Mercedes-Benz: Four faces of luxury

Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Photo / Supplied
Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Photo / Supplied

The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class range won't just consist of a large luxury car - the line-up is expected to feature four models, including a four-seater cabriolet for the first time.

Dr Uwe Ernstberger - Mercedes-Benz programme manager for the S-Class - has said: "The S-Class is the best luxury car in the world, and we have many surprises in terms of technology for the new model.

"It will deliver something very different to its rivals - and it will have a much broader range."

As well as the standard car, a long-wheelbase luxury model - a spiritual successor to the S600 Pullman - will replace the Maybach brand.

There will also be a two-door S-Class coupe, which will be badged as such, rather than using the CL badge of the current car. But Dr Ernstberger said the star of the range would be a four-seater cabriolet inspired by the Ocean Drive concept from the 2005 Los Angeles motor show, featuring a vast folding roof.

Dr Ernstberger also said that hybrids such as the E300 BlueTEC Hybrid are the way forward for Mercedes-Benz, as the technology can be applied to any model. He said it was the only way to make significant gains in economy, admitting that thanks to start-stop and direct injection, it's becoming harder to get large benefits from regular engines.

The carmaker has also confirmed that its next-generation GLK will be built in right-hand drive. The mid-range SUV, a rival to the BMW X3 and Audi Q5, is expected to appear in 2014.

Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz has revealed a teaser video with a difference for the new A-Class. The normal swirly camouflage has been replaced with a grid of QR-codes.

As a marketing stunt, it is planning to drive a series of A-Class prototypes into major city centres in Germany, and members of the public are being encouraged to scan the codes on the cars if they spot them. The codes can be registered via a QR-Trophy smartphone app - and whoever uploads three codes will be entered into a draw to win a trip to the A-Class' unveiling at the Geneva motor show in March.

The video offers the best look so far at the car in the metal. Mercedes-Benz has gone for a more traditional hatchback shape, compared with the upright A-Class it replaces.

The new A-Class is the first of five new models to sit on an all-new front-wheel-drive platform. The others are a small SUV, a four-door BLS coupe, the new B-Class and three- and five-door versions of the A-Class.

The BLS model - essentially a smaller version of the CLS four-door coupe - has been spied winter testing ahead of its unveiling later this year.

The bodywork is hidden under heavy cladding, but the model's sloping bonnet and upright grille reveals it will get a look inspired by the F800 Style Concept.

A high-performance AMG model is also on the cards, and will reportedly use a 2-litre turbocharged engine producing around 200kW.

- NZ Herald

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