The German trio Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi are fighting it out big in the premium vehicle segment. Mercedes was a clear leader for a long time only to be overtaken first by BMW and then Audi but the three pointed star rose back to second position last year. Mercedes is in no mood to back off and the company is planning a product offensive in this year for the Indian market. The automaker has understood that the Indian auto market is maturing day-by-day and people are getting more and more aware of newer products and technologies. Everyone wants the latest technology and the company is now set to launch 10 new products in 2014, the “Year of Excellence” for the Stuttgart automaker.
Besides the new products, Mercedes-Benz is also focussing on after sales service, dealership experience, customer relationship, production, CSR initiatives and customer engagement activities. The automaker wants to set new benchmarks along with a splendid experience for buyers of its coveted automobiles. The new C-Class won’t be launched in India this year while the AMG version of the S-Class won’t make it here either. No confirmations have come from the company on the 10 new products but here is our guess on what 8 of them could be.
1) Mercedes CLA– Mercedes-Benz will surely launch their compact sedan CLA in India in 2014. The CLA shares its platform with the A-Class. The CLA will be launched with both petrol and diesel options. The CLA250 will be powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine producing 208 BHP of power and 350 Nm of torque. The CLA220 CDI will be powered by a 2.2-litre diesel engine producing 167 BHP of power and 350 Nm of torque. Mercedes will offer a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission with both the engine options. The CLA will be slotted below the C-Class and will be priced between Rs. 28-30 lakhs. The CLA’s major competitor will be the Audi A3.
2) Mercedes CLA45 AMG– The CLA45 AMG is a performance-oriented version of the CLA sedan. The design philosophy is inspired by the CLS63 AMG. The CLA45 AMG will be powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine producing 355 BHP of power and 450 Nm of torque. This vehicle will also have a 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system and the CLA45 AMG will take just 4.5 seconds to do the 0-100 km/hr sprint. The CLA45 will give a tough competition to the Audi S4 and we are expecting this to be priced between Rs. 50-60 lakhs.
3) Mercedes GLA– The GLA is a crossover which might look like an A-Class on steroids to some. However, just like the A-Class, this one too is a looker. The GLA will be offered with both petrol and diesel engines. The GLA200 will be powered by a 1.6-litre petrol engine producing 156 BHP of power and the GLA250 will be powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine producing 211 BHP of power. The diesel variant of the GLA will be called GLA220 CDI powered by a 2.2-litre diesel engine producing 170 BHP of power and 350 Nm of torque. The Mercedes-Benz GLA will compete with the BMW X1 and Audi Q3 and it is expected to be priced between Rs. 30-35 lakhs.
4) Mercedes GLA45 AMG– As the name suggests, the GLA45 AMG is a performance-oriented version of the GLA. Mercedes will plant a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine under the GLA45 AMG’s hood. This powerful engine churns out 360 PS of power and 450 Nm of torque. This vehicle too comes with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic and 0-100 km/hr takes 4.8 seconds. The company claims that even though the engine gives great performance, the fuel efficiency too is excellent at 14.42 km/l. The GLA45 AMG doesn’t have any true competitor in India.
5) Mercedes GL63 AMG– The Mercedes GL is known as the big daddy of SUVs owing to its enormous size and now the GL63 AMG is going to be known as one of the best performing SUVs. The GL63 AMG is powered by a 5.5-litre V8 bi-turbo petrol engine which cranks out 557 BHP of power and 760 Nm of torque. The sprint from 0-100 km/hr takes just 4.9 seconds whereas the top speed is electronically limited to 250 km/hr. Mercedes has also included a speed-sensitive AMG sports steering along with a sports suspension and a 7G-TRONIC SPEEDSHIFT AMG transmission.
6) Mercedes ML63 AMG– The ML63 AMG is the GL63 AMG’s younger sibling. Powered by the same 5.5-litre V8 b-iturbo petrol engine, Mercedes has de-tuned the power ratings for the ML which brings the top power to 525 BHP and a maximum torque of 700 Nm. The ML63 AMG comes with an Electronic Traction System and the engine is mated to the same 7G-TRONIC SPEEDSHIFT AMG transmission. Mercedes has included an electromechanical power steering and also an Active Curve System for the suspension. The ML63 AMG is also fitted with massive 20-inch tyres.
7) Mercedes S350 CDI– The S-Class as we know is one of the best luxo-barges available in the market. Mercedes-Benz launched the new S-Class recently but the diesel engine option is yet to be launched. The company will launch the S350 CDI in April. The S350 CDI will be equipped with BlueTec technology which helps in improving the overall fuel efficiency. The S350 will also get a new 9-speed automatic transmission and this too will aid in better efficiency. The Mercedes S350 CDI will be a great option for those who enjoy relaxing in the rear seat and it will surely give a tough time to the BMW 730Ld and Audi A8L 3.0 TDI, both of which pale in comparison to the world’s best car.
8) Mercedes S600– If you enjoy getting chauffeured during the weekdays and want to have some fun on weekends, then the Mercedes S600 is the car for you. Powered by a V12 engine producing 530 BHP of power and 830 Nm of torque, the S600 will surely give out mind-blowing performance. The engine is also claimed to be 21% more efficient. Mercedes has loaded the new S-Class with some amazing technology like Intelligent LED lighting system, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist, BAS Plus with Cross-Traffic Assist, Pre-Safe Brake and Pre-Safe Plus.