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Our W204 saved my butt yesterday.

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Our W204 saved my butt yesterday.

 
Old 11-19-2007, 02:57 PM
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Our W204 saved my butt yesterday.

Was headed home from dinner last night and was lining up to show my wife how well the car handles, keep in mind Iíve hit this same long sweeping S-Curve onramp with long acceleration lane about 20Xís so far in the C300 Sport since weíve had it. Iíve hit it at 60+ mph with the skid control off or whatever itís called and never had the car step out or loose foot. Well today I came into the entrance, I would say the recommended entering speed is 30mph +/- I doubled it and added a few. Told my wife to hold tight, as I left footed the car into the apex with speed. I donít know why or how but a truck must have dumped some gravel near the apex because all of a sudden the rear broke loose and the car began to oversteer. Next thing I know the orange triangle is flashing and it was like the hand of God reached down and grabbed the brakes and straightened the car, cut the power and sent us on in civilized fashion. Incidentally it would have sucked to have lost the car into the field adjacent to the onramp, but even worse coincidentally a motorcycle cop was on the on coming side of the freeway round and didnít even notice the entire event. Talk about luck! I canít believe how safe this car is, I learned a new respect for the W204 and wonít take it for granted. I have to admit Iíve played with it pleanty since weíve had it, but I was pushing the limits of the car last night and it stepped in and took control once I lost it.

-Ryan
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Old 11-19-2007, 03:09 PM
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Wow, Ryan! I'm glad that you and your wife are OK.

I myself learned this morning that the breaking system on this car works incredible. Traffic stopped abruptly in front of me due to another car merging at the last minute and I needed to go from about 50 to 0 - quick! I did it so fast that any other car would have smashed the car in front of it. Steering stayed straight and amazingly I didn't jerk; it slowed smoothly like you'd expect it to. I just knew the car was lost when I stepped on the brakes because in my mind there was no way the car would stop so fast in as short of a distance, but it did exactly what I paid for it to do. I even looked back for skid lines in the street and none were there.

We are both lucky...
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Old 11-19-2007, 03:28 PM
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Glad to hear your tales, especially the positive outcomes! I'm hoping the traction/stability control works as well in the snow! I'll be picking up my C350 in the middle of winter here in MN. I feel like I'm taking a bit of a gamble with RWD but I've heard so many good things regarding the 'intelligence' of these cars that I'm wishfully optimistic.
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Old 11-19-2007, 03:42 PM
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Call me paranoid but I am worried about other cars crashing into me, because of their lack of braking/traction. I am absolutely confident in my car but feel like I am surrounded by a world of Chevy Nova's.
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Old 11-19-2007, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Krytech View Post
Glad to hear your tales, especially the positive outcomes! I'm hoping the traction/stability control works as well in the snow! I'll be picking up my C350 in the middle of winter here in MN. I feel like I'm taking a bit of a gamble with RWD but I've heard so many good things regarding the 'intelligence' of these cars that I'm wishfully optimistic.
Call me crazy if you will, or negligent, irresponsible etc... But with every vehicle I've owned since I started driving at 16 I'm 29 YTD. After the car is broken in or after approx 1500 miles or so, I go find me a vacant parking lot or new housing development away from pedestrians and other cars, and I put the car through a few tests that are not always applicable on a test drive per se. I try to see where I can push the car, I even do the same thing if I'm lucky to have a rainy day or in climate weather. I do this so that in the even I am out and purposely trying to have a little fun or encounter an evasive maneuver situation like "Stick Girl" had with her car I know what I can expect or how the car might react. It paid off last night, I knew where the traction & handling aids kick in, but really didn't expect or know how it would adapt or handle an un natural situation like excessive gravel, oil or other situation and I tell you what all I felt like I had to do was hold on and the car did the rest. If I had been in my other car we would have spun backward and hit the fence easily.

-Ryan
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Old 11-19-2007, 03:48 PM
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Everybody should keep in the back of their head that no matter how good the electronics are, they can't overcome the laws of physics.

That being said, as someone who learned car control back in the days of zero driving aids (yes, there was a day when cars didn't have ABS), I absolutely LOVE traction control/abs/stability control. It makes 8/10ths so easily accessible. But you still have to watch out not to do something monumentally stupid.

Hey, speaking of ESP, does it do anything to counter understeer? The BMW versions don't, or at least don't cut in until it's extremely bad.
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Old 11-19-2007, 03:53 PM
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I know some of you have opted for the 4-Matic and I think that is extra insurance, but coming from someone who drives his cars 10/10 I can assure you at least from my experience with our C300, with the VSC on itís nearly impossible to loose foot or traction or control from this car. I personally would not have sprung for the 4-Matic knowing how well the rear wheel configuration handles. With that said I also live in northern California and almost never have to go anywhere that gets snow so I donít know how the RWD would handle ICE/Snow. But wet or rainy conditions do not phase this car either. Itís impossible to provoke oversteer or get the car into a drift with the VSC on, turn it off and you will lose it. You can also do about a 180 doughnut before the traction control which canít be turned off says ďthatís enough of thatĒ Iím not a 350Z.
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Old 11-19-2007, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by oblu View Post
Everybody should keep in the back of their head that no matter how good the electronics are, they can't overcome the laws of physics.

