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Thread: Rented a 2017 MB C300 today .... Are these really "Mercedes" cars???

  1. #1
    Senior Member Jlaa's Avatar
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    Rented a 2017 MB C300 today .... Are these really "Mercedes" cars???

    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.
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    E500E Guru TerryA's Avatar
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    Re: Rented a 2017 MB C300 today .... Are these really "Mercedes" cars???

    It's become a Japanese car. I have driven a friend's 2017-300C initially a nice experience but overwhelming not required technology. I can't imagine the costs that will come up when out of warranty.
    Terry

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    E500 n00b nocfn's Avatar
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    Rented a 2017 MB C300 today .... Are these really "Mercedes" cars???

    The c means compete with Nissan Sentra and Honda Civic and Chevy Cruze
    Last edited by nocfn; 04-19-2017 at 08:42 AM.
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    E500E Guru Melville's Avatar
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    Re: Rented a 2017 MB C300 today .... Are these really "Mercedes" cars???

    I agree with a lot of what has been said, but my overall conclusion is different. I've had a few C class cars as loaners when my E550 has been in for service. So my impressions are usually based on having a car for a couple of days at most.

    My two biggest gripes (plus one minor gripe):

    • as mentioned, interior components feel cheap. Everything is too light and plasticky. Even the wood around the center console area has an unsatisfying cheap feel to it.
    • the turbo 4 shoots when you first press the pedal but feels like it runs out of steam. It also sounds like angry bees.
    • minor gripe - the screen that is just stuck on the dash. It looks like an afterthought.



    Now some reasons why I can forgive these sins:
    • the interior may feel cheap, but it looks great (I'll get to the screen in a second). Miles ahead of the old C Class. And making the interior components more substantial (metal instead of plastic, thicker wood trim etc.) would probably add a lot of cost. As it is, I think most buyers will care a lot more about how it looks than how it feels. So making it feel better will push the cost up without adding much perceived value to most buyers. So they'll just go to BMW or Lexus.
    • the turbo 4...is a turbo 4. It's not a normally aspirated V8 like in my 500E and E550. I'm sure it's a very good turbo 4 as those go. I might like a big normally aspirated engine, but that's not gonna happen anymore. Not in the E class. And certainly not in a C Class. Poorly structured emissions and fuel economy tests have changed the engines of pretty much all new cars. I can't really complain about the engine not being what is no longer available. So I have to evaluate it in context. How does it compare against other comparable new cars (I don't know) and not against an older big V8. It's kind of like the annoying habit of people saying they don't like the E500E because it isn't a light two door coupe with a manual transmission and inline 6. Apples and bananas.
    • the screen...it looks bad but there is currently no good solution for it. Most importantly I want it in easy line of sight so I don't have to take my eyes off the road. That means stick it on top of the dash or build the dash up really high to bury it. I'll take the former.



    And a quick thought on the steering column shifter vs. putting it on the center console. If you just plan on putting the car in D and driving, the steering column is the right place for the shifter. It frees up valuable space between the front seats for storage. I have that style of shifter on my E550 and after a couple of minutes getting used to it, I'm very happy with where it's placed.

    Would I recommend a C Class for someone shopping for a car in that segment? Absolutely. Would I get one myself? Not so sure, but I'd think about it. And let's not forget that in 25 years, we (or our kids more likely) will be talking about how Mercedes just doesn't make cars like the great W205 anymore! Before the bean counters took over!

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    Re: Rented a 2017 MB C300 today .... Are these really "Mercedes" cars???

    .
    I would recommend a chilled Riesling for the contract signing celebration...


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    E500 n00b nocfn's Avatar
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    Rented a 2017 MB C300 today .... Are these really "Mercedes" cars???

    My point was brand loyalty and upgrade. You cannot beat concierge service when you buy a cpo or new mb. You must get the consumer in and away from upgrades to flexus or acumen!
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  12. #7
    Senior Member Jlaa's Avatar
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    Re: Rented a 2017 MB C300 today .... Are these really "Mercedes" cars???

    Quote Originally Posted by Melville View Post
    I agree with a lot of what has been said, but my overall conclusion is different......would I recommend a C Class for someone shopping for a car in that segment? Absolutely. Would I get one myself? Not so sure, but I'd think about it. And let's not forget that in 25 years, we (or our kids more likely) will be talking about how Mercedes just doesn't make cars like the great W205 anymore! Before the bean counters took over!
    Quote Originally Posted by nocfn View Post
    My point was brand loyalty and upgrade. You cannot beat concierge service when you buy a cpo or new mb. You must get the consumer in and away from upgrades to flexus or acumen!
    I can appreciate your points and your illustration of the circa-2018 auto-consumer's mindset!

