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2005 Mercedes-Benz C320 Sport Coupe

2005 Mercedes-Benz C320 Sport Coupe Review

by Don Weberg

For over 100 years, Mercedes-Benz has built a reputation of producing extremely robust automobiles for a very discerning, and well-moneyed, clientele. This has been no small task, maintaining a quality standard to be reckoned with, and a design lineage ensuring that almost anyone who lays eyes on nearly any Benz will be able to recognize that vehicle as a Mercedes. They practically invented the term marketing geniuses love, "Brand Consistency." In fact, the only other automaker that might be able to match Mercedes-Benz's design consistency would be Rolls-Royce, and the only one who's possibly done an even better job is Porsche.

During recent decades, however, strange things have been happening in the land of Automobilia. BMW, a company always in the shadow of the Silver Star, began emerging as a contender against Mercedes-Benz in the 1980's when buyers started recognizing the build quality, power, and handling prowess of their cars. With that, a public opinion split occurred. BMW was suddenly the cool one to have, and the psyche of Mercedes ownership was similar to Cadillac ownership. It wasn't as fresh, and was something one's Mom, Dad, Grandma, or Grandpa would own. BMW was where the yuppies of the '80s wanted to be, fresher and sportier, and with virtually the same quality as a Mercedes. And that's not to mention the strike Japanese companies like Honda, Nissan, and Toyota waged by introducing their versions of the luxury car with brands such as Acura, Infiniti, and Lexus. The once Mercedes-only territory was no longer, and the Stuttgart automaker had its' work cut out for it.

It took a little time, but Mercedes did strike back. When the Star's territory was invaded, Mercedes decided to issue an assault on territory traditional Benzos considered to be almost insulting to the marquee. Mercedes-Benz, a company known for producing large, important automobiles for important people continued to do so, but also introduced smaller, daintier Benzes aimed at the younger buyers who considered a BMW or one of the Asian brands. It was a bold move for the company, and one that, despite being scoffed at in the beginning, has paid off very well. And, Mercedes-Benz managed to do this without losing their traditional design cues…to a point.

Mercedes-Benz C320 Sport Coupe

Case in point, the Mercedes-Benz C320 Sport Coupe. Part of a larger whole, the C320 Sport Coupe is a reiteration of the C-Class sedan and wagon, which begat the more exclusive line-up of CLK cars. The C-Class is even related to the SLK retractable roof convertibles.

At first glance, the Sport Coupe gives the impression of a poor-man's Benz, but don't kid yourself; the little coupe is 100-percent Mercedes-Benz. The doors open and close with the signature bank-vault "thud," the seats are extremely supportive and covered in handsome leather, the gauges are easy to read, and using the buttons upon the steering wheel enable the driver to keep in touch with such vital statistics as engine temperature, outside temperature, and even the AM/FM stereo-cassette unit. Our tester was void of a CD-Player, a $420 option. Dual-climate zones made duo traveling a comfortable experience for everyone. No mistake, the seemingly small car felt Mercedes through and through.

One of the more notable things about the C320 was the interior silence level. Usually called noise level, that phrase is inappropriate here. There is an extreme lack of road, tire, wind, transmission, and engine noise; and the body is extremely stiff, lending to a very quiet and rattle-free ride, even over rougher dirt trail terrain. This is another area in which it's obvious that Mercedes-Benz has been rethinking its philosophy of auto manufacturing. In the past, Benzes were generally slightly louder on the inside than not, especially in the case of road noise. If that were the case, it no longer applies.

Another was interior room, something that could be called ample for the size vehicle. While most people over 5-foot 5 will play rock-paper-scissors all day long to avoid the back seat, the front portion of the car offers an abundance of space. Fold down the back seats, and the little Benz swallows an exorbitant amount of luggage, camera gear, sporting equipment, or anything else one may need for a decent road trip. The Sport Coupe is not a family car, not by a long shot. But if you are in need of a proper family car, the C320 is available as a sedan or wagon.

Another un-Mercedes like trait was the lack of wood in the impressive interior. Most Benzes are laden in forestry, slabs of wood down the console, across the dash, on the door panels, and in some cases, even at the upper edge of the dash where the windshield ends, but not here. Sharp, crisp aluminum and high-quality black leather abound in this car, lending to a more aggressive, youthful look and feel. The paint was highly impressive as well, our Brilliant Silver Metallic vehicle had a depth to it few other silvers could match, and while it's not instantly noticeable, the quality does show when parked near other silver vehicles.

Mercedes-Benz C320 Sport Coupe Review

The C320 also proved to be quite an astonishing performer, something true to Benz roots. The 18-valve, 3.2-liter V6 produces 215 horsepower, and 229 lb-ft of torque in quick fashion, enabling the car to gobble up onramps for breakfast, entering the freeways at anywhere from 70 to 90 miles per hour, depending on the steepness of the ramp. Passing is simple with the C320, step on the gas, and the car bolts from 80 to 110 in just a few seconds. Thankfully, the car brakes like a champ, offering an extremely high level of stability with very little nosedive, and no wandering to the left or right at all from any speed.

When it came to curves and corners, the little Benz made them all seem straight; holding the road with a level of stability few other cars can match. The overall feel of the car is heavy, but the way it moves leaves you believing the car is extremely light. Needless to say, it's not your Uncle Gunter's Benz, but in a way it is, building upon many of the traditional Mercedes attributes and athleticisms.

The base price is just shy of $29,000, making the C320 Sport Coupe a bull's eye value. And visiting their website,, spells out exactly the market they've targeted, as you can compare the Sport Coupe to vehicles such as the Toyota Celica GT-S, Acura RS-X, Mitsubishi Eclipse, and Volkswagen GTI VR6. These are all manufacturers that Benz never would have been compared to, either by itself or the media, 20 years ago. But, it goes to show that to stay alive in the fierce marketplace, it pays to shake things up a bit. Mercedes has done just that, and still managed to retain many of their original philosophies while adopting a few new ones with stellar results.

For More Information Click: Mercedes Benz C320
For the Mercedes-Benz 2005 Model Guide : Click Here