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Mercedes-Benz has made a swift recovery from the sales and quality doldrums that saw some longtime owners desert the brand in the mid-2000s. With a surging lineup of attractive and luxurious designs, Mercedes-Benz has gathered serious momentum and is heading into the future with plans to continue to extensively update its vehicle lineup. The company’s strategy includes the repositioning of some of its current offerings, as well as the introduction of all-new cars.
There are a number of changes planned for the Mercedes-Benz stable of automobiles in the near future. Let’s take a look at 10 things you need to know about future Mercedes-Benz vehicles.
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01. Mercedes-Benz Will Introduce a Subcompact Car
European drives have been able to purchase the Mercedes-Benz B-Class subcompact hatchback for many years – as have Canadians – but the brand has never imported the diminutive vehicle to the United States for fear that it would dilute the Mercedes-Benz luxury image. That will change by 2013 at the latest when a redesigned edition of the B-Class will finally see its American debut.
The upcoming B-Class might not match the Euro-models in terms of its equipment or even it name, as Mercedes-Benz has indicated that it could spread out B-Class offerings under a number of different monikers. A big part of the decision to put the B-Class on sale is its small size and family of efficient four-cylinder engines, characteristics that will help to raise Mercedes-Benz’s corporate average fuel economy figures.
B-Class-based F-CELL Pictured
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02. Mercedes-Benz Will Redesign the SL-Class
The Mercedes-Benz SL-Class has served as the automaker’s full-size roadster for decades, and the powerful two-seat convertible with a retractable hardtop is set to be redesigned for the 2013 model year.
The new SL-Class will borrow styling cues from all over the Mercedes-Benz lineup, including elements from the soon-to-be-revised CLS-Class, the SLK-Class prototype and most importantly the SLS AMG supercar. The future SL-Class will be lower and wider than the vehicle it is replacing, and it will also most likely be lighter. In addition to cribbing some of the SLS AMG’s looks, the SL-Class could also appropriate some of its drivetrain and suspension components, with a range of engines on tap that is predicted to run the gamut from six and eight-cylinder units all the way up to a possible hybrid design.
Current SL65AMG Pictured
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03. Mercedes-Benz Will Debut a New ML-Class
Mercedes-Benz will offer an updated edition of the Mercedes-Benz ML-Class for 2012. The vehicle that kicked off the luxury suv craze gains an all-new platform that is shared with former corporate stable mates Jeep (2011 Grand Cherokee) and Dodge (2011 Durango). This means that the revised ML-Class will be lighter than the current edition of the sport-utility vehicle.
Engine choices for the 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML-Class should match what is currently offered, which suggests a V-6, a V-8 and a high performance AMG model featuring a tuned V-8 engine. Fans of Mercedes-Benz turbodiesel engines will also most likely be able to order that drivetrain as an option in the SUV. The vehicle is predicted to go on sale sometime after the summer of 2011.
Current ML450 Hybrid Pictured
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04. Mercedes-Benz Will Embrace Commercial Sales in the U.S.
Most American drivers have already seen a Mercedes-Benz commercial van and just not know what they were looking at – because they were branded as Dodge models and sold under the Sprinter name. Mercedes-Benz has historically avoided commercial van sales in the United States for the same reason it never offered a true subcompact car: anxiety that it would somehow tarnish the image of the Silver Star to have dealerships sell and service both high end luxury cars and working class vehicles.
That fear appears to be a thing of the past. Sensing an opening in the commercial van market, Mercedes-Benz began to quietly offer the Sprinter under its own branding in 2010, and this practice is expected to expand, along with the Sprinter lineup itself. Cargo and five-passenger editions of the Sprinter should be joined by a MiniBus 16-passenger model in 2011, which will compete directly against Ford and GMC / Chevrolet in terms of both fleet and retail sales.
2011 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Pictured
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05. Mercedes-Benz Will Redesign the SLK-Class
Hitting the streets one year before its bigger brother will be a fresh take on the Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class compact roadster. This third generation of the premium automaker’s open air sports car will maintain its retractable hard top but will revert to a less polarizing exterior design that erases any trace of the current model’s prominent proboscis. This is in keeping with Mercedes-Benz’s general shift away from the styling that was seen on the SLR McLaren supercar.
Like the SL-Class, the SLK-Class will most likely not see any dramatic changes in the power plants that it offers under the hood, although a more powerful 3.5-liter V-6 could be in the cards for the small convertible. An AMG performance edition of the car will continue to be available as well, and the SLK-Class will also gain a host of Mercedes-Benz safety systems including Pre-Safe and Adaptive Brake to help better protect drivers.
