2020 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe vs. 2019 Mercedes C-Class Sedan

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The 4 Series Gran Coupe has standard Active Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The C-Class Sedan doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Both the 4 Series Gran Coupe and the C-Class Sedan have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive and around view monitors.

Warranty

The 4 Series Gran Coupe’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the C-Class Sedan’s (12 vs. 5 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 4 Series Gran Coupe for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Mercedes doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the C-Class Sedan.

Reliability

The battery on the 4 Series Gran Coupe is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the 4 Series Gran Coupe’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The C-Class Sedan’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the 4 Series Gran Coupe first among compact premium cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The C-Class Sedan isn’t in the top three.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 11th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 5 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 15th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 13th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks BMW 9 places higher in reliability than Mercedes.

Engine

The 440i Gran Coupe’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 65 more horsepower (320 vs. 255) and 57 lbs.-ft. more torque (330 vs. 273) than the C 300 Sedan’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the 440i Gran Coupe xDrive gets better fuel mileage than the AMG C 43 Sedan 4MATIC (22 city/30 hwy vs. 19 city/27 hwy).

Regenerative brakes improve the 4 Series Gran Coupe’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The C-Class Sedan doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

Environmental Friendliness

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certifies the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe as a “Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (SULEV). The Mercedes C-Class Sedan is only certified to “Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (ULEV) standards.

Tires and Wheels

The 4 Series Gran Coupe’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 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 4 Series Gran Coupe has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the C-Class Sedan.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the 4 Series Gran Coupe can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. Run-flat tires aren’t available on some tire packages on the C-Class Sedan.

Suspension and Handling

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the 4 Series Gran Coupe is 1.9 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the C-Class Sedan.

The 4 Series Gran Coupe’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (50.1% to 49.9%) than the C-Class Sedan’s (53% to 47%). This gives the 4 Series Gran Coupe more stable handling and braking.

Chassis

The design of the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe amounts to more than styling. The 4 Series Gran Coupe has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .29 Cd. That is lower than the C-Class Sedan (.3 to .32) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the 4 Series Gran Coupe get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

The 4 Series Gran Coupe has 2.8 inches more front headroom and .5 inches more front legroom than the C-Class Sedan.

Ergonomics

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The 4 Series Gran Coupe offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The C-Class Sedan doesn’t offer headlight washers.

Both the 4 Series Gran Coupe and the C-Class Sedan offer optional heated front seats. The 4 Series Gran Coupe also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the C-Class Sedan.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the 4 Series Gran Coupe owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the 4 Series Gran Coupe with a number “1” insurance rate while the C-Class Sedan is rated higher at a number “3” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the 4 Series Gran Coupe is less expensive to operate than the C-Class Sedan because it costs $346 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the 4 Series Gran Coupe than the C-Class Sedan, including $42 less for a muffler, $587 less for a fuel pump and $145 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

The 4 Series was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” in 2014. The C-Class Sedan has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

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

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