Mercedes-Benz

It’s a good time to own a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing.  In the past few years prices for the iconic Gullwing Coupe, and its soft-top sibling the 300 SL Roadster have steadily climbed into the stratosphere of the collector car world.

The price for one of these rare and desirable vehicles reached a new zenith on Friday at the annual Gooding & Company auction in Scottsdale, Ariz., where a 1955 Gullwing sold for a record $4.62 million, far exceeding the presale estimate of $2.5 million to $3 million.

Why so much? Well, this wasn’t just one of the 867 examples that rolled off the assembly line in 1955. This particular Gullwing is number six of 29 aluminum-bodied examples that were specifically designed and built for competition racing. Modifications for the alloy Gullwing’s included reduced weight, a more powerful, high-performance NSL engine with high-lift camshaft, Rudge knockoff wheels, stiffer suspension and larger brakes.

The 1955 alloy Gullwing might have set a new world record for the vehicle at auction, but it wasn’t the only 300 SL to sell in the past two days for a world record price.

Only one day after the sale of the 1955 alloy-body, a 1954 steel-bodied Gullwing sold for $2 million (not including buyer’s premium) at the Barrett-Jackson auction on the other side of Scottsdale. This eclipsed the previous mark of $1,375,000 million set at the 2011 RM auction in Phoenix, Ariz. The steel-bodied example was one of only 146 built in 1954. In addition to the extremely low production numbers for that year, the vehicle rolled over the auction block with just 4,149 original miles. As if the low mileage wasn’t good enough this particular Gullwing was totally original and unrestored, minus the exterior being repainted once.

© 2012 GermanAutoNews

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Many vehicles throughout automotive history have used “sport” and “lightweight” in their names, and the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class is one of them. The first generation Mercedes-Benz SL rolled off the assembly lines in 1952 and has given birth to such icons as the 300SL Gullwing and Roadster. Now, six decades after the initial launch the sixth generation SL promises to return to its roots with a renewed attention to increased performance and reduced weight.

The new 2013 SL550 is the first production-based Mercedes to feature an all-aluminum body structure. Steel is only used in the A-pillar for added safety in the event of a crash. Besides the extensive use of lightweight aluminum, panels behind the roof and gas tank employ even lighter magnesium in their construction, helping to reduce the weight even further.

The result of all this is a body that weighs in at 242 pounds less than that of its predecessor, 275 pounds less as a whole. All of this has been done even though the 2013 SL550 is almost two inches longer and over two inches wider than the fifth generation. Dr. Thomas Rudlaff, who is responsible for the aluminum bodyshell said “The effect is as if a large passenger has stepped out of the car.”

Ok, that’s one half of the “SL” concept. But the “sport” dimension of the vehicle has been upgraded and improved too. The 2013 SL550 has received significant changes under the hood and throughout the vehicle’s suspension. A new 4.6-liter V8 has replaced the outgoing 5.4-liter unit. Despite decreasing the overall displacement by 0.8 liters, peak output has increased to 429 horsepower. The amount of torque produced has jumped dramatically, increasing 32 percent, from 391 lb-ft to 516 lb-ft, thanks in large part to the addition of twin turbochargers, allowing the engine to produce large amounts of torque at relatively low rpms. Mercedes claims the 2013 SL550 will sprint from 0-60 mph in just 4.5 seconds, 0.8 seconds less than the previous model. Although no official figures have been released fuel economy and overall efficiency has supposedly inccreased as well, with the help of a ECO stop/start function and an economically 7-Speed Driver-Adaptive automatic transmission.

On the interior passengers can expect to have increased room and maneuverability as a result of the exterior’s greater dimensions. The spacious and luxurious interior the 2013 SL550 also features a retractable hard top that can be opened or closed in less than 20 seconds. On top of the SL550′s already technologically-laden design are two all-new features, FrontBass and Magic Vision Control (MVC).

FrontBass takes advantage of the spaces in front of the footwell. This area is where the woofers amplify the bass sound from the speakers, thus making for a high quality audio experience even when the roof is down. The second feature, Magic Vision Control is essentially a high-tech windshield wiper system. MVC dispenses washing fiuld onto the windshield in both directions of travel, allowing for reduced splatter and risk of over spray when driving with the top down. The MVC system also heats the fluid and wiper blade itself, which should come in handy getting rid of snow and ice during winter months.

