First launched in 1993 as a replacement for the W201 (Mercedes-Benz 190 E Class) which was in production from 1982 till April of 1993 (with 1,874,668 vehicles produced) the Mercedes-Benz C-Class quickly became a legend amongst many South African’s thanks to its compact yet executive design and was Mercedes-Benz’s smallest model until 1997 – with the arrival of the A-Class.
Mercedes-Benz’s gamble on replacing the 190 E was a move that was as bold as it was considered stupid due to the cult status that the 190 E received at the Nardo Test Circuit endurance race of 1983. Mercedes took the 2.3-litre engine 190 E to Italy and rode it non-stop for 201 hours, 39 minutes and 43 seconds, which equated to a distance of over 50,000km – at an average speed of 250km/h – and broke twelve records in the process.
This made Mercedes 190 E achieve cult status, compete directly with BMW and of course sell more than 1.8 Million of these vehicles – so you can understand why people thought they were mental in trying to replace this coveted model.
A few styling themes from the 190 E were carried over into the C-Class, however, the C-Class was more rounded and smoother than its predecessor. As a success, the C-Class came with many better comforts, a smoother ride and better safety features than the 190 E and also took elements of the defining 2.3-litre engine. Where the fantasies of the C-Class came in was in the years of 2009 – 2012 Formula 1 season when Mercedes-Benz introduced the C63 AMG Estate as the Formula 1 Medical Car.
The C63 came about when AMG – having become a high-profile purveyor of modified Mercedes-Benz cars – signed a contract of cooperation with then Daimler-Benz AG to leverage Daimler-Benz’s extensive dealer network and this lead to commonly developed vehicles with the C63 being the first of these automotive fantasies.
The C-Class has evolved and offered 5 generations in its 24 years of existence. The second generation (W202) came with very few engine variations when compared to the third generation (W203) which debuted in July 2000 offering a range of inline-four and V6 petrol engines along with inline-four and five diesels and later a diesel V6. The exclusive engine within the second generation was the C320 which offered 160kW (215hp and 218 PS).
The fourth generation (W204) was introduced in 2007 at the Geneva Auto Show – with extended wheelbase and tracks, a stiffer body shell and with styling inspired from the bigger S-Class – the models would later receive facelifts in 2011 with LED taillights, a revised dashboard, instrument cluster layout, front fascia, and headlights.
The fifth and current generation (W205) was launched in 2014 at the Detroit Auto Show and was the first car to use the all-new Modular Rear Architecture (MRA) platform and was significantly lighter than previous models thanks to the usage of aluminium and high strength steel which resulted in a 100kg weight loss.
The W205 chassis came in four body styles; Sedan (W205), Wagon (S205), Coupe (C205) and Cabriolet (A205). The current model comes in 6 engine variations in the 1.6-litre M270 Turbo, 2.0-litre M266 Turbo, M270 I4 Hybrid Turbocharged, 3.0-litre M276 DELA 30 Bi-turbo V6, 4.0-litre M178 AMG V8 Bi-turbo and 2.2-litre OM651 Turbo Diesel & Bluetec Hybrid.
The fantasy AMG models come in the form of the C63/C63 S (introduced in 2015) which can produce 350kW and 650Nm of torque and 375kW power and 700Nm with a 0-100 time of 4.1 seconds and 4 seconds respectively. There is also the C 450 AMG Sport 4MATIC and AMG C 43 along with the AMG C 63/C63 S Coupe versions which were unveiled at the 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show.