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Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedans

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Comments

  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    I think you can barely slip a piece of paper between the differences on a C240 vs a 325. I drove both and broke the tie in favor of a Jan 02 production C240, that we bought at a steep discount in Sept 02. That car has so far proved to be just fine, thanks; it has had two things to fix - an alignment problem that was apparent on our first test drive [and thus repaired prior to delivery - always drive the car you are going to buy], and a minor differential leak that was caused by a plugged vent tube.

    I think the 325 is an excellent choice - I preferred the slightly softer ride and extra back seat and trunk room of the C, vs. the better handling and quicker pull of the 3er. And our MB dealer was to be preferred to the BMW guy where we came from [we have since moved].

    I caution you in the case of BOTH cars: KEEP IT SIMPLE. Avoid electronic doo-dads [memory seats, upgraded stereos, nav systems, etc.] and get the most basic car you can find. Neither of these manufacturers have covered themselves in glory lately in dealing with their electronic problems, mostly because they buy from the same flawed German suppliers in both cases.

    As for resale, it's my experience that 5-6 years down the line, the differences will by minimal - miles and condition matter more at that stage than anything else.

    I think another small advantage for the new C is the upgraded interior - this also gives it a slight leg up on the current 3er, at least in my book.

    Both cars are known quantities now - both are mature products, with few surprises lurking in the closet. I'd say base your decision on what makes you hum...
  • 307web307web Posts: 1,033
    325 has "solid" reliability ratings that are pretty good. Not like a Camry or Lexus, but much better than the current reputation for MB cars.
    BMW 3 Series is a resale darling and the C Class will have to start reflecting their low JD Power quality ratings and other reliability ratings, and general complaints from so many owners compared to BMW owners how mostly rave about their cars. On top of that recent C Class ads I've heard tout mostly about low pricing. That doesn't help resale.
    I consider it a disposable car that I would lease for only the factory warranty time and mileage period, at most, to protect myself from shaky future resale and out of warranty repair costs, not a car to risk driving for 8 to 10 years and out of warranty.
    If the finance companies haven't yet started lowering residuals on the C Class, then you might make out well on a lease with an unrealistically high projected residual value.
    A Lexus or Toyota is best suited for keeping past the warranty and still being a desired used car retaining good resale value even with high mileage. The BMW 3 Series will also do well used just because they are loved for performance and hipness-factor and they are "reasonably" reliable at the same time.
  • I have to say I appreciate the comments made about MB by both 307web and jrct9454. If I just look at the reviews and press about MB lately( say the last 5 years) there dosent seem to be much good there in terms of customer care and reliability... though I have no doubt there are many good and solid vehicles out there... for a company that prides (or at least use to pride) itself on well made and (longer term) reliable cars... they seem to have come a long way...

    Much of this would not matter to me except that ever since I was a kid I fell in love with MB sedans and always dreamed of owning one. Back then (say the '60's) they were still expensive but they were also known for their long life. Now, for the first time in my life I am at the point of buying one... and because of the reliability thing...I just dont feel overly confident about it and shouldn't you feel confident about your new car?... Its sad, but I think that on a MB corporate level its a disaster... because they may well be weakening their present owner base and also driving new (potential) owners like me away. Remember, I WANT to buy one. I will test drive the '05 240 this weekend, I'm sure it will be very fine, but its the 3 plus years down the road that concerns me. BMW will cover ALL maintanece, service, and wear and tear items for a few years, thats nice... but you know its not the money...its the confidence they seem to have and the industry seems to have in the vehicle that matters
  • 307web307web Posts: 1,033
    If you love it so much, why not lease it for 3 years so you can drive it with less risk?
    You will have to pay maintenance, but at least all the repairs will be free under warranty and the resale of it is not your problem.
    At least it looks good, the new interior is nice and it has prestige and valet appeal.
    If you have a good dealer that always has loaner cars available, it may not be that bad even if you are unlucky and get a problem car.
  • While I understand Leasing is a good option in some cases, I dont think it is in mine. As I mentioned, I hope to keep my next car a good while and so leasing is a more expensive option. At the end of a 3 year lease, I would be out about $23,ooo and no car and no equity and back to square one... while not a risk.. it is a huge loss. If I bought or leased the car it would be under warranty either way, so no difference there. Here in Canada the maintanece of a new BMW is covered for a few years, but not on the Benz. So I would be liable for that under a lease too. So no change there. As for prestige and "valet" appeal (!?) These are not factors for me, I am looking to buy the car I want because I want it and it is at least reasonably good. Although I understand these might be positive factors for some buyers.

     I dont mind paying more to own and maintain a car that I really want, I just want to have a good feeling about its long term prospects when I buy it. Which is why I like the fact that both the 240 and the 325 have been in production for a number of years.
  • rqcrqc Posts: 95
    Here's a question I've pondered for a while. The C240 sedan has a 168 HP 6 cylinder engine while the C230 has a 189 HP supercharged 4 cylinder engine. Why do people choose the C240? I can see that the C320 is more expensive, but when I drove the C230 and the C320, the differences were not huge. So what's attractive about the C240? The C230 is probably faster and can have most if not all the options the C240 offers.

    Too bad we don't have a turbo diesel version. I could understand that - lower HP but much higher torque.
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    We picked the C240 2 years ago, and I would do it again, because it rides more softly and quietly than the C230. The choice of Z-rated summer tires, and the use of staggered tire sizes means the C230 is too compromised to be the kind of quiet, refined touring car that I want in my MBs. If you don't know what I'm talking about, or simply can't tell the difference, then the C230 would be a good choice for you.
  • ...some prefer the 240 over the 230 does in fact relate to options. You can get 4MATIC and multi-contour driver's seat on the 240, but not the 230.
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    Doesn't the C240 also come with real wood inlays vs. the aluminum trim in the C230? I don't think you can get wood with the C230. Some folks prefer the wood, some prefer the aluminum.

