More stories related to 2005 NAIAS DETROIT – Mercedes-Benz is planning for a powerful 2005 with four new engine families in the works.

The division of DaimlerChrysler AG has a new range of 6- and 8-cyl. engines, gasoline and diesel, coming for most of its main model series in the coming months.

“Mercedes-Benz will be replacing four of its highest-volume engine families with entirely new developments, more than ever before in history,” says Eckhard Cordes, the management board member who heads the luxury vehicle division.

A new 3.5L V-6 gasoline engine will be used in four model series, including the C-Class.

Mercedes shows S-Class with high-output hybrid powertrain.

A new V-6 diesel engine will be launched first in Europe as the 320 DCI in the C-Class and later migrate to “almost all Mercedes model series in several output variants,” Cordes says here at the North American International Auto Show.

The family of diesels will power a range of models in the U.S., starting in 2006, Cordes says, and meet the most stringent emissions demands.

He bills the advanced diesel as “a very attractive alternative to hybrids with astonishingly low (fuel) consumption in everyday operation.”

But the auto maker does not abandon the hybrid market, showing an S-Class with Mercedes’ newest-generation of hybrid drive, a high-output system it calls P1/2.

It is part of the joint hybrid-electric vehicle program recently announced between DC and General Motors Corp. (See related story: GM, DC Reach Hybrid Pact)

Also on tap are new, next-generation V-8 gasoline and diesel engines, as well as Mercedes’ 7-speed automatic transmission, Cordes says.

apriddle@primediabusiness.com