Paris – A family-friendly electric car, a luxury saloon with compact car fuel consumption, perfect city cars for more driving fun and sports cars that also cut a fine figure in 30 km/h zones – it is with this unique array of new models in five vehicle classes that Mercedes-Benz (B and S-Class), Mercedes-AMG (C 63 and GT) and smart (new fortwo and forfour) are setting powerful accents at the world’s busiest motor show. Instead of short-lived fashions, the inventor of the automobile is presenting long-term trends for modern luxury – also and in particular when it comes to sustainability. The best examples are the new S 500 PLUG-IN HYBRID, the first luxury saloon with a combined fuel consumption of less than three litres, and the battery-driven version of the new B-Class, which celebrates its world premiere in Paris. Also in the spotlight for the first time is the new Mercedes-AMG C 63, the sporting pinnacle of the C-Class line-up.
“With the new Mercedes-AMG C 63, our performance experts demonstrate once again that characteristics like ‘family friendly’ and ‘race-track ready’ need not be contradictory,” says Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, speaking at today’s Mercedes press conference at the Paris Motor Show. The new top model in the C-Class line-up makes its debut on the Seine in two body versions – as a saloon and estate car. Both combine outstanding performance with unrestricted everyday usability and functionality. The C 63 is driven by a 4.0‑litre V8 biturbo engine closely related to the power unit in the equally new Mercedes-AMG GT.
“The potential of this engine is best described with three figures: four litres of displacement, two power levels and one certified fuel consumption of just 8.2 litres per 100 kilometres,” says Prof. Dr. Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Group Research and Mercedes‑Benz Cars Development. Thanks to its amazing efficiency, the Mercedes-AMG C 63 is the world’s most fuel efficient V8 model – over 30 percent more fuel efficient than its predecessor and significantly more efficient than its less powerful competitors with six-cylinder engines.
The power spectrum ranges from 350 kW (476 hp) in the C 63 to 375 kW (510 hp) in the C 63 S. The AMG RIDE CONTROL sport suspension with electronically regulated shock absorbers, the mechanical rear differential lock and the AMG DYNAMIC SELECT drive programme are among its extensive array of standard equipment.
Mercedes-AMG GT: Fascinating sports car “handcrafted by racers”
The Mercedes-AMG GT celebrates its show premiere in Paris, taking the Mercedes-Benz sports car brand into a top-flight segment that is new for the company. Its front mid-engine concept with transaxle and intelligent aluminium lightweight design create the foundation for a highly dynamic driving experience. The basis for AMG’s signature Driving Performance is the newly developed AMG V8 biturbo engine, in the GT with 340 kW (462 hp) and in the GT S with 375 kW (510 hp).
Thanks to the aluminium spaceframe, the new GT is lean and mean. The most powerful version, the GT S, has a power-to-weight ratio of 3.08 kg/hp, making it the best in the segment. The GT body-in-white and bodyshell is 93 percent aluminium; the front module is made from super-light magnesium. Prof. Dr. Weber: “We want to make Mercedes-AMG the most desirable sports car brand in the world. The new GT and the new C 63 are two milestones on this path.” By halfway through this year, Mercedes-AMG had already sold 23,000 vehicles worldwide. Ola Källenius, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars responsible for Sales and Marketing: “By the end of the year, we want to have exceeded the 40,000 mark, thereby setting a new sales record.”
Another model making its debut in the “dream car” category is the S 65 AMG Coupé, the new twelve-cylinder top model in the S-Class Coupé line-up. Unique V12 driveline comfort, superlative performance and exquisite appointments characterise this elegantly sporty two-door. The AMG 6.0-litre V12 biturbo engine with 463 kW (630 hp) and 1,000 Nm of torque underscores its exceptional positioning in the competitive segment.
The New-Generation B-Class: Bestseller in its best shape ever
Another world premiere being presented by Mercedes-Benz in Paris is the new generation of the B-Class. The pioneer and bestseller in the premium sports tourer segment has undergone an extensive facelift and has been substantially upgraded both inside and out.
