To solve this problem - I brought a Subaru WRX! That solved my disappointment. We still like our C320, but definitely not on roads covered in snow.
  • mac320mac320 Posts: 147
    MB's tri-valve, twin spark engine design should be around for a long time. It was announced last year, for instance, that it would power a specialty Chrysler product as early as 2004.

    At the end of this year, the V6 component of MB's torquey 500 engine will debut in a special model ML350. The 3.7L ML350 apparently will replace the 320 in Germany entirely, so I've heard.

    I don't know whether the 320 will still be available in MLs sold in the U.S. However, I wouldn't be surprised to see this more powerful 3.7L V6 in a future S Class models which now only offer the 430 V8 as the smallest engine option available.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,106
    I don't want to get into the snow tire vs. all season tire debate here, just make a few comments. Bouncingbob lives in my area (he's on Long Island, I'm in NYC) and to tell you the truth, we haven't seen a bad winter here since 1996! My Parents live North Of the city (it gets colder and snows more often than on Long Island) and even they're winter was good. It didn't snow much at all (We've been in a draught emergency for quite some time). If it does snow frequently in your area (Northeast, specifically anywhere 50 miles North of NYC), if you invest $1000 in a good set of winter tires and wheels then you should get around just fine.

    Bouncingbob: I think it is great you went for a WRX instead of the typical Long Islander who runs down to the Chevy Dealer the day after it snows more and gets a loaded $40,000 Tahoe to drive back and forth to the LIRR station 2 miles from their home:)

    2001 Honda Prelude Type SH/ 2011 BMW 328xi / 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L w/ Navigation

  • mbgambga Posts: 11
    The manual recommends 91 octance. I live in the Altanta area and only 87, 89 and 93 octane is sold here. The dealer recommended 89 and that is what I've used. They mentioned the worst thing I could do would be to alternate between 89 & 93 to "average" 91.

    I've been thinking about switching to 93 for a while to see if there is a performance difference (not unhappy, just curious).

    Is 93 too much? Could it cause any harm?
This discussion has been closed.