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Mercedes-Benz Highlights G-Forces at LA Auto Show

Mercedes-Benz USA is in the middle of its largest product offensive in its history, with nine new models coming to market over the next 12 months, President and CEO Steve Cannon says.

LOS ANGELES – Mercedes-Benz stages the world premieres of the GLS fullsize SUV and the reworked version of the popular SL convertible, but starts its moment in the spotlight of the auto show here with a basic lesson on the company’s new nomenclature.

“Across the industry, 2015 really has been the year of the SUV,” says Steve Cannon, president and CEO-Mercedes-Benz USA, who explains the GL designation now represents all of the automaker’s utility vehicles.

The flagship 7-passenger GLS takes its place as Mercedes’ “largest and most luxurious SUV,” Cannon says. As the “the S-Class of SUVs,” he adds, the GLS “really sets the standard for comfort, refinement and safety in the fullsize luxury SUV segment.”

Also featured in the GL lineup are the GLE midsize SUV, formerly called the M-Class, and the GLC, another midsize CUV that replaces the GLK and is due in showrooms later this year.

The new-generation GLS features improved efficiency over previous models with additional Dynamic Select transmission modes, an improved air-suspension system with enhanced damping, a 9-speed 9G-Tronic automatic transmission, state-of-the-art assistance systems and the latest generation of Mercedes-Benz telematics that includes internet access and remote start.

The GLS sports a totally redesigned front end, while the rear of the vehicle features a recrafted bumper and the addition of full LED taillamps. The interior includes a redesigned instrument panel with media display, new 3-spoke multifunction steering wheel, modified center console with touchpad and new trim options.

Also unveiled at the show is the redesigned SL-Class, which “has had an iconic status in Los Angeles and Southern California for decades, just like the sunshine and palm trees.”

Due in showrooms in April, the SL-Class of vehicles will offer more powerful engine options; 9G-Tronic Dynamic Select automatic transmission with five transmission modes; active body control with curve-tilting functionality; and a soft top that can be deployed while driving up to 25 mph (40 km/h).

The SL hood, front bumper and headlamps have been given cleaner, more masculine lines, while the car’s standard diamond radiator grille extends downwards. Two powerdomes accentuate a drawn-out SL hood and the sporty profile is underscored with large air outlets and chrome inserts in the broad vehicle wings. The exterior mirrors are positioned along the beltline.

The model class now includes the SL400 with a V-6 engine, uprated from 332 to 367 hp and 369 lb.-ft. (500 Nm) of torque as well as the SL 500 with its 455-hp V-8 engine. Two other Mercedes-AMG models, the SL63 V-8 Roadster and V-12-powered SL65, make 585 hp and 630 hp, respectively.

The auto show event also includes the U.S. debuts of the C-Class Coupe and S-Class Cabriolet.

MBUSA is in the middle of its largest product offensive in its history, with nine new models coming to market over the next 12 months, Cannon says.

The company just saw its best-ever third quarter and is on track to complete its most productive year yet, with year-to-date deliveries increasing 6.5% percent over like-2014, he says. The high-performance Mercedes-AMG sub-brand’s sales are up 35.6% year-over-year.

Cannon credits the success to a “great team of dealers” and the company’s “laser focus” on customer experience.



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