As part of its annual inflationary pricing review, a price increase of an average of 1.4 per cent will be applied across the Mercedes-Benz range, on all cars registered on or after 1 April 2006.

The new R-Class and S-Class, whose prices have just been announced (see seperate story) are not affected by this increase; nor is the CL-Class Coupe.

All cars registered before 1 April 2006 remain at current price levels.

TMC now available on selected models

From January 2006, some Mercedes-Benz models fitted with COMAND or Audio 50 APS units will have an added feature: RDS-TMC (Radio Data System-Traffic Message Channel).

The system works through the familiar Mercedes-Benz COMAND (Cockpit Management And Display) and Audio 50 APS units to update routes with traffic jam, road closure, accident or roadwork information, automatically diverting cars around the obstacle before being delayed.

As well as saving time by avoiding hold-ups, the new TMC system will work with the ergonomic interiors of Mercedes-Benz cars to help keep drivers and their passengers calm and collected – an important consideration in modern motoring conditions.

Existing cars are not necessarily precluded from this excellent technology. Many customers will be able to upgrade their current COMAND systems simply by purchasing a TMC-enabled navigation disc.

TMC is the latest in a long line of developments to COMAND which reinforces its position as a user-friendly system to control audio, navigation and mobile telephone calls.

To help keep drivers’ eyes on the road, COMAND is already available with LINGUATRONIC voice control, giving aural activation of most functions. CD tracks, radio stations, telephone calls and even destination details can all be changed and entered vocally.

Pan-European navigation is now possible in most models, with DVD-based COMAND giving mapping from London to Lisbon or Glasgow to Graz. Coupled with the forthcoming TMC system, Mercedes-Benz drivers will soon be able to drive across TMC-enabled European Union members without being hindered by the weight of traffic.

TMC will be introduced in the following models: CLS-Class, E-Class, the new S-Class from launch, and SL-Class, SLK-Class; in January 2006; other models to follow later in the year.

AMG Performance pack

Enthusiastic owners of selected Mercedes-AMG models can now enjoy an even purer driving experience, thanks to the AMG Performance Pack. Available on CLS 55 AMG, SL 55 AMG and SLK 55 AMG models, the Pack is available now.

The SLK 55 AMG pack costs £4,800 and takes its design cues from the F1 Safety Car. While the engine remains largely unchanged, the speed limiter is raised from 155 mph to 174 mph.

The brakes are uprated, too, to increase stopping power. Front composite brakes are internally ventilated and measure 360mm x 32mm. AMG Nürburgring suspension is stiffened to give more sporting characteristics, and an AMG ergonomic sports steering wheel in leather and Alcantara (developed specifically for the F1 Safety Car) allows better grip of the wheel.

Carbon fibre interior trim elements and 18″ AMG multi-piece twin spoke alloy wheels complete the look: 7.5 x 18 with 225/40 R18s on the front; 8.5 x 18 with 245/35 R 18s on the rear.

The supercharged CLS 55 AMG also has an AMG Performance Pack, costing £7,000. As before, the speed limit is raised, this time to 186 mph. The composite front brakes measure 380 x 36 mm, while power is redistributed via a multi-disc limited slip differential with reinforced final drive unit. The F1-developed steering wheel is fitted and the car’s alloy wheels increase to 8.5 x 19 wheels and 255/35 R19 tyres on the front; 10 x 19 and 285/30 R19s on the rear.

The previously-launched SL 55 AMG’s kit adds to the CLS’s with an AMG front apron featuring larger air intakes and an extra oil cooler, and remains an option at £10,000.