Snapshot – Mercedes Benz is back in the reckoning in India and the German luxury car maker has now managed to move past BMW for the second place at the hustings. The brand is in striking distance of the number one luxury car maker in India, Audi, and has lined up a slew of new car launches to get there. Mercedes Benz has lined up not one, not two, but eight new car launches for India this year, and the launch blitz will continue well into 2015 as well. With four car launches (C-Class Celebration Edition, M-Guard SUV, GL 63 AMG and W222 S-Class) already wrapped up, four more are on their way in the coming months. CarToq profiles 8 new Mercedes Benz cars coming into India over the next 18 months.
CLA 45 AMG sedan
Power play is the name of the game and the AMG badged car from Mercedes Benz represent just that. Mercedes Benz even has plans of opening exclusive AMG showrooms to peddle its high performance cars in select cities of India. The next AMG car for the country, in close succession to the GL 63 AMG SUV, will be the CLA 45 AMG sedan. The car was unwrapped at the 2014 Indian Auto Expo and will reach Indian shores as a completely built unit (CBU) by the middle of this year. Serving as the entry level AMG model in India, the CLA 45 AMG will be powered by a 2 liter turbo petrol engine outputting 360 Bhp of peak power and 450 Nm of peak toruqe. Based on the MFA platform, the CLA 45 AMG uses an all wheel drive layout and a 7 speed dual clutch automatic gearbox.
The GLA crossover will be Mercedes Benz’s big volume splash sometime around this year’s festive season in India. CKD assembled in India at Mercedes Benz’s Chakan factory, the GLA crossover will go head to head with the likes of the Audi Q3 and the BMW X1. The GLA Crossover will be sold with turbo petrol and turbo diesel engines, more powerful units that those which power the likes of the A-Class and B-Class hatchbacks although the GLA shares its MFA platform with the aforementioned hatchbacks. Automatic gearboxes are likely to power all variants of the GLA crossover sold in India while the top end variants are tipped to get an all wheel drive function.
W222 S-Class Diesel luxury saloon
The W222 S-Class, which has just bagged the luxury car of the year award for 2013, was launched here earlier this year. Although 125 units of the CBU import S600 petrol powered variants were sold out even before they landed here, Mercedes Benz has begun taking fresh bookings of the car. The bigger story though is that of the diesel powered SKD (semi-knocked down) kit assembled variant of the W222 S-Class, which is likely to be launched in a couple of months from now. The diesel powered S-Class will bring in the big volumes for Mercedes Benz’s flagship luxury saloon and ensure that the car retains its best seller status in its segment.
E-Class 350 CDI sedan
In news hot off the rumour mill, Mercedes Benz is said to be working towards the re-introduction of the E-Class 350 CDI model. As of now, the new E-Class sedan is sold with 4 cylinder petrol and turbo diesel engines. The introduction of the E350 CDI model would bring back the V6 diesel engine option on the E-Class, a motor that a car with the heft of the E-Class deserves. The 3 liter V6 turbo diesel motor outputs 240 Bhp-540 Nm. A 7 speed automatic gearbox will be standard on the E350 CDI variant, which will sit above the E250 CDI model in terms of price and positioning, somewhat narrowing the gap between the E-Class Diesel and the E63 AMG high performance range.
AMG badged high performance cars are a display of Mercedes Benz’s car making prowess in terms of the technology it packs in to its cars. Making a statement of sorts, Mercedes Benz has a slew of AMG badged cars on sale in India, and the A45 AMG is likely to join the list in 2015. The A45 AMG will share its engine and transmission with the CLA45 AMG model. Lighter than the CLA45 AMG, the A45 AMG promises to be a firecracker, what with 360 Bhp-450 Nm outputs from the 2 liter turbo charged petrol motor. Price wise, the A45 AMG will further lower the entry barrier to Mercedes Benz’s high performance cars, relatively democratizing high performance.
While the hopped up version of the CLA, the CLA 45 AMG, will be launched in the middle of the year, the mass market version of the sedan will make it to Indian shores only in the first half of 2015. The car will be assembled in India through the CKD kit route and will be Mercedes Benz least priced sedan, taking aim at the Audi A3 sedan. The CLA sedan will share engines and gearboxes with the GLA crossover and is expected to be priced in between the A-Class – B-Class and the GLA crossover. Expect a starting price of under 25 lakh rupees for the CLA sedan, a car representing Mercedes Benz’s affordable luxury based on the MFA platform.
All-new C-Class sedan
Production of the all-new 2015 C-Class sedan has already commenced at Mercedes Benz’s Bremen factory in Germany. By the end of this year, production of the C-Class would have commenced in multiple production and assembly facilities across the world. The car will arrive into India early next year in CKD kit form, with assembly to happen at Chakan. Despite being larger than the model it replaces, the 2015 C-Class is lighter than before due to the extensive use of aluminium and comes with major design, feature and safety kit updates. The sedan will use the same set of engines and gearboxes that powers the outgoing model, with new engines to be added in the coming months. Interiors get a once over and so does the infotainment module.
The GLK Crossover would have addressed a long standing void in Mercedes Benz India’s portfolio but for the availability of a right hand drive option. Mercedes Benz has come around to adding this option on the next-generation GLK crossover, which will debut next year. With the right hand drive layout in tow, the GLK crossover is expected to arrive into India by the end of 2015, taking the completely knocked down (CKD) kit assembly route. In India, the crossover will sit in between the GLA and the M-Class SUVs in terms of price and positioning.