By on September 9, 2013

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Here’s a little secret: ever since the folks at No Longer DaimlerChrysler decided to pervert their previously sensible nomenclature in order to better suit the lowest common denominator of California housewives, the replacement for the 190E has been known within Mercedes-Benz dealerships as the “Cheap-Class”. It’s a particularly common phrase in Service and Parts, but from time to time a salesperson will let it slip as well, although certainly not in front of the customer.

There’s something ungracious about calling a vehicle that sells for a minimum (and as-tested!) price of $36,725 the “Cheap” anything, but from the perspective of its manufacturer the sobriquet is legitimate. Set the Wayback Machine for 1975, and you can find a W115 240D selling for $9500. That’s $38,000 in today’s money, and it got you a German taxi with roll-up windows, no air conditioning, sixty-four horsepower, and M-B Tex seats. The new car offers more — a lot more — for less. So, Cheap-Class it is.

My recent trip to Napa for the VW Intramural League test offered me a chance to kill a couple birds with a single stone. By renting my own transportation, I’d be free to avoid the $100 dinners with various Heffalumps Of The Industry. And by paying an eye-watering $354 for three days including airport tax, I’d be able to review a Mercedes for the B&B. Done and done. To paraphrase Jerry Orbach in Dirty Dancing, let’s see what my money bought.

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Don’t look now, but this car’s a bit of a media darling. I couldn’t find a bad review of it anywhere I looked. Had it just been the American press giving it props, I’d have suspected that the gilded hand of recently-deposed superstar Mercedes PR person Geoff Day had been hard at work. The Brits like it just as much, however, and they’ve been singularly unkind to the Baby Benz in the past. Although this is fundamentally a facelift of the 2007 model, the accolades for interior quality, styling, and dynamics have come thick and fast from sources as different as Car and Driver and Top Gear.

My initial impression of it was slightly different, and it was this: small, and crappy. Somehow, the “W204″ has avoided the unsightly swelling that has afflicted its cousin from Munich. The 190E was 175 inches long; this is 180. The E30 and F30 are 175 and 182 inches, respectively, but the numbers don’t properly communicate how tidy the Benz feels compared to the Bimmer. This is still a compact car. I suppose that’s a brave thing, and Mercedes gets away with it because it’s not their core product the way the Three is for BMW.

What’s impressive about the interior: The evergreen M-B Tex seats, long may they wear. The LCD screen in the centrally-mounted speedometer is extremely high-resolution and contains many beautiful fonts and images. The steering wheel’s about as good as what you get in a VW GLI, and that’s not damning with faint praise. The shifter feels solid.

The rest of it’s pretty low-rent, and perhaps deliberately so, because this is, after all, the Cheapest of the Class. I had to keep telling myself, “This doesn’t cost any more than a Ford Fusion with the goodies,” to which my self responded, “That would be a bigger car with more power and more stuff and a nicer interior.” Fortunately for my mental health, I was interrupted by the infotainment system’s decision to pretend my iPod Classic didn’t exist. After some fussing, I paired my Galaxy S3 and cued up the Amazon Cloud Player. Gotta have the Player to hear that Mayer, dontcha know. There was a Hertz NeverLost (aka “NeverRight”) GPS goiter mounted on the center console, which seemed odd until I remembered that thirty-six grand doesn’t get you GPS. Oh, Mercedes! You so crazy! First it was optional air conditioning on your luxury car, and now it’s optional GPS.

In just moments, it was time to hop on the 101 and press the throttle pedal to the carpet. Hmm. Thus began my three-day experience with the World’s Most Charmless Engine. It’s a 1.8-liter four-cylinder, turbocharged to a fairly stout 201 horsepower and 229 lb-ft of torque. Or at least that’s what I’ve been led to believe. On the move, however, it has no characteristics of an internal combustion powerplant whatsoever. When full-speed-ahead is requested, it hesitates for a moment while the 7G-TRONIC negotiates the proper gear. Then it emits an odd sort of drone and begins shoving the C250 forward. This shove does not vary as the tach needle climbs. It’s like an electric motor. When a gearchange is called for, there’s a brief pause and then the unchanging push continues. The electric Mercedes luxury sedan may be a thing of the future, but its indifferent, uninspiring power delivery is here today. Next to this thing, the Jetta 1.8TSI might as well be a Ferrari F355, character-wise.

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My schedule required multiple trips from San Francisco to Napa over the course of three days. During that time, I came to appreciate a few things about the C250. Thing one: the seats, driving position, and feedback from the controls are efficient and relaxing. I could dimly sense the vestigial tail of my 190E’s forged-steel approach to the open road in its great-grandchild, even though it was dulled by the modern requirement for a few hundred pounds of Dynamat. After driving the Passat and CC, neither of which was significantly less expensive than this car, I was relieved to find myself back in the Cheap’s black-vinyl-and-aluminum-trim confines.

Thing two: what features the car has do in fact work well. The Bluetooth integration is flawless and hands-free chatting is acceptably hi-fi. The climate control dealt with heat and cold to my satisfaction and without adding a lot of blower noise to the quiet cabin. The cruise control has an extremely intelligent feature: move it a little bit in either direction and it adjusts your speed by one mile per hour. Push it farther and it adjusts to the nearest multiple of five. Leaving a 50mph zone for a 65? Three quick pushes and you’re speeding by the same amount. A dyed-in-the-wool M-B fan (which I am not; I’ve only had two in my driveway out of the 25+ cars I’ve owned in my adult life, with a third likely to arrive in a few weeks) would likely have something to say about the company’s ability to intelligently engineer a vehicle for stress-free high-speed operation and blah blah blah and at that point I would grab that person by the shoulders and scream “BUT WHAT ABOUT THE S430? HUH? WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THAT PIECE OF CRAP?”

The C250 grows on you with time. It really does. If you sit in one at the auto show, you won’t be impressed. If you test-drive it for twenty minutes, it’s likely to convince you to buy something else. It takes time to respect the car. I’m not talking about the old hundred-mile rule here. This isn’t a case of becoming inured to its faults. Rather, you become fond of its virtues.

