Archive for the ‘Mercedes’ Category

Mercedes to Unveil New CLS-Class

Posted in: General, Mercedes

In 2003, Mercedes did one of the things it does best: It introduced a vehicle that was so unique that it actually created a completely new category. The CLS-Class, which combined the elegance of a coupe with the functionality of a sedan, became the only four-door coupe in its class and once again raised the bar on style.

On September 30, Mercedes-Benz will unveil the 2012 CLS-Class at the Paris Motor Show. Once again, we’re promised a vehicle that is much like the perfect date: Sporty but refined, and is just as suitable for a night out on the town as it it is for a business dinner.

Expect to be impressed with the new lines of this car. It’s less athletic looking than its predecessors, going instead for a long, sloping silhouette that is played out in countless smaller details in the car’s design.

Mercedes also had fun with the LED headlamps, displaying innovative use of LEDs by creating three arrow-shaped layers of LED lights from top to bottom for the indicator, side light and main beam. A total of 71 LEDs provide a unique night-time design that won’t go unnoticed on the road.

The cockpit benefits from the sloping design, and optional touches like black piano lacquer or carbon fiber trim elements ensure that this car is as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside.

Mercedes Takes “Topless” to the Extreme

Posted in: General, Mercedes

mb-stirling-moss.jpg

As previously mentioned on this blog, Mercedes is winding down production of its beautiful, powerful SLR roadsters. The final models are rolling out the door in June of this year, and now we finally have a look at the finished product.

The final SLR – which stands for Sport, Light, Racing – is the SLR Stirling Moss, named after the legendary British racecar driver. Once called “the greatest driver to win the World Championship,” he earned victories both as a Formula 1 racer and at Le Mans. At 79, he’s still traveling the globe and continues to be in demand at automotive events worldwide.

As a nod to this driving legend, Mercedes has made its final SLR an exceptional find. It isn’t just the racecar-like styling that makes it stand out – but, as Mercedes-Benz Cars’ sales and marketing head, Dr. Klaus Maier, points out, “No other car is this open and this fast at the same time.”

That’s right – the $1 million-ish price tag doesn’t include a windshield, roof or windows. The supercharged V8 can leap from a dead stop to 62 mph in just 3.5 seconds. And of course it doesn’t stop there – the SLR Stirling Moss has a top speed of 220.

With a ride like that, it’s pretty clear you’re probably going to want a helmet or goggles to go with it. (Either way, your hairdo is screwed the minute you leave the driveway.) Honestly, this is one of those cars that is gorgeous to look at but probably looks better in someone else’s garage – kind of like a lot of husbands.

Still, the workmanship makes it something that’s impossible not to stare at. So gaze if you will, lust if you must – and then return to your own car of choice, thanking God for heated seats and windshields.

slr-side.jpg

Mercedes SLR Goes on Auction Thursday

slr.jpgIt’s no secret that I carry a torch for the Mercedes McLaren SLR Roadster – one look at the photo at the top of this blog is really all it takes to uncover that piece of information.  While it makes absolutely no sense as a daily driver, it is a stunning piece of workmanship that offers the performance of a race car in the body of a gorgeous sports car.

If you’re torn between buying this car and using your money to do good for others, you’re in luck: As part of its holiday offerings, Saks Fifth Avenue is putting a special edition of the Mercedes SLR up for auction on Thursday. Profits from the auction will benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital’s Thanks and Giving Campaign.

This particular model is absolutely one of a kind. The carbon fiber body is finished out in Sienna Pearl metallic paint, and it sports a gorgeous light brown leather interior. Under the hood, you’ll find exactly what you expect of the SLR Roadster – a hand-built supercharged V8 with 617 horsepower for a top speed of 206 mph.

This is one of the last SLR Roadsters that Mercedes will produce, so if you’re in the market for one, you might as well make sure the money is going to a good cause. Starting bid is $529,500 and every penny raised beyond that amount goes directly to St. Jude. Ready to sign up? Go to www.mbusa.com/SLRauction to place your bid. And don’t forget your credit card!

Mercedes, Gimme an “A,” A-Class That Is

mercedes-a-class-2008.jpgA few months ago while in Vancouver, I climbed inside a small, sporty crossover that had all the comfort and markings of a Mercedes, but lacked the familiar interior I’m accustomed to.

Feeling a lot like an upgraded Honda CRV, the compact MPV (or multi-purpose vehicle) boasted a deceptively roomy interior and, the driver told me, was perfect for taking her large Portugese Water Dog on adventures. It was my first introduction to Mercedes’ B-Class, and upon returning home I set out to learn more about it.

The B-Class Tourer is best described as a cross between the R-Class, which is sold in the U.S., and the subcompact A-Class, which is not. Yet.

After finding success in Germany, the A-Class, which was first rolled out in 1997, was slated for American production. Plans to bring the small family car to the U.S. were scrapped because of weak dollar, but the A-Class and its spinoff, the B-Class, which was introduced in 2005, both enjoyed healthy sales in Europe and Canada.

Now it seems that we might be able to get in on the subcompact luxury. Automotive News is reporting that Mercedes-Benz chairman Dieter Zetsche has announced plans to bring the A-Class and B-Class to American soil. The reason? High fuel costs are making even luxury drivers re-think the merits of their gas-guzzling daily drivers. Suddenly, those subcompacts are looking rather attractive – and let’s face it, when you slap a Mercedes emblem on the front of it, it’s just bound to look good!

With sales taking a nosedive, Mercedes apparently thought it seemed like a good time to re-think their previous plan – and they’ve also announced plans for an electric version.

