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Mercedes-Benz C230 vs. Saab 9-3

revkarevka Posts: 1,750
edited March 25 in Mercedes-Benz
the Mercedes-Benz C230 vs the Saab 9-3.

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Revka
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Hatchbacks & Station Wagons Boards

Comments

  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    On the left side of the page, you'll now find direct links to Edmunds' New Vehicle Pricing information for the Saab 9-3 and MB C230. Hope this is helpful. Keep your eyes open for other related articles and features in that area.

    Revka
    Host
    Hatchbacks & Station Wagons Boards
  • Revka-

    I assume you set up this board because you found people doing Edmunds comparisons of these cars. However, having driven the 9-3 (and 9-5) before getting the C230, I can say there really is no comparison. The 9-3 is a very old design, going back to the 900, and shows it. Performance, tautness and ergonomics are far behind not only the C Class but competitors from many other manufacturers. The only reason I can see anyone getting a 9-3 is because GM is practically giving them away loaded to the gills before introducing the replacement (fall 02?).
  • huntzingerhuntzinger Posts: 350
    If I am buy a Mercedes, I would save more money and buy an CLK or SLK.

    See you in 10 years :-). FWIW, I've found these assumptions on the Mercedes Marquee to be quite interesting - - it seems that no one in America has ever heard of their "A" class, or other affordable MB vehicles that exist in Europe.

    After you put leather and the sunroof to the C230, it could be expensive.

    "Could be" doesn't sound like you've actually run out the math. If my numbers are still current, the Premium Pkg runs $2700 and includes Leather, the C2 sunroof pkg and the BOSE stereo. Thus, a base C230 + Premium + delivery would run $24950 + 2700 + 695 = 28,345.

    For the same price, I would buy a 9-3 SE/Viggen...

    Your math is lousy: a Viggen is ~$36K, which is a difference of ~$8,000, or roughly 25%.

    (more powerful - 205hp & 230hp)

    Technically true, but irrelevant.

    We all think we're these great drivers (myself included), but over 99% of us would get significantly more of a performance gain by just taking a good performance driver's training course than wasting the money on the bigger engine.

    Let me repeat that: for performance, the biggest bang for the buck is driver education, not hardware.

    There is nothing more humbling than seeing your Porsche 911's lap times get bested by a guy in a stock Dodge Neon.

    A4 (at least quattro is available)

    My wife's 2000 A4Q 1.8T ran around $28K two years ago. The general pricing I did 4 months ago put the A4 I wanted was above $30K. The 325i pricing I did was higher; mid-30's. And I wasn't blowing money on sunroof or leather on either of these, so if that's on your list, add ~$3K.

    And an S4 will set you back over $40K.

    My recommendation is to more closely examine the features & options list to figure out what you really want (and are willing to pay for; the 6CD changer on the C230 is a rip-off), and look at real numbers to start to narrow down your comparison to something more reasonable.

    Concurrently, separate emotional reactions of yourself and what others may think regarding the various Marquees ...I hope that you know that the Saab 9-3 is not much more than a re-skinned Opal from GM, for example.

    -hh
  • maynardf1maynardf1 Posts: 127
    That Opal must be a lot of fun to drive then. I know my 9-3 certainly was.

    One point on pricing: Aren't saabs generally avail. way below msrp, making a straight price comparison more difficult?
  • huntzingerhuntzinger Posts: 350
    That Opal must be a lot of fun to drive then. I know my 9-3 certainly was.

    As was also my 900S. The problem is that "fun" isn't the same thing as "reliable" by most people's definitions.

    One point on pricing: Aren't saabs generally avail. way below msrp, making a straight price comparison more difficult?

    They are offering strong incentives right now, as the 2002 is known to be the end of a design run. Edmund's is starting to reflect this, with the 9-3's TMV being ~$2K below MSRP ($24.8K).

    The Viggen looks like its TMV is $2.5K below MSRP (which is $500 above Invoice), at $36,142.

    Meantime, Edmunds lists the C230K's TMV at $25,254.

    Assuming $2700 for the aforementioned Leather & Sunroof options package bumps this up, but its still going to be $7-8K below the Viggen's TMV. I highly doubt that any incentive package is going to be that big.

    BTW, do note that this is not to say that its not impossible to option-up the C230K - - you can. If you buy every single available option (including the $2500 phone) and choose your interior/exterior colors to be hit with the extra $1100 "special order" surcharge, it is possible to add $15K in options to get its total MSRP up to $40K for those who insist on doing such things.

