As I’ve made clear over the years, I have a Mercedes itch that I’ll always want to scratch, no matter how I feel logically about their design, model lineup, quality…and so on. Their best cars were made during the 1980s and 1990s, with a steady decline in terms of quality and standards thereafter. Everyone judges cars differently, and Mercedes will, for the most part, always have a cachet that is desirable to a wide range of folks. Keeping prices on the high end and regularly creating fantasy super-cars doesn’t hurt the brand image and resulting sales of more accessible models. Same concept applies for fashion brands like Louis Vuitton and Hermes.
I finally think Mercedes is making an honest effort in the field…with a competent, attractive entry-level player, strong executive sedan and estate car, with a range of engines, and a number of specialized SUVs and sporty cars mixed in. For 2012, the C-class has been reworked with new engines, front and rear ends, lights, dash design, and other tweaks. Coupe versions of the C250, C350, and C63 AMG have also been added to the sedan offerings, bringing Benz in line with BMW and Audi, who’ve both had ‘entry level’ coupes for quite some time.
My neighbor just had his 1994 BMW 525i crash and burn (figuratively) – thing wouldn’t hold any more fluids if you duct-taped the entire engine! So, he was looking at the 335i Coupe and the A5. I told him to check out Mercedes. No, I said…they’re not for old people (only).
Apparently, only Mercedes was willing to work to get him into a new car instead of naming their price and standing firm, so he ordered a steel gray C250 Coupe with: light gray MB-tex, aluminum trim, panorama sunroof, 18″ AMG double 5-spoke rims, Keyless-Go, and the Premium 1 Package, which includes heated front seats and the Harmon/kardon sound system. I haven’t driven it yet, but boy is it pretty to look at. I’m interested to see if the 4-cylinder engine is as zippy as the previously entry-level C300 V6 was…
I will update when I know more.