The new engine found in the Mercedes C-Class is proof that when the German automaker has a good thing, it's smart enough to spread it around. The 3.5-liter V6 is steadily making its way through the luxury brand's model lineup.
After debuting in the 2005 Mercedes-Benz SLK two-seater, the lightweight engine, which features an aluminum block and cylinder heads, displaced the E-Class sedan's 3.2-liter engine earlier this year. And now it's part of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class family, available in the smaller C350.
Dueling German Horsepower For 2006, the 215-horsepower, 3.2-liter C320 sedan becomes the latest casualty in the escalating horsepower war the manufacturer is waging with its Bavarian rival, BMW. After years of the BMW 330i eating its lunch with its healthier 225 hp, Mercedes has had enough. Just as BMW is about to pull the wraps off its revamped 255-hp 330i sedan, Mercedes is moving in for the kill with the 268-hp, 3.5-liter C350. Sounds like BMW 3 Series drivers better start checking their rearview mirrors.
If the horsepower jump isn't enough to grab you by the short hairs, the increase in torque will. With 258 pound-feet of torque, the Mercedes' V6 destroys BMW's new 3.0-liter inline six, which will be rated at 220 lb-ft, and gives the C350 some serious thrust.
With its smooth revs and throaty new exhaust note, the C350 Mercedes drives much sportier than the C320. There's plenty of torque to be found throughout the wide power band, making the charge off the line as fun the 50th time as it was the first. As in the C320, it continues to be rear-wheel drive with a 4Matic all-wheel-drive option.
Seven Speeds, No Waiting Like the pint-sized SLK roadster, the C350 Mercedes comes standard with a six-speed manual, which is a major upgrade over the old six-speed gearbox. The C350's reworked linkage inspires confidence through the shift pattern with buttery-smooth action and a solid feel. The clutch is nicely weighted, not overly heavy or annoying while sitting in traffic.
Aiding hard-driving pursuits while helping take the heat off your gas pump credit card is an optional seven-speed automatic transmission, which can be shifted manually using steering wheel-mounted buttons. Serious sport sedan enthusiasts may claim that a manual transmission is necessary to extract maximum entertainment from the driving experience, but Mercedes has made this automatic shift so quickly and efficiently, it's hard to imagine why anyone would want to exercise their clutch foot unnecessarily. In fact, Mercedes states the same 0-62-mph time of 6.4 seconds with both transmissions. The C350 4Matic version retains the old five-speed automatic.
Despite the notable increase in performance, Mercedes also says fuel economy is improved by 12 percent over the C320's old V6, largely due to the efficiency of continuously variable valve timing and a two-stage intake manifold.
Familiar Style and Safety Outside the cabin, the only visible clue to the new power plant tucked under the hood is the simple rear deck badge. Like the C320, the C350 sedan will continue to divide itself into both Luxury and Sport trims; Luxury offering a more traditional leather and wood-trimmed cabin, and the Sport model includes aluminum trim, a three-spoke steering wheel with thumb rests and larger wheels and tires.
In addition to predictable safety features, such as four-wheel antilock disc brakes and three-point seatbelts with tension limiters for all occupants, every C-Class offers stability control and eight airbags that include head-protecting side curtain airbags.
More Bang, Same Buck Perhaps the most impressive part of the Mercedes-Benz C350's specification sheet is the price. Although pricing hasn't been officially released, and won't be until just before the C350 goes on sale this summer, Mercedes officials report the cost should be comparable to the current C320, which starts at just over $38,000.
Although previously disregarded as a true sport sedan, this new, more powerful C350 Mercedes should earn a spot on any BMW shopper's short list.
2006 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Overview Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2006 Mercedes-Benz C-Class and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2006 C-Class featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
Our Review Process This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2006 Mercedes-Benz C-Class and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2006 C-Class 4.3 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2006 C-Class.
Review This was the first time that I purchased a brand new car. It has been nothing but problems since owning it. In addition to costly regular maintenance, I have had to replace brakes, rotors twice, tires need to be replaced often, the power steering pump went out, and shortly after 52,000 miles I began having transmission problems. It continues to start in a higher gear creating lag when I push on the gas. Other times, it will not automatically upshift and stays in first gear. In ordet to override the problem, I pull over, turn off the car, and then restart again. I will NEVER purchase a MB again.
