By on July 30, 2008

Ovoid no moreEngineered like no other car in the world. At some point in the 90's, Mercedes dropped their longstanding ad campaign. And no wonder. The promise had become a snigger-worthy ironic joke. That said, it stopped being funny when it started being you making regular pilgrimages to your local dealership. Mercedes trumpets its new C-Class as a return to the legendary, over-engineered cars of Mercedes-Benz's past. Heading straight to the very bottom of the range, will the cheapest and most basic of all "true" Benzes right 15 years of wrong?

"Heir ist Ihr Mercedes C180." The attractive Europcar clerk handed me the keys and pointed to a basic looking silver Mercedes nestled in between two extremely seductive Alfa Romeo wagons. Sitting next to the two beauties, the C180K looked more like Miss Moneypenny instead of Vesper Lynd. Restrained and elegant, the new C-Class dropped last year's goofy ovoid look and returned to the timelessly classic wedge shape of the late 1970's.

Being the cheapest in the C-Class range, you get a hood ornament, body colored door handles and plastic wheel covers. The C180K offers none of the chrome disco bauble trinkets found on the North American C300, and its all the better for it. The C180K feels eminently secure in its inexpensive roots, proclaiming to the world that you purchased an engineering masterpiece, not a tarted-up special (cough Lincoln cough).

Just what you need, nothing moreThe unadorned minimalism continues inside; the only gleaming surface you'll find is a polished aluminum six-speed manual gear lever. High-grade black plastic and a few chrome touches accent the rest of the C180K's interior and gauges. Power windows, locks, climate control and a small Nav screen hidden away in the top of the dash are the only options. For a mere 30k Euros, you get what you need und nothing more (unless you need a place to put your coffee).

Everything about the C180K's interior reeks of superior design and craftsmanship, from the ergonomically perfect cloth-covered seats, to materials that feel as though they were constructed to survive a nuclear blast. The C180K shows every Euro's worth of its cost in its absolute perfect construction.

Putting the infrared key into the slot, I cranked the Merc's diminutive 1.8-liter supercharged four-cylinder powerplant. The engine places 156bhp and a torquey 230Nm at your disposal, with a solid little thrum exiting the single chrome exhaust pipe. The engine revs as smoothly as it sounds, and, surprise, it does so with puppy-dog eagerness. Depressing the perfectly weighted clutch (yes, a manual) and slipping the vague-feeling gear lever into first, I pulled out of the carpark and headed straight for the autobahn.

The smallest engine in the C felt right at home puttering around Kaiserslautern. Despite the hefty 3400lbs, the C180K felt sprightly and nimble around the narrow streets, weaving around Smart cars, Golfs and BMWs. The steering was light and tossable.

Restrained, yet classyThe firm-yet-compliant ride was brand faithful. Whether surmounting cobblestones, concrete or brick, the C180K was a planted, communicative and comfortable city car. Never wanting for power, easy to shift, the C gave everything, demanded nothing.

Amy, my electronic navigatrix, told me to turn left to merge onto the A6 autobahn. Und now it's time to learn whether the downmarket Merc had upmarket aspiration.

Shifting to third, flooring the accelerator, the C180K moved forward at an adequate pace. A useful 100kmh arrived in about nine seconds. I've driven faster cars, and I've driven slower. The C180K slots nicely between the two, in that special place where hot-footing into a merge requires some attention, but not a lot. And then you're done.

Entering the unrestricted speed zone, I mashed the gas again. Expecting the engine to run out of puff, I looked on in amazement as the engine kept pulling. 140kmh flashed by. The steering tightened-up, the suspension hugged the ground and the cabin remained quiet. When 160kmh rolled around, I shifted gears. The Merc continued to plunge ahead.

The wind noise increased slightly as we topped 260kmh (downhill), yet the little Merc remained as composed as Yoda in a flotation tank. When the engine finally petered-out on the flat and level, the C180K was doing over 130mph, in the rain, in the Alps, at night. And my passengers were sound asleep. We averaged 40mpg coming back from Munich. Astounding.

