The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is a compact executive car produced by the Mercedes-Benz division of Daimler AG. The earliest models (pre-production) were seen during 1992, but the car itself was first introduced in 1993 as a replacement for the 190 range. The C-Class was nicknamed the "Baby Benz" as it was the smallest model in the marque's lineup, until the 1997 arrival of the A-Class. The C-Class is built at Mercedes-Benz factories in Sindelfingen and Bremen, Germany, as well as in Mercedes's factories in Brazil and DaimlerChrysler's South African factory in East London. The very first W202 C-Class sedan was produced on June 1, 1993, and the second generation W203 C-Class rolled off the assembly line on July 18, 2000. The third generation W204 C-Class was launched in 2007.
The C-Class platform has been used for several coupes, including the CLC-Class (and its predecessor, the C-Class Sportcoupe) and CLK-Class.
The first generation W202 C-Class was introduced in 1993, as a replacement for the Mercedes-Benz W201 (190), and proved successful among high-end car buyers. The C-Class sedan was the company's entry-level model up until 1997, when Mercedes launched the A-Class supermini. Styling themes were carried over from the previous W201 series, but the new series had a smoother and rounder design than the previous generation of compact Mercedes.
On its debut, the C-Class was the only Mercedes model with a complete lineup of multivalve engines. The new family of four cylinder petrol units, called M111, debuted in the C 180 (1.8L, 122PS (120hp/90kW)), C 200 (2.0L, 136PS (134hp/100kW) and C 220 (2.2L, 150PS (148hp/110kW), the only four cylinder of the range sold in the U.S.). In 1996 the C 220 was replaced by the C 230, enlarged to 2.3L displacement but with the same output, although with torque increased to 220N·m (162lb·ft). . The top of the range was the C 280, with a four-valve-per-cylinder straight-6 engine, capable of reaching 193PS (190hp/142kW).
Four cylinder diesel models were equipped with the same OM601 engine of the 190, in the 2.0L and 2.2L versions. Many of these diesel variants were sold as taxis, due to their low fuel consumption and strong reliability. There were also more powerful five cylinder engines (OM605) which were available in naturally aspired (C 250 D) and turbocharged (C 250 TD) forms. The Turbodiesel was introduced in 1995 and is one of the novelties in the engine range available from this year. The most important was a supercharged version of the M111 straight four, the C 230 Kompressor, using a Roots-type supercharger to generate 193PS (190hp/142kW) at 5300rpm: Mercedes-Benz reused supercharger technology after 50 years. Due to Italian and Portuguese car tax rules, export models in Portugal and Italy featured a supercharged version of the smaller 2.0L (C 200 Kompressor), which had a similar output of the C 230 Kompressor.
With the 1997 restyling, a lot of things changed under the hood of the Baby Benz. The most important innovation was the OM611, the first turbodiesel engine equipped with a Common rail direct injection system (co-developed with Bosch). The new model was named C 220 CDI, and had an output improvement of 30 PS compared with the C 220 Diesel, better fuel average and lower emissions. Another revolution regarded six cylinder engines: the legendary straight six were replaced by an all new family of V6. These new engines, the M112, featured SOHC heads instead of the previous DOHC, three valves per cylinder, instead of four, and twin sparkplugs. So the four cylinder C 230 was replaced by the C 240 (2.4L) and the I6 C 280 by the V6 C 280. These changes theoretically reduced emissions, and improved fuel consumption, without sacrificing power (the C 280 in fact had a slight 4PS increase with the change).
In the last four years of production the W202 received a few changes in the engine range. In 1998 a less powerful version of the 2.2L turbodiesel was added, called C 200 CDI, which replaced the C 220 Diesel. In 2000 the C 200 Kompressor T's output was cut to 163PS (161hp/120kW), the C 240 T displacement was enlarged from 2.4L to 2.6L, but output remained at 170PS (168hp/125kW) and the C 180 got a 2.0L engine.
