2008 Mercedes Benz C Class or Save Thousands on C230, C280, and C350, Wholesale MBCC Money Factors, Low Lease Payments (888) 861-8080

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On Sale: August 2007Expected Pricing: Starting around $35,000
The successor to the company’s C-Class, the fourth generation since 1982 and its best-selling car worldwide (6 million sold so far), has broken cover. The all-new 2008 Mercedes-Benz C-Class goes on sale in August. The upcoming version features sportier styling than the current models and the luxury and sport models are further distinguished: The grille on the luxury model is designed with the traditional horizontal bars and hood-mounted star, while the sport version places the Mercedes star in the grille. The new C-Class is wider and longer than the outgoing model, with short front and rear overhangs to accent the tauter, sportier design. And it is slick. The drag coefficient of the new C-Class is a mere 0.27, among the very best in the world.
The chassis features a new rear axle and suspension design, with new shock absorbers. The structure is 13 percent stiffer in torsion and 12 percent stiffer in bending than the old car, and its static weight balance is 52 percent front and 48 percent rear. Interiors are all new, with more room up front, a revised instrument package design, a new steering wheel with two sets of auxiliary controls on the horizontal spokes, and a new center stack that includes a pop-up screen on the dashtop that displays all the necessary vehicle, navigation and entertainment system data. The U.S. gets only two engines, a 2.8-liter V6 in the C300 with 6-speed manual or 7-speed automatic, and the new 3.5-liter V6 in the C350 with a 7-speed automatic.
Initially, the U.S. market will get only these two sedan models, and in due course, the U.S. model range will expand to include diesel-engine versions, 4Matic all-wheel-drive versions, and a high-performance AMG model with a V8 engine. The AMG Sport package of exterior and interior trim items, wheels and tires will be available as an option when the car reaches the U.S. market in August. No coupe version is planned, and there will be no station wagon version for the U.S. market. Seven airbags are included as standard equipment: two adaptive airbags for the driver and front passenger, a kneebag for the driver, two sidebags in the front seat backrests and two large window bags extending from the A to the C-pillar during a side impact.
Standard equipment will include the Pre-Safe system, traction control, ABS, Brake Assist, brake force distribution, ESP, and seven air bags. There’s a new Advanced Agility Package option with infinitely variable shock absorbers, revised transmission shift points and other features.

2007 Mercedes C-Class C230 Sport
Base MSRP: $29,650Model Code:Transmission: ManualDoors: 4 DoorMax Power: 201hp

Available Options
AudioSIRIUS Satellite Radio – $500Audio system with satellite Includes six month subscriptionCD Changer – $420Disc autochanger glove box and 6 Audio system with Disc Autochanger and six-disc remote changer


Power Drivers Seat & Steering Wheel – $600Electrically adjustable driver seat with height adjustment, five adjustments and tilt adjustment Memorized adjustment with three settings on door mirror position and steering wheel position with five driver’s seat positions and head restraint Electric adjustable head restraints on front seats Electrically adjustable steering wheelDVD COMMAND Navigation – $2,210Navigational systems : information type: full map and voice and knobs/touch buttons controls DVD and color Tele Aid – $820Telematics 240.00 and 12 Online information system [819] CD Changer


Automatic Transmission w/ Touch Shift – $1,390Automatic 7-speed transmission with mode select, lock-up, electronic control, manual mode, shift lever on floor, 4.380:1 first gear ratio, 2.860:1 second gear ratio, 1.920:1 third gear ratio, 1.370:1 fourth gear ratio, 1.000:1 fifth gear ratio and 0.820:1 sixth gear ratio 0.730 Automatic drive indicator on dashboard
Interior TrimFull Leather Seating Surfaces – $1,500Leather seat upholstery with additional leather Luxury trim leather on doors Non Coded ItemHandsfree Cellphone Integration Kit – $765Handsfree communication preparation [320] Entertainment Package

PaintStandard Paint Type – $0Gloss paint [A] Metallic PaintMetallic Paint – $680Metallic paint [J005] Standard Paint Type


