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…)

By on June 28, 2017

2017 Mercedes-AMG C43 4Matic Cabriolet - Image: © Timothy Cain250 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. (Read More…)

By on April 4, 2017

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. (Read More…)

By on March 29, 2017

2017 Mercedes-AMG GLC43 - Image: Mercedes-Benz

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. (Read More…)

By on March 8, 2017

mercedes-amg-gt-concept

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. (Read More…)

By on February 3, 2017

Does anyone else miss those innocent days before YouTube? Back when we had to wait for the actual Super Bowl to watch our beloved Super Bowl commercials?

Nowadays, there’s pretty much no reason whatsoever to watch the game.

Let’s take a look at the commercials, in alphabetical order by automaker.

(Read More…)

By on January 8, 2017

Mercedes-Benz AMG GLA 45 4MATIC Yellow Night Edition, X156, 2017

Mercedes-Benz has a total of seven model series in the SUV/crossover playing field, ranging from its granddaddy G-Wagen to the compact GLA. Given SUVs and crossovers are enjoying record sales numbers, it should be no surprise manufacturers are wont to outdo their competitors by keeping them as fresh as possible.

Applying their considerable engineering might, the boffins in Stuttgart will kick off 2018 with a neue version of the GLA — with some new bumpers.

(Read More…)

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