2007 BMW 335i vs. 2008 Mercedes-Benz C350 Sport Comparison Test

2007 BMW 3 Series Sedan

(3.0L 6-cyl. Twin-turbo 6-speed Manual)
  • 2008 Mercedes C350 vs. 2007 BMW 335i Comparison Test Video

    Watch the 2008 Mercedes C350 vs. 2007 BMW 335i Comparison Test Video on Edmunds' Inside Line | October 14, 2009

1 Video , 29 Photos

  • Comparison Test
  • Stereo Evaluation
  • Second Opinion
  • Top 7 Features
  • Final Rankings and Scoring Explanation
  • 2007 BMW 3 Series Specs and Performance
  • 2008 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Specs and Performance

BMW and Mercedes-Benz are separated by about 150 miles and a rivalry as fierce as the one between Coke and Pepsi.

BMW builds the 2007 335i Sedan in the Bavarian city of Munich, while Mercedes-Benz has just released the all-new 2008 C350 Sport from its headquarters in the Swabian city of Stuttgart. Though Mercedes has long had the upper hand in terms of both stature and commercial success in Europe, the BMW 3 Series outsells the Mercedes-Benz C-Class by more than a 2-to-1 margin in the U.S., some 120,180 to 50,187 last year.

It's a rivalry that even carries over into competition on the racetrack, where BMW and Mercedes-Benz have a long history of competition in the German Touring Car Masters (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters or DTM), which is as close to NASCAR as you can find in Germany, and are presently locked in battle for prestige in Formula 1.

So when you compare these cars, it's about pride, not just money. And now that there's an all-new generation of both the 3 Series and the C-Class, the battle begins again. Which would you bet on, the player from München (which translates as "monastery"), or the one from Stuttgart (which translates as "stud farm")?

The Players
Available this August, the W204 C-Class has an ultra-rigid unibody, improved steering, lightweight suspension components integrated with adaptive dampers, and world-class safety systems. This restyled sedan now has more passenger volume and more interior features, plus a multimedia information and entertainment system that sets a new standard in the class.

We secured the sportiest version of the 2008 C-Class, the C350 Sport with its 90-degree, DOHC 3.5-liter V6, which puts out 268 horsepower. Its base price is $37,275.

The E90 model of the BMW 3 Series arrived for the 2006 model year, and it predictably represented another move upward in size and sophistication. The most controversial aspect of the new car is its top-of-the-line twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline-6, the first in what is expected to be a full range of BMW turbocharged engines.

We obtained the sportiest version of the 3 Series, a 2007 335i Sedan with a twin-turbocharged, 300-hp 3.0-liter inline-6. Its base price is $39,675.

We're acutely aware of the price and horsepower discrepancies between these two sedans. In precise terms, it's a difference of 32 hp and $2,400, so the BMW makes you pay about $75 for every additional horsepower it offers. We might have chosen the $33,175 BMW 328i sedan with its normally aspirated, 230-hp inline-6 for this comparison against the C350, but these cars don't line up very well.

What we have here is the best possible edition of both the 3 Series and the C-Class, the cars that best express what each manufacturer is hoping to accomplish in this category. We're asking these cars to compete on the merits of performance, top-dog 3 Series versus top-dog C-Class.

It's All About Power
Let's get the numbers out of the way. In a sprint, the 300-hp BMW outpaces the 268-hp Mercedes by 1.2 seconds to 60 mph and 0.9 second in the quarter-mile. The true display of the BMW's horsepower advantage, however, lies in its trap speed at the end of 1,320 feet, and the 335i has a 6.5-mph advantage. Each car has an automatic transmission (a six-speed in the BMW and a seven-speed in the Mercedes) that upshifts with the crispness and sophistication you'd expect, and each offers Drive, Sport and Manual modes. The BMW's automatic is set apart by shift paddles incorporated into the steering wheel, a $100 option that delivers quick, matched-rev downshifts — cool, affordable and worth it.

To quote our logbook after the turbocharged 335i's run, "Launching is a bog or boil affair. Too much throttle and the tires will spin wildly in 1st gear; too little and it will leave slowly, off boost." Meanwhile, the C350's logbook notes, "Best launch was with the traction control shut off, but without brake torque or wheelspin." The 3 Series has power, but the C-Class has traction.