Rear Side Airbags – $385Rear side airbag
SeatsHeated Front Seats – $680Heated driver and passenger seatSplit Folding Rear Seats – $290Asymmetrical front facing rear seats Rear seat center armrest with trunk access

Standard Features
ExteriorBody ExteriorBody side moldingTrunk/hatch spoilerChrome/bright trim around side windows, on side of body and on bumpersBumpersBody color front and rear bumpersPaintBlack paint InteriorConvenience12v power outlet: rear and 1Remote control remote trunk/hatch releaseCruise controlFront seats cigar lighterFront and rear ashtrayDelayed/fade courtesy lightsFront reading lightsIlluminated entry systemCargo area lightIlluminated driver and passenger vanity mirrorInterior TrimLuxury trim alloy & leather on gearknob, alloy on doors and alloy on dashboardFloor covering: carpet in load areaFloor matsSeatsVinyl seat upholstery with additional vinylFront seat center armrestRear seat center armrestSports electrically adjustable driver and passenger seat with height adjustment, lumbar adjustment, two adjustments and tilt adjustmentThree fixed bench front facing rear seats with zero adjustmentsStorageLockable glove compartmentDoor pockets/bins for driver seat and passenger seatFront seat back storageFront seats and rear seats cup holders pop outFull dashboard console , full floor console with covered storage boxVentilationVentilation system with recirculation setting and micro filterPassenger seat secondary ventilation controlsAir conditioning with climate control and rear outlet


AudioSix speaker(s)Element antennaManufacturer’s own audio system with AM/FM and CD player CD player reads MP3Steering wheel mounted remote audio controlsAudio anti-theft protection: code and integrated in dashInstrumentationDashboardService interval indicatorTachometerOil pressure warning lightExternal temperatureLow fuel level warningLow washer fluid level warningClockComputer with average speed, average fuel consumption and range for remaining fuelLightsComplex surface lens halogen bulb headlightsHeadlight control with time delay switch-off and dusk sensorFront fog lightsRear fog lightsDay time running lightsDoor entry light


VisibilityAutomatic operation rear view mirrorDriver and passenger power heated body color door mirrors indicator lightsFixed rear window with defoggerTinted glass on cabinHeat reflective glassWindshield wipers with variable intermittent wipeFront and rear power windows with two one-touchHeated washerSafetyFront and rear roof airbagDriver front airbag with multi-stage deployment , passenger front airbag with occupant sensors and multi-stage deploymentFront side airbag with occupant sensorsTwo height adjustable active head restraints on front seats , three height adjustable head restraints on rear seats with dipping for reverseHeight adjustable 3-point reel front seat belts on driver seat and passenger seat with pre-tensioners3-point reel rear seat belts on driver side with pre-tensioners , 3-point reel rear seat belts on passenger side with pre-tensioners , 3-point reel rear seat belts on center side

Warranty and Fixed Charges

Charges Fixed delivery charges: 775Warranty Full car warranty: duration (months): 48 or distance (miles): 50,000Powertrain warranty: duration (months): 48 or distance (miles): 50,000Anticorrosion warranty: duration (months): 48 or distance (miles): 50,000Road-side assistance warranty: duration (months): unlimited or distance (miles): unlimited

Technical Specifications
VersionTrim level: C230 SPORTFour-door sedan body styleSeating: five seats
Engine2,496 cc 2.5 liters V 6 front engine with 88 mm bore, 68.4 mm stroke, 11.2 compression ratio, double overhead cam, variable valve timing/camshaft and four valves per cylinderEmission control level ULEV

Engine PerformancePower:

