Nobody knows why the custom van lifestyle ended. Despite the keep on truckin’ imperative, the 1970s ended and took those kaleidoscopic fun-wagons with it. Maybe the Baby Boomers grew up and decided to stop smoking weed in the back of large vehicles with words like “Vandy Apple” painted on the side so they could get a real job and start smoking weed at home.
Perhaps the trend simply passed and foreign-built economy cars were the next must-have item. All we know for sure is that it was a mistake.
Fortunately, vans have only gotten better since the ’70s ended. The objectively perfect minivan had its heyday when leisure travel vans still held a corner of the market. While not so popular anymore, the van’s unparalleled versatility has kept it a viable option for work fleets and individual private owners who want a jack-of-all-trades vehicle in the driveway.
Mercedes-Benz is hip to this, revealing its third-generation Sprinter with all the customizable variables one would expect. However, it’s also adding load of new technologies and hardware as part of the brand’s “adVANce” philosophy. That includes new internet integration, driveline configurations, and a forthcoming electric model. Does this amount to the most exciting model in Mercedes’ lineup?
Automotive advertising and the Super Bowl are intrinsically linked. Car spots populate the commercial breaks, the most valuable player gets a free truck, and there is usually a contest or two sponsored by a major manufacturer. This year, Mercedes-Benz had a rather clever idea: to create a digital version of the hand-on game where the last participant to break physical contact with a vehicle (usually a Hyundai) gets to take it home.
Scheduled to coincide with kick-off, contestants would keep their fingers planted on their phones for the duration of the game for the chance to win a brand new Mercedes-AMG C43. The last person to allow their digit to stray from the moving photo would be awarded the car. But there was a problem — too many people tried to play the Mercedes-Benz Last Fan Standing game and it immediately crashed.
There’s more to living in Canada than just higher taxes, polar bear incursions, and brutally cold weather. For some reason, denizens of the Great White North are allowed to enjoy more choice at the bottom of the Mercedes-Benz model range.
For example, Americans can be forgiven if they weren’t aware of the B-Class Electric Drive, a low-volume EV hatchback that bit the dust late last year. MB sold just 744 of them in the U.S. in 2017. Meanwhile, Canadians can still walk into their local dealer and sign on for a 2018 B250, the conventional variant powered by the CLA-Class’ turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder.
The EV model never made its way north of the border, while the conventional model never made its way south of the 49th Parallel.
On Friday, the automaker pulled the wraps almost all of the way off its new A-Class — a more refined front-drive entry-level model making its first foray into the North American market. Designed to lure buyers who wouldn’t otherwise have considered the brand, the A-Class will spawn a five-door and sedan variant in Europe, while American buyers can expect only the four-door. And Canada? Well, the country that really hates choice in wireless carriers and dairy products somehow gets the five-door, too.
Mercedes-Benz took the covers off the fourth generation of its A-Class in Amsterdam today. While the smallest vehicle in the luxury manufacturer’s lineup isn’t subject to the same kind of fanfare as a new S-Class, it’s a big deal to us, as it will be the first one sold in North America.
Unfortunately, the unveiling was more of an extended teaser. While MB was happy to provide the press with a laundry list of features and options, technical specifications won’t be announced until March. We also won’t be getting the hatchback; that’s relegated for European duty. Instead, American customers will enjoy the sedan variant — which is in the final stages of development.
Thankfully, we do know what kind of hardware it will be working with, and can see from the five-door that it should closely resemble the Concept A Sedan everyone was buzzing about last year.
Automotive soothsayers have foreseen the coming Armageddon, where private car ownership vanishes and we’re all ferried around in robotic taxis or rental vehicles, and manufacturers have taken their divinations to heart. Either that, or the opportunity to diversity already successful companies is too tempting a prospect to pass up. As such, we’ve seen “mobility” become the new industry buzzword — used as a fill-in for electric vehicles, autonomous development, and ride-sharing/hailing programs.
Hoping to expand its own mobility services, Daimler has announced an openness to seek broader alliances just days after BMW Group bought out its rental car partner, Sixt, from their joint car-sharing program DriveNow. That sets the stage for a peculiar partnership, as the two German automakers have a long, competitive history with each other — one which sometimes results in passive-aggressive behavior.
German Automakers 'Rearrange' Staff After Newest Diesel-related Scandal, Audi Employees See Homes Raided
Daimler AG and BMW group suspended or moved several employees linked to a group that was commissioned for research that involved exposing monkeys and humans to potentially harmful gases. While the nature of these tests may not be extraordinary or illegal, the public response has been one of outrage.
Volkswagen suspended chief lobbyist Thomas Steg earlier this week for similar reasons, but the other automakers have now followed suit in the hopes of quelling public anger. The automakers haven’t kept silent on the matter, either. High-ranking executives have called the research repugnant, suggesting that the ethics employed by the European Research Group on Environment and Health in the Transport Sector (EUGT) were unacceptable.
