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Porsche and Mercedes Continue to Fill in Lineup Gaps

More powerful plug-ins coming from Porsche, while Benz readies soft-top convertibles

While Audi surprised U.S. power junkies at the 2017 New York auto show with a pair of sporty RS models, Porsche rolled the Panamera Gran Turismo into the limelight – a risky extension of the range in a market that hates hatchbacks.

Asked to name obvious gaps in the brand´s North-American portfolio, CEO Klaus Zellmer answered like a shot: U.S. customers would love to see a comeback of the 928, and they are developing a taste for powerful plug-in hybrids.

Mercedes-AMG unwrapped the GLC63, but the news behind the scenes revolved about the recently signed off sports car strategy. While the SLC has disappeared for good from the cycle plan, the next SL and the AMG GT replacement are going to share a new lightweight architecture.

In contrast to the future GT, which remains a two-seater in a slimmer and lighter package, the next SL, due in 2020, is to evolve into a more spacious 2+2-seater, trading the retractable hardtop in for a classic folding soft-top.

This revised constellation may not leave enough room for the two-door S-Class derivatives, so both the C-Class coupe/convertible and the sporty E-Class models are expected to move up half a notch in size, price, and image to fill the void.

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