Mercedes-Benz has said it will cut back its entry-level offers to better prioritize premium vehicles with loftier margins. While this strategy has become relatively uncommon throughout the industry, even among some mainstream brands, Mercedes has historically been synonymous with high-end luxury cars. One wonders why it bothered chasing volume to begin with, especially since it doesn’t seem to have panned out for the company.
While executives had previously hinted at its revised strategy in interviews, Mercedes officially unveiled its plan to investors on Thursday. The German brand will focus investments on top-of-the-heap models like the S-Class at the expense of entry-level products that have failed to garner juicy profits.
BMW and Mercedes-Benz are dumping ShareNow — their jointly managed car-sharing businesses — and Stellantis will reportedly become the recipient. Effectively a merger of BMW’s DriveNow and Mercedes’ (technically Daimler AG’s) slurry of similar services that were rolled into car2go, ShareNow’s individual components have spent the last decade trying to figure out which markets would embrace app-based, roadside rentals charging by the minute and which would reject it.
Luxury coupes were falling out of favor among well-heeled American car shoppers around the turn of the century, with luxury trucks gaining sales ground by the minute, but that didn’t stop Mercedes-Benz from releasing a sporty new C-Class-based two-door with a big V8 and big price tag, starting in the 1999 model year: The CLK 430. As so often happens with costly European luxury machinery, this one took a hard depreciation hit during its time on the road, and now it resides in a Northern California self-service yard.
Before we get to this list of “best luxury cars”, I feel like you might be wondering about that headline. Why $90,060? I chose that number because the ceiling for my “ best cheap cars” post was based on half the average selling price of a new car (more or less), and arbitrarily decided to keep going with that theme and set the floor for this list at approximately twice the current average.
As for the list, itself, I’ll try to answer it the same way you’d probably answer your rich friends if they asked you for help picking a new car: With a question of my own.
No, it’s not anything as pedestrian as, “What do you plan on using it for?” That kind of stuff is for the poors. For the rich people, the real question is: Who are you trying to impress with it?
Sort of like the Cimarron we covered in our last edition of Abandoned History a couple of months ago, today’s vehicle is pretending to be more than it is. It’s the luxury X-Class truck Mercedes-Benz sold in markets outside the USA. Can you tell what it actually is?
Starting in 2022, Mercedes-Benz will be launching new services allowing customers to use fingerprint scans to verify purchases from inside their vehicle. While this makes it sound as though the feature will be limited to feeding the meter, fast food, gasoline, and the occasional tech-savvy prostitute, parent company Daimler said it was an important step forward for its MBUX multimedia interface and the general trajectory for luxury vehicles as a whole.
I’ve long struggled to understand the existence of four-door hatchbacks that are called “coupes” (to me, a coupe has two, not four, doors), have sloping rooflines, and are typically sold by import luxury brands.
I struggle a lot less when one is hopped up on the vehicular version of steroids.
Today’s Rare Ride is the third car in the series from designer Franco Sbarro. Our premier Sbarro creation was a windsurfing-specific take on the Citroën Berlingo, and the second was a very hot hatchback called the Super Eight – a Ferrari underneath.
While both of those creations were one-off styling exercises, today’s Sbarro actually entered very limited production. Presenting the Windhound of 1978.
While Mercedes-Benz has gradually been moving away from larger motors, it was still a shock to learn that the company would be removing the brunt of its V8-powered lineup in the United States for the 2022 model year. Higher-end vehicles typically come with broader profit margins and Americans tend to like V8s, so it was strange to see the brand tailoring its product at the last minute. Less surprising, however, was watching the entire automotive community speculate on the reasons why.
As your author is constantly suspect of regulations, it was my assumption that emissions compliance was the main culprit. But one would assume European rules would have put the kibosh on V8s in the home market long before cars were neutered in North America. Mercedes likewise suggested this was not the case, alluding to supply chain issues that have been hampering the industry since the start of 2020 while it promised to fix the problem as soon as possible. Then, Daimler executives started giving different answers and hit the reset button on the global supposition surrounding the discontinued engines.
