Friday, March 31, 2006

4-door saloon future: 2007 Ford Mondeo

Next week auto-future will look in detail to the next Mondeo. For now here is a recent photoshop of the break version. Not bad at all! More updates next Monday, and whole story: first iteration, then why it got changed, the Iosis concept and why it will not look like the Iosis concept, unfortunately...

4-door saloon future: Mercedes C-class

Design, the ups and downs and why you should wait for it
So finally, how will it look like? More masculine and aggressive than the current version. But with more emotional design with clear influences in the profile from the CLS. The rear section clearly inspired in the S-class for the light-cluster will, however, not be sufficiently aggressive and sporty. It is clearly the less inspired part of the new car. Also more aggressive inside with a more robust image. Uber quality materials and build as today but made to also look good and robust in the pictures. That means Audi influence in this particular.
For the ups and downs. Ups: more sporty design, more space, more sportier and confortable drive, more perceived quality. Downs: as usual, price. Should you wait for it? Yes! It will be the best car in its class for many years. It will have technical novelties that other cars will only have many years later. It will hold its value in resale like no other car. The quality of its RWD longitudinal-engine architecture is unsurpassed, it will handle like only a few cars can. Competition? The BMW 3-series and the Lexus IS. Possibly the next Infinity if Renault brings it to Europe. Maybe the next A4 if Audi manages to increase the wheelbase and improve the weight distribution. But only Quattro versions, the FWD Audis have no place in the prestige club.
Finally, I would like to make a prediction of the future regarding the new C-class. Although with more and better competition, it will be a more successful car than the current W203.
Start saving...

Thursday, March 30, 2006

4-door saloon future: Mercedes C-class

Market and derivatives
Luxury saloons in this class are in a good position to face the threat of SUVs and people carriers. Because cars like the C-class, the 3-series or the Lexus IS are inherently desirable cars: expensive, aspirational, sophisticated and with solid image of status, quality and reliability. The average buyer will ponder practical factors while choosing between a Mondeo or Vectra and a Zafira or a small SUV. Space and practicality will favor the people carriers over the traditional saloon. But if a premium choice is thrown in the equation then everything changes! Space and practicality are devalued in favor of the aspirational factor of owning the premium saloon.
However, luxury manufacturers still know that design is the number one factor for the success of a car. Hence the effort that Mercedes has put in the design of the new C-class. But Mercedes is also aware of the importance of derivatives and they know better than anyone that niche-filling is the key for sales but mainly profit. An example: the CLK version of the current W203 lineup is about 300€ less expensive to manufacture than the saloon version. However, Mercedes manages to sell it in average by more 8000€. It is thus understandable that manufacturers will try to fill any profitable niche they can find. And the leaders of this trend are the usual suspects: BMW. As usual ahead of everyone else. If one may dislike the X3 (and I hate that thing) however it is a sure seller and profit-maker for BMW. Mercedes will follow the lead and present is own smaller SUV based on the C-class (the MLK). And very beautiful it will be, as can be seen in this (reliable) interpretations by Huckfeldt. Families will happily spend huge amounts of cash in this vehicle and in numerous and very expensive options. Business as usual for Mercedes.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

4-door saloon future: Mercedes C-class

The technical bits
Mercedes is known for innovation and introduction of new technologies in its cars. Such was the case with ABS and ESP systems, Common-Rail diesel engines and many other technologies. For this model nothing extraordinary is expected since the main innovations were present in the new S-class. So expect to find in the options list Distronic system, Brake-by-wire technology and night-vision cameras. However, one thing will be absent and it is really unfortunate: the Airmatic suspension. The latest information that I could get suggests that the new C-class will not be equipped with this option. I found this somewhat strange because the C-class shares most of its suspension parts with the E-class model, and this one has the Airmatic option. In this class of vehicles the Airmatic would provide the kind on technical superiority that a jetfighter F22 has over its competition. So it’s a real pity if Mercedes doesn’t use this ultimate weapon.

Regarding engines no amazing novelties are expected… in the beginning of commercialization. Mercedes is pursuing research in hybrids and bluetec diesel technology but such versions will arrive later in the program. For now, improved versions of the current engine range will be available.

