2010 Mercedes-Benz C350 Review – The C-Class Earns Better Than a C

Thursday April 29th, 2010 at 9:44 AM
Posted by: berrichondanny

By Danny Chang

Pros

  • M-B star bigger than J-lo’s booty on the grille
  • Competent performance
  • Mercedes-Benz safety

Cons

  • M-B star bigger than Mo’nique’s booty on the grille
  • Busy center console controls
  • No nav on a $40k+ car

Disclosure: I’m not a big Mercedes-Benz fan. Despite the solid engineering, performance, and prestige, I am just not a fan of the styling. The peanut headlights years were the worst. So when my editor called about the C350, I wasn’t exactly jumping for joy. But I was curious. The C350 has the bigger V6 and slots in between the C300 and the C63 AMG with the insane 6.2L V8. I wanted to see how it compares to my G35S. Plus my parents were going to visit that weekend and I wanted to impress them at the airport with a Benz, as they call them in Asia.

2010 Mercedes-Benz C350

Driving Impressions

First off, my parents WERE impressed. There’s just something about the Mercedes-Benz brand that even the smallest one managed to earn a high score with the ‘rents. The C350 has a 3.5 liter V6 that produces 268 HP at 6000 RPM, which is adequate but definitely nothing to write home about these days in the crowded luxury sports sedan market. It is mated to a 7-speed Driver Adaptive automatic transmission that gets about 25 MPG highway and 17 MPG city. I averaged about 21 over the weekend.

The tester also has the optional 18 inch AMG 5-dual-spoke aluminum wheels with P235/40R18 in the front and P255/35R18 all-season tires, which definitely gives the car a more aggressive appearance than the standard wheels. Some people actually might mistake this for the C63 AMG if they just pull up alongside you on the road.

The C350 is quick on its feet and feels faster than the 268 horses would suggest. Handling was competent. The steering, however, is very light, and does not really fit the bill of a “Sport Sedan” that Mercedes advertises.

2010 Mercedes-Benz C350

Build

The C350 feels very solid, the doors shut with a solid thud and there are no noticeable creaks as I tossed the car around the curves of the winding Highway 17 on the way to Santa Cruz. Mercedes has done a fantastic job with noise reduction and this is a very quiet cabin for a sub-$40k sedan.

The side view mirrors with integrated turn signals look expensive. The Black Birdseye maple wood panels in the cabin also definitely look and feel expensive, and are what you’d expect in a Mercedes.

Now onto the misses. Cost savings are definitely evident in a few spots. The trunk hinges are missing the hydraulics and now they take up space in the trunk, which isn’t huge to begin with. Worse, the cover over the 5 inch display is not even powered. I mean, I had to use my hand to open and close it. The plastic panels in the cabin also feel a bit on the cheap side.

Worst of all, whereas the signature Mercedes-Benz seat-shaped seat controls are usually located on the doors, in the current C350 this is only true on the driver side. The passenger side seat controls are on the seat like every other car. It’s so very pedestrian.

Interior Comfort and Ergonomics

The leather seats are firm and positioned so low that you feel you’re sitting on the ground. That’s probably one of the most sportive aspect of the C350. The instrument cluster is nicely laid-out, the LCD screen in between the dials are a nice touch but a bit hard to navigate. Steering wheel controls are fairly straight forward and offer good functionality. The buttons feel good to the touch as do the window controls on the door.

Mercedes-Benz C350 instrument cluster C350 driver's seat adjustment controls

The center console, however, is very busy. The designers and engineers managed to fit an entire telephone keypad onto the console, in addition to about a million other small round buttons of the same size that seem to have been added as an afterthought. The tiny 5 inch LCD screen is small and the resolution is lacking. Compared to the larger and brighter displays in other similarly-priced sport sedans, this screen is definitely sub-par. The tester does not have navigation so perhaps the small screen is not an issue, but I hope the nav option comes with a bigger display.

2010 Mercedes-Benz C-Class interior Mercedes-Benz C-Class information display Mercedes-Benz C-class 5

I hate the cruise control wand behind the steering wheel. I keep hitting that when I try to signal turns, since it’s positioned higher than the actual turn signal stick. The C350 has an adjustable steering column that retracts into the dash and moves upwards to ease entry and exit, which is a nice touch, but the movement is so slow that you could do a couple of Facebook updates on your iPhone while waiting.

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One Response to 2010 Mercedes-Benz C350 Review – The C-Class Earns Better Than a C

  1. Peter Anastopulos says:

    You nailed it this brand is about impression rather then quality.If you want to impress a person who knows little about cars but has a recollection of Mercedes being important years ago. Then this is for you..The only 2 cars worth owning are the E Class Diesel in base format and the S Class Hybrid.The Diesel if you plan to own this car 20 or 30 years and put on a half a million miles on it.Paying 50k for the E Class that ends up being very economical .Then the S Class Hybrid is a 6 Cylinder and battery’s in the trunk which takes you close to 30 miles per gallon highway.At 80 thousand this is a superb ride that offers you everything. Skip the C Class and all those ridicules AMG’s and if you want a sports car Porsche does a better job for less.





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