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Mercedes’ Frankfurt plan: plug-in hydrogen CUV, refreshed S-Class coupes, convertibles

Sven Gustafson

Mercedes-Benz is preparing for the Frankfurt Motor Show later this month by planning several new vehicles, including several new S-Class coupe and cabriolet models and the GLC F-Cell, the first plug-in hydrogen production car.

The GLC F-Cell uses a large, 9 kWh lithium-ion battery mounted in the rear as an additional energy source for the electric motor, capable of up to 31 miles of electric-only driving. Combined with the fuel cells, which it says are now 30 percent more compact than in previous models and can be fully housed in the engine compartment, the crossover boasts a combined driving range of 310 miles (500 km).

The hydrogen fuel tank can be refilled in about three minutes.

Daimler says the fuel-cell stack was developed in Vancouver alongside its partner, Ford, at the Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation joint venture. Costs were also slashed thanks to a 90 percent reduction in the amount of platinum used in the stack.

Mercedes says it racked up more than 500 individual tests of its GLC F-Cell prototypes in a wide range of weather extremes, using nearly 200 tons of hydrogen and emitting 1,800 tons of water vapor as the only waste product.

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Since first being introduced in 1994 as the NECAR 1, Daimler's fleet of fuel-cell vehicles has covered more than 18 million km, or 11.1 million miles.

Mercedes previously said the production version would go on sale initially in Germany, Japan and the U.S. in 2017, then in the United Kingdom in 2018.

Meanwhile, Mercedes also plans to unveil three versions of its S-Class coupes and cabriolets: the S560, Mercedes-AMG S63 and the Mercedes-AMG S65. The company refreshed its S-Class sedans earlier this year and will extend features like the extended driving assistance systems, Widescreen cockpit controls and displays, redesigned steering wheel, and Energizing Comfort controls. Exclusive to two-door versions are organic light-emitting diode (OLED) tail lamps.

"With their unmistakable, exclusive design and high-class materials with extremely high value appeal in the interior, the new S-Class Coupé and S-Class Cabriolet embody our interpretation of modern luxury. On top of that, both luxury four-seaters feature the latest cutting-edge technology from the S-Class," Britta Seeger, a member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG with responsibility for Mercedes-Benz Cars Sales, said in a statement.

Mercedes S560

The S560 gets the same V8 biturbo engine as in the S560 sedan, capable of 463 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. It'll go 0-60 in 4.5 seconds, and 4Matic all-wheel-drive is standard and the only option.

Mercedes-AMG S63

The AMG line gets new front and rear aprons and three-dimensional air inlets at the front end with chrome-plated fins. The S63 gets a more powerful version of the AMG 4.0-liter V8, delivering 603 hp and 664 pound-feet of torque, taking you to 60 mph in a mere 3.4 seconds. It's managed by a nine-speed dual-cultch transmission and comes only in 4Matic AWD.

Mercedes-AMG S65

The only rear-wheel-drive version of the S-Class also features a 6.0-liter biturbo V12, with 621 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque and a seven-speed automatic transmission. It tops out at 186 mph and goes to 60 mph in 4 seconds.

All versions of the S-Class Coupe go on sale in 2018, with U.S. deliveries expected midyear, according to Motor1, which says to expect six-figure price tags across the board.

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