    -hh
  • Saab usually has $4000-$5500 incentive and many dealers are willing to sell their cars at invoice because there is another 2% dealer holdback. You can get a loaded auto base 9-3 (not in 2002 though) for less than 25K and a SE for ~$26-7K. In 2001, there was a $5500 incentiove for Viggen.
    You can do all your calculation. Even a SE has more/similar horsepower and torque than a C230 and is much cheaper. (Not to mention the top speed is over 140mph - limited)
  • I think people who drives Saab knows how to enjoy driving their cars. In my opinions:

    Mercedes owners: People who are rich but like to showoff.

    BMW owners: People do like to showoff but many of them enjoy driving. They may know cars better than the other 2 groups. However they are more aggressive.

    Saab owners: People who don't care how other people look at them. They have the money but they don't want to showoff. They enjoy driving and they enjoy their lives in their cars.
  • huntzingerhuntzinger Posts: 350
    I think people who drives Saab knows how to enjoy driving their cars. In my opinions:

    Mercedes owners: People who are rich but like to showoff.

    Saab owners: People who don't care how other people look at them. They have the money but they don't want to showoff. They enjoy driving and they enjoy their lives in their cars.


    Curious: how do you "demographically profile" a former Saab owner who buys something else the next time out?

    -hh
  • vigorousvigorous Posts: 15
    I disagree with the poster who says the

    900 and the 9-3 are the same car and

    unreliable.


    I have a 9-3. Best car I ever owned. And the

    UK Consumers Association ranked the two-year

    old 9-3 (1999) most reliable tied with three others, none of which was a Mercedes.


    http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/uk/newsid_1470000/1470045.stm


    The people who have compared the two in the

    Saabnet board consider the Merc dull. A very nice car and all but dull and not as utilitarian as the Saab.


    Sure, the 9-3 is going to be a totally new car in 2002 but the 1998-2001's are still great cars; a real bargain when the real price is known.

  • huntzingerhuntzinger Posts: 350
    I disagree with the poster who says the 900 and the 9-3 are the same car and unreliable.

    Half of my 900's problems were in the manual transmission. If this gearbox was changed between the 900 and 9-3, please state what production year this happened and what the specifics were.

    And FWIW, attitude in the dealership's service department is model independent.

    I have a 9-3. Best car I ever owned.

    I was happy for the first 3-4 years, too. Then my opinion changed. How old is your 9-3? :-)

    And the UK Consumers Association ranked the two-year old 9-3 (1999) most reliable tied with three others...

    Be very, very careful when quoting statistics.

    For example, in the URL you provided, CR received nearly 34,000 surveys that canvassed 81 vehicles. If each vehicle was equally represented, that's only 419 surveys per automobile. Given the price range, the odds are very high that the more expensive than average 9-3 would have had fewer respondents. Nevertheless, zero failures out of sample of 419 yields a Reliability of ~99.4% at a 90% Confidence (MTBF = ~181). This is not really all that far removed from the next few groups on the upper end of the list... not enough for a well-informed person to get strongly worked up about.

    And given that the need or severity of the repair is not provided in this report, we proverbially don't know if the repair was for a broken sun visor or a blown engine, so a bit more information is needed before we draw any really definitive conclusions as to the value of this data source.

    The people who have compared the two in the Saabnet board consider the Merc dull.

    Who? I did several keyword searches on the Saabnet board in every single group and didn't find many references to the C230 at all, let alone ones that called the car "dull". Can you please post your citations (or at least clarify that this is your personal opinion only)?

    In any event, please explain why I should be particularly concerned about some "popularity contest" on vehicle looks... after all, if I was that shallow, I would have never bought my Saab!

    A very nice car and all but dull and not as utilitarian as the Saab.

    Yes, I already miss the size of my Saab's hatch/trunk. But I don't miss how the Saab's large slabby sides would push me around in crosswinds, particularly when crossing bridges. I've also found that the C230 with the optional 17" wheels has a higher amount of road feel than my Saab did, even with my summer 16" high performance SP9000's on the Saab. I've found the HVAC of the MB to be superior, and I dislike some elements of the electronics dashboards on both of them. Having now owned & driven both, each has its strengths ... and weaknesses. There is no such thing as a free lunch, ever.

    Sure, the 9-3 is going to be a totally new car in 2002 but the 1998-2001's are still great cars; a real bargain when the real price is known.

    I'm sorry, but most people's idea of "price" is extremely short-sighted: they look at initial purchase price and MAYBE insurance costs.

    A vehicle's real price is the sum of all costs across its entire lifecycle. This means all fuel, all oil changes, all repairs and what the car's eventual trade-in price is, in addition to original purchase cost.

    In my circumstance, the current Saab $5K incentive wouldn't even have paid for the repair bills I had on my Saab before it hit 50K miles.

    And the current GALVES price guide listings for Saab are downright miserable. Saabs simply do not hold their value well at all: they are consistently inferior to MB, Audi and BMW (and probably several others that I didn't actually plot data on).

    -hh
  • huntzinger:

    "Curious: how do you "demographically profile" a former Saab owner who buys something else the next time out?"

