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2
Sep

Mercedes-AMG GT to debut on September 9

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Mercedes-AMG GT

Mercedes-Benz kept the SLR McLaren around for a solid eight years. The SLS AMG hasn’t even been around for five, but already Benz is preparing to roll out its next sports car. We’ve been anticipating the arrival of the new Mercedes-AMG GT for some time now, but now we’ve got the exact date of its debut.

This latest video gives us plenty of figures to chew on, from the amount of camouflage sheets used to wrap the prototypes to the temperatures at which they were tested. But the salient detail is that the coupe – which is expected to cost less than its SLS forbearer – will officially be unveiled on September 9.

Expect a public debut to follow at the Paris Motor Show the following month, after which its new 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 will be available in two states of tune: 462 horsepower or 510, nestling comfortably in between the V8 and V10 versions of the Audi R8 and just a few steps behind the Porsche 911 GT3 and Turbo.

Continue reading Mercedes-AMG GT to debut on September 9

Mercedes-AMG GT to debut on September 9 originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 01 Sep 2014 16:56:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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28
Aug

2014 Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG goes Unplugged in Detroit

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Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG

As a reformed hooligan, there is still nothing more paralyzing to me than flashing red and blue lights matched with the sound of a siren, on a car headed right toward me. But it happens. And it happened while I stood in a cold Detroit parking lot taking the photos of the matte black 2014 Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG you see here. On its own, the Merc (“Darth Benz” as my friend Eric aptly named it) looks all sorts of suspicious, with its murdered-out look only broken by chrome accents and the red brake calipers lurking behind those wheels. But I wasn’t doing anything wrong. For once.

Two cruisers with four uniformed patrolmen pulled up, inspected the car, questioned me, and after realizing that everything was copacetic, two of ‘em left. But the other pair hung out a bit longer, asking to see the engine, look inside, and finally, ask me for a ride down Fort Street. I happily obliged, and joked about it being a shame that I couldn’t really open up the AMG G-Wagen for them, having to keep to the posted speed limit, after all. But the cop riding shotgun laughed, and instructed me to “hit it,” when pulling away from a stoplight. So I did. And he laughed. Maniacally.

That’s why the G63 AMG goes down as one of the best car’s I’ve driven this year. It’s not so much a dynamic masterpiece as it is a vehicle that just oozes cool across many levels, and is hysterically, ridiculously fun to drive. Everyone likes it, and it’s easy to see why. First up, the twin-turbocharged, 5.5-liter V8 underhood, with 536 horsepower and 561 pound-feet of torque, with a brutal aural tone to match. Next, there’s the absolutely unstoppable off-road ability (three locking differentials!). And beyond all of that, there’s the style, the shape, the luxury, and the exclusivity that’s all baked into the G63 package.

Because of this, I demanded we get Darth Benz on film. So as the final bits of our endlessly long cold season came to a close, I hit the streets of Detroit with our video crew in tow for another installment of Autoblog Unplugged. Again, the G-Wagen isn’t really built for tackling curves – instead, it’s all about the presence, and the noise. It’s one of the coolest vehicles I’ve ever driven. Check it out in the video above.

Continue reading 2014 Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG goes Unplugged in Detroit

2014 Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG goes Unplugged in Detroit originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 28 Aug 2014 17:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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27
Aug

New entry-level Mercedes SL400 drops price of range by over $20k

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2015 Mercedes SL400

As one of the premier luxury droptops from Mercedes-Benz, the SL-Class has never been an inexpensive proposition. But the German brand is making it a little bit more accessible for the 2015 model year with its new SL400. The new entry-level model has quietly shown up on Mercedes’ consumer site, and pricing starts at $84,000, plus the usual $925 destination charge. While that’s still a lot of money, it’s a massive discount, ringing up at a whopping $22,900 less than the $107,825 SL550.

Think of that savings as over $11,000 per cylinder, as the SL400 foregoes V8 power in favor of a 3.0-liter, twin-turbo V6 with 329 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque and seven-speed automatic rated at 20 miles per gallon city and 27 mpg highway. Those numbers are roughly 100 hp and 160 lb-ft less than the SL550. Still, the new model can get to 60 miles per hour in a quick 5.1 seconds, compared to 4.5 for the its big brother.

Thankfully, buyers don’t have to give up the optional luxuries that makes the SL special to get the cheaper model. The Air Scarf comes as part of the $4,900 Premium Package, Distronic adaptive cruise control is available as part of the $2,950 Driver Assistance Package and Benz’s clever dimming Magic Sky Control roof is a separate option for $2,500. If the idea of a Mercedes-branded folding hardtop convertible that gives up a little power for a lot less money sounds good to you, then you’re thinking like we are.

