C you and raise you

Watch out BMW and Audi: Benz bur­nishes its top-sell­ing sedan

Herald Sun - Motoring - - NEWS - CRAIG DUFF craig.duff@news.com.au

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

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