Over the course of nearly three hundred miles on the trot, much of it stop-and-go traffic punctuated by frequent calls for all 201 psuedo-electric ponies, the little Benzo was claiming 28.9 miles per gallon. This would not do. Plus, I had a mind to step into the ocean for a minute. I set a course that would take me from Napa to Stinson Beach and from there to the Golden Gate Bridge overlook. I borrowed a passenger for the trip whom I felt it might be amusing to frighten. Along the coast we flew, obtaining all available speed from the tiny four-cylinder, stomping the brakes into ABS with the approach of each hairpin. On corner exits I would let the tail run wide, kicking pebbles from the shoulder surface into a thousand-foot freefall down to the midnight blue of the turbulent waves below. I made each and every pass the moment it seemed likely that it might be possible to do so. As the miles rolled on, I found myself daring fate again and again; once, as the C250 was snagging fourth towards an uphill right-hander, with only the sea and the horizon visible ahead, I stamped the carpet twice, loud enough for it to be audible over the moaning from the engine compartment, and said, “NO BRAKES!” before calling upon the deus ex anti-blockier for real and staccato-squeaking our way around the blind face of the rock to the next open straight at the last possible minute. This was not well-received, I must say.

By the time we reached the overlook for the big orange bridge I’d formed my true opinion of the C250, and it is this: Other cars offer more features, more power, more space, more convenience for the same money. You should probably buy one of those. This is not a W126 and it’s not going to last a million miles. The purchase of a Mercedes-Benz can no longer be justified on longevity or durability. But what you get for the money, in exchange for giving up the nav and the leather and the usable rear seats, is a car that is properly engineered on an excuse-free chassis. It is tangibly more satisfying to operate than a Camry or a Passat or a Fusion. On a fast road the gap between it and the jumped-up front-drivers is considerable.

That stupid, charmless turbo four-cylinder rewarded my irresponsible operation by returning 22 miles per gallon during that last drive. In circumstances like that, I’ve seen my Boxster return half that. Ugh. How I disliked the 1.8 turbo. but the numbers are pretty good. I’d spring for the big-power V-6 in the C350, and certainly Mercedes wouldn’t be unhappy were I to do so. Still, the 1.8 is okay. Nobody’s ever going to look forward to hearing it rev, but the same was true for the diesel in the 240D.

So. Relatively cheap. Not too many features. The engine is blah but the chassis is sound and it works over the long haul. I don’t know about you, but that sounds about like what I expect from a Mercedes-Benz. If any modern car deserves to wear the star, then I suppose this one does.

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143 Comments on “Review: 2013 Mercedes-Benz C250...”


  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Is this the same car that did the burnout through empty city streets in a commercial?

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Aw c’mon, interior photos! Let’s see them vinyl bus seats!

  • avatar
    PriusV16

    So, in other words, a car for people who are older, retired, conservative and living in Florida, and who don´t really have a clue about cars in general.

    Right? :)

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I had a “C” some years ago and I totally agree with your assessment. First impression is meh, but after awhile it does grow on you, but never excites you. My lasting impression was that it didn’t do much, but what it did, it did very well. I’d be interested to see how this stacks up to the now cheaper CLA

  • avatar
    spyked

    Something VERY sketchy about that particular white car. First, the wheels. They aren’t correct. Those are from a 2008-2010 W204 Luxury model, not a 2012 or 2013 W204 Sport. Second, the engine, by all other accounts, is one of the smoothest and underrated (in terms of power) four cylinders on the market. Your Hertz rental was beyond tired….it was a splice!

    In proper spec, it’s easily a competitor to the other fours in the segment (A4 and 328i). It’s actually faster than both of those in passing and equals or surpasses them in handling. I’m sure this will change with W205, but for now, the W204 is the only small sedan on offer from Europe in the U.S. (bummer)

    And yes, you can get around 275 hp in Fords and Hyundais for the same or less money. That’s ALWAYS been the case. But then you are driving a bigger FWD car that hasn’t been real-world tested quite the way the taxi-cab C class has.

    Shame on Hertz for giving you that car.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I noticed the wheel thing when I was trying to configure an equivalent car on mbusa.com, but didn’t think much of it. As a former BMW dealer employee, I’ve seen some wheel mixups.

      The engine had plenty of power and was easily capable of jamming the C out to triple digits on Highway 1. I simply despised it.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      You are right about the wheels.

      The motor on the other hand is absolutely terrible. There is no defense of this motor in today’s world. This motor is terrible.

      • 0 avatar
        spyked

        What are you comparing the M271 Evo to? Sure, it’s crap compared to some exotics, but what mainstream, mass produced small four cylinder is better? I’ve got an F30 Luxury (328i) and while it’s more powerful, it’s not nearly as smooth, and it’s overrated compared to the Benz’s method of underrating the little M271. That’s obvious when you compare passing times. The Benz is faster.

        I will say, the 7G TRONIC PLUS in the U.S. spec version can be lazy in Economy mode. That is solved by the touch of one Sport button. The motor is a real GEM for the segment.

        • 0 avatar

          How about Hyundai’s Theta II Turbo in the 10-grand-cheaper Sonata?

          smooth as a sewing machine, wayyyy more punch. But FWD, except in the Genesis Coupe.

          Audi’s 2.0TFSI seems smoother and more powerful low-down that the Benz 1.8

      • 0 avatar
        notsure_whattoregister

        I own a C250. 2013 W204 with the 4 cylinder engine. The car is an absolute joy to own – much better equipped than my previous BMW (2006 325i), but whoever says the engine is good is smoking some serious crack and has never driven this car.

        I loathe every start and go at a traffic light. Turbo lag is HORRIBLE, feels like a bad transmission as the turbo spools the engine just kicks in and then you are flying. If you are driving on a highway this will only happen if you want to summon additional power for a pass, but it is reeeeeally bad.

        I have spoken to my mechanic about it and he told me the turbo they included is tiny and that an ECU adjustment should minimize the problem. I spoke to the dealer and they said no ECU updates are planned no aftermarket ECU is available at the moment. There is a tuning chip but I have read mixed review so no cigar for me there.

        I want to buy a new CLA if the turbo lag isnt so bad, but i am not holding my hopes up. The situation is so critical i was thinking about buying a Prius ahahahah I have owned the car for 8 months and love the amenities but the driving experience lefts a lot to be desired.

  • avatar
    Flybrian

    Older ones are a bargain. I picked up an ’08 C300 Sport w/68k mi for a bit under what a same-year same-mileage Camry XLE 4-banger would pull at the auction and, man, what a car for the $$$. Probably one the last true remnants of the classically-built Benzes that was durable, solid, and not overloaded with useless tech.