150 kW , 201 HP SAE @ 6,200 rpm; 181 ft lb , 245 Nm @ 2,700 rpmFuel economy EPA highway (mpg): 25 and EPA city (mpg): 19 TransmissionRear-wheel driveElectronic traction control via ABS & engine managementManual six-speed transmission with shift lever on floor, 5.01:1 first gear ratio, 2.83:1 second gear ratio, 1.78:1 third gear ratio, 1.25:1 fourth gear ratio, 1:1 fifth gear ratio, 0.82:1 sixth gear ratio and 4.06:1 reverse gear ratio manualStability control
WheelsFront other tires with 225 mm tire width, 45% tire profile and Z tire rating official brochure tyre size , rear other tires with 245 mm tire width, 40% tire profile and Z tire rating official brochure tyre sizeFront alloy wheels with 17 inch rim diam and 7.5 inch rim width , rear alloy wheels with 17 inch rim diam and 8.5 inch rim widthSpacesaver steel rim internal spare wheel BrakesFour disc brakes including two ventilated discsFour-wheel ABSElectronic brake distribution Brake assist system SteeringLeather covered multi-function steering wheel with tilt adjustment and telescopic adjustmentVehicle speed proportional power steering
FuelMulti-point injection fuel systemPremium unleaded fuel 9116.4 gallon main premium unleaded fuel tank


Weights: curb weight (lbs) 3,405
DimensionsExternal dimensions: overall length (inches): 178.4, overall width (inches): 68, overall height (inches): 55.6, wheelbase (inches): 106.9, front track (inches): 59.3, rear track (inches): 58.1 and curb to curb turning circle (feet): 35.3Internal dimensions: front headroom (inches): 38.9, rear headroom (inches): 37.3, front hip room (inches): 51.9, rear hip room (inches): 54.5, front leg room (inches): 41.7, rear leg room (inches): 33, front shoulder room (inches): 53.1, rear shoulder room (inches): 54.3 and interior volume (cu ft): 85.5Cargo capacity: rear seat down (cu ft): 30.7 and all seats in place (cu ft): 12.2