Taking a page from its own playbook, the launch of the littlest Mercedes-Benz sedan will mirror the steps taken by the brand when it foisted the CLA onto the American market in 2013.
According to the company, roughly three-quarters of early CLA buyers were people who had never before owned a Mercedes. The company thinks, likely correctly, it’ll be able to duplicate that feat when the A-Class sedan goes on sale late this year.
The Mercedes-Benz G-Class, aka the G-Wagen or Geländewagen, is an automotive oddity. The current generation rides on a platform that predates your humble author, yet it remains a favorite of celebrities from Beverly Hills to the Meatpacking District. It also offers up a level of off-road capability that few other SUVs do.
We all know it’s a niche vehicle due to its hefty price tag, and it’s cool in part because of, not in spite of, its flaws. Mercedes-Benz could probably let it carry on with minor changes in perpetuity. It could also kill it completely, and save for an outcry from the die-hards, the absence of the G-Class likely wouldn’t hurt the brand a bit. Remember – the GL-Class was supposed to replace the G-Wagen.
In celebration of the redesigned G-Class, Mercedes-Benz has decided to cast the original G-Wagen in fake amber. The massive instillation is suppose to convey the timelessness of the SUV’s design — which is good, because we don’t think Daimler is going to bother changing the look of the new one all that much.
“The amber cube puts the uniqueness of the G-Class in a nutshell” explained Dr Gunnar Güthenke, head of Mercedes-Benz’s off-road vehicle unit. “Our cult off-road vehicle has been continuously evolving for nearly 40 years – without losing its character or its core values. Its DNA is stronger than time and than any fashion trend. The cube expresses this to stunning effect and thus embodies the objective for advancing the G-Class.”
In a year of great political transition, there was also much change afoot at The Truth About Cars and more than a few alterations made in the way my life intersects with the automotive industry.
2017 was crazy. Yet midst all of the external upheaval (Trump, TTAC, Apple skipping the iPhone 9, the launch of a new Honda Odyssey) and an array of internal disorder (GoodCarBadCar’s acquisition, a move to rural Prince Edward Island, Miata purchase, new job) there was at least one constant.
I drove a ton of cars. Many tons of cars, to be more accurate.
26.1 pounds of boost. A seriously stiff suspension. Matte paint finish. Brash red-painted brake calipers. A showy wing. A silly loud exhaust.
Do any of those describe your mental image of a Mercedes-Benz product? Or, when presented with that combination of features, do you conjure a car rejected from one of the early The Fast and the Furious films?
When the Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 was revealed a couple of years ago, I recall writing it off as a pretender – after all, it’s a crossover! After spending some time in this absurd vehicle, however, I began to appreciate the magic of AMG.
GMC has its Denali sub-brand, and Buick now has its Avenir, but German premium marques aren’t in need of added luxury. Extra horsepower and speed earns that inflated sticker price.
Mercedes-Benz’s AMG sub-brand isn’t the small stable of tuned performance cars it once was. The automaker’s made it painfully clear it wants to AMG all the things, with the brand’s large crop of SUVs (and SUV “coupes”) serving as the latest canvas for AMG’s brushstrokes. A lineup that began the current year with 34 models will likely celebrate New Year’s Eve with 42.
The folks at Mercedes-Benz USA are already reaping the reward.
Last week we introduced a new series to TTAC called Buy/Drive/Burn. A rather comprehensive set of instructions (and an example) was given in order to prepare you for the upcoming entries into our new game. If you haven’t read that primer, go do so now. This week is the first real entry for Buy/Drive/Burn and, like the example post, we’re sticking with luxury.
Your three options to purchase, borrow, and set on fire are all luxury coupes costing over $100,000.
What is it about the new crop of vehicles? It’s great that the”cheerful” phase in automotive styling is over (the demented visage of those old Mazda 3s still haunt my nightmares), but what we’re left with, at least in the passenger car segment, is enormous, angry grilles or, in the case of the 2018 Ford Mustang and next-generation Mercedes-Benz CLS, a kind of sad face.
Why the droopy eyes, Mercedes?
Whatever the reason, the automaker is bringing more than a questionable front end treatment to the table with its third-generation CLS. The sedan that started the four-door coupe craze (which then jumped ship to the SUV segment) adopts a host of changes for 2019, not the least of which is a new engine that should have both purists and futurists smiling.
All hail the inline six.
Two new models are entering the [s]not[/s] hot wagon market in North America. While one wagon entry is aimed squarely at the near-luxury market, the other aims higher and challenges established luxury wagons.
Our question today is this: Will either of the models work?
Back in July, German authorities became concerned that the country’s manufacturers had been operating one of the largest automotive cartels in history. With many auto executives still under the microscope for diesel emission manipulation, combined with inter-familial strife between the Piech and Porsche clans, Germany’s auto industry was starting to resemble a PG version of the film Goodfellas — with a dash of Dallas, for flavor.