  • avatar

    I drove a C300 back to back with a Hyundai Elantra last year. The Elantra had a nicer interior, but on the road it was half the car of the Merc.

    Still, I can’t help wonder–if you’re in the market for a Mercedes, why not just buy the W126 or a late model 190 2.6?

  • avatar
    FractureCritical

    I always felt like owning a C-Classe just seemed like ‘trying too hard’ to be ‘aspirational’ or some other pointless marketing term for people who’s reach exceeded their grasp. Can’t say why, maybe it’s just becuase I always felt that’s how MB felt about the car, too. I know Audi and BMW see the A4 and 3 series as true bread-and-butter products, and it shows. I have an A4 and would not want an A6 for the unweildy size. I feel the same way about the 5 series. I can’t say I feel that way about the C classe. I would want the E classe, and I would want it in Estate trim with the uber-cool rear facing 3rd row seat.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      If you compare the car Jack drove to an E-Class you are correct. Get the two speced out with the same options, and there is very little different between the two cars besides size.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    i wonder how jack will take to a C63, ultimate evolution of this thing

  • avatar
    tedward

    Next time you do a Cali review check out rt33 north, eventually grabbing rt58 west to the coast. Or if time limited enjoy the loop back onto 33 and head back down towards LA.

    33 starts south of Santa Barbara and heads north inland. The pch is pretty blah until jagged point anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      stevelyon

      CA-33 is every bit as awesome as the “famous” Angeles Crest, but with a quarter of the traffic and very little CHP presence, if any. A great ride on two wheels, and a fantastic drive on four.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    Your review was positively Clarksonian.

  • avatar
    mike978

    Jack – what is your new car that you said you would be getting in the next few weeks?

  • avatar
    jhargis

    Good article. I like real car reviews like this one instead of the marketing pieces you read in car magazines.

  • avatar

    Well shiver me timbers, I sat in one of those at a car show and the impression was just like Jack wrote above. Who knew!

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      Me too. I used this car as an example of what is wrong with M-B. The interior is way below what a Mercedes should be. But this makes me think a bit…if the cost cutting came at the expense of the interior but the chassis and mechanicals were (mostly) there, is that so bad? Chevy did exactly the same with the C5/6 Vette. But expectations are different when you have the three pointed star. As a brand, you should have a minimum standard of what is acceptable. When you look at this car, I am hard pressed to say it is a fair trade. Maybe M-B should just have spent another kip or so on the interior and raised the price to compensate. I would think preserving the essence of the brand would be worth more than squeezing a few sales from buyers who are not quite able to afford it….

      • 0 avatar

        Good point. I’m not saying that chassis excuses Merc from doing what they did on the interior. I’m just surprised.

      • 0 avatar
        Caboose

        but, Guys, Benz has been doing that for decades. Solid chassis (and weighty, substantial handling) first, robust-but-finicky engine and trans second, interior last.

        My grandfather’s mid-’80s 300D had plastic seats, three electric windows (the driver’s was roll-up), one electric side mirror (the driver’s was manual), and a gated 4-speed auto. It drove like a very smooth, very small tank, and did so for as long as he cared to maintain it.

        I just sold a ’99 E320 that was the same way. MB-Tex, manual A/C (when other premium brands had gone to auto. climate control), 6-disc changer in the trunk (when others had gone to changer-in-dash systems), a whopping four or five speakers, and… a marginally adequate v6 with a gated five-spd auto. It drove like a very smooth, slightly-less-small tank, and it did so for as long as I cared to ay to maintain it.

        The interiors of small- and mid-size Mercedes have ALWAYS catered to the German livery market, and probably always will. And thank God for it, because S-Class interiors after, say, the W140 have been, hmmm, yucky? Yes, yucky.

        Really, I wonder if Daimler has ever really been a luxury car maker, first and foremost, or if the majority of that impression in America comes from the marketing dept. Europaeans seem to know that Benzos aren’t inherently “nicer” cars, but that they do drive better than the price-comparable gussied-up Mondeo.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          The S Class is a true luxury car, as it has the accoutrements, and most importantly of all, the smoooooth yet solid ride quality that many alleged luxury car rivals can’t touch with a 10 foot pole.

          As expensive as it is, the S Class rides nicer than many uber baller WASP vehicles that cost 3x as much.

          Some people still prefer to neither feel nor hear the outside world, pot holes, frost heaved concrete, that diesel, black soot spewing 18 wheeler in the next lame over, and the S Class shelters its occupants from these assaults quite well.

          The C Class? It’s Poser City, where the tri-star hood ornament is worth an approximate 20k to the imbecilic &/or ignoramus segment of the car buying public, and the smart people save 18 grand and get a CamCordFuBu, which are better choices anyways.

  • avatar
    Nostrathomas

    Great review…but the entire time I wanted to reach into the photos and nudge that license plate level.

  • avatar
    lon888

    Clearly a car for the “yeah, I drive a Benz” set.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      No, more for their lady friends… “But… he drives a Benz.”

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        “And it’s the smallest one, so you know he isn’t compensating!”

        • 0 avatar
          Nostrathomas

          “At least it’s not the B Class” – housewife in Canada.

          “That’s two steps up from the A class” -housefrau in Europe.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Saw a B-class with Ontario plates a few weeks back in my bldg’s parking lot (in PA). “WTF” was the most prevalent phrase in my mind.

          • 0 avatar

            The B-Class is actually a great little car. Fastish (last-gen could be had with a 6-speed manual + turbo 200hp engine), solid, quiet, refined, and tremendously useful. The amount of passenger and cargo space in them just should not be possible given the car’s footprint. Yes you do pay more, but it’s a genuinely nice and refined small car with a nicely done interior. Some buy B-Classes because they are Mercedes, but many just buy them because they are pretty nice and pretty handy.

          • 0 avatar
            Nostrathomas

            I agree, I think the B-Class is a great little car. It’s amazing how much space is inside of that thing. There’s actually quite a few of them around here in Alberta, and I can see why.

            We actually almost bought a CPO model for my wife a year ago… if it wasn’t for the obnoxious attitude from the salesman when we talked numbers, we would have. Ended up buying a Volvo V50 instead.

