Mercedes-Benz For 2001
By Carey Russ
It's another busy year at Mercedes-Benz, highlighted by the latest generation of its compact C-Class. At the other end of the socioeconomic spectrum, the existing S-Class premium luxury sedans are joined by the V12-powered S600 and high-performance V8 S55 AMG. The CL-Class of premium luxury coupes gets a similar treatment, with a CL 600 and CL55 AMG. A quick, exclusive, and luxurious CLK 55 AMG joins the mid-size CLK coupe lineup, and a V6 SLK 320 roadster debuts.
The "Tele Aid" telematics system is standard on all 2001 Mercedes-Benz models, as is the "ESP" electronic stability system.
The all-new 2001 C-Class brings S-Class-inspired style to the entry-luxury segment, and S-Class safety innovations including head protection curtain air bags and front and rear door-mounted side air bags as well. Fiber-optic cables replace much of the copper in its electrical system. The 2.3-liter four-cylinder and 2.8-liter inline six of the previous-generation C-Class have been replaced by a pair of V6 engines, of 2.4 liters for the C240 and 3.2 liters for the C320. A new front and revised rear suspension combine comfort and handling ability. S-Class influence can also be found inside, in both style and appointments.
The top-level S-Class has always been a benchmark in the luxury class. The current generation debuted last year, and grows this year with the introduction of the S55 AMG and S600. Although similar in power output, with 354 horsepower from the S55's 5.5-liter V8 and 362 from the S600's 5.8-liter V12, the two differ in intent. As the AMG designation for the S55 indicates, it's designed for performance. The S600 is an ultra-premium luxury car. Both feature Mercedes-Benz's "ABC" (active body control) active suspension for a no-compromise combination of comfort and handling. ABC is available on the other S-Class sedans, the S430 and S500.
The CL500, the first of the new CL class of premium luxury coupes, debuted last year. It is now joined by the CL55 AMG, featuring a high-performance, hand-assembled 5.5-liter V8, and the V12-powered CL600. Both are no-holds-barred high-tech luxury-performance machines, with the ABC active suspension, a GPS navigation system, and active ventilated, multicontour seats as standard equipment.
If the CLK430 wasn't quick enough, welcome the CLK55 AMG. Its AMG-tuned 5.5-liter, 342-hp V8 can sprint from zero to sixty mph in 4.9 seconds, with no loss of civility or comfort. The CLK430 and CLK320 remain relatively unchanged.
The SLK roadster line expands with the addition of the SLK320. It features a 3.2-liter V6 engine in place of the SLK230's supercharged and intercooled 2.3-liter four. The SLK320 offers more power, with 215 horsepower to the SLK230's 190, and the smoothness of a V6. A new six-speed manual gearbox is offered for both, and both get freshened styling.
Mercedes Specifications 2001 C-Class ENGINE C240 2.6-liter V6 Peak horsepower: 168 @ 5500 rpm Peak torque, lb-ft: 177 @ 4500 rpm C320 3.2-liter V6 Peak horsepower: 215 @ 5700 rpm Peak torque, lb-ft: 221 @ 3000-4600 rpm DRIVE TRAIN Front engine, rear-wheel drive 5 - speed automatic 6 - speed manual (C240 only) CHASSIS & SUSPENSION Unit construction Front suspension: independent strut Rear suspension: independent multilink BRAKES 4-wheel antilock disc EPA ESTIMATED FUEL ECONOMY City / Highway: 19 / 25 Fuel tank: 18.3 gallons S600 ENGINE 5.8-liter V12 Peak horsepower: 362 @ 5500 rpm Peak torque, lb-ft: 391 @ 4100 rpm DRIVE TRAIN Front engine, rear-wheel drive 5 - speed automatic CHASSIS & SUSPENSION Unit construction Front suspension: upper and lower control arms Rear suspension: multilink BRAKES 4-wheel antilock disc EPA ESTIMATED FUEL ECONOMY City / Highway: 15/23 Fuel tank: 23.2 gallons