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Mercedes-Benz C230 Vs Acura RSX

124

Comments

  • "I give the nod to the RSX for power, features, 6 speed, future aftermarket, resale value, and overall price"

    The RSX may on paper have more horsepower, but you don't have to rev the C-230 to the ceiling to get the power out like you do in the RSX. 140-something lb.-ft. of torque in that RSX? Ouch.

    Features-wise, I highly doubt the RSX would win on that, depending on how you define features of course. I'd say the C-230 wins with the fancy on-board computer and oodles of airbags though.

    6-speed is on both cars of course.

    Future aftermarket the RSX actually does come ahead in. If you do like to modify cars, this can be a huge factor in any purchasing decision.

    As for resale value, you may be unaware but Mercedes-Benz cars hold their value very well.

    Just answering those points, nothing more, nothing less.

    Mike
  • himilerhimiler Posts: 1,209
    The RSX likes to rev, the Benz doesn't. It isn't too difficult to figure out that one of these cars appeals to a driver who likes to keep their engine on full boil, with the other for those who are interested primarily in loafing along at speed. Think "driver involvement" and you'll have the general idea.

    Once you get rolling, torque output doesn't count for much, and forced induction requires lots of moving parts and a tolerance for noise.

    If AMG were to breathe on the C, it would certainly be something to behold (and drive).

    As far as resale goes, there will always be a strong market for a used RSX (which appeals to a fairly broad market), wheras a "value Mercedes" with substandard kit levels (unless you drop ~$4000 for your favorite options) might need a more specific buyer type.

    The Benz is a fine little car, but let's face it: when a car bases at $25K and has another $7K in options available, there's something rotten in Denmark (or Germany, as the case may be).

    Don't get me wrong: I'm no fan of the RSX (it completely lacks the character my '98 GS-R had), but based upon my own driving preferences, it's a better fit for me than the Benz.
  • Especially in this type of debate, it's entirely subjective. Personally, I prefer the German feel over the Japanese feel, and that was a key in my purchase of the 230 after great Japanese cars ('91 Integra GS, '95 Maxima SE). Also, at 6'3" my head and knees contacted the RSX interior, so I never even drove it. My only Acura option was CL, which was only a slightly better fit and far different in character. I have more room in the 230 than in any car I've ever driven. And it suits my driving style perfectly.
  • himilerhimiler Posts: 1,209
    The RWD in the Benz does give the car a more balanced feel, but its reflexes are a bit on the relaxed side when compared to the still semi-manic RSX.

    Is Mercedes offering free scheduled service on the Coupe? If so, that's a big bonus.
  • tommyp13tommyp13 Posts: 146
    Yes, free service for the duration of warrantee (4 yrs).
    I don't agree about the sound of the cars; while the ccoupe isn't the quietest car out there, the rsx needs to be used in the high end of the powerband, which means more noise. I personally don't want the quietest thing out there; I could buy a Camry if I wanted that.
    I don't really understand your point about $7 in options being available. To me, that says that there are just a bunch of options that you can add (most of them admittedly way overpriced). The rsx has how many options on it? I think that they are mostly accessories, and adding stock foglights is a real PITA (they're standard on c230) to use one example. I think it's a plus for the Benz. No one is making these people spend $2000 on a cellphone (though they are idiots for doing so).
    As far as the used car market, look at the 318ti as an example of a "value luxury car". Now, that never got good reviews, but it has held its value exceptionally well. There will be a very good market for the ccoupe, especially for people who want access to MB at a decent price. To be fair, I think the rsx will hold its value also, though some people may be scared off by the assumption that the previous owner thrashed the car, or might be more willing to pick up a used type r instead.
    The rest of your comments I agree with; these cars are designed for different driving styles, and if you can't decide between the two, you either haven't had enough seat time, or don't know what you want.
  • huntzingerhuntzinger Posts: 350
    I've suffered enough in the back seats of coworkers Acura Integra's, as well as inflicting them in the back of my old VW Scirocco, so when I went shopping, I was looking for factors beyond the shallow HP ratings and so forth.

    From Edmunds, and confirmed in the field:

    C230:
    Rear Leg Room: 33 in.
    Rear Head Room: 36.3 in.