    In my auto ownership history, I have had a series of cars which I have been exceptionally pleased with as I thought they represented and displayed a number of attributes (like robust construction, mechanical durability, etc.) that justified cost ----
    These cars included the aforementioned w202, w210, a volvo 240, a lovely volvo 940 turbo, etc. These cars stood head and shoulders above other hardware I had owned at the time in terms of their display of these qualities --- above the Volkswagens, BMWs, Citroen, Subarus, and Mazdas at the time. To be fair I also had a mid 1990s Toyota Camry --- that was also a damn-fine built car for the price, albeit lacking in style.

    In frankness I have had to good fortune to be "upgraded" to a variety of modern "near luxury" hardware when renting cars in the past 4 years. Various Infinitis, Buicks, Cadillacs, Acuras, modern Volvos ....and now the C300 have all presented themselves under my care as a rental for 2-3 days at time.

    They are all pleasant driving cars - rich in infotainment options and very competent - engaging even - in dynamic qualities. However, much to my disappointment, all of them share a certain "sameness" in feel, in tactile experience.

    The only difference I find is the interior / exterior styling. Volvo still has a certain Scandinavian "elegant austerity" and Mercedes' modern hardware manages to look quite stylish without being the "Pontiac of Germany" that BMW has become ....

    But in terms of those early qualities that first attracted me to these Northern European makes ---- robust construction, mechanical durability ---- I find these modern examples of Volvos and now Mercedes to be not much different than their competitors. The styling is nicer, but otherwise --- homogeneity abound.

    Maybe this is why, as I am considering my first new "daily driver" car in years, I am considering a Chevrolet Bolt!!! Something that is unique. (As in, the ability to get to the Car-Pool lanes and power the car off my house's solar electricity production). The Teslas are nice, but (a) too rich for my blood as a depreciating appliance and (b) a dime-a-dozen --- the nickname in Northern California being they are the "Palo Alto Camry".
    ---
    1993 MB 500E
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    Re: Rented a 2017 MB C300 today .... Are these really "Mercedes" cars???

    It's progress. Materials are becoming lighter, but at the same time more durable which is why new cars get great fuel mileage. There's still weight in the car but it's in the frame and the impact absorption bits. You can't change 4 cylinder characteristics but they're getting more power out of this little 1.8l four than they did out of an M117 5.6.

    Now why can't Ford still build cars like this?


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    Re: Rented a 2017 MB C300 today .... Are these really "Mercedes" cars???

    I think behind nocfn's point is the truth of what the C class remains these days. Anyone here remember the term "baby Benz"? It's a way to get customers into the brand, while continuing to make profit off of technology originally made for the SClass. I think what MB has done well is continue to design build for the S, recoup costs for that over-design there, then profit from it in the other models. Makes too much sense. An "entry market" Benz could not exist, but for that strategy.

    CAFE regulations drive the need for efficiency (forced induction and lighter components), so the C doesn't get heavy leather and wood. But they are "starter Benzes" / "rental Benzes" anyway so who cares. Every one that sells is another profit carrier for the SClass development costs. Once in the family, they either want to sell you an AMG or move you up the model chain, where they make their real profit.

    But all those business machinations aside, Jlaa, no they're not real Benzes, in the old school way of thinking, just like today's houses are not real houses. If you think of a Benz for its safety, technology and durability qualities, then yes they are real Benzes. If you think of a Benz as a rolling luxury tank, then they probably don't qualify. Today's cars have to be light and fuel efficient, so luxury tanks have generally taken their place in the product mix as "only for a few", which is where the whole MB line used to reside.

    maw

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    Re: Rented a 2017 MB C300 today .... Are these really "Mercedes" cars???

    Its what sells today to people.
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    Re: Rented a 2017 MB C300 today .... Are these really "Mercedes" cars???

    Also drive new S class then u will have different view of mercedes
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    Re: Rented a 2017 MB C300 today .... Are these really "Mercedes" cars???

    All the newer benzs have electric steering- hence you won't get feed back. Modern cars made for wide-spread appeal. Talking w someone on why they had to have a MB and what they got... a GLK. Safety reputation and gagets are what were sited ... I think status was in the mix even if not discussed. But in reality, it drove the closest in characteristics to their previous Honda. They didn't like the E-class... wtf?

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    Senior Member Jlaa's Avatar
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    Re: Rented a 2017 MB C300 today .... Are these really "Mercedes" cars???

    Quote Originally Posted by Dario View Post
    Also drive new S class then u will have different view of mercedes
    Quote Originally Posted by maw1124 View Post
    I think behind nocfn's point is the truth of what the C class remains these days. Anyone here remember the term "baby Benz"? It's a way to get customers into the brand, while continuing to make profit off of technology originally made for the SClass. I think what MB has done well is continue to design build for the S, recoup costs for that over-design there, then profit from it in the other models. Makes too much sense. An "entry market" Benz could not exist, but for that strategy.