2007 C Class Reviews
IntroductionLike an overlooked middle child pining for attention, the 2007 Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan is the entry-level car in a lineup defined by luxury, prestige and price tags that can run into six-digit territory. But despite its less elevated standing within the Mercedes hierarchy, its substantial sales numbers make it every bit as important as the flagship S-Class. The 2007 C-Class lineup, which includes the C230, C280 and C350 sedans, offers the typical Mercedes-Benz virtues of solidity, safety, luxury and comfort. With styling cues (such as a low hood line, arced roof line and triangular taillights) evocative of the larger E-Class, this Mercedes-Benz has no trouble drawing admiring glances. Of course, having the three-pointed star on the hood doesn’t hurt, either. Though recent updates have kept the car reasonably fresh, the C-Class’ design does date back to 2001. For shoppers in this segment, this becomes obvious when you compare the Mercedes against revitalized competitors like the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Infiniti G35 and Lexus IS. Its handling dynamics aren’t particularly exciting for a sport-oriented sedan, and its cabin is let down by a small backseat and ordinary furnishings. While these faults won’t necessarily be deal-breakers for consumers shopping in this segment, they prevent the car from being one of our top choices. Body Styles, Trim Levels and OptionsThe 2007 Mercedes-Benz C-Class entry-luxury sedan is available as the C230 Sport, C280 Luxury, C350 Luxury and C350 Sport. The C230 Sport comes standard with 17-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, cloth sport seats and a CD player. The C280 Luxury version offers a more powerful engine but is more mild-mannered in personality, offering 16-inch wheels, softer suspension tuning, power front seats with driver memory, dual-zone automatic climate control with air filtration, and genuine wood trim. The Mercedes C350 Luxury is equipped similarly but comes with the top-of-the-line V6. The C350 Sport’s equipment list mostly mirrors the C230’s, but it has the larger engine and power front sport seats. On the C-Class’s options list you’ll find features like full leather upholstery, HID xenon headlights, a navigation system and a Harman Kardon Logic 7 audio system with a six-disc CD changer and satellite radio.
Powertrains and PerformanceThree V6 engines see duty in the Mercedes C-Class lineup. The C230 has a 2.5-liter V6 that provides 201 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque. The C280 features a 228-hp 3.0-liter V6. The top-of-the-line C350 employs a 3.5-liter V6 good for 268 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The C230 and C350 Sport have a standard six-speed manual transmission and an optional seven-speed automatic. The C280 and C350 Luxury have the automatic transmission as standard equipment. All Sport models are rear-wheel drive, but Luxury models are available with either rear-drive or 4Matic all-wheel drive. In cars with 4Matic, a five-speed automatic transmission is used. The fastest model in the lineup is the C350 Sport; with a manual transmission, expect a 0-60-mph time of 6.0 seconds.
SafetyStandard safety features include antilock disc brakes, stability control and six airbags that include front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Rear-seat side airbags and the TeleAid emergency call system are optional. In NHTSA crash tests, the 2007 Mercedes-Benz C-Class scored four out of five stars for driver and front-passenger protection in frontal impacts, and five stars for front and rear side-impact protection. The IIHS gave the C-Class a “Good” rating (its highest) for the car’s performance in the 40-mph frontal-offset crash test. The C-Class earned an “Acceptable” rating (second-highest) in IIHS side-impact testing.
Interior Design and Special FeaturesGiven the compact dimensions of the C-Class sedan, there isn’t a lot of legroom in the backseat, and adult occupants are apt to complain on anything more than short trips. Furthermore, the pricey C350’s cabin lacks the elegance of some peers. The dash has a dated, utilitarian look that seems out of place in this class of car. The metal-ringed gauges look modern at least, and most materials are quite nice, but there are a few cheap plastics here and there, including those used for the adjustable vents on the dash. The trunk holds 12 cubic feet of cargo, which is about average for this class of car.
Driving ImpressionsAs one would expect, the 2007 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is a comfortable car that excels at pampering its occupants. The 3.5-liter V6 is by far the best engine of the lineup, but either of the smaller engines will likely be adequate, especially if you’re restricted by budget. In terms of handling ability, Sport models don’t feel as light on their feet as other top sport sedans. But they turn in aggressively and offer decent grip. Body roll is reasonably well controlled, but driving enthusiasts will likely wish for even firmer damping and more steering feedback. What’s NewMinor changes for the 2007 Mercedes-Benz C-Class include the discontinuation of the high-performance C55 AMG model and added flex-fuel E85 capability for the C230. ProMany luxury and safety-oriented features, pleasing power from C350’s V6 engine.
More C Class Reviews
The 2006 Mercedes-Benz C-Class lineup has been revised and streamlined, but the C-Class remains the most accessible of all Mercedes cars sold in the United States.
The C-Class hatchback coupes and wagons have been eliminated, and only the sedans remain. No problem here, in our view, because the sedans have always represented the C-Class best. Moreover, the 2006 C-Class is powered by an all-new line of V6 engines, with more horsepower and more advanced technology than before. The luxury models feature a high-tech seven-speed automatic transmission, and the C350 Luxury sedan has the classic Mercedes balance of ride quality and handling. The line also includes sport models for those who want a sportier driving experience, and that’s what Mercedes has been emphasizing in its advertising.
Inside, the C-Class cars look and feel like a Mercedes-Benz, with firm, supportive seats and mostly high-quality materials. The C-Class delivers Mercedes engineering and safety technology, with optional all-wheel-drive that will improve traction in wet or wintry conditions.
In short, the C-Class brings the three-pointed Mercedes star to the rest of us, with sedans starting below $30,000, or about the same price as a loaded Honda Accord or Toyota Camry.
New engines for 2006 complement the substantial C-Class updates made just a year ago. Mercedes redesigned the C-Class interior for 2005, freshened the exterior styling and further distinguished the sport models from the standard luxury sedans. A new six-speed manual transmission greatly improved shift action. New paint technology imbeds microscopic ceramic flakes in the clear coat finish, increasing its resistance to chipping and degradation over time.
At the top of the C-Class line, Mercedes introduced the new C55 AMG, an extreme sports sedan that can knock your socks off when you floor the accelerator then pull them back up when you hit the brakes. (Or is it the other way around?)
Mercedes C-Class sales have increased four fold over the past decade, and it doesn’t take a degree in marketing to understand why. For those seeking Mercedes-Benz engineering, design strengths and mystique in a mainstream sedan, it doesn’t get any easier than the C-Class.
Model Lineup
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class lineup has been simplified for 2006, thanks to the elimination of several models. The station wagons and three-door coupes are history. All that remain are four-door sedans, and most are powered by an all-new V6. This engine is Mercedes’ first dual overhead cam V6, with the latest control technology and fully variable valve timing.
Most of the C-Class is divided into Sport and Luxury models. The Sport models have firmer suspensions, lower ride height and more powerful brakes than the Luxury models. The Sport sedans also have a thick, three-spoke steering wheel, more thickly bolstere
d front seats and aluminum trim, and are trimmed with aggressive lower body cladding previously reserved for expensive AMG models. The least-expensive C-Class car is the C230 Sport sedan ($29,200). The C230 is powered by a 2.5-liter version of the new V6, generating 201 horsepower (considerably more than the least powerful C-Class in 2005). It comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission and 17-inch wheels with high-performance tires.
Standard equipment on the C230 Sport sedan includes dual-zone automatic climate control with interior air filtration, leather-faced seats with 10-way power adjustment for driver and front passenger, cruise control, tilt and telescopic steering wheel with redundant audio controls, one-touch power windows and automatic headlamps.
The C280 Luxury sedan ($32,950) comes with the same comfort and convenience items included in the C230. The primary difference is the C280’s engine: a 3.0-liter version of the new V6 rated at 228 horsepower. The C280 also comes standard with the industry’s first seven-speed automatic transmission, 16-inch wheels and all-season tires, and wood interior trim rather than aluminum. The C350 Sport sedan ($37,550) and C350 Luxury sedan ($38,150) are both powered by a 3.5-liter V6 generating 268 horsepower. The Sport gets the six-speed manual and larger performance tires; the Luxury version gets the seven-speed automatic and all-season tires. Both add position memory for the seats and mirrors.
Sport models can be equipped with the seven-speed automatic transmission as an option ($1,410). All-wheel drive, which Mercedes calls 4MATIC ($1,800), is available on the C280 and C350 Luxury sedans; 4MATIC comes packaged with heated front seats.
Options for C-Class models include the Sunroof Package ($1,790), which includes a power sunroof, auto-dimming mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, and a universal garage-door. The DVD Navigation system ($2,200) includes a stereo upgrade. Individually priced options include a CD changer ($420), heated front seats ($680), and Tele Aid emergency communications hardware ($820). The limited-production C55 AMG sedan ($54,450) tops the C-Class line. Powered by a hand-built 5.5-liter V8 rated at 362 horsepower. The C55’s Speed Shift five-speed automatic, brakes and suspension are improved to match its prodigious horsepower. Safety technology is a key component of the Mercedes brand, and every C-Class is equipped with world-class safety features. Among them: Active front head restraints. In the event of a rear collision exceeding the system’s deployment threshold, the front head restraints move forward nearly two inches and upward by more than an inch, helping to support the head and reduce whiplash injuries. The C-Class has side-impact airbags for front passengers as well as curtain-style head-protection airbags for front and rear passengers. Rear passenger side-impact airbags ($385) are optional.