          • 0 avatar
            ect

            I’ll echo the statement that the B-Class is a great car. Very quick, very nimble, very comfy, very roomy.

            My wife (a real estate agent) finds it easy to navigate through condo parking garages, but 2 adults fit easily into the back seat – and get easily in and out through wide door openings.

            And the hatchback configuration makes a whole lot of sense.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    If the drivetrain was really ‘like an electric motor’, you’d have instantaneous throttle response, without hesitant gear changes. And even better fuel economy.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    In summary: “Love the chassis. Not too crazy about the interior, or the tech, but the seats are comfortable, and if you know what you’re doing, the four-cylinder engine gets the job done.”

    Sounds like a Miata review.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      There’s a Miata I see around here, 1st gen, dark metallic maroon/purple with those gold mesh/Bonneville style wheels, and tan top/interior.

      My favorite combo of colors, wheels, and version.

  • avatar
    Austin Greene

    Who’s the Amazon in the matching dress?

  • avatar
    cdnsfan27

    I have a 2012 C250 with 23,000 miles on it and I agree with Jack’s assessment completely. Excellent chassis, good manners, bad engine made a little better by switching from comfort to sport. Worst feature is when you turn a corner, hit the gas and….no power for a couple of seconds. iPod integration could be better, Bluetooth combo with the h/k audio is sweet. When lease is up though I am going to the next-gen GTI.

    • 0 avatar

      That shift delay sounds omnious. Just one question: is it possible to constrain RPMs with paddles? IOW, hit (-) a couple times before the turn, drive the throttle, unwind it with (+) when front wheels are straight? Does it work, or the tranny disregards the paddles?

    • 0 avatar
      ect

      I test drove a C-Class against the 3 and A4 in 2003. Didn’t like it at all compared to its competition, bought the A4.

      Last fall we test drove a 2013 C300 against the same set. It was a vast improvement, clearly competitive within this set. It was pretty well equipped, and featured a V6 engine (which is no longer available in the A4).

      Jack’s review reminds me that one will always be made to suffer for buying the stripper model, instead of paying what it takes to equip it well. And that this exists at every category level.

  • avatar

    I don’t know about you guys but for 36 large I expect it to be top notch. Maybe I’m not Mercedes target audience.

    This sounds like a whole lot of meh with a “maybe you’ll like it later…”

    Not a chance…

    • 0 avatar

      Fully agreed.

    • 0 avatar

      Dollar has twice less worth than in 90s. Remember, say, Mazda Protege? About same money today, but it’s a Benz. Not that Protege was a bad car, I mean with a trunk kit it could compete with a Neon, but still. $36k is nothing these days. They sell Jeep Wranglers for that much today.

      • 0 avatar

        I can think of dozens of cars that perform the job they are designed for that meet their goal better, and cost way less than 36k.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I never have understood why Wranglers are priced as such. With the lousy interior and mostly class-free exterior. Ugh.

        • 0 avatar
          azmtbkr81

          Because the Wrangler has a near monopoly on the off-road segment. No other company offers an off-road capable SUV that has received a significant update during the last 8 years.

          • 0 avatar

            IMHO the common off-road platform in America these days is a truck. With extended cabs they largely fulfill the duties of traditional SUVs, which is why SUVs are going extinct (they transmogrify into CUVs like Pathfinder and Explorer).

            BTW, Lexus kept GX updated alongside foreign market Prado. Its capability is passable with some basic mods like lockers. Not that it matters much, the point about Wrangler’s (near) monopoly is well taken.

          • 0 avatar
            azmtbkr81

            @Pete
            I agree. Unfortunately full size trucks (especially those with longer cabs) are just too long to be ideal off-road vehicles.

            Did not know that about the Lexus, good info.

        • 0 avatar
          burgersandbeer

          I don’t get Wranglers either. The cheapest one starts just over $22k, and I doubt the discounts are steep. A Wrangler is pretty crude compared to what $22k gets you in a Focus, Cruze, etc.

          I’m under the impression they have to be modified for serious off road use, so you aren’t paying for those parts either.

          Wranglers are cool as second cars for tooling around drive-on beaches or other relatively light off road use, but that shouldn’t cost what it does.

          • 0 avatar
            kkt

            They’re capable of moderate off-road use even without being modified. Go off-road in a group. When something breaks, replace it with the heavier-duty aftermarket version. Repeat until you have a very capable vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        69firebird

        The neon was a complete pos.Just so you know,a Neon in no way compares to a Mazda Protege,trunk kit,or not.Whatever that is.I still see lots of Mazda’s up and running in the U.S..I haven’t seen a Neon in years.If they’re around,someone’s probably drinking a carbonated beverage out of it these days.

        • 0 avatar
          Blue-S

          A history lesson: In the mid-1990’s, the Dodge & Plymouth neon dominated SCCA Club Racing (road racing) in the Showroom Stock C class. The 1995 and 1996 SSC National Champions were neon racers. Many of their fellow competitors were driving a neon as well. The SCCA reacted to this by changing the rules to permit a “trunk kit” of specified modification parts allowed only for certain cars. The intent was to equalize competition. The Mazda Protege was allowed to use alternate, stiffer springs and struts instead of the comparatively flaccid stock pieces. The 1997 SSC National Champion was a former neon racer who switched to a Protege. The neon is still competitive in today’s Chumpcar and LeMons racing. The esteemed Mr. Baruth was on the team of drivers who won the Chumpcar 24-hour at Buttonwillow this April…in a 1995 Plymouth Neon Sport Coupe.

          • 0 avatar
            69firebird

            That’s really enlightening.Let me know the next time you see one racing to the dollar store to pick up some expired canned goods,which is about as applicable as what happened with Non-stock Neon’s in the 90’s.If that’s a “history lesson”,you may want to re-evaluate your stand-up comedy routine.Also,I was addressing Pete Z,not Jack.

          • 0 avatar
            69firebird

            A reading comprehension lesson.I still see Protege’s on the street.Neon’s? Pretty much never.Don’t really care what happened in the 90’s to those tuna cans that weren’t SRT’s.

        • 0 avatar
          Maymar

          Funny, I think they’re about equal around here – the Neons must die out around the time the head gasket goes and the owner doesn’t feel like putting the money into it, while the Proteges are just waiting for the body to get dangerously rusted out.

