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Mercedes-Benz C350 & C280



  • levinlevin Posts: 1
    My black c280 is sitting at the dealer in Chicago but too bad I am out of the country :( It was built in early July and shipped maybe 2 weeks ago. That probably disproves any kind of delay problems with shipments to the U.S. I can't wait to pick it up and test out the new engine.
  • dbranddbrand Posts: 21
    Thanks for the dealer invoice information. I was in the dealership yesterday and he said the build date will be September 10, also a Saturday. Are they just building C280s on Saturdays--first build date was August 20--also a Saturday. I picked up one of the new brochures and devoured every page. Discovered that the 4Matic package includes "bun warmers". Glad I didn't have to pay extra for that. Love the new wheels--they are different from the 2005 C240s. They are a seven spoke config' and look kind of flat, as opposed to the rounder spokes in the 05s. Dealer looked on his computer and said several C280s and C350s were in LA now, and would be transported to Oregon next week so should be here by the end of the month. I sold my E, so am car-ownership-less. Driving my ex-husband's 320 CLK (glad we're still good friends) until October. Lovely car but want my own again.
  • ikramericaikramerica Posts: 101
    I'll be carless too. :( my C230K coupe lease is up Sep 5, but my car likely won't arrive at my dealership until mid-september. Don't want to extend anything since the warranty will be over. So I guess it's a Ford Focus from Enterprise for a week or two. THAT will make me appreciate the new car even more (though i do like the Focus).

    PS - All 4Matics have heated seats, AFAIK. I guess MB figures that heated seats and bad weather go together. Who are we to argue? ;)
  • fmpfmp Posts: 9
    Anyone know if either of these cars have hit the Northern NY/NYC area yet for test drive?
  • dbranddbrand Posts: 21
    I received a call yesterday from the local MB dealer telling me the first 06 280 had arrived. When I arrived the technician doing the PDI said he'd just completed the test drive and he said it was "...really powerful....much more so than the 05 C320 and the new 7 speed transmission was so smooth I couldn't detect the gear changes...". This car was finished in Pewter Metallic with full black leather interior, sunroof and entertainment packages. I thought the color was not one of the best, and both the sales guy and the technician offered that it wasn't their favorite either. I love the wheel design--it's a flatter design and looks almost like a solid wheel with the cut-outs between spokes--very smart. I have been a class judge at the Pebble Beach concours for many years and view gaps, paint and brightwork very critically. I could find nothing to fault in this car's fit and finish--just perfect. The tires were high speed Pirelli's--an excellent tire but a bit noisier than Michelins. The only thing that I don't like about the car is the black-painted styrofoam "thing" that covers the baby spare. Also miss the fact that MB doesn't include a proper hand tool kit with the car any longer. Now that I've seen one, the next 2-1/2 months until my black 4Matic come in, will seem like eons.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I took a look around on the MB dealers lot today and he's got all the new 2006 models in. A C350 4Matic is a pricey vehicle for sure. This dealer also has a lot of SLK280s too, but no SLK350 models.

    A treat for MB lovers:


  • billp8billp8 Posts: 56
    I love watching that show on the SPEED channel. The narrator in the CLS segment is one of the commentators on FG, I believe. I visited my local dealer Saturday (ASC, Arlington, VA). There was a C230 (already sold) and two C280s. Interestingly, all 3 cars were black. Also a very nice metallic red SLK280. I'm thinking of doing what I did in 2000 and picking up a C from the last model year (2007). There will probably be a Special Edition version in '07, as well. Right now, I'm thinking C280 4MATIC, white with royal blue leather. I'd like to see that interior in person, but it seems as though full leather is becoming increasingly rare on Cs, esp. in this area--and I'm sure the blue is not a common color. I'll check MBUSA to see if that shade is offered on any other series. Again, thanks for the video!
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Yes that was actually Top Gear. Their videos are some of the best. The CLS55 AMG is actually able the track faster than a whole host of sports cars, very impressive for 2-ton 4-door.

    Speaking of special edititions, I'm surprised there hasn't been an S-Class SE yet considering the 2006 model is the end of the line for the current model in the U.S.

