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Fresh C-class kicks off Benz bonanza

Kompressor no more: Mercedes-Benz has dispensed with supercharging on its C-class, opting for turbo induction for greater efficiency.

Upgraded C-class to lead a bevy of 2010 upgrades from Mercedes-Benz in Australia

16 Mar 2010

THIS WEEK’S release of an upgraded Mercedes-Benz C-class will be followed by similar model-year upgrades for almost the entire Benz range this year.

Hard on the heels of the arrival of a revised B-class model to replace the A-class range in January, the C-class update now arrives ahead of refreshed or new-model releases for at least six other Benz models, including the SLS AMG ‘gullwing’ coupe, E-class Cabriolet and G-wagen.

Benz has revamped its C-class line-up, even though a mid-life makeover for the top-selling model is in its final stages of development for a release sometime during 2011.

It has replaced the ‘Kompressor’ supercharging that has been standard C-class fare since late 2001 with more efficient turbo power on the CGI direct-injection petrol engine first seen in last year’s W212 E-class range.

Providing improved economy and emissions, this 1.8-litre turbo unit initially will be available in two states of tune – delivering 135kW of power and 270Nm of torque in the C200 CGI models and 150kW/310Nm for the C250 CGI newcomer. Gearbox choices will continue to be a six-speed manual or no-extra cost five-speed automatic.

Compared with the outgoing 135kW/250Nm C200 Kompressor, there’s a 0.7 litre per 100km improvement in fuel consumption while carbon dioxide emissions fall to the tune of 18 grams per kilometre in the $57,900 C200 CGI auto sedan. There is no direct predecessor to the C250 CGI, which returns 7.7L/100km and 180g/km.

4 center image From Top: M-class, A-class, CLS-class, E-class Cabrio, E-class Estate, SLK-class, B-class, R-class, G-Wagen, SL-class and GL-class.

The latter – priced from $65,900 or $1890 more for the wagon – is, according to Mercedes-Benz, “...the result of customers seeking a little more from the dynamic and efficient C200 but without having to move up to a V6-powered model”. For the first time, it represents a direct rival for BMW’s 323i and 325i vehicles.

Meanwhile, the existing C220 CDI four-cylinder turbo-diesel, C300 V6 petrol, C350 CDI V6 (the new name for the MY09 W204 C320 CDI – the engine’s still the same) and high-performance C63 AMG models continue with unchanged mechanicals.

However, as with all the revised MY10 C-class variants, they gain significant specification increases at no extra cost.

The C200 CGI and C220 CDI get some Avantgarde trim pieces as standard, including the ‘Three Pointed Star’ grille that was previously the domain of the sports luxury grade models, as well as 17-inch five-spoke alloy wheels.

Along with the addition of split folding rear seats and a new dual cupholder recess, they tally up to more than $3000 worth of value-added extras (sedan) and $2438 (wagon), for the same opening price of $57,900 and $59,790 on the C200 CGI sedan and Estate respectively.

C-class buyers wishing to have the more traditional Mercedes grille now need to specify the Elegance package, which adds around $3600 to the price.

The C250 CGI cars build on these items with the fitment of Mercedes’ COMAND entertainment and navigation system), 18-inch alloys and the full Avantgarde model line features and trims.

There’s more value-added joy to be gleaned going to the V6 models, Mercedes says, to the tune $7900 thanks to the inclusion of the company’s Vision Package (high-intensity discharge Bi-Xenon headlights with Intelligent Light System), Harmon-Kardon 450kW audio upgrade, and sunroof, while the C63 AMG owner now enjoys a reversing camera and the double cupholders. These are $1280 worth of freebies.

More C-class variants are expected in the near future too.

These might include a new C180 CDI model, powered by a variation of the new 1.8-litre engine but producing 115kW, while at the other end of the range the C36 AMG may gain a special 358kW barnstormer alternative to the regular 336kW number.

The next Mercedes model to be upgraded should be the 2010 M-class, which again will comprise ML350, ML500 and ML63 AMG petrol versions.

However, the current entry-level ML280 CDI diesel ($83,500) should make way for the 2010 ML300 CDI, powered by the same 140kW 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6, while the new ML350 CDI replaces the outgoing ML320 CDI ($90,000) with the same 165kW 3.0-litre V6 oiler.

A seven-speed auto will remain standard across the range, while only the ML500 and ML63 come with air suspension as standard.

Another additional luxury SUV from Mercedes should also come as part of the imminent GL-class range in the form of the GL450, which will be powered by a 250kW 4.7-litre petrol V8. It will join the GL350 CDI diesel and GL500 petrol no won offer.

The SLK roadster should then have a 2010 update in April, when the classic Benz roadster is expected to gain an additional SLK300 derivative, powered by a 170kW 3.0-litre petrol V6.

Existing SLK200K, SLK350 and SLK55 AMG variants will continue without engine performance upgrades, with the entry-level ($90,100) SLK’s 1.8-litre supercharged petrol four due to offer 10kW of extra peak power at 135kW.

All models bar the seven-speed SLK55 will be offered with both a six-speed manual and automatic gearboxes – five-speed in the SLK200K and seven-speed in the SLK300 and 350.

The next local launch for Mercedes-Benz will be for the all-new E-class Cabriolet, which goes on sale here in April.

The new convertible will be the final derivative of the new E-class sedan range, which arrived here alongside the new E-class Coupe last August and was joined last month by the new E-class Estate.

A facelifted R-class people-mover will enter production in June ahead of its Australian arrival in late October, when the current R350, R320 CDI and R500 line-up could be replaced by R350, R350 CDI, R300 CDI and R300 CDI 4Motion variants.

Of course, the highest-profile Mercedes-Benz launch in Australia this year will be that of the landmark new SLS AMG ‘gullwing’ coupe, which arrives here in June.

Australian Design Rule approval for the iconic G-class cab-chassis and wagon will also pave the way for a release of a public version of the Australian Army’s new tough-as-nails 461-series G-wagen.

Expect the far more luxurious 463-series civilian version of Mercedes’ 30-year-old off-road wagon to be available from late this year or early next as an order-only vehicle in G500, G55 AMG and, perhaps G350 CDI variants.

While the second-generation four-door CLS ‘coupe’ is due to emerge at the Paris motor show in September and the large CL-class coupe will morph into the upgraded S-class Coupe later this year.

2010 Mercedes-Benz C-class range pricing:
C200 CGI (a) $57,900
C220 CDI (a) $57,900
C250 CGI (a) $65,900
C300 (a) $89,500
C350 CDI (a) $97,900
C63 AMG (a) $148,900
C200 CGI (a) $59,790
C220 CDI (a) $62,805
C250 CGI (a) $67,790
C63 AMG (a) $150,800

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