Mercedes Benz: The Star is Re-Rising

By The Car Family

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I had committed the ultimate sin while driving by leaving more than a foot between the Mercedes Bluetec diesel sedan I was driving and the car in front of me.

Perhaps I was lulled into this error by the quiet nature of this E Class, or maybe it was the inordinate amount of time I spent staring at the miles per gallon readout which even in bumper to bumper traffic was indicating 34 mpg. Suddenly, a red Porsche cabriolet slashed into my lane. Knowing that the driver had apparently not mastered the art of using a turn signal I felt compelled to point this out to him. Before I had a chance to share my wisdom he had cut into another lane and within minutes was nearly two cars ahead of me. In commuter time that is the equivalent of nearly an hour. I decided to catch him using the monkey see monkey do method. Sure enough the diesel’s tremendous low-end torque enabled the Mercedes sedan to keep pace with Mr. Porsche. Soon we were challenging his manhood by pulling ahead of him. It was worth every point on my driving record.

The E Class Bluetec is just one of several vehicles Mercedes has updated to meet the changing needs of a more demanding consumer. From driving the various new models it is obvious that the Mercedes Benz star is on the rise again. The 2008 models are loaded with features, have simplified driver electronics, and refined suspensions as well as some of the most potent engines available in any land bound vehicle. Choosing the AMG option provides powerplants with at least 475 horsepower. Just starting these big Benz engine sets off every car alarm in the time zone while bringing tears of financial joy to car insurance agents and petroleum company stockholders.

However, the big news at Mercedes is the new C Class. With a larger interior, improved handling, and an abundance of both active and reactive safety features this is a very frisky sedan. It does everything well. The C Class delivers good fuel mileage, has comfortable seats, you can even equip this tidy sedan with all wheel drive. Depending on how it’s optioned you can have a classic luxury sedan or a street scorcher. The Sport model with larger tires, a tad tighter ride, and an aggressive rim and tire package is very distinctive. Fuel mileage for almost all Mercedes products is from 20 mpg up in the daily PCH crawl. We have gotten over 25 mpg but we had to stay behind a Volkswagen bus to do it.

Need more attention and room; the ubiquitous E Class is available as a mild mannered sedan or wagon. However, if you order the E63 version a 507 horsepower uber version will enable your E Class to do a Clark Kent impression as it changes the sedate Mercedes into a faster than a speeding bullet version as quickly as you can say AMG. Fuel mileage carries a gas-guzzler penalty, but slender use of the accelerator can enable you to pass most gas stations.

For those who can finagle a way to get the diesel powered Bluetec E Class into California, the rewards are a modern looking four door that can easily get 30 mpg and offers a kidney and marriage challenging 600 miles before you need to refuel.

Once the divorce is final the two-seater SL hardtop convertible just might be your loving companion. It is the ultimate luxury roadster and is readily prepared to drop its velvet glove to reveal a hardened fist with either its standard 382 horsepower V8 or the $189,000 AMG SL65 version with over 600 horsepower. The power-operated retractable hardtop is standard on all Mercedes SL Class convertibles and provides a quieter, more secure feel to this four-wheeled pheromone. Space is limited, but how much room does an overnight case and two toothbrushes take up?

The four seater CLK500 comes as a convertible or coupe. The AMG convertible we love the most is the CLK63 and its 475 horsepower. A bargain at about $90,000, this is one delicate looking flower that can quickly weed out pretenders with a 0 to 60 time of about 5 seconds while

And remember that Mercedes is redoing its sporty car line this year and look for more performance, better fuel economy, sexy styling, and, of course, a higher price tag.

Mercedes has also refined and restyled its S Class four-door while the hot selling CL Class sedan with its coupe styling remains a trendsetter. The engine choice of these stalwarts depends on the thickness of your gold plated gas credit card and includes the V12-powered CL600. If you really want to reach the stars the CL65 AMG features a 604-hp twin-turbo V12 painted in “liquid metal” to celebrate AMG’s 40th anniversary. This one guarantees parking in front of any valet-equipped restaurant.

For those who want something as rare as a parking spot on PCH try the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren. With its long nose it better have something to keep from being tormented by every rhinoplasty surgeon and that it does with a supercharged 5.4-liter V8 that stirs up 641 horsepower with a top speed estimated at about 210 mph. Complete with semi-gullwing doors and a giddy-up ride this is the new flagship for Mercedes rising star.

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