  • I drove both yesterday.... anyone considering a c class, must test drive the 06 3 series before deciding.... I believe that for most people, choosing a c class is purely because they want to have a 'mercedes'.. it is not based on the fact that it is a better car than the 3 series.... that would include me too, if I choose the c class.... but after driving the 3 series, it would seem insane to not choose the BMW..... I understand I am opening myself to flaming on this post, since this is the C class forum... but I just had to say it.....
  • dbranddbrand Posts: 21
    Tell us why you like the 3 series BMW better than the C Mercedes. Get specific, please.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well the 3-Series is brand new so of course it should be superior to the 6 year old C-Class, if it wasn't then there would be something seriously wrong at BMW. As a sports sedan the 3-Series is still tops in this segment, but the C-Class sport models, especially the C350 is hardly that far behind to make it seem "insane" to buy it.

  • billp8billp8 Posts: 56
    --I respect the fact that it is both a driver's car and a brand-new design. But what is it with the styling? The 3 is probably the least offensive of BMW's recent car designs (I think their SUVs have fared better). I just don't understand why, for example, BMW endowed the new 3er with an older Nissan Maxima-like rear--particularly the taillights.
  • ikramericaikramerica Posts: 101
    While i respect your opinion, this is not the place for it. There are numerous, numerous threads about such topics. Further, a very quick drive in the new C will not give you any indication as to how great this car is. more on that now...
  • ikramericaikramerica Posts: 101
    Just returned from Germany and 1400km in my new C280 4matic.

    Being a current C owner, all I can say is this car, from a driving perspective, is far, far superior, and one of the best driving cars you can buy. Like any new car with a new driver and smart transmission these days, it took a little time for the car to learn how I drive, and once it did, we were connected at the pedal. That's why I say a quick drive around the block in a new demo will not indicate how this car performs, especially when compared with the differently geared 3 series. There is so much usable power in the C280, usable handling, yet smooth ride that lets you hear and feel the bumps ever so slightly, but doesn't make you regret them, that as a car for use on all sorts of roads in all sorts of conditions, this car is a winner. And as a former BMW driver, I know where of I speak. BMW are great to drive in fun conditions. MB are great to own in all conditions.

    The C280 was stable at 140mph bursts, 130mph in the rain, and 80,90, and 110 cruising, and felt nearly as responsive in all conditions as my dads 500E did when I first drove it. It even had decent acceleration above 110, with a firm press of the foot downshifting to 5000rpm and surging forward.

    The new V6 is a gem of an engine, and even "hampered" with 4matic and the 5 speed transmission, it was never out of sorts. While not as "invisible" as the 7speed, the current 5speed can always be counted on to shift at the right time, and also works great in manumatic mode. It works better than my 2002 5speed, and that's a fine transmission, exotic for the time. I for one don't need the transmission to be so invisible I don't know what gear I'm in, but I could imagine if there were room for the 7speed and 4matic in one car, it would be a novelty to say the least. But you don't lose anything in the experience with the 5speed.

    This car is so good, I don't understand the C350. Well, I understand that in this "hp race" time we live in, the C350 is needed so the car magazines don't [non-permissible content removed] and moan about underpowered 230hp compact sedans like the C280, but I just can't see MB selling too many C350s with the C280 around. At least, not too many C350 luxury sedans. C350 sport, they'll sell a few. C350 luxury, just no point. And if MB offered a C280 sport model, the C350 would be even more of a niche than it is now.

    I also agree. The 16" wheels are award winning in design. Absolutely stunning, like nothing I've seen in a long time, like nothing you can find on Tirerack, both 2D and 3D at once. Being a german delivered car, mine had Continental tires, all season sport affairs, that were perfect for the car other than the fact that Contis are noisy (droning) tires in general. US cars are more likely to get the quiet but uber crappy zero grip Michelin Energy garbage.

    I was going to put 17" AMG twin 5 spoke wheels (C32/SLK32 AMG design) on my car, with all season touring tires, since I own them from my current C, but these 16in wheels are so sharp, and the balance in ride so good, I'm not so sure. I might just swap out the tires on the 16s for an all season touring tire that is quieter after using them up a little this winter (like the turanza lsh), and put the 17" on for summer with a quiet summer tire package. But as is, the car works quite well.

