New Mercedes C-Class prices and specs announced

Saloon and estate prices for Merc’s new C-Class have been confirmed, with first deliveries set for July

Opinion: “Continual improvement is crucial to keeping a car on top”

News that Mercedes has facelifted its C-Class compact executive saloon might well be greeted by stifled yawns and general indifference up and down the country, and that’s forgivable.

It’s a car that we see a lot of, Mercedes having pumped nearly 46,000 of them onto the UK market in 2017, and the fact that it now looks a little bit different is never going to draw many gasps. The C-Class facelift is significant, however, if only because it underlines the ongoing cutthroat nature of the competition in this fleet-focused sector and what it takes to stay ahead.

BMW, Audi, increasingly Alfa Romeo, Jaguar and Volvo, and even Lexus - if you’re feeling generous - all have designs on excelling in the UK compact executive market. If volume car sales are the ultimate arbiter of success, the Mercedes C-Class is the car the others have to shoot down and Mercedes has just taken steps to ensure these would-be snipers see only a rapidly zigzagging target.

The C-Class facelift is a familiar story of lightly tinkered looks, engine upgrades and expanding infotainment screens but it all serves to make the car tangibly better. Shifting the big volumes today is as much about pricing, marketing and gentle manipulation of the numbers as it is about the quality of the product but few reach the top without a competitive car beneath it all. Then, a process of continual improvement is the only way to stay there.

What's your view on the C-Class facelift and which of the compact executive contenders would get your vote? Have your say in the comments...

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