Mercedes C Class vs BMW 3 Series - Who comes out on top?

Author: Christian Storm     Date: 17-06-2015

The Mercedes C Class and BMW 3 Series are unarguably two of the most famous and popular vehicles not just in the UK, but the entire world.

The two manufacturers have always showcased a traditional rivalry, with both renown for some of the finest engines, exquisite luxury and just brilliant reputation for producing vehicles. This is the latest contest that both have found themselves embroiled in, with the 3 series and C Class offering very similar, alluring qualities. However, there are many subtle differences and this will hopefully act as a useful guide for those finding it difficult to choose between these two stalwarts of the industry.


The styling and exterior design are very easy-on-the eye for both models. Though perhaps despite being similar builds, the cars are actually very different in terms of their design. This is largely because Mercedes and BMW have over time managed to construct their own brand image, style and design that are largely very different to their competitors. Both have an upmarket feel, both inside and out,  and you know you’re getting only the best luxury with the C-Class because it’s been modelled on Mercedes’ champagne S-Class model. You can spec it out till your hearts contend as well, with the most premium models offering 19” alloys among a host of other exciting tech and features.

The 3 Series is equally brilliant in this field and has been consistently commended by reviewers for it’s design and slick interior. And of course, upgrading to M Sport gives you an even fresher outlook with Xenon lights and dominant 18-inch alloy wheels. In addition to this is the excellent amount of technology, with the iDrive Controller allowing you to monitor many of the car’s functions.


The BMW 3 Series has a fantastic set of engines typified by the class of the diesels. They may not be as fast as the petrols but their certainly capable and the 320d, despite offering the exact same horsepower at 184, does 0-62mph in just 7.5 seconds without being too offensive in terms of running costs. The Efficiency Dynamics version of this engine is easily the most frugal with a strong 109g/km of CO2 and an excellent 68mpg. The quickest engine comes in the form of the 335d xDrive which has the ability to go from 0-62mph in a minimal 4.8 seconds. Do not, however, expect similar running rates.

The C-Class is a serious contender on the engine front, it certainly looks and feels the part and this range is only set to get even more diverse with the addition of a C350 Plug-In Hybrid engine with rumoured CO2’s below 65g/km. Perhaps the most affordable engine that is still incredibly strong on all fronts is the C250 BlueTEC Diesel which is coincidentally one of the most popular when it comes to lease. It does 0-62mph in just 6.6 seconds. By no means the fastest, but certainly the best value for money. The super-fast C63 engines can do 0-62mph in an almost unbeatable 4.10 seconds but this does result in a significant price hike. Move one down from that C250, and you’ll find the C220 BlueTEC which has emissions of 103g/km and a very high mpg of 70.6


The C-Class is a smidgen longer than the 3-Series and has plenty of interior room and useful storage pockets. There is a strong 480-litres of boot space and this can be expanded even further by folding down the rear seats.

There’s plenty of room, both leg and height with the added benefit of miscellaneous storage areas. The  glovebox is fairly big and there are large doorbins and excellent visibility as well. BMW are certainly very proud of their interior setup and so they should be – it’s really impressive. There is 480-litres available which is certainly enough for many people and conveniently exactly the same as the C-Class! The GT version of the 3 Series is definitely bulkier and is streets ahead in terms of practicality. Folding down the rear-seats makes for a healthy 1,500-litres.


Mercedes and BMW are top draw manufacturers, so you know you’re getting a high-quality piece of machinery. The 3 Series is perhaps particularly impressive on this front and delivers five-stars from EuroNCAP and has electronic stability control, tyre-pressuring monitoring and a whole host of optional safety tech including lane-keeping assist and blind-spot monitoring.

The C-Class is equal to the 3 Series in almost every way for this and has a raft of safety equipment with the manufacturer rolling many of the flagship systems into one bundle. The vehicle was awarded a full five stars from EuroNCAP and its long list of safety features include Collision Prevention Assist and the Sport and AMG Line models throw in the Driving Assistance Package for good measure. This is by no means it – there is also automatic headlights, cruise control, reversing camera and much much more.

It’s fair to say both Mercedes and BMW have got two great models sitting in the middle oftheir range. The C Class and 3 Series continue to get refreshing updates without undergoing serious changes – a clear suggestion of their popularity. It makes choosing between them almost impossible! You can be safe in the knowledge that whatever one you choose you are getting a cracking vehicle.

Check out Mercedes C Class Saloon Lease

Or have a look at BMW 3 Series Lease

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Select Car Leasing is a trading style of Select Contracts (UK) Limited and the firm is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority FRN 670832. Select Car Leasing are a credit broker and not a lender. VAT Registration No 181 874674. ICO Registration ZA076253. Company Number 06569098. Select Car Leasing are proud to be a member of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA), No 1846. Registered address: Atlantic House, Imperial Way, Reading, Berkshire, RG2 0TD

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