By on May 1, 2019

Daimler’s performance arm, Mercedes-AMG, has entered a period of transition. In addition to placing a strengthened emphasis on all-wheel drive, the company will also begin manufacturing vehicles in China.

While the assembly locale isn’t equally important for all cars, AMG is famous for its one-man-one-engine philosophy. Part of the appeal, we assumed, was getting a rear-drive monster with a hand-built engine that some auto nerd from Affalterbach was proud enough of to lend their signature. That could change after the Mercedes-AMG A 45 moves to Beijing later this year.  (Read More…)

By on April 29, 2019

Mercedes-AMG, the German luxury marque’s performance sub-brand, might eliminate all rear-drive vehicles from its lineup, AMG CEO Tobias Moers suggested during a recent interview.

The company’s boss claims buyers, who already favored putting their AMG’s additional power to all four wheels, are increasingly leaving rear-drive driving behind. The customer, of course, is always right, and in 2019 non-conformists are less likely than ever to get what they want.  (Read More…)

By on April 16, 2019

Mercedes-AMG is updating the GLC 63 model line for 2020, not that it really needed to. The performance variants of this compact crossover already trounce their mainstream counterparts in terms of looks — even the oddly squat GLC “Coupe.”

However, as the manufacturer was not content to simply rest on its laurels, it decided to provide a brief but well-rounded list of upgrades. (Read More…)

By on February 13, 2019

What happens when a tuning company takes an already luxurious coupe and adds more of everything? The answer is this Mercedes-Benz SEC AMG from 1986.

(Read More…)

By on October 5, 2018

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.  (Read More…)

By on July 11, 2018

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.  (Read More…)

By on April 27, 2018

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.  (Read More…)

By on April 3, 2018

While black edition vehicles have become all the rage of late, there’s only one lineup that you really need to care about — and that’s the Mercedes-AMG Black Series. Despite the name, Black Series models have very little to do with color. They’re all about the brand’s Performance Studio in Affalterbach savagely goosing a standard AMG coupe, resulting in a vehicle operating on the outer limits of what’s theoretically possible without getting NASA involved.

However, the lesser go-fast AMG models are getting mighty common these days. Mercedes-Benz recently decided to attach the AMG badge to practically every model that isn’t a hybrid and a lot of them seem unnecessary. The V6-powered Mercedes GLE43 and C43 may be stellar driving machines, but did the brand really need to call them AMG’s when they aren’t top-trim performance models? This has created some concern that the no-compromise Black Series could become watered down as Daimler allows the nameplate to ooze onto undeserving models.

Thankfully, Germany says those fears are unfounded. AMG Black Series models will only ever be tuned-up, limited-edition coupes — even though the brand once affixed the Black Series name to a high-performance cigarette boat. (Read More…)

By on March 21, 2018

Image: Daimler AG

Mercedes-Benz’s C-Class line maintains a steady stream of customers by being attainably aspirational. A dignified, confident car, the C-Class doesn’t feel the need to be something it’s not. Watch a realtor pull up in one, and a feeling of quiet assurance falls over the would-be home buyer — certainly, not the same feeling you’d get after seeing them pull up in a CLA.

In a bid to maintain this respectful relationship, Mercedes-Benz has a host of changes in store for the refreshed 2019 C-Class sedan. These niceties are now bound for the coupe and convertible variants, too.

Isn’t it nice to talk about an honest-to-goodness sedan, coupe, and convertible, each carrying the same model name? (Read More…)

By on March 11, 2018

While the United States’ obsession with massive V8 engines was picking up steam, Britain was falling in love with the inline six. In the years following World War II, Aston Martin was acquired by David Brown for a pittance and entered into the era that would define it forever. This era included the engine stylings of Tadek Marek — a man with a serious penchant for the straight six. Eventually both Aston and Marek would move on to motors with more cylinders, but the company would still hold onto the inline six until the new millennium as an entry-level option. It’s last application was on the base-model DB7.

Unless you count the DB4’s continuation, we’ve not seen any Aston Martin hosting a straight-six configuration since then. However, the company recently let slip that it’s talking about borrowing one from Daimler. Specifically, the turbocharged 3.0-liter from Mercedes-AMG.  (Read More…)

By on March 8, 2018

There certainly are a lot of high-horsepower options available in the midst of the automotive industry’s sea change toward “electric mobility.” Despite all claims to the contrary, North America has stuck with gas-guzzling SUVs, trucks, and performance coupes — leaving economy-focused machines to fill in the domestic market’s narrowest margins.

It’s a similar story in Germany. While BMW and Mercedes-Benz both claim to be pushing toward electrification, they continue to present us with extravagant models where efficiency is an afterthought. If you’re wondering how they could possibly enact this betrayal of trust, they kind of have to. The profit margin for EVs is slim, sometimes nonexistent, and these expensive units generate the money needed for electric R&D.

We also don’t mind seeing them in the showroom in the slightest. Case in point is the Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe. Like all high-end performance “coupes,” the name is utterly meaningless. The new AMG flagship is, in fact, a five-door hatchback with fastback styling. Fortunately, that’s really the only complaint we can make about it, as everything else looks about as desirable as one could imagine. (Read More…)

By on February 5, 2018

mercedes-benz logo

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.

(Read More…)

By on December 18, 2017

2017 Mercedes-AMG C43 Group - Image: Mercedes-Benz

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. (Read More…)

By on September 7, 2017

Autobahn, Image: Wikimedia

I spent a fair amount of time on the Autobahn this summer, including several hundred miles on the unrestricted sections. I can’t say that I went all that fast — I think I saw 260 km/h once, trying to get to a Pizza Hut near the border with Belgium that was about to close. Other than that I rarely went above 200 km/h. The only excuse I have for this is that I’m old and tired and I had a bunch of broken ribs at the time.

There’s also the inconvenient fact that the freeways are just as crowded over there as they are here, and the lane discipline hasn’t been so good in recent years due to demographic and educational changes in Germany. Still, once in awhile you can find yourself in those oh-so-stereotypically Deutsch situations of which you dreamed as a child. There was a particularly memorable afternoon where I relaxed in the passenger seat of an E43 wagon and watched my co-driver chase a Swiss-plated Phantom for over an hour at sustained triple-digit speeds. I was working my way through a bag of those Babybel cheese things. Good times.

My long-time correspondent and pal Luigi knows all about those kind of good times. He’s been around the world working different gigs. Now he’s considering settling down for a while in der Vaterland and buying a big, thirsty car for big, fast cross-Continental commutes.

(Read More…)

By on June 30, 2017

mercedes-gas-i6

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. (Read More…)

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