Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2016 Mercedes Benz C-Class VS 2016 BMW 3 Near Phoenix, AZ

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2016 Mercedes Benz C-Class

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VS

2016 BMW 3

Safety Comparison

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes C-Class Sedan have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision. The BMW 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes C-Class Sedan are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The BMW 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the Collision Prevention Assist Plus in the C-Class Sedan as “Superior.” The 3 Series Sedan scores at most only 2 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

The C-Class Sedan’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the C-Class Sedan and the 3 Series Sedan have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, front parking sensors, available all wheel drive, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rearview cameras.

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

C-Class Sedan

3 Series Sedan

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

138

232

Neck Injury Risk

24%

36%

Neck Stress

203 lbs.

345 lbs.

Neck Compression

62 lbs.

113 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 Mercedes C-Class Sedan is safer than the BMW 3 Series Sedan:

C-Class Sedan

3 Series Sedan

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

76

258

Chest Movement

1 inches

1.1 inches

Abdominal Force

147 G’s

232 G’s

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

17 inches

HIC

248

291

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

Reliability Comparison

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2015 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 27 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 18th.

Engine Comparison

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

Horsepower

Torque

C300 Sedan 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

241 HP

273 lbs.-ft.

C450 AMG 3.0 turbo V6

362 HP

384 lbs.-ft.

320i 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

180 HP

200 lbs.-ft.

328i 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

240 HP

255 lbs.-ft.

340i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

320 HP

330 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Motor Trend the C300 Sedan is faster than the 320i (automatics tested):

C-Class Sedan

3 Series Sedan

Zero to 60 MPH

6.4 sec

6.6 sec

Quarter Mile

14.8 sec

15.1 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

93.4 MPH

90.7 MPH

As tested in Car and Driver the C450 AMG is faster than the 328i (automatics tested):

C-Class Sedan

3 Series Sedan

Zero to 60 MPH

4.5 sec

5.6 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

11.2 sec

14.7 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

5.4 sec

6.5 sec

Quarter Mile

13.1 sec

14.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

108 MPH

98 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

The C-Class Sedan has 2.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the 3 Series Sedan ActiveHybrid/diesel’s standard fuel tank (17.4 vs. 15 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The C-Class Sedan has 1.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the 3 Series Sedan’s standard fuel tank (17.4 vs. 15.8 gallons).

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

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

C-Class Sedan

C450 AMG

320i/328i

340i

Front Rotors

13 inches

14.2 inches

12.3 inches

13.4 inches

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

C-Class Sedan

3 Series Sedan

70 to 0 MPH

160 feet

191 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

108 feet

115 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

The C-Class Sedan’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the 3 Series Sedan’s standard 55 series tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The C-Class Sedan has a standard automatic load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

The C-Class Sedan’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the C-Class Sedan’s wheelbase is 1.2 inches longer than on the 3 Series Sedan (111.8 inches vs. 110.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the C-Class Sedan is 2.2 inches wider in the front than on the 3 Series Sedan.

The C450 AMG 4MATIC handles at .93 G’s, while the 328i pulls only .87 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the C-Class Sedan’s turning circle is .3 feet tighter than the 3 Series Sedan’s (36.8 feet vs. 37.1 feet). The C-Class Sedan’s turning circle is 1.6 feet tighter than the 3 Series Sedan xDrive’s (36.8 feet vs. 38.4 feet).

Chassis Comparison

The front grille of the C-Class Sedan uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The C-Class Sedan has a larger trunk than the 3 Series Sedan (12.6 vs. 12 cubic feet).

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults or children, the C-Class Sedan offers an optional power trunk, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button or just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer a power trunk.

Ergonomics Comparison

Unlike the driver-only memory system optional at extra cost in the 3 Series Sedan, the C-Class Sedan offers an optional passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The C-Class Sedan’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

Optional air conditioned seats in the C-Class Sedan keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in Summer. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer air conditioned seats.

Recommendations Comparison

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

The C-Class Sedan was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2015. The 3 Series hasn’t been picked since 2014.

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