For 2005, Luxury editions of Mercedes-Benz's compact C-Class series got new styling that followed the lead of the 2004 C-Class sport sedan. In addition, the 2005 sport sedans displayed AMG appearance touches that were adapted from the high-performance 2004 C32 AMG model.
The only C-Class body style still available for the 2006 model year is the sedan; coupes and wagons have been discontinued. A new group of twin-cam V-6 engines goes into the C-Class: a 201-horsepower 2.5-liter for the C230; a 228-hp 3.0-liter for the C280; and a 268-hp 3.5-liter in the C350.
The 2006 lineup includes the C230 sport sedan, C280 luxury sedan, C350 sport and luxury sedans, and a high-performance C55 AMG sedan with V-8 power. Mercedes-Benz says the C55 AMG can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds. Active front head restraints that reduce the likelihood of whiplash injuries are newly standard.
Each sedan has standard rear-wheel drive. Luxury models can have 4Matic all-wheel drive and a five-speed-automatic transmission. All V-6 models use a seven-speed automatic, but C230 and C350 sport sedans can be equipped with a six-speed-manual gearbox. An AMG-modified five-speed automatic goes into the C55 AMG.
C-Class models gained redesigned clear headlamps and revised taillamps for 2005. By using wider rear wheels and tires, the track width was increased. C280 and C350 models get 16-inch wheels, the C230 sport sedan uses 17-inch wheels, and the C55 AMG rides on 18-inch tires. Bi-xenon headlamps and a moonroof are available.
The performance-packed C55 AMG has a unique body structure that differentiates it from other C-Class models. The front section has been specially designed to accommodate the V-8 engine. The fenders, hood and grille have been modified, and the front track is wider than usual. Large exhaust pipes give the C55 AMG a distinct sound.
C-Class sedans seat five occupants. Sport sedans feature aluminum trim in the cabin. Special AMG Nappa leather seats with Alcantara inserts, gearshift buttons on the steering wheel and an AMG instrument cluster are installed in the C55 AMG. Mercedes-Benz's Comand and Tele Aid systems are available in all models.
Under the Hood
Four distinct engines are available in C-Class models. Three new twin-cam V-6 engines with four valves per cylinder are available. A 201-hp, 2.5-liter V-6 goes into the C230. The C280 sedan contains a 228-hp, 3.0-liter V-6, while a 268-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 is installed in C350 sedans. Topping the performance spectrum, the C55 AMG gets a 5.5-liter V-8 that produces 362 hp at 5,750 rpm. A six-speed-manual gearbox or seven-speed automatic with Touch Shift operation can be installed in non-AMG sport sedans. All-wheel-drive sedans use a five-speed automatic.
Antilock brakes, Mercedes-Benz's Electronic Stability Program, and side-impact and side curtain-type airbags are standard.