When CARtoday.com reader Mark Lohr spotted a transport truck carrying various disguised prototypes travelling on the N1 South in Gauteng, he couldn’t resist taking a closer look.

When CARtoday.com reader Mark Lohr spotted a transport truck carrying various disguised prototypes travelling on the N1 South in Gauteng, he couldn’t resist taking a closer look.


“I came across the car carrier outside Roodepoort. On it were a number of cars, including as-yet-unreleased cars,” the enthusiast said.


The picture on the right shows the carrier from the back. The car above the CLK appears to be a disguised prototype of a new-shape ML. When the model is introduced at the Detroit Show next month, the new M-Class is expected to be larger, roomier, with stronger build quality and an improved 4x4 system.


The M- and R-Class (previewed at the Paris Motor Show this year) will go into production in Vance, Alabama, shortly thereafter. DaimlerChrysler SA executives recently told CAR that the M-Class could possibly be launched in South Africa shortly before the end of next year.


Reports suggest that the M-Class will be 4,8m long, 1,9m wide, 1,77m high and ride on a 2,9m wheelbase. The range is likely to consist of a ML 350 (3,5-litre V6), ML 500 (5,0-litre V8), ML 460 (4,6-litre V8), ML 550 (5,5-litre V8), ML 280 CDI (3,0-litre V6 turbodiesel - 141 kW), ML 320 CDI (3,0-litre V6 turbodiesel - 162 kW), ML 400 CDI (4,0-litre bi-turbo V8 producing 223 KW and 560 N.m of torque) and a range-topping cruiser bruiser ML 63 AMG (fitted with 6,3-litre V8 that kicks out 345 kW and 600 N.m).


Among the options offered with the ML will be the 7G-Tronic seven speed automatic, full-time four-wheel drive and Airmatic DC pneumatic suspension, reports say.


But here’s the biggest surprise… The picture on the right shows the carrier from the side, “and you can now see two of the three new shape MLs on the top ramp with a CLS parked in front of it. The CLS was badged ‘CLS 65’. I tried to get a closer picture, but the truck began to wander across towards me so I backed off,” Mark said.


“I accelerated away and took the next off ramp so that I could take a better picture from the top. Now you can clearly see the three MLs and the CLS, as well as a CLK, an E-class and a strange, large car parked right at the front of the carrier. I have a suspicion it may be the next S-class,” he added.


The bigger saloon Mark refers to could well be a prototype for the next generation S-Class. However, the biggest point of interest is undoubtedly the CLS 65 AMG. Mark’s observation just about confirms the yet-to-be-unveiled CLS 65 AMG is not a myth.


The CLS will be launched in South Africa during the second quarter and the range’s 5,5-litre supercharged AMG version is sure to follow. The 450 kW 6,0-litre V12 SL 65 AMG will be in South Africa by February… how long before the CLS 65 AMG follows?


Some reports say that the CLS 65 AMG will be powered by a 6,3-litre normally-aspirated V8 engine (as will be the case with the future M-Class AMG version), but others insist that the SL 65 AMG’s 12-cylinder powerplant (which develops its maximum torque of 1 000 N.m between 2 000 and 4 000 r/min) will do duty in the CLS. The CLS 65 AMG could, in theory, accelerate from zero to 100km/h in less than 4,5 seconds (top speed limited to 250 km/h).


Suddenly, the new BMW M5’s five-litre V10, which produces 378 kW and peak torque of 520 N.m, seems a little underpowered!