2008 Mercedes-Benz C300 Sport Long-Term Road Test

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2007 Mercedes-Benz C300 Sport: Flips its Lid

January 23, 2008

First hood detent -- Photo by James Riswick

Most cars look like this when they open their hoods.

The C300 Sport can look like this.

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2008 Mercedes-Benz: Ugly Cute

January 12, 2009

I got behind the wheel of our C300 again for the first time in a long time and was reminded how much I like this car.

uglycute.jpg

What I like most (and many will disagree with me) is it's looks. At first I thought the snub nosed German was a little much, but over time it has definitely grown on me. It has presence.

Granted the design is due to upcoming EU pedestrian safety regulations, but it's tough guy good looks are like putting a boxer with a mangled schnoz into a sharp looking tuxedo. He might not win a beauty contest, but his intimidating gaze won't let you doubt his style.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer

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2007 Mercedes-Benz C300: A National Treasure

January 10, 2008

National Treasure Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz may be a national treasure of Germany, but that didn't stop them from dropping a few models into the 100-percent American National Treasure: Book of Secrets. Specifically, a Mercedes-Benz C280 Sport driven by Nicholas Cage's Benjamin Franklin Gates on a chaotic car chase through the meandering streets of Central London. Pursued by Ed Harris in a Range Rover (along with henchmen in a London cab and a beer-keg-hauling lorry), the whiteish C-Class performs rather well. About a quarter of the chase is done with Gates driving backwards, with (thankfully) no Rockford attempted at any time by the novice driver.

Despite the name difference, the United Kingdom's C280 features the same engine as our C300, so basically, our car is a movie star.

My guess as to the name difference is that in the U.K, there are 3.0-liter gasoline (C280) and diesel (C320 CDI) engines available. Diane Kruger's Abigail Chase also drives what looks to be a GL550.

If you're wondering, the movie is OK. It's more of a stretch than the original film (that's saying something), but if you liked National Treasure, there's a good chance you'll at least be entertained by Book of Secrets. Just don't use it for historical purposes -- there's not really a lake behind Mt. Rushmore, I checked Google Maps.

James Riswick, Associate Editor

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2008 Mercedes-Benz C300 Sport Wheels: Fashion or Function?

January 05, 2009

c300-whl-crop.jpg

Our C300 Sport came with these beautiful 18" AMG wheels, the merits and liabilities about them has already been discussed by many of you, but there's one facet to them that may have been overlooked. That big / ///AMG block cast into the wheel is directly opposite the valve stem. Wonder why?

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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: Tell Me Why I'm Wrong

August 13, 2008

C300.JPG

There's a really cool web site that attempts to determine your gender by looking at web browsing habits.

I think you can do the same thing just using cars - for example, Mercedes Benz C300, BMW 1 series, Mini Cooper, Hyundai Veracruz and Toyota Yaris all seem to have a feminine slant. I've yet to see a guy driving any of these cars.

On the other hand, BMW M3, Audi A4, Nissan Altima and Chevy Tahoe have a certain boyish quality. The C Class is still fun and attractive - even though our long term car is not a C350 Sport, it never feels down on power. I'd get the C300 and save the money, then again I'm not a girl so I'd probably get another car altogether.

Brian Moody, Road Test Editor

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2008 Mercedes-Benz C300: Do Trey and Matt Know About This?

May 04, 2008

page 77 of the Merceds-Benz COMAND Operator's Manual

I couldn't make my iPod work properly in our 2008 Mercedes-Benz this weekend, so I dug into the 731-page novel that is the C-class operator's manual. Volume one, consisting of 510 pages, is the primary C-class manual. Volume two, a 221-page affair, refers only to the Mercedes-Benz COMAND system. (Yes, I know. But MB caps everything and uses only one "M".)

There isn't a single page in either volume about the integrated iPod connection our Merc clearly has. Instead, each one devotes but one page each to the "aux" jack our car lacks.

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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: It's Double Jointed!

December 20, 2007

Mercedes-Benz C300 Sport Double-Jointed Wiper

Since it's perpetually 72 degrees and sunny here in Los Angeles, we don't get many opportunities to test out things like windshield wipers. In fact, last year I think I used them maybe thrice. So Tuesday's rain gave me an opportunity to become reacquainted with these forgotten automotive staples -- and in our Mercedes-BENZ C300 Sport, good ones at that. Long gone is Mercedes' huge one-blade wiper design, replaced instead by two that manage to cover an impressive amount of windshield.