Let’s try to understand a little bit better the issue of suspension technology and the Airmatic pneumatic suspension. Currently, if one specs 17 inch wheels and a sport suspension in the C-class one can be sure to have excellent road-handling AND still have a very comfortable ride. Such feat is also accomplished by BMW (although a bit more sporty and firm) and by Lexus in the IS series. The key features that allow this are the RWD longitudinal-engine architecture and the big wheelbase that comes with it. Now experiment choosing the nice big 17’s and sport suspension in, let’s say, a Opel Vectra or a Audi A4… it still will not handle curves as well as a 3-series and every bump on the road will remind that you are driving inferior machinery. That’s the difference between the prestige RWD saloons and the cheaper FWD competition. Now if on top of that you can have the Airmatic option in the Mercedes, coupled with adaptive damping then nothing could match it. It is thus a real pity if Mercedes doesn’t use its ultimate technical weapon to further enhance the superiority of its architecture.
Another interpretation, but the rear will be a bit more bland than this.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

4-door saloon future: Mercedes C-class

W204. An important code in Mercedes nomenclature. And one that you should take notice, after all it is difficult to memorize all of Mercedes internal codes for models, since there are a lot: Mercedes is using almost all of the alfabet letters these days. Many models and derivatives. Such is the case with the new C-class - expect saloon, break, coupé but also a small SUV.

There is a lot to be said about this new car as it is very important. One entry in this blog will not be enough so expect updates in the next days. Although recent information from Auto Motor und Sport (
AMS C-class info) suggests that it will be presented in Geneve next year I have good reasons to believe that we will see it sooner: official photos in the summer and presentation in Paris. After all we have seen the most part of it by now including undesguised front (WCF) and interior (interior-photo).

Some reports in magazines are writing BS about this car being "last chance to challenge the 3-series in sales numbers". Excuse me, but that is missing the point. One has to think of the C-class as appealling to a older crowd than the bimmer, so don't expect it to sell more than the 3-series. I see this car as a more confortable and elegant alternative to the 3-series. And make no mistake: these two cars are, by far, the best in this class. The couple of things that I really like about this new Merc are that it is influenced by the design of the CLS, and also that it will be a more masculine car, closer to the first C-class and the 190E: more presence and solidity in the design. Pictured below is an interpretation (by Autozeitung magazine) that I really like, although it will not look exactly like that...unfortunately!

Monday, March 27, 2006

4-door saloon future: Peugeot 608

Auto-future is looking at future 4-door saloons and predicting how the Mercedes CLS and Peugeot 407 will influence the next generation vehicles. Today we look at the Peugeot 608, a car that will be so heavily influenced by the CLS that it will be known as the poor-man's CLS.
Technicaly no big surprises are expected. An evolution of engines and suspension from the Peugeot 607 and an update in equipments and electronics. Rumours have spread regarding the possible introduction of a V8 diesel engine produced together with Ford but such information is fake. Although Peugeot could certainly make such engine, and eventually manage to place it in the engine bay transversally (like the V8 in Volco XC90), an AWD system would be needed to handle the power and such thing will not be available for the 608.
Interior design will be inspired by current Peugeot designs, namely the 407. Simplicity in the general shape and attention to detail in order to transmit a quality appearance. The current 607 is already a very good effort and Peugeot will be able to pull-off a quality interior.
Design-wise it will indeed be very influenced by the CLS. Peugeot know their stuff and during the last 10 years the learned that design is the most important thing for the success of a car. They have had home-runs in many of their designs, leading to a great sales success: 206, 307, 407 are good examples. The also favour a conventional and elegant 4-door design for their top of the range and watching the failure of Renault VelSatis certainly proved how much Peugeot is right about their choices. The CGI images shown below present several interpretations for the next Peugeot haute-couture. Expect it to be a success although of course it still can not match sales numbers of the E-class or 5-series, but it will be an improvement in the right direction.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

4-door saloon future: Opel Vectra

The next Opel Vectra is scheduled for 2008. Several interpretations of its expected design are presented in the figures below. These are mainly photoshops based in the the current Vectra and in the concept car Insignia. However, there is one missing: the photoshop with “Huckfeldt” written on it. That means we don’t have reliable information regarding the final design. And a good reason for it is that the next Vectra is a bit late. Why is it late?

