Mercedes-AMG Confirms A45 Will Be a True Rocket, Leaks Details on A35

When details of the 2019 Mercedes-AMG A35 hatchback prematurely hit the web last month, it looked like the model was ready to give the Volkswagen Golf R and Audi S3 a hard time. However, the 306 horsepower and 295 foot-pounds of torque generated by its turbo 2.0-liter wouldn’t be enough to outright murder them on the open road. Fortunately, the leak included unconfirmed rumors that the A45 definitely could.

Following its debut at this Paris Motor Show this week, we learned that everything we already knew about the A35 turned out to be true, though the A45 remains draped in relative mystery. AMG lifted the veil just a bit, teasing out a few details on the upcoming model — emphasizing how terrible it will make the old A45 seem by comparison.

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As Dr. Z Prepares to Move On, Daimler Taps a Swede for CEO Job

Daimler AG and its Mercedes-Benz division won’t have Dieter Zetsche at the helm for much longer. The mustachioed, jeans-loving chief executive, who’s headed the automaker since 2000, leaves the position in May, the automaker announced Wednesday.

Dr. Z isn’t leaving the company — come May, the 65-year-old will accept the role of chairman of the group’s supervisory board. Occupying Zetsche’s former position as head of Daimler and the Mercedes-Benz brand will be the first non-German CEO in the company’s exceptionally long history.

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EU Launches Emissions Collusion Investigation Against German Automakers

Roughly one year ago, German automakers were confronted with a crisis. Following Volkswagen’s diesel emissions fiasco, European antitrust regulators became suspicious that BMW, Daimler, and VW Group were involved in a longstanding automotive cartel that cooperated on decisions regarding technical issues, development, supplier management, and illegal price fixing. Investigators were also concerned manufacturers worked together to standardize diesel treatment fluid (AdBlue) reservoirs to reduce exhaust emissions, then encouraged each other to cheat on emissions tests when they were deemed insufficient.

This resulted in a series of raids and then almost a full year of silence on the matter. However, if Volkswagen’s dieselgate has taught us anything, it’s that German authorities prefer a snail’s pace when pursuing a criminal probe.

Apparently unsatisfied with the initial findings, the European Commission opened an in-depth and official investigation on Tuesday against the “circle of five,” a group that includes Audi, VW, Porsche, Daimler, and BMW. The quintet is accused of holding meetings where they colluded to limit the development and application of certain emissions control systems for cars sold in Europe. There’s also an accusation of price fixing.

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Leaked: 2019 Mercedes-AMG A35 Details Shared Before Paris Debut

While the 2019 Mercedes-AMG A35 hatchback was supposed to be unveiled at the Paris Auto Show next month, Australia’s Redline released details and images a little prematurely. Normally, a leak this premature would leave us feeling overwhelming suspicious. But the accompanying imagery, all of which is appears to be sourced from Daimler’s marketing department, seems valid.

Unfortunately, this AMG variant is assured to remain in Europe to duke it out with the Audi S3 and Volkswagen Golf R. But when/if Mercedes decides to bring a sedan version stateside, it’ll probably boast similar figures.

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Mercedes-Benz's Hideous New Mobility Concept Isn't All That New

On Monday, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the Vision URBANETIC (styled in all caps by the manufacturer) — an all-electric, autonomous nightmare the company claims “answers the questions of future urban mobility.”

The modular design is as versatile as it is ugly. But it’s an important example of the direction automakers are collectively heading. Despite autonomous vehicles being oversold by manufacturers for years, we’re finally reaching a point where they feel comfortable enough to monetize them. Mercedes thinks the Urbanetic will prove revolutionary in redefining our roads. Still, it’s not the newest idea, despite Daimler calling it a “groundbreaking concept.”

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A-Class Sedan Gets Euro Pricing, Edition 1 Variant That's Straight Out of the Mercedes-Benz Playbook

Mercedes-Benz recently announced A-Class sedan pricing for the European market. While not a bargain at 31,000 euros (roughly $36,000), it’s roughly what we expected from from the automaker. Of course, that fee goes up the second you start adding things. While you could go up in trim and include 4Matic all-wheel drive, one of the most sizable pricing leaps comes via Daimler’s Edition 1 variant.

