21 February 2005

The new Mercedes A-class went on sale last weekend, from a tempting price of £13,655. So is this the best you can do on a brand-new Benz and are there any other desirable badges you can get for less?

A salesman for Mercedes-Benz of Brentford told Autocar that he couldn’t offer a saving on a new car. Go to a third party, though, and discounts are available. The biggest we could find was through drivethedeal.com, which is offering £422 off a new A150 Classic three-door, bringing the price down to £13,233. But it’s not the cheapest way into a new premium-badged car. Consider Audi’s A2, rumoured to be discontinued later this year, and you should be able to negotiate £1000 off the £12,715 1.4-litre petrol model.

Plenty of demand and disciplined dealers mean you’ll do well to haggle £500 off a £15,690 BMW 116i – currently offered through broadspeed.com for £15,212. Despite its comparative youth, the Volvo 1.6-litre petrol S40 saloon doesn’t escape the online discounting either, which suggests that dealers should be prepared to let these cars leave showrooms for well under £15k.

But Alfa Romeo’s dealers can be relied upon to supply the biggest incentive on an entry-level premium car. As much as £1500 can be haggled off the price of a new 147 1.6-litre T Spark, bringing it well below £12,000 – almost the same price as a base Toyota Corolla.

Premium motoring has never been so affordable.

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