Higher tech and more specs from Mercedes
Much more technology and less frequent stops at the filling station is the message coming from the designers of Mercedes Benz's heavily revised C-Class, which will be on the forecourts next month.
The new line-up of engines offer up to 31 per cent lower fuel consumption thanks to the seven-speed tronic plus automatic transmission, start-stop, reduced body weight and low-rolling resistance tyres, all of which are part of a Blue Efficiency package. The big seller for the home market will be the 200 CDI model which now has a C02 rating of 138g/km, which puts it in Band B with an annual road tax of €156.
The new model gets 2,000 new parts to make it safer, give a quiet cabin and more exterior style, all at prices that remain relatively unchanged despite the specifications.
In exterior styling there are new bumpers, a more pronounced V-shaped grille which gives a more sporty look, and new headlights, LED indicators and front daytime running lights. The car now looks wider but a lightweight aluminium bonnet, front wings and door sections reduce weight and contribute to fuel efficiency. The low- slung design gives a wind- cheating drag factor of 0.26, which the manufacturers claim is a benchmark in this category and adds to the fuel-efficiency package.
The interior gets a restyled dashboard with grained surface and decorative inlays, a redesigned instrument cluster and updated controls, new three- and four-spoke leather steering wheel, Artico leather upholstery and telematics.
On offer here are three diesel engines and one petrol. The top seller will be the 200 CDI, which unfortunately was not available at the international test drive in Tenerife. Other models going on sale here are a 220 CDI and 250 CDI diesel and a C180 petrol.
Safety features, depending on the model chosen, include drowsiness detection, adaptive headlight beam adjustment, active lane keeping and blind spot assist, park assist and proximity and speed control systems.
The new C-Class enters the Irish market at prices that are exactly the same as its predecessor. The entry-level models are the C180 BE petrol at €35,055 and the C200 CDI SE Blue Efficiency at €36,350.
Customers have a wide choice of models and specifications in Standard, Elegance and Avantgarde.
Mercedes-Benz sales manager Ciaran Allen says that the more attractive appearance and the very competitive prices and improved specifications will grow the sales of the new C-Class from a fifth to a third of total Mercedes-Benz sales here, which will help to retain MB's strong position in the luxury segment.
A new SLK sports coupe will be here in May with no price increase despite big design changes and a fuel reduction of 25 per cent. The 2000 petrol version will be followed by the first diesel- powered SLK with a 250 CDI power pack, which attracts a Band B road tax despite a powerful output of 204 bhp with 500 Nm of torque.