The press days at Detroit used to start Monday. Then somebody started Sunday.
Now Mercedes-Benz has showed three significant new models on Saturday evening.
The most important, commercially anyway, is the new E-Class. Borrowing styling cues
from both the smaller C-Class and larger S-Class, the new E has a more angular look, as planes and edges are replacing the worn soap-bar look that has dominated car design for two decades.
For us, the engine line-up will, initially anyway, be similar to what the car offers now - six- and eight-cylinder gasoline, six-cylinder turbo-Diesel. A new family of fours are offered in Europe; Mercedes North America officials were smilingly non-commital as to whether they would ever see our shores.
Mercedes also showed two of the three planned variants of Concept BlueZERO -
electric-drive cars. It looks like a face-lifted current B-Class, and shares that car's 'sandwich' floor construction - the electricity supply goes under the floor; the electric motor drives the front wheels. The E-Cell is powered by lithium-ion batteries made by Mercedes, the first car maker to get into that business; range is expected to be about 200 km. The F-Cell has fuel cell power for the motor; range should be about 400 km. E-Cell Plus adds an internal combustion engine to recharge the battery, like Chevy's Volt, extending the range to 600 km, with some 100 km possible from the battery alone.
The E-Cell cars are scheduled to be available in low volume some time this year.
Roadster, dubbed SLR Stirling Moss, after the man who drove the original SLR to such fame. Stunning styling recalls that old SLR. Only 75 of these cars - the last SLR Roadsters that will be built - starting this June. Price is 750,000 Euros - currently, well over a million bucks CDN. The car isn't expected to be legal for Canada or the US, not that this means there isn't a lot of interest in it.