See Also: 2002 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

2002 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class

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2002 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class
Available in 3 styles:  CL-Class Coupe Base shown
Asking Price Range
Estimated MPG

15–16 city / 22–23 hwy

Expert Reviews

    Expert Reviews 3 of 14
2002 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class 4.5 13
$ 1,992-9,432
July 25, 2002

Though the $54,375 price tag of the C32 AMG test car may not suggest it, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class is the company's entry-level model, with a C230 sports coupe available - in theory, anyway - for $25,615, including transportation. You don't see many on dealer lots at that price, but that's what they cost.

That a member of that same C-Class family can cost an additional $28,760 is sobering, especially because the C230 in base trim is a pretty nice car - a six-speed manual transmission, 192-horsepower supercharged engine, air conditioning, a stereo and quite a bit of other equipment come standard.

Such is the charm, however, of products by AMG, which is Mercedes-Benz's in-house hot rod shop. For the C32, AMG wedged a 349-horsepower supercharged V-6 under the hood of a C-Class sedan - a pretty tight fit - and added a lot of other equipment, such as a stiffer AMG-tuned suspension, 17-inch dual-spoke alloy wheels with performance radial tires, and AMG's wonderful leather-trimmed front bucket seats, which grip you like a glove, but remain comfortable for hours.

But $54,375 Yeah, that does seem pricey.

Even so, the C32 AMG is the least expensive of the AMG models. It is also a comparatively small car, with an overall length of 178.3 inches, 13.2 inches shorter than a Nissan Altima. If you need to put actual life-sized adults in the rear seat regularly, you might look to the Mercedes E-Class; the AMG version is the $72,000, 189.4-inch E55 - Which is still 2.1 inches shorter than an Altima.

For occasional adult, or regular subadult, usage, the C32's rear seat is fine, and the car's compact size makes it plenty maneuverable and easy to park. The highway ride is quite good, jarring only on very rough pavement. The C32 would prefer you take twisty back roads, though.

The C32 is surprisingly capable in the rain, thanks in part to the confidence-inspiring big disc brakes and the Electronic Stability Program (ESP), which uses onboard computers to sense when the car is skidding, and adds individual braking to bring it back in line.

The 3.2-liter V-6 engine pumps out 215 horsepower in regular Mercedes C-Class models, but in the C32, a supercharger - essentially a belt-driven pump that forces air and fuel into the engine under pressure - helps increase horsepower to 349, plenty for a car that weighs about 3,550 pounds. The transmission is a five-speed automatic, though it can be shifted manually by flicking the lever from side to side. It's a nice match to the engine, but a manual transmission would be nice.

Base price of the C32 is $49,900, and transportation ($645), the "Brilliant Silver" paint ($640), an integrated phone ($2,190) and a $1,000 federal "gas guzzler" tax - unfair, given the mileage of 17 mpg city, 22 on the highway - brought the bottom line to $54,375.

It's a superb car, but if I were in the market, and could live with a coupe, I'd have to consider a BMW M3, which is just one notch above sup erb.

    Expert Reviews 3 of 14

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