It's been years since I've driven a car so completely cohesive. The C180K was inexpensive, but never cheap. It wasn't powerful, but it was fun to drive. It delivers excellent fuel economy. Priced right, the low-C could well help Mercedes NA restore some lost luster.

No bling hereOf course, mechanical and electronic reliability are the ultimate hurdles for a true return to greatness. I remain skeptical, but the odds just got better for American mid-market motorists willing to bet on a Benz.

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55 Comments on “2008 Mercedes-Benz C180K Review...”

  • avatar

    36/51 for a real gas-powered car? Holy crap, that beats the Prius and other hybrids.

    Me want.

  • avatar

    Great review. I sure wish we could get a nice basic (and well-engineered) Mercedes in the states. This reminds me of the 87 190 2.3 my dad had, his first Mercedes. Solid little car; with a manual transmission, a rather well-performing and rev-happy I4, suspension happy at fast speeds and rough west TX roads, and roomy enough for 2 adults and 2 kiddos. Lasted a long time and looked good when my uncle sold it in 2004. Did have some electrical issues…gold plating doesn’t do anything special except add to complexity and cost.

  • avatar

    That’s European mileage testing (which is, to be blunt, a complete fiction) and possibly in Imperial gallons. The Prius’ rates 65mpg in the same test.

  • avatar

    Incredible numbers.

    While tight steering is nice, why wait until 140 kph to provide it? At legal American speeds, I found the US C300 less than thrilling.

    On the reliability front, the 2008 C-Class started out very strong, with hardly any repairs in the first month or two. The cars have had more repairs as they’ve aged, but remain about average in TrueDelta’s survey results.

    Additional participants always helpful:

  • avatar

    2 figures in this review struck me as questionable:

    1) Averaging 40mpg and over 100mph? Is that mpg number based on the car’s computer or an actual miles driven/gallons used calculation. Are those US or European gallons?

    2) 260km/h is not only “over 130mph” it is ~32.5mph over 130mph. Approximately 162.5mph in a car with 156hp? I guess it’s possible but I can’t recall a car with that little hp getting up to that kind of speed

  • avatar

    I’ve always thought it would be nice to have a Merc without all the trouble-prone electronic gadgetry. Sadly, after their experience with the $25k C Coupe several years ago, I don’t think we’ll see anything sub-$35k (normally equipped) here any time soon.

    And this EUR30k model would probably have to be priced around $25k in the US, which wouldn’t work at current x-rates very well. They’d probably have to build them on this side of the pond to make it work.

    Still, I love all the Euro-market reviews! Keep em coming!

  • avatar

    I may have been one of the few that liked the C-class coupe except that the C-class, I felt, was a bit subpar as a Mercedes. And something like a FWD Japanese coupe or a Mustang GT, at the same price, would have been a better purchase.

  • avatar

    When 220kmh arrived, the wind noise increased slightly. The little Merc remained as composed as Yoda in a flotation tank. When the speedometer read 260kmh, the engine finally petered-out. The C180K was doing over 130mph, in the rain, in the Alps, at night. And my passengers were sound asleep. At the end of the trip, we averaged over 100mph, and 40mpg. Astounding.

    That is incredible, but I must admit to share thetopdog‘s incredulity at such numbers, especially since I thought German cars were elctronically limited to 155mph.

  • avatar

    Your MPG surprises me. You sure you calculated correctly? :)

    I guess I just ask as I spent a day driving the autobahn earlier this year in a 318i BMW sedan. Manual. Car was quite gutless (I believe 2nd lowest HP rating of any 3 series…wanna say about 150hp without looking it up). We didn’t average anywhere near 100mph and only got about 29mpg. Not saying it isn’t possible, but my experience tells me BMW’s usually get far better mileage than their Benz counterparts, and the BMW isn’t supercharged. Guess I’m just skeptical you can get 40mpg in a Benz averaging more than 100mph.

