Note --- I have only ever owned 3 MBs in my motoring past -
- a 1999 W202 that I bought new. My folks drive it around these days as a "daily" driver -- I really liked this car and thought it was a solid little car
- a 1998 W210 E320 that I had acquired with 45K miles on the clock. I drove it for a few years as a "beater" car --- it was solid, smooth, and while it was not a W124, I enjoyed it.
- my 1993 W124 500E - of course I enjoy this car.
Today I was going to collect my rental Chrysler 200 from Hertz and discovered much to my delight that they had upgraded me to a 2017 C300. This car has a 7 speed auto transmission with a 241 hp turbo 4. This car is eighteen years newer than any Mercedes I have ever driven.
THEY CALL THIS A MERCEDES BENZ? ?!?!?!!?!?!??!?!!?
It is a pleasant enough appliance. Lots of electronic toys / doodads. Burmester stereo sounded great. "iPad like" screen bolted to the dash was uh ---- contrived. Trackpad AND twist knob controls.... Man there are a LOT OF settings to fool around with.
But frankly ----- this is what passes as a Mercedes these days?!!!?!?!?!?!
- The interior buttons / switches are all silver painted plastic
- lots of silver paint plastic trim in the interior
- The speaker grilles are nice perforated metal......metal cheese graters that felt like they could slice open your finger.
- The interior door handles are plastic ---- and the force needed to unlatch the door is so surprisingly light --- lighter, than say, a 1985 Subarau GL wagon.
- You can press the dash plastic and hear it creak
- You can twist the door grab handles on the door panels and hear and WATCH the whole thing creak and groan
- The door slam sound ---- sounds like my Prius
- The engine --- it has nice enough torque but geez the turbo 4 has a gravelly acoustic signature
- Man there's quite a bit of road / wind noise. The old w124 500E is much quieter at speed than this car .... and the 500E has a 4spd auto vs. this car's 7spd auto
- You can set the drive-mode settings to Eco/Comfort/Sport/Sport+/Personalized Custom. Geez. They are all some flavor of artificially enhanced vanilla pudding. Firming up the steering just make the steering have more resistance with no "mechanical steering feel". At all. None of these settings provides that "Stately Driving Experience" of the w124.
- Headlight control knob --- man, what happened to making a switch that needs 50 lb-ft of finger strength just to turn it? This thing feels like a flimsy toy.
- Automatic transmission selector lever on the steering column --- man this thing is needlessly complex. push in for park, push up to go from D to N ---- but you can use one or two detents ---- push down to go from P to N to D --- also one or two detents depending on current position..... geez, what happened to that satisfying mechanical feel of the gearshift knob on the console????
- Okay, the 7 speed transmission was nice. smooth shifting ----- fast gear changes ----- and rev matching.
I am sure this is common knowledge to all here, but this was my first experience driving a "modern" Mercedes and geez, I was really surprised. What a shame. I feel like a total neanderthal geezer who yearns for my childhood days when I had to walk, uphill, both way, in the snow to school every day.