Mercedes-Benz produced the C-Class (W203) for around six years. Production began in July of 2000 and stopped in December of 2006.
However, the process of creating the designs for this car had begun much earlier. The first designs for the C-Class (W203) were put on paper in the middle of 1994. In December of the next year, the board made approvals for the original designs. The patents for this Mercedes-Benz model were filed on April 20 in 1998 and 4 March the next year. Road tests for this sedan began in 1997. In addition to that, by the year 2000, all technical issues had been conclusively dealt with. The C-Class was released for sale in Mach of 2000.
The sedan came in a number of variants. There were the inline-five and four diesel engine and inline-four and V6 engines that ran on petrol. The engine designs of this second generation C-Class were mostly copies of the W202. However, there was a new design called the C 320. It offered 160kW. The diesel engines offered variable geometry turbochargers and common rail direct fuel injection.
In all the engine variants, the manual six-speed gearbox was now standard in all models except in the C 320. In October of 2000, the company released the C-Class SportCoup, which was a coupe. Furthermore, the model was given the designation CL203. The company also released a body variant, which was a station Wagon dubbed the S203. This model came out in 2001.
In the year 2002, the Mercedes-Benz company produced supercharged four-cylinder engine models for the 2003 model year. These engines were labeled the M271. They were featured in all the C-Class variants released in that model year. All of them had a 1.8-liter engine. The differences were only in the horsepower rating. This model year saw a variant that used natural gas. The C230 Kompressor variant, for instance, had a 190hp engine. These new 1.8-liter engines were less powerful but more efficient than earlier engines. Other tweaks were 4MATIC four-wheel drive versions for the c 240 and c320 models. Besides that, they were fitted with rear wheel drive.
After the year 2005, the C-Class Estate (Wagon) and the SportCoup ceased production in Canada and the united States. The SportCoup was still on sale in other markets around the world until 2008 when all production ceased. 230,000SportCoup were produced in Brazil and at the Bremen factory by the year 2007 since production first began. By September 20, 2006, more than two million C-Class variants had been sold globally since the first sale in March 2000. More than 30 percent of all C-Class were sold in Germany while around 20 percent were sold in the United States. At the Sindelfingen plant, production of the last C-Class took place on December 14 of 2006.
Facelift Mercedes-Benz C-Class wagon (Germany)
In the year 2004, the C-Class w203 got a significant facelift. The facelift took effect in North America in 2005. The interior design was revamped in all the three body styles. The instrument panel was changed so that there were now analogue gauges. The audio system was also completely overhauled. A new iPod connection kit was built into the new sedans. Besides that, an improved version of the Bluetooth phone system was on offer on an optional basis. For residents of North America, a standard ‘sports’ package was included. It was fitted with side skirts, a rear spoiler, and AMG edition bumpers.
New OM642 V6 and M272 engines were included in the new vehicles. It is worth noting that, the changes took effect in the 2006 model year in North America. The C 230, C350 and C280 replaced the C 320 and C 240. The six cylinder engines now deployed in the sedans could generate about 24 percent more horsepower and with greater fuel efficiency. In addition, they spewed out significantly less CO2 into the atmosphere.
The engines now came with a four-valve design. This replaced the earlier three-valve twin spark engines. Besides that, the engines had variable valve timing. Mercedes-Benz decided to release 3-litre V6 engines for the diesel variants. Moreover, this engine, which was fitted on the C 320, was able to cut down fuel consumption and CO2 emission compared to the older C270 CDI. With a torque of 380lbft (510Nm) and an output of 165kW, it was the most powerful diesel engine in the world. The C220 also got a power boost of 5kW from 105kW. The engines were also fitted with a seven-speed 7 GTronic automatic gearbox.
Resources: W203 forum