Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2010 BMW 3 Series VS 2010 Mercedes-C-Class Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2010 BMW 3 Series

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2010 Mercedes-C-Class

Safety Comparison

The 3 Series Sedan has standard child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The C Class doesn’t offer child safety locks.

Both the 3 Series Sedan and the C Class have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding and available all wheel drive.

Warranty Comparison

The 3 Series Sedan’s corrosion warranty is 8 years and unlimited miles longer than the C Class’ (12/unlimited vs. 4/50,000).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 3 Series Sedan for 4 years and 50,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, tire rotation, lubrication and any other scheduled maintenance. Mercedes doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the C Class.

There are over 12 percent more BMW dealers than there are Mercedes dealers, which makes it easier to get service under the 3 Series Sedan’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

The battery on the 3 Series Sedan is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures which can degrade battery life. By keeping the 3 Series Sedan’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The C Class’ battery is in the hot engine compartment.

J.D. Power and Associates’ surveys of the owners of three-year-old cars provide the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 15th in reliability, above the industry average. With 18 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 17th.

Engine Comparison

The 335i Sedan’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 32 more horsepower (300 vs. 268) and 42 lbs.-ft. more torque (300 vs. 258) than the C350’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6.

The 3 Series Sedan’s 3.0 turbo diesel produces 37 more horsepower (265 vs. 228) and 204 lbs.-ft. more torque (425 vs. 221) than the C300’s standard 3.0 DOHC V6. The 3 Series Sedan’s 3.0 turbo diesel produces 167 lbs.-ft. more torque (425 vs. 258) than the C350’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6.

As tested in Car and Driver the 328i Sedan is faster than the C300 (manual transmissions tested):

3 Series Sedan

C Class

Zero to 60 MPH

5.9 sec

6.5 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

16.1 sec

16.8 sec

Quarter Mile

14.6 sec

14.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

96 MPH

95 MPH

Top Speed

148 MPH

130 MPH

For more instantaneous acceleration and better engine flexibility in any gear, the 3 Series Sedan’s engines produce their peak horsepower at lower RPM’s than the C Class:


335i Sedan 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

5800 RPM

C300 3.0 DOHC V6

6000 RPM

C350 3.5 DOHC V6

6000 RPM

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the 335d Sedan gets better fuel mileage than the C300 Auto RWD (23 city/36 hwy vs. 18 city/25 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the 3 Series Sedan RWD gets better fuel mileage than the C Class RWD:

3 Series Sedan

C Class

3.0 6 cyl./Manual

18 city/28 hwy

18 city/26 hwy

3.0 6 cyl./Auto

18 city/28 hwy

18 city/25 hwy

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the BMW 3 Series Sedan uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The C Class requires premium, which can cost 25 to 50 cents more per gallon.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the 3 Series Sedan’s brake rotors are larger than those on the C Class:

328i Sedan




Front Rotors

12.3 inches

13.7 inches

11.6 inches

12.7 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

13.2 inches

11.8 inches

11.8 inches

The 3 Series Sedan’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs standard on the C300 are solid, not vented.

The 3 Series Sedan stops much shorter than the C Class:

3 Series Sedan

C Class

80 to 0 MPH

208 feet

241 feet

Road & Track

70 to 0 MPH

160 feet

174 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels Comparison

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the 3 Series Sedan can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The C Class doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The 335i Sedan handles at .95 G’s, while the C350 pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The 335d Sedan goes through Road & Track’s slalom 6.7 MPH faster than the C350 (70.5 vs. 63.8 MPH).

Chassis Comparison

The 3 Series Sedan is 4.1 inches shorter than the C Class, making the 3 Series Sedan easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

As tested by Road & Track, the interior of the 335d Sedan is quieter than the C350:

3 Series Sedan

C Class

At idle

45 dB

45 dB


71 dB

74 dB

50 MPH Cruising

62 dB

67 dB

70 MPH Cruising

67 dB

69 dB

Passenger Space Comparison

The 3 Series Sedan has 4.8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the C Class (93 vs. 88.2).

The 3 Series Sedan has 1.4 inches more front headroom, .7 inches more front shoulder room, .6 inches more rear headroom and 1.2 inches more rear legroom than the C Class.

Ergonomics Comparison

The 3 Series Sedan has a lever hand brake in the console, easy to use while keeping both feet free and not impeding entry and exit. The C Class’ foot pedal parking brake is not handy to use as a hill holding device with a manual transmission.

The 3 Series Sedan’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The C Class’ standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the 3 Series Sedan to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The C Class doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

While driving with high-beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the 3 Series Sedan detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low-beams. The C Class doesn’t offer automatic dimming high-beams.

The C Class’ optional cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The 3 Series Sedan’s optional adaptive cornering lights turn the actual headlight unit up to several degrees, depending on steering wheel angle and vehicle speed. This lights a significant distance into corners at any speed.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the 3 Series Sedan offers an optional Active Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The C Class doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Economic Advantages Comparison

The 3 Series Sedan will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. Kiplinger’s estimates that the 3 Series Sedan will retain 62% of its original price after two years, while the C Class only retains 48% to 51%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the 3 Series Sedan is less expensive to operate than the C Class because it costs $200 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the 3 Series Sedan than the C Class, including $120 less for a starter and $1157 less for a power steering pump.

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