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Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedans



  • jamrock4jamrock4 Posts: 53
    Thanks for the info on the C class AWD. 2K more than RWD is not bad. Too bad I have to wait till next year.
  • 404c404c Posts: 146
    I always get a kick out of comparison tests. They're always the result of the personal preferences of the testers, notwithstanding the complex but ultimately vain attempts to hide the subjectivity behind the numerical ratings. The idea of ranking cars, in a supposedly objective fashion, against each other, is absurd. Every driver has different needs, values and perceptions.

    Having written that, there is indeed value in comparison tests, as some beneficial insights into the characteristics of the cars can be gleaned from the text (definitely not the ratings numbers though).

    If numerically ranking competitive car models is a science, why don't all comparisons come out with the same result? I've seen others with the C 320 ranked ahead of the 330i, vice-versa, ad infinitum.

    The best advice is, as ever, check reliability data (no, not R&T or C&D "long-term" tests, which are unrepresentative testimonials, but do check the stastically significant data) and then drive each of the models yourself. That is the fastest path to automotive happiness in my view.

  • nycanyca Posts: 232
    It seems like MBUSA should pay more attention to the cars they provide for these comparison tests. They send them a car with no CD player? Nuts! Also, this quality issue about the AC duct control knobs being "pushed into" the dash, it can't have come from the factory that way. Did MBUSA send them a C320 that had been beaten up by various testing magazines and such for this review? It sounds like it to me.

    One thing I read, what's this about having to push the AC fan control button multiple times to turn off the system (since I don't own the car, maybe some owners could respond), no OFF button.
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    It's true, there's no off button for the fan (with the C320's climate control system, this doesn't apply to the C240). You just press the reduce fan speed button until it goes off. I don't see what the big deal is. It's just like turning a manual climate control fan speed knob from 2 to 1 to 0, except that you do it with a toggle switch and a digital readout.

    Maybe MBUSA didn't equip the car with a CD changer because it would raise the MSRP even higher. I think the editors speculated about this. Too bad though, because the Bose system is great, IMHO.

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  • garykinggaryking Posts: 32
    Wow! I just read the comparison, and I couldn't believe what I was reading. The C320 came in at the bottom of the pack in almost every category. Smoked by an Acura! Sounds like Daimler is becoming Chrysler.
  • nankynanky Posts: 75
    After today, I could very well be the first on this forum to have ran out of gas. That's what I get for being cheap and also relying too much on the range screen. I left home for a 30 mile round trip with the fuel gauge at a quarter tank. On my return trip, with about 12 miles to go, the estimated range for the gas on hand was 29 miles. At that point, the reserve fuel message came on and I figured I had approximately 2 gallons left, enough to get me home and to Costco tomorrow. Just trying save about 40 cents per gallon. With about 2 miles to go on the way back, I checked the range screen and this time, it ranged from 4-6 miles when I hadn't even done anywhere near 24 miles. About 1.5 miles to go, and right in front of a Mobil station, the car choked and came to a stop. I tried starting it and it was completely dead. Walked to the Mobil station I was trying avoid and brought back a gallon of gas to get it started not to mention it was almost 100 degrees in my area at the time. Drove back and filled up with 13.5 gallons at $2.11. That + the 1 gallon = 14.5 gallons. What happened to the nearly 2 gallons that should have been left based on a 16.4 gallon tank?

    From this rather embarrassing experience, it is clear the range is just an estimation based on prevailing driving conditions including terrain. Why it varied that significantly to the point of being misleading, I don not know. Also, I am unclear as to why the car stopped with an estimated 1.9 gallons remaining in the tank give or take a few ounces for measurement errors. Lesson learned the hard way - Take no chances with the reserve fuel message and visit the nearest gas station when it lights up.
  • emory28emory28 Posts: 4
    For the record my 2000 323ci also does not have an off button for the exhaust fan. To turn off the fan you have to keep pushing the reduce fan speed button just like on the C320. Maybe BMW has changed this for its later 330 models.
  • husky11husky11 Posts: 53
    I have a 1999 C280. On the air conditioning control button (actually, it is more of a control SWITCH) there are multiple settings from OFF on the left side (going all the way over) to the maximum fan speed (on the right side) of the unit. There are various speeds in between.Itworks very well. I do not know if this was changed by MB for the 2000 and 2001 models.
  • nankynanky Posts: 75
    Drew - Do you believe a C320 equipped with the sports package would have bettered the Cs standing?
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    husky11, the operation is still the same as your C-class, even though the control panels look different now. You keep pressing the "reduce fan speed" switch until it goes off. Frankly, it's nitpicking to the extreme to complain about there not being an off-switch. I mean, how lazy can you get? ;-)

    nanky, as our editors mentioned, the Sport package C-class would probably have faired better since a major part of this comparison was towards handling. The slightly stiffer suspension, stickier performance-biased tires, as well as the slightly lower ride height/centre of gravity would've helped a lot, I think. Adding the Sport package would've significantly increased the MSRP of the C320 though.

