26 November 2020
26 November 2020
It might be hard to imagine, living as we do in a time of on-demand and endless choice, but the world used to be a simple place. If you wanted a German vehicle (and who doesn’t?), your choices were clear cut.
Essentially, as motoring journalists liked to put it, you could buy the same German sausage, or the best of the wurst, in one of three sizes. The C-Class was the biggest-selling Benz, back when a simple sedan was all the average family required. Those who wanted more space would buy the station wagon, or C-Class Estate, instead.
Those with more lofty ambitions could step up to a more executive-styled sedan, the E-Class, or – if you were a true captain of industry – the limousine-sized S-Class. And that was it. Three choices, all of them excellent.
Today we demand – and are delivered – so much more, to the point where the amount of choice is almost overwhelming. From small city vehicles such as the A-Class, to giant SUVs such as the G-Class, and everything in between, there’s a wide world of options.
So, let’s break down each mainstream Mercedes-Benz model, and why it might suit you.
Are you young, fit, attractive and yet-to-procreate? Well, good for you. The A-Class – a sleek and compact hatchback that’s perfect for inner-city living and has plenty of sporting brio for a blast through the countryside as well – could be good for you, too.
Super modern inside, the A-Class was one of the first Mercedes-Benz models to feature the tech-savvy MBUX operating system, which allows you to command your vehicle (and even ask it questions) with your voice. Its compact size makes it a dream to park and the perfect companion for negotiating tight, multi-storey carparks.
Perhaps best of all, though, it looks as young, fit and attractive as you do. And if you fancy a tiny bit more space, or you just like a more traditional look, there’s an A-Class sedan on offer as well.
Bigger and bolder but still a hatch, just on a grander scale, the design mission for the B-Class was to reinvent the family vehicle.
Stylish, smooth and spacious inside, the B-Class wraps up substance and practicality in a single package that makes perfect sense for anyone who needs to move children and their many, many accoutrements around town on a regular basis.
With its vast panoramic sliding sunroof, there’s plenty of sunlight to make it feel even bigger and brighter inside. Throw in generous levels of safety and comfort and you really are looking at an all-new kind of family vehicle.
C could well stand for classic, cool and classy, because the C-Class sedan is all of those things. It might also stand for core, because that’s what it represents for Mercedes – more than 10 million C-Classes have been sold worldwide since its launch in 1982. In the pre-SUV era, it was the go-to family vehicle for the well-heeled masses and was also available as a station wagon – or “estate” – for those who needed to fit in skis, or dogs.
Today, it is undeniably more attractive and technically advanced than ever. Not to mention safer and more comfortable.
And, if you want to feel the sun on your skin, the C-Class also comes as a convertible, which Mercedes-Benz calls a “cabriolet”.
Dynamic, elegant and luxurious, the E-Class is the executive express for those who’ve already arrived. Bigger, bolder and more powerful than the C-Class, this sedan offers more space, more power and even more refinement.
While the exterior offers a bold, classic stance, it’s the interior that really sets the E-Class on a different plane, with big and comfortable seats and plenty of space – front, rear and in the boot.
Both the C-Class and E-Class are also available as a plug-in hybrid for those who love green-friendly technology. There’s also an E-Class cabriolet.
At the very top of the Mercedes-Benz line-up sits the technical tour de force that is the S-Class, a limousine that offers incredible levels of luxury, ride quality that is second to none, effortless performance and a sense of being at the very cutting edge.
Vast in all dimensions, the S-Class also stands out as the showcase vehicle that Mercedes-Benz uses to debut its most advanced features – such as semi-autonomous driving and E-Active Body Control.
This is an experience on wheels, created for captains of industry, celebrities, sheiks and landed gentry. And yes, even the S-Class comes as a cabriolet.
In the past, the SUV market was well and truly overshadowed by demand for the passenger vehicle. Today, of course, the SUV accounts for just over half of all cars sold in New Zealand so it should come as no surprise Mercedes-Benz has an entire fleet of them to complement its more traditional range of vehicles.
At the very top sits the G-Class, a giant and hugely capable off-roader, while at the much smaller end of the range, the A-Class gets the G-Class treatment to create the small, city-friendly SUV that is the GLA.
The range then follows a similar pattern to that of a passenger vehicle – you can have a GLB, GLC, GLE and a GLS.
By Stephen Corby