    My car is the blue metallic with blue leather and sunroof package. I also got split rear seat, nav system, and power driver seat.

    Just a note on the blue leather. It is NOT royal blue as I expected and one of you expect it will be. it is midnight blue. Very classy, but a little darker than I was expecting. But I think it really does go well with the Blue exterior, and would go well with white, too.
  • billp8billp8 Posts: 56
    I too would go with the C280 4MATIC. Glad to hear the AWD doesn't "dull" the car--which it seemed to in the A4 I drove in 2000 before buying the C. Interesting to hear the blue leather is "midnight-y." This may help its popularity (seems lots of people want dark interiors in their German rides). I would spec mine with the sunroof, entertainment, and lighting packages ( I really like the HK stereo, and my night vision isn't the best, so the bi-xenon lights would be appreciated). Re the tires, the Tire Rack has recommended Turanzas to me to replace my Michelins. Fiinally, an MB salesman I spoke to recently said the 280 is plenty of engine for the C, he thought the 350 was overkill. I can't wait to try the 280--your post just whetted my appetite more!
  • jirehjireh Posts: 2
    Hi...I am planning to buy either a new C240 or C320 or the C280 ..but am so confused.
    Can any expert tell me which is a better deal.
    Also my husband is interested in Navigation package, lighting package and teleaid...Are these packages worth?
    What other options should I consider before buying.

    Please advice!

    Thank you so much for your time
  • drumdrum Posts: 4
    I just took delivery of my 2006 C280 sedan...I was driving a 2001 C320 sedan and put 67000 miles on it. I have the navigation system on the new car. I loved the 2001 but I think the 2006 is even nicer. The body is exactly the same but the AC/heater controls are more user friendly...they improved the instrument panel readouts and the car handles like a has plenty of power. I do not have the 4 matic. The navigation is NOT touch screen and I think is a little awkward to use and takes a while to get used to it but it is very complete and accurate. I have no complaints about the car. It is not as stiff as the BMW 3 series which I found a bit too firm. I am not sure if the TeleAid is worth the money...I found it unnecessary if you have a cell phone since it works off the cell phone system and is only as good as you cell phone service...
  • ikramericaikramerica Posts: 101
    If you can get a good deal, the 2005 C240 is still a fine car. It isn't that powerful, but it "feels" fast, and it gets the job done. In germany, most people drive 2 liter kompressor engined MB cars or cdi diesel MBs, and they all get by just fine, at 120mph on the autobahn and scooting around city traffic. My car, with the 3.0L V6, was more engine than most other cars I saw there, E, C, CLK, SLK, what have you. The E200K seemed to be a very popular option, one never sold here, for obvious reasons. Same with the CLK200K.

    As for the 2005 C320 v. 2006 C280. I think the C280 has a bit more usable power. The C320 seems to "fight" you a bit to get at the power band. The new 2006 V6 is just a far superior engine to the old 18valve V6 it seems. In case you don't know, for 2006 Mercedes has ALL NEW V6 engines for the C class. It's not just a number change, but new technologies, new sizes, new output, new number of valves, better fuel economy, etc. It's not just a name change this year.

    And since even if they are trying to unload them, the C280 will cost less than the 2006 C320, I would not get it. The C280 is the way to go, honestly, but if you got a good deal on the C240 (thousands less than a C280 would be good, not hundreds), then it's up to you. Ask for an extended test drive of the 240 (borrow it for the afternoon errands, for example). Then you'll know if it is enough engine for you.

    as for options:

    I have the current CD based NAV system in my 2002 C-Coupe, and though some didn't like it, it has never let me down, other than needing to be replaced once. It is a Bosch system, and MB had a load of trouble with them failing electronically, but in terms of getting me where I needed to go, it was great.