New entry-level Mercedes SL400 drops price of range by over $20k originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 27 Aug 2014 16:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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26
Aug

Mercedes M-Class to become GLE-Class next year

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Mercedes-Benz M-Class

Automotive naming schemes can get a little bit weird as they age. Just look at the impending BMW lineup with a rear-wheel drive 2 Series and front-wheel drive 2 Series Active Tourer on sale together – of course, to say nothing of the fact that the 2 Series is actually the successor to the 1 Series coupe/convertible in the States. Crazy. However, Mercedes-Benz might be taking steps in the opposite direction to actually make its SUV and crossover lineup easier for customers to understand.

The first potential shift is dropping the M-Class name from the range because it just no longer fits within a naming structure that has SUVs and CUVs all starting with G. According to Car and Driver speaking with unnamed Mercedes insiders, when the crossover gets refreshed with updated styling in 2015, it’s also getting a new name: GLE-Class. Then, when the Concept Coupe SUV goes into production, it would be called the GLE Coupe.

The rumored changes to the M-Class might be only the beginning, though. Once the GLE falls in place, the future version of the GLK-Class would possibly become the GLC-Class. Just those two revisions would give the Mercedes’ mainstream SUV and CUV range a similar hierarchy as its sedans with the GLA-Class, GLC-Class, GLE-Class and GL-Class all having roughly corresponding models, plus the G-Class out on its own as its incomparable self. If it all actually happens, the re-naming should make the lineup easier to understand. Autoblog reached out to Mercedes spokesperson Christian Bokich to confirm all of this, but all he would say is, “I’m afraid that it’s too early to tell at this point.”

Mercedes M-Class to become GLE-Class next year originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 26 Aug 2014 15:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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25
Aug

Race Recap: Belgian Grand Prix sings Waltzing Matilda

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Graphic for the 2014 Belgian Formula One Grand Prix.

Changeable. Each commentator will use that word at least 6,072 times over the Belgian Formula One
Grand Prix weekend. It is almost always applied to the weather, because the Spa-Francorchamps Circuit – perhaps all of Belgium – resides in some sort of climatological Narnia, its ADD skies totally unable to settle on a reliable behavior.

A dry Friday turned into a thoroughly wet qualifying on Saturday. When Q3 had done, Nico Rosberg would line up on pole position for the fourth race in a row for Mercedes AMG Petronas, after teammate Lewis Hamilton had another brake problem, this time glazing on one of the discs. Infiniti Red Bull Racing engineered a low-downforce setup and Sebastian Vettel took the best advantage, lining up third and making us wonder if the magic was back. Fernando Alonso drove the first Ferrari to fourth, the Spaniard saying he thought a podium was possible. Daniel Ricciardo put the second Infiniti Red Bull Racing in fifth, Valtteri Bottas behind him in the first Williams, then Kimi R

20
Aug

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Ford Transit can haul on the track

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Mercedes Sprinter versus Ford Transit

Line up any two comparable vehicles, and eople are going to want to race them. Need proof? In its latest track battle, Auto Express wants to know which commercial vehicle can lap a circuit faster – a Ford Transit or Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. Let’s face it, neither of these European vans were ever meant to be near the track unless they are delivering a racecar and a ton of parts for a fun weekend, but it’s massively fun to watch them give it a go anyway.

The one thing that Auto Express really illustrates here is the modern marvel that is stability control. The driver hops curves, and these big vans lean in the corners like your friend walking home from a long night at the bar. However, because of the amazing stability systems, the vans mostly keep all of their wheels planted and never seem close to getting sloppy, despite their behemoth size.

Unfortunately, the two vans aren’t exactly fairly paired. The Ford has a dual rear axle and a few other advantages over the Mercedes, but it’s still hilarious to watch them go. Even better, the host breaks down everything happening behind the wheel like these commercial vehicles were two Porsches. Enjoy watching this very unorthodox battle between Ford and Mercedes.

Continue reading Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Ford Transit can haul on the track

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Ford Transit can haul on the track originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 19 Aug 2014 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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19
Aug

2015 Mercedes C-Class configurator tucks in

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A screenshot of the configurator for the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

We know it takes $39,325 just to get a C300 off the lot, now that Mercedes-Benz has posted the configurator for the 2015 C-Class we can research how much we’ll need to get the one we want. Going for tempered extravagance first, we built a C400 with options like the multispoke wheels, LED-stuffed exterior lighting, the leather-bound Interior Package, the Multimedia and Driver Assistance Packages, and the Hands-Free Access Package as a cherry. We could have motored back home for $59,575.

