7.27.2009

Cars I've Owned (Part 8 of 14)


2007 Mercedes-Benz C230 Sport
2008 to Present
Aka: “The Current Ride”


Let it be known that I still consider myself a BMW guy through and through (though loyalists will cry traitor at the mere mention of Mercedes, I’d have been better off buying an Audi, Porsche, hell, anything but a Benz), but I really wanted to try something new. It was hard not to feel as if Bimmers had been cursed ever since the 320is exploded on me. For the same money, I would have ended up with a used 5-series or something, so these new C-class cars started to catch my eye because of the price point. Truth be told, BMW’s also started to feel passé, I feel like I was into them about 5 to 10 years before they really became popular. I mean, everyone’s got one now, and unless you have an M car or something really classic and special, they feel very pedestrian to me. I had really grown into the community too, belonging to the BMW Car Club of America (San Francisco – Golden Gate Chapter), going to Bavarian Autosport in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, knowing the guys at A&E Performance in Campbell, hanging out at Dinan Engineering in Mountain View, visiting 2002 Haus in San Luis Obispo, and even haggling with the Bimmer Brothers (once came really close to swapping the 318ti straight across for either a 1988 E28 M5 that needed some interior work or a 1992 850i, my choice), and sort of miss it all. I really don’t think I’m an MBZ kinda’ guy; there are days I love it and it seems to suit my lifestyle at the moment – and then days I feel like a pretentious idiot. But so far, the Benz itself has been a good car. I’ve managed to avoid door dings for a year and a half in a major metropolitan area. The leather interior is still pristine, but there are a couple of minor annoyances. The AC system seems to have a mind of its own. About once every two weeks, the AC will simply turn off all by itself for about 30 seconds. It doesn’t matter what you do, which buttons you press or dials you spin, it just comes back on when it feels like it. The huge cross-drilled brake rotors in the front can stop on a dime, but they also make a hellacious amount of brake dust so it’s impossible to keep the car clean looking for more than a week or so. The “Sport” version of the C230 has an AMG package on it, marking the last year of this body style. I’ve got the slightly larger engine, a 2.5 liter DOHC V6, the ground effects kits, rear deck lid spoiler, charcoal bird’s eye maple carbon fiber trim, the AMG exhaust system, and the larger deep set wheels. Now, I love the look of the wheels, but the spokes stick out like the knuckles of a ham-fisted ogre clamboring up Jack’s Beanstalk. I can either stay 2 feet away from curbs when I’m parking (I just can’t seem to judge distance in this car) or risk grinding them. I’ve actually ground the wheels twice so that I have two little inch long scrapes on the wheels. There’s just nothing as horrible as that crunching sound of metal against cement curb. *Shudder* The car is pretty fast though, it loves the power band coming out of 3,500rpm and that comes in handy when I have to get on the Interstate 5 onramp and need to dust a Porsche Boxster or those twits in their Acura’s in the process. It loves running at high speeds and high rpm. I did get a really good deal on the car. Since it was a 2007 model that I bought very early in 2008, the dealer was extremely motivated to get it off the lot, especially since the new C300 models were already out. I saved about 30% on price because of this. As for mileage, they claim it’s in the high 20’s, but I swear if I redline it through the 6-speed tranny, I can watch it slurp down a quarter tank of gas right before my eyes, so I think their estimate may be overly optimistic. I do have to say that Mercedes-Benz Customer Service is unparalleled. Routine service is only at 13,000 mile intervals, and when I pull into the dealer they’re right there with a manager, a tech, a donut, a coffee, a loaner car, a smile, and articulate what exactly they’ll be doing. They call and keep me updated. I’m in and out, never with any hassle, warrantee doing what it’s supposed to. Things happen how they say they’ll happen when they say they’ll happen and they comp me on all kinds of shit. The prices can be a little steep, but hey, they call you on your birthday.

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