Showing posts with label mercedes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mercedes. Show all posts

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Mercedes-Benz CLS comes on strong

2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS

The 2012 Mercedes CLS is the second act of the car that invented both the market segment and the grammatical quandary known as the "four-door coupe." Made dramatically more bold for this go-round, it features an upright grille that flows back into a rump that disappears in photos but holds its own in person. The new sedan is also lighter, with aluminum doors that are 52 pounds less heavy and an aluminum hood, front fenders, trunk lid and parcel shelf.

Along with the design, the engines are the story. There will be four available, starting with two 3.5-liter V6 engines in Europe. One is a 265-horsepower diesel engine and the other a 306-hp gas V6 with standard stop/start. Next comes the 2.5-liter four-cylinder diesel with 204 hp, and last to arrive is the V8 CLS 550 putting out 402 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque.

LED High Performance Active Headlights, Direct-Steer electromechanical steering, a tweaked suspension lifted from the E-Class, and a host of interior trim options that range from carbon fiber to high gloss brown burl walnut are among the many changes on the car.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS550

Mercedes-Benz has a long history of setting trends, which includes being the first company to develop technologies we take for granted today, like traction control systems, airbags and anti-lock brakes. It also kicked off the trend of propelling vehicles with motors, having built and sold the first automobile back in 1885. But it's not usually known for setting styling trends, which is exactly what the company did when it launched the CLS-Class back in 2004.

Despite four doors staring you right in the face, the CLS was officially dubbed a coupe by Mercedes because of the car's sleek coupe-like roofline. Semantics aside, it kicked off an entirely new segment of four-door coupes with its new, artful approach to transporting four people. Just like a fledgling industry followed the Benz Patent-Motorwagen's arrival in 1885, the arrival of the CLS created an entirely new class of vehicle.

Having started the trend, Mercedes gets to show us how it will evolve, and the 2012 CLS550 does just that. It's job isn't just to steer this trend away from becoming a fad, but also fend off a growing number of automakers who wish they had thought of it first.

The first-generation CLS was widely considered a beautiful design, almost shockingly so compared to how the brand was shaping its four-doors back in 2004. If you're a fan of that original design, you probably wouldn't have minded if Mercedes left the exterior alone. Alas, seven years is a long life cycle for any product, and Mercedes can't be faulted for putting pen to paper. The question is whether or not its designers succeeded in making the new CLS more attractive than the old one.

2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS550 side view2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS550 front view2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS550 rear view

The Autoblog team is not unanimous on the answer. There's no one among us who believes either generation is punishment on the eyes, and so either opinion can be held without considering the other side a bunch of tasteless boobs. Your author, however, finds himself on the side of Team First-Gen, so I'll do my best to explain why I think the original is still the better looker of thee two sedans, err... coupes.

Let's start with some analogies. The first-generation CLS is like a man wearing a fitted tuxedo: formal, sharp and clean. The second-gen CLS is like Lou Ferrigno after he beat up the first man and put on his tuxedo: bigger, bulging and intimidating. Now let's get more technical. From the side, the first-gen CLS is expressed by two basic strokes of the designer's pen: an elegant arch for the roofline and a subtly bowed crease that runs from front fender to taillight above the door handles. The second-gen CLS retains the arching roofline, but is growing a crease farm on its doors. The first-gen's simple single line has been replaced by upper and lower ones that start at the front wheel and get closer together as you move rearward, and a third crease bends over the rear wheel to create a flared fender into which the first two end. Together they create a concavity across the doors that makes the rear fenders look even more pronounced. Coupled with a near vertical grille and taller hood, the second-gen's look is more convoluted and just a bit too butch.

2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS550 headlight2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS550 LED lights2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS550 side detail2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS550 taillights

The aesthetic, however, happens to fit, because if you didn't know, Mercedes-Benz makes muscle cars. Its V8s make us swoon, even the ones not stamped with the letters A-M-G. Known for their large displacements, high horsepower and bellowing exhaust tones, these engines – the 5.5-liter and 6.2-liter AMG specifically – are on their way out across the brand's lineup. Sad as we are to see them go, new emissions and fuel economy standards, not to mention gas prices, make it a must. Their replacements are two new smaller V8s – a 4.6-liter for 550 models and a 5.5-liter for AMG versions, both featuring twin turbochargers and direct injection to replace the lost displacement (it can be done!).

The new CLS550 retains its nomenclature despite housing the new 4.6-liter V8, which while smaller in size produces 402 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 443 pound-feet of torque at a low 1,800 rpm – big improvements over the larger 5.5-liter V8 it replaces, which continues to make 382 hp at 6,000 rpm and 391 lb-ft at 2,800 rpm in other models. The new engine is also significantly more efficient, with improvements of three miles per gallon in the city and four mpg on the highway for new scores of 17 city / 25 highway. We actually experienced a fuel consumption rate in the high 20-mpg range during a long highway trip, which is exemplary for an engine making 400+ horsepower. This new V8 is one area where we're all playing for Team Second-Gen.

2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS550 engine

The interior, likewise, is a big improvement, though mostly in the area of materials, which are of a higher quality than the first generation, especially the convincing metal air vents. Ergonomically the cabin looks like most other Mercs, and even much like last year's car with just the elements rearranged. The seven-inch navigation screen has been moved to the very top of the center stack, replacing a pair of vents that now appear below the screen and flank a tasteful analogue clock. The climate controls, which used to be near the top, are now at the very bottom, though laid out in the same way as before with dual rotary knobs and easy-to-press buttons. There's also a new, larger 4.5-inch circular display in the center of the speedometer that gives you access to most of the vehicles high-tech features and functions. Navigating the menus is simple via steering wheel-mounted controls, and there are a lot of them that let you to do everything from change the color of the interior's ambient lightning to turn off the traction control system.

Conspicuously absent is a gear shift of any kind to move the car's seven-speed automatic transmission from P into D. In its place is the COMAND system control knob that operates the navigation, audio, phone and various other vehicle systems. Whether or not you like it depends largely on whether you prefer touch-screens to controller-based interfaces, but we were able to figure it out without cracking a manual and the knob falls to hand without taking your eyes off the road.

2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS550 interior2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS550 dash vent2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS550 dash clock2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS550 door controls

This begs the question, how do you put the seven-speed transmission into Drive? By using one of three stalks sticking out of the CLS' steering column. The gear selector stalk is on the right side by itself, and using it brings back memories of the column-mounted shifter in my dad's old truck. It's all digitally controlled now and lacks the mechanical feel of the old days, but the muscle memory of reaching up and pulling down to get in gear is still there. The two left-side stalks, meanwhile, are a bane of modern Mercedes interiors. The smaller one on top controls the adaptive cruise control system, while the bottom one does turn signals and headlights. Most people, however, will instinctively grab the top stalk by accident when signaling a turn. Mercedes has finally begun fixing this problem by switching the stalks' positions beginning with the 2012 ML-Class. Unfortunately, the also-new 2012 CLS missed the cut.

The new CLS gets higher marks for its Active Multicontour Driver's Seat. In addition to the standard 14-way seat controls near the door handles, this $660 option adds another set of controls between the driver's seat and center console that adjusts lumbar supports, side bolsters and shoulders supports, as well as activates a massage function for working out the kinks on longer trips. It also adds active side bolsters that, when activated, dynamically move in to keep you from sliding during turns. They come in handy on sweeping turns, especially highway exit and entrance ramps, where lateral g-forces can last longer. However, we wish the system didn't respond below a certain speed; who wants their sides pinched when they're prowling for a parking spot?

A fancy driver's seat is just one of many stand-alone and packaged options offered for the CLS550, which starts at $71,300 with an $875 destination charge. This particular model tops out at $84,545 as tested, which is a big difference, but not so shocking when you see what you get. For starters, the CLS comes with the $4,390 Premium 1 Package that includes popular options like a rear-view camera, iPod interface, heated and cooled front seats, keyless entry and a power-closing trunk. Its best component, however, is the world's first pair of all-LED active headlamps on a production car, an honor shared with the 2012 Audi A6 that also offers a set.

Next up is the Driver Assistance Package for $2,950 that includes Active Blind Spot Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist and Mercedes' adaptive cruise control system called DISTRONIC PLUS with PRE-SAFE Brake. Many cars today have warning systems to alert drivers when they drift out of a lane, but the Mercedes system gets into the game by actively braking the opposite side of the vehicle to bring the car back between the lines. The adaptive cruise control is also at the head of the class for being able to apply full braking force and bring the CLS550 to a complete stop if needed. Our tester is also loaded with the Wheel Package for $760 that adds 18-inch AMG five-spoke wheels, an AMG steering wheel and a manual mode for the transmission, as well as stand alone options like the PARKTRONIC auto-parking system ($970), split-folding rear seats ($440) and rear side airbags ($420).

