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Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • I should have done this test, as I carry my clubs all the time! I am in Santa Barbara, so safe to leave clubs in the trunk all the time, e.g. does not get too hot. I need to have at least space for two sets of clubs. Mine and my playing partner. Ughhh, that was stupid of me to not check this out. Too late now, my car arrives in a month.

    That is why I did not buy a convertible - none of them had a trunk big enough for more than one set of clubs, and most could not fit one set of clubs.

    Cliff
  • joe131joe131 Posts: 972
    Maybe that's because the Volvo is a station wagon and those others are minivans or trucks?
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Now that I think about it, I'll second redsoxgirl nomination of a used 2005 E320 CDI as a viable alternative to the new or slightly used 20007 C280.

    My marketing director has an E320 CDI, the sales manager that works for her has a 2004 C240. We have driven both of them to lunch together on dozens of occassions. The E320 is in a whole different league above the C class. Frankly, even with the imrpovements and revisions for the 2007 model, the C class just seems too much like a mediocre car for those that must have the Mercedes badge. It is NOT on the same playing field as the BMW 3 series, which has tremendous attributes in its own right (i.e. separate from the 5 series) as the best performing, best handling ELLPS. The C class seems like it's simply geared to those that can't afford the E class. IMO, the C class is a definite notch down from the TL.

    When you look at how well the E320 CDI holds its value, plus the great fuel economy and moderate maintenance requirements, it's not much more expensive, if at all, than a gussied up C280. I'd go for the real thing, especially if comfort is a primary concern. The E320CDI is silky smooth at 75-80 on the highway. The C class feels like a Toyota by comparison. Which is not bad, but not great.

    Try to find some ADD sellers of CDI's.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    The V70's handling isn't "atrocious." I'd say it's simply "not sporty."

    It has a smooth ride that absorbs all manner of road imperfections, yet it corners with minimal roll. It leans and pushes through corners about as bad as a Honda Accord - not sporty, but not flaccid either.

    We love it for it's suprememly comfortable seats, airy interior, light but communicative steering, and very nice leather and wood trimmed interior. The cockpit is very driver oriented, and it's a pleasure to drive around town and on long freeway treks. Of course the safety engineering built into it goes without saying.

    Better tires and firmer springs/shocks would make it a sporty handler, but even stock, it's more than adequate for transporting 4 kids (+ equipment) to soccer practice or taking 2-week road trips down to California.

    Anyways, it's by far the most comfortable, stylish, economical (30+ MPG hwy), and sportiest vehicle that I can think of that seats 7 or hauls sheetrock with the tailgate closed. It's got plenty of passing power in the mountains - even fully loaded, and it's been as trouble free as any Honda I've ever owned - and I've owned 5 over the years.

    I don't think you can have your cake and eat it too. You cannot have uncompromised comfort and sport in one car. I do think that, if you're willing to compromise, the ELLPS segment is as good a compromise as any, but I tried to live with an ELLPS and I didn't like it. For me, the only solution was to own 2 cars with very distinct personalities/functions. The Volvo V70 for serene errand running/family touring, and the BMW M3 for weekend canyon carving and racetrack lapping.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I had a 2006 C280 4Matic for a loaner car recently and it didn't drive anything like my CLK. I was shocked. It didn't have the Mercedes ride or feel. It is as if the C has been seriously decontented over the last few years. I drove a 2001 C320 Sport when the C first came out and I remember it driving way better than the recent C280. Strange.

    M
  • m1miatam1miata Posts: 4,556
    So the tax payers are subsidizing Toyota and other hybrids - wonderful. And they get to use a special lane on the freeway - wonderful. Why not just let the rich buy the lane use -- oh wait, they can not do that as well. Oh well, I am not living in a big city, only paying for the cars.

    Yet another luxury car -- the special lane and free parking hybrid.

    When those Prius cars reach the end of their life cycle, I bet they will make pretty cool skateboard ramps. :D A local dealership has over 20 in stock right now. Must no longer be in demand. Ah, but there is $3.50 gas pricing ahead for 2007 -- well maybe there is. That said, I still would not want such a beast.
    -Loren
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Your experience is similar to what I have heard among my friends with Mercedes. Older "C"s, albeit always smaller than the E, were more substantial feeling and not nearly as much of a stepchild. More recently, the gap between the E and C has risen, at least in the subjective driving feel and "solidity".

