Mercedes-Benz is about to make a number of major changes to its product portfolio, some of which were first publicized by Automobile Magazine’s Georg Kacher. We spoke to our own sources in Stuttgart, and here’s what we can report.
MFA Platform: Only three models using Daimler’s modular front-wheel-drive platform are offered in the United States right now: the CLA-, GLA-, and B-class, the latter only in electrc form. There will be more vehicles sold here spun from the next generation of the architecture, including a sleek A-class sedan, previewed earlier this month by a concept at the Shanghai auto show, and a compact off-roader tentatively called the GLB. Other markets also currently get an A-class hatch and a CLA Shooting Brake, while the long-wheelbase A-class sedan is exclusive to China. The next CLA will get a smooth, muscular shoulder line like the four-door AMG GT.
AMG GT: Speaking of the AMG GT, the coupe range will be topped by a Black Series model, but the big news will be the four-door GT, which was just shown as a concept (pictured above) and will reach production around 2019. Despite its high-voltage looks and its badging, it is actually based on the E-class platform; its interior will mix E-class and GT elements. Below the range-topping twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8, there may also be a six-cylinder twin-turbo gasoline engine, a six-cylinder turbo-diesel, and a six-cylinder hybrid.
C-class, E-class, and S-class: These recently launched (or, in the case of the S-class, facelifted) models will remain on the market for a while, but they will successively be fitted with new engines, including inline-sixes. Forty-eight-volt electronic architecture plays an increasing role, while the interiors will make a leap forward in the next generation. The S-class coupe and cabriolet will not join that generation, however, and will be discontinued.
G-class: After four decades in production, the G-wagen will be supplanted by a new model that looks almost exactly like the outgoing one but about four inches wider and featuring an entirely reimagined, more modern interior. The old model won’t go away entirely but will continue to be produced for certain markets alongside the new one. We suspect that it will be dropped in the U.S. market, however.
GLC-class: The immensely successful, relatively compact GLC will remain in production for several years, having just received the full AMG treatment.
GLE- and GLS-class: The next-gen GLE and its coupe derivative will look far more bold and sporty than the current models; they will have significantly more stylish interiors as well. The next GLS will continue its fight with U.S.-brand premium SUVs and the Range Rover, with the lineup topped by a Maybach version.
SLC-class: An instant hit when it was introduced as the SLK-class in the 1990s, there will be no successor for this small retractable-hardtop roadster.