It's always a bit of a gamble. Do you buy a new car now, or wait for the new version to come out? Those who opted to do the latter with the Mercedes-Benz E-Class should be pleased with their decision; not only does the new model represent a significant advance over the one it replaces, but the company's American division has now announced that it's cheaper, too.
Whereas the outgoing 2009 E350 sedan – the base model in the US with a V6 engine and rear-wheel-drive – currently lists for $54,075, Mercedes-Benz USA is pricing its successor at $49,475, including destination charges, representing a price drop of $4,600. The 2010 E350 goes on sale in late June next month, and will be followed by the market roll-outs of several other variants. The V8-powered E550 commands a $57,175 list price, and 4Matic all-wheel-drive can be added to either model for a $2,500 premium starting with September orders. The new E63 AMG high-performance version will follow in November, with the 50-state clean diesel E350 Bluetec (Mercedes has dropped the BlueMOTION moniker) coming next March, followed by the wagon bodystyle in June 2010. With the existing CLK replaced by the new E-Class Coupe also next month, pricing doesn't drop significantly ($48,975 for the CLK vs. $48,925 for the new E coupe), but the outgoing model was ostensibly positioned between the C and E-Class sedan ranges, and moves up with the integration of the coupe into the new E-Class sedan range. The E550 coupe gets a list price of $55,525, with convertible versions arriving next spring. No new AMG coupe is planned.
Mercedes says the change in pricing, which it also affected with the introduction of the new C-Class two years ago, was put in place to bring the list price closer to the actual average transaction price. In other words, theoretically the actual price that a customer pays should be about the same. But while other automakers increase their prices with the introduction of new models, it's interesting to see a marque like Mercedes ostensibly cut its down while returning more features in a more advanced vehicle.
Related Gallery2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
[Source: Automotive News – subs. req'd]