          • 0 avatar
            69firebird

            I have a Protege 5.No rust whatsoever.Not even on the original exhaust system.But we don’t need road-salt here,and it only has 63,500 miles on the clock.Get back to me in the next ten years,I guess.

      • 0 avatar
        kkt

        I paid $12k for my Protege in 2002.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      Agreed. A car in that price range shouldn’t have to grow on you. The chassis might not need any excuses, but it sounds like the rest of the car does.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Part of the MB mantra has always been to deliver good ergonomics, a solid chassis but an underwhelming engine (unless you spring for the AMG). While this has worked in the past, this strategy today has some issues:

    1. The competition has improved. For example (and there are many): A Regal GS will provide more luxury and thrills while an IS250 will give you all of the MB has to offer as well as stellar reliability.

    2. MB has given up on the “engineered to run forever” thing and is now making cars that are no more reliable than Volkswagens.

  • avatar

    It’s a good looking car and so long as you have Nav and Moonroof it’s livable for most people who don’t care about cars, but must drive a Mercedes Benz.

    • 0 avatar
      cdnsfan27

      Moonroof is standard but Nav is part of a $3K+ Premium 1 package. On the twisties in sport mode it is a hoot to drive as I can attest…23,000 miles and I needed a new set of rear Pilot Sports and new front brakes and rotors.

  • avatar
    Beelzebubba

    I travel between 36-42 weeks per year for my job. Thankfully, most my trips are only two to three days (rather than five full days). If the destination is within 250-300 miles of my home in Atlanta, I usually drive my car and get reimbursed for mileage. But 30+ times per year, I have the (dis)pleasure of flying and renting a car.

    In my employment contract, one of the stipulations is that I can always reserve a “Premium” class of car. In most locations, that ends up being a Volvo S60, Nissan Maxima or something pretty similar. If a ‘premium’ car isn’t available, I can move up to a ‘luxury’ vehicle. Many times, I’ve been upgraded automatically to a BMW 3-series, M-B C-class or Lincoln MKZ or MKS.

    The BMW 328i puts the M-B C250 to shame, in my opinion. But I’d rather have the Volvo S60 over all of them! I’m even thinking about buying a 2013 S60 T5 for my personal vehicle!

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Out of curiosity, why do you love the Volvo? I have about the same gig you do, and travel about the same amount. Less personal driving, and usually longer stays though. I don’t get to book premium, but I get the upgrade every time. I LOATH the S60, and I have owned many a Volvo. Have spent literally months in them, as they are a staple of Hertz fleet. I pretty much agree with Jack on the C-class, it grows on you, though I actually prefer it to the E, which I think is a bit of a barge. I own a BMW.

      The C-class to me is VERY, VERY much the spriritual successor to all those base Benz’s of old. It’s not very exciting, it’s nothing exotic, it is as plain as can be. But it gets the job done no matter what you ask it to do. Just like my ’88 300TE did, MB-Tex and all. A BMW will do much the same but be a little less relaxing and a fair bit more fun. I actually owned the ’88 300TE and an ’86 535i at the same time, they made a VERY interesting pair. The BMW was a lot more fun, but the Mercedes was just as relaxing as can be. It would go just as fast as the BMW, but it didn’t URGE you to go faster the way the BMW did. More like “well, OK, if you insist, I will hike up my skirts, but can we get this over with please?”.

      All MB engines used to have that uninspired moan BTW, from diesel 4 to the big V8s. They never got remotely sporting until they bought in AMG.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        I agree. I think the Mercedes is getting marked down by some of the B&B because it’s a luxury car. As an example, someone mentioned the dead steering. IIRC Mercedes stuck with recirculating ball steering longer than most because they felt it offered the best feel for relaxed high speed autobahn cruising. I think that was the goal of the current steering.

        I think BMW puts more effort on back road corner carving for a younger crowd. while Mercedes offers the ultimate in relaxed autobahn cruising for an older set.

        • 0 avatar
          cdnsfan27

          The C-Class has a different philosophy than the 3 series. If you want a pure sports sedan you can order a base 320i with a stick and the sports package giving you a relatively inexpensive sports sedan. Audi offers a hoot of an S4 for a bit more. You can’t order a Benz with a stick except for the SLK250.

        • 0 avatar
          walker42

          Naw modern Mercedes are nothing like the old ones. They aren’t made the same and don’t drive the same. The classic Mercedes has a firm but compliant ride, loads of suspension travel and likes to lean in the turns. The last one that drove this way was the W124.

          More recent Mercedes have benchmarked BMW, like everyone else. The C-class has low profile tires, a hard ride and nothing exceptional in terms of suspension travel. It’s just like everything else.

          Mercedes and BMW are both luxury brands, I don’t see the Benz being any more premium. It’s tuned no more for the autobahn than the Beamer. MB doesn’t even use a floor-hinged gas pedal any more on most models, the BMW does. Little things like that make the BMW better for high speed, long distance driving where you want to reduce fatigue.

          • 0 avatar
            spyked

            This is ONLY true if you order a C Class or E Class with Sport trim. “Real” Mercedes sedan buyers choose the “Luxury” trim with the touring suspension and upright grill and hood star. Those are the comfortable tanks people think of when they think of Mercedes Benz. The Sport models are the 3 series competitors.

      • 0 avatar
        Beelzebubba

        The Volvo S60 has the closest thing to a perfect driver’s seat that I’ve ever experienced. The driving position also fits my ‘slightly-larger-than-average’ size (6’3″, 235#).

        The 2013 T5 does 0-60 in 6.4 seconds, less than half a second behind the 328i and a full second ahead of the C250. I also like how light and tossable the S60 T5 FWD feels (a lot like my current Mazda3).

        The inconsistent quality of the various 328i models I’ve driven over the last 18-24 months has been disappointing. But the S60s consistently have excellent assembly quality and the interior materials are impressive considering the price.

        I also like that the Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) is available as a freestanding option on any trim level for $700. In addition to a 2006 Mazda3, I also have a 2012 Mazda CX-9 GT and the Blind Spot Monitoring system is one of my favorite features on it. It’s far more useful than I expected it to be.

        • 0 avatar
          Nostrathomas

          In my experience, Volvo’s have the most comfortable seats in the industry, and are especially good for long drives. In other cars, I squirm and twist after a while, while in the Volvo it just seems to be comfortable all the time.