    I was talking about typical Mercedes/BMW/Saab drivers. When Saab drivers switche to BMW, they probably be more aggressive....
  • rockribbedrockribbed Posts: 44
    I am the happy owner of a C230 and just inherited' my daughters 2002 9-3 (she's in nyc for school - not a good place for a car) and have driven them back-to-back.

    The 9-3 is definitely a SEDAN and the mb is a SPORT coupe. Not to say one is better than the other, just different (in the SAAB's case quirky springs to mind). The turbo four with similar HP to the mb feels sedate at similar speeds. My coupe feels like a go kart with good ac and radio, the saab feels like a sedan. The saab definitely has the edge in the trunk space, my coupe won't hold a set of golf clubs w/o folding down the seat. MPG is simular for both.

    Despite SAAB's claim to the sports sedan moniker, there is just no comparison. The SAAB is a sedate sedan, the MB is a sporty coupe.

    BTW, you should hear me cuss when I change from one to the other: the controls couldn't be more different!
  • huntzingerhuntzinger Posts: 350
    BTW, you should hear me cuss when I change from one to the other: the controls couldn't be more different!

    At least both require you to hold the ignition key in your right hand. Try going from either to a Porsche 911 (ignition's on the left side of the steering wheel).

    And I can also recall some rental cars with right hand drive - - not only are you on the wrong side of the car and have to learn to shift with your left hand. At least the H pattern isn't flipped.

    And the windshield wiper & turn signal stalks are often on the opposite sides. You come up to an intersection to turn left, and turn on your wipers instead! Been there, done that.

    -hh
  • danncasdanncas Posts: 24
    I have a a Mercedes and I like it just fine. Its a Sedan. I would not even consider the entry level Coupe. I have however drove the Saab 9 3 Vector and this will be my next car.
  • cjs2002cjs2002 Posts: 341
    I'm thinking about getting the newly introduced c 230 komprssor sedan "thing" :), but I'm not shirr... I like it cause its a benz and its relativly in my price range... also looking at the CTS... but its a bit more (more standard feats though)... but I like the looks of the C 230 so I wanted to know.... if any one has the sedan or coupe version of this car and what their likes and dislikes are.... thankx
  • scscarsscscars Posts: 92
    cjs2002: We've had our C230 Coupe for 10 months and it is a blast to drive. Clearly the most fun car that my wife and I have ever owned. It has had some first year glitches which include factory and dealer reprogramming of ESP (Stability Control) and Brake Assist software, some brake shoe replacement, and a defective glove box, but otherwise the car has been great.

    Likes: Outstanding acceleration and torque, excellent stereo (the Bose unit is a must), Comfortable interior, reputation for durability and Mercedes-Benz standing behind its product, and the fantastic panorama sunroof.
    Dislikes: Rear visibility (this is not a problem with the sedan), first-year glitches on US models, information center readouts take some getting used to, small tachometer, cassette standard instead of a CD player ($400 option).

    We considered the Saab, but we did not think that it would have the long-term durability or resale value that Mercedes is known for.

    Good luck with your decision and let us know how it comes out.
  • huntzingerhuntzinger Posts: 350
    cjs2002: I've had my C230K for ~13 months and it has been performing as expected.

    Likes: tight handling with very good distance cruising comfort (had another 500 mile R/T last week). Enough power, good fuel economy, no squeaks. Excellent dealer service department.

    Dislikes: cassette standard instead of a CD player ($800 option on the '02; less for the '03). Can only carry a limited quantity of 8ft long 2x4's and still close the hatch (max ~4).

    FWIW, I'm a former Saab owner. When it was but a year old, I would have also said I was satisfied with its mechanicals (its woes came later; click here for more). I suspect that it will be hard for the MB to be as mechanically unreliable as my Saab was...and I doubt that it will depreciate at the same rate: in the end, I was only able to sell the Saab for roughly half of what Blue Book and Edmunds claimed it should have been worth.

    -hh
  • Have had my 2003 C230K for 3 months and 2500 miles. My observations so far.

    LIKES:

    Great acceleration and power - even in the mountains

    Excellent gas mileage - have gotten as much as 39.9 mpg on a 176 mile highway trip traveling at 71 mph, around town with mixed driving consistently get 31- 33 mpg.

    Fun to drive, and given all the power, very quiet except for the panoramic sunroof (see below, dislikes).

    DISLIKES:

    Only one so far

    When I took delivery of the car 3 months ago there was a rubber gasket squeak from the back edge of the panoramic sunroof that was almost constant as you drove down the road. Mercedes service addressed the problem indicating that they found something obvious and indicated that the repair should be permanent. Last weekend, the squeak reappeared and I will be taking it back in on Wednesday to have them look at it again. Any one else having this problem?
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