The Nineties W202 C-Class was Mercedes’ second-ever compact car offering, after its debut small car the 190. Not made of the heritage-level materials of the 190, the W202 cars were largely trashed at the bottom of their depreciation curve a decade ago by second and third owners.
Said trashing is why today’s very clean example is so unusual.
I’m back with more boring used car content, a topic some of you apparently despise with a passion. Caution: More used-car discussion ahead, get out while you still can if this is the case! For the rest of you, let’s review the impractical car suggestions you’ve made that earned a spot on the Yes, I Like list.
Wagons are generally considered not viable in the U.S. Just about every recent wagon model has failed, though there are exceptions, usually for crossovers that straddle the line between wagon and wagon-like (Subaru, looking in your direction).
Even the Jaguar XF Sportbrake, which this author found quite sexy, was sent packing.
All that said, Mercedes-Benz might be trying to bring a wagon back to our market
Mercedes-Benz inadvertently leaked the private data of some of its customers. The good news is that the number of affected people was alleged to have capped somewhere around one thousand at the time of this writing. But the bad news is that this wasn’t like having your e-mail or phone number getting out there. Contents reportedly included customers’ social security numbers, self-reported credit scores, driver licenses, addresses, and credit card information.
While the odds of you personally being affected remain low, the circumstances in which this took place are becoming increasingly common. Customers and interested buyers entering personal data into company and dealer websites between 2014 and 2017 had their data stored via a cloud storage platform. But it wasn’t as secure as it should be and Mercedes is now blaming the vendor for the security breach and subsequent embarrassment.
If you were in the market for a midsized luxury sedan from Europe, you could certainly do worse than the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class. While it sacrifices a bit of interior volume for the sake of style, it remains an opulent and sedate experience for the driver with just enough performance to keep the office commute from becoming dull. Of course, those seeking enhanced trills could pay AMG to transform the sedan into the 429 horsepower CLS53. But it has been retired for the 2022 model year, along with the base CLS450 with rear-wheel drive.
That just leaves the CLS450 4Matic, which Mercedes has given some new accouterments — perhaps to take the sting out of the company dumping the more interesting trims.
Daimler had decided some serious changes need to be made before the end of 2021, including a name swap and separate listing for its commercial truck division. While the reason given was to better facilitate the company’s transition toward a “zero- emissions and software-driven future,” investors have been critical of Daimler’s share price after it cratered in March of last year. Though we would argue the bigger concern is the automaker’s lackluster (or absent) growth and declining revenue since 2018.
Regardless, CEO Ola Källenius believes continued changes to the firm’s corporate structure are the only way to go. By 2022, Daimler will simply be known as Mercedes-Benz and have spun off Daimler Trucks with its own listing on the Frankfurt stock exchange.
For most folks, a $96K price tag is just too much. It is indeed a steep price to pay for any automobile. But spend enough time behind the wheel of the sublime Mercedes-Benz AMG E53 coupe, and that amount of cash outlay suddenly seems like a bargain.
A car this good typically fetches well over six figures.
You’ve probably seen a certain Mercedes-Benz ad this year. Or maybe in years past – I think the ad in question ran last year, as well, and maybe even before then.
It’s a holiday ad featuring one of the brand’s luxury SUVs and advertising a winter sales event for Mercedes.
The all-new 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the flagship of the line, will arrive in US dealerships in the first half of 2021. Boosting greater comfort, safety, and the overall experience for driver and passengers, the S-Class embodies not only the brand’s flagship, but a 12.9 percent increase from the 2020 S 450 4Matic Sedan, to the 2021 S 500 4Matic Sedan’s starting price of $109,800.
