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Auto blogWed, 30 Apr 2014 11:30:00 EST
BMW opened a whole Pandora's Box when it introduced the X6 back in 2008. Sure it made little sense, sacrificing all that "utility" for a little more "sport," but it's been a solid success for BMW - especially considering the nominal expense it cost to develop the X6 on top of the X5 on which it's based. Little wonder that, while BMW has already followed up with a smaller version in the form of the X4, other automakers are starting to catch up. And that includes Mercedes-Benz.
The German automaker is preparing to launch a new MLC, based on the M-Class but with a sportier silhouette, and previewed it with the Concept Coupe SUV at the Beijing Motor Show. But that's just the start, according to the latest report from Automotive News Europe.
Mercedes is reportedly considering spinning off an entire line of crossovers more for use on the road than off it. Which may go without saying for most crossovers on the market, but considering the Geländwagen with which Mercedes got its start in SUVs, would mean an even further departure than it has undertaken already.
Mercedes-Benz is planning a more aggressive product strategy for its next-generation C-Class range. "We were fighting the 3 Series with two arms tied behind our back, and now we will change that," Steve Cannon, the automaker's US CEO, told Automotive News in a recent interview.
In addition to offering more body styles of the new C-Class, AN reports that the revamped Mercedes will also be offered here with hybrid and diesel powertrains. Currently, the C-Class comes in coupe and sedan variants, with only gasoline engines. The BMW 3 Series, however, is available as a sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon, and offers buyers the choice of gasoline, diesel (the upcoming 328d) or hybrid power.
Mercedes-Benz will show the next-generation C-Class at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show, with sales of the US-built sedan following in August. Coupe, convertible and hybrid models will follow in early 2015, and while diesel and all-wheel-drive versions are planned, no specific timetable has been released regarding availability.
It's hard to not like the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT. The all-aluminum coupe is fitted with a wonderful naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V8 delivering 583 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque. Not only does the burly combustion engine launch the two-seater to 60 miles per hour in less than four seconds, but it does so with one of the world's greatest exhaust soundtracks as it roars, burbles and cackles down the road.
But what happens when Mercedes-Benz takes away the V8 and its accompanying fire-burning song? Stripped of one of its most appealing assets, does the SLS lose its soul?
Chris Harris recently had the opportunity to take the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive for a track spin in Europe. Sans gasoline, but with four electric motors providing a combined 740 horsepower (737 pound-feet of torque), all-electric all-wheel drive coupe uses sophisticated torque vectoring and a multi-mode operating system to put oversteer - drifting! - back into the equation. Fun? You bet. See for yourself, below.