PRETORIA - It’s shaping up to be a big year for Mercedes-Benz, with at least 10 new model introductions in the pipeline.
This comes on the back of a successful 2019, which saw the German carmaker emerge as the top selling premium car brand, both in South Africa and abroad.
While delivering that good news, Mercedes-Benz SA Executive Director Johannes Fritz also spilled the beans on the brand’s product plans for the year ahead, and there’s something for just about everyone lucky enough to be shopping in the luxury vehicle market, with new SUVs of all sizes coming our way, along with two performance hatch disruptors and an extensively updated E-Class mid-sized sedan.
2020 will also see Mercedes-Benz introduce the first member of its EQ electric car family to expand what is still very much a small and expensive niche on the local market.
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at what Mercedes-Benz has up its sleeve for 2020:
Mercedes-Benz GLA: The new-generation GLA crossover looks more like a shrunken GLC than a pumped up A-Class, although it is still very much related to the latter, also sharing its MBUX infotainment system. The second-gen GLA shares its engines with its hatch sibling too, and is also available in 35 AMG guise, with 225kW.
Mercedes-AMG A35 & A45: It’s double trouble as Mercedes-Benz stages a full-on assault on the performance hatch market with the 225kW A35 AMG and 310kW A45 S AMG. The former takes on the Golf R and Audi S3, while the latter breaks ground as the most powerful four-cylinder production car ever while also upping the entertainment factor with a ‘drift mode’.
Mercedes-Benz GLB: The first-ever GLB SUV is also based on the A-Class architecture, but plays a more practical role as the only seven-seater in the family, while its relatively boxy design should resonate with more traditional SUV fans. It’s also got an Off Road mode to help you out in the wild.
Mercedes-AMG GLC 43: The GLC 43 is the last member of the SUV family to get its midlife nip and tuck, and for good measure the kind folk at Affalterbach have all given it more power, with the output of its 3-litre twin-turbo V6 rising by 17kW to total 287kW.
Mercedes-Benz EQC: Electric car fans, who are not exactly spoiled for choice in South Africa, can look forward to the first member of Merc’s new ‘EQ’ electric car family, the EQC. As the name implies it’s loosely based on the GLC architecture, but has an all-electric powertrain with a system output of 300kW and a claimed range of around 450km between charges.
Mercedes-Benz E-Class: The E-Class range is set to undergo an extensive facelift in 2020 and although the vehicles have not been revealed as yet, the company has posted pictures of disguised prototypes that give us a fairly good indication of how it will look. Mercedes has also confirmed new engines, including a 200kW four-cylinder and 270kW straight-six, and many variants in the new line-up will be hybridised. The E will also be getting the latest MBUX infotainment system.
Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe: The new GLE mid-sized SUV hit South African shores in 2019, and this year it will be joined by the more swoopy ‘Coupe’ variant that takes the catfight to BMW’s X6. Expect to find the same advanced cabin tech as the regular GLE, as well as many high-tech driver assistance gadgets.
Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 & 63: The AMG division will also unleash the high-performance versions of the new GLE, in both regular-body and Coupe formats. The GLE 53 models get the latest 320kW straight-six twin-turbo petrol engine with EQ Boost mild hybrid technology, which is something you’ll also find in the GLE 63 sledgehammers, which are fitted with the legendary 4-litre twin-turbo V8, producing up to 450kW in the S variant.
Mercedes-Benz G400d: Only the badass G63 AMG version of the reinvented-but-still-rugged new generation G-Class has been introduced to South Africa, but this year will see the range expanded with a G400d derivative. The new variant is powered by a version of the company’s 3-litre turbodiesel engine, and in this flavour it produces around 240kW.
Mercedes-Benz GLS & Maybach GLS: The Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 4Matic is Stuttgart’s answer to the Bentley Bentayga, and if you spec it appropriately you’ll get the full business class back seat experience and even a set of champagne flutes. Mercedes-Benz will also be launching the latest version of its regular GLS seven-seater in 2020, which goes up against the BMW X7.