With five world premieres, Mercedes-Benz is setting the benchmark at the 2013 Frankfurt International Motor Show for automotive passion and innovation. Each one of the newcomers perfectly embodies in its own way the motto of the show “Fascination Mercedes”; the new GLA, the first compact SUV with the three-pointed star, as well as four groundbreaking new S-Class models. Ahead of the Frankfurt Motor Show, Mercedes-Benz caused a sensation with its pioneering achievement in the field of autonomous driving at the end of August.
The emotional highlight of Mercedes’ appearance at the world’s largest auto show is the Concept S-Class Coupé. The stunning four-seater offers a preview of the next generation of the full-size coupe that traditionally marks the pinnacle of the Mercedes model lineup. “The Concept S-Class Coupé is the most beautiful way so far to drive an S-Class,” said Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. With its expressive appearance, the Concept S-Class Coupé reflects the Mercedes-Benz design philosophy of sensual clarity. The exclusive equipment defines the current state-of-the-art in modern luxury. The series-production model is scheduled for market launch next year. Dr. Zetsche: “We cannot give away all the details quite yet. But the wow factor is surely among them.”
S 500 INTELLIGENT DRIVE: breakthrough in autonomous driving
With the S 500 INTELLIGENT DRIVE research vehicle, Mercedes-Benz has become the first automaker worldwide to prove that autonomous driving is also possible in out-of-town and city traffic. The more than 100-kilometre route from Mannheim to Pforzheim followed in the tracks of pioneer Bertha Benz, who dared to make the first ever long-distance journey in an automobile along this route exactly 125 years ago.
In the heavy traffic of the Rhine/Neckar conurbation, the self-driving S-Class had to master highly complex situations autonomously – with pedestrians, cyclists, traffic lights, roundabouts and trams. What made it so special is that this breakthrough was not achieved through the implementation of super-expensive specialist technology, but with the help of close-to-production technology that – as the INTELLIGENT DRIVE package – is already available in the new E and S-Class. Dr. Zetsche: “The S 500 INTELLIGENT DRIVE uses sensors that are also available in the production version of the S-Class – just more of them. The car uses these to capture the massive amounts of data in traffic. It’s as if the car is permanently playing speed chess – but in milliseconds and with dozens of opponents at the same time. Because, in traffic, there are significantly more figures in play than would fit onto a chess board.”
The S 500 INTELLIGENT DRIVE is a milestone on the route from the self-moving (automobile) to self-driving (autonomous) car. “With the S-Class, we are the first to be able to drive autonomously in a traffic jam,” says Prof. Dr. Thomas Weber, Daimler Board Member for Group Research and Head of Development for Mercedes-Benz Cars. “And we will continue to expand this lead. We also want to be the first to put further autonomous driving functions into series production. My personal estimate is that we will be driving autonomously in a Mercedes before the end of this decade.”
The S-Class as a three-litre car - the new S 500 PLUG-IN HYBRID
The technical expertise of the brand is also underscored by the most fuel-efficient S-Class of all time, the S 500 PLUG-IN HYBRID. The third hybrid model alongside the S 400 HYBRID and the S 300 BlueTEC HYBRID achieves an NEDC consumption of just 3.0 litres per 100 kilometres and CO2 emissions of 69 grams per kilometre. “This makes the S 500 PLUG-IN HYBRID the most efficient luxury saloon,” says Dr Joachim Schmidt, Member of the Management Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Sales & Marketing. “And what I like best is that this new S-Class can fill up at any electrical outlet.”
The 80 kW electric drive with an externally chargeable battery enables zero-emissions driving over a range of around 30 kilometres. It is paired with the new 3.0-litre V6 biturbo engine (245 kW/333 hp). Market launch is scheduled for next year. Prof Weber: “Based on our modular hybrid platform, the S 500 PLUG-IN HYBRID sets a further milestone on the route to zero-emissions mobility.”
Mercedes-Benz S 63 AMG – Driving Performance in the luxury segment
The new S 63 AMG drives into the spotlight at the Frankfurt Motor Show as the most dynamic S-Class ever. The most powerful high-performance saloon in the luxury segment sets accents in handling, lightweight design and efficiency. At the heart of the performance saloon is the AMG 5.5-litre V8 biturbo engine with 430 kW (585 hp) and 900 Nm of torque. Dr. Schmidt: “And concerns about the environment are not an issue at all. The 5.5-litre V8 biturbo has more power but consumes around one litre less than its predecessor.”
Through systematic lightweight design, the S 63 AMG weighs in at up to 100 kilogrammes less than its predecessor. Fuel consumption is 10.1 to 10.3 litres per 100 kilometres. The new S 63 AMG is also optionally available for the first time with the performance-oriented AMG 4-MATIC all-wheel drive.
The sportiest compact SUV – the new Mercedes-Benz GLA
Progressive in its design, refined in everyday use – even on rough terrain. With the new GLA, Mercedes-Benz is entering the compact SUV segment and driving forward its offensive in the growing premium compact car market. The new GLA completes the comprehensive SUV line-up from Mercedes-Benz. With five model lines (GLA, GLK, ML, GL and G), the company has the broadest range of all European premium manufacturers. At the same time, the GLA is the fourth of five new compact models from Mercedes-Benz.
Dr. Zetsche: “We launched our offensive in the compact car segment here in Frankfurt in 2011. The motto was, ‘The pulse of a new generation’. Two years later, I often have a higher pulse rate – when I look at the sales figures. With a plus of almost 19 percent, Mercedes-Benz was not only the fastest growing premium brand in August, but for the whole year, too. We have not least our new compact models to thank for that. Since the start of the year, they have achieved a sales increase of more than 60 percent against the previous year.”
The first Mercedes-Benz in the fast-growing segment of compact SUVs is manoeuvrable in the city, agile out of town and both dynamic and efficient on the highway (cd figure: 0.29). The GLA is the first Mercedes SUV to offer as an option the new generation of the 4MATIC all-wheel drive system with fully variable torque distribution. “For deserts, mud and steep hills, we have the true mountain boots of off-road vehicles in the Unimog and the G-Class,” says Dr Zetsche. “On top of that, we offer the right equipment for all sorts of outdoor activities with the GL, ML and GLK. And now, we are expanding that line-up with the new GLA. It is the trekking shoe in the Mercedes line-up.”
The bandwidth of petrol engines with 1.6 and 2.0 litres of displacement extends initially from 115 kW (156 hp) in the GLA 200 to 155 kW (211 hp) in the GLA 250. Added to that are two diesel variants, the GLA 200 CDI with 100 kW (136 hp) and a maximum torque of 300 Nm, and the GLA 220 CDI with 125 kW (170 hp) and 350 Nm. The GLA can be ordered as of the end of November and will reach dealerships next year.