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

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes C-Class Sedan have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision. The BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The C-Class Sedan’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The 4 Series Gran Coupe doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes C-Class Sedan are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

The C-Class Sedan’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The 4 Series Gran Coupe doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

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

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the C-Class Sedan its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 54 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The 4 Series Gran Coupe has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

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There are over 10 percent more Mercedes dealers than there are BMW dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the C-Class Sedan’s warranty.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are better in initial quality than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 12th in initial quality. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 20th.

Engine

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The C-Class Sedan’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 7 more horsepower (255 vs. 248) and 15 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 258) than the 430i Gran Coupe’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the C-Class Sedan gets better fuel mileage than the 4 Series Gran Coupe:

MPG

C-Class Sedan

RWD

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

24 city/35 hwy

AWD

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

23 city/33 hwy

4 Series Gran Coupe

RWD

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

23 city/34 hwy

AWD

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/31 hwy

The C-Class Sedan has 1.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the 4 Series Gran Coupe (17.4 vs. 15.8 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

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A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Mercedes C-Class Sedan, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the 4 Series Gran Coupe.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the C-Class Sedan’s standard brake rotors are larger than those on the 4 Series Gran Coupe:

C-Class

4 Series

Front Rotors

13 inches

12.3 inches

Suspension and Handling

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The C-Class Sedan’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The 4 Series Gran Coupe doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the C-Class Sedan’s wheelbase is 1.2 inches longer than on the 4 Series Gran Coupe (111.8 inches vs. 110.6 inches).

For better maneuverability, the C-Class Sedan’s turning circle is .3 feet tighter than the 4 Series Gran Coupe’s (36.8 feet vs. 37.1 feet). The C-Class Sedan’s turning circle is 1.9 feet tighter than the 4 Series Gran Coupe xDrive’s (36.8 feet vs. 38.7 feet).

Chassis

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The Mercedes C-Class Sedan may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 200 to 300 pounds less than the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe.

The front grille of the C-Class Sedan uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The 4 Series Gran Coupe doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

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The C-Class Sedan has .5 inches more front shoulder room, .2 inches more rear headroom, 1.5 inches more rear legroom and .7 inches more rear shoulder room than the 4 Series Gran Coupe.

Cargo Capacity

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With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the C-Class offers cargo security. The 4 Series Gran Coupe’s hatchback body style defeats cargo security.

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than BMW. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 23% lower rating, BMW is ranked 11th.

Ergonomics

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The C-Class Sedan has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The 4 Series Gran Coupe doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

Unlike the driver-only memory system in the 4 Series Gran Coupe, the C-Class Sedan offers an optional passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The C-Class Sedan’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The 4 Series Gran Coupe doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The C-Class Sedan’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The 4 Series Gran Coupe has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the C-Class Sedan has standard extendable sun visors. The 4 Series Gran Coupe doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the C-Class Sedan keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The 4 Series Gran Coupe doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

The C-Class Sedan’s optional Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, stopping and changing direction automatically. The 4 Series Gran Coupe’s automatic parking system requires operating the brakes and transmission to safely park.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the C-Class Sedan owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the C-Class Sedan will cost $1080 less than the 4 Series Gran Coupe over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the C-Class Sedan is less expensive to operate than the 4 Series Gran Coupe because typical repairs cost much less on the C-Class Sedan than the 4 Series Gran Coupe, including $88 less for a water pump, $57 less for front brake pads, $87 less for a starter, $149 less for fuel injection, $165 less for front struts and $811 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/02/24

Consumer Reports® recommends the Mercedes C-Class Sedan, based on reliability, safety and performance.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the C-Class Sedan first among compact premium cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The 4 Series Gran Coupe isn’t in the top three.

The C-Class Sedan was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2015. The 4 Series hasn’t been picked since 2014.

The Mercedes C-Class outsold the BMW 4 Series by over two to one during the 2019 model year.

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