When it comes to AMG models, one often gets overlooked. That’s the C32 AMG, which is a shame, because it’s a great car.
It’s a lesser known model, and not often sought compared to other AMG stablemates. But still, the C32 AMG it one of the better unloved AMGs currently on the market. No, it’s not a V8 and it doesn’t have AWD, but it’s still plenty quick, and will do just about anything you want it to.
Performance is key to the C32. It was, in fact, supposed to replace the first official V8 AMG, the W202 C43 AMG. So when the W203 came about, it needed to excel in all areas. It did. The C32’s supercharged M112 V6 pushes out 349 horsepower according to Car and Driver, and that eclipses the C43’s horsepower by forty seven. Hitting 60 will take right about 5 seconds, which is still no slouch today. So by every measurable way, the C32 earned its place among AMGs. The current C43 makes 402 horsepower, and yes it has 53 more horsepower, but the C32 is also twenty years old.
When new, this car sat in the mid $50,000 range, not adjusted for inflation. Now? Clean and low mileage cars are in the low $20,000’s with “drivers” cars in the teens. That’s a huge amount of car for the money when you really think about it. This particular one on TheMBMarket shows you can still get one for a song, as its selling price is $11,500.
Most folks often think of AMGs as being high maintenance, but the truth is most of the W202 C32 AMG is still just a regular C-class. That means you get none of the woes from Active Body Control, Sensamatic Brake Control, and you get all of the benefits of having a bulletproof M112 based engine. Even things like suspension thrust arms are shared with the C32 and the C230.
Newer AMGs have a bit more flash, but if you’re buying a C32, you’re buying it for yourself. And anyone who knows, knows. There is some rare-factor too. According to our forums, just 2,697 were made in a three year span from 2002 to 2004, which ’03 and ’04 being significantly more rare.
The best part about the W202 C32 is the fact that at its heart, it’s still an AMG. That means it’s going to be tremendously quiet and comfortable, but you’re going to get great bolstered seats, and tight sport tuned suspension. It’s not out to set lap times, so you know it actually will be comfortable, but if you want to give the rear tires hell, you can do that too. And you should.
One key element that makes the C32 so appealing is that you can do all the same mods to this that are ever so popular on the E55 AMG. After all, it’s Basically an M113 V8 with two less cylinders. Forget internals and all the AMG upgrades mean you’re ready to handle some boost. RENNtech‘s R1 package brings power levels to 394 hp and 387 lb/ft of torque.
And the real reason why we love the C32 AMG is because it’s a real AMG. Unlike some of today’s lesser models, the C32 stood for a few years as AMG’s top dog in the compact sedan class. Plus, you can rest assured that your engine was hand assembled by one AMG technician, as evidenced but their name emblazoned on that shiny plaque atop the engine.