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This 2008 Mercedes-Benz C300 Is a Six-Speed Manual Unicorn

I see you there with your #SaveTheManuals t-shirt and your #SaveTheManuals bumper sticker on your Mazda Miata and I appreciate you. But if you want a real manual unicorn? Then look no further than this 2008 Mercedes-Benz C300 sedan.

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I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this thing pop up on Craigslist (ad saved here). A W204-chassis C-Class with a six-speed manual? I don’t think I’ve ever come across one of those before.

The seller, to their credit, posted a very straightforward ad about it:

Up for sale is a 2008 Mercedes Benz C300 Sedan with the hard to find 6 speed manual transmission. Rear wheel drive. One of the last manual transmission Mercedes cars. Car is in excellent shape. Clean title and clean carfax. 197k miles. 2 owner car. Has the optional panoramic roof. Nothing wrong with the car. Has a rip in the driver’s seat.

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The price at the time of this writing is $5,200. Also note the lack of screams of “I KNOW WHAT I HAVE.”

Illustration for article titled This 2008 Mercedes-Benz C300 Is a Six-Speed Manual Unicorn

And it made me wonder: When was the last time a C-Class had a manual? Or any Mercedes, for that matter?

Well, according to an emailed response from a Mercedes rep, technically the last manual in the U.S. could be found in the 2016 Smart ForTwo before they all went electric. But the last Mercedes C-Class to offer a manual was the 2011 C300 Sport, as evidenced by the dealer ordering guide that listed the seven-speed auto as a $1,490 option.

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And the last manual in the U.S. on any Mercedes-Benz car was the 2015 SLK250—before all SLKs became SLCs. Of course, Mercedes still makes and sells manual transmission cars for other markets, but not anymore for ours because we’re terrible.

Illustration for article titled This 2008 Mercedes-Benz C300 Is a Six-Speed Manual Unicorn
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Anyway, the manual C300 in the ad seems like it’s in pretty good shape, although the photos are a little low-resolution. But still! This is quite a rare car indeed.

We’ve reached out to the seller for some additional information about the car and will update if we hear back.

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Update April 2, 11:00 a.m. EST: The seller gave a little more information about the car:

I am the second owner. I purchased it CPO [and] I was specifically looking for a manual transmission for this car. Maintenance has been great. It’s only been the scheduled oil changes and a few replacement parts here and there, such as a headlight that went out and brakes. The thing is still on its original clutch at 197k miles. There [are] no signs of slipping at all. Transmission shifts are smooth.

I always thought BMWs were one of the smoothest shifting cars, but I’d have to give the nod to this one. I’ve gone through 78 cars now and my favorite manual transmission car was my 1995 E36 M3. Having driven this one, I’d say this car has a the smoothest shifting experience. Every gear clicks into place. The only gripe I have with it is that it has a foot brake for the e-brake. I’m always catching myself looking for a handbrake when parking a manual transmission car.

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Illustration for article titled This 2008 Mercedes-Benz C300 Is a Six-Speed Manual Unicorn

Writer at Jalopnik and consumer of many noodles.

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DISCUSSION

dacarguru
Da Car Guru - MK7 GTI is the answer

Way back when these were offered, I love the way this thing looks and the fact that it could be found with a proper standard transmission. That was....until I drove it. You see, the automatic version is slower, but it feels like a Benz to drive - that is comfortable. The C-Class will never beat a 3-series at it’s own game, and so, Benz didn’t even try to liven up the manual transmission. The throws are rubbery and super long, and the clutch has a very vague feel to it, from the car I drove. I am rarely ever displeased with a manual transmission vehicle, but in this instance and the fact that it was a Benz, It is better suited to the automatic. The manual does feel more “alive” and faster, but the clutch / shifter combo needs a lot of work. Speaking of work, the aftermarket for such a gearbox totally sucks. There’s no good options in the aftermarket for a clutch and certainly no short shift kit or knob replacement that could make the shifting better. Also, no mods for the engine, so it’ll always remain mediocre and stock. If you don’t give a crap about any of the above and just want a Benz to drive around with a 3rd pedal, go ahead and get it. Otherwise, please buy a BMW, or even an Infiniti and call it a day. The Benz with a stick is as sad as the Lexus IS250 with a stick (2nd gen).