Mercedes-Benz C-Class is a compact executive car made by the German manufacturer since 1993. It comes with a front-engine, front-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive layout, sedan, coupe or estate body styles. With smaller dimensions than the E-Class, it offers a more affordable entry into the luxury segment. It has been an enormous success since its release, being the top-selling Mercedes-Benz model of 2018, with 397,000 units sold.
First Generation (1993-2000)
In May of 1993, after close to 7 years in development, Mercedes-Benz revealed their new compact executive car, along with the new naming scheme. W202 C-Class succeeded the W201 190 as the smallest Mercedes, until the introduction of the A-Class, producing a total of 1.847 million units through this generation alone. Trim levels included Classic, Esprit, Classic Selection, Elegance, Sport, and AMG.
First-generation C-Class was the first to feature a complete lineup of multi-valve engines. Petrol engines ranged from 1.8L to 2.8L, excluding AMG versions (C36, C43, C55 AMG) and 90kW to 145kW of power. The C280 was at the top of the range of standard models, with 2.8L inline-6 engine and 24 valves. Diesel engines were preferred for their outstanding reliability and low consumption, making them popular among individual car owners and taxi companies. The displacement varied from 2.0L to 2.5L, with power ranging from 55kW to 100kW.
Powertrain options available in Australia:
- C180 1.8L, 16V I4, petrol engine producing 90kW (120hp), 4-speed or 5-speed automatic transmission
- C200 2.0L, 16V I4, petrol engine producing 100kW (134hp), 4-speed automatic transmission or 6-speed manual transmission
- C220 2.2L, 16V I4, petrol engine producing 110kW (148hp), 4-speed automatic transmission
- C36 AMG 3.6L, 24V I6, petrol engine producing 206kW (276hp), 4-speed automatic transmission
- C43 AMG 4.3L, 24V V8, petrol engine producing 225kW (302hp), 5-speed automatic transmission
- C250 CDI 2.5L, 20V I5, diesel engine producing 83kW (111hp), 4-speed automatic transmission
- C250 Turbodiesel 2.5L, 20V I5, turbocharged diesel engine producing 110kW (148hp), 5-speed automatic transmission
Second Generation (2000-2007)
Development for the W203 began in 1994, and it was revealed in March of 2000 as the successor to the W202, introducing a coupe version (CL203) in October of the same year. The second generation sold over two million units worldwide, of which 30% sold in Germany and 20% in the United States. It received a facelift in early 2004 with changes to interior styling, dashboard, and modernised entertainment options. Available trim levels included Classic, Elegance, Avantgarde, Sport and AMG.
New engine options ranged from 1.8L to 3.5L petrol, and 2.1L to 3.0L diesel. Supercharges (compressors) were fitted to most of the smaller petrol engines, while the diesel variants were turbocharged. They came with either 6-speed manual or 5-/7-speed automatic transmission. Only petrol variants were available in the Australian marketplace:
- C180 2.0L, 16V I4, petrol engine producing 95kW (127hp) at 5500rpm and 190Nm of torque at 4000rpm, 6-speed manual transmission
- C180 Kompressor 1.8L, 16V I4, supercharged petrol engine producing 105kW (141hp) at 5200rpm and 220Nm of torque at 2500-4200rpm, 6-speed manual transmission
- C200 Kompressor 1.8L, 16V I4, supercharged petrol engine producing 120kW (161hp) at 5500rpm and 240Nm of torque at 3000-4000rpm, 5-speed automatic transmission
- C200 Kompressor 2.0L, 16V I4, supercharged petrol engine producing 120kW (161hp) at 5300rpm and 230Nm of torque at 2500-4800rpm, 6-speed manual transmission
- C230 Kompressor 1.8L, 16V I4, supercharged petrol engine producing 141kW (189hp) at 5800rpm and 260Nm of torque at 3500-4000rpm, 5-speed automatic or 6-speed manual transmission
- C32 AMG 3.2L, 18V V6, supercharged petrol engine, producing 260kW (349hp) at 6100rpm and 450Nm of torque at 4400rpm, 5-speed automatic transmission
Third Generation (2007-2014)
Mercedes-Benz unveiled the W204 on the 18th of January 2007 at the Geneva Auto Show. Sales began in March of the same year in most of Europe. New C-Class had extended wheelbase and tracks and took design inspirations from the S-Class in the stiffer bodyshell and design, as well as some elements from the CLS-Class.
The third generation was the second best-selling compact executive car in the United States and Canada, losing only to the BMW 3 Series. It sold 2.4 million units worldwide through the production period, becoming the bestselling vehicle of Mercedes-Benz.
Trim levels offered were Classic, Elegance, Avantgarde, and AMG.
- Classic equipment comes as standard with any C-Class model, and includes 3x3 point rear seat belts, ABS, alarm, alloy wheels, audio remote, body-coloured bumpers, CD, driver, passenger and side airbags, electric driver and passenger seat, electric mirrors, heated mirrors, steering wheel rake and reach adjustment, traction control, remote locking
- Elegance and Avantgarde share the more luxurious options, including climate control, cruise control, DVD, front fog lights, lumbar support, parking sensors, Sat Nav
- AMG comes with options from Avantgarde and sports leather seats
C-Class scored a 5-star rating at the Euro NCAP crash test for adult occupants, 3-star rating for child occupant, and a 2-star rating for pedestrians. It was chosen as Top Safety Pick 2009 by the Institute of Highway Safety and received the Euro NCAP advanced prize for its PRE-SAFE and PRE-SAFE Brake system.
