2002 Mercedes-Benz C230 Kompressor Sports Coupe

For some reason, the US market seems to prefer vehicles with a trunk rather than a rear hatch, unless, of course, the car in question is jacked up and has power to all four wheels. Case in point the Mercedes-Benz C class Sport Coupe. Brought to the US market in 2002 in an attempt to reach a larger share of the compact luxury market, it wound up leading a short life in the US market, being withdrawn from the lineup in 2005 and replaced this year by a C class coupe with a more traditional trunk. These C hatchbacks were introduced at a time when Mercedes-Benz reliability was waning, as many less than satisfied owners new to the marque found out. Offered with the supercharged (Kompressor) four cylinder engine or the 3.2 liter V6, both engines could be had with a five speed automatic or 6-speed manual. This C Sport Coupe for sale in Texas has Kompressor engine and, thankfully, the 6 speed manual gearbox. In addition, this car has extremely low mileage for a vehicle that isn’t terribly collectible.

2002 Mercedes-Benz C230 Kompressor Sports Coupe on eBay

Introducing the 2002 Mercedes-Benz C230 Kimpressor 2 door coupe! This is a one owner, very well maintained vehicle with only 34k original miles. It runs and drives like new! Still has a new car smell. It is equipped with options such as power windows and power locks, power mirrors, A/C with dual zone climate control, dual front and side airbags, cruise control, AM/FM radio with cassette player, 6 disc CD changer, keyless entry and more! All the options function accordingly! The four cylinder, 2.3L engine runs very good and the 6 speed manual transmission shifts smoothly into gears. The black exterior is very good and healthy condition and the gray cloth interior has been kept very clean. The overall condition of this Mercedes C class is great!

Even considering the low mileage, this C Sport Coupe is a bit overpriced at close to $14,000. It also won’t appeal to everyone, as many Benz buyers prefer an automatic transmission. I would say $10,000 to $11,000 would broaden this car’s appeal, and service records or some kind of window into this car’s history would be a must, to see if it suffered from any teething problems common of these W202s. Even though they are much maligned, I like this little Benz, especially with the 6-speed manual. It might not be the fastest or sleekest looking two door hatchback, but it’s an interesting example of an automakers attempt at reaching a new niche in the market only to retreat a few years later and continue with the status quo.

-Paul

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14 Comments

  1. I like these cars. However, I owned a BMW 318ti for 3 years, so that may say more about me than the car. Unfortunately, this car suffers from 3 problems that will be difficult, at best, to overcome.

    First, nobody wanted them when they were new. To US buyers it screamed “I bought the cheapest Mercedes I could find.” Not fair, but then again, neither is life. I haven’t seen much of a demand for them on the used car market either.

    Second, it has a manual transmission. Mercedes manual transmissions aren’t particularly good, which frustrates those buyers who enjoy shifting gears themselves. Plus, the majority of Mercedes buyers don’t just prefer, they demand automatic transmissions.

    Third, it has cloth upholstery. Cloth has never bothered me, but I have been amazed at how many people these days won’t consider a car that doesn’t have leather upholstery. Women seem to be more adamant about this than men.

    One final thought: although this is a relatively cheap car to purchase, it will not be cheap to maintain. It shares parts with much more expensive MBs and those parts are expensive to buy. Plus, you pay the same labor rates at the guy with the SL65.

    I agree with Paul on the pricing; $10,000 is a much more realistic number.

  2. I was of the same school of thought for a while, oh, I’ll never have another car without leather, and then I got that low nap canvas type cloth in my Cooper S. I really like it. Easy enough to keep clean. The MB Tex in my 2007 C230 was that light ash color. Even though that material wears like iron, every four months I’d have to use a damp sponge with mild soap just to keep it from getting too dirty.

  3. KevingR: The problem with sales wasn’t that this was the cheapest MB you could buy. The problem was that the styling left a lot to be desired. The other problems you mention that limit the used car buyer pool (manual and cloth) are things that I actually prefer. This could be an excellent value for someone like me.