    The new C class (2005 and 2006 both) have a DVD based system, with a nicer, bigger screen with greater detail. While not a touch screen, it has added 8 "soft buttons" by the screen which for most purposes act like a touch screen, and are more reliable. It is an Alpine branded system, and in the after market, Alpine has been one of the tops. So having it as the brain for the MB can only be a good thing. From the outside, you wouldn't know that Alpine is now the brain, but it should help with reliability.

    Unfortunately, with Euro delivery of a C280, you can't use the Nav system in Europe, since the euro DVD does not work with the American system in the C and CLK cars. I really, really, really wish I had it, as I was lost so many times, and I don't speak enough german to get out of situations like that easily. Plus, with so many cloudy/rainy days, i couldn't even tell which way was north by looking at the sun! So i can't comment on how well it works. But I'm sure it has quirks, like they all do, but I'm also sure it works perfectly. Just read the manual and you should be fine.

    You will never regret a nav system. It is pricey, costing over $1000 in real costs ($2200, but it adds residual value). For a 3 year ownership, that's about $1 a day. But I say, if you have a choice between that and the teleaid+entertainment package, the nav is a better choice. The piece of mind, the fact you will never again need to get directions or try to find street signs, or regret a wrong turn (it just reroutes you no matter how many turns you miss), all are stress releivers, and in a world full of driving stress, this is a good thing.

    The current DVD nav has a SECOND slot for a single CD for music, so both can be used at once. There is also a mini-jack in the glove box to hook up portable music players like iPods, CDplayers, mini-disk, etc. Works great.

    My last car had the bose audio and cd changer, but with the iPod, I never used that pricey option, this time I decided not to spend the money on the upgraded audio. The base system sounds really nice, but I am sure the HK speakers and amplifier, with surround features, is super. I love HK, just had to save money somewhere.

    Also, any day now, there will be an iPod integration kit for the C-Class. It will even better integrate the iPod, allowing it to be controlled directly with the steering wheel and the LCD screen next to the odometer and speedometer. very nice. I'm still waiting (it will be an accessory, and can be added at any time, not a factory option).

    Teleaid - I don't know. Really read up on it and see if all those features are worth it to you. I would likely never use it, especially with a nav system and a cell phone anyway.

    Lighting package - it is brighter. but it also blinds the oncoming drivers. there is actually talk of banning these bright lights as a hazzard. of note was that in germany, the land of fast driving and german engineering, NOBODY had these lights on their mercedes, BMWs, VWs, Audis, etc. Rare, and that should tell you something.

    I had them on my Audis, and never really saw them as vital, so the last two MBs I've had don't have them. If you want a bit brighter light, there are aftermarket bulbs you can add that are a bit brighter with a cleaner light than the OEM bulbs the car comes with.

    Also, the lighting package has the headlight washers, which I hate. They spray fluid all over the front of the car, and cause it to get more dirty more quickly. That's another reason I don't get the lighting package on the MB.

    Sunroof package is nice, if you like sunroofs. it also has a rear sunshade that goes up/down with a button, which can really help in sunset conditions.

    Split folding rear seats is always a must for me.

    Power driver seat (on C240/280) adds memory settings to the seat and more powered features, so if both you and your husband drive, you can set the seat for each of you. Also, power driver seat adds "auto tilting" side mirror for parking. When in reverse, the right side mirror will tilt down showing you the curb, making it easy to park. I love this feature.

    If you don't get the upgraded power seat, both seats still have SOME power features, and the rest are manual. it's more of a convenience thing.

    The integrated phone package is cool, but way, way overpriced. Just get a cell phone with a speakerphone built in and save thousands! just my 2 cents.

    Hope this helps.
  • ikramericaikramerica Posts: 101
    Thanks for the compliment.

    As for the Turanzas, there seems to be a difference between the H and V rated tires. The H seems to hold up better, be quieter, with a better ride. My 17" Z rated Turanzas have handled well, worn well, and at first, they were quiet. I have about 20k miles on them and there is a lot of tread left.

    They have loudened up over time however, but the C-Coupe, with the sport suspension and less insulation, is not a quiet car. The C luxury sedan is MUCH quieter. And they are still quieter than 16" continentals, the loudest tires on earth? ;)

    Having owned quattro A4s, I know what you mean about the dulling effect. Not so on my S4, nor on my A6 4.2, but on my two A4s I owned, they were not as "peppy" as the same car without quattro. but they were still fine cars.

