Mercedes-Benz and Lexus have been two of the luxury car segment’s leaders for a number of years. And in the $60,000 to $70,000 range, Mercedes-Benz’s C-Class competes directly with the Lexus IS 250. The C-Class has a complete makeover for 2015, while the IS 250 remains largely the same after it’s redesign in 2014. If you’re wondering which 2015 version is the better choice, we have all the details here.
Exterior and Styling
The IS 250 has flowing, aerodynamic lines that reduce drag and lend to the sedan’s sporty, elegant appearance. The bonnet features the signature Lexus spindle grille, and the front and rear bumpers both have a 3-dimensional design. Dual chrome exhausts along with standard 17″ alloy wheels add to the appeal. Looking at the C-Class, on the other hand, it’s apparent that the exterior has been redesigned. Compared to the 2014 version, you’ll notice more interplay between surfaces, edges, and lines–a style that Mercedes-Benz describes as “organic.” Additionally, the 2015 is also 95 mm longer than the previous model.
Interior and Comfort
The C-Class’s increased length allows for 26 mm more leg room, and it also has 31 mm more shoulder room than the 2014. Along with having more leg room than the IS 250, the C-Class has more head room, lending to a more comfortable ride in the back seat. However, the Lexus has more leg and head room up front. When it comes to appearance, features, and quality of materials, both of these sedans impress. Both offer leather-accented seats and dual-zone climate control. The IS 250 has an 8-inch touchscreen. Upgrading to the Navigation Package adds Remote Touch, which is a mouse-like controller. However, users have found this device to be “finicky.” The C-Class counters with an 8.4-inch touchscreen with their COMAND Infotainment System, which offers a user-friendly touchpad. A less cluttered dashboard makes for a big improvement visually compared to the previous C-Class.
Under the Bonnet
At the base level, the IS 250 has a 153 kW engine, which is 18 kW more than the C200. However, the C200 has 48 nm more torque. Go up to the C250, and the disparity increases to a whopping 248 nm difference. So while the IS 250 has a lackluster 0-100 Km time of 8.1 seconds, the C200 and 250 cover that same distance in 7.3 and 6.5 seconds respectively. The C-Class is also significantly more fuel efficient than the IS 250, consuming 3.2 L / 100 Km less petrol (6.0 L). And unlike the Lexus, the Mercedes-Benz also has diesel models to choose from.
On the Road
Although the IS 250 doesn’t have nearly as much pep as the C-Class, it does offer one of the most comfortable rides you can find at this price level. Furthermore, it handles surprisingly well on curvy roads and even has a smaller turning radius than the C-Class. However, the story isn’t the same for the F Sport version, which tends to be a bumpy ride. At all levels, the Mercedes-Benz is smooth and precise, though there can be some bumpiness on country roads if not equipped with the optional Airmatic Suspension ($2,500). Overall, if you take acceleration out of the mix, the rides are pretty comparable.
The IS 250 and C-Class both offer technologically advanced safety features. The Lexus has a system that can actually detect when a pedestrian or other object hits the bonnet, and the bonnet pops up automatically to reduce the force of the impact. Other features include a pre-collision safety system, lane-keep assist, and rear cross-traffic alert. The C-Class’s notable safety features include autonomous braking, collision protections, steer assist, and lane-keep assist.
Value and Verdict
The Lexus IS 250 price tag ranges from $54,000 to $74,000, while the C-Class starts at $60,900 and goes up to $74,900. If you don’t mind having a significantly less powerful and less efficient engine, choosing the base IS 250 will be nearly $7,000 cheaper. Aside from that, the C-Class is the better choice due to it’s high-quality interior, more fuel-efficient and powerful engine, outstanding handling, and impressive tech features.