New CLS Baby Brother in the Works: Mercedes BLS

Mercedes-Benz BLS from F800

Mercedes-Benz is reshuffling its models, and one of the nicer ones, the CLS, is now reportedly giving birth to a new downscaled version called the BLS. It’s supposed to look like a combination CLS and the F800 concept (above) and will launch in 2014.

Details are not yet clear, but this would be a smart move for Mercedes, and whether you call it a coupe or sedan, it will fill a much-needed void in the maker’s lineup. Which means it will compete against cars like the Audi A4 and the BMW 3 Series.

That niche includes not just performance cars but all-around good-looking, well-fitted-out small sedans that can also compete against Infiniti, Acura, and Lexus. Benz needs younger buyers, and the BLS should get them into their showrooms—if the design above pans out.

Mercedes-Benz F800 concept, frontEngines are not yet specified, but Auto Express is talking about 1.4- and 1.8-liter turbos from Renault, plus a diesel, plus a 2.0-liter gasoline and a 2.2-liter diesel from Benz. Sounds like small-bore stuff to me, and if they want this car to do well in the U.S., they will need more zap than these engines can provide.

The new A- and B-Class platform is to be called MFA, and the cars will be front-drivers, with the possibility of accommodating hybrid power and a small SUV configuration in the future.

My feeling is that by 2014, the market will be tiring of Audis and BMWs and could well be ready for a real competitor with dramatic styling.

Does the Mercedes-Benz BLS’s so-called “four-door coupe” styling appeal to you?

—jgoods

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