    On the current C280 4matic, you can't even tell there is 4 wheel drive at all. It feels just like a very responsive rear driver, except I never had any slippage or lack of control under some VERY rainy conditions in Germany and Luxembourg. Even through slicks at 100mph, the car just kept a straight line with all wheels in contact with the road. i was very impressed, and am interested to see how they perform in snow.

    Since I live in LA, I will have to actively seek snow, ;) but now I want to do that! My A4 quattros were always amazing in Ohio snow, even with the summer Z rated tires.
  • jirehjireh Posts: 2
    Thank you so much for such a detailed analysis.

    My dealer has offered me to give a good deal-I am checking it out this weekend. Since I am not very much updated of car details, i was actually wondering why the dealer was trying to get rid of 240 to me!.
    If the deal is a real steal, then i might settle for 240 ... else i am goin to 280..

    I have also read from the reviews that the rear seats are not very comfortable and the trunk is also not well designed... Is it true?If yes, is it really really bad for anyone to sit in the rear seats or trunk is too smal to fit a luggage?Please advice.

    Thank ya'll once again for the input yo uhave provided.
  • ikramericaikramerica Posts: 101
    I don't sit in the rear sit, as I am the driver, but in most compact luxury sedans of all brands, the back seat just isn't a great place to be. Legroom is poor, as is headroom.

    If you need more room, you must go to a midsize luxury, or a midsize near luxury sedan. For example, the new passat will offer much better rear seat space than a C class.

    As for the trunk, I only used it for 5 days, but I thought it was fine for me. Held a medium suitcase and a duffle bag loosely, could have crammed more in there.

    But again, if you want a larger trunk, you need a midsized car, or an econo box. Or a wagon, of course.

    As for the "design" of the trunk, not sure what you mean? The small opening? That's true of so many cars now. The interior space? Perfectly good. The shape of the interior space? Pretty wide open, honestly.

    Just open the trunk and see for yourself.

    as for 240 vs. 280, the C240 is a 2005, so it is immediately worth less than the 2006 model C280 at this point. Add to that the less powerful engine, and that's why he wants to get rid of it. Also, MB is giving some incentives to clear out all 2005s to the dealers, so he could make MORE money on the C240 if he convinces you the deal is good when it really isn't all that good.

    But don't be fooled by lease incentives that make it seem cheap. Only go by the sale price, even on a lease. If it isn't at least $3500, if not more, lower than the C280 configured EXACTLY the same, it isn't worth it, as your resale will be that much lower off the lot. The C280 costs $900 more, with a $55 higher delivery charge, so the C280 is $1000 more at sticker price. But it also has a higher residual, and being a new model and a year later, that's why I say you really aren't saving anything if you don't get the C240 for $3500 less than a C280.
  • mac320mac320 Posts: 147
    "I don't understand the C350 . . . I just can't see MB selling too many C350s with the C280 around. At least, not too many C350 luxury sedans . C350 sport, they'll sell a few. C350 luxury, just no point. And if MB offered a C280 sport model, the C350 would be even more of a niche than it is now."

    Another take on that: 3,685 lbs. versus 3,703 lbs. That's the slight weight difference between the "E" and "C" class luxury sedans: just 18 lbs (a 208 lb difference for a RWD "C" instead of an AWD but that still is not much difference in weight).

    A potential C-class buyer will not necessarily be satisfied with less performance than an E-class buyer that has the "350" as its base powerplant. Just because a smaller footprint automobile is involved, there may be many more potential C350 buyers that will appreciate as good a performance.

    Additionally, whether it is "needed" or not, the C350 has a superior engine than the S350 (i.e., the "S" has the same 3.7L engine that powered last years' ML350). That makes the "C" almost seem like a good value by comparison. And, if a SLK does not offer enough utility, its almost logical to consider a C350 as an alternative.