That being said, as someone who learned car control back in the days of zero driving aids (yes, there was a day when cars didn't have ABS), I absolutely LOVE traction control/abs/stability control. It makes 8/10ths so easily accessible. But you still have to watch out not to do something monumentally stupid.

Hey, speaking of ESP, does it do anything to counter understeer? The BMW versions don't, or at least don't cut in until it's extremely bad.

I agree with what you said, but don't know of any aid that helps understeer? I believe most cars are designed or tuned with a bit of understeer as a safety precaution. You could try giving the car a bit more negative camber up front, but expect significantly more tire wear.

-Ryan
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Old 11-19-2007, 04:18 PM
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Mercedes-Benz Canada invited some owners to a local race track. There they put us through the paces and I can tell you, I have a lot more confidence in the car now than I had before.

They even sprayed the road area with water canons and I thought that I did very well, even during evasive maneuvers until, prior to my next run, the official told me, to shut off tech aids, such as ABS and traction control. I drove with confidence and made the sudden turn and then the car spun out and turned around and around. I had lost all control.

Then I realized that I was not such an excellent driver, but that I had a car that made me look like one. It was a very important lesson for me.

***************

We can get here huge amounts of snow, lake effect is it called. I am sure you saw some pictures from Buffalo, NY.
I can tell you, driving under those conditions is when the 4Matic shines. My wife used to have a healthy respect for winter driving, until she got her first 4Matic and yes I know ice is ice, but I can tell you, under most winter conditions, these cars drive like on dry pavement. Amazing. One has to experience it to believe it. MB sell a very percentage of their cars with 4Matic here. Too bad the Diesel E -Class does not have the 4Matic available. The S-Class is for sure 80% 4Matic, R, G and ML Classes are here 100% 4Matic.

Jorg
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Old 11-19-2007, 04:22 PM
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My Audi's used to do some braking magic with the rears to counter-act massive understeer situations. Hit a patch of black ice last winter on a gentle curve in the BMW, and it started plowing toward oncoming traffic. Not a peep out of the DSP (BMW's acronym).

I encountered similar situations in my Audi's and the stability had was chattering away trying to get the front end to regain grip.
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Old 11-19-2007, 06:11 PM
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I think the stability systems all counter understeer by applying some rear brake (outside wheel - I think) to make the rear rotate. How sensitive or insensitive the systems are is entirely up to the software.
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Old 11-19-2007, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Jorg View Post
Mercedes-Benz Canada invited some owners to a local race track. There they put us through the paces and I can tell you, I have a lot more confidence in the car now than I had before.

They even sprayed the road area with water canons and I thought that I did very well, even during evasive maneuvers until, prior to my next run, the official told me, to shut off tech aids, such as ABS and traction control. I drove with confidence and made the sudden turn and then the car spun out and turned around and around. I had lost all control.
Now that sounds like fun!
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Old 11-19-2007, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by CarGuru View Post
.......Told my wife to hold tight, as I left footed the car into the apex with speed.......

-Ryan
Accel pedal is on the RH side of the footwell and you use your left foot to operate it?

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Old 11-19-2007, 09:17 PM
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woah...
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Old 11-19-2007, 09:38 PM
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CARGURU -- Having driven RWD, FWD, and AWD cars in the Canadian winter, I attest to benefits of the all-wheel drive system for finding traction. It doesn't help in stopping or turning, and could give you a false sense of comfort (just like ESP, DSP, and the rest of the alphabet soup). However, I've been in situations (i.e., stuck in the middle of an intersection spinning my wheels) where the AWD would have saved my rear. So it's good to know that I have this in my W204's aresnal of safety features.
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Old 11-19-2007, 11:10 PM
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Originally Posted by ora12 View Post
woah...
Have you been eating popcorns or what??

How do you like ur C so far?
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Old 11-19-2007, 11:14 PM
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Originally Posted by amdeutsch View Post
Accel pedal is on the RH side of the footwell and you use your left foot to operate it?

I thought you're light bulb was brighter than that, Left footing the car is my euphemism for "Left-Foot-Braking" the car. It's the point in which you've applied just a hint of brake thus shifting the weight causing the car to negative lock. Why it's called left foot braking is beyond me. If you use the term at an SCCA event everyone will know what you mean.