The current B-Class has paved the way to enormous success in the premium compact segment for Mercedes-Benz. Since the launch of the second-generation B-Class at the end of 2011, the brand with the three-pointed star has sold around 835,000 vehicles from the A, B, CLA and GLA-Classes worldwide, including more than 350,000 sports tourers. In France, the B-Class is one of the bestselling Mercedes models. After Germany and China, the “Grande Nation” is its third biggest market. “In light of this success, we understand very well why other premium manufacturers are now also becoming active in the B-Class segment,” says Dr. Dieter Zetsche.
The spectrum of the B-Class facelift extends from its updated bodyshell design and new LED main headlamps to its even more premium and functional interior design. “Our bestseller is now in its best shape ever,” says Ola Källenius. “The B-Class is the perfect (family) car for everyone who values practicality, comfort and safety, but without wanting to sacrifice sporting character and performance.”
What is unique in the market is the bandwidth of drive alternatives available to B-Class customers. They include five modern diesel and five petrol versions as well as one natural gas variant, the B 200 Natural Gas Drive, and the B-Class Electric Drive with battery power. Added to that are several variants with 4MATIC all-wheel drive.
With the B-Class Electric Drive and the B 200 Natural Gas Drive, there are no fewer than two models in the line-up with alternative drive. Both use the modular “ENERGY SPACE” bodyshell concept, where the lithium-ion battery (B-Class Electric Drive) or one large and two smaller natural gas tanks and a 14-litre petrol tank (B 200 Natural Gas Drive) are mounted beneath the floor. This approach means the five-seater retains its notably generous interior and boot space as well as its outstanding variability
B-Class Electric Drive: Spirited, flexible, fully suited to everyday use
With its powerful and torquey electric motor (132 kW, 340 Nm), the new B‑Class Electric Drive delivers spirited performance: The dash from zero to 100 km/h takes just 7.9 seconds. The intelligent packaging with the lithium-ion battery beneath the floor ensures plenty of interior and boot space. With 501 to 1,456 litres of space, the fully fledged five-seater offers considerably more luggage room than all of its competitors. It has a range of 200 kilometres, increasing to as much as 230 kilometres with the optional RANGE PLUS mode – likewise a best-in-class.
The New S 500 PLUG-IN HYBRID: Efficiency = Performance
A sizable electric range is also among the features of the new Mercedes-Benz S 500 PLUG-IN HYBRID. The highly efficient luxury saloon combines the performance of a V8 with the fuel consumption of a compact model. Dr. Dieter Zetsche: “The S 500 PLUG-IN HYBRID is the first luxury saloon in the world with a certified fuel consumption of 2.8 litres per 100 kilometres and an electric-only range of up to 33 kilometres. The result is CO2 emissions of just 65 grams per kilometre. This means we are already undercutting the CO2 limits planned for 2020 – by 30 percent.” The extremely low average consumption is in stark contrast to the high system output of 245 kW (333 hp) and maximum torque of 480 Nm.
The electric motor contributes 85 kW of power and 340 Nm of torque. Dr. Zetsche: “The S 500 PLUG-IN HYBRID is the vanguard in our extensive plug-in hybrid offensive. By 2017, we will introduce nine more Mercedes models with this highly efficient drive technology. This means that, on average, we will bring a new hybrid model to market every four months.”
The New smart fortwo and forfour: Even more French, even smarter
“The new generation of the perfect city car is now even more French and even smarter than ever before. At still just 2.69 metres long, the ultra-compact smart fortwo continues to be built at our plant in Hambach. And the new smart forfour is being manufactured in cooperation with our partners from Renault,” says smart boss Annette Winkler. “The new models appeal to both the heart and the head in equal measure and are the 100-percent embodiment of joie de vivre. That’s why Paris is the ideal place for the public premiere of the new smart family.”
Short overhangs, compact length, high steering turn-in – the new smart models have the very best prerequisites not only to squeeze into every parking space, but around every corner, too. Thanks to a 100-mm wider track, the wheels have been shifted even farther outwards. These characteristic proportions offer excellent visibility and manoeuvrability and, together with the rear engine, facilitate an occupant cell with an unmatched level of room in an extremely compact space.
