C Class Mercedes CDI 220 manual or auto? - cattleman6

I am keen to try and buy a new shape C Class Mercedes CDI 200 or CDI 220. Yesterday a very knowledgable Taxi driver told me he always prefers automatics; but if he buys a 1.9 or 2.0 litre diesel car be it Passat, Skoda or upmarket Mercedes, the automatic gearboxes in taxis of this size engine give trouble if they are diesel.He said he would go for petrol so he could have a reliable automatic. It seems to me, as I want a diesel for economy, I should buy a C class 200 or a 220 CDI with manual gearbox. I know they always say, that the automatic sells better on a C Class though. I would be very interested in learning the truth if anyone has any ideas and experience on the subject.
C Class Mercedes CDI 220 manual or auto? - cattleman6
I forgot to mention, the Taxi driver told me that quite a few of the automatic gearboxes in diesel taxis have failed.
C Class Mercedes CDI 220 manual or auto? - Lud
Subject to a second informed opinion, I would listen to a taxi driver on such a matter if I knew and trusted him.

Manual will be more economical anyway, and surely not arduous to drive? You can learn to be your own automatic cattleman.

Some time in the eighties I went in a 300D in Algeria, brand new, which was a manual - the only post-1960 manual large Merc I have ever seen. Belonged to a factory boss. Wasn't that refined a car, but certainly felt solid.
C Class Mercedes CDI 220 manual or auto? - cattleman6

Thats very interesting about the 300D in Algeria.
I myself have always driven manual cars and I enjoy driving them. Others tell me to buy automatics as they are much better in heavy traffic; but as I have driven a great deal in my life, I never find manuals any trouble. I actually have never driven an automatic.
When I started going to school in the 1950s, I used to get a taxi occasionally if my late father got a nasty dose of flu. Well the taxi turned out to be a 180 D Mercedes in dark blue. Ever since I wanted to own a Mercredes!!
C Class Mercedes CDI 220 manual or auto? - MW
In terms of fuel used modern automatics are much better than the old 10% penalty. For me no question. Get the auto. Mercedes autos are some of the best.
They were very relaiable when you could easily change the oil and filtre from the box, AND the torque convertor. My 1992 124E has 134k on it and the auto is like new, The key is to regularly change the fluid and filtre even if (and especially if) the manufacturer says 'filled for life'. This just means OK for 70k and then not our problem.
These MB diesels are silky smooth in auto, and glide along. I had never had an auto, and reckoned them over-rated, until my first. 3 miles later = total addition. So smooth, so easy, so liquid. Could not go back.
I thought that MB manuals were not as good as BMW manuals, but the autos are first class.
At least try an auto. Addition can be nice!
C Class Mercedes CDI 220 manual or auto? - cattleman6
Thanks very much for the information. The Taxi driver was actually talking about several makes of car. The auto boxes had broken on these newish diesel taxies. Of course it makes absolute sense about the lubrication. Mercedes diesel autos probably are indeed amongst the best when they are looked after correctly as you said.
C Class Mercedes CDI 220 manual or auto? - cattleman6

Recently I hired a new ( old shape) C Class 200 CDI. I hired it for 12 days and both my wife and I were enormously impressed with it. It just happened to have a 6- speed manual gearbox.I did almost 1,000 miles in it. So comfortable and quiet. I just can't wait to buy the new shape C Class when it appears here. I will have an open mind on gearboxes.All my relatives tell me to buy automatic. I have only driven manual over the many years.I have a broad mind, so I will try to do the most sensible thing.
C Class Mercedes CDI 220 manual or auto? - Geordie1
Personally I would only consider the auto version. Have a test drive in the manual model before making your decision as the foot operated parking brake can be a bit of a 'pig' with the manual 'box.....especially on a hill start!
C Class Mercedes CDI 220 manual or auto? - cattleman6