    Acura RSX:
    Rear Leg Room: 29.2 in
    Rear Head Room: 30.1 in.

    These differences are substantial and makes the back seat in the C230 usable by teenagers and adults, where'as RSX's back seat is essentially useless.

    If I really wanted to buy a 2 seater, I'd buy a real 2 seater. The RSX isn't any better than the back seat in my 911, so for me, this was when it got crossed off my list.

    The rest of the comparisons of HP, torque, traction control, turning radius, etc, is down in the weeds of personal preferences; YMMV. For example, the C230 lacks a rear windshield wiper, which is a disappointment that I miss already.

    But I do have to say that from a sportiness standpoint, the C230 w/cloth with the optional 17" wheels has been a surprisingly taut configuration. Its almost TOO firm for my liking for 'Bahn burning business trip runs (due to rough local Interstate roads), although the VW GTI VR6 was even firmer IMO, and less suited for extended duration highway runs due to likely levels of NVH.

    -hh
  • himilerhimiler Posts: 1,209
    That's the first time I've ever heard anyone complain the the GTI was too "firm." It's widely accepted that, without significant aftermarket upgrades, the GTI tends to be pretty soft 'n' squishy.

    If you're that concerned about rear-passenger room, consider a sedan.
  • huntzingerhuntzinger Posts: 350
    That's the first time I've ever heard anyone complain the the GTI was too "firm." It's widely accepted that, without significant aftermarket upgrades, the GTI tends to be pretty soft 'n' squishy.

    How much dampening is appropriate really depends on your driving needs.

    A high level of firmness that is otherwise fine for squirting around town will invariably become a liability on a long distance highway haul, due to its higher levels of NVH.

    Keep in mind is that the driver is always over 50% of the performance potential of a system, and it does you absolutely no good if the ride is so severe that the driver is fried after an hour (or 3) behind the wheel. Its all about NVH and how much you (the driver) can tolerate for how long.

    For most people most of the time, we're not going to be behind the wheel for more than an hour at a shot, so its not that great of a problem. But for those who want both, it is a trade-off of contradictory requirements.

    For example, what I've found within the past month is that for a 400 mile one day business trip, my C230 has higher NVH than my Saab 900S had on the exact same trip. Part of it is almost certainly due to the respective wheels/tires: 17" Continental "Somethings", vs. 16" Dunlop SP9000's.

    If you're that concerned about rear-passenger room, consider a sedan.

    Yes, but a sedan's shortcoming is the lack of the same hauling utility of a hatchback. What you probably meant to say was "consider a wagon", which I did. This is just another trade-off.

    -hh
  • audiofleaudiofle Posts: 1
    My old Toyota blew-up, so I had to buy a new car asap. I had decided to get the RSX Type-S... great reviews, reputation, etc, but had never driven one. On the way to test drive I stopped by the MB dealer and drove a C230. It was solid, reasonably quiet, and not slow. Then I went to the Acura dealer and drove the Type-S. Cheap interior, noisy, but OOOHH those ponies! It was a blast to drive.

    I was almost ready to buy the RSX. The MB dealer wouldn't deal, in fact he ADDED $300 to the list price. The day before I went to pick up the RSX, I called an MB dealer in Tulsa. His price was $1700 lower than my local dealer!

    Bottom line -- if the MB dealer won't deal, tell him/her to shove it and buy the RSX, but if you can get a deal on the C230... it's quieter, smoother, more solid, slower, and better looking. The Acura is fun to blast around in, but the MB is a much better cruiser.

    I got mine with leather and the six speed (no other options), I'm adding a cd-changer for another $400 (original equipment MB player available from Performance Products).
  • rk922rk922 Posts: 22
    I went to check out the MB C230 (2.3L?) and thought that it was an interesting car. I like the front and also because it's one of the few MBs that have the emblem flush on the hood instead of sticking out. I don't like the look of the back though. In any event, the MB is like US$18k more than the RSX in Hong Kong for some crazy reason, so no comparison for me.

