2018 Paris Motor Show: The Mercedes-Benz product onslaught continues
At the first day of the 2018 Paris Motor Show, October 2, Mercedes-Benz showcased a slew of upcoming models. This included everything from the new A-Class Sedan right up to its concept flagship for the 'EQ' all-electric sub-brand, the Mercedes-Benz EQ Silver Arrow Concept.
The company had previously unveiled a longer wheelbase L version for the Chinese market. The one seen here, however, will be the A-Class Sedan sold in various international markets including India. The Mercedes-Benz A-Class Sedan is now the most aerodynamic production car in the world, with a Coefficient drag (Cd) value of 0.22. It takes over the title from the CLA-Class. The styling on the A-Class Sedan takes a lot of inspiration from the bigger new CLS-Class.
In terms of updates to the interior, the A-Class Sedan receives the dual 10.25-inch screens (optional), and also sports the MBUX infotainment system. Engine options for the India spec car will likely include a new 1.3-litre turbo petrol motor good for 165PS/250 Nm and a 1.5-litre diesel motor which puts out 118PS and 260 Nm. Both will be mated to a seven-speed dual clutch automatic.
Making its global debut here, the new B-Class has been completely reworked and shares its MFA-II underpinnings with the A-Class. The design brief of the B-Class remains the same as earlier. The car is a taller, roomier derivative of the A-Class, translating into a larger cabin ideal for small families. This focus is also seen in the various seat folding options. While the styling is derived from the A-Class and features a more sculpted look up front, a noticeable change is a progressively lowering roofline. This makes the car look a lot less top-heavy than the older car. The interior too is very similar to that of the A-Class and so are the engine options. The 2.0-litre diesel engine seen on the new C-Class facelift will also make its way to both these cars.
Noticeable exterior features which set this car apart from the regular A-Class are the diamond pattern grille, the aggressive bumpers with the small fins on the edges and the prominent rear wing. These design traits are accentuated by the front splitter, side skirts, diffuser and 18-inch AMG alloy wheels. The A35 is powered by a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder which pumps out 306PS and 400 Nm. This is paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. The A35 can get from 0 to 100 kmph in 4.7s and onto an electronically limited top speed of 250 kmph.
Other mechanical improvements made to the A35 are a new AWD system that can send up to 50% power to each axle. There are larger brakes, adaptive dampers are an option and brake-based torque-vectoring is also available. On the inside, there is an AMG-spec steering wheel. Additional drive modes and an in-built GPS-based lap timer is present. The usual AMG trimmings like sportier seats and interior trim are also accounted for.
The new Mercedes-Benz GLE SUV follows the design language seen on firm's latest offerings like the new A-Class and the new CLS-Class. This means that the design incorporates organic curves, rounded edges and a squat look. Two powertrain options have been unveiled so far. The first is the GLE 350 with a 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder petrol which puts out 255PS and 370 Nm. The second engine option will come in the GLE 450 with its 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder petrol which will put out 367PS and 500Nm. A further 22PS and 250 Nm will be avaialble via the EQ Boost 48-volt integrated/starter system. All engines will be mated to Mercedes' nine-speed automatic. The diesel motor is expected to be a turbocharged 2.9-litre inline six-cylinder diesel developing 285 PS in the GLE 350d 4Matic and 340 PS in the GLE 400d 4Matic. The Indian market can expect the smaller four-cylinder diesels from the E-class and the updated C-Class.
A 48-volt system allows the new GLE to have a new active air suspension system. This E-Active Body Control allows for spring and damping forces can be individually controlled at each wheel. Uniquely, the air suspension also comes with a free-driving mode. Other than this the entire suite of Mercedes' driver assistance and safety systems, a new which recognises tailbacks and slows the car down in time will be available first here. In the interior, the biggest news is that the GLE can now be optioned with third row seating. The length increase has all gone to improve cabin space. The overall design of the cabin is in line with those found in Mercedes-Benz's latest offerings like the new CLS-Class, but with certain cues to accentuate this SUV's more outdoorsy positioning.
Mercedes-Benz also showcased the EQC 400 SUV, the first model from the company's EQC sub-brand. The EQC looks very similar to the GLC-Class in profile, with which it shares its underpinnings. The multi-spoke alloys are especially unique and a nice design touch to go with the car's futuristic outlook. The front and rear fascias though are completely new and do a good job of being relatable to the standard Merced range, while establishing the EQC as its own thing. The interior also follows a more sleek and futuristic adaption of traditional Mercedes design cues. The MBUX infotainment system with the two 10.3-inch screens dominates the interior with its many features and voice-activated functions. Other touches which distinguish this car are new AC-vents and rose-gold cabin accents.
The EQC is powered by two electric motors mounted on each axle which gives it all-wheel drive capabilities. This set up combines to put out 407PS and 765 Nm. The two motors are not identical, the one in front is tuned towards efficiency while the latter is tuned towards spirited driving. Power comes from an 80 kWh battery which can get from 10 to 80 per cent charge in 40 minutes with a fast charger. The launch variant, the EQC 400, will get from 0 to 100 in 5.1s and onto a top speed of 180 kmph. Mercedes claims a range of 320 km for the EQC.
Mercedes EQ Silver Arrow concept
Also showcased at Paris was the EQ Silver Arrow concept which the company debuted recently at Pebble Beach. The EQ Silver Arrow is designed as a futuristic ode to the the W125 from 1937, featuring a similar long, swooping body design. The brushed unpainted aluminium colour of the original has also been recreated here in the carbon-fibre body structure. The EQ Silver Arrow is a single seater and comes with a well-appointed cabin trimmed in wood, leather and aluminium. A large panoramic screen in front of the driver serves as the instrument cluster. Those massive 24 in. front and 26 in. rear wheels shod in rose gold painted aluminium are another distinctive feature of the car. The EQ Silver Arrows dimensions, it is 17 feet long but only 3 feet high, further, add to the dramatic styling.
The concept is powered by an electric motor fed by a 70 kWh battery pack. This puts out 725PS and gives the EQ Silver Arrow a range of 400 km. Drivers who are unimpressed by an EV's silent functioning can choose to have the sound of a Mercedes-AMG V8 pumped into the cabin.
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