W205_Mercedes-Benz_C-Class_vs_F30_BMW_3_Series_ 005

It’s an often-asked question, Mercedes-Benz C-Class or BMW 3 Series? Brand preference usually takes precedence in influencing the answer, but to those on the fence between the two premium German marques, this like-for-like comparison gallery should help your decision. So, bring on the two latest contenders to the fore: W205 Mercedes-Benz C-Class vs F30 BMW 3 Series.

Here we have the W205 in C 200 Avantgarde trim, while this particular F30 (which in on sale on oto.my) is a 320d Sport Line fitted with 18-inch wheels from the 328i and an Alcantara steering wheel from the BMW Performance parts range. Admittedly, the choice of colours here may not be ideal for a straight comparison, but it does show each car in its best light – the W205 looks best in darker tones, while a red F30 is, well, simply yummy.

Colours aside, the C 200 Avantgarde certainly stands out more with its prominent star grille, though this will change if you choose the much more subtle C 250 Exclusive variant. On the outside, both models have distinct LED light signatures, though the Merc’s headlights are of the LED variety instead of the bi-xenons on the BMW.

Mechanically, the base C-Class – if you can call it that, priced at RM285,888 – has a 2.0 litre direct-injection turbocharged engine that makes 184 hp and 300 Nm of torque, mated to an in-house-developed seven-speed automatic gearbox. The equivalent 320i Sport Line (RM241,800) has a similar engine configuration, but with 184 hp and 270 Nm. A ZF-sourced eight-speed auto ’box takes care of gear changes.

Both have very similar performance levels, with identical 0-100 km/h times and top speeds (7.3 seconds, 235 km/h). The newer Mercedes is slightly more efficient, as it’s claimed to average 18.9 km/l (5.3 litres per 100 km) over the BMW’s 16.7 km/l (6.0 litres per 100 km). But of course, the 245 hp/350 Nm 328i (at RM293,800, not far off the C 200) is much faster still, getting to 100 km/h in 5.9 seconds and on to 250 km/h.

Inside, the two can’t be any more different. The 3er’s cabin appears to be a lot more conventional compared to the fantastically over-designed C-Class interior. The F30 is more traditional in terms of operational controls too, sticking to a gear knob and handbrake lever combination next to the Merc’s column-mounted gear selector and electric parking brake.

At the same time, there are many similarities too. Both use a rotary knob for most major controls (Mercedes COMAND and BMW iDrive), and simple toggles are used to select between each car’s various drive models. Likewise, both have passive suspension setups (though dynamic dampers are available on the F30’s M Sport variants), with the drive modes affecting the steering, throttle and gearbox shift maps only.

Compared to the F30, the W205’s seats are more lavishly sculpted, and the adjustment controls are mounted on the doors as opposed to the BMW’s conventional sliders. Also interesting to note are the extendable thigh bolsters – they are electrically adjustable on the C-Class but manually operated on the 3 Series.

As for interior space, six-feet-tall Gregory Sze found significantly more legroom in the back of the Merc (left), but more headroom in the BMW (with the front seats adjusted to his own seating position). The BMW’s bench is better, since it is longer, offering your thighs more support. There’s not much splitting the two for boot space, as both have 480 litres of cargo room. Fortunately for the C-Class however, its rear seats can be folded down flat for bigger loads, while the 3 Series’ rear bench is fixed.

For more information, you can compare the pair’s full specifications on CarBase.my, or read our comprehensive reviews of the W205 C-Class and F30 3 Series. Enjoy the comparison photo galleries below, and do tell us which one’s your favourite in the comments section. Given a choice, would you go for the C or the Three?

W205 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Avantgarde

F30 BMW 3 Series Sport Line