Mercedes: 2008 SLK; pricing for C63
Mercedes-Benz has announced details of changes to its SLK roadster for 2008.
Launching in April, the revised version has tweaked front and rear styling, upgraded interior, and some improved engines. Most notable is the 3.5-litre V6 in the SLK 350, gaining an extra 33bhp – taking the total to 301bhp – while returning better mpg and lower CO2 emissions. The SLK 200 and 280 also get lower CO2 outputs.
The optional seven-speed automatic can now blip the throttle on downshifts, while a more direct steering system is also available at a cost. Both of these are standard on the range-topping SLK 55 AMG, which adds even more aggressive looks but leaves the 355bhp engine unchanged.
Pricing for the facelifted SLK will be confirmed later in the year. In the meantime, Mercedes has priced the C63 AMG performance C-Class models at £51,317 for the saloon, £52,567 for the estate, putting it squarely against Audi’s RS4 and BMW’s M3 super-saloons.
Market Watch – January sales
A slight change to the usual market watch formula this week, as we catch up with three of the official winter sales we’ve spotted so far.
Nissan has a range of three-year zero percent finance deals available – including on the Qashqai.
Given how popular this pseudo-SUV is proving, any sort of offer is welcome, while other applicable vehicles include the , X-Trail, and the Micra. The Note is also available with a £299 three-year servicing package. These offers end 31 March.
Nissan has also just introduced another pair of special edition 4x4s – this time on the X-Trail. The Arctix and higher-spec Arctix eXpedition are on sale now from £21,995, and include a host of extra equipment as well as the usual special edition stickers.
Secondly there are Chevrolet offers but you need to move fast, as the promotion ends on 13 January. Biggest discount comes on the Lacetti 1.6SX, which at £8,995 is £2,120 off. There’s also £1,700 off the Kalos 1.2S at £5,995, and £1,370 off the Kalos 1.4SX at £7,995, while the Matiz 1.0SE is reduced £1,070 to £5,795.
Finally Seat is running some deals. Any Ibiza (excluding the Ecomotive, see below) is available on zero percent finance; there’s also a limited edition 1.9 diesel Sport with a DAB digital radio upgrade at £10,995. The Altea is available with up to £2,000 off, while the Altea XL 1.9 diesel gets a £1,500 discount.
The Alhambra can be had with a pair of free integrated children’s seats, worth £350, plus £750 in Center Parcs vouchers. And selected Leon models are available with zero percent deposit. Offers run until the end of January.
Seat Ibiza Ecomotive – BlueMotion for less
Seat has released pricing and specification details for its Ibiza Ecomotive green supermini. And, comparatively speaking, it’s a bargain.
The Ibiza is basically a VW Polo underneath, and this Ecomotive version is Seat’s equivalent of the Polo BlueMotion. It has the same low-rolling-resistance Dunlop tyres, lengthened gear-ratios, and modified 1.4-litre three-cylinder diesel engine with particulate filter. It produces 99g/km of CO2, claims to return 74mpg, and does 0-62mph in 12.8 seconds – identical figures to the entry-level Polo BlueMotion 1.
The difference is in the price. The Ibiza Ecomotive costs £10,995. That’s £1,000 less than the £11,995 BlueMotion 1, yet the Ibiza includes air-conditioning. To get air-con on the Polo you have to upgrade to the £12,845 BlueMotion 2, which produces higher CO2 levels and uses more fuel – taking it out of the sub-100g/km tax exempt Band A vehicle excise (VED) bracket.
So all in all, if you want a small hatchback to help you save the world, the Ibiza seems a better bet than the Polo – saving you money and keeping you cool, too. Available to order now, it arrives in March.
New VW Polo Match: better value
Volkswagen has replaced the entry-level Polo S with a new model – the more generously specified Match.
Improvements include 15-inch alloys, body-coloured exterior trim, foglamps, leather-covered steering wheel, gearknob and handbrake, electric front windows, height adjustable driver’s seat, under seat drawer on the passenger side, and a split-folding rear bench.
Buyers also get a choice of six-CD changer or iPod connection as part of the package. Altogether, this extended equipment list equals £825 in added value over S trim. There are four engines to choose from – three petrol, one diesel – and an automatic option.
Priced from £9,315 to £11,550, the new Polo Match is on sale now.
Toyota Auris SR180: New Year excitement?
Toyota’s Auris range has a new flagship sporting model: the SR180.
Using the same 175bhp 2.2-litre diesel engine as the previously range-topping T180 model, the SR manages 0-62mph in 8.1 seconds while officially averaging 45.6mpg. Maximum torque is 295lb ft, arriving at just 2,000rpm, making mid-range response impressive.
Visually, the SR is differentiated from its lesser siblings by new 17-inch alloys, dark rear window tints, and a subtle rear spoiler. More usefully from a driving perspective, the stock springs have been replaced with Toyota Motorsport items, lowering the ride height.
Standard equipment includes dual-zone air-conditioning and stability control. The SR180 is on sale now: £17,995 for three doors, £18,495 for five.
Mazda MX-5 Niseko special edition
Mazda is obviously hoping you’ve already got summer on the brain, since it’s just revealed an MX-5 special edition, to sit alongside the existing ‘Icon’ version.
Badged ‘Niseko’, this comes as 124bhp 1.8-litre soft-top or 158bhp 2.0-litre coupe roadster, and includes up to £2,000 in extra equipment over equivalent ordinary models. Highlights here are the unique brown leather seats (with matching fabric roof on the soft-top), unique alloy design, and standard chrome pack.
Metallic paint – either silver or Niseko exclusive ‘Icy Blue’ – is also included, with colour-coded rollover hoops as another unique feature. 240 soft-tops and 560 roadster coupes will be available, priced at £17,995 and £19,995, respectively.
Special editions are traditionally very popular within the MX-5 community, and since the MX-5’s peak buying period is February to May, the Niseko is a tempting reason to get in early.
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