The premium Automobile manufacturer space in India right now has become very competitive indeed, with every manufacturer out there trying to get to the top spot. The top spot in question is measured by the sales figures and this means that, to be at the top, the manufacturers must have on-sale, products which are relevant to the Indian market and which will find many buyers here. The manufacturers will also be required to have a wide range of products on sale, and at a wide price range, so that they can cater to the needs of all kinds of customers. In India, the top three in the premium automobile segment have been the German trio of, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW for quite some time now. The three-pointed star from Stuttgart was at the top earlier, only to be overtaken by BMW and then Audi, but Mercedes-Benz overtook BMW again and is currently in second position, behind Audi and has no intention to back-off.
Mercedes-Benz wants to get back to the top as soon as possible and they plan to do this by implementing a few measures. Mercedes-Benz plans to make better their dealership experience and improve their after-sales service, they also intend to focus more on their CSR activities and customer engagement activities like special drives and events. Mercedes-Benz has also planned a product offensive in 2014 and has announced the launch of ten new cars during this year. Though Mercedes-Benz has not confirmed what exactly these ten cars would be, here is our guess as to what eight of the ten models that Mercedes-Benz plans to launch in India would be.
1. Mercedes-Benz CLA:
The CLA looks like a cross between the C-class and the A-class, and will be coming to India for sure. The CLA will be positioned a notch below the C-class and will be loaded with features and will come with petrol as well as diesel engine options. With the CLA, one can choose between a 4-cylinder, 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine producing 208 BHP of power and 350 Nm of torque and a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel producing 167 BHP of power and 350 Nm of torque. Both the engines will come, mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. It is expected to be priced between Rs.28-30 lakhs (ex-showroom) and will compete with the likes of the Audi A3.
2. Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG:
Looking at the performance figures of the CLA-class, one would think it would suffice for Indian road conditions, but not Mercedes-Benz. The CLA45 AMG is a go faster, mental version of the CLA, which has now been tuned by AMG, Mercedes’ in house performance tuning company. This car still comes with the 2.0-liter turbo-petrol, but finer tuning and many changes later, the output now stands at a staggering 355 BHP of power and 450 Nm of torque. The CLA45 AMG also features a 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system and the CLA45 AMG will take just 4.5 seconds to do the 0-100 km/hr. It is expected be priced between RS.50-60 lakhs (ex-showroom) and will compete with the likes of the Audi S4
3. Mercedes-Benz GLA:
The world today is going crazy with crossovers and their ability to offer the best of both worlds, even in India, the crossover segment has seen quite a few models, but has not been so successful. That’s all set to change with the arrival of the GLA class. The GLA is a beefier and muscular looking A-class and looks absolutely brilliant. The GLA will be offered with both petrol and diesel options. It will be available with a 1.6-litre petrol engine producing 156 BHP of power, a 2.0-litre petrol engine producing 211 BHP of power and a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine producing 170 BHP of power and 350 Nm of torque. It will be priced between 30-35 lakhs (ex-showroom) and will compete with the likes of the BMW X1 and Audi Q3.
4. Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG:
The GLA45 AMG is a performance oriented version of the GLA and screams out loud that it is fast! Mercedes has plonked in an AMG-tuned, 2.0-liter turbo-petrol engine and the AMG tuning has made this tiny engine put out a massive 360 PS of power and 450 Nm of torque. This engine has been mated to a 7-speed dual clutch gearbox. These numbers help the GLA45 achieve an impressive 0-100 kmph time of just 4.8 seconds and these numbers also mean that, there are no competitors whatsoever for the GLA45 AMG.
5. Mercedes-Benz GL63 AMG:
The Mercedes-Benz GL has been around for quite a while now and has become the preferred choice of transport for larger than life celebrities and super-rich politicians. Till now, it was available with both petrol and diesel engine options, but this year, the big daddy of Mercedes-Benz engines will find its way into the engine bay of the GL class. The GL 63 will be powered by a 5.5-liter, Bi-turbo, V8, spitting out 557 BHP of power and 760 Nm of torque. This engine will power the GL to 100 kmph from a standstill in just 4.9 seconds and then onto an electronically limited top end whack of 250 kmph. This, in an SUV of this size is a very big feat in itself, add to that, the handling which was tuned by AMG to sports car standards and you have a winner. The GL63 will compete with the likes of the Audi Q7 and the Range Rover.
6. Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG:
Like the GL, the ML too has been around for a long time. It was quite a subtle and quiet car and was known only for its comfort. The people who bought the ML were usually the people who couldn’t afford it’s expensive elder sibling, the GL 63 AMG, this actually worked in favour of the sales numbers of the ML. Now though, Indian customers can also purchase an AMG tuned version of the ML. Christened, the ML63 AMG, it is powered by the same 5.5-liter Bi-turbo V8 which can also be found on the GL63 AMG as well as the G55 AMG, but on the ML, it has been de-tuned to 525 BHP and 700 NM. It also comes with all the AMG sorcery that all other AMG cars have, like the speed sensitive steering, the active curve system for the suspension and the 7G-TRONIC SPEEDSHIFT AMG transmission, and As expected, the boffins at AMG will tune the ML to handle like a sports car.
7. Mercedes-Benz S350 CDI:
The S-class has been a pioneer in the field of automotive technology, and Mercedes keeps introducing technology from the future with every update seen on the S-class. It has often been referred to, by many as the world’s best car, and totally deserves all the praise it receives. Recently, Mercedes launched a newer; better version of the S-class and it had everything that a luxury barge of its size should have, except a diesel engine which is kinda necessary to sell well in India. This year though, under the name, S350 CDI, Mercedes will plonk an oil-burner under the hood of the S-class. It is a 3.0-liter, V6 turbo-diesel with an output of 258 BHP, mated to a 9-speed transmission. Compared to the output of most other cars on the list here, the 258 horses might seem too little, but this is a car to be driven in, while sitting in the back seat, in the lap of luxury. So the 258 BHP is not for pushing the car around corners, but to pull it along the highway at a comfortable cruising speed. The S350 CDI will make mincemeat of its competitors, more specifically, the BMW 730 ld and the Audi A8L 3.0 TDI.
8. Mercedes-Benz S600:
The description of the Mercedes-Benz S350 CDI is very well explained in the paragraph above. The difference though, is that this version is not one to be chauffeured around in, but to drive around in. The gem of the S600 is nothing but the Engine itself. It is powered by a 510-horsepower, 5.5-liter twin-turbocharged V-12. This engine helps the S600 accelerate to 100 kmph from a standstill, in just 4.5 seconds, and it’s not just performance, the engine is also claimed to be 21% more efficient. The S600 also comes fully loaded with tech like Intelligent LED lighting system, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist, BAS Plus with Cross-Traffic Assist, Pre-Safe Brake, Pre-Safe plus etc. the S600 competes with other luxo-barges like the Jaguar XJ-S and the Bentley continental GT.