Despite some rather serious accusations, nothing really came of the cartel investigation. We were beginning to wonder if it was much ado about nothing. But Germany’s antitrust officials hadn’t forgotten — they were simply biding their time during preliminary investigations into corporate collusion and price-fixing. Earlier this week, they made their big move and raided BMW’s headquarters.
Ford Retiree J Mays Says German Cars Don't Look German, Reserves Particular Criticism For One Automaker
“I think the British do a pretty good job — they seem to produce cars that look British,” Ford Motor Company’s retired design chief J Mays says.
Given that Minis essentially look the same as they’ve always looked, Mays makes a good case.
But Mays tells Automotive News he’s “a big stickler for cultural relevance.” And while the man whose influence can still be seen across much of the Ford lineup — he retired three years ago — credits the Brits for bringing culture to car design, he gives no such credit to the Germans.
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 Coupe’s high beams unfurl like a curtain, quickly and progressively spreading light across the forests on either side of the road. And that’s only the Benz lighting system’s third act.
It’s a late summer evening and you open the E400 Coupe’s vast door, welcomed by ambient lighting that swirls around the cabin, hued to your liking, with a glow bright enough to be useful but soft enough to be easily ignored. The turbocharged V6 ignites and a light show is instantly projected onto the house in front of you with radiant beams and excitable flashes.
With the auto industry well into its second century, it’s increasingly difficult for a luxury automaker to set itself apart. Equipment alone doesn’t do the trick, particularly when a car as costly as this heavily optioned 2018 Mercedes-Benz E400 4Matic Coupe lacks, for example, the ventilated seats of a $29,190 Kia Optima.
No, it’s the special stuff that makes the difference; it’s the memorable moments that distinguish the extraordinary from the ordinary. Heated seats must also warm the accompanying door panel and center console. A variety of dramatic light exhibitions must always attract your attention. The central infotainment display must seamlessly merge with the gauge cluster to create a vast screen stretching 28 inches across.
And the windows must roll down to reveal a pillarless structure, a redolent whiff of classic coupes long since expired.
Daimler has fired back after Telsa CEO Elon Musk returned to Twitter to speak his mind on the company’s decision to drop $1 billion into its Alabama plant. The investment is intended to aid production of a forthcoming electric SUV but, earlier this week, Musk said that wasn’t “a lot of money for a giant like Daimler/Mercedes. Wish they’d do more. Off by a zero.”
The following day, the Daimler responded over social media, suggesting Musk was “absolutely right” and pointed out that it’s actually investing over $10 billion, with only the first billion going into the assembly plant.
Whether you’re interested in electric vehicles or not, you have to admit these inter-automotive squabbles make the entire happening a lot more interesting. While cars themselves can be exciting, the corporate environment that facilitates their production is usually much less so. There’s also a chance that this type of good-natured clashing might result in a more competitive spirit — something we definitely would not mind seeing more of.
It took some doing.
Mercedes-Benz Canada first showed the wagon version of the fourth-generation C-Class 20 months ago at 2016’s Montreal Auto Show. All-wheel drive, a 2.1-liter diesel with 369 lb-ft of torque, and a profile deserving of all our praise was destined for Canadian showrooms despite Mercedes-Benz USA’s rejection of the wagon.
But there were hiccups. 13 months ago, we asked Mercedes-Benz about the C-Class Wagon’s arrival on this side of the Atlantic and received the following response: “We’re still waiting for certification.”
Mercedes-Benz never got the certification it desired, and diesel engines have disappeared from the automaker’s North American lineup. But by April 2017, we knew Mercedes-Benz had a new plan: the all-wheel drive would remain, but in place of the 2.1-liter diesel there’d be a 2.0-liter turbo C300 with 241 horsepower.
It’s finally here. And it’s still bound for America.
Mercedes-Benz is investing $1 billion into its Tuscaloosa, Alabama, assembly operations in order to facilitate the production of its first EQ-branded SUVs in 2020. The investment, timed to roughly coincide with the beginning of Mercedes-Benz ML production in Alabama, is expected to result in the hiring of another 600 employees.
In the near term, Mercedes-Benz has been open with its doubts regarding the profitability of pure electric vehicles. Evidently, the long-term view is different. And it probably doesn’t hurt to pour more money into a U.S. operations hub that accounts for nearly half the vehicles sold by the automaker in America.
What's the Volvo XC40 Getting Into? America's Subcompact Luxury Crossover Segment Is Tiny But Growing Fast
Of the 1.4 million new vehicles sold in the United States of America each month, premium auto brands account for slightly more than one out of every ten new vehicle acquisitions.