    My dilemma is choosing between the RSX and BMW 316ti. Please go to rk922 "160hp RSX vs 115hp BMW 316ti" May 22, 2002 1:48am and give me your opinions. Thanks in advance!
  • drmpdrmp Posts: 187
    between c230 and RSX (haven't considered BMW). The specs in Acura are superior in paper but is not necessarily true when you are in the stop-and-go city driving and in usual highway speeds. Road noise, engine noise and bumps are also more apparent in RSX . The c230 is better in those aspects.

    The only time I expect the RSX to beat c230 is when racing it past 6000 RPM and drive it like a maniac trying to escapes from patrol cars.
  • drmpdrmp Posts: 187
    RSX with 6-speed manual = 7.8 seconds
    C230 with 5-speed auto = 7.7 seconds

    The C230 does it in a more relaxed manner, less noise and lower RPM's.
  • The Mercedes costs $2,000 more than the Acura bone stock, and that appears to buy you an engine, steering wheel and a motor. The RSX-S is loaded with all options standard, and can be had for less than $22,000 with a little bit of haggling (I got mine for $21,500). You start negotiations on the Mercedes at $25,000. If I thought I could comfortably afford the extra $3,000, I probably would have bought a loaded WRX, which would smoke both cars, or waited for a Z, which would have smoked both cars and looked better doing it. The Mercedes is ridiculously overpriced and outgunned in an extremely competitive segment of the auto market. If it's worth $3,000 to you to get that pointed star on your grille, go for it. Otherwise explore other choices.
  • beowulf7beowulf7 Posts: 290
    Shame on you for citing MSN Auto. It is widely known that they're the worst authority on cars.

    BTW, 7.8 sec for an RSX-S? Try 6.7 that's officially published. Or 6.1 sec that one magazine (I think Car & Driver) got.
  • The Mercedes costs $2,000 more..."

    Yes, the C230K costs more than some, and less than others: as a rule of thumb, I found that it was roughly halfway between a GTI, and a 3-Series.

    If I thought I could comfortably afford the extra $3,000...

    If, if, if.

    Maybe you should have saved your pennies for another 6-18 months :-)

    Nevertheless, the real bottom line is that price alone doesn't determine if you got a good value or not: value doesn't equal price.

    I probably would have bought a loaded WRX, which would smoke both cars...

    It would appear that your personal priority for what constitutes value is the car's "smoking" potential. As such, why didn't you buy a Mustang or Camaro?

    In any event, 0-60mph times were not any real part of my requirements. And since neither one of us is the ultimate authority, so neither criteria is right or wrong: just different.

    The Mercedes is ridiculously overpriced and outgunned in an extremely competitive segment of the auto market. If it's worth $3,000 to you...

    "Overpriced and outgunned" exactly how? On its 0-60mph metric? Certainly, there's more to any vehicle than just a couple of over simplistic acceleration numbers from the car magazines.

    For example, the MB has 3" more rear seat headroom and an inch more rear seat legroom than the RSX. These differences are substantial and makes the back seat in the C230 usable by teenagers and adults, where'as RSX's back seat is essentially useless for adults (that you like).

    So how much is this difference worth to you? $50? $1000?

    Personally, I've suffered enough in the back seats of friends' & coworkers' Acura Integra's, as well as inflicting pain on them in my old VW Scirocco in return. Consequently, I don't want a nasty back seat to be a characteristic of a new car I buy, and if that means "sacrificing" ~1sec of its 0-60mph time, so be it. In the specific case of the RSX, this deficiency eliminated it completely from my consideration: it could have been a $10K price difference for all I cared.

    Quite simply, I was looking for factors beyond just the car's raw acceleration. If you don't find rear seat room important to you, that's fine. I, on the other hand, have friends whose comfort I value :-)

    Similarly, the MB comes standard with traction control and head airbags. Neither feature is available on US-Spec RSX's.

    So how much are just these three things combined worth to you?

    Even if they're not worth anything to you, it can be worth it to me.

    Similarly, I can choose to place some worth in giving my business to the innovator and leader in automotive safety technology, instead of one of the many "coat tail" followers.