    However, your feelings about the adequacy of the "280" probably is why a lot of C320 buyers will continue to be satisfied with their MBs until the next model change, especially when you consider that the redesigned interior does not outclass the outgoing C320's interior (e.g., the primary driver of our C320 likes her interior better: the cupholders were always pretty bad--and they still are--but, now they cannot be covered up; and, she likes the look of the old-style radio better). And, no C320 owner would turn it for a C280 because there is no additional performance to be expected (both provide the identical 221 ft. lbs. of torque at relatively low rpms) and the small increase in the 280's hp is only at a high 6K rpm).

    Looking at it another way, unless the mileage was significantly different between the two engines, I don't see the need for the "280" except to give MB the excuse for an additional price-point, and probably also because of Europe's car tax laws that may be related to horsepower. They are the same engines except that the "350" has a little larger bore and MB already will be making 350s for all of the other models anyway so why bother with a smaller displacement setup? How much could MB expect to save on some smaller pistons to make up for all of the additional costs of having two engine sizes?
  • ikramericaikramerica Posts: 101
    You are obviously the expert here. The 3.5L 270hp engine is not overkill for the C and the C280 is a pointless car, and MB will sell a ton of the C350s over the $4000 less expensive 3.0L 230hp C280.

    I wasn't giving you marketing hype or anything else. I'm giving you DRIVING IMPRESSIONS after nearly 1000 miles in the car in all weather conditions (except snow) on all types of roads and at all speeds, including heavy traffic and 140mph sprints.

    The C280 is a great car.

    I've owned the C230K (2.3L) coupe, the A4 2.8 Q (old and new engines), the S4 biturbo, the A6 4.2, the Z3 1.9 and the Z3 2.8, as well as the 210hp Nissan Maxima and a VW Corrado G60. I have a lot of experience with various kinds of cars with various levels of engine performance, and how engines mate with a vehicle.

    In my experience, the C280 is as well mated as the S4, A6 and the Z3 2.8, in that the power is always there when you need it and want it, it is never choking or struggling, and the car feels very connected to the road through the pedal. Other than the Maxima, which was fast but floaty, the other cars on that list all were left wanting in various situations. The C280 feels about as spritely as the S4, and that is saying something.

    So, IMHO, and it is only MY OPINION, the C350 is a pointless vehicle. It fills a very narrow niche of performance between the C280 and the C55 AMG, and in most driving conditions, you'd be hard pressed to feel the difference between the 280 and 350 engines. Maybe in certain "drag strip" conditions, and above 100 mph to a small degree, but these are not conditions the American driver finds him/herself in.

    But to make a statement like "I don't see the point of the C280" is funny, since the C280 is a brand new model and finally DOES have a point, unlike the outdated C240 after the introduction of the C230K sport sedan. The C240 may have been an oddball, but the C280 squarely fits in the range between the "stripped" and configuration limited C230 and the "high end and nearly pointless" C350. It's the "luxury" smoother riding alternative to the peppy but boy-racer leaning C230 (metal trim, 17" sport wheels and tires, sport suspension, etc.)
  • mac320mac320 Posts: 147
    Or, in other words, using your logic, the C240 was a pointless vehicle. Why? Because, the C320 offered in 2001 what C280 only now offers, i.e., a level of power that is acceptable to you in 2005--not pointless now although it probably was in 2001--but, any more power than the "280" now offers is not needed: no one will want it so why even offer it.

    Or, do you now see the "280" as an acceptable opulence over the "240" because the fwy mpg are 29 compared to the C320's 26 mpg? Although the "320" would also get better mileage with the 7-spd tranny, you can see on the Edmunds spec chart that the C350 also gets 29 mpg. In other words, the only "penalty" involved in opting for a "350" over a "280" is the $4K entry fee that MB charges (although you would get half back at trade-in according to the Edmunds resale data).

    My "argument" above was that I don't think it costs MB a single cent extra to build a "350" instead of a "280." You don't even understand that argument do you? However, I wasn't actually arguing--I was just making a point. But you seem to want to turn innocent conversation into an argument.

