C you and raise you
Watch out BMW and Audi: Benz burnishes its top-selling sedan
A SMALL price rise for a bigger car with better features will mark August’s rollout of the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class .
The outgoing model was the best-selling prestige sedan in the country for the past seven years and Benz aims for the new C-Class aims to continue in that vein. To increase front and rear passenger space, the wheelbase extends by 80mm. Engines for now are four-cylinder only.
The range will start at $60,900 for the 2.0-litre turbo C200, rising by $1500 for the C200 BlueTec turbo diesel. The sportier C250 starts at $68,900. Estate (wagon) variants have a standard electric tailgate to offset the $2500 premium over the respective sedan models. The five-doors will go on sale from November.
The range-topping C300 BlueTec diesel-electric hybrid is $74,900 and is at once the quickest and most frugal.
A V6 wagon for Australia is now only a “possibility”.
The pricing puts Benz at the top of the compact prestige car heap. The BMW 3 Series and Audi A4 start at $52,800 and $55,500 respectively.
All new C-Class models will have LED headlamps, electric front seats, blind spot assist, seven-inch touchscreen, satnav, digital radio, parallel and reverse parking assistance.
The C250 adds safety software, including adaptive cruise control, active lane and blind spot assistance, 19-inch wheels, and it swaps man-made leather for the genuine bovine.
Mercedes-Benz Australia CEO Horst von Sanden is bullish about sales prospects.
“The C-Class has accounted for up to 25 per cent of our volume in Australia and the (new models’s) improvements in finish and features will reinforce its position as our core model,” he says.
The C300 hybrid won’t be positioned solely as the performance variant, despite taking only 6.4 seconds to sprint to 100km/h.
“It’s the best of both worlds,” spokesman David McCarthy says. “Fuel consumption under 4.0L/100km and that sort of acceleration highlight the advantages of hybrid drivetrains.”
Options are a major selling point in the C-Class — one in three buyers is expected to add an AMG Line pack at $4490/$3490.
Benz has bundled the most commonly requested items.
The Comand pack adds improved satnav and a 13speaker Burmeister audio for $2990, while the Vision range includes panoramic sunroof, adaptive headlamps and headup display for $4490.
Those wanting the ultimate performance sedan will have to wait until mid-2015 for the twin-turbo 4.0-litre C63 AMG.
The C also marks the launch of Benz’s scalable rear-wheel drive “MRA” architecture. The platform will be expanded progressively to underpin larger SUVs and passenger cars in the Mercedes line-up.
In the C-Class, about 48 per cent of the construction is alloy rather than steel, helping to trim 40kg from the outgoing models.
Higher bid: C250 AMG
Avantgarde will come in the mid-$70,000 range