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Avg. Price Paid:$14,699 - $17,229
Original MSRP: $31,600 - $36,900
MPG: 18 City / 26 Hwy
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2008 Mercedes-Benz C Class Performance

This performance review was written when the 2008 Mercedes-Benz C Class was new.

The 2008 Mercedes C-Class benefits from a retuned suspension. Its performance ranks in the top third of the class, but it can't quite catch class leaders like the BMW 3-Series.

  • "The new car breezes along on the freeway as you'd expect a well-engineered German sedan to do." -- Motor Trend
  • "This car has no bad dynamic habits. It might not be as much kinky fun with the road-to-neuron connection of a BMW 3-series, but I would be surprised if the Benz can't hang with the Bimmer around a short road course." -- Los Angeles Times
  • "On our initial test drives over a couple of days on the highways and mountain roads surrounding Valencia, Spain, we could feel a new edge of precision and sportiness that the old C-Class simply didn't have." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "I'd volunteer to drive this one cross-country in a heartbeat." -- Washington Post
  • "In the Luxury trim, the C300 delivers an enjoyable ride, responsive handling and a quiet cabin." -- Kelley Blue Book

Acceleration and Power

The reviews that cover the base C-Class engine say it should be fine for almost all buyers, as the 3.5 liter adds only 40 horsepower and costs a good deal more. Even with the praise, most reviews argue that the BMW 3-Series has better engines.

  • "The C300 isn't drunk with power, but with 221 pound-feet of torque from 2,700 to 5,000 rpm, and a quick-witted adaptive transmission with seven gears in the transom, the car always seems to be on the right foot. … I took the car out for a flog up through the hill country to Kern County and came away thinking the larger engine option (and diminished fuel economy) couldn't pay for itself in adrenaline." -- Los Angeles Times
  • Edmunds, in a comparison test between the C-Class 350 Sport and the BMW 335i, says: "In a sprint, the 300-hp BMW outpaces the 268-hp Mercedes by 1.2 seconds to 60 mph and 0.9 second in the quarter-mile."
  • Motor Trend also compares the two, noting: "With an estimated 0-to-60 time of 6.1 seconds, the 350 Sport is no slouch in its class, but our thoughts can't help but drift to the magnificent 300-horsepower, 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six in the new BMW 335i and wonder why the Benz's block wasn't at least put on the massage table."
  • "Mercedes says zero to 60 mph acceleration takes about 8 seconds with the 3.0-liter six and about a second and a half less with the larger V-6. I think most of you will find the smaller engine quite adequate." -- Newsday
  • "The new 3.0-liter V6 proves more than adequate for the C-Class. Although the C350's 3.5-liter V6 delivers 40 more horsepower and shaves one second from the C's zero-to-60 time, it costs some $5,000 more than the C300 and offers no manual transmission or the 4MATIC option." -- Kelley Blue Book

Handling and Braking

Reviews largely agree that the C-Class' new and improved handling puts the sedan on the same playing field as the BMW 3-Series, but most still say the 3-Series is a better handler.

  • "On the road, the C350 Sport...gives a firm ride that may be a bit taut for some customers, but I found it just fine. Handling is excellent. Steering is precise, with just the right amount of feedback and road feel. Mercedes has really upped its game in this area." -- Orlando Sentinel
  • "While there's certainly more information coming from the steering than in the previous C-Class, this is by no means a class leader in terms of feel. Good, just not great." -- Edmunds
  • "Though the BMW steering will remain king of the hill perhaps forever, Mercedes is inching closer with each iteration without ever matching it -- seeing as it doesn't exactly want that caliber of hearty steering." -- Winding Road
  • "The suspension is nearly unflappable no matter how bad the road or how hard the car is driven." -- Newsday
Review Last Updated: 8/28/08

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