The 2013 SL550 will be available in U.S. showrooms beginning in the Spring. Along with the initial launch Mercedes will be offering a special “Edition 1″ model. The “Edition 1″ includes unique features such as AMG 19-inch alloy wheels, designo exclusive leather with contrasting topstitching, AIRSCARF and Harman/Kardon surround sound system.  The exterior is finished in special designo crystal silver magno paintwork and the interior upholstery is covered in designo classic red/black leather with designo black piano lacquer wood trim.

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

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Fifteen years isn’t a long time in terms of human history, but in the automotive industry it’s a lifetime. In 1996 the four major luxury brands in Germany, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi and Porsche all had yet to produce a luxury SUV. That all changed in 1997 with the introduction of the first generation ML class. The first high-performance model, the ML55 AMG, model followed for the 2000 model year. Now, over a decade after the initial release, the all-new AMG variant of the third generation ML has been unveiled.

The new ML63, although redesigned on the exterior for the 2012 model year, leaves the most major changes hidden under the hood. With a large number of manufacturers including BMW and Audi turning to forced injection turbocharging for their new generation of vehicles, its no wonder Mercedes stayed in lock-step with the competition. This grocery-getter has received more horsepower and torque by replacing the outgoing 6.2-liter naturally aspirated V8 with the same 5.5-liter BiTurbo unit that has already made its way into other 2012 AMG models.

As if the 505 hp from the naturally aspirated unit wasn’t enough for driving the kids through the snow to their hockey practice, the new power plant produces 518 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque (550 hp and 560 lb-ft with the optional AMG Performance Package.) Peak torque is available from only 1,750 rpm, allowing the 2012 ML63 AMG to accelerate from 0-60 mph in just 4.7 seconds (4.6 with Performance Package) and reach an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph, or a raised limit of 174 mph.

All of this power and torque is transferred to the high gloss, titanium gray, 20 -inch, 5-spoke alloy wheels with 265/45 R 20 high-performance tires through the AMG SPEEDSHIFT PLUS 7-speed automatic transmission. Optional 295/35 R tires and 21-inch AMG alloy wheels are also available.

As with other current AMG models the ML63 AMG employs a “Controlled Efficiency” (C) mode if one so chooses. When engaged, the Eco-friendly transmission shuts down all unnecessary functions and turns off the engine while the vehicle is stationary. Mercedes must be aware most customers who purchase the new high-performance SUV do so without the regard of fuel economy or efficiency. Despite this, an Eco mode isn’t a bad thing. Especially considering the ML63′s fuel economy. According to Mercedes the new 5.5-liter engine has resulted in a 33 percent improvement over the 6.2-liter V8. The estimated combined economy is still marginal at 16 mpg, but that’s surely better than the second gen. average of 11 mpg. Especially when considering the vehicle’s weight and highly tuned engine.

On and off the road drivers will benefit from a reduction of 99 lbs from the previous generation. The ML63 will still feature a transfer case which delivers the 4-MATIC permanent all-wheel drive to the road surface. To make the ride quality even more refined the new ML63 will employ, for the first time, an ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM for active roll stabilization. An AMG sports suspension with AIRMATIC Air Suspension is standard equipment, along with independent damper struts, automatic level control and an Adaptive Damping System (ADS).

In staying with the expectations of buyers the new ML63 AMG now features designo interior as standard equipment. The interior had been available, but only at significant additional cost. It is available in three different choices, designo auburn brown, porcelain or black. Other choices on the interior include a host of designo pieces, including black leather edging on the floor mats, trim in black piano lacquer and wood/leather steering wheel in black piano lacquer. Rounding out the options are AMG badges on the backrests of the front seats, outer rear seats and edges of the floor mats.

The ML63 AMG is certainly not something for everyone. Most people don’t need to have a high horsepower, gas hungry SUV with tons of luxury accompaniments. Despite this there are obviously enough people who are in the market for Mercedes’ top SUV; 13,000 of the second generation were sold over the 6-year production run and 24,000 have been sold in total.

If you are in the market for the 2012 ML63 AMG you’ll need to have deep pockets. No official prices have been released, but with the 2011 model having a base MSRP of $92,590 you can expect the new family hauler to fall somewhere in that ballpark.