I like to search for junkyard vehicles with exceptionally high final odometer readings, a task made more difficult by the fact that just about every manufacturer besides Volvo and Mercedes-Benz used five-digit odometers well into the 1980s. Even in the middle 1980s, most cars weren’t really expected to hit the 100,000-mile mark … unless they were Mercedes-Benzes with diesel engines, in which case their owners expected them to make it to 300,000 miles. Here’s an oil-fueled W123 in Colorado that exceeded even that expectation.
Mercedes-Benz is reportedly planning to bring an electric commercial van, presumably the eSprinter, to the United States as early as the third quarter of 2023. While the all-electric van launched earlier this year in Europe, the manufacturer said it wanted to hold off on North American exports for reasons that should be obvious to anybody familiar with the industry. The model’s rather low range (up to 96 miles, depending on load and route) makes it a poor fit for North America’s wide-open spaces, as does its standard 75 mph (or optional 50 mph) top speed. Meanwhile, the necessary homologation efforts required to sell the eSprinter in the U.S. would only increase the price of a vehicle already ill-suited to the nation’s roadways.
Were it to come here now, we’d be looking at a cargo van with an MSRP dangerously close to $60,000 and the top speed and range of a small-displacement dirtbike. Regulatory incentives aside, it doesn’t seem like a worthwhile addition to the North American landscape. But analysts are worried that Mercedes-Benz needs to get a move on and ensure the vehicle comes to the U.S. market before it’s edged out by the competition. It’s a position we’d be inclined to agree with had the eSprinter arrived with more robust specifications.
In 2000, shortly before the ill-fated revival of the Maybach brand into a gauche purveyor of S-Class Baroque Editions, the 12-cylinder S 600 resided at the top of the Mercedes-Benz model hierarchy. This example in particular was ordered with a unique feature at the behest of a very well-heeled original owner.
In the last edition of Buy/Drive/Burn, we discussed three large European wagons with a $65,000 price point. The Buy vote was a toss-up between the E-Class and the A6 allroad.
Today we cover the sedan variants of the same three cars, at the exact same price point. Think you’ll choose differently?
Mercedes-Benz has been committed to building many of its vehicles in North America for some time, and has bestowed an important and ultra expensive new version of the GLS upon its plant in Alabama. At around $200,000, it will be the most expensive passenger vehicle produced in the United States. It’s an on-trend holiday gift for your spouse in The Current Year!
Today’s Rare Ride was the ultimate display of Germanic automotive wealth in the early Nineties. Always rarer than its sedan brother, the SEC was the S-Class with two doors and no pillars.
Let’s check out a hardtop from the arguable height of modern Mercedes-Benz engineering.
But Americans have more European luxury wagon choices in this, the Awesome Year of 2020 than in the decade and a half prior. So let’s revisit the discussion.
As the manual transmission gradually joins the wheel-mounted throttle lever in the automotive history trash bin, we’ve been wondering which manufacture would be the next to take a bold stance against be-clutched vehicles. Today we have our answer, thanks to a tweet explaining the brand’s research boss had indicated Mercedes-Benz doesn’t have room for manuals in its current restructuring program.
“The head of @MercedesBenz’s R&D operations, Markus Schaefer, has confirmed the company will ‘eliminate manual transmissions’ as part of cost-cutting initiatives that will also see a ‘substantial reduction in platforms’ and a ‘very dramatic reduction in combustion engines,'” automotive journalist Greg Kable explained via social media on Tuesday.
Much ink has been spilled in the automotive press over the decades making reference to the “same sausage, different lengths” philosophy of product planning prevalent within the premium German marques. Generally, that’s been a rap on the highly-derivative styling between the three (or more) varieties of sedan each automaker would offer.
Today, sedans don’t matter. I mean, of course, they matter – but not so much as the almighty SUV. Who knew that when Dearborn slapped leather and a wagon body on their compact pickup truck those many years ago, it would evolve into Mercedes-Benz offering eight sorta distinct tall beasts across the lineup?
Today, we drive the smallest such offering from the three-pointed star, the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA250. With a starting price under $37K, it’s attractively priced to woo customers looking up from mainstream brands. Is it enough to keep them from wandering the lot?