The truth is that the next Vectra was supposed to use a RWD platform. The Zeta platform planned by GM to be used in a number of American, Australian and European models ( Unfortunately about one and half years ago GM decided to put that on hold a concentrate development efforts on other vehicle platforms. That was so disappointing for Opel fans, although in reality there are not many of them… so nobody cared, especially in GM. In the meantime GM presented the Chevrolet Camaro concept and the huge response in America forced them to rethink, so the development of the Zeta platform is back on track again but unfortunately that was too late for Vectra. I will not comment much more the consequences of this unfortunate (and typical of GM) decision. If someone is reading this blog then he or she surely knows enough about cars to understand the superiority, credibility and prestige of RWD vehicles in this class…

Anyway, FWD the Vectra will be and not many technical advances are expected. There were reports that it would drive by itself ( but of course that is bollocks. It will surely have the current radar-cruise control systems but that’s it. The best thing we might expect for this car is the use of the 2.4JTD engine and an improvement of the 3.0 V6 diesel from Isuzu. If Opel can make this happen that would be very good.

Regardless of the techincal bits the one thing that everyone is expecting is the design. We know it will have a front inspired by the Insignia concept although I sure hope they don’t make all that chrome look like plastic. The only advantage of this car being late right now is that it would have incorporated the modern trend of the 4 door coupé influence. Hopefully Opel learned something by watching the success of the Peugeot 407 and Merc CLS and eventually opted for a more emotional design in a coupé-like shape. The failure of the Signum derivative (a taller hatchback version of the current Vectra) can also have forced them to choose a less practical and more emotional design. I have high hopes about the design of this new Vectra, although I also know that one should not have high hopes about Opels...
Opel Insignia concept

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Future 4-door saloons

In the next week or so auto-future will look at future 4-door saloons, mainly for the European market. Reports of the next Opel Vectra, Ford Mondeo, Renault Laguna, Audi A4, Mercedes C and Jaguar X-type will be presented. Several of these models are expected to be influenced by the coupé-lines of the Peugeot 407 and Merc CLS. The success of the 407 in particular can influence this segment to adopt less spacious but more emotional designs.

New Opel Corsa in June

Auto-week presented images of the next Opel Corsa. Besed on the new Fiat Punto it shares with the italian car engines and most of the underpinnings. Unfortunately, not as beautifull as the Grande Punto...

Mercedes CLS: the 4-door coupé, the most influential car for the next years

This beauty is a homerun for Mercedes. A very successful car and a huge profit-maker. It is closely based on the E-class (itself a very profitable machine) but then look at the price, it’s almost S-class level. It sells because it‘s gorgeous, elegant, timeless, expensive looking. And it will be the most influential car for the next years. IT WILL BE A CLASSIC!
We have to think of the CLS not only for what it is but also in the way it will change the 4 door saloon segment, at least in Europe. This particular segment (Vectra/Laguna/Passat/Mondeo etc.) has been loosing market due to several factors: pressure from compact minivans (Scénic/C-max/Zafira/Touran etc.), pressure from SUV’s and pressure from big minivans. The CLS is the answer to this, although it started in a totally different price segment. Its concept will be embraced by several manufacturers in future generations of their bread and butter salons: future Laguna, Passat 4dr. coupe, future Vectra and future Mondeo (just check the Iosis concept). Of course, this new cars will be strong in design and weak in space. But if you want space you can have the minivans and the SUV’s.
Remember Mercedes slogan? “The future of automobile” They are right!

The 4-door saloon segment and the 4-door coupé
Beautiful and influential as it is, however the CLS is not alone. Another successful 4- door saloon has marked its influence although in a much lower price range. The Peugeot 407 adopted a sleek coupe-like profile and a supercar-like front design. Although some detailing is atrocious (the rearview mirrors, the door-type used, the absurd front overhang) the overall impression is excellent and in particular the road presence of the car. Another design success for Peugeot. The CLS and the 407 should serve as inspiration for other manufacturers: cars in this class need to be desirable because excellent alternatives exist for space and practicality. Thus emotional design is of paramount importance.
Peugeot 407: less legroom than a BMW E46 and only 407L luggage
space, but a great success for Peugeot

Monday, March 20, 2006

Golf VI week: the unknown deficiency of the G5 platform

The G6 will feature a number of welcome improvements: more emotional design and improved quality of interiors. However we are yet to know if it will improve on a slight deficiency of the G5 platform: the fixed wheelbase. If one looks at cars from the competition several of them have different wheelbase versions according to the models. For example, Mégane break; 307 break; Astra Caravan have bigger wheelbases than their 5 door versions. The Astra caravan has a full 10cm longer wheelbase than the 5 door version. This benefits interior space (that can be distributed between luggage and occupants) and is consistent with a separation of versions with different requirements: in the case, breaks and people carriers need more space than 3 and 5 door versions.