Left foot braking link'y below'y

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left-foot_braking

-Ryan

Last edited by CarGuru; 11-19-2007 at 11:17 PM.
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Old 11-20-2007, 03:02 AM
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glad to hear the system actually works.
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Old 11-20-2007, 03:18 AM
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Originally Posted by CarGuru View Post
Was headed home from dinner last night and was lining up to show my wife how well the car handles, keep in mind Iíve hit this same long sweeping S-Curve onramp with long acceleration lane...

-Ryan
It's amazing how in one of these, I didn't feel comfortable doing more than 60mph with my G35 coupe before (actually fishtailed doing 65), but did 70 mph with my C one night without having second thoughts on stepping on the gas.

I gotta say, being one who has not even looked at an MB website before I saw the new C, I Am Impressed!

"Around here, you gotta love what you drive"
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Old 11-20-2007, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by BlackMercBenz View Post
It's amazing how in one of these, I didn't feel comfortable doing more than 60mph with my G35 coupe before (actually fishtailed doing 65), but did 70 mph with my C one night without having second thoughts on stepping on the gas.

I gotta say, being one who has not even looked at an MB website before I saw the new C, I Am Impressed!

"Around here, you gotta love what you drive"
You hit the nail on the head about being comfortable, like I said earleir I've hit this on ramp at least 20X prior with less momentum, I've hit it at least 30+ times in the 996 and can easily hit it at 70 in that car if my stomach could take it. I've also fooled around on a few back roads, parking lots and vacant construction areas to learn how far I could push the car and where the break point is. IMO I think I could have pushed it a little further, perhaps even hung the tail out a wee bit providing the traction aid was off and there was no gravel. I feel very content in the car. I've never driven a G35 coupe, but have driven a 350Z and admit the 350Z is near 996 territory, but you have to be more careful as the weight is all up front and that car will easily get away. The w204 is so heavy it's very predictable.

-Ryan
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Old 11-20-2007, 11:17 AM
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I'd venture to say that the W204 is not as "fun" to drive as my IS300... I suspect that it would be hard (or impossible) to hang the tail out. But I think I have outgrown (gag) that stage of my life and enjoy the stability and no-fuss attitude to the W204's handling.

I do look forward to being able to push the car a little more though...
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Old 11-20-2007, 11:45 AM
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Again, sorry, with the e90 comparison. But I've noticed that because the steering is slower in the W204, I'm able to place the car more precisely and able to load up the steering much more progressively than I could in the e90. The e90's steering was a lot quicker, so I ended up more chucking it and knowing where it would stick or what it would take to correct it if it didn't. So in real world driving, (will on-ramps anyway) the w204 feels like it's got a lot more grip because it's progressively loading up instead of on/off like the bmw.

Even my wife commented the other day that she doesn't get thrown around like she did in the BMW.

I'm really starting to get used to the lighter steering too.

But the one trade off is that the w204 just does not like to change directions quickly. Feels ponderous doing any quick left-right stuff, where the e90 liked to dance around.
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Old 11-20-2007, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by oblu View Post
Feels ponderous doing any quick left-right stuff, where the e90 liked to dance around.
Agree that the E90's are more responsive in terms of handling....
But have you ever tried going over an expansion joint while steer the E90? That thing will dance alright... right out of your hands.
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Old 11-20-2007, 02:38 PM
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Nope, never had any problems with grip on expansion joints ... I live in PACNW, they're wet 98% of the time.
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Old 11-20-2007, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by peabers View Post
I'd venture to say that the W204 is not as "fun" to drive as my IS300... I suspect that it would be hard (or impossible) to hang the tail out. But I think I have outgrown (gag) that stage of my life and enjoy the stability and no-fuss attitude to the W204's handling.

I do look forward to being able to push the car a little more though...
Agree I too have somewhat out grown the need to drive in such negligent manor, but when the bug bites, conditions are ripe, theres no traffic and dry pavement it's as blissful to me as a diehard enthusiast as a Golf enthusiast to snag a Hole-N-One, can't explain it but it just feels like you and the car are one at that moment. Don't think I will ever grow out of it. In fact I'm 29 YTD and I recall back when I was about 18 Y/O in college I worked at a Ford dealer washing cars, one of the guys who takes people home or who drove the "Courtesy" van was this 78 year old man at the time drove the cleanest E28 M5 you had ever seen, he had owned it since new in '88 was high up in the SCCA crowd. I recall the day I found out he was an enthusiast, I explained how I lusted over that black E28 in the parking lot and envied whoever owned it and such. He took me for a ride that day after work through some canyon roads about five miles from the dealer and was drifting taking turns I would be scared to at that rate of speed today, yet his driving and the car was poised. I thought to myself, I want to have the same enthusiasim for fine automobiles and driving as he did when I'm 79 should I be so blessed.

-Ryan
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