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Mercedes-Benz C350 & C280



  • dfc3dfc3 Posts: 87
    It looks like ikramerica wrote a helpful review on the experience driving the 2006 C280 - but hasn't been checking the board lately. Several of us have asked questions, but no response. Might be worth checking to see if ikramerica has posted on any other boards recently to get attention.

    Its funny, though, Consumer Reports recently (their latest issue - October) had a big section on car changes - and didn't mention Mercedes' changes/upgrades in the C-class line. OTOH, they did mention the SLK-350 as having a new transmission/smoother ride - and somewhat recommended it.
  • CR is to car reviewing as CBS is to objective "news" reporting and honest political analysis. That's just my opinion of their opinion, of course.
  • Okay, first, I can't say I like it any more now than before, since it's been on a ship for weeks and I won't be able to drive it in the states until about Sep 21. So my first impressions are still the only ones. but it was for 1000km, so that's a lot of driving.

    Economy: I got combined in the 22mpg range in Europe. That's using 87 octane fuel. They rechip (actually reprogram the chip in) the cars when they send them to the US to require 91 octane for some emissions reasons.

    At 130kmh (about 80mph) economy was quite good, in the high 20s. At 110mph (180kmh), the economy was still pretty good. At 200+ kmh, the mileage got noticeably lower ;) My car is a C280 4matic, so the RWD might be better, but the 4matic is so transparent, I doubt there is much of an efficiency hit at this point, nothing like the Audi's thirsty quattro system at least.

    As for "getting around people at stoplights" the C280 has all the power you could really need for that, as well as getting around people going "only" 90mph on the highway, jumping into a high speed traffic lane, etc. The engine revs easily and with the broad torque curve, you aren't really in a bad place when you need power no matter what the RPM. Again, this is a 4matic with the 5speed. The 7speed can only be more eager.

    As for the C350 engine having a longer life, I find that to be a silly argument in the modern car world. For this level of engine your are talking 1.2 million miles versus 1.1 million miles, or something insane like that. Few people ever get their cars to that kind of mileage. The C280 isn't going to explode because you OCCASIONALLY work it a little harder than you would have to work the C350. Most people, even aggressive drivers, barely use their engines' full potential the majority of the time.

    While i see some of merc1's points, I still think MB is going to have a hard time selling too many C350s with the C280 around, and the C350 is really just the answer to the 330i that MB must have (including stick shift option), but the 280 will be a big seller.
  • dfc3dfc3 Posts: 87

    Thanks for the message. The experience you've had certainly makes a strong case for buying, or at the very least, test driving the new C280.

    For some reason, all the publications are pretty much ignoring the C280. Several have cited Mercedes' electronics problems over the past few years, though.

    Regardless, IMO, the publications passing over the C280 is a good thing - in that it won't have people clamoring for it and forcing us to pay MSRP for the car. Right now, I can almost afford a C280 - just need some flexibility there.
  • Some interesting info about future AMGs, e.g., "The drivetrain will debut in the ML63 AMG, which will be shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. After that, expect a C63, an E63, an R63, a CLK63, an SLK63, an S63 and a CL63 . . ."

    I read in another Inside Line that there would not be a S63, but a C63 AMG was mentioned there too:

    What's the downside? Nothing because it is stronger, lighter and much cleaner than previous AMGs. It is actually 6.2L--about 380 cu. inches--and, some new technology that is involved, e.g.:

    "AMG went to work and designed its first all-new production engine in 30 years. An engine with four valves per cylinder, all-aluminum construction, a variable intake manifold made of magnesium, variable camshafts, a lofty 11.3-to-1 compression ratio, and the world's first use of a special low-friction cylinder wall coating called twin-wire-arc-sprayed (TWAS), which is a complicated process borrowed from the company's racing program.

    "It starts with a high-pressure water jet that roughens the cylinder walls. Then two metallic wires and an atomized gas are brought together and high voltage is passed through the tips of the wires, which begin to melt. The gas then removes molten metal from the wire tips and sprays those particles onto the cylinder walls, where they solidify. The cylinder walls are then honed to perfect the surface."
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    For some reason, all the publications are pretty much ignoring the C280. Several have cited Mercedes' electronics problems over the past few years, though.

    Well they aren't ignoring the C280, the car just came out. I'm sure you'll see a writeup of the C280 sooner or later. The C350 hasn't been tested yet either, only a few first drive reports have been shown so far.

