By on February 21, 2017

mercedes-benz logo

If Mercedes-Benz dealers manage to overhaul their stores to the brand’s updated “Autohaus2” image standards, the locations can forget about additional modifications until after 2024.

The German automaker’s promise to leave dealerships alone is abnormal, and comes after the second generation of its controversial Autohaus standard established — to the chagrin of dealerships — in 2008. Much of Mercedes’ salesforce objected to the mandatory image alterations, similarly to how Cadillac’s dealer network has responded to that brand’s Project Pinnacle.

Hoping to ease tensions as showrooms adhere to the new status quo, the 2024 pledge provides all sides with a reprieve. The Autohaus2 plan, and subsequent dealer amnesty, was penned under former Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Steve Cannon, though the company’s current North American boss, Dietmar Exler, also supports it.  (Read More…)

By on February 21, 2017

2017 Mercedes-AMG C63 S Sedan at Sebring, Image: © 2017 Jack Baruth

When Mercedes-Benz brought the W201 platform here as the somewhat oddly named 190E 2.3, it was immediately nicknamed the “baby Benz.” The successor to that car, yclept “C-Class” to fit precisely within Daimler-Benz’s new idiot-compatible nomenclature, became known as the “Cheap-Class” at Mercedes-Benz dealerships.

The car you see above, piloted by Danger Girl at Sebring International Raceway in what was not a violation of the Hertz Dream Cars rental agreement, is no longer baby-sized. Nor is it particularly cheap at the as-tested price of just over $74,000. So what is it, exactly?

Well, it’s absurdly powerful; the Pep-Boys-style block “S” at the end of the C63 badge indicates a full 503 horsepower from a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8. It’s remarkably well-equipped, although there are a few omissions about which one could gripe and I’ll discuss those below. It’s as competent as you’d expect, being the top-spec sedan version of a car that is surprisingly decent even in its poverty-spec, MB-Tex-equipped four-cylinder form.

Most of all, however, the 2017 Mercedes-AMG C63 S is a sharp reminder that AMG isn’t what it used to be, for better or for worse.

(Read More…)

By on February 2, 2017

2018 Mercedes-AMG E63 S Wagon

With Cadillac’s CTS-V Wagon dead and buried, unorthodox — yet highly practical — automotive enthusiasts have been at a severe disadvantage in North America. Europe always seems to have at least a couple overpowered “estate cars” while we’re left pretending that a compact four-door Golf R is a replacement for a tuned-up 5 Series Touring or RS6 Avant.

God bless Mercedes-Benz and AMG for understanding there are still some wealthy Americans that want to load a station wagon with a half-dozen pure bred Labradors or ten bolts of Egyptian cotton (or whatever rich people put in their cars) and drive it 180 mph down an expressway.

For that highly discerning clientele, the all-new 2018 Mercedes-AMG E63 S wagon will be arriving this autumn. (Read More…)

By on January 31, 2017

Car2Go Mercedes

Daimler AG’s Car2Go has been a great way for the company to dump Smart Fortwos on urban areas and turn a profit while the itty-bitty city car’s popularity wanes. However, with only the single small offering, Car2Go is the only vehicle-sharing service that forces subscribers to decide which of their two children will have to be left behind to fend for themselves every time they take a trip somewhere.

In response, Mercedes-Benz is providing its CLA and GLA to C2G’s North American fleet — reuniting families, allowing a week’s worth of grocery shopping in a single run, and making its service substantially more competitive with rival ZipCar. (Read More…)

By on January 27, 2017

mercedes aesthetics a

Mercedes-Benz is giving the world an artful taste of its next generation of compact cars with its “Aesthetics A” design study. The updated design adopts a rounded, flowing look without the complete abandonment of hard edges. Benz claims the new aesthetic is the evolution of the current “Sensual Purity” design’s organic and tapered shapes. Great marketing, but it just makes the next design philosophy sound less intricate and involved. It sounds a little boring, although we won’t know for sure until we see a finished car.

In the abstract, however, the study hints at the general shape of eight new compact models coming from Benz over the next three years. The new A-Class, B-Class, GLA, and CLA will all be touched by the less curvaceous styling identity, which includes an imposing grille. A new compact sedan will arrive to rival Audi’s A3, along with an additional crossover to serve as an alternative to the GLA. All of the vehicles will make use of Benz’s modular front architecture platform (MFA) and move closer to in shape to company’s larger sedans.
(Read More…)

By on January 20, 2017

2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE350, Image: © 2016 Steve Lynch/The Truth About Cars

Russia, the country where Shoviet Shub captain Sean Connery learned to fish, might be on the verge of a modest economic rebound.

After tanking hard in the wake of collapsing oil prices, the country’s rickety economic state prompted many automakers to abandon plans for production growth or pull up stakes altogether. General Motors was a noted casualty, though Lada sailed through the turmoil in fine shape.

