Mercedes Benz has announced an extensive re-working of its popular C-Class range, designed to give its customers even better value for money than before. The new model line-up and prices take effect from Monday 17 June 2002.

Saloon, Estate and Sports Coupé models all benefit from the model changes, which add value and offer customers the most popular options as standard. These significant differences are two-fold: a new range of Special Equipment (SE) models, and the introduction of non-SE cars. The new equipment levels mean the following lower entry prices:

C-Class Saloon now from £19,995 on the road (was £21,140) C-Class Estate now from £20,945 on the road (was £22,090) C-Class Sports Coupé now from £18,795 on the road (was £20,290) The newly-priced C 180 Classic Saloon now costs only £10 more than the previous generation car did five years ago, back in 1997. The old car did without many of the features standard on the new Saloon, so today’s announcement really offers customers a great deal.

Despite the success of the latest C-Class range, Mercedes Benz has been studying exactly what its customers want in today’s changing market, and the re-positioning reflects those desires. One recent market trend in the C-Class segment is a move away from volume manufacturers to luxury brands, and the introduction of a prestige product at a sub-£20,000 price point is an important step.

Classic SE adds £1,480 value to Saloon and Estate models

The new entry-level four-cylinder petrol and diesel Classic Saloon and Estate models have achieved a price reduction of £1,145 with the removal of automatic climate control as standard.

However, Classic models still retain a high level of standard equipment, including items which remain optional on competitors’ products. ABS (anti-lock brakes) with BAS (Brake Assist); alarm and immobiliser; electric heated mirrors; ESP (Electronic Stability Program) with ASR traction control; six airbags (two front, two side and windowbags); four electric windows; four seat belt pre-tensioners; multi-function steering wheel; partial electric seats and remote central locking all still feature as standard on every car. The Audio 10 single CD player remains a no cost option.

The new Classic SE adds more equipment and value. For only £500 more than the current Classic price, customers retain automatic climate control, but also get alloy wheels; CD player; five-speed automatic transmission (with Speedtronic cruise control and speed limiter); and leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear shift. The Classic SE package represents a significant £1,480-worth of added value compared with current option prices.

C-ClasS-Classics powered by five- and six-cylinder engines retain their standard equipment, but the SE pack is still available (at a reduced premium). Manual and Sequentronic transmissions become a no cost option on all Classic SE models, where available. For the first time, a C 320 Classic SE will also become available, costing £29,200 (Saloon) and £30,150 (Estate).

Elegance SE and Avantgarde SE customers get £1,600 more equipment

Existing Saloon and Estate models in both Elegance and Avantgarde trims have their prices reduced by £850 across the board. This is achieved by removing some equipment that customers usually only opt for if it’s required – auto dimming rear view mirror; folding side mirrors; headlamp wash and rain-sensing wipers. The price reduction is greater than the cost of these options (now available as a Comfort Pack for £410 including VAT). The rest of the cars’ high specification levels remain unaltered.

The Elegance SE and Avantgarde SE packs will be available at the same price as existing models. The SE pack adds five-speed automatic transmission (with Speedtronic cruise control and speed limiter); metallic paint; CD player and retains the auto dimming rear view mirror. This adds £1,600 of value compared with previous option prices. Once again, manual or Sequentronic gearboxes (where available) are no cost options.

Sports Coupé prices reduced, SE pack adds £785 more value

The dynamic C-Class Sports Coupé, available in the UK for just over a year, has had its entry price cut by £1,495. The reduction brings the C 180 Sports Coupé model in at just £18,795. This is achieved by the removal of automatic climate control and alloy wheels.

Once again, a high-value SE pack is available, at £195 less than the existing Sports Coupé prices. This retains automatic climate control and alloy wheels, whilst adding metallic paint and standard CD player.

C-Class values remain intact

Although now benefiting from an exciting new model line-up and extremely competitive pricing, the core qualities of the C-Class remain. As well as its impressive armoury of safety features including ABS, ASR, BAS, ESP and six airbags, all C-Class models retain the innovative secondary crumple zone, which transmits energy in a severe frontal accident through the roof rails to the rear of the car.

C-Class retains its dynamic driving characteristics, great handling and comfortable ride quality. The doors still "thunk" reassuringly when closed, the cars are still beautifully-styled with a rakish front, muscular rear, and in the case of the Sports Coupé, the split rear windscreen. The interior remains carefully assembled, made of high quality materials, and the seats continue to cosset and support.

The C-Class’s industry-leading warranty package also remains as standard on all new cars bought in the UK from an authorised retailer. This includes a three-year, unlimited mileage warranty, ASSYST variable servicing intervals and mobilo-life, the 30-year anti-corrosion and breakdown cover.

All these qualities remain – but are now joined by remarkable value, and in SE trims, lots more standard equipment.

Published : 10/06/02 Author : Melanie Carter

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