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Mercedes-Benz Concept GLA gets official ahead of Shanghai

Thu, 18 Apr 2013 03:01:00 EST

Mercedes-Benz has something special planned for the Shanghai Motor Show - a new CUV concept that we first saw when it leaked on the internet yesterday. The GLA Concept compact crossover will hit the show stand with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine producing 208 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque mated to a seven-speed dual clutch transmission and 4Matic all-wheel drive, and likely previews a new production model that we've already spotted testing.
That's not news, but the laser-based headlamps with video-projecting capability certainly are. Mercedes-Benz says the array can project any image or video onto a screen, which is handy since there are a pair of HD cameras mounted to the roof rack. The cameras can be removed and taken with you on all sorts of adventures. The lamps also feature a visible cooling system comprised of a series of fans, and the system helps give the headlights their "sparkle" effect.
Step indoors and the GLA offers up the interior of a high-quality crossover, complete with contrasting leather and plenty of aluminum. The automaker says the cabin was inspired by saddle craftsmanship with "more than 65 feet of hand-stitched seams to hold the raw edges of the leather together."

Mercedes-Benz GLA Concept crossover leaked ahead of Shanghai debut

Wed, 17 Apr 2013 09:59:00 EST

With just a few days left before the start of the Shanghai Motor Show, images of the Mercedes-Benz GLA Concept compact crossover have emerged online. The little 'ute is based on the small A-Class hatchback, and though it shares an identical wheelbase, is larger in every other dimension.
Looking like a rough-and-tumble five-door hatchback on the tippy toes of its 20-inch wheels, the GLA is most certainly destined for production in a toned down form that will borrow many bits and pieces from other cars based on this platform like the aforementioned A-Class and the CLA-Class sedan. Carscoop reports that the production version of the GLA will be revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September of this year, with sales to the public starting in 2014.
Since it's based on the A-Class, we expect that the production GLA-Class will be powered by your choice of Mercedes' 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine and a diesel or two, and will offer transmissions that include the company's seven-speed DCT and perhaps a six-speed manual (at least in Europe). If the GLA follows the same path as the two cars before it, expect a GLA45 AMG producing over 300 horsepower, as well. As for what powers the GLA Concept, that just might remain a mystery until the vehicle is officially revealed in China.

Next Mercedes-Benz C-Class to get diesel, hybrid versions

Tue, 16 Apr 2013 13:30:00 EST

Mercedes-Benz is planning a more aggressive product strategy for its next-generation C-Class range. "We were fighting the 3 Series with two arms tied behind our back, and now we will change that," Steve Cannon, the automaker's US CEO, told Automotive News in a recent interview.
In addition to offering more body styles of the new C-Class, AN reports that the revamped Mercedes will also be offered here with hybrid and diesel powertrains. Currently, the C-Class comes in coupe and sedan variants, with only gasoline engines. The BMW 3 Series, however, is available as a sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon, and offers buyers the choice of gasoline, diesel (the upcoming 328d) or hybrid power.
Mercedes-Benz will show the next-generation C-Class at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show, with sales of the US-built sedan following in August. Coupe, convertible and hybrid models will follow in early 2015, and while diesel and all-wheel-drive versions are planned, no specific timetable has been released regarding availability.

Test drive the Mercedes SLS AMG Electric Drive with Chris Harris

Thu, 11 Apr 2013 20:01:00 EST

It's hard to not like the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT. The all-aluminum coupe is fitted with a wonderful naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V8 delivering 583 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque. Not only does the burly combustion engine launch the two-seater to 60 miles per hour in less than four seconds, but it does so with one of the world's greatest exhaust soundtracks as it roars, burbles and cackles down the road.
But what happens when Mercedes-Benz takes away the V8 and its accompanying fire-burning song? Stripped of one of its most appealing assets, does the SLS lose its soul?
Chris Harris recently had the opportunity to take the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive for a track spin in Europe. Sans gasoline, but with four electric motors providing a combined 740 horsepower (737 pound-feet of torque), all-electric all-wheel drive coupe uses sophisticated torque vectoring and a multi-mode operating system to put oversteer - drifting! - back into the equation. Fun? You bet. See for yourself, below.

Ecclestone wonders if F1's upcoming turbo V6s should get augmented sound [w/videos]

Mon, 08 Apr 2013 09:30:00 EST

While every team on the Formula One grid is worried about making a good showing in this year's championship at the same time as they develop a brand-new car for next year's championship, Bernie Ecclestone and F1 circuit promoters have a different concern: how next year's cars will sound. The current cars use 2.4-liter, naturally-aspirated V8s that can reach 18,000 revolutions per minute and employ dual exhaust, next year's engine formula calls for 1.4-liter turbocharged V6s that are capped at 15,000 rpm and are constrained to a single exhaust outlet. Ecclestone and promoters like Ron Walker believe the new engines sound like lawnmowers and that the less thrilling audio will keep people from coming to races. If Walker's Australian Grand Prix really is shelling out almost $57 million to hold the race, every ticket counts. As a fix, according to a report in Autoweek, Ecclestone "suggests that the only way to guarantee [a good sound] may be to artificially adjust the tone of the V6s."
However, neither the manufacturers nor the governing body of F1, the FIA, think there will be a problem. Ecclestone fears that if the manufacturers "don't get it right" they'll simply leave the sport, but the only three carmakers and engine builders left next year, Renault (its 2014 "power unit" is pictured), Mercedes-Benz and Ferrari are so embedded that it would stretch belief to think they'd leave the table over an audio hiccup - if said hiccup even occurs. And frankly, these issues always precede changes to engine formulas, as they did when the formula switched from V10 to V8; fans, though, are probably less focused on the engines and more on the mandated standardization of the sport and the spec-series overtones that have come with it.
No one knows yet what next year's engines will sound like, but we've assembled a few videos below to help us all start guessing. The first is an engine check on an Eighties-era John Player Special Renault with a 1.5-liter V6 turbo, after that is Ayrton Senna qualifying in 1986 in the Lotus 98T that also had a 1.5-liter V6 turbo, then you'll find a short with a manufactured range of potential V6 engine notes, and then the sound of turbocharged V6 Indycars testing last year at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Any, or none of them, could be Formula One's future.

