LOS ANGELES – Mercedes-Benz believes reworking notably successful models is the key to a bright future, based on its latest reveals at the auto show here.
Though the automaker didn’t introduce any all-new models, it created considerable buzz with three of its redesigned specialty vehicles, which Mercedes-Benz USA President and CEO Steve Cannon indicates is the start of the “biggest product offensive in our company’s history.”
That effort will result in the launch of 30 new models over the next seven years, he says.
Mercedes design chief Gordon Wagener likens the ever-changing face of the Los Angeles entertainment industry with the automaker’s ever-evolving effort to improve its product lines.
“It keeps reinventing itself…setting this balance between tradition and progression is one of the major tasks of the Mercedes-Benz design team,” Wagener says.
The automaker rolls out its third-generation S65, which will serve as the flagship in the Mercedes lineup until a coupe version arrives in 2014.
The S65 is powered by a hand-assembled, twin-turbocharged V-12 that offers 621 hp and 738 lb.-ft. (1,000 Nm) of torque. It’s estimated the car will be able to jump from 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 4.2 seconds.
The S65 will be the first Mercedes unit to sport a head-up display for driver data such as navigation instructions, vehicle speed and adaptive cruise control settings. There also will be a brand-first touchpad controller for the onboard infotainment system, which will function similarly to a smartphone or tablet.
The introduction of the compact GLA45 AMG Concept drops a big hint at an AMG high-performance model soon to be added to the GLA class, which is new to Mercedes, one of several luxury automakers that have entered the fast-growing compact CUV segment.
Described by Cannon as a sporty CUV for younger drivers with an “appetite for style” as well as an “appetite for adventure,” the Concept uses the same powertrain as the CLA45 AMG sedan, a turbocharged 2.0L 4-cyl. that cranks out up to 360 hp and 332 lb.-ft. (450 Nm) of torque.
With its 7-speed AMG Speedshift dual-clutch transmission, the GLA45 Concept claims 0-60 mph acceleration of less than 5.0 seconds.
“In a nutshell, we have created the SUV of the future,” says Wagener. “One look tells you how fun it is to drive.”
Mercedes also unveils its latest – and apparently last – SLS AMG, though the top-dollar supercar only has been available in the U.S. since 2011.
The SLS AMG Final Edition will begin deliveries in 2014, with only 350 units to be sold worldwide, the automaker says.
Offered either as a coupe or convertible, the Final Edition model will provide the same punch as the current year: 583 hp and 479 lb.-ft. (649 Nm) of torque, via a naturally aspirated 6.3L V-8. It hits 60 mph from a standstill in 3.6 seconds and can reach a top speed of 197 mph (317 km/h).
The hood and rear spoiler of the Final Edition will be made from exposed carbon fiber, distinguishing the model from previous SLS AMG versions.
The interior of the last SLS AMG, on sale in March, will include diamond-stitched leather, carbon-fiber trim and an Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel.
The Mercedes team includes a large helping of self-indulgence during their show presser, with the inclusion of the Mercedes-Benz Vision Gran Turismo, modeled after the non-regulated racer designed for and included in the Gran Turismo 6 video game launching Dec. 6 for Sony’s PlayStation 3 game console.
AMG’s concept is the first of a series of life-size representations of PlayStation models requested from several automakers by Kazunori Yamauchi, the game’s producer.
The Vision Gran Turismo as a whole evokes the Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrow race cars of the 1930s, while the front grille, studded with LED lights, harkens back specifically to the ’52 300SL race car.
The car boasts an AMG 577-hp, 5.5L twin-turbo V-8. Its classic proportions include a long hood, gullwing doors, a low, wide tail end and no rear window.
As if the aforementioned characteristics aren’t enough to prove the Vision’s coolness factor, the car is enhanced with door sills that emit a reddish aura and a taillamp that is a simple thin, horizontal strip.
Mercedes will unveil an all-new C-Class compact sports sedan at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January.