The C-Class cars look like a Mercedes-Benz should and just about everyone will quickly identify them as such. All C-Class cars sport the traditional Mercedes three-pointed star as a standup hood ornament, but even without that they’d be immediately identifiable. The C-Class shares styling themes with the larger E-Class and S-Class cars, but retains a tight look all its own. Aerodynamically, the C-Class cars are among the most efficient in the Mercedes-Benz family. The C-Class boasts a drag coefficient of 0.27, which helps minimize wind noise and improves fuel efficiency. Distinguishing between Sport and Luxury versions of the 2006 C-Class is easy. The Sport sedans have a more aggressive looking front air dam and sculpted lower cladding previously used only on Mercedes’ exotic AMG models. The Sport sedans are further distinguished by a unique grille with three horizontal bars, darker, blue-tinted glass and larger 17-inch wheels. The styling for all C-Class models was freshened for 2005. The changes were subtle and we’re not sure how many people actually noticed. Revised styling cues included wider set quad-ovoid headlights, more pronounced fender flares and revised taillights. The C-Class sedans are the same length as the BMW 3 Series cars, but several inches narrower, making it easier to fit them into tight garage spaces. The C55 AMG is another beast altogether. Its body work from the windshield pillars forward was borrowed from Mercedes’ larger CLK coupe in order to widen the front track and make room for a big V8 engine. From the rear, the C55 is dominated by a two pairs of chromed, oversize exhaust tips. Also noticeable from the rear is its extra-wide 18-inch alloy wheels and tires.

