Mercedes-Benz W204 C-Class: Which C-Class Model Should I Buy?

If you've started looking into buying a Mercedes-Benz C-Class W204, then you're probably already aware of the fact that there are different models to choose from: the C250, C300, and C350. The following is a simple breakdown of the differences between each one to help you make the most appropriate purchase for your needs.

By Jeffrey Bausch - May 4, 2015

This article applies to the Mercedes-Benz C-Class w204 (2007-2014).

Mercedes-Benz is well known for making quality, high-performance vehicles, and this is best exemplified with its C-Class w204 line of vehicles, by far the company’s best-selling model to date. If you’re thinking about purchasing one of these cars, then you should know there are three models: the C250, C300, and C350. Each one is slightly different from the other, and to help you make the right decision to fit your needs, the following is a simple breakdown of each model’s unique features.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Models

C250

The C250 uses a 1.8L turbo inline-4 engine, with a 7-speed automatic transmission, which produces 201HP at 5500 RPM. It achieves 22 MPG city, and 31 MPG on the highway, and according to the EPA, is expected to return an average MPG of 27.

The C250, compared to the other two cars, is the introductory model, but it has a more economical engine. This model was a late addition to the W204 generation C-Class, introducing Mercedes-Benz's new line of turbo four cylinder engines. Due to the unique design of the C250, coupled with its fuel efficiency, the car has excellent resale value, compared to the C300 and C350 models; however, it is worth noting that the C250's engine is turbocharged and requires more frequent servicing than the naturally-aspirated V6 engines in the C300 and C350.

Figure 1. MBZ C250.

C300

The C300 uses a 3.0L V6 engine. It averages 25 MPG and has an average horsepower of 228 at 6000 RPM. This model is offered with the 7-speed, "7G-Tronic" automatic transmission; however, earlier model years in the W204 generation could be specified with a 6-speed manual transmission. These vehicles have become quite rare.

Many consider the C300 to be a premium entry-level luxury car, and it is the "bread and butter" model for Mercedes-Benz in the United States. This particular model is known to have a few quirks and common issues, involving the interior electrics (the COMAND system) and the steering column, which can fail. These models are known for a rather sharp level of depreciation. However, the V6 engine is smooth, refined, and largely reliable, and MBWorld fanatics have been known to seek out the rare C300s with the 6-speed manual and hang onto them for years.

Figure 2. MBZ C300.

C350

The C350 uses a larger, 3.5L version of the same V6 engine featured in the C300. It averages 24 MPG and has an average horsepower of 302 at 6500 RPM. In terms of speed, this is the quickest model, short of the C63 AMG.

Mercedes-Benz’s C350 can best be summed up as the C300 but with more muscle. This particular model will give you more push on the open road and not at the expense of the driving experience; in fact, push the car and you’ll be happy to discover that it remains calm and quiet on the inside. Otherwise, a lot of the features in the C300 are copied over into the C350. It does have a larger, less fuel-friendly engine, though, so do be aware of this fact as you push the car’s performance on the open road.

Figure 3. MBZ C350 on BBS mesh wheels.

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