It’s not all that surprising news to us, but at least it’s news that’s been confirmed by Mercedes-Benz Malaysia (MBM). Yes, you read the headline correctly: 2016 is going to be all about the Benz SUVs.
Speaking exclusively to Carlist.my at the launch and drive event of the Mercedes-AMG GT S supercar at the Sepang International Circuit, we caught up with MBM’s vice president of marketing, Mark Raine, for a quick chat to ask him about what’s coming our way.
First telling us about how the rest of the year is looking to be ‘sexily AMG-filled’ (you’ll have to read that link to understand what we mean by that), with the mighty C 63 AMG due for a launch before the end of the year.
Beyond this year, it’s all going to be about the SUVs for MBM: particularly the ones we’ve been seeing launch globally this year.
“We’re looking at launching SUVs from the very start of next year. That will be the next wave of our general product offensive. Year to date (Jan to May 2015), we’ve sold more than 4,000 units already with the range that we have now, and that’s something totally unheard of in our history. If we then compliment that with our SUV range, we’re very optimistic for the future,” said the MBM vice president.
So what exactly is coming?
2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class SUV
Amongst them, and most likely first in line to debut locally, will be the GLE-Class. A direct-rival to the BMW X5, the GLE-Class SUV takes over from the previously named MLE-Class to abide by the company’s new nomenclature standard.
The GLE-Class gets the full suite of Benz’s latest powertrain options, including a plug-in hybrid variant, as well as AMG and AMG S models.
A GLE-Class Coupe, like we hope most of you saw in the Jurassic World movie, is naturally to be expected as well, simply to do battle with the all-new BMW X6 here.
2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class SUV
Only revealed to the world a week ago, the GLC-Class isn’t a completely new Benz model. All-new, the GLC is actually in its second-generation now, but Malaysians may not be too familiar with it because of a lacking right-hand drive version on the GLK-Class it replaces – the GLK was sold only as a left-hand drive model because it was never considered for markets outside of Europe, US and China.
Also renamed to fit into Benz’s new naming strategy (GLC uses a slightly longer C-Class platform), the GLC-Class is likewise available in plug-in hybrid form, as well as two diesels and one petrol version – these were available at launch, but we understand that more variants will come later. Just like the GLE-Class, all but the plug-in hybrid version get the new Mercedes-Benz 9G-TRONIC nine-speed torque converter automatic transmission.
A coupe version of the GLC-Class has been teased through a concept model, which we understand will make a global reveal in due time. And when it does, you may want to pay close attention to it, because we imagine Mercedes-Benz Malaysia not wanting to shy away from competition with the BMW X4.
Other SUVs to look out for?
Kicking off the range of new SUVs was the Benz baby we already have here, the GLA-Class – so no, that’s not something you ought to be looking out for in 2016, although a global reveal of a facelifted version may be on the cards to follow the facelifted A-Class.
One other rumoured SUV to show itself on the world stage in the near future is the large GLS-Class SUV: a successors to the current GL-Class, renamed to… you know why. Details are scarce with this one, with only very few images surfacing on the web.
But in the same way the GLC-Class is a reflection of the C-Class, and the GLE-Class a reflection of the E-Class, the GLS-Class will be a reflection of the flagship S-Class limousine: possible equipped with all the bells and whistles that make the S-Class special.