Production of the 1st generation Mercedes-Benz, W202 (C-Class) begun in October 1986, three years after its predecessor (Mercedes-Benz W201 (190) had been produced. The W202 was then developed and introduced in May 1993 as a successor to the W201. This C-Class Benz was to remain as the manufacturer’s only entry level sedan model until in the year 1997 when the company introduced the A-Class, which was smaller as compared to the previous versions. The new model was similar in terms of the Styling themes to the previous W201 version, only that the design in the new version was somewhat one was rounder and smoother than the earlier compact Mercedes generations.
New Naming Scheme
The initial models of Mercedes-Benz were named with a mix of letters following numbers, like 560SEC and 230CE for instance. This was the case especially in the 50s and 60s. However, Mercedes at some point chose to use numbers preceded by two or one letters to name their models. The famous C-Class model W202 Mercedes-Benz was the first of its kind to utilize this new naming scheme, which was in 1994 made applicable to all Mercedes models, except some 1995 releases such as the Viano, Vito, and the Sprinter.
Mercedes Benz W202 Engines
On its release, the W202 C-Class model was the only Mercedes to possess multi-valve engines in a complete lineup. The M111 units, a new family of 4-cylinder petrol versions were first seen in the 1.8L C180, 2.0L C200 and 2.2L C220. These were the only 4cylinder options sold in the US. Later in 1997 however, the C230 replaced the C220. The new C230 had a bigger 2.3L displacement and a stronger 220Nm torque but the output was the same as the C220.
Diesel 4-cylinder models had a similar OM601 engine to that of the W202 in both the 2.0L and the 2.2L versions. Due to strength and fuel consumption reliability, most of these diesel versions were sold for taxis. Stronger OM605 5-cylinder engines were also available, especially in models such as the C250D and the turbocharged C250TD. The turbo diesel, which is one of the most renowned engines for power, saw its introduction in 1995. The most remarkable entry was seen in the C230 Kompressor, a straight -4 M111 supercharged engine. This engine was designed to use a supercharger (roots-type) to generate up to 193PS or 142kW; 190hp at 5300rpm. This supercharger technology would be reused by Mercedes after 5 decades. In countries like Italy and Portugal, tax law made most Mercedes models to feature a supercharged engine version of the C200 Kompressor (2.0L) which was smaller but had an output similar to the one seen in the C230 Kompressor.
The diesel models produced in 1997 were equipped with the OM611 engine, featuring a direct injection system (common rail) that was co-developed with Bosch. The new Mercedes model that was named C220 CDI had a more improved output (30PS or 22kW; 30hp) in comparison to the C220 Diesel version. It was also more superior due to the fact that it had lower emission and its fuel average was more impressive. The inline 6-engines were also substituted by the M112, a V6 family. Instead of the DOHC heads that were seen in previous versions, the newer engines featured SOHC-heads. Instead of 4, they also featured 3 valves on each cylinder and twin-spark plugs. The 2.4L C240 was a replacement to the 4cylinder C230 while the C280 (V6) replaced the I6 C280. With these changes, fuel consumption was improved while emissions were reduced without a significant decline in power. As a matter of fact, a slight increase in power was seen in some models such as the C280.
The last four years of its production saw the W202 receive a number of changes in engine choice. A less powerful 2.2L turbo diesel version was added in 1998. This was named the C200 CDI, which was a replacement to its diesel version. In the year 2000, output for the C200 Kompressor was reduced to 163PS (120kW –161hp) as the displacement for the C240 was increased to 2.6 from 2.4L with its output remaining constant. A new 2.0L engine was given to the C180.
Originally, the W201 came with a 5-speed manual transmission as standard in Germany, although automatic transmission versions were available as optional. In the US, the opposite was the case, with the automatic transmission versions being standard and manual transmissions being optional. During the official launch of the C-Class Mercedes, all variants of the W202 featured a 5-speed manual transmission. There was a 4-speed automatic transmission known as the 4G-TRONIC or the 722.4, which was availed at an extra cost. Most dealers in the US provided this as an offer in sales lots. This transmission had been on sale since 1981 and was in 1996 replaced by the 5G TRONIC, a 5-speed automatic gearbox also known as the 722.5, which was then shifted to manual 722.6 in 1999. In the year 2000, the T-Model that is the only one still on sale featured an optional six speed manual transmission (G56) in the RWD C240, now in W203.