At the launch all W202 variants were equipped with a 5-speed manual gearbox. The 722.4 4-speed automatic transmission, also called 4G-TRONIC, was available as extra cost (standard on the C 36 AMG). In 1996 this old transmission - which was on sale since 1981 - was replaced by a 5-speed automatic gearbox (aka 722.5 or 5G-TRONIC), which received the manual shifting in 1999 (722.6). In 2000 the T-Modell, the only still on sale, was equipped with the G56 6-speed manual transmission.
The W202 confirms the typical attention of the brand to active and passive safety. At the launch the C-Class had standard driver airbag, ABS and integrated side-impact protection; the front passenger airbag became standard from 1994 onwards, and from the same period Traction control (ETS in the 4-cylinder models, combined with limited slip differential (ASD) or ASR in the 6 cylinders models) was available as extra cost. In 1997 ASR became standard in the C 280s equipped with the automatic transmission and in the C 36 AMG, as ETS in the 4-cylinder models, except for the C 180 and the C 220 Diesel.
With the 1997 restyling ASR became standard in all the models, except in the C 180 and C 220 Diesel. This last model continued to offer ETS available as extra cost. Moreover front side airbags and Brake assist (BAS) came in the list of standard safety features. The two basic models finally joined ASR in 1998, and, in 1999, the W202 was the first mid-size sedan to offer ESP as standard in all the range.
Crash test ratings
EuroNCAP tested the W202 in 1997 and results were not great: the car obtained only two stars (top score is five) and 16/35 points for the driver and front passenger protection. Pedestrians' safety was better: the W202 scored 2/4. NHTSA tested the C 220 and C 230 models: these always obtained 4/5 stars in the frontal crash. The C 230 was tested also in the side crash: it rated three stars for the front side and four stars for the rear side.
In the 1980s the Mercedes-Benz 190 suffered from the lack of an estate version, which was available in the range of competitors BMW 3 Series and Audi 80. Mercedes-Benz finally introduced an estate model in 1996, called T-Modell (T for Touring or Transporter). It shared the same versions of the sedan, with the exception of the AMG versions.
W202s exported in North American market included the C 220 (later replaced by the C 230), C 280 (both I6 and V6) and the AMG variants. It was launched in the U.S. in 1994 and differed from Euro-spec models due to a third stop light, no specific trim levels and side lights at the end of the front turn signals.
In 1997, the C-Class was given a small midlife freshening, with new darker rear lights and new wheel rims as well as subtle interior trim changes, especially the door mouldings. Front and rear bumpers also changed in shape for a more modern, even sporty, look.
In 1995, the C-Class received its first genuine performance model, the C 36 AMG, to counter the new six-cylinder BMW M3. Developed with AMG, the tuning house that had now become a subsidiary of Daimler-Benz, it had a racing-tuned suspension (lowered by 25mm (1in)) and in the USA, a four-speed automatic gearbox, followed by a standard five-speed automatic gearbox. The 3.6 L engine had a maximum output of 280PS (276hp/206kW) at 5750rpm and 385N·m (284lb·ft) at 4000rpm. Top speed was electronically limited to 250km/h (155mph). Only a total of 5200 C 36 AMGs were produced.
In 1998 AMG developed a new flagship for the C-Class, the C 43 AMG, powered by a 4.3L V8, which could now achieve 306PS (302hp/225kW) at 5850rpm, with a torque of 410N·m (302lb·ft) at 3250rpm. It was also available as a station wagon. Again, only 4200 AMG units were produced, with only 25 C 43 vehicles of the 2000 model year imported to the US. This vehicle bears four gear assembly each side by side to impart better fuel efficiency & performance.
There was also a very rare AMG C55 version of the W202 C Class, of which fewer than 100 cars were produced. This version used the 5.4 litre V8 engine from the E55 AMG.
