Retro Cars Wiki

All-new in 1994, Mercedes' entry-level C-Class sedan was a resounding hit. It has been just the right size for many families, luxuriously equipped and surprisingly sporty to drive. The C-Class was larger and plusher than the 190 model it replaced, and thanks to rounded styling, both handsome and easily mistaken for the more expensive E-Class or even the big S-Class.

All C-Class vehicles were 4-door sedans until 2001, for the 2002 model year.

Year-to-year changes[]

1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 Discontinued
C220 C230 2007
N/A C36 AMG C43 AMG 2000


There were two models: The C220, powered by a 2.2-liter 4-cylinder, which also competed against cars like the BMW 325i, Audi 90 and Acura Legend; and the C280, the same car with a higher level of equipment and a 2.8-liter 6-cylinder engine, which competed against the Lexus ES 300 and GS 300, Infiniti J30 and BMW 530i.

Both C-Class powerplants had four valves per cylinder, variable intake timing and direct ignition. Both came standard with Mercedes' excellent 4-speed automatic transmission.

Dual airbags, 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS, digital electronic climate control, power driver's seat, power windows, Bose AM/FM/cassette and central locking were all standard. Mercedes' unique ASR traction control was optional on the C280; a split 60/40 fold-down rear seat was optional on either model, as was leather upholstery.

Mercedes-Benz cars were famous for their quality, durability and high resale value. The C220 and C280 continued this tradition.


The C-Class sedans were essentially unchanged for 1995. The only car to be added to the lineup after the C220 and C280 was a limited-production C36 AMG, which was introduced on February 6, 1995.

There are three models in the Mercedes-Benz entry-level C-Class: the C220, powered by a 2.2-liter 4-cylinder and priced at around $30,000; the C280, powered by a 2.8-liter inline 6-cylinder and outfitted with more standard equipment; and the limited-production (only 400 will be imported) hot-rod C36, powered by a 268-hp 3.6-liter inline Six. All C-Class Benzes come with a 4-speed automatic transmission.


For 1996, the C220 competes against other small luxury sedans, such as the Audi A4 and BMW 328i. The C280 competes against the Infiniti I30 and J30 and Lexus ES 300 and GS 300, while the C36 mixes it up with the likes of the BMW M3 and Volvo 850 Turbo.

New this year are a standard remote locking system, a lockable reel on the passenger's-side seatbelt to more securely restrain a child seat, a headlamp delay switch to help light your way to the house and dual cup holders in the center console. All the C-Class models include such features as dual airbags, 4-wheel disc antilock brakes, automatic climate control, power sunroof, power seats, windows and mirrors, central locking, cruise control, a Bose AM/FM/cassette sound system and an antitheft system. Among the useful options are traction control, a 60/40-split fold-down rear seat and leather upholstery. A dealer-installed CD changer is available at extra cost.

Genuine burl-walnut trim, standard from the outset in the C36, replaces the zebrano wood trim in the C220 and C280.

Retail prices[]

As of September 22, 1993:

  • $29,900 (1994 Mercedes-Benz C220)
  • $34,900 (1994 Mercedes-Benz C280)

As of August 18, 1994:

  • $30,950 (1995 Mercedes-Benz C220)
  • $36,300 (1995 Mercedes-Benz C280)

As of February 13, 1995:

  • $49,800 (1995 Mercedes-Benz C36 AMG)

As of October 11, 1995:

  • $29,900 (1996 Mercedes-Benz C220)
  • $35,250 (1996 Mercedes-Benz C280)
  • $51,000 (1996 Mercedes-Benz C36 AMG)


Video Clips[]


Mercedes Benz C280 4DR Sedan