    I may also place value on the vehicles' respective dB and NVH levels. I don't recall by how much the RSX is improved from the Integra, but I have find the latter to be very noisy cars, which while is negligible in short "around town" driving, is a significant factor for driver fatigue (and thus safety) when I'm going to be driving 200-800 miles within a 36 hour period.

    -hh
  • ...for my car buying that I have pennies to spare. I figured out how much I wanted to put down, and how much I was comfortable paying per month for transportation and went from there.

    Because I was in the market for a sport coupe, it's handling and acceleration characteristics were important to me. Sorry.

    I don't sit in the back seat of my car and am blessed with many friends who either a) have their own damn cars or b) even better, have sedans or wagons for when we need to stuff a lot of people in one vehicle. I'm not a bus driver and don't want to be. As long as the woman I'm with is comfy by my side, I'm happy. The fact that, in a pinch, I can ferry two more people for short distances is just a bonus. And I don't buy the selfless routine. If your rear seat passengers had such a tremendous bearing on your purchasing decision, maybe you would have looked at a four door.

    I don't have anything against the Mercedes, but you're not going to convince me that it is a reasonable comparison to the RSX-S. The $2,000 figure is misleading. To get one similarly outfitted, you'd be looking at closer to a $5,000 or $6,000 difference.

    And for nearly $30,000, I (and it appears most automotive journalists) can think of a lot of cars that offer more bang for the buck. The G35 sedan is faster, bigger and more comfortable, for instance.

    Even in the Honda family, a more reasonable comparison would be between the the Acura CL or CL-S and the Mercedes.

    I think you paid a couple-thousand dollar premium for the right to say that you drive a Mercedes. If that's worth it to you, groovy. It wouldn't be to me.

    Based on my experience as a former Acura Integra owner and a current RSX-S owner, Honda makes bulletproof, fun-to-drive cars, priced to compete favorably with every reasonable competitor in their respective segments.
  • I figured out how much I wanted to put down, and how much I was comfortable paying per month for transportation and went from there.

    IMO, it sounds like you bought as much car as you can afford: not only are you considering the impact of monthly payments, but there's your "what if" scenario's for the WRX and Z.

    "Gee, we're different". I had a general budget guideline to follow, but it was predicated on how much I _wanted_ to spend, which was far less than what I could technically afford. BTW, you save $20 in NJ when your title doesn't require a lien :-)

    Because I was in the market for a sport coupe, it's handling and acceleration characteristics were important to me. Sorry.

    I'm not saying that they're completely unimportant.

    For a sport coupe, my criteria is that the vehicle be competent, which means that the numbers are general guides at best: if I were tracking the car competitively, then sure a 1-2 sec difference in 0-60mph times or 5mph difference in the slalom actually means something.

    My rationale is because I know that in real life driving the numbers get thrown out the window as virtually meaningless. The bottom line is that they are rapidly trumped by driver skill, and you can't buy "skill" as an option on any automobile. It is for this reason that you can visit your local PCA and see old-timers driving 2L 914's embarrassing "gold chainers" in 911 Turbo's out on the Track, and at the Auto cross. Personally, I was once embarrassed by a Stock Neon... it was a great eye-opener to just how much BS we're brain washed with from the "car magazine marketing" machine.

    I don't sit in the back seat of my car and am blessed with many friends...

    I guess my sarcasm here was too subtle.

    The fact that, in a pinch, I can ferry two more people for short distances is just a bonus.

    I simply have recognized that the "in a pinch" capability is no longer good enough for me. My point here is why should I have to compromise, simply because I like the form factor of 2 door coupes? Particularly since several manufacturers have made 2d coupes with functional back seats, which proves its not impossible to do.

    So why did Acura choose to cripple their design through reduced overall utility? If it was for a piddling half second faster 0-60mph time, they made the wrong design choice.

    If your rear seat passengers had such a tremendous bearing on your purchasing decision, maybe you would have looked at a four door.

    And the number of four door hatchback models currently offered is....Zero.

    The only one previously offered (<2003) was the Saab 9-3. The car I got rid of was a "5 door" Saab - it was a nice car, **when it ran**.

    I don't have anything against the Mercedes...

    I think you do, and you've expressed it more than once: you consider the tri-star to be a poseur badge that people will pay extra for.

