2008 C-Class Driving Impressions

hailalmamaterhailalmamater Member Posts: 11
edited March 2014 in Mercedes-Benz
Went to test drive the new C-Class. Each dealership has a C300 Sport available for drives prior to the Aug 7th official launch.

I had been looking at the 2007 C-Class and decided to wait for the 2008 to see if I liked it better. My impressions:

New car is larger in a good way - doesn't feel bigger when driving, but the added width is appreciated (in 2007 model, my shoulders would rub against the B-pillar). It does have more total legroom, but since I'm 6'4" with long legs, no one above the age of 8 is going to sit behind me.

Ride seemed a little rougher than the 2007, but the cars at the dealers all have the 18" tires, which may have contributed. Ride is still better than the Lexus IS or the G35, comparable to BMW. I'm sure the Luxury model will be quite smooth.

Quality impressions - there have been many articles about how Mercedes put a lot of effort into ensuring the quality control of this model is better than the prior edition. It shows when you are in the car - it is well assembled and the materials all have the feeling they will last forever. I suspect that the quality scores of the new model will be better (JD Power).

Engine/tranny - feels OK, probably needed some more miles on it before it opens up, tranny worked as expected.

Controls, etc - generally fine. The cars at the dealers all have the Multimedia package on them with the Nav system and the Mercedes I-Drive. I like the placement of the screen up higher than in the 2007 model, good brightness and legibility. Yet, I still wouldn't buy my car with this ($3000, when I can get a Garmin for $300). Harman Kardon audio system was nice, but, it only comes with the Nav system. Mercedes should have left this as a stand alone option, or put it in the P1 package (w/o the DVD changer). Again, the salesperson said "customer research" told Mercedes people didn't like all the stand alone options on the 2007 model - generally I agree, but then make sure the option packages are properly created. I need to hear the base audio system to see if the quality is materially different, however. The I-Drive generally works OK, takes a few minutes to get used to it, but fairly intuitive. Would have preferred the Nav/Multimedia screen to be linked to the controls on the left hand side of the steering wheel - seems odd that Mercedes would encourage you to take your hands off the wheel and reach down to fiddle with a control while driving. Aren't Germans the ones who said having cupholders in a car was bad??

Some nits:
Seat controls - moved from the door panel to the side of the seats - the salesperson said this was the result of "customer research". Being in that field myself, I told him that sometimes customers don't know what the **** they are talking about. Having controls on the side of the seat isn't better than having them on the door, and the car lost a little bit of its "Mercedes-ness".

Cruise control placement - for the love of god, why didn't they move it? Again, Mercedes said they moved the seat controls because thats what people are used to, but yet they have a cruise control on the left side of the steering column thats too close to the turn signal stalk. Every other car in the US has the cruise on the steering wheel, or on the right side of the wheel. I hit the cruise control 3 times during the test drive while attempting to use the turn signal.

Seat comfort - this was the most disconcerting for me. Again, I'm quite tall, so its hard for me to get comfortable in most cars, esp. cars this size. I liked the 2007, it was a car I felt immediately comfortable in - good front legroom, good seat height, solid seat cushions, etc etc. For some reason, during my 20 minute test drive, I kept fiddling with the seat controls trying to get comfortable in the 2008. One thing that is quite noticeably different between the 2007 and 2008 is the dash design - the 2008 dash slopes up toward the windshield and seems much higher than in the 2007 (which is basically flat). I felt like I was staring into the dashboard, and not thru the windshield. When you raise the seat to help minimize the claustrophobia, the back of the cushion raises, but the front doesn't raise as much. Therefore, you get the sensation that the seat cushion is flattening and sliding you forward into the steering wheel - not a good sensation. When I put the seat down to get more comfotable, I felt like I was sitting in my old Honda Accord - i.e. "on the ground". Granted, I'm not the most rep person size wise, but my wife is 5'2", and I imagine the high dash will be an issue for her. I'll find out tomorrow.

Mercedes Henry Ford color schemes - I was really hoping the Sport models would come in something other than a black interior (yes you can get gray seats, but still the black dash and steering wheel I believe, and not gray leather). Black is simply too hot in the summer, plus is a little dour. This is one area that the [non-permissible content removed] have an advantage on - much more color flexibility on the interiors. I could buy the Luxury model, but I really like the external appearance of the Sport model. Is it so hard to offer a beige/tan interior on the Sport??

