by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

Mercedes-Benz in 2012: A successful story

2012 has been a year full of new challenges to overcome. Some markets, which were initially regarded as key development areas, showed signs of slowing down which perpetuated throughout the entire period. The financial and economic crisis bounced back once again, however at a lower rate, which was just enough to compensate the negative effects on sales.

This year, Mercedes-Benz launched an avalanche of premieres at various auto shows and also gained substantial revenue from sales, breaking record after record every month. The saga started back in January, at Detroit, where the company showcased its brand new SL-Class roadster. The R 231 generation came packed full of technology: the impressive MAGIC VISION CONTROL wipe-blade washer technology, the MAGIC SKY CONTROL dynamic luminosity panorama roof, the COMAND Online with full internet integration and the powerfully efficient V6 and V8 engines were among the tough points of the convertible. Apart from the SL, Mercedes-Benz also brought the all new E-Class fleet of models alternative power: the E 300 BlueTEC HYBRID and the US-only E 400 HYBRID.

In March, at Geneva, Mercedes-Benz brought to the public for the first time the new A-Class, completely revamped compared to the previous MPV generation. Now marketed as a chic hatchback with wow factor and made to appeal to young customers, the W 176 series premiered a complete array of the most advanced safety technologies: PRE-SAFE and Collision Prevention Assist are just a few of the many. The wing-shaped dashboard, with clear inspiration from the SLS, attracted a lot of views through its build quality and user functionality. The social network integration into the latest version of the COMAND Online is a big plus, as is the new front-driven MFA platform with rellevant dynamic capabilities and the frugal diesel and gasoline engines with displacement ranging from 1.5 to 2.1 litres. Another star for Geneva was the new SL 63 AMG. The high-performance roadster tweaked by the Affalterbach engineers boasted a new 5.5-litre V8 BITURBO available in two output configurations: 537 hp and 564 hp.

April was the set for two major car shows: at New York and Beijing. The second generation GL-Class and the GLK 2012 model year made their debut on American soil. The large-sized premium SUV under the X 166 code came equipped with Crosswind Assist, STEER CONTROL steering assistance system, the COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST (CPA) and the 360° camera technology. The X 205 featured a refreshed and more organic exterior and interior design, as well as updated technology, to keep up pace with its main competitors. Towards the end of the same month, Beijing hosted the advent of the facelift generation of the G-Class as well as the introduction of the Concept Style Coupe, a near-production showcar heralding a future addition to the compact class portfolio in the form of the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class. The 2012 W 463 model features mild exterior upgrades, remaining roughly the same boxy and iconic 4x4 vehicle so much appreciated by customers all over the world. The most dramatic modifications are visible inside, where the revised dashboard displays a fresh stance and brand new technology.

The beginning of summer brought AMG once again into attention. The first generation GL 63 AMG with a massive 557 hp of peak output and V8 BITURBO power, as well as the all new G 63 AMG with 544 hp and the outrageous 12-cylinder G 65 AMG with 612 hp, came to light. Moreover, the portfolio of supercar expanded with the introduction of the new SLS AMG GT versions to the portfolio. Although the standard SLS models remain in production, the GT badge brings an extra 20 hp to the output, now making it 591 hp, and further upgrades to the powertrain (suspension, damping system, brakes).

In August, Mercedes-Benz rewrote principles of automotive industry once again: after the sensational CLS 4-door coupe which was first premiered in 2004, it was the turn of the new CLS Shooting Brake to cause a stir. The so-entitled 5-door coupe is a also a modern interpretation of traditional Shooting Brake models and features state-of-the-art technology, 4MATIC all-wheel-drive upon request, multiple customization choices through the special designo program and offers a fashionable approach to practicality. The new CLS Shooting Brake would not be complete without an AMG variant: CLS 63 AMG SB came towards 2012, cranking out 525 hp or 557 hp with the Performance package fitted.

Autumn came with an entire-fleet of efficient, eco-friendly models for Mercedes-Benz. The new B 200 Natural Gas Drive makes use of green technology to achieve a substantial decrease in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. The Concept B-Class Electric Drive premiered at the Paris Motor Show announced the introduction of a new series produced, electrically-powered B-Class model beginning with 2014. Furthermore, Mercedes-AMG debuted their new SLS AMG Electric Drive, an all-electric hypercar packing no less than 552 kW of maximum output - which makes it company's most potent model in history.

In November, the star of the LA Auto Show was the anticipated, ever-awaited SLS AMG Black Series special supercar. Featuring GT3 technology compatible with road traffic, the new car boasts a staggering 631 hp and an impressive level of performance. Last, but not least, Mercedes-Benz designers from the Advanced Design Studio in California expressed their view of the future highway patrol vehicle: the ENER-G-FORCE concept could also signal a potential new model to replace the G-Class after more than 30 years of loyal service.

The end of 2012 is focused on the new E-Class facelift generation. The first details were released in mid-December, while the official reveal is bound to take place at Detroit, in January 2013. The executive saloon and wagon features a new styling philosophy, a distinct appearance depending on the chosen trim line and some clever technology from the future S-Class - the perfect ingredients for a fresh start in the new year.

You can also follow the Mercedes-Benz 2012 story on our official Pinterest page and Instagram channel, where you shall also find some nice photos. :)

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