Mercedes-Benz C350 & C280



  • bmwcccbmwccc Member Posts: 234
    Thanks for the reply stroudman. I will take your advice and go test drive the 2005 C320 to get an idea of the body and also drive the 2006 SLK to test out the new 350 engine.

    Seems like BMW has the performance part down but lacks in the comfort area for me. Contrary, MB has the comfort thing down but lacks in the performance arena. Maybe the 2006 C350 will offer both for once and gain a new customer.

    No interest in the audi or VW, just was curious because of the new engine and body style changes.

  • bmwcccbmwccc Member Posts: 234
    Doubletree, just FYI about getting raped by your dealer. I negotiated a hair over 4.5% over dealer invoice for their profit. Car loaded at invoice was 39,220 but gave 1,800 dealer profit plus 695 shipping plus taxes etc. No trade in or lease, just cash and outside loan. Deals can be done, just need to be patient and work with the right dealer. This price was for a car built or that was coming in and not sitting on there lot.
  • bmwcccbmwccc Member Posts: 234
    mac320, sounds like you are getting bent out of shape over some additional comments about comparing vehicles. I am assuming you were targeting me but just didn't reply directly.

    So, since I am new to this forum I thought i would introduce myself and let people know the position I am in with the vehicles I am considering. I am on this forum to gain knowledge and insight on the 2006 C350. Yes, I brought up bmw as my comparo option to the MB C350. I reread my posts and am having a hard time seeing if I offended anyone or bashed anyone's ideas about the MB product. I can't say that I have!

    Sounds like you may have way too much time on your hands to worry about my posts on this forum. If they bother you, why don't you just skip them. I imagine if they are not pertinent to the forum, then the hall monitor will redirect me to the appropriate forum.

    Anyway, you might have an issue with this one as well considering i wrote BMW in this post as well. Just ignore it, don't respond, and let it go............

    Happy Mother's Day!
  • bigpapalukebigpapaluke Member Posts: 108
    Hi Stroudman,

    So if I'm reading your post correctly, the C class will continue to have the manual transmission available in the 2006 model correct? The MB has fallen a little bit off my radar screen because of the lack of engine performance; however, the new engines coming out is making me think I should give these vehicles another shot. The deal breaker for me is the manual transmission, but I am cautious about MB because of the upcoming redesign (i.e. after 2006).

  • ikramericaikramerica Member Posts: 101
    The C230 and C320 sport sedans will have manual standard. 6speed. 7speed auto will be optional for $1100 or so.

    The C240 and C320 luxuray sedans, 4matic sedans, and all wagons will have 7speed (5speed 4matic) auto standard with no option for manual.

    The C55 has a 5speed standard, unless they switch it to the 7speed like the SLK55 has for 2006. Unclear at this time.
  • merc1merc1 Member Posts: 6,081
    Actually the 2005 SLK55 has the 7-speed already, with some trouble in a few cars on the SLK board.

  • run1run1 Member Posts: 2
    In a recent R&T "First Drive " column, it appears as though the roofline and rear of the C class may be different for 2006. Does anyone know if this is so, or just a photo angle making it look that way to me ? Also, will the C280 have the same look ? Any thoughts would be appreciated.
  • merc1merc1 Member Posts: 6,081
    The 2006 model will have the same look as the current car. Only the engines and some minor equipment are changed for 2006.

  • crtclmasscrtclmass Member Posts: 1
    I really want to get the new C-350 AWD. But I'm bummed out about the 5 speed Automatic, instead of the 7speed Auto on the rear-wheel drive version.
    Does any one know the difference in performance between the new C-350 AWD and the C-350 rear wheel drive? How about Fuel consumption differences?
    This would had been my first MB. But I just can't see my self buying a rear wheel car where I reside
  • bmwcccbmwccc Member Posts: 234
    Merc1, ikramerica & Stroudman

    Am I correct in understanding the current 2005 C320 does not have full maintenance covered for 4 years or 50,000 miles???????????? If not, are they kidding and why would they pull that when audi and bmw does?

    So, is the 2006 C350 going to have the covered maintenance?

