Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2014 BMW 3 Series VS 2014 Mercedes C-Class Near Phoenix, AZ

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2014 BMW 3 Series

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VS

2014 Mercedes C-Class

Safety Comparison

The 3 Series Sedan (except 320i) offers an optional Side and Top View Cameras to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The C-Class Sedan only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

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

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the BMW 3 Series Sedan is safer than the Mercedes C-Class Sedan:

3 Series Sedan

C-Class Sedan

Driver

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

232

244

Neck Stress

345 lbs.

406 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

321/434 lbs.

739/804 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

150

277

Chest Compression

.6 inches

.9 inches

Neck Injury Risk

32%

35%

Neck Stress

115 lbs.

121 lbs.

Neck Compression

44 lbs.

166 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

174/298 lbs.

699/387 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the BMW 3 Series Sedan is safer than the Mercedes C-Class Sedan:

3 Series Sedan

C-Class Sedan

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

184 lbs.

367 lbs.

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

688 lbs.

832 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

291

349

Spine Acceleration

38 G’s

50 G’s

Hip Force

513 lbs.

901 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty Comparison

The 3 Series Sedan’s corrosion warranty is 8 years and unlimited miles longer than the C-Class Sedan’s (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, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Mercedes doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the C-Class Sedan.

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

Reliability Comparison

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the 3 Series Sedan has a standard 900-amp battery. The C-Class Sedan’s 700-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

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 Sedan’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

Engine Comparison

The 3 Series Sedan has more powerful engines than the C-Class Sedan:

Horsepower

Torque

328i 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

240 HP

255 lbs.-ft.

335i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

300 HP

300 lbs.-ft.

ActiveHybrid 3 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

335 HP

330 lbs.-ft.

C250 Sedan 1.8 turbo 4 cyl.

201 HP

229 lbs.-ft.

C300 Sedan 3.5 DOHC V6

248 HP

251 lbs.-ft.

C350 Sedan 3.5 DOHC V6

302 HP

273 lbs.-ft.

The 3 Series Sedan’s 2.0 turbo diesel produces 51 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 229) than the C250 Sedan’s standard 1.8 turbo 4 cyl. The 3 Series Sedan’s 2.0 turbo diesel produces 29 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 251) than the C300 Sedan’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6. The 3 Series Sedan’s 2.0 turbo diesel produces 7 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 273) than the C350 Sedan’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the 320i is faster than the C250 Sedan (automatics tested):

3 Series Sedan

C-Class Sedan

Zero to 60 MPH

6.6 sec

7.2 sec

Quarter Mile

15.1 sec

15.4 sec

As tested in Motor Trend the 335i is faster than the C350 Sedan (automatics tested):

3 Series Sedan

C-Class Sedan

Zero to 30 MPH

1.5 sec

2 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

4.4 sec

5.4 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

7.4 sec

9 sec

Passing 45 to 65 MPH

2.3 sec

2.7 sec

Quarter Mile

13 sec

14 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

105.4 MPH

100.6 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the ActiveHybrid 3 gets better fuel mileage than the C250 Sedan (25 city/33 hwy vs. 22 city/31 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the 328d gets better fuel mileage than the C250 Sedan:

3 Series Sedan

C-Class Sedan

2WD

Auto

32 city/45 hwy

22 city/31 hwy

AWD

Auto

31 city/43 hwy

n/a

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

3 Series Sedan

C-Class Sedan

RWD

320i/Manual

23 city/36 hwy

n/a

328i/Manual

22 city/34 hwy

n/a

335i/Manual

20 city/30 hwy

n/a

320i/Auto

24 city/36 hwy

22 city/31 hwy

C250

328i/Auto

23 city/35 hwy

n/a

335i/Auto

22 city/32 hwy

20 city/29 hwy

C350

AWD

335i/Manual

20 city/28 hwy

n/a

320i/Auto

23 city/35 hwy

n/a

335i/Auto

20 city/30 hwy

20 city/27 hwy

C300

Regenerative brakes improve the 3 Series Sedan’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The C-Class Sedan doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