Make It Stop, Make It Stop
Hammering the brake pedal from 60 mph again showed the BMW to be the more capable car. Both cars are equipped with four-wheel discs and ABS with electronic brakeforce distribution, brake assist, brake drying and hill-start assist — some of these features are new to the C-Class for 2008. All four discs on the BMW, however, are larger in diameter than those of the C-Class. The test results reveal one excellent stop from the C350 at 118 feet, and one outstanding stop from the BMW 335i of just 112 feet.

The brakes of both cars proved utterly free of fade, even during our tortuous canyon runs through Malibu. When it came to city driving, though, the BMW's brakes exhibited an odd, sticky, on-off behavior below 5 mph that sometimes made it difficult to come to a halt smoothly. On the other hand, the Mercedes' brake pedal has a little too much stroke built into its action.

Round and Round We Go
It's interesting to discover that these two sedans with optional sport packages now share wheelbase dimension (108.7 inches), matching tire sizes (front, 225/40R18; rear, 255/35R18) and even rear-wheel track width (59.6 inches). The as-tested weights show the 3,592-pound C350 to have a weight distribution of 53 percent front/43 percent rear, while the 3,641-pound 335i offers 50 percent front/50 percent rear weight distribution.

The C350 dances far more adeptly than it has before, but it simply cannot match the practiced footwork of the 335i. On the skid pad, the best combined laps show that the BMW's run-flat tires deliver a sports-carlike 0.88g performance, and the C350 can muster only 0.83g. A similar story plays out in the slalom, where the BMW snakes through the cone course at 69.2 mph compared to the Mercedes at 67.6 mph.

Our testing logbook says, "Both the balance and the grip of the C350 are trustworthy and it's easy to find the limits. While there's certainly more information coming from the steering than in the previous C-Class, this is by no means a class leader in terms of feel. Good, just not great." Next to the BMW's name, the logbook notes, "It might not be the quickest in its class through the slalom, but it feels the best in class with its intuitive steering and brilliant transitional response."

A Ride Through the Real World
Highways seem a little smoother in the C350 than in the 335i, yet the world is also a little quieter in the BMW because the larger outside rearview mirrors of the Mercedes produce more wind noise. The BMW's ride is a little busier, though not punishing thanks to its optional Sport suspension and standard run-flat tires. Rough patches are acknowledged, but disruptive events dissipate rapidly and never linger.

The C350's new adaptive shock absorbers are meant to offer lots of compliance in the first centimeter of travel, and they do. Most of the time, the C-Class delivers what almost everyone would describe as a more comfortable ride, although we noted the C350 did transmit more tire noise over rough pavement than the 335i. This might be due to the differences between the Continental ContiSport Contact3 tires of the Mercedes and the Bridgestone Potenza RE050A tires of the BMW.

Room With a View
The Mercedes-Benz is all business, with its black, tone-on-tone interior treatment enlivened by chrome and aluminum details. The silver instrument panel surround is specific to the Sport, as is the black bird's eye maple trim. It's a luxurious look.

The BMW is visually interesting, with organic curves. The small buttons are more inscrutable than those in the Mercedes, and they seem to be part of an overall design theme rather than necessary interfaces for the driver.

The C350's standard eight-way power seats feel ultrafirm at first, but we found them very supportive for a long-haul drive. Even so, we thought a Sport-designated model should offer more lateral support, even if just for the driver. Ten seconds in the driver seat of the 335i make you admire a design that somehow manages to combine a supportive profile with long-distance comfort. You have to keep in mind that these seats are part of the 335i's $1,700 Sport package, though.

There's enough space behind the wheel for almost every driver, but headroom is 1.5 inches less in the C-Class because of the sunroof that is standard equipment. As far as the rear seat goes, the measurements suggest the 3 Series has a slight edge. Yet it's useful to remember that these are not midsize sedans, and limousine comfort is not part of the package.

