I upgraded from a 2001 A4 to 2012 C300. The ride of C300 is smoother (though A4 was pretty good) and the handling is better.
We settled down with the C300 Luxury after test driving 328, Lexus ES350, Infiniti G25, C250 sport, etc. It wasn't an easy decision between 328 and C300. The Bimmer's handling and acceleration are just too good to be overlooked. But at the end, the quietness and smoothness of C300 won out.
Three BMWs in two garage, one a limited production V12, when the W204 was purchased (not "switched"). Different vehicles for sure, the main disappointment in the C300 is the truly awful 7G transmission, MB's "claim to shame". The two 3-series, one an M variant, are fantastic drives. The 330i is about 1.5 seconds faster 0-100 kph even though the engine has less rated HP and torque than the C300. The transmissions, steering and driving experience of the 3-series is a whole higher level than the W204. The W204 is somewhat quieter, and of course has truly beautiful exterior styling.
The W204 is just OK, I guess. But I was expecting something much better, and a month after buying the 2010 C300 Sport new, a FORD was purchased. The steering, transmission, suspension and handling are so far superior to the Benz. The interior materials are nicer, softer, the seats FAR more comfortable, and the build quality (made in Belgium) is equal to the Mercedes.
As a result the Ford has 80k kms while the Mercedes has only 22k kms after 3 years. The FORD is the car the whole family likes to steal, the C300 usually just sits in the garage so long the battery regularly goes flat.
The brakes on the Mercedes are superior, except for the V12 BMW. I wish the C300 Sport had the C300 Luxury suspension, then perhaps the drive would be more relaxed and less jumpy, then the lack of sporty performance would be compensated by a quality ride. But here the FORD is still superior in ride quality, again except for the V12.
I always try to get excited when firing-up the C300. However the hard seats and sport suspension punish the driver with a harsh and uncomfortable ride on the rough road surfaces encountered where I live. Also road noise is terrible in the Mercedes, louder than any of the 11 vehicles owned except for a new Honda Accord which s VERY NOISY!!!!!! The FORD makes the same trip a real pleasure, quiet, sporty. The 3-Series is an exhilarating ride, but frankly I prefer the FORD.
The other 3-Series M variant and the BMW V12 are in another country with different driving situations. Perhaps the W204 would be better off there.
Service and reliability, the W204 only two A services, and the FORD 4 A services and brakes at 70k kms. The Ford is still waiting for its first B service at 80k kms. Both very reliable. One of the 3-series had a lot of service issues, the other was service free except for oil changes, and was just sold with 160k kms.
Unfortunately the Audi A5 Sportback was not yet in production when the C300 was purchased. I have driven two A5 Sportbacks of friends and it's a very nice vehicle, and with the 333 HP engine and Quattro 4WD, it is sure-footed, quick and the ride is very very nice. The build quality and materials put the current BMW 3-Series to shame. The driving experience is completely variable through the control screen, knob and buttons. I will see if I buy the Audi, maybe the W204 will go to one of my children.
I am reposting this from another thread since it is relevant to this thread and to keep you from having to jump to another thread to read it:
I've owned an Audi TT all wheel drive, a BMW 325i and now a 2013 C250. The BMW had the most things go wrong and thank goodness I purchased the extra warranty because I needed it. Once the extended warranty ended at 75K miles it got very expensive to maintain so I traded it in on the C250. The Audi was a fun car and very solid. I never had any real problems with it and it held the road in bad weather like a tiger digging in its claws. Only negative was that it was not very comfortable and it didn't hold value when I went to trade it in. The BMW handles well but develops rattles and things that shouldn't go bad with interior components do. The quality is not there for the money. I tend to baby everything I own, only take it to the dealer for service as specified or sooner for problems so it should have done better. With the maintenance issues you need the free maintenance or you could go broke. Just regular oil service can set you back more than you would imagine because they always find something that needs to be replaced. Interior air filter replacement quoted at nearly $500. Here is a list of services, dates and mileage after out of extended warranty:
9/29/12 91,737 $1,427 -water pump replacement $580 Oil filter housing seal
9/7/12 90,245 $3,000 (would have been my share of replacing transmission that should have been covered under warranty as I reported the problem several time while under warranty and not fixed. Finally had to threaten to take them to court to get them to cover the full cost.
6/11/12 85,971 $933 Oil change, power steering system flush, coolant system flush, upper windshield molding, driver's side cup holder replacement
1/20/12 78,954 $581 Fuel Injection cleaning & flush and replace one ignition coil
11/19/11 77,054 $1,843 Replace alternator belt tensioner, brake pads and rotors, service standard scope
11/22/10 66,689 $411 Replace battery
So from November 2010 to September 2012 repairs and service cost $6,275 excluding the items that were replaced under warranty. If I had not won the battle on the transmission it would have added another $3,000 for a total of $9,275 or $386/month in addition to the loan payment of $454 per month. One could argue that I may have gotten a lemon but it seemed to pretty much match the experience other owners I knew were having. I guess I should add the $2,028 I paid for the warranty upgrade or my out of pocket costs would have been even higher (covered from 48,000 miles to 75,000 miles). My original plan was to pay it off and drive it into the ground but I quickly realized that the maintenance would drive me into the ground first.
