• Quality and solidity
    • Technology and driving ease
    • No touchscreen/s
    • Ride quality on Falken tyres
    • Front seat bases a bit flat
    • Interior room

    About the Mercedes-Benz C250

    M B purchased this Mercedes-Benz C250 used for $19,300 (including all on-road costs) in 2022. M B would buy this car again because: “This is in fact my second 2011 C250 Avantgarde! I bought a brand new one back in 2011 that I kept for four years, and always regretted selling it, so even though I wasn’t really looking at buying a car at the time this particular one came up for sale and had everything I wanted, so I bought it in February 2022. “

    How reliable has your car been? Tell us about any issues.

    When I test drove the car something was making a clonking sound from the suspension. The dealer found this to be the front sway bar link and replaced with a new one before I agreed to purchase. A couple of months into ownership I got a low coolant warning light, so topped up and thought nothing more of it.

    About four weeks later got the warning light again, so topped up again and booked into my local Mercedes-Benz specialist. They quickly discovered a small leak in a coolant pipe which was quickly and easily (and inexpensively) replaced.

    Apart from that the car has has no issues from a reliability aspect, and the only things I have spent money on are cosmetic (new wheel centre caps, floor mats, new ‘C’ badge to replace a bent one from an over zealous car washer… all found cheaply online), and from where I broke things being curious (the handle off the top of the engine oil dipstick when I removed the engine cover… again a new one was easily sought and my local specialist removed the old ‘stuck’ dipstick free of charge).

    I do keep some funds aside for anything that might go wrong, and the inevitable timing chain replacement (no issue at the moment but it has done 150,000km).

    What do you think of the ownership experience with your car?

    The ownership experience has been great. The W204 series was such a high point in modern Mercedes times, something that in my experience the W205 could never match. Everything works perfectly, and has such a solid and weighty feel to it.

    Mine (appears to be) a one owner example from new who serviced it religiously (highly important) and took very good care of it, which has meant my ownership so far has been nothing but a pleasure. For the price I could have bought a boring as batcrap Hyundai or the like and spent every moment in it being underwhelmed, but as a Mercedes fan for many years it really was an easy decision to buy the C250.

    It would be a perfect rating apart from a couple of items; the Harman Kardon sound system is a bit overrated, and struggles with music with decent bass, and the brakes have the “characteristic” squealing intermittently that seems to affect all Mercedes since the late 2000s (they have been checked and are fine with 70 per cent left on the pads, so if anyone has any advice on how to stop them making noise I am all ears!)

    Are you happy with the price and features of your car?

    My C250 is very well equipped even in comparison to many new cars, fitted with the Driver Assistance Pack (Distronic Plus Adaptive Cruise Control, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist), Keyless Go entry and start, full electric leather heated seats with three position memory including the electric steering column and mirrors.

    It also gets bi-xenon headlights with automatic high-beam assist, LED DRLs and tail lights, an electric rear roller blind/sunshade, full COMAND system with surprisingly adept voice control, navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, 10gb hard drive for music, ice-cold dual zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors and reversing camera, glass electric sunroof, and Harman Kardon Logic 7 sound system.

    Everything works perfectly even down to the rear roller blind, and there isn’t so much as a squeak or rattle from any part of the interior. For the purchase price it really is superbly equipped and has everything I needed and wanted (which was electric seats, Distronic Plus, and COMAND with a proper control wheel and not an awful touchscreen!)

    What do you think of the performance and economy of your car?

    For me the performance and economy are more than adequate. The 1.8-litre turbo engine is mated to the 7G-Tronic transmission, and with all of 150kW to move over 1.5 tonnes of German steel it accelerates to 100km/h in a little over seven seconds.

    Once up to speed the decent 310Nm of torque ensures progress is easy. Economy is also adequate without being remarkable; since the last trip computer reset it has managed 8.4L/100km over almost 1200km of driving mainly skewed towards inner-city commutes. I only use 98 RON and find the engine works smoothly and unobtrusively.

    Two things stand out as being on a wish list though. Firstly the seven-speed auto has an Economy and Sport mode. In the default economy setting it will always try to get into the highest gear possible and have a reluctance to kick down when slowing for corners, which then can catch the engine off turbo and waiting a moment or two for a lower gear.

    Switching to Sport fixes this, but it holds gears for far too long and over-revving unnecessarily. A mid way, Normal mode would have been perfect.

    Secondly I would have preferred (and searched high and low for) a W204 C300 sedan (with the unstressed 185kW 3.5L V6) or a C204 C350 coupe, with the more potent V6. Sadly both with the right equipment I want are a rarity.

    What do you think of the technology in your car?

    For a 2011 car the technology was quite astounding. Together with nine airbags and all the usual safety inclusions the Driver Assistance Pack really upped the ante with adaptive cruise, active blind spot assist, and active lane keeping assist.

    Pretty much everything is electric and works perfectly. Rain sensing wipers (with dual settings) and auto headlights with automatic high beam assist (that also swivel with the steering) are all included. The AEB work very well; I was able to “test” this after someone in front of me decided to drop their anchor to exit the highway unexpectedly, which also showed off the full Pre-Safe system where the belt tensioners reefed both myself and my passenger back into our seats and prepared the cabin by closing the sunroof.

    As I am not a fan of touchscreens the COMAND system is a high point for me and is a breeze to use, and barking orders at it for navigation, telephony, and changing the music using the Linguatronic system is surprisingly effective, albeit limited in what it can do compared to a modern system.

    I just hook up my phone using Bluetooth and then have a rudimentary Android Auto system, where I can then just bark orders at the phone instead (usually to change stations on internet radio).

    Cute fact: if you leave the sunroof open and the rain sensor detects water the car will automatically close the sunroof, saving you a wet interior.

    What do you think of the ride comfort and handling of your car?

    The ride comfort is a bit of a mixed bag, but this is mainly, in my experience, down to the tyres fitted. The car came with Falken Ziex tyres when purchased, which are quite noisy and rough riding. I received a loan car (an identical 2011 C250 funnily enough) when my car was getting the coolant pipe replaced, and it rode noticeably more comfortably and much quieter on the Continentals it had fitted.

    The urban ride on the Falkens, although far from uncomfortable, tends to be a bit too fidgety over less than perfect streets. This could also be from, in my opinion, the wheels that are unnecessarily oversized; 18-inch wheels with 255 width tyres on a small sedan which really has no, or should have no sporting intentions is just overkill.

    Yes they look good, but when it comes time to replace the tyres I will probably see if I can get a set of 17-inch wheels from a C200 at the same time. Or if not I will fit Continentals or Michelins. The highway ride is lovely though; smooth, comfortable and always departing a feeling of solidity.

    Handling is quite good. The steering really is lovely, with a variable weighting. It could use a little bit more bite off direct centre, but apart from that it has great feel and give a sense of confidence. And when the mood strikes corners can be taken at well above normal speeds very easily, although just like most Mercedes you get the feeling the car is tolerating that sort of behaviour, rather than relishing it.

    Do you have any additional comments about your car?

    This really is the perfect car for me. There is nothing quite like a traditional rear-drive, cab rearward sedan/coupe, and the W204 pulls this look off to a T (none of those awful SUV things in my future!)

    In saying that a car like the C250 won’t be for everyone; the rear seat room, in comparison to the overall size of the car, is tiny. And the maintenance costs and upkeep on German cars of a certain age can be more than something from Japan or Korea.

    None of this matters to me though, as my C250 is simply perfect for my needs and I always take that extra look over my shoulder when walking away and smile.

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    Overall Rating

    Ride & Handling7.5
    Price & Features9.5
    Performance & Economy7
    Ownership Experience9