The Electronic Connection
Thanks to the use of hardware and software from other Mercedes-Benz models higher up the chain, the C-Class now comes standard with a clever 5-inch pop-up screen on the dashboard, nicely done controller on the center console and intuitive software to connect the two. While we must give credit to BMW for pioneering the console-decluttering trail with iDrive, there have been vast improvements and innovations since this technology was introduced by the 2002 BMW 7 Series.

The C-Class' Multimedia package, a $2,700 option, brings together all of the car's entertainment, navigational and system settings in a highly logical manner. This world-class system includes a navigation system based on a 30GB hard drive that affords 4GB of music storage (about 1,000 songs ripped from a CD or memory card), an in-dash six-disc CD/DVD-Video/DVD-Audio changer, 450-watt Harman Kardon Logic 7 surround-sound audio with voice-control functions, and the option of an upgraded 7-inch high-definition screen. Even Sirius Satellite Radio is standard equipment. Nothing in BMW's entire options list comes close to what you can buy for any 2008 C-Class.

It's Not Always About the Numbers
When a car as good as the 2008 Mercedes-Benz C350 comes along, it'd be nice to suspend the rules of engagement for awhile. The C350 falls short only because it's matched with competition as tough as the 335i.

We wholeheartedly endorse the C-Class. Rather than try to out-BMW a BMW, Mercedes-Benz has chosen to fortify its best-selling model line with a chic exterior and outstanding standard and incomparable optional equipment. Even the price makes sense when you consider a C300 with a six-speed manual transmission starts at $31,975.

But it boils down to this: The 2007 BMW 335i provides an unrivaled driving experience. Its defining feature is its twin-turbo inline-6, an engine that rewards the horsepower fiend in all of us. In addition, the 335i carves up the road with a chassis that always assures you that there's plenty of car under you no matter how fast you drive.

In contrast, the 2008 Mercedes-Benz C350 Sport rewards a driver who is less interested in absolute performance than a simple degree of driving exhilaration, and who enjoys style and infotainment technology usually reserved for more expensive models in the Mercedes portfolio.

Even as these cars have grown closer in size and performance, they still go about their business in ways that are as different as Coke and Pepsi, Munich and Stuttgart.

The manufacturers provided Edmunds these vehicles for the purposes of evaluation.

2007 BMW 335i

Overall Grade: B-

How does it sound: B-
We've been very pleased with Logic 7 stereos in the past and consider the Harman Kardon audio system in the BMW 7 Series to be among the best in the industry. However, the Logic 7 stereo that comes as standard equipment in the 3 Series doesn't exceed our expectations although it does meet them.

The stereo sounds good but not appreciably better than other premium stereos — the Mark Levinson system in the IS 350 is superior in almost every way. The bass is nice and clear but lacks the thump of the Harman systems we're used to. Sound from all types of music is reproduced very well with the overall tone being almost lifelike. In some cases the sound reproduction is, perhaps, too literal as it lacks the warmth and depth of the Lexus system.

We like the Logic 7's built-in equalizer along with separate bass and treble control.

How does it work: B
Without iDrive, the 3 Series audio system has a much simpler interface although it's maybe too simple given the number of options on this stereo. With such deep menus, the standard display seems overtaxed and it's then that iDrive and its larger display screen seem to makes sense.

Special features: The 328i sedan offers a 10-speaker stereo as standard, with the Logic 7 system available as an option. The 335i has the Logic 7 stereo as standard. Both cars have a single CD player as standard but both come pre-wired for a six-disc changer which, sadly, resides in the center console eating up precious storage space.

Conclusion: The Logic 7 system as found in the 335i delivers acceptable sound for a premium stereo. It doesn't knock our socks off like the 7 Series system does and, in the end, the Mark Levinson sounds noticeably better even to the casual listener. — Brian Moody, Road Test Editor

2008 Mercedes-Benz C350 Sport

Overall Grade: A-

How does it sound: A
Harman's Logic 7 system always sounds great no matter what car it's in. With the system's new ability to play DVD-A discs combined with discrete 5.1 surround sound, it sounds even better.

Bass is deep although it's not as well rounded or punchy as we'd like. Highs and mids are bright and clear and very little distortion creeps in no matter what type of music you like no matter the volume. The lack of a midrange adjustment is curious but most owners will never really miss it.