    With that all said, I’d like to try a Benz on the autobahn sometime. I generally prefer BMWs, but I’ve heard/read/been told that there is still nothing like a Benz at those speeds. BMW’s are great, but when you get up there, they say a Benz just somehow has the ability to hunker down and feel more stable than anything else. I’d like to try it.

    Finally, I gotta say I’m really diggin this new MB styling direction. I found the last 10 years of their cars incredibly cheap looking and rather boring. But the new SL and CL are AMAZING, and this new C Class looks pretty sick too, especially in black. As I said, always liked BMW’s, but seeing their current lineup and the 3 refresh as well as the current and new 7, and I gotta admit (somewhat sadly) that Mercedes is going to steal some of their thunder. If their quality can come up, styling means a lot. You don’t pay 70,000 bucks to drive a generic looking car. A Mercedes is expensive and now they look even more expensive.

    I gotta admit, I actually kinda want one of the new ones :) Maybe a test drive is in order….just for kicks.

    As an aside: Isn’t the autobahn just exhilarating?! Done it twice in my life, once in a Passat Wagon diesel and another in the aforementioned BMW. The sense of focus and paying all your attention to the road is just amazing, and getting to feel like you’re pushing a car (while also making great time) to what it was designed to handle really I find so liberating. I could do it every day if I had to. Just reading about it makes me wanna head over there again!

  • avatar

    Very nice review. I especially liked the fact you focused on the car’s actual performance instead of the specs/price. I would be interested to find out where a car like this would actually place in the U.S. market. The 30k Euro price is equivalent to about $47,000… but I’m sure that the Americanized version would be considerably less.

  • avatar

    slight correction…”hier” not “heir.” Anywho…mad props to Kaiserslautern (go Rote Teufel!). I spend quite a bit of time in and around there, as my mother lives in a small town just outside of there (Mehlingen). I’ve often rented cars like this (C-class “lite?”) and love the relative simplicity of them, compared to what we get here in the States. Sure, they don’t accelerate like the C 300, but given the manual tranny and all, they are very pleasant and remind me of why MB had such a strong reputation going into the mid 80s that they had. Durable and solid…if they can sell us the gussied-up versions of the C-class in the $30k range, why not a more basic model in the $25k range? I’d be interested in one, for sure. While I don’t think the C 180 was able to truly top 260 km/h, here in the States, what difference would that make? And suppose we could “only” manage somewhere just north of 30 MPG..again, that’s impressive for such a solid car.

  • avatar

    The author of this piece is currently flying around in an AWACS.

    After comments about the C180K’s top speed and mpgs, I’ve pinged Captain Mike. Meanwhile, I’ve removed the relevant text until we can clear this up.

    Thanks for keeping us honest.

  • avatar

    And thank you for your honesty in the first place!

  • avatar

    There’s something incredibly alluring about a Mercedes with a manual. I guess anything we can’t have is automatically that much more attractive.

    I wasn’t very impressed with the C300 Sport. A step forward, but still a bit detached and numb. A Kompressor and a manual would liven it up quite a bit, though.

  • avatar

    The french MB site puts the numbers in l/100km at:

    Urban: 10.5 l/100km (22.4 miles per US gallon)
    Extra-Urban (highway): 5.6 l/100km (42 mpUSg)
    Mixed: 7.4 l/100km (31.8 mpUSg)

    I don’t read German, but I’d be willing to bet that the French and German spec C180Kompressor are virtually identical.

    I bet Captain Mike got the Imperial gallon stats.

    Anyway, why would those silly Brits use our (American) measurement of a gallon, but make it a different size? (sarcasm, sarcasm).
    Wait a minute, their pints are bigger too…they’re onto something I think.

  • avatar

    Guess that would explain his proximity to Kaiserslautern, as Ramstein Air Base is right down the street. If I remember right, I was able to see 200 km/h easy in a C200. That might not be 130 mph, but it’s still moving along at a good clip. And the addition of the manual does spice things up a bit.

