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2006 Mercedes-Benz C350 Review

Small is Beautiful

by Alain Gayot

In short: A compact, cool sport sedan.

There is a reason why Mercedes-Benz has such a reputation, despite some quality issues that have cropped up recently. But with the divorce from Chrysler, we believe things will improve. and we simply loved the little car that can. The C-Class being the gateway to the prestigious brand, it is important that this lesser model is only lesser in size and price.

Starting with its seductive four-eye face, the sleek automobile has a good aerodynamic behavior. It is very comfortable; we can’t say enough about the luxurious support offered by the seats. Safety is always a foremost concern for the three-pointed star brand, and thanks to the integration of crash boxes in the front module made from high-strength steel, you’ll have confidence hauling around your precious cargo. Speaking of cargo, the large trunk is quite apt and will make airport pick-up and drop-off a breeze. We found the turning and swiveling cup holders to be an especially convenient feature. And for those who live in a sunny climate, there is a neat sun shade. However, we prefer the seat operation buttons not to be in the door but rather, closer to the seat itself.

Our tester came with a close-ratio manual transmission coupled to a capable 268 HP V6 motor. It was pleasure driving in style for a week, and we were definitely sad to see this car go. We never ran out of power and driving was, well, real driving. Sure-footed addicts can get the optional all-wheel drive version.

Now Benz has upped the ante, and we hear they will be offering an all-new fourth generation for the 2008 model. If it's anything like its predecessor, it's sure to be a success.

Read a review of the Mercedes Benz C300 Sport .


Warranty/Service: Four-year/50,000 mile new vehicle warranty.


QUICK SHEET
Price as tested: $40,795

Technical Specifications

Performance Data

Engine: 3.5-L V-6; 268 hp
- Torque: 258 lb.-ft. at 2,400-5,000 rpm


Transmission: Six-speed close ratio manual transmission with short throw shifter

Safety: Front and rear outboard seatbelts with pre-tensioners and force limiters; dual two stage front airbags; side airbags mounted in front doors; head protection curtains; active front head restraints; steel reinforced cabin with front and rear crumple zones; lower anchors and tethers for children

Top Speed: n/a

Acceleration: 0-60 in 6.1 sec.

Braking:
13.6 perforated and ventilated disc (F), 11.4 Solid Disc (R); four-wheel ABS disc brakes with Brake Assist System

Fuel Economy: 20 city,
28 highway


Handling: Three-spoke sport multi-function steering wheel, power tilt and telescoping steering column, light alloy wheels, high performance tires, sport three-link independent front suspension with stabilizer bar, sport multi-link rear suspension with gas pressure dampers

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Photography: AlphaMedia

(Updated 12/20/11 NW)


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