DVD discs obviously sound best. Even two-channel CDs sound very good, as this system rivals even those from stellar Mark Levinson. Although both the BMW 3 Series and C350 use Logic 7 audio systems it's the Benz's systems that sounds best. It's richer and fuller sounding overall.

How does it work: B
Order the Multimedia package and you get an upgrade from a 5-inch screen to a 7-inch screen. It also gets you a navigation system, six-disc CD changer and the Logic 7 signal processing. Although it may be gimmicky, the larger screen with the Multimedia package neatly folds into the dash with just the touch of a button. If you're not using the nav screen or just don't want to see the monitor sticking out of the dash, you can fold it away but still listen to music and control it with redundant buttons on the dash or steering wheel.

Every 2008 C-Class is fitted with the push-and-turn control wheel we first saw in the S-Class and it works well with this audio and nav system with one notable exception. Most functions are highly intuitive and easy to master and use of the control wheel is intuitive for the most part. The one exception has to do with loading CDs into the changer. The logical method would be to select "CD Changer" and then highlight the number slot you want to add a disc to. Instead you need to press the eject button and then select "fill slots." That's not exactly intuitive. On the other hand it does have an "eject all discs" feature that saves time.

Accessing CD or DVD tracks as well as the hard drive and PC card is done via that same wheel although it displays horizontally — highlight and click on "tracks" in the lower menu bar and the track numbers display vertically. The interface overall is not perfect but you'll scarcely have to crack the manual on this one.

The navigation system is almost as easy to use with a few exceptions. Bland colors, small lettering and too many streets without names make this one of the most lackluster navigation systems — this is especially odd given the sharp look of the larger screen otherwise. The rotating wheel

Special features: There are few factory-installed audio systems that are as robust and flexible as that found in the new C-Class. Full iPod connectivity is a dealer-installed accessory and is well worth the extra $375. This combined with the hard drive, PC card slot, DVD audio and video capabilities make this version of the Logic 7 one of the most compelling sound systems on the market. Also, $2,700 for the Multimedia package is a bargain considering it includes both a navigation system and premium audio system.

Conclusion: The C350's optional audio system combined with navigation should cost more than $2,700 given all that it includes. Regardless of price, the C350's stereo is very flexible, robust and delivers excellent sound quality — exactly what we'd expect from a car with the three0point star. — Brian Moody, Road Test Editor

Inside Line Editor in Chief Scott Oldham says:
These two cars are the same, only different. Apples and oranges? No. More same than that. It's more like choosing between a Granny Smith and a Washington, only with less downside.

Deciding between The Godfather and The Godfather Part II is a worthwhile analogy. Pam Anderson or Carmen Electra is a similar dilemma. Pebble Beach or the Woodward Dream Cruise. Babe Ruth or Lou Gehrig. Autumn in New York or Paris in the springtime.

And my references are all extremely outdated. But my point is made. These are two awfully fine machines anybody would be lucky to call his own.

I'm copping out, aren't I? Doing the whole "both cars are really good" thing. And if there's one thing you hate more than anything it's the "both cars are really good" thing.

You're right. Enough wavering. As good as these cars are, I do prefer one over the other.

And I choose the BMW 335i. It's still the one to buy if driving means something to you. If getting to work is as important as getting home. The BMW is quick enough to blow the Mercedes C350 off the road, yet that performance comes without sacrificing comfort. The 335i never feels crude, harsh or unrefined. No other car plays both sides of that fence (performance and refinement) so perfectly.

As much as I like the new C350, from where I sit the BMW 335i is still the ultimate small German sport sedan.

By the way, I also prefer Granny Smiths, The Godfather, Carmen, Woodward, Lou and NYC.

For this sport sedan comparison, we chose only those features we felt contribute to the sporting character of the car itself, or those which were critical to the sport sedan category. In other words, a competitive player in this highly charged field should be offered with the following features, either standard or optionally available.

Sure, a good sport should have sporting goods, but we had to make one concession to the Mercedes-Benz, however. The optionally available Multimedia package is so outstanding, we needed to award it somehow, and this seemed like the right place.

