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Mercedes-Benz CLK (2005 and earlier)



  • bornfreebornfree Posts: 1
    Hi jrct9454,

    what news do you have on the A-class, and what was your source?

    I've wanted one since I rented one to tour Spain a couple of years ago.
  • c230jeffc230jeff Posts: 5
    Funny jjpeter should make the comparison he did, as I just traded in my 2000 Passat V6 (loved it, BTW, just a few minor ergonomic complaints, but a very reliable ride for the past 45k miles) for a 2002 C230KMT. I love this car! Orion Blue, Charcoal, leather, 6-spd manual, lots of goodies.

    To say downscale is a travesty, this car is a phenomenal deal for 30k, no matter how you slice it.

    I have lurked in this forum for a few weeks as I scoped out my options, and I am more than a little concerned about some of the posts, particularly the key issues, rattles, etc., I am hoping I am not *blessed* with these problems.

    In reading about Lisa from Courtesy and her $1,790 3-yr extended warranty, I presented this information to R&H Motors in Maryland, and they cheerfully honored it. No questions asked. I have had a VERY pleasant MB-buying experience, here's hoping my MB-OWNING experience proves the same.

  • verozahlverozahl Posts: 574
    Benz owns Chrysler here. They should use Chrysler to sell downmarket cars. Benz wants to hold the entire market (going Down Town) and Volkswagen wants to get "non-snobby rich people" to trade their S-Classes in for Phaetons. Whatever. These crazy things may work in the land of my ancestors, but I don't happen to remember the Stuttgart and Wolfsburg area codes. Call em up, remind them that America is a bit different country.

    As for the RSX... next gen, if American Honda wants to use the H badge on them and sell a new car as the 'bottom' A badge model to compete with the Lexus IS and Infiniti G, that would be fine by me. Just remember, Acura started out with the Legend and Integra and they haven't changed much sense from that track, and it's worked fine.

    Benz and VW are doing some crazy things. Because I live oh so near to DCX and VW-Audi North American headquarters, I'll be saying a lot of C230s and Phaetons in the not-so-far future... maybe? Maybe.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "They only put that car out to build volume and regain #1 sales status over Lexus. AND to mask the slow sales of the current C-Class.""

    Wrong, it was added to draw in younger buyers, primarily. Mercedes-Benz has never made a big deal about trying to lead in sales. Funny the new C-Class sold very well (2001) before the C230 model as added.

    As far as trying to undercut Lexus.....not hardly. Mercedes still sells more cars of higher sticker prices than anyone including Lexus. Every Mercedes-Benz costs thou$$ands more than the equivalent Lexus.

  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363

    To answer the question about the A-Class, the sources are everywhere. D-B execs have repeatedly said that they plan to bring the next-gen A-Class to North America, after the redesign due in 2004. As an MBCA member, those quotes are frequently in the club magazine, but beyond that, all of the car magazines have said the same thing at one time or another in the last 18 months.

    Understand, the next A will have from the get-go the longer wheelbase alternative [which was a recent addition to the line], and this bigger car is the only one we would receive in our market. Also, it's likely the next A will be a pretty radical change from the current car, with a lower center of gravity, nicer ride, and even more room all-new engines from the new aluminum 4-cyl lineup. The presumption is that we will eventually get a hybrid or even full fuel-cell drivetrain in this car, which DCX needs to keep the CA ARB happy.

    Anyway, this news has been out there for some time. They will need something to compete with the BMW 1er, though I'm not sure the A qualifies, since the 1er will be RWD, and presumably "sportier" than any A-class. There is also a rumor [and in this case, that's all it is] that by then, the C-Coupe will have undergone a complete new body change, though I am skeptical about that given the fact the the W203 chassis is only going on 3 years old at this point.
  • verozahlverozahl Posts: 574
    "As far as trying to undercut Lexus.....not hardly. Mercedes still sells more cars of higher sticker prices than anyone including Lexus. Every Mercedes-Benz costs thou$$ands more than the equivalent Lexus."

    Wie sagt man 'overpriced' auf Deutsch??? >:)

    [Antwortet: überzukostet!] >:)
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Trollism in clever.

  • merckxmerckx Posts: 565
    Like you,I've noticed how every year Mercedes was making more and more of what were options standard. I'm really against this,as I've always admired the cars,and think they are worth the money,but the "Command" system was about the last straw. What an obsurd waste of $2,000 this S-Class standard piece of equipment is. It'll probably be an E standard any year now...
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    ...will be allegedly vastly improved in its next iteration, but I too find this to be an unnecessary complication in what is already a too-complicated package of electronics. It would be one thing if they got all of this sorted out in a reliable fashion for production, but instead the whole electronics system in the cars is the Achilles heel at the moment. If you sift through the complaints in the various MB boards, about 95% are attributable to electronic/computer/software failures.