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    All these theories about what MB this engine will show up in next is sort of confusing. I can't see the 503hp 6.3L V8 in a CLK, SLK or C-Class. On other boards the current speculation is that MB will detune the engine for the C/SLK/CLK line of cars. That doesn't make sense to me, to have such a big engine and then detune it. My theory is that they'll develop a 5.5L version of the new 6.3L V8 with about 430hp, but thats just me. The new S, CL and facelifted SL will likely get a turbocharged version of this new 6.3L V8 with about 550hp and more importantly more torque because 465lb-ft isn't enough to improve performance over the current 5.5L SC V8 in those cars, imo. This mean no 7G-Tronic tranny though, only the tried and true (and much stronger) 5-speed.

  • dfc3dfc3 Posts: 87
    Sure, the car just came out.... but most of the magazines now have "2006 models - the best, the worst, and what's new". The changes to the C-class and the new models aren't really getting any airplay yet. This is just fine by me, as I hope to move into a C280 soon - but don't want people to be clamoring for it - so I can get a decent price.
  • Since the "280" offers very little in improved performance over the "320," I will expect to see more interest by reviewers in the "350" as the engine that replaces the "320," because it is the only option in the class that offers an improvement in performance over what was previously available--the only thing really NEW and therefore -more exciting--instead of just an incremental improvement.
  • dfc3dfc3 Posts: 87
    That makes sense; although to me the 2006 C280 provides better value than the 2005 C320 - and at a lower price point.

    Yet... for that matter the C350 has only had one major review - a strong one by MT. All the focus is on BMW, Lexus, Audi, etc.... and they do talk about their new models - although some of them have had their new cars out a little earlier. I think Road & Track just said they didn't have the opportunity to test drive the C350 yet.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well like others have said the C350 is the one with the most hp so it will get all the ink initially, but look for a "Short Take" by C&D on the C280 or at least the SLK280 in the coming months.

    I hate that the C350 couldn't be had in time for the comparo in the latest issue of C&D.

  • Some of the older Edmunds reviews are a bit hard to find but I thought that their piece on the C350 was pretty good:

    The problem that I see for MB is that the C230 reviews are going to bring down the overall ratings for the C-class in general and for the same reason that C280 reviews can only hurt and can never help overall ratings compared to the same reviewer or owner that reports on his or her C350 driving experience.

    If you actually see a "serious" review of these lesser models--which are the same car and engine but with the engine dumbed-down to perpetuate MB's brand of marketing--it probably will be by a reviewer that is trying to show off he "C" in a poor light, such as in a comparo with another car that purportedly offers much more power but at a far lower cost.

    Now, if a reviewer selects the "350" and still finds various little nigglies to report on, then there's nothing MB can do about that because the reviewer is giving his opinion on the best MB can field, irrespective their marketing strategy.
  • dfc3dfc3 Posts: 87
    Good point - although so far - the only review I've seen that's focused on the C350, as contrasted to the C-class in total has been MotorTrend. MT's review was strong.
  • That doesn't make any sense. I actually doubt you'll see the C280 in comparo reviews, as if they wanted to make the C class "look bad" in comparison, they'd use the less expensive C230 with the 200/180 engine. And for the high end comparo, they'll use the C350. A good comparo would be C280 vs. 325i vs. X-type 2.5 vs. Audi A4 2.0T, but you are not likely to see it. They'll take the C230 instead because they'll want to test all manuals for that test, despite most Americans choosing automatics.

    What will happen is people will go into the dealership looking for a C230 or C350 (the ones they heard about) and then think the C350 is too expensive or the C230 is underpowered, test drive a C280 and then debate it.

    The dealership that is delivering my car said they expect to sell nearly zero C350s, and only to people who must have "the best model" though many of them will go for the E350 and spend a little more money anyway. They expect the C280 to sell better than the C240 did, but still the bulk of the sales will be the C230 as long as MB keeps the price down.

    Further, you won't see a C280 review because the mags only care when BMW sneezes, surely not when MB moves to a whole new engine line and 7speed tranny.

    I noticed in the first US mag to show the "2006" models for all makers, with features for changes etc., they left out the C class changes entirely! It wasn't consumer reports, it was Car and Driver, I believe. Nice reporting guys.
  • dfc3dfc3 Posts: 87
    Hey, relax! You're taking this WAYYY the wrong way. It was your review (which I called helpful) which got me excited about the C280 in the first place. It was a great review, with a lot of helpful detail. I wasn't trying to insult you in the slightest, in fact I was trying to compliment you.