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

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By Matt McCarron

On the same day of its world debut The New York Times Wheels page has reported Mercedes-Benz plans to bring their all-new B-Class to the United States in the coming years. This isn’t the first time Mercedes’ has toyed with bringing a compact vehicle to U.S. shores. The Concept A-Class made its world premiere at the 2011 New York International Auto Show in April.

The reasoning behind the move might seem simple enough. In the past four or five years Mercedes-Benz has fallen behind arch rivals BMW and Audi in an ongoing battle to control the compact luxury vehicle market in the U.S. BMW has the 128i, 135i and more recently, the 1M Coupe. Audi has countered BMW with their five-door A3 Sportback.

Although Mercedes’ has sold small, compact luxury vehicles in other markets for years the prospect of making them a success in the SUV-obsessed U.S. is a risky proposition. Not only does Mercedes have to contend with opposition from BMW and Audi, but they must also take into account the U.S. market as a whole. Typically U.S. drivers have been reluctant to put a premium of a small luxury vehicle. Instead of opting for the B-Class those with young families look to something family friendly like a minivan, or mid-sized SUV, while younger, performance-orientated drivers are drawn to lightning quick four-doors such as the Subaru WRX STI.

According to Mercedes the European model of the new B-Class features a turbocharged four-cylinder engine with direct injection. Transmission choices include a high-tech dual clutch transmission as well as a traditional manual transmission. While many of the specifics might vary between the European and U.S. models major models aspects and options should remain relatively the same.

Only time will tell if Mercedes’ wager on bring the B-Class to America pays off. The B-Class is scheduled to arrive in European showrooms beginning in November. No arrival date for the U.S. has been set, but the Times’ article reports it should be sometime in 2013.

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com

By Matt McCarron

It might be the smallest vehicle in the AMG lineup, but that hasn’t stopped the engineers at Mercedes’ high-performance skunk works from developing one very powerful and appealing two-door sports car. The 2012 SLK55 AMG packs a monster of an engine with all of the other luxuries and state-of-the-art technologies one would expect in a Mercedes-Benz.

The 2012 SLK55 AMG is powered by a new 5.5-liter, naturally aspirated V8 engine. Designated the M152 by AMG, this V8 power plant is capable of developing a hefty 415 hp at 6,800 rpm and 398 lb-ft at 4,500 rpm. The engine’s ability to push out large amounts horsepower and torque is due in large part to the number of components it shares with the M157 bi-turbo engine found in the E63 AMG, CLS63 AMG, S63 AMG and CL63 AMG. The displacement, bore/stroke, distance between cylinders, ECO stop/start system and direct gasoline injection technology are all identical in both engines. That being said, not all aspects of the two engines are similar. The intake air ducting, cylinder heads, valve drive, oil supply system and crankcase have all be adapted or modified specifically for the M152.

Besides the impressive engine, the 2012 SLK55 AMG also comes with the AMG Cylinder Management cylinder shut-off system, improving overall fuel economy. When the AMG SPEEDSHIFT PLUS 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission is being operated in Controlled Efficiency or “C” mode the cylinder management system allows the engine to run on just four cylinders. However, if the driver decides they need more power all they need to do is reach 3,600 rpm. Upon reaching this speed the engine automatically engages the remaining four cylinders in a process that takes just 30 milliseconds.

The sports suspension of the third generation SLK by AMG comes with Torque Vectoring Brakes with a high-performance braking system, 3-stage ESP and Direct-Steer system. The optional AMG Handling Package gives an even greater level of driving pleasure, courtesy of a stiffer AMG Performance suspension, rear axle differential lock, two-piece brake discs at the front and a three-spoke AMG Performance steering wheel.

Much of the stylistic inspiration for the 2012 SLK55 AMG has been taken from the SLS AMG. A wide front grill with chrome-plated fins as well as the four air vents and center console finished in brushed aluminum are all reminiscent of the SLS super car. Rounding out the interior, other luxuries include AMG sports seats, and AMG-specific instrument cluster.

As with any SLK model, the 2012 SLK55 AMG comes standard with a retractable hardtop. But since this is the ultimate SLK Mercedes has added another option, a panoramic roof with MAGIC SKY CONTROL. This panoramic roof can change from light to dark with the push of a button, depending on the outside conditions.

Now, after hearing about all the performance and technology that has been packed into AMG’s smallest offering, one might want to run down to the dealership and buy one right away. Unfortunately, those who want to add the latest two-door AMG to their garage will have to wait a little longer. The 2012 SLK55 AMG is scheduled to go on sale in the U.S. starting in early 2012.