Thanks very much for mentioning that. That parking brake certainly does take getting used to. It's a pity so many makes do away with the convensional hand brake.
C Class Mercedes CDI 220 manual or auto? - Falkirk Bairn
I can second the bit re - foot parking brake - I managed for 18 mths - SWMBO did 3 mls and said "never again"
C Class Mercedes CDI 220 manual or auto? - MW
I had forgotten about the handbrake!
As an auto driver it is annoying but usable. I have no idea how manual users operate on a steep hill. It is the worse part of any Mercedes, old or new. Whenever we have a hire car, however cheap, I love the conventional handbrake. Why why Mercedes did you let crazy Americans force you to fit a clearly inferior system?
With the handbrake in mind, it has to be the auto. If you are spending serious money here, ask for a one day test drive in each, and then choose the auto.
C Class Mercedes CDI 220 manual or auto? - rjr
The new C-Class has a hill start function on the manual versions but I would still go for the auto.
C Class Mercedes CDI 220 manual or auto? - Mad Maxy
Almost no-one buys a manual Merc saloon. Used buyers expect them to be auto. The gear change on the manual used to be horrible but the gearboxes seem to be much better now. I'd buy auto for ease of resale (and to avoid that 'oh, it's a manual, is it?' line from the dealer on trade-in).

I've driven a current 220 CDI auto. Nice. I'd have no reservations about reliability.
C Class Mercedes CDI 220 manual or auto? - cattleman6
I am really extremely grateful to all of you for taking the time and trouble to reply to my letter. You have given me some very interesting information. It does seem that the C 220 CDI auto would be the best to buy.Of course the oil should be changed in the auto gearbox from time to time as someone suggested. I actually don't trust the industry totally.I have always particularly loved Mercedes cars, despite various problems worldwide. I definitely think that they are trying very hard with this new C Class which will soon be in showrooms.I really loved hiring the present '07 ( older shape) C Class. It was lovely being able to drive it in all sorts of conditions for 12 days.That hired car was almost brand new and I thought the build quality was excellent.
C Class Mercedes CDI 220 manual or auto? - Aprilia
The current generation of Mercedes auto transmissions have absolutely nothing in common with the older 'boxes mentioned above (e.g. in a W124). The older boxes were generally very reliable apart from the reverse B2 clutch which tended to wear out due to a minor design fault. They would typically last 150k before needed a rebuild, which was relatively inexpensive.

The new generation of 'fully electronic' gearboxes are very sophisticated - much more complex than the engine itself, for example. Their reliability record is a little mixed - they tend to be either 100% or give continual problems, as is often the case with electronically-controlled systems. A failure outside of warranty is likely to be extremely expensive.

Do not dismiss the 6-speed manuals if you are rountinely driving out of town. Very relaxed cruising and the gearchange quality is pretty good. Many of the comments about Mercedes manuals date from 20 years ago - they should be filled with a very thin hydraulic fluid ("Type A Suffix A") but were invariably filled with Dexron (even at main dealers) which defeated the synchro action and tended to make them baulky. Somehow the reputation has stuck.

As regards servicing of the automatics, you will find in practise that only the MB dealer can change the fluid, and they will probably be reluctant to do so ('filled for life'). The box is not easy to drain and fill and the level must be checked at a specific temperature, as monitored by the computer connected the the transmission's internal ATF temperature sensor. The boxes are prone to damage/malfunction if overfilled, so it has to be done correctly.
C Class Mercedes CDI 220 manual or auto? - cattleman6

Thanks very much for your very interesting and knowledgeable letter.
Recently when I hired a Mercedes C 200 CDI manual, I was enormously impressed. I had the car for 12 days. I had the good fortune to drive it in very heavy city traffic daily and four long distance runs with motorway cruising 230 miles each trip. I also did many other trips. I found the car to be a complete delight.It was easy to drive.After a day or so I actually got used to the foot operated parking brake.The gearbox was light and fluid to use. I was very impressed with the quality of the car. I respect all the arguments and points of view over the different gearboxes. I just loved driving this car and I look forward to owning one of the new ones soon please goodness.
C Class Mercedes CDI 220 manual or auto? - madf
My experience of driving Mercedes is there was no more fun than kick down in an auto box when you have a reasonably powerful engine: a silky change and a surge of power. I had a 260E and drove a 300E and 300D and they were great as autos.
Not driven a post 1990s Mercedes so cannot comment:-(
madf
C Class Mercedes CDI 220 manual or auto? - Brian Tryzers
>After a day or so I actually got used to the foot operated parking brake.