2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS550 start button2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS550 multimedia system dial2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS550 door speaker2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS550 key fob

The last bit of bleeding-edge tech in our tester is the Night View Assist PLUS system, which is the most expensive stand alone option at $1,780. More of a showpiece to impress the Joneses, it uses infrared beams to display a black-and-white high-resolution video feed of what's ahead of you in the dark. It can even identify people and highlight them. The feed appears in the nav screen, so you have to avert your eyes from the road to watch it, but it does work as advertised and might come in handy if a jealous Mr. Jones takes a baseball bat to your all-LED headlights. Watch the Short Cut video above to see it in action.

All of those options are nice, but what about what's beneath them? First and foremost, the CLS550 is a luxury car of the highest order with an AIRMATIC semi-active suspension that supports a three-link independent front suspension and multi-link rear. There's no slop in the ride, body motions are controlled and you can dial in the system even more by choosing either Sport or Comfort mode. We wish the Sport mode were a little more aggressive, as body lean remains distinctly noticeable even with it on. We have no qualms with the electromechanical power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering, and the 14.2-inch front brakes clamped by four-piston calipers and 12.6-inch rear discs with single-piston calipers make stopping this 4,158-pound four-door a drama-free affair.

2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS550 wheel

What's curious about the new CLS550 is that it's still a muscle car putting on airs. Every electrical nanny is there to keep you and the 402-hp V8 in check, and with all of them turned on, there's a thick buffer keeping the two of you from collaborating. We found the transmission and traction control system to be the most oppressive. The transmission does give you three shift modes: Economy, Sport and Manual. Shifts happen early and often in Economy mode, while Sport mode gets the transmission moving quicker and holding gears longer, and Manual mode takes advantage of the paddles on the back of the steering wheel. We suggest the latter for what feels like the quickest shifts, but chances are you'll spend the most time in Economy mode where the car is most efficient, and in this mode, the CLS550 feels like a race horse that isn't allowed to leave the gate.

The key to flexing the CLS550's muscle is activating the Sport suspension and Manual transmission modes and turning off the traction control system (along with all of the other nannies that beep and flash). With those steps taken, the CLS550 feels more like something from Mopar than Mercedes, willing at a moment's notice to paint the pavement with rubber. After experiencing the CLS550 this way, the manufacturer's claimed 0-60 mph time of 5.1 seconds becomes much more believable. And though the new 4.6-liter doesn't sound quite as deep and rich as the last generation's 5.5-liter, it still burbles and vibrates more than the eight-cylinders in most other luxury cars.

2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS550 rear 3/4 view

And maybe that's because the CLS550 just isn't a luxury car, or at least doesn't want to be with such a strong, athletic engine. So much effort goes into subduing the V8 that Mercedes could have just as easily offered a V6-powered model, a CLS350, that wears the luxury moniker more willingly while also being more efficient. Maybe we'll soon see one here in the U.S., not to mention a diesel-powered BlueTec variant. Europeans can already have their CLS any they want it, so hopefully it's just a matter of a suit somewhere saying 'yes.'

Even with a split personality, the second-gen CLS is superior in almost every way to the original, maybe every way if you prefer its design. And like every trend setter, it's now surrounded by variations on the theme – some quicker, some sexier and some more serene. Mercedes, however, has successfully kept the CLS their target, and thanks to this wonderful engine, it's a moving one.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

First Drive: 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class

We usually see women behind the wheel of the Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class. Who can blame them? It’s a cute little car. The original SLK debuted in 1996 with a four-cylinder powerplant and all of 136 ponies. What it lacked in the motivation department it made up for with its Vario-roof retractable hardtop. Not since the 1957 Ford Skyliner could a car stop so much traffic while parked.

The SLK gained some testosterone with its first facelift in 2000. While the exterior was still rather tame, the chick car jokes ceased in 2001 with the introduction of the 354-horsepower SLK 32 AMG.

Things continued to get better with the all-new 2004 edition and its sleeker styling that paid homage to Mercedes’ Formula One designs and the beastly McMerc SLR. The reality that AMG could stuff its hand-built 5.4-liter V8 under the hood made the second-generation SLK a serious performance car.

For 2012, the SLK officially begins its third generation, and you can see the difference from 100 yards. Especially from the front view, the roadster looks more mature and substantial. The split-grill design reconstitutes the 190 SL’s design from the late 1950s in a handsome, modern manner. The bolder aesthetics continue in the rear, which features large arches over the rear wheels and LED taillamps. And it keeps getting better on the inside…

Inside, the modernized retro theme continues, with our SLK350 tester’s circular vent outlets ported through the handsomely contoured dash covered in hand-stitched Nappa leather (like the SLS AMG). Round analog gauges flank a center digital display in the main binnacle, while a bright, seven-inch LCD handles navigation as well as manipulating the climate control and infotainment systems.

While the interior and exterior are mostly new, from an engineering standpoint, the third generation seems more like a Gen 2.5.5; a facelift of the 2008 facelift. The 2012 SLK rides on the same 95.7-inch wheelbase. It’s about an inch longer and an inch wider (overall width and track), and the tidy dimensions help this car stay true to what SLK stands for: Sportlich (sporty), Leicht (light) and Kompakt (compact).

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK side view2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK front view2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK rear view

Engines are familiar to fans of the Three-Pointed Star. In the States, we will eventually get two of three available engines for the new SLK: the 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and the naturally-aspirated 3.5-liter V6. Four-cylinder models will be called the SLK250, while V6 models gets the SLK350 badge. For 2012, both engines gain direct fuel injection in a nod to efficiency. Horsepower, torque and preliminary estimated miles per gallon figures are 201, 229 pound-feet, and 23/31 for the 1.8-liter engine and 302, 273 lb-ft., and 20/29 for the uprated V6. On this trip, only the six-cylinder SLK350 was available for us to drive, as it will be the only model offered when the SLK goes on sale in June. The SLK250 is scheduled for availability in the U.S. later in the model year.

Both engines run their torque through an updated seven-speed automatic modified to accommodate a new fuel-saving start/stop functionality. Unfortunately, cars coming to the USA won’t be getting the latter feature – at least for the moment. That’s too bad, given where fuel prices are trending and the system’s relative smoothness. Mercedes-Benz engineers use the crankshaft position sensor to know which cylinder has stopped closest to the optimum position for re-starting the engine. The engine control module then re-fires that cylinder first, an action that helps smooth out and quicken the re-start event.

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK engine

To prepare for our drive, we needed to store two large duffle bags and wondered how much room our SLK350’s trunk provided. Mercedes-Benz literature claims 6.4 cubic feet with the roof lowered and 10.1 cubes with the roof raised. Since we would soon be driving from sea level through the clouds to the observatory at Teide National Park, some 7,800 feet above the Atlantic in Spain’s canary Islands, the top would be down and up depending on the precipitation (or a lack thereof). The trunk easily swallowed two large backpacks and a camera case with the roof stowed. Nifty.

The SLK’s hallmark retractable hardtop comes in three varieties: solid steel panels, a tinted roof section or with Benz’s trick new Magic Sky Control electrochromatic roof section. The later roof’s trick is that the transparent panel can shift its tint from almost clear to heavily darkened.

The glass section is a glass-matrix polymer-glass sandwich in which nearly microscopic rectangular particles are suspended in carrier-type fluid. When a small electrical charge is put through the polymer layer, the particles obediently arrange themselves in a vertical orientation, letting light pass through mostly unencumbered. When the juice is cut via a switch on the windshield header, the particles rotate 45-degrees, blocking most of the light (and heat) attempting to pass through. The shift requires nary a second. (Geek Note: Magic Sky Control uses a similar principle to Delphi’s Magnetic Ride Control dampers that control the flow path of damper fluid.)

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK trunk2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK side view2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK side view

When it came time to press the starter button and head for the observatory, temperatures were mild, and low clouds hung over our oceanfront starting point. With rain threatening, it neither felt nor looked like top-down driving weather, so the top stayed in place.

The imperfect roads on Tenerife presented a less-than-ideal surface that worked to shake and rattle the SLK. It accomplished neither. The roadster easily absorbed the punishment with the aplomb of a true fixed-roof coupe. Interior noise levels (engine, road and wind) were well subdued, and the exhaust note of the V6 sounded sportier than the same mill in the C-Class sedan. No surprise there, but still a welcome discovery.