    The CLK, as best I can tell, notwithstanding it's links to the C, has always been a separate class and has not suffered the same degredation. I still remember my first time in an early CLK thinking this is what a "cockpit" should look and feel like in a sport coupe. It looked and drove better than the E class, IMO. Made me even consider giving up my requirement for a manual transmission! Unfortunately, it was way above my affordability level at the time.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Actually, there is a pretty good case to be made that tax payers (federal income) are subsidizing all vehicles - especially SUV's - a hell of a lot more than hybrids.

    Consider that Arnold Schwartzenager's 10 mpg 6,000+ lb Hummers qualified for 100% accelerated tax write-offs. As does your friendly lawyer's GX470, doctor's Range Rover Sport and Tiki Barber's Escalade.

    Add the cost of the war in Iraq to the list of items that some say should be funded (or at least substantially so) with a federal gas tax, and we'd rip right through $3.50 a gallon on our way to $7.00. After all, you don't think we'd be willing to spend as much or sacrifice as much to promote democracy in a region that wan't sitting on trillions of barrels of oil, do you?

    I hate partisan "politics". I believe in economics and free market capitalism. Unfortunately, the average mass market Joe is going to be just as fuel efficient as his wallet requires, and the auto manufacturers need to be shown the money before they work on fuel efficiency as much as cup holder design for Tiki's behemouth. If I have to pay $7.00 per gallon to fill up the tank on my 19/26 mpg 911S or non-tax deductable, 18/23 mpg MDX, so be it. I'm paying a shipload more than that now out of my income tax to subsidize a fleet of tax deductable $60k+ 10-14 mpg SUV's. Giving a $5k break to someone driving a 40+ mpg Prius is the least of my worries - and probably a step in the right direction in the long term.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    The CLK, as best I can tell, notwithstanding it's links to the C, has always been a separate class and has not suffered the same degredation. I still remember my first time in an early CLK thinking this is what a "cockpit" should look and feel like in a sport coupe. It looked and drove better than the E class, IMO. Made me even consider giving up my requirement for a manual transmission! Unfortunately, it was way above my affordability level at the time.

    :) :D

    Well the CLK430 Cabriolet has finally come down to my affordability level, specifically this 2003 example.

    M
  • frisconickfrisconick Posts: 1,275
    When CA decided to demand an increase in mpg, Detriot spent millions lobbying against it, while Toyota created the Prius and is making a bundle on the car. Whan will Detriot ever learn? :cry:
  • m1miatam1miata Posts: 4,556
    The same Arnie, worried about global warming still owns a Hummer? Not as I do, just do as I say, is the line for the day!

    When the money runs down and things are looking tight for government income, my guess is that the VAT tax becomes the law of the land.

    It is interesting to see a lot of luxury car owners, as in those with the thick wallets, bought the Prius. A new status symbol. The ultimate near luxury auto :D Funny looking thing, with what I could only imagine to have limited handling and fun factor. OK-ok, the impress your neighbors with the technology is the fun factor. Yeaaa, or whoopee :P They are staking up on the lot now. Guess they are all too common a car for the rich now to own. Next up is the SUV hybrid. It is good that they will be saving gas now.
    -Loren
  • frisconickfrisconick Posts: 1,275
    I bought my 05 TL for 31k and the state tax was almost 3k! :cry:
  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,669

    The CLK, as best I can tell, notwithstanding it's links to the C, has always been a separate class and has not suffered the same degredation. I still remember my first time in an early CLK thinking this is what a "cockpit" should look and feel like in a sport coupe. It looked and drove better than the E class, IMO. Made me even consider giving up my requirement for a manual transmission! Unfortunately, it was way above my affordability level at the time.


    I think the "old" CLK 98-2002 was based on the E class platform; and didn't use the C Class platform until after the new C class came out (01 or so).

    So buying an older CLK you are ~in some way~ getting an E class.
  • m1miatam1miata Posts: 4,556
    I am thinking of moving to Oregon some day = no sales tax. And gas is cheaper too, when compared to Calif.
    -Loren
  • And everybody drives sooooo slowly.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I think the "old" CLK 98-2002 was based on the E class platform; and didn't use the C Class platform until after the new C class came out (01 or so).

    Actually the first 1998 CLK W208 was based on the 1994 C-Class too, the CLK has always been based on the C. The last E-Class-based coupes were the 1988-1995 300CE/E320 Coupes.

    M
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Isn't gas cheaper than California everywhere, at least in the States? ;)
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    You *can* get a CLK in manual, though they are hard to find on a dealer's lot.

