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16
Sep

Mercedes boosts CLA supplies, says it could sell twice as many

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class

It’s been a few months since we talked about the Mercedes-Benz CLA’s status as an unmitigated hit, but a new story from Automotive News will allow us to revisit the sleek, fast-selling, four-door home run. Production has been increased again, with some of the extra capacity destined for US showrooms.

We could have sold twice as many vehicles, easily, compared to our planning,” Daimler AG boss Dieter Zetsche told AN.

Dealers are sitting on perilously small supplies of the CLA, with Mercedes execs confirming to AN that a few dealers have slipped below a ten-day supply. For reference, a 60-day supply is generally considered healthy.

Mercedes’ Kecskem

16
Sep

Online Find of the Day: Lexus-engined Mercedes pickup is a vintage hybrid

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1971 Mercedes-Benz 220D Pickup with a Lexus V8

You have to love someone who gets incredibly committed to a very weird idea. What you see for sale here is a right-hand drive 1971 Mercedes-Benz 220D in South Africa, but this old Mercedes is now converted into a pickup, complete with bed cover, and there’s big secret under the hood, too.

The pickup conversion appears well done based on seller Sedgefield Classic Cars’ photos. Even the tonneau cover fits well. You could almost believe that this Mercedes lived its life as a Chevrolet El Camino-like pickup from the very beginning.

However, the rear-quarters conversion might not be the weirdest thing about this Mercedes. The original diesel is gone from the engine bay in favor of a Lexus V8. It seems really odd to pop the hood and find a Japanese mill in this German car, but the photos make it look like a fairly well performed swap. So, bravo to the crazy thinking. According to the seller speaking to Autoblog by email, “as far as we can establish, this was done a few years ago, with all Lexus components.”

Given the quality of the pickup conversion and engine swap, the interior could use a refresh. Though still useable, the seats are pretty beat up. We’d like to see the existing ones recovered, possibly in a modern but appropriate Lexus leather to subtly carry on the theme indoors.

After all of the work, this Mercedes is now a hybrid of German styling and Japanese power wrapped up in a pickup. However, the pricing for all of this weirdness is incredibly reasonable. The seller is asking a pretty reasonable-sounding 75,000 South African rand (about $6,810 at current exchange rates). We just wish it were located in the US.

Online Find of the Day: Lexus-engined Mercedes pickup is a vintage hybrid originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 16 Sep 2014 09:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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15
Sep

Mercedes gives B-Class a facelift in time for Paris

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2015 Mercedes-Benz B-Class

Front-drive hatchbacks are the name of the game these days in the German automotive industry. In recent years BMW has gotten into the game with the 2 Series Active Tourer, while Audi has stepped up its game with the A1 and Mercedes has been keen to play, too. The Silver Arrow has rolled out the new A-Class and its sedan sister, the CLA, as well as the GLA crossover, and you can bet there’ll be more to come. But Benz doesn’t want you to forget about the B-Class, so it’s introducing an updated version.

Mercedes first introduced the B-Class back in 2005, replacing it with the second-generation model in 2011. But with its newer stablemates garnering the lion’s share of attention at the bottom of the Benz range, and increased competition from rival automakers, the B-Class has undergone some minor updates. Up front you’ll find a reshaped bumper, grille and headlights, along with new taillights and bumper around back. There’s also a revised interior designed to convey a more upscale environment, with color-changing ambient lighting and an eight-inch touchscreen display atop the dashboard. Of course, this being a Mercedes update, the new B-Class benefits from added safety systems as well.

Buyers in markets where the B-Class is sold will be able to choose between three new trim levels and a staggering array of four-cylinder engine options, with gasoline engines ranging in output from 122 to 211 horsepower, and diesels from 90 to 177 hp – some available with 4Matic all-wheel drive. There’s also a natural gas version, and the B-Class Electric Drive – the only version offered Stateside – continues with the same output. Look for the new B-Class to make its live debut at the Paris Motor Show next month.

Continue reading Mercedes gives B-Class a facelift in time for Paris

Mercedes gives B-Class a facelift in time for Paris originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 15 Sep 2014 18:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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13
Sep

Weekly Recap: What led to the end of the Montezemolo Era at Ferrari?

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Italy Ferrari Montezemolo Out

Montezemolo “resigned,” but his tenure at the helm will rank him among Ferrari’s greatest leaders. It’s Enzo, then Montezemolo.