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK interior2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK seats2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK gauges2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK navigation system

Short-wheelbase cars can feel skittish, but the SLK simply doesn’t. Even at full throttle with every foot-pound of torque twisting the rear half shafts, the SLK350 felt unshakable and secure.

As we left the island’s primary roads for the twisties ascending the extinct volcano’s walls to the observatory, the SLK’s locked-down feeling continued. Our route took us into the clouds that were heavy with moisture and the narrow roads turned slick. It seemed that the entire ride up the mountain was a Falling Rock Zone, and plenty of rocks littered the asphalt – like we needed more excitement.

Even running uphill, the 302-hp six-cylinder had plenty of power in reserve. Thinking that leaving the electronic stability control in the ‘On’ position was a good idea, we’d often feel it working to keep the SLK in line. As expected, it immediately curbed any oversteer, but did so in a way that wasn’t retaliatory – it simply chided for being overexuberant.

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK driving

What was unexpected was the so-called torque-vectoring function of the Electronic Stability Control. When diving into a corner under braking, we’re trained to expect a certain amount understeer – particular from Mercedes. The SLK senses the understeer and helps to mitigate it by adding a measured amount of braking to the inside rear wheel, helping to increase the car’s yaw rate and make it rotate more easily.

We’ll have to wait for the AMG-tuned version of the SLK to arrive before this chassis can be completely exploited, but indications are good thus far. Unfortunately, the ESC on the SLK350 cannot be completely disabled. When the dash switch is toggled off, the tires will spin to aid acceleration on snow or through mud, but any yaw immediately triggers a throttle intervention. When the AMG version arrives, expect an option to completely shut down the ESC.

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK driving2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK driving

Even with ESC on, the SLK remained a remarkably fun steer. The traditional hydraulic rack-and-pinion box had a natural on-center feel. Rolling off of center, starting at about 5 degrees, the box cranks the wheels with a constant ratio. At 100 degrees of steering angle – just beyond a quarter turn and just before your arms get crossed up – the ratio increases and the wheels turn more quickly. This is a huge help on roads that twist enough that you spend as much time looking out the side glass as the windshield. On the roads of Tenerife, we rarely had to shuffle the wheel or get our arms completely crossed-up.

Somewhere north of 6,000 feet we broke through the clouds and the top went down. It was chilly enough for us to turn on the Airscarf, a feature that blows warm air on your neck. We also put up the Airguide windstop. With the heater cranked up, we remained warm in the cabin, and buffeting was kept to a minimum.

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK rear 3/4 view

After shooting some photos, we headed back down the mountain. This strained the brakes, as evidenced by the soft pedal and burning odor. However, the Continental SportContact5 tires (225/40R18 front and 245/35/R18 rear) – known for their ability to shed speed with authority – never faltered. The average SLK driver probably isn’t going to give their drop-top the same workout, so for daily duty, the standard stoppers should do nicely.

In all, the 2012 SLK’s driving experience was a good one. It did, however, leave us wondering about a few things. First, we’re looking forward to some time behind the wheel of the lighter SLK250. The tonnage is down by more than 100 pounds and weight distribution should be closer to 50/50. The SLK350’s smaller-engined sibling could end up being the better of the two offerings – that is, until the V8 AMG model enters the mix. We’ll let you know as soon as we get the chance to try them out.

[Source: autoblog]

Friday, 25 March 2011

Mercedes-Benz Celebrates 125th Anniversary with special edition Viano

Founded way back in 1886, Mercedes-Benz is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year. And with a portfolio full of enticing products, the German automaker has plenty to choose from to turn into a commemorative special edition – the SLS AMG, C63 AMG or even the formidable G-Wagen, for example. So which did Mercedes go with? The Viano.

The special Avantgarde edition of the Silver Star van sold overseas gets a load of chrome trim to compliment the black or silver paint, plus 19-inch wheels and an interior decked out with six individual bucket seats (upholstered in either Lugano leather or Twin Dinamica microfiber).

Two V6 engines are available in the two-ton special edition Benz van: a 3.5-liter unit burning gasoline and churning out 258 horsepower, or a 3.0-liter diesel with 224-hp that will sprint to 60 miles per hour in 9.1 seconds.

[Source: Mercedes-Benz]


Big on Class in Every Respect: The New Mercedes-Benz Viano Avantgarde Edition 125

With its extrovert appearance the avant-garde vehicle in its class

Selected equipment and appointments, sporty ambience
Dynamic V6 engines, specially tuned sports suspension

Dynamism, comfort and sportiness – the new Mercedes-Benz Viano Avantgarde Edition 125 embodies these three terms like no other large-capacity vehicle. It combines an unmistakeable exterior look with selected equipment and appointments and a dynamic drive system, making it the top model in its class. The Edition 125 of the Viano Avantgarde represents the perfect blend of MPV, saloon and sports car.

With its extrovert appearance the avant-garde vehicle in its class
The look of the Viano Avantgarde’s Edition 125 is certainly nothing for wallflowers; it symbolises the avant-garde in its class. It is shod in exquisite 16-spoke high-sheen 8J x 19 light-alloy wheels, whilst the high-gloss chromed exterior mirror housings plus side skirts and chrome trim on the front bumper and chromed rear trim on the tailgate highlight the special styling. The model is available in the metallic paintwork variants obsidian black or brilliant silver.

Selected equipment and appointments, sporty ambience
The stylish look continues in the interior: the driver and front passenger will feel at home on seats that are as comfortable as they are sporty, featuring the finest leather cover with a piping design, plus increased lateral support. Customers can choose from “Lugano” leather or the new exclusive “Twin DINAMICA” microfibre surface. The cockpit is equally impressive, with its white scale illumination for the instruments, and sports pedals in brushed stainless steel with rubber studs. The decorative strips have a black or brown burr-walnut look.

There are four individual seats for the passengers in the rear and these also feature leather covers with a piping design, and are both stylish and comfortable. These seats, too, boast special padding with increased lateral support. The inserts in the side trim panels are also in leather, whilst the decorative strips sport a burr-walnut look. The individual seats mounted on rails can be moved in 25-mm steps and include integral three-point seat belts, height-adjustable head restraints and adjustable armrests.

Dynamic V6 engines, specially tuned sports suspension
The dynamic drive system featuring V6 engines from Mercedes-Benz is the perfect match for the Viano Avantgarde Edition 125’s sporty appearance. The units are unique in this vehicle class: the V6 CDI 3.0 with an output of 165 kW (224 hp) and its extraordinary traction of 440 Nm combines power with consideration for the environment. BlueEFFICIENCY technology reduces fuel consumption and CO2 emissions to a surprisingly low level, with fuel consumption in accordance with the NEDC amounting to a mere 8.5-8.6 l/100 km or 224-226 CO2 (g/km) – a very respectable figure in view of the vehicle size and performance. The V6 petrol engine which is available as an alternative has a displacement of 3.5 l and achieves 190 kW (258 hp), blending its torquey temperament with extremely smooth running characteristics.

Performance reaches a unique level in both variants. The V6 CDI 3.0 accelerates to 100 km/h in only 9.1 s and achieves a top speed of 201 km/h. For the V6 3.5 the figures are 10.4 s and 217 km/h.

Power transmission to the rear axle is via an automatic transmission. The Viano was already characterised by its high degree of handling safety and comfortable suspension, and it has now been particularly sportily tuned especially for the Edition 125 of its Avantgarde model, meeting the most discerning of standards when it comes to driving dynamics.

The Edition 125 of the Mercedes-Benz Viano Avantgarde is available from the spring in two different lengths: “compact” and “long”.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Nico Rosberg shows off 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK

The benefits of having an F1 team is that, in the off season at least, you've got some of the world's best professional drivers on call for test driving duties. And promotional detail, too.
Specifically, In this case, we're talking about star driver Nico Rosberg and upcoming Mercedes-Benz 2012 SLK. Michael Scheer-Vehicle engineer riding in the new roadster around Monte Carlo shot some footage as Rosberg brief us of what to expect from the new SLK. Check it out in the video

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Brabus brings the girth with Mercedes SLS Widestar

What's more important, speed or girth? Brabus says can have your proverbial cake and eat it too with its new Widestar kit for the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG.

Upgrading on their previous offering (and sounding like a minivan), the Widestar SLS benefits from a carbon fiber body kit with a 20mm wider rear track, encompassing Brabus Monoblock F Platinum Edition wheels available in a variety of colors and finishes and coated in either Pirelli or Yokohama low-profile rubber (275/30ZR-20 front and 295/25ZR-21 rear).

