Last post on Nov 10, 2009 at 6:48 PM
You are in the Mercedes-Benz C-Class
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Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Car Safety, Sedan
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Nov 19, 2002 (7:02 pm)
Well we have a 2002 C 230 Kompressor with the 6 speed. The car has the regular 16 inch wheels, hence does not have the so-called "short-shift" kit fitted to the Evolution (C7 in USA) Sportcoupés. Our car's shifter is VERY nice, precise, clean movements. The clutch takes up near the middle of the travel and is beautifully weighted. We never feel the slightest bit of driveline judder during engagements. The W 203 clutch actuation is hydraulic.
I have driven some automatic C Classes and I do not like the tip-shift function at all. It's counter-intuitive. Every other tip-shift automatic I've seen/driven has a sequential gearbox-type shift protocol, i.e. lever forward to gear up and lever rearwards to gear down. The side-to-side movement of the M-B automatics in tip-shift mode is plain silly. In fact, steering wheel paddles would be the way to go. However, 99% of people buying an automatic Benz let the gearbox do the shifting for them. If you enjoy shifting, get the manual.
The old 2.3 L 192 HP engine is extremely torquey and has way more grunt than the C 240. It's also very economical when driven gently in 6th. The 1.8 L 2003 model is very nearly as powerful and 7% more economical than its predecessor. But if you don't like the hatch body then you're forced into the less economical V-6 engines.
And watch for that 6th to 3rd downshift
#6084 of 7297 + and - shifting
Nov 19, 2002 (8:33 pm)
I'd say its pretty intuitive. If you shift down, the car cannot go above what you've selected. If you merge onto a freeway and don't want to "manually" select 3rd by mashing on the accelerator to see what happens, you can simply tap the shift twice to the left, assuming you're in Drive. The car will stay in 3rd unless you tap once to the right for 4th, or simply hold to the right from anywhere and it will go all the way to Drive. Whatever speed you're going, if you hold the shifter to the left, it automatically goes to the gear you are in. Using the shifter to shift down so as to use the engine for braking when going down hills works pretty well. You're not supposed to be able to manually put the car into a gear that would be too many revolutions for the speed, but you can if you insist on it enough, however, when the car ultimately does make the inappropriate shift, it will be accompanied by the engine automatically cutting off power (and therefore slowing violently) to save the engine from overreving-- this also can be a bit heart stopping so it's good to know what gear you're in. The gear number on the instrument panel is a bit too small, especially compared to the ML, so I'd expect that to be changed in the future. That's my experience with it, which is good. As far as left/right vs. forward/back, BMW had forward for upshifing and back for downshifting and I think changed it after 2000 because acceleration caused persons to sink back into the seat and unintentionally downshift, so all approaches have the pluses and minuses.
#6085 of 7297 Creaking Noise from Windshield bottom/far-edge of dash
Nov 20, 2002 (11:35 am)
My 2002 C230K with 1900 miles has creaking noises coming from the windshield's bottom/far-edge of dashboard. It starts out quietly and gets quite loud as you drive on. Has anyone experienced this problem?
Nov 20, 2002 (4:34 pm)
Nov 20, 2002 (4:35 pm)
Good review. I always enjoy other peoples perspectives on cars that I am interested in. Particularly current owners of the marque.
Nov 20, 2002 (5:46 pm)
Thanks for the info re: the "+" and "-" shifter on your C320. I'll have to schedule another test drive of both auto and 6 speed cars when more time frees up...
#6089 of 7297 sequential shift pattern
Nov 20, 2002 (5:56 pm)
One more thing about what I called the counter-intuitive tiptronic mode on the M-B auto...which I still think it is.
It is worth noting that Mercedes-Benz itself uses the forward/aft lever movement for up/downshifts in its cars equipped with the Sequentronic 6 speed sequential manual.
Some other D-C products are similar - like the smart car, whose 6-speed sequential manual -again- uses the same forward-aft shifter movement.
#6091 of 7297 Need sound, realistic advice...
Nov 22, 2002 (8:32 pm)
I am looking at a 98 C230 with 51k miles. I have always dreamed of owning a MB and have loved the looks of this car since day 1. I know I can afford the car... I am concerned about maintenance and repair. My friends "none of which has ever owned a MB" caution me daily on how much it will cost, even to change the wiper blades. I am willing to make the commitment, but what does it really cost to own a MB???
Don't be gentle. Give it to me straight!
Nov 23, 2002 (5:45 am)
Long term ownership costs on these cars are indeed higher than average. The way I handle this is to set aside money on a monthly basis in a "reserve fund" that earns interest, and will be there to pay for what's needed. If it's never needed, I can apply it to the next car.
[We use this same concept for house repairs, health costs, etc.]
For a '98 C with a 4 cyl engine, you're talking about a relatively mature design across the board, and the least complex in the line. If you can afford to put aside $1800-$2000 a year to cover the big things that can happen down the road, you can enjoy this car. If not, not...