Soon-to-be-former Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo seemed to have the best job security in the auto industry. He presided over a brand that ranks with Google, Disney and Coca-Cola among the world’s most powerful, and he’s largely responsible for transforming Ferrari from an Old World, family-run business into a modern, global automaker.

But as of October 13, Montezemolo will be unemployed, after a stunning turn of events played out this week that toppled a man Italians hold in such high esteem. He was once rumored to be a candidate for prime minister.

How did that happen, and so quickly?

The answer to both rests with Sergio Marchionne. The CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles – which owns Ferrari – clearly had a different view for the future of the Prancing Horse, which for 23 years has been steered exclusively by Montezemolo.

Continue reading Weekly Recap: What led to the end of the Montezemolo Era at Ferrari?

Weekly Recap: What led to the end of the Montezemolo Era at Ferrari? originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 13 Sep 2014 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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12
Sep

Mercedes-AMG GT attacks Circuit of the Americas

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Mercedes-Benz is having a banner year with its Formula One team. Through 2014, the constructor has 454 championship points; ahead of its nearest competitor (Red Bull-Renault) by a margin of 182 tally marks. We’re sure they can almost taste the champagne.

It’s fitting then, and a little big cocky in a good way, that Mercedes has released a video of its newest sports car at an F1 venue. In this case, the car is the lovely Mercedes-AMG GT S, and the racetrack is Austin’s Circuit of the Americas.

Having seen the official photo set and scratched the surface of the technical specifications earlier this week, we’re excited to finally hear the thing run. As you might guess, the deployment of 503 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque from the twin-turbo V8 is a motivating experience. Crank up your volume, and hit that play button. (Oh, and Mercedes shot the thing in 4K, too, so those of you with expensive televisions/monitors should take heed to the settings.)

Continue reading Mercedes-AMG GT attacks Circuit of the Americas

Mercedes-AMG GT attacks Circuit of the Americas originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 12 Sep 2014 16:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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12
Sep

Mercedes F1 races the runway in Edinburgh [w/video]

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Anthony Davidson in Mercedes F1 W03 at Edinburgh Airport

Turning airport runways into racetracks is nothing new. Sebring, Silverstone and the Top Gear test track were all made out of former military air bases. Mirabel airport north of Montreal – one of the largest airports ever built – has had part of its disused runways turned into a race course. And the Indy races in Cleveland and Edmonton were both held at local airports. It’s not every day that your average driver, however, gets to drive down an airport runway – much less an active one. But that’s what Race the Runway is all about.

Benefiting the Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice in Glasgow, the event is held on an auxiliary runway at Edinburgh Airport in Scotland and allows charitable gearheads the opportunity to drag-race their supercars down the strip while passenger jets take off and touch down on adjacent runways. This year’s event brought out a wide array of performance machinery, ranging from Ferraris and Lamborghinis to a Nissan GT-R and Tesla Model S. Since Mercedes sponsors the event, it brought out a whole mess of its own AMG performance models, but the most exciting was undoubtedly the Mercedes F1 W03 grand prix racer.

Driven by former F1 driver and current WEC points leader Anthony Davidson, the car (which Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg drove in 2012) accelerated from a standstill to 62 miles per hour in 2.9 seconds, reached 124 mph in 5.7, 186 in 14.9 and after two ticks over 20 seconds, had reached a top speed of 192.6 mph. If you’re having a hard time wrapping your mind around that kind of speed, just watch the footage to see how quickly Davidson manages to outpace the McLaren 650S alongside which the organizers, somewhat ironically, lined him up for the final heat.

Continue reading Mercedes F1 races the runway in Edinburgh [w/video]

Mercedes F1 races the runway in Edinburgh [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 11 Sep 2014 18:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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12
Sep

Mercedes-AMG GT vs. Porsche 911 [w/poll]

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Mercedes-AMG GT

Mercedes-Benz designed the AMG GT to compete head-on with the Porsche 911. It’s a clear, singular purpose, and Benz brings a lot of money, technology and race-bred expertise to the fight.

The AMG GT is Merc’s followup to the awesome SLS AMG, the retro-modern, gullwing-doored coupe that took us by storm half a decade ago. But this new GT coupe is a more focused sports car than the SLS, rather than an all out supercar capable of extreme performance. It’s got a brand-new V8 engine, and state-of-the-art technology that help it to not only be a proper Mercedes, but to be a serious performer.

