Go on test drive it, you have nothing to loose other than an hour of boring sales banter. I am a firm believer in "If it feels right".
However, at the end of the day it's German built in South America now, reliable, iconic and true quality. That being said, I think these reviews are needed to highlight the things I spotted that could be better albeit it could be my fault that I have the issues. The car is great but given a second chance this is what I would consider.
I had an Audi A3 2.0 TDI before and I loved it. Audi to Merc, you've moved up in the social ranks if that means anything to you. For me it was more the need to pick another reliable car, shaped well, sporty and that would not make me look like an old git going through any form of mid-life crisis. And so I picked the Merc.
Don't get me wrong, I love the car and get a few cheeky smiles when it's clean and I drive down the street. However, here's what I would change or consider on the next purchase. So if you read this and think I am petty, well perhaps I am but for such an investment, everyone should be picky!
I would go for a diesel the next time. I currently get 22mpg around town and I do a lot of short trips. If I am good on the M25, I get 42mpg at a push. Something worth considering if you like me went for petrol.
The steering wheel controls of the Audi were far superior but the on the Merc it's OK, few more button presses to get the right function. Not a huge fan of the footbrake an it takes some getting used to especially on a steep incline! The only other thing that I think could be changed slightly is the auto-aircon on function. Turn off the de-mister and the aircon comes on automatically. I want the aircon feature on only when I say and therefore save fuel. Now that was something I didn't read in the sales brochure.
I do love the fact that you have a line in/MP3 in socket in the glove box, well done Merc. I can plug my iPod in and not have to fork out on an integrated version.
Now, thank you for reading and please be assured that I am happy with the car. I have some slight difference of opinion but perhaps I should have worked for their design team.
I recently changed positions within my own company and ended up with the choice of either a company car or a car allowance. Given that my previous car had been written off by a driver who crossed a give way sign in broad daylight, I took the company car option.
Given a choice of a German make, a German make, a German make or a German make, I went for a German make. Specifically a Mercedes. I could have gotten a cheaper car (still have to pay benefit in kind (BIK) costs after all) but had always wanted to drive around a brand new Mercedes, at least once. So that's what I did. Suprisingly enough, the BIK rating was very low, around 17% for a petrol engined version.
One of the reasons I went for a Merc, rather than a BMW is that the image of a BMW driver is of an inconsiderate, tail-gaiting and impatient git and those that drive Beemers are all unfairly tarred with the same brush. In other words, I actually wanted to be let out at a junction or come back to a car that had'nt been keyed.
The Sports coupe is a really pretty looking car at the front and at the sides and the metallic paintwork gleams. The back is an acquired taste, but an easier one to acquire than say a 1-series. The colour that I chose (Sunstone orange like the car in the picture) is beautiful IMO and the standard alloys look great.
The final reason I went with this car. The spec I have (SE) gives me dual climate control, a decent stereo and a well set out and impeccably screwed togeather dashboard. The main console particularly is easy to use while the steering wheel accesses many functions such as volume, station and driving information. Automatic wipers and lights are standard as is electrically adjustable folding door mirrors, cruise control and speed limiter, though I'd never have occasion to use either of the last two. BMW by comparison offer very little as standard. The 1-series in particular has horrible 1990's Skoda style plastics that look like synthetic elephant scrotum.
The sports coupe offers seats for four adults even if the method of ingres for six footers into the back is far from graceful. The back seats fold back and the boot is quite spacious for a car of this size. You'll get far more suitcases in the back of a mondeo though. The sports seats in the front are very comfortable and the headrests adjustable in two directions.
A Kompressor is a supercharger. The 180K is no rocket, but gets to 60 in about 9 1/2 seconds with 143BHP. Fast enough to be fun to drive as there is no turbo lag, but not fast enough to get me in trouble with the law. Overtaking is a breeze and the engine will happily cruise at 90 from here until the end of time with hardly any cabin noise at all.
The steering is precisely weighted and the response is very good, with little body roll, even in a series of tight turns. However, sometimes the steering is too light at low speeds which gives less direct feedback than I would like and the ride can be a little stiff at times.
Quite good, considering it's petrol and I don't try to be economical that much. Can easily get 33-38 MPG on the motorway at rather more than 70 and around 30 in town. That's over 300 miles a tank on average.
I am probably one of a total of three people in the UK that have a Mercedes with a manual gearbox. I've owned both manuals and autos and prefer manuals. This gearbox is nice and smooth in its action, but reverse is attained by pushing the stick harder to the left than you would to get 1st. There is no safety mechanism such as a collar to be engaged first. So, sorry to the driver of that CRX at the lights coming out of Sainsburys who must have thought he was about to get punted back into the store.
Will I keep it?
To be honest, when time comes for renewal I will be getting a Jetta or a Golf or maybe an A3 sportsback. I'll be sorry to see the Merc go, but can put the extra £50 per month saved to better use.
Would I buy one?
Doubtful. You can pick up a great non-German car for much less and although it will lose value quicker, there is less initial investment, less servicing costs and less annoyance when some syphalitic loser does key it...