Bang for the Buck

Not only are the 340i and C450 formidable foes dimensionally and in terms of performance, but when the pricing is compared, it’s near enough to not matter there too. The BMW starts at $54,500; the Mercedes: $55,900. Each of these cars came with a number of options boosting their respective costs up ($64,350 for the BMW and $66,290, Mercedes).

The BMW comes “bare-bones” with most of what we’d want in our sporty sedan anyway, meaning that we could’ve likely skipped the $6,500 Premium Package Enhanced and done without manual side sunshades in the rear or heated rear seats. Plus, nearly $3,500 was thrown at the fancy paint and “Individual” interior options. The M Performance Package at $1,900 seems a veritable deal adding the big, handsome 19-inch wheels and performance rubber, plus the M Sport brakes and Adaptive M Suspension. Needing to pay for an expensive option package to get a back-up camera is an obscenity that BMW should correct.

The C450 wears over $3,000 in fancier paint and interior trappings that have certainly contributed to its “specialness”. Despite starting with the higher entry cost, the Mercedes still requires a buyer to shell out an additional $4,500 to get this car’s Premium Package in order to have COMAND with navigation! Factor in the BMW’s free maintenance for four years as well, and suddenly the Benz is starting to feel a little spicy in the price department.

So, What’s it Going to be?

After all this, it still comes down to whichever one ignites a buyer’s emotions a little more strongly. There is no wrong choice here. But since one of them needs to take home the trophy, we’ll have to go with the car that feels like the livelier performer with a more active transmission and better handling capabilities. The BMW has that – and while a better set of tires would probably erase the C450’s grip deficit and fix the handling woes, the BMW’s better value for dollar can’t be ignored here, either.

In the end, it’s BMW’s 340i xDrive that can wear the crown this time, but only just barely.

Warranty:
4 years/80,000 km; 4 years/80,000 km powertrain; 12 years/unlimited distance corrosion perforation; 4 years/unlimited distance roadside assistance

Competitors:
Audi S4
Cadillac ATS 3.6L AWD
Infiniti Q50S AWD
Lexus IS 350 AWD F Sport
Volvo S60 R AWD

Pricing: 2016 BMW 340i xDrive
Base Price: $54,500
Options: Premium Package Enhanced (Alarm, Comfort Access, Rear View Camera, Electric Rear Sunshade, Manual Side Sunshades, Auto Dimming Exterior Mirrors, Lumbar Support, Heated Rear Seats, Park Distance Control, High-Beam Assistant, Active Blind Spot Detection, Durround View, Head-Up Display, Sirius XM Satellite Radio, Harman/Kardon Sound, BMW ConnectedDrive Services, Speed Limit Info), 6,500; M Performance Package (19” M Wheels with performance tires, M Sport brakes, Adaptive M Suspension, Variable Sport Steering), $1,900; Individual Paint, $1,450; Individual Interior, $1,900
Destination: $2,095
A/C Tax: $100
Price as Tested: $66,545

Warranty:
4 years/80,000 km; 4 years/80,000 km powertrain; 5 years/unlimited distance corrosion perforation; 4 years/unlimited distance roadside assistance

Pricing: 2016 Mercedes-Benz C 450 AMG 4Matic
Base Price: $55,900
Options: Paint, $890; Red AMG Nappa Leather, $1,990; Dark Ash Open Pore Wood Trim; $250; Premium Package (COMAND with Navigation, Parktronic, Integrated Garage Door Opener), $4,500; Active LED lighting system, $1,200; Head-Up Display, $1,500
Destination: $2,495
A/C Tax: $100
Price as tested: $68,825

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