The passenger side one is double jointed, allowing it a greater range of motion. This isn't a feature unique to Mercedes-BENZ, but it does clear more of the glass and prevents that little shark-fin-shaped wiper gap at the bottom of the windshield.

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2008 Mercedes-Benz C300 Sport: Watch Your Chin!

December 11, 2007

After seeing the trunk lid of our new 2008 Mercedes-Benz C300 Sport fly open, I thought back to what the PR guy from Hyundai said when I had critiqued the Azera's trunk lid for seeming to remain shut when I pressed the trunk release button. He said that the Azera lid doesn't fly open when released because that's how refined cars are. I guess the C300 isn't refined. I wonder if you can take yourself out if you lean a little too close to that opening lid?

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2008 Mercedes-Benz C300: Unimpressive Buying Experience

December 10, 2007

When I was asked to buy a 2008 Mercedes Benz C300 Sport my first stop was True Market Value pricing where I found that the car was selling (back in October) at a whopping discount of $65 off MSRP.

When I'm shopping for an Edmunds car I like to use our Dealer Locator feature. I fill out the request for a free quote and fire them off to local dealers. I always list my cell phone number on the leads form and usually don't answer the opening salvo of calls. In this case, I got four calls from dealerships within four hours. Most of the messages assured me they had the car (or could get it -- beware the "dealer trade").

The sales people would love to have you physically come down to the dealership so they can sweat you in a little sales office and squeeze extra money from you. But if you maintain your distance and work the deal on the phone and email you can usually get what you want in less time, for less hassle and for less money. But old habits die hard. One internet sales woman, with an authoritative British accent, lectured me on the necessity to test drive their car and she could then "find out what I was trying to accomplish." I found this mildly insulting since I already knew what I was "trying to accomplilsh" and felt I was, in fact, accomplishing it.

What made the C300 hard to shop for was that we wanted an odd combination of options: the multimedia package (very popular) and the 18 inch AMG wheels. Whenever I found a car with the multimedia package it didn't have the wheels and vice versa. Then, when I found both, it was a color we didn't want. Finally, Kim Tan, internet saleswoman from Mercedes-Benz of South Bay, in Torrance, CA, assured me she would trade with another dealer and have the car that night for me to pick it up. Guess what? The trade fell through and the car never arrived.

Eventually, Kim got a new shipment of C300s and one matched our needs. She matched our TMV price and I agreed to buy the car for $39,450 plus taxes and fees. I was dropped off at the dealership to sign the contract and pickup the car. The dealership had agreed to take a company check but when I arrived in person they hesitated. I had to wait with no explanation for an extended period before a sales manager appeared, apologized and the deal went through.

Kim did an excellent job explaining the car's features. But on balance, I was not impressed with the Mercedes salespeople I dealt with at South Bay and the other local dealerships. There was an irritating mixture of arrogance and obsequiousness in their attitudes.

Update: the price for the popular 2008 Mercedes-Benz C Class is dropping. Consumers seem to really like the redesigned Mercedes but even with the warm reception, dealers located in areas that have a lot of competition are already selling it for close to invoice.

Philip Reed, Edmunds senior consumer advice editor @3,400 miles

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2008 Mercedes-Benz C300 Sport's Agility Control

December 07, 2007

That C/S button at the bottom of the PRND indicator has nothing to do with the car's suspension. No doubt long-time Mercedes-Benz fans will know it only changes the behavior of the transmission. Why the confusion?

With the release of the 2008 C Class, Mercedes has been actively promoting the car's all-new suspension system with a term which sounds very much like marketing-speak to us: Agility Control. The problem is that some people are assuming that means the car has active dampers or adaptive suspension. Not so. The truth is that in as much as every modern shock absorber uses multi-stage, hydraulic valves that are sensitive to the velocity of the piston within that shock absorber, producing more resistance with faster piston movement, the C300 Sport has such an "active damper."

That's like saying that this year's ExpeNaviBurbaLade has Impact Absorbing Pneumatic Tires.

The problem is that European markets are already enjoying genuine adaptive suspensions on their C Classes. The working name for that feature, which our market will get sometime next year, is Advanced Agility. Online Mercedes-Benz forums are already filled with pages attempting to clarify this nomenclature. It seems that even some U.S. Mercedes-Benz sales staff are telling customers that the button next to the shifter controls the adaptive suspension. When it does arrive in the 2009 C Class, the button controlling truly active dampers will be at the base of the center stack.

Chris Walton, Chief Road Test Editor @ 3,500 miles

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