Mercedes-Benz is to show new 'concepts' of its planned sports tourer model lines at the Paris motor show in two weeks.

The Stuttgart-based DaimlerChrysler brand is presenting two variants for the first time: the European version of the Vision R Grand Sports Tourer and the new Vision B Compact Sports Tourer.

Both models have high-torque CDI diesel engines. In the Grand Sports Tourer "Vision R" a new V6 unit developes 218 hp and 510Nm of torque from 1800 rpm.

This engine, or a similar one from the same new family, is tipped to power some European versions of Chrysler's 300C line from 2005. Chrysler already uses Mercedes diesel engines in its European PT Cruiser and Jeep Grand Cherokee lines.

The Sports Tourer, which Mercedes first showed in 2002, combines the advantages of familiar vehicle concepts such as a sporty saloon, estate, van and SUV to create a new category.

The Grand Sports Tourer Vision R is a luxury 4+2-seater built on a wheelbase of 2980 mm. The specification includes four-wheel drive, air suspension, V6 diesel engine and seven-speed automatic transmission. The engine achieves over 32 mpg, the exhaust emissions meet EU-4 standards, and the particulate filter system reduces soot emissions.

Mercedes says the Compact Sports Tourer Vision B is also in a class of its own. Arranging the engine and transmission partly in front of and partly beneath the passenger cell - according to the sandwich principle first seen in the A-class in 1997 - is claimed to give this new touring car the interior spaciousness of larger sedans and wagons despite compact external dimensions.

The Sports Tourer is powered by a new four-cylinder diesel engine with an output of 140hp and torque of 300Nm. Fuel consumption is claimed to be over 47 mpg and exhaust emissions also meet EU-4 levels. A diesel particulate filter is standard.

For the Sports Tourer show cars, Mercedes-Benz is using a new type of exterior paint with a high-gloss finish for the first time. This is claimed to surround the vehicle body like a metallic skin. This extremely shiny, high-luminance finish is the result of a newly developed and highly sophisticated process which the Stuttgart brand intends to develop for volume production.