Mercedes-Benz C-Class Used Car Buyer’s Guide: 2001 – 2007
Smaller and more lithe than the model it replaced, the second generation of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class was considerably more athletic than the previous car built from 1994 – 2000. Where that model was staid and upright, the new one was sleek and sporty.
Two engine choices were initially offered at the launch of the W203 (Mercedes’ internal code designation for the car). The base engine was a 2.6-liter V6, producing 168 hp and 177 foot-pounds of torque. The larger engine was a 3.2-liter V6, capable of generating 215 hp and 221 foot-pounds of torque. For the first time in the history of the C-Class in the United States, a six-speed manual transmission was offered as standard equipment. The manual transmission was fitted to the 2.6-liter engine, a five-speed automatic was optional. Meanwhile, the five-speed shiftable automatic was the only transmission offering with the 3.2.
Contrary to conventional MBZ logic, the 2.6-liter engine was installed in a model designated C240, while the 3.2 resided in a model designated C320. Both the C240 and the C320 were rear-drive automobiles, although an all-wheel drive variant of the C-Class would appear in model year 2003.