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We like Mercedes' C class, but we aren't sure that the C350 is better than the C300.
Tags:2010 Mercedes C350 Car Review,2010 Mercedes C350,2010 mercedes car tech,2010 mercedes cars,car news,car reviews,car tech,cnet,2010 Mercedes C350 review,2010 mercedes-benz c350 car tech,brian cooley
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2010 Mercedes C350 Review
The C-class is all sedans these days. No coupe. And sadly, Mercedes-Benz no longer offers any wagons. But these sedans hit the sweet spot for the mass market. But do they do the same when it comes to tech? The current C-class has always been one of the best-looking cars for the money, printing quite a bit richer than it costs. Our C350 sports sedan is arctic white with grey-black leather, and those AMG six-spokes, they're a basic part of the 350 trim level.
Now, it just so happens we are in a pretty strict 350 sports sedan. So I'm going to show you how the other half lives before they start loading up the options. Let's start here. What's behind door number one? Well, not a hell of a lot. A little screen. What is that? About a four or five-inch, but kind of small and low. If you get NAV on this car, you've got a much larger pop-up LCD, like a seven-inch, I believe. But this little guy is standard. So there is an LCD in this car no matter what, tied to a command controller down here, which is Mercedes' interface. There's no touchscreen going on here, of course. It's kind of set back. But you do have a fair amount of control with this controller, starting with your radio choices, for example, AM/FM Sirius satellite radio. And again, I'm just moving this knob here. You can move that, you can jog it around, and you can press the middle for an enter. You've got back and clear on here as well. That's really nice because it's easy to back out of things without having to move your hand back and forth or something like the digging for a menu item.
Beyond satellite radio, of course, we have AM/FM, and that's it. There's no HD radio. It's a Mercedes, so of course they put weather band on here, a German thing, for some reason. Here's your disc button, which will get you into your CD, which is a single-slot on this guy. Or you can come down here to the aux jack, which is way over on the far wall in the glove box. Now, what else do you see in there? There's the optional iPod connector, one of the very few options we have on this car, and that was ala carte, by the way. Damned if I can figure out how to get the thing to come up, though. I don't know where the input button is. It’s kind of embarrassing, isn't it? That'll be on next year's blooper reel.
Your sound controls are pretty basic on this because we don't have the upgraded Harman-Kardon, Dolby Digital 5.1, Logic Seven phony surround system. So it's bass, treble, fader and that's kind of that. Telephone hands-free, Bluetooth standard in this car. No A2DP stereo streaming whether you option this thing up to the hills or take it straight. Now, in spite of the fact that we have an LCD up here, no rear-view camera, you'll see. Rear-view camera's a $450.00 ala carte option. And a number of vehicle information displays will happen right there inside the speedometer in that black and white LCD.
The C350 has a 3.5-liter V6 doing 268 horsepower and 258 foot-pounds of torque. Zero to 60 happens in 6.1. That's exactly one second faster than a lowlier C300. But the 350 can only be had with Mercedes' excellent 7-speed automatic. But for the driver, it might make sense to drop down to a C300, which can also be had with a 6-speed manual. The comfort and sport-mode button by the 7-speed automatic really does make a difference in shift points and throttle curve. Sport is edgier, but not twitchy, and comfort really smoothes things out, including starting the car off in second gear and reversing in second, all to keep things from being jerky.
Let's price this little 2010 C350 sports sedan. Now, with a bigger engine, 17-inch AMG wheels, not these 18s -- and most of what you see here, which is pretty basic car $40,600.00. To do it CNET-style, add $2,650.00 for the multimedia package, which is hard drive navigation, the Zagat restaurant guide is in there, enhanced voice command, a six-disc optical disc player for CD and DVD, iPod adapter, multimedia interface, which would include USB, and some other niceties, plus the bigger screen and the better command interface. That's a pretty good value. You're also going to want to pop for the Harman-Kardon audio system for $800.00, I think. This one's okay, but not great.