by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

PREVIEW: Mercedes-Benz 2012 Agenda

The previous year marked the 125th milestone in the history of the automobile. For Mercedes-Benz, it were 12 months rich in premieres, celebrations and exhibitions in honor of Carl Benz, the inventor of world's first vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine - the three-wheeled patent motorcar of 1886. The new year marks the entrance into a new, visionary era for the automobile - the German constructor is once again prepared to rewrite all the principles that governed cars and vehicle technology in the last 125 years. Mercedes-Benz is starting 2012 at full throttle with the unveiling of the new SL-Class in a few days time at Detroit; shortly after, the new A-Class, the CLC and the CLS Shooting Brake are expected to hit streets. The old and faithful G-Class is also programmed to receive one last refreshment procedure before the anticipated exit from the scene in 2015. The summer is reserved to the new GL and the facelifted GLK-Class. Approaching fall and winter, the Stuttgart-based carmaker will reveal the restyled E-Class for 2013 and the most important model in the portfolio: the S-Class, which is announced as the most revolutionary car of this year. Last, but not least, the SLS AMG Black Series is also arriving at the party before the end of 2012. Check out more details on each model after the jump!

The New Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

First photos and information were released on 15th December 2011. The official premiere is scheduled for the NAIAS 2012, which commences on 9th January at Cobo Center in Detroit. The new SL is surely the most technologycally advanced car in its class - the chassis and its components, united in a structure called spaceframe, is built almost entirely out of aluminium and other lightweight materials, which help reduce by up to 140 kilograms compared to the outgoing generation (R 230). The highlights continue with the MAGIC VISION CONTROL wiper washer solution and the Front Bass audio system that guarantees for a crisp, unique sound experience. The R 231 is also equipped with the MAGIC VISION CONTROL panorama roof and the COMAND Online infotainment technology with internet access. Two variants are available for order at the moment: the SL 350 BlueEFFICIENCY with 306 hp for a total of €93,534 and the SL 500 BlueEFFICIENCY with 435 hp that costs €117,096. Reports indicate a new V12 with twin-turbocharging technology is currently under development and it could be used to power the forthcoming SL 600, tipped for introduction late this year or early in 2013. Moreover, we expect the SL 350 BE to receive an output push-up at 354-360 hp.

>> The new Mercedes-Benz SL: Lightweight, athletic, luxurious

The New Mercedes-Benz A-Class and CLC-Class

The previous compact range of Mercedes-Benz comprised two models: the A-Class launched back in 1997 and the B-Class that followed in 2005. Fuelled by the success of other competitors, the Germans decided to completely revise their philosophy in this market segment. After the second generation of the B-Class was revealed in 2011 at Frankfurt, the new A-Class will showcase on the stage of the Geneva Motor Show in March this year. Not anymore MPV, but hatchback, the W 176 will certainly be able to create a new niche in the Mercedes-Benz lineup of cars and attract new clients towards the brand. While the B-Class is a consistently practical vehicle, the new A-Class focuses on dynamism and lifestyle. With the help of the BlueEFFICIENCY engines and the variety of ultimate assistance systems, the A-Class is destined to become one of the toughest contender of the premium compact class. The top version, the upcoming A 25 AMG (late 2012), boasts a supercharged 2.0-litre petrol engine co-developed with Swiss expert Hyprex and rated at 320 hp, that are sent two all the four wheels thanks to an ingenious 4x4 platform specially built by Mercedes-AMG.
An entirely new addition is the CLC 4-door coupe, which resembles the CLS and is developed on the MFA platform. Insiders suggest the car is to be premiered in April, at the New York Motor Show. If we look at the popularity of the CLS, it's not hard to imagine the CLC will also ignite a new niche. Its key points: the aerodynamic exterior design, the luxurious interior where the four passengers feel truly pampered and the outstanding technical package. In 2013, the uber-300 hp all-wheel-drive CLC 25 AMG is expected to spice things up even more.


The New Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting Brake (SB)

The CLS was born under a lucky star. First shown at Frankfurt Motor Show in 2003 in concept form, the astonishing sedan boasting a sexy coupe silhouette immediately attracted a lot of enthusiastic views. The decision to release a series produced model was not hard and the first units started rolling out of the assembly line in 2004. The first-ever 4-door coupe was becoming increasingly successful as years passed so a replacement generation came in 2010 to further contribute to the consistent sales numbers. In order to preview the C 218 model, Mercedes-Benz unwrapped the Concept Shooting Break prototype at Auto China 2010. The company officials sensed the potential this new type of vehicle had and decided to greenlight the project. The CLS Shooting Brake is again a reinterpretation of the original rule the same way the CLS was back in 2003. The official reveal is set for New York International Auto Show in April this year.