  • avatar
    Jim K

    There is something very appealing to me about “basic” simple Mercedes. I really like the new C-Class. I wish that you could get it in the states with a manual/cloth interior etc.

    Kind of a return to the old W123, 190, early W202 etc.

    Maybe with the continued increasing fuel prices, MB and BMW will bring some of these simpler cars back to the US market.

  • avatar

    Thank you for choosing the photos with a car registered in my home town!

    “Heir ist ihr Mercedes C180.”

    Another slight correction: “Hier ist Ihr Mercedes C180.” (capital I, now it’s YOUR, otherwise it would be THEIR or HER C180)

    the speedometer read 260kmh

    That doesn’t mean driving 260 km/h. The C180K’ s top speed is rated at 223 km/h.

  • avatar

    I believe 260kph is quite possible with the supercharger.

    An early 90s Opel Kadett GSi 5speed manual I drove topped out 242kph downhill and i think that did have about 135hp

  • avatar

    The top speed is realistic – I did 120mph in a Golf 1.9 TDI on the Autobahn so I’m sure this is possible. The fuel economy, however, does seem a little optimistic. I would expect mid 20s in town and just over 30 at sensible highway speeds.

  • avatar


    you are correct in your additional correction! It would be the formal “Ihr.”

    As for simplistic MBs selling here…while many of us enthusiasts would love to see a simplified MB here, I’m not sure the general buying public would. An MB without leather or automatic…wahrscheinlich nicht!

  • avatar

    I don’t read German, but I’d be willing to bet that the French and German spec C180Kompressor are virtually identical.

    The Euro versions are all identical enginewise. Very rarely different models are offered in different European countries (for instance, in the Netherlands we can get a 316i, in most European countries with more agreeable tax and/or efficiency regulation the 318i is the base model), but in terms of engines, a C180 in France is the same as a C180 in Germany.

    There is also a C200 Kompressor with the same engine as the C180 except 193HP. More than enough for this car really, even with Euro speed limits 120-130 kph in most countries…Americans just need to accept that yet.

  • avatar

    This is the kind of car I was hoping for in the BMW One Series, and we didnt get.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    Auto, motor und sport, whose credibility is very highly regarded, has these results from their C180K test:
    Top speed: 218km (133mph)
    0-100km (0-62mph) 9.9 secs.
    Fuel economy: AMS standardised test run: 10.1 L/100km (23.3mpg) (all their test cars are run over this approx 30mile mixed test run).

    Their best mileage was 6.9L (34.1mpg); worst: 13.0L (18.1mpg).

    ECE mileage numbers (optimistic, like old EPA numbers): City: 10.7L (22mpg); Hwy: 5.9L (40mpg); Combined: 7.7L (30mpg).

    Hopefully, this puts things in perspective. The 180K represents the typical state-of-the art for European gasoline cars. Decent performance, good mileage, no miracles.

  • avatar

    i think mercedes has turned the corner on the quality/reliability issue. i have 31k on my 07 E63 with absolutely zero problems and all the electronics work as promised. i haven’t been favorably impressed with the C class loaner cars i have driven when my car was in for routine maintenance; the light steering (compared to the AMG car and BMWs i’ve had) would be my primary complaint, as cited by others here.

  • avatar
    P.J. McCombs

    Great perspective. Europcar gave us a Merc E200K on a recent trip to the UK, and I was similarly impressed by the Four’s oomph-to-mileage ratio. I could’ve mistaken its hum for a V6’s at low rpm.

    Makes you wonder how bad the market in the US would have to get for buyers to seriously consider a four-banger Mercedes (again). They’d have no trouble impressing buyers in the metal.

  • avatar

    As I recall, the last manual four-cylinder Kompressor C-class sold in the US was not well-received, at least in sales numbers. Maybe those years of engineering and door hinges designed to hold over 200 pounds paid off in creating a better car.