Curious to hear what others think.


  • jblaze13jblaze13 Member Posts: 152
    The size of the car makes it look more appealing. My main complaint is the surface materials. The dash and console had far too much hard plastic. I'm not a fan of the Lexus IS' size but the materials inside are superior to this vehicle. Other than that the car was par for the course. Nothing too exciting or too bad. I do love the new exterioir design.
  • taxman10taxman10 Member Posts: 59
    My A4 lease is up in Feb and I could not wait until then to go see the C300 so I went over to the dealer today.
    I am trying to decide about buying the A4 when lease is up - contract residual is about $21,500- or finding something else. The new A4 won't be available until Sept 08, or thereabouts, and I don't think I can extend my lease that long.
    The C300 Sport felt very nice - better than the A4. Inside materials and ergonomics are just as good as the Audi. I've always liked the smoothness of a 6 cyl vs a boosted 4 and the Audi has a booming bred into it with the direct injection that has always put me off. The suspension felt good to me. The 4MATIC C300 will be available in Sept or Oct so I will test that as well and the Acura TL.
    First impression, from a brief ride, the new A4 will need to be real good to top the Benz.
  • misterjimmisterjim Member Posts: 9
    I have the same A4 and have driven the C300 Sport twice. First - if you like your current Audi (which if it's like mine has heated rear seats in the 2.0 version which are no longer available) you may want to contact Audi financial to see about buying out your lease. They don't want the cars back - and are offering 1.9% - 3.9% financing (depending on the term)..For the same payment as a lease on a new C series, you could own your Audi in 3 years without much cash out of pocket.

    As for the cars - BMW outperforms both, so if you're interested in performance you're making the wrong comparisons. If it's style - I personally think the fit and finish of the Audi is superior - and while the front of the new Benz has some nice style, the back looks pretty dull. What's probably most attractive about the new benz is that it's new, and will sell well at its price point simply because of that. If you want to follow or lead the crowd, then go with the C-class
  • britcrlvrbritcrlvr Member Posts: 83
    I have to wonder if Mercedes gets it. Yes the exterior does not look so vanilla anymore, but compared to other cars like the Audi A4 the interior is atrocious. Way too much plastic for a Mercedes. As BMW and Mercedes lead the way for more Spartan interiors, I think Audi's interior gets better by the second.
  • be325be325 Member Posts: 91
    Impressions as we all know are very personal so I describe mine. Last night we took Luxury (iridium Silver/Black MB-Tex) and Sport (Paladium Silver/Gray MB-Tex)for a short drive. We liked the wood in Luxury. The cabin was very quiet and we thought the ride was soft. Ours was loaded with all possible options (41k). Too many buttons on the dashboard but overall we thought it was a pleasant environment. The ride in Sport was slightly stiffer in our opinion. We liked Luxury and we would like to get one with metallic paint, AT and no other options. We liked the front grill on the Sport and asked salesperson if we could 'swap' at delivery. He was new and didn't know. We'll ask someone at the parts department. Now we have time to reflect if and when to get it. IS250 didn't do much for us but we didn't discard it yet.
  • hrussell1hrussell1 Member Posts: 2
    Endure what may be a stupid question. I am driving a loaner new C300 sport off the lot while they try to find and fix a persistent squeal in my 280SLK. I am interested in the C300 but noticed yesterday that the windshield wipers seem way too small, wiping only about 50-60% of the windshield. I almost had to lower my head to see the cleaned area. Whats with this? Wrong blades? Poor design? So bad it would rule this car out for me. Thanks for your insights.
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Member Posts: 2,363
    Wrong blades. The car is shipped with mini-blades that are supposed to be replaced at PDI time. Sounds like this one slipped through.

    Our C300 Lux has some of the best wipers of any car we've owned - I really like the "frameless" free-form design - they do a great job.
  • hrussell1hrussell1 Member Posts: 2
    Thanks for responding. Spoke with the dealer who also said these were just for shipment and he should have replaced them.
    Glad to hear the right ones do such a great job!
This discussion has been closed.