2014 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S Wagon is one hot hauler [w/video]

Thu, 28 Mar 2013 19:29:00 EST

Mentioned at the debut of the redesigned Mercedes-Benz E-Class back in January, Mercedes has finally pulled back the curtain on the E63 AMG S, which was on display at the New York Auto Show in wagon guise. The 2014 E63 AMG S ups the ante even more from a "base" E63 AMG, improving the car's performance and styling - not that it needed help with either to begin with.
Our favorite S-model upgrade is the added output tweaked out of the 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8 producing 577 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque, which represents a substantial gain of 27 hp and 59 lb-ft of torque over the stock E63. In wagon form, the E63 AMG S can run from 0-60 miles per hour in just 3.6 seconds and hit an electronically limited top speed of 186 mph. All 2014 E63 AMGs come with Mercedes' 4Matic all-wheel-drive system, but the S-Model adds in a limited-slip rear differential for improved performance.
Mercedes has made sure that the extra money being spent on the S-Model is instantly noticeable with slightly different design cues and black along with 10-spoke wheels with red brake calipers peeking through. Plenty of silver-chrome and high-gloss black accents finish off the exterior styling, while the interior adds Alcantara on the steering wheel, accent stitching on the leather and contrasting silver seat belts on models with the black interior. Scroll down for an official video and press release.

Dartz promises own 6x6 G-Class with golden shishas and a dining room

Mon, 25 Mar 2013 16:01:00 EST

So you didn't really think Dartz Motorz was going to let the limited-production, 544-horsepower Mercedes 6x6 G63 AMG go without a challenge, did you? Picking up the gauntlet as only Dartz can, the Russian dream-makers have come up with the Sahara G-eopard, supposedly a special request from a buyer to make one of the 'standard' six-wheelers "more opulent and insane."
That means the vehicle from the factory gets extended by about a foot (30 centimeters), coach doors in the rear, a "yacht floor" and air conditioning that runs on its own power source, Asanti 24-inch Gold Bullion wheels and a water dispenser with Russian diamonds, which the owner will need to fill the golden shishas (hookahs) in the portable smoking room. That's right, you heard the man: a portable smoking room. Where the occupants will retire when they're finished in the portable dining room. Of course.
Yes, it will even have leopard spotting painted onto its nano-coating, and so much more. You can check out the press release below from the source. Try not to be jealous.

Watch this perfectly nice Mercedes get crushed by a front-end loader

Mon, 25 Mar 2013 12:45:00 EST

In a world where the YouTube hoax continues to thrive, it's hard to know what to think of this little vid, but here are the facts as we know them: a coupe that looks like a first-generation Mercedes-Benz CLK gets crushed by a giant front-end loader. There you have it.
Our questions arise in the aftermath - we know industrial resource machinery is heavy, but the Benz gets squashed so flat we wonder if someone's trying to play a joke on us. We hear that the white coupe may have been the heavy-equipment operator's foreman's car, but who knows? The on-camera interview seems awfully conveniently placed, yes? See for yourself in the video below and then leave us your thoughts in Comments.

Autoblog drives to the Arctic Circle

Fri, 22 Mar 2013 11:57:00 EST

In Which Mercedes' Sprinter Becomes A Long-Distance Sherpa
In the wintery wilds of northern Alaska, even the cute little critters want to kill you.
As I am about to nod off on my long leg flight from Minneapolis to Anchorage ahead of driving to the Arctic Circle, the friendly twenty-something Alaskan knitting furiously in the seat next to me pauses and says, "When you're driving up there, don't open your windows." In the dead of winter? I hadn't planned on cruising alfresco, but her warning to keep the glazing snugged against the weatherstripping is one I would take to heart. She continues: "If you leave 'em open, a fox is liable to jump right in. There are lots of rabid foxes up there, and they leap into your car and just Go. To. Town." And here I was, thinking that a curious bear or maybe an ill-placed moose in the road was going to be my biggest potential four-legged threat. In the wintery wilds of northern Alaska, even the cute little critters want to kill you.

Mercedes-Benz introduces new heavy security M-Class Guard model

Tue, 19 Mar 2013 08:44:00 EST

Mercedes-Benz has unveiled a new addition to the company's line of personal security vehicles. The M-Class Guard features bullet-proof side windows made with special laminated glazing and a polycarbonate inner layer to protect occupants from shards of glass. Mercedes says the M-Class Guard meets protection level VR4 according to the Bullet Resistant Vehicles 2009 standards, based on testing from the independent Ulm-based Ballistics Bureau, which means it can withstand .357 Magnum and .44 fire from multiple angles. It can also stand up to the DM51 hand grenade when equipped with optional floor armoring. Why skimp?
Buyers looking for protection from the world's literal slings and arrows can opt for the ML350 BlueTEC with its 258 horsepower 3.0-liter turbodiesel engine. With 457 pound-feet of torque, the oil-burner should have no trouble hustling the privileged class about. Of course, the ML500 offers a bit more punch courtesy of a 4.6-liter twin-turbo V8 with 408 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque. Prices start at 105,050 euros for the diesel and 118,650 euros for the V8. You can check out the full press release below for more information.