Avg. Price Paid:$9,896 - $11,970
Original MSRP: $29,650 - $40,400
MPG: 19 City / 25 Hwy
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2007 Mercedes-Benz C Class Performance

This performance review was written when the 2007 Mercedes-Benz C Class was new.

Reviewers generally agree that the 2007 Mercedes C-Class is enjoyable to drive and solidly-engineered, delivering a refined balance of power, handling, and braking, even with the base engine.  Car and Driver says "It exhibits the same refinement as bigger Benzes, while steering keenly and handling well."

The optional 3.5L engine delivers even better drivability, and  Consumer Guide, which tested the C350 sports sedan, finds it to be "an impressive representative of this lineup...Ride and handling are of high order, and the 268-hp V6 delivers smooth power."  

Acceleration and Power

The C-Class comes in four basic powertrain configurations based on the trim level:

The 2007 Mercedes C230 Sport Sedan (the base model) boasts a double overhead camshaft 24-valve 2.5-liter V6 engine that puts out 201 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque.  This model is rated to go from 0-60 mph in 8.0 seconds with the manual transmission and 8.5 seconds with the automatic.

The C280 Luxury Sedan features a V6 in a larger 228-hp 3.0-liter configuration.  The Atlanta Journal-Constitution says, "Either of the smaller engines will likely be adequate, especially if you're restricted by budget."  MSN echoes this thought, adding, "No C-Class version is lazy."

The top of the line C350 Sport and Luxury Sedans feature a 3.5L V6 that delivers 268-hp and 258 pound-feet of torque.  With a 0-60 mph time of 6.1 seconds (manual or automatic transmission), reviewers generally find the most powerful C-Class engine impressive, though lacking compared to some competitors.  "The C350 doesn't have the authority of a BMW 335i, with its 300-hp twin-turbo six," says Car and Driver, but adding "throttle response is instantaneous, and performance in dicey mountain-road passing maneuvers leaves little to be desired."  BusinessWeek finds the C350 "plenty quick...and the engine gives a throaty growl when it's pushed."  Kelley Blue Book also has high praise for the 3.5-liter V6, calling it "an absolute dream. It responds willingly to the slightest throttle input, calling upon its ample low-end torque to shoot you across busy intersections or to overtake slower-moving traffic."

Reviewers say the more powerful V6s in the C280 and C350 "suit this car's image, but buyers will pay a price, first at the dealership and then at the gas pump," according to Kelley Blue Book.

The base engine in the C230 Sport Sedan is paired with a fully synchronized six-speed manual transmission with direct-action short-throw shifter.  A seven-speed automatic is optional and includes Touch Shift to allow the driver to manually downshift or upshift.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates fuel economy for the C230 at 17 miles per gallon in the city and 23 mpg on the highway with the automatic transmission, and about the same with the manual transmission -- numbers that MSN finds "decent." Premium fuel is recommended, and new for 2007, the base C-Class engine is also compatible with E85 fuel, which slightly lowers fuel economy estimates.

The 3.0-liter engine in the C280 Luxury Sedan comes standard with the electronically controlled seven-speed automatic or with the optional five-speed automatic paired with 4MATIC all-wheel-drive.  The C280 delivers 19mpg city, 26 mpg highway with an automatic transmission, and 17/24 mpg respectively with the 4MATIC all-wheel drive (AWD).

The C350 Sport  Sedan comes with the same transmission options as the C230 base model, namely a six-speed manual transmission or an optional seven-speed automatic.

The C350 Luxury Sedan comes with the same transmission options as the C280, namely a seven-speed automatic or an optional five-speed automatic paired with 4MATIC all-wheel-drive.

Car and Driver says the seven-speed automatic "makes the most of the C350's power (although we could wish for quicker upshifts in paddle-shift manumatic mode)."  Kelley Blue Book likes the "slick-shifting six-speed manual" for the C230 and C350 sport trims, calling it "a must for the driving enthusiast."  The C350 delivers 17/26 city/highway mpg with a manual transmission, 18.27 mpg with the automatic, and 17/22 mpg with AWD.

Handling and Braking

Reviewers generally find the 2007 Mercedes C-Class boasts a pleasing ride and predictable handling dynamics, consistent with Mercedes' reputation for building solid, well-engineered vehicles.  The C-Class rides on an independent three-link front suspension and independent five-arm multilink rear suspension with front and rear coil springs and shock absorbers.

The C350 Sports Sedan, which features firmer suspension for a sportier ride, attracted the most comments for test drivers.  BusinessWeek calls the C350 "a quick, nimble compact luxury four-door that performs similarly to BMW's 3-series sedans. In short, it's a lot of fun to drive in the spring, summer, and fall."  Kelley Blue Book also praises the C350 for feeling "tighter and more in touch with the road than most of its luxury counterparts. Yes, the ride is a bit firm and can even be rough over broken pavement and untended expansion joints, but it's a small price to pay for the benefits a taut suspension yields."

Steering on the C-Class is quick-ratio rack-and-pinion with power assist and integrated hydraulic damper.  The Atlanta Journal-Constitution finds the handling a bit lacking for a sports sedan.  "Sport models don't feel as light on their feet as other top sport sedans," the reviewer says.  "But they turn in aggressively and offer decent grip. Body roll is reasonably well controlled, but driving enthusiasts will likely wish for even firmer damping and more steering feedback."  Consumer Guide, however, likes the "Still, precise, natural steering feel," and adds "fine balance and minimal body lean in corners makes this sedan worthy of Sport label."

All-Wheel Drive

The C-Class comes standard in rear-wheel drive, but the Luxury Sedans (C280 and C350) come optional with 4Matic all-wheel drive (paired to a 5-speed automatic transmission).  Reviewers are generally impressed with the system, "which doesn't have the clunky feel of other such systems," according to MSN. "In fact, the system is 'invisible' during normal dry-road driving conditions."

BusinessWeek put the 4Matic to the test in winter driving conditions -- with very good results.  "I had worried that, at very least, the C350's powerful engine -- the 268-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 added this year to give the car BMW-style speediness -- would cause the wheels to slip a lot.  However, the C350 4Matic was rock-solid on snow and ice, even during my most reckless maneuvers," the reviewer concludes.

Review Last Updated: 2/4/09

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