  • stroudmanstroudman Member Posts: 192
    No it won't. I think it was a bad idea to take it away, also. Not because I think it's that important in the great scheme of things, but because in this American market, you can't offer something like that and then take it away without turning off a lot of people. I think it was either one of two things -
    Either they thought they would forever be slaves to offering it, kind of like 0% rates for GM, so quit while they're ahead, or
    Out of pure arrogance, they figured they don't have to offer freebees in order for their car to sell.
    Either way, and I could be wrong, I think they will eventually have to offer it again, once they are more profitable, if the competition keeps upping the ante. I would be curious to see how much BMW is shelling out now that they're offering brakes, tire rotation, wiper blades and all. That will get expensive.

    If you really like the car, personally, I wouldn't let it bother you much. The car takes a service every 13k miles, so if you only keep it through the duration of the warranty, that's 3 visits. It's worth it, if it's the car you like best.
  • merc1merc1 Member Posts: 6,081
    The car takes a service every 13k miles, so if you only keep it through the duration of the warranty, that's 3 visits.

    This was going to be my point here. Most luxury cars go in for service much more often like every 5 to 7.5K depending on the make so its not like you'll be paying a lot to service a Mercedes.

    That said it does sound a lot better for it to be paid for by MB but when you really look at the service interval there really isn't too much expense involved.

  • ikramericaikramerica Member Posts: 101
    Full service was canceled for 2005.

    The reason is simple. They could either raise prices or lose the service. The exchange rate for the Euro is so bad, this had to be done.

    Audi and BMW are debating this as well. BMW is also sending 3series built in South Africa to the US market due to the EURO problem and tax incentives from SA. The super strong EURO is having a bad impact on the European manufacturing base. Audi is considering building A4s in Mexico.

    The flexible service system dictates how often you need service in the pre-2005 MB models, roughly 10k for me. MB found that this was actually too frequently, so now most models go nearly 15k without service (except for CDI models). Considering the cars still carry the same warranty and roadside assistance, the cost of 3 service visits over the life of the car (2A and 1B) won't be too much. But zero is always more desirable than not-zero.

    It weighed into my considerations of getting another MB, but ultimately, I decided to order a C280 anyway. But it may turn people toward BMW or other brands if they overestimate the value of such service.
  • bmwcccbmwccc Member Posts: 234
    Merc1, Stroudman & ikramerica

    Thanks for the feedback guys. You had roughly the same point and unfortunately we may not get that service back. In some respect, if they don't increase the price of the 2006 over the 2005 you are really saving some money here with the upgraded engine. Use that for several service visits i guess. Just hard to swallow when other competitors include them.

    I am excited to see and drive the 2006 and guess will have to wait to see how important the non included service is to me.

  • kennynmdkennynmd Member Posts: 424
    Since its not offered for free, do some dealers offer it for free just to get a sale? I remember when I bought my ES300 they included the 10k and 15k service for free so they could sell the car.
    On another subject, how are the leather seat inserts? Does it mean that there is some leather on the seats? Are they the MB version of leatherette in the BMW?
  • merc1merc1 Member Posts: 6,081
    Leather inserts are just that. The part on which you actually sit are leather as opposed to the whole seat being wrapped in leather like on the E500, S-Class, SL, and CL. If you order the optional leather on the E350 the whole seat is wrapped in leather as is the door pockets and everything else that looks like leather is leather. Mercedes used to be one of the makes that used leather on everything concerning the interior, but with the M, C, and E320/350 they cut back to just leather inserts like everyone else. Other makes don't tell you that the whole seat isn't leather, instead they say "leather seating surfaces" which is the same thing.

  • kennynmdkennynmd Member Posts: 424
    Thanks...just the seat itself where you sit? How bout the area where your back would be at? Also, from your experience or others, is it worth the price?
  • merc1merc1 Member Posts: 6,081
    Yes, the area where you sit and your back too. Its just outer sections that aren't leather like the bolsters and other trim pieces. IMO, on a C-Class it isn't worth ordering full leather because the leather inserts and MB-Tex (a really durable vinyl) are so well done to the point that most can't tell the difference. I think this combination will hold up better over time than full leather since Mercedes doesn't use the same leather as they did some years ago. Now that leather was the thickest going and held up forever, but it wasn't as "plush" as some other brands so MB gave in and changed it out for the plusher kind used today.