    And, because you like to argue, you are saying that that if MB didn't charge $4K extra for the "350" you'd still opt for the "280" because any more power is just pointless. I almost hear you saying that if all C-class sedans came with the "350" as its base powerplant, you pass on it in favor of a lesser powered sedan by another manufacturer.

    Your reasoning cannot be unique: it must be yet another reason, in addition to those above, as to why MB imports a "280" to the U.S., even though Lexus' 3.5L engine in the new 4-door IS300 has even more hp and torque than MB's 350. Here's the facts of life: if MB sold nothing but C350s but at the price of the C280, they'd sell more C-class cars.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Here's the facts of life: if MB sold nothing but C350s but at the price of the C280, they'd sell more C-class cars.

    I think that is true, but they wouldn't be able to make money, I don't think.

    Guys lets not get bogged down into why they well what, they're all here....3 V6 models and they should do well either way. The C230 is for people like me who can't think about 40K for a C350 and want the sports package that the C280 doesn't offer.

  • greenteagreentea Posts: 14
    I agree with you in temperament and mostly in substance, with this exception: the "230" should exist--it is fantastic on paper and those who own it talk well about it so it delivers where it counts.

    I also can make a case for why the "240" almost could be viewed as a rational engine option. While the 240's block and head technology (and that it even was made on the same assembly line) were identical to the far superior "320," I acknowledge that at least there is an argument to be made in favor of the benefits that a comparitively shorter stroke, higher revving engine can offer (although if there really were such meaningful trade-off between these two engines, why would the "240" have a lower price?).

    I think it is a little cynical of MB to cut a piece of the calf muscle out of what is now one of its core powerplants--the "350"--and, for no other reason I can see other than to perpetuate a segmented market strategy where they apparently feel they can make more money despite selling fewer cars. It's un-American but they're entitled and it certainly is a temptation for any company to indulge in that type of marketing strategy when they own one of the premiere brand names of all times, irrespective of whatever product is involved.

    Obviously, my thoughts are based on my guess that making a "280" instead of a "350" offers no cost savings to MB whatsoever, and no technical benefit to the consumer. Maybe I am not right about that and that is all I was talking about.
  • newownernewowner Posts: 18
    I agree that people should drive both before making a purchase, but disagree that people drive Mercedes just for names sake. In my opinion, the 325i does not even come close to the ride and quality of the C280. I think the C280 has the perfect balance of luxury and performance. The MB had smooth acceleration and had better interior materials. BMW had a ton of cheap plastics. When I floored the BMW, there was a slight hesitation and didn't feel as responsive as MB. I don't understand all the hype on BMW's. I have owned both in the past and by far thought the MB was more solid all around. Plus it's easier to pay invoice for MB than BMW.
  • ikramericaikramerica Posts: 101
    First, I do believe the C240 became rather pointless after the C230K sedan was introduced with more HP and torque. Granted, the C240 drove well, but it was not powered well, and was more expensive than the C230K. Which is why now the model range is in the right order.

    Also, it doesn't cost MB much more to make the 350 engine. It's a little heavier, so it takes a little more material, but that's about it. For that matter, the 250 engine (called a 230) is really the base engine, and neither the 300 or 350 sizes cost much more to make.

    So it's content and exclusivity, and all that a 350 owner is buying is standard power seats and more HP, and for the experience I had, the more HP is not something MOST drivers are going to use. With the world market not buying large engines at all (my C280 was larger engined than just about anything I saw in Germany), the C350 is just that much bigger of an engine, and bumps up against the C55 in purpose. But it does offer a manual transmission, and the C55 doesn't, so for that, it has a real purpose.

    As for the BMW, well want to talk about lack of incremental cost? The 325i and 330i both use the same engine! It's just been detuned for the 325i, but still a 3.0L. That's even more of a "price point" move than the C230/280/350 line. Why not just sell all 330i's at the 325i price and clean up? Someone at BMW must have an answer to that.

    As for the C320, MB was selling next to zero of that model according to dealers around me. They would receive very few in shipments, and they would sell the slowest. The bulk of sales was in the C230K and the remainder was mostly the C240, since it was luxurious (wood, smoother ride, more color options). And compared to the old 325i, the C240 was slow, so MB knew they had a problem, that neither of their models (C230 with a 4 cylinder, C240 with an underpowered, old tech 6) could compete with the new 6 cylinder 325i.