More than 55 percent of the vehicles now sold by premium auto brands in America are utility vehicles. Of the nearly 100,000 luxury SUVs/crossovers sold in America each month, 7 percent are subcompacts, vehicles positioned below the compact BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Audi Q5, and a variety others.
It’s a sliver of a slice of a chunk of a pie. But that sliver is growing far faster than the overall U.S. auto market, far faster than the U.S. luxury vehicle market, and far faster than the U.S. luxury SUV/crossover market.
Into that four-vehicle premium subcompact crossover segment now jumps the Volvo XC40, timed to roughly coincide with the arrival of the Jaguar E-Pace. It’s a segment that, to date, no automaker has yet found a way to dominate.
At new car dealerships, coupes are thin on the ground. The demise of the Honda Accord coupe at the end of the 2017 model year shutters the mainstream midsize coupe segment, a category long since diminished by the disappearance of two-door Camrys, Altimas, and the Avengers.
Compact coupes are rare, too. You won’t find two-door versions of the Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra, Nissan Sentra, Subaru Impreza, Toyota Corolla, or Volkswagen Jetta, although their predecessors all offered coupe variants.
Chevrolet Monte Carlo, Chrysler Cordoba, Ford Thunderbird? Long gone. But coupes — genuine two-doors such as the pillarless Mercedes-Benz E400 4Matic I’m driving (and being massaged by) this week, or the Honda Civic, or the Infiniti Q60, or the Rolls-Royce Wraith — are still available.
Would you buy one?
“They build fantastic cars,” BMW senior vice president Hendrik von Kuenheim told Australian automotive media at the Frankfurt Motor Show. “But this one was a disappointment.”
von Kuenheim is talking about the Nissan Navara-based Mercedes-Benz X-Class pickup, a truck not presently destined for North America but one that will appear across the region for which von Kuenheim is in charge: Asia, Australia, South Africa.
“I saw that car in Geneva and was actually disappointed,” BMW’s von Kuenheim says. “Very disappointed.” Calling the X-Class “appalling,” and suggesting we “would have expected something more serious,” von Kuenheim’s comments about the body-on-frame Mercedes-Benz pickup accompanied a number of revelations regarding a future BMW truck.
Don’t expect a BMW pickup to rival the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2.
Everyone’s doing it. It’s as popular as the fidget spinner and Pokémon Go crazes all those [s]years[/s] months ago. In a rush to signal their environmental bonafides and display their dedication to the Next Big Thing, luxury automakers are tripping over themselves in an effort to promise an all-electrified model lineup as soon as technology and finances allow.
This time, it’s Mercedes-Benz. The world’s oldest car brand doesn’t want its rivals cashing in once governments around the globe start turning off the fossil fuel taps. So, earlier this week, Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche stepped up and made a promise we’ve heard ad nauseum as of late: every model in the brand’s lineup will soon sport some form of electric propulsion, be it a hybrid setup or full-on battery electric powertrain.
For Mercedes-Benz, this means 50 hybrid or EV models, including at its irrelevant-to-Americans Smart brand. The move isn’t without a steep cost, however — Daimler is bracing for a slashing of vehicle profit margins. In some cases, the green collected from green cars could be half that of a gasoline Benz. What to do?
Want a six-cylinder engine?
Don’t buy a two-door Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
For the 2018 model year, Mercedes-Benz will offer a S450 sedan with a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6. It’s not underpowered. 362 horsepower produce a claimed 0-60 miles per hour time of 5.1 seconds.
But sometimes, every now and then, in a handful of remaining instances, Mercedes-Benz evidently believes there is no replacement for displacement. The Mercedes-Benz S-Class coupe and cabriolet?
V8s and V12s only, thank you very much.
Want a Mercedes-Benz C-Class Hood Ornament? You'll Have to Steal One, Which Is What You Always Did Anyway
Through the 2017 model year, Americans in search of a traditional entry luxury sedan could spend $350 to swap the Mercedes-Benz C-Class’s badge-emblazoned grille for an old classic.
Three horizontal bars, one vertical support, no badge.
The “Luxury” grille was also accompanied by unique bumper treatment and softer suspension.
But how were you to advertise the fact that you were, in fact, driving a Mercedes-Benz? There was a three-pointed star perched on top, a hood ornament in automotive parlance.
Unfortunately, the C-Class hood ornament that harkened back to a more elegant era has gone the way of crank windows.
Let’s say you had around $50,000 to spend on a vehicle purely as an indulgence. In this indulgence, you desire a somewhat rare SUV that’s basic, yet carries substantial prestige. In the same way, your SUV of choice would be very capable off-road, but you’d never take it there (as it’s simply too valuable). This vehicle would be for around-town jaunts on sunny days only.
A tough and specific decision for you, as imaginary well-heeled buyer of this used SUV. But never fear, as we’ve narrowed the choices down to two for today’s QOTD.
So, between the Land Rover Defender and Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon, which do you choose to lighten your wallet?
