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Mercedes-Benz CLC 200 2008 review

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Buy with confidence; all Mercedes-Benz Certified Pre-Owned vehicles come with a factory backed warranty, 100 point safety check, comprehensive service history and 24hr roadside assistance.

The German carmaker is confident the Brazilian-built car, which has brought conquests as 70 per cent of its sales in overseas markets, will do the same here.

It has also shown its ability to attract the younger set, with an average of between 35-40 making them a decade younger than buyers for the rest of the brand.

The new CLC is basically a thorough facelift of its 2001 predecessor, and has not been based on the C-Class platform because of volume and capacity considerations.

Explore the 2008 Mercedes-Benz CLC-CLASS range

“It’s unusual for this to happen, but using the C-Class platform would have meant some changes because Coupe is smaller,” says Mercedes-Benz Australia product manager Gordon Jones.

“That platform was always well-regarded as a chassis.”

Styling

Merc says there have been about 1100 changes to the car, and the main visible ones are restyles for the fascias, lights and boot lid jewelry. The large gunsight logo is set into a wider grille and air intakes, and a pronounced character line accentuate the wedge shape. The car has `variable boot space’ (Mercspeak for a folding rear seat) the can boost the luggage capacity up to 1100 litres, but even with all that on offer the spare tyre is still a space-saver.

Variants

There are three trim levels, starting with the strategically-priced $49,900 200K, which comes 17” spoked alloys, lowered sports suspension, eight airbags, imitation leather and fabric upholstery, but real leather on the sports steering wheel and gear level.

The $53,900 Evolution level gets different 17” twin-spoke alloys, bi-xenon headlights, paddles on the steering wheel, Artico upholstery, red hanging needles on black checkerplate gauges and the Merc Direct Steer system – which enhances the previous speed-sensitive system with a variable rack ratio that adjusts with steering angle to respond more sharply and reduce steering effort.

The $58,998 Evolution+ adds full electric memory seats, luxury climate control aircon, panoramic sunroof and black bird’s-eye maple timber trim accents.

Drivetrains

The single engine available at launch is the 1.8-litre Kompressor (supercharged) engine, which develops 135kW and 250Nm. With the five-speed sequential transmission, featuring F1-style paddles on the steering wheel, the car gets you to 100km in 7.6 litres — and 100km/h in 8.6 seconds, with a top speed of 210km/h and an emissions level of 195g/km. A six-speed manual is also available, but Mercedes-Benz doesn’t expect it to be a big seller.

The carmaker is not considering the other petrol engines available overseas at this point, but says they could bring in a diesel 2.2-litre later.

“We would like to have a diesel but in relatively small volumes,” Jones says.

“There is an update to the 2.2-litre diesel and there’s another coming down the track that could be suitable. But one of the issues is getting them complied for Australia’s fuel.”

Driving

Despite the small body, Merc has managed to make the CLC cabin roomy, with enough leg room in the rear seat to keep most adults happy. The flick-and-lift action of the front seats makes it easier to climb or load into there.

The front seats are well bolstered, and the fit-out – especially in the top-spec black and dove grey – is classier than many cars costing $10,000 more.

Where is does lose out for the driver is in visibility, especially to the rear where no amount of fiddling with the mirror gave a satisfactory view.

The CLC’s natural habitat is urban, with enough zip to get around in traffic. But in driving over a country route of patchwork bitumen, potholes and gravel, it shone – soaking up all but the worst, and making the most of the best. The ride is firm enough to give a hint of subdued sport, but happily compliant enough to smooth out a lot of the problems.

Although not a scorching engine, the little supercharged 1.8-litre is competent, smooth and refined. There was always a touch of lag in the paddle changes on the transmission, but it’s more than adequate for the job in a car that was never intended to be a street racer.

It’s not quite up to the levels of a C-Class, but it doesn’t want to be. What it offers is a sharply priced – and fairly sharp-looking – portal into the brand.

Pricing guides

$10,890
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$7,700
Highest Price
$14,080

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
CLC200 Kompressor 1.8L, PULP, 5 SP AUTO $7,700 – 11,880 2008 Mercedes-Benz CLC-CLASS 2008 CLC200 Kompressor Pricing and Specs
CLC200 Kompressor Evolution 1.8L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $8,200 – 12,760 2008 Mercedes-Benz CLC-CLASS 2008 CLC200 Kompressor Evolution Pricing and Specs
CLC200 Kompressor Evolution + 1.8L, PULP, 5 SP AUTO $9,300 – 14,080 2008 Mercedes-Benz CLC-CLASS 2008 CLC200 Kompressor Evolution + Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide

$7,700

Lowest price, based on third party pricing data

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