Mercedes-Benz C-Class (mid 2014)
Arriving around the middle of 2014, the new compact luxury sedan and wagon are up to 100kg lighter than their predecessors, with new engine options, a host of new assistance systems, and a revised suspension incorporating optional air springs. Growing 80mm in the wheelbase, the new C-Class is also 95mm longer overall, and 40mm wider than its predecessor. No surprise Mercedes-Benz claims interior space and comfort is improved, while cargo space is increased. The cabin also takes an evolutionary leap forwards, introducing a new touch-sensitive infotainment system controller linked to either a 7.0- or 8.4-inch ‘floating’ display, head-up display, and climate control linked to the car’s sat-nav that automatically adjusts its output in tunnels. Launch range will consist of the C180 (115kW/250Nm 1.6-litre petrol), C200 (135kW/300Nm 2.0-litre petrol) and C220 (125kW/400Nm 2.1-litre diesel). Mercedes-Benz remains tight-lipped on pricing, but says other drivetrain options including a smaller diesel, diesel-electric hybrid, and a 245kW petrol engine will be added “in due course”.
Mercedes-Benz GLA (Q2)
A newcomer to the Australian Mercedes-Benz range, the A-Class hatch-based GLA is a compact SUV sitting under the full-size M-Class and giant-size GL-Class. Scheduled for local launch in the second quarter of 2014, it will have missile lock on Audi’s Q3 and BMW’s X1. According to Merc, the GLA is the first Mercedes-Benz SUV to be (optionally) available with its new-generation 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system featuring fully variable torque distribution. Initial petrol model options will stretch from the 115 kW 1.6-litre GLA200, to the 155kW 2.0-litre GLA250. The two diesel variants will join them: the 100kW/300Nm 2.2-litre GLA200 CDI, and the 125kW/350Nm 2.2-litre GLA220 CDI. Expect a starting price around $45K.
Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe (late 2014)
Mercedes-Benz’s top shelf will groan in 2014 under the weight of new derivatives of its S-Class flagship. Evolving from the sleek Coupe Concept shown at 2013’s Frankfurt motor show, the two-door CL replacement will be a bold, pillar-less powerhouse. As we previously reported, the car is confirmed for Australia, with the twin-turbo V12 S65 AMG version expected to sit above S63 AMG, S600 and S500 variants. An S-Class Cabriolet is set to join it, the first S-Class drop-top in 40 years, and in keeping with its premium positioning, it’s a fair bet only eight- and twelve-cylinder variants will be produced. Finally, an even longer long-wheelbase S-Class Pullman will step up to fill the niche vacated by the ill-fated Maybach limousine. Heads of state and cashed-up celebrities should form an orderly queue.
Mercedes-Benz AMG GT (second half)
Taking aim at Porsche’s 911, Audi’s mid-engine R8, and Nissan’s monstrous GT-R, the new GT from Mercedes-Benz’s AMG performance and racing subsidiary will arrive in second half of 2014. Like the outgoing SLS, the GT, internally coded C190, will be designed and hand-built in-house at AMG’s Affalterbach HQ, just north of Stuttgart. Caught regularly by spy photographers over the past 18 months, the GT will be powered by a highly tuned version of AMG's latest 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8 delivering around 450kW, with a smaller twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 a possibility. The new car is smaller than the SLS, and features conventional doors, rather than the SLS’s dramatic gullwing design, with alloy spaceframe construction set to keep kerb weight to around 1500kg. The front-mounted engine drives the rear wheels, with 4MATIC all-wheel drive a likely option (the AWD Nissan GT-R has been spotted in train with pre-production test mules).