AFTER a year packed with new model launches, the Mercedes-Benz new product onslaught looks set to continue in to 2016.
The new-generation A-Class hatchbacks arrive next month with enhanced design and connectivity features, while the mighty GLS large SUV lands in April. These new models will of course be attracting very different buyers, not least with the cheapest A-Class - the A180 - starting at $37,200, while the entry level GLS 350d seven-seater will set shoppers back $116,900.
Five A-Class models will be available at launch, with the sub-$40k A180 featuring a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine returning 5.8-litres/100km, and standard kit including 17-inch wheels, navigation, blind spot assist, reversing camera and keyless start.
The only diesel model - the 100kW/300Nm 2.1-litre A200d - drinks just 4.2-litres/100km, and brings 18-inch wheels and sports seats over the A180. A 115kW/250Nm A200 petrol model features the same level of kit.
Power fans will look to the 160kW A250 Sport with 4MATIC all-wheel drive, 18-inch AMG wheels, bodystyling and Ride Control suspension, while the flagship will of course be the AMG weapon, the Mercedes-AMG A45.
This new uber hot hatch with 280kW and 475Nm will hit a class-leading 100kmh in 4.2-seconds, thanks to revised gear ratios, aero improvements and fine tuning for the driving mode selector. Mercedes says a newly developed mechanical front axle locking differential significantly improves traction in "sport driving environments". Sounds fun, and probably well worth the $77,900.
New body design, improved safety and comprehensive smartphone integration also arrive across the new A-Class range.
Similar upgrades are to be found on the new seven-seat GLS - the S Class of SUVs - albeit on a much grander scale.
The exterior (particularly the front end) and luxury interior have been redesigned; a suite of driver assistance systems are fitted as standard, and there are up to six transmission modes, including Comfort, Slippery, Sport, Off-Road and Off-Road+.
The entry level GLS 350d 4WD uses a 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel engine good for 190kW and 620Nm, coupled with Merc's 9G-Tronic transmission. Extra kit over the previous entry-level model includes online navigation, Apple CarPlay, LED intelligent lights and 20-inch wheels.
The GLS 350d Sport brings AMG styling, Nappa leather and 21-inch wheels, while the 335kW/700Nm 4.7-litre V8 petrol-powered GLS 500 offers a panoramic glass sunroof, heated and ventilated front seats and digital TV tuner.
Then there's the bonkers one, the Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 for $217,900. This mighty brute will hit 100kmh in 4.6-seconds thanks to its 430kW/760Nm 5.5-litre V8 and scores 22-inch wheels, AMG sports suspension and AMG brakes, among other goodies.
Good luck finding space in a Mercedes showroom these days - we've stopped counting how many models the German giant offers.
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