The new smart models come to market with two modern three-cylinder engines, complying with the Euro 6 standard, as well as the new five-speed manual transmission and twinamic six-speed dual-clutch gearbox. The successful safety principle of the preceding model based around the tridion cell has been retained. Advanced assistance systems, previously reserved for higher vehicle classes, raise safety and comfort even further. They include the standard-fit Crosswind Assist and features such as the forward collision warning function and Lane Keeping Assist.
The multimedia systems in the new smart models are also to the very highest standards, with comprehensive smartphone integration, real-time navigation and intuitive touchscreen control as well as the impressive JBL sound system. Likewise out of the ordinary are the three optional equipment lines passion, prime and proxy. They stick firmly to the unconventional exterior design with its bi-colour concept. In true smart style – individuality and comfort meet innovation, functionality and select materials.
The “Piscine Molitor,” the setting for the Mercedes-Benz Media Night on the eve of the Paris Mondial de l’Automobile, is a truly legendary place. Tarzan actor Johnny Weissmüller, five-time Olympic swimming champion, once worked here as a lifeguard. And the hero of Hollywood blockbuster “Life of Pi” was even named after “the world’s most beautiful swimming pool” – Piscine Molitor “Pi” Patel. After a 20-year slumber, the magnificent Art Déco structure was reopened last spring.
When the Piscine Molitor first opened in 1929, no fewer than two gold-medal winners travelled to Paris from the USA for the event – Aileen Riggin, who won the first ever Olympic diving gold for women and Johnny Weissmüller, who was the first man to swim 100 metres in less than one minute. He later became world famous playing Tarzan and spent a summer working at the Molitor as a lifeguard and swim coach. With the Art Déco facility in the style of an ocean liner, the French capital’s exclusive 16th arrondissement gained not only a swimming pool, but a new social rendezvous. The Molitor was the venue for bathing, flirting and even marrying; besides the 50-metre Olympic summer pool and the indoor winter facility with its 33-metre pool, there was an artificial beach, a restaurant and bar, a “Tabac,” a hair salon, a golf driving range and – in winter – a skating rink.
On 5 July 1946, the Molitor provided the setting for a truly sensational premiere: Louis Réard, a former automotive engineer who had switched to fashion design, presented a completely new kind of bathing suit – the bikini – causing a major scandal in the process. The two-piece may well have been generously dimensioned compared with today’s fashions, but, in its day, it was extremely skimpy. As a result, no model wanted to wear it in public, so Réard engaged at short notice the services of an exotic dancer from the Casino de Paris, 19 year-old Micheline Bernardini. “It is so small that it reveals absolutely everything about its wearer except for her mother’s maiden name!” is how Louis Réard explained the particular appeal of his design. The premiere was a huge media success – and the bikini, named after the tiny atoll in the South Seas, embarked on a sparkling career, although it was initially frowned upon as shameless and forbidden in many bathing areas and swimming pools.
From Bathing Temple to Trendy Underground Rendezvous
The glamorous life continued in the Piscine Molitor until 1989, when the swimming pool was forced to close its doors due to structural defects. One year later, the empty complex was categorized as a “monument historique” and placed under a preservation order, thus rescuing it from the threat of demolition. For more than 20 years, the Molitor served as an unofficial studio for graffiti artists, a backdrop for fashion shoots and venue for secret parties and trendy events, until the restoration of the historic facility began in 2011 following a competitive bidding process.
Hollywood Creates a Cinematic Monument to the Molitor
In 2012, Hollywood also created a cinematic monument to the grand old Parisian swimming pool. For the Oscar-winning film adaptation of the novella “Life of Pi” by Canadian author Yann Martel, an almost exact replica of the Molitor was constructed on an airfield in Taiwan. “I was named after a swimming pool,” says lead character Piscine Molitor Patel, known as Pi, in the movie of his story, “the most beautiful swimming pool in the world in Paris.”
Following a reconstruction lasting two-and-a-half years and costing 80 million euros, the Molitor was reopened on 19 May 2014, comprising the two classic pools, a stylish boutique hotel with 124 rooms, a spa, gym and restaurants. By hosting the “Mercedes-Benz Media Night”, the magnificent pool reconnects with its great past as a rendezvous, stage and catwalk.