Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2017 BMW 3 Series VS 2017 Mercedes C-Class Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2017 BMW 3 Series

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VS

2017 Mercedes C-Class

Safety Comparison

The 3 Series Sedan has standard Active Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The C-Class Sedan doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

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, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, available all wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.

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

C-Class

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

150

246

Chest Compression

.6 inches

.6 inches

Neck Injury Risk

32%

60%

Neck Stress

115 lbs.

147 lbs.

Neck Compression

44 lbs.

219 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

C-Class

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

184 lbs.

452 lbs.

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

326

459

Spine Acceleration

64 G’s

67 G’s

Hip Force

688 lbs.

949 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

38 G’s

43 G’s

Hip Force

513 lbs.

769 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 7 years longer than the C-Class Sedan’s (12 vs. 5 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 3 Series Sedan for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Mercedes doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the C-Class Sedan.

Reliability Comparison

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without their vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports predicts that the 3 Series Sedan’s reliability will be 88% better than the C-Class Sedan.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the 3 Series Sedan third among compact premium cars in their 2016 Initial Quality Study. The C-Class Sedan isn’t in the top three.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2016 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW fifth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 17 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 15th, below the industry average.

Engine Comparison

The 3 Series Sedan’s 2.0 turbo diesel produces 7 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 273) than the C300 Sedan’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the 330i is faster than the C300 Sedan (automatics tested):

 

3 Series

C-Class

Zero to 60 MPH

5.5 sec

6.4 sec

Quarter Mile

14.1 sec

14.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

97.9 MPH

93.4 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the 328d gets better fuel mileage than the C300 Sedan:

 

 

3 Series

C-Class

 

RWD

Auto

31 city/43 hwy

24 city/34 hwy

 

AWD

Auto

30 city/40 hwy

24 city/31 hwy

 

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

 

 

3 Series

C-Class

 

AWD

320i/Auto

23 city/34 hwy

24 city/31 hwy

300/Auto

 

330i/Auto

23 city/33 hwy

n/a

 

 

340i/Auto

21 city/31 hwy

20 city/28 hwy

AMG 43/Auto

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.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

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

 

3 Series

C-Class

 

70 to 0 MPH

159 feet

160 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

107 feet

108 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The 3 Series Sedan’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (50% to 50%) than the C-Class Sedan’s (55% to 45%). This gives the 3 Series Sedan more stable handling and braking.

The 320i handles at .92 G’s, while the C300 Sedan 4MATIC pulls only .87 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The 340i xDrive executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the C300 Sedan 4MATIC (25.6 seconds @ .75 average G’s vs. 26.3 seconds @ .7 average G’s).

Chassis Comparison

The design of the BMW 3 Series Sedan amounts to more than styling. The 3 Series Sedan offers aerodynamic coefficients of drag from .28 to .29 Cd (depending on bodystyle and options). That is lower than the C-Class Sedan (.3 to .32) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the 3 Series Sedan get better fuel mileage.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the 330i is quieter than the AMG C43 Sedan 4MATIC:

 

3 Series

C-Class

At idle

40 dB

41 dB

Full-Throttle

71 dB

78 dB

70 MPH Cruising

66 dB

73 dB

Passenger Space Comparison

The 3 Series Sedan has 3.2 inches more front headroom, .3 inches more front legroom, .4 inches more front shoulder room, .6 inches more rear headroom 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. 12.6 cubic feet).

Ergonomics Comparison

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.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The 3 Series Sedan offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The C-Class Sedan doesn’t offer headlight washers.

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.

Economic Advantages Comparison

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 $342 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 $247 less for an alternator, $77 less for front brake pads, $134 less for a starter, $587 less for a fuel pump and $138 less for front struts.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the BMW 3 Series Sedan will be $5987 to $13888 less than for the Mercedes C-Class Sedan.

Recommendations Comparison

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

 

3 Series

C-Class

Consumer Reports® Recommends

TRUE

FALSE

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.

Strategic Vision rates overall owner satisfaction with vehicle quality. The BMW 3 Series Sedan is ranked above average in the Near-Luxury Car category. The Mercedes C-Class Sedan is ranked below average.

The 3 Series was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 20 of the last 23 years. The C-Class Sedan has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The BMW 3 Series outsold the Mercedes C-Class by 16% during the 2016 model year.

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