Benz likes to offer a debatably unnecessary permutation of every new model for its first year. The Edition 1 cars typically include a number of visual upgrades and trim pieces to differentiate themselves from the standard model. But they aren’t limited to being solely an appearance package. For example, the Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe Edition 1 received an upgraded interior, new steering wheel, a few aerodynamic modifications, and carbon ceramic brakes to complement the racy decals.

The A-Class Sedan Edition 1 appears to be taking the show-before-go route by adopting a copper color scheme and little else. While that usually makes our heads spin, it’s something different from the factory and proves Mercedes still occasionally notices what happens in the aftermarket scene.

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Trade War Watch: Trump Rejects Auto Tariff Deal With Europe

Earlier this year, President Donald Trump took a renewed interest in European tariffs after deciding he didn’t like what he saw. He argued it was time for the United States to consider a fresh tax on vehicles manufactured in the European Union to level the playing field. “If the EU wants to further increase their already massive tariffs and barriers on U.S. companies doing business there, we will simply apply a tax on their cars which freely pour into the U.S.,” he wrote in March.

A few months later, America floated the ridiculous-sounding proposal of abolishing all automotive tariffs between the U.S. and EU. Surprisingly, Europe was highly receptive. German Chancellor Angela Merkel even directly addressed the issue by saying she would support lowering EU tariffs on U.S. car imports. The European Union now seems willing to pursue a zero-tariff solution on automobiles.

However, Trump has since changed his tune. The new rhetoric coming from the White House is that the deal, which was originally pitched by the U.S., is no longer good enough.

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BMW Raising Prices on American-made SUVs in China, Willing to Absorb Some Tariff Costs

BMW says it will hike the price of two utility vehicles in China to cope with the additional cost of tariffs on U.S. car imports in the world’s biggest vehicle market. The models are the X5 and X6, both manufactured in South Carolina.

This news comes after China increased import duties on all automobiles from the United States to 40 percent earlier this month. China had previously said it would reduce its already high vehicle tariffs across the board as a sign of good faith — which it did, while simultaneously slapping new punitive tariffs on the U.S. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has postponed prospective automotive tariffs while negotiations take place with Europe.

If you needed proof that a trade war is on and were wondering how automakers would handle it, look no further. BMW says it will have to raise the models’ Chinese MSRP by 4 percent to 7 percent. It’s a relatively modest increase considering how utterly massive the new import fees are, which indicates a willingness from the automaker to absorb some of the associated costs just to remain in the market. It’s something BMW is not alone in doing, and there could be a valuable lesson to be learned from that.

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Daimler's Breaking Up the Band: German Giant Plans Massive Corporate Overhaul

Daimler AG unveiled a new corporate structure on Thursday that splits its core businesses into a three legally independent entities, with one of the arms focusing entirely on mobility and financial services.

It’s a sign of the times as automakers press ever deeper into an uncertain tomorrow, all thanks to mobility and data services. “The new structure positions Daimler to tackle the rapid pace of change in the mobility sector and the corresponding strategic challenges,” explained Supervisory Board chairman Manfred Bischoff. “Legally independent divisions will sharpen our focus on the future success of the business.”

This is no small feat, as altering the structure involves reassigning more than 700 Daimler subsidiaries in over 60 countries. After which, Mercedes-Benz AG, Daimler Truck AG and Daimler Mobility AG will operate as one under the Daimler AG umbrella.

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Mercedes-Benz A-Class to Become World's Most Aerodynamic Production Vehicle

While the rest of the world will be able to enjoy the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class hatchback, the United States is patiently waiting for the sedan. Since Americans won’t be privy to the liftback model, it’s to be four doors or nothing.

This is our first look at the model without camouflage and, while it resembles the A-Class hatchback to a large extent, there are some aspects unique to the sedan. The most evident change will be the rear end but, as the teaser image doesn’t show that portion of the car, we’re left analyzing the front bumper — which scales down the oversized air inlets and ditches the slats.

According to Mercedes-Benz, the changes weren’t entirely aesthetic. It claims the vehicle’s shape results in a drag coefficient of only 0.22. That beats the outgoing CLA Coupe (along with the BMW 5 Series) as the most aerodynamic production car in the world.

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Mercedes-AMG Considering Development of Porsche 718 Rival

Depending on who you ask, the 718 Cayman is the best car in Porsche’s lineup. It’s not the fastest or the nicest, and you’ll have to spend a bundle if you want it equipped with luxury features. But it does offer a reasonably entry point into pure driving enjoyment without a lot of gimmicks.