    In fairness I will never be a "Captain of Industry" so S-class ownership will forever be elusive to me ---- Maybe one of these days Hertz will make a clerical error and rent me one!

    That said, the w202 and w201, although they were baby benzes, did share a certain je ne sais quois with the w126 s-class ----- I drove an uncle's w126 300SE from SF -> LA and then back to SF one summer ---- on the PCH. I loved that car. Even though it was poverty-spec as far as S-classes go, i found the straight-six to be more than adequate, the short wheelbase to be perfect, and the whole package exuded an unmistakable tank-like feel to it. The w201 and w202 shared a similar "stately feel" I found.

    Are the differences in feel between modern C-classes and S-classes much greater?
    ---
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    E500 n00b nocfn's Avatar
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    Re: Rented a 2017 MB C300 today .... Are these really "Mercedes" cars???

    The late S550 is quite different than the well apportioned E class....
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    Re: Rented a 2017 MB C300 today .... Are these really "Mercedes" cars???

    Quote Originally Posted by Jlaa View Post
    THEY CALL THIS A MERCEDES BENZ? ?!?!?!!?!?!??!?!!?
    I agree with you wholeheartedly. This extends to cars outside of Mercedes. I have a 93 400E and a 92 240sx. Both of those cars have soft dashboards and doors that are actually padded and wrapped with fabric. I swapped a full dash from an 06 350z into my 240sx, and, while it's nice to have cup holders and my stereo up higher, the dash is just textured plastic. Sure, it looks nice, but the feeling just isn't there. I love the way my 400E feels. Even my friend's 07 c-class feels more solid than a lot of these new cars.

    That being said, yes, the plastic dashes don't crack, and yes, the panels cut weight and cost, but they sure don't build cars like they used to. It used to be that you're in an accident and you have your car repaired. Now it's just replaced. I've had my 240sx over a decade, and my 400E since 2013. Both have well over 300k on the clock, and both run solid. True, I've never been in an accident with them, but they feel like they'll last me a lifetime. My house mate's 2017 Focus ST... feels like something you'd trade in after a few years

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    Zivil Ingenieur Maui's Avatar
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    Re: Rented a 2017 MB C300 today .... Are these really "Mercedes" cars???

    I have had a few C class loaners from the Benz dealer when they work on my E550. I have not driven the C class competition so I really can't compare it to the market. While I enjoyed being handed the keys to a brand new Mercedes I would take my W212 over a new C Class any day excepting maybe a C63. I do agree that the nav screen feels like someone duct taped an Ipad to the dash board. The fit and finish were decent but probably not worth the price of admission. I sure see a lot of them on the road in my neighborhood and if peruse the used car section of your local dealer's website you will find a plethora of C lease returns.

    People complain about the lack of steering feedback on the E Class as well, but I find it quite nice on long trips. I can drive the W212 for four hours and be fresh as a daisy when I arrive. I suppose if you are wanting to take a Sunday drive through the twisties it might not be your cup of whisky, but it suits me just fine. Cars to me are certainly more than getting from A to B, but it is nice to arrive and not feel like you just debarked from Spirit Airlines. Anyone that has flown Spirit Airlines will know what I mean.

    My one and only, or maybe my two pet peeves with the W212 are the HVAC control location and when the rear seat is folded flat the front seats want to be completely upright. The HVAC controls are way done at the bottom of the dash just above the console. They take way to much of your attention while driving to find the correct control. I pack the car for a road trip taking advantage of the rear seats folding down and my wife climbs into her seat and the seat back is almost forward of being upright. You have to unpack, put the rear seat back upright and adjust the front seat before you can fold the back seat down. I guess they just don't want the front seat hitting the rear head rest of something.
    Last edited by Maui; 04-19-2017 at 09:43 PM.

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    Re: Rented a 2017 MB C300 today .... Are these really "Mercedes" cars???

    This is part of the reason I started collecting examples of the w126, w124 and r107s. So when I tell myself, they just don't build em like they used to, I can walk over to the garage and see how they were! My wife can have her newer MB, but I'm just fine with my old gals.

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    Re: Rented a 2017 MB C300 today .... Are these really "Mercedes" cars???

    Quote Originally Posted by hobbsm3 View Post
    This is part of the reason I started collecting examples of the w126, w124 and r107s. So when I tell myself, they just don't build em like they used to, I can walk over to the garage and see how they were! My wife can have her newer MB, but I'm just fine with my old gals.
    You know it. I'm taking my w124 to a million miles. Goes coast to coast without any fatigue to the car or driver

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