2008 Mercedes-Benz 300-Class Long-Term Road Test


2008 Mercedes-Benz C300: Jumpin' Jack Flash, it's a Compact Flash

September 17, 2008

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I must have looked past this a dozen or more times, but it didn't register. But this week I'm having trouble with the PCMCIA card slot in my laptop, so the little light bulb above my head finally went on. Our 2008 Mercedes-Benz C300 Sport has exactly the same sort of PC Card slot in plain sight, fiddly eject button and all.

Because I have a laptop, it just so happens that I have Compact Flash cards and a PCMCIA card. We use them to transfer data from our VBOX data logger on track days. And I have CDs. So I ripped a few tunes onto a CF card and gave it a try.

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After plugging it all in, I needed to do nothing as the audio system recognized the memory card and began playing my tunes striaght away. A couple of flicks with the COMAND dial later, and I'm seeing a logical folder sturcture with album titles and track names.

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Song titles show up on the multifunction display on the instrument panel and can be stepped through using the left-hand steering button, too. But, curiously, the cell phone hang-up button does not allow one to "zoom out" to change artists or albums like it does when an iPod is connected. Here, you do that with the COMAND wheel. Consistency would be nice.

And just like the slot on my laptop, there is a fiddly little eject button to get the card back out.

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It works great, and 4 GB or 8GB memory cards are cheaper than MP3 players and iPods. But only laptop owners are liable to have the PCMCIA card adapter necessary to use it. You can buy one at Best Buy, of course, but it seems silly that this is a two-part process. Mercedes-Benz must think so, too, because a newer Benz I drove last week had a smaller SD card slot insead, no adapter required.

Discuss...

Dan Edmunds, Director of Automotive Testing @ 15,462 miles

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