Compact Luxury at an Affordable Price
The year was 1982. Mercedes-Benz hadn't produced a compact vehicle since before World War II. Years witnessing
|The Mercedes-Benz C-Class released in 1993 was tuned more towards comfort than sport. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)|
It was a good looking sedan, with a big, bold M-B chrome grille up front, Euro-style headlamps, edgy overall shape with a tall decklid overtop Mercedes' then trademark 'corrugated' taillights. Inside it was more luxuriously appointed than its BMW competitor, with excellent quality interior materials and near S-Class creature comforts. The bar had been raised and the race for compact sport/luxury buyers was on.
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class that succeeded it in 1993, like the 190, was tuned more towards comfort than sport. That doesn't mean it lacked adequate handling dynamics, it just wasn't as capable as a similarly equipped BMW. But that's OK. Rather than go head to head with the Bavarians for sport sedan buyers, Mercedes found an untapped niche with its luxury bent. While costing about
|Rather than go head to head with the Bavarians for sport sedan buyers, Mercedes found an untapped niche with its luxury bent. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)|
Initially the C-Class offered two engine choices, a 148-horsepower 2.2-litre 4-cylinder in the C220 and a 194-horsepower 2.8-litre inline 6-cylinder in the more luxuriously appointed C280. The 4-cylinder came with 16-valve technology and dual-overhead cams, making it a spirited performer for its day. The C280's engine was obviously quicker, while smoother in operation. An automatic transmission was standard, which meant no manual was initially offered.