          My wife loves them too… and she’s put up with a 1500 mile (in 2 days) drive in the Volvo…while being 7 months pregnant. We were both amazed how comfortable those seats were.

          • 0 avatar
            afflo

            Are you taller than average?

            I’ve heard this more than once about Volvos, as well as Saabs and some VWs. Basically, cars designed for tall Scandinavian and Northern European drivers.

            Certain Japanese brands seem to be built for a prototypical 5’5 driver. Short seat bottoms, limited rearward travel, seat belts mounted on B-pillars that are too far forward, steering that doesn’t telescope far enough back, and cramped footwells.

      • 0 avatar
        Marko

        I personally like the S60; granted, I have only driven the T6 AWD and not the T5 FWD found in rental fleets. The seats are very comfortable, and it’s quiet and refined. The handling seemed quite good for its goal.

  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow

    Jack, maybe this is intrinsic in car reviewing, but it seems to me that many cars kind of grow on you, even if at first they make only a modest impression. Of course, there’s no practical way for a reviewer to overcome this aspect, but it’s something the reader might want to take into account. That’s why I give fair credence to CR’s owner satisfaction measurement (which is not always in accord with the car’s prestige or reviews). I guess I forgot to mention that this is an outstanding review. You’ve become a master at it.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I’ve written about the hundred-mile-rule before, as first codified by LJK Setright. Over time, we adjust to a car’s flaws. For that reason, I try to take detailed notes (even if they’re only mental notes) on my first impressions, particularly in the initial fifty miles.

      With that said, there’s adjusting to a car’s flaws or idiosyncrasies (long shift throws, awkward ergonomics, poor sightlines) and there’s being impressed by something as you use it more (the M-B cruise control, the floor-hinged pedals of a 911, Ford’s integrated towing package on the Super Duty). I try to distinguish between the two as best I can.

  • avatar
    daviel

    Why buy it on the expectation that you might grow to like it? That’s nuts!

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      Well, as one example, the super plush seats might be comfortable for a 15 min test drive but leave your back aching after an hour.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        In my experience? yes. The IS250 is a perfectly engineered car, build quality, interior, etc. are top notch. But, the ride and body rigidity of the C is at the very least 50% better.

        Also, the Mercedes had a sense of being different the dynamics were different from every other car I’ve driven. But, the Lexus and Infinty had the sense of being luxuriously appointed Camry/Altima with a high engineering budget. It was the same, but better. But, not different.

  • avatar
    jmo

    “while an IS250 will give you all of the MB has to offer as well as stellar reliability.”

    But it won’t. Take a test drive of each vehicle with 30k miles on them and hit an expansion joint or pot hole. The Mercedes will absorb it perfectly and the body structure will be rock solid. The Lexus? The impact won’t be nearly as well absorbed and you will hear a tiny creak as some bit of plastic moves due to a flex in the chassis.

  • avatar
    vbofw

    So so pleased to see Jack mention the lack of Nav. This isn’t news, but the option pricing ($350-$400 for the satellite radio antenna, anybody?), and horrific package options (select this? you must also select this) on Mercedes and BMW is enough to make sure I never consider one. That’s long before the thousands of excessive marketing spend dollars are considered.

    These guys would get more buyers if they took a page out of the domestics (and VW/Audi) playbooks on option selections and incremental pricing. Just pretend you aren’t raping us.

    • 0 avatar
      glwillia

      They do, in Europe. You can pretty much custom order anything in the catalog you want there. It’s different there because car dealerships are small due to lack of space so you go in and order the car you want, whereas Americans typically just go in and buy something off the lot.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      BMW at least lets you pick and choose to a much larger extent than most companies, and certainly far more so than the Japanese. About the only thing on my car I had to take that I didn’t want due to a package was the power seats – it was the only way to get the power lumbar support that the seats need. Given that BMW does build-to-order for a large percentage of their sales in the US, I really don’t get why they don’t allow more picking and choosing for the fussy among us. No idea about MB, they offer nothing that appeals to me so I have not wandered their website. VW is nearly as bad as the Japanese these days with options – you have a couple trimlines and that is IT. Take it or leave it.

      As to no standard NAV – GOOD! I have yet to try a built in NAV system that was even as good as my TomTom. Over-priced and out of date uselessness.

      • 0 avatar
        Japanese Buick

        +1 on the nav. Built in nav is a total waste. My smartphone running Google Maps is always up to date, and works better than any in dash system. Pair the phone on Bluetooth and you’ve got excellent turn by turn navigation. In the smartphone era, I just don’t get why peope want to pay over a grand for a built in nav that will be obsolete in a couple of years.

        • 0 avatar
          afflo

          I’ve always thought that its a status thing, kinda like fog lights. People only buy fogs because they like them better than having plastic blanks on the dash and front bumper.

          And yes, my iPhone and google maps is better than any built in, and better than my Garmin. Likewise Slacker or Pandora vs SiriusXM- why exactly do I want subscription radio if I can’t customize the stations or skip songs I hate.

  • avatar
    84Cressida

    I had one of these as a loaner awhile back while my I took my mom’s BMW for service for her. They are a BMW/Mercedes/GM/Subaru dealer and were only supposed to give a BMW loaner for a BMW customer, but they were out and I was starting to make some noises as I had reserved a loaner and they begrudgingly broke BMW corporate rules and gave me a C-Class. I hated almost everything about it. The interior was completely cheap and didn’t feel any better than a Camry or Accord. Fake leather and hard plastic abound in this thing. The ride was okay, but nothing to write home about and the handling and engine response was utter trash. Everything about the car seemed unrefined, and gave me a bit more respect for BMW as my mom’s 330i, while overrated, is 1000x the car that the Crap-Class is. The seats felt more comfortable than the BMW, that’s about the only good thing about it. The people that buy these, sorry I mean lease these for $499 a month, do so for the badge and the badge only. Anybody that tries to say a Lexus ES isn’t a real luxury car but then goes on to say that this comparably priced piece of garbage is should not be taken seriously.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “Anybody that tries to say a Lexus ES isn’t a real luxury car but then goes on to say that this comparably priced piece of garbage is should not be taken seriously.”

      Ah but how many real *luxury* cars are actually out there? I’d say a handful at best.

