2009 Mercedes-Benz C350 vs. 2009 BMW 328

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The entry-level luxury car was first launched in the 1970’s; little amazement that it was introduced by German manufacturers. The BMW 3 Series, 35 years old now, is the make’s most popular car by a long way with customers, accounting for almost 40% of the company’s sales in recent years. The BMW 328 has been right there among the best sellers of all of these, so how does it compare with one of its rivals, the 2009 Mercedes Benz C 350?

2009 C350 2.jpg

The specs on both cars make for instructive reading. The 2009 Mercedes
Benz C350 carries a 3.5-liter V6 engine under its bonnet, developing
268 bhp. A 108.7″ wheelbase hangs around the lower end average for this
class of vehicle. Devotees of the C350 say that it gives them an
agreeable feel of power and does not ask too much of them when
cornering. Meanwhile, the EPA suggests it cannot get you very far at
17.4 mpg, but that is an estimate worth testing with a spin rather than
a read.

The 2009 BMW 328? Well, it has a smaller engine at 3.0 liters, which
translates to 230 bhp. And the wheelbase is the exact same length as
that of the Mercedes. You will pay a little bit more for the C 350 in
exchange for a boost of power and a little extra cargo capacity. If you
can stretch a little, the specs make the Mercedes a more desirable buy.
But if you have driven in both, you know that the numbers do not always
make the difference.

We finally gave the 335 a rest but now it seems the C350 is too much for the 328. Makes us wonder: are the German rivals purposely not manufacturing direct competition for their models?

2008 BMW 3 Series

Model Line Overview

Model lineup: BMW
328i sedan ($32,700); 328i wagon ($34,500); 328xi sedan ($34,600); 328i
coupe ($35,600); 328xi wagon ($36,400); 328xi coupe ($37,400); 335i
sedan ($39,300); 335xi sedan ($41,200); 335i coupe ($41,200); 335xi
coupe ($43,000); 328i Convertible ($43,500); 335i Convertible ($49,500)
Engines: 230-hp 3.0-liter inline-6; 300-hp turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6
Transmissions: 6-speed manual; 6-speed automatic
Safety equipment (standard): dual
front airbags, front passenger side-impact airbags, full-cabin head
protection airbags, tire-pressure monitor, traction control, anti-lock
brakes, Dynamic Stability Control and post-impact system to unlock
doors, switch on hazard and interior lighting and disable fuel pump
Safety equipment (optional): N/A
Basic warranty: 4 years/50,000 miles
Assembled in: Munich, Germany

Specifications As Tested

Model tested (MSRP): BMW 328i sedan ($32,700)
Standard equipment: leatherette
upholstery, burr walnut, light poplar or aluminum interior trim,
automatic dual-zone climate control with cabin micro-filter,
climate-controlled center console, 10-speaker AM/FM audio with single
CD player and two sub-woofers, cruise control, power windows, remote
keyless entry, leather-wrapped tilt/telescoping steering wheel with
multi-function controls, rain-sensing variable-speed wipers, halogen
foglights, two-way power moonroof, 16-inch wheels with H-rated
all-season tires
Options as tested (MSRP): automatic
transmission ($1,325); Sport Package ($1700) includes M sports
suspension, 17-inch wheels with W-rated performance tires, power sport
seats and 155-mph speed-limiter; Premium Package ($3,350) includes
Dakota leather upholstery, Bluetooth cell phone interface, power
folding side mirrors with reverse tilt-down feature on passenger side,
digital mirror compass and BMW Assist telematics; Cold Weather Package
($1,000) includes electrically heated seats, high-intensity headlight
washers and split-folding rear seat with ski sack
Destination charge: ($825)
Gas guzzler tax: N/A
Price as tested (MSRP): $40,900
Layout: rear-wheel drive
Engine: 3.0-liter dohc 24-valve inline-6 with variable valve timing
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 230 @ 6500
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm): 200 @ 2750
Transmission: 6-speed Steptronic automatic with manual shift feature
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy: 19/28 mpg
Wheelbase: 108.7 in.
Length/width/height: 178.2/71.5/55.9 in.
Track, f/r: 59.1/59.6 in.
Turning circle: 36.1 ft.
Seating capacity: 5
Head/hip/leg room, f: 38.5/NA/41.5 in.
Head/hip/leg room, m: N/A
Head/hip/leg room, r: 37.5/NA/34.6 in.
Cargo volume: 12.0 cu. ft.
Payload: N/A
Towing capacity: N/A
Suspension, f: independent, double-pivot lower control arms, coil springs, twin-tube shocks, anti-roll bar
Suspension, r: independent five-link, coil springs, twin-tube shocks, anti-roll bar
Ground clearance: N/A
Curb weight: 3340 lbs.
Tires: 225/45WR17 / 255/40WR17 run flat
Brakes, f/r: ventilated disc/ventilated disc
Fuel capacity: 16.1 gal.

2008 Mercedes-Benz C Class

Model Line Overview
Model lineup: Mercedes-Benz C300; C350
Engines: 228-hp 2.8-liter V6; 268-hp 3.5-liter V6
Transmissions: 7-speed automatic; 6-speed manual
Safety equipment (standard): frontal airbags, side-impact airbags, curtain airbags; electronic stability control, traction control, ABS, EBD, Pre-Safe
Safety equipment (optional): none
Basic warranty: 4 years/50,000 miles
Assembled in: Sindelfingen, Germany

Specifications As Tested

Model tested (MSRP): Mercedes-Benz C350 Sport
Standard equipment: N/A
Options as tested (MSRP): N/A
Destination charge: N/A
Gas guzzler tax: N/A
Price as tested (MSRP): N/A
Layout: rear-wheel drive
Engine: 3.5-liter dohc 24-valve V6
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 268 @ 6000
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm): 258 @ 2400
Transmission: 7-speed automatic
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy: N/A
Wheelbase: 108.7 in.
Length/width/height: 180.4/69.7/57.0 in.
Track, f/r: 60.4/60.5 in.
Turning circle: 35.4 ft.
Seating capacity: 5
Head/hip/leg room, f: 37.1/52.3/41.7 in.
Head/hip/leg room, m: N/A
Head/hip/leg room, r: 36.9/54.9/33.4 in.
Cargo volume: 17.6 cu. ft.
Payload: N/A
Towing capacity: N/A
Suspension, f: independent, coil springs, gas struts, stabilizer bar
Suspension, r: independent. five-link with coil springs, gas shocks, stabilizer bar
Ground clearance: N/A
Curb weight: 3498 lbs.
Tires: P225/40ZR-17 front; P245/40ZR-17 rear
Brakes, f/r: disc/disc with ABS, EBD, Brake Assist
Fuel capacity: 17.4 gal.

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