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Mercedes-Benz CLK (2005 and earlier)



  • crikeycrikey Posts: 1,038
    Even after reading the article, I am still interested in the C230. Like I said, the two other cars they mentioned do not carry the same panache as a Benz.
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,367
    My enthusiasm for this car revolves as much around the simple fact that it is a hatchback, and the most affordable MB to boot. We have needed for some time, on at least a couple of occasions a year, the ability to carry something that will not fit in the trunk, folding seats or no folding seats. The C wagon starts in the real world at $40k, because of the silly decision to only offer it with the 3.2 the C230 Coupe looks pretty good to me as a wagon alternative.

    In this context, all the hoo-hah about its handling, or sportiness, or lack thereof, or whatever, is just wind to me. That they aimed the car at a part of the market that is notoriously fickle is a marketing problem [or opportunity], but there will be others like me who look on the car as a practical, economical alternative to their sedans.

    Having owned MBs since 1968, the "prestige" angle doesn't cut much with me...I got over that 20 years ago. To me, the superior safety engineering and promise of long mechanical life, combined with good long-distance touring comfort, is the reason to keep considering these cars. On this level, the least amount of bucks to get the benefits is in the Coupe.
  • paul_ppaul_p Posts: 271
    Yes, John - Many times I wanted to carry something home in my '95 C220 and had to stuff it cross-wise into the passenger compartment, being careful not to damage the MB-Tex. This is why I chose a '00 C230 with fold down rear seats - and I think that the C230 hatchback would be even better. But since I also have an old Toyota pickup now, it's less of an issue. Still nice though when I find something while cruising for antiques out in the C.

    I fully agree with you on why to keep considering M-B cars. Although I find Toyota and Honda vehicles also very well-built, I really enjoy the solidness of the M-B product and hope that trait continues for years to come.
  • I have no problem with the rear of the my C230, it looks like a refined Honda as mentioned in an earlier post. The problem is with the rear flank. If the designers had increased the wheel arch in the rear to match the front it would be spot on.

    I've had mine for almost a month now, have had to work too much filling in for a colleague on a long vacation, so have not had the chance for a long road trip. That is the only test she has not had the opportunity in which to shine. She has passed all other tests with flying colors. The best new car I have ever owned and the last one!
  • Never go to the Downtown LA Motor to check out the car, it was an insult when I went in today for a test drive, I had waited for 15mins, no one served me, I need to ask someone for service.

    Someone called robert served me for 5 mins,when I just say I want a test drive, but probably won't buy or order today, he says he will ask someone to help me, so I waited another 10mins, but nothing happen.

    Then I go to talk to him, he says he is serving the other customer "with appointment" right now, cannot help me anymore, it just a waste of my time.

    I know I look young and I am an Asian, but I should not be served like that, I felt like ignored and stupid, never mind, this is just a little story wanted to share with you guys
  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    It is a Mercedes, after all.

    Come on, honestly- you walked into a Mercedes dealership, tell them that you just want to test drive the car with no intention of buying it- did you really expect them to wait hands on knees on you?

    It's a Mercedes dealership- people who buy Mercedes (at least in theory) range from upper-middle-class to downright wealthy. The C230 may cost "only" $26,000, but for that amount of money someone else could buy a minivan or a bigger family sedan- this car is certainly no bargain on the table, either.

    You may be upset with your dealership experience- but let's face it- money talks. And if you appear to have none, well you basically don't have a voice.
  • I've had my C-Coupe about three weeks now and i LOVE it. I just purchased a set of 18" Brabus Monoblock V and i'm expecting them to arrive tuesday. i'd rarely use the trunk to haul stuff since my wife drives a Passat Wagon.
  • You may be upset with your dealership experience- but let's face it- money talks. And if you appear to have none, well you basically don't have a voice.
    I don't think Winifred said she didn't appear as if she doesn't have money; she said she was young and Asian. There is a difference there.