Do tell. I'm intrigued by this issue, never having driven a Mercedes of any kind but rather liking the idea of one and generally being an autophobe. (Although that ought to mean I'm irrationally afraid of myself - which may also be true.) I've rented big US Fords (autos, of course) where you engaged the brake with a foot but pulled the release lever by hand.
What I've picked up about the Mercedes device suggests you have to release it with a foot as well. Perhaps you could describe the technique for a hill start for the uninitiated like me - I'm struggling with the idea of one foot on the accelerator, one on the clutch and, er, one on the parking brake. Well-endowed is one thing, but three feet...? };---)
C Class Mercedes CDI 220 manual or auto? - reddy03
No it's the same as the US Fords, released by a handle on the dash to the right of the steering wheel. You can't gradually let the brakes off - they are either on or off.
C Class Mercedes CDI 220 manual or auto? - Brian Tryzers
Thanks, Reddy. So that's moving off covered, but which foot do you use to apply the parking brake, given that when you come to a halt you have one on the brake pedal and one on the clutch? Do you have to put the gearbox into neutral, then use the clutch foot?
C Class Mercedes CDI 220 manual or auto? - Collos25
There are thousands of german taxis which are DB diesel autos which last for 1000000km before they are changed without much bother and then they are exported to Albania to use as taxis.
C Class Mercedes CDI 220 manual or auto? - reddy03
Left foot - hence the problem with a manual Merc' once the clutch bites you have to let it go!! I have an auto (like 95%+) so I guess you just have to be quick with the feet. My BIL had a manual and coped but it wasn't ideal.
C Class Mercedes CDI 220 manual or auto? - cattleman6

When I recently hired a C Class 200 CDI manual, the left foot operated handbrake took getting used to. After a few days it became second nature to me, no problem. I did a great deal of driving in extremely heavy city driving as well as many long distance runs on motorway. The car was an absolute gem. Both my wife and I loved it. I really look forward to checking the new shape one out when it appears.I definitely plan to buy the new one.
C Class Mercedes CDI 220 manual or auto? - cattleman6

Even though I have driven a fantastic amount for many many years, it is going to feel funny taking out a very valuable automatic car for a test drive. I have never driven an automatic. I always have driven with manual.Without being arrogant, I have made sure I am a smooth driver.
Is it easy to drive an automatic very smoothly?
I have a truly open mind about this new C Class as regards to gearboxes.
C Class Mercedes CDI 220 manual or auto? - Vincent de Marco
Is it easy to drive an automatic very smoothly?


Sure it is ! Once you'll get used to it you wouldn't want to get back to manual. Each and every car should come with an auto as standard, if you ask me. Manuals are hopeless, I just can't stand them. No, I'm not American...

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C Class Mercedes CDI 220 manual or auto? - cattleman6
Thanks very much for your letter about automatics. I will definitely try driving it in a test drive.
C Class Mercedes CDI 220 manual or auto? - Mad Maxy
IMO an auto is easier to drive smoothly than a manual. But take care when setting off for the first time. Squeeze the accelerator VERY gently. Then you'll just glide away. First time I ever drove an auto (OK, aged 19) I applied as much gas as I would have done when letting in the clutch, and lurched off very alarmingly. I never did that again...

Ditto manoeuvring. Maybe just let the car creep on its own - certainly in confined spaces - until you get used to it. Then it's all a breeze.
C Class Mercedes CDI 220 manual or auto? - cattleman6

Thanks very much. I greatly appreciate the tips you gave me about driving automatics. I know the local Mercedes place told me that the automatic is much easier to sell on.So many people and family tell me they would always go for automatics.
As regards to the foot operated parking brake, I much prefer it to a certain make of car where the parking brake is supposed to go off automatically and sometimes it doesn't. I experienced that with a certain compact people carrier in Portugal. After a while at a toll,there was that horrible burning brake stench!! The Mercedes one is much better, as at least the brake will always switch off manually.
C Class Mercedes CDI 220 manual or auto? - cattleman6

