New Coupé a star attraction
Of the two Mercedes newcomers, the C-Class Coupé is likely to be more mainstream. It is the third C-Class version to hit our shores in recent times. Like the saloon and estate models that preceded it, the new Coupé has all of the technical, safety and environmental features that have attracted so much acclaim. Most notable is the availability of fuel-saving, emissions-reducing BlueEFFICIENCY technology across the range -- a feature that brings some versions into the lower road tax bands.
Unmistakably Mercedes, the new Coupé has an attractive V-shaped fascia, louvered grille with chrome-trimmed inserts and a centrally mounted 'star', which echoes the appearance of the new C-Class range as a whole.
In line with the price-reduction policy being pursued by Mercedes-Benz, the new Coupé comes on the market at competitive prices. The C180 Coupé petrol sells at €36,000, plus the horrible delivery charges, while the entry C220 CDI diesel checks in at €39,990.
The second newcomer -- arriving just in time for summer sunshine -- is the new SLK. One interesting aspect from the point of view of Irish motorists is the arrival into the range of a diesel version, production of which will begin in December. Endowed with a more muscular appearance, the new SLK has individual design touches, which echo the iconic SL model of the 1950s.
As one would expect in an open-top vehicle, comfort and safety considerations are to the fore. Special features include a solar panoramic roof, which can change from light to dark at the flick of a switch.
Internationally, the SLK is available in a range of new, more efficient 4- and 6-cylinder engines, all equipped with ECO stop/start function and BlueEFFICIENCY technology. Petrol units begin with the SLK 200 CGI BlueEFFICIENCY unit, which comes on the market at €49.700 ex-works with road tax of €302. Powered by a 1.8-litre, 184bhp 4-cylinder engine, it delivers a top speed of 236km/h and a 0-100km/h time of seven seconds whilst having low fuel consumption of just 6-litres per 100km.
But the model most likely to find favour with Irish drivers is the 4-cylinder diesel powered SLK 250CDI BlueEFFICIENCY version, the first time Mercedes-Benz has offered a diesel option in this model category. Price for this model has yet to be agreed.
Speaking at its introduction, Mercedes-Benz sales manager in Ireland Ciaran Allen described the new SLK as "a model that will fulfil the market's need for an affordable coupé cum roadster convertible".