However, such thing does not happen with VW’s G5 platform. If one looks at the wheelbase of such models as Golf, Jetta, A3, A3 sportback, Leon, Golf Plus, Octavia, Touran they have a very similar wheelbase – 2578 mm except for the Touran version. This feature limits space and versatility for versions like the Golf plus, a car that is too close to the 5 door version. And it limits design when they try to increase luggage space. For example, the Jetta features a longer rear overhang and a taller rear section but the same wheelbase as the Golf. Visually this ruins the proportions and spoils the design of the car.

Why does this happen? Ironically, this is due to
the biggest improvement of the G5: the rear multilink suspension. This arrangement
is more difficult to tune for different wheelbase versions than the more conventional torsion beam system. It can be done, the Passat shares a lot of suspension components with the Golf, but it had its own development budget, much bigger than the budget for derivative versions of the Golf. And it could be done in the Touran but with limitations in handling in a confort-biased vehicle. So it can be done, but at a price. It would a great improvement for the Golf family if the G6 can have different wheelbases. We will know if this happens when the Golf variant is launched. This version is scheduled to the end of the current year and we will then now if VW improved on this feature.

The sales numbers from the two first months of 2006 showed the Focus + Cmax in the first position in Europe, followed by the Golf and Golf-plus. Ford took a different approach here: it released the C-max before the conventional versions and its space, versatility and design has gained quite a following. The C-max is the main responsible for the sales performance of the Focus family (not the bland 3-5 door versions). Incidentally the Focus family also has a multilink suspension. Ford has the same problem having the C-max and 5 door versions the same wheelbase (2640mm). However Ford has chosen to have a bigger wheelbase thus benefiting the C-max version. VW should take note of this and make a proper, well-designed and versatile 5-seater people carrier, instead at the slow selling limited-space Golf plus.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Golf VI week: "but should I wait for the new G6?"

auto-future is about scoops, opinion, economics, strategy, etc. In any case, if someone likes the current Golf there is no problem with it... buy the car. However it is undeniable that the G5 will be remembered as "the one that failed". This hurts resale value and people don't like to buy a new car that is then replaced in a short time-period. So for the current range my choice would be a GTI version equipped with a DSG gearabox. I would skip the diesel versions because current technology will be replaced for more refined and reliable common-rail diesel technology. But the one that is worth waiting for is the Corrado (Golf coupé) version, and you don't have to wait untill 2008 for it. A gorgeous machine seen here in Huckfeldt's (very reliable) interpretation:

Golf VI week: photoshop collage

Plenty to choose from...

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Golf VI week: design changes and doubts over existing information

Some of the news coming from such sources as Auto Bild and Auto Motor und Sport are rather disturbing. It is rumoured that G6 (got bored of writing Golf so many times) will be available initially as a sportier 3 door version (see pic in previous post) and 5 door with increased height similar to Golf Plus. In my opinion this information is not reliable since this would not be a smart move. It is preferable to keep the 3 and 5 door versions of about the same size. For many people the G5 is already too tall. It makes no sense to make it even taller! Also the 3 door does not need to be sportier. The new Corrado will be an alternative for that purpose.

Another disturbing issue is in the pics from Autobild previewed below. The front of the car is strange (and ugly) and completely detached from the new VW corporate face (seen in Jetta, Eos, Passat). Also the side image shows something wrong: the type of doors shown is perceived as of lower quality than that present in the G5. G5's doors are of the recessed-integrated frame type. G4 doors were of the roof-integrated type. The image shows a G6 photoshop with exposed frame-type doors. The hidden type (recessed) is usually perceived as better (and used is almost all of higher quality cars). The exposed type (found in Opel Astra and most of cheaper Peugeots) would mean a strange lower-quality move for VW. However, the pics have a label: Huckfeldt. This is usually a reliable one for photoshops, the best in the business. But several doubts persist.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Golf VI week: Golf V will actually live longer...

