Tag Archives: C Class

Differences Between Mercedes Benz C300 Sport and Luxury Models

The basic question “What are the fundamental differences between the Mercedes Benz C300 Sport and C300 Luxury models?” was posed to me once again today, this time, in an email from a potential customer. I’ve been thinking about documenting the real differences with photos and posting them to the Dave Knows Cars Blog for a long time, now I’ve finally done it with photos and text explanations of the differences, read on…

Since the introduction of the ‘new body style’ C class (W204 internal designation) this has been a common question, as there are essentially two versions of the C300, a Sport and Luxury model. The differences are largely cosmetic, the only real mechanical difference is the slightly different suspension on the Sport model, but for all practical purposes, they’re the same car.

What’s the same between the C300 Sport and C300 Luxury?
Some of the things that are the same include: the base prices, every interior and exterior dimension, every piece of sheet metal, leg room for all seats, trunk capacity, wheel size, gas tank capacity, the engines, horsepower and on and on.

What differences are there between the C300 Sport and C300 Luxury?
As mentioned above, most differences are cosmetic, they are clearly illustrated in the photos below.

The two cars illustrating the differences here are both Iridium Silver, 2011 model Mercedes-Benz C300 4matic models.

Front of the cars, most notably, the C300 grille, but also look at the lower front bumper of each car.

C300 Luxury: Traditional type Mercedes-Benz grille, upright star hood ornament, round fog lights integrated into lower air dam with slatted black lower grille.
C300 Sport: Aggressive sport grille with embedded star (a la DTM C class racing cars, SLS AMG, SL, CL, etc), flat hood badge, LED daytime running lamps integrated into more aggressive AMG body styling down low, black mesh venting in front airdam.

The grilles of these two cars are completely interchangeable. A conservative Luxury grille can be removed and a sport grille with the embedded three pointed star can be installed or vice versa. The upright hood ornament and flat Mercedes-Benz star and laurel badge are interchangeable as well. It is common for Luxury model buyers to switch out the grille for a sport grille, as many people like the Sport grille look. Many 2011 Luxury models actually come from the factory with the Sport grille installed and a flat hood badge, with the change noted on the window sticker.

C300 Sport: Pronounced AMG body styling along the rocker panels and under the doors running from behind the front fender to in front of the rear wheel well.
C300 Luxury: Softer, more conservative, less pronounced rocker panel / under door trim running the length of the car.
C300 Sport: 17″ 5 spoke sport wheel (new style for 2011).
C300 Luxury: 17″ 5 twin spoke wheel.Standard wheels on the C300 4matic Sport and Luxury are both 17″ and they are the same width all the way around… no staggered width, or wider in the back than in the front… they’re the same all the way around the vehicle.


C300 Sport: Clean, painted rear bumper, aggressive lower rear underside ground effects.
C300 Luxury: Chrome strip accent along rear bumper, more conservative underbody ground effects, less visible (the trunk lid spoiler is optional equipment, this Luxury model happens to have it).

The C300 Sport and Luxury are both equipped with true dual exhaust and chrome tipped dual exhaust pipes coming out the back of each car.  It’s fairly unusual to see a Luxury with the rear deck lid spoiler, I was surprised to see this one equipped with it from the factory.

C300 Sport: Headlamps are ‘blacked out’. The little piece of plastic trim between the actual surface of the light and the glass covering is black plastic on the Sport models.
C300 Luxury: Headlamps are surrounded with mirror-like silver trim.

Standard headlamps are high output halogen on C300 Sport and Luxury models. Bi-Xenon headlamps are available as part of the C class Lighting Package (new for MY 2011) from 2008 to 2010 Bi-Xenon headlamps were included in the Premium 2 Package (P2 Package) for C class models.

C300 Sport VS. C300 Luxury Prices
The base prices of the two cars here are the same. To get a Luxury model it costs $410. That essentially includes the upright hood star and Burl Walnut interior trim (Sport comes standard with Aluminum Trim). To get Sport styling is “No Charge” (see N/C on window sticker). The window stickers for each subject car here are posted below for your reference. They are equipped differently in terms of options, but you can see that the base prices are the same.

C300 Sport: Window sticker of Sport subject car, notice “N/C” for Sport Package. Most 2011 Sport models I see seem to be built with the Burl Walnut Wood option.
C300 Luxury: MSRP of our C300 Luxury subject car. $410 cost for wood trim and the hood star.