Brabus is also offering an electronically adjustable suspension with Bilstein shocks and Ride Control system, a titanium exhaust with quadruple tips that squeezes out an extra 10 horses, while the interior can be outfitted with a number of extras you can read all about in the press release

[Source: Brabus]

World Debut at the ESSEN MOTOR SHOW 2010
Custom-Tailored Designer Suit: The BRABUS WIDESTAR Wide Version for the Mercedes SLS

Lending an exclusive automobile an even more dominant presence is the domain of BRABUS. The new BRABUS WIDESTAR wide version represents a custom-tailored designer suit for the Mercedes SLS AMG. In addition to the extravagant high-tech carbon-fiber body program for the gullwing the tuner also offers ultralight forged wheels, an electronically adjustable Ride Control smooth-ride suspension, a titanium high-performance exhaust system with electronically controlled sound management and custom BRABUS interiors.

To give the SLS an even more muscular appearance the BRABUS designers have developed custom-tailored BRABUS WIDESTAR components for the rear axle. Like all other body components they are made from extremely light yet very strong carbon fibers identical to the ones used in Formula 1 racing. The add-on parts for the rear fenders and the rear fascia create an even more spectacular look and make room for special wheels that widen the rear track by 20 millimeters for even further improved driving dynamics.

The suspension engineers developed custom-tailored versions of the ultralight BRABUS Monoblock F PLATINUM EDITION forged wheels in sizes 9.5Jx20 in front and 11Jx21 on the rear axle for the wide version of the SLS. These wheels are available with a brushed-design or ceramics-polished surface and can also be painted in any desired color. The staggered wheels with 20- and 21-inch diameters on front and rear axles further emphasize the wedge-shaped look of the sports car.

Despite the wheels' bigger size they deliver a weight reduction of up to 12 percent compared to the SLS production wheels. The reduced unsprung weight further results in even more agile handling. BRABUS technology partners Pirelli and YOKOHAMA supply the optimal high-performance tires in sizes 275/30 ZR 20 and 295/25 ZR 21.

The wide version is rounded out by aerodynamic-enhancement components developed in the wind tunnel. All BRABUS aerodynamic-enhancement components are made from carbon fibers and are available with a matte or glossy clear-coated finish for a true racing look. Optionally these components can be painted in body or contrasting color.

To further reduce lift on front and rear axle BRABUS equips the SLS with a front spoiler for the production front fascia, a rear spoiler and a rear diffuser. Together these components create an even better aerodynamic balance. Two BRABUS covers for the upper air dams of the bumper and side air outlets for the rear fascia are further visual details of the BRABUS WIDESTAR version.

The work of the BRABUS designers also gives the sides of the gullwing more profile and further improved aerodynamic efficiency. The rocker panels were sculpted to optimize the airflow between front and rear axle and to create a perfect transition to the WIDESTAR components on the rear axle. Integrated entrance lights ensure safe entering and exiting of the vehicle in the dark.

The BRABUS air outlets for the front fenders add more of sporty touches. At night they draw attention with their integrated blue-illuminated BRABUS logos that are activated via the keyless fob or by pulling on a door handle.

The ride-height lowering by up to 30 millimeters (1.2 inches) also plays an important role in the striking appearance of the BRABUS-modified SLS. The BRABUS suspension is height-adjustable and was developed in cooperation with technology partner BILSTEIN. At the push of a button its integrated Ride Control function also offers a smoother ride than the production car. From the cockpit the driver can at any time - even while driving - switch between damper settings that offer a more comfortable or a sportier ride than the production car.
For sporty-minded SLS owners BRABUS offers stiffer sway bars for front and rear axle that reduce body roll for even more precise handling.

The BRABUS high-performance exhaust system with four slanted exhaust tips with diameters of 84 millimeters (3.3 inches) is somewhat atypical for traditional tuning. Its sound management, controlled by the driver and activated by a pneumatic flap, includes a 'coming home' setting that is quieter than the production exhaust. In 'sport' mode the 6.3-liter eight-cylinder engine produces an even more powerful exhaust note than with the production exhaust. The BRABUS exhaust system is manufactured from extremely lightweight titanium and weighs 12 kilograms (26 lbs.) or 40 percent less than the production exhaust. Another welcome by-product of this exhaust is an increase in power output by 10 hp / 7.4 kW.

BRABUS offers a multitude of exclusive custom interior options for the two-seater car as well. Carbon-fiber inlays in any desired color and matte anodized aluminum pedals and foot rest add sporty highlights.

The ergonomically shaped sport steering wheel is made from a combination of leather and Alcantara and provides especially good grip for further improved road feedback. The speedometer with 400-km/h scale (250 mph) already hints at the car's future performance with BRABUS engine tuning.

The BRABUS upholstery shop offers a sheer endless multitude of colors and designs for the masterfully crafted SLS interiors made from the finest leathers and Alcantara. These interiors can be custom-tailored to suit each SLS owner's personal taste down to the last detail.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

SEMA 2010: The Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG

The Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG Black Series isn't short in the tooth, but gussied up correctly it can still make a worthy meal for the autophile – even when it's dressed in everybody's-doin'-it matte gray. Continental tire's SEMA booth, showcasing its ExtremeContact DW and ExtremeContact DWS rubber, had this light-eating creature from Platinum Motorsports glaring from the corner. 'Roided-up skirts and splitters with carbon fiber trimmings abound, and every transparent plane has been remedied by the liberal application of tints. We'd buy that for it for a dollar, no doubt.

There was something else under covers that we'll be bringing you later. For now, the SL65 AMG was left to preside over a back-up band consisting of a Bentley Continental GT, a Maybach as black as the intergalactic void itself, and a BMW racer with a set of slick slicks.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

2010 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG w/P31 Development Package

Roger Daltrey has attempted to achieve a record and publicized that they were paid ₤75 to ₤150 a show, yet they would wrack around ₤250-300 amount of gear every moment. Mercedes-Benz also promise those that they willing to pay the amount of $57,350 for its least and costly AMG mode of the C63 AMG and it also promise to give a further amount of $5,950 for AMG Development Package by adding 30 horsepower engine. Moreover Mercedes-Benz attached an updated brakes and a passel with miscellaneous high performance gear.
What all goes into the Dev Pack?

In order to bring the C63's 6.2-liter set up it is stable for busting 481 horsepower at 6,800 rpm, AMG has attached a lightweight engine in it also include new pistons, con-rods and a different crankshaft. When it is loaded over by an updated ECU, the combination gets an extra 30 advantage from the V8, moreover 443 pound feet of torque that resolutely sits at the 5,000 rpm. Benz's bowfins have launched this car with a top speed of 174 mph.
Moreover that amazing Development Package cars “lesser C63s” comes out in the present market with a carbon fiber lip spoiler, a titanium-colored intake that runners and with a suitably bitchin' leather and linked up with an Alcantara flat-bottomed steering wheel. With the addition of Dev Pack's lighter internals it is allowed for 6.2-liter V8 to jump and barks with even greater finesse.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Paris 2010: 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS comes on strong

2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS

The 2012 Mercedes CLS is the second act of the car that invented both the market segment and the grammatical quandary known as the "four-door coupe." Made dramatically more bold for this go-round, it features an upright grille that flows back into a rump that disappears in photos but holds its own in person. The new sedan is also lighter, with aluminum doors that are 52 pounds less heavy and an aluminum hood, front fenders, trunk lid and parcel shelf.

Along with the design, the engines are the story. There will be four available, starting with two 3.5-liter V6 engines in Europe. One is a 265-horsepower diesel engine and the other a 306-hp gas V6 with standard stop/start. Next comes the 2.5-liter four-cylinder diesel with 204 hp, and last to arrive is the V8 CLS 550 putting out 402 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque.

LED High Performance Active Headlights, Direct-Steer electromechanical steering, a tweaked suspension lifted from the E-Class, and a host of interior trim options that range from carbon fiber to high gloss brown burl walnut are among the many changes on the car.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Frankfurt 2009: Mercedes-Benz F-Cell

Mercedes-Benz F-Cell

As promised, Mercedes-Benz trotted its hydrogen fuel cell-powered F-Cell in front of the crowds at the Frankfurt Motor Show, and we were on hand to snap off a series of images. It's easy to spot the B-Class sheetmetal and underpinnings of the compact hatch, which goes to show how well the German automaker was able to integrate its space-age hydrogen drivetrain.

A 100 kW electric motor provides motive force to the front wheels, and MB claims the F-Cell will have similar performance to a 2.0 liter gas engine while returning the equivalent of 86.6 mpg on the European combined cycle. Mercedes has promised to begin leasing its new hydrogen-powered five-door hatchback in early 2010, and it's reportedly coming to America to fulfill all our zero-emission fantasies. Now, if we could just get that pesky hydrogen infrastructure problem sorted out...

