Mercedes’ C-Class series gets exterior, interior and hardware enhancements for 2005, and a new V-8-powered C55 AMG ultra-performance model replaces the ’04 C32 AMG.
Interior and Exterior
All C-Class models get a new instrument panel and four-gauge cluster, redesigned center console, steering wheel, switchgear and seats, plus new chrome or (in sport coupe and sedan) aluminum accents. Luxury models boast richer wood trim and multi-contour front seats with adjustable lumbar support for the driver. On the outside, all models get redesigned head- and taillamps, sport sedans get sportier with AMG-look body styling, sport coupes get more aggressive with exterior tweaks and a new perforated grille, and luxury sedans and wagons take on the look of last year’s sport sedan.
C-Series engine choices stretch from a 189-hp intercooled supercharged 1.8L four for C230 “Kompressor” sport sedans and coupes to a 362-hp 5.5L V-8 for the C55 AMG. In between are 168-hp 2.6L and 215-hp 3.2L V-6s for C240 and C320 luxury sedans and C320 sport sedans and coupes. RWD V-6 automatic transmission models are Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFVs), which can run efficiently on E85 ethanol as well as gasoline. The 6-speed manual gearbox standard on sport models gets a direct shift rod replacing the previous cable and rod mechanism for shorter-throw, more precise shifts.
Driver-Adaptive Five-Speed Automatic
Standard on luxury sedans and wagons and optional on sport sedans and coupes is a 5-speed automatic transmission that adapts to changes in grade (delaying upshifts on ascents for climbing power and hastening downshifts on descents for engine braking) and to individual driving style. In selectable Comfort mode, it engages second gear from a stop and upshifts at lower engine speeds to enhance traction in slick conditions. Computer control of its Touch Shift manual feature prevents engine overrevving downshifts, automatically upshifts at redline and selects the best gear for maximum acceleration from any speed when the driver presses and holds the shifter to the left for about a second.
Mercedes’ 4MATIC advanced four-wheel electronic traction control is a lightweight, compact, adaptive full-time AWD system using a standard 40/60 front/rear torque split and requiring no driver intervention. It varies torque distribution to individual wheels under slippery conditions, and even if three wheels lose traction, 4MATIC can direct power to any one wheel to keep the car moving.
Electronic Stability Program (ESP)
Every 2005 Mercedes-Benz automobile has Electronic Stability Program (ESP), tailored to each specific model. An industry first when introduced in 1996, M-B’s ESP enhances driver control and helps maintain stability in curves and during acceleration, braking and coasting, especially on uneven surfaces and patchy snow, ice or gravel. It detects impending spins or slides and applies selective braking one wheel at a time to restore the car to its intended path. ASR straight-line traction control integrated into ESP also helps ensure slick-road stability by braking slipping wheels and reducing engine power to restore traction.
|2005 Mercedes-Benz C-Class|
|What it is:||Upscale compact sport sedans and coupes and luxury sedans and wagons|
|Who it’s for:||Entry-level upscale import buyers seeking Mercedes-Benz image|
|Where it’s built:||Bremen, Germany|
|Competitors:||Audi A4, BMW 3-Series, Lexus IS 300, Saab 9-3, Volvo S40|
|Engine:||1.8L DOHC supercharged 4-cyl; 2.6L and 3.2L SOHC V6; 5.5L SOHC V8|
|Horsepower:||189 at 5,800 rpm; 168 at 5,700 rpm and 215 at 5,700 rpm; 362 at 5,750 rpm|
|Torque:||192 lb.ft. at 3,500 rpm; 177 lb.ft. at 4,700 rpm and 229 lb.ft. at 3,000rpm; 376 lb.ft. at 4,000 rpm|
|Transmission:||6-speed manual or 5-speed driver-adaptive automatic with Touch Shift|
|Layout:||Front-engine, rear drive and all-wheel drive|
|Curb Weight:||3,250 lb. (C230 Kompressor Sport Coupe)|
|EPA Economy:||23 mpg City/32 mpg Highway |
(RWD automatic transmission); 20/25; 20/26; NA
|Base Price:||$25,850 (C230 Kompressor Sport Coupe);|
$37,950 (C320 Luxury Sedan); TBD (C55 AMG)
|What we think:||Solid but conservative Teutonic image coupes, sedans and wagons with excellent dynamics and performance ranging from modest (C240) to awesome (C55 AMG).|