What about the interior?
The window sticker for the Luxury above mentions “Luxury Interior” what does that really mean? C300 Luxury models come with a 4 spoke steering wheel while the Sport comes with a three spoke sport steering wheel. There is a slightly different stitch pattern on the seats between the two cars, but unless you’re looking for it, you’ll never see or notice it. All C300s with Cashmere interior will have a 4 spoke wheel, as they do not make the tan / brown wheel for that interior in a three spoke version.

Mechanical Differences: Suspension
The only real mechanical difference between the Sport and Luxury model is the suspension. The Sport model has a slightly tighter suspension system, as a result it handles a little more aggressively with less body lean when pushed hard, it’s a little more firm over bumps in the road. The Sport model sits about 5mm lower than the luxury model in the front. Both of these cars are built for markets all over the world, so don’t think that 5mm is going to make it harder for the Sport model to go through deep snow in Minnesota or that it’s going to constantly be getting scraped on driveways and pulling into parking lots. They design these cars for the lowest common denominator, for roads and conditions all over the world. Both the Sport and Luxury have plenty of ground clearance for regular driving in normal conditions.

I’ve gone on test drives in both cars, back to back, and I find very little difference to be honest. The Sport is a little stiffer, but they’re both very comfortable. The C300 Sport doesn’t begin to compare with the stiffness of a BMW 3 series, for example. I think it’s a much more comfortable car for everyday driving and it handles beautifully under all sorts of conditions.

Available Options on C300 Models Whether Sport or Luxury
There are all sorts of available options for the C300, I’ve listed just a couple with the photos below… the rear deck spoiler (described above) is available for either model.

18″ AMG twin spoke wheels are a popular upgrade now available on 4matic C300 Sport models, in years past these wheels were staggered and therefore only available on rear wheel drive models. From 2010 forward they’ve been available on C300 Sport models, not available from the factory on the Luxury model.
Panorama Sunroof: Notice the entire roof of this C300 is black glass. This is the Panorama Sunroof option. A large glass panel that opens all the way up. When it’s closed, the front and rear passengers can look up and see the sky. It makes the back seat feel quite roomy and bright.

Of course there are many other available exterior options on C300 models, these are just a couple mentioned here.

Mercedes-Benz has regularly offered customers the choice between a Luxury or Sport model, across a number of car classes. I think of the two versions of the C class as more marketing tactics than anything else. The Luxury was created for the traditional Mercedes-Benz buyer, perhaps an older person interested in downsizing from an E class into something smaller. The C300 Sport was designed to compete directly with the young BMW 3 series buyer who wants something more aggressive and sporty looking.

I’ve seen this marketing concept turned on its head many times… an older woman comes in and wants “the new C class with the star in the grille” and then decides she wants the Sport model with the cool AMG wheels. I’ve seen the young couple come in and specifically ask for the Luxury model because to them “It just looks like a classic Mercedes”. Then you’ve got the folks who want the slightly softer ride of the Luxury with the Sporty look, so we switch out the Luxury grille for the Sport grille with the star in it.

The C300 Sport is clearly the more common model. To give you an idea of just how many more Sports there are out there than luxuries just look at our inventory. At any one time Feldmann Imports might have 25 – 30 new C300 sedans in stock, if we have 25, 23 of them are most likely C300 Sport models.

2012 Mercedes Benz C300 4matic Sedan… Three Autoweek Editors Give High Marks!

I was happy to see these very positive reviews that three Autoweek Magazine editors gave the 2012 Mercedes-Benz C300 Luxury model. I’ve been an Autoweek subscriber for almost 15 years now, it’s a great car magazine, a real mix of industry information as well as consumer info.
When these kinds of car guys review cars, so often it’s nothing but complaints unless they’re in the newest Ferrari or a Porsche GT3, handling is never good enough, nothing is ever fast enough, but I was happy to see these very positive reviews of the C class.
Like I always say about the C300.. it’s a great, all around car for every day use. If you want to go to a racetrack, take the BMW 3 series, it’s a better car for that, it’s lower, faster, and handles more like a race car, but for everyday comfort and very good handling, the C class is a great choice. The back seat is no S class, but for every day safety, reliability, good gas mileage and a little fun too… the C300 Sport or Luxury Sedan is a great choice in the crowded entry level luxury sedan segment.
The Autoweek article from autoweek.com:
By: Wes Raynal on 7/11/2012

EDITOR WES RAYNAL: Personally, I think the 2012 Mercedes-Benz C300 is a class act. It’s well built, feels solid like a tank, is fast enough (barely), has good grip with AWD—overall it’s a nice smallish car. I have not driven the new BMW 3-series yet, so at present this is my favorite small German sedan. Perhaps the 3-series will change my mind, but if it rides on BMW’s dreadful run-flat tires, I doubt it.

