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Picked it up on Saturday morning, have about 125 miles on it so far (dealer was about 50 miles away).<p>Silver/Charcoal premium leather, C2 package.<p>I have had numerous BMWs for the past 18 years, and several Porsches. Currently have a '78 SC concours, '86 535i and the C240/6. Have had a E36 325i, E30 325, some other weird cars (Fiat Spider, Bertone/Fiat X/19, some others). Lots of sport bikes, too, the last one a Honda Hurricane. Used to work in a BMW shop in college, have done a ton of work on BMWs and Porsches as a hobby. Lots of projects most would not tackle at home (full paint job, yanking engines out, etc.)<p>Looked at the 3 series, and it was a close call. The 3 is definately quicker, even in 323/325 form, and the engine is also smoother. Didn't get the 3 because I've had so many BMWs, and wanted a change. Also, I plan on keeping it for a long time (15 years+, as you can see from my other cars, I can do it!), and the MB seemed like a more modern car, with styling that will stay a little fresher a little longer. Also, it seemed to have a little more "substance," it appears a little larger and heavier.<p>Pros so far: I have gone over every square inch of the paint. I think its the best I've ever seen. Totally even and flawless, with very nice depth (on new BMWs, I have always been able to easily spot little flaws, no big deal, but they are there. I used to judge concours events, so I am used to finding tiny imperfections!). Seems nicer than BMW paint. I really like the outside styling. Everyone that has seen it so far has been blown away. They all have said "I thought I knew what the new C looked like, but I obviously have been looking at the old one!" I think its perfect for my wife, she thinks its really "cute." I must admit it seems a little more like a "girl car," than a guy car to me. I guess it lacks the Teutonic sterness of an old 5 series or 911 that I am used to. Its a kinder, gentler car than I am used to.<p>I also really like the interior. The styling is just about perfect to me, a nice blend of luxury and sportiness. I really didn't like the instruments at first, but they have really grown on me! I still wish the tach were a little bigger, but that's kinda minor. I also really like the center mounted info screen and the steering wheel buttons. Its really easy to use. For example, programming options like light timing, etc. is very easy. The car has lots of little gizmos, but they are actually well thought out, easy to use, and useful.<br>It is also very, very quiet on the highway. I don't think I've ever been in a quieter car at 80 mph on the highway. <br>The steering is perfectly weighted in my opinion, with just the right amount of feel. Very nice.<br>The heat/AC system took a little to get used to (I've read through the 350 page owners manual several times!), but works very well! In fact, I think the car is very simple to use, the buttons etc. are logically laid out and fairly intuitive.<br>The shifting is great! I really like the feel of the box. The center armrest is just the right height, so shifting is just a matter of flicking the wrist. The clutch is a little light for my taste, but perfect for my wife (its her car, she'll put 99% of the miles on it). Is a very forgiving system, seems almost "unstallable." After driving Porsches for so long, I call the C a "fake stick shift!" (kidding).<br>The wheels are very easy to clean, not a fussy design with lots of crevices for brake dust to hide.<p>Cons: I didn't think I'd like the foot brake, and I don't!! OK for an automatic (where you don't really need to ever use it), a pain to use for the stick! Seems like it could be easy to get in the dangerous habit of just leaving it in first, and forgetting about the foot brake.<br>You need to call the SOS to get the "1 Malfunction" off the screen. I've tried several times, and each time it says "SOS Call Failed." I've tried calling the 1 800 FOR MERC number, only to be put on hold for so long I had to give up (20 minutes +!). Maybe its just because of the holidays. I guess the lesson is to not have an emergency on a holiday!<p>Driving cons: First gear seems too low. It "winds out" too fast, for normal driving, it seems like you upshift at 5 mph. Would be good for pulling stumps, though! It seems like instead of adding a really high 6th gear to a 5 speed, they added a really low 1st instead. My wife asked if its ok if she just starts out in second, to make things a little smoother. But, second seems a touch too high for a starting out gear (surprisingly close, though.) I'd like both 1st and 6th to be a little higher, the other gears seem just right.<br>It for some reason seems a little sluggish off the line. I can seem to really sense the lack of a throttle cable. It also seem to "surge" a little as it works through the revs. Hard to explain in words, but it doesn't have the linear feel or "snap" as the 3 series. That thing just flies to redline like a turbine. But, I am slowly becoming used to it.<br>20 extra hp and lb/ft of torque would definately be nice, though. <p>Conclusion: I am actually happier with it than I expected. Its a beautiful car, and it seems very well made. It feels very solid. I have not noticed any flaws, and I have gone over it VERY carefully. If it holds together for 15 years, I'll be very happy!<br>
 

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Thanks for the impressions

Thanks for the at length comments; it's nice to hear from people who are coming from BMWs, since I am (planning to) too.<br>
 

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URL for C-class technology

BTW you mentioned interest in new C technology; here's the press release from MB, which has great information:<p>http://www.geocities.com/MotorCity/Speedway/5350/w203first.htm<br>
 
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