  • avatar

    Top speed and mpg aside, thanks for this article. I have always been an MB fan so I might be skewed, but… I have owned two 190e models (2.3 and 2.6 Sportline) as well as a W124 E300D and they really were nearly unbreakable. I was glad to see MB moving back in the direction of higher build quality and longevity and away from gawky styling flourishes.

    This car and it’s diesel sibling C220 CDI are what the MBUSA need to get back into the US. I can say without any hesitation that if they bring in the C220 CDI in the more basic “CLASSIC” trim I would be the first in line to order one.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    I made a mistake on those ams mileage numbers a couple of posts above:

    The mileage for their whole test of the car was 10.1L (23.3mpg) The mileage for their standardised fuel economy test (same speed/distance/course for all cars tested) was 6.9L/34.1mpg. That is more in line with what moderate driving will yield in this type of car.

    The normally-aspirated BMW 320i it was compared to got substantially better mileage with 5.9L (40mpg) for the same standardised test. The BMW has the “efficient dynamics” package (start-stop, etc.).

  • avatar

    The 30K Euro price sounds outrageous for me. Either Europeans are being ripped off or the US models have to be sold at a huge loss. Here in the United States, C300 with a 3.2L engine stickers at around 32K USD. It’s probably a very basic trim but I’d be shocked if it didn’t certainly come with alloy wheels.

  • avatar

    Top speed: 218km (133mph)

    That sounds about right on flat ground for a car with that hp. You can calculate out the theoretical top speed when all the power is used the cancel the drag force. For a Civic with ~140hp this comes out to around 130mph, so 133mph for the Merc seems reasonable.

    I hope with gas prices going they way they are over here we’ll see more supercharged 4’s around here.

  • avatar

    Now you have to test a car on the other end of spectrum, the new RS6; especially seeing as we won’t get them on this side of the Pond.

  • avatar

    Amidst all this talk of mileage, is it just me, or are the panel gaps on that hood… er… Kia-quality?

  • avatar

    The 30K Euro price no doubt includes Value Added Tax at the German standard rate of 19%. So the price would really be 25K Euros not including tax.

    As I’ve said before, US prices for cars are the lowest in the world, so everyone else subsidizes the US market. Germans would no doubt kill for a semi-loaded Merc C350 for the equivalent of 32K USD plus VAT!

    I just went to the Daimler AG Germany website, and the car Mike drove is 31K Euros including tax at 19%. The C350 with automatic is 45,368.75 Euros including tax or about $58K USD before tax, so they cost about twice as much as in the US.

    In the days before “free trade”, such pricing policies were known as dumping, which the Big 3 used as a criticism of Japan Inc.

    Canadian price before tax starts at $47,900, so we get a sort of reasonable deal, but 32K USD is a giveaway.

  • avatar

    Oh look a taxi. Having been a passenger in a few of these new Cs, im not really impressed. The ride is nothing special, and the materials are not impressive either. Nice, but not anything i would go “WOW” over.

    And the seats are still rock hard and uncomfortable, as is the norm with base MBs. And BMWs for that matter. The 3 looks better, or should i say less weird. Still, this is the least ugly of MBs new releases and facelifts. Which is a lot like saying one kind of horrible illness is a lot better than another.

    And it costs 40.000€ with no options. Thousands more than a comparable BMW, and almost 9000€ more than the base 316. Not that i would pay over 30.000€ for a 316 either

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Our 1971 Mercedes 220 4-cylinder cost $5,125 new, taxes paid. It was a wonderful car, probably the prehistoric equivalent of the one Mike drove. It was built like a bank vault, always looked good, drove well and like the EverReady bunny just kept going.

    Horror stories about abysmal quality and stratospheric maintenance and repair costs kept me from going back for another. Hopefully Mercedes has exorcised its demons. Time will tell.

  • avatar

    And now that I have landed, let me clear up the mpg, top speed, and my bad German (I do have a minor in the language… really!)