The shocking truth: the next Golf VI will be largely based on the current Golf V versions. This means that major suspension parts and undepinnings are carried over. Only new bodywork and interiors mark the transition, although naturally some componentes and engines can be modified. The main change regarding engines is the end of the "Pump-Deuse" system in diesel engines in favour of the more sophisticated and environment friendly Common-Rail system. "Pump-Deuse" won't be missed! Many of the minor changes to the platform are intended to reduce manufacturing costs.
So after all the buzz... the Golf VI will be a major restyling of the current model. This can mark a new trend for car companies, only possible because platform and suspension technologies of modern compact cars are already very advanced. In the next years suspension technology is not expected to go beyond current multilink systems. And current body technologies that use laser welding and tailor welded blanks are not expected to improve much more, except for the possibility of weight reduction. A wellcome improvement for future cars. Thus it makes sense to keep a lot from the current model while improving wher most needed: design and interior quality. Tomorrow we will look at the design changes expected for the new model.
3 door Golf VI photoshop, copyright Auto Motor und Sport: looking very A3-ish

Golf VI week: Golf V legacy

First things first: why is the current Golf being replaced so soon? Although some might mention a weak sales success, I do not agree. I believe that the Golf V did just fine, particularly considering the strong competition it had to face. However, the answer to the first questions lies in the very strong competition that the next version will have to deal. VW as enjoyed good sales but in certain markets the Golf V lost positions. It had to be sold with strong incentives, discounts and special editions in France just to stay marginally outside the top 10. Something that the Golf IV did not need. And in Nordic countries and also southern Europe countries it lost top positions to the Peugeot 307 and Renault Mégane. In Greece the number one sales car was the Toyota Corolla. VW must be worried about this. In 2008 Peugeot will launch the new 308 and a new Mégane is also expected. Considering that design is probably the biggest drawback of the current Golf, these new French models can severely hurt the Golf in many European markets. VW needed to react... in a proactive way: so the next Golf is anticipated with mainly design changes.
So is this the answer for the short life of the Golf V? Well, actually, I will tell you next why it actually means a very long life for this model... Keep coming back!

Monday, March 13, 2006

This week: all about VW Golf VI

The surprise announce of the Golf VI for 2008 raised several issues. This week, auto-future will look at what is known so far about this model: engine range, platform, derivatives, design, technology. Also why the Golf V will be short-lived, the analysis of its comercial performance and its place in the automotive landscape. Keep coming back, it's a Golf VI party all the week.

More on the Golf VI

More news on the Golf VI: according to German magazine "Der Spiegel" the next VW is to be anticipated by one year. The reasons presented are related to costs and a very long assembly time (48 hrs), double than that of the competition.
Not sure on what competition Der Spiegel is referring to, maybe Chinese cars? The reasons for the short life of the Golf V will have to be found elsewhere!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Golf VI

New Golf VI! Well, first we will have a restyled Golf V. But for 2008 the Golf VI is expected. Swedish site Auto Motor & Sport published information onthe next Golf iteration. It seems that the current Golf V is too expensive, a new one is needed. To cut costs the next one will be based on the current one's technology. Measurement's will be the same. It will move away a bit from the nostalgic design and be more "dynamic" with surface treatment ala BMW. The interior will get new materials and colours and will show a new design philosophy more appealing to younger buyers.
The magazine got one thing wrong: the Golf V is not expensive to manufacture, it is around 9% cheaper than the Golf IV. But they are right on other thing: a new Golf is needed asap.

Is Porsche in reliability crisis?

Two consumer reports have placed Porsche in last place for reliability. How strange is this? Porsche is a true German prestige manufacturer that always had excellent reliability records. So what is going on here? The problem is the Cayenne SUV. This vehicle is spoiling reliability records for Porsche due to a huge rate of problem per 100 vehicles. But why? The answer is: Volkswagen. The base engine of the Cayenne is a VW sourced V6 but that is not all. Many parts from suspension and underpinnings are common to the VW Touareg SUV. And VW is not known for high reliability so this was bound to happen. Have no fear: Porsche cars are still very advanced and reliable. 911, Boxster, Cayman are very reliable cars although this is probably the least important of their features. Porsche cars are fabulous machines. But in the future Porsche must be very carefull regarding colaborations with VW.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Star of the show: Hyundai Genus

