2008 Mercedes-Benz C300 Sport Long-Term Road Test

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2008 Mercedes-Benz C300 Sport: Not a Bad Parts Hauler

January 20, 2009

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I'm pretty sure the junkyard where I bought these wheels for my truck had never seen a Mercedes-Benz in the parking lot. And judging by the looks of the guys who helped me load the wheels into the C300's trunk, it was definitely the first time any parts from said junkyard were ever actually deposited into a Mercedes-Benz.

But as you can see, all four wheels fit just fine. And thanks to a lovingly thrown down towel, it suffered no permanent scrapes or bruises.

In fact, it seems as though our C300 has suffered very little wear over its 21,000 miles. The doors still close with a light touch and a solid thunk. There are no squeaks, no rattles, nothing. There are virtually no signs of wear anywhere in the car as far as I can tell and that's nothing to sneeze at given how this car has been passed around.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor @ 21,007 miles

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2008 Mercedes Benz C300: Deal Breaker for Parents?

December 29, 2008

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When driving alone, I love the C300. It has sport sedan handling combined with an excellent engine - each time I drive it I'm reminded how, for the money, I wouldn't need a C350 or a me too 3-series (double "me too!" in black).

Sadly, there is one problem with the C300. The rear seats are sculpted too narrow making it VERY difficult to use my kid's booster seat. It's almost impossible to get the seat belt clipped in - usually my 6 year old can do it himself, not on the C-Class. Maybe this Graco booster is too wide? Not sure but it is a huge hassle. A new $40 booster seat isn't the end of the world but I'd want to know this before I bought the car.

Bottom line, take all your stuff to the dealership before buying any car - iPod, phone, baby seat, booster, stroller - whatever you use regularly, make sure it works and/or fits with the car you want.

Brian Moody, Senior Automotive Editor @ 20,056 miles.

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2008 Mercedes-Benz C300: Most Three-Pointed Stars In Segment

November 18, 2008

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According to our TMV pricing tool, our long-term 2008 Mercedes-Benz C300 Sport would cost $41,370 as an '09 model. That's pretty much dead-even with the comparably-equipped '09 Infiniti G37S we tested recently.

You'd never guess as much if you drove these cars back to back.

Why? The Benz's steering is relatively light and uncommunicative, and the steering wheel itself is too big and generically contoured; the Sport-Packaged G37, conversely, has wonderfully weighty and talkative steering, along with one of the best steering wheels in the business. Mercedes' seven-speed automatic is slow-witted in this application, requiring far too much time to execute full-throttle downshifts; the G's new seven-speed unit, on the other hand, downshifts briskly and matches revs to boot, even in Drive. Somewhat surprisingly, the Benz's interior isn't any nicer than the G's -- materials quality is comparable, and I actually prefer Infiniti's "Washi" aluminum trim to the C300's somber blacked-out upper dash. As for handling, forget it. The G is a tail-out hooligan with manners, while the C feels like a numb and less-capable 3 Series.

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2008 Mercedes-Benz C300 Sport - Bath Time

September 23, 2008

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I took a few days off last week and my car of choice was the Mercedes C300. It's attractive, comfortable, drives smoothly and likes my iPod. It's my go-to car whenever I have some free time. It's perfect for my height (5'4") and also accommodates my taller passengers.

Only problem: Ever since our C300's camping trip in the dust bowl, it's been oozing dust from every seam.

So, once again, it made a trip to the car wash. Lucky for us, our local car wash has a great little gift shop attached to it. We never mind waiting around for a car to get a bath.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @ 15,600 miles

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2008 Mercedes-Benz C300: Wild Wild West

September 03, 2008

For the holiday weekend, I decided to get out and do a little camping and stay at my family's cabin in Tahoe. In the far reaches of Nevada I set up my tent only to be assaulted by nature.

A gentle breeze soon escalated into a dust storm that raged for seven hours. My tent wasn't built for such forces. It was so bad at times I couldn't see the sun or the hood of our Mercedes I had taken cover in.

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The holiday fun had ceased to be. Nature won by ripping up my high-summer seasonal tent and filling it with ten pounds of fine silt. A few items inside the now violently flopping tent took off into the sky like rockets. I ran out into the gusting dust clouds to recover as much of my equipment as possible. When I jumped back into the car I sneezed mud and dust came pouring out of my ears like upturned bags of flour.

I drove the four hours back to Tahoe in the middle of the night to recover at my family's cabin. In the morning I got a good look at the disaster that was our C300. It was white, not the original dark gray and the interior was tan, not the original black. I vacuumed out the engine bay and interior as best I could. I found a coin-op car wash on my way back to LA and hosed off the outside. I was further depressed when flows of mud ran out of the cracks and crevices from the massive quantities of hidden silt I drove off. The long drive back to LA was a snifflely one as dust still saturated the interior.

