Saturday, April 2, 2016

Clutch Player: 2005 Mercedes-Benz C320 6-Speed W203

If you want to drive around in a late model Mercedes-Benz sport sedan, you might think your only option is something with a supercharger and an AMG badge on the trunk -- but none of the recent AMG badged cars come with a manual gearbox.  What do you do?  What if I told you that you could have your sporty-ish Benz and a clutch too?  Find this 2005 Mercedes-Benz C320 6-Speed offered for $7,250 in Burbank, CA via craigslist.  Tip from Alex V.

First thing, I don't want to lull you into a false sense of security -- this W203 comes from the dark era of Daimler-Chrysler and it might just bankrupt you with a thousand little issues -- but these aren't bad cars to drive on a daily basis.  The ride errors on the side of comfort, but body motion is well controlled and feels solid on the road.

Under the hood is a 3.2 liter M112 V6 that puts out 215 horsepower and 229 ft-lbs of torque -- which isn't much by modern standards, but it should return reasonable fuel economy and is considerably more respectable than a low mile Dodge Omni GLHS.

On the inside is the rarely seen Mercedes-Benz 6-speed manual shifter sitting between the front seats -- Benz hasn't always sold the open-diff equipped, slushbox-shifted, tubs of lukewarm muesli that litter the upper middle class neighborhoods in the USA...but finding one with a 6-speed is not ordinary.

See another way to shift your own Mercedes?


  1. So the stick Benz is every bit as well equipped for hilly terrain as an early SHO, or an '80s Camaro, or any of these other stick-and-pedal-parking-brake vehicles...

  2. Quality issues notwithstanding, I've always rather liked the styling of these. I didn't know that the big six could be had with a manual, always thought it was only available with the smaller six, or the kompressor four. Huh. Still seems a touch overpriced for what you get though. One could pick up early E90 BMW sedans for that money all day long with a manual and more oomph under the hood.
    Love the wheels but I would lose the spoiler post-haste.

  3. "Can Have" and "Not Want" sum up my view of this era of MB. Buy a BMW.


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