Frankfurt 2009:Mercedes E63 AMG wagon

Mercedes E63 AMG wagon

The most pressing things we have to say about the 2010 Mercedes E63 AMG Wagon here at the Frankfurt Motor Show have nothing to do with the wagon. On the car itself, everything about it makes us go "Hot!" It's got 525 hp and 464 lb-ft from AMG's well known naturally aspirated 6.3-liter V8, it's got badass written in every body panel, and it's got the room and undercover cred of a wagon. It is also most tasteful inside, the carbon fiber trim playing its beautifully woven support notes for the cream interior.


Affalterbach – Pole position for the new E 63 AMG Estate: the high-performance estate develops 386 kW/525 hp, accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.6 seconds, offers a maximum luggage compartment capacity of 1950 litres – all with a relatively low fuel consumption of 12.8 litres per 100 km (combined, provisional figures). With these dream figures, the new E 63 AMG Estate adds up to an extraordinary combination of driving dynamics, high utility value and superb efficiency.

The top-of-the-line E-Class not only features its distinctive styling but also the all-new AMG RIDE CONTROL sports suspension including electronically controlled damping system and a new front axle. A composite ceramic braking system is available for the first time for the E 63 AMG Estate. The unrivalled combination of groundbreaking driver assistance systems raises the bar in terms of active and passive safety in this vehicle class.

Largest luggage compartment and lowest fuel consumption – the E 63 AMGEstate sets new standards. With a luggage compartment capacity of 695 to 1950 litres and fuel consumption of 12.8 litres Super Plus per 100 kilometres (NEDC combined), the new high-performance estate from AMGstands on pole position. None of its rivals can match this extraordinary combination of performance, utility value and efficiency. The AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine with its 386 kW/525 hp develops 8 kW/11 hp more than the previous model, yet betters its fuel consumption figures by almost twelve percent.
This improvement was achieved thanks to a whole raft of efficiency-enhancing measures. The on-demand delivery of fuel and generator management with recuperation of braking energy on the overrun has helped reduce fuel consumption, just like the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission: a wet start-up clutch that runs in an oil bath replaces the conventional torque converter, while the even more fuel-efficient driving mode "Controlled Efficiency" utilises early upshifts to keep engine speeds as low as possible.

The new E 63 AMGEstate delivers a compelling proposition with its two fundamentally opposed traits: it masters the sedate driving of an executive estate suitable for long journeys just as consummately as the enormously dynamic manoeuvres on the racetrack. The AMG high-revving, naturally aspirated engine with a displacement of 6208 cc and 630 Nm of torque impresses with its agile responsiveness, muscular power delivery and great flexibility. The E 63 AMG Estate reaches 100 km/h in just 4.6 seconds, with a top speed of 250 km/h (electronically limited). The newly composed V8 sound is a thrilling accompaniment for mile after mile, while the smooth-running engine guarantees typical Mercedes ride comfort. A newly designed water cooling system ensures maximum endurance even under enormous stresses.

Key data at a glance:

E 63 AMG Estate*
Cylinder arrangement/
valves per cylinder
6208 cc
Bore x stroke
102.2 x 94.6 mm
386 kW/525 hp at 6800 rpm
Max. torque
630 Nm at 5200 rpm
Fuel consumption NEDC combined
12.8 l/100 km
CO2 emissions
299 g/km
Acceleration 0 - 100 km/h
4.6 s
Top speed
250 km/h**
* provisional figures; ** electronically limited

The AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission meets the driver's most disparate requirements: the transmission is equipped with four drive modes: "C" (Controlled Efficiency), "S" (Sport), "S+" (Sport plus) and "M" (Manual), which can be selected using a rotary electronic switch in the AMG DRIVE UNIT. In the even more fuel-efficient drive mode Controlled Efficiency, the transmission shifts the gears decidedly smoothly, and the transmission control unit is programmed to perform early upshifts to keep engine speeds as low as possible.

In Sport plus and Manual modes, the 7-speed sports transmission allows gearshifts to be performed in 100 milliseconds. Partial suppression of individual cylinders by interrupting ignition and injection briefly during gearshifts under full load leads to considerably faster shift times. Fast, spontaneous multiple downshifts ensure first-class agility in conjunction with the double-declutching and RACE START function: this enables the E 63 AMG driver to call on the maximum acceleration potential automatically.

Driving dynamics and ride comfort – the E 63 AMG Estate delivers on both counts
Like the engine and power transfer, the newly developed AMG RIDE CONTROL sports suspension offers the ultimate in individuality. Outstanding driving dynamics and typical Mercedes long-distance comfort go together as an optimum synthesis in the E 63 AMG Estate. While new steel spring struts are used on the front axle, the rear suspension features AMG-specific air springs. The advantage of this solution is that the front steel springs ensure more sensitive responses while the rear air struts with their automatic level control system keep the vehicle at a constant height irrespective of the load.
A new, electronically controlled damping system automatically varies the damping characteristics according to the driving situation, reducing the roll angle of the body. The result is instant modification to provide the best possible ride comfort
together with the greatest possible agility. In addition the driver is able to choose between the three suspension modes of Comfort, Sport and Sport plus at the touch of a button. The E 63 AMGEstate is also equipped with a newly developed, dedicated front axle with a 56-millimetre wider track, a tubular stabiliser, new control arms, new elastokinematics and new hub carriers for more negative camber – thereby providing more grip when taking bends at speed. This is a highly sophisticated axle design whose principle has already proved its worth in the C 63 AMG Estate. The rear axle likewise has more negative camber, optimised elastokine-matics and a new subframe mounting for greater stability at the physical limits.

Newly developed power steering and individual 3-stage ESP®
A more direct steering feel comes courtesy of the all-new speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion steering. The steering ratio of 14 : 1 is 22 percent more direct than in the standard production models, while a more rigid steering column plus the reconfigured characteristic mapping of the speed-sensitive servo assistance ensure better steering precision and improved road contact.
The 3-stage ESP® familiar from the SL 63 AMG and C 63 AMG enables individual settings to be selected – with clear benefits in terms of driving pleasure. The ESP® button in the AMG DRIVE UNIT allows the driver to choose between "ESP ON", "ESP SPORT" and "ESP OFF" – with the currently active mode shown in the central display of the instrument cluster. Perfect deceleration even when driving extremely briskly is ensured by the AMGhigh-performance braking system with 360-millimetre, internally ventilated and perforated brake discs all-round. Particularly resistant, motorsports-tested composite technology is used at the front axle. The newly developed, optional ceramic composite brakes with larger brake discs guarantee even better brake performance and a longer service life. The ceramic brake discs will perform reliably at even higher operating temperatures thanks to their greater hardness, all combined with an impressive weight reduction of around 40 percent. The reduced unsprung masses translate into even more agile handling, particularly on fast motorway bends.

Optimum grip is ensured by the 18-inch, titanium grey, high-sheen AMG five-spoke light-alloy wheels with a width of nine and 9.5 inches and mixed tyre sizes of 255/40 R 18 at the front and 285/35 R 18 at the rear. Lightweight, forged 19‑inch AMG light-alloy wheels with size 255/35 R 19 tyres at the front and 285/30 R 19 at the rear are also available as an option.

AMG bodystyling and wider front wings
The newly developed front axle with its wider track calls for wings that are
17 mm wider. The stylish integrated "6.3 AMG" lettering leaves the connoisseur in no doubt about the unique credentials of the high-performance estate. The AMG bodystyling also includes a front apron with large cooling air intakes, air outlets at the side and the AMG-specific LED daytime driving lights. In conjunction with the optional Intelligent Light System (ILS), the E 63 AMG Estate is equipped with tinted main headlamps. The side skirts and the rear apron with its black insert also guarantee the car's striking looks. Both styling features combine effortlessly with the graceful line that follows the rear wheel arches and lends a clear shape to the imposing, muscular contours of the rear wings. The standard specification includes ultra-fast LED tail lights and direction indicators. To create a lasting impression – on the eye and the ear – the sports exhaust system has two newly designed, chrome-plated twin tailpipes.

Luggage compartment with the largest capacity and great practicality
Thanks to the wheelbase that has been enlarged by 20 millimetres, the E 63 AMGEstate not only offers better ride comfort but also more space and luggage compartment capacity than the previous model. With its capacity of 695 to 1950 litres, the luggage compartment is not only larger than before but also leaves the competition standing when it comes to the essential luggage compartment dimensions and capacity. This highly practical concept paves the way for numerous options for transporting sports equipment, holiday luggage or high-quality designer furniture.

