Lexus IS 250 vs. Mercedes-Benz C300

By

Automotive Editor

John Diether has been a professional writer, editor, and producer since 1997. His work can be found on TV, radio, web, and various publications throughout the world.  He is a graduate of Northwestern University and has a 1992 Cadillac Brougham d’Elegance in his garage. 


, Automotive Editor - April 17, 2015

If you're checking the pulse of the compact luxury sedan market, we recommend starting with the Lexus IS 250 and Mercedes-Benz C300. Both offer sumptuous surroundings, faultless build quality and plenty of prestige for the price. But which approach to sensible luxury impresses us more?

See a side-by-side comparison of the IS 250 & C300 »

Why We Like the IS 250

Last year's redesign brought more interior room and dramatically improved the looks of the IS 250. There's certainly nothing "compact" about its appearance and feel, even when stacked against pricier competitors. On the functional end of things, the Lexus offers unusually precise steering and a silky ride that's comparable to some full-size luxury sedans.

The IS 250 carries a 2.5-liter V6 with 204 horsepower and a six-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is available in place of the standard rear-drive setup.

See more luxury comparisons here »

Why We Like the C300

Like the rest of C-Class sedan line, the C300 has been fully redesigned for 2015 with more attention to passenger comfort and a slightly larger footprint. Despite its move upmarket, the C300 has actually shed 200 pounds thanks to extensive use of aluminum body components. As with Lexus, the C300's ride quality will remind you of larger, more expensive luxury sedans, and yet handling is even more responsive than before.

The C300 carries a turbocharged 2-liter four-cylinder that achieves 241 horsepower and a seven-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive comes standard, and the 4MATIC all-wheel drive system is optional.

A Matter of Performance

Neither car gives up an inch when it comes to ride, handling and creature comforts. That leaves the powertrain, which is where the Lexus finally sputters. Its leisurely V6 and six-speed automatic simply can't deliver the power or efficiency of the C300's modern turbocharged four-cylinder and seven-speed transmission.

Our Verdict: Mercedes-Benz C300

The C300 lives up to its luxury mission in all regards.

Take a closer look at the Lexus IS 250 »

Take a closer look at the Mercedes-Benz C300 »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

John Diether has been a professional writer, editor, and producer since 1997. His work can be found on TV, radio, web, and various publications throughout the world.  He is a graduate of Northwestern University and has a 1992 Cadillac Brougham d’Elegance in his garage. 


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