Before it ever got the chance to serve a conventional role in Mercedes-Benz USA’s lineup as America’s lone premium mini-MPV, the Mercedes-Benz B-Class is dead.
Mind you, the B-Class isn’t dead globally. But the B-Class Electric Drive, the only version of the B-Class ever to make it to U.S. shores, is ending production this fall.
The Mercedes-Benz B-Class ED will be missed, if at all, by very few Americans.
Australia’s pickup truck markets wants to know: is the Mercedes-Benz X-Class more than just a badge-engineered Nissan Navara?
“This is hardly a double badge,” Mercedes-Benz Vans’ global boss Volker Mornhinweg told Motoring.
But there’s a tendency to see matters another way. The production X-Class, not yet bound for North America’s nonexistent premium midsize pickup truck market, isn’t exactly a carbon copy of the X-Class Concept shown in late 2016.
Moreover, that X-Class gear lever looks downright familiar to Navara drivers.
We don’t know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, exactly what Mercedes-Benz USA has planned for the brand’s new pickup truck, the X-Class.
Importing the Nissan Navara-based Benz pickup seems doubtful. The Chicken Tax, a 25-percent tariff on imported light trucks, would bring a $43,000 X-Class’s price up to $54,000. Moreover, premium brand pickup trucks — Lincoln Blackwood and Mark LT; Cadillac Escalade EXT — have faltered in the past. The X-Class is also set to be almost entirely dependent on diesel engines, and Mercedes-Benz would almost invariably need a gas powerplant to function in North America, both from cost and emissions standpoints. Plus, Mercedes-Benz’s X-Class would be competing for a slice of a slice of America’s pickup truck pie. America’s pickup truck sector is huge, but 84 percent of it is devoted to full-size, not midsize, pickup trucks.
However, if — and it’s a big if — Mercedes-Benz either determines that importing the X-Class to the United States is viable or decides to build the X-Class in the NAFTA zone, the words of Volker Mornhinweg, Mercedes-Benz Vans’ executive vice president, might just come back to haunt the three-pointed star.
With Volkswagen’s emission crisis winding down (but seemingly never over), Daimler AG is taking center stage as the next automaker to potentially face serious hardship for dastardly diesel misdeeds. For the last few months, investigators from the United States and Germany have begun suspecting that Mercedes-Benz equipped its vehicles with defeat devices similar to those used by VW. While no evidence of fraud has surfaced, there’s reason to believe Daimler may have violated emission standards — especially now that it has decided to recall 3 million late-model diesels.
“The public debate about diesel engines is creating uncertainty,” Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said in a statement on Tuesday. “We have therefore decided on additional measures to reassure drivers of diesel cars and to strengthen confidence in diesel technology.”
Set to arrive in Germany in November 2017 and other global markets — but not the United States — in early 2018, the Mercedes-Benz X-Class is, according to Mercedes-Benz, “the first pickup from a premium manufacturer.”
Lincoln Blackwood? Cadillac Escalade EXT? Lincoln Mark LT? You apparently don’t count.
We’ve seen the concepts before. Mercedes-Benz today revealed the production X-Class, a Nissan Navara-based pickup truck from the three-pointed star.
To be very honest with you, those of us who track traffic and take the odd look at analytics already know the TTAC audience for a review of the 2017 Mercedes-AMG C43 4Matic Cabriolet is small.
At first glance, it doesn’t make sense. Reviews are the most reliable source of traffic on The Truth About Cars.
The TTAC audience, the B&B, is a pragmatic bunch of car enthusiasts, however. A sensible group of auto industry intellects. $72,305 German convertibles? Not exactly right up the alley of the proverbial 2004 Honda Accord.
And with good reason. Sensible pragmatists don’t see the point in the incremental performance upgrade of a $162,850 Porsche 911 Turbo from an $80,490 Chevrolet Corvette Z06; the off-road credentials of a $52,275 Lexus GX460 over and above a $35,930 Toyota 4Runner; the scant luxurious advantages of a $58,050 BMW X5 in contrast to a $47,140 Kia Sorento SX Limited.
But what if the four-seat, twin-turbo, all-wheel-drive, German convertible was actually worth 83 percent more than the basic C-Class; 43 percent more than a basic C-Class Cabriolet?
Then, maybe, TTAC could actually find an audience for a review of an expensive car.
While we knew Mercedes-Benz’s AMG sub-brand had plans to dabble in electrification for upcoming performance models, details of what that could mean for the sub-brand’s products remained pretty thin on the ground.
Daimler R&D head Ola Källenius explained back in January that future AMG-badged vehicles will gradually become “more and more electric.” Never mind the limited-production Project One hypercar that’s in the works — that model is just a plaything for the Dubai set. Well, now we know exactly what AMG has planned for the new rung in its model range, and it indeed makes use of charged particles to lend some extra grunt to the overall package.