Mercedes-Benz is working to deliver on its promise of having 10 or more EVs on the market by 2022, as evidenced by spy shots of the EQS unearthed via Motor Authority.
The EQS will be a large sedan, poised to sell alongside the flagship S-Class. Production could start this year, putting it on the market next year as a 2021 or 2022 model.
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class is receiving a series of updates for 2021 — including some new engine options, styling adjustments, and the obligatory infotainment updates. There’s even a new lifted version called the E450 4Matic All-Terrain that’s clearly targeting fancy alternatives to the Subaru Outback (e.g. the Audi A6 Allroad).
Unfortunately, these enhancements have raised the price of the E-Class slightly. The base model E350 now starts at $55,300 (including destination), which seems a lot to ask for a 2.0-liter turbo making 255 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. That’d be a juicier package inside one of Mercedes’ smaller products and opting in to an all-wheel-drive 4Matic brings the price $57,800 before you’ve even had a whiff of the 3.0-liter inline-six. But you do get Daimler’s updated MBUX software across the range and a longer list of interior material choices and styles. Though our readers seemed to really hate the interior found in the new S-Class and we’re doubting you’ll be any fonder of the wavy lines found inside the refreshed E-Class family, even if they’re not drastically different from what was available beforehand.
The S-Class has always been the sparkling sapphire in Daimler’s crown. The model has historically offered unparalleled luxury and cutting-edge tech that gradually trickles down to the rest of the lineup. It also shows off what Mercedes-Benz is capable of when, running on all cylinders, it sets out to make the best car money can buy without crossing over into obscene extravagance. In this respect, the 2021 S-Class seems to deliver as it always does.
A little larger than its predecessor, the next incarnation of Mercedes’ finest comes in at 208.2 inches long, 76.9 inches wide and 59.2 inches tall. Its extended wheelbase and short overhangs gives it the impression of a smaller vehicle from afar, however. While the manufacturer happily suggests this allowed for an overall increase in the cabin airiness, Daimler admits the model’s technology is what’s supposed to get one salivating — and it did its utmost to make sure it’s omnipresent.
Long rumored to be on the chopping block, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class coupe and cabriolet are now confirmed to be heading into their last year of existence.
The automaker confirmed the death sentence for these luxuriously large two-doors in its 2021 model year rundown, sealing the fate of yet another coupe and drop-top in the increasingly SUV-centric global auto landscape. Niche models, to be sure, but the impending loss is made all the more painful by the fact that Benz’s biggest coupe is pillarless.
Mercedes-Benz’s Sprinter commercial van has worn several badges, but come the end of next year, there’ll be only one. As the automaker works to slim down its sprawling global lineup, the lesser-known Freightliner variant will cease production.
Manufactured via knock-down kits in South Carolina, the Freightliner van, like Dodges of yore, will fade to black, but Sprinters will remain in the M-B stable.
Today’s Rare Ride popped up on the Internet recently, hailing from the archive of Long Forgotten Concept Cars. This particular concept happens to be a high-riding off-road cabriolet, created from a Frankenstein-like amalgam of Mercedes-Benz parts and custom fabrications by French alteration firm Heuliez.
Buckle up — it’s gonna get weird.
There’s a plan afoot to more carefully align Mercedes-Benz’s U.S. product offerings with consumer demand, all the while saving the automaker money. The result, Automotive News reports, will be a lineup lacking the flair and whimsy the brand once enjoyed.
Fans of two-door variants, especially, stand to lose out under this new strategy.
Top-of-the-line German luxury sedans are worth plenty… until, suddenly, their values slam down to salvage-title Hyundai Scoupe territory. For today’s Junkyard Find, an early W140 S-Class that sold new for the 2020 equivalent of $175,000, now parked between a couple of prole-grade Japanese machines in a Phoenix yard.
