PDA

View Full Version : 2008 Mercedes C300: Affordably luxurious


europrince
10-26-2007, 03:19 PM
http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/driving/story.html?id=ddeb420a-a3e0-4eed-bbd8-5f22307446d1

Brian Harper
National Post


Friday, October 26, 2007


When it came to driving compact German sedans, sometimes, I was in the mood for Mercedes and, sometimes, I was in the mood for BMW. The former, as represented by its C-Class, generally appealed to me with its urbane yet conservative nature, perfect for its stress-relieving comfort and thoughtful amenities. The latter, embodied by the 3 Series, played to the sportier, trendier side, ideal when I was focused, had a specific destination in mind and was running late.

Mercedes is now messing with my moods thanks to its thoroughly redesigned 2008 C-Class. The sleek, aerodynamic shape of the old model has been banished, replaced with a harder, edgier look, defined by the sharp body crease along the side and the sculpted hood. The makeover is bold and aggressive. Where the latest generation of 3 Series lost much of its individualism for a more corporate (albeit still handsome) look, it seems as if the new C, although borrowing styling cues from its larger four-door siblings, is far more distinctive. I like it --a lot.

But, is it window dressing or does the new C-Class have a new attitude to go with its freshly tailored sheet metal? When it comes to the C300 tester, it's mostly the former, the base C model retaining its air of the urbane sophisticate. You see, Mercedes is offering the C-Class in two distinct models: the more traditional C300 and the decidedly muscular C350. The latter is distinguished externally from its mild-mannered sibling by three extended, horizontal louvers in its grille and an oversized Mercedes three-point star smack dab in the middle.

That's not to say the C300 disappoints. Yes, it is more restrained compared with its bulked-up sibling, powered by a relaxed, 228-horsepower 3.0-litre DOHC V6 versus the C350's 268-hp, 3.5L six-cylinder. But it is far from lacking. Under normal circumstances, the C300 is still unhurried off the line, given Mercedes' predilection for second-gear starts, but this can be mitigated by pushing the Comfort/Sport button on the centre console. Changing from Comfort into Sport alters the engine/transmission mapping, slipping the tranny into first for a more aggressive launch and holding each gear a little longer. For those feeling the need to stuff their feet into the firewall, the C300 will respond by zipping to 100 kilometres an hour in a decent 7.3 seconds. Doing so is rather declasse, however, rushing the smooth transfer of power through a silky, optional seven-speedmanumatic transmission (a six-speed manual is standard).

There are numerous appealing aspects to driving the C300, the most dominant being its serene nature, as it quickly, quietly -- and comfortably -- conveys its occupants to their destinations. Having increased its overall dimensions from those of the previous C-Class, the new model is more readily accepting of larger-sized passengers, although the six-footers are better off in the front seats -- legroom in the rear is still somewhat confining.

The C300's inherent smoothness does tend to mask improvements made to its dynamic qualities, notably steering and handling. All C-Classes come with what Mercedes calls Agility Control. This includes the suspension, which electronically controls the shock absorbers according to the driving situation. When driving normally with low shock absorber impulses, damping forces are automatically reduced for a softer ride. Get more aggressive when tackling a set of twisties and the suspension firms up. Also, the new C-Class's steering has a ratio of 14.5, 6% more direct than the steering of its predecessor. All in all, the four-door is far quicker on all fours than the old model.

The C300's greatest surprise, however, is the amount of thoughtful content offered at a very affordable price -- considering it is a luxury car. At $43,390, the C300 tester had only three options -- silver metallic paint ($890), the seven-speed manumatic ($1,500) and no charge black Artico leather. Items such as xenon headlights, sunroof, power-folding outside mirrors (loved those), burl walnut trim, heated and powered front seats, an AM/FM/CD audio system, cruise control, tilt/telescopic steering, dual front, front side and window curtains air bags and more are all standard. A thoughtful feature is the split-folding rear seats, which proved extremely handy during an unscheduled stop to the local Ikea, allowing for several long boxes to be placed in through the trunk.

Latent pragmatic tendencies would have me shelling out an additional $3,700 for the 4Matic model -- despite global warming, Canada still gets snow.

If I said the C300 was a bit of a sheep in wolf 's clothing, I might be technically correct, although that would be doing the new sedan a disservice. Its overall sophisticated and calm demeanour, in fact, is its strength, extending a warm invitation into the world of luxury without picking your pockets clean.

Besides, if you tire of the waltz and want to tango instead, the C350 is always waiting in the wings.

THE SPECS:

Type of vehicle Rear-wheel-drive, compact luxury sedan

Engine 3.0L DOHC V6

Power 228 hp @ 6,000 rpm; 221 lb-ft of torque @ 2,700 rpm

Transmission Seven-speed automatic (optional)

Brakes Four-wheel disc with ABS

Tires P225/45R17

Price: base/as tested $41,000/$43,390

Standard features Six-speed manual transmission, auto-theft alarm system, burl walnut wood trim, cruise control, first-aid kit, leather-wrapped, multi-function steering wheel and shift knob, power windows, tilt/ telescoping steering column, eight-way power-adjustable front seats, auto-dimming mirrors, heated front seats, AM/FM/CD audio system with MP3 compatibility, split-folding rear seats, tire pressure monitoring system, dual front, front side and window curtain air bags

bharper@nationalpost.com

National Post 2007

Bmwstylz
10-26-2007, 06:13 PM
His article is incorect, the C300 comes with the giant Mercedes star grille, in fact - they expect to sell 90% of them with sport pack (no charge).

I drove one last week, but wasn't overly impressed. it is a car with zero character when driving it.

I got back in my old e46 after and was happy to be home. :) in fact i think the e46 is faster too.

c300 looks wicked tho!