  4. …oh, and when I wrote “this could be an excellent value” I meant “This could be an excellent value… at a price nowhere near what the seller is asking.” $14k? No. Maybe @ $8.5k.

  5. Not appreciated in this market, not very upscale, not equipped with the expected automatic, not leather (or at least MB-Tex), not well optioned, not expected to be that reliable, not cheap to maintain, not going to hold it’s value, not reasonably priced. Gee, I wonder if this is going to be a tough sell…

    I realize I’m in the minority because I’m not offended by cloth seats or manual transmissions or hatchbacks. What makes this car completely unappealing to me is that it isn’t terribly fun to drive, it isn’t terribly functional, it isn’t terribly nice to look at, and it isn’t even remotely a good value. So what’s the point?

  6. After going back to a hatchback in 2011, I have to say, I’m all for having a bit more versatility. I’ve also experienced a 2005 C320 Sports Coupe first hand, with the V6 and a 6 speed manual. Of all of them, this would certainly be the one to get. But it still lacks a bit of sharpness that say, a BMW or Audi would have. I guess you would REALLY want to have a Benz to go for one of these. And I agree, Wes. At $8,500, it would be quite the buy. I’d almost think about giving my Cooper S up for it. ALMOST.

  7. Paul, that pretty much summarizes why this is a tough sell – there are similarly upscale competitors with better performance and handling at lower prices. Even buyers who “must have a Mercedes” will find other models in more palatable configurations at similar price points.

  8. A good friend of mine is a long time Mercedes club member who is also a used car dealer. He describes this particular model as: “the answer to a question that no one was asking.”

  9. Why bother. No shortage of hot hatches out there that do everything better including but not limited to performance, reliability, build quality, and looks. This car represents the dark ages for MB, no nostalgia or value added IMHO.

  10. Crappy car with poor visibility, poor ergonomics, poor quality. The back seats in this car are miserable and the engine is a dog in this version.

    I wouldn’t have one if you paid me.

  11. This car was a good idea, just not well executed. I remember my tired old 300ZX would keep up with my buddy’s C230 without a problem.

    This model just feels outdated, I’d rather have a GTI.

  12. These small cars and 318ti seem like they would make a good track car with some upgrades. No?

    I be though since its a mercedes its probably still ridiculously heavy. Would like to see a 318ti with a S50, would snap that up.

  13. Miek, the 318ti is a good track car except for the fact that it is underpowered. BMW offered a 6 cylinder compact for sale in Europe, but it never made it to the US. There have been many US owners who have swapped in everything from a 2.5L 6 cylinder to an M3 3.2L engine. Google should turn up a lot of information on that.

  14. We had one of these for about 7 years. My wife had always wanted a 3i8Ti with the “California roof” and that car was out of production and this was a relatively close concept. In any event it was a fun car to drive — the M111 is very torquey and the six speed was fine aside from getting into first. That being said, it is a fun car in the Mercedes idiom which is to say it isn’t as sharp as a BMW (we’ve owned both brands for a long time) but it is easier to live with — you can, for example, actually take a road trip in the car and not be exhausted at the end of the drive. The issue with our car was reliability. We had the car from new to about 50k miles and the car had a number of problems — pano roof replaced twice, squeaking suspension bits (struts and sway bar links), CD changer failed, AC broke two or three times (freeon leaks and HVAC servos), ESP-BAS module failure, window regulators, etc. Mercedes covered everything either under the factory warranty and they even covered a great deal under “goodwill” which is the only reason we bought another Mercedes, an ’09 E class that has been flawless. Point is that I am not as down on the car as some of the folks here, but the reliability issues are real and are, unfortunately, not the kinds of things that are easy for a DIY person to handle. If this car doesn’t have a pano roof, and if the car has been debugged already under warranty, it could be a decent weekend car or few-times a year track toy for someone. But at the asking price it is not a good value — in that sense I completely agree with the posters above.

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