The second generation C-Class was introduced in 2001, with a sportier look than the previous generations, with a steeper front-end and shorter rear-end. The styling cues were similar to that of the W220 S-Class. The sedan debuted with a range of straight-four and V6 gasoline engines and straight-four and straight-five Diesels. Most of the engines were carried over from the W202, but the C 320 was exclusive, offering 218PS (160kW; 215hp), also the C240 now had 2597 cc but output was unchanged at 170PS (125kW; 168hp). The diesels now featured common rail direct injection and variable geometry turbochargers. Six-speed manual gearboxes were now standard for nearly the entire range (except the C320 and C 270 CDI). For the first time, the number designations were no longer equivalent to the engine displacement, more specifically in the C 180 (2.0L), C 240 (2.6L) and C 200 CDI (2.2L).
In 2001, Mercedes increased the range, with the introduction of the new T-Modell station wagon and Sportcoupé. The Sportcoupé was a three-door liftback made to counter the BMW Compact, but like its competitor, it proved unpopular with the younger buyers it was targeted towards, due to high prices compared to the lower entry-level models it was competing against, and unfavorable exchange rates. Although removed from the North American lineup in 2005, it continued on sale in other markets. From October 2000 until 2007, a total of 230,000 Sportcoupés were built in the Bremen factory and in Brazil. In Canada, it was replaced by the Mercedes-Benz B-Class. In 2003 new family of supercharged four cylinder engines, dubbed M271, also debuted. All of them used the same 1.8L engine, with different designations according to horsepower levels, including a version powered by natural gas. The 193PS (142kW; 190hp) C 230K was initially available only in the Sportcoupé (replacing the 2.3L engine in 2002 and older models). The newer 1.8L was less powerful but smoother and more efficient than the older 2.3L (192PS (141kW; 189hp) compared to 193PS (142kW; 190hp). 4MATIC four wheel drive versions were also offered for the C 240 and C 320.
The C-Class was refreshed in early 2004. In this year, the interior styling was changed in all three body styles. Different taillights were added to the Sportcoupé and several all-new M272 and OM642 V6 engines were introduced later in the year. These were available in both petrol and diesel configuration, ranging between 2.5L and 3.5L, and the three-valve twin spark design was replaced by the more standard four-valve design, now with variable valve timing. The C 350 could now reach 272PS (200kW; 268hp), while the C 320 CDI was good for 224PS (165kW; 221hp). In addition, these engines also received the new seven-speed 7G-Tronic automatic transmission as optional, the diesel four cylinder's power was slightly increased, and a more economical naturally-aspirated 1.8L (C 160) was added to the Sportcoupé lineup.
The C-Class is arguably one of the highest performing automobiles in its class in many of the European markets. In 2002 it achieved success in the field of safety by scoring the maximum five stars in a EuroNCAP crash test. In America's IIHS test the C-Class gets a Good overall rating in the frontal crash test and an Acceptable rating in the side impact test.
NHTSA crash test results for the 2006 C-class:
Side Rear Passenger:
The last W203 C-Class sedan was produced on December 14, 2006 at the Sindelfingen plant.
However, the W203 Sportcoupé liftback will continue to be produced in Brazil beyond this date, since Mercedes-Benz does not foresee producing a W204 Sportcoupé. Indeed, it has decided to offer an updated W203-2 or CL203 Sportcoupé with a new restyled front end inspired by the W204 sedan
and an improved engine range parallel to the one of the W204. It was also spun off into its own separate line as the CLC-Class.
After the performance of the AMG models in the previous generation, Mercedes-Benz attempted to increase sales among high-end buyers by introducing two different AMG versions in the new model, also in 2001. The C 32 AMG scaled back down to a 3.2L V6 engine, to match the E46 M3 displacement and improve weight distribution, but it required a twin-screw type supercharger (manufactured by IHI) to reach 354PS (260kW; 349hp)) at 6100rpm and 450N·m (332lb·ft) at 4400rpm. Like its predecessors, it used a five-speed automatic, helping it to complete a 0-100km/h sprint within 5.2 seconds. The second version was C 30 CDI AMG, using a 3.0L five-cylinder engine, capable of 231PS (170kW; 228hp) at 3800rpm and 540N·m (398lb·ft) at 2000rpm. Both were available in all three body styles, but the diesel model did not reach sales expectations and was retired in 2004, as well as the C 32 AMG Sportcoupé.