    Some of it may be "neat" on the drawing board, but just too troublesome in the field. Most of this is their continued, stubborn dependence on the same EU suppliers that keep dropping the ball year after year.
  • verozahlverozahl Posts: 574
    Hmm, Lexus, Acura, and Infiniti aren't prompting Benz, Bimmer, and Audi to make options standard, I hope. If they can't charge $1000 each for auto tranny and metallic paint and sunroofs, then... aw man.
  • merckxmerckx Posts: 565
    Verozahl,there really isn't any,because Mercedes started loading up US bound cars when the major "Accura" influence was the first generation Accord coming with its major contribution to motoring,the standard lidded coin box.
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363 need a history lesson, but I'm not sure I'm up for it today. As noted by Merc above, all of this predates the arrival of the Japanese upscale offerings by 5-10 years [around 1980].

    I believe all debates about marketing strategies are a huge waste of time - brand management is already a thoroughly discredited discipline. Either the product meets expectations at the price offered, or it doesn't. Let every maker compete to offer us as many choices as possible, and the buyer will decide what survives.
  • zman46zman46 Posts: 3
    Has anyone heard if MB will replace the 2.3 liter engine with a 1.8 liter SC engine? My sister was having work done at the dealer on her 190D and one of the service techs told her a 1.8 was coming out. Don't know if it is fact, fiction, more choices of engines or a replacement for the 2.3 liter. Seems odd they would drop in a smaller motor. Thanks
  • verozahlverozahl Posts: 574
    merckx, are you referring to the Accord or to the Legend?

    I'm up for some history whenever you want to go to a flashback to the days when Benzes were exclusive and not seen on every dang street corner. Why they are, I don't know, because they're overpriced in comparison to even Lexi, which aren't exactly "value."

    Still don't see the value in the C230. Look at the options list. Metallic paint charge and then "extra option" surcharge on top of the option charges for equipment that should be standard.

  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    The value is in the safety equipment period. I do agree with you that if you look beyond safety equipment and the slick roof, I'm not sure why anyone would buy the car. But, the safety equipment is standard and the panoramic roof is cheap and unique. For those two options alone even I'd consider a C230 coupe. In fact, if they knocked the price down a few grand, and if I weren't reading horror stories about the electrical systems on these cars, this would likely be my next daily driver.
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    We've discussed this in earlier posts - you may want to go back a few hundred and skim forward.

    Briefly, so as not to repeat all of it:

    Yes, there is a completely new, long overdue overhaul of all of MB's gasoline inline 4s coming for the '03 model year. They are all-aluminum [the current 4 uses an iron block], will have balance shafts, and will be set up to use direct injection, though that will only appear on a limited number of models initially.

    Some will be supercharged; it is presumed that we will get one or more of these new engines in the C-Coupe in '03 - exactly which one, and exactly how much hp, hasn't been made public yet. Speculation is around the 170-180 hp range from a 1.8 with SC, which would be down a bit from the current car, but with improved fuel consumption, and quieter, smoother operation.
  • c230jeffc230jeff Posts: 5
    Anyone have information about integrating an existing Motorola Timeport into the C230's multifuntion display?

    I didn't want to shell out the outrageous price for the integrated phone system, especially since I already had a Timeport, but it would be nice to integrate into the system.
  • im having a tough time getting used to this hatchback idea and i dont want a four door, what would really do it for me is if they made that C230 as a two door coupe with a trunk similar to the 2door honda accord setup (have you seen the pic of the new 2003 honda accord 2door coupe yet? email me and ill send it to you)
    i cant believe mercedes is not offering the C230 in a two door coupe with a trunk and i dont want to buy the hatchback just to find that a two door with trunk is in the works
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    ...the car you're describing is called the CLK, and starts somewhere north of $45k for the newly redesigned '03.

    Personally, the hatch is exactly what I want, and am surprised more of them are not offered in this market. SAAB is apparently going to drop the 5 door from the 9-3 lineup when the new car debuts in the fall - I'm completely mystified where the American public comes from on this topic. EVERYWHERE else in the world, it's the hatch that is the most desireable configuration.

    Anyway, the 2-door C you want is out there, and has been out there for 4 years...that's the niche the CLK is supposed to fill.
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    Could you please clarify what is so hard to stomach about hatchbacks? Is it just how the car looks, or is it something else? Honestly, I don't see what the big deal is with trunks. Unless it's just a preference in how a trunk looks, I see no other plus in having one. It certainly makes no sense safety wise. If someone breaks into your car, they can just as easily break into the trunk as they can a hatch. And a trunk can't hold anything bulky or odd sized, no matter if the seat folds down or not. Anyway, I was just curious as to why you didn't like hatchbacks.
  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    I don't care too much either way, but I know that many people prefer trunks for collision protection and damage protection reasons. The combination of separate rear pillars and a separate trunk tends to withstand somewhat greater loads. Also, hatches have a reputation for poorer durability than trunks - whether this is justified or not, the reputation is there in some circles. Hatches (I think) tend to be noisier because of less sound insulation out back. Lastly, hatches tend to be associated with economy vehicles and therefore, the more upscale you go, the fewer hatches you see. Does anyone expect Mercedes to make the CL500 a hatchback? Why not?
  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    ...release date for the '03 Cs is supposed to be the first part of August. Changes on the coupe are most significant in the engine compartment, with the new 1.8 SC engine replacing the iron block 2.3. Both power and torque are down about 3-5%, but fuel mileage is up 7%, and it promises to be smoother and quieter with the balance shafts.

