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Mercedes-Benz, the storied German luxury automaker, introduces a brand new entry-level car for 2014, the CLA-Class.
The CLA-Class might be the most affordable car in Mercedes-Benz lineup but 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 starts at just under $30,000 and 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 interior got big changes in 2012 as well and the revised cabin stacks up well against its class. For those who want more performance, the C63 AMG and its 451-hp fits the bill.
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.
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 for 2014, with new exterior styling and some of the most advanced tech on the road today, including an Intelligent Drive system that is the closest approximation to a self-driving system there is on the road today. Add in an extra handful of luxury and creature comforts, and you get the pinnacle of flagship luxury sedans. There is also a hybrid version for those who want better fuel economy.
Mercedes’ CL-Class of coupes is the two-door version of the S-Class, offering V-8 or V-12 power and a long list of safety technologies including night view assist and a system which will notify drivers when they are getting too tired to safely operate the vehicle.
The ground-breaking CLS-Class features striking coupe styling but also four doors for practicality. Of particular note are the new 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 was redesigned in 2012, adding Magic Sky Control as an option, which can adjust the tint of the ceiling glass with the touch of a button.
The upscale two-seater SL-Class is the larger of two production sports cars in Mercedes’ lineup. The convertible hardtop carries a long, long list of interior features (including a beverage cooler in the glove box), and two powerful V-8 engine options.
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 diminutive 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.
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.