The car felt fairly nimble considering that it has AWD. But it really shines out on the freeway, where it charges forward so smooth and steady and sure-footed (for a small car), the next thing you know you’re going a bit too much over the speed limit. It’s the solidity and smoothness; it drives like a much bigger car. Does that mean it’s a little soft? A little wafty? Perhaps, but at my advanced age I find I like that more and more.

My only beef is that back-seat room is a little tight. With five-foot-eight-inch me in the driver’s seat and a teenager behind me, legroom is tight back. For short trips it’s fine. On longer ones, I’d probably here some whining.

EXECUTIVE EDITOR ROGER HART: This C-class was a joy to spend some time with. The overall comfort level is quite high, and the only ones who might complain would be those stuck in the back seat. As a daily driver used for commuting to and from the office, this car is perfect. I didn’t find the AWD to really hamper the handling or feel of the car, and in fact, if one was using this as a daily driver anywhere in the snowbelt, having it would be confidence-inspiring. The 3.0-liter V6 is adequate; you won’t win many light-to-light drag races, but the benefit is average fuel economy in the mid-20s.

This car seems a bit stouter than the previous-gen car, a little more robust. That should give buyers some confidence that the thing will last. Previous-generation Cs had some issues with that (see our final report on a long-term C-class wagon as just one example), but this thing is tight, with excellent panel gaps all around and an interior that is simple and straight-forward—once you get the hang of operating the COMAND system.

I was surprised that this car didn’t have a backup camera as it has the standard navigation/infortainment screen, and as far as options, that was the only thing missing. For a car priced in the low $40,000, I think this represents real value in the entry-level luxury segment, and I’d love to have a Baby Benz in my garage.

ROAD TEST EDITOR JONATHAN WONG: The C-class coupe was a new addition to the lineup for the 2012 model year, but the sedan also enjoyed a light update. From a driving standpoint, the seven-speed automatic transmission was updated to be more responsive, more fuel efficient and quieter, and it does perform well. When teamed with this V6, it offers crisp shifts and cracks off downshifts almost immediately after you squeeze the throttle to speed up.

Past C-class cars were a letdown in almost every area, but I’ve become a fan of the current model. Build quality in the interior is much better, with nice materials, and the exterior styling is handsome and clean.

It’s also become a decent handler, displaying respectable grip in corners and decent steering feel and response. One thing Mercedes still needs to work on is the brake-pedal feel that is still too squishy for my liking. In C300 form, this car is still more of an around-town cruiser than a corner carver, which is fine. It’s very comfortable for daily use, with a suspension that absorbs bumps beautifully and a cabin that is well isolated from unwanted noises.

This car still doesn’t have the reflexes of a BMW 3-series, but it has closed the gap a whole lot, and it’s something that you can still have a fair amount of fun with if you throw it around. I just wish Mercedes still offered a manual transmission as it used to back in the old days. That’s about the only thing I miss about the old C-classes.

2012 Mercedes-Benz C300 4Matic Luxury Sedan

Base Price: $38,895

As-Tested Price: $43,980

Drivetrain: 3.0-liter V6; AWD, seven-speed automatic

Output: 228 hp @ 6,000 rpm, 221 lb-ft @ 2,700-5,000 rpm

Curb Weight: 3,737 lb

Fuel Economy (EPA/AW): 20/23.3 mpg

Options: Premium I package including SiriusXM satellite radio, iPod/MP3 media interface, 10-way power driver’s seat with three-position memory, power-adjustable steering column, split-folding rear seats, heated front seats and Harman/Kardon LOGIC7 surround-sound system ($2,500); diamond white paint ($1,515); mbrace in-vehicle services ($660); luxury sedan package including luxury styling, Mercedes-Benz star on hood, 17-inch alloy wheels with all-season tires, luxury interior and Burl Walnut wood trim ($410)

For more information: Check out the 2012 Mercedes-Benz C300 4Matic Luxury Sedan at shopautoweek.com

Still in the Wrapper! Quartz Blue Mercedes-Benz C300 4matic Sport, Premium 1 Package and Multimedia Package!

