German automobile maker Mercedes-Benz introduced the C-Class models in 1993 as entry-level luxury vehicles. The C-Class was nicknamed “Baby Benz” because the vehicles included in the series were the smallest models manufactured by the company. One of the popular trim lines from the C-Class was the C320 that was released in early 2001. Despite of the “entry level” approach of the company for the C-Class series, the C320 has maintained the luxurious name of Mercedes-Benz, and it also added a more modern, U.S.-friendly design of power, comfort, and refinement.
2001 – 2002: Redefining the high-end tradition of the C-Class
In 2001, Mercedes-Benz redesigned its entry-level, C-Class sedans with standard V6 engines. These gave way to the introduction of new trim lines like the C240, and the Mercedes-Benz C320 that debuted with a 215-horsepower V6 engine. The C320 trim line only had automatic transmission, but it used a feature called Touch Shift. This feature allowed the driver to shift gears by moving the shift lever from left to right. The C320 also came with traction-control, antiskid system, and antilock four-wheel disc brakes. Apart from the standard features of the C320 like front and rear airbags and curtain side airbags, an optional Sport package was also optional. It included firmer suspension, slightly wider tires, and aerodynamic body trim.
2003 – 2004: Introducing the compact sports trim line
Two years after the release of the standard C320, the Mercedes-Benz C320 Sports Coupe was introduced. The Sports Coupe trim line was seven inches shorter compared to any C-Class sedan. It was Mercedes-Benz least expensive model in the US with a starting price lower than $28,000. The C320 Sports Coupe had a 5-speed automatic transmission and a 3.2L V6 engine with 215 horsepower. Aside from the C320 Sports Coupe, another version of the C320, the 2-door, 4-seater Hatchback was released in the same year. This was the first C320 released with a 6-speed manual transmission. It also carried the 3.2L V6 engine with 215 horsepower like the Sports Coupe.
2005 – 2007: Focusing more on fuel efficiency
In its final two years, the Mercedes-Benz C320 only had minor upgrades. The introduction of the C320 4MATIC sedan was set on fuel economy. Although the engine was V6 and the transmission automatic, the fuel consumption of the C320 4MATIC was 24 mpg on a highway. This was considerably better especially for a luxury brand like Mercedes-Benz. Safety features for the C320 were also enhanced in its final year. An added feature called the BabySmart child seat recognition system has been included.