>> Decision for serial production: CLS Shooting Brake will be built in the Mercedes-Benz Plant Sindelfingen

The New Mercedes-Benz GL-Class

During summer 2012, Mercedes-Benz will unleash the second generation of the GL-Class executive SUV. Like the new ML, the "Big Daddy" is likely to become a revolution on wheels thanks to the multiple, clever innovations it brings. First of all, the 4MATIC powertrain has been drastically refined and improved as to deliver great driving dynamics, as well as a comfortable ride and a good dose of off-road capabilities. When venturing into nature or practising your driving skills on the Stelvio Pass, let's say, the intelligent ON & OFF-ROAD Package, premiered on the M-Class, will mitigate for any dangerous situation in addition to offering a multitude of consistent set-ups to best fit your preferences. Judged by its general dimensions, the new GL will be, in every sense, giant, rock-solid and extremely versatile. The interior appointments will come courtesy of the ML, so get prepared for a truly exquisite luxury atmosphere. Together with new gasoline and diesel engines and all the latest technologycal gimmicks developed in Merc's labs, the new GL will certainly be regarded as the best sports utility vehicle in its class. Not to forget: we'll have a GL 63 AMG sports SUV with up 571 hp peak output beginning with late 2012.


The Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class (2013 MY) and G-Class (2013MY)
The young boy and the old man in the SUV lineup of Mercedes-Benz are both undergoing a facelift to keep them fresh and updated. In the case of the GLK, we are talking about a normal mid-cycle revamp, which eyes a revised front fascia, with a new pair of headlights optionally equipped with LEDs, restyled tail lamps and an upgraded interior, similar to those found on C-Class models these days. The new-generation GLK is also on the list for receiving some new powerplants that ensure an efficient functioning of the entire car. Expect the new 2013 GLK to come right in time for Paris Motor Show during fall this year. When it comes to the G-Class, this will be one final touch before the 1979 4x4 vehicle is discontinued after 2015. The changes will be minor exterior-wise, but the underpinnings underneath that massive metal body will suffer some adjustments. The Gelandewagen will get some LED technology for its front and rear "eyes", as well as new, aerodynamically-designed exterior mirrors and a heavily updated interior featuring a new instrument cluster, a 3-spoke steering wheel borrowed from the CLS, a rehauled center console with all the neccesary controls on it and the latest assistance and infotainment systems such as the PRE-SAFE and the COMAND Online. New, powerful and grumpy units will roar like a lion under the hood of the G-Class: the G 500 will be powered by the 4.7-litre 435 hp V8 motor, while the new G 55 AMG is likely to receive the tuner's 5.5-litre 525 hp TT V8 engine. A limited edition G 65 AMG with over 600 hp will also follow towards the end of 2012.

The All New Mercedes-Benz S-Class (W 222)
The S-Class has always been a trendsetter and the ultimate leader of the luxury class. The new generation, coming at the end of this year, takes the illustrious crown from its predecessors and threatens to blow the competition away once again. Once of the most unthinkable and insane innovations will make their way onto the new S-Class. The high-end limousine will adopt the outstanding MAGIC RIDE CONTROL radar-based system which delivers an unparalleled and uncompromising ride experience. Moreover, engineers have also mastered an Autonomous Driving System that can practically drive the car completely independent from the driver. An integrated communication system aboard the car, badged Human Machine Interface, will use touchpads and cameras to transpose gestures and hand movements into commands for the various functions and assistance systems of the S-Class. The enhanced night vision system with infrared technology and the surveillance cameras all around the new car are sure to offer the driver a full 360-degree view and best visibility under night conditions. All the latest security solutions, like the ATTENTION ASSIST, the Lane Keeping Assist, PRE-SAFE, DISTRONIC and so on, will be even further refined. In case of an accident, occupants inside the new S-Class will be highly protected by a full set of airbags covering the entire cabin when inflated at maximum level. In order to reduce braking distances when at risk, the W 222 will also debut the Braking Bag, an effective system that was previewed on the ESF 2009 safety concept vehicle. The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class will feature a wide range of gasoline and diesel engines, starting with the frugal 204 hp unit on the S 250 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY, going through the S 500 with up to 435 hp from the 4.7-litre V8 and finishing with the forthcoming 6.0-litre V12 TT with over 600 hp that's bound for the mighty S 65 AMG top model to be unleashed in 2013 or 2014.


The 2013MY Mercedes-Benz E-Class
The business class models of Mercedes-Benz is bound to receive a mild update for 2013. Main changes include the addition of the LED Intelligent Light System adapted to the four-eyed configuration of the front fascia and minor modifications for the dashboard to keep in line with the latest cars unveiled by the Stuttgart-based carmaker. Technically speaking, Mercedes-Benz will add the new E 300 BlueTEC HYBRID to the lineup, as well as the E 400 HYBRID for the US market (in the first phase). Other than that, the engines stay the same as for the current model generation. Also, expect some upgraded features, like the COMAND Online, available right from the launch of the 2013 E-Class.


The New Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series

A new chapter in the Black Series will be written this year with the launch of a specially prepped SLS AMG. The 'hardcored' gullwing will display a wider body equipped with lightweight aerodynamic panels to reduce drag and improve air flow and thus performance, as well as a lowered ride height and special alloy wheels. To save more kilos, minimalism will be the way to go for the passenger shuttle: a safety cage and only the neccesary commands. According to reports, power will come courtesy of a modified version of the 6.2-litre V8 with natural aspiration pumping out around 650 hp. The estimated price tag for the new SLS AMG Black Series is close to € 260,000 when the car is unwrapped in autumn 2012.

Image Credits: Autoblog, Carscoop, Daimler, Motor Authority, SpyShots.NL, The Motor Report

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By the looks of it, this is going to be SOME YEAR for Mercedes-Bnz.

Some great cars, some brilliant innovations!

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