This 2011 Mercedes-Benz C300 4matic Sport model, in the rare Quartz Blue Metallic color, just rolled off the transporter! This is a very well equipped 2011 model C class with a grey / black interior, on the outside it’s got the new LED daytime running lamps on the lower part of the front bumper too.

This in only about the third or fourth Quartz Blue C class I’ve seen come through the dealership, and it’s nicely equipped. The complete window sticker / option list is below for your reference, its got the Premium 1 Package (P1 Package), Multimedia Package as well as heated seats and a couple of other options.

You could drive a long way in this one and never see another like it. MSRP is $45,155, but with all the incentives out there this month, chances are you can get it for considerably less than that.

Mercedes Benz Sales Figures Up! 2011 Best May Since 2008 with 20,306 Units

It was a good May for Mercedes-Benz USA, sales were up, over last year and a number of specific model sales were up considerably over the same period last year. I am happy to report that I not only helped in selling some of the cars adding up to this more than 20,000 units sold, but I also bought one.

Tobin's direct contribution to more than 20,000 new MB units sold in May 2011.

The May deals on the new C300 4matic were too good to pass up so I gave up my Volvo V70R wagon and stepped into a C class. While it’s the ‘entry level car’ and people always wonder how they will be received it has already won me over. It handles extremely well, has plenty of power for driving around town, commuting and for a couple of short highway trips I’ve already taken. The C300 is just right and with the 4matic all wheel drive system will be great in the Minnesota Winter.

The official MB Press release and sales chart by vehicle class is below:

Sales Up 5.9% for the Month and 8.5 % Year-to-Date

June 1, 2011 MONTVALE, N.J. – Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) today reported May sales of 20,306 vehicles, a 5.9 % improvement over May 2010, and the best May on record since May 2008. On a year-to-date basis, the 95,458 vehicles sold represent an 8.5 % increase.

The highest volume performers for the month were the E- and C-Class model lines. The 9th generation E-Class led the pack with sales of 5,751, up 5% over May 2010. The sporty C-Class – the gateway to the Mercedes-Benz brand for younger and first-time Mercedes-Benz buyers – continued its strong momentum with sales of 4,936. MBUSA’s compact SUV, the GLK-Class, finished third in volume with monthly sales of 2,214, up 22.1% over last year. Additionally, sales of the versatile R-Class crossover were up 237 % over May 2010.

Sales of Mercedes-Benz diesel models were up 108.5% for the month (1,147 versus 550) and up 115.8 % for the year (4,722 versus 2,188).

At the high end, the company sold 21 of its supercar — the SLS AMG — bringing its year-to date sales to 330.

Sales of Sprinter Vans also increased by 126.1% for the month, with sales of 1,420 – bringing a year-to-date total of 5,184 (up 102.1 %).

Separately, through the Mercedes-Benz Certified Pre-Owned (MBCPO) program, MBUSA sold 6,818 vehicles in May 2011, a decrease of 2.1%. On a year-to-date basis, MBCPO sold 33,450 vehicles, a decrease of 4.1 % over the comparable period last year.

About Mercedes-Benz USA

Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA), headquartered in Montvale, New Jersey, is responsible for the distribution, marketing and customer service for all Mercedes-Benz and Maybach products in the United States. MBUSA offers drivers the most diverse line-up in the luxury segment with 12 model lines ranging from the sporty C-Class to the flagship S-Class sedans and the SLS AMG supercar.

2008 Lexus IS250 w/ Navigation Traded In – Just 27k Miles for 27k Dollars!

This black on black 2008 Lexus IS250 Sport Sedan was just traded in on a new Mercedes-Benz C class on Thursday. It just went through our inspection process. It was fully serviced, washed, detailed and is now ready for a new owner.

 This Lexus is in pristine condition. It’s a local one owner, no stories, clean Carfax vehicle loaded with options, including Navigation, back up camera, Bluetooth, heated memory seats, all the stuff you’d expect. Have a look at the Carfax and you’ll see that this was a very well, and regularly, maintained vehicle. This one has many years of use ahead of it… save $10,000+ off the price of a new one by buying this one.

Special 1.9% APR Financing on Certified Pre Owned Mercedes Benz C Class Vehicles Just Announced!