    Several people, including myself, had asked follow up questions of you in the last 2 weeks - and you hadn't checked the board in a while. I was simply trying to help the most recent poster/inquirer - indicating that I too had asked a follow up question and hadn't heard back. If he was interested, he should check other boards to see if you were around anywhere. The "get attention" comment must have been what set you off.... I wasn't implying that you were trying to get attention, instead that we needed to get your attention.

    I really appreciated the insight and, presumably like him, was hoping (not considering it an obligation) that you were still around and we'd hear more.

    I had a lot of respect for your approach, given the way you described your experience and shared not only your thoughts on your initial 1400km driving experience but your suggestion on options afterward.

    Now, you've seriously over-reacted by attacking me personally, calling me a jerk in all caps - and shredding me repeatedly in your venomous reply. If this is how you treat people who respect your opinion and ask for more, I'd hate to see how you react to your enemies.

    I'd still welcome your insights on the C280, once you get it, but jeez, relax - and lay off the personal jibes.

  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,023
    Let's steer clear of ANY personal comments - it's easy to take posts the wrong way since you can't inject tone into them.


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  • dfc3dfc3 Posts: 87
    Thanks. Looks like the post I referred to (which was a reply) in my post whihc is now #264 has been deleted, making my reply in #264 look a little strange.

    My whole goal is to learn more about the C280 and C350; others have had driving experience whereas I've only read about them. I'm considering buying in the next few months - trying to figure out which one, if either. I've found the postings here helpful.
  • Yesterday I dropped in on my local MB dealer to check on my order. The car was built September 6, we have a VIN, but it is still waiting for a boat ride. They estimate it will be here in about 45 days--an eternity.

    I asked the sales manager how the sales of the 06 C models were going. He said they'd sold many of the 280s, but zero 350s. I asked why, and he said people feel they're just too expensive--and quickly get into the mid 40s if any of the packages or metallic paint colors are wanted. At that price, they just go ahead and buy the E.

    He then asked me if I wanted to drive the only 280 they had that wasn't already sold. Of course I did, so off we went. The car is amazing--even though he told me that my own car would feel much better after I had about a thousand miles on it, and it had "learned" my driving preferences. The car wasn't the 4Matic like I ordered so it had the new 7 speed gearbox, and it was silky--I really couldn't tell which gear I was in--I guess that isn't important anyway but being a motorcycle rider, I always want to be aware of what gear I'm in. I'll have to get over that. The sound system was the standard one, not the HK system I ordered, but it was terrific anyway. The car I drove had the full leather interior in black. Mine is ordered in ash, and I'm glad I didn't get the black--hard to see the detail. And it's all in the details. After we returned, I walked around the car carefully to look at the fit and finish, and it was simply flawless--and I'm very critical. I love the new wheels--compared them with the 2005's and much prefer the new ones. I know I shouldn't wish my life away, but do wish this next 45 days goes quickly. Can't wait. I'm not exactly suffering since after I sold my E, my ex-husband has loaned me the use of his SLK320 until my car arrives. It's a good thing to stay friends with the ex' :)
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I asked the sales manager how the sales of the 06 C models were going. He said they'd sold many of the 280s, but zero 350s. I asked why, and he said people feel they're just too expensive--and quickly get into the mid 40s if any of the packages or metallic paint colors are wanted.

    I'm not surprised. I configured C350 Sport my way on and it came out to $44,645. Thats without the Nav, folding rear seats and rear-seat airbags, things the average buyer will most likely want. With those remaining features the C350 Sport goes for $47,530! No way.

    Everytime I see a C230 I'm looking on the other side of the trunklid to see if it says "Kompressor" and finally earlier today I spotted one that didn't. Yippie a 2006! :) Has anyone driven one of these yet?

  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,023
    A reporter for an influential U.S. publication is working on a piece about Mercedes and would like to hear from consumers. He’s wondering whether the recent quality problems are enough to stop consumers from buying Mercedes in the future. He also cites that Mercedes says it has worked hard to fix the various problems and is producing the best quality cars ever. He’d especially appreciated hearing from any long-time Mercedes drivers around who agree or disagree. If you have a story to share, please respond to with your daytime and evening contact info., city/state of residence and what models of Mercedes you own/have owned, no later than Weds., Sept. 28, 2005.


