2015 Mercedes Benz C300 vs C400

Posted by: Bernard Winkelmann onSeptember 2nd, 2014

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I’m in lust again. Her name is W205. She comes from a family named Mercedes and the family crest is a 3 pointed star. She comes from a long line of well groomed sedans. It started in 1982 when Mercedes released a small saloon (sedan for us North Americans) under the 190 moniker. The W201 was the beginning of the entry level sedan for Mercedes. 2015 brings us the 5th generation, the W205.

The C-Class has remained much the same size until now. It has grown in every dimension and grown up in style. The interior has improved dramatically in the W205 and offers amenities that were only seen on E-Class or higher vehicles. The growth is evident in the longer wheelbase that allows real leg room for rear passengers when the front is adjusted for my driving position. In the W204, I either had to compromise my leg room, or only allow children to sit behind me when loading up the car.

The two cars I tested were equipped with the same packages. How those packages played out was a little different from car to car. The C300 I tested had the premium package and the partial LED headlamps for an as tested price of $47,600 before freight, PDI and taxes. The C400 also had the premium package. It comes standard with the partial LEDs for $55,900. The massive difference in price is not due to engine costs alone, but can be attributed to the differences in standard equipment and what the packages include.

The C300 makes Burmeister Sound a separate option from the premium package as well as a number of other options like parktronic and the 360 camera. In fact, I am not sure the 360 camera is available on the C300.

On the outside, the C400 comes standard with the P31 AMG exterior. This includes some chrome deletion, larger lower front air damn, unique AMG rear bumper side air outlets and a lowered sport suspension. You can see the difference in the side-by side pictures in the gallery. There is also a picture of the C400, C300 and E350 side-by side. The family resemblance is uncanny. It used to be that the E-Class had a distinctive look. You knew it was a Benz, but different. In 2014, all the cars seem to look the same. Just pick a size. C = Small, E = Medium, S = Large.

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There is some irony in the way the C300 and the C400 are packaged. All of the luxury appointments are standard on the C400. This includes 16-way power seats for both driver and passenger (C300 only gets the driver seat), panoramic sunroof and ambient lighting to name a few. This contrasts the standard sport suspension and exterior sport package. I am conflicted in understanding what the C400 is to the market. Is it a small luxury sedan, or is it a sporty small sedan? The C300 in contrast feels like the stripper model that forces you to pay for any of the luxury items you might want if you aren’t looking for sporty.

Next Page: Driving dynamics



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