Interior Features
The C-Class interior looks like the inside of a Mercedes-Benz should, and for the most part it feels that way, too. A model re-alignment for 2006 has increased the level of luxury in the least expensive models. Fabric upholstery and manually operated seats can no longer be found in the

C-Class line. Any of the seats are very good: neither so hard that they numb the backside nor so soft that they leave occupants tired or aching. The seats in the standard luxury models are more traditional, perhaps richer in appearance, than those in the sport models. By comparison, the seats in the sport models look stark, but provide significantly more side bolstering for spirited driving. Adjustable lumbar support is now standard, meaning more comfort for the lower back. The C55 AMG has its own special sport seats and premium leather upholstery. The C-Class got a thorough interior re-do for the 2005 model year so the 2006 models benefit from that. The dashboard, instruments and seats were redesigned, and materials were revised throughout. The instrument cluster now features four gauges, with a chromed-ringed tachometer and speedometer of identical size sitting front and center. To the left and right of these are smaller fuel and temperature gauges. In the middle sits an LCD display with various system and trip functions. Fashioned in the mold of the larger Mercedes E-Class, the instrument cluster is deeply hooded and virtually eliminates glare on the dials. The backlit script is clear and easy to read. We like the center stack, which looks more modern than before. Audio controls are now located in what we consider the optimal spot: above the climate control switches, which sit at the bottom of the stack. Both audio and climate knobs are large and easy to locate. The lack of some of the complicated systems found on more expensive Mercedes models is, frankly, a welcome relief. The switchgear is, for the most part, easy to use and understand. The stalk controls have a beefy feel with positive detents. Redundant buttons on the steering wheel let the driver operate the audio and telephone functions without removing a hand from the wheel. The stalk-mounted cruise control continues to be an annoyance, however. It’s also easy to engage the cruise control by mistake when trying to use the turn signals, a complaint we have with every modern Mercedes that comes to mind. Lighting inside is effective, with good illumination for entry in the dark and excellent map lights for reading. The C-Class glovebox is a good size, unless you order the CD changer, in which case you lose most of its storage space. You’ll still have the center console and door pockets, but we’d like more places to stash stuff. At least they’ve added a pop-up cupholder in the center console. In general, the C-Class sedans are trimmed with good-quality interior materials, but there are some exceptions. Some of the hard plastics don’t match Mercedes’ best. The sport sedans use aluminum trim throughout the cabin, while the luxury sedans use wood. The rear seat offers generous space and comfort. It’s installed theater style, and sits slightly higher than those in front, giving back-seat passengers a better view forward without significantly compromising head room. Indeed, the spacious rear seats are one of the strengths of the C-Class. The optional power sunshade for the rear glass reinforces the feeling you’re in a Benz. The trunk is a good size for a car this size, offering 12.2 cubic feet of cargo space. An optional split-folding rear seat expands cargo capacity.

