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Mercedes-Benz C350 & C280



  • Took my second test drive in the C350 with seven speed today. Going back with my checkbook tomorrow.
  • dfc3dfc3 Posts: 87
    Did you try the C280 as well?
  • No. I like the better 40-70 acceleration with the bigger engine, and the better highway gas mileage, since 90% of my driving is highway. I am also fairly sure the 350 will run on regular (absolutely it will run on midgrade), since it only has a 10.7 compression ratio.
  • Interested to hear about it . . . all I've read so far is from reviewers, e.g.,

    "On our test drive, this stronger pulling power was quickly evident, and much appreciated. The old C320 sedan never felt slow, but you wouldn’t confuse it with a sports car either. That line seems to be blurring.

    "A 0 to 62 mph sprint takes just 6.4 seconds, 1.3 seconds quicker than the previous model. And because of the wide powerband, Mercedes says the seven-speed automatic-equipped C350 takes just 6.1 seconds to get from 35 to 75 mph."


  • i placed my order a couple of hours ago.
  • I would call the C350 "sneaky quick". The shifts are almost imperceptable, and the ride was so quiet and smooth, i didn't realize i hit 75 until the sales rep said, "easy boy".
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    i placed my order a couple of hours ago.

    What colors and options did you order?

  • white/ash w/heated seats. nothing else.
  • mac320mac320 Posts: 147
    So no sunroof or electric seats or is that included? The package that includes the all-leather may not be available for Alabaster White C350s anyway--at least in ash.

    Surprising but that is what seemed to be the case at about the time the C350 first showed up on the MBUSA website. I experimented around with designing a new C350--coincidentally, white with all-leather in ash--and that choice was not allowed.
  • no sunroof =1.5 inch more headroom. All C350 have electric memory seats.
  • My car came 3 weeks ago, but I picked it up 2 weeks ago because it came too late in the weekend to have it prepped for delivery. :(

    For the first 1000 miles in Germany, I averaged 37mph only. That included super fast and long autobahn stretches. That goes to show how congested and full of construction Germany is. I got 21.5 mpg for those 1000 miles, and that included lots of gridlocked freeways and 100+mph runs. Not the most efficient way of driving.

    Here are gas mileage figures, based on the trip computer, which is relatively accurate, after having the car in the US and driving it with premium fuel under the US chip programming (the reprogram it for Euro delivery).

    If you average 15mph on a trip, very common in city traffic, you will get about 17mpg
    If you average 20mph, you will get about 18mpg
    If you average 25-30mph, you will get the 19mpg claimed city mileage, which is nice, as it really does describe 'city speed' driving on a non-highway commute.
    Highway driving gets you above 25mpg easily, which is what the EPA says too, which makes this one of the first cars I've ever owned where the EPA estimates are accurate!

    And on a flat rear tire (8psi), you get 13mpg around town! Yes, a flat will cut mileage down that much. I had no idea the tire was flat as the car was so balanced, but I had been driving on it for about 4 miles total. There was a screw in it, and it was easily repaired, but now you can see why proper tire inflation is so important.

    I still dislike the Continental tires, though as city tires, you don't hear the loudness so much, and they are a forgiving tire. I will leave them on through the rainy season, then put my 17" AMG rims on for summer with new tires, and get new all season tires for these very sharp stock 16" rims for next rainy season.

    This car is smooth, and just like the 350 was described above, you can get into trouble as you routinely drive faster than you think. This might have to do with the speedometer being in the wrong place. They should swap it with the tach, as that would put the area of both you will look at most in front of your eyes.

    The 4matic is not detectable in normal driving, and the 5speed is fine, shifting relatively well, though you must train it to know you, or you'll get slow shifts. I am sure the 7speed is more forgiving in that regard, but it wasn't too long ago that a 5speed was exotic. My C230K had the 5speed as well, and this one is smoother, but you do have to stomp a little harder if you want an immediate downshift. The manumatic mode is precise and quick.

    You can physically see why the 7speed and the 4matic don't fit together. There is a foot well intrusion in the pax side where the 4matic mechanism transfers the power from the transmission back to the front wheels, and one can see that there is no room or physical way that the two could easily mate with the 7speed.

