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Mercedes-Benz NZ general manager Ben Giffin is facing an embarrassment of riches: the new C-Class sedan and station wagon range is available with all-wheel-drive for the first time in this country … but he’s not sure he wants the four-paw models. Why? Because the strong SUV market is pretty much where the all-wheel-drive action is at and Giffin has just landed the GLA and will have the GLK next year, one more ‘lifestyle’ than SUV but both equipped with the carmaker’s four-wheel-drive 4Matic system. The current GLK wasn’t built in right-hand drive but the new one will be. “We are looking at it (C-Class 4Matic) and I won’t say no just yet,” he said. “But remember, the GLA and next year’s GLK have 4Matic.” In effect, Giffin has to choose between limiting 4Matic to the SUVs and staying with traditional rear-drive powertrains in the car-based models, or offering 4Matic in the C-Class station wagon, say, to rival the four-paw BMW 3-Series wagon and Audi A4 Avant quattro. A new MRA modular platform has allowed Mercedes-Benz to pull weight out of the car and fit right-hand-drive models with 4Matic for the first time. It has admitted it set out to make the new wagon look more like a lifestyle car than a practical carry-all. These spy pictures – the first without extensive camouflage – show that the good-looking C-Class wagon makes a strong case as an alternative to an small-medium SUV, especially equipped with 4Matic for the ski field. That’s Giffin’s dilemma. The C-Class sedan range arrives in New Zealand in September and the wagon in 2015. Up front – in these pictures
at least – is a luxury look that spy agency Automedia says will not be available in some markets. The grille will instead feature two distinctly horizontal bars that merge into a central Benz badge. The wagon gains a spoiler at the top of the boot lid and rear tail-lights that wrap around on to the lid itself, a clear difference from the current C-Class wagon. Boot space is expected to be in excess of 500 litres, an increase on the current model’s 485 litres. Under the bonnet will be a range of four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines. A V6 will sit in the premium model.
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