    My co-worker has a CLK320(CLK230 with the big engine in it) and with manual, it's as quick as a Porsche. Agile as one, too - seriously overkill for almost any driving that you could want to do.
  • maximafanmaximafan Posts: 592
    Oh, Man, I remember the '84-'85 Supras. I was
    in love with that car! I remember the wheels
    looked so "Ffat" on that car. To me it was the
    bomb back then!!
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,595
    pat, I think gas is cheaper everywhere else besides California & NY (a close 2nd).

    merc1, I've always loved the stunning good looks of the CLK 430 especially with those 5 spoke AMG wheels. My Mom had a '98 CLK 320 Black/Black (with the sort of cheesy looking wheels that looked good on the black car). My Dad saw the car featured in Autoweek in August of '97 and ran down the the dealership the next day (a Saturday after work) to place his deposit. He's not that type at all, but was just in awe over the car's looks and had to have one.

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

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Needless to say I've been a fan of the CLK430 too!! I still think the previous generation looks better than the current car, but of course the current CLK350, CLK550 and CLK63 AMG are vastly improved in all other areas.

    There is no manual option for any current model CLK for the U.S. market.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    A CLK320 with a manual? What year was that? I don't remember the W208 ever being offered with a manual, at least in the U.S.

    M
  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,669
    Actually the first 1998 CLK W208 was based on the 1994 C-Class too, the CLK has always been based on the C. The last E-Class-based coupes were the 1988-1995 300CE/E320 Coupes

    k…maybe it was the suspension components…thought there was some connection to the E.

    Wikipedia says the “unique platform borrows from both the C and E"...Not sure what that specifically means.

    I suppose it doesn’t really matter; any CLK is tops in my book
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I believe that you are correct, the CLK was never offered here in North America with a manual transmission, regardless of engine size. My bet is that plekto is thinking of an SLK, which was initially launched with a slushbox only, however, after nearly getting myself fired from MB-USA for my disparaging comments about the lack of a manual gearbox, the folks in Montvale did ultimately decide to put a third pedal in that car, as it should have been from the very beginning. ;-)

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I'm with merc on this, I am almost certain that the CLK never came with a manual transmission.

    I did drive the SLK 320 6-speed in my sports car shopping period of mid 2005. Are you sure thats not what your co-worker has?

    P.S. "Quick as a Porsche" is a pretty broad statment. The base Boxster has a tough time beating 6 seconds in a 0-60 run, the 911S has been times as low as 3.9. Unfortunately, that SLK320 6-speed I drove was closer to the base Boxster. And the SLK55 forced you back to the automatic transmission.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    He-he. Beat'cha by a couple of seconds. ;-)

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    "however, after nearly getting myself fired from MB-USA for my disparaging comments about the lack of a manual gearbox, the folks in Montvale did ultimately decide to put a third pedal in that car, as it should have been from the very beginning".

    Where have I been that I didn't know you worked for MB-USA? :confuse: ;)

    O.K. Mr. Renegade, here's my wish list: 6-speed manuals in the following please: SLK55, SL550/55/65, E63, E320 Bluetec. I'd like to name more, but I'm figuring you'll be on the unemployment line long before you get through the above. Actually, make the Bluetec first, as a "sport" version 6-speed would be the most interesting MB I'd consider buying in the near future (so I can keep my 911).

    P.S. I concede you beat me by a couple of seconds, but don't extrapolate that to mean an automatic is faster than a manual! ;)
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Hmmm, I thought everybody around here knew that I used to work for MB-USA. :blush:

    Maybe you missed the following post from nearly two years ago. ;-)

    shipo, "Mercedes-Benz E-Class Sedans" #6085, 3 Feb 2005 2:09 pm

    As you can see, when I said "...after nearly getting myself fired...", what I really should have said is "...after nearly getting myself fired on the spot...", my stay of execution only lasted about three months. The folks in Stuttgart wanted me to stay on, on their payroll, however, two months after the SLK incident, my wife gave birth to our second child and there was just no way I could spend the next several years flying back and forth to Germany. Geez, if they'd offered me that gig when I was single, I'd have been all over it like shine on a polyester leisure suit. :P

    Best Regards.
    Shipo
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Shipo,

    That's a great story. And worth re-posting in the "Future of the Manual Transmission" forum.

    I too wonder in other areas whether it's "conventional wisdon" or just plain arrogance that perpetuates some bad business decisions. One could conclude today that, of course, Mercedes' buyers want automatics, because anyone who wants a stick has self selected out of their customer pool. But, if I'm not mistaken, the 3-series crushes the C class in sales and the M5 beats the E55 in resale value.

    A friend of mine bought one of the very first E-classes around 1988 and ordered it with a manual. The dealer tried to forewarn him about resale. He responded that he'll just have to take it to a BMW dealer when he was ready to trade, down the road. :P

    Take care. ;)
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