On a more serious note I will briefly explain why the Hyundai Genus is my favourite car of the show. Although a number of exciting concept cars were present in Genéve I prefer to focus on concepts that could actually make it to production. So forget about that Saab Aero X thing: amazing, exciting but it is not going to happen. The show itself did not have many novelties. Some brands, like BMW or Audi preferred to present new cars after the show (the next 3 series coupé and the new Audi TT). And for a good reason, since cars presented in Genéve will have to share front pages of magazines with all sort of other new cars and concepts. BMW and Audi know their marketing stuff so expect in the next weeks to see their new cars star in the major publications.
So why the Hyundai then? This new Genus is, in my opinion, highly relevant since it could mark a departure from econo-cars to desirable-cars for the Korean car companies, particularly Hyundai. This means that, if Hyundai manages to actually bring this to production we could look at a Hyundai as a car that consumers would WANT to have as opposed to the economic choice of today. This results from the accomplished design of the concept that also fills in a very fashionable trend: crossovers. Excellent proportions, emotional design, exquisite detailing - this features set the Genus apart from the vast majority of car that we have seen from the company. And Hyundai needs a good incentive to make this car. If they can make it, it will be a success.

Stars of Genéve

A very important show that requires a detailed review. Let's have a look at the most important cars present in the show:

The new Opel Gt (pictured below). A RWD roadster based on some crappy American donor. Curious to see what Opel makes of it.

The Alfa Romeo Spider: a gorgeous car based on the Brera

More Alfa Romeo: The Gt is not a new model but Alfa always manages to draw in attention

A rip-off of Rolls-Royce: The Chrysler Imperial concept

And the best car of the show: the Maserati coupé

New Ford Fiesta in 2008

We can depend on Autoexpress magazine for unreliable information. It's a sure thing. And we can also expect crap photoshops made out of new vehicles. So last week we got official pictures of the new S-max. And this week Autoexpress make a photoshop of the new Fiesta based on... you got it, last week S-max images. They also made a text to go with it. It's totally predictable so I will not even botter to give you the link.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Citroen C6 wins against Mercedes E-class in German magazine!

This is history being made. And we are seeing it happen. German magazine Auto-Zeitung published a comparison test between the E-class Merc, the new Citroen C6 plus the Chrysler 300C and the Jaguar S-type. All diesel versions.
The C6 wins! This is highly relevant since the test was made by a German magazine. And the E-class is a genuine prestige saloon. The E-class and the BMW 5 series are THE benchmark luxury salloons and represent the very best of German engineering. So congratulations to Citroen, the new C6 is really amongst the best. Follow the link for the test:

VW Phaeton II

Rumours have surfaced regarding a possible VW Phaeton II. So it seems VW insists trying to compete in this segment after all. The interesting bit is that it seems it's going for a 5 door hatch. Hard to believe in a conservative company like VW. Could it be related to a possible cooperation with Porsche on the next Panamera?

Monday, March 06, 2006

Volvo vs SAAB

These are two Nordic manufacturers that are direct competitors. Currently their health is very different. Volvo is doing very well, enjoying good sales, with a very good range of excellent vehicles, great diesels, innovative and interesting solutions (the transversally mounted V8 engine for example) and a move towards more emotional design and younger customers that will gain even more momentum with the new C30.
On the other end, Saab is aching. The 9-3 is not selling well, the 9-5 is a desesperate restyling of an old model that should have been completely redone, their new SUV is a pathetic joke.
Why oh why? Why does this happen? Are designers and engineers at Volvo much better than their colleagues at Saab? Or is it that their mother companies have different approaches and motivations? Is Ford that much better than GM in developing its brands? You tell me!

Future car request: the Chrysler 100C

This is future car request. I ask for vehicles to the manufacturers. But only cars that can be made… with success and profit. This time the Chrysler 100C (I also get to name it). The concept: a scaled down 300C using the platform of the current Mercedes C-class, and using the same engines, particularly diesel engines. Of course the design should be massive and “in your face” as is the case with the 300C, only smaller, because the 300C is just too big for European roads. Ah…European roads, that’s right a car made thinking of Europeans hence the diesel engines.
Of course, cheaper than a C-class because it uses an “old” platform. You see (by you I mean you people at Mercedes),I would like to be able to drive a gangster look American saloon with tinted windows and huge wheels. Only I can’t drive that 300C thing in our roads. Scale it down please. It will do well in the USA, and in Europe too.