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Mercedes working on new inline-six engines

Mon, 11 Nov 2013 18:29:00 EST

Mercedes-Benz will make a return to the inline-six-cylinder engine game, according to a report from the UK's AutoCar. It's not clear what's prompting the phasing out of the current array of V6s.
We'll see the first inline-six from Mercedes in next-generation E-Class, set to debut in 2016. Following that, it'll arrive as part of a mid-cycle refresh for the C-Class in 2017. What's particularly special about the new inline-six is its modular nature, which will allow Mercedes to eventually spinoff three- and four-cylinder options, with the three-pot arriving alongside the new inline-six.
In other news, AutoCar uncovered some details on the next C-Class AMG, which will ditch its excellent 6.2-liter, AMG V8 in favor of a 4.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V8, although we've already told you about that. What we didn't know at the time, though, was that the 4.0-liter would be paired first with a new, seven-speed AMG Speedshift transmission and offer all-wheel drive. AC also reports that a nine-speed Speedshift is in the works.

Man makes record-setting drive across the US in 28 hours, 50 minutes

Fri, 01 Nov 2013 11:01:00 EST

Records, as the say, are made to be broken. Whether that's cramming the most hot dogs down your gullet, running a faster mile, or yes, driving across the United States, odds are that there's someone out there wants to eat more, run faster or drive harder. Speaking of that last example, the record for driving from a set location on the east coast, in particular the Red Ball Garage in Manhattan to the Portofino Hotel in Redondo Beach, CA, has been one that has fascinated gearheads since a guy named Cannonball Baker made the trek from New York to LA in 53 hours, 30 minutes, in 1933.
The competition saw its glory days when Car and Driver's Brock Yates came up with the Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining Sea Memorial Trophy Dash (more affectionately known as the Cannonball Run), although the record was most recently set by Alex Roy and his 32-hour, seven-minute trek behind the wheel of a BMW M5 in 2006. Now, there's a new champion, who made the trip from east to west in a scarcely imaginable 28 hours and 50 minutes, behind the wheel of a 2004 Mercedes-Benz CL55 AMG. That's works out to an average speed of 98 miles per hour over the course of 2,813.7 miles.
His name is Ed Bolian, and Jalopnik has a writeup of the epic voyage that details everything from the history of the Cannonball Run to Bolian's preparation and trouble finding co-drivers, to the trip itself. It is well worth a read.

2017 Aston Marin Lagonda could live on Mercedes M-Class platform

Tue, 29 Oct 2013 17:20:00 EST

A few weeks ago, we brought you news from the launch of the Aston Martin Vanquish Volante that the British brand, which is formally known as Aston Martin Lagonda, was still planning on going ahead with a Lagonda-badged crossover. Now comes word that that vehicle could very well be based on a Mercedes-Benz M-Class.
When the first Lagonda Concept debuted at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show, it sat on a Mercedes-Benz GL-Class platform, some four years before Aston Martin and Mercedes-AMG deal was inked. And with that partnership, which will see Aston Martin gain access to AMG electrics and "bespoke, V8 powertrains," the opportunities for platform sharing are many.
Dr. Ulrich Bez, the boss of Aston Martin, told the UK's AutoCar, "I look at what Porsche is doing with the 911 as its core business and then it is able to do models like the Cayenne based on the Volkswagen Touareg. It is good business." We've said many times that we'll tolerate exotic CUVs and SUVs if it means keeping the beloved core models alive, which has been the case with Porsche. We see no reason Aston Martin wouldn't be able to do the same.

Mercedes has already booked 30k orders for new S-Class

Mon, 21 Oct 2013 19:15:00 EST

When Toyota snags 30,000 Corolla orders over a three-month span, it's entirely possible we're in the midst of a global economic collapse and that the end is nigh. That's because the scale for Toyota is so very large. Mercedes-Benz, on the other hand, operates on a much smaller scale, particularly when we talk about its higher-end models, like the S-Class.
In 2012, Mercedes sold 65,000 of its flagship sedans in Germany and the EU. That's 178 units per day, for 365 days. Based on that, you can imagine the excitement at Stuttgart when it accepted 30,000 orders for the new S-Class in just three months. That's an average of 333 per day on a continent with a notoriously shaky economy. Now, admittedly, this enthusiasm could wane as the refitted S-Class becomes more common and Mercedes achieves market saturation in Europe's many chauffeur and livery services, but Mercedes isn't choosing to look at it that way.
"The new S-Class has already jumped back into the lead in terms of new vehicle registrations in Germany and its neighboring European countries," Mercedes-Benz head of sales and marketing, Ola Kaellenius, said in a statement last week.

Chris Harris and David Coulthard wring out a Mercedes Fintail at the N"urburgring

Thu, 17 Oct 2013 20:02:00 EST

If there's one thing we've learned from the latest video from Drive, it's that the combination of Chris Harris and David Coulthard will produce some very quotable moments. Take this exchange, for example.
DC: "We are by some way the slowest."
CH: "But we're in a class of three cars, apparently."

