by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

PREVIEW: Mercedes-Benz starts an aggressive offensive of coupe vehicles

In order to become leader in the premium automotive industry by the end of 2020, Mercedes-Benz has developed a solid growth plan which aims to offer new opportunities and the highest level of quality for the customers in search of a luxury vehicle. Despite the recent profit margin and prospect rectifications for the ongoing year and for 2013, as well as the uncertainty expressed by some of the investors at Daimler AG, the Stuttgart-based constructor is secretly mastering a complete portfolio of cars, in every class and covering any unfilled market niche. Apart from the compact model offensive, Mercedes-Benz will also start launching a comprehensive range of coupe vehicles in the medium, business/executive, high-luxury and SUV segments.

The German automotive constructor will start the renewal of its 2-door model portfolio with the 2013 E-Class Coupe, coming next year towards spring. The facelift generation of the C 207 will get a brand new visual identity, new safety systems and updated telematics, as well as more powerful engine in the high-end area: the E 350 BlueDIRECT V6 with 333 hp and the E 500 BlueEFFICIENCY with 435 hp. There's still no word about a possible E 63 AMG performance version with V8 BITURBO power.

The next to come is the future S-Class Coupe (C 217) variant that is replacing the outgoing CL-Class (C 216) and tipped for world premiere in 2014. We have already about this car in a recent article, so we are not insisting too much on it. The entire technology pack comes from the forthcoming S-Class sedan (W 222), so expect a great level of safety and connectivity aboard the 2-door model. The design philosophy will combine classic elements preserved from the predecessors with a futuristic styling combining progressive and organic shapes and lines.

In around two years from this moment, Mercedes-Benz will also mark the launch of company's first Sports Utility Coupe (SUC) vehicle under the MLC moniker (C 292). The new addition to the family will be assembled at Tuscaloosa plant in the USA, being the fifth model to be built at the Alabama-located facility alongside the C-Class, M-Class, GL-Class and R-Class. The body will sport 5 doors, but the general design will be inspired by the sleek silhouette of the real Mercedes-Benz coupes. A rakish roofline, dropping dramatically towards the rear end, and an eye-catching progressive styling will convert the future MLC into a complete looker. Prior the official unveiling, we expect Mercedes-Benz to tease the series model with a concept showcar in early 2014.

The SUC family will further grow in 2015 with the advent of the middle class contender: the new GLC, in fact the GLK Coupe. The model will emphasize a dynamic design, similar in terms of general details to the bigger MLC. While we do expect at least minimal 4x4 capabilities from the 4MATIC system, the land where the GLC will feel at home is the road, either in the cities or outside them. Most certainly, the new all-wheel-drive powertrain, derived from MRA rear-driven platform of the future C-Class 205 series, will be tweaked to deliver sensational driving performance, with an accent on the sharp stability, agility and behaviour predictability.

There is also a possibility the engineers from Affalterbach will develop high sports variants for the MLC and GLC. Then, the future MLC 63 AMG and GLC 63 AMG could be scheduled to bow nearing 2016 and they should use V8 engines with direct injection and bi-turbocharging. Around 550 hp for the C 292 and near 480 hp for the other Merc.

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