    Personally, if I could have saved $500 through not paying for the badges, I would have said "take em off!".

    ...but you're not going to convince me that it is a reasonable comparison to the RSX-S.

    You're right, but that's only because you've already made up your mind, no matter what the evidence may be to the contrary.

    Personally, I've owned cars manufactured by both companies. I've also put hundreds of miles on "not available here" MB and Honda models in the $15-20K MSRP price range.

    Overall, both companies have good engineering groups, but each is slightly differently focused: each philosophical approach has its strengths and weaknesses. Choosing one design philosophy over another is based on personal preferences, which mostly reflect which part of the overall product lifecycle you value the most. For example, I'd suspect that its unlikely that you bought your RSX as the only car that you'll own for the next decade. YMMV.

    The $2,000 figure is misleading. To get one similarly outfitted, you'd be looking at closer to a $5,000 or $6,000 difference.

    But they aren't similarly outfitted, so this is doomed to always be an Apples-vs-Oranges comparison. Even so, Edmunds' True-cost-to-own is only showing a $6K difference across five years.

    Oh, and I only paid $26K (+ tax).

    I (and it appears most automotive journalists) can think of a lot of cars that offer more bang for the buck. The G35 sedan is faster, bigger and more comfortable, for instance.

    And --bzzt!-- its not a hatch. Next.

    I think you paid a couple-thousand dollar premium for the right to say that you drive a Mercedes.

    As I said above, if I could have saved $500 by having the badges stripped off the car, I would have done so. That's not an available option, so the point is moot, and your personal bias (bigotry?)for is showing. FWIW, in your opinion are there any "non-overpriced" European makes?

    Based on my experience as a former Acura Integra owner and a current RSX-S owner, Honda makes bulletproof, fun-to-drive cars, priced to compete favorably with every reasonable competitor in their respective segments.

    Based on my experience, I agree that they make generally reliable cars that represent a good value if you're looking to buy an "Appliance". However, what has been your firsthand ownership experience with the German brands that you're lambasting?

    -hh
  • ... certainly isn't doing anything to mitigate prejudices I may harbor against German cars (or, more accurately, their owners). Without getting into a "whose is bigger" argument with you, I'll say that you obviously missed the point of me discussing what I could "comfortably" afford.

    As it stands, both the down payment AND the monthly payments I signed on for cause me no financial pain AND I'm able to live far from New Jersey to boot.

    The subtlety of what is -- I'm sure -- brilliant sarcasm on your part notwithstanding, I still find your rear-seat argument flimsy. It's a pain to get into and out of the rear seats of low-slung sporty coupes. Period. Rear-seat annoyance is only a question of degree in this segment. I love the convenience of a hatchback, but if that was so important to you, I'm surprised you didn't consider a sport wagon (Subaru sells a quite a killer from what I understand).

    I also think you're a little bit confused about which of us is bigoted toward a whole nation of car makers. Were I to win the lottery, I'd almost certainly buy an M5. It seems to embody everything I want and need in a single package. If the lottery were particularly rich that week, I might throw in a 911 Turbo for the weekends.

    What doesn't interest me is a down-market, ghetto Mercedes built for people who want the star, but don't live in that tax bracket.

    The argument that all Japanese cars are mere appliances (adopted by Japanese-car bigots once they realized that they could no longer criticize Japanese reliability) is really quite stale.

    Companies like Subaru, Honda, Toyota and Mazda have led the charge in building fun-to-drive cars for ordinary people. Cars like the WRX, Mazdaspeed Protoge, Celica GTS Honda S2000 and RSX-S, dominate comparisons in their respective segments -- even when those comparisons are made by admitted germanophiles who pray at the altar of Bavarian Motor Works.
  • kevin111kevin111 Posts: 991
    1. Has to be a sports coupe
    2. Comfortable ride
    3. Rear Seat room aplenty
    4. Good acceleration
    5. Reliable
    6. Under $30K
    7. Has to be a sports coupe.
    8. Has to be a stick shift?

    Under these qualifications, I think you picked the right car.