Driving Impressions
The 2006 Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedans have been improved across the board, thanks to a new family of V6 engines. The least powerful of the new C-Class engines, the 2.5-liter V6 in the C230 Sport sedan, rated at 201 horsepower, offers more power than the supercharged four-cylinder engine it replaces. As important, it is far smoother at all speeds and generally less course in feel, sound or the amount of vibration it generates. The 228-hp 3.0-liter V6 in the C280 Luxury sedan is much more powerful and satisfying than the anemic 2.6-liter V6 in the 2005 C240 (previously the best selling C-Class). Even the biggest V6, which was our favorite engine on the 2005 models, is much better for 2006. The 3.5-liter V6 in the C350 generates 268 horsepower, 20 percent more than the 3.2 in the 2005 C320, which improves acceleration performance considerably. Matched with either the six-speed manual or the high-tech seven-speed automatic, the new engine makes the C350 more responsive than the 2005 C320. The 3.5-liter V6 has fully variable valve timing to deliver an impressive amount of torque from idle all the way to the redline. The C350 responds more immediately than the C320, no matter how fast it’s already traveling when the driver presses the accelerator. The new engine is also noticeably smoother, particularly at high rpm. And thanks the seven-speed automatic, the improved performance comes without a corresponding decrease in fuel mileage. All of the C-Class cars offer nice steering, effective brakes and a good balance between ride and handling. Before choosing between a Luxury or Sport model, C-Class buyers should carefully consider whether a smooth ride or sharper handling is preferred because the trade-off between comfort and response changes with the model. The Sport models are more firmly sprung than the standard Luxury models. The Luxury models most closely replicate traditional Mercedes ride quality. Their ride is almost cushy, but it’s well damped, so there’s no floaty, sea-craft feeling over dips in the road. The Luxury models won’t wilt if you push them a bit, but they’re never stiff. We think the Luxury models best suit the tastes of most buyers and were surprised when a spokesperson for Mercedes told us the Sport models are expected to comprise the larger share of the C-Class volume. The Sport models are livelier and turn into corners more responsively. The nicely weighted power steering, sports seats and beefy steering wheel all contribute to a feeling of better control. Indeed, if you enjoy spirited driving, the C230 Sport sedan may be the most enjoyable C-Class yet (short of the AMG). It’s a bit less nose heavy and bit more spry than the C350 Sport, and its revised six-speed manual transmission contributes considerably to the fun. All C-Class models are quiet inside, even when blasting along at 80 mph. These sedans are aerodynamically slippery cars, and very little wind noise penetrates the cabin. As mentioned, the C-Class offers a choice of transmissions. The seven-speed automatic that comes on the C280 and C350 Luxury sedans is superior to five-speed automatics that come on most cars (to say nothing of an old-fashioned four-speed automatic). With more gears, it offers better acceleration performance and responsiveness around town as well as enhanced fuel efficiency. Gear changes are barely noticeable in normal driving, especially in the higher gears. This transmission allows significantly quicker acceleration for highway passing situations, and it doesn’t have to go through every gear. Step on the gas and the transmission will skip down to the appropriate gear, switching from seventh to fifth, for example, and from there directly to third, meaning two downshifts instead of four. As for the manual transmission, Mercedes has lowered the ratio for first gear for quicker acceleration off the line, but kept an overdrive sixth gear for quiet, low-rev highway cruising and better fuel economy. More important, the old cable-operated shift mechanism has been replaced by a solid, direct rod. The result is easier, quicker and more precise shifting, and the improved action contributes greatly to a more rewarding, engaging driving experience. Shift effort is low, and the gears are easier to hit. For manual fans, we can heartily recommend the C230 Sport sedan. If you prefer an automatic but want a Sport model, we encourage you to step up to the C350 Sport sedan with the optional automatic. The optional 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system delivers power to all four wheels. It’s fully automatic and on all the time, so there are no buttons to push and no special knowledge is needed; just drive the car. The system uses electronic traction control to vary torque among each of the four wheels, diverting power to the tires with the best grip. Even if three wheels lose traction, 4MATIC can direct power to the one remaining tire with grip. The result is better stability and improved handling in slippery conditions, with a greatly reduced chance of getting stuck. 4MATIC does dampen engine response and slow acceleration slightly, and lowers fuel mileage a bit. But for those who drive through harsh winters, all-wheel drive is worth it. All-wheel-drive sedans such as the C-Class are proof that you don’t need an SUV to confidently handle rough weather. In fact, a car tends to handle better in icy conditions than a truck. We consider all-wheel drive a valuable asset in the rainy Northwest or for the harsh winters of the Midwest and Northeast, and 4MATIC is priced much lower on the C-Class models than it is on other Mercedes models. Braking is excellent. Every C-Class model has good-sized brake rotors, and the Sport sedans feature cross-drilled rotors in front for better resistance to fade. (Braking effectiveness fades away as brakes get hot from repeated hard use.) All C-Class cars come with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist. EBD can reduce stopping distances and improve stability when braking by distributing brake pressure between the front and rear wheels, giving more to the tires that are gripping best. Brake Assist senses a panic braking situation and helps ensure full braking force even if the driver makes the mistake of relaxing pressure on the brake pedal. The net effect is short, no-fuss stopping. In everyday use, the C-Class brakes are progressive in pedal feel. In more serious situations, the brakes stop the car right now. The C55 AMG might be the most impressive C-Class yet. It’s a sports sedan in the extreme sense, capable of amazing acceleration, and handling and braking on par with exotic sports cars. It’s capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in an exotic-grade 4.9 seconds, according to Mercedes. The old C32 was super quick, too, but the C55 is less crude and more refined. Its big V8 engine is smoother, more tractable and less intrusive when a driver is cruising the freeway or just trundling along, and its deep, V8 exhaust note better suits the sportiest C-Class of all.

