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Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG is Affalterbach's first big leap into the little pond

Tue, 05 Mar 2013 08:01:00 EST

The recent history of AMG is turning out amped-up versions of Mercedes-Benz offerings that would hardly ever be mistaken for their sedate counterparts. Sure, you'd need to pay attention to pick a G-Class from the G63 AMG, but dual side-pipes are a quick giveaway. The Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG is not only a new era in Affalterbach's attention on smaller cars, it is probably also the most subtle transformation we can think of in the line-up.
Low and chunky enough in standard guise to make a sporting impression, the aesthetic makeover is confined to black trim around the lower rim of the hatch, black wheels with red brake calipers and a single, rectangular exhaust tip on either side of the diffuser. It's easier to make a positive ID inside, where the flat-bottomed steering wheel, red seatbelts and red-rimmed details say, "You know what I am..."
If the car is running, though, it won't take but a second. The 2.0-liter turbo spitting 360 horsepower and 332 pound-feet will grumble through a sport exhaust at idle, and bellow through the same on it's way to a 0-60 time of less than 4.5 seconds. And if you need something that looks a little harder - and you want those quad pipes - then the A45 AMG Edition 1 is the treasure you seek. There's a press release below for all the info you'll need until the hot hatch goes on sale in Germany later this year, and photos for the rest of us while we wait to find out if we'll get a chance to buy it.

Mercedes rules out hybrid supercar, promises SLS successor

Sat, 16 Mar 2013 17:00:00 EST

The recent Geneva Motor Show was a festival of hypercars, with the presence of not one, but three over-the-top debuts: the Lamborghini Veneno, McLaren P1 and Ferrari LeFerrari. The latter two have hitched their carbon fiber bumpers to the electrification bandwagon by using hybrid-electric powertrains not entirely unlike the propulsion systems we've come to know in cars like the Toyota Prius and Chevrolet Volt. Does that mean the flow of electrons up the four-wheeled food chain will eventually consume our hallowed supercars? Not if AMG has anything to say about it.
AMG Director of Vehicle Development Tobias Moers recently confirmed that not only will there be a successor to the Mercedes-Benz performance division's SLS AMG, he notes that its internal combustion engine will most definitely not be sharing living quarters with an electric drivetrain. Instead, AMG plans to focus on further pushing the power and efficiency envelope of the internal combustion engine and advancing the use of lightweight materials to achieve their goals. The first example of this effort can be seen in the new SLS AMG Black Series that incorporates many weight-saving techniques to shed some 154 pounds from the SLS AMG GT (above), which itself is lighter than the standard SLS AMG.
Furthermore, Moers remarks that his company is happy to leave the hypercar segment to companies like Ferrari and McLaren. He admits that, "Ferrari in the hyper-car segment is still a different brand than AMG. We have to be honest..." So rather than taking the SLS further upmarket to do battle with bulls and stallions, Moers hinted that the next-generation SLS may be joined by another performance model that fits neatly between itself and the C63 AMG.

Highlights from the Goodwood Festival of Speed, including the McLaren P1 and a Ford Transit running the hill

Mon, 15 Jul 2013 19:01:00 EST

The sole purpose of this post is as a time-waster, and since you shouldn't have to work to waste time, we've done it for you. In the numerous videos below you'll find cars that have lately been in the news tramping all over the grounds of Lord March's estate in Goodwood, England.
There's the McLaren P1 heading up the hill, the Jaguar Project 7, then a casually-driven Porsche 917 followed by an even-more-casually-driven Porsche 956, topped off by a Porsche 936 that is anything but casually driven. The next round is the flame-spitting Peugeot 405 T16 Pikes Peak from Climb Dance, a camera mounted on the Peugeot RCZ R after it showing you what the whole, uninterrupted run up the hill looks like. For a real head-turner, we couldn't embed it but there's Andy Reid blasting up the hill in a Ford Transit Supervan with a Cosworth 3000 V6 engine.
The modern racing contingent has Allan McNish doing the hill in the Audi R18 e-tron quattro he used to win Le Mans and Lewis Hamilton making lots of tire smoke in the Mercedes-AMG Petronas MGP-W02. For comparison, that's followed by Nick Heidfeld's record-setting run up the hill in 1999 in the McLaren MP4/14 . The classic racing contingent is headlined by 71-year-old Giacomo Agostini on an MV Agusta.