Expanding with Small Cars: Mercedes-Benz Future Product Plans Includes Small Car

We've gotten the inside scoop on a number of future Mercedes-Benz vehicles over the past few months, including several that have now officially debuted. Here's a roundup of the cars we can expect to see from the three-pointed star in the next few years:

The next-generation B-Class will also signal the return of Mercedes-Benz four-cylinder engines in the United States. All B-Class variants will be available with a range of direct-injected I-4s, and at least some will also feature turbochargers. The B-Class will also likely get a supercharged V-6 option in the B-Class AMG.

F-Cell: Mercedes has showed several "Cell" concepts over the past few years, and will eventually place one into extremely limited production. The German automaker is bringing 100 hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, based on its B-Class, to California for testing.

C-Class: Mercedes' current U.S. entry-level model is set to get a new coupe variant early next year to coincide with the sedan's planned facelift. Both the coupe and refreshed sedan will feature revised front and rear bumpers, hood, new taillights, and LED daytime running lights. The C-Class receives no engine updates across the line. The C63 AMG will also soldier on with its normally aspirated, 6.2-liter V-8, despite the rest of Mercedes' 63-series cars' new twin-turbocharged, direct-injected 5.5-liter V-8.

The C63 AMG Coupe will get a bump in power and receive sharpened responses to compete with the Audi RS5 and BMW M3.

The next-generation C-Class will hit dealerships in 2013 and will add at least a third derivative, likely either a convertible or a crossover. The C-Class model additions, along with the B-Class, are part of Mercedes' plan to grow the brand through small cars. Like the B-Class, the next C-Class will be offered with four-cylinder engines, but it will also retain V-6 and V-8 options. The North American market C-Class will be produced exclusively at Mercedes' plant in Tuscaloosa, Ala., beginning in 2014.

E-Class: Mercedes doesn't have any planned changes for the new-for-2010 E-Class lineup until the 2013 model year, when it gets a mid-cycle facelift.

CLS-Class: Mercedes started the four-door coupe segment with this car when it introduced the production version at the 2004 New York Auto Show. The second-generation model is set to make its public debut at the Paris Motor Show in September.

CL-Class: The large, S-Class-based coupe gets a mid-cycle facelift this November. It features revised sheetmetal and an updated powertrain lineup. The base engine in the CL550 4Matic is Mercedes' new twin-turbocharged, direct-injected, 4.6-liter V-8 that produces 429 horsepower; the CL63 AMG gets Mercedes' new twin-turbocharged, direct-injected, 5.5-liter V-8 that produces 536 horsepower. The CL600 and CL65 AMG retain their 5.5-liter and 6.0-liter twin-turbo V-12s with 510 and 621 horsepower, respectively.

An all-new model is expected in 2013, when it will revert to being called the S-Class Coupe.

S-Class: The news surrounding Mercedes' facelifted large sedan is all about powertrain. The S400 BlueHybrid is the first production hybrid to use lithium-ion batteries, and the S350 BlueTec, which will debut in the first quarter of 2011, uses Mercedes' 3.0-liter, twin-turbo-diesel V-6. In addition, the normally aspirated, 6.2-liter V-8 in the S63 AMG was replaced by a twin-turbocharged, direct-injected, 5.5-liter V-8.

The next-generation S-Class is due in 2013 and is rumored to include an all-hybrid lineup for fuel economy.

Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)

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