    • 0 avatar
      walker42

      I completely agree with you. I helped a friend do the 3-series versus C-class test drive thing before he bought the 3 a couple of years ago. I was really bummed because I thought, and still think, the C is a better looking car.

      The hard plastics inside reminded me of the first generation ML, remember that? The switch gear was as cheap and grainy as a 90s French car. The ride was harsh and the steering dead. The BMW was much more solid and quiet over broken pavement.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      But your mom’s car is a decently optioned 330i not a stripper 4-cyl 328, right?

    • 0 avatar
      spyked

      You took your Mom’s 330i in for service and got a C class. A 330i hasn’t been available in the U.S. in what, at least 5 years. Obviously, the C Class you drove was a Daimler Chrysler edition. Look at at new 2013 C Class and compare it to ANY BMW interior. BMW has lost it’s way.

      • 0 avatar
        84Cressida

        This was a year and a half ago. And I’m well aware of the new 3-series craptastic insides. I’m no fan of that car, or BMW really, but the old E90 compared to the 2011 C-class I had was far better. I think I’d still take the new 3 over the Mercedes.

  • avatar
    david42

    I’d swear that our B6 Passat had the same cruise-control functions that Jack described. (It’s been a long time, though…) BMWs have had it for a while, too.

    I’d be curious to hear Jack’s take on this vs. a low-spec 3-series.

    • 0 avatar

      Man, that would be a comparo to read, no doubt. Note that they have a turbo-4 in BMW too. I was really surprised, even shocked, but you better grab a 132i while they last, if you want the inline-6.

      • 0 avatar
        walker42

        I used to feel that way about the BMW inline 6 until I spent some time in my friend’s ’10 328. Fast as hell when you boot it but doggy around town. The fuel economy was the biggest disappointment, he averages 17-19 MPG combined.

        • 0 avatar
          burgersandbeer

          The engines do like to be revved, which can lead to crappy mileage. I’m not sure 17-19mpg is that bad for a 3 liter engine that you would actually want to rev, especially if it is mostly city driving.

          I average 25-27 in an ’03 330 (mostly highway).

    • 0 avatar
      Marko

      VW and Mercedes each use completely different cruise control setups. Mercedes uses a dedicated four-way stalk, while VW has two toggles on the turn signal stalk.

      • 0 avatar

        Yep, Mercedes has a pretty unique cruise-control setup with that dedicated, smaller lever. I think all Mercedes have this, at least the variety I’ve been in including my own. The nicest thing about their CC is the instant engagement when you set it; no holding down a button for a year and a day while you try to keep the speed constant.

        • 0 avatar
          afflo

          Is this anything like the Toyota cruise control lever? Button on the end to turn on/off, push up for accel/resume, down for decel/set, and pull toward you to cancel.

          I’m not sure what you’re talking about with instant engagement – this seems pretty standard. As soon as you hit the set button, it should instantly set it and hold it. It’s been that way in every car I’ve owned with cruise.

          Also – the cars I’ve had with cruise (all Hondas and Toyota), have it set up so that a quick press of the button/lever adjusts the speed by 1 MPH. Push it 10 times and it adjusts by 10 MPH, etc.

          How is the Mercedes set-up different.

          It would be really nice if there were a ECE reg that mandated standard placement for cruise control. Even if the US still boycotts world automobile harmonization, automakers are cheap and don’t like designing special switchgear for US models.

          • 0 avatar

            On mine, it’s pretty simple, forward to engage, back to disengage, up and down to adjust speed.

            Mercedes Cruise Control Stick. Some variations of this exist on different MB models I’ve noticed.

            I google’d and found this image of a Toyota cruise control, is this what you are referring to? Looks a little different.

            Well, in my previous 2004 CTS, you had to push a button on the side (after toggling it to the ON position) and wait until the CC locks in at your speed. I really did not like the operation for adjust the speed either on Cadillac’s control arm .

            Comparatively, on my 1989 325is, it’s also a separate control arm that kicks in immediately when you activate it.

            While I’ve driven quite a bit of cars in my time and including modern ones (rentals, test-drives, etc), the Cruise Control system is something I am usually not engaging.

            MB CC:
            http://media.caranddriver.com/images/media/270069/2010-mercedes-benz-ml450-hybrid-cruise-control-stalk-and-paddle-shifter-photo-270767-s-1280×782.jpg

            Toyota CC:
            http://www.petejordan.com/images/yariscc/switchmounted.jpg

            CTS CC:
            http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/MTIwMFgxMjAw/z/3qMAAMXQE9hSAgJA/$T2eC16dHJIQFHHG+!6kcBS!gI+het!~~60_12.JPG?set_id=880000500F

            E30 CC:
            http://www.prussianmotors.com/Empower/Pictures/inv_000633_01.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      epsilonkore

      My FR-S also goes up/down one MPH exactly with a tap of the dedicated cruise control stalk. I can tap it 5 times up and I will go from 75-80 in a second. My parents 2012 Ford Edge goes one step further, it shows you the speed its set to, digitally, below the cruise on/off indicator. It doesnt have a dedicated stalk like my FR-S and the C class, but 5 quick taps on the steering wheel switch does the same thing.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    My takeaway from all the comments is we can’t win. Offer a powerful engine, gadgets, and soft-touch interior on everyday cars like Focus and Fusion and you hear the “lipstick on a pig” comments. Offer a solid chassis, but with interior that doesn’t seem to match the price point and a boring engine, and someone complains about that too.

    Do we really have to spend over $50k for everything to come together these days?

    • 0 avatar
      3Deuce27

      “Do we really have to spend over $50k for everything to come together these days?”

      Apparently you missed the ‘Gotta have the auto tilting mirror function or I will be incomplete and unsatisfied’ memo. Congratulate yourself for not being in that demographic.

    • 0 avatar
      afflo

      The fallacy is assuming that these are the same person, and seems to be a common assumption in online discussions. Some will complain about fluff features on mainstream cars. Other will complain about spartan equipment on luxury cars. These are unlikely to be the same commenters. If they are, chalk it up to trolling.

  • avatar
    campocaceres

    I have always enjoyed reading reviews which properly convey the “experience” of a car, rather than one that simply looks to check off mentions of each feature I might consider if I were in the market for one. I’ve driven a C320 once and it didn’t do anything for me, but this type of car has never been intriguing to me anyhow.