The first thing I did when I arrived was to dropped it off at the local car wash for a well deserved detail. Hopefully that $150 will do some good.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer @ 15,130 miles

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2008 Mercedes-Benz C300 Sport: XGames taxi

August 04, 2008

XGames BMX

Rolled out to the XGames this past weekend to check out BMX, skateboarding, and the SuperMotoX and Moto Freestyle events. We took the C300 and, boy, was this pup out of place. You see, there's not a lot of luxury cars at the XGames; most of the guests showed up in Tall-Boy pickup trucks like the one in the pic.

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2008 Mercedes C300 Sport: Door Lock Blues

July 21, 2008

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This weekend our long-term 2008 Mercedes-Benz C300 lost one of its door lock plunger trim pieces. Don't know how, and neither of my kids is owning up to it, but it's not where it's supposed to be.

Worst part? I vacuumed the little piece of plastic up off the carpet at the car wash yesterday. Thought it was a pen cap, and it didn't occur to me what it was until it was too late.

So instead of just snapping it back in place, we'll get a new one installed at the car's next scheduled service, which according to the Benz's computer is a short 500 miles away.

Scott Oldham, Edmunds.com Editor in Chief @ 12,603 miles

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2008 Mercedes-Benz C300 Sport: Armrests/Console Storage Bin

July 16, 2008

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Let's talk about front-seat storage. That red arrow points to the button on the driver side which opens the center console storage area in our long-term Mercedes-Benz C300 Sport. There's an identical button for the front passenger. The placement of the button so far back makes pushing it rather awkward, which is my main nit-picky complaint, but it works just fine (unlike our long-term BMW X5's).

When closed, the armrests (which serve as doors to the storage bin) are comfortable enough, though I personally never really use armrests when I'm driving, so they could be covered in stinging nettles and angry jellyfish and I wouldn't notice. But that's just me.

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2008 Mercedes-Benz C300 Sport: Sweet Austerity

June 24, 2008

I like dark interiors in cars, and I like the austerity of our 2008 Mercedes-Benz C300's cabin.

Sometimes dark interiors are an opportunity to camouflage materials cost-cutting from the brutal reality of natural light (see previous-generation C-Class or current-generation Infiniti G35). But in our '08 C300 Sport, the materials quality meets a high standard, so evidently, the cabin looks the way it does because the designers intended it. It's a cold interior...

Next to a light-colored Audi or Lexus with bird's-eye galore, you might call it emotionless.

But I like its down-to-business character. It's not trying to coddle me or make me feel something about the C300 that I shouldn't really be feeling. All it does is put me in the right position to drive and manage the controls (most of which aren't too bad to use since the advent of New COMAND). And while this isn't a car that inspires me to take it on any really interesting roads, I know that wherever we go, it will be an orderly affair.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 11,456 miles

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2008 Mercdes-Benz C300: Eye Popping

June 24, 2008

One of my complaints about modern German cars is that I think many features are way over engineered. I know this isn't a new topic or a mind-blowing concept so save the comments folks.

However, one over engineered aspect of our C300 that I think the folks in Stuttgart got right is the pop out screen. Complicated?..

Yes. Necessary? No. Cool? Oh yeah.

In my opinion, cars in today's hyper-competitive luxury segment aren't all that different from each other in terms of packaging, so it's the details and styling that will help differentiate yourself from the competition. In a recent trip up to the San Francisco bay area this past weekend, the pop out screen did the "oooooh" factor plenty from friends and family.

Is it going to be the key factor in a sale? I seriously doubt it. People have different tastes and preferences, but the cool factor of a high-resolution screen that pops out of a dash will resonate with a lot of buyers. It's that slight edge that might make the difference in a sale.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer

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2008 Mercedes-Benz C300: Cruise in lieu of turn signal

May 19, 2008

I'm rolling down the freeway coming back from a downtown restaurant when I make a new discovery about our Benz C300. I'm making the transition from the 105 to the 405, which is a big, sweeping on-ramp. As I am a model citizen, I signal my lane change in the middle of the curve. As I near the apex, I lift off the throttle, but instead feel -- what the crap! -- acceleration. I had unintentionally actuated the cruise control stalk and set my cruise speed.

As you can see in the photo, the cruise stalk is located just above the turn signal. The position of the turn signal in most other vehicles is usually about mid-point between the turn signal and cruise stalks on the Benz. So I have occasionally activated the cruise when I meant to signal a turn. Is this common with Benz owners, or am I just a dumbass?

Albert Austria, Senior Vehicle Evaluation Engineer @ 8,664 miles

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2008 Mercedes-Benz C300: A Fair Price for Comfort?

