Tag: mercedes

By on December 4, 2015

2011_Hyundai_Equus_--_12-29-2011

I was driving along the other day and I cozied up behind a Hyundai Equus, which is the finest luxury sedan ever manufactured, assuming that you a) work for Hyundai, or b) are a Korean diplomat. I personally think it is merely OK.

And here’s why I think it’s merely OK: the damn thing starts at $62,500 with shipping. Although I realize that’s a discount compared to a Lexus LS or a BMW 7 Series or a Mercedes S-Class, that’s still an enormous amount of money to pay for a Hyundai. I don’t care if the thing has a Baroque-era fountain in the middle of the back seat and a trunk full of precious metals: sixty-two grand is a lot of cash for a subtle design from an unproven luxury car company.

Most people apparently tend to agree with my point of view, because from what I’ve seen, the Equus sells about as well as tangerine-flavored dog food. Sure, there are a few buyers, but there are always a few buyers for anything, like the Suzuki X-90.

(Read More…)

By on November 30, 2015

2016 Audi S7 Exterior Front

Coupé-like styling is one of the biggest buzzwords at new car launch parties. Although this is more of a modern phenomenon, the root of the seemingly contradictory four-door coupé is older than you might think.

In 1962, Rover dropped the rear roofline on its P5 sedan and dared to call it a four-door coupé. In 2004, Mercedes picked up on this idea with the CLS-class Coupe. It was only a matter of time before Audi and BMW joined the party with the A7 and 6-Series Gran Coupé.

Now, many of you may say we already have a name for the four-door coupé. It’s a sedan. I agree with you. Audi isn’t entirely convinced by the “coupé” designation either, and they only dare mention it twice in the 62-page brochure. This means the S7 is a $12,000 styling exercise atop a tasty and more practical S6.

(Read More…)

By on November 23, 2015

2016 smart fortwo exterior-005

America loves big cars, big trucks and fat crossovers. If you doubt me, all you need to do is look at 2015’s top sellers. The top five vehicles account for 13 percent of all vehicles sold in the USA this year, and the smallest of the five is the Toyota Camry. Not so small. Check the top 20 list, and the smallest entry is the Corolla which has grown so large we would have called it “midsized” in the ’80s.

Today, we’re looking at a very different kind of car: the 2016 smart fortwo (yes, that’s all lower case for some reason), a car that is six feet shorter than the Corolla.

2008 was Smart’s best year in the USA with some 24,000 cheeky micro cars sold. Since then, sales haven’t been swift. Yearly sales numbers in the USA bounce between 5,000 and 14,000. Canadians, however, seem to love them. Sales volumes in the Great White North hover around half the US volume. Not impressed? The entire Canadian market’s sales numbers are “smart-sized” compared to the United States. Heck, Smart outsells Maserati in Canada. Could it be that, like nationalized healthcare, the Canadians are up to something good? Or, just like healthcare, is this a good idea somewhere else, just not in the USA?
(Read More…)

By on November 13, 2015

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I was driving around the other day, and I got passed by a mid-2000s Mercedes M-Class. If your brain doesn’t immediately pull up an image of this particular M-Class, I’m not sure how to describe it to you. Just think of a dull SUV with a Mercedes badge on the front.

I remember when this particular M-Class came out, back in 2006, because it was panned for including a column shifter. A lot of automotive journalists — and, frankly, vehicle owners — laughed at the idea that a modern luxury brand would use a column shifter, the mark of the full-size pickup in the 1980s.

“And now Mercedes is using one?” they would say. “Mercedes?! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!”

Then the journalists laughed and laughed, while Mercedes was simultaneously developing autonomous cars that would one day render these journalists useless.

(Read More…)

By on November 4, 2015

150624_Alfa-romeo_Giulia-Reveal_01

Alfa Romeo will delay two models critical to that brand’s comeback and will likely miss its ambitious sales target of 400,000 cars by 2018, according to Automotive News.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne said a weakened market in China forced the brand to reassess its sales target, which he initially set in 2014.

“I still think that Alfa belongs in China,” Marchionne said last week during the company’s announced third quarter earnings call, according to the Detroit Free Press. “The expectations of volumes out of the total pool of 400,000 cars by (2018) are, I think, given current market conditions, not achievable.” (Read More…)

By on November 3, 2015

MY16 Hyundai Tucson

Reuters reported Tuesday that Hyundai will spin off Genesis as a global premium brand to compete with German automakers such as BMW, Mercedes and Audi. The news agency quoted sources “close” to the company and said an announcement could come as early as Tuesday.

Hyundai didn’t comment on the report.

According to Reuters, Hyundai would launch Genesis with the Genesis sedan — and possibly coupe — and the Equus sedan. Genesis would add a mid-size SUV around 2019.

(Read More…)

By on October 30, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 1.14.47 PM

I recently had the chance to test out the “new” Volkswagen Passat, which is so new that the designers were explaining to a whole group of journalists how the position of the rear reflectors has changed compared to the outgoing model.

Actually, I kind of like the new Passat. It was impressive in a lot of ways, right down to the new touchscreen, which finally sees Volkswagen catching up to some of the technology and features rival models have been using for roughly five years. As I was driving it, I couldn’t help but think to myself: I like a good touchscreen.

What I don’t like is a knob.

It seems that these are our only choices in today’s infotainment world: a touchscreen or a knob. Some cars have touchscreens. Some cars have knobs. And given that basically every new car has an infotainment system, this is an important choice. Do you want to control your screen by touching it, like a smartphone? Or by moving around a controller located on the center console, like a computer?

(Read More…)

By on October 28, 2015

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Lexus took the wraps off its LS Concept in Tokyo on Tuesday to showcase the automaker’s big plans for its flagship sedan.

The car — which is about as long as a 1995 Cadillac DeVille Concours — boasts a hydrogen power plant to drive all of its wheels, an “advanced human interface” to recognize hand gestures, and a spindle grille the size of Rhode Island.

The concept shows the direction Lexus designers may take for its future full-size sedan, including floating L-shaped lights in front and back.  (Read More…)

By on October 26, 2015

Mercedes Autonomous Concept Tokyo 2015

Mercedes announced Monday that it would show a Vision Tokyo concept at the Tokyo Motor Show this week and the car appears ready for soccer team duty, robot-mom style.

The only details made public about the concept are this photo — and that’s it.

That’s left us to speculate on particulars such as powertrain, number of wheels, load height and construction methods. (It has to be 100-percent unobtanium.) (Read More…)

By on October 14, 2015

Zetsche - Picture courtesy Reuters.com

Daimler announced Wednesday that it would help Germany’s growing refugee crisis by offering “bridge internships” to 40 people along with German classes, transportation for aid organizations and food donations.

The company would put to work some refugees who have flooded the country to escape violence in nearby Middle Eastern countries. In all, Daimler announced it would put to work “several hundred” refugees after a 14-week course in helping them to learn the nation’s language and construction practices.

Daimler joins Audi in offering help to refugees in Germany, after that automaker announced this summer that it would donate €1 million ($1.1 million) to aid organizations.

(Read More…)

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