    The C230 also comes with the sport seats. While they are generally very comfortable, some prefer more conventional seats, to go along with the smoother ride.

    Finally, while the C240 could use some more power, its power delivery is different, as only a V6 could be compared to a supercharged 4-cylinder. It's best to drive two back-to-back to decide.
  • rqcrqc Posts: 95
    In June of 2003, I did drive the C320 Sport Sedan and the C230 Sport Sedan back to back in 30 minute test drives and they were shockingly close except for the price. Actually the C230 handled a tad better since it had less weight on the front wheels. Since I was looking for more sport than luxury, I didn't look at the C240 since it seemed a bit anemic on paper.

    I understand that some people are interested in comfort more than anything else, so I understand why those folks would prefer the C240. Thanks for clarifying the C240's place in the market.
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    All MB needs to do is to add a small amount of power to the C240. That may be coming with a new direct injection V6.

    Any "reliable" rumors on when a more powerful C240 is on tap? Model year 2006?
  • 307web307web Posts: 1,033
    No, they would say upgrade to the C320.
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    ...that there will be multiple versions [as always - this is a tradition] of the new V6 with the 4-valve heads and direct injection. At the moment, the only one that is out there is the 3.5, currently appearing in the new SLK but soon to be across the line everywhere that the old 3.2 was used. It is presumed that there will be other versions from 2.5 to 2.8 to 3.0 liters...which one[s] of those will appear in our market is up for grabs, and the timing is indeed a big question. I would not be surprised by either scenario: the new engines appearing in the current W203 as a swan song before the replacement car appears....or....waiting until the new body makes its appearance in early '07 [late '07 in our market, as an '08 model]. I can see arguments for both alternatives. In any case, all the V6s and V8s [which share a common architecture and common assembly line] will have the new heads / fuel system before '08.

    Also, their intention is to drop supercharging and go to turbos. The new 4 cyls will be turbos, starting with the B-class which will be in our market in about a year.

    And finally, I'll observe that I find 168 hp perfectly adequate, thank you, and don't need to get to 60 mph any faster than the 8.8 seconds that the C240 manages. What the car needs more than extra power [for me] is the new 7-speed automatic - the gearing on the C240 is noticeably short to keep response reasonably snappy. You could have your cake and eat it too with the new automatic - fuel consumption in this car is out of proportion to the power, precisely because of the short gearing. The new powertrains should be the best of all worlds - more power AND lower fuel use AND lower emissions.

    Incidentally, when the B-class gets here it will probably have a CVT transmission [along with a 6-spd manual] as the optional drivetrain.
  • rqcrqc Posts: 95
    I hope they don't switch to turbo power. The low end grunt from a supercharger is a great advantage in their higher performance versions.
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    ...they've already announced their intention to drop superchargers in favor of turbos.

    The drivetrains for the new A-class have already been announced. Anything with forced air is a turbocharger, not a supercharger. The AMGs are all going to turbos on the V8s [hasn't this already happened ? I don't pay that much attention to the AMG side of the house].

    They claim they have solved the turbo lag problem with what amounts to a turbo-within-a-turbo design. Don't know who is the OEM here [Garrett? AirResearch? Fill-in-the-blank?].
  • When I bought mine in 2001, there were lot of complains about the new C320. I though, well, this may not happen to me. You know what, I was wrong.
    By the way, do you guys know how to show them a randomly-happened issue? The most recent problem is when open door from inside driver's side, sometimes, only one door is opened, sometimes all four. Another random problem is the fuel gauge, sometimes malfunctions, this casued me stopped in the middle of a high way in April, right now it happens again.
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    .....is well known by all dealers, or should be. There are multiple TSBs out on it. The problem, I believe, is the sending unit...a problem, incidentally, which is shared by ALL of the German makes. VW, Audi, etc. have all managed to buy the same parts from the same suppliers. The alleged cause is the higher sulfur content in some American gasoline, or so I've read.

    Our '02 C240, which for most of its life has been fed Calif RFG, has not exhibited any symptoms beyond the occasional [twice in two years] situation where the needle is slow to finally hit the full mark after a fillup. It does get there eventually...this has happened only twice.

    My list of C-Class TSBs is in the car, which is 3 floors below me in the condo garage. I'll check to see if there is anything on the door locking solenoid the next time I'm down there.
  • Your random door "problem" is a feature controlled by how you open your door with the remote. RTFM...like I did when I thought I had the same "problem". If you open just the driver door remotely then only the driver door will unlock when you turn off the engine. Activate remote button twice to enter then all doors will unlock when you turn off the engine. "Over-engineered?" Maybe, but it makes sense. I don't follow your fuel gauge problem. Yes, I had several/many problems with my '01 C320 but they were all fixed (eventually, when parts arrived) under warranty. None of the problems affected reliability. I like the car and intend to keep it a much longer.
  • John -- it's been a while and I've lost your email address. If you email me privately I will tell you the outcome of the situation with my C320. Thanks. sl561@comcast.net

    Sherrill
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    I tried to send an e-mail to SL561@comcast.net [that's correct, right?] and the system kicked it back.

    In any case, I'm at jrct9454@comcast.net.

    Yes, I'd like to hear how it turned out. If you were dealing with MB-Sacto, I'd also like to know whom you were working with. As you probably know, we are now 600 miles north in Vancouver WA, right across the river from Portland. Only thing I miss about the new arrangement vs the old is my well-lighted private garage...the condo garage is not the same for a car nut...
This discussion has been closed.