New Mercedes-Benz Sales Programs have just been announced for the month of March 2011. One of the most exciting developments comes from Mercedes-Benz Financial, and it’s an offer of 1.9% APR financing for up to 66 months on all 2007, 2008 and 2009 Certified Pre Owned C class vehicles for the month of March!

We saw a similar program on the E class last March, a 1.9% Special Finance offer, this month it is available on Certified Pre Owned C class vehicles from ’07, ’08 and ’09.

Let’s look at it this way… imagine you choose one of our Certified Pre Owned C300 4matic vehicles to purchase. Let’s use a finance amount of $26,000, you pay the tax, title, license, etc. up front… a smarter thing to do than rolling that into a loan anyway.

Loan Amount: $26,000
Loan Term: 66 months
Regular used car rate: 5.9% APR (decent, not a great rate, but not a horrble rate)
Payment: about $462

Now look at it with the Special APR interest rate from Mercedes-Benz Financial during March 2011

Loan Amount: $26,000
Loan Term: 66 months
Special MBF Rate: 1.9% APR
Payment: about $415

It’s a good way to save yourself almost $50 per month! Feldmann Imports has a good inventory of qualifying C classes, and we are working hard to get more of them this month… don’t miss out on this great offer!

2008 Mercedes Benz C300 with a 6 Speed Manual Transmission under $25k!

You don’t see one of these in a Mercedes-Benz very often these days! This 2008 C300 Sport model with the 6 speed manual transmission was just traded in! This vehicle only has 33,200 miles on its odometer. This is a two owner car, originally sold here at Feldmann Imports when new and sold again as a Certified Pre Owned vehicle about two years ago.

Clean Carfax, no stories, black with black interior, a base no frills car…  It’s just screaming to be purchased and turned into an SCCA Solo II Autocross car, in fact, I might just buy it for that myself.

Priced right at just $24,642, Feldmann Imports’ Stock# M9933B.

Used 2008 C300 4matic Eligible for Certified Pre Owned Special APR Interest Rates!

2008 C300 4matic Luxury, Black / Black, just traded in this afternoon for a new 2011 C300 4matic. This one was driven in from Fairbault this afternoon, I had been talking to the lady owner for the past two weeks about coming in to trade in this vehicle and today she did.

It’s a well cared for example, a bit dirty with some snow in this photo, but it’s been well maintained and will clean up just fine. It’s got 37,168 miles on its odometer, and it’s equipped with the Premium 1 Package (P1 Package), burl walnut interior trim, and an in dash 6 disc CD changer. Original window sticker / option list / MSRP is below for your reference:

Available today at Feldmann Imports, it hasn’e been priced yet, bt I’m going to guess mid $20k range, $26k – $27k? Stock# M9951A.

2012 Mercedes Benz C Class Facelift and New Engine Choices to debut in Detroit!

Mercedes-Benz will officially be releasing the lightly restyled C class for the 2012 model year at the Detroit Auto Show in January. The new models will start to arrive at dealer show rooms during the Summer of 2011. The official press release from Mercedes-Benz is all the way down here, let me summarize the most significant changes.

2012 C class Engines: The most significant changes are here… new engine choices! A 1.8 liter 4 cylinder turbocharged direct injection engine will be available in the new models, known as the C250, it will have 201 hp on tap and provide better fuel economy than its V6 counterparts. Combined fuel economy for the new C250 is 24 mpg, while the C300 engine remains at a combined fuel economy of 20 mpg. The C300 will stick with the 228 hp V6, but interestingly enough both the C250 and C300 have 0-60 mph times of 7.1 seconds, so while there isn’t as much pure horsepower or top speed in the 4 cylinder it keeps right up with the C300 at regular highway speeds.

The top of the line C350 will get an upgraded direct-injection V6 with additional horsepower, the 2012 will pack 302hp, up from 268 in past years.

Exterior / Interior: The most significant changes to the exterior of the car are at the front. The C class gets new headlamps and a new style LED daytime running lamps, similar to the 2011 models, but not exactly the same. The front bumper is more aggressively styled and sculpted, slightly reminiscent of the E class coupe I think. From the early release photos I can’t see any changes to the rear end of the car.

It looks like a new steering wheel will be introduced on the new C class in addition to a general updating and upgrading to the interior. I can see some new button and switch materials being used, again, getting closer to the E class in some of the design cues.

