|In May 1996 the market launch of the T-models of the C-class started in the whole of Europe; in so doing Mercedes-Benz for the first time pushed forward into the segment of the sporty compact combination vehicles. Regarding safety, comfort, and environment-friendliness the T-model is fitted with all typical features of the C-class. The loading-room's volume represents a new top figure in this vehicle class with up to 1,510 litres according to the VDA-measuring method (loading up to the roof). Even twhen the boot is used in a normal way the loading volume of the T-model of the C-class exceeds that of ist competitors. When five passengers are seated and the boot is loaded up to the rear window's side edge, the capacity amounts to no fewer than 465 litres.
The T-model of the C-class not only offers more space and is more versatile than the limousine, it serves also as amodel in terms of passive safety. In a head-on crash the T-model behaves like the limousine, and in a rear-end crash the high level of safety is even exceeded. Moreover a whole package of constructive safety measures has been introduced protecting the passengers even better in a side crash. Part of this are 3-faired B-columns, high-strength crossrails as well as a seating bench with additional impact absorbers.pressure -stiff in transversal direction . The passengers in the rear can make use of both the three head rests and the three three-point safety belts, a backrest locking display makes for an easy control if the parts of the backrest are effectively latched in.
Like the limousines the T-models of the C-class are available in the style and equpment lines ,Classis", ,Elegance", ,Esprit", and ,Sport". The petrol- and two Diesel-aggregates can be chosen as engines .Apart from the 2.2-litre 4-cylinder Diesel- and the 2.5-litre 5-cylinder Turbo-Diesel the four-cylinder petrol-engines with 1.8-litres, 2.0-litres and 2.3-litres are used. It is true that the three Otto-engines are based on the time-tested aggregates of the respective models of the limousine:but are used in revised variants which have also been installed in the limousines since then. The 1.8-litre and 2.0-litre drive was equipped with an adjustable inlet camshaft, and the injection system has been converted from the P-engine control to Bosch-Motronic-ME with hot-film air-mass sensor. The 2.3-litre aggregate has been developed from the 2.2-litre-engine and corresponds mainly to the drive known from the E-class. All models are delivered with 5-speed conventional gearbox as standard; on request the new 5-speed automatic gearbox with converter lockup clutch and electronic control can be delivered. The T-model of the C-class is produced in Bremen where the multipurpose limousine comes off the line.together with the four-door cars.
A third version of the 2,0_litre Diesel, with the four-valve engine based on the 2,2_litre unit, has been available since June 1996, but not in Germany, however. The C_200_Diesel T=model is exclusively destined for exports to Portugal, where it is offered instead of the 2,2_litre version for fiscal reasons. With the C_200_Compressor T=Model, Daimler-Benz had another export model to complete the type range in September 1996; As had been the case with the saloon car, deliveries were destined for the Greek, Italian and Portuguese markets only.
All types of the original model range had a 5=speed gearbox as standard equipment; As an optional, the new 5=speed automatic gearbox with a converter bridging clutch and electronic control was also available. The C=class T=Model is produced in Bremen, where the all-round saloon car rolls off the conveyor belt together with the four-door models.
In june 1997, not only the saloon cars, but also the T=models of the C=class were presented with a revised design, more generous equipment levels and modern technology. Inspite of the enhanced equipment, which comprised marked improvements regarding safety and ride comfort in all four lines, the sales price remained the same in keeping with the value-for-money strategy of Daimler-Benz.
At the centre of revision were two new V6=engines with 2,4_litre and 2,8_litre cubic capacity, which complemented the type range by the addition of two six-cylinder models. The 125_kW (170_bhp) C_240 succeeded the four-cylinder model C_230 in the German sales programme and made access to the six-cylinder class more affordable for Mercedes customers. However, the C_230 is still produced for exports and for ckd=deliveries. The 2,8_litre unit, which had its debut in the E=class as early as March, is now also available with the C=class.