It also brings a very sweet inline-six to the table. Baby steps, people.
What Can I Find Near My New PEI Home in One Evening of Touring in a 2017 Mercedes-AMG C43 Cabriolet? New Friends, Mostly
250 years ago, in Prince Edward Island’s 1767 land lottery of 64 parcels, Lot 20 was scooped up by Theodore Houltain and Thomas Basset.
Encompassing the communities of Malpeque Bay, Clinton, French River, Park Corner, Sea View, and other hamlets, and possessing fewer than 1,000 people, Lot 20 is a gem along the Gulf of St. Lawrence. It’s a gem I thought I knew well, at least until I took possession of our new family home earlier this week. Last night, with my friend Jeff The HR Manager operating as a tour guide, we traversed virtually every road on Lot 20 in the company of a 2017 Mercedes-AMG C43 4Matic Cabriolet.
We reached antisocial speeds, as AMGs are prone to do. We consumed fuel, as twin-turbo V6s are inclined to do. We made inappropriate noises, as Mercedes-Benz’s Dynamic Select Sport+ mode (with the Performance Exhaust System’s button also depressed) is wont to do.
And we made friends, as convertibles have always and will forever do.
Get ’em young and get ’em [s]poor[/s] upwardly mobile. That seems to be Mercedes-Benz’s rationale behind the upcoming A-Class sedan, which should arrive in the U.S. later next year.
According to dealers who spoke to Automotive News, the German automaker has confirmed the front-wheel drive model will indeed appear on these shores, slotted below brand’s current least-expensive car, the CLA. No longer a somewhat geeky, Euro-centric mini hatch, the global A-Class appears tailor-made to lure buyers away from other brands.
Two turbochargers. 362 horsepower. 384 lb-ft of torque. AMG’s 31:69 front/rear torque bias. 0-60 mph in 4.8 seconds. AMG-tuned air suspension. 14.2-inch front rotors. 285/40R20 rear tires. 640 watts and 14 speakers of Burmester surround sound.
Forget all that.
This is a story all about cargo volume. 10-14 percent more cargo volume. Sweet, sultry, scintillating cargo volume.
The 2017 Mercedes-AMG GLC43 4Matic lineup is two vehicles strong. In one AMG GLC43, your dog stands up and waits for the liftgate to close. In the other, your dog rolls over, plays dead, and doesn’t get up until the end of your journey.
This is the latter, the 2017 Mercedes-AMG GLC43 4Matic Coupe. It’s a genuine performance vehicle, with the power, grip, tenacity, and even finesse one expects from a performance vehicle, but also with style — love it or loathe it — that has practical implications for ol’ Bailey, the Bouvier des Flandres.
Vehicle classifications are important. They enable governments to better regulate. They allow uninformed buyers to get a grip on the market. They foster competition. They clarify conversation.
The passenger car sector is subdivided in countless ways, and not just by size. In the car realm, there are hatchbacks and liftbacks, convertibles and roadsters, station wagons and shooting brakes, sedans and coupes.
Yet when it comes to utility vehicles, besides differentiating (or attempting to differentiate, if there’s even any point) between SUVs and crossovers, much of the classification conversation revolves purely around size, from the subcompact Honda HR-V to the full-size Chevrolet Suburban.
So what’s this? I’m driving a Mercedes-AMG GLC43 4Matic Coupe this week. But we all know it’s not a coupe, which is traditionally known as a car with two doors and a fixed roof. Sometimes the coupe’s definition is even narrower. Yet never has the traditional coupe definition allowed for vehicles such as the GLC, BMW X4, BMW X6, or Mercedes-Benz’s GLE Coupe to be called coupes.
Still, we need to call them something.
Call it the Americanization of Mercedes-Benz. While the German automaker has assembled C-Class, GLE and GLS models in Alabama for some time (and, more recently, Sprinters in South Carolina), recent pressure from the Trump administration has led the automaker to reconsider what goes into those vehicles.
After being characterized by President Trump as “very bad,” it’s possible other German automakers operating in the U.S. could follow Mercedes’ lead in a bid to avoid further heat.
The Mercedes-Benz W201 sold well in California, which is where I found this clean-looking ’87. Nearly all of the W201s sold in the American market came with automatic transmissions; this one has a five-speed manual, which makes it stand out from the many W201s I find in West Coast wrecking yards. What really makes it interesting, however, is the odometer reading: 601,173 miles!
Terrible. We’re going to stop that.” – President Donald Trump
Through the first four months of 2017, Germany-based automakers and their respective subsidiary brands have sold 413,000 new vehicles in the United States.
At a minimum, 28 percent of those vehicles were built in the United States at assembly plants in Alabama, Tennessee, and South Carolina. According to Automotive News, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen combined to produce 281,519 vehicles, the bulk of which were destined for export.
