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Car reviews - Mercedes-Benz - C-Class - C180 Esprit sedan


20 Dec 1994

MERCEDES-BENZ spent a fortune redesigning its baby car, with the resulting C-class sedan being a far better car than the outgoing 180/190 range. Bigger, stronger, safer, substantially roomier, and far more refined than before, drivers also benefited from the measurably improved driving experience, brought about by fresh new engines. From launch to late ’96, most of the models – the 90kW 1.8-litre four-cylinder C180, 110kW 2.2-litre four-cylinder C220, and the 142kW 2.8-litre six-cylinder C280 – could be had with base Classic, youthful Esprit, Sport (until Jan ’96) or luxury Elegance guises, along with the 83kW 2.5-litre five-cylinder C250 diesel models that arrived in October ’94. A stirring 206kW 3.6-litre six-cylinder C36 high performance sedan ran from October ’95 to July ‘97. Transmission choices were a five-speed manual or four-speed auto. From October ’96, the revamped range – featuring a new five-speed auto – added the 100kW 2.0-litre C200 sedans and all-new C200T wagons, replaced the C220s with the 110kW 2.3-litre four-cylinder C230 sedans, and gave the C250Ds much more power and torque thanks to a 110kW turbocharged diesel. Then the classic 2.8-litre in-line six-cylinder engine gave way to the all-new 145kW 2.8-litre V6 C280 in September ’97, while a smaller 125kW 2.4-litre V6 version killed off the short-lived C230 at the same time. A C240T wagon also appeared. Minor cosmetic and equipment level upgrades – pertaining mainly to side airbags and traction control systems – arrived in 1998, along with April ‘98’s storming 225kW 4.3-litre V8 C43 sedan and C43T wagon. All C-classes featured dual-airbags, anti-lock brakes, air-con, power windows, central locking and power mirrors. The W202 range finally gave way to the redesigned and reengineered W203 series in November 2000.
Model release date: 1 November 1994 to 1 January 1996

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