By the revision of the C-Class in 2005, C 32 AMG was also replaced, giving way to a new 5.5L naturally-aspirated V8-powered C 55 AMG. This was an evolution of the V8 engine found in the previous E-Class, with power raised to 367PS (270kW; 362hp) at 5750rpm and torque climbing to 510N·m (376lb·ft) at 4000rpm. Unlike the less-powerful V6s and V8s in the rest of the Mercedes-Benz lineup, it continues to use Speedshift five-speed automatic. Though maximum speed is still limited to 250km/h (155mph) and 4.9 seconds from 0 to 100km/h (62mph) is improved, this model is considered the sportiest AMG model in the C-Class history before the recent release of the W204 (third generation) C63 AMG.
DaimlerChrysler introduced a new generation of the C-Class on January 18, 2007
and displayed it in the 2007 Geneva Auto Show. Sales started on March 31, 2007 in almost all European countries. The new vehicle has an extended wheelbase and tracks, a stiffer bodyshell and a design inspired by the most recent S-Class and some hints from the CLS-Class.
The model has four trim levels of equipment - Classic, Elegance, Avantgarde, and AMG. A high performance AMG version with a 6.2L engine followed in September 2007, labelled C 63 AMG with 457PS (335kW) to rival the Audi RS4 and BMW M3. The Classic and Elegance lines retain the traditional Mercedes-Benz radiator grille, with a three-point star bonnet emblem. The Avantgarde line has a grille similar to that on Mercedes' sport coupe models, with two horizontal bars and a large centre-mounted star. In the UK the Classic line is known as the SE and the Avantgarde line is known as the C-Class Sport , and comes with an AMG bodykit, and AMG alloy wheels as standard. In the United States, the Classic is not sold, while the Elegance is known as the C-Class Luxury and the Avantgarde wearing the AMG sports package is known as the C-Class Sport. Both lines have an additional amber light in front of the front wheel well. In Canada, only the Avantgarde and AMG models are sold, with the Avantgarde line simply labelled as the C-Class.
One of the most technological breakthroughs of this car is a special system exclusive to this class, named 'Agility control' package. This is an innovative system, which through its unique concept provides drivers with excellent agility and the traditional, luxurious Mercedes ride quality. It achieves this feat through a complex hydro-mechanical set up, which constantly analyses road conditions and driving 'habits', resultantly it adjusts damper & suspension settings accordingly to provide the driver the best possible balance between ride comfort and agility. To take things still further , there is even an 'Advanced agility control' package drivers can opt for, this system is an upgrade to the standard one, offering a 'sport' mode button. The 'Advanced agility' package is a first for the C-class, and will be seen in future models, as the GLK.
Versions of the car are available with a choice of rear- and all-wheel drive (in the latter case an improved version of the 4MATIC system, not available in right-hand drive format), along with a variety of four and six-cylinder engines (and a 6.2 litre V8 in the C 63 AMG). Engines are the straight-4 M271 and V6 M272 petrol engines, straight-4 OM611 + OM651, and V6 OM642 Diesel engines. Most of the engines are from the W203 C-class, but the C180K, C200K, C200 CDI & C220 CDI derivatives are new offering power outputs of 156hp, 184hp, 136hp & 170hp respectively, also with improvements with respect to emissions and fuel consumption. In 2008 new generation V6's are expected to replace the current V6 powerplants. Six-speed manual transmissions are standard on all models (except the C 350),(7G-Tronic is available for C 230K, C 280, C 300, C 320 CDI and standard for C 350) and a five speed automatic transmission available for the four cylinder models. In the United States, the C 300 Luxury and C 350 Sport are only available with the 7G-Tronic transmission, and the C 300 Sport comes with a six-speed manual transmission, and the 7G-Tronic automatic transmission as an option. In Canada, 7G-Tronic automatic transmission comes with any 4MATIC model.