Early last year, it seemed as if parent Daimler would head west instead of building a Mercedes plant in the Motherland. However, that’s no longer the case, according to the country’s trade and industry minister. (Read More…)

By on January 16, 2017

BMW X Models

Mercedes-Benz and BMW have more in common than just a bitter rivalry and the Fatherland — they both feel the need to get more crossover vehicles into North America.

Despite being known largely for their rich heritage of premium sedans and coupes, Bavaria’s Motoren Werke and Daimler’s Three-Pointed Star want to see utility vehicles replacing more of the cars they ship to the United States.

Last year, crossovers and SUVs comprised 42 percent of BMW’s sales in North America — an almost ten percent increase from 2015. Mercedes-Benz also saw an increase in truck sales. Sport utility vehicles now account for 47 percent of its passenger vehicle volume. However, both companies are anticipating a balanced ratio right around the corner.  (Read More…)

By on December 27, 2016

Mercedes-AMG CLA 45

How many small sedans from one manufacturer can the market handle?

That’s the question being asked in the wake of a report that claims Mercedes-Benz has a new small sedan planned for both overseas and North American markets. According to Autocar, the German automaker will soon debut an A-Class sedan to fill the narrow gap between the CLA and C-Class.

Low-end Mercedes buyers are about to be spoiled for choice. (Read More…)

By on December 15, 2016

Car2go

Bitter rivals Daimler AG and BMW are planning to combine their car-sharing services —Car2Go and DriveNow — to compete with North America’s Uber car service. The two must be desperate to make headway into the world of vehicle ownership alternatives if they are willing to cooperate on the project.

BMW famously avoided a Daimler-Benz takeover in 1959 by convincing nearly every employee to invest back into the company, thus avoiding both bankruptcy and being forced to join with their main competitor. More recently, Daimler offered BMW employees free admission to the Mercedes-Benz Museum for BMW’s 100th birthday, where they could learn “the complete history of the automobile.” (Read More…)

By on December 14, 2016

mercedes-benz-e400-coupe-2018-1

There isn’t an overabundance of luxury coupes on the market these days. It’s good to see the company that does them best is actually still doing them.

Occupying the wide middle ground between the S-Class and C-Class, the new E-Class has more in common with the latter model. Minus the badging, there would be a moment of difficulty telling the two apart. Eventually, you would conclude the new E-Class was subtly better in every conceivable way. It’s larger, more attractive, and sports a better engine than the C-Class — and avoids the massive fee commanded by the S-Class. (Read More…)

By on December 4, 2016

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2016

We have, perhaps unfairly, categorized German automakers as far more calculating and efficient than their American counterparts. While there is certainly a case to be made for this positive stereotyping, there are also plenty of examples calling this perceived Germanic precision into question. One such instance is the absolutely ridiculous lengths Mercedes-Benz have been going to avoid the chicken tax on its imported vans. (Read More…)

By on November 28, 2016

Jaguar straight 6 engine

As a parent of two young children, I watch a lot of movies at home. Most of the blockbuster movies I’ve watched this year are remakes. This month alone, I watched Ghostbusters, Star Trek Beyond, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. All three are part of franchises that died a decade (or more) ago and have been reborn successfully in 2016.

In the same way, inline-six engines have returned to Mercedes-Benz after nearly a 20 year hiatus in North America.

Why are straight six engines making a comeback?

(Read More…)

By on November 25, 2016

1979 Mercedes-Benz 450SLC 5.0 (C107), Image: Daimler

In 1978, Mercedes-Benz made the decision to expand its efforts in rally competition. But its choice of platform to enter into the World Rally Championship was, to say the least, unique.

At the time, the WRC was dominated by small sedans like the Fiat 131 Abarth and Ford Escort RS1800 — cars that finished first and second in the championship that year. Mercedes-Benz took a decidedly different route, as it had no small sporty sedan.

What it did have was a large, heavy and expensive personal luxury coupe in the C107 SLC. While the choice would seem unnatural, under the direction of Erich Waxenberger the premier 450SLC was prepared and developed over the next few seasons into a rally winner. (Read More…)

By on November 22, 2016

pepper spray dude

Daimler AG had to fire a top-level executive after he reportedly announced that all Chinese people were bastards and then pepper-sprayed one into submission. The incident, which took place on Sunday, began as an ugly dispute over a parking space before evolving into a small-scale race war.

(Read More…)

By on November 16, 2016

Mercedes-Benz Concept X-CLASS

Mercedes-Benz has decided against bringing its X-Class pickup to the U.S. market next year. However, this doesn’t mean we won’t eventually see the luxury truck hauling grand pianos and crystal chandeliers down American highways.

(Read More…)

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