The question is how will the C250 fare in the future?
Here is brief history of BMW while under warranty:
10,634 miles Telematics unit replaced
18,402 miles Replaced brake pads
25,941 miles Replaced two Bridgestone Run flat tires
30,177 miles Three reprogramming's required, replaced brake pads and wear sensor
33,941 miles Replaced 2 run Bridgestone run flat tires
34,117 miles Replaced faulty peeling door panel both passenger and driver side
36,189 miles Replaced wiper blades
40,252 miles Adjusted doors to resolve creeking noise, adjusted for rattling from speaker cover, replaced peeling gear shifter knob
47,361 miles Repaired rattle and rolling sound in front doors, replaced brake pads and sensors
53,486 miles Aligned suspension
53,494 miles Replaced driver door handle
57,369 miles Replaced 4 run flat tires with Continental run flats
60,099 miles Replaced driver's seat cover and seat trim rails, replaced wipers
65,025 miles Replaced left front wood trim panel broken clips coming loose, replaced both back door window regulators as they no longer worked
When I traded it in, the valve train was becoming noisy and the hydraulic lifters have been known to completely fail potentially destroying the engine. I decided I couldn't risk such a failure.
When I owned my prior Mercedes and we turned it in at the end of the lease we had experienced very few problems and the car was rock solid. Sadly we turned it in because we were bored with it. Later, I was kicking myself. How does this compare to other MB owner's experience?
I bought my first BMW in 2005. It was a 325i 2001 with 63.000 miles. I've paid $19,500 for it and did not have any warranty. I have always took care of my own maintenance since I am an aircraft mechanic (now retired) and decided to get the computer to interrogate the ECU and the other one for the airbag function….
One week after the delivery the car was park on the street and got hit by a Neon that lost control after being hit by a truck. I had close to $5000.00 of damaged. Because the car was in a BMW service center for repair I ask them to fix the unserviceable air conditioning. It cost me $1400.00 to replace the pusher fan and the expansion valve…My first and last visit to BMW stealer….
In 7 years of love and hate relationship here's the problems encounter…. The coolant level was coming down I had to replace the water pump. The oil level was coming down, had to replace the valve cover (twice), The steering pump oil level was coming down had to replace the rubber hoses going to the reservoir???? The trunk handle completely came off the trunk cover, had to repair it with fiberglass. The airbag light came on, had to replace the driver side seat belt receptacle assembly. The fan for the air inside the cabin suddenly stop working had to replace the resister. Both front calipers had to be replace last year. Brake rotors, all four wheels, were replaced twice in 7 years. Oxygen sensors replaced after engine light fault came on. Xenon module fail on left side ($320.00). Air pump for the anti pollution system failed, had to replace the assembly. The complete wiper assembly seized, one day. I had to dismantle everything, was able to completely dismantle both converter that were jammed in corrosion, lubricate them and reinstalled the assembly. That was 5 years ago and still working because grease was applied to the parts before reassembly! Both lights washer assembly failed and replaced twice until I decided to remove them completely. They were always leaking in winter and was told I was not using proper winter washer fluid. I was using fluid good for -40 degree!!! Oil level sensor fail ($202.00). Wiper fluid pump failed ($103.00). Had to replace both rubber mounting on front suspension after heavy vibration at the steering wheel. I also had this pusher fan for the a/c failure again. You have to dismantle the complete front end assembly to reach it. But I was able to fix it because the wire was simply melted by corrosion because exposed to the rain and salt of our road. I decided to cover the connection with RTV and never failed after….Both rear view mirror covers came off due to heavy corrosion on the rear view mirror casting. Had to clean the corrosion and reinstalled the mirror covers with metal screws...Had to replace the muffler attachments because the muffler is in stainless but the attachments are in metal????
I am sure I forgot something but I am also sure you understand why last friday I became owner of a 2010 C350 with 33.500 miles and a warranty from Mercedes until 2016!!!! I am getting old and hope this car will be more reliable ;-)
Left: picture of the bimmer for pusher fan repair Right : picture of the C350....Last: rear view mirror corrosion....
Honestly it is good car in general but I was not lucky one, I got engine problems after 8k miles and car stayed all summer inside local dealership waiting for part and technician from Japan !!! to install it. After this it was fine until I got G37 coupe and water leak from site windows after first rain .... So, no most likely I wouldn't get back to Nissan made cars.
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