Standard equipment for the E 63 AMG Estate includes the main components of the EASY-PACK system such as the folding load compartment floor with two loading levels and collapsible crate, the load compartment cover, quickfold to fold down the 1/3:2/3-split rear backrest easily and the EASY-PACK tailgate, which can be opened and closed electrically.

Interior with sporty feel-good atmosphere
The newly designed interior of the high-performance estate is an exciting blend of high-grade materials and functional sportiness. Exclusive features include the dedicated, electrically adjustable sports seats with improved lateral support and the sports steering wheel in a four-spoke design with aluminium shift paddles. The AMG DRIVE UNIT provides adjustments for the MCT sports transmission, the 3-stage ESP®, the suspension set-up and the AMG drive modes. The E-SELECT selector lever in the centre console is a completely new feature for the DRIVE UNIT. The driver can shift directly between R, N and D simply by nudging the lever, all thanks to drive-by-wire; the parking lock P can be selected conveniently by pressing a button. Standard equipment also includes high-grade leather upholstery in three different colours, the AMG instrument cluster with an AMG main menu as well as the door entry sills with AMG lettering and a sports pedal cluster – both in brushed stainless steel.

Optional extras from the AMG Performance Studio are also available ex factory:
  • Lightweight, forged 19-inch AMG light-alloy wheels with size 255/35 R 19
    tyres at the front and 285/30 R 19 at the rear
  • AMG composite ceramic braking system
  • Brake callipers, painted red
  • Rear axle locking differential with 40 percent locking action
  • AMG Performance steering wheel in a three-spoke design with Alcantara® inserts in the grip areas
  • AMG carbon-fibre trim elements
  • Illuminated AMG door entry sills
  • AMG Driver's Package (top speed increased to 280 km/h, attendance at driver training at the AMGDrivingAcademy)
  • AMG floor mats
Other optional extras include:
  • AMG Exclusive package: nappa leather for seat upholstery, top section of the dashboard, beltline, armrests on the doors as well as the centre console and door centre panels. Roof liner with sun visors and A, B and C-pillars in Alcantara®, AMG floor mats
  • designo range: ten colours and nine leather upholstery options
  • EASY-PACK load securing rails to secure the cargo incl. EASY-PACKload
    sill guard
  • Driving Assistance package
  • KEYLESS-GO package
  • Media interface
  • Reversing camera for PARKTRONIC
  • Surround sound system
Active and passive safety at a new level
Just like the E 63 AMG Saloon the new AMG Estate meets the very highest expectations with respect to active and passive safety. Standard features include the new drowsiness detection system ATTENTION ASSIST, the unique anticipatory occupant protection system PRE-SAFE®, seven airbags and crash-responsive NECK-PRO head restraints. On request the safety features can be brought to a level unprecedented in this vehicle class with the Lane Keeping Assist and Blind Spot Assist systems, the PRE-SAFE® Brake with an automatic emergency braking function, Adaptive Highbeam Assist, Night View Assist and Speed Limit Assist.

The market launch of the new E 63 AMG Estate is scheduled for February 2010.

Frankfurt 2009: Brabus E V12 Black Baron

Brabus E V12 Black Baron

Fancy yourself as a real-life Bruce Wayne with the financial wherewithal to match? Have we got a workaday sedan for you. German tunemeisters Brabus have just lifted the sheet off their new E V12 Black Baron sedan, although we almost didn't notice, as the matte-black ├╝berBenz swallows all beams of light that dare go near its carbon fiber flanks.

Packing a twin-turbo'd 6.3-liter V12, this one-of-ten wonder spits out a tidy 800 horsepower and 1,047 pound-feet of torque (no, that's not a typo). So equipped, Brabus says the demon tweaked E-Class will lunge to 62 mph in 3.7 seconds and hit 124 mph in a sliver under ten ticks. Thanks to the axe murderer of a powerplant underhood and the aerodynamic-at-all-costs design, the Black Baron will reportedly top out at 230 mph – and when operated at saner speeds, it still manages to return 15 mpg. Won't your neighbors be pleased.

What price for Gotham glory? Check out our high-res gallery below and then check with your financial adviser about cutting a slush fund check for $875,000.

[Source: Brabus]


Brabus has unveiled the limited edition E V12 sedan, "The Black Baron".

Based on the new 2010 Mercedes E-Class W 212, the E V12 features a 6.0-liter V12 biturbo bored out to 6.3-liters producing 800 hp and 1420 Nm of torque (it's electronically limited to 1,100 Nm). While details are limited, Brabus outfitted the engine with a ram-air system, a quad-exhaust, and revised engine electronics.

To keep the beast under control, the company added a fully adjustable sports suspension, new stabilizers, a high performance braking system, and black 19-inch alloy wheels outfitted with 255/35 (front) and 285/35 (rear) tires.

In terms of styling, Brabus made major modifications to improve aerodynamics, engine ventilation, and brake cooling. Changes include a revised front bumper, new front quarter panels, aggressive side sills, and rear wheel covers. Out back, the car features a trunk-mounted spoiler and a carbon fiber rear diffuser.

Thanks to all these tweaks, the E V12 rockets from 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in 3.7 seconds, 0-200 km/h (124 mph) in 9.9 seconds, and 0-300 km/h (186 mph) in 23.9 seconds. If you keep your foot planted, the car will eventually top out at an electronically limited 350 km/h (217 mph). Without the limiter, Brabus estimates the car can hit a top speed in excess of 370 km/h (230 mph). Fuel consumption is rated at 15.7L/100km (15 mpg), while CO2 emissions are 372 g/km.

Inside, the car features black leather upholstery, an Alcantara headliner, carbon fiber trim, and a 400 km/h (249 mph) speedometer.

Production will be limited to ten units, and prices start at €600,000 ($875,000 USD).

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Frankfurt 2009: Mercedes-Benz S500 Vision Plug-in Hybrid

Mercedes-Benz S500 Vision Plug-in Hybrid

Mercedes is working to complete the circle, combining the frugality of its smallest A- and B-Class offerings with the luxury of its S-Class offerings. For the U.S. the S400 Hybrid began the earnest trek down that road, followed by the announcement of the four-cylinder S-Class, and at Frankfurt, Mercedes has introduced the S500 Vision Plug-in Hybrid concept. The home of the pointed star sees it as putting "the luxury class on the road to the three-liter car."

The S500 Vision Plug-in uses the same basic components as the S400 Hybrid: a 3.5-liter V6 mated to a battery. The larger capacity lithium-ion cell with an additional internal clutch is moved to the S500's trunk and is said to be good for 30 km (19.2 miles) of electric-only driving. Daimler CEO Zetsche admits there's a long way to go before the car goes on sale, but for now it promises a 5.5-second 0-to-60 and 3.2 liters-100 km. The new luxury will still stink of money, and of fresh air as well...


Near series-production S-Class technology vehicle with plug-in hybrid - Mercedes-Benz Vision S 500 Plug-in HYBRID: The luxury class on the road to the three-litre car

Shortly after the successful market launch of the S 400 HYBRID, currently the most fuel-efficient luxury-segment saloon with a petrol engine, Mercedes-Benz will be presenting the first "three-litre car" in the premium class - the Vision S 500 Plug-in HYBRID - at the 63rd IAA in Frankfurt. The technology vehicle will display the future of Mercedes-Benz' modular set of hybrid systems. The Vision S 500 Plug-in HYBRID can drive for up to 30 kilometres solely on electricity and therefore without producing any local emissions. The efficient drive system combined with the CO2 bonus for the battery-electric driving mode enables the vehicle to achieve a certified consumption of only 3.2 litres of petrol per 100 kilometres. With CO2 emissions of only 74 grams per kilometre in the NEDC (New European Driving Cycle), the experimental vehicle developed in Sindelfingen demonstrates the long-term viability of future S‑Class generations. The outstanding values are made possible by the combination of a plug-in hybrid with the efficiency-boosting BlueEFFICIENCY measures. At the same time, the Vision S 500 Plug-in HYBRID has all of the strengths that are typical of the S‑Class: top comfort, outstanding safety and masterful performance. The drive system in the concept car consists of three main components: a powerful V6 petrol engine with a next-generation direct injection system, a 44 kW/60 hp hybrid module and a lithium-ion battery with more than 10 kWh of storage capacity that can be recharged at charging stations. The Vision S 500 Plug-in HYBRID accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.5 seconds.

