BMW 3-Series Vs. Mercedes-Benz C ClassEnlarge Photo
It's not all about power or fuel efficiency, however, in the luxury sedan class. Handling, ride quality, comfort, and features all play into the mix. Here the race is closer, with both cars delivering very well-built cabins wrapped in--mostly--quality materials. Both make some compromises for their price point in terms of plastics and controls, but both also do so better than all but a select few of the competition, notably Audi's A4.
Space and comfort are very good in the front seats of both the C Class and the 3-Series, though the redesigned 3-Series gains an extra inch of wheelbase mostly dedicated to rear-seat legroom--a much needed upgrade in this relatively compact class. Accordingly, it just edges out the C Class, which has a typically compressed rear-passenger experience.
On the technology front, both C Class and 3-Series offer many of the latest innovations, including telematics services, voice controls, and navigation/infotainment systems. Mercedes' COMAND system sometimes comes off a half-step behind being fully modern, however, with a slightly clunky interface despite packing many features inside. BMW's once-confusing iDrive, on the other hand, is slick and polished--and adds BMW Apps functionality for smartphone integration with music and social media apps as well as the standard multimedia you'd expect.
Safety-wise, these two models are also neck-and-neck. Both models earn the IIHS Top Safety Pick award, as well as top five-star overall scores from the federal government, but they fail to achieve a five in every category (both get four stars in side impact). However, the new 3-Series has some features more advanced than those in the mid-life C Class--features like wide-angle and birds-eye cameras for reversing, plus Active Blind Spot Detection and a Lane Departure Warning system, among other options.
While the numbers add up in the BMW 3-Series' favor, it may be hard for some to compare the two cars so coldly; they differ immensely in exterior and interior style, in ride and handling, and in the general atmosphere of the cabin. For those looking for luxury with a strong dash of performance, the 3-Series is a top choice, while those with more of an eye toward relaxed, luxurious comfort may prefer the C Class. At the same time, each of these models are offered in a vast range of trim and interior possibilities, giving you a chance to make them uniquely yours: warm or austere, sporty or plush.
One final footnote: If you're not finding quite what you want, a completely new 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class will arrive later this year, with a more flamboyant design, more interior space, and a much more technologically forward cabin.
|2014 BMW 3-Series||2014 Mercedes-Benz C Class|
|The 2014 BMW 3-Series retains its sporting heritage, but has grown to become a high-tech, spacious, comfortable, and safe range of vehicles.||For those who have a want a value-oriented car that projects the right image, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz C-Class makes a lot of sense.|
|Read moreThe BMW 3-Series sedan and wagon have a trim, athletic look, while the all-new Gran Turismo is a new creation with essentially the same building blocks.||Read moreThe C-Class wears a suit full of flair, but the interior's a more sedate environment.|
|Read moreNo matter which model of the 3-Series you go with, confident handling and dynamic excellent are a given.||Read moreChoose your C-Class in Sport trim and it shows signs of handling life; it's a full-bore sports sedan as a C63 AMG.|
|Read moreThe 2014 BMW 3-Series sedan is refined and comfortable, while the wagon and Gran Turismo are active-family material.||Read moreThe C-Class has a substantial feel, but its back seat is still on the skimpy side.|
|Read moreThe 3-Series models come equipped with some useful active-safety features; and crash-test ratings are decent.||Read moreActive-safety features are the newest options on the C-Class, which earns solid crash-test ratings.|
|Read morePrices can hit breathtaking levels--even without some key features--but the positive is that you can build the car you want.||Read moreSmartphone connectivity's a part of the Mercedes C-Class suite of features, but there's walnut trim, too.|
|Read moreThe 3-Series is an unheralded green option for sport-sedan buyers--and it even includes a hybrid model now.||Read moreThe C63 AMG is a confessed gasoholic, but four-cylinder C-Class sedans and coupes earn respectable EPA ratings.|
|from $32,750||from $35,800|
|from $30,130||from $33,294|
|Fuel Economy - Combined City and Highway|
|Front Leg Room (in)|
|Second Leg Room (in)|
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