Options: The new C class cars will have additional optional equipment available, most notable the list of extensive safety features now available on the E class and larger models, things like Attention Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Blind Spot Assist and Adaptive High Beam Assist.

It’s hard to believe that 2012 will be the fourth year for the “new” C class. Mercedes has been constantly tweaking and improving the car since its debut in 2008. It’s nice to see a brand new engine choice in the 4 cylinder turbo, I’ll look forward to trying that one out on the road… better gas mileage, but same 0-60 performance… glad to see that. It’s an engine that’s been used for years in Europe, they finally decided to bring it to these shores. Now, if only they’d bring the C class wagon to the United States!

2012 C class interior, C class wagon in background.


New look for Mercedes’ top-selling sedan this summer
The restyled MY2012 C-Class

• Energetic – new dynamic look inside and out
• Expanded – five new assistance systems for greater safety
• Efficient – new direct-injection engines with better fuel economy
• Experience – new-generation telematics
• Exceptional – more than one million sold since March 2007

The restyled 2012 C-Class sedan is scheduled to arrive in the U.S. in the summer of 2011. The front and rear end of the popular Mercedes sedan have been enhanced with a more distinctive design. The luxurious interior is now emphasized by the stylish new dashboard, which features a premium, fine-grain finish and stylish trim elements, as well as a high-resolution color display in the instrument cluster. Fuel economy has been improved by as much as 15 percent, thanks to new direct-injection engines and the redesigned 7-speed automatic transmission. Five new driver assistance systems ranging from the ATTENTION ASSIST drowsiness detection system through to the Blind Spot Assist are now available in the C-Class lineup. New generation telematics offer new infotainment and navigation features.

“In terms of driveline and safety systems, the new-generation C-Class offers the comfort and safety of our luxury vehicles – and with many high-end details in the interior evocative of the new CLS, the new C-Class sets completely new benchmarks in its segment when it comes to premium look-and-feel,” says Dr. Joachim Schmidt, Executive Vice President Sales & Marketing Mercedes-Benz Cars. This interior upgrade is further enhanced by the latest generation of telematics, which not only features completely new visuals, but also brings improved functionality.

A total of more than 2,000 new parts distinguish the newest generation of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class from its predecessor. The U.S. market introduction is scheduled for summer 2011 (available to order in Europe as of January 2011). Alongside the generous standard equipment, the Sport and Luxury versions of the new C-Class form the basis of the individualization program, with both lines now more clearly differentiated from each other.

The C-Class is Mercedes-Benz’s highest volume model range, and therefore especially important. The current range has chalked up global sales of more than one million units since its launch in March 2007. Since the market introduction of the first C-Class in 1982 (known then as the 190), Mercedes-Benz has sold more than 8.5 million vehicles around the world.

Dynamic, determined and confident exterior

The bumper now has a more distinctive and dynamic design, with the front end adopting the brand’s new design language. The central element of the front end is the grille, which is further enhanced by the new bumper design. The center air intake opens upward in a v-shape and forms the core element of the grille design. Distinctive lines emerge from the base of the aggressive arrow design in the center. Running beneath the headlamps, these character lines transition into the side profile. The outboard air intakes in the bumper are positioned very low down to give the car a more muscular stance.

The C-Class features a new aluminum hood, which contributes to weight reduction and consequently to improved fuel efficiency. Contours around the headlamps and grille bring additional emphasis to the front-end arrow form. Working together with the redesigned headlamps, the overall front-end look is far more distinctive.

Modified clear glass headlamps create a more dynamic and determined look and, together with the hood, grille and bumper enhance the arrow visual at the front end. This precise, contemporary look is reinforced by the design of both the exterior and interior of the headlamp units, which feature a finely balanced interplay between matte and gloss surfaces. The halogen headlamps follow the classic format with low beam located on the outside and high beam in the inside, while the indicator lamps are discreetly positioned in the outer corners toward the fenders.

The available bi-xenon headlamps come with active functions and bring added depth to the appearance with a series of LED modules. A C-shaped positioning light defines the nighttime design, with cornering lights located behind it and stretching outward to the main lamp module. At the base of the headlamps are broad horizontal LED indicator units. Also horizontal are the LED daytime running lights located in the bumper, which make the C-Class unmistakable from a distance.

