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2005 Entry Level Luxury Buyer's Guide

2005 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Review

by Martha Hindes

2005 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Consider the term Mercedes-Benz folks use for their updated C class for '05. It's "fresh, contemporary." Not that the C Class was stodgy before. It wasn't. But the German auto maker is adding more goodies to its stable of entry-lux sports autos, particulalry in form of engine power. More on that in a minute. First, changes combine exterior styling and interior upgrades, plus driving and creature comfort enhancements.

A new dash, gauges, sporty three-spoke steering wheel and redesigned seats equal a spiffier interior. Aluminum and wood touch upscale versions. There are "sports" and "comfort" suspension settings, depending on preference. New are 17-inch spoke wheels on the sports sedan; aggressive "staggered width" ones on the coupe. Shifting (with a manual mode on "up" models) adapts to road changes and driving style.

There's a rear-drive C class for almost every taste: C230 and C320 sport coupes and sedans; lux sedans and wagons; one that brings back the V-8. (Prices move up from a high '20s base.) A C Class, as tested, had M-B's performance-boosting Kompressor that also reduces high altitude lag. In short, no gasping for air.

Powerplants include flex fuel 2.6-liter and 3.2-liter versions that can burn ethanol. And Mercedes-Benz shoehorns a gigantic 5.4 liter, seven-gear V-8 into its performance monster C55 AMG. When you get to that level, it probably takes it out of entry level. But who's arguing.

Entry Level Luxury Cars
Entry Level Luxury Buyer's Guide