Features

Features
2007 BMW 335i Sedan 2008 Mercedes-Benz C350 Sport
Bi-xenon headlamps S O
Dynamic stability/traction control S S
Manual transmission S N/A
Multimedia package N/A O
Paddle-shifted automatic transmission O N/A
Smart-key entry/start O N/A
Sport package O S

Key:
S: Standard
O: Optional
N/A: Not Available

Bi-xenon headlamps: Hey, you know what? It gets dark at night, and if you're making the Friday-night blast to the lake so you get glassy water on Saturday morning, you need to see as far up the mountain road as possible. Bi-xenon (meaning xenon bulbs for both high and low beams) is standard on the 335i, optional on the C350. If fitted, both vehicles' bi-xenon headlamps turn with the steering wheel.

Dynamic stability/traction control: No longer a feature associated with high-end marques, stability and traction control systems can now be found on base-model Scions. What now distinguishes a sophisticated system from a widely used version is the manufacturers' ability to write intricate programming that doesn't simply shut the car down at the first inkling of tire squeal. A dynamic stability/traction control system allows some degree of aggressive driving before a minor almost-unnoticed adjustment to the car's behavior is made, followed by the "Hail Mary" you would notice that saves you a call to the insurance company. Both of these sedans have sophisticated systems.

Manual transmission: No self-respecting sport sedan manufacturer would dream of not offering a manual transmission to satiate true driving enthusiasts. While automatic transmissions are getting quicker, smarter and more efficient, there's still nothing so rewarding as knowing how to properly operate three pedals while rowing your own gears. Check one for BMW.

Multimedia package: This just might be the best, most easily navigated and understood infotainment system there is in any car right now. It'll be the best $2,700 you ever spend. The package upgrades the stereo to 450 watts of Harman Kardon Logic 7 Dolby Digital/DTS 5.1 surround sound with 12 speakers, plus 4GB of room on a hard drive to rip audio files (from a CD/DVD-A/MP3 or PC card), plus a high-def 7-inch screen to view a vastly improved navigation system (almost as good as in a Lexus), and when the car is in Park, you may watch your favorite movie on the DVD-Video player in freakishly good surround sound that's probably better than what you enjoy at home.

Paddle-shifted automatic transmission: In lieu of the aforementioned DIY method of shifting gears, we like to see some sort of manual interaction available with an automatic, preferably with a set of paddles. How those paddles actually function is another story, but both of these cars had paddles: Optional on the BMW; absent from the Mercedes.

Smart-key entry/start: Like steering wheel audio controls once were a "Wow, I wish every car had these" feature (and practically are), so, too, are these so-called smart keys. From the linty bottom of your pocket or purse, they communicate with the car to allow unlocking/locking and even starting the car without digging or pressing an illegible button on the key itself: Optional on the BMW; not available on the C350.

Sport package: It means different things to different manufacturers. In this case, we're looking for specific wheels, tires, suspension tuning, but also a sport-specific driver's seat, steering wheel, and/or other distinguishing interior modifications. These two offer all of the above and more.

Final Rankings

Final Rankings
Item Weight 2007 BMW 335i 2008 Infiniti G37
Personal Rating 2.5% 100.0% 50.0%
Recommended Rating 2.5% 100.0% 50.0%
Evaluation Score 35.0% 85.3% 77.9%
Feature Content 15.0% 52.4% 76.2%
Performance 25.0% 97.0% 86.9%
Price 20.0% 91.1% 100.0%
Total Score 100.0% 85.2% 82.9%
Final Ranking 1 2
$46,200 $42,413

Personal Rating (2.5%): Purely subjective. After the test, each participating editor was asked to rank the cars in order of preference based on which he or she would buy if money were no object.

Recommended Rating (2.5%): After the test, each participating editor was asked to rank the two coupes in order of preference based on which he or she thought would be best for the average consumer shopping in this segment.

29-Point Evaluation (35%): Each participating editor ranked each car based on a comprehensive 29-point evaluation. The evaluation covered everything from exterior design to cupholders. Scoring was calculated on a point system, and the scores listed are averages based on all test participants' evaluations.

Feature Content (15%): For this category, the editors picked the top 7 features they thought would be most beneficial to the consumer shopping in this segment. For each vehicle, the score was based on the amount of actual features it had versus the total possible (7). Standard and optional equipment were taken into consideration.

