Mercedes-Benz getting set to launch new product onslaught
MERCEDES-Benz is set to unleash its biggest model onslaught in recent history over the next 18 months, with at least seven new models due by mid-2014.
The new model ambush kicks off in December with the hot new B-Class, the B250, which is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine with 155kW and 350Nm, and can sprint from 0-100kmh in just 6.8 seconds - quicker than a VW Golf GTI.
The C-Class range will see the addition of the C250 Sport in December. It has been tuned by Mercedes-Benz performance arm AMG, and gets unique wheels, a body kit, sports suspension and a retuned computer for better performance.
The CLS Shooting Brake hits showrooms in February. Essentially a station-wagon version of the swoopy CLS four-door coupe, the new Shooting Brake will be offered in a range of trim levels, but all will come with a standard AMG styling package including a body kit and AMG wheels. The Shooting Brake versions will cost about $10,000 more than their equivalent sedan variants.
Included in that is the CLS250 CDI, a cheaper diesel variant which will be priced at about $110,000 for the sedan model - a hefty discount off the next-cheapest version, the CLS350 (priced at $159,200).
Possibly the most important Mercedes-Benz model in recent years - the new A-Class, arrives in March. There will be three variants, including two petrols and a diesel from launch. Pricing starts at $35,600.
The hotly anticipated AMG version, the A45 AMG, arrives in August, packing a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder with about 250kW of power and 400Nm of torque - it's likely to push the price towards $70,000.
Mercedes-Benz Australia corporate communications manager Jerry Stamoulis says Australia will get the new A45 AMG just a few weeks after its global launch, and that could mean some problems with supply in the initial phases of its rollout.
The company expects the arrival of the AMG A-Class to increase overall AMG sales by 50%. In 2012, AMG sales have jumped by about 30%, with the C-Class models up by 80%. Stamoulis says the performance arm "is the big success story this year".
At the other end of the size scale is the new GL seven-seat SUV. It goes on sale in April, and Mercedes-Benz is promising even more standard gear but with a similar price to the current version. Expect it to be close to the current price of $119,270 plus on-road costs for the base-model GL350 diesel.
The facelifted E-Class sedan and wagon go on sale in June. Expect similar engines and more technology, possibly including a few innovations trickling down from the new S-Class.
The E-Class Cabriolet and Coupe will arrive in September alongside the new AMG E-Class model. The company is being secretive about what the new E63 will offer that'll make it significantly different to the current model, so stay tuned for more.
Mercedes-Benz's technological tour-de-force, the S-Class, will arrive in November. Laden with several new safety technologies and boasting refined styling and lots of luxury, the new model will wave the flag at the top of the luxury car maker's lineup.
Last of all for 2013 will be the new CLA. The small four-door sedan - which has been labelled the "mini CLS" by some - will give Benz a stylish new player in the market to sit above the A-Class hatchback.
It may be small in theory, but the new CLA will actually be bigger than the current-generation C-Class at 4.63 metres long (the C is 4.59m).
On the topic of the C-Class, its replacement will land in Australia in 2014. Exact timing isn't yet confirmed, but the new model is expected to grow significantly compared to the current version, with length tipped to jump by 10 centimetres and width by about 4.3cm
Rumours persist of a new convertible version of the C-Class, which could make its world debut some time in 2014.
While nothing has been confirmed, spokesman Jerry Stamoulis says Mercedes-Benz Australia would be keen to get any new C-Class convertible model.
"The C-Class is so strong for us, we'll take anything they make," he says.
The timeline: New Mercedes-Benz models due soon
December 2012 - B250 hatch and C250 Sport sedan
February 2013 - Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting Brake and CLS250 CDI
March 2013 - Mercedes-Benz A-Class hatch
April 2013 - Mercedes-Benz GL-Class SUV
June 2013 - Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan and wagon
August 2013 - Mercedes-Benz A-Class A45 AMG
September 2013 - Mercedes-Benz E-Class coupe, cabriolet and AMG variants
November 2013 - Mercedes-Benz S-Class limousine
December 2013 - Mercedes-Benz CLA small sedan
Mid-2014 - All-new Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Late-2014 - Mercedes-Benz C-Class cabriolet