Mercedes will sell its new baby in two models. The GT S arrives first, in spring 2015, followed by the standard GT in mid-2016. Of course, there’s room to grow from there. And while Porsche may have already expanded its 911 range to include a vast variety of models, here’s how Stuttgart’s icon stacks up against Affalterbach’s bad boy.

Continue reading Mercedes-AMG GT vs. Porsche 911 [w/poll]

Mercedes-AMG GT vs. Porsche 911 [w/poll] originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 11 Sep 2014 20:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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9
Sep

2016 Mercedes-AMG GT is one heck of a second-coming

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Mercedes-AMG GT

Mercedes is launching its new coupe in two trims, both packing the brand’s new 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V8.

After months of teasing and spying, the Mercedes-AMG GT is here, serving as a flagship sports car in the wake of the mighty SLS AMG. The first thing you notice about the new model is its name – this isn’t just a Mercedes-Benz. Oh no, Affalterbach’s input is so significant that the company saw fit to give it a proper Mercedes-AMG designation.

Mercedes is launching its new coupe in two trims, both packing the brand’s new 4.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 with dry-sump lubrication, dubbed the M178. The standard GT boasts a healthy 456 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. Preliminary figures from the company claim that it can sprint to 60 miles per hour in 3.9 seconds and carry on to an electronically limited top speed of 189 mph. If that’s not enough speed, the GT S makes 503 hp and 479 pound-feet to reach 60 in an estimated 3.7 seconds all the way to a limit of 193 mph.

Regardless of trim, that new V8 is mounted behind the front axle, and power gets routed to the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission with a locking differential. All the weight out back gives the coupe a 47:53 weight distribution from front to rear. The trick drivetrain gets wrapped up in an aluminum spaceframe chassis with a double-wishbone suspension at all four corners that boasts aluminum-forged components. The GT S also gets adjustable damping as standard.

Continue reading 2016 Mercedes-AMG GT is one heck of a second-coming

2016 Mercedes-AMG GT is one heck of a second-coming originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 09 Sep 2014 14:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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8
Sep

Race Recap: 2014 Italian Grand Prix goes heavy on rescue and recovery

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Graphic for the 2014 Italian Grand Prix.

In the two weeks it’s taken Formula One to move from Belgium to Italy, fleet-footed rumor has outrun the driver transfer market – Fernando Alonso can’t issue enough denials of a departure from Ferrari, McLaren isn’t sure what it wants to do with its drivers, Lotus has found out why it stinks this year and that the problem can’t be fixed this year, and Nico Rosberg is said to have donated a team-ordered six-figure fine to charity to atone for his Belgian waffling. Oh, and Lewis Hamilton regained his pole-grabbing form.

That’s how the Mercedes AMG Petronas man found himself at the head of the grid for the Italian Grand Prix, ahead of his teammate Rosberg by a quarter of a second. And because the high-po Monza circuit loves a high-po Mercedes engine, Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa lined up in third and fourth for Williams, followed by Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button in their McLarens. Alonso flattered the Ferrari again, lining up seventh, followed by the Infiniti Red Bull Racing duo of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo, but Sergio Perez in the Sahara Force India would make it seven out of ten for the Mercedes HPP engine program.

When the lights went out to start the race, Hamilton – and a few other top drivers – discovered that the work of recovery wasn’t finished.

Continue reading Race Recap: 2014 Italian Grand Prix goes heavy on rescue and recovery

Race Recap: 2014 Italian Grand Prix goes heavy on rescue and recovery originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 08 Sep 2014 11:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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7
Sep

Meet Germany’s ultra-aerodynamic car from 1939 [w/video]

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Schlörwagen

By most historical accounts, the period between the first and second world wars was not a great time. Economic collapse, an entire continent in shambles, prohibition and the rise of the Nazis are the prime lowlights of the 1920s and 1930s. But, there was one small ray of excitement in this otherwise depressing time – the automobile industry was in a renaissance.

Manufacturers both large and small were experimenting with designs and technologies that remain influential to this day. But for every Fiat Topolino, Bugatti Type 57 and Duesenberg SJ, there was an innovative or interesting offering that’s been lost to the pages of history. One such car is the German Schl

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