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Monday, August 11, 2008
Image rendering by : Auto Motor und Sport
The most significant exterior change will be the adoption of more angular themed headlamps first seen in the W204 C-class. The trademark quad circular headlamps of W210 and W211 generation E-class, commonly refered to as "big-small eyes" by local China-man towkays in Malaysia and Singapore will be dropped. In terms of body size, the standard models is not expected to be significantly different from the current model. although there will be a long-wheel base variant (7cm longer) to cater to predominantly chauffer driven markets of Asia. Also, expect Audi style daytime running lights along the front fog lamps on higher grade models.
Estate variants will follow 6-months after the launch, followed lastly by the major mental case 500+ bhp 6.3-litre V8 engined E63 AMG. Hybrid variants might be introduced by 2010, though that could be delayed after news of Daimler AG will be pursuing a law suit against its hybrid battery supplier Cobasys for failing to meet the launch timing of the ML450 hybrid.
AMG E63, spyshots by Auto Motor und Sport
A night vision driving assist feature, first seen in the current S-class and 7-series might also be introduced. Though not much is known if the workings are similar.
US-based online magazine Automotive Traveler managed to caught a series of spyshots of the W212 E-class undergoing hot weather testing in the deserts of California.
Note the daytime running lights.
For more hi-res images, go to AutomotiveTraveler
The website offers free downloadable magazines with really well written stuff in it. It's different from the usual magazines in the sense that there is always this "exploration, travelogue, enjoying the journey" kind of feeling throughout the magazine. It offers a refreshingly different perspective from the usual "speed" magazines. I love this story.
Anyway back to Mercs. Next up is the 2010 CLK, and just in case you don't know it yet, CLKs are built based on C-class platforms with E-class design elements and parts.The new CLK is expected to be unveiled in September 2009 at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
For more hi-res images of the CLK, go to AutomotiveTraveler
Next up are Mercedes hatches. The current A-class and B-class are set to retire by 2011. Succeeding the two entry level Mercedes models will be a new generation of entry level compact Mercedes. Daimler's entry level line-up to the three-pointed star brand will be expanded from the current two model line-up to a four-model line-up. The A-class platform will be the basis of a new entry mini-CLS like coupe, dubbed as CLA. Due to cost reasons however, the CLA will not have the CLS' characteristic frameless doors. Headroom is said to be "adequate" with a 4.3 meter length (3cm longer than B-class) and a 400-litre luggage carrying capacity.
CLA rendered image from AutoZeitung.
The B-class, on the other hand will spawn compact SUV, dubbed GLA, will be positioned lower than the GLK to compete against the likes of BMW's forth coming X1 and Audi's soon to be released Q3. A new plant will be built in Kecskemet, Hungary to built the 4 new models.
GLK-class. Image from AutoExpress. Sold in LHD version only as Daimler could not engineer the vehicle in RHD form due to certain "technicalities".
There is a deeper underlying reason to the creation of the CLS, GLA and CLA. The typical sales-marketing guy will explain that Mercedes wants to plug every niche market it can. But niche markets don't justify the billions of dollars required to develop a new model. Truth is Mercedes is faced with a dilema - see the auto industry is largely a volume game. It doesn't matter whether you are an exclusive supercar manufacturer or a mass manufacturer. If exclusivity and niche markets alone can sustain a car company, Porsche will not be the sole surviving independent sports car manufacturer. But as a luxury brand, Mercedes cannot dilute its own brand by producing more cars like Volkswagen or Toyota. Also, you can only go so low as far as premium small cars go, while still maintaining its "premium" image. The only way forward is to build more variants of the same platform, but skinned with a distinctive design of its own. This way, volumes can be driven up, costs are lowered and investments can be recovered faster.
CLS-class. Image from WorldCarFans.
The CLS pioneered the way by using E-class platform and mechanicals, but skinned with a sleek coupe-like silhoutte. The GLA and CLA will bring such platform commonization strategy into the next stage.
Image of the London Metro Police electric Smart ed from AutoBlogGreen.
Last for this post will be Merc's first production electric vehicle, set to be launched in 2011 but some sources say that it could be sooner at 2010. The compact EV urban runabout will be sold both as a Smart and Mercedes-Benz. Lithium-ion batteries could be likely. Currently, Daimler AG is already conducting real-world evaluation on 100 units of electric Smart ForTwo in the UK. The vehicles are now being used by London's Metro Police and staffs of Heathrow Airport. Called the Smart ed, the electric Smart ForTwos have a range of 115km on a single charge, with a top speed of 112km/h (which is not much different from a petrol powered ForTwo). It takes about 4 hours to charge the batteries to 80%, and 8-hours for a full charge.
It is not known if the electric Smarts and Mercs will be sold outside Europe, as the market perception towards EVs outside Europe is still very ermm..."hostile."
Posted by AutoIndustrie at 8:23 AM