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? firstname.lastname@example.org
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…
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.
"Can Have" and "Not Want" sum up my view of this era of MB. Buy a BMW.