Success story: the model history of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Mar 25, 2011
  • 1982 marks the debut of the 190 model (201 series)
  • C-Class today: a model family comprised of Saloon, Estate and Coupé
Stuttgart – The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is a truly multi-talented range of cars, available both as a compact Saloon and successful racing car. As Coupé and versatile Estate for leisure, family and professional use, it is also as an innovative technology carrier and a top-seller now in its fourth generation. These are just a few of the facets of this highly successful model series, but the full list of qualities and features is simply too great to be pinned down to a single model.
The history of the C-Class began in 1982 with the introduction of the 190 model (W 201 series). This was the direct forerunner of the C-Class. The 190 marked the advent of a third model series, alongside the S-Class and the precursors of the subsequent
E-Class. If the SL-Class and G-Class are counted as classes in their own right, the
W 201 series was actually the fifth Mercedes-Benz passenger car series at the time. In fact, the appearance of the new model in 1982 marked the beginning of an extensive diversification program, since the new-look technology carrier was actually the first shot in a sustained product campaign.
“North American customers were soon calling the new saloon the “Baby Benz,” but the car also packed a real punch. Revolutionary new features set high standards in passive safety, propulsion, and other areas of automotive technology. The brochure for the 190 put out in 1982 promised the customer “ leading-edge Mercedes technology in a compact format.” The model delivered on that promise, as the C-Class does to this day.
As well as drawing on innovations from the E-Class and S-Class, the 201, 202 and 203 series themselves consistently introduced new features which were then incorporated in other Mercedes-Benz cars. Mercedes-Benz launched the comprehensively revised C-Class from the 204 series. To coincide with this model refinement package for the Saloon and Estate versions, the company is also launching a new C-Class Coupé.
AMG-Mercedes C-Class in the DTM race on the Hockenheimring in 2006, with Jamie Green qualifying for third position on the starting grid.
Attractive silhouette: Mercedes-Benz 190 E, compact sedan from the 201 series.
Compact quartet: Compact Mercedes-Benz sedan models from the 201 series: 190 E 2.3-16, 190 E, 190 D and 190 (from front to rear).
V for Victory: The V6 engine of the Mercedes-Benz C 230.
Enjoyable cornering: Traveling in the C-Class sports coupe from the CL 203 series.
Successful models: The W 203 series launched in 2000 with the W 202 and W 201 in the background.
Thrilling duels: Race counting towards the German Touring Car Championship (DTM) in Wunstorf, 1993. Kurt Thiim won the second heat driving a Mercedes-Benz 190 E Class 1.
Better braking: Compact Mercedes-Benz sedans from the 201 series with and with-out anti-lock braking system (ABS) on the test track in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim, 1978.
Head-turning rear end: The sumptuously designed rear end of the sports coupe.
Winning team: Klaus Ludwig won the 1992 DTM at the wheel of a Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5-16 EVO II, and Mercedes-Benz emerged as the winner in the brands’ rank-ing.
Distinctive rear-end design: Mercedes-Benz 190 E, compact sedan from the W 201 series.
Powerful: C 230 with V6 engine and an output of 204 hp (150 kW), 2005.
Family reunion: Mercedes-Benz W 201 series, models 190, 190 E, 190 D and 190 E 2.3-16 (from left to right).
A dream of a rear axle: The multi-link independent rear suspension of the W 201.
Compact power-pack: Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3-16 (1984-1988).
Ideal for long journeys: The station wagon version of the C-Class.
The first C-Class: From 1993, the W 202 series was named Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
Elegance in a compact format: The Mercedes-Benz 202 series made its debut in 1993.
More space: The space inside the station wagon set the standards in its category.
Traveling in style: The C-Class station wagon combined aesthetic appeal with practi-cality.
Dashing: Cut-away drawing of the C-Class sports coupe.
Big plus: C 350 station wagon, Sport Edition +.
All-out dynamism: The C-Class sports coupe, CL 203 series.
DTM winners: In 1994, the new AMG-Mercedes C-Class with six-cylinder engine was entered in the DTM, and Klaus Ludwig clinched the champion’s title in that year. Bernd Schneider won the 1995 championship driving an AMG-Mercedes car.
More comfort: With exterior dimensions comparable to those of the 190, the C-Class offered more space inside.
The C-Class in Formula One: The official FIA Medical Car in Formula One – a C 55 AMG station wagon – comes from AMG. Safety in Mercedes-Benz format is provided by the Safety Car, an SLK 55 AMG.
Sports leader: The sports coupe made its debut in the C-Class (203 series).
Masterpiece: In 1992, Klaus Ludwig clinched the DTM champion’s title at the wheel of an AMG-Mercedes 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II.
Bruno Spengler driving an AMG-Mercedes C-Class in the DTM race in Le Mans in 2006. Spengler finished the 2006 season as runner-up in the DTM.
Refined interior: C-Class, 203 series.
Softer lines: The Mercedes-Benz W 202 series continued the tradition of the W 201 series but featured a less sharply cut bodywork.
Lifestyle space vehicle: The station wagon from the S 202 series.
203-series line-up with sedan, sports coupe and station wagon.
Sporty partner: C-Class station wagon, S 203 series.