Regardless of its engine, the 3 Series Sedan’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Mercedes only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the C-Class Sedan C300/C350.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

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

320i/328i

335i

C250/C300

C350 Sedan

Front Rotors

12.3 inches

13.4 inches

11.6 inches

12.7 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

13 inches

11.8 inches

11.8 inches

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

3 Series Sedan

C-Class Sedan

80 to 0 MPH

218 feet

241 feet

Road & Track

70 to 0 MPH

164 feet

170 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

123 feet

135 feet

Road & Track

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the 3 Series Sedan offers optional 19-inch wheels. The C-Class Sedan’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard 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 Sedan doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the 3 Series Sedan’s wheelbase is 1.9 inches longer than on the C-Class Sedan (110.6 inches vs. 108.7 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the 3 Series Sedan is 2.3 inches wider in the rear than on the C-Class Sedan.

The 328i handles at .91 G’s, while the C350 Sedan pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Road & Track skidpad test.

The 328i goes through Road & Track’s slalom 5.2 MPH faster than the C350 Sedan (69 vs. 63.8 MPH).

The 335i xDrive executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.6 seconds quicker than the C250 Sedan (25.6 seconds @ .75 average G’s vs. 27.2 seconds).

Chassis Comparison

As tested by Road & Track, the interior of the 328i is quieter than the C250 Sedan:

3 Series Sedan

C-Class Sedan

At idle

39 dB

54 dB

Full-Throttle

70 dB

73 dB

50 MPH Cruising

60 dB

71 dB

70 MPH Cruising

65 dB

73 dB

Passenger Space Comparison

The 3 Series Sedan has 7.8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the C-Class Sedan (96 vs. 88.2).

The 3 Series Sedan has 3.2 inches more front headroom, .3 inches more front legroom, .4 inches more front shoulder room, .8 inches more rear headroom, 1.7 inches more rear legroom and .1 inches more rear shoulder room than the C-Class Sedan.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The 3 Series Sedan has a larger trunk than the C-Class Sedan (13 vs. 12.4 cubic feet).

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the 3 Series Sedan’s available trunk can be opened just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The C-Class Sedan doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Ergonomics Comparison

The 3 Series Sedan (except 320i) offers an available heads-up display which projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts onto the windshield, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The C-Class Sedan doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

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 Sedan doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

When the 3 Series Sedan is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The C-Class Sedan’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

Both the 3 Series Sedan and the C-Class Sedan offer optional heated front seats. The 3 Series Sedan also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the C-Class Sedan.

The 3 Series Sedan (except 320i)’s optional Parking Assistant can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The C-Class Sedan doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages Comparison

Insurance will cost less for the 3 Series Sedan owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the 3 Series Sedan will cost $2650 less than the C-Class Sedan over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the 3 Series Sedan is less expensive to operate than the C-Class Sedan because it costs $1045 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 Sedan, including $358 less for an alternator, $207 less for a starter, $61 less for a fuel pump and $28 less for front struts.

Recommendations Comparison

The BMW 3 Series Sedan has won recognition from these important consumer publications:

3 Series Sedan

C-Class Sedan

Consumer Reports® Recommends

Top Pick

Top Pick

Car Book “Best Bet”

TRUE

FALSE

J.D. Power and Associates rated the 3 Series Sedan third among compact premium cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The C-Class Sedan isn’t in the top three.

The 3 Series was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 20 of the last 20 years. The C-Class Sedan has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The 3 Series was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” for 13 of the last 18 years. The C-Class Sedan has never been an “All Star.”

The 3 Series was selected by Automobile Magazine as their 2006 Car of the Year. The C-Class Sedan has never been chosen.

The BMW 3 Series outsold the Mercedes C-Class by 35% during 2013.

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