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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.



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.



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.



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.



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


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.”

View Poll

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.



Mercedes to keep C63 AMG Coupe around through early 2015

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2012 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe

Want to get your hands on an Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe? With the new C63 sedan already released, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the old model won’t be around for much longer. But according to Car and Driver, the existing coupe will stick around for a little longer than we might have thought.

Apparently because the new model has only thus far been released in sedan and Euro-only wagon forms, the existing coupe will stay on the market – including the North American one – through the spring of 2015. After that, it’s anyone’s guess whether a new coupe will be introduced, but we’re hoping it will.

The strategy looks similar to what Cadillac did with its V8 muscle coupe, keeping the CTS-V Coupe around alongside the new CTS sedan – which has still yet to be released in CTS-V form, even if the new Vsport seemingly comes close.

Mercedes to keep C63 AMG Coupe around through early 2015 originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 13 Oct 2014 10:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.



2015 Mercedes C-Class recalled over steering issue

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2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

This probably isn’t the start Mercedes-Benz execs in Stuttgart were hoping for with the launch of the critically praised 2015 C-Class. The company is recalling 10,500 examples of the US-market sedan because the steering wheels squeak and won’t turn, The Detroit News reports.

Mercedes is blaming the problem on a production issue affecting the steering coupling interlock, according to the report. Speaking to Autoblog, Mercedes spokesman Donna Boland confirmed the issue was first reported on a pair of European models. In those cases, the interlock was not “in the correct locked position.”

“We have no reason to believe that models produced here in the US would be affected but, in an abundance of caution, we want to be sure,” Boland told Autoblog.

Mercedes has notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and is in the process of notifying customers, who will need to report in for a free check of the steering coupling interlock

2015 Mercedes C-Class recalled over steering issue originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 12 Oct 2014 10:55:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.



AMG GT won’t be one-generation and done like SLS, says Mercedes

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Mercedes-AMG GT

The 2016 Mercedes-AMG GT is one of the company’s biggest performance car product launches in a long time, as a less expensive but still sleek coupe to replace the fabulous SLS AMG. The 503-horsepower GT S doesn’t hit the road in the US until the spring of 2015 and the 456-hp GT follows a year later. Despite still being months away from hitting showrooms, Merc is already talking about the future of its new baby.

AMG boss Tobias Moers recently spoke to Motoring in Australia and took a long look into his crystal ball about the future of the GT. He said that the coupe was planned for a seven- to eight-year production run and would be replaced by a new generation after that.

Moers also confirmed that the GT and GT S wouldn’t remain the only models in the lineup for long. “There is more to come in the portfolio of the GT,” he said to Motoring. “You have to take care of the lifecycle, you have different variants that you add to the lifecycle at certain points.” He didn’t go into precise detail, but Moers recently confirmed that an even higher performance Black Series version would join the range eventually. A convertible has been rumored, as well.

Moers also hinted that the reason for Mercedes’ commitment to the future of the GT, unlike just building the SLS for a single generation, was because of the competitiveness of the segment. The AMG brand wants to establish itself by making the coupe stand toe-to-toe against the Porsche 911 or Audi R8 and prove it can come out on top.

AMG GT won’t be one-generation and done like SLS, says Mercedes originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 09 Oct 2014 15:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.



Mercedes-Benz rewarded by EPA for implementing start-stop

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The last Mercedes-Benz AMG model I drove was the CLS63 AMG. It had a 5.5-liter, twin-turbocharged V8, 550 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. Oh, and it also had a standard stop-start system and an Eco mode, two features that are kind of silly on a sedan that will hit 60 miles per hour in under four seconds.

Yet, the CLS63 AMG is far from the only AMG model (and in turn, the Mercedes-Benz model) to feature a stop-start system, and it’s that dogged obsession with the fuel-saving technology that’s earned Mercedes a credit on the EPA’s fuel-economy standards. These so-called “off cycle” credits are awarded when manufacturers might come up with an efficiency improvement that doesn’t necessarily show up in the EPA’s testing cycle.

The credits are a big deal for Mercedes-Benz which, according to Automotive News, shelled out $349 million for missing government fuel economy standards last year. While the German manufacturer was awarded credits for its use of stop-start, the total credits were lower than requested, AN reports. That’s because the EPA was unsure of how often the system would be used in the real world, a long-standing problem.

Mercedes could still get its way, though, as the EPA has requested additional data on the systems. “There is a real savings here, and we have been able to definitively prove it,” Daimler AG’s manager of regulatory affairs, William Craven, told AN.

Mercedes-Benz rewarded by EPA for implementing start-stop originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 09 Oct 2014 13:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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