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Mercedes-Benz plans to fill yet another market niche and expand its family of front-drive compact cars to six models by launching an all-new BLA Shooting Brake, we can today reveal.

In a CarAdvice exclusive, a company executive has this week confirmed top-secret plans for the Stuttgart marque to expand its line-up with what it calls a “part family MPV, part sexy sports car”. We also understand a plug-in hybrid version will be offered.

It is being billed as the first performance-oriented, two-door, sports-focused people-mover to date. We do not yet have official images, but the above rendering is understood to be close to the mark.

“We feel there is an unexplored market niche that we were yet to cover, plus frankly we just have a bunch of spare letters that we weren’t doing enough with,” said Mercedes-Benz BLA development chief Professor Dr Joachim Falschung Streich.

Mercedes-Benz engine

We understand that a hardcore 265kW BLA45 AMG version will be released simultaneously when the model premieres at September’s Frankfurt motor show, alongside the PHEV version. The company is also evaluating whether shoehorning in the C63’s 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine could be justified, to create a key model differentiator.

“What a halo this would make!,” beamed Streich.

Proposed development of the BLA was brought about by a desire to amortise costs on its widespread, modular small-car architecture, the BLA Shooting Brake creates a new market segment — one that Benz’s Bavarian rival BMW will inevitably be keeping an eye on.

Commenting on the prospect of a hardcore two-door MPV Shooting Brake sportscar, Mercedes-Benz Australia communications senior manager David McCarthy said such a model would be a welcome addition to the range, combining sporty style with a body offering plenty of room in the back.

Rendering by Jacques Strap and Oliver Klozoff.

UPDATE: OK, you all picked it. Happy April Fools’ Day! There’s not going to be a 63 variant of the BLA…
And to all commenters critiquing our in-house quick Photoshop skills, I look forward to seeing each and every one of you sending something through.

James




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