Where have all the 350’s gone?
Joel Camarda San Francisco Bay Area MBCA
The short answer is nowhere. Everyone who has one is keeping it. But I really have more to say. On April 2, I lost my 8 ½ year old Heidi, my 2009 C350 sports sedan. I was broadsided by a Prius (of all things) who ran a red lite and T-boned us. The repair cost was equal to the blue book, so the insurance folks called it a write off. Heidi was good as new, despite 163,000 miles. I was not really ready to buy a new car. I was not mentally prepared. I usually have a car purchase decision well researched and decided in advance. With MBs’ I do not have to do that too often so I get many years and miles of decision-free happy motoring intervals. I’ve had 5 MBs over the past 26 years, usually two at a time, one for me, one for spouse. No sexual discrimination in the Camarda family.
When I first purchased the new Heidi, along with a companion pre-owned 2005 SLK 350, I wrote about them in this newsletter, remarking on “the song of the 350 engines”. The SLK does not have a GPS voice, so has never been named. I wrote about them again in this newsletter a few years later, “What’s in a number?”, when the MB numerical model numbers became meaningless, no longer reflecting the engine displacement.
Mercedes discontinued the 350 engine choice a few years ago. Well, I set about this past April trying to find a pre-owned C350. I ran an ad in this newsletter. I got zero responses. Zero, nada, nothing. Not even a condolence. You 350 owners are selfish. You know who you are. And I do not blame you.
I love the looks of the new C model. In fact, the new line up of all the sedan models is just stunning: CLA, C, E, etc., 4-door and coupes. The engine choice, however, is a little compromised, dominated by the “300” 2.0 L (or is it 1.8, what’s in a number?) turbo i4, 240 HP. Or jump to the more expensive AMG models for more cylinders and HP. The “400” of just a couple of years ago would have been ideal, turbo 3.2L V6, 300+ HP, but could not find one of these. I test drove a late model C300, and it was absolutely lovely, luxurious, but less exciting vs my 350. No “song”, and the unavoidable, undesirable, AWD (4-Matic) just adds more weight with no performance advantage (unless you ski).
Now I am sure all of you 300 owners love your cars. I have two friends with C300’s and they love the cars, and find them plenty fast. I was going to purchase one, just shopping around for the best deal.
For a lark, I dropped in on the BMW dealership. I was not intending to buy. I made the mistake of test driving a 2014 335i, turbo i6, 320 HP. Still had warranty miles. You know what they say, horsepower talks, nobody walks. I bought it. I call her Gretchen, when conversing with the GPS.
I haven’t totally gone to the dark side. I still have the SLK. My wife and I took the SLK to the Legends gathering last week. I still miss Heidi, but Gretchen is OK.