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1995 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

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1995 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Available in 3 styles:  C36 4dr Sedan shown
Asking Price Range
Estimated MPG

18–23 city / 22–28 hwy

Expert Reviews

    Expert Reviews 2 of 5
1995 Mercedes-Benz C-Class 5.0 5
$ 1,154-5,266
May 28, 1995
While some automakers gush and carry on about the "world class status" of their vehicles, Mercedes-Benz calmly and quietly comes out with the C36, a rather simple machine whose flaws can be summed up in one word-"None."

The only gripe we had with the vehicle supplied for the test drive is that it didn't come with ASR (automatic slip control), which improves on most traction-control systems by not only employing automatic braking but also automatic throttle release to prevent wheel spin and slippage for optimum road holding regardless of conditions.

ASR is but one element in a $2,835 option package that you'll have to add to the C36, a hefty price for added driving security, but when the sticker tickles $50,000 to begin with, don't let $2,835 stand in the way of peace of mind.

The C36 offers dual air bags and four-wheel anti-lock brakes as standard, with the optional ASR completing the safety package.

Probably one of the reasons we liked the C36 so much is that it started life as a C280 (2.8-liter, in-line 6-cylinder engine), which, along with the C220 (2.2-liter, 4-cylinder engine), replaced the 190 compact series at Mercedes.

The C280 is one of our favorite cars. The C36 is a 280 that Mercedes turned over to AMG, the German automotive firm that has been customizing and racing Mercedes-Benzes since 1971.AMG took a vehicle with pleasant room and comfort and above-average performance and made it even better.

The 3.6-liter, 268-horsepower, 24-valve, in-line 6 is an increased displacement version of the C280's 2.8. The 3.6 has a little kick to it. The 0- to 60-mile-per-hour time is 6.4 seconds (8.3 seconds with the 2.8-liter, 194-h.p., 24-valve, in-line 6 in the C280) and top speed is electronically controlled for the U.S. non-autobahn market at 155 m.p.h. (In Germany, there are no restrictions on its speed.)

As with most Mercedes-at least those sansdiesel engine-that 3.6-liter, 6 is quick yet quiet. The 18-mile-per-gallon city/22-m.p.g. highway rating is respectable given the potency of the engine.

And the suspension is a cut above. The vehicle sits flat no matter how aggressively you play with it. Take the corner or swing around that merge ramp at speed and continue to open the throttle without the aggravation of body lean or sway. Back-seat passengers might not even realize you've entered/exited the interstate. The suspension also flattens those imperfections in the roadway. Not too stiff, not too soft.

The C36 feels heavy without being cumbersome or unmanageable, just enough poundage to ensure you aren't going to be tossed about in crosswinds.

Mercedes, you may recall, was the darling at Indy last year, though those contestants who had to circle the 2 1/2-mile oval without a Mercedes-Benz engine under the hood, as winner Al Unser Jr. did, might think of a word other than "darling" to des cribe how the three cars with German engines ate the competition alive.

The C36 is designed to remind folks of Mercedes' racing involvement-that even though most think of luxury and status and prestige when Mercedes is mentioned at the club, it's also known for performance.

The C36 also gives Mercedes aficionados a collectible-at least a collectible sedan for those whose garages are filled with two-seat SL roadsters.

The C36 is set apart from its less-expensive C280 kin with the larger engine, larger brakes, a sports suspension, 17-inch wheels (up from 15-inch on the C280), front air dam/side skirts/rear apron and about 200 extra pounds as a result.

Like all C-Class cars the full gamut of power goodies-from power brakes and steering to power windows, locks, electric sunroof, electronic climate control, cruise control and a Bose sound system-is standard. The C36 adds leather seats, rear-seat headrests and anti-theft alarm.

No cuphol ers. Maybe Mercedes was trying to keep the sticker at $49,800. The center armrest, however, lifts to expose a stowage case that can serve the cupholding function, so don't be discouraged.

Mercedes will build 400 C36s this year, 400 the next and 200 the next.

If the punitive tariffs that could almost double the price of Japanese luxury cars are imposed by the Clinton administration, some folks who would have shopped Asian are going to look European. They are in for a treat if they check out the C36-or any member of the C-Class family.

>> 1995 Mercedes-Benz C36 Wheelbase: 105.9 inches Length: 177.4 inches Engine: 3.6-liter, 268-h.p., 24-valve, in-line 6 Transmission: 4-speed automatic EPA mileage: 18 m.p.g.city/22 m.p.g. highway Base price: $49,800 Price as tested: $49,800. Freight runs $475. Test car came without ASR or Acceleration Slip Control, a traction control system that applies the brakes and/or throttle control to prevent wheel slippage. It's part of a package that includes headlamp washers/wipers and heated seats. The price is a stiff $2,835, but is highly recommended to complete the safety package that includes dual air bags and four wheel ABS as standard. And when spending $49,800, what's another $2,835? Pluses: There are no minuses. Minuses: See Pluses above. >>

    Expert Reviews 2 of 5

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