On the rear bumper, the character lines and shutlines have been modified to add emphasis to the vehicle’s stance. This is especially evident in the steep rise of the character line running outward toward the rear lights. A continuous character line on the upper edge of the rear bumper runs into the fenders of the C-Class to provide a connection to the sides and emphasizes the sporty character of the rear view. A new one-piece jewel case on the tail lights provides further integration into the rear of the vehicle. The characteristic sinuous surface line is now reflected on the inside of the lights and is reminiscent of earlier models. The distinctive depth of the lights are achieved by LED indicators located in the center that appear to float in front of the more deeply set red LED bands above and below. The rear light pattern is particularly distinctive at night.

The bodyshell of the new C-Class is distinguished by its outstanding aerodynamics. With a cd figure of 0.26, not only is it best-in-class, its drag plane of cd x A = 0.57 m2 also cuts more smoothly through the air than most compact and even sub-compact cars.

Premium and sporty interior

One focal point of the work done in the interior was the redesign of the dashboard with the aim of creating a powerful, sporty and premium look-and-feel that includes extensive enhancement to the trim. The surfaces of the controls are more finely detailed and feature a metallic finish. The stepped hood of the instrument binnacle now extends to incorporate the central display and runs onward into the passenger side enhanced by a subtle character line. The central, trapezoidal air vents and the outer circular vents are accentuated with metallic trim elements. Central to the design of the new dashboard is a prominent trim panel. This element stretches from the central air vents along the passenger side to the outer air vent, adding visual width to the interior. The surface grain on the top portion of the dashboard continues along the upper edges of the door panels.

The new-generation center console is distinguished by its rectangular silver keys and emphasizes the premium feel of the interior in combination with matte keys, high-gloss surfaces and a new knurled control knob. Together with the new generation telematics, the restyled C-Class also receives a new instrument binnacle with integrated display. Oriented toward the driver are three tubular gauge surrounds with metallic surfaces that further enhance the aggressive character of the C-Class.

The luxury feel is emphasized by the new-generation leather steering wheel introduced with the all-new CLS and now available as standard in the C-Class. The steering wheel features a chrome-plated central spoke and further accentuates the car’s stylish and sporty ambience.

The new C250 Sport and C300 4MATIC Sport models come with standard brushed aluminum trim, while the C350 Sport has distinctive Black Ash. The Luxury versions feature Burl Walnut trim.

Drivelines with more power and better fuel economy

Fuel economy has been improved by up to 15 percent. All new direct-injection versions feature exceptional efficiency and environmentally-friendly fuel consumption. All models also come with the redesigned seven-speed automatic transmission, with the gear ratios on all versions optimized for fuel economy.

The highlight in the engine lineup is the introduction of the new V6 gasoline engine in the C350 Sport Sedan, featuring the innovative and highly efficient BlueDIRECT process. The improvement in efficiency is combined with a considerable increase in output. The C350 Sport Sedan now generates 302 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque (previously 268 hp and 258 lb-ft), while fuel economy has been improved by 5 percent compared with the outgoing C350 model.

The four-cylinder engine (new for the U.S. market) features direct injection and turbocharging and is also distinguished by outstanding combined fuel economy of 24 mpg. This marks an improvement of nearly 15 percent compared with the 2011MY C300.

New driver assistance systems

The C-Class attains an all-new level of safety with a total of five new driver assistance systems ranging from ATTENTION ASSIST drowsiness detection through to Blind Spot Assist. The assistance systems are based on state-of-the-art radar, camera and sensor technology and are setup to react to frequent causes of accidents such as proximity to the vehicle in front, fatigue and darkness.

The following provides an overview of the new assistance systems:
• Adaptive Highbeam Assist
• Park Assist incl. PARKTRONIC
• Lane Keeping Assist
• Blind Spot Assist

Average Age of Mercedes Customer Drops: A Younger, Sportier Look For Mercedes-Benz Pays off with U.S. Customers

Automotive styling has as much to do with image and emotion as it does function. If cars just got us from A to B everybody would be driving non descript econo boxes. The look and styling of a car defines it, the car itself as well as its brand. Mercedes-Benz has certainly been on the cutting edge of automotive design for many years when it comes to technology, safety and reliablity. Many Mercedes-Benz models have become ‘classics’ or at least very recognizable as a Mercedes-Benz.

The brand’s image has developed and changed over the years, and as the Mercedes-Benz demographic began to age, the company changed its design focus in order to better speak to its newly emerging target market. The average age of Mercedes-Benz owners has been dropping over recent years. Mercedes-Benz vehicles are appealing to a younger demographic… much of that appeal is based on new, sportier designs.

