Almost a century after introducing its first car, the world-renowned prestigious automakers Mercedes-Benz, debuted its first C-Class car, the 190. The car was universally referred to as the “compact class,” but was not officially named the C-Class until 1993 with the introduction of the second C-Class cars. The main differences between the C-Class and its forbearers the E, S, and SL-Class include the cost of the vehicle and their enhanced safety features.
The W 201 Series
Designed by Mercedes engineer Bruno Sacco, the 190 sports car engines
feature multi-linked rear suspension, a body structure built from
high-strength steel, commendable aerodynamics and superb safety
features. Mercedes manufactured a 190 D known as the “whisper diesel.”
Production of the 190 ceased in 1993 and was officially replaced by the
new Mercedes-Benz C-Class. At this point Mercedes decided to stop
“over-engineering” the vehicles. However, since their racing cars were
AMG-tuned and had won many races, many 190 owners wanted their models
AMG-tuned as well.
Features of the Mercedes-Benz 190
The Mercedes-Benz 190 has a 4-door saloon body style, was offered in
diesel (turbo & non-turbo) as well as regular, and had 2.0, 2.3,
2.5, 3.0, 6 or 8 liter engine options. Most of the 190 engines offered
Inline-4 (I4) cylinders but the 6-liter version offered Inline-6 (I6)
cylinders. The four-speed 190s offered automatic or manual transmission
while the five-speed transmission is strictly manual.
This car became known as the “Baby Benz” and sported front and rear
anti-roll bars, anti-dive and anti-squat geometry and the first
patented 5-link rear suspension. Among the advanced safety features of
the 190 were airbags, seatbelt tensioners and an anti-lock braking
The 190 was manufactured in the Mercedes plants located in Bremen and Sindelfingin, Germany.
The W 202 Series
The first officially dubbed C-Class Mercedes was the sedan which
debuted in 1993. The sedans carried the body structure and exterior
dimensions of the 190 but were built with a more comfortable and larger
interior. The new C-Class carried on the nickname of “Baby Benz” as it
was still the smallest in the marque’s line of automobiles until the
introduction of the A-Class Supermini in 1997.
The W 202 Series was manufactured until the year 2000 when it was
replaced by Mercedes-Benz W 203 Series. As the decade progressed so did
the W 202 Series.
Features of the 2nd Generation Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Slightly larger than the 190, the new C-Class was offered either as a
four-door sedan or a five-door station wagon. The engine options of the
new gasoline with Roots supercharger or diesel powered with common-rail
injection C-Class were 1.8, 2.0, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 2.8, 3.6, 4.3 or
5.4 liters with 8, 16, 18, 20, 24 or 32 Volts and 74 to 342 hp.
The transmission options were four-speed automatic or five-speed
automatic or manual. Instead of the Inline 4L or 6L Mercedes-Benz
installed the cylinders with the traditional V configurations and
offered S4, S5, S6, V6 or V8. The turbo diesel version integrated
four-valve technology and the V6 gasoline engine offered three-valve
technology and dual ignition.
The U.S. version differed from the European models due to a third
spotlight and sidelights on the front turn signals. The U.S. models
also had no specific trim levels.
With the W 202 Series, Mercedes continued its attention to safety
offering drivers airbag, an anti-lock braking system and the now
standard seatbelt tensioners. Traction control was considered an
The Mercedes-Benz W 202 Series was assembled in Brazil, Egypt, and South Africa and at the two plants in Germany.
The W 203 Series
Although considered the second generation in the C-Class series, the W
203 Series roots were established with the manufacturing of the 190 in
1982 and are considered by some to be 3rd generation of the
Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The sporty W 203 Series was launched in 2000.
The newer sportier C-Class vehicle had a focus on lifestyle and
Features of the 3rd Generation Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Much sportier than its predecessors, the W 203 Series was manufactured
in a Sedan, Wagon, Hatchback and Sportcoupé with a 3, 4 or 5-door
option. The engine options of the sportier C-Class were 1.8, 2.0, 2.3,
2.5, 2.6, 2.7, 3.0, 3.2, 3.5 or 5.5 liters with 16, 18, 20 or 24 Volts
and 113 to 362 hp. The latest C-Class had a shorter rear end and a
steeper front end.
