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contents of this article
Page 1 | 2 | 3 | Specs | Pictures

1. Model Lineup 4. Driving Impressions
2. Walkaround 5. Final Word
3. Interior Features  

The last vestige of 'baby Benz' disappears with new design.

written by Bob Storck (print this article)

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 theClick for a larger 2001 Mercedes-Benz C-Class picture 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 rede-signed 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.

Two C-Class models are available: C240 ($29,950 ) and C320 ($36,950). Both 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.) C240Click for a larger 2001 Mercedes-Benz C-Class picture 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 and 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.

It is apparent that the new C-Class gets its looks from the super-luxury S-Class and CL lines. In style and concept, the C-Class has a personality all its own. It is pitched at young customers who want a car that is strong on emotion and distinctive in design. Powerful proportions give the new C-Class a distinctly sporty look, with a much more rounded roof and a smoother front and rear. At the same time the characteristic ribbed Mercedes radiator grille with the centrally positioned star and the eye-catching ellipsoid front headlamps clearly identify this car as a Click for a larger 2001 Mercedes-Benz C-Class picturemember of the Mercedes family. The sleek new C-Class features a unique interpretation of the familiar elliptical headlight design, resembling over-lapping ovals with a figure-eight outline.
Though it seems significantly larger than the predecessor C-Class, it's longer by less than an inch. Aerodynamics are a key component of design, and the C-Class excels with an improved drag coefficient of 0.27. Furthermore, seem-ingly minor details add up. The A-pillars are shaped to minimize wind noise at speed, as are the door seals and side-view mirrors. Airflow over the windshield wipers is minimized for noise as well as air turbulence. A notched sunroof deflector effectively eliminates interior booming.

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comparable cars

Audi A4
BMW 3-Series
Infiniti G35
Lexus IS



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