    As stated, the standard sound system is great. The HK system adds some "sound stage" features, more power, and volume adjusting with speed that the standard audio doesn't have. Thing is, in my experience with the speed sensitive volume in the MB from 1990 through 2005, is it is not good enough and you end up adjusting it anyway.

    The Nav system is great. I liked the old one fine, this one is 10 times better, but for some reason, MB still does not list MOVIE THEATERS on the POI list. They believe that if you drive a mercedes, you only want to see legitimate theater. LOL.

    The trip computer is so much better than the one from my 2002. I also love how if you have the trip computer in NAV mode when you are not following a route, it shows direction heading and the name of the street you are on! I wish I had that when driving in Germany, but alas, the US nav system has no compatible Euro DVD maps. I got lost so many times...

    The interior fit is great, though there is a squeak in the wood on the door when my elbow rests on it that is not there on the metal version of the door in the C230/350 sport. They are replacing the door panel to see if it fixes that, but since mine is blue with a blue leather insert, it's rare and had to come from Germany. Oh well, it's a thing that most people wouldn't notice, but due to my exact height and where I rest my elbow, I notice it.

    This car is not the sportiest car on earth, but I wanted a car with pep, that handled well, that drove well, that was big enough to not feel tight but small enough to feel connected and to throw around. This car is nearly perfect in those aspects.

    I would recommend the C280 to anyone looking for a car in this class, or even those considering an E for the luxury (not the space). The E is no more luxurious than a leather clad C from the driver's POV, and both are striking from the outside, and the C is just more fun to drive.
  • When you say, "a leather clad C," I was curious to know if you opted for the all-leather option and if you are saying that it provides a more opulent look compared to the standard package.
  • shankyshanky Posts: 36
    I am in Sacramento/CA, and have ordered a MB c350 (obsidian black/stone) with all options excluding all-leather and 4Matic, for invoice price+750 (costco deal). I am a first time luxury-car buyer, and had test drove BMW 325, Lexus ES330 and Avalon Ltd (all 2006) within a span of 2 days.

    The MB test drive was fantastic - smooth ride, effortless and quiet acceleration, very responsive steering, rich interior (interior/exterior looks are much better than the 2006 BMW 3 series). I had test driven the BMW 325 in tight corners at about 40-50 mph (as I did with the MB), and did not notice any "significant/superior handling" that the beemer-fans rave about. I tested the BMW just hours before the MB, and soon as I got into the MB I could see the superior appointments - the different can be instantly felt. It was love at first sight! The BMW had very bland interior, and a straight black front panelling that I disliked (old Corolla look). Plus, I found the driver seats a bit tight for my comfort. Both BMW and MB have horrible cup-holders - the rear ones are too shallow for comfort.

    On a price comparison, loading the comparable BMW 330 with the same options as the c350 gave me a price higher by about $400 for the 330. So the beemer did not have price advantage over the MB (except when you factor the free-maintainence for 4 years offered by BMW versus the $300/year needed for the MB).

    The Lexus ES 330 was cool, but a bit elephantine for my needs. Same with the Avalon, which I found smoother/quiter than the Lexus. Good thing about the Avalon was the new engine (260 hp plus) and the flat flooring in the rear seat (very cool for the center seat). Also, the Lexus/Avalon looks very Camry-ish to me, and I wanted to stand out from the crowd (heh! heh!)

    I did not notice significant difference between the C and S modes (Comfort/Sport) in the feel of the car, except during startup, when it starts in 2nd gear in C mode for a smooth start.

    I love the 21/29 mpg rating since most of my driving is on freeways to work.

    I will opt for Michelin tires though (instead of the standard all-weather Continental). I also plan on getting the wheels chromed. MB's look best when they shine!
  • mac320mac320 Posts: 147
    You said, "I did not notice significant difference between the C and S modes (Comfort/Sport) in the feel of the car, except during startup, when it starts in 2nd gear in C mode for a smooth start."

    Unless they changed more than the letters, there would be no difference between the two settings other than what you observed. On our '02 model, the letters are "S" for standard and "W" for winter (for reduced wheel spin when startiing off in 2nd on snow or ice) :blush: .

