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Los Angeles, CA
Price Range (MSRP): $29,900 (CLA-Class) to $116,600 (CL-Class)
Mercedes-Benz, the storied German luxury automaker, offers several exciting changes to its 2015 lineup including a full redesign for the popular C-Class sedan and the new GLA-Class small SUV.
The CLA-Class debuted last year and though it may be the most affordable car in Mercedes-Benz lineup, it certainly doesn’t look it. It has four doors, but Mercedes is found of calling it a coupe thanks to its dramatic, curvy styling and short front/rear overhangs. It offers Mercedes luxury and attention to detail, along with a peppy turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a dual-clutch seven-speed transmission.
Next is the C-Class, which is offered as a coupe as well as a sedan. The coupe continues unchanged for the new model year but the sedan has been completely redone from the wheels up. It now sports all-aluminum body work which saves weight, brand new styling inside and out, and the latest safety technology you’ll find in any car on the road.
The E-Class represents the next level up, offering more power and interior space, and also great flexibility, available as a sedan, coupe, convertible, or a wagon. For 2015, the E400 replaces the E350 variants of the coupe/convertible, and the E550 variant of the sedan.
Sitting atop the totem pole is the flagship S-Class line of full-size sedans which represent the pinnacle of luxury. The S-Class was redesigned last year, adding new exterior styling and some of the most advanced tech on the road today. There is also a hybrid version for those who want better fuel economy. For 2015, it adds a coupe version which replaces the outgoing CL-Class. The two-door keeps all of the luxury of the four-door model but in a sleeker, more streamlined package.
The ground-breaking CLS-Class features swoopy coupe styling but also four doors for practicality. It gets new front and rear bumpers, as well as an interior design refresh for 2015. The exterior highlights include LED headlights which use 71 individual LEDs to make up the headlights, turn signals, etc.
Luxury isn’t the only thing going on at Mercedes they also produce a few sports cars. The SLK-Class of two-seater hardtop convertibles offers the very cool Magic Sky Control roof, which can adjust the tint of the ceiling glass with the touch of a button to let different amounts of light into the cabin.
The upscale two-seater SL-Class is the larger of two production sports cars in Mercedes’ lineup. The convertible hardtop adds a new variant for 2015, the SL400, and carries a long, long list of interior features (including a beverage cooler in the glove box).
For something with a little bit more utility than a sports car, Mercedes-Benz offers several different crossovers/SUVs, each bringing something different to the table.
The brand-new GLA-Class is now the smallest SUV offered by the German automaker. In some ways it appears to be more wagon than SUV, with a sleek shape that offers a high seating position preferred by some drivers, but not as much utility as a more traditionally shaped SUV. The GLA-Class shares a chassis and other technology, including powertrains, with the CLA-Class.
The GLK-Class is a compact luxury crossover with seating for five, optional all-wheel drive, and the interior refinement you’d expect from a Mercedes.
The M-Class, which also features two-rows of seats for up to five passengers the offers luxury features like real eucalyptus wood trim pieces and standard all-wheel drive.
If you need more seating then the GL-Class with seating for seven has you covered.
There is one “true” SUV in the stable as well, the rugged G-Class which has the looks to match its off-road chops. The G-Class also doubles as one of the most luxurious cars in Mercedes’ lineup so you’ll be in comfort no matter where you end up.
Finally, Mercedes also offers a class of Sprinter commercial vans for business applications.
The CL-Class has been discontinued for 2015. It has been rolled into the S-Class line as the S-Class coupe for the new model year.
Zero percent financing, employee discount, cash back, out-the-door price tags...
Most dealers work hard to offer the public competitive prices. These incentives can grab your attention, but they can also obscure the actual terms you're getting on your purchase.
How can you fully understand incentives to get the lowest possible price on your car?
Most state franchise laws prohibit manufacturers from selling cars directly to the public, so the dealer will be your middleman. But in terms of financing and insurance, you can choose a bank or the dealer directly.
How can you determine what's in your best interest?
Destination charges, taxes, license and title fees, advertising fees... When going to a dealership, you must ask for an explanation of any fee you don't understand. But you need to choose your battles wisely. Your local car dealer may have taken a loss or slim profit along the way, and your fighting over something like a doc fee when the deal is nearly wrapped up may be counterproductive.
In any case, there are many fees and charges in the sale process: some inevitable, others questionable.
How do you tell them apart?
If you currently own a car, it probably represents profit. The question is, whose profit will it be?
With few exceptions, you'll get the most money for your used car by selling it privately. That's because dealers pay wholesale prices — not retail prices — for used cars, and they sell them at retail.
Your current car's value can be used to lower the price on your new car. However, most people underestimate their used car's value when going to a dealership.
How can you maximize your value?
The car manufacturer holds back a fraction of the price of all vehicles the dealership sells. Then, it returns the money to the dealership, usually on a quarterly basis.
Dealer holdback began its life as a safety net that ensured the manufacturers would have a security deposit of sorts if a dealership missed payments, and the dealerships would have money on hand to cover overhead costs when the holdback was returned.
How can you take advantage of dealer holdbacks to get the bottom line price?
Unlike consumer incentives, dealer incentives are factory-to-dealer incentives that reduce the dealer's true cost to buy the vehicle from the factory to below invoice.
Manufacturers offer these incentives on a regional basis to generate sales on specific models. These incentives are sometimes referred to as "spiffs," and they can touch off competition among dealers to move slower-selling stock.
For instance, a dealer incentive may kick in when a certain sales target is reached, with each subsequent sale resulting in a higher factory-to-dealer rebate.
How can you benefit from that?
We use your ZIP code to find accredited dealers in your area who will quote you their best internet price.