Performance Testing (25%): Each coupe was subjected to a set of performance tests that measure acceleration, braking, speed through a 600-foot slalom course and lateral gs on a 200-foot skid pad. Scores were calculated by giving the better-performing coupe in each category 100 percent. The lesser performer was awarded points based on how close it came to the top car's score.

Price (20%): The numbers listed were the result of a simple percentage calculation based on the least expensive vehicle in the comparison test. Using the "as tested" prices of the actual evaluation vehicles, the least expensive one received a score of 100, with the remaining car receiving a lesser score based on how much each one costs.

Vehicle
Model year2007
MakeBMW
Model3 Series
Style335i 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 6M)
Base MSRP$39,675
As-tested MSRP$46,650
Drivetrain
Drive typeRear-wheel drive
Engine typeTwin turbocharged DOHC 24-valve Inline-6
Displacement (cc/cu-in)2,979cc (182cu-in)
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)300 @ 5,800
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)300 @ 1,400
Transmission type6-speed Manual (opt 6-speed Automatic as-tested)
Chassis
Suspension, frontIndependent, MacPherson struts, coil springs, and stabilizer bar
Suspension, rearIndependent, multilink, coil springs, and stabilizer bar
Steering typeSpeed-proportional rack-and-pinion power steering
Tire brandBridgestone
Tire modelPotenza RE050A run-flat
Tire size, front225/40R18 88W
Tire size, rear255/35R18 90W
Brakes, frontventilated disc
Brakes, rearventilated disc
Track Test Results
0-45 mph (sec.)3.3
0-60 mph (sec.)5
0-75 mph (sec.)7.4
1/4-mile (sec. @ mph)13.6 @ 103.0
Braking, 30-0 mph (ft.)28
60-0 mph (ft.)112
Slalom, 6 x 100 ft. (mph)69.2
Skid pad, 200-ft. diameter (lateral g)0.88
Sound level @ idle (dB)46.9
@ Full throttle (dB)76.3
@ 70 mph cruise (dB)62.5
Test Driver Ratings & Comments
Acceleration commentsLaunch was a bog or boil affair: Too much throttle and the tires would spin wildly in 1st gear, then the tranny would rapidly shift to 2nd even in manual mode. Too little throttle and it would leave slowly, off boost. Still, this engine is awesome.
Braking ratingExcellent
Braking commentsBenchmark performance, again. Some idle-stroke then, like hitting a concrete wall, the pedal stops moving and so does the car. See our exhaustive notes from the many tests we've done on the 335i. All apply.
Handling ratingExcellent
Handling commentsA limited-slip would convey more of the chassis' intentions on the skid pad, but the 335i still turns with the best in the class. Through the slalom it might not be the quickest (G37 with rear-steer is quicker), but the 335i feels the best, with intuitive steering and brilliant transitional response. A very willing dance partner in any test of handling.
Testing Conditions
Elevation (ft.)421
Temperature (F)86.9
Wind (mph, direction)3.1
Fuel Consumption
EPA fuel economy (mpg)19 City / 29 Highway
Edmunds observed (mpg)21 average (24.3 best - 17.2 worst)
Fuel tank capacity (U.S. gal.)16.1
Dimensions & Capacities
Curb weight, mfr. claim (lbs.)3,593 mfr (3,641 as tested; 50/50 dist)
Length (in.)178.2
Width (in.)71.5
Height (in.)55.9
Wheelbase (in.)108.7
Legroom, front (in.)41.5
Legroom, rear (in.)34.6
Headroom, front (in.)38.5
Headroom, rear (in.)37.5
Seating capacity5
Cargo volume (cu-ft)12
Max. cargo volume, seats folded (cu-ft)Folding seats are optional; no data given
Warranty
Bumper-to-bumper4 years / 50,000 miles
Powertrain4 years / 50,000 miles
Corrosion12 years / Unlimited miles
Roadside assistance4 years / Unlimited miles
Free scheduled maintenance4 years / 50,000 miles
Safety
Front airbagsStandard
Side airbagsStandard dual front
Head airbagsStandard front and rear
