A battle has been waged for decades in the entry-level compact executive class between German automakers BMW and Mercedes-Benz, and Motor Trend senior features editor Jonny Lieberman compares the latest entries from the rival manufacturers, the 2012 BMW 328i and 2012 Mercedes-Benz C250, in this episode of Head 2 Head.
Both cars have ditched their six-cylinder powerplants for more frugal turbocharged I-4 engines. The 328i is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4, producing 240 hp and 255 lb-ft of torque, while the C250 boasts a turbocharged 201-hp, 229-lb-ft 1.8-liter I-4. The BMW may have the power advantage on paper, but to find out how that power feels in the real world, Lieberman takes both cars out on the open road.
Driving in a mostly straight line down California’s Pacific Coast Highway, Lieberman critiques the cabins. He finds the Mercedes seats aren’t up to the brand’s usual high standards, but says the BMW’s are “among the most comfortable and cosseting seats” he’s ever experienced in a sports sedan. On how the cars drive, Lieberman says the new 328i heralds the return of good steering to the 3 Series nameplate, while the C250 lacks that tailored feeling of specialness.
Before he can make his final conclusions, Lieberman heads to the back roads of Malibu to see which car is happier taking corners. See the full episode below to find out which car Lieberman calls the best handling sports sedan you can buy.