Mercedes-Benz is ready to roll out whatever you need
Another six new models added to their lineup from mild to wild.
“Pardon my wind shear, but I’ve got six new models to unveil.”
That should have been the quote from Mercedes-Benz as they flipped the wraps off a lineup of hooligans, everyday haulers, and a hybrid at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto.
Need to move your kid to college? The GLS luxury SUV seats seven and rides on air suspension. Looking to save fuel while slogging through the city? The S550e Plug-In Hybrid purrs on electric power for up to 33 kilometres. If you ache for delirious fun, then dial up the AMG S 63 Cabriolet — with 577 horsepower, it’s always a cure for the humdrum.
The point is, Mercedes-Benz will have 143 models in production by the end of 2017, a vehicle for anyone shopping for luxury, even at the lower end, according to president Gareth Joyce, “We want luxury to be accessible to a wider audience, and if you get it right, people stick with the brand.”
Depending on how much cabbage you have might determine just what is accessible. The S550e starts at $117,300. At the show, the floor model has a white-leather interior as striking as an Alaskan glacier. Mercedes does luxury with such conviction, it stirs the envy in all of us.
In the spring, the new SL launches with more power, a sportier front end, and five transmission modes to skate through. The SL 63 and SL 65 spark performance even further with biturbo power producing cosmic numbers. In the SL 65, the 6.0-litre, V12 is rated at 621 hp. The challenge will be finding roads worthy of this convertible marvel.
Remember the SLK? It’s called the SLC now. Mercedes is reordering its family tree so that customers don’t need a tutor to figure things out. The SLC shares its internals with the C-Class, thus the name change. New to this lineup is the AMG SLC 43, a frisky roadster with a biturbo V6, producing 362 hp. There’s a bunch of fun features, of course, including exhaust flaps that can be opened or closed by the driver for restrained or raucous sound.
RELATED: The new Mercedes-Benz SLC
Even the pipsqueak smart fortwo got 15 seconds of fame, as Mercedes cheered the launch of the cab version. Drive it with the canvas all the way down as a convertible (it takes 12 seconds), or go part way and open it like a sunroof. The fabric even comes in blue denim, for a jeans look. There’s one engine choice, a three-cylinder making 89 hp, just enough to ruffle your hair, and a manual or automatic transmission is available. Sounds like sunny ways for the smart fortwo.
With 19 new models launching this year and 38 in 2017, Mercedes-Benz has the best depth chart in the luxury racket.
Freelance writer Kathy Renwald is a frequent contributor to Toronto Star Wheels. To reach her, email email@example.com and put her name in the subject line.