The engine range for the petrol variant was from 1.5L (115kW) up to 3.5L (215kW), excluding the AMG variant. The diesel engines offered start at 2.1L (88kW) and go all the way up to 3.0L (170kW). Powertrain options available in Australia:
- C180 Blue Efficiency 1.6L, 16V I4, turbocharged petrol engine, producing 115kW (154hp) at 5000rpm and 250Nm of torque at 1250-4000, 7-speed automatic transmission
- C350 Blue Efficiency 3.5L, 24V V6, producing 225kW (302hp) at 6500rpm and 370Nm of torque at 3500, 7-speed automatic transmission
- C63 AMG 6.2L, 32V V8, producing 336kW (451hp) at 6800rpm and 370Nm of torque at 3500-5250rpm, 7-speed automatic transmission
- C63 AMG Performance package 6.2L, 32V V8, producing 358kW (480hp) at 6800rpm and 600Nm of torque at 5000rpm, 7-speed automatic transmission
- C63 AMG Black 6.2L, 32V V8, producing 380kW (510hp) at 6800rpm and 620Nm of torque at 5200rpm, 7-speed automatic transmission
- C63 AMG “Edition 507” 6.2L, 32V V8, producing 373kW (500hp) at 6800rpm and 610Nm of torque at 5200rpm, 7-speed automatic transmission
- C220 CDI Blue Efficiency 2.1L, 16V I4, twin-turbo diesel engine, producing 125kW (168hp) at 3000-4200rpm and 400Nm of torque at 1400-2800rpm, 5-speed automatic transmission
- C250 CDI Blue Efficiency 2.1L, 16V I4, 2-stage turbo diesel engine, 150kW (201hp) at 4200rpm and 500Nm of torque at 1600-1800rpm, 7-speed automatic transmission
- C320 CDI 3.0L, 24V V6, turbocharged diesel engine, producing 165kW (221hp) at 3800rpm and 510Nm of torque at 1600rpm, 7-speed automatic transmission
Fourth Generation (2014-present)
Taking its debut at the North American International Auto Show, the W205 C-Class was the first car to use a modular rear-wheel-drive architecture (MRA) platform. It's mostly made out of aluminium, making it significantly lighter, and Mercedes-Benz claims that its structure is much more rigid than other competitors in this class. With CLA-Class taking over the spot of an entry-level sedan, the C-Class was made larger and more in the spirit of the S-Class, making it a 'Mini S-Class'. It comes in different variants, including saloon, estate, coupe, and cabriolet.
Trim levels offer a big assortment of modern equipment, with standard including 3x3 point rear seat belts, ABS, alarm, alloy wheels, audio remote, body-coloured bumpers, cruise control, nine airbags, electric front seats, electric and heated mirrors, service indicator, steering wheel rake and reach adjustment, traction control, Isofix child seat anchor points, height-adjustable driver’s seat.
More luxurious features can be acquired through packages or individually, such as electric parking brake with emergency braking function, parking assists systems, a head-up display, full-LED headlamps, active lane-keeping, collision, attention, traffic sign, ESP dynamic cornering and brake assist systems.
It received a facelift in 2018 with updated interior with more colour options, new engines, a nine-speed 9G-Tronic transmission, and more trim features.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated its small overlap frontal-offset, moderate overlap frontal-offset, side-impact, and roof strength as good, while the headlights received an unsatisfactory mark.
Australia received only the petrol powertrain options and automatic transmission. A first for the market is the hybrid-petrol variant, a 1.5L engine with a 9-speed automatic transmission.
Powertrain options available in Australia:
- C180 1.6L petrol engine, producing 115kW (154hp) and 250Nm of torque, 0-100km/h in 8.5 seconds, 7-speed automatic transmission
- C200 2.0L petrol engine, producing 135kW (181hp) and 300Nm of torque, 0-100km/h in 7.5 seconds, 7-speed or 9-speed automatic transmission
- C250 2.0L petrol engine, producing 155kW (208hp) and 350Nm of torque, 0-100km/h in 6.8 seconds, 7-speed automatic transmission
- C300 2.0L petrol engine, producing 179kW (241hp) and 370Nm of torque, 0-100km/h in 6.2 seconds, 9-speed automatic transmission
- C63 AMG 4.0L petrol engine, producing 350kW (469hp) and 650Nm of torque, 0-100km/h in 4.1 seconds, 7-speed automatic transmission
- C63 AMG Edition 507 4.0L petrol engine, producing 375kW (503hp) and 700Nm of torque, 0-100km/h in 4.0 seconds, 7-speed automatic transmission
- C200 EQ 1.5L hybrid-petrol engine, producing 135kW (181hp) and 280Nm of torque, 9-speed automatic transmission
Author: Luka Kusic