I found this article in one of my recent Autoweek Magazines. This article was actually first published in Autoweek’s sister publication, Automotive News in late September. If you’re an automotive enthusiast or if you just like to keep up with the happenings in the auto industry, these two publications are two of the absolute best in the industry. 

Here is the article:

A younger, sportier look for Mercedes-Benz pays off with U.S. customers

When it comes to design, Mercedes-Benz was long the conservative grande dame of luxury-car makers. Styling was understated and aimed at middle-aged buyers. But a shift toward sportier and more youthful styling, partly driven by U.S. executives, has been paying off. Mercedes has changed design philosophy under Gordon Wagener, who led the brand’s advanced studio before being named chief designer in mid-2008.

The transformation actually started with the new-generation C class, which debuted in the United States in 2007. It continued with a new E class and E-class coupe in 2009 and the sleek, two-door SLS sports car in May. A redesigned CLS four-door with coupe styling will go on sale next summer. The new cars have been hits in the United States. Sales are up, and so are conquest sales and brand loyalty rates.

According to R.L. Polk, Mercedes loyalty increased from 52 percent in 2008 to 56 percent this year, while BMW loyalty fell from just over 51 percent in 2008 to a shade under 50 percent in 2010.Mercedes also is attracting younger customers. The median age of buyers has dropped to 51, from 54 three years ago.

American dream
For years, more aggressive styling had been high on the wish list of Mercedes’ U.S. executives. They had long stressed that American buyers want sportier-looking cars, said Stephen Cannon, vice president of marketing at Mercedes-Benz USA.

“We are so thrilled at what’s coming out of the design department,” he said. “It is consistent with what we’ve been asking for.”

The design changes mark a clear shift in philosophy under Wagener, said Klaus Frenzel, senior manager for exterior design at Mercedes-Benz in Stuttgart.

“Were getting more sporty and much younger,” he said. “That is our guiding theme.”

It is a sign that the U.S. market has become more influential inside the German company. Cannon said Mercedes-Benz USA executives are being shown vehicles well before the final design decision is made “so we can sound off and give an opinion.” In the past, the U.S. team got to see vehicles shortly before the design freeze, so major changes weren’t possible.

In addition, every new product now comes to the United States for consumer clinics.

“There is a strong commitment,” said Cannon. “We have early designs and show them to real customers. We do it in California, where people are so car-centric and where the car IQ is so high.”

The new design direction began in 2007 with the wider, lower C class.

“It has very dynamic lines down to the road,” said Frenzel. “The side shows power around the wheels, and it has a coupe-like silhouette.”

The Sport version is even bolder. Rather than the traditional, center-mounted three-point star on the hood, the Mercedes star is integrated into the grille–an element that dates back to the legendary 300 SL gullwing of the 1950s.

Cannon said the Sport version now accounts for 90 percent of the car’s sales and is bringing in new buyers. According to R.L. Polk, 56 percent of all C-class sales are now conquest, compared with 51 percent for the previous generation.

A coupe version of the C class that debuts next year “is a bold, strong step,” Cannon said. And he said the next-generation C class, due in 2013, will stay on the same path.

“I feel like the design department in Stuttgart is swinging for the fences,” Cannon said.

‘Concrete and dynamic’

The redesigned E class was the second range of vehicles to get a style overhaul. Frenzel said the biggest change was the front end, which got square lights instead of the four round eyes.

“The lines are more concrete and dynamic,” he said. “The surfaces show the precision of the car.”

In the United States, the E class is leading the mid-range luxury sedan segment. Sales through October are up 53 percent to 50,298 vehicles. BMW’s 5 series, the runner-up, is down 10 percent to 29,401 over the same period. But sales slipped because the redesigned 5 series went on sale in May.

Frenzel said that in the future, “you should still recognize every Mercedes-Benz as a brand member of the family.” But he said plans call for giving Mercedes models an increasingly individualized look.

That’s good news for Mercedes’ U.S. sales arm.

“What’s refreshing is the new stuff as I look forward at what is coming out of the design department,” said Cannon. “We finally have a simpatico department that is delivering what we want.”

See more at Autoweek.com. I’ve been an Autoweek subscriber for more than ten years and always enjoy finding a new issue in the mailbox.