2019 Volkswagen GTI vs. 2019 Mercedes C-Class Sedan

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The GTI has standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The C-Class Sedan doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Both the GTI and the C-Class Sedan have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Volkswagen GTI is safer than the Mercedes C-Class Sedan:

 

GTI

C-Class Sedan

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

220

246

Chest Compression

.4 inches

.6 inches

Neck Injury Risk

37%

60%

Neck Compression

62 lbs.

219 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

305/150 lbs.

311/161 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Volkswagen GTI is safer than the Mercedes C-Class Sedan:

 

GTI

C-Class Sedan

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

247

248

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

The GTI comes with a full 6-year/72000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car. The C-Class Sedan’s 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty expires 2 years and 22000 miles sooner.

The GTI’s corrosion warranty is 5 years longer than the C-Class Sedan’s (10 vs. 5 years).

There are over 71 percent more Volkswagen dealers than there are Mercedes dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the GTI’s warranty.

Reliability

The Volkswagen GTI’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the C-Class Sedan’s engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Volkswagen vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Volkswagen 1 place higher in reliability than Mercedes.

Fuel Economy and Range

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Volkswagen GTI uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The C-Class Sedan requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Volkswagen GTI higher (7 out of 10) than the Mercedes C-Class Sedan (5). This means the GTI produces up to 8 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the C-Class Sedan every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

The GTI offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and fuel economy. The C-Class Sedan doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

The GTI offers an optional sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The C-Class Sedan doesn’t offer an SMG.

The GTI Automatic’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The C-Class Sedan doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

The GTI stops shorter than the C-Class Sedan:

 

GTI

C-Class

 

70 to 0 MPH

159 feet

160 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

100 feet

108 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

The GTI’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the C-Class Sedan’s standard 50 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the GTI has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the C-Class Sedan.

The GTI has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the C-Class Sedan; it requires you to depend on its run-flat tires, which limits mileage and speed before they are repaired. If a run-flat is damaged beyond repair by a road hazard your vehicle will have to be towed. Some models of the C-Class Sedan don’t even offer run-flats.

Suspension and Handling

The GTI SE handles at .96 G’s, while the C 300 Sedan 4MATIC pulls only .87 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The GTI SE executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.2 seconds quicker than the C 300 Sedan 4MATIC (25.1 seconds @ .76 average G’s vs. 26.3 seconds @ .7 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the GTI’s turning circle is 1 foot tighter than the C-Class Sedan’s (35.8 feet vs. 36.8 feet). The GTI’s turning circle is 2.9 feet tighter than the AMG C 43 Sedan’s (35.8 feet vs. 38.7 feet).

Chassis

The Volkswagen GTI may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 350 to 500 pounds less than the Mercedes C-Class Sedan.

The GTI is 1 foot, 4.5 inches shorter than the C-Class Sedan, making the GTI easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The GTI has 3.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the C-Class Sedan (93.5 vs. 90).

The GTI has 1.3 inches more front headroom, .6 inches more front shoulder room, 1 inch more rear headroom and .4 inches more rear legroom than the C-Class Sedan.

Cargo Capacity

The GTI has a much larger trunk with its rear seat up than the C-Class Sedan (22.8 vs. 12.6 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the GTI to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The C-Class Sedan doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the GTI has a standard rear wiper. The C-Class Sedan doesn’t offer a rear wiper.

Recommendations

The GTI was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 12 of the last 12 years. The C-Class Sedan has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

Motor Trend selected the GTI as their 2015 Car of the Year. The C-Class Sedan has never been chosen.

The GTI was selected by Automobile Magazine as their 2010 Car of the Year. The C-Class Sedan has never been chosen.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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