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Mercedes debuts new SL and Smart models

“It’s great to see this show big again,” trumpeted Dieter Zetsche, Daimler AG chairman, as he introduced two new models, the new generation Mercedes SL and Smart for-us urban pick-up.

Both cars are two seaters but that’s pretty much the only common factor. As an iconic German roadster dating back to the ’50s, the  SL is a flagship model in the Mercedes line-up. For 2012, the new generation SL focuses on a lightweight body (308 lbs less than previous model) and up to 30 percent better fuel efficiency.

“The new V-8 SL offers the same performance as the previous V-12 version and the same fuel economy as the previous V-6 SL,” noted Zetsche.

The Smart For-Us pickup concept makes its debut with a longer wheelbase and wider track, a tiny bed, and a 75-horsepower, 98-pound-foot electric motor. (David Coates / The Detroit News)

Mercedes turned to comedian Jon Lovitz for help in introducing the Smart for-us, an electric two-seat pick-up version. “It’s environmentally friendly but safe as a nutshell,” said Lovitz. Destined for the U.S. market, the Smart for-us has an 80 mile range.

Mercedes also debuted two full hybrid versions of the E-class, the gas version of which will come to the US this summer with 27 mpg fuel economy.

Photo gallery: 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL




John McCormick
A confirmed car guy since learning to drive in a Mini in his native England, John McCormick has been covering the auto industry in Detroit for more than two decades. John worked for Britain’s prestigious CAR magazine before joining AutoWeek and subsequently Ward’s Auto World in Detroit. Today John is one of the leading US-based international automotive writers, contributing to publications in every major market around the world. He is on the juries of several annual automotive awards including the World Car of the Year.