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Mercedes-Benz cars: What's new for 2008

New C-Class and a second S-Class AMG

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2008 Mercedes-Benz C-Class profile

2008 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Photo © Daimler-Chrysler

C-CLASS: The new C-Class is bigger and gets several new features, including active shock absorbers that improve handling during agressive driving, a 7-speed automatic transmission, and an optional navigation system that stores map data on a hard drive rather than on DVD discs for faster route calculation. The C is offered in three models: C300 Luxury, C300 Sport and C350 Sport. The AMG version, called the CL63 AMG, featuers a 457 horsepower version of the AMG-designed 6.3 liter V8.

CL-CLASS: The CL was introduced in 2007; 2008 sees the introduction of the AMG version, the CL65 AMG, powered by a 604 horsepower twin-turbo V12 that propels the king-size coupe to 60 in 4.2 seconds. In addition, Mercedes announced a special Anniversary Edition to celebrate AMG's 40th anniversary. Finished in a special AMG "Alubeam" (liquid metal) paint, Mercedes will produce just 40 copies of the CL65 AMG Anniversary Edition, 20 of which will be sold in the US.

CLK-CLASS: The new CLK63 AMG "Black Series" is a limited-production model based on the CLK63 AMG. It features a 500 hp V8 and modified suspension with a 2.8" wider track (distance between the wheels). Essentially a street-legal version of the "safety car" used at Formula 1 races, the CLK63 AMG "Black Series" sprints from 0-60 in 4.1 seconds and tops out at 186 MPH. Back on planet Earth, the CLK350 gets a sport suspension as standard.

CLS-CLASS: Satellite radio and 18" 7-spoke wheels are now standard.

E-CLASS: 4MATIC all-wheel-drive is now available on E350 and E550 models. E350 and E550 sedans are available with a new AMG Sport Package, which features an AMG body kit, dual chrome exhaust tips, AMG 5-spoke wheels and an AMG steering wheels with shifter paddles.

GL-CLASS: The big SUV gets a revised interior and taillights and a new backup camera. G500 models get a 7-speed automatic transmission.

M-CLASS: The M500 is replaced by the M550, which is powered by a 382 hp 5.5 liter V8 and comes with standard AMG body styling, 19" AMG wheels, running boards and a sunroof. ML350 and ML320 CDI models get 19" wheels, more chrome, and a standard power sunroof. A new ML350 Edition 10 commemorates the M-Class' 10-year anniversary.

R-CLASS: The R500 and R63 AMG models have been discontinued; the new all-wheel-drive R320 CDI is powered by a 3.0 liter V6 turbodiesel that puts out 215 hp and 398 (!!) lb-ft of torque. The R350 is now available with rear-wheel-drive as well as all-wheel-drive, and all Rs get AMG body styling, 18" wheels, and an optional seven-seat layout.

S-CLASS: A new S63 AMG model, powered by a 518 hp AMG-designed 6.3 liter V8, slots in below the 600 hp V12-powered S65 AMG. The 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system on the S550 has been redesigned for lighter weight and improved fuel economy.

SL-CLASS: The SL550 gets new wheels; premium Nappa leather is now part of the SL550 Trim Package.

SLK-CLASS: The SLK350 now offers a Ten Year Anniversary Package with automatic transmission, 17" wheels, Edition 10 badging, red dash trim and red seat stitching.

SLR MCLAREN: Mercedes' ultimate coupe is now available as a convertible, complete with front-hinged swing-up doors and 6.5 liter 617 horsepower supercharged V8. Prices -- including destination charge and gas-guzzler tax -- starts at just over $500,000.

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