The C-class is not the first Mercedes-Benz mid-size car. That honor was of course for the 190, which was already on the market in 1982. The C-class W202 was the successor to the 190 in 1993. As this car was the first to bear the name ‘C-class’, we will take it as the starting point for this article. The W202 was more than 4.5 meters 6.8 centimeters longer than its predecessor. In width it grew by three centimeters. In terms of design, despite its distinctly modern appearance, the W202 was not an extreme break in style: the appearance remained angular and conservative, with the shape of the grille and headlights actually only slightly different from the front of the 190. At the rear are the triangular taillights. clearly different. Later they also came back to the second C-class, the W203. The C-class W202 was also available as an Estate, a body variant that the 190 had to miss.
Where the exterior of the C-class is on the conservative side, the interior has improved considerably. The arch at the top of the dashboard near the windshield is particularly striking, a detail that later also found its way to the Jaguar XJ, Audi A6 and Seat Leon. In addition, the dashboard looks a bit less straightforward than in the 190. Also things like climate control and a CD changer came to the mid-range Mercedes. In terms of safety systems, ABS was always standard. Mercedes’ traction control ASR became standard on all models in 1998.
More than just four cylinders
In terms of engines, the W202 had at least a greater versatility than the C-class that is now coming. In the future, the choice will only consist of four cylinders. In the first C-class, the lower end of the range consisted of four-cylinders, but higher up the ladder were the six- and eight-cylinder. Among the diesels, the 150 hp C 250 Turbo diesel with its 2.5-liter five-cylinder was the topper. In the diesel field, the renewal further consisted of the addition of the CDI engines in 1997, which delivered better performance and were more efficient than the previous diesels.
The true fireworks for the W202 consisted of the AMG models, which eventually formed the starting shot for a long-running tradition. In 1996 the C 36 AMG appeared, which had a 3.6-liter straight-six engine with 276 hp under the hood. With that he shot to 100 km / h in 5.8 seconds and drove into his speed limiter at 250 km / h. Two years later, the superlative came in the form of the C 43 AMG, which unleashed 310 horsepower on its rear wheels with its 4.3-liter V8. Despite its larger engine, the 43 was not even that much more powerful than the 36. Fun fact: the C 43 AMG was the very first C-class ever with a V8.
As far as is known, the new C-class is not available as a fully electric model, but the W202 did exist. It just wasn’t available to consumers. Mercedes experimented with electric cars on the German island of Rügen in the 1990s. The electric W202 was in fact a further development of the electric 190, with Mercedes using the knowledge gained to reduce the size of the batteries. Its range of 110 kilometers was unchanged from the 190 on electricity. A fully electric C-class was never introduced to the market since then, but given the increasing electrification within the car industry, this seems almost inevitable in the future.
Source: AutoWeek by www.autoweek.nl.
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