Race Recap: 2013 Japanese Grand Prix flips several scripts [spoilers]

Mon, 14 Oct 2013 13:00:00 EST

Japan's Suzuka circuit is a great track that all the drivers love, but it doesn't usually provide the most thrilling, head-to-head racing. Where it does excel, however, is with surprises and "What just happened there?!" moments, and this year it was no different.
It started with Mark Webber in his Infiniti Red Bull Racing out-qualifying his teammate Sebastian Vettel for the first time this year. They were followed closely by Lewis Hamilton in the first Mercedes-AMG Petronas, the still-solid Romain Grosjean again outdoing teammate Kimi Räikkönen, Felipe Massa racing for another seat in Formula One and putting his Ferrari in fifth, then Nico Rosberg in the second Mercedes, Nico Hülkenberg in the first Sauber, Fernando Alonso in the second Ferrari, and Räikkönen continuing to do himself no favors by qualifying tenth.
For the second year in a row, the lights going out was the cue to start the first corner action...

European automakers gear up for Brazilian production

Mon, 07 Oct 2013 08:01:00 EST

Brazil is the place to be, apparently. Toyota has been investing in the South American country, as has BMW, which announced a $261 million investment in October 2012, on the heels of an Audi factory announcement in San José Chiapa. The high-end immigration is only set to continue, as Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar-Land Rover have both announced plans to set up manufacturing operations there.
Mercedes is the big news here, as its new facility will see the German manufacturer invest 170-million euros for production of its next-generation C-Class and upcoming GLA-Class. "Brazil is an important future market. With our local production we accept the challenge and take on the competition," noted Andreas Renschler, Management Board member for Production and Procurement at Mercedes-Benz Cars and Mercedes-Benz Vans. Production is expected to begin by 2016.
Jaguar-Land Rover, meanwhile, isn't so concrete in its plans. The news of its investment in South America comes from a job posting for a plant quality manager in Brazil that was picked up by the UK's AutoCar. "Portuguese language skills will be definite advantage" for interested candidates, according to the job listing. The want ad follows on the heels of remarks by Jaguar Land Rover's Dr. Ralph Speth, who said there are "very intensive discussions" with Brazil's government. Unlike Mercedes, there's no mention of which vehicles will be produced in South America, although AutoCar thinks the Freelander, sold in the US as the LR2, is a leading contender.

Mercedes widens luxury sales gap on strong early CLA demand

Wed, 02 Oct 2013 14:31:00 EST

Mercedes-Benz CLA sales have been booming, with the Stuttgart-based manufacturer moving 2,300 of the sleek four-doors in its first week on sale. That is astonishing. Mercedes moved nearly twice as many CLAs (which start at $29,900) in one week than Jaguar, a brand that is on a very solid roll, sold in all of September. Ignoring the price differences between the Jag line and the CLA, that is still wildly impressive.
Mercedes has been pushing the CLA in television ads, using a shortened version of its Super Bowl spot, which starred William Dafoe, Usher and Kate Upton. "As the bargain entrance into the Mercedes portfolio, we weren't sure how luxury buyers would react," Kelly Blue Book auto analyst Alec Gutierrez told Bloomberg.
The CLA push was just part of MB's 6.7-percent increase in September sales, which were also helped along by a 17-percent jump in E-Class sales. That surge has allowed Mercedes to widen its 2013 sales lead over its rival, BMW, to 2,491 cars, according to Bloomberg. If CLA sales continue at this rate, we can only expect that margin to grow.

Mercedes A45 AMG in downhill battle with slipstream skateboarder

Mon, 30 Sep 2013 16:57:00 EST

We're told it takes "performance, control and expression" to pilot a longboard skateboard down a mountain road, and that those happen to be the same values embodied in the Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG. That's how the two came to be combined in a black-and-white short film called Silver Slipstream.
There's no talking, no engine note and no color, just some music, a 'boarder and a car on a long cruise down the Franschhoek Pass in the Western Cape of South Africa." Despite that, it's actually a pretty entertaining video of the latest Mercedes-Benz hot hatch married with extreme sports. You can watch how it all goes down in the video below.

Mercedes S-Class Magic Body Control ad is clucking awesome

Tue, 24 Sep 2013 19:58:00 EST

This is a new ad from Mercedes-Benz. At no point does it show an automobile. Instead, it stars animals, but not the sort you might normally see in car commercial. This ad is all about chickens. It is bizarre, to say the least, with Diana Ross and the Supremes belting it out in the background, but it all kind of comes together when you realize just what Mercedes is hawking (yeah, pun intended).
It's for the manufacturer's Magic Body Control, found on the new S-Class. The system basically analyzes the road and prepares the suspension accordingly, leading to a ride that is, in the words of our own Chris Paukert "nothing short of spooky." You can read about it in our full review of the 2014 S550. Take a look below for the 53-second spot.