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Instead of my usual Ford Explorer rental I took out a Benz C240 for a business trip to Hamilton from Toronto (150 km's round trip). I have a 02 325xi and remember considering the Benz. Am I ever glad I didn't get the Benz. Its so sluggish; it felt like I was driving it with the hand brake on. The only positives were the interior with the wood which I think is nicer than the bimmer. I don't have wood interior. Also, I don't have the sport seats so the Classic's seats provided much more lateral support. My leatherette feels much nicer than the vinyl in the Benz which you could never mistake for leather. I liked the Benz's on board computer display better. It gives more info at a glance than the bmw. The Benz is quieter but the bimmer's engine is so much sporty and fun. Even when you floor the Benz it never sound louder than a whisper. I have the step and the Benz only had a straight auto. Maybe the C320 would be better but I recall that the 240's price was the same if not higher than the 325's. I'm going to take out the Benz convertible or SUV next time. Maybe the baby benz compares to the 320 but its definitely no match for the 325.
 

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Yes, the c240 has a cloud-like ride, but in a negative sense. Everything feels numb in the car, and I wasn't even impressed with the ergonomics. I also had the opportunity to test out a C32 prev gen., and that car felt like a slug too, but a bit more agile than the new c-class (but we're comparing apples and oranges here with the 2.4 vs. the 32).
 

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I drove both a C240sport and C320sport (as well as a C230coupe) last year. Even with their 'sport' pacakges, they were softer than a non-SP E46. Which isn't that bad in and of itself, and the (lack of) power of the 2.6 (yes, C240s have a 2.6l engine) is reasonably well matched. However, the 3.2l EASILY overwhelmed the chassis tuning. Coming out of a turn, for example, the 240 would take a little time to build up a head of steam, so there would be enough time for the suspension/chassis to settle down and do the next thing. The 320 would start pulling before the rest of the car was ready, making it do somewhat unpredictable things.
 

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I took a C240 six speed out for a couple hours once... I was actually fairly impressed. I thought the engine was incredibly loud, though. And it sounded horrible. Cornering was mediocre and feel just wasn't there. And you'd think that it would feel like it had a bit more grunt than my bloated xiT.

That said, I liked the shifter. And it beat the hell out of the old C.
 
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