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.

Cars

Peloton’s tech lets truckers play follow the leader to boost fuel economy

Peloton Technology can help semi trucks save fuel by running close together on the highway. Using short-range wireless communications, the trucks get a kind of super cruise control.
Cars

The 2019 Detroit Auto Show: Where new muscle cars, trucks, and EVs convene

The 2019 Detroit Auto Show was the quietest edition of the event in recent memory, but that doesn't mean nothing significant happened inside the Cobo Center. Here are the new cars and concepts we saw at the show.
Cars

The 2020 Lexus RC F goes on a diet to run faster and hit harder

The Lexus RC F has been one of the heavier cars in its competitive set since its introduction. The Japanese firm's engineers set out to shed weight as they gave the model a mid-cycle update.
Product Review

If you don't know about Genesis yet, the G70 is going to change that

The 2019 Genesis G70 is Korea’s first attempt to take on the vaunted German trio of BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Competition doesn’t come much tougher than that.
Cars

Self-driving, electric, and connected, the cars of CES 2019 hint at the future

Car companies remained surprisingly quiet during CES 2018. But they spoke up in 2019. From electric hatchbacks you can buy in 2019 to super-futuristic mood-detecting technology, here are the major announcements we covered during the event.
Cars

Move mountains with the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty and its 1,000 pound-feet of torque

Unveiled at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty pickup truck boasts 1,000 pound-feet of torque -- outgunning rival trucks from Ford and Chevrolet. The new Ram goes on sale later this year.
Cars

With 341 horsepower, the WRX STI S209 is the most powerful Subaru ever

The Subaru WRX STI S209 is the latest in a series of special editions that have never been sold in the United States before. The 341-horsepower pocket rocket debuts at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show.
Cars

China’s GAC Motor cruises into Detroit with all-electric Entranze concept

Chinese automaker GAC Motor brought its all-electric Entranze concept to the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. This is the third straight year that GAC has appeared in Detroit, and the company has established a design center in California.
Cars

2020 Ford Explorer branches out with sporty ST, efficiency-focused hybrid models

The 2020 Ford Explorer gets two variants never before seen on Ford's stalwart family hauler. The ST focuses on performance, while the hybrid aims for decent gas mileage. Both models will debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show.
Cars

Some of Volkswagen’s electric models will wear a ‘Made in the USA’ label

Confirming earlier rumors, Volkswagen has announced it will build electric cars in its Chattanooga, Tennessee, factory. The facility currently produces the Passat and the Atlas. Production will start in 2023, Digital Trends can reveal.
Cars

Infiniti previews its leap into one of the hottest industry segments

Infiniti will unveil the QX Inspiration concept at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The design study is an electric crossover shaped by Infiniti's newest design language that may point to a future production model.
Cars

Hyundai’s Veloster N hot hatchback will prove its mettle on the track

The Hyundai Veloster N will go racing to prove the credibility of Hyundai's new N performance division. Unveiled at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Veloster N race car will compete in a class with other small cars.
Cars

Nissan IMs concept teases a future long-range, autonomous electric car

Debuting at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Nissan IMs is an electric car with a 380-mile range, autonomous-driving capability, and a backseat designed for being chauffeured. Too bad it's just a concept car.
Cars

Lexus LC convertible concept teases a new open-air flagship

Debuting at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Lexus LC convertible concept adds open-air motoring to the sleek LC's resume. But Lexus won't commit to a production version of the car just yet.