Prices of Mercedes-Benz cars in the UK will rise by an average of 1.73% from April 2 due to “inflationary pressures”. The new C-class Sports Coupe, a direct rival for the forthcoming BMW 3 Series Compact, goes on sale from May 17 priced from £20,290. That buys the C180; the C200 Kompressor is £21,790, C230K £23,250 and C220 CDI £22,825. All prices are £450 less than the equivalent Classic 4dr saloon. Estate versions of the latest C-class will be launched at the beginning of May for an additional £1,350 over the saloon model. The revised A-class is launched with prices up by £135 to £265; the entry model, the A140 Classic is now £14,175. Long wheelbase versions will cost £900 more.
BMW has added Sport models to the 7 Series range. Previously available with an M Sport option pack costing £2,815 on the 728i and 735i, the new Sports cost some £400 less than before, ranging from £39,950 for the 728i Sport to £71,970 for the 750i Sport. Current non-Sport models continue alongside. The Z3 also gets the Sport treatment. The 2.2 and 3-litre versions get new alloys, lowered sports suspension with limited slip differential, and a leather interior with sport seats. Prices are £23,230 and £27,730, premiums of £1,390 and £800 respectively over the standard models.
Ford has launched a special edition version of a special edition. The original SE is the Ka Collection, which has metallic paint, power steering, electric windows and leather steering wheel. The new model, the Sun Collection, adds a full length power fabric sunroof for £8,560, That's £465 extra, compared with £595 for the same option on the Lupo, though VW offers it on the base E version at £8,035.
Volkswagen will launch its most powerful production model by the end of the year in the Passat W8. Power is 275bhp, transmission 4x4 and body style comes in saloon and estate. A full luxury package will be included with the car priced a little under £30,000. That puts it head on with some well-specified executive models a class above, but VW is banking on the technology and discrete luxury winning sales.
Perodua has increased the price of its recently introduced Kenari 5dr hatchback by £250 to £6,175.
Land Rover has re-introduced the commercial derivative of the Discovery, now based on the latest version of the passenger-carrying vehicle, which was launched in 1998. The TD5-powered model is £22,795, while new Freelander commercials are £16,305 for the 1.8 and £17,505 for the TD4. All prices are VAT inclusive.
Seat's impressive sporting hatchback, the Ibiza Cupra R, has gone on sale at £17,990. Changes over the standard Cupra model are confined to bigger brakes and alloys, plus 180bhp in place of 156bhp. But the £5,000 extra asked for the 'R' seems a hefty premium.
Fiat has launched a 'Michael Schumacher' version of its smallest car, the Polish-built Seicento. It gets the full Abarth body modifications, ABS, new alloys, plus lots of aluminium and leather trim and, of course, Schumacher logos. The price is £7,895, £1,100 more than the Sporting on which it is based.