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

Don’t let the SUV bodies fool you, BMW’s X3 M and X4 M are bona fide M cars

BMW is launching the first M versions of its X3 and X4. The 2020 X3 M and X4 M Competition pack a new 503-horsepower 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline-six and BMW’s usual array of performance tech.
Cars

Horsepower, tech, or cubic feet? Have all three in the BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe

BMW expanded the second-generation 8 Series lineup with a four-door model named Gran Coupe. Developed to replace the 6 Series Gran Coupe, the 8 Series offers the same six- and eight-cylinder engines in a more spacious package.
Cars

Fisker wants to make sure Tesla’s Model Y isn’t in a class of one when it lands

Fisker Inc. plans to launch an electric SUV with a base price of under $40,000, and a range of around 300 miles in 2021. The unnamed vehicle could compete with the Tesla Model Y, if it ever gets into production.
Cars

Kia draws inspiration from Greek mythology to create a crossover for millennials

Kia will expand its global portfolio of crossovers and SUVs when it unveils a model named Seltos on June 20, 2019. Developed for milennials, the Seltos is a small, high-tech model named after the son of Hercules.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Plant-based shoes and a ukulele learning aid

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Cars

After years of Le Mans misfortune, Toyota becomes impossible to beat

Toyota scored a one-two finish at the 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans, its second win a row at the legendary French race. Toyota is the first Japanese automaker to win Le Mans twice, but its wins came without any real competition.
Cars

Intel hates that your car is dumber than your phone. Here’s how they’ll fix it

Motorists are often underwhelmed and/or frustrated with their car's native infotainment system, so millions of them rely on Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Intel is helping Google and Volvo change that by bringing phone-like tech to the…
Cars

Uber drivers reportedly triggering higher fares through Surge Club

Uber drivers are reportedly participating in a so-called Surge Club to artificially trigger higher fares. Many drivers said that they do not want to join the shady practice, but they are forced to do so due to pay cuts.
Cars

Could a high-performance Nissan Leaf steal the mighty GT-R’s lunch money?

Nissan developed the electric Leaf with range and practicality in mind, but the hatchback could lend its hardware to a high-performance flagship. One of Nissan's chief executives announced a four-motor, 850-hp model could arrive during the…
Cars

Forget turrets. Hummer could fight its next war in the electric SUV segment

General Motors is considering resurrecting the Hummer brand it axed in 2010 to make electric off-roaders. The plan hasn't been approved yet, and it risks alienating some die-hard Hummer fans, but it makes sense on several levels.
Cars

This futuristic driverless pod will soon be delivering pizza in Texas

Pizza delivery using driverless pods is about to become a thing. Domino's has partnered with autonomous-tech specialist Nuro to use the futuristic pods for a trial delivery service starting later this year.
Cars

Flat-six makes a brief but triumphant return in Porsche’s hot-rodded 718 duo

Porsche unveiled a pair of 718-based sports cars that brazenly buck the industry's downsizing trend. The 718 Cayman GT4 and the 718 Spyder ditch the turbocharged flat-four in favor of a naturally aspirated, 4.0-liter flat-six rated at 414…
Cars

Waymo at last fires up the self-driving smarts of the Jaguar I-Pace

A year after inking a deal with Jaguar to use its I-Pace crossover for its self-driving program, Waymo has started testing the electric vehicle in autonomous mode with a view to adding it to its driverless ridesharing service.
Cars

All the haters are wrong: The new Acura NSX is just like the original NSX

Journalists and enthusiasts have bemoaned the new Acura NSX for not living up to the original car’s greatness. They say this new NSX’s engine is too small, that it’s too complicated, and that it lacks character. Here’s why they’re…