1 Nov 2000
By CHRIS HARRIS
The third-generation Mercedes C-class boasted an all-new platform after DaimlerChrysler was stung by criticism of its seven-year old predecessor being a dull drive compared to its BMW 3 Series rival.
The Germans spent around $4 billion developing this model, with the result being the largest and most sporting C-class ever offered.
Mercedes-Benz is pursuing an ever-younger market, with its rakish and highly aerodynamic body, a bigger interior and impressive standard equipment lists, all backed up by outstanding dynamics that include a comfortable ride as well as stable, secure road holding.
But there has been widespread criticism about this car’s cabin quality, which is now several notches below Audi’s excellent A4’s cabin effort.
A mild exterior makeover featuring a significant cabin redesign aided to address this from late ’04, along with more features, improved steering and suspension and revisions to the wide engine range.
Basically there is a three-tiered variant availability throughout the Mercedes range: base Classic, sporty Avant-garde and luxury Elegance.
Besides the four-door sedan, there was also the S203 wagon from July ‘01 and the C203 hatchback (erroneously called “Sport Coupe”) five months later.
The DOHC 16V four-cylinder engine ranges consist of: 95kW/185Nm 1998cc 2.0-litre (C180) until September ‘02 and three varying supercharged (called Kompressor) 1796cc 1.8-litre outputs: a 105kW/220Nm C180K from October ’02 a 120kW/240Nm C200K and a 141kW/260Nm C230K.
An advanced 2.1-litre CDI turbodiesel four-cylinder engine (C220 CDI) arrived from early March ’01, while on the SOHC 18V V6 front there are: a 125kW/240Nm 2.6, a 160kW/310Nm 3.2 and its C32 supercharged 260kW/450Nm 3.2 AMG spin-off and then there is the first C-class V8, the formidable 270kW/510Nm 5.4-litre AMG in the C55 released in September ’04. Transmission choices are a five-speed automatic or six-speed manual gearbox.
8th of April 2005
Mercedes-Benz 2004 C-Class C55 AMG sedanMercedes-Benz returns to V8 power for its C-class flagship, the C55 AMG
25th of January 2002
Mercedes-Benz 2001 C-Class C220 CDI Classic sedanAt the time of the W203 C-class' launch, its C220 CDI diesel was unique
18th of July 2001
Mercedes-Benz 2000 C-Class C180 Classic sedanThe third C-class brought up-to-date driving dynamics in a stylish package
12th of April 2001
Mercedes-Benz 2000 C-Class C320 Avantgarde sedanMercedes'third-generation BMW 3 Series rival added a big dose of driver enjoyment
When it was new
15th of January 2007
Run-out C180K offers more value, equipmentMercedes-Benz lifts the bar with special-edition sedan
20th of January 2006
C-class range gets SportyMercedes makes its popular Sports Edition package available across the C-class range
29th of June 2005
C-class sees sporty editionMercedes steals some of BMW's E90 3 Series thunder with a sporty new C200 edition
10th of September 2004
First drive: Benz C-class V8 fightbackThe Mercedes-Benz C-class adds V8 performance as part of its mid-life makeover
2nd of November 2001
First Oz drive: C32 AMG on the wild sideAMG's supercharged C32 is the hottest iteration of the C-class sedan, revealing no signs of Mercedes-Benz conservatism
25th of July 2001
Mercedes hatches C-class coupeMercedes-Benz's C-class lineup gains a sporting "coupe" variant pitched at younger buyers