I really think that the Mercedes Benz have done a fantastic job with the new C Class. I checked with two local Mercedes places near Dublin. Apparently the new C Class that they get in Ireland will genuinely be assembled in Germany. older C Classes were assembled elsewhere as we know. For certain markets they will also be assembled elsewhere. I think there is a move to bring more employment back to Germany.
As I was so impressed with the hired manual CDI 200 C Class, I can't wait to get my hands on the new one.
C Class Mercedes CDI 220 manual or auto? - cattleman6
I really want to thank everybody who has taken the trouble to write to me giving me so much useful information.
Like a lot of other people, I look forward to driving the new C Class manual or automatic. It depends what is readily available in Dublin. Lovely seats, excellent ride quality etc etc.
C Class Mercedes CDI 220 manual or auto? - XantKing
I've pretty much always driven diesel manuals, so am curious about this - am I the only one who never uses the handbrake for hill starts? I learned to drive in an old 205 diesel and the beauty of it was that hill starts, and other low speed actions which require careful control, could easily be achieved by bringing the clutch to biting point with your right foot firmly on the footbrake. Being a diesel, there was then plenty of torque to hold the car on the steepest of hills whilst you switched your right foot to the accelerator without stalling.

It's certainly one of the reasons why I've stuck to diesel ever since!

C Class Mercedes CDI 220 manual or auto? - cattleman6

Personally I like to drive diesel cars as I do a reasonably mileage ( about 600 miles per week). I know reps do far more!!
Having hired the diesel C 200 CDI manual for 12 days of my normal city driving hell and nice long distance cruising, both my wife and I genuinely miss it so much. We will definitely save up and buy the new one.
C Class Mercedes CDI 220 manual or auto? - cattleman6
I liked reading about your trick with hill starts XantKing.
C Class Mercedes CDI 220 manual or auto? - cattleman6
rjr very kindly mentioned that the new C Class has a hill start function to help in the manuals.
The very first Mercedes I went in was a taxi 180D way back in the fifties. I thought so highly of it at that time!!
C Class Mercedes CDI 220 manual or auto? - cattleman6
I was in a Mercedes main dealer today just outside Dublin. Apparently a lot of people go for automatics here.Probably because of the heavy rush hour traffic both in and around Dublin. I will probably buy an automatic when I shortly buy a new C Class 220 CDi. The new one is certainly going to be a lovely car. The Elegance will be rather nice. Better for handling pot holes than the sport one. The new main tole roads here have a lovely surface though.
C Class Mercedes CDI 220 manual or auto? - the quiet man
With a Mercedes it has just HAS to be an automatic !! Having been a proffessional chauffeur for over forty years I can tell you with confidence that no other vehicle can match a Mercedes auto for smoothness.And I have driven every make of premium vehicle you can name. As some one has said previously in Germany approx 95% of all taxis are Mercedes, and automatics, that should speak volumes. Used to go to Germany on a regular basis, taking captains of industry to their head office in Bonn, got to know quite a few taxi drivers and they swear by the auto boxes.
C Class Mercedes CDI 220 manual or auto? - cattleman6
Very many thanks for writing back to me both " quiet man" and HJ. I have taken it all in and I am extremely grateful. I am tremendously interested when someone genuinely has had so many years of great experience. I will indeed go for an automatic. I also think that Mercedes are trying to at last once again make quality leading cars.
C Class Mercedes CDI 220 manual or auto? - barney100
Go for the auto, the thing
I like best on them is that traffic queues uphill become an easy matter. The foot handbrake on Mercedes is absolutely no problem in my experience but I guess its a personal thing.
C Class Mercedes CDI 220 manual or auto? - cattleman6
I will go for an auto. I was interested that such a main dealer is getting plenty of autos.I do long distance runs twice a week and sometimes more often. The very heavy city traffic certainly is extremely tiring. It was a wonderful excuse to hire a 200 CDI recently for 12 days. Doing all my usual daily driving. My wife and I absolutely loved the car. My present very reliable car had to suddenly get a new head gasget and valves, so I had a very good excuse to hire a superb car. I actually did around 1,000 miles in it.
C Class Mercedes CDI 220 manual or auto? - cattleman6
Two dealerships near Dublin have told me that the new C Class for the Irish Republic will be assembled in Germany.
 

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