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Mercedes new-model wave continues

New model barrage: The revised C63 AMG will hit Australian showrooms in sedan, wagon and two-door coupe guise later this year.

Massive range refresh will see entire Benz model line-up renewed over four years

30 May 2011

THE revamped Mercedes-Benz C-class sedan and wagon range on sale now will be joined by a host of newcomers this year as the company continues one of its busiest launch regimes in living memory.

This will include another limited edition ‘Black Series’ high-performance flagship due at the end of the year, ahead of the revised C63 AMG in sedan, wagon and new Coupe guises.

The latter – to be powered by AMG’s 6.2-litre V8 and seven-speed Speedshift MCT automatic transmission – will extend the long-awaited two-door four-seater C-class Coupe range that arrives in Australian dealerships from mid-July.

The last Black Series was based on the CLK63 AMG, and was powered by a 373kW/630Nm 6.2-litre V8 capable of catapulting the coupe to 100km/h from standstill in just 4.1 seconds. Expect the C-class Coupe version to better this.

Mercedes will position the W204 sedan-derived Coupe between the pensionable CLC three-door hatch and old CLK range that was discontinued last year to make space for the E-class Coupe and Cabriolet series launched in 2009.

4 center imageFrom top: Mercedes-Benz C-class sedan, SLK roadster, E-class update, A-class concept, SLS roadster and coupe.

Its timing is crucial for Mercedes to help keep the entire C-class range fresh in the face of the all-new BMW 3 Series being readied for the end of the year.

So far this year the C-class sedan and wagon has managed to sustain a healthy sales margin in Australia ahead of the previous 3 Series and hard-charging Audi A4/A5 Sportback assault.

Moving up the Mercedes range, the second-generation CLS arrives in the next few weeks, initially available in 350 CDI V6 diesel and CLS63 AMG twin-turbo V8 form with the more mainstream V6 petrol versions due in August.

August will also see the debut of the redesigned and re-engineered SLK powered by direct-injection four-cylinder and V6 petrol engines in SLK200, 250 and 350 forms. The two-seat roadster’s features include a metal folding roof with a glass panel that turns opaque at a press of a button.

At about the same time, new direct-injection V6 and V8 petrol engines will appear in the existing W212 E-class sedan, Estate, Coupe and Cabriolet.

The 3.5-litre V6’s power increases to 225kW but returns up to 20 per cent better fuel consumption, while the old 285kW 5.5-litre V8 in the E500 moves aside for a 4.6-litre twin-turbo unit that should develop around 300kW while cutting consumption by up to 17 per cent.

At the Frankfurt motor show in September, Mercedes will unveil some key 2012 models for Australia, including the third-generation ML-class mid-range SUV due here in the first quarter of next year and the production version of the vital new B-class hatch.

The production version of the smaller A-class, shown in concept form last month, is expected to appear ahead of the 2012 Geneva motor show next March. The A-class has been missing from Australian showrooms since late 2009 but should be back before the end of next year.

Meanwhile, the SLS Roadster that was unveiled this week is also slated for a 2012 release in Australia, followed in 2013 by new-generation GL-class, S-class flagship sedan and SL convertible.

All this new-model activity means that every Mercedes-Benz model since the release of the W212 E-class in the middle of 2009 will have been completely replaced within a four-year timeframe.

“It is an extremely busy time for us – with a new launch pencilled in almost every month,” said company corporate communications boss David McCarthy.

Mercedes-Benz new-model timeline

C-class facelift: Now
CLS II: June 2011
SLK III: August 2011
E-class V6/V8 revamp: August 2011
B-class Special Edition: Q3 2011
C-class Coupe Black Series: November 2011
ML-class III: Q1 2012
B-class II: 2012
A-class II: 2012
SLS Roadster: 2012
S-class: 2013
SL-class: 2013
GL-class: 2013

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