1999 Mercedes C-230 Kompressor (259)


This Mercedes-Benz C-230 Kompressor 5-passenger sedan is pretty impressive for the money. Price range: $31,200 – $53,000. And if you were wondering what Kompressor stands for, it means it is Supercharged. You’ll recall Supercharged differs from Turbocharged in the manner in which the added thrust is provided.

Superchargers are belt driven and Turbo’s are exhaust driven. For 1999 Mercedes-Benz added more power to the C-Class by taking the supercharged engine from the SLK and putting it in the C230.

Remember when Porsche came out with an affordable car and called it the 914? Well, there was quite a backlash and people thought it more of a glorified VW than a Porsche. Well, it seems whatever Mercedes Benz does, the car is still unmistakably a Mercedes. They come with that wonderful feel of being the best there is in the driving experience. I fall in love every time I get the request to test drive one of these wonderful automobiles. Tuxedo is optional.

Brother John wouldn’t agree since his car of choice is Ferrari. In his mostly foreign auto repair shop he drove them all and worked on Mercedes as well. But his love affair was with his Black Daytona Ferrari, 12 cylinder performance to the max, $150,000 commuter. Hell, a tune up was about $3,000. I wonder if that included spark plugs? In any case a little rich for my blood. I loved to drive it and they have a way of getting your heart started. A relationship without strings. Sometimes even two seats are more than you need. That’s when you get the Harley Davidson out of the garage and go solo. Sorry John, I believe that if any cars achieve overall perfection it has to be those from Mercedes Benz.

History: Mercedes-Benz had its beginnings in 1886 when Karl Benz was granted a patent for the world\’s first motor car. In 1901, Daimler acquired the rights to the name Mercedes. In 1926, Daimler and Benz merged, and since 1989 Mercedes-Benz has been in charge of all motor vehicle business within the Daimler-Benz group. Mercedes-Benz models are now sold in over 170 countries, with approximately 380 dealerships in North America alone.

Although the C-Class is the entry-level sedan it’s a midsize car and as equipped I put it in the luxury category. The C-Class replaced the 190 trim beginning in 1993. The numeric part of a Mercedes-Benz model name reflects the car\’s engine displacement in liters. In this case the C230 refers to it being a C-Class with a 2.3 liter engine. When I was first married our dream car was the 190 SL sports car. But times changed and the dream was cut short by the arrival of children, which meant practical became the new keyword. Dreams are great aren’t they?

And speaking of children, it’s comforting to know that all Mercedes-Benz models now feature a sensor that deactivates the passenger airbag if weight in the passenger seat is less than 26 pounds—a safety feature designed to protect small children in suburbia and poodles in Beverly Hills.

The 1999 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is available in three trims: C230 Kompressor, C280 and C43 4-door sedans.

The Competition:

Acura TL $27,950, Audi A4 $23,790 – $30,040, BMW 3-Series $26,990 – $33,990, BMW M3 $39,700 – $45,900, Cadillac Catera $34,180, Chrysler LHS $28,950, Infiniti I30 $28,900 – $31,200, Lexus ES 300 $30,905, Mazda Millenia $26,745 – $31,245, Mitsubishi Diamante $27,199, Saab 9-3 $25,900 – $43,995, Volvo S70 $27,385 – $33,520.

Good News:

Mercedes safety, meticulous quality, great styling, superb handling, outstanding performance with the supercharger, Unmistakably Mercedes-Benz

Bad News:

Cramped rear seating, entry and exit not built for big people, controls are not as intuitive as many in its class.

Standard Equipment:

Supercharged 2.3-liter 185-horsepower 4-cylinder engine, 5-speed auto trans, air conditioning, 10-way power front seats, remote keyless system, stereo with cassette, leather, Burl Walnut trim, power windows, cruise control, auto-dimming mirrors, dual front and side airbags, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, passenger seat occupancy sensor and baby smart sensor, cruise control and anti-slip system.

Gas Stats:

21 City and 29 Highway MPG.


MSRP $31,200, and the model I tested added a glass sunroof, special paint full sport package CD changer, phone, rain sensor Xenon headlights for a total of $37,180.

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