    If you did not need it to be a sports coupe, but could live with an extra set of doors and a trunk, I could think of plenty of alternatives that might be a better choice for the money, mostly Japaneese.

    I am also assuming that the V6 Accord at the time of your purchase (2002 or earlier model) was either not sporty enough, or did not have a stickshift.

    If you are looking more towards agility, speed, and a really nice interior over ride, rear seat room, and quietness, the RSX-S is a better solution than the C230.
  • You're income snobbery... Without getting into a "whose is bigger" argument...

    If you're financially solid, then IMO, you're the rare exception. Personally, I find most instances of people who are buying an "above-average" vehicle fall into two categories:

    (A) the vehicle is easily affordable, which means money -- including ~$5K variances in products -- is not a meaningful constraint, so it doesn't come up in conversations about product choice.

    (B) the vehicle is a stretch. These buyers' general pattern is to whine about a few $K here or there, about "over priced" Marquees, etc. The common underlying problem is that the buyer is suffering from "caviar tastes, but beer income", and the product is another manifestation of them precariously trying to live beyond their fiscal means. Suffice to say that I tend to say unkind words to this type of car buyer. If this doesn't describe you, then great!

    FWIW, I've known individuals who are driving a car whose MSRP is 80-90% of their annual gross income, and a few who have literally been reduced to sleeping in their BMW for a month because they lost their home, even though they didn't lose their job. If a proverbial quick whack upside the head prevents such fiscal stupidity that I know I'll probably end up paying for somehow, I will not hesitate to deliver.

    As it stands, both the down payment AND the monthly payments I signed on for cause me no financial pain...

    For what you bought, yet you've played the "what if" game for more expensive vehicles that were, presumably, beyond your comfortable fiscal reach.

    Rear-seat annoyance is only a question of degree in this segment.

    I'll agree with that.

    I love the convenience of a hatchback, but if that was so important to you, I'm surprised you didn't consider a sport wagon (Subaru sells a quite a killer from what I understand).

    (a) I've previously owned a Subaru, thank-you-very-much.

    (b) I looked fairly seriously at the Audi A4 Avant (Wagon) and the BMW 3-Series Wagon.

    FWIW, the A4 Avant got eliminated not because of features or price, but because their service department has declined in quality. I mention this because I consider such factors to be significant in the total lifecycle of the vehicle: its not just purchase price.

    I also think you're a little bit confused about which of us is bigoted toward a whole nation of car makers.

    I'll admit that I hold generalized biases against most US and Japanese companies. But it hasn't been because I've never owned their products: I have. I've also driven many more as rental cars, etc. FWIW, the Toyota Echo's not a bad little econobox, but it is pretty boring.

    What doesn't interest me is a down-market, ghetto Mercedes built for people who want the star, but don't live in that tax bracket.

    Its only "down-market" in your perception because of what Marquee image MB has chosen to project to the USA market.

    For example, if you lived in Europe, you can buy models of MB, Audi and BMW that each cost well under $20K. These products simply aren't available here, so most Americans aren't aware of them.

    Companies like Subaru, Honda, Toyota and Mazda have led the charge in building fun-to-drive cars for ordinary people. Cars like the WRX, Mazdaspeed Protoge, Celica GTS Honda S2000 and RSX-S...

    Which ones are not recent innovations?

    The Japanese manufacturers are generally more agile at getting new trend products into the marketplace, and I give them their due credit for that.

    A few years ago, the hot product was the SUV, and I also recall how Honda literally bought their way into that market segment. *grin*

    However, when it comes to constancy of purpose, show me what their upper scale fun-to-drive product lines were back in 1990. My recollections are the Acura NSX and the Infinity M30. Anything else come to mind?

    In the meantime, other manufacturers had their own products, which have continuously been on the marketplace, and have the appropriate degree of design refinement. Just like how the Civic has had 25 years of refinement as the basic appliance sedan, because that's its product niche.

    Similarly, today's Infinity G35 is good, but its also just another "Johnny come lately" who's competing with the 3-Sieries. History will tell us how good of a contender it was, or if it becomes the new benchmark. This means we need to provide the perspective of time, although if we look at Nissan's history, we can see their prior attempts with the Maxima.

    -hh
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