    Maybe it’s just cause I was in the area recently myself, but I got a good feel from this for taking one of these along the northern California coast , and its nice to imagine that it can be quite enjoyable.

  • avatar
    ect

    Jack, the C can only be called “Cheap Class” in the US.

    In MB’s global portfolio, the A- and B-Class are positioned below it in size and price, and the C is classified as a large car.

    MB USA refuses to sell the B-Class (which is very successful in Canada) because they’re trying to maintain a luxury image in the US market that is above what Mercedes achieves in the rest of the world.

  • avatar

    I had the unfortunate experience of getting a free upgrade to a C class from our preferred Toyota rental when visiting Cape Town, South Africa. And I do mean unfortunate; that C class base model had such a horrific ride and less interior room than the Camry.

    BTW, what’s with the ad-strip thing popping up right over top of the article and photos in the article? It just appears and is a gallery-slider thing, right in the middle of the page. Very annoying.

  • avatar
    slance66

    Tested the C350 a few years ago and had a similar impression of the V6 engine Jack. I thought it might be the transmission, but it just seemed to respond to throttle input by saying “Are you sure? Really? Hmmm, if you’re positive, I’ll accelerate”. It was rather annoying. I ended up with an E90. No complaints with that 3L straight six, which is just lovely (although the transmission isn’t great).

    The E90 also has the same cruise control feature by the way, best system I have ever used. I’ll set it at 72 in a 65, and then tap down as I hit notorious speed trap locations, or when encountering traffic. Brilliant really.

  • avatar
    Nick

    I wonder how Toronto trophy wives will feel about seeing their nail technician driving the same brand of car as they are.

    A recent story about MB. I was cruising along the 407 and ended up behind a new SLK. Smoke was coming out from under the car…it didn’t have the sick sweet smell of coolant, it was burning oil. The volume of smoke continued to grow until finally I flashed my lights vigorously and waved her over. I told her something was wrong and I she said ‘I could smell something burning.’ I asked her to pop the hood and when I did smoke was coming from everywhere under the plastic engine cover. I don’t know what was wrong, but something has gone very wrong. I informed her of the situation and she exclaimed ‘I just got this!!!’.

    Mercedes Benz does not build expensive cars well. They build less expensive cars even less well. They are like some of the big 3’s luxury marks; they survived for years based on past glories and brand equity. But, just like those brands, they’ll play out their string if they don’t change fast.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I agree with your logic in principle, but I have to disagree. I can’t speak for the Canada, but by and large American car buyers are complete hypocrites and happily take it as evidenced by demand from Mercedes, BMW, VAG products both new and used. Zee Germans could put out HT4100 levels of disaster and they’d still sell well. American buyers will point to MKFusion and mockingly equate it to mighty Detroit iron, while their [insert unreliable foreign brand here] is being pulled on the tow bar.

  • avatar
    akatsuki

    Had a C300 – loved the ride, it frankly had the perfect balance of comfort and firmness – much better than the 3 series for imperfect roads. Styling was frankly better than the ever cheaper looking 3-series.

    Engine was decent, transmissions was okay. Tech was so-so. Interior quality was alright, I’d say on par with a Ford in tactile qualities but needed more wood and other luxury touches?

    If they made a RWD Ford Fusion sedan, this car would have no reason to exist.

  • avatar
    3Deuce27

    Nobody, does dashes and instrument panels/clusters like MB.

    And another attribute of MB, is how they absorb Whoop Dee Doos and pot holes, so relaxing and reassuring. That is one reason I like my 280C so much, besides its elegant interior, classic MB dash and the upright grille crowned by the MB marque badge.

    My next MB will be a 2004-2007 SL600 or SL65 _if a Maserati doesn’t intervene in the mean time_ satisfying my goal to own a 12cylinder car with an MB dash. The near 500Hp to 600+Hp is just icing on the cake. Damn! Global warming.
    A Merc of that stature will make those cross country grand touring leaps to Vegas and the Bay area, pure heaven.
    http://www.edmunds.com/mercedes-benz/sl-class/2004/features-specs.html?sub=convertible&style=100361478
    http://www.edmunds.com/mercedes-benz/sl-class/2005/?sub=sl65-amg

    • 0 avatar

      I agree, the cluster in an SL500 series is gorgeous, so is the whole dash the way it swoops down to the center console and armrest. That’s style.

      I plan to have an SL in my future as well when my CLK 500 is no longer cost-worthy to maintain. Though I’d advocate against the V12 600 and 65, they are not reliable at all. Check some of the MB forums with owners who have to deal with them.

      • 0 avatar
        3Deuce27

        @ BlueBrat;

        Thanks, but well aware of some of the reported issues with MB’s and BMW’s_Ferrari’s_Jaguar’s_Maserati’s_Por Sha’s, but I/we can fix anything, even a SL450 that fell off a lift or a Colombo V-12. The real problem is sourcing a SL600/SL65

        Rebuilt an Alfa dual cam back in the mid sixties and have never looked back. I’m just not intimidated by complex mechanical contraptions. Now some of the specialized tools are a consideration, but we can fab/machine those too, if it is worth the time.

        I use the same handle on the MB forums.

  • avatar
    Defender90

    Hmm. So should my Dad get another C to replace his W202 estate? That is rusty as all hell and it was made in Germany (Bremen).
    New RHD Cs are made in South Africa and a German price for an African car? That’s the wrong way around. That might well be part of the reason British press critice them.
    That and the fact that from the beginning the C Class has been a cut price Benz and it has not improved apparently.
    The underpowered, conservatively tuned for longetivity engine is not a surprise as Benz was ever thus but the trouble with that is that with an auto these modern smaller multivalve petrols do not have enough low down torque to motivate them, so joining 60mph roads is actually quite dangerous.

  • avatar
    hgrunt

    I always felt the entry level C-Class were always bought by people who only bought MBs for whatever reason, people who found a reason to lease one instead of a BMW or Audi, or someone who wanted the safest car (or the feeling of having the safest car) in this price range.

    As for comparisons to the 190E, I think reviews from when they were new also pointed out the monotone interior. Seems like the formula hasn’t changed much though, since the gauges, ICE and climate controls are basically the same as all of the MBs of the same generation, short of the S-Class.

  • avatar

    I think we’ll all finally appreciate how basically good the C-class chassis itself is once the CLA comes around.


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