C-Class gets big facelift
Mercedes promises much more for a little more cash, writes Craig Duff
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.