    As for the mpg’s, that what we calculated on our return trip from Munich, where we averaged appx 55-60mph, with sprints up to 130 or so due to traffic. We calculated 40mpg overall based on Imperial gallons and what we used. Still pretty good IMO.

    The top speed was achieved on the way back from the Alps, which allowed us a really good downhill run. We topped the governor, and due to me keeping my eyes on the road, my passengers reported a 260km/h reading. We soon backed off quickly even though it was very exciting, excitement tends to end quickly when meeting a tree head-on. On flat level ground, the Merc did a solid 130mph, no more.

    And I’m working on my German, for a hopefully upcoming Italian assignment next year… where Martin Schwoerer and I will be bringing you more Euro Market reviews!

  • avatar

    Is this Keegy thing spam? Looks like it…

  • avatar
    johnny ro

    So they pay more for a better car than we get. Not loaded being better. Well OK aluminum rims are nice but steel works. I would drive it without the wheel covers.

    Mike never presented avg mpg or avg speed or top wrong. Cant say why people read him wrong.

    Great review.

  • avatar

    With the current fuel prices, I think this would be a good addition to the C lineup. This car has already sold me.

  • avatar

    I wonder if it would be possible for a German to come to the US, buy a Merc/BMW/Audi here (or get an American friend to do it for them), choose the European delivery option, pick it up in Germany and pay a mechanic over there to change the lights and whatever else may be needed to conform to European standards. With the current exchange rate, this technique would save a lot of money, but I have no idea if it’s even possible.

    I have a good friend in Germany that would definitely be interested in a scheme like this if we found a way to pull it off

  • avatar

    It looks good – I think it could be a winner – the return to old values is refreshing

  • avatar

    Why is the interior pic offical MB photo from a top spec C-class, but the test car is very basic low spec C?

  • avatar

    thetopdog: I wonder if it would be possible for a German to come to the US, buy a Merc/BMW/Audi here (or get an American friend to do it for them), choose the European delivery option, pick it up in Germany and pay a mechanic over there to change the lights and whatever else may be needed to conform to European standards. With the current exchange rate, this technique would save a lot of money…

    Kind of ironic that someone would propose “gray market” imports of German cars from to U.S. to Germany.

    I remember when, 20 to 25 years ago, the strong U.S. dollar made it cost effective to gray market import German cars into the United States.

    At that time, Mercedes and BMW didn’t adjust their prices downward to reflect the favorable exchange rate for U.S. buyers. No, they simply sat back and enjoyed the extra cash flow generated from the strong U.S. dollar, plus the tactic (of keeping prices high) allowed them to maintain an even greater cachet of exclusivity for their brands.

    Today’s market is both competitive and filled with better-informed consumers, making it difficult for a manufacturer to keep prices high in an attempt to preserve a perceived brand image. That also points to a reason why it will be difficult – if not impossible – for a Cadillac, Lincoln or Chrysler to “move upmarket” with enhancements to product, image and price. It also doesn’t help when these brands have been cheapened for the past 50 or so years…

  • avatar

    Regarding the surprisingly high top speed, keep in mind that this was a speedometer reading, not the output from a calibrated peice of test equipment.

    European cars have speedos that tend to exaggerate speed, especially in the upper ranges. I recall reading somewhere that the European version of our SAE, (DIN?) a group that sets various standards has a decree that the speedo may never under-read the actual road speed.

    So, if it is possible to get a larger size tire on, even aftermarket, the car still cannot under represent the actual speed. Obviously the larger tire will cause a reduction in the registered speed due to an effective change in final drive ratio.

    This was the reason that in most European car auto reviews, the indicated speed was typically higher that the actual speed. Much higher in some cases.

    American and Japanese vehicles do not have this provision, so their speedometers tend to be spot on, though they, too may slightly over-read.

    I think this was in Car and Driver some years ago, when a reader posted a question as to why a BMW review indicated a 12 MPH difference in the indicated top speed…

  • avatar

    I saw one in Boston. no lie… with a right hand drive.
    I think you can import European cars, nothing is impossible in America as long you have this $$$$$$. especially in Florida.