Antilock brakes4-wheel ABS
Electronic brake enhancementsBraking assist, electronic brakeforce distribution, fade compensation, brake drying, hill-start assist
Traction controlStandard
Stability controlStandard
Rollover protectionNot available
Emergency assistance systemOptional (included in Premium package)
NHTSA crash test, driverNot tested
NHTSA crash test, passengerNot tested
NHTSA crash test, side frontNot tested
NHTSA crash test, side rearNot tested
NHTSA rollover resistanceNot tested
Vehicle
Model year2008
MakeMercedes-Benz
ModelC-Class
StyleC350 Sport 4dr Sedan
Base MSRP$37,275
As-tested MSRP$41,350
Drivetrain
Drive typeRear-wheel drive
Engine typeDOHC, 24-valve V6
Displacement (cc/cu-in)3,498cc (213cu-in)
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)268 @ 6,000
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)258 @ 2,400
Transmission type7-speed Automatic
Chassis
Suspension, frontIndependent, MacPherson struts, coil springs, and stabilizer bar
Suspension, rearIndependent, multilink, coil springs, and stabilizer bar
Steering typeSpeed-proportional rack-and-pinion power steering
Tire brandContinental
Tire modelContiSport Contact3
Tire size, front225/40ZR18 92Y
Tire size, rear255/35ZR18 94Y
Brakes, frontventilated disc
Brakes, rearventilated disc
Track Test Results
0-45 mph (sec.)4
0-60 mph (sec.)6.2
0-75 mph (sec.)9
1/4-mile (sec. @ mph)14.5 @ 96.5
Braking, 30-0 mph (ft.)30
60-0 mph (ft.)118
Slalom, 6 x 100 ft. (mph)67.6
Skid pad, 200-ft. diameter (lateral g)0.83
Sound level @ idle (dB)43.3
@ Full throttle (dB)75.8
@ 70 mph cruise (dB)65.2
Test Driver Ratings & Comments
Acceleration commentsThe best launch was with the traction control shut off, but without brake-torque or wheelspin. Simply "slap 'n go" worked just right with a hint of slip. Upshifts are quick and almost seamless right at redline.
Braking ratingExcellent
Braking commentsNoticed some initial idle stroke and booster hiss, but otherwise the brakes are extremely effective and easily modulated.
Handling ratingExcellent
Handling commentsBoth the balance and grip are trustworthy and it's easy to find the limits. While there's certainly more information coming from the steering than in the previous-gen C-Class, this is by no means a class-leader in terms of feel. Good, just not great.
Testing Conditions
Elevation (ft.)421
Temperature (F)86.9
Wind (mph, direction)3.1
Fuel Consumption
EPA fuel economy (mpg)18 City / 27Highway (est)
Edmunds observed (mpg)23 average (25.6 best - 19.9 worst)
Fuel tank capacity (U.S. gal.)17.4
Dimensions & Capacities
Curb weight, mfr. claim (lbs.)3,498 mfr (3,592 as tested; 53/47 dist)
Length (in.)182.3
Width (in.)69.7
Height (in.)56.3
Wheelbase (in.)108.7
Legroom, front (in.)41.7
Legroom, rear (in.)33.4
Headroom, front (in.)37.1
Headroom, rear (in.)36.9
Seating capacity5
Cargo volume (cu-ft)16.8 (VDA method) 12.5 est. (SAE method)
Max. cargo volume, seats folded (cu-ft)Folding seats are optional; no data given
Warranty
Bumper-to-bumper4 years/50,000 miles
Powertrain4 years/50,000 miles
Corrosion4 years/50,000 miles
Roadside assistanceUnlimited
Free scheduled maintenanceNot available
Safety
Front airbagsStandard
Side airbagsStandard dual front
Head airbagsStandard front and rear
Antilock brakes4-wheel ABS
Electronic brake enhancementsElectronic brakeforce distribution, brake assist, hill-start assist, brake drying
Traction controlStandard
Stability controlStandard
Rollover protectionNot available
Emergency assistance systemOptional
NHTSA crash test, driverNot available
NHTSA crash test, passengerNot available
NHTSA crash test, side frontNot available
NHTSA crash test, side rearNot available
NHTSA rollover resistanceNot available
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