You may remember when Mercedes-Benz worked with McLaren to develop the SLR McLaren in the early 2000s. The supercar birthed from those creative loins trumped most everything else on the market upon its debut. As expected, it was very rare and very expensive. But did you know there was a further development of the car that was even rarer, and off-limits to all but a select few?
Presenting the SLR Stirling Moss.
Believe it or not, there are plenty of people who spend the majority of their days in a van of some sort. I’m not talking about the beautiful people on social media hashtagging their rebranding of the Seventies-era shaggin’ wagon as “vanlife.” I’m talking about tradespeople, for whom a van is as important a tool as a hammer or pipe wrench.
For most of my working life, I’ve worked alongside these van drivers — I’ve been selling various products to these workers for the better part of two decades. I’ve noticed over the years that the variety of vans has expanded recently. Where the parking lot of whatever supply house was once filled with cookie cutter vans from the Detroit Three — occasionally dotted with repurposed minivans — these days any variety of tall, Euro-styled boxes-on-wheels might greet me.
The Sprinter was the leader of this new vanguard, with workers praising improved driving dynamics and improved space efficiency. Now a smaller model comes, the Mercedes-Benz Metris, to deliver much of those improvements in a more city-friendly package. Can this sturdier (not-so)minivan replace the stalwarts?
The oldest Mercedes-Benz W123 diesels are getting pretty close to 45 years of age, which means that— finally— they’re wearing out and becoming easy to find in the big self-service car graveyards that I frequent. Most of these proto-E-Classes sold in North America were sedans, but the wagons developed something of a cult following and I keep my eyes open for discarded examples.
Here’s an ’81 300TD turbodiesel that seems to have been going strong when it got crashed.
Despite vans being slightly more popular than getting a thumb in the eye, Mercedes-Benz is sticking with them. Earlier in the month, the automaker revealed the production version of its 252-mile (we’ll see) EQV. Essentially an electrified version of the plush V-Class/Metris, the model will likely serve a very specific subset of the population.
On the other end of the spectrum, Daimler has been mulling over what should be done about the Citan. As the smallest van in MB’s range, the Citan also has the lowest point of entry. However, sales are roughly one-sixth what the V-Class sees in Europe, making it a plausible candidate for discontinuation. But it was not to be. On Friday, Daimler announced it will keep its smallest MPV on the table.
It would appear that nobody notified Mercedes-Benz that the minivan segment is shrinking faster than male genitals dunked into icy water. Fortunately, while large MPV sales similarly dwindled in Europe by around 30 percent last year, there may be enough positive heat on vans and electric vehicles leftover for the manufacturer to try and bundle both into one package. Enter the Mercedes-Benz EQV — the next arrival for the EQ sub-brand and first non-commercial, electric luxury van offered by an established automaker. Sounds like a niche market.
While not officially scheduled to debut until next month’s Frankfurt Motor Show, the EQV has already been teased as a near-production prototype at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. Daimler’s also felt comfortable enough to showcase the finished vehicle online, saving a handful of details for the German trade show.
The entry-level Mercedes-Benz sedan has an odd history. Until the W201 series in the mid-Eighties, there really wasn’t anything truly in the smaller classes, and the nomenclature (190E) seemed deceiving, reminding some of the larger E-class. Still, these were popular cars, even spawning the epic twin-cam powered Cosworth models that allowed the smallest Benz sports sedan to go race in the DTM series, and eventually bearing a more natural “C” class naming syntax.
But the C got bigger and more expensive, and soon upstart luxury brands began nipping at the heels of the three-pointed star on the lower end. The first A-class was underwhelming, though with the typical application of AMG-style power it could be fun.
This newest A-class, the 2019 Mercedes-Benz A220 4MATIC, has a good deal to answer for. Will the typical Stuttgart amenities be enough to sway those remaining small sedan buyers, or will they shy away from the babiest of Baby Benzes?
Suspected emissions manipulation could net Daimler AG, parent company of Mercedes-Benz, a steep fine, but it seems the automaker already anticipates the expenditure. According to a report out of Germany, the auto giant stands to face a fine potentially topping $1 billion, which is a relative bargain compared to the bill handed to rival Volkswagen Group over its widespread emissions cheating.
