2005 Mercedes Benz C-320 Sedan (517)


This week I tested the 2005 Mercedes Benz C-320 Sedan. There isn’t anything exactly like the Mercedes Benz. They just feel that “Certain Way” that gives you, well, “…that certainnnn smilllle”. Can’t you just hear the melody as Johnny Mathis sings the song?

Anyway, Mercedes has always been a step above the rest of the best. All Mercedes have that solid, well put together feel that is a trademark characteristic of the brand. Others that are “Smooth talkers” include Lexus and Infiniti. But the Japanese luxury cars have a different silky smooth feel. The Japanese luxury brands are more dainty – if you know what I mean? Mercedes and other German luxury cars like the Audi and BMW are more substantial or robust in feel and handling, and I guess they take on the character of the people of the country where they are built.

General Info:

Parts – n/a

Assembly – Germany

Class: – Compact

Cars: – C-Class, C-Class wagon, CLK, E-Class, E-Class wagon, G-Class, M-Class, S-Class, SL-            Class and SLK.

Handling & Performance:

The C-320 sedan is classed as a Compact, and as you’d expect it is easy to maneuver ant thus a great around town car. It is built low to the ground and hugs those corners so it is really fun to drive. And it is no slouch at 215 horsepower. It comes standard with a manual transmission and but I would prefer the automatic. On the road it is confident but for long trips I would opt for the S-Class.


Uniquely Mercedes. Unmistakable.

Fit and Finish:

Certainly in the top 10% of all cars on the road.


You can’t expect the car to be in the top 10% without corresponding pricing. Mercedes have never been classified as cheap or to some, even considered well priced. Fairly priced, yes, but not cheap. In fact, on this MSRP of $37,350, you will have to add $6,010 if you want Split fold down rear seat, Navigation system, 6-disc in dash CD player, and the sunroof package. I can live without any of the options.


Actually this C-320 has an adequate compliment of standard equipment. I don’t consider the sunroof a needed option and the single disc CD player is ok by me. I think the rain sensor is neat but I can tell when it begins to rain – I have a keen sense of the obvious. Ok so I know it’s cool to have intermittent wipers with a mind of their own, but the way traffic is these days you need something to do while parked on the freeway. As to the navigation system, I’ve tested all of them from virtually every manufacturer and find them also unnecessary and expensive to boot. Yes, I know there are some who can benefit from the technology. They’re great in rental cars away from home and my daughter is in sales, on the road all day long visiting new potential customers. But even that will become unnecessary when she knows the territory. So you will have to consider whether the cost of about $2,200 is worth it.

Consumer Recommendation:

Look closely at the Volvo S60, which may well be the best competitor of the bunch below. Me, I love the Cadillac CTS. It just has a different kind of class and makes a different statement. Kind of like why I’ve owned several motorcycles, two of which were Harleys. Somehow the CTS revisits the Rebel in our souls.

The Competition:

Mercedes Benz C-Class $26-52,000, Cadillac CTS $32-49,000, Lexus ES 330 $32,000, Volvo S60 $27-37,000, (Following are 2004 priced models): BMW-Series $28-44,000, Lincoln LS $32-43,000, Audi A4 $26-44,000, Saab 9-3 $26-43,000, Infiniti G35 $28-33,000, Jaguar X-Type $29-34,000, Acura TL $33-35,000.

Good News:

Fast, fun, comfortable, smooth ride.

Bad News:

A little pricey for a compact, not as good on fuel economy as it could be.

Standard Equipment:

3.2 liter V6 215 hp engine, 6-speed manual trans, climate control, digital sound system with CD player, 10-way power front seats with 3 memory settings, power tilt and telescopic column, cruise control, power windows with express up and down, auto headlights, trip computer, dual front and side airbags, antitheft alarm with engine immobilizer, ESP – Electronic Stability Program and power assist 4-wheel ABS disc brakes.

Gas Stats:

19 City and 26 Highway MPG


MSRP $37,350.

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