  • ikramericaikramerica Member Posts: 101
    The leather inserts are only on the FRONT seats for the C and E. So, if you want leather in the back, you need to pay for the full leather package. For $1500, the leather package covers all seat surfaces with leather (front seat, front seat backs, rear seats, door inserts, headrests). Worth it? Well I got it because they don't make blue interiors with inserts. But probably not really worth it.

    But the 2005+ leather is real MB quality, where the earlier leather was more VW/Honda quality. Not cheap, but my 2002 C-Coupe leather is no where near as nice as the current C-Class full leather.

    Up through the late 80s, most of the non-S and SL cars were MBtex. Both of my Mom's 300TDs ('78 and '84) had tex, as leather was an expensive option, and MBTex is very durable for a family. My Dad's '86 420SEL had leather standard (velour was optional), but I think even his old '72 450SE had MBTex.
  • kennynmdkennynmd Member Posts: 424
    Thanks both of you for the answers...Now I have to wait til the 280 or 350 comes out for a test drive.
  • merc1merc1 Member Posts: 6,081
    Any word on price for you order yet?

  • kennynmdkennynmd Member Posts: 424
    What curreent vehicles have the upcoming C230 OR C280 engines in it now? Don't want to be the first to see what problems if any with the new engine.

    On another subject, do you think the C230 will have any incentives when the 06's come out? There seems to be an incentive on the c240 4Matic but not on the base C240, any reasons why?

    Thanks, Kenny
  • merc1merc1 Member Posts: 6,081
    None, but the new engines for the C230 and C280 are just smaller versions of the engine in current E350, SLK350 and ML350.

  • kennynmdkennynmd Member Posts: 424
    Thanks...could you possivly answer the incentive question...also, do you know if there has been any significant problems with the 350 engines in the other models. Thanks!
  • merc1merc1 Member Posts: 6,081
    Not that I'm aware of, there haven't been any recalls or anything. Generally Mercedes' problem isn't engines. Its the electronics that have been giving the grief.

    I'm not exactly sure about the incentives on the C240, but my guess on the C240 4Matic models would be that they're harder to clear out since they're awd and its spring, either way they want all C240, C320 and I4 C230 models gone so they're dealing on all of them. The newly engined 2006 models should appear sometime next month along with the facelifted CLK.

  • ikramericaikramerica Member Posts: 101
    based on remaining inventory.

    when i went to the MB dealer to place my order, they had zero 240s of any kind for sale, had a few 320s left, and a handful of 230s, selling fast due to price and incentives.

    the odds are low there will be incentives on the new models right away, UNLESS MB wants to advertise the newness and creates some special lease deals for some of them, with maybe some dealer advertising cash.

    their money factor is high, so any lowering would be welcome, and residuals should be higher due to the double wammy of new year and new engines.

    i have not gotten any price info yet, but some other websites have indicated that the C230 will cost the same as the C230k, the C280 will cost the same as the C240, and the C350 will cost LESS than the C320 when equipped the same!
  • kennynmdkennynmd Member Posts: 424
    You said that there are incentives on the current 230's? I have checked here and neither say there is an incentive on that model. There is a special lease offer. Is that what you mean?
  • stroudmanstroudman Member Posts: 192
    If the inventories are still high in the next few weeks, you will likely see some "trunk money" on the outgoing models. Like ikra said, it all depends on how many are still sitting around unsold. It may also be contingent on whether or not you finance with mb credit. There most certainly won't be a good lease deal on the outgoing cars, b/c the residuals are no good.
  • fth61fth61 Member Posts: 2
    I was looking at a C320 AWD Auto for my mom and find out about the the C350. I like the idea of the additional power the 350 provides, especially if price is compatible. Does the AWD 5 speed auto turn the C350 into a dog? I'm trying to figure out if I should wait for the C350 or, given that I'm going to drag it down with the AWD 5 speed auto, I should go with whatever deal I can get on a C320 AWD auto. Not that my mom cares (her biggest concern is color) but I might get to drive it once in a while........
  • merc1merc1 Member Posts: 6,081
    Does the AWD 5 speed auto turn the C350 into a dog?