Then we went the other way, kitting out a C300 with fewer options and more sport. That meant adding the Sport Package for fancy wheels and the sport interior, we stuck with black MB-Tex and aluminum inside, plus heated front seats, then skipped all the premium interior packages but did Keyless Go for $550, Airmatic Suspension, the rear view camera, and splurged on the illuminated star up front and a spoiler in back. The register rang up $47,200.

There are a few curious details, starting with the color palette: eight of the ten exterior hues are from the monochrome range; the only two real colors are Dakota Brown Metallic (pictured) and Lunar Blue Metallic. In Germany, they also get a bright blue and a Hyacinth Red. The C400 gets four choices of interior material and three of interior trim, the C300 gets 15 choices of material and seven of trim. Then there are

18
Aug

What you missed on 8.18.14

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Daily U-Turn

2014 Mercedes S63 AMG 4MaticWe take the 2014 Mercedes S63 AMG 4Matic for a Quick Spin

We start off talking about the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG 4Matic by pointing out that it may be a bit of a bargain, coming in at a cost that’s substantially less than its 12-cylinder sibling, the S65 AMG, while actually boasting a quicker 0-60 time. Still, at $161,935, this Benz better be a seriously good car. Read on to find out what we think.

Chevy Corvette Stingray convertibleChevrolet launches Valet Mode for 2015 Corvette

We’re big fans of the latest Corvette Stingray, and Chevy seems intent to keep improving its overall package each and every year it’s on the market, serving as a massive performance bargain in the process. For the 2015 model year, the Bowtie crew is adding a so-called Valet Mode to its Performance Data Recorder package. Read all the details here.

Aston Martin V12 Vantage S RoadsterWill Aston Martin be able to keep selling the DB9 and Vantage in the US?

Safety regulations may force Aston Martin to pull its popular DB9 and Vantage models out of the US market. Unless NHTSA agrees to offer the small automaker an exemption, for which it has already petitioned, these models won’t meet the latest side-impact safety standards set for all new cars sold in the States. We’ll be sure to keep you informed.

Top Stories

What you missed on 8.18.14 originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 18 Aug 2014 19:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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18
Aug

Daimler employees can set email to auto-delete during vacation

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Germany Daimler

The Internet has shrunk the world in terms of the way people communicate by making it possible to send an email from Oslo and have it show up in Cleveland almost immediately. But that instant contact has wrecked the work/life balance for many. They get home from a long day at the office, yet they can never fully put their feet up and relax because another hour or more of checking and replying to emails awaits. However, German automotive giant Daimler is putting an end to that churn, at least while its employees are on vacation.

About 100,000 Daimler employees in Germany are eligible to opt-in to a new program called Mail on Holiday, according to The Atlantic. When the workers go on vacation, they can switch it on, and the service auto-deletes all of their incoming email. “Our employees should relax on holiday and not read work-related emails,” said Wilfried Porth, board member for human resources, to The Financial Times as cited by The Atlantic.

Mail on Holiday puts a thumb on the scale of work/life balance in favor of a little more free time. The system means that Daimler employees shouldn’t even be tempted to check their email on vacation because there’s nothing there – and it also avoids them coming back from a relaxing holiday only to find a mailbox packed full of hundreds of unread messages. These days, people are absolutely obsessed with their work, often to the detriment of their health, not to mention spending time with their families and friends. On one hand, Mail on Holiday sounds like the sort of vacation breakthrough we’d need to truly unplug and unwind, but on the other hand, it makes our skin crawl just thinking about the lack of communication. What’s your perspective? Have your say in Comments.

Daimler employees can set email to auto-delete during vacation originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 18 Aug 2014 16:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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18
Aug

2014 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG 4Matic

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2014 Mercedes S63 AMG 4Matic

Let us pause as I toss a Kleenex to the owners of Mercedes-Benz’s $166,900 S600 and $222,000 S65 AMG models. The quickest S-Class is not fitted with a twin-turbocharged V12 driving its rear wheels. Instead, that honor goes to this $141,450 S63 AMG, which arrives with a twin-turbocharged V8, a wickedly quick multi-clutch transmission and surefooted all-wheel drive. This particular Mercedes-Benz is a massive vehicle, stretching just over 17 feet long and weighing in at more than 4,800 pounds, but in superhero fashion, it combines the luxury of a penthouse suite with the performance and moves of an exotic sports car.