It’s bad news Daimler doesn’t need in these turbulent times.
The Mercedes-Benz X-Class pickup truck is the company’s attempt to get in on the growing pickup truck market on a global scale. Based on Nissan’s Navarra, it’s a premium mid-sized offering available in select markets that are not the United States.
If the latest reports are true, it’s also a dead product.
Automotive News Europe recently reported that Daimler has killed the truck due to slumping sales. It hasn’t been on the market long, being introduced in 2017. But, with only 16,700 units sold last year in Europe, Australia and South Africa, it wasn’t shaping up to be a winner. While it did do better than the Navarra-based Renault Alaskan, the Navarra itself performed significantly better in sales.
A brand new Mercedes-AMG G63 isn’t what we’d call cheap, if you can even get one. The luxury off-road monster can literally go anywhere in a style uniquely its own, but it’s big, pricey and not the most fuel efficient. So what if you want a G63 but want to get it on the cheap? You build your own out of a Suzuki Jimny.
The Jimny is the darling of forbidden fruit. It’s the opposite of the Mercedes. It’s inexpensive, frugal and small. It’s off-road prowess comes from determination and grit instead of horsepower and torque. But it is boxy like the G-Wagon. So that counts for something.
In an introductory post last week, I detailed a couple of cars I was considering as a replacement to my decade-old Infiniti M. The comments (some filled with unusual anger) prodded me to add another car to the list.
A week later, I can tell you that two of those former options are absolutely out of the question.
Trademark applications filed by Daimler with the United States Patent and Trademark Office may indicate a soon-to-be expanded lineup for its premium line of Mercedes-Maybach vehicles. According to some detective work by AutoGuide, the automaker recently filed three applications with the USPTO for vehicles using the names GLS 600, GLS 680, and S 680.
While it wasn’t alway the case, Mercedes currently uses automotive designations above 600 to denote vehicles reserved for the ultra-luxury Maybach sub-brand. The GLS-Class’ trim presently tops out at 550 before qualifying as an AMG-enhanced model. While that doesn’t guarantee a Maybach SUV, it does make it a likely prospect. At the very least, it would seem Mercedes wants to introduce a more lavish GLS in the near future.
Last time on Buy/Drive/Burn, we perused three rear-drive, metal folding roof convertibles from 2010. But some of you seemed less than pleased with the convertible trio. Sad!
Keeping this in mind, today’s Buy/Drive/Burn ups the ante with three more convertibles, each costing over $90,000. Today’s convertibles sport luxury makes, rear-drive, and large engines to match their price tags.
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- Jeff Of all the EV trucks I like the Rivian the best but I am still years away if ever from buying an EV.
- Kwik_Shift I definitely like the looks of the newest 300s over the Chargers.
- SCE to AUX "Should car companies shack up with tech giants in order to produce legible infotainment systems and the like? Or should they go it alone?"Great question(s).The River Rouge days are gone, where Ford produced whole cars out of raw materials entering the plant at the other end. Nearly everything is outsourced these days - sometimes well, sometimes disastrously.But the problem with infotainment systems is that they are integrated with the car's operation. VW has delayed entire products for issues with infotainment.For me, the question boils down to a contractual arrangement - who owns and maintains the code forever? Since more and more of the car's function is tied to the infotainment system, I'd argue that the car mfr needs to own it - especially the larger ones.Do mfrs really want to share intellectual property with Huawei just to fast-track some code they've managed themselves in the past?
- Kwi65728132 I always did like the styling of the 300C and it was on my short list for a new (to me) rear wheel drive, naturally aspirated V8 luxury sedan but I found a Hyundai Equus that was better optioned than any 300C I could find and for several grand less.
- Redapple2 .....300S ....and Charger and Challenger, have been long overdue for an update, but still sell well. Thx EPA