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Mercedes-Benz to Launch 11 New Models by 2020

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 10/9/2014 Angus MacKenzie

In 1985, Mercedes-Benz built just five vehicle lines and offered a total of nine different body styles. Today it has 15 vehicle lines and offers about 30 different body styles. And that staggering rate of proliferation shows no sign of slowing. In fact, it’s going to accelerate: In addition to powertrain changes that include the rollout of 10 plug-in hybrids over the next three years, 11 all-new Mercedes-Benz models will be added to the lineup by 2020, and the company’s entire range will be renamed and restructured.

An extended-wheelbase S-Class sedan, codenamed X222, will make its debut at the L.A. show. Reportedly 6 inches longer overall than the current long-wheelbase S-Class (the only S-class version sold in the U.S.) and featuring a different, more formal C-pillar treatment and a six-light greenhouse, X222 will be badged Mercedes-Maybach, and priced from $190,000 or so.

X222 will be followed in 2015 by an even bigger car, codenamed VV222. This supersized S-Class, which shares the restyled rear pillar with the X222, is said to be almost 12 inches longer than the Mercedes-Maybach (or a foot and a half longer than the U.S.-spec S-Class) and is rumored to have six doors. It will likely be badged Mercedes-Maybach Pullman. Both X222 and VV222 effectively replace the Maybach 57 and 62, Daimler’s singularly unsuccessful Rolls-Royce Phantom and Bentley Mulsanne fighters.

2014 Mercedes Benz S550 4Matic© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 Mercedes Benz S550 4Matic

Daimler sold a record 32,000 AMG-badged cars worldwide in 2013, and is on track to sell 40,000 this year. Such is the success of AMG, the company is now developing a “halfway house” performance line to bridge the gap between regular Mercedes-Benz models and their AMG siblings. Insiders liken the concept to Audi’s S models or Cadillac’s Vsport, and the first of these cars to appear in the U.S. will be the C450, due next year. It will replace the newly launched C400, and will feature a higher-output version of the twin-turbo V-6, plus sportier suspension, wheels, and tires.

All new Mercedes SUVs will carry a GL prefix. The renamed range will start with the recently launched GLA. The next-generation GLK will be badged GLC, while the M-Class replacement will be badged GLE, and the GL replacement will be badged GLS. All three vehicles will make their debut in 2015. The SUV range will be further expanded with coupe-like versions of the GLC and GLE -- competitors to BMW’s X4 and X6 SUVs. The GLE Coupe will be unveiled this winter at the Detroit auto show.

The new naming convention aligns the Mercedes SUVs’ size order with that of its car lines: A-class, C-class, E-class, S-class. The iconic G-class, Mercedes’ original SUV, will retain its current badging, however.

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