    The costco deal sounds like a good idea. I would ordinarily wait for the car that I wanted to show up on the lot--even if it took a year--but, I've been on the local lot a few times and they hardly stock any 350s. Odd too because they sold about 50-50 between 240s and 320s when we purchased a "C" in '02.
  • dfc3dfc3 Posts: 87
    ikr: Thanks for the post; as usual - quite helpful. I'm curious, though, why you went for the 4-matic rather than the 7-speed, given that you live in an area where weather conditions are not severe enough to really need it. I live in Chicago, and am leaning toward the 7-speed, and we get a lot more snow.... but haven't yet decided.

    I notice the mention on recommending the C-class even in comparison with the E. I'm also one who prefers the C to the E. For me, the E is too big. I live in an urban area and welcome the power and handling, but prefer a smaller car that can fit into parallel parking and maneuver in city parking lots and streets. Most manufacturers associate bigger with better. Once they improve a car, its only offered on the bigger models. Glad to see MB is offering improvements on the smaller ones.
  • pgsmithpgsmith Posts: 24
    Thanks for the update, I appreciate it.

    What grade fuel are you using? Do you try to run the lowest grade, stick to the recommended premium, or run mid-grade and what are your thoughts on this? :confuse:

    I've always tried to run the lowest grade that didn't result in detonation on previous vehicles but I've only owned one previous vehicle which recommended Premium (an Acura Integra) and it ran fine on regular unleaded ~87 octane.

    I spoke to my dealer last week and he told me mine is in production, so I'll need to drive vicariously through you until mine gets delivered, if you don't mind.
  • dbranddbrand Posts: 21
    The C280 compression ratio is 11.1:1--that's pretty high, and I doubt that you can escape pinging/detonation in anything but the highest octane fuel you can find at the pump. Speaking of fuel, the shop foreman at my local Mercedes dealer suggested that it's a good idea that every 3 or 4 tanks to buy a bottle of Chevron's fuel additive "Techron" and add it to the tank when it's empty just before it's filled. He said that will help keep the injectors clean.

    My car is "on the water" and will arrive in LA port on October 16, I'm told. So I should have it home in my garage by the end of this month and to say I'm anxious would be understating it. This is my fourth Mercedes, and they just keep getting better and better.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Car and Driver has a full road test of the C350 Sport in their November issue. They liked the engine, interior build quality (called it peerless) and the sturdy/solid feel of the whole car. You know the traditional Mercedes stuff. They didn't like the fact that the C350 Sport looks exactly like the C230 Sport. They really harped about that, and the price (45K as tested). They also said the interior had too much plastic and wasn't that inviting, but it had "peerless" build quality? Uh..ok I guess they're saying its well built but not inspired or inviting, kinda like German cars of a few years back I guess. The manual tranny C350 Sport did 0-60 in 5.5 seconds, faster than everthing else in this class except the new IS350. That is pretty impressive imo.

  • dfc3dfc3 Posts: 87
    Thanks for mentioning. Several of their complaints seem to be either "sport" specific vs. "luxury sedan" or option specific. For instance, C&D complains about the aluminum interior, but the luxury sedan doesn't have that. They complain about the seat adjustment; but that's an option to improve which may not have been included in the test model.

    In general, its a positive review of the C350 - they even almost apologized for not including it in the comparo of the previous month.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Yeah sometimes Car and Driver does take themselves too seriously, but all in all it was a good review. I really like the comments about the traditional Benz things like build quality and solidity and the "tiger" of an engine. Car and Driver can be very fickle sometimes. Though I too would like for Mercedes to drop that aluminum look plastic. A Mercedes should have wood. They could bring back that dark ash wood for their sportier models. I grudgingly agree that the C350 should have something the way of looks over the C230, but that isn't a big deal imo.

  • "Yeah sometimes Car and Driver does take themselves too seriously . . ."

    A "poor man's benz" they say. Not a very nice thing to say but typical condescending car review-type talk.

    It is the first review where I have seen anything bad said about MB's stick. Others' views were glowing, not just so-so, and especially not "rubbery."