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  • dfc3dfc3 Posts: 87
    dbrand -

    Thanks for the insights. I'm one of those who started looking at all this because of the C350 review I saw in MT - but thought it was kind of pricey. Then I saw the C280 as an option, and read a review on this board courtesy of ikramerica which sung its praises. I haven't fully decided if I'm going to take the plunge - although its likely - but am now leaning toward the C280. Of course, the test drive would be the clincher.

    Just curious, you and other posters seem to be going for the 4-matic. I'd rather have the 7-speed? What prompted the 4-matic decision?
  • I live in Portland, Oregon aka: The Pacific NorthWET. I figured the AWD would be safer because of wet streets, heavy rain, etc., etc. We don't get a lot of snow or ice along the west coast but when we do it's a mess because of the terrain--lots of hills.

    I am also looking toward retirement in a few months and will be going back and forth to the southwest which means going over the Siskiyou Mountains--notorious nasty weather conditions from October through March.

    I also chose the lighting package because I want to be able to see as well as possible, and not be one of these little old ladies afraid to leave home after dark because I can't see well enough to drive.

    And I chose the sunroof package for obvious reasons.

    And entertainment package because even though I'm an old bat, I still love my tunes....
  • I actually live in the Southeast. We also don't get much snow here, but because of that they can't deal with it on the roads. 1" of the slickest snow I've ever seen last year turned a 30 minute commute into 6 HOURS due to the high slip and (other) unexperienced drivers. I'm originally from the IL-WI border area and am seldom affected by the snow. That said I've ordered the 4Matic for the following reasons:

    1. When it rains here, it dumps and everyone forgets how to drive (sort of like the 1st snowfall of the year in the midwest) :surprise: .
    2. When it snows here, I like to get through.
    3. When my wife (and toddler) have the car, I want to know they are secure and able to get through safely.
    4. I expect I'll be using the vehicle to travel to the mountains and back to the midwest on occaision.

    I test drove a 7-speed here (they didn't have ANY 4Matics) and loved it. My decision for the 4Matic was just that; I only decided against the 7-speed because to get the 4Matic I had to have the 5-speed. I am not sure why they didn't offer the 4Matic with the 7-speed. I'd expect that it would benefit the fuel economy and I can't beleive it wouldn't handle the power of the engine since it's also available with the C350.

    By the way, my C280 is scheduled to be built Oct 10, based on an order placed in mid August. Do they really have that big of a backlog for "sold orders" :confuse: or did the fact that I modified a unit already on order for dealership lot mean that I slowed my own deliver down?
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    . I am not sure why they didn't offer the 4Matic with the 7-speed. I'd expect that it would benefit the fuel economy and I can't beleive it wouldn't handle the power of the engine since it's also available with the C350.

    Its just a space issue. The new seven speed won't fit in the current E, C or S with the 4Matic hardware. The new M-Class and R-Class both have the 7-Speed with 4Matic as will the next S, C and E. The 7-speed is also present in the new 503hp/465lb-ft ML63 so power isn't the issue.

  • In reply to pgsmith's question: "By the way, my C280 is scheduled to be built Oct 10, based on an order placed in mid August. Do they really have that big of a backlog for "sold orders" or did the fact that I modified a unit already on order for dealership lot mean that I slowed my own deliver down?"

    You may be in for a wait if my experience is any indication. I ordered my C280 4 Matic in mid-July, black w/stone interior. I thought the tan interior would be better looking with the black. Then I saw that combination on another car on their showroom floor, an E model, and thought the stone looked, stone. It didn't have any of the richness you'd expect in true tan. So I changed my order so it would have the ash interior--a very pale and warm gray. When I changed the order, my car was due to have been built August 10th. The change bumped my order down the queue to September 10. However it was built September 6, according to the "NetStar" database, which also listed the VIN. The dealer said best case scenario is 45 days after the ship leaves Germany, is when I can expect my car. I'm on the west coast, so it will come thru the Panama Canal and up to Los Angeles, then be trucked up the coast. If you're on the east, I'll bet that your car will arrive sooner than the 45 days quoted me.

