Despite the lack of an all-new model to show off at the 2013 L.A. Auto Show, Mercedes-Benz on Wednesday looked to grab attention with a quartet of specialty vehicles.
Two of the four are certain to reach a Mercedes dealership in 2014, another probably will, and the fourth merely teases what to expect in the brand’s future.
Tri-star fans looking for the next chapter in the brand’s development will have to wait until the Detroit Auto Show in January, when Mercedes is expected to reveal the all-new C-Class compact sports sedan.
In the meantime, here’s what Mercedes brought to L.A.:
Vision Gran Turismo: The most far-fetched of the Mercedes vehicles on display, this concept won’t be headed to production without major changes. But elements of the design might. With the SLS headed out to pasture (see below), Mercedes has an all-new sports car headed to market called the GT AMG.
The GT AMG will be a focused Porsche 911 fighter in a way that the current SL isn’t. This concept is a wildly exaggerated look at the shape and aesthetic that a production car could feature. Expect a more production-ready GT AMG to bow sometime around the 2014 Paris Motor Show in October.
If you can’t wait that long to get behind the wheel, the virtual world will have to suffice for now. The Vision Gran Turismo will be featured in the upcoming "Gran Turismo 6" game for Sony’s PlayStation 3. In that game, the car will be powered by a twin-turbocharged V-8 making 577 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque.
The Vison Gran Turismo concept on display in L.A. is a 1:1 scale model of the car created for the video game.
SLS AMG Final Edition: Despite only being on sale in the U.S. since 2011, Mercedes’ high-dollar SLS super car will reach the end of its run in 2014. To celebrate, the automaker will build just 350 Final Edition models to sell worldwide.
Available in either coupe or convertible form, Final Edition models will have the same power as the current SLS AMG GT -- in other words, plenty. That’s 583 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque, courtesy of a naturally aspirated 6.3-liter V-8 engine. Power is pushed to the rear wheels via a seven-speed automated dual-clutch transmission. Zero-to-60 mph ticks by in 3.6 seconds, and its top speed is 197.
Where the Final Edition separates itself from lesser SLS AMG models is the trim pieces. The hood and rear spoiler are made from exposed carbon fiber. Unique AMG wheels (19-inch up front, 20-inch in the back) will be wrapped in Dunlop tires developed specifically for Mercedes AMG.
Inside, add diamond-stitched leather, carbon fiber trim and an Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel to the list of Final Edition goodies. This last SLS model will go on sale in March 2014.
S65 AMG: With the full-size S550 and S63 already introduced, this third-generation S65 will sit at the top of Mercedes’ hierarchy -- at least until a coupe version is introduced in 2014.
Despite carrying over from the previous generation S65, power is immense. A hand-assembled twin-turbocharged V-12 makes 621 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque. The transmission is new and now has seven forward speeds, compared with five in the earlier one, and pushes the V-12’s power to the rear wheels.
Mercedes estimates the S65 will rip through zero to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds, or about 0.3 seconds slower than the lesser S63 AMG and its lighter V-8 engine.
The automaker will also use the S65 to introduce a pair of tech goodies previously unseen in a Mercedes. The first is a heads-up display that will show the driver data such as navigation instructions, vehicle speed, and adaptive cruise control.
Also new -- though headed to other Mercedes models, including the C-Class -- is a touch pad that controls the infotainment system. Sitting just in front of the armrest between the driver and passenger, this touch pad will function much like a smartphone or tablet, Mercedes says. One and two finger gestures, swipes, and widening and narrowing motions will control the car’s functions. It will also recognize letters and numbers.
GLA45 AMG: Taking a page from the new CLA platform on which it’s based, the compact GLA crossover lineup could see an AMG model in the near future. With the GLA250 already confirmed for production, Mercedes used the L.A. show to display the GLA45 AMG concept.
This crossover variant uses the same powertrain as the CLA45 AMG sedan: a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine pumps out a healthy 360 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. All-wheel drive is standard, as is a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
The GLA lineup is all new for Mercedes, and slots below the GLK in the brand’s crossover lineup. Mercedes is one of many luxury automakers jumping into the compact crossover segment, as it’s one of the fastest growing segments in the industry. Porsche, Lincoln and Jaguar are also using the L.A. show to debut concept or production models that will seek to capitalize on this growth.