1 Mar 1994
By CHRIS HARRIS
Mercedes spent a small fortune redesigning its baby car, with the resulting C-class sedan being a far better car than the outgoing 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 1.8L four-cylinder C180, the 110kW 2.2L four-cylinder C220 and the 142kW 2.8L six-cylinder C280 – could be had with base Classic, youthful Esprit, Sport (until Jan ’96) or luxury Elegance guises, along with the 83kW 2.5L five-cylinder C250 diesel models that arrived in October ’94.
A stirring 206kW 3.6L 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 2.0L C200 sedans and all-new C200T wagons, replaced the C220s with the 110kW 2.3L four-cylinder C230 sedans and gave the C250Ds much more power and torque, thanks to a 110kW turbocharged diesel.
Then the classic 2.8L in-line six-cylinder engine gave way to the all-new 145kW 2.8L V6 C280 in September ’97, while a smaller 125kW 2.4L 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 4.3L V8 C43 sedan and C43T wagon.
All C-classes featured dual-airbags, anti-lock brakes, air-conditioning, power windows, central locking, power mirrors and a quality radio/cassette player.
The W202 range finally gave way to the redesigned and re-engineered W203 series in November 2000.