Mercedes-Benz C200 or BMW 320d?

Help our letter sender decide
by Botchi Santos | Jan 5, 2012

Hi, Botchi!

I'm torn between a Mercedes-Benz C200 and a BMW 320d as a second wedding anniversary gift to my wife. She likes how the old 2007 C200 drives but it doesn’t seem to make sense to buy a new one since there isn’t much difference aside from the LED day running lamps. The all-new BMW 320d sounds like a good deal also but I’m unsure of how it is overall compared to the baby Benz.

She'll use the car for a one-hour drive to get to her clinic twice a week. Since she’s a dentist, I just want her to have a safe and enjoyable drive after work.

With the price of the two cars, would it be wiser to get a 2.7 Chrysler 300c and a Hyundai Sonata instead? But that might be the man in me talking already.

She currently uses a 2009 Honda CR-V and a 2011 Hyundai Tucson.

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Hi, Charles!

Your wife is actually a friend of mine! She's lucky to have a hubby like you buying her a new luxury sedan as a gift!

The current BMW 320d is fine but if you can wait, an all-new BMW 3-Series is coming in 2012. The current 3-Series is pretty good but, in all honesty, it's quite bare for what you’re paying for. Hopefully, the new 3-Series will have better options. That's pretty much been the story and complaint of a lot of BMW owners and buyers who were put off by the lack of toys and goodies in the 3-Series. On the driving side and in terms of curb appeal, however, the 3-Series is hard to beat--be it old or new.

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As for the Mercedes-Benz C200, I was originally not a fan of this but slowly but surely, Mercedes-Benz has made great strides in making the C-Class a better, sharper driver's car to keep it fighting head-on with BMW's 3-Series. The new model gets actually a lot more changes than the LED driving lamps such as revised engines, a revised dashboard architecture and the 7G-Tronic transmission is now standard across the range. It's still not as sharp to drive as a 3-Series, but definitely close.

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How about looking at two left-field entries?

The Audi A4 especially in 2.0 TDI form is quite frankly hard to beat. It's fast, has a very smooth and refined ride, is very fuel efficient, and offers the biggest interior space, especially the back seat. It also has the best interior options too: Audi Drive Select and Audi MMI Multimedia inter-face device, really good sound system and a transmission that is so smooth and stepless when it shifts thanks to its CVT transmission, which means it will give the best fuel efficiency of the lot. 

Another good option to look at is the Lexus IS300. It's Japanese, doesn't have the same panache as a German marque but nonetheless a very good sports sedan. My only complaint would be the tight back seats, probably the tightest in its class. The V6 engine is pretty good whereas everyone else will have 4-cylinder engines underneath the hood so that's a good advantage to have, even if your wife won't be driving fast (although you never know!). 

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Hope this gets to you in time before you buy her a new car! Good luck, God bless and regards to your wife and family!

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