    However, as since your own individual priorities may not match with the criteria that Edmunds' editors used, it is really up to you to make your own decision as to which is better. If I was in the market for one of these vehicles, I would still choose the C-class since it matches my priorities the best. I would've just about scratched off the FWD cars since I don't like the way FWD performs on wet surfaces uphill.

    I have test driven the 3-series and I like it...a lot. I have even watched the 3-series owner's manual video. Nonetheless as it is right now, the biggest turnoff for me with the 3-series is the lack of several safety features which are standard equipment on the C. These include rear head protection curtains, rear side airbags (optional for the BMW), a rear centre head restraint, a 3 point seatbelt for the middle rear position, as well as rear seatbelt pretensioners/force limiters. The door latches on the Bimmer also look puny compared to the patented wedge shaped latches on all MB vehicles. In a smaller car, I want all of the best safety features and crash test performance available.

    Just my 2 cents,

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  • bobbyrabbobbyrab Posts: 14
    The Mercedes USA website has been down since last night until at least 11:30AM EST on July 5th. Is it possible they are upgrading the site for the 2002 models and prices? I guess we will find out shortly!
  • hensleyhensley Posts: 4
    Just wanted to chime in on Drew's comments. Comparisons should not be interpreted as the best car, they are the ones that meet the criteria best. I selected MY car based on MY driving habits.

    I have now had my C240 (Black/Charcoal, C2,C4) for one week and am very happy with it. I drive a lot (600 miles so far) and most is on the highway.

    I made the right choice for my tastes and habits and assume that most everyone else here feels the same.
  • mmcbride1mmcbride1 Posts: 861
    But wasn't the Bimmer 3 series rated the 'safest car on the road', or something to that effect? I know I read that somewhere. And you don't want rear side airbags if you have kids in the back.
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    The current generation 3-series was the best performing small luxury car in the IIHS 40mph offset crash test...that is, until they tested the '01 C-class and the Volvo S80 (the Volvo was 2nd best and the BMW 3rd). If you look at the intrusion measures, the C-class did significantly better than the BMW, even though both were best picks and rated "good". All of the cabin instrusion figures for the C-class are an astounding 3 centimetres or less. In other words, you probably wouldn't even have noticed any movement of the dash or pillars after the collision! Heck, the windshield was completely unscathed without any cracks at all. Overall injury measurements are also lowest among all of the cars tested. A very impressive performance, considering that the 3-series was already an excellent performer.

    Saying that rear side airbags are not suitable if you have kids is a blanket statement, in my humble opinion. There are different types. The NHTSA has asked the manufacturers to de-activate the rear side airbags only if they find that it's detrimental. Mercedes-Benz has determined that their side impact airbags are safe (remember that they don't blow up very much, unlike the much larger front airbags) and that in an accident, they do a lot more good than harm. As such, they will not de-activate the rear ones, even if requested. BMW's rear side impact airbags are optional even on the top of the line 7-series. If you order this option, they come de-activated from the factory and before the dealer will activate them, you have to sign a waiver which states that you accept all responsibility and that BMW cannot be held liable. Because MB's side head protection curtain airbags deploy and drop down from the headliner, they present only a minimal risk even to kids.

    However, this doesn't mean that you should lean against the door though. I make sure that my passengers are aware of this and I keep an eye on them. If they feel like sleeping, I tell them to fold down the rear centre armrest and lean that way. Adding a large pillow there helps a lot and they'll find it more comfortable than leaning against the door and glass anyway.

    A few pictures, courtesy of the IIHS - From top to bottom: C-class, S80, 3-series. It is quite clear why the C-class was rated the top performer for this test:

    There already is a BMW 3-series vs MB C-class discussion topic. I invite you (and anyone else) to carry on this discussion at length in there.

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  • mmcbride1mmcbride1 Posts: 861
    I don't really want to continue it, I just had a question. And it looks like you can't go wrong with any of the 3 above.