Current plans call for the new models to arrive in the U.S. in 2011, and we’ll get both a coupe and a small crossover. All of a sudden, downsizing looks a whole lot better…

Inside Mercedes’ Final McLaren

Posted in: General, Mercedes

sp-in-mclaren-looking-over-shoulder-low-res-4825.jpgThere’s no doubt that the Mercedes SLR McLaren (pictured at top right of this page) is a stunning piece of machinery. With the fastest automatic transmission in the world and 5.4 litre supercharged V8, it has enjoyed a storied ride since production began in 2003.

Last year, Mercedes announced it would halt production of the SLR (which stands for Sport, Light, Racing) and now we’ve gotten a glimpse of the final Mercedes McLaren, which is slated to roll off the line early in ’09.

This weekend, the German publication Auto Motor und Sport offered a full report of the final venture between Mercedes and McLaren. Only 75 units will be produced for the final SLR run, and the photos show us that this new incarnation is a dramatic departure from the stylish gull-winged McLaren we’ve come to know and love.

03_mercedes_benz_slr_mclaren_speedster_1s.jpgInstead, the final SLR will borrow inspiration from Rudolf Uhlenhaut’s 1955 300 SLR, which had an open-air construction … that means no roof or even a windshield. (Yes, ladies, this car is going to be hell on the hairdo.) Instead of a windshield, a small wind deflector will help divert some of that airflow, which suddenly makes a helmet seem like a good idea. Especially given this car’s ability to go from zero to 186 mph in 26 seconds.

Adding to its Spartan appeal, this last SLR also is leaving out touches like air conditioning and power windows, and the carbon plastic body will further reduce the overall weight of the vehicle. Removing the extras have given the car an eight mile an hour advantage over the more luxurious 722 Edition; the final SLR will be able to hit a top speed of 217.5 mph, compared to the paltry 209 mph of the 722.

If you can read German and want to get more details, you can read the entire Auto Motor und Sport story here. Meanwhile, I think I’ll go back to looking for a car with air conditioning. And visors. With vanity mirrors. Call me picky, but for $450,000, I really expect a windshield!

Study: New Cars Are Losing Their Luster

Is that new car smell losing its thrill? Could be, according to a new survey released by J.D Power and Associates.

The 2008 APEAL (Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout) Study shows that drivers are less thrilled with their new car purchases than they were a year ago. But it isn’t necessarily the cars themselves that are to blame. Instead, drivers point to prices at the pump, which have gone up 27 percent since last year’s survey.

“The increased cost of filling their vehicles … leads to a greater level of dissatisfaction with fuel economy than in the past,” notes David Sargent, vice president of automotive research at J.D. Power and Associates. “Manufacturers that deliver more fuel-efficient vehicles…stand a better chance of delighting their customers.”

And there definitely were some delights to be found. Although Honda fared the best, capturing the highest level of satisfaction in three categories, luxury marque Porsche held its own with top ratings in two categories. It took home the APEAL award for its Cayman in the “Compact Premium Sporty Car” category and for the Cayenne in the “Compact Multi-Activity Vehicle (MAV)” division.

Jaguar also fared well, earning a perfect score in “Overall Performance and Design.”

Luxury models that got the thumbs-up from satisfied drivers were the Lexus IS 250/IS 350/IS-F (Entry Premium Car); the BMW 5 Series (Midsize Premium Car) and the Mercedes-Benz S-Class (Large Premium Car).

Joining the Porsche Cayenne in the Premium MAV category was Land Rover‘s Range Rover, which topped the list for Large Premium MAVs.

The survey goes hand-in-hand with J.D. Powers and Associates’ Initial Quality Study, which was released about three weeks ago and focuses on problems experienced by new owners during the first 90 days of ownership. To see how your favorite auto manufacturer fared, click here.

 

 

 

 

Zemanta Pixie

Morrissette, Mercedes Get Green

Most of us best recall Alanis Morrissette as the gal who made ex-boyfriends around the world squirm uncomfortably whenever her songs came on the air. But it’s been 13 years since she gave us “You Oughta Know,” and today Alanis is singing a different tune.

No longer the angry young woman, today she is an environmentally minded artist and has gone from being green with envy to simply being green. And for her latest video, she wants to take audiences along for the ride.

To that end, she has partnered with Mercedes-Benz, showcasing their E320 BlueTEC in her latest video, “Underneath.” The first single from her new album, Flavors of Entanglement, the video revolves around Morrissette and her concern for the environment. It shows her wearing a “Save the Earth” T-shirt at a Los Angeles bus stop and then distributing fliers about the environment – presumably on recycled paper.

Mercedes gets in the act when the E320 BlueTEC passes, and she salutes the driver for their environmentally aware choice. So what made the BlueTEC her eco-friendly car of choice?

First off, it uses a state-of-the-art engine and exhaust technology, which produces the cleanest diesels available. That allows the V6 to provide the power of a V8 with the fuel consumption of a four-cylinder compact. Neat trick, huh?

Beyond the immediate benefit of fuel efficiency, the long-term benefit includes significantly lower carbon dioxide emissions. The Benz E320 BlueTEC was impressive enough to be named the 2007 World Green Car by automotive journalists – and clearly that’s good enough for Alanis.

In case the sedan isn’t your style, this fall Mercedes will roll out a trio of SUVs – the ML320 BlueTEC, the larger GL320 BlueTEC and the less-easy-to-define-as-a-SUV R320 BlueTEC. So if you want to help Alanis save the planet, check out these cars. If not, don’t worry – I won’t say anything. We’ve all seen how she can be when she’s mad…

Zemanta Pixie