C-Class gets big facelift

Mercedes prom­ises much more for a lit­tle more cash, writes Craig Duff

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige -

THERE are 2000 rea­sons for pres­tige car cus­tomers to con­sider the facelifted C-Class. Sales and mar­ket­ing chief Joachim Sch­midt says the 2012 model of the vol­ume-sell­ing sedan and wagon is the most ex­ten­sive facelift in the com­pany’s his­tory with 2000 new com­po­nents.

More im­por­tantly, lo­cal Mercedes spokesman Jerry Sta­moulis says prices are ex­pected to rise only marginally.

Sta­moulis says pric­ing, en­gine line-up and spec­i­fi­ca­tions won’t be fi­nalised un­til the com­pact Mercedes goes on sale in Europe in March, but he pre­dicts cus­tomers will get much more for very lit­tle ex­tra.

The cheap­est Merc is now the 1.8-litre C200, priced at $58,850.

He says Mercedes-Benz Aus­tralia is also eval­u­at­ing the po­ten­tial of an en­try-level diesel to sit be­low the C220 CDI that is now the base diesel model.

This week’s of­fi­cial global launch of the com­pact Mercedes fol­lows weeks of leaked im­ages and se­lected de­tail rev­e­la­tions. It shows a car that looks lit­tle dif­fer­ent from its pre­de­ces­sor, but has ma­jor in­te­rior tweaks and un­der­the-skin changes that have im­proved ef­fi­ciency in ev­ery­thing from en­gine per­for­mance to drag co-ef­fi­cient.

All petrol en­gines are now di­rect in­jec­tion with a stop/start func­tion and come with a seven-speed au­to­matic, lead­ing to power lifts and fuel con­sump­tion drops, headed by the C350 CGS which has cut fuel use by 31 per cent to 6.8 litres/100km while boost­ing power to 225kW.

About 8.5 mil­lion C-Class mod­els have found homes since its launch in 1982. The out­go­ing model alone has sold a mil­lion units since it was launched in March 2007.

Only avid Mercedes fans will pick the out­side changes, which in­clude re­designed front and rear bumpers and restyled front and rear lights.

The in­te­rior restyle is more dra­matic and bor­rows el­e­ments and de­sign cues from the up­mar­ket CLS.

The dash­board has been restyled with a new sur­face grain, metal­lic fin­ish on the cen­tre con­sole con­trols and a mod­i­fied in­stru­ment bin­na­cle with in­te­grated dis­play.

The telem­at­ics sys­tem is a classleader and will be in­tro­duced through­out the Benz fam­ily as mod­els are up­dated.

It uses a larger dis­play and im­proved us­abil­ity to help trans­fer mo­bile phone con­tacts, dis­play SMS mes­sages and play mu­sic from Blue­tooth-equipped de­vices.

There’s also a USB in­ter­face in the cen­tre arm­rest and the multimedia ‘‘ Co­mand On­line’’ lets oc­cu­pants browse the in­ter­net when the car is sta­tion­ary.

Mercedes-Benz board mem­ber Thomas We­ber says the new car will use 10 new safety sys­tems, rang­ing from At­ten­tion As­sist, to de­tect when the driver is tired, to the Distronic Plus cruise con­trol that au­to­mat­i­cally brakes the car to main­tain a safe gap to the ve­hi­cle ahead.

Suc­cess story: Mercedes has sold about 8½ mil­lion of its C-Class since 1982. A 2012 model is on the way.

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