    My comment about kids and rear bags specifically was geared towards leaning on the doors. Every kid I know does this, and it can cause harm to them in an accident if they're leaning on the door when the bag deploys.

    I guess my point was this - more airbags isn't necessarily better, but not necessarily worse, either.
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    Agreed, you can't go wrong with the 3-series if you like it. If it had the rear head protection tubes, that would make it even more attractive to me. One area that I definitely think the 3-series has an advantage over the C-class is in the auto transmission area. In the 330xi, it did feel that it was a bit smoother overall than the C's, never mind that it's a GM Europe design though. It works well enough for me to disregard that.

    As for leaning against the doors, it's just something that will have to be unlearnt, and something that the driver should watch out for. It definitely would not stop me from ordering this option if I wanted a BMW.

    Good luck,

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  • matthew23matthew23 Posts: 11
    Interesting thing about that comparison -- it seems to me they layered subjective impression upon subjective impression. The 20-point test contains many subjective criteria: i.e., most fun to drive, ride, handling, exterior styling, etc., right down to convenience of cupholders. They then have a subjective evaluation of what the editors would choose, and what they would recommend to buyers. So, when you look at the final results, it seems the subjective criteria are exaggerated even more. And while I agree that for some, price may be a large factor, to many it is not. When you look at the results, and just add up the scores in the categories of performance, feature content, and 20-point evaluation (excluding personal pick, recommended pick and price), guess which car comes out on top? The MB, with the BMW just a half point behind, the Accura in third, and the Volvo in 4th. If you factor in price, the Accura comes out on top, the BMW 2nd and the MB third. What does this mean? Absolutely nothing, other than to point out the inherently unreliability of ranking cars in this class. You still have to pick what's best for you.
  • zmeenowzmeenow Posts: 341
    from my observations of the estimated range.the following factors will effect the estimate on a moment to moment basis.. yes,prevailing road conditions...type of terrain(more hills?)..the need to pass at higher of air conditioner....any i forgot?.when i see that yellow light come on..i head for the nearest mobile station(i have their card) and if there arent any near... i throw in $5 just to get me home safely at any gas and learn nanky.
  • mmcbride1mmcbride1 Posts: 861
    Actually, I'm quite happy with my A4 (have you seen any crash tests on that? - it's not at the IIHS website). I just remember all the BMW marketing materials on the 3 series. The C looks quite impressive in those tests, though, and I do like the looks. Now if you could only get the C320 (or C32 AMG) with a manual tranny...
  • A while ago someone posted a website at which we could track where our cars are by VIN given by the dealership while they are on the way from Germany to the U.S. Can somebody post that again? Thanks a bunch.
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    I don't think the 6 speed can handle the C32's immense torque. The C320 is probably not offered with a manual because demand will not be too high. Most of the C's sold are ordered with auto transmissions. Oddly though, my dealer has 3 C240 6-speeds (one is a demo) right now.

    As for the A4, here's a link to the European front offset and side impact crash tests:

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  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    "As for the A4, here's a link to the European front offset and side impact crash tests:"

    Drew, I'm afraid that's a dated test (1997 model). Please try the results for the 2001 A4:

    MUCH better! (Similar to the improvement between '97 and '01 C-Classes.)

    While on the subject of the NCAP test, I'm sure this has been answered somewhere here before, but why does the C-Class test say "[airbag curtain] worked in the test but did not deploy fully. Experts feared that in other situations it might not do its job?"

  • nycanyca Posts: 232
    This is supposed to be a real photo of the new E Class (I do not know if this is true):

  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    That's the all new 2002 A4. It's due to arrive in North America this fall, but I think it has been on sale in Europe since spring of this year so I think they may consider it a 2001 model there. The link to the test that I posted still applies to the '01 A4. I was surprised by the results too!

    I'm not sure why the side head curtain didn't deploy fully. May have been a fluke. I wonder if MB will ask them to retest?

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  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    Yep, you're right, I didn't read the bottom of the NCAP test which says that the new A4 has actually been on sale in Germany since September. Fortunately for U.S. buyers the new A4 is pretty close.

    I guess I can't be too shocked at the current-model-U.S.-A4 not doing too hot; the A6 only scored "acceptable" in the IIHS test. I'd expect any newer Audi to do well, though, given the high scores (IIHS and NCAP) for the Passat, which is a relatively fresher design.