    Re the reason why the 7 speed isn't in the 4Matic, is as stated in another message. The 7 speed transmission is longer, and there isn't room. I wish it were in the 4Matic, but nothing can be done about that. I was given a 2005 C230 Kompressor (with the 5 speed) by the dealer, to drive for a period of two weeks when my E was in for a pesky fuel problem (turned out to be bad fuel, not the car's fault). Two weeks is a great "test drive". I ordered the C280 based on my experience with the C230--it shifted smoothly, had plenty of power and I loved the fit and finish. Even though this was a package delete model, solely to be used as a loaner car, it really impressed me. When I went back to driviing my wonderful E, in comparison, it felt like a sled, so I sold it and ordered the C. All we can do is wait, right? And just hope the wait will be worth it.
  • dfc3dfc3 Posts: 87
    Wow! Thanks for all the comments. Needless to say, this board has been great for learning from people's experience. I appreciate the insight on colors and options.

    To the last post, the C is, of course, smaller than the other classes. This actually has a sizable appeal to me as I live in an urban area and need to squeeze into places and make sharp turns.

    My goal is to shop around a bit - test drive the C350 and C280 - and see where it all goes. Right now, I drive a 2004 Volvo S60 - which is a fine car. Normally I keep a car for more than 2 years; but I'm really intrigued given the new engine and transmission. In addition, I've been brand loyal to Volvo for a good number of years - so this would be a big switch. Talking about the S60, though, the turning radius is 39', whereas my previous Volvo was a minuscule 32'.

    The C280/C350 are reported to have a turning radius of 35'. Did anyone who test drove take sharp turns to see how it handled?

    I'm not too disappointed about what you're reporting about the lag time between order and delivery in that it'll give me some time to get my finances in order. We just moved to the Chicago area from the east coast, and there's administrative transfers and costs and all. Were you still able to knock a reasonable amount off MSRP given the order and all?

    Glad everyone's happy with their purchase! Keep the insights coming.
  • If there are any dealers or car sales people on this blog, they're going to flame me, but I'm a big goes. Regarding price, I went to this very for the dealer invoice price, including the options I wanted. I offered $500 over their invoice price, and of course they pushed back. However I work for a Fortune 500 company with a large fleet department. My employer's fleet director, told me of a MB dealer in the next state who would sell me any MB for the invoice cost. It would cost $600 to transport it to Oregon so I knew if the local dealer wouldn't agree to $500 over invoice, I had a Plan B. I told my local dealer what my alternative was, and we agreed on a number. I have a signed sales agreement with my local dealer (2 miles from my home and office) for $500 over dealer invoice, or in my case a total of $36,895. MSRP would have been $39,075 (both of these numbers include $775 destination charge). The car I've ordered is the C280 4Matic, black w/ash interior and has three packages: entertainment, sunroof and lighting.
  • I go back and forth on the size issue as I am moving from a Jeep Grand Cherokee ('97). I'll miss the space but since my other car is also a JGC ('00), I'll make due just fine I am sure. I am sure the C280 will help me adjust quickly and I'll just need to remember to take the bigger vehicle when I need it.

    Believe it or not, JGC's have fantastic turning radii (both ~37.5') and because of that TR was part of my shopping criteria. I was impressed w/ the TR of the RWD C280, of course I have not yet driven the 4Matic as you probably gathered from my previous posts.

    Regarding price, I need to disqualify myself as a reference as I was able to get EP due to immediate family. Whether or not that is such a good deal today, I don't know due to all the "EP" promotions. But my price is fixed and I am limited to negotiating a few extra $ on a '97 SUV w/ ~150k.

    You may want to check on the " Mercedes Benz C-Class: Prices Paid & Buying Experience" posts to get a better idea.

    PS - I miss the Chicago area and 4 real seasons. Good Luck!
  • I'm in the market for a C-280 MB with the following options:
    Metallic Paint
    Sunroof Pkg.
    Heated front seats
    power driver seat
    6 disc CD changer
    What should I expect the pay for it, either purchasing or leasing. I have a down payment of approx. $3,500.

    What is the best dealer to deal with in the Atlanta area?
    The dealer I've been to doesn't seem to want to deal any at all. He says there is not much markup in MB's and no factory holdouts or incentives to the dealer.
    I find this hard to believe.

    Thanks for any assistance.
  • dfc3dfc3 Posts: 87
    AG said Wednesday it will cut 8,500 jobs in Germany at its Mercedes Car Group in a bid to return the troubled brand to profitability. The program will target workers at plants in Sindelfingen and Bremen, which produce the C-Class cars.
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