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class delivers Mercedes engineering, design and safety features starting at the price of loaded mass-market, midsize sedans. The good things behind the Mercedes brand get no more accessible than they are in the C-Class. For 2006, a new line of variable-valve-timing V6 engines improves the C-Class across to board. The C230 Sport sedan with six-speed manual transmission may be the most fun of all. The new seven-speed automatic in the C280 and C350 luxury sedans is ultra responsive. The C350 may represent the best of the line, but can easily surpass $40,000 and diminish some of the appeal in the C-Class’s accessibility. The C55 AMG is strictly for the serious enthusiast.
Model Line Overview
Model lineup: Mercedes-Benz C230 Sport sedan ($29,200); C280 Luxury sedan ($32,950); C350 Sport sedan ($37,550); C350 Luxury sedan ($38,150); C55 AMG ($54,450)Engines: 201-hp 2.5-liter dohc 24-valve V6; 228-hp 3.0-liter dohc 24-valve V6; 268-hp 3.5-liter dohc 24-vlve V6; 362-hp 5.5-liter sohc 24-valve V8Transmissions: 6-speed manual; 7-speed automatic; 5-speed automaticSafety equipment (standard): dual-stage front airbags, front passenger side-impact airbags, full cabin curtain-style head-protection airbags; active headrests; ABS, Electronic Brake-force Distribution and Brake Assist; Electronic Stability ProgramSafety equipment (optional): rear-passenger side-impact airbagsBasic warranty: 4 years/50,000 milesAssembled in: Bremen, Germany
Specifications As Tested
Model tested (MSRP): Mercedes-Benz C350 Sport sedan ($37,550)Standard equipment: automatic climate control, cruise control, power windows, power mirrors, power tilt/telescope wheel, 10-speaker Bose stereo with AM/FM/cassette and weatherband, 10-way power leather seats with three-position memoryOptions as tested (MSRP): CD changer ($420); Sunroof Package ($1790) includes auto-dimming mirrors, rain sensing wipers, glass sunroof, power rear-window shade, garage door opener; rear passenger side-impact airbags ($385)Destination charge: ($775)Gas guzzler tax: N/APrice as tested (MSRP): $40,920Layout: rear-wheel driveEngine: 3.5-liter dohc 24-valve V6Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 268 @ 6000Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm): 258 @ 2400Transmission: 6-speed manualEPA fuel economy, city/hwy: 20/26 mpgWheelbase: 106.9 in.Length/width/height: 181.8/68.0/55.6 in.Track, f/r: 59.3/58.1 in.Turning circle: 35.3 ft.Seating capacity: 5Head/hip/leg room, f: 38.9/51.9/41.7 in.Head/hip/leg room, m: N/AHead/hip/leg room, r: 37.3/54.3/33.0 in.Cargo volume: 12.2 cu. ft.Payload: N/ATowing capacity: N/ASuspension, f: independentSuspension, r: independentGround clearance: 6.3 in.Curb weight: 3495 lbs.Tires: P225/45ZR17 front; P245/40ZR17 rearBrakes, f/r: vented disc/solid disc with ABS, EBD and Brake AssistFuel capacity: 16.4 gal.