    Say, what's that Renault Laguna like as a vehicle anyway? Noticed the five-star score in NCAP (no ESP though). Also, what's a "double pre-tensioner" belt?
  • 404c404c Posts: 146
    I suspect that had the side curtain of the C-Class functioned properly, it might have been close to a fifth star. The site does not mention whether Mercedes-Benz intends to review the curtain malfunction (i.e. not deploying fully) and offer another car for a re-test.

    The Renault Laguna's five star score in EuroNCAP is remarkable. But it is no Mercedes - the styling is messy. And based upon Renault's patchy history regarding quality (I've owned many Renaults over the years) I'd be surprised if it's as reliable as the C.

  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    The German auto magazine Auto Bild reports that the 4-matic option for the C-class will add 4500 Deutche marks to the current price of the C. With the current exchange rates in mind, this is just under CDN$3000 or US$2000. Not too bad at all (and a bit cheaper than the current E-class 4-matic option) considering that snow tires + wheels will cost a third of that. That is, if MB Canada and MBUSA decide to retain the aforementioned pricing. Personally, I hope and expect that they will because as is, the C320 (in Canada at least) is already slightly more expensive than a comparably equipped BMW 330xi sedan. Note that if you want the C320 4-matic wagon, you will definitely be in the current E320 4-matic sedan price territory. Eeek...

    MB Canada still officially maintains that the C-class will not receive the 4-matic option till fall of 2002, for the 2003 model year. However, the 4-matic option will be released in Europe in the Spring of 2002; my salesguy still expects it to be available as a mid model year 2002 option since this is what they have been told in all of the past and recent product training sessions. I guess we'll see what happens in the next few months.

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  • fredtwdfredtwd Posts: 25
    I've heard this asked on the boards before, and I can now answer
    that question. Two months after picking up my C320, my wife
    told me she want a divorce. The good news I keep my C320 and
    three dogs, but the bad news is my wife takes the mini-van. Although
    I love my C320, I cannot imagine hauling three medium sized dogs in

    So (finally) here are my questions: (1) How much do you think I can get
    for my C320, and (2) What would you get to replace it?

    Here are the specs on the car:

    2001 C320
    Desert Silver 625
    Java Leather Interior 1,375
    COMMAND 2,035
    K2a (Phone & Voice) 2,190
    C2: Rain Sensor, 1,340
    Sunroof, Rear
    C4: Heated Seats, 800
    Headlamp washers
    Dest & Delivery 645
    TOTAL PRICE 45,960

    Invisible-Bra ($595)
    All-Season Mats
    Trunk Cargo Nets (Front, Left-side and Floor)

    Mileage: 4,500 miles

    [If you are interested, I'm in the Boston area.]

    The next question: What would you replace it with? Nothing comes
    close to the features and luxury of my C320. But here's what I am
    considering so far:

    2001 Used ML-430
    2000 Used ML-320
    2001 VW GLX Passat Wagon w/ 4Motion
    2001 BMW 325xi Wagon

    I'd like to stick with MB; however, the M series does not have a
    great reliability record (although it's been improving). Any thoughts
    on the above cars or other suggestions. My major requirements
    1) Ability to transport three medium sized dogs (i.e. wagon
    or small SUV).
    2) All-wheel (4-wheel) drive. It's something I always wanted.
    Seeing that I'm giving up my C320 luxury, I thought I'd finally
    make this a hard requirement.
    3) Navigation. It's aided my tremendously in my C320. I'd
    prefer it directly from the manufacturer (usually better integration,
    but given the right car, I can go after-market).
    4) Nothing less than a '99, preferably 2000 or 2001.

    I'd also like (but don't require) an integrated phone. My budget is
    the sales proceeds from the C320 (I don't owe anything on it) +
    approx. another 5K (3K if the Nav is not included).

    Sorry for the long post. I will appreciate any thoughts you might


  • rexconde1rexconde1 Posts: 278
    Many of the "reliability" issues on the M class have bee resolved. Most were on the 98, which gave the m-class a bad image.

    The M-Class has improved greatly over the past few years. There have been a lot less complaints abould build issues on the ML now.

    Why dont you join us in the M-Class groups, mention specific problems that you have heard about the M-Class and let people address them... You will find that the people with the 2000, and even moreso with the 2001 that they have had significantly less problems.

  • rexconde1rexconde1 Posts: 278
    Also. if you can take the phone with you so that if you do get the M, all you have to do is buy the cradle for the Phone. That way you wont pay an extra 500 for the phone.

This discussion has been closed.