"The Vision 500 Plug-in HYBRID is a new milestone on our path toward zero-emission mobility," says Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. "It is a luxurious and safe S‑Class that offers superior driving performance while at the same time consuming less fuel than current compacts. All of this shows that our top models will also be able to combine automotive fascination with responsibility for the environment."

"Although it will take some time before this model can go into series production, our engineers will be working full steam to carry out the necessary integration measures and ensure that all components can meet the tough everyday demands required of a luxury long-distance saloon," says Dr. Thomas Weber, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG with responsibility for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. "We already have all the key technology we need for such a dream car, which is why I see it being included in the next generation of the S‑Class. The important thing now is that our development work be accompanied by the establishment of a full-coverage infrastructure that will allow the potential of this innovative drive system to be fully exploited."

The electrical drive components of the Vision S 500 Plug-in HYBRID demonstrate the versatility of Mercedes-Benz' intelligently organised set of hybrid systems, which has a widely scalable range of performance. The hybrid module's design does not differ much from the compact, disc-shaped 15-kW electric motor of the S 400 HYBRID, even though it is three times as powerful. As a result, the hybrid module can be elegantly incorporated into the housing of the 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission, allowing this model variant as well as the S 400 HYBRID to retain the S‑Class' spacious interior. Future model generations will orient themselves on this system architecture.

Vision S 500 Plug-in HYBRID: Compact full hybrid system architecture
Whereas the extremely compact lithium-ion battery in the S 400 HYBRID (0.9 kWh) can be housed in the vehicle's engine compartment, the significantly higher-performing lithium-ion unit in the Vision S 500 Plug-in HYBRID (over 10 kWh) requires more installation space. The battery is located behind the rear seats in the boot. The lithium-ion battery's location above the rear axle provides crucial benefits, since it ensures that the vehicle has a balanced weight distribution and that the petrol tank remains adequate for long-distance cruising. In addition, the protected position of the tank ensures it is as safe as possible during crashes.

Additional clutch decouples the hybrid module and combustion engine
In accordance with the modular concept, the powertrain design for the Vision S 500 Plug-in HYBRID is basically the same as that for the S 400 HYBRID. One system-specific attribute is the presence of an additional clutch integrated between the combustion engine and the electric motor. This device decouples the two components in the pure electric drive mode, thereby ensuring the highest level of efficiency in the latter. Moreover, because it is fully integrated into the vehicle's converter housing, the clutch does not take up any additional space.

Electrical outlet as a filling station: Powerful plug-in battery
Another key difference between the S 500 Plug-in HYBRID and conventional hybrids involves the plug-in battery, which can be charged at charging stations, thereby enabling the S 500 Plug-in HYBRID to travel up to 30 kilometres on electric power. The rapid charge cycle takes less than 60 minutes with a charging capactiy of 20 kW. A standard charge cycle at a conventional household socket with 3.3 kW takes about four-and-a-half hours to recharge a completely discharged battery.
The model is also equipped with a compact onboard charger: Housed behind the side boot wall, this unit controls the recharging process and is protected against short circuits, voltage reversal, and voltage surges. The charging system also protects the battery by monitoring voltage, the charging level and charging time. The total weight of the electrical components in the current experimental vehicle is 215 kilograms, whereby the lithium-ion battery weighs approximately 130 kg. That's much less than a conventional NiMH battery with the same capacity, as the weight of such batteries ranges from 180 - 200 kg.

The vehicle's hybrid module also provides additional energy when the car is in motion through regenerative braking - the recovery of energy when braking. Here, the clutch enhances efficiency as well, as it enables complete energy regeneration without engine drag losses.

Range of up to 30 kilometres with all-electric driving
The high-performance battery and the 44 kW/60 hp hybrid module enable the vehicle to drive up to 30 kilometres purely on electricity. That is completely sufficient for many trips within cities, where the Vision S 500 Plug-in HYBRID is quick and very comfortable without producing any local emissions. The petrol engine automatically adds its power to that of the electric motor when travelling at high speeds or driving up steep inclines. Before closing the clutch in such cases, the vehicle electronics synchronises the engine speed with the hybrid module's rotational speed so that the engine is activated extremely smoothly without the driver noticing.

What's more, the hybrid module's sophisticated interplay with the combustion engine enables numerous additional functions that positively impact fuel consumption, emissions and vehicle agility. Like the system employed in the S 400 HYBRID, the hybrid module in the Vision S 500 Plug-in HYBRID also comes with the ECO start/stop function. This feature also enhances safety and driving pleasure because of its boost effect, which has the electric motor providing powerful support to the combustion engine during the high-consumption acceleration phase. This system has already proved its practical viability in a slightly different configuration in the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.

Extensive electronic safety and control components
The lithium-ion battery not only serves as an energy storage device for the electric motor in the S 500 Plug-in HYBRID; it is also linked via a DC-DC converter to the 12-volt on-board network, which provides power to standard consumers such as the headlamps and various comfort devices. To ensure a consistently high level of electrical efficiency, the voltage transformers are water-cooled via an additional low-temperature circuit.

Special power electronics are required for operating the three-phase AC electric motor in the high-voltage direct current grid, and the inverter for this task is housed in the engine compartment. Because the power electronics system itself is heated by the electric current thus created, it too is integrated into the low-temperature cooling circuit. Mercedes-Benz employs standardised components for the power electronics system as well, enabling them to be efficiently combined with different electric motors and battery types across all model series.

On the road to plug-in hybrids: Diesel-hybrid concepts
An important milestone on the road to plug-in hybrids is the recently unveiled Vision E 300 BlueTEC HYBRID diesel hybrid. Like the S 400 HYBRID and the Vision S 500 Plug-in HYBRID, it is based on the Mercedes-Benz modular hybrid concept. This near-series vehicle study combines a new 2.2-litre, four-cylinder diesel engine with the 15 kW/20 hp hybrid module that is also used in the S 400 HYBRID, but which here also enables pure electric driving. This drive system configuration enables the Vision E 300 BlueTEC HYBRID to travel 100 km on only 4.5 litres of fuel (preliminary value). This corresponds to CO2 emissions of 119 grams per kilometre with an output of 165 kW/224 hp and superior torque of 580 - 600 newtonmetres (combined in both cases), more or less the same performance as today's six-cylinder diesel engines. Exhaust gas treatment is handled by the combination of an oxidizing catalytic converter, a diesel particulate filter and BlueTEC mit AdBlue® injection. The Vision E 300 BlueTEC HYBRID thus also has the potential to meet the world's most stringent emission standards.

Vision S 500 Plug-in HYBRID - Technical data
Combustion engine (petrol)
No. of cylinders/arrangement:
V6, 4 valves per cylinder
3.5 l
Hybrid module
Permanently excited synchronous machine
Rated output:
approx. 44 kW/60 PS
Rated torque:
250 Nm
Performance and fuel consumption
Acceleration 0-100 km/h:
5.5 s*
Top speed:
250 km/h
Fuel consumption:
3.2 l/100 km (combined)*
CO2 emissions:
74 g/km (combined):
*preliminary values

Frankfurt 2009: 2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Wagon

 2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Wagon

More wagons! More wagons! That's sort of the unspoken mantra of us American auto journo types. And honestly, after a day spent wandering the streets of Frankfurt and seeing over a dozen Alfa Romeo 156 Sportwagens, our chant grows even stronger. Sadly, it seems that most European automakers prefer seeing us twisting in existential pain and totally ignore the US market vis-a-vis wagons. Except for Mercedes-Benz and their quite fetching all-new E-Class Wagon.

As of right now, M-B is only bringing over the E350 4MATIC Wagon that develops 258 hp from a 3.5-liter V6. But you can bet your carbon offset credits we'll eventually see one of them hot roddy 6.2-liter AMG V8s pushing out well over 500 hp before too long. Probably mostly in a Brentwood elementary school parking lot, but still. As for now, relish the fact a new European wagon is coming our way.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Frankfurt 2009: Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG is intended to redress the awkwardness – and low volumes – of the McLaren Mercedes SLR. Based on a first look at it, the supercoupe's chances are very good. That door handle is down by one's shins, but overcome that low hurdle and the reward is a cozy trip to the Sixties with millennial ergonomics.

For all that bonnet, the 6.3-liter 571 horsepower engine is shoved way, way back, good for a 47/53 weight distribution. It'll do the business to 62 mph in 3.8 seconds, and has a good chance of making you feel like quite the champ while doing it. Speaking of looking good, the carbon rotors and yellow calipers promise to look awesome at a standstill and on the trot. And with the updated interior, you won't have to drive with the doors up to stay cool in this gullwing, unlike the Sixties original.