    Of course not. Even with the 5-speed the C350 4Matic is going to be way faster than the C320 4Matic you're looking at. If the extra power isn't an issue, then you'll get a better deal on a C320 4Matic than any C350.

  • kennynmdkennynmd Member Posts: 424
    Just looked at the inentives and rebate section here on edmunds, and there is an addition 1k rebate on the C320 compared to a cuple weeks ago. In addition, there is a 2k rebate on the C240 which there wasn't any a couple weeks ago. Still no rebat on the C230 though. Looks like the C350 and 280 are coming reallly soon!
  • ikramericaikramerica Member Posts: 101
    C230 has lease deal through Aug1.

    C240/320 have cash. Also, there are pretty much none of these left anyway except in smaller markets (though Beverly Hills MB sent me a letter begging me to turn in my car 3 months early at no penalty if I would take a remaining C. They claimed to have a very slow 2nd quarter.)

    My guess, and it is only a guess, is the 2005 C230 will last through summer, but C240/320 are gonesville, since the 2006 C280/350 are coming this month, like you said.
  • ikramericaikramerica Member Posts: 101
    If you are happy with the performance of teh C320 4Matic, then why not go for the C280 4Matic. $4000 cheaper (new, not counting current C320 incentives), same basic performance, newer engine, higher residuals.

    If you do want the 'top' model, the C350 will be much faster than the C320. The 5 speed is no dog, just the 7 speed is more efficient.

    One thing about either. You need to train the transmission to shift aggressively, so when you first get the car, make sure to keep a lead foot in your back pocket until it learns how you like to drive (you may have to sneak it out at night if your mom won't comply ;) )
  • fth61fth61 Member Posts: 2
    Thanks - not familiar with the idea of 'train the transmission'. The transmission 'learns' from the driver's driving habits? and if I want it to accelerate quickly I'll have to drive it fast for a while?

    Where can I find out more about this? I definitely don't want my mom "ruining" the transmission because she drives like an .........old.....lady.......

    btw - our C320 is $40,303 (MSRP 45,050). That's pretty good for I think.
  • mac320mac320 Member Posts: 147
    "I have not gotten any price info yet, but . . . the C350 will cost LESS than the C320 when equipped the same!"

    Less than? I don't see that happening.

    I was at the dealers last week and was surprised to see how steep the price increase is for the new ML500 -- same engine as the old ML, different car (and trans), way higher price, even though much of it is made in the USA. It looks to like MB will have a difficult time even hold the line on prices on its german-made vehicles.

    When you figure that the 240 and 320 engines are substantially idential, except for the stroke, and yet the price was about $7K higher for the 320 in 2002 . . . I don't see even a possibility that the top engine option in the C-class will not continue to have a premium price.
  • ikramericaikramerica Member Posts: 101
    From what I've seen in the press, the C350 will come in slightly less, yes. To be competitive, they may have to. The other two will be roughly the same.

    The C350 is their low volume car, so turning less of a profit on it wouldn't be a huge loss to MB. Rather than make a set percent on each model, they may be targeting the same cash profit as the 280, for example.
  • ikramericaikramerica Member Posts: 101
    Yes, MB (and others) offer what is known as an Adaptive Transmission, which uses fuzzy logic and artificial intelligence to learn the habits of the driver. They actually do shift more aggressively if it determines you like it that way, and shifts more smoothly if it determines you are a grandma type. Seriously.

    And according to my independent MB mechanic, the engine computer ALSO learns, and adjusts fuel mix as well.

    They can, of course, be retrained, but it either takes a reset of the chips or time for it to realize you are more aggressive.

    This doesn't mean that if you floor it, it won't go, but it does mean that it will up and downshift differently depending on the habits of the owner.

    At least that's how I understand it.

    And this has nothing to do with futuer models...
  • merc1merc1 Member Posts: 6,081
    I'm just waiting for them to arrive. Can't wait to drive the V6 C230. There is still a spark of magic when I see new numbers on the back of a Benz for the first time! Silly huh?