The development of the W204 C-Class involved the use of a "digital prototype", which put a 2.1 terabyte digital replica of the car through a 15 million mile road course. This is an industry first which allowed for crash testing and more, before a physical prototype was actually constructed.
The C 63 AMG is reportedly the first AMG Mercedes designed from the ground up for performance, as compared to previous AMG cars which essentially featured "bolt on" performance modifications. The C 63 has a revised front end architecture that is taken from the CLK 63 AMG Black series. The revised 7-speed automatic transmission now has three shift modes - Comfort, Sport and Manual - with the last one running with the converter locked allowing the driver to hold the engine at the rev limit. The ESP can now be completely turned off, interfering only under heavy braking. The car also has the quickest, most responsive steering of any Mercedes to date. Car and Driver tested the car in their December 2007 issue and got a 0-60 mph time of 3.9 seconds and a quarter-mile time of 12.3 seconds at 116mph (187km/h). This makes the C 63 one of the fastest production 4-door sedans in the world.
For 2009 the C-Class got a new design for the side mirrors and an updated instrument cluster. Also in near future their kompressor engines will be substituted with turbo engines.
The 2007 Mercedes-Benz C Class was awarded Car of the Year in Australia by Wheels Magazine, edging out the Ford Mondeo and Mazda 2 for the award. It was also awarded "Executive Car Of The Year" by Top Gear Magazine for the 2007 Top Gear Awards.
The Mercedes C-Klasse driven by Mercedes DTM drivers.
C-Class DTM 2006 Specifications
- Chassis: Tubular grid frame with steel roof and sides; other body parts such as doors, hood, fenders and rear cover made from CFK; integrated driver safety cell and defined front, rear and lateral crash structures.
- Length: 191.8 inches.
- Height: 49.4 inches.
- Width: 72.6 inches.
- Weight: 1030 kg (with driver).
- Engine: Custom-built Mercedes-Benz V8, 90 degrees, DOHC.
- Displacement: 4.0 liter.
- Aerodynamics: Aerodynamic modifications to front apron and side panels, flat underfloor, rear diffusor, standardized double-profile rear aerofoil.
- Springs: H&R.
- Fuel capacity: 14.29800114 UK Gallons.
- Fuel: Aral Ultimate 100 RON unleaded.
- Injector: Fuel injection.
- Oil: Mobil 1 dry sump.
- Grease/Radiator fluid: Wurth.
- Power output: 476 hp at 7,500/min.
- Tires: Dunlop SP Sport Maxx, front: 265/660-R18, rear: 280/660-R18.
- Steering: Rack-and-pinion steering with power assistance.
- Brakes: Standardized carbon brake system without ABS.
- Intake air restrictors: diameter of 2 x 28 mm.
- Safety equipment: BOSS seatbelt 6-point, HANS device.
- Transmission: Carbon-fiber cardan shaft Three-disc carbon-fiber clutch, mechanically operated via a foot-operated pedal Standardized six-speed transmission with sequential gearshift, transaxle configuration with mechanical differential lock Rear-wheel drive without acceleration skid control.
- Wheel suspension: Double wishbones with spring/damper units on the front and rear axles, actuated via pushrods.
- Wheel rims: ATS Aluminum wheels with a diameter of 18 inches and a width of 11 inches on the front axle / 12 inches on the rear axle; standardized tires with a diameter of 660 mm on front and rear axles.
- ECU: Bosch MS 2.9.
- Ignition: H.W.A CDI on/off switch.
Siemens employing prototype hybrid technology, showed off a modified Mercedes C-Class Sport Coupe that boasts faster acceleration, more torque -- and better fuel economy -- than its gasoline-powered equivalent. However, the company admitted that the car was "far from ready for production", and too expensive to manufacture or sell.