The new gull-wing model from Mercedes-Benz

Automotive fascination and high tech of the highest order - these are the characteristics embodied by the new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. The super sports car boasts a purist design, consistent lightweight design, superior driving dynamics and exemplary safety.

The new super sports car from Mercedes-Benz and AMG dazzles with its unparalleled technology package: an aluminium space-frame bodyshell with gull-wing doors; an AMG 6.3-litre, front-mid V8 engine with 420 kW/571 hp peak output, 650 Nm of torque, and dry sump lubrication; seven-speed dual-clutch transmission in a transaxle configuration; and sports suspension with aluminium double-wishbones. It's a unique combination that guarantees supreme driving dynamics. The car's ideal weight distribution between the front and rear axles (47 to 53 percent respectively), its low centre of gravity and DIN kerb weight of 1,620 kilograms emphasize the outstanding sports car concept. The gull-wing model accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.8 seconds and has a top speed of 317 km/h (electronically limited). The fuel consumption of 13.2 litres per 100 kilometres (combined) is best-in-class (all values provisional).

Design: Purist, distinctive, and passionate
The purist design of the new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG dazzles with its passionate sportiness and reinterprets the breathtaking design of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL. The stylistic highlight is without a doubt the gull-wing doors, which impart the SLS AMG with incomparable charisma. The long bonnet, the low greenhouse positioned far back, and the short rear with the extendable rear spoiler symbolise dynamics, as do the long wheelbase, the wide track, and the large wheels. It is not just the gull-wing doors that awaken reminiscences of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL. The wide radiator grille with the large Mercedes star, the wing-like cross fin on the bonnet and the vehicle flanks are also reminiscent of the legendary sports car.

Aviation engineering provided the inspiration to the Mercedes-Benz designers for the interior. The characteristic styling feature is the dashboard, whose powerful and dramatic wing-shape makes for an impression of width. The four prominent dashboard air vents with their adjustable, cruciform nozzles are reminiscent of a jet's engines. The elongated centre console made of solid matt metal also takes up the plane cockpit theme. Among other things, the centre console incorporates the AMG DRIVE UNIT, which enables SLS owners to customise their vehicle set-up. The AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed sports transmission is operated by means of the E-SELECT lever, which resembles a jet's thrust control. Despite the low seating position typical of a sports car, the wide opening gull-wing doors ensure easy entry and exit. The gull-wing doors require less room to open than do conventional coupe doors and can be completely opened in standard sized garages.

Aluminium space frame for light weight and highest strength
The SLS is taking a new approach in its body concept. For the first time ever, Mercedes-Benz and AMG are presenting an automobile, whose chassis and body are made of aluminium. This leads to significant weight savings compared to the traditional steel construction, as shown by the car's DIN kerb weight of only 1,620 kilograms. The newly developed aluminium space-frame bodyshell combines intelligent, lightweight design with high strength - and thus benefits the excellent handling dynamics. The aluminium space frame is 45 per cent aluminium profiles, 31 per cent aluminium panelling, 20 per cent cast aluminium and four per cent steel. The use of ultra high-tensile, hot-rolled steel in the
A-pillars provides a further increase in occupant safety. The shell weighs 241 kilograms - an absolute peak value in the super sports car segment. The highest possible degree of passive safety is guaranteed for the occupants by the vehicle's standard equipment, which includes three-point seatbelts, seat-belt tensioners, belt force limiters, and eight airbags.

Further-developed AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine with an output of 420 kW/571 hp
The heart of the SLS is a powerful eight-cylinder engine with dry sump lubrication. The AMG 6.3-litre V8 produces 420 kW/571 hp at 6,800 rpm and develops a maximum torque of 650 Nm at 4,750 rpm. The SLS accelerates from
0 to 100 km/h in 3.8 seconds and has an electronically limited top speed of
317 km/h (all figures are preliminary). The SLS AMG consumes 13.2 litres per 100 kilometres (combined, preliminary figure). Efficiency-enhancement measures include not only the LDS cylinder bore linings but also a need-based fuel delivery and the recovery of braking energy.

The AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine delivers its power to the rear axle via a dual-clutch transmission permanently connected to the engine housing via a torque tube. A carbon shaft rotates at engine speed inside the torque tube. Power transfer is via the new AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT seven-speed sports transmission. This dual-clutch transmission boasts fast gear changes with no interruption of tractive force and offers four driving modes. The mechanical differential lock guarantees optimum traction.

Sophisticated chassis layout with double-wishbone suspension
All four wheels are guided on dual A-arms with track rod. The A-arms, the steering knuckles and hub carriers at the front and rear axles are made of aluminium. The gull-wing model comes with a 3-stage ESP® as standard. The AMG high-performance brake system with composite brake discs on the front axle ensures short braking distances. Even better braking performance is offered by the optional ceramic-composite brake system. Weight-optimised AMG light alloy wheels in accordance with the new, innovative flow-forming principle, 9.5 x 19 inches at the front, and 11.0 x 20 inch at the rear, are fitted with 265/35 R 19 tyres up front and 295/30 R 20 tyres at the rear.

The reinterpretation of the gull-wing model will celebrate its market launch in spring 2010. The price will be 177,310 euros (incl. 19% VAT).

New gull-wing model with purely electric high-tech drive system

The electric Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG concept car - the exciting future of the super sports car

Affalterbach - Mercedes AMG is paving the way ahead. In the form of the new SLS AMG with electric drive, the performance brand within Mercedes-Benz Cars is developing an exciting super sports car with a zero-emission high-tech drive system. With this model, Mercedes-Benz and AMG are displaying their expertise in the development of alternative drive solutions for high-performance super sports cars, delivering further proof of their pioneering status in this market segment.

The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG with electric drive transforms the vision of powerful and locally emission-free super sports cars into reality thanks to an innovative drive system. Powerful forward thrust is provided by four electric motors with a combined peak output of 392 kW and a maximum torque of 880 Nm. The four electric motors are positioned near the wheels, substantially reducing the unsprung masses compared to wheel-hub motors. One transmission per axle transmits the power. This intelligent all-wheel drive system allows dynamically optimised power transmission without any losses by means of torque vectoring - in other words the specific, targeted acceleration of individual wheels. In its first, pilot phase, the SLS AMG with electric drive incorporates a liquid-cooled, high-voltage lithium-ion battery of modular design with an energy content of 48 kWh and a capacity of 40 Ah. The 400-volt battery is charged by means of targeted regeneration during braking whilst the car is being driven.

Acceleration from zero to 100 km/h in around 4 seconds
When it comes to dynamics, the electrically driven SLS AMG delivers an unequivocal statement: The gull-wing model accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in around 4 seconds, putting it on the same high level as the SLS AMG with a 6.3-litre V8 engine developing 420 kW/571 hp.

"With the SLS AMG with electric drive, we wanted to redefine the super sports car. For us, it is not just an issue of responsibility. We attach just as much importance to fascination and classic AMG performance," says Volker Mornhinweg, Chief Executive Officer of Mercedes-AMG GmbH.

Optimal weight distribution and low centre of gravity
The purely electric drive system was factored into the equation as early as the concept phase when the new gull-wing model was being developed by Mercedes-Benz and AMG. It is ideally packaged for the integration of high-performance, zero-emission technology. By way of example, the four electric motors and the two transmissions can be positioned near the wheels and very low down in the vehicle. The same applies to the modular high-current battery, whose modules are located in front of the bulkhead, in the centre tunnel and behind the seats. Advantages of this solution include the vehicle's low centre of gravity and the balanced weight distribution - ideal conditions for optimum handling, which the electrically powered SLS AMG shares with its petrol-driven sister model.

Key data at a glance: Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG with electric drive
Peak output 392 kW
Torque 880 Nm
0-100 km/h Approx. 4 sec.
Rated capacity 40 Ah (at 400 V)
Energy content 3x 16 kWh = 48 kWh

The installation of the drive components required no changes whatsoever to the gull-wing model's aluminium space-frame bodyshell. And there were just as few constraints when it came to maintaining the excellent level of passive safety and high degree of long-distance comfort that are hallmarks of Mercedes cars.

Strategic alliance for fast electrification of the car
With the electrically powered SLS AMG, Mercedes-Benz and AMG are continuing to pursue their aim of minimizing the amount of time it will take to bring about the electrification of the car. The strategic involvement in Deutsche Accumotive GmbH & Co. KG, a joint venture between Daimler AG and Evonik Industries AG, will provide the battery technology required in future. Daimler has the leading role in this joint venture, whose mission is to develop and produce batteries and battery systems for automotive applications