Mercedes-Benz revealed two of its most important products to the Canadian market at a preview event ahead of their full introduction at the New York International Auto Show.
The third-generation Smart Fortwo has already been on shown at several European shows, but is here making its North American debut. The new Fortwo is similar in size to the previous iterations, and although 10 centimetres wider than before, its urban-oriented focus remains untouched.
The Fortwo still offers wheels-at-the-corners stance, and the updated Tridium safety cell is as obvious as ever. The biggest changes are both an updated exterior design that blends stronger curves with modern detailing. Inside, the cabin is much more usable and stylish, with more available technnology and active safety.
The rear-mounted engine remains, now with a 0.9-litre turbocharged three-cylinder with 89 horsepower and 100 pounds-feet of torque. Perhaps the biggest improvement is the new six-speed automatic transmission, replacing the jerky five-speed automated sequential, and the availability of a real five-speed manual transmission for the first time.
On the Mercedes-Benz side, the former ML-Class is now the GLE-Class, and while not an all-new vehicle, received significant updates in the process. The GLE shares similar front styling found on the company's latest C-Class and S-Class. The rear gets slightly reshaped taillights, while new wheel designs spread through the range.
There will be a whole range of engine options ranging from a base 3.6-litre V6 in the 350 model, to a twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 in the new 400. A twin-turbo 5.5-litre V8 with around 560 horsepower should arrive in the expected 63 AMG models, and while on display here, a plug-in hybrid variant that will not make it to Canada.