Edmunds Value Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color
Available Mercedes-Benz C-Class 2006 Submodel Types: Sedan, Coupe, Convertible, AMG C 43, C63 AMG, AMG C 63 S, AMG C 63, Hatchback, Wagon, C 450 AMG 4MATIC, Hybrid, C32 AMG, C 63 AMG
Available Trims: C 300 4MATIC, C300 Sport 4MATIC, C300 Luxury 4MATIC, C250 Sport, C 300, AMG C 43, C280 Luxury 4MATIC, C 300 Sport 4MATIC, C300 Luxury, C230 Sport, C 300 Luxury 4MATIC, C350 Sport, C230, C63 AMG, AMG C 63 S, C250, C250 Luxury, C300 Sport, C240, C230 Kompressor, C240 Luxury 4MATIC, C320, AMG C 63, C 400 Sport 4MATIC, C240 4MATIC, C350 4MATIC, C 250, C350, C280, C 300 Sport, C 450 AMG 4MATIC, C240 Luxury, C280 Luxury, C 350 4MATIC, C32 AMG, C 350e, C 63 AMG, C320 4MATIC, C350 Luxury 4MATIC, C 300 Luxury, C 350e Luxury, C320 Luxury, C320 Luxury 4MATIC
Exterior Colors: Black, Polar White, Iridium Silver Metallic, Lunar Blue Metallic , Selenite Grey Metallic, Palladium Silver Metallic, Steel Grey Metallic, Arctic White, Diamond Silver Metallic, Mars Red, designo Diamond White Metallic, Capri Blue Metallic, Brilliant Silver Metallic, designo Cardinal Red Metallic, Brilliant Blue Metallic, Magnetite Black Metallic, Obsidian Black Metallic, Diamond White Metallic, Dakota Brown Metallic, Granite Grey Metallic, Alabaster White, Pewter Silver Metallic, Desert Silver, designo Selenite Grey Magno, Midnight Blue, Pearl Beige Metallic, Lunar Blue Metallic, Barolo Red Metallic, Sand Beige Metallic, Desert Silver Metallic, Dolomite Brown Metallic, Magma Red Metallic, Pewter Metallic, Bordeaux Red Metallic, Brilliant Silver, Desert Red, Glacier White, Magma Red, Orion Blue Metallic, Sapphire Grey Metallic
Interior Colors: Black leatherette, Black leather, Silk Beige/Black leatherette, Almond/Beige leatherette, Black premium leather, Silk Beige leatherette, Almond leatherette, Crystal Grey/Black leatherette, Almond/Mocha leatherette, Silk Beige/Black leather, Ash leather, Ash leatherette, Cranberry Red/Black leather, designo Saddle Brown/Black Nappa premium leather, Ash, Saddle Brown/Black leatherette, Grey/Black leatherette, Saddle Brown/Black leather, Black, Black MB-Tex leatherette, Black MBTex/DINAMICA leatherette/suede, Black leatherette/suede, Crystal Grey leatherette, Red premium leather, Black w/Red Stitching leather, Cashmere/Savannah leatherette, Crystal Grey/Black leather, designo Saddle Brow/Black Nappa premium leather, Beige/Espresso leatherette, Black w/Grey Accents Nappa Leather premium leather, Stone leather, Black leather/suede, Red Pepper/Black Nappa Leather premium leather, Crystal Grey leather, Sahara Beige leather, Almond MB-Tex leatherette, Almond/Mocha leather, Charcoal, Java, Porcelain/Black leather, Silk Beige/Espresso leather, Ash MB-Tex leatherette, Black MBTex/DINAMICA w/Red Accents leatherette/suede, Black Nappa Leather premium leather, Black Nappa w/Grey Accents premium leather, Classic Red premium leather, Oyster premium leather, Beige/Espresso leather, Black Exclusive Nappa premium leather, Black Nappa Leather w/ Diamond Pattern and Yellow Stitching premium leather, Black w/Red Stitching leatherette, Black/DINAMICA leather/sueded microfiber, Black/Red Pepper Exclusive Nappa premium leather, Black/Sahara Beige premium leather, Charcoal premium leather, Classic Red/Black leather, Cranberry Red leather, Gray, Grey/Black leather, Grey/Blue leatherette, Oyster, Saddle Brown/Black, Silk Beige/Espresso Brown leather, Stone
Popular Features: Alarm, Auto Climate Control, Multi-Zone Climate Control, Rear Bench Seats, Stability Control, Power Driver Seat, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Trip Computer, Aux Audio Inputs, Bluetooth, Tire Pressure Warning, AWD/4WD, USB Inputs, Fold Flat Rear Seats, Automatic Emergency Braking, Sunroof/Moonroof, Back-up camera, Pre-collision safety system, Heated seats, Electronic Folding Mirrors, Remote Start, Upgraded Stereo, Upgraded Headlights, Keyless Entry/Start, Navigation, Blind Spot Monitoring, Post-collision safety system, Leather Seats, Power Liftgate/Trunk, 2nd Row Bucket Seats, Lane Departure Warning, Soft Top, Parking sensors, Cooled Seats, Heads up display, Mobile Internet, Adaptive Cruise Control, Apple Carplay/Android Auto, Upgraded Engine, 360-degree camera