As a car buying consultant I help folks get deals on all kinds of cars. But for some reason the car that I broker the most is the Mercedes C300 4matic; I've done 4 of these in the past several months. Naturally, I was curious as to what makes these sport-sedans so desirable. This weekend I got a chance to take one out. One of my clients that landed a C300 happened to be my wife's cousin. She came by for a dinner party and brought her new ride.
(Full disclosure- Mercedes really could care less if I drove the 2013 C300, but I needed a ride to pick up my car and my wife's cousin offered to let me take her Benz for a spin.)
I maybe drove this car for a total of 15 minutes, it was also dark out so no pics (I will rely on other sources for that)
This is what I learned.
Of the BMW, Audi, and the Benz I think the Mercedes has the nicer styling, especially in Sport trim. It's a sharp looking car. In luxury trim, it looks like a shrunken, dated, S-class. One dealer told me, "Only people over 60 buy the Luxury trim C-class.)
Buttons everywhere, but nicely placed and that flat-bottom steering wheel is a joy to hold (to turn is another story more on that later)
Despite the fact it says C300 on the back, this car does not have a 3.0L V-6 for 2012 (I think) the motor was upgraded to the 3.5. It makes 248 hp and tq. This engine is very smooth and pulls nicely. I would be really curious to see how it feels in the C350.
Stops were confident not jarring. The front drilled rotors do a solid job of slowing this thing down.
A nice balance between comfortable and sporty, leaning slightly more towards comfort. I also really like the ride-height of this car. You sit low, it feels good.
It cornered nice and flat. I didn't push it too hard but I am confident you could blast through some exit ramps with ease. Now the steering feel I felt was overweight and had little feedback. After hopping in my Mazda3 immediately after, I am reminded how great of a job Mazda did with my car in terms of "feel."
The auto-box shifts smooth, it's nothing special but you don't notice it either so I guess that is a good thing. There were no flappy paddles.
This car was optioned with the Harmon/Kardon system, all I can say is it sounds better than the radio in my Mazda
Holy mother of Nav screen! Yeah there are some other tech goodies as well, like back-up cam and satellite radio.
So perhaps these scores are a little skewed because of the short drive, but from my limited wheel time, I can tell why these things are so popular. It is a really well put together German sport-sedan. If I could have three pedals I probably would enjoy this as a daily-driver. I should also mention the other reason they sell so well...zeDiscounts. After I landed this deal, my client told her friend who hired me to get him a lease on a BMW, but he had a limited budget. Now the cheapest lease I could land on $42k 320xi was about 420/mo. I got him a $46k, C300 4matic for 335/mo (same down payment, same terms). As "superior" as the BMW may be for most of us, for everyone else it is hard to argue with those numbers.