    Moreover, I've read (was it on this board?) that when Mercedes dealers were briefed on this car that it was explained to them that for some buyers it would be their first new car. The average transaction price for a new car these days is just above $23,000, so a young and reasonably well-employed member of the middle-class (not the upper-middle-class), or even the lower-middle-class in cities with high wages and reasonable housing costs, can certainly afford a base Benz that's around $26,500 with tax, title and license. Since Mercedes is looking to attract buyers to the brand with an entry-level model, its dealers are going to have to get used to the idea that the incomes of many buyers, especially after the initial demand from well-heeled Benz enthusiasts with the need for a second car or a big cargo bay is satisfied, isn't going to be horribly high. Besides, the people who are looking at any smallish hatchback are unlikely to be cross-shopping the bigger cars or minivans that you referred to. Not only are they not necessarily going to be old and white, they aren't necessarily going to be presumably straight married types with 2.4 children in some depressing tract in some God-forsaken place like Santa Clarita or Orange least, not considering the natural territory from which Downtown LA M-B is going to draw much of its clientele.

    The salesman has a duty to serve someone with an appointment, and very well may prefer to spend his time with a customer with demonstrated interest, but to say that Winifred has no right to complain about the service she received (whether or not those complaints may have grounds; they seem to, since the promised other assistant didn't come out to replace the first salesman) because she doesn't fit the illusory profile of a Benz customer is nothing but silly (M?)BS. If the personnel at dealers of any car make scare off potential customers on that basis, they're tarnishing the image of that make and most likely missing a few commission-paying sales. Not good for anyone involved, no?
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,367
    ...dealers have an obligation to treat every potential customer with respect and attention. And I note the handle is "Winfred" not "Winifred"; ironically, I suspect a female would actually get better treatment in these circumstances than a male. Regardless of Winfred's sex, race, or belief in aliens, a GOOD dealer knows better than to prejudge anything in a first transaction situation. Yes, it's always better to make an appointment, especially for a weekend visit, but when I occasionally drop in unannounced at our MB store, those people are all over me in 30 seconds, no matter how crowded it is. They always back away politely if I want to be left alone, and in any case I have my regular guy there, but the point is they understand you don't make a sale by ignoring people.

    One more comment: I went shopping for my first MB at 23, in 1968. I wanted to arrange an EU delivery, and the dealer in SF had a good specialist there whom I wanted to work with [in those days, factory delivery was not the well-oiled process it has become]. I too felt the skepticism as I walked in and announced I wanted to test a 220 sedan [the equivalent of the E nowadays], but everyone was too circumspect to voice their doubts out loud. They did ask some carefully veiled questions that were obviously designed to "qualify me" [what was I driving now, how had I heard about them, about MB, what did I know about the car, etc], but when it became clear I was serious, so were they. At the time, they had no way of knowing it was a test, and by passing, they got more of my business over the next 15 years. No dealer deserves you if they are stupid enough to pre-judge on appearance alone...find another one, since in So-Cal in particular, there are lots to choose from.
  • With rear wheel drive, relatively small size and weight, I'm worried about winter driving. Is the ESP effective? Any experience with the C-class in snow? Thanks much.
  • I agree with your post. The most important part being that there are tons of dealer/salesperson combos out there. If you don't get the service that you want from one place, try another. There's no reason to put up with rudeness. But, if the dealership is busy with people who got appointments, take that into consideration as well. Next time, don't tell them that you're not interested in buying one currently.
  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    I didn't imply that winfred should have gotten treated the way she did.

    But the reality is, it's a Mercedes dealership.
    There is prestige and a sense of status symbol associated with this brand.

    You just don't walk into a fancy restaurant, tell the garcon you want to just have a sip of the soup and expect them to offer you a table. And that's exactly what she did.

    And frankly, I don't think it's just a Mercedes dealership. You go to any car dealership and tell the salesperson you just want to test drive the car and have no intention of buying it whatsoever, and I don't think he would be willing to serve you at all, considering the fact that there are other people he could have better success with.
  • Looking at how to equip the car for winter snows...

    Standard rims are 16", with the 17's the sport option package.

    For snows, 15's would be better...but will they clear the brakes?
  • Bad idea! Assuming that the rims will clear the brakes, you'll have to go to a 70 or even 78 aspect ratio tire to get the proper diameter so that your speedometer will register properly. And with all the electronics (the speedo is not mechanical) plus the FSS system I suspect you might end up with a mess. Also don't forget ground clearance, the Coupe is lowered at least a half inch if not a full inch in the rear.