May 06, 2008

Slipping into 2008 Mercedes-Benz C300 Sport gives me an immediate sense of well-being. The seats are broad, firm and easily tailored to my preferred position. Ride quality is similarly firm, but never harsh -- just a typical European compromise of comfort and control. And while the 3.0-liter V6 is rarely exciting, its accessible torque band (221 pound-feet at just 2,700 rpm) allows for authoritative passing.

Among the many choices available for solo commuters, I really don't think you can do much better than our $39,450 Benz for day-to-day pleasantness. The trouble is, I find myself thinking of it as a rear-drive Honda Accord, and other than an extra smidge of fun on back roads, I'm hard-pressed to grant the Mercedes C300 any big advantages over our $30,895 Accord EX-L Navi.

In addition, when I exited in Fontana, California (shown to gorgeous effect above), I stopped for fuel. After being driven 251 mostly-highway miles by Technical Director Dan Edmunds and me, the C300 took 14.048 gallons of fuel. That's just 17.8 mpg and that's tough to take from the base V6.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 7,771 miles

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2008 Mercedes-Benz C300 Sport: COMAND 2.0

February 25, 2008

2008 MB C300 -- Brent Romans

The 2008 Mercedes-Benz C-Class comes standard with a new control interface that utilizes a wheel-based controller and a pop-up display monitor. It's very similar to the interface that debuted on the current S-Class, and it's vastly better than Mercedes' previous-generation COMAND navigation interface.

In driving our C300 for about two weeks, I never had to crack the owner's manual on how to figure something out. It's not as effortless to use as I might have hoped – I often found myself hunting in menus for certain functions and spending too much time moving the wheel controller around since the display isn't touchscreen.

But overall it's pretty good interface, and it's certainly better than iDrive.

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2008 Mercedes C300: How Much For The 3-Pointed Star?

February 11, 2008

2008 MB C300 -- Brent Romans

Here's a thought about our long-term Mercedes-Benz C300: Where's all the stuff?

Our car doesn't have autodimming mirrors, HID headlights, keyless ignition, heated seats, driver memory positioning, fold-down rear seats, a backup camera, HomeLink or satellite radio. It doesn't have leather seating, either, though the "MB Tex" cow-free version is a very pleasingly simulation.

You can get most of the above features via the C-Class' Premium II Package. But doing so would add $2,750. Chose leather and it'd be another $1,550. At this point, our C300 would cost $43,750. Our Infiniti G35, for comparison, has almost all of the features I listed above and rings in at $37,400.

Personally, I don't mind so much that our C300 isn't the luxury bonanza one might think it is. So far, I'm enjoying it quite a bit. But the average luxury sedan shopper might not be as kind. One could do a lot of things with an extra $6,000.

Then again, the average shopper might think that the big three-pointed star in the grille more than makes up for it.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 6,083 miles

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2008 Mercedes-Benz C300 Sport: Let Go Already!

February 04, 2008

First off, let me say that I enjoyed the C300 and though I like ripping acceleration as much as any other car buff, I don't know why anyone would spend the extra $5,300 for the C350. This 3-liter, 228-hp V6 has plenty of gusto for driving in the real world, provided you put the transmission in Sport mode where it holds lower gears longer and provides quicker downshifts.

The performance is usable too. At one point I was on a road that went from two lanes to one, and had the right of way when some idiot in an older Camry decided to come up along side me (rather than blending in behind) and stay there as the road started its lane reduction. I wasn't sure what this guy was thinking (well, evidently, he wasn't) so a quick jab to the gas quickly jetted the C300 ahead of the dolt without breaking a sweat or making a lot of racket.

My only complaint thus far concerns the ignition operation. Like every other Benz I've driven with this funky key, it's like the car doesn't want to let go of the key after you turn it off and attempt to pull it out. It's not a defect as they've all done this and it takes the same little tug to pull the key out. I'm flattered that the Benz likes me and wants to stay out and run around some more, but sheesh, just let go, will ya?

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 5,588 miles.

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2008 Mercedes-Benz C300 Sport: That Tears It!

January 07, 2008

My first quality time with our long-term 2008 Mercedes-Benz C300 proved quite enjoyable overall. The 3.0-liter V6 has plenty of power and mid-range torque -- enough, in fact, to make me question the extra cost of the C350 version. The seven-speed automatic is quite responsive in "Sport" mode, though its refusal to upshift at low speeds, and associated "dragging" effect might have you initially checking the emergency brake setting. That was easy to get used to, as was the car's standard-issue M-B "vault-ness" that makes this car feel more substantial than many entry-luxury competitors.

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2008 Mercedes Benz C300: Rear Seat Headroom

December 18, 2007

If tons of rear seat head room is important to you, you might not want a C-Class. Then again, I hauled two kids back there all weekend with no complaints. Those who are six feet or taller will want to brace themselves when speed bumps come up, you could whack your head on the roof.

Brian Moody, Road Test Editor @ 3550 miles.

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