San Francisco Bay Area Section

Where are the 350's?

Where are the 350's?

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.

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