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Auto blogTue, 10 Sep 2013
Mercedes-Benz trotted out its CLA45 AMG-based racer at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show. We first showed you the sedan in the deluge of news and reveals that precedes most good auto shows, and were blown away by the car, formally known as the CLA45 AMG Racing Series.
We were strolling by the Mercedes stand, and figured we'd pop in and take a look at the new racer and its carbon-fiber body panels, gutted interior, and race-sourced aero parts. It's a looker, both as a road car and a track weapon. It's not clear what series the CLA45 AMG will qualify for, although it does seem like a shoe-in for the World Touring Car Championship. Let us know what you think of the CLA racer down in the comments. In the meantime, we've got a full gallery of live images up top, along with the stock images that were posted last week on the Mercedes-Benz Facebook page.
Mercedes-Benz is preparing a major product offensive to counteract lagging sales in the Chinese market, aiming 20 new or updated models at the People's Republic in the next two years, according to a report by Reuters. The plan is part of MB's so-called 2020 Initiative, which will see the Stuttgart-based manufacturer dump 2 billion Euros ($2.67 billion) into its Chinese market vehicles in a bid to boost sales to 300,000 units by 2015.
Were it to succeed, China would become the largest market for the Silver Arrow, outpacing Germany and the United States. Leading the charge will be the redesigned E-Class, which is set to launch in China this week. That will quickly be followed by the S-Class, and eventually by the GLA-Class in 2014.
Mercedes has struggled in China, especially relative to its German competition, BMW and Audi. Where Mercedes saw a mere four-percent increase in 2012 sales to 206,150 units, Audi was up a staggering 32 percent, while BMW's numbers jumped 41 percent. While some voices, according to Reuters, accuse Munich and Ingolstadt of boosting their numbers through hefty incentives, the fact remains that Mercedes was just walloped by its competitors last year.
Maybe you saw our recent blog snippet on a bunch of US journos getting pulled over in the middle of nowhere in Catalunya, Spain for driving a bunch of new 2014 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG models. By all accounts, they weren't speeding - which makes me softly guffaw. I was there in that group, yet I had taken the more direct route into the mountains from Barcelona so that I could... well, so that I could go faster. No one hassled me and I had the Autovia all to myself. And it was the goodniks - the team players - who got nabbed because Spain had decided to suddenly enforce the never enforced "must carry an international driver's license" clause of the highway code.
The departing E63 AMG with 518 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque from its M157 5.5-liter biturbo V8 hasn't exactly been poorly received. It isn't as crisp as, nor as pleasantly evil as its C63 AMG kid brother, but we generally accept that the heavier and larger car will always feel, well, heavier and larger.
As part of the 2014 E-Class mid-cycle redesign, Affalterbach decided to give its E63 AMG more power and torque for the occasion. The base car now gives off 550 hp and 531 lb-ft, while the hotter S version I tested (formerly the AMG Performance Pack) produces 577 hp and 590 lb-ft. The other big novelty is that E63 sedans will be available with both rear- and all-wheel drive, while all US-spec E63 wagons will be 4Matic equipped.