The C36 is one of the best all-around cars I've driven. The inline six has lots of power, but is pretty easy to live with. The car is well balanced, and handling is incredible considering how good the ride is. Testament to AMG and Mercedes.
It was my wife's car, and she was a little scared of the thought of driving it in the snow. We only owned it for the summer last year. She traded it for the E300, as it uses WAY less fuel (she has a long commute) and has ESP.
1995 is the first year, and ASR was not standard. If you find a non-ASR 1995 car in good shape, it's a keeper. Cheap money and super performance. Non-ASR cars are more fun.
The fastest C36 is the 1997. It has the 722.6 five speed and steeper final gear. They are quite quick, despite standard ASR.
One thing: Parts with an AMG part # are EXPENSIVE! Yikes! We had the rear brakes done, and I was surprised at how much the bits were. About four times the cost of the C230 parts.
Our car had nearly 100K-miles on it, and the engine was like new. The tranny shifted like new, and the car's structure was tight and felt like it would last forever.
The C36's best asset is it's torque. I beat the crap out of a WRX in a roll-on (110 km/h) race. The WRX could probably match or even beat it from a standing start, but once things are moving, the C36 has the edge. Even 7-8 years later, only a dozen or so cars could roll-on against it.
As prices come down and the cars get older, it will be harder to find cherry one-owner examples, but they're still out there. I've seen 95-96 cars for less than the price of a new CL230, and 1997 low mileage examples for the price of a C240.
1998 C230 "Black Betty"