A family of eight compact models will help Mercedes reel in first-time buyers

2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA
Mercedes-Benz is investing in its lineup of popular compact models in its bid to continue setting sales records around the globe.

“We have big plans for compact cars. We’ll be expanding our quintet to a family of eight models,” Marco Ebler, the product manager for Mercedes’ compact models, revealed during a media event in Hungary.

Currently, Mercedes’ small car cluster includes the A-Class, the B-Class, the CLA (pictured), the CLA Shooting Brake, and the GLA. Some of those names might not sound familiar because only the CLA, the GLA, and a very small number of B-Classes are sold in the United States.

Ebler stopped short of revealing which body styles or nameplates will join the five existing cars. However, he told us Mercedes will preview one of the newcomers with a close-to-production concept that’s scheduled to make its debut in about two weeks during this year’s edition of the Shanghai Auto Show. British magazine Autocar believes it will be a four-door sedan variant of the A-Class hatchback positioned a notch below the CLA, and aimed directly at the Audi A3 Sedan.

Insiders have indicated the second model will be a crossover named GLB whose design will borrow styling cues from the venerable G-Class. The third could take the form of a coupe positioned as a rival for the Audi TT, though nothing is official at this point.

A vast majority of Mercedes’ compact models will spawn a high-performance variant tuned by AMG. However, the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine found under the hood of the CLA 45 and the GLA 45 will not live on beyond the current models’ life cycle.

“The engine is maxed out. First, we thought it had reached its peak when it made 355 horsepower, but we found that we could get more power so we bumped the output up to 381 for the face-lift. That’s as high as it can go,” Steffen Jastrow, AMG’s head of development for compact cars, told Digital Trends.

His comments confirm the AMG-branded versions of Mercedes’ next compacts will receive a brand new engine. Replacing the most powerful series-produced four-cylinder in the world is no easy task, but AMG is stepping up to the challenge.

Product Review

Who needs a Range Rover? BMW’s X7 has better tech and just as much luxury

The 2019 BMW X7 is the German automaker’s long-overdue entry into the full-size luxury SUV segment. Packing three rows of seats and plenty of tech, can the new BMW take on Mercedes-Benz and Land Rover?
Cars

BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe teased way ahead of its November debut

The BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe is coming to the United States, eventually. The new compact BMW won't be unveiled until the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show in November. The Gran Coupe will be based on a front-wheel drive platform.
Cars

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe gets a tech upgrade, keeps quirky styling

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe debuts at the 2019 New York Auto Show with an upgraded infotainment system that incorporates Mercedes' digital assistant. The SUV launches later this year with turbocharged four-cylinder power.
Cars

2020 Cadillac CT5 luxury sedan gets turbocharged power, chiseled looks

The 2020 Cadillac CT5 replaces the CTS in the General Motors luxury brand's lineup. Cadillac will unveil the CT5 at the 2019 New York Auto Show in April. Until then, it's keeping most details under wraps.
Cars

Volvo wants to use speed limiters, in-car cameras, and data to reduce crashes

Volvo believes new tech is the best way to improve car safety. The Swedish automaker will let owners set speed limits when loaning out their cars, install cameras to monitor drivers, and use data to design better safety features.
Cars

Tesla lets you skip the dealership, order a car from the comfort of your couch

Tesla has always bypassed traditional dealerships, and it has now adopted an online-only sales model that lets customers configure and order their car without leaving their couch. Here's what you need to know.
Product Review

The Ferrari Portofino is the super stallion you’ll want to drive every day

With the introduction of the Portofino, Ferrari addresses the California T’s stylistic shortcomings while improving comfort, convenience, and performance. There’s little “entry-level” about this super stallion.
Cars

Autonomous shuttle rides coming to New York City via Optimus Ride

Workers at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in NY City will soon be able to make their way around the 300-acre industrial park in Optimus Ride's self-driving shuttles. The tech startup says it's the first trial of its kind in the state.
Cars

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi group uses Microsoft cloud platform for connected cars

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance is launching a new cloud platform for its cars. Based on Microsoft Azure, the Alliance Intelligent Cloud will enable features like connected services and over-the-air updates.
Cars

The 2019 Toyota C-HR gains a popular tech feature as its price comes down

Toyota has updated the C-HR, its entry-level crossover, by adding an entry-level trim level to the lineup. Every model regardless of price also comes standard with an 8.0-inch touchscreen compatible with Apple CarPlay.
Product Review

2019 Volkswagen Jetta offers German refinement and tech at an affordable price

With enough tech to make villains jealous, the Volkswagen Jetta punches above its class as a forward-thinking sedan. Spacious, comfortable, and efficient, the Jetta is a refined offering. German refinement comes with a serious attitude.
Cars

The 2020 Porsche Cayenne Coupe is an exercise in form-over-function design

Porsche expanded its lineup of SUVs with a swoopier evolution of the Cayenne named Cayenne Coupe. Don't let the name fool you: it still has four doors. It stands out with a fastback-like roofline that's lower than the Cayenne's.
Product Review

Chris is the virtual co-pilot phone-obsessives need in their car

Driving while using your phone is dangerous, and often illegal. Meet Chris, the digital assistant for your car that wants to help keep your hands off your phone, and your eyes on the road.
Cars

Protect yourself and your ride with our favorite dash cams

Dashboard cameras can assist drivers in car accident claims, settle speeding ticket disputes, and even catch glimpses of incoming meteors, among other things. Here, we've compiled a list of the most noteworthy offerings available.