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23
Oct

Mercedes moving some Sprinter production to North America

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2014 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

If you look at the Sprinter and wonder how Mercedes-Benz can possibly compete against locally produced commercial vehicles with a model built in Germany and shipped over the Atlantic, you’re not alone. In fact, in order to mitigate the tariffs (but at the cost of added logistical expense), Mercedes builds the vans in Germany, takes them half apart again, ships them as kits and reassembles them in Ladson, South Carolina.

Apparently the method is worth it, because the United States has become the largest market for the Sprinter outside of Germany. But Mercedes is understandably keen to cut down the costly process, and so it is reportedly looking to build the Sprinter somewhere in North America – although it has yet to confirm the move, let alone determine (or at least announce) where that location may be: in the US, Canada or Mexico.

According to Automotive News, regardless of where a new facility might be located, production would still continue in Germany, where Mercedes builds the Sprinter in two factories: one in D

22
Oct

Daimler divests remaining interest in Tesla

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Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive

Back in 2009, Daimler acquired over 9 percent of Tesla. A couple of months later, it sold 40 percent of that stake to Abu Dhabi-based Aabar Investments. The following year, Tesla listed on the stock exchange and Daimler’s interest was reduced to 4 percent. But now the German industrial giant has announced it is selling that 4 percent and divesting from Tesla altogether in a liquidation that is expected to raise approximately $780 million for Daimler. The divestment has also triggered speculation that the move could make room for rival German automaker BMW to take an interest in Tesla.

Despite the divestment, Daimler insists that its technological partnership with Tesla will remain unaffected. Mercedes sources the batteries for its B-Class Electric Drive (pictured above) from the Californian outfit in a deal that is not set to change as a result of the financial realignment. A similar collaboration was in place for the Smart Fortwo Electric Drive, however, now that the new generation of Smarts developed with Renault is on its way, it’s possible that a next-generation Fortwo ED will use French tech instead as an extension of the partnership between Daimler and Renault-Nissan.

Daimler has also taken the occasion to point out that, between the Mercedes, Smart and various truck brands, it offers “the industry’s biggest portfolio of electric vehicles,” including pure EVs, fuel cells and hybrids. The automaker says it will introduce ten new plug-in hybrid Mercedes models by 2017.

Continue reading Daimler divests remaining interest in Tesla

Daimler divests remaining interest in Tesla originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 22 Oct 2014 10:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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21
Oct

Next Mercedes G-Class won’t think outside of the box

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2014 Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG

Anyone that was afraid that Mercedes-Benz would follow the example of the Land Rover Range Rover and soften the looks of the iconic Gel

21
Oct

2015 Mercedes-Benz S550 Coupe

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2015 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe

This is the most beautiful car currently offered by Mercedes-Benz.

With apologies to the aggressive and undeniably attractive Mercedes-AMG GT, the brand-new successor to the supercar throne vacated by the dearly departed gullwinged SLS, the S-Class Coupe as seen in the images scattered through these pages is particularly evocative, with flowing lines from front to plunging rear that somehow recall early pre-war streamlining while still coming across as thoroughly modern and completely refined. It’s a shape that will get noticed in traffic, generating gentle nods of approval, subtle stares and longer-than-normal glances from those with discerning automotive tastes, without attracting the kind of pre-teen attention garnered by less practical, though similarly expensive, machinery.

Considering the shapely bodywork parked before me set against the shockingly beautiful autumn colors of Rhode Island and the sweet, salty smell of ocean tides, the actual driving dynamics of the S550 Coupe I was about to experience seemed, for a brief moment, to be superfluous to the experience at hand. That is, it felt that way until slipping into what may be the most comfortable and accommodating driver’s seat ever made, a move affording me the chance to revel in the cabin’s almost overwhelming embrace of accoutrements and technology.

Continue reading 2015 Mercedes-Benz S550 Coupe

2015 Mercedes-Benz S550 Coupe originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 21 Oct 2014 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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17
Oct

Latest Mercedes-based Dartz comes with armor plating, available retina scanner

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Dartz Prombron Black Shark

The folks at the Russian company Dartz take tuning Mercedes-Benz models to extremes most people would consider impossible. Two of their recent creations include an armored G63 AMG 6×6 in pink camouflage and another one with a portable smoking room. Now, it’s giving the GL-Class some attention, and the result is a dream for those extremely paranoid about their safety.

The Dartz Prombron Black Shark takes it name from a Russian attack helicopter. As the teaser image (above) suggests, it’s packed to the gills with enough armor and security equipment to safely escape a small army. In fact, some of the Black Shark’s features sound like the stuff of science fiction.

The body is reportedly made from bullet resistant Kevlar-titanium, which Dartz claims is “to prevent the use of magnetic mines.” It’s also allegedly available with military tech like a road analyzer, distance explosive detector and signal jammer. If that’s not enough, the door handles disappear into the body and have what the press release calls an “anti-paparazzi shock-device.” Don’t worry about someone breaking in though because a fingerprint and retina scanner is offered, as well.

