December 18, 2008
When I listen to my iPod in the Mercedes C300, I choose a play list, hook it up in the glove box, then I can control it on the steering wheel. To advance to the next track I push the down arrow on the left of the steering wheel. It's the opposite in the Cadillac CTS. In the Caddy, you push the up arrow to skip tracks. Either way is fine.
But today I forgot my iPod. To quell my separation anxiety I loaded a CD into the Benz's audio system. But now to advance tracks I need to press the up arrow. What the heck?
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor
September 17, 2008
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.
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
May 05, 2008
Eureka! In our last episode, our 2008 Mercedes-Benz C300's lack of an operator's manual entry on the subject of iPod use or clearly labelled buttonage had left many confounded. There just had to be more functionality from this dedicated iPod connection than we were seeing.
And indeed there is. The key to the whole thing is the small button on the right-hand side of the steering wheel with the telephone icon on it. Once you discover this little nugget, the dedicated iPod connection in the Merc goes from "This sucks!" to "Wow! This is great!" in 5.1 seconds.
Here then is our own Operator's Manual entry:
May 04, 2008
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.
February 25, 2008
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.
January 08, 2008
One of the more promising options in our new C-Class is the dedicated iPod connector. It resides in the glove box, and once you’re connected it’s like having your little music machine right at your finger tips. At least that's what I thought. Turns out it works a little differently. For one, after I plugged in my beat down iPod mini, it took me awhile to figure out how to set the stereo to 'aux'. You think it would be under the mode menu, but it's buried somewhere in 'setup' or something like that.
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.
December 20, 2007
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.