During a recent trip to Washington DC, I was handed the key to a glistening Verde Brook (think metallic dark brown) S63 AMG. After a quick walk-around, which required prying myself out of its cavernous second row (complete with opulent heated and cooled reclining seats equipped with marshmallow-soft pillows), I dropped behind its steering wheel, fired up the engine and pointed its nose south. My destination was 300 miles away, which should have taken just over four hours, except this was a summer weekend and I was heading down dreaded Interstate 95 with a few million other motorists.

Driving Notes

  • At the heart of the S63 AMG is Mercedes’ twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter M157 V8 mated to a seven-speed MCT “Multi Clutch Technology” planetary automatic transmission, which sends power to the ground through the automaker’s rear-biased 4Matic all-wheel drive system. Although down on displacement compared to the S600 and with less output than the flagship S65 AMG, the S63′s quicker gearbox, lighter chassis and the ability to distribute the power to all corners gives it the edge in acceleration.
  • A suite of AMG upgrades, which adds a breathtaking $45,100 to the price of a standard S550 sedan, includes more than just a robust powertrain. In terms of performance, the Airmatic air suspension is retuned, the brakes are upgraded to provide more stopping power and shed heat more effectively and the exhaust is opened to improve breathing. The operator is able to adjust the chassis tuning with a two-mode (Comfort and Sport) button and control the powertrain response with a three-mode button (Comfort, Sport and Manual) on the center console.
  • The view from behind the wheel offers a few subtle hints of this AMG’s potential. The digital primary instrument cluster is emblazoned with “AMG” script, the center armrest features an embossed AMG logo and the steering wheel ditches wood in favor of dimpled leather and paddle shifters. Although the Active Multicontour AMG seats have more aggressive bolstering, they lose nothing in the category of comfort – call a chiropractor if you don’t consider them absolutely blissful.
  • Unlike its boastful C-Class and E-Class AMG siblings, which announce their muscle with a throaty roar, the S63 is eerily quiet from inside the passenger cabin. Those with attentive ears will note a distant rumble when the throttle is prodded, like thunder from a storm 10 miles away. Even when the accelerator is mashed into the thick carpet and occupants are pressed firmly into their seats, the exhaust note from the AMG-signature quad pipes will not drown out normal conversation.
  • The S63 AMG covers ground effortlessly, with the digital needle of the tachometer barely moving above its idle position at low I-95 speeds. Traffic congestion is dismissed by the excellent Distronic Plus adaptive cruise control with Steering Assist, a system that does everything short of eliminating the human operator. Even so, the S63 remains engaging to drive when the driver wishes it to be so – the steering provides more feedback than the S550, which could be attributed to the standard 20-inch wheels and performance rubber.
  • Driving the S63 AMG gives the driver a well-deserved superiority complex. The odds of meeting another machine of similar physical size, with equal or greater capability, are extremely low – it’s the dominant lion in a giant nature preserve. In a week’s time, I never crossed paths with another sedan that was quicker.
  • Don’t expect the AMG MCT-based powertrain to be as buttery smooth as the traditional torque converter-based powertrain beneath the S550, as the multi-clutch gearbox is juggling 664 pound-feet of torque. The tradeoff allows jaw-dropping acceleration with insanely quick shifts, almost bordering on brutal. Mercedes says it hits 60 mph in 3.9 seconds, but it actually feels quicker.
  • The EPA has certified the S63 AMG with a fuel economy rating of 15 miles per gallon city and 23 mpg highway. Resetting the trip odometer before my six-hour trip returned 21.6 mpg overall at the end of the day. While it didn’t match the Monroney, breaking into the low 20′s with a 577-horsepower vehicle is reason to applaud. Of course, driving around town with a heavy foot is about half as efficient, but a 21.1-gallon fuel tank reduces the frequency of fill-ups.
  • If granted three wishes with an eye towards improving the S63 AMG, I’d first make the trunk a bit larger. With just 16.3 cubic feet of capacity, it barely holds four standard suitcases (which doesn’t leave any room for carry-ons). Second, I’d rewrite the programming code for the MCT gearbox, as low-speed drivability in Comfort mode needs polishing – my sensitive derriere could feel the clutches doing their magic in a slightly herky-jerky fashion, especially from 5 mph to 0 mph and back. Lastly, I’d open up the exhaust just a little bit more (how about a sport exhaust button?), as a vocal reminder of the range-topping capability hidden within its gorgeous bodywork – this fabulous machine deserves to roar.

2014 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG 4Matic originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 18 Aug 2014 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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