For 2005, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class receives a new model, the C 55 AMG. Existing models receive an exterior facelift and interior enhancements, including a factory-installed single CD player on the standard six-speaker audio system, new paint and upholstery colours, twin-rib design front bumpers and three-rib grilles on sedans and wagons, AMG-designed body styling on sport sedans, a new front apron and revised grille on sport coupes, new clear-glass headlamps and fog lamps, revised rear lights on all models with a transparent C design on sport coupes, a wider rear track, new wheels, and a revised climate control system with larger control wheels.

The entry-level C-Class is a busy one, available in several variations of sport coupes, sedans and wagons. The C 230 Kompressor models are powered by a 1.8-litre inline four cylinder with supercharger; the C 320 models use a 3.2-litre V6; the C 240 models use a 2.6-litre V6; and the new C 55 AMG carries a 5.5-litre V8.

In sport coupe configuration, the C-Class is available as the C 230 Kompressor Sport and the C 320 Sport Coupe. The C 230 features a six-speed manual (a five-speed Touch Shift automatic transmission is optional), 16-inch five-spoke alloy wheels, 10-way adjustable sport front seats, four-way adjustable steering column, dual-zone climate control, and CD player with six speakers, which can be optioned to a Harman/Kardon surround sound system. The C 320 adds a perforated silver grille, 17-inch seven-spoke alloy wheels, colour-keyed door handles, leather-wrapped sport steering wheel, rubber-studded metal pedals and a silver sport shift knob.

There are four model choices in sedan configuration, with a total of nine variations. The C 230 Kompressor Sedan includes a six-speed manual transmission, 16-inch seven-spoke alloy wheels, Atlas Grey grille, ten-way power front seats with power height and recline, four-way adjustable steering column, dual-zone climate control, CD stereo with six speakers, leather front seating inserts and olive ash wood trim. The C 230 Kompressor Sport Sedan adds a short-throw six-speed manual, 17-inch five-spoke alloy wheels, and ten-way sport front seats.

The C 240 Sedan includes a five-speed Touch Shift automatic transmission, 16-inch seven-spoke alloy wheels, Atlas Grey grille, ten-way front seats with power height and recline, four-way adjustable steering column, dual-zone climate control, CD stereo with six speakers, leather front seating inserts and olive ash wood trim. The Elegance Sedan adds 16-inch seven-hole alloy wheels, Atlas Grey grille with chrome ribs, heated seats, laurel wood trim and leather-trimmed steering wheel and shift knob. Both models are also available as the 4Matic sedan, with all-wheel-drive. The four C 240 wagons (Sport Wagon, 4Matic Sport Wagon, Elegance Sport Wagon and Elegance 4Matic Sport Wagon) come with the same features.

The C 320 Sport Sedan and C 320 4Matic Sedan include five-speed Touch Shift automatic transmission, 16-inch seven-hole alloy wheels, Atlas Grey grille with chrome ribs, ten-way power front seats with three-position memory, four-way power steering column, dual-zone climate control, CD stereo with six speakers, leather front seating inserts and laurel wood trim.

The C 55 AMG Sport Sedan includes five-speed Touch Shift automatic transmission with AMG Speedshift technology, 18-inch polished AMG double-spoke wheels, AMG sport seats, Nappa leather upholstery, ten-way power front seats with three-position memory, multifunction steering wheel with four-way power column, cruise control, automatic climate control, integrated garage door opener, split folding rear seat with ski sack, auto-dimming mirror, and single CD stereo.

Boasting the largest model selection in Mercedes-Benz’s range, the C-Class also spans a wide price range, enabling the budget-minded to get behind the wheel for under $40,000, or the sporty-minded to take an AMG very quickly off the showroom floor. Although the less-expensive models have handling that’s a bit numb compared to some of the company’s more expensive sports models, or to other German or Japanese rivals, the C-Class still coddles its occupants in comfortable seats and with a smooth, creamy ride. 4Matic models offer a real all-wheel-drive system with a 60 per cent rear bias and an electronic traction system that can send power to a single wheel if it’s the only one gripping the road.

The C-Class is built in Sindelfingen, Germany.

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