While a bevy of cheaper options exist, the 718 strikes a balance that’s difficult to beat. Most American rivals have the right spirit but not the necessary precision, and competition from Japan doesn’t really exist. We can praise the Mazda MX-5 or Subaru BRZ as an overwhelmingly satisfying experience all day, but neither occupy the same category as the $56,500 Porsche.

The 718 needs a mass-market rival that wears an identical price tag and hosts a similar personality, if only to force it to step up its own game. But there isn’t one — not yet, anyway. Mercedes-Benz is currently working on a successor to the SLC and, while that vehicle isn’t really fit for taking down the Porsche, reports have indicated its replacement just might be.

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Report Points to Product Turmoil in the Nissan-Daimler Partnership

A report in a Japanese business publication claims the partnership that gave us the Infiniti QX30 crossover — built on the same MFA platform as the Mercedes-Benz GLA — won’t yield a compact Infiniti luxury car, as was planned.

This isn’t a case of bad blood between the two automakers, however. The United States just isn’t a ripe target for such a vehicle anymore, apparently, and the vastly uncertain trade situation doesn’t help.

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U.S. Gives German Auto Industry Zero-tariff Proposal, Merkel Receptive

The fresh threat of new automotive and parts tariffs from the United States has everyone up in arms. We recently published an exhaustive list of comments manufacturers and local governments made to the U.S. Commerce Department. They, along with suppliers, universally despise the idea and are doing everything in their power to convince the Trump administration to reconsider. Many are even discussing the grim prospect of layoffs and suspending investments.

However, the president remained firm on doing whatever it takes to bolster domestic production and U.S. automotive exports while the world tried to make sense of his strategy. Was this a madman playing hardball and gambling with the industry’s future, or the work of a master dealmaker forcing others to come to the table? Perhaps a little of both?

Earlier this week, the U.S. ambassador to Germany told German car executives that President Donald Trump would suspend threats to impose tariffs on cars imported from the European Union if the European Union lifts duties on U.S. cars. But the wildest part of all of this is that both the automakers and the German government seem to be in support of it.

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2019 Mercedes-AMG GT S Roadster: The 515-horsepower Middle Child

The traditional birth order for children goes from oldest to youngest and biggest to smallest. But cars are a little different. If the market allows for it, you can slot in a middle child almost anywhere you like. Formerly a two-trimmed affair, the Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster is following the hardtop’s lead by expanding its ranks to include a middle-weight bruiser.

For the 2019 model year, AMG Roadsters will now come in a GT S trim. Better than the base unit, but not quite as impressive as its bigger brother, the formula for the mid-level trim is identical to the coupe variant that shares its name — just with an infinite amount of headroom.

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Mercedes-Benz Announces E-Class Enhancement, AMG E53 4Matic+ Sedan and Wagon

Mercedes-Benz is improving the E-Class lineup with a new driver assistance package that delivers the semi-autonomous capabilities already available on the S-Class. Among them is advanced steering assist and Mercedes’ latest version of adaptive cruise control. Dubbed “Active Distance Assist Distronic” by the brand, the tech allows the vehicle to maintain a comfortable following distance with the traffic ahead and is capable of coming to a complete stop in traffic jams. But, unlike some other systems, it can also resume speed once the road ahead is clear.

There’s also a new SportsStyle Package for the 2019 model year — adding chrome accents to the exterior, tailpipe finishers, special badging, and an upgraded interior featuring stainless steel sport pedals, ash wood center console, new headliner, and unique floor mats.

However, most interesting change comes via AMG. Mercedes has ditched the E43 model for the all new E53 4Matic+. Coming in both wagon and sedan bodystyles, the E53 dumps the E43’s biturbo V6 for an inline unit hosting the same number of cylinders, turbochargers, and adds a mild hybrid application.

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  • Fred As a British Car Fan I liked them, but then I sat in one and changed my mind. I like the unique looks of the newer ones.
  • FreedMike Not much to look at, but these were sweet to drive.
  • EBFlex Ford finally making a good decision although they should shut down their EV operations and investment all together. Why lose that money too?
  • Mike Lol. This is the king of suvs. And its made by GM.Why is everyone trashing it?Top of its its class for a quarter century.
  • Frank Drove past there last week, plant has a huge poster of a bronco on the outside. I was thinking "Is that where they build the new broncos?" I know they use to make the Edge and that other mundane SUV there but I believe both have been canned.