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20
Dec

Mercedes giving SL a nose job

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Mercedes tends to keep its SL roadster around longer than most models. The previous fifth-generation machine was launched in 2001, underwent a facelift in 2009 and stuck around until 2012. That’s when the current model was introduced, and before it’s replaced, Benz is expected to roll out another facelifted version. And that seems to be exactly what we’re looking at here.

Mercedes giving SL a nose job originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 08 Dec 2014 18:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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20
Dec

Recharge Wrap-up: Shift to offer Teslas for Hire, Model S P85D beats Ferrari in drag race

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A company called Shift plans to provide bikes and EVs for hire. Based in Las Vegas, NV, Shift will provide chauffeured ride services like Uber, but will also include a car- and bike-sharing service that delivers the desired wheels to the customer. Shift’s fleet will include EVs like the Smart Fortwo Electric Drive and the Tesla Model S. Shift also promises that you will, “Be on your way within five minutes,” which is a pretty tall order. Shift is scheduled to be available to members beginning this fall. Read more at The Car Connection.

Continue reading Recharge Wrap-up: Shift to offer Teslas for Hire, Model S P85D beats Ferrari in drag race

Recharge Wrap-up: Shift to offer Teslas for Hire, Model S P85D beats Ferrari in drag race originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 15 Dec 2014 15:56:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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19
Dec

Mercedes GLS updates Silver Star seven-seater

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It can be bewildering, the staggering array of crossovers and SUVs offered by Mercedes-Benz. There’s the G, the GL, the GLK and the GLA, not to mention the new GLE and the ML that basically started it all. So you can forgive yourself if you’ve never heard of the GLS. After all, it doesn’t currently exist. But it will soon.

Mercedes GLS updates Silver Star seven-seater originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 15 Dec 2014 17:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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19
Dec

Recharge Wrap-up: Honda FCV Concept comes to Detroit, Toyota seeks young green energy fellows

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Honda will bring its FCV Concept to the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January. The hydrogen-powered concept made its Japanese debut in November, and will now make its way to North America for the first time. The FCV concept improves upon the design of the FCX Clarity with a more striking appearance and roomier interior. Its smaller powertrain packaging means more space for people, and the FCV Concept seats five passengers. Honda also expects the next-generation fuel-cell car, which is scheduled to go on sale in Japan in March 2016, to cost less and have a range of over 300 miles. Read more in the press release below.

Continue reading Recharge Wrap-up: Honda FCV Concept comes to Detroit, Toyota seeks young green energy fellows

Recharge Wrap-up: Honda FCV Concept comes to Detroit, Toyota seeks young green energy fellows originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 18 Dec 2014 08:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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18
Dec

A car writer’s year in new vehicles [w/video]

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I figured it would be interesting to parse the figures and quantify my year in cars in a way I’d never done before.

Christmas is only a week away. The New Year is just around the corner. As 2014 draws to a close, I’m not the only one taking stock of the year that’s we’re almost shut of.

Depending on who you are or what you do, the end of the year can bring to mind tax bills, school semesters or scheduling dental appointments. For me, for the last eight or nine years, at least a small part of this transitory time is occupied with recalling the cars I’ve driven over the preceding 12 months.

Since I started writing about and reviewing cars in 2006, I’ve done an uneven job of tracking every vehicle I’ve been in, each year. Last year I made a resolution to be better about it, and the result is a spreadsheet with model names, dates, notes and some basic facts and figures.

Armed with this basic data and a yen for year-end stories, I figured it would be interesting to parse the figures and quantify my year in cars in a way I’d never done before. The results are, well, they’re a little bizarre, honestly. And I think they’ll affect how I approach this gig in 2015.

Continue reading A car writer’s year in new vehicles [w/video]

A car writer’s year in new vehicles [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 18 Dec 2014 12:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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18
Dec

What you missed on 12.17.14

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uturn

Mercedes S63 AMG Coupe2015 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Coupe driven

There’s a whole lot to love about the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe – it’s sexy, powerful, and immensely comfortable. We’ve already driven the standard S550 with its 4.7-liter, twin-turbo V8, but now, managing editor Jeremy Korzeniewski gets behind the wheel of the far more potent S63 AMG Coupe. Beauty, brains, and a hell of a lot of brawn. Read all about it, here.

Acura NSXProduction Acura NSX confirmed for Detroit

Finally. No, FINALLY. After seeing several conceptual versions of the long-awaited Acura NSX, the production version will officially show itself at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show next month. For now, Acura has released a few teaser images and a short video about its super coupe, and to say we’re on the edge of our seats would be a vast understatement. Bring it on.

lexus fLexus teases new Detroit-bound F model

In more Detroit Auto Show hotness, Lexus has given us a glimpse of something fast that’ll make its debut next month. Honestly, we aren’t totally sure what to expect here – some sources say GS F, while others report IS F. Either way, it’s an F-badged something-or-other, and we’ll know more once the Detroit show officially kicks off in just a few weeks.

