Used 2006 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan
- State-of-the-art safety and luxury features, pleasing power from top V6 engine.
- More expensive than competitors, ordinary cabin furnishings, small backseat, only available as a sedan.
Used 2006 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan for Sale
Edmunds' Expert Review
With three engines to choose from, most buyers are bound to find a 2006 Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan to their liking, but none can match the Audi A4 for interior style or the BMW 3 Series for athleticism.
The latest generation of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, introduced in 2001, replaced the more traditionally styled version (1994-2000), which had in turn succeeded the small, boxy and rather drab 190 Series (1984-1993). Aimed squarely at the BMW 3 Series, the C-Class lineup touts the typical Benz virtues of solidity, safety and comfort. With styling cues (such as a low hoodline, arced roofline and triangular taillights) evocative of the flagship S-Class, this Mercedes-Benz car has no trouble drawing admiring glances.
Mercedes has eliminated the wagon and coupe body styles from the lineup for 2006, but three V6 engine choices and the availability of Sport and Luxury trims give you plenty of options to consider when equipping a C-Class sedan. Never one to keep the best safety equipment just for its most expensive models, Mercedes-Benz provides the C-Class buyer with a reassuring roster of the latest advances in safety technology. Stability control, BrakeAssist and side curtain airbags are all at the ready to help avoid an accident or protect the occupants in case said accident is imminent.
High pricing is the main disadvantage to buying the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The entry-level Benz generally costs more than every other car in its class, including sought after models like the A4 and 3 Series. This fact, alongside the Benz's small backseat, rather ordinary interior accommodations (compared to the A4) and modest athleticism (compared to the 3 Series), makes us less enthusiastic about giving it a full recommendation, particularly to people on a budget. What's more, competition is increasing in this price range, and value leaders like the Acura TSX and Infiniti G35 offer a high level of performance and luxury for the price paid. Ultimately, though, we do recognize the appeal of the C-Class: Whether you're a young and active single, a weekend driving enthusiast or a family chauffeur, the 2006 Mercedes-Benz C-Class can get you around in relative comfort while providing more than a dash of style, prestige and fun.
Trim levels & features
For 2006, the compact Mercedes-Benz C-Class is available only as a sedan in a handful of flavors -- the C230 and C350 Sport Sedans, and the C280 and C350 Luxury Sedans. Sporty and affordable, the C230 Sport Sedan comes with 17-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, cloth sport seats, dual-zone climate control and a CD stereo. The C280 Luxury Sedan version offers a bigger engine but is more mild-mannered in personality, offering 16-inch wheels, softer suspension tuning, leather/cloth seating and genuine wood trim. Step up to the C350 Luxury Sedan to enjoy the top-line V6 and 10-way power seats with memory. The C350 Sport Sedan comes with all of this, plus 17-inch wheels, a firmer suspension and sport seats. On the options list you'll find features like full leather upholstery, HID headlights, a DVD-based navigation system, a 12-speaker Harman-Kardon Logic 7 sound system and satellite radio.
Performance & mpg
Three engines see duty in the Mercedes C-Class lineup. The C230 has a 201-horsepower, 2.5-liter V6. The C280 has a 3.0-liter V6 with 228 hp. And the C350 employs a 3.5-liter V6 good for 268 hp. Transmission choices include a six-speed manual, five-speed automatic and seven-speed automatic. Sport models get the manual standard, while Luxury models come with an automatic only. All Sport models are rear-wheel drive, but Luxury models are available with either rear-drive or 4Matic all-wheel drive. The seven-speed automatic is available on rear-drive models only, while the five-speed unit is found only on 4Matics.
In addition to expected safety features, such as four-wheel antilock disc brakes and three-point seatbelts with tension limiters for all occupants, every C-Class boasts stability control and six airbags that include front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Rear-seat side airbags are optional. In government crash tests, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class scored four out of five stars for driver and front-passenger protection in frontal impacts and five stars for front and rear side-impact protection. The IIHS gave the C-Class a "Good" rating (its highest) for its performance in the 40-mph frontal offset crash test, and named it a "Best Pick" overall. The C-Class earned an "Acceptable" rating (second-highest) in IIHS side-impact testing.
As you would expect, the 2006 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is a comfortable car that excels at pampering its occupants. It's also more sporting than previous small Benzes, and the Sport sedans, in particular, are fun to drive, though don't expect the razor-sharp manners of the 3 Series. Each of the V6 engines delivers solid, refined performance.
In the past, C-Class interiors were nothing special, but last year's upgrades included new gauges, controls and seats, finally giving the entry-level Mercedes-Benz car the slick look it should have always had. As the sedan is compact in size, there isn't a lot of legroom in the backseat, and adult occupants are apt to complain on anything more than short trips.
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Features & Specs
More About This Model
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.
Used 2006 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan Overview
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Should I lease or buy a 2006 Mercedes-Benz C-Class?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.