Current SLK-Class Pictured
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06. Mercedes-Benz Will Replace the CL-Class
The Mercedes-Benz CL-Class coupe has always served as an elite companion to the S-Class sedan, a full-size two-door for those who admire the S-Class’ features and luxury but who are not interested in driving a four-door automobile. However, the vehicle’s CL-Class nomenclature is somewhat confusing to newcomers to the brand who are unaware that mechanically, the vehicle is related to the S-Class and not the less-exclusive C-Class.
That should change in 2013 when the CL-Class is renamed the S-Class Coupe. Although not set in stone, the redesigned edition of the vehicle will most likely go back to the naming scheme that served it well throughout the 1980s and 1990s, when it was known first as the SEC and then the S coupe. Details surrounding the updated CL-Class / S-Class Coupe are still hazy, but the vehicle will most likely match the S-Class sedan pound for pound when it comes to drivetrains and performance.
Current CL-Class Pictured
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07. Mercedes-Benz Will Introduce a Hydrogen Fuel Cell Car
Mercedes-Benz will be using the upcoming B-Class to test out more than just its customers’ tolerance for an entry-level subcompact – the B-Class is also slated to debut the brand’s F cell electric fuel cell technology in the United States. By the end of 2011 Mercedes-Benz hopes to have 100 F cell-equipped B-Class models plying America’s highways through the implementation of a special leasing program.
The F cell drivetrain offers 136 horsepower and derives its electric power from hydrogen, not gasoline. Like its Teutonic rival BMW, Mercedes-Benz seems keen on advancing the concept of hydrogen-powered automobiles, despite a lack of infrastructure for the vehicles and the costs associated with producing hydrogen fuel. The zero emissions car has a range of 240 miles between hydrogen fill-ups, but its initial deployment will be mostly limited to the state of California as no other area in the U.S. offers an acceptable network of hydrogen filling stations.
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08. Mercedes-Benz Will Bring Out a C-Class Convertible - And More
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class has traditionally battled the BMW 3 Series and the Audi A4 in the entry-level luxury segment, but in recent years its American lineup has been limited to just a sedan. This factor has seen the coupes, wagons and convertibles built by Audi and BMW take a larger slice of the pie than Mercedes-Benz is comfortable with. Although the C-Class sedan was recently refreshed, the real story is the decision to bring out not just a coupe but also a convertible edition of the automobile over the course of the next few years.
The two-door model is slated to go on sale in 2011, with the rag top waiting until a complete redesign of the C-Class is undertaken for the 2013 model year. There are some sources at Mercedes-Benz who claim that a C-Class crossover might also be in the cards, which would theoretically take the place of a wagon variant. Mercedes-Benz has also elected to return a four-cylinder drivetrain option to the C-Class’ equipment list, a frugal choice which has been absent in the United States for several years.
Current E-Class Cabriolet Pictured
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09. Mercedes-Benz Will Electrify the SLS AMG
The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG has always been electrifying to drive, but as early as 2012 that descriptor might become even more accurate thanks to the decision to put the SLS AMG E-Cell concept into production. This version of the Mercedes-Benz supercar replaces its gasoline drivetrain with a four-motor, 400-volt all-wheel drive system.
Most interesting to high performance fans is the fact that the SLS AMG E-Cell maintains much of the grunt found in the standard SLS AMG, with 526 horsepower and 649 lb-ft of torque instantly on tap thanks to the power generating characteristics of electric motors. The vehicle can actively manage power output and battery use, allowing it to travel up to 120 miles on a single charge without sacrificing any of the luxury or driving dynamics of the large coupe. The E-Cell edition sprints to 60 miles per hour in just four seconds and tops out at 155 miles per hour.
Production gas-powered SLS AMG Pictured
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10. Mercedes-Benz Will Update the GL-Class
The Mercedes-Benz GL-Class offers luxury SUV shoppers a long wheelbase model that borrows generously from the ML-Class but which provides the towing capacity and seven-passenger seating that many are looking for in full-size sport-utility vehicle. In 2013, the GL-Class will be updated using the same all-new platform engineered for the 2012 ML-Class.
Given that the 2011 Dodge Durango also makes use of a stretched edition of this platform, it is not difficult to imagine what the new GL-Class could look like. Mercedes-Benz has been reticent to release any details concerning the vehicle’s powertrain, but V-6 and V-8 engines appear likely. An AMG model has also been spied being put through its paces by Mercedes-Benz test drivers, but production of this high performance edition of the SUV has not been confirmed.
Current GL-Class Pictured
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