Top Stories

What you missed on 12.17.14 originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 17 Dec 2014 19:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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17
Dec

Mercedes-Benz USA considering moving south

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MBUSA HQ in Montvale, NJ

Mercedes-Benz may be a German automaker first and foremost, but it’s a global operation. Among its many offices around the world, the company employs some 800 staffers at its US headquarters in New Jersey. But that office could be moving down South in the near future.

According to reports in the Atlanta Business Chronicle, the Wall Street Journal and Automotive News, Mercedes is looking into relocating its American head office from Montvale, NJ, where it’s been based since 1972, to one of several locations under consideration below the Mason-Dixon line.

Among the front-runners is Atlanta, where Porsche bases its North American operations. The presence of a trained workforce, necessary infrastructure, compliant officials and proximity to a major hub for international air traffic could make the Georgian metropolis an attractive proposition for Mercedes. Several locations in North Carolina are also said to be under consideration, as well.

Either way, MBUSA’s relocation to the South would put it closer to its assembly plant in Tuscaloosa, AL, and to the Port of Brunswick near Savannah from which it ships out those vehicles made in Alabama to points overseas. The relocation project is reportedly being handled by commercial real-estate firm JLL Inc, which is helping Toyota handle its relocation from southern California and Ohio to Texas.

Sources don’t expect, however, for New Jersey to let Mercedes go without a fight. The state’s Grow NJ Assistance Program could offer MBUSA an attractive incentives package to stay in Montvale. The company previously planned in 1998 to relocate to Pearl River, NY, but ultimately ended up staying in Jersey.

Mercedes-Benz USA considering moving south originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 17 Dec 2014 17:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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17
Dec

2015 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Coupe

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Conventional wisdom would dictate that adding more power and several key performance enhancements to an already very good car, like the 2015 Mercedes-Benz S550 Coupe, will end up equaling an even better car. In the case of the 2015 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Coupe, conventional wisdom sort of applies, but perhaps not as much as we’d have initially guessed.

We’ll get into the nitty gritty details in just a moment, but here’s the most immediate takeaway we had in our minds as we walked away from this super coupe: The S63 AMG is excellent, but so is the slightly more mundane S550 Coupe on which it is based, and which is priced some $41,000 less expensive than its more powerful sibling. Chew on those figures while we examine what differentiates the two S-Class Coupes.

Drive Notes

  • As expected, the single greatest highlight of the 2015 S63 Coupe is its engine. As a powerplant, it’s a gem. As a hand-built engineering exercise, its 577 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque are just as impressive in real life as they sound when recited from stat sheets. Not that the old CL63 AMG was lacking in power, but the new S63 AMG Coupe boasts 41 more horses and 74 more lb-ft than the outgoing engine.
  • The run to 60 miles per hour takes a scant 3.9 seconds, according to M-B, aided in no small part by the car’s 4Matic all-wheel-drive system and other assorted electronic brains deciding where, exactly, all those ponies should be sent. The rear-biased system is tuned to send two-thirds of the engine’s power to the rear wheels in a bid to make the car feel more like what performance-minded drivers expect.
  • Top speed is electronically limited to 186 miles per hour, which is plenty fast enough, even in the days of 200-plus-mph sedans from M-B’s former corporate cousin Dodge. We didn’t get anywhere near the car’s maximum velocity, but our brief trips into triple-digit territory were quiet, comfortable and completely free of drama.
  • The seven-speed automatic gearbox responds quickly to requests of your right foot, but the steering wheel-mounted paddles don’t change gears as quickly as we’d like when in Manual mode. Controlled Efficiency (which we’d call Comfort) maximizes efficiency, keeping the transmission in higher gears and shifting earlier than when in Sport mode, and we didn’t find much fault with the computer’s shifting algorithms in either setting. There’s no torque converter as would normally be found in an automatic transmission, and low-speed driving can cause some odd sensations, but we didn’t find it objectionable.
  • Suspension tuning is revised from that of the S550 Coupe, with different geometry at the front and a stiffer rear subframe, and it’s all propped up with air springs that provide a comfortably firm and well-damped ride, particularly when left in Comfort. Steering feel and feedback is good as well, as is the case with the S550, delivering a solid connection from the surface of the road to the driver’s hands.
  • Mercedes claims to have removed 128 pounds from its big coupe in AMG guise. This is achieved through aluminum bodywork, a lithium-ion battery replacing lead-acid, lightweight alloy wheels and composite brake discs. At 4,678 pounds, the S63 AMG Coupe is no bantamweight, but any weight reduction is a welcome one.
  • Regardless of how well it drives – and it drives very well indeed – the latest S-Class Coupe, in any iteration, is a true automotive sculpture. From its classic long-hood, short-deck proportions to the flowing, carved-out lines that connect them, the S63 AMG Coupe is a beautiful car. We’re not convinced that the extra exterior jewelry of the Edition 1, as seen in our image gallery above, makes the car prettier – Swarovski-bejeweled headlamps notwithstanding – but we have absolutely zero complaints about the Designo leather in a beautiful shade of red covering what we think are the most comfortable seats in the automotive kingdom.
  • We’re not in love with the massive LCD dashboard display, which deftly displays any and all pertinent information in a fine manner but lacks the visual flair of proper gauges, but the rest of the interior is beautifully crafted, comfortable and quiet. In fact, M-B claims the 2015 S-Class Coupe is the quietest car it has ever screwed, welded and riveted together.
  • Quiet is great, but those looking for a bit more noise from the engine will find it in Sport or Manual transmission modes, in which baffles in the exhaust open up for your aural enjoyment.