The interior is just as opulent as the exterior is secure. It includes things like a Bang and Olufssen stereo, champagne holder with sterling silver hand polished flutes, a humidor, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and much more.

The mechanical bits are still somewhat of a mystery. Dartz says buyers can choose from either a V8 or V12 engine with tuning available up to a claimed 1,500 horsepower.

Dartz is only building five Black Sharks and says more information is coming around October 19. Scroll down to read the press release about this super-secure Mercedes.

Continue reading Latest Mercedes-based Dartz comes with armor plating, available retina scanner

Latest Mercedes-based Dartz comes with armor plating, available retina scanner originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 17 Oct 2014 08:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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16
Oct

German man drives Mercedes G-Wagen on 557k-mile, 26-year road trip [w/video]

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Mercedes G-Class

It’s a common dream to just drop everything, load up the car and make a life on the open road traveling from place to place. The vast of majority of us just fantasize about it, but it’s a reality for the German couple Gunther and Christine Holtorf. They are just finishing what might be the world’s longest road trip covering around 560,000 miles in a Mercedes-Benz 300GD named Otto (pictured above right) over the past 26 years.

Their goal was to visit as many countries as possible, and they ended up reached 215, including places like base camp at Mount Everest; they definitely achieved their dream. The same distance would have gotten them from the Earth to the moon and back, plus a few thousand extra miles to just cruise around.

Holtorf claims that Otto remained mostly stock for the odyssey. “The entire drivetrain with the engine, transmission and axles is still original,” he said. However, some upgraded suspension parts were installed to handle the extra load from all the supplies the couple needed to carry.

Otto isn’t retiring quite yet, but the hard part is over. The 300GD is going on display briefly at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart and then taking a tour of the company’s dealers in Europe beginning in February 2015.

Coinciding with the latest stop in Otto’s voyage, the G-Class is celebrating its 35th anniversary. To commemorate it in Europe, Mercedes is launching the Edition 35 version (pictured above left) of the long-living truck. It gets obsidian black metallic parts for the bumpers, wheels arches, side mirrors and roof and a similar motif for the interior, as well. “I promise that there will still be a G-Class in the future,” said Daimler chairman Dr. Dieter Zetsche in the company’s announcement.

There’s a full chronicle of the trip with many videos, but it’s in German. The BBC also has an excellent long-form piece about the couple in English. Scroll down to watch a brief video about the journey that’s also auf Deutsch and read Mercedes’ press release.

Continue reading German man drives Mercedes G-Wagen on 557k-mile, 26-year road trip [w/video]

German man drives Mercedes G-Wagen on 557k-mile, 26-year road trip [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 16 Oct 2014 08:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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16
Oct

Six luxury-car features I’m ashamed to admit I love

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Mercedes-Benz S-Klasse (W 222) 2013

A hot compress felt wonderful on my sore back. The methodical kneading of my shoulder blades loosened the knots that formed over several hours of driving. The Swedish-style pulses firing into my lumbar region released more tension.

I wasn’t getting a much-needed massage following a recent road trip. I was getting it during the road trip.

I grew up riding in the back seat of a 1976 Chevy Nova. But once you use these lux features, it’s easy to go soft.

It came courtesy of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, a car which provides an array of “hot stone” massage features in the driver’s seat. Controlled through distinct chambers in the seat, the luxury car offers six varieties of massages that lull a driver into automotive bliss.

On a barren stretch of interstate, the massage made my ride not just tolerable, but wholly enjoyable. I left the chair massage on for hours, and when the time came, I lamented the fact I had reached my destination.

These days, more and more luxury-car customers expect these sort of perks. Buying a luxury car is as much about the creature comforts as it is the precision of the powertrain. As the luxury carmakers seek to keep their brands a cut above the rest, they’ve gotten more creative in adding these indulgent innovations.

Over the past year, the seat massage has probably been my favorite creature comfort in a new car. But it has hardly been the only one I’ve come to appreciate.

Enjoying these new comforts doesn’t come naturally. I grew up riding in the back seat of a 1976 Chevy Nova. But once you use them, it’s easy to go soft. If it’s been a while since you got behind the wheel of a luxury car, here’s a look at a few of the advances you’re missing out on:

Continue reading Six luxury-car features I’m ashamed to admit I love

Six luxury-car features I’m ashamed to admit I love originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 16 Oct 2014 12:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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14
Oct

Mercedes S-Coupe configurator running, $119,900* base price

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Mercedes S63 4Matic Coupe

If you feel like spending the price of a house (most places) on a very fast and comfortable German luxury sedan, then you’re in luck. The configurator for the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe is ready and waiting, and it’s not cheap to buy this much opulence.