    Big time Europeans can do the same as long they have the Mula.

  • avatar

    I find it hard to believe that I was the only one horrified by plastic wheelcovers.

    I had to check to make sure I wasn’t accidentally re-reading the Cobalt review again. I thought Mercedes were built for people who actually pay attention to cars.

    The lack of cupholders surprised me, too, but it must be a cultural thing; I’m sure the Germans would be equally horrified by our propensity for Super-Sizing.

  • avatar

    Slick car and right mileage (30+ mpg at highway speeds). My grandmother Buick 3.1V6 also gets the same mileage.

    FWIW We used to run the Italian autostrada at ~120 mph with a 90HP US-spec 1.8L VW Rabbit ‘vert (same as a GTI). Mpg? I have no idea but better than I expected.

  • avatar


    Take a look on, there’s a company in the us that sells american BMW and Merc in Germany (through the Netherlands if i remember correctly). They are indeed quite cheaper but don’t forget to add extra €’s for their europeanisation.

  • avatar

    With that all said, I’d like to try a Benz on the autobahn sometime. I generally prefer BMWs, but I’ve heard/read/been told that there is still nothing like a Benz at those speeds. BMW’s are great, but when you get up there, they say a Benz just somehow has the ability to hunker down and feel more stable than anything else. I’d like to try it.
    Being a BMW nut, this would not surprise me seeing BMW will run a more aggressive negative camber/toe for better handling than MBZ which would at a higher speeds be a a slightly negative effect.

  • avatar

    A Mercedes on the autobahn is wonderful. You can truly feel and understand the difference between something like a Mercedes and a Ford (Mondeo in this case). My dad and I did the European Delivery in 2002 on an E430 4matic, after they moved up to Park City, UT and the E50 wouldn’t suffice in winter there. The car flat out hauled. Of course, since it was a US-spec model it was limited to 128mph but it felt settled at that speed, where others are more comfortable in the 70-90mph range. And the handling for such a large and heavy car (with AWD no less) was superb, never felt unsettled and when you were going a bit too fast, it would just lean a little more and stay relatively nuetral.

    My grandparents have a 98 540i Sport, and while it will cruise quite nicely, it doesn’t seem as relaxed as the Mercedes. It’s wanting to be run hard.

    All this talk, and I’ve had my eye on an 84 300CD TD refreshed coupe. I don’t think we can do an old Volvo 760 and an old Mercedes.

  • avatar

    The C180K feels imminently secure in its inexpensive roots

    I think the word you want is “eminently” – meaning “very much so”

  • avatar


    I think the word you want is “eminently” – meaning “very much so”

    Damn! That one slipped though the net (so to speak).

    Text amended. Thanks.

  • avatar

    260 kph downhill? Totally. I was stationed at Vogelweh AIN outside of Kaiserlautern from 99-01. While there I purchased my first car, a ’97 Dodge Stratus ES with a 2.4L four banger. I regularly made trips to the Frankfurt Airport on the A6 to pick up incoming Airmen. On the unlimited speed areas of the A6 I’d regularly hit the governor at somewhere around 130mph (I’m guessing since the speedo didn’t go past 130). The autobahn is engineered for speed; extremely smooth, low friction and has long, banking curves. 260kph downhill? No sweat. The downhills on the A6 are very, very long and pretty steep. As for the cup holders, the Germans cannot fathom eating or drinking while driving. Driving is the ultimate experience and all concentration must be completely focused upon it. Would an American stop to take a sip from a big gulp or a bite from a big mac in the middle of some sweet lovin’? Nevermind, don’t answer that one.

  • avatar

    For comparison a 1.8T Passat – with allegedly 170bhp – will do 32mpg on the highway at 60mph but that drops to 28mpg at 80mph. I really doubt you could get 40mpg at autobahn speeds from anything other than a diesel.

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  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States