It’s not an easy task to come up with complaints about a car like the 2015 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Coupe. It’s beautiful, it’s fast and we think it’s probably a better daily driver than any of its main competitors, which include such worthy adversaries as the Aston Martin Vanquish, Bentley Continental GT and Rolls-Royce Wraith.

We’re sure the S63 AMG Coupe will be the perfect choice for many would-be Goldilocks buyers. Were push to come to shove, though, we’d be just as happy to park an S550 Coupe in our imaginary driveway, loaded up with a whole slew of options, just the way we want it, and still have paid less than the base S63 AMG Coupe, which starts at $160,900.

If money truly were no object – and for many buyers of the S-Class Coupe that will surely be the case – there is a top-shelf S65 AMG Coupe on the way, carrying along with it a 6.0-liter twin-turbo V12 engine with 621 hp and 738 lb-ft, that will cost $230,900. If you’re looking for the ultimate S-Class Coupe, that’d be the one to get. All things considered, though, we’re sure nobody who parks an S63 AMG Coupe in their driveway is going to be disappointed.

2015 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Coupe originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 17 Dec 2014 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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17
Dec

European jury picks finalists for 2015 Car of the Year

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Citroen C4 Cactus

There are countless Car of the Year awards handed out each year, and naturally, Europe has its own way of doing things. Every year, a panel of jurists representing seven publications in seven different languages and seven different countries get together to name their joint Car of the Year. The panel released a list of 32 candidates back in July, and it has now whittled that list down to seven nominees.

The list consists of the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, the Citro

14
Dec

Here’s how Detroit is selling more luxury vehicles than Germany and Japan

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A table from TrueCar shows how pickup trucks costing more than $50K are outselling the German luxury brands.

Now there’s an attention-grabbing headline, eh? Although the answer to the riddle – pickup trucks and SUVs – might be somehow deflating, the numbers involved deserve a going over. According to TrueCar’s figures (click on the table to enlarge), six of the year’s ten best-selling vehicles in the US that sell for a transaction price above $50,000 are body-on-frame, and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class is the only foreigner to crack the top five.

Every enthusiast knows that pickup trucks are ‘Murica’s most popular vehicle by a colossal margin, and there have been plenty of reports about the popularity of luxuriously appointed trucks and SUVs, but compare these figures from TrueCar: 70 percent of Chevrolet Tahoe sales have a transaction price above $50K, and The Bowtie is expected to make $3.9 billion in revenue on 66,945 predicted high-dollar sales; 95.1 percent of E-Class sales break $50K, so the German company will make $4.0 billion on 67,006 predicted sales in that pricing sphere. It’s about the only time you’ll see the Tahoe ranked right next to Mercedes’ bread-and-butter sedan. Ram is ahead of those two with $4.2B coming from $50K-plus sales. The Ford F-Series does almost as much revenue as the next three combined, with an expected $10.8 billion coming from sales of trucks over $50K – more than a quarter of the model’s total sales, when a base F-150 can be had for about $26,000.

Yes, the Germans make a lot more money on fewer sales, but considering the comparison, the bottom line isn’t too troubled by such facts. Weighing like-for-like, the full-size Ford walks it in every category; elsewhere, the Chevrolet Silverado outsells the Ram, but the Ram outsells the Chevy by 6.7 percent above $50K. And for all the flak GMC takes over swapping out grilles, the Sierra also outsells the Chevy in the well-appointed segment, 16.1 percent of sales versus 11 percent – the Professional Grade brand is a huge profit center for The General. You’ll find more info in the TrueCar press release below.

Continue reading Here’s how Detroit is selling more luxury vehicles than Germany and Japan

Here’s how Detroit is selling more luxury vehicles than Germany and Japan originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 14 Dec 2014 16:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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