Mercedes C Class W205, back to basics. A car that goes by the motto that in life it’s better to look rich than to actually be rich.
The 2000-2015 was a dark period for the Stuttgart manufacturer. They tried experimental technologies with the C Class and E Class and rusted both the results and the cars. Then they made a mistake with the W204 and tried to make it sportier to compete with the Audi A4 B8 and BMW 3 Series. Basically, they forgot their identity and started to become just another car manufacturer. A car manufacturer worthy of the balkan quality of work – expensive and shoddy.
Here’s why the W205 is a proper, old-fashioned Mercedes:
- First of all, it’s noticeable from the looks that the German engineers have dropped the sportiness and gone back to an imperial look that carries your buttocks in comfort. Basically, a modern C-Class is just an S-Class Lite and that puts it back in its own league.
- It’s back to the philosophy of trim levels again. There’s a huge difference between a entry-level C Class, a mid-trim, and a full-full one. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Mercedes is the dealer of the car world. With a base C Class, you get enough of Mercedes to enjoy the car but you get little enough to want more on your next purchase. Enough that next time you’ll want to buy a Mercedes, but in a higher class.
- Mercedes has always innovated in the market, at least they did in the past. Then for a while, they made cars just to be, and now they’ve come back spectacularly and acrobatically. That’s because the Mercedes C Class W205 was the first premium car in the compact segment to come with all-wheel air suspension, even as an optional extra. I mention this because the 5-Series and E Class came with air suspension only on the rear axle, only for the estate version, albeit standard.
- Like any classic Mercedes, it is always recommended to buy the facelift version. The non-facelift version always comes with many issues, and the facelift version solves most of them. Yes, all car manufacturers do that, but not quite in the Mercedes way.
Mercedes C Class W205 Engines
- 1.6 Turbo M274 of 129 and 156 horsepower – The base engine for the C Class W205 comes with issues on the timing chain side which has a habit of stretching the way it stretches me when I watch El Chombo’s videos where he brings in a truck of scantily clad chicks of questionable quality. But at least let’s respect them because they keep plastic out of the ocean.
- 2.0 Turbo M274 of 184, 211, and 244 horsepower – A mix of new and old, this 2.0 Turbo has proven to be reliable. It has no timing chain issues and no other specific issues. It’s worth mentioning instead that you won’t have any concerns with oil consumption because the oil bath has a capacity of 6 liters. 6 liters in a 2-liter engine. Just like an old-fashioned Mercedes.
- 3.0 V6 Bi-turbo M276 of 333 and 367 horsepower – An excellent engine that proves once again that Mercedes is bad at small engines and excels at big engines. With this engine, you have to watch out for timing chain tensioners and you have to watch out for fuel quality. So don’t just fill up at any petrol station.
- 4.0 V8 Bi-Turbo M117 of 476 and 510 horsepower – Many people complain that the old 5.5 V8 has been scrapped and replaced by a “microscopic” 4.0 V8, but it seems Mercedes is still good at big engines.
- 1.6 cdi OM626 of 116 and 136 horsepower – Coming in 2018 to spoil the party a bit, this 1.6 diesel is stolen from Nissan and is far from ideal for the C Class W205. It’s like having Graham Norton carry Khan Baba on the back. Plus it’s not the last word in reliability either.
- 2.0d OM626 of 194, 245, and 306 horsepower – Launched to great fanfare by Mercedes in 2018, legend has it that Steve Harvey himself would have presented the launch, and the event was broadcast live by BBC. Lauded as the last diesel engine made by Mercedes, it currently has alot of issues. Alo, many people complain that it’s a more cramped engine than a Libresse and very difficult to work on. Maybe the engine is “sealed for life” too? Certainly not, because it requires constant work at the electrics and injectors and EGRs. And another issue, but that’s common across Mercedes.
- 2.2 cdi OM651 of 170, 204, 231 horsepower – The classic OM651 is finally retiring in 2018 when the new 2 litre diesel arrives. You might be scared of timing chain issues, but they were fixed in 2013 and the C Class W205 came out in 2014 so you’re safer than the local police.
- 1.5 M274 petrol + electric of 184 horsepower – Essentially you have the 2-liter petrol with one cylinder removed. It’s not the full hybrid experience, but it’s still about as decent an experience as going to the park in the morning for a coffee.
- 2.0 M274 petrol + electric of 279 and 320 horsepower – Throw away the coffee cup and grab a bottle of Mountain Dew. Leave the park and run to the skate park because you have at least 280 horses to play with.
- 2.2 OM651 diesel + electric of 231 horsepower – Why would you make a diesel hybrid? Only Mercedes and Peugeot know.
Mercedes C Class W205 General Issues
- Lots of issues for early models on the electric side. Nothing on the engine, but lots of issues on the rest of the car so make sure everything works all the buttons.
- C43 AMG version eats tires and makes it look like you stepped on the light bulb when you turn hard left or right.
- For the 2.2 diesel models made in 2017-2018, pay close attention to the tank size. Because they didn’t get enough 66-liter tanks, they fitted 42-liter tanks, which were for the hybrid engines that nobody buys anyway.
- And now the big one. The W205 C Class is famous for it’s low interior quality plastics and trims. Everything squeaks and rattles, even from new.
- The infotainment system is just a tablet and it makes you feel like it was an afterthought on the design. The upside however is that you can take the tablet with you, if you are afraid of leaving it exposed like that, in the parking lot. For the drooling thieves to work on.
Mercedes C Class W205 Verdict
Then through 2015 came the Mercedes revolution, and the C Class W205 was one of the first examples. Revolution in the sense that they went back to the old Mercedes spirit and went back to building barges, luxurious, comfortable but not very sporty cars. Maybe they were helped by the Turks in Germany who stopped buying cars from them to taxi them and went to the competition which was much more competent.
Which engines do you recommend? For petrols I recommend the 184 horsepower 2.0 Turbo and for diesels I recommend the classic 170 horsepower 2.2. Mercedes C220 BlueTEC, the most classic of the modern Mercedes classics.