But to avoid even a faint whiff of statistical manipulation, TTAC has compiled the complete U.S. sales and production picture for each of these manufacturers. We present them to you with [s]no[/s] limited commentary.
A lawsuit filed by two Georgia Mercedes-Benz owners accuses the automaker of failing to rectify a long-standing HVAC problem and stiffing customers with the bill.
Sunil Amin and Trushar Patel claim the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems in numerous models dating to the turn of the century are inherently faulty and want Mercedes-Benz and its parent, Daimler AG, to pay damages. They also want the suit to grow into a class action.
The plaintiffs say the issue started a noxious odor emitted from the vehicles’ vents and, despite attempts to have the issue fixed, nothing the automaker has done has made a difference.
Like Steve Austin’s doctors, Mercedes-Benz engineers realized they had the technology to make the brand’s four-cylinder engines better than they were before. Better, stronger…smaller.
As the automaker prepares to expand its lineup of compact, front-wheel-drive offerings to eight models, new powerplants are the order of the day. Designed to propel vehicles using the next-generation MFA2 platform, the new engine family comes in a variety of flavors, one of which will likely appear stateside.
Fans of German compression-ignition engines had best dig out those old, glossy posters of an olive green 300D, as they’re going to need it.
Daimler announced it will not sell 2017 diesel Mercedes-Benz models in the U.S. as rumors swirl that the automaker might give up on the segment altogether.
The problem lies in regulatory approval, which Daimler has struggled — and failed — to obtain. Following the Volkswagen diesel scandal, the Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board began going over diesel emissions with a fine-toothed comb. The four diesels Mercedes-Benz had hoped to sell in the U.S. this year became trapped in a bottleneck last fall.
After killing off the C300d’s prospects for good, the automaker then sought approval for just one model — the GLS350d. No dice. Investigations on both sides of the Atlantic could now cap the company’s 57-year diesel history in the U.S.
Remember when the boxy little Mercedes-Benz SLK roadster bowed with its innovative retractable hardtop back in 1997? The model provided Germanophiles with an alternative to the BMW Z3 and gave the brand a healthy injection of youthful, downmarket sportiness.
Well, the recently refreshed two-seater — which adopted the SLC moniker for 2017 — seems to be running on a combination of gasoline and borrowed time.
News that the 2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Wagon would arrive in North America with a diesel powerplant and all-wheel drive caught many industry observers by pleasant surprise early last year.
But it’s been 15 months since Mercedes-Benz announced at 2016’s Montreal Auto Show that the C300d 4Matic would be sold in Canada, albeit not the United States.
Not a crossover, not tall, not be-cladded, not even remotely intended for mass consumption, the C-Class Wagon was destined to be a cult favourite — that’s right, favourite — in The Great White North. However, eight months after the announcement, there was still no C300d 4Matic wagon in Mercedes-Benz’s Canadian showrooms. Blame Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal for delaying the certification.
Yet TTAC was told just yesterday the C-Class Wagon will appear in Canadian showrooms later this summer with a, how do you say in the Canadianese… minor change, eh?
Mercedes-Benz’s AMG sub-brand might run out of sensible products to turn into rip-snorting powerwagons before too long.
Once again, the compact GLC SUV lineup has gone under the knife, emerging from the German operating room with an even darker persona and plenty of new inches where it counts. Cubic inches, of course. For the growing family with a small garage and an urgent desire to reach 60 miles per hour in less than four seconds, your chariot has arrived.
During the 1970s, if you were sensible and had a fat bankroll, you didn’t buy an Eldorado or Mark IV or even a Toyota Crown. No, you bought a staid, humorless-as-Richard-Wagner Mercedes-Benz W114/W115 sedan, and then you kept it while the pages flew off many decades of calendars. If you were really serious, you got the naturally aspirated four-cylinder diesel, as the original purchaser of this now-retired-at-age-42 San Francisco Bay Area 240D did.
Mercedes-Benz USA’s AMG division now markets 34 different models. Added to the list of the outlandish vehicles, the likes of which made AMG famous in the first place, are a bevy of new, entry AMG models; AMG 43s that were initially badged as “AMG Sports” but now receive the badge treatment due the genuine article.
With the surge in the number of available AMG variants, there has been a surge in sales of Mercedes-AMG vehicles. U.S. volume rose 33 percent, year-over-year, in calendar year 2016 according to Automotive News Europe, and Mercedes-AMG product sales have risen 32 percent so far this year.
That rapid expansion won’t be sustained. Mercedes-Benz USA’s sales vice president, Adam Chamberlain, says growth “will dumb down a little bit through the year.”
But by how much? By the end of 2017, Mercedes-Benz will have expanded its U.S. AMG division from 34 different models to at least 42.