The transmission options were five or seven-speed automatic or the new
six-speed Sequentronic manual transmission. The manufacturer’s
cylinders were S4, S5, V6 or V8. The 3rd generation C-Class cars were
assembled with a slightly larger wheel-base than its predecessors due
to the vehicles other configurations being smaller and lower to the
ground for optimum performance at high speeds.
The standard equipment of the new C-Class was full of technical
innovations like front-module crash boxes manufactured of
high-performance steel, the new three-link front axle with McPherson
struts for better automotive handling and a panoramic sunroof (in the
The Mercedes-Benz W 203 Series was assembled in Brazil, Egypt, and South Africa and at the two plants in Germany.
The W 204 Series
In January of 2007 the Mercedes-Benz debuted it latest version of the
C-Class automobile. The latest in the series, the most recent
Mercedes-Benz C-Class offers the four-door sedan or the five-door
estate. Unlike any of its predecessors the new C-Class offers four trim
models: AMG, Avantgarde, Classic, and Elegance.
Features of the 4th Generation Mercedes-Benz C-Class
The W 204 Series was manufactured in four-door saloon and five-door
estate body styles. The engine options of the latest C-Class are
manufactured in 1.8, 2.2, 2.5, 3.0, 3.5 or 6.2 liter with 16, 24 or 32
Volts and 134 to 451 hp. The C-Class is a bit larger than any of its
predecessors and is offered with gasoline or diesel engines with a
choice of rear- and all-wheel drive.
The transmission options are six-speed manual and five or seven-speed
automatic. The manufacturer’s cylinder options are S4, V6, V8 and the
Inline-4 cylinder. The newest models have an extended wheel base and
tracks and a stronger body shell. There is a different design for the
side mirrors and the new models sport an updated instrument panel as
well as many innovative standard options. For the first time the
Mercedes-Benz Kompressor was manufactured, but there are plans to
replace this model’s engines with turbo engines.
The C63 C-Class car marks the first AMG version of Mercedes cars that
were built with AMG specifications from the ground-up instead of being
AMG “fine-tuned” after the vehicles are assembled.
The latest C-Class models have received accolades including the
Executive Car of the Year in the 2007 Top Gear Awards deemed by Top
Gear Magazine and The Car of the Year by Australia’s Wheels Magazine in
The Mercedes-Benz W 204 Series was assembled in Brazil, Egypt, and South Africa and at the two plants in Germany.
Overview of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Since the Mercedes C-Class was presented to the world in 1982 it has
seen many innovations and safety alterations but has become a mainstay
in the automotive market. These Mercedes were originally designed and
produced to attract a younger market, but have become popular in all
age groups due to their more affordable cost.
The future C-Class cars will continue with Mercedes-Benz high-standards
and all but the C300 will offer a seven-speed automatic transmission
with rear-wheel drive. Standard safety features should include an
anti-lock braking system, anti-skid and traction control, and front and
curtain side airbags. Additional available features should include a
navigation system, bi-xenon headlamps and a split folding rear seat.
Current models of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class are sporty while
luxury-themed simultaneously and are generally “shopped” against the
Audi A4 and the BMW 3 Series. Still referred to as the “Baby Benz,”
given its power and superb equipment, it also rivals its own
Although maintenance is generally costly, the C-Class usually ranks
high in handling, performance, reliability and scores well in crash
Commendable aerodynamics, superb safety features, impressive comfort
and excellent driving ability coupled with a plethora of makes, models,
styles and engine and comfort options, have made the Mercedes C-Class a
core of the automotive industry.
The C-Class includes executive compact, executive sedans, coupés and
the luxury supercar. They are assembled in Brazil, Egypt, and South
Africa and in the Bremen and Sindelfingin, Germany plants.