    Now with the C230 and C280 V6 models, the bulk of sales will still be with the C230, but C280 sales should improve over C240, and robbing sales from the C350, which will remain the niche. But compared to the 325i, the C280 moves into superior realm for most drivers, so there is more reason here than to "perpetuate a segmented market strategy." BMW is the one perpetuating that strategy. MB is now just offering a car to compete on a level (or above) ground with them.

    EDIT: PS - isn't wasn't too long ago that 250hp for a compact sedan was more power than anyone would need. The S4 at 250hp with a bi-turbo V6 (2.7l) was king of performance in the US, ahead of the 230+ hp M3 and higher HP but heavier and slower C32.

    Nothing in terms of driver expectations, daily driving, etc. has really changed in 4-5 years. It's mostly just a pissing contest and car magazine hype, and also influenced by the Japanese V6s putting out dubious amounts of "power" using japanese HP measuring methods at very high RPMs.

    But compare all those amazing numbers to how people actually drive, and without flooring it, I was jumping ahead of everyone on the road in my loaner mazda3 the other day. All that extra power is going to waste out there, eating of fuel mileage and nobody is using it. 230hp for a C class from a generous, modern V6 and a pair of well geared transmissions is a great thing. The fact that you don't have to pay "niche car" prices for it is a blessing.
  • mac320mac320 Posts: 147
    Nope. Not buying it . . . your logic is similar to saying that since we only use 10% of our brains, we can do without the other 90%, no problem.

    I think that the "350" probably is the highest embodiment of MB's new technology--designed to be as good as it possibly could be from the start--to herald its introduction, not only in MB's SLK, but also eventually across MB's entire line.

    The other V6 embodiments such as the "280" sacrifice more than just maximum available power. The "280" must run at 11.1 compression to develop 221 ft. lbs. of torque at 2700 rpm. That compares to the 258 ft. lbs of torque that is generated by the "350" at just 2400 rpm and a 10.7 compression.

    If, for example, you generally will seldom need more than 221 ft. lbs of torque in most driving situations, you would still appreciate the fact that even in those situations, a "350" would do the job with less compression and at far few rpms (what? maybe 2000 rpm instead of 2700?), i.e., the "350" will run quieter and last longer than a "280."

    Life is full of compromises, but . . .

    I can see starting with "A" and then adding value to make "B" and charging more for the added value. However, the idea of starting with "B" and then making it worse so you can have "A" to sell at a lower cost (because you added extra effort to decrease the value of "B") just does not abide.

    How about just offering everyone the C350 to begin with and for those that will only pay less, just add a few hammer blows to the hood and trunk to decrease the value and call it a C300?
  • pgsmithpgsmith Posts: 24
    Loking at and testing cars to replace a retiring SUV, I was looking for the BMW 3-series. The dealer didn't have the vehicle I wanted and I still had a little time to kill. MB was not on my list of vehicle to look at (lux-boat right??) but the dealership was right next door.

    I stopped just to look at what they had, and talked to the salesman breifly. I decided to test drive the C280 since it was
    1. About in the same price range.
    2. I had time.
    3. It was about the same price as the C240 (which is why I went with the newer model.

    Wow. Talk about luck, I was really impressed with the C280.
    1. Handling was much better than I expected. Definately not a lux-boat.
    2. Performance was great (I'm not at the track).

    Ultimately, after finally test driving a VERY disappointing 325 (why anyone finds them better than an Acura :confuse: , I can't guess) I am ready to make the move to the MB. It is far superior (in my opinion) than the 3-series. The only vehicle I drove enven close was the G35, and for essentially the same money the MB was better and I concider the life of the G35 and unknown.

    Has anyone had a chance to determine the fuel economy of the new C-class?
    I need to decide quickly between the C280, C280 AWD and the C350 (although I am not at the track I am not opposed to more power and like the idea of the power generated with a lower compression ratio, as I might run mid-grade fuel).
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