  • billp8billp8 Member Posts: 56
    ...I also can't wait to drive the new C's. Even the 230 should have plenty of power--but I think I'll have to try the 280 just for fun! I also read earlier that there will be 9 colors offered in '06 instead of the current 14 or so. Does anyone know if all 9 will be carry over shades?
  • mac320mac320 Member Posts: 147
    I just checked out the current MSRP on Edmunds for a 320 automatic and it is $37,950. An SLK 350L is nearly $10K more. The new E350 comes in at $50,050. The new ML350 is over $40K and it is the bottom of the ML line and made in the USA, not Germany.

    According to Edmunds, an '05 330i with manual tranny is over $44K, although the '06 330i is listed as under $37K with manual tranny. Maybe there are too many games going on with these supposed MSRP prices to compare, e.g., reduced service during warranty, or lower-priced base models that are never actually imported--just fully loaded models with high prices for the usual options, and possibly, like BMW, maybe MB plans to have a lower base price because its new pricing is baded on models with manual trannies.
  • ikramericaikramerica Member Posts: 101
    you probably read it in this forum. just look back a few pages where I talk about it.

    9 colors on 280, 10 on 350. don't know about 230 (9 or fewer), and 55 unknown.
  • merc1merc1 Member Posts: 6,081
    Here is a review of the new V6 C230 from a British point of view:

    "The 2496cc engine features all aluminium construction, continuously variable camshaft adjustment for both the intake and exhaust valves and the the air intake has been modified for improved breathing. The result is 201bhp at 6200rpm – an increase of 11bhp. While the new model can’t quite match the impressive 192lb ft of its predecessor, its 181lb ft of torque is delivered 600rpm earlier than before at 2900rpm, and remains on tap through to a relatively high 5500rpm. The upshot is a more linear delivery, along with added flexibility when you put your foot down in the higher gears."

    Full Article Here

  • mac320mac320 Member Posts: 147
    Although said to be available ~July '05, the MBUSA site still has nothing on it about the C350. My guess is that, if MB feels it must hold the line on prices, the new 7-spd tranny will be an option, i.e., the base price automatic may be a 5 spd auto, even though none of the C350s may be imported with it. Also, the base price probably will be for artificial leather with real leather seating surfaces as optional.

    I think it is reasonable to expect to pay more for a 7-spd trans if it is better than the older 5 spd. It also makes sense to pay more for a better powerplant.

    Compared to the 320, the 350 powerplant will be faster 0-60, will have 25% more hp, 13% more torque, and offer a 5% improvement in fuel economy with the 7 spd trans. On paper, the 350 powerplant sounds impressive with its several new features, e.g.,:

    - Four camshafts with variable-timing for both the inlet and the exhaust valves
    - The length of the magnesium intake manifolds vary with engine speed
    - About 87% of the maximum 258 ft-lbs of torque is available at just 1500 rpm
    - Intake ports have "tumble flaps" to improve air induction and fuel combustion
    - Secondary air injection; improved emissions control

    The fact that only the drivetrain will be changing--to that which will be the heart of all MBs for many years--and, that the rest of the car is not changing, also interests me. Too many changes and I start thinking about maybe it is more prudent to wait a year or two for any bugs to get worked out.
  • kennynmdkennynmd Member Posts: 424
    I'd also like to wait a year or two, nut by then the new body style will be out. So it seems now is the time unless you wait 2 years.
  • ikramericaikramerica Member Posts: 101

    There is no 5speed auto on the 350 (except for 4matic). I have seen the specs. I have them straight from MB. What you think may happen, well, it won't happen.

    As for pricing, there is none as of yet. But I was just reporting what other sources have said about pricing. That part is not fact.

    The cars should be arriving very soon (at least the 350 and 280). Mine will be ready for pick-up on July 25th in Germany, and it is far from the first off the line. Production on these cars started a while ago, with other markets receiving them first. US spec models will arrive very soon.

    MB does not update their website until the very last moment so as not to lose sales. Good or bad practice, it's debatable. But it's their MO.
  • merc1merc1 Member Posts: 6,081
    The SLK280 is now up on See here.

