Mercedes bulks up in quest for crown
Mercedes-Benz will introduce 11 new models by 2020 as part of its aggressive plan to be the world's best-selling luxury brand in six years.
Not all of those vehicles will come to the United States. Unlikely to be sold here are the smallest subcompact car and cross-overs, as well as some station wagons.
To cut costs and speed development, Mercedes is moving to four new architectures: MFA for front-wheel-drive vehicles, MRA for rear-wheel drive, MHA for crossovers and MSA for its two sports cars, the SL and SLK.
Mercedes vehicles also will share new modular components to allow quick transfer of new safety systems from the flagship S class to other nameplates. These systems include an advanced cruise control system that maintains a safe distance from the vehicle in front and brakes to avoid accidents.
Here's a look at Mercedes' future product plans.
B-class Electric Drive: The electric version of the new five-door sold in Europe went on sale last month in 10 zero-emission vehicle states. The B-class Electric Drive will be the only Mercedes electric vehicle available in the United States for now.
The fwd B class shares an architecture with the CLA sedan and GLA crossover. The range is 85 miles on a full charge, and a gasoline range extender isn't available. The BMW i3 has a range of 80 to 100 miles.
The B class comes with standard features including a navigation system, LED daytime running lights, power front seats, collision prevention assist with adaptive brake assist and attention assist. It has a 28-kWh lithium ion battery developed by Tesla that takes two hours to charge using a 240-volt charger.
Annual U.S. sales will be about 5,000 units, according to insiders.
CLA: No changes are expected to the fwd compact sedan for three years. Additional compact Mercedes models are expected in 2018 because of the rapid growth of the segment. These models likely will include replacements for the CLA and the GLA crossover, and compact variants of other crossovers such as a baby GL.
GLA: The compact crossover that shares its platform with the CLA sedan debuts in September with the awd GLA250. The base fwd version will be available early next year.
The GLA250 debuts Mercedes' 4Matic awd system and is combined with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission with fully variable torque distribution.
It has the sharp angles and slippery lines of the CLA and will compete with the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and Range Rover Evoque.
The awd GLA250 has a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine that generates 208 hp and 258 pounds-feet of torque, goes from 0 to 60 mph in 7 seconds and has a top speed of 145 mph.
The AMG model has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine that makes 355 hp and 332 pounds-feet of torque.
C class: The redesigned compact sedan goes on sale in September. The C class grows in size and gets an improved interior and additional luxury features to move it upscale from the entry CLA.
Revamped styling makes the C class look like a smaller version of the flagship S-class sedan with a long and more pronounced hood and grille and sharper lines.
The redesigned C class is 220 pounds lighter, 3.7 inches longer and 1.6 inches wider than the current car and has more luggage and cargo room. Like the current generation, the C class will come in two trim levels: Luxury and Sport.
The high-performance C63 AMG goes on sale in the first quarter of 2015.
More variants will be added, including a two-door coupe and convertible next year. They will be followed by a plug-in hybrid and 50-state clean diesel. There's also talk of a coupelike four-door to compete with the BMW 4-series Gran Coupe.
The plug-in hybrid is expected to debut in October at the Paris auto show and go on sale in 2015.
E class: After last year's freshening, no major changes are expected until a redesign in 2016. The sedan will be first. The coupe will be six months later, followed by the convertible and station wagon. The E class will move to the new MRA architecture.
S class: Mercedes is adding at least five variants to its redesigned S-class family that was launched last year with the sedan.
The S-class coupe will go on sale in October without the CL name. Compared with the outgoing CL, the S-class coupe is about 1.5 inches lower with styling lines that are more sculpted and flowing. It has a bigger and wider grille and a wider panoramic roof that tints with the flip of a switch. It has two rows of front and rear LED headlights and a low beltline.
The S-class coupe's wheelbase is unchanged from the CL's 116 inches. But it is more than two inches shorter with a length of 198 inches. It is one inch wider than the CL -- at 75 inches -- but the height of 56 inches is unchanged.
It will compete with the Maserati GranTurismo and the upper end of a growing cadre of luxury vehicles with coupelike styling, including the Audi A7/S7 and the BMW 6 series and 6-series Gran Coupe.
The S550 plug-in hybrid will debut in October at the Paris auto show and go on sale next spring. It has a 3.0-liter V-6 engine and 107-hp electric motor for about 436 combined horsepower.
The S65 AMG coupe goes on sale in late 2015. It has a 6.0-liter V-12 biturbo engine, with an output of 621 hp and 738 pounds-feet of torque. It comes standard with Mercedes' Magic Body suspension adjusting feature that uses a stereo camera system to detect road surface imperfections ahead of the car and adjusts the suspension to improve comfort and avoid jolts.
An extra-long-wheelbase Maybach edition will be priced between $200,000 and $250,000. It will debut in November at the Los Angeles Auto Show and is expected to go on sale next year.
The extended-wheelbase Pullman goes on sale next year and is expected to cost about $1 million -- including armor plating and three rows of seats.
It will be about 21 feet long and feature four rear seats that will face each other and be separated from a front chauffeur compartment by a partition window.
A convertible is expected in 2016 or 2017.
CLS: The freshened four-door coupelike sedan goes on sale this fall. It likely will be redesigned in 2017 or 2018.
SLK: The smallest roadster will be freshened this year.
SL: The roadster will be freshened in 2015. No other changes are expected for several years when the SL will switch to the new architecture it will share with the less expensive and smaller SLK.
GLK: The compact crossover will be redesigned in 2015. Spy photos show it will be less boxy.
GL: The full-sized crossover will be freshened in late 2015. It will be redesigned in 2017.
MLC: The MLC, a coupelike version of the ML that would compete with BMW's X6, is expected in early 2015.
ML: The crossover will be freshened in the fall and redesigned in 2017.
G class: There are unconfirmed reports that the 35-year-old SUV initially designed for military use will be revamped in 2016. The G-Wagen as it is called, will keep its tall, boxy shape and body-on-frame construction.
Mercedes-AMG GT: A front-engine rwd sports car to compete with the Porsche 911 is expected in early 2015. It will debut in October at the Paris auto show. The roadster will have an AMG twin-turbocharged V-8 engine that generates 455 hp in the base model and 503 hp for the S. It isn't a direct replacement for the SLS supercar, but will compete with the Audi R8 and Porsche 911.
V class: The new V-class minivan could arrive in the United States in 2016. The V class would compete with the Chrysler Town & Country, Honda Odyssey, Nissan Quest and Toyota Sienna. It would be the only rwd offering in the segment and would be slightly larger than its U.S. competitors. Four- and six-cylinder engines will be offered. The V class will be fitted with a more carlike and upscale interior than the Viano van it replaces. It includes wood decor, ambient lighting and many electronic features. A large panoramic roof also will be offered.
The commercial vehicle version called Vito, slotted below Mercedes' Sprinter commercial van, could arrive in the United States in 2016. It would compete with the Ford Transit and the Chevrolet City Express/Nissan NV 200 sibling models. Four- and six-cylinder engines will be offered.
You can reach Diana T. Kurylko at email@example.com. -- Follow Diana on