    If you are hot for the current car, whatever is on dealer lots now is just about all there will be. The new ones are already arriving at the VPCs.
  • huntzingerhuntzinger Posts: 356
    BTW, European roads are full of MB A class and Smart vehicles.

    And PT Cruisers, too :-).

    I'm just back from 2 weeks in Germany, having had a Mercedes A-140 for ~1400km worth of driving. I do have to say that I'm quite impressed with the car in context of its price, and that despite only having a 1.4 liter motor, it moved out well enough, including the ability to pass the lorries on the Autobahn, and a typical cruising speed of ~140kph outside of congested areas. It was also interesting in that the only vehicles that were really in the "pffft" passing category were the E's, 5's and 911's.

    Overall, I'd say that I'd seriously consider an A in the USA, if looking for something in that <20K price range, although I would prefer it to go along with Germany's essentially SUV-free roads.

  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    ...should be here by '05, perhaps as early as the fall of '04. The car we will see is of course the scheduled redesign, but I believe that the key features [two-story design, massive interior vs size of car, FWD] will be the same. They want to work on ride and engines before bringing it to NA - I expect we will get the naturally aspirated 1.8 that is about to appear in the C230 in supercharged form. The basic 1.8 would be fine for a car of the A's weight, even if the new one weighs more, as it inevitably will. As noted above, the current car manages fine with 1.4 and 1.7 liter gas engines, and a particularly nice diesel which we will never see here.

    And this platform will be the basis for their run at hybrid and fuel cell drivetrains, which we should see before the decade is out.
  • tariktarik Posts: 344
    ...I had an A 170 CDI rental two years ago, and that little thing made me grin ear to ear. Low end torque, acceleration in high gear, and top speed (~185 kph/115 mph acc to its speedo) were more than adequate, considering the engine size. The sucessor is believed to have a lower center of gravity to help keep all wheels on the ground (no more elk-issues...), I wonder how you realize that with the "two story" design?

  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363
    ...can be jiggered to get the CG down a couple of inches. And the diesel is the best engine in the line, but not here until the US oil companies stop whining about it and get on with getting the sulfur out of our diesel fuel.

    Also, we will get only the long-wheelbase version - there is even the possibility that the LWB will be the standard [and only] car for every market when the A is redesigned - the extra WB also helps stability in sudden avoidance maneuvers.
  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    What is a two-story design?
  • tariktarik Posts: 344
    I was just paraphrasing jrct's definition for the A-Class' design of having an engine which is tilted forward in order to fit its gearbox under the front floor boards. Essentially, it s a somwhat elevated floor height to provide room for items which usually are housed in the engine compartment (i.e. battery). The following pic is smallish, but the best I could find for you:



  • jrct9454jrct9454 Posts: 2,363 well as a lot of other ancillary stuff. It was partly just a clever way of getting a lot of interior room in a small package, and partly a necessity for the fuel cell pieces that they wanted to experiment with.

    Unfortunately, the resulting higher CG caused the car to roll when under extreme side-side maneuvers [the moose avoidance test of one of the Scandanavian car mags], and the rest, as they say is history: much scrambling, recalls, lousy publicity. The solution was to lower the ride height, stiffen the ride, and make ESP standard equipment. Those things made it plenty stable enough, but also made the ride marginal for an MB mainline sedan product. The longer wheelbase version was recently introduced, and combined with some interior upgrades, has got the EU press back on the car's side.

    As noted in the posts above, the car is actually kind of a hoot to drive, and the packaging efficiency makes it unique in the MB lineup. But it really never overcame the initial negative press, and thus has never met sales expectations. They have high hopes for the redesign, which should come in '04 for the '05 MY.
  • chowchow3chowchow3 Posts: 9
    I have about 6,000 miles on my c230 so far and I am so glad I bought it. It is functional (used it to move furniture twice, threw in my bike in the truck), great handling (this is my first German car, I am hooked) and unique. The message board is true, there are a lot of dust on the wheels.

    The real question now: I just found a 8-10" crack on my windshield, I took it to the dealer. He found a pinhead (literally) size chip and said that's what caused it to crack. Could it be true? If this is really caused by chip, I am out $500 (insurance deductible). The chip is just so small that I can't imagine it could cause such a long crack in a day or so.

    What do you guys think?
This discussion has been closed.