    Same engine as the upcoming C280 for those who want to see the engine specs. Like the above posts states, these newly engined models have been in production for a while. With the SLK280 arriving now I'd say the C230/280/350 models are just a few weeks away and/or as soon as your local dealer runs out of 2005 C's.

  • tisherstishers Member Posts: 4
    I signed the paperwork on a C350 three days ago. The dealership had no idea on what pricing is going to be like. They went though MB's configurator and the option packages looked the same as the '05 C320 (minus the drivers seat bolster). The car can be virtually "built" but the price shows up as $444,444, meaning that MB hasn't released the pricing.

    Saturday I go to pick up the printed out order and I will press for a estimated delivery date.

    The sales manager was so frustrated with me that he finally said "whatever the extra cost is going to be, we will pick it up". I wasn't about to drop cash and a trade-in on an open ended purchase.

    When you work out the prices of the '05 C240 and the '05 C320 with all options there is only around a $1000 difference in cars. I suspect that same spread also is going to apply to the C280 and C350's in 2006. If you are going for a loaded out C you may want to consider going with the C350.

    The C320 is a pretty perky performer, with the C350 getting a dose of seroids it's going to move quite smoothly down the road.

    For all of the bells and whistles on the C 250/ 280/ 320/ 350... the one option that I really wish I could have is the Distronic Adaptive Cruise Control. Unfortunately there probably isn't going to be a way to aftermarket "plug and play" the Disto parts off of an S class. It really kinda sucks, BM'ers, Jag's, Lexi and even the new Passat has it as an option.

    btw, my Passat was the trade-in, I have been a loyal Passat owner for about 15 years until I drove that '320 and I heard a voice in my head "I WANT I WANT I WANT!".

  • stroudmanstroudman Member Posts: 192
    While no one at MB has disclosed the new C prices, I will stand by my feeling that IF prices go up, it will not be by much. And they may indeed go down a little, at first. The base price of the 240/320 has climbed steadily over the last three years or so, even tho the content has stayed the same, and free service went away, and I believe this is the same move to "lower" the price on the incoming car as was done when the W211 E-class hit the showrooms. Drop the MSRP by $1500 and offer full leather as a $1500 option. I could be completely wrong, but I don't think the C will get the same $2k price increase that the E got when it went 350/7speed. :-)
  • stroudmanstroudman Member Posts: 192
    There is nothing wrong with leaving an earnest-money deposit on an ordered car, but other than something confirming color, trim, and option choices, be very careful what you sign...
  • tisherstishers Member Posts: 4
    Here is what I found. I got to spend some time sitting at the salespersons desk, using their NetStar account.

    Seating options are gone, No multicontour

    They added an option to accept a generic cellphone but when selecting that you lose Telematics

    (293) Rear side airbags are available
    (359) Teleaid digital (not analog) is available with phone prewiring
    (530) DVD COMMAND is available
    (536) Sirius Radio is available
    (050) Handsfree cellphone integration w/o handset and cradle is available
    (319) Lighting Package is available
    (320) Entertainment package (with the 6 disk changer) is available
    (324) Sunroof package is available

    I had picked C350W4
    197 Obsidian Black
    218 Ash Leather.
    and the options above

    Leather options appeared the same as the '05
    Paint options seem to be a smaller list

    no Distronic, I guess not until '07. Either I will add that or put in a really cool aftermarket optical collision avoidance system that recognizes cars, motorcycles, people, the lines on the road and animals.

    Mobileye AWS should be available in October as an after-market add-on (not through MB) and I think it may be superior to Distronic. I emailed with one of their scientists in Israel and he confirmed this. Right now it's prototyping in fleet vehicles. To see some coolness take a look at the videos on their web site.

    I didn't get the order codes but some other options were;

    Split rear seats
    20 disk changer
    Generic Cellphone Kit

    They still cannot get a date on when they can formally order or when they expect delivery. The impression I was left with was to expect something in the August/September timeframe.

    I didn't finance the purchase (cash and carry) and I believe that also contributed to their unwillingness to really deal. I got them down on some things but not as much as I really wanted to. If I really wanted to deal I would go to GM and buy their POS '05's.
This discussion has been closed.