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2001 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

2001 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
The last vestige of 'baby Benz' disappears with new design.

By Bob Storck

Review Pages
1. Overview
2. Walkaround and Interior
3. Driving Impressions
4. Summary, Prices, Specs

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If there is any color that complements silver it is a deep green, and a whole barrage of sleek shimmering Teutonic arrows flashing through the Northwest woods cannot help but capture attention-and envy.

"'Betcha these cost over sixty," a rest stop observer opines, which draws a delighted correction from the Mercedes staffer. Even with the difference in the Canadian dollar, a new, well-equipped entry-level Benz is well under $40K, even with a heavy hand on the option list.

Mercedes-Benz has completely redesigned and re-engineered the C-Class for 2001. The only carryover items from the old C-Class are the three-pointed star on the hood and the lug nuts.

The only people likely to find fault with the C-Class styling are current E-Class buyers who may resent the sleek lines of this more affordable junior relative. Mercedes has rolled out this all new C-Class lineup in an attempt to double its share in the swelling and competitive entry-level luxury market.

Model Lineup

Two C-Class models are available: C240 ($29,950 ) and C320 ($36,950).

The two new C-Class models are identically designed sedans. (Over the next 12 to 18 months, the company will be adding different body styles to the line including a wagon and a coupe.)

C240 comes with a 2.6-liter V6 rated at 168 horsepower; C320 uses a 3.2-liter V6 that develops 215 horsepower.

While the main difference between the two models is engine size, the C320 comes equipped with a little more standard equipment. For example, on C240 sedans, seat height and backrest adjust electrically. C320 models come with full power memory front seats, Bose premium audio system

A five-speed automatic transmission with Touch Shift comes standard on the C320 and is optional on the C240. In a nod toward sports appeal and frugality, a six-speed manual transmission comes standard on the C240.

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