Both V6=engines are produced at the brand-new, high-tech engine-plant in Bad Canstatt/Stuttgart and are distinguished by several cutting edge innovations. An intelligent selection of lightweight construction materials made it possible, to reduce the weight considerably; moreover, the use of light alloy bushing sleeves led to a decrease in fuel consumption thanks to their low-friction surface. Emissions of exhaust gas were brought down significantly by the incorporation of three-valve technology and a double-ignition. The absence of an exhaust valve reduced the loss of heat in the exhaust-gas flow and it also created sufficient space for the accommodation of a second ignition plug, allowing for shorter combustion distances and optimum control of the combustion process.
Apart from the two V6=models, the introduction of another engine version now broadened the spectrum of C=class T=saloons: with the C_230_compressor a T=Modell with the compressor engine of the saloon has become available in Germany.
For all C=class T-models, stylistic revision included a new front and rear fender, sports-type sill panelling in the same colour as the car paint, tinted taillights as well as a slightly modified radiator mask. This revision package further underscored the dynamic appearance of the C=class. New door linings and seat covers offered even more comfort in the interior of the car.
Beside these careful stylistic touches, which had been applied to the car body and interior of the car, revision led to a significant enhancement of serial equipment, which now also included sidebags in the front doors, power belt tighteners, belt power limiters at the front seats and an electronic brake assistance system. All cars of the C=class T=saloons, which had undergone model revsision, except for first-time buyer models_220_Diesel und C_180, were serially equipped with the drive slip regulator ASR [Antriebs-Schlupfregelung].
Another novel feature of the C=class was the Mercedes-Benz driver code system ELCODE, which optimized protection against theft and also offered perfect comfort in the shape of remote door openening and remote ignition. The active service system Assyst - another novelty - allowed for individual needs-oriented maintenance intervals, as they take into account, how much a car had really been used, thus extending intervals from 15.000_km to an average 22.500_km.
In addition to improved equipment levels, since September 1997,a whole series of special equipment became available for the first time in the C=class: apart from the electronic parking assistance system PTS (Parktronic System) and the Navigating system APS (Auto Pilot System) a variable Tempomat (only in connection with an automatic gearbox), this included A rain sensor for the windscreen wipers and Xenon-headlights with dynamic light distance regulator.
At the International Automobile Fair at Frankfurt, two new T=models of the C=class had their world debut in September 1997. With the C_43_AMG, a particularly powerful T=saloon of product line 220 for the first time features on the sales programme. This top model has won its top position thanks to the newly developed 225_kW (306_bhp) 4,3_litre- V8 engine with three-valve technology, double ignition and comprehensive standard equipment, which apart from an automatic gearbox and automatic air conditioning, among_other items, also includes the electronic stabilisation programme ESP.
The second new entry made an equally spectacular debut, notwithstanding the fact, that it occupied the other end of the scale. together with the corresponding saloon versions, the C_220_CDI, which was presented at Frankfurt still under its description C_220 Turbo diesel, was the first serial =passenger car to be equipped with a direct injection diesel engine which followed the common-rail principle. Its 92_kW (125_bhp) four-cylinder engine OM_611 delivered an impressive torque 300_Nm at 1800_/rpm. Consequently the C_220_CDI is not only the Diesel-powered car with the highest torque in the class of cars with a comparable cubic capacity, but it also sets new standards in the categories fuel consumption and exhaust gas emissions.
This achievement was made possible by the new common-rail-technology, which Daimler-Benz had developed with Bosch. There are some features, which clearly distinguish the new technology from other direct-injection systems. Whereas conventional systems have to reproduce the pressure for the injection process every time again, CDI=engines operate in a common rail, in which pressure is stored and distributed via magnetic valves to the injection nozzles. High injection pressure of up to 1350_bar, which is achieved even at low torque, and the variable control of the injection process make for a much improved carburation resulting in low fuel consumption and low exhaust gas emissions. In December 1997, at the same time as the saloon, the C_220_CDI T=model was appeared on the market.