    So, what is the data on the IS350, e.g., what is it's torque cure like, and compression and etc. All I have read about it so far is that it is "highly tuned" and that it gets fewer fwy mpg.
  • dbranddbrand Posts: 21
    A good friend of mine is founder/publisher/editor of one of the leading car magazines. He also does weekly car reviews for the New York Times, therefore he drives a different new car every week in order to properly evaluate it. When I told him I'd ordered a new C280 he said, simply, "You'll love it.". When I asked why he said "... it will do everything you ask of it, it will be comfortable, a good road car, beautifully finished, will handle amazingly well and the ergonomics couldn't be better... whether top of the line, or the other end, Mercedes still makes one of the finest cars in the world. When he told me this, we were walking back to his car-of-the-week, a 2006 Nissan something mid-sized four door sedan. I asked him what he thought of it. He said, "It's a decent car but it has no soul.".
  • Ouch....I have a new '06 C350,and when C&D " we got what appears to be a poor man's Benz."
    That kind of hurts considering I paid over $45,000 dollars for my first MB.

    It also said something about KMART in there yup that makes me feel much better about my purchase.

    I have had it since Aug 27, 05 and have found a few things but overall it is a nice car.

    *I do wish that there could have been some differences to this type and the C230.

    My friend has the C230 and his car looks exactly like mine. but I paid about $15,000 more for mine...I would like the recognition that my car is a more expensive car in someway besides the C350 on the back of the car.

    *I hate the wood grain stuff that comes in the car (to me it is too STUFFY for someone my age-29) I would of went for the aluminium I wish I had a choice.
    *The car is a little plasticy inside...maybe that is what I am smelling inside.
    *The wheels/hubs look slightly cheap.
    *I wish they would get rid of the plastic look a like aluminum handles and trim.
    *I got the Navi package
    The one on my Nissan 350Z was 100% better than this one. on the Benz it takes you the LONGEST way around (and I think it is overpriced for what it is)!!! it avoids the expressways, even if you have it set that you want to get there the fastest. It's a bit of a pain.

    *I have the sunroof package
    It's OK I have never had it on any other car I have owned. The only thing I hate is that the cover over the sunroof opens automatically but when you close the sunroof you have to manually close the cover yourself...odd.

    *Entertainment package
    Very Nice...I had the Bose system on my Nissan 350Z the sound quality was much nicer.

    *It has the 4matic and I can't wait till it snows here in Chicago so I can take it for a SPIN! :)
  • dfc3dfc3 Posts: 87
    Modern54 -

    I wouldn't sweat what C&D's opinion is. Your own opinion is what matters. MT wrote a very positive review of the C350.

    For me, I want the performance and stability of MB. Personally, I couldn't even think of mentioning Nissan and MB in the same sentence.

    My only "concerns" are the electrical issues that MBs tend to have - these sort of things just don't seem acceptable in a $40,000 car. I drive a (when new) $30,000 Volvo now - and have had NO electrical or mechanical problems with it - it just doesn't have the handling, comfort, maneuverability, and performance of the C350.

    The other "concern" is that on the SLK350 board, people were having problems with the transmission. Since I'm leaning toward the 7-speed automatic, I'd want to make sure it would work fine in the C350.
  • Thank you for your information on the electrical system. I will keep an eye out for that. :D

    As for mentioning Nissan and Benz in the same sentence....The truth is what the truth is my Nissan had a better Navi System and a better sound system (Bose)...than the MB. The Stero System in the MB sounds at best muffled sounding. But I can always have that replaced.
  • otkaotka Posts: 3
    I'm in the puget sound market for a C280 and would like to know what kind of deal you got from MB Tacoma. Did you take one from their lot or ordered one? I know there's probably some change in market conditions two months after your purchase, but I want to get a basic idea. Thanks very much!
  • dbranddbrand Posts: 21
    I just found an interesting website listing mileage, emissions, cost of operation, for all models for 2006.
  • I was wondering my MB dealer that I purchased my car from stated that I could use 89 in my car...if gas prices were too high and the car would run fine...Is that true?

    I have of course heard that gas is gas....but just making sure
  • try a tank. if the engine does not ping, great. if it pings, switch back. My son-in-law has always used 87 in his--94,000 miles with no engine problems.
This discussion has been closed.