    I guess you could get a dealer to find a tire with a similar circumference in a 15" wheel but why bother? Just get a pair of 16" rims for any C class Benz (I guess the bolt pattern is the same) and mount a pair of Blizac or similar performance snow tire and store them in the summer.
  • Diploid, my experience with a local MB dealership was exactly the opposite of Winfred's. I am a first car buyer, and fit the profile of the C230 audience. By treating me right in this purchase, my local dealership has established a future relationship that will mutually benefit both parties. To say that we should accept rude, degrading service as the status quo for MB would be contrary to the corporate objective of obtaining young, first time buyers. If you are correct in your statement, the rude dealership will certainly fall behind corporate standards and objectives as outlined by their entry into the first time buyer market segment. That being said, I would never tell a dealer that I wasn't going to buy a car when a walk into the showroom. You still need to play the game.

    I pick up my new Coupe tomorrow.
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,367
    I agree that there are plenty of excellent alternatives out there for winter tires to use on 16" reason to go to 15s. Tire Rack and others will shortly begin marketing seriously their various tire/wheel packages for the winter...go to the web site or watch their ads in the magazines.
  • I just ordered Michlien Pilot Alpins for my c230 sport coupe. Got a set of Mille Miglia 16" chrome rims for $109 each on sale. The whole deal is $950 delivered from Tire Rack. Tried my local Town Fair Tire and they were $50 higher per tire. Based on comments I read from the Tire Rack survey, these should do the trick coupled with traction control and the transmission "winter" mode.
  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    That was the main reason why winfred got treated the way she did- she told them that she didn't want to buy the car. Of course they're not going to treat her well. Why should they cater to her when they can have better luck with someone else?

    By telling them that she has no intention of buying it, it leaves them with this first impression of her:

    First time buyer- no credit, no money.

    They weren't judging her by her age, her looks or her race- they based their opinion on that one sentence alone. You may have had a better experience with your Mercedes dealership because you didn't tell them that you didn't want to buy their car. Of course they'll treat you right.

    I never said that Mercedes dealerships were rude or that they're supposed to be rude. I said that it was a luxury marque showroom that will cater to its preferred customers.

    My comment to winfred was never meant to incite such negative views from fellow posters.

    I just found it rather naive for someone to walk into a Mercedes dealership, tell them that she doesn't want to buy their car but would like to test drive it, and expect them to actually treat her like their other customers. And then to go online and slander the dealership, saying that it sucked and warning people not to go there.

    I've already explained myself twice regarding this, I'm not going to take up more space.
  • To quote Winfred's post:
    Someone called robert served me for 5 mins,when I just say I want a test drive, but probably won't buy or order today [emphasis added], he says he will ask someone to help me, so I waited another 10mins, but nothing happen.
    Note that she certainly didn't say that she absolutely wasn't going to buy the car, and somehow I suspect even S class buyers will go to more than one dealer, not to mention take a test drive to compare the S to a 7 series or a Lexus LS430. So she was being honest with the guy, not to mention a little defensive against common high-pressure tactics. Even when I'm serious about buying a car, I'm certainly not stupid enough to tell the salesman that I've got the money burning a hole in my pocket to do so. (And although I misspelled her ID in my first post, at least I read what she wrote - do your critical reading skills need some honing?)

    Moreover, at $26,000, this car isn't that expensive (certainly not by standards of incomes and consumption levels in Los Angeles), and lots of young buyers can qualify for a lease, even if they don't have the cash for a purchase down payment. (Who's out there buying RSXes, Celicas and Eclipses - the cars that Mercedes mentions as competitors in its comparison charts - in this price bracket, anyway?) Therefore, the assumption that young buyers necessarily mean low incomes and poor credit (and we don't know how young Winfred is, or how young she appears) isn't one that should be made by a dealer who is trying to sell cars to young buyers.

    If the salesman had a customer with an appointment, then obviously he should serve that customer first. If there's no one else available to help, then he shouldn't say that there is someone, and should offer to make an appointment at another time when it's convenient for both of them. Lying to a potential customer isn't good business, though, and if she decides that she wants the car, she will be visiting one of LA's many other Benz dealers. Here's hoping Robert made a commission on his appointment.
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,367
    I'm betting Winfred is HE, not SHE...and I too do not plan to repeat why I think that should make no difference.

    And I note Winfred has decided not to come back to the board to pursue this...maybe the rest of us should move on, as well.
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