China’s Chery Automobile Company has filed a formal complaint against Daimler AG over is usage of “EQ” as designation for an upcoming lineup of Mercedes-Benz electric cars. That’s bad news for Benz, as China possesses the world’s largest EV marketplace and Daimler has already begun promoting its future electric lineup using the name.
The German automaker said last year that it would begin producing EQ models in Europe before the end of the decade, with the global sub-brand sold in both eastern and western markets. Unfortunately, Chery already has a fully electric minicar named the eQ that was launched in China in November of 2014. The car is based on the current Chery QQ, which was the centerpiece of a 2005 lawsuit from General Motors following claims that its design was stolen from the Daewoo Matiz and Chevrolet Spark.
Choice is good for car buyers. But in the never-ending quest to produce incremental volume gains, the planet’s largest premium auto brands agree that certain niches are quickly becoming untenable.
Known for questioning in 2014 whether the global sports car market would ever recover from its post-recession collapse, BMW sales boss Ian Robertson told Car And Driver earlier this month that “some body styles will be removed in the future.”
Meanwhile, the head of Mercedes-Benz Dieter Zetsche said at the Geneva auto show that the lack of Chinese uptake for specialty cars “makes the business case for these vehicles less easy.”
Yet long before a model cull returns us to the days of tidy luxury lineups — 3 Series, 5 Series, 7 Series, and 8 Series as the 1990s intended! — premium German marques will first introduce a slew of new models. And the body styles destined for removal? Likely not the silly four-door coupes and impractical SUVs you love to hate.
Not unless it’s a big, honking full-sizer, that is.
After giving serious thought to introducing its X-Class pickup in the U.S., Mercedes-Benz has decided to stay away from the American market. Why? The midsize field probably isn’t a good place to make money with a luxurious pickup.
Mercedes-AMG is, of course, calling its new GT Concept a “four-door coupe.” As perpetually annoying as that marketing trend has become, it’s refreshing to see a concept car that is somewhat representative of the future production model. However, GT Concept not just a glimpse into AMG’s future but also a celebration of 50 years worth of history at Mercedes’ AMG performance arm.
In addition to its AMG badge, the concept has also been adorned with a subtle EQ Power logo that denotes Benz’s fledgling electrified sub-brand and a hybridized powertrain. Mercedes describes the red devil as the evolution of the AMG-specific lineup and says the four-door GT will eventually exist as a genuine roadgoing vehicle — looking familiar, but not quite identical to the current concept.
Unexpected fires rank among the topmost fears of any automaker, and Mercedes-Benz is dealing with plenty of them.
After reports of 51 fires in late-model vehicles, 30 of them in the U.S., the German luxury automaker will recall roughly one million vehicles worldwide to prevent an electrical fault from causing even more.
Colorado. Canyon. Tacoma. Frontier. Ridgeline. X-Class?
That could be the lineup Mercedes-Benz has in mind for the competitive — and growing — U.S. midsize pickup segment. Ever since the automaker unveiled its questionable-looking X-Class midsize pickup last fall and declared America off limits for now, there’s been no end to the speculation that we’d eventually end up with a German offering on these shores.
The midsize pickup segment has now grown to 17 percent of all U.S. truck sales, and Mercedes apparently likes what it sees.
Latest Car ReviewsRead more
Latest Product ReviewsRead more
- MelanieRichardson GOOD
- El scotto @jwee; Sir, a great many of us believe that Musk is somewhere (pretty high) on the spectrum and move on.I work on the fringes of IT. Most of my presentations get picked over extensively and intensely at meetings. I'm smart enough to know I'm not that smart and willingly take advice from the IT crew. I bring them Duck Doughnuts too. We also keep a box of Crayolas in the meeting room.At one meeting an IT guy got way into the details of my presentation, the meeting went long as we discussed my target audience. Same IT guy insisted it was a disaster and would fail miserable and that I was stupid. Yeah, F-boms get dropped at our meetings. I finally had enough and asked if he was such an expert, did he want to stand up in front of 30 senior executives and give the presentation? His response was a flat "NO". He got the box of Crayolas. For you non-military types that means shut up and color. Musk is the same as that IT guy, lots of gyrations but not much on follow-through. Someone just needs to hand him a box of Crayolas.
- FreedMike The FJ Cruiser would be a better comeback candidate. The gang back at Toyota HQ must be looking at all those Broncos flying off Ford lots and kicking themselves.
- Tassos 2015 was only 7 years ago. $58k is still a whole lot of $ to pay for a vehicle. FOrtunately one can buy a flagship vehicle with great active and passive safety for half this amount, if one does the SMART thing and buys a pre-owned luxury flagship vehicle. they have historically been SCREAMING BARGAINS. A breadvan on stilts SUV, wether the more compact Macan or the more bloated Cayenne will never pass as a Flagship Vehicle. No matter how well it drives or how reliable it suprisingly is. It still is a breadvan on stilts.
- Sean Ohsee Bring back the 100 series and its I6 diesel.