The standard S550 4Matic Coupe rings up for $119,900 (* plus an additional $925 destination fee on all of them) and gets buyers a 4.7-liter twin-turbo V8 rated at 449 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. If that’s not deemed to be enough, then the S63 AMG 4Matic is $160,900 with a 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8 pumping out 577 hp and 664 lb-ft of twist. While not currently listed on the configurator, Autoblog editor Jeremy Korzeniewski is on hand at the model’s official launch, and tells us that the S65 AMG Coupe with its 6.0-liter twin-turbo V12, good for 621 hp and 738 lb-ft, starts at $230,900 for customers who think that other two are a bit underwhelming.

As with many Mercedes, the options list for these coupes is huge, including pricey add-ons like carbon ceramic brakes for the S63 AMG for $8,950. The S550 goes get a few bundles, as well: the Sport Package for $5,900 adds a body kit and different wheels; the $3,500 Premium Package includes a HUD and massaging seats, and there’s the Warmth and Comfort Package for $1,990 that adds heaters to the rear seats, armrests, door panels and steering wheel. Both models are offered with a Driver Assistance Package with safety systems like cross-traffic assist, blind spot assist and lane keeping assist for $2,800.

We expect to have more info about these new Mercs soon. Until then, head over to the configurator, and see how expensive you can make one of these Autobahn cruisers.

Mercedes S-Coupe configurator running, $119,900* base price originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 14 Oct 2014 11:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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13
Oct

Race Recap: 2014 Russian Grand Prix is like Valencia, but in Russian

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Graphic for the 2014 Russian Grand Prix.

The Sochi International Street Circuit used to host the Russian Formula One Grand Prix has a few things in common with the Valencia Street Circuit that was used to host the European Grand Prix. Both are built among existing infrastructure used for other events, both contain long, narrow stretches run between concrete walls and chain link fencing, and both are, shall we say, not exactly exciting.

We wouldn’t know that after qualifying, though, when Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes AMG Petronas finally put in a mistake-free Saturday to line up first on the grid, ahead of teammate Nico Rosberg in second. Valtteri Bottas got his Williams closer than anyone expected, blistering the first two sectors but falling apart in the third and ending up third on the grid. Behind him, Jenson Button impressed in the McLaren in fourth, Daniil Kvyat even more impressive in the Toro Rosso, taking fifth in front of his home crowd. Kevin Magnussen put the second McLaren in sixth, Daniel Ricciardo was the first Infiniti Red Bull Racing in seventh ahead of a Ferrari duo who knew they’d have a hard time, Fernando Alonso in eighth and Kimi R

13
Oct

Alonso won’t drive under Mercedes power next season [w/poll]

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Spanish World Champion Formula One drive

One of the biggest question marks hovering above the Formula One grid is over the future of two-time world champion Fernando Alonso. Four-time champ Sebastian Vettel is widely believed to be taking his seat at Ferrari next year, but the question everyone’s been asking is where Alonso will land. And here we may have our biggest piece of the puzzle yet.

Speaking with NBC Sports at the inaugural Russian Grand Prix this past weekend, Alonso indicated he won’t be driving under Mercedes power next season. That would rule out the Mercedes team itself, of course, even as the championship frontrunners struggle to smooth out the rivalry between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton. If it were this season (or any of the past twenty), that would rule out McLaren as well, but the British team is set to switch to Honda power for next year – an enticing prospect for any driver, since Honda will benefit from developing an all-new power unit where the other engine suppliers have had their development frozen.

Word has it, though, that McLaren boss Ron Dennis is reluctant to meet Alonso’s lofty salary demands – especially for just one season. The Spaniard, who drove for McLaren for one season in 2007, is one of the highest-paid drivers on the grid this year, and is likely to be demanding at least as much from a new contract. If ongoing negotiations between Alonso and McLaren break down, his most likely alternatives would include Lotus and Williams, both of which will be running Mercedes engines next season. But it’s the one-season part of Dennis’ reluctance that has us most intrigued. After all, why wouldn’t Alonso be prepared to sign for more than one season with a leading team?

The answer may remain a mystery for the time being, but would seem to point towards another arrangement for Alonso for 2016 and beyond. Kimi Raikkonen is contracted with Ferrari only until the end of 2015, after which the Finn very well might retire altogether. Red Bull has similarly signed Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo for next season, but that could still leave the door open for Alonso to switch to the Renault-powered team for 2016.

Could Alonso simply be taking a break from Ferrari for one season, only to return the next? Or could he be looking for a temporary ride before moving to Red Bull in 2016? If things don’t work out with McLaren for next season, and if neither Lotus nor Williams end up enticing him, the Spanish driver could end up taking a sabbatical from F1 for one year before a potentially triumphant return.

In Alonso’s own words to NBC Sports, “As I said in Suzuka, when you know the options, you will say ‘it was so obvious’. Wait and see.”

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Alonso won’t drive under Mercedes power next season [w/poll] originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 13 Oct 2014 09:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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