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com

By Matt McCarron

Just days after Mercedes AMG revealed their all-new powerful and fuel efficient, naturally aspirated V8 engine the M152, they have unveiled an all-new vehicle.

The 2012 C63 AMG coupe Black Series is the most powerful C-Class ever produced and has the performance to back up its aggressive styling and looks. As with the other three Black Series models that have been released since 2006, the 2012 C63 Black Series is a no-holds-barred version of AMG’s regular C63 coupe.

Unlike the fuel efficient 5.5-liter in the 2012 SLK55 the engine in the C63 Black Series is designed with one thing in mind, high performance. The 6.2-liter, naturally aspirated V8 cranks out a whopping 510 hp at 6,800 rpm and 457 lb-ft at 5,200 rpm, accelerating the two-door from 0-60 mph in just 4.2 seconds. This power and torque is handled by the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports gearbox, with four driving modes including the fastest “Sport Plus” and “Manual” modes for lightning quick shifts.

Numerous styling and engineering cues were taking directly from the racetrack in an attempt to save weight and make the C63 AMG coupe Black Series as aerodynamic as possible.

The AMG Aerodynamics Package includes exterior winglets and a fixed spoiler at the rear. Both pieces are made from carbon-fiber and help to increase the downforce at the front and rear axle. Accompanying the weight-saving carbon-fiber elements are lightweight alloy wheels. The 19-inch titanium gray wheels use a special forging process that results in a weight reduction of 24.2 pounds when compared to conventional wheels. To make the special forged wheels perform to their maximum one might opt for the AMG Track Package. This package is made up of Dunlop sport tires measuring 255/35 R 19 in the front and 285/30 R 19 in the rear, and aid to increase the overall grip of the vehicle during spirited driving on road or at track days.

Despite not being easily visible, the undercarriage of the C63 AMG Black Series is just as focused as the exterior. This particular Black Series features a specially designed AMG sports coil-over suspension, along with a locking rear-axle differential as standard. The coil-over suspension allows the driver to choose a number of different settings and options to suit the individual’s specific needs and demands. The differential lock also enables the operator to choose from various setups depending on their driving conditions.

Finishing off the C63 AMG Black Series is the motorsport-inspired interior. The two front AMG sport seats keep the occupants secure and planted during even the most demanding driving conditions. Interior sections such as the red seat belts and dashboard finished in high-gloss black piano lacquer give sharp contrast to the steering wheel, seats, door trim, door armrests, center console and shift lever, all of which feature red stitching.

The 2012 C63 AMG coupe Black Series made its world premiere today at the famous Nurburgring and is scheduled to make its debut in the U.S. beginning in early 2012.

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com

By Matt McCarron

The eight-cylinder engine. Its characteristics has become synonymous with high horsepower, frame-twisting amounts of torque and speed. However, with fuel economy and overall efficiency becoming more important with each passing day, how much longer does the venerable V8 have in a world full of fuel-sipping four-cylinders?

Thankfully all the power-hungry, speed-loving enthusiasts need not be afraid. Yesterday Mercedes AMG announced the creation of an all-new naturally aspirated V8 engine, designated internally as the M152. The new V8 will make its world debut at the Frankfurt International Motor Show in September, and will power the new 2012 SLK55 AMG, the only vehicle in its segment to feature a eight-cylinder engine.

The M152 is the equivalent of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with two completely different personalities. The new AMG-derived V8 delivers impressive horsepower and torque figures expected from a hand-built AMG engine, but with a twist. And no, the twist does not refer to the amount of torque inflicted on the frame, rather that the M152 delivers the efficiency of a four-cylinder engine.

One might ask how this combination of power and efficiency is possible. The answer is both simple and highly complex, with technology, and lots of it.

Engineers at Mercedes’ high performance headquarters have incorporated their AMG Cylinder Management cylinder shut-off system into this new V8. The result of this technology is an engine that is capable of producing 415 hp at 6,800 rpm and 398 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm. Not only does this engine produce an additional 60 hp and 22 lb-ft when compare to its predecessor, but it is 30 percent more fuel efficient.

When designing the M152 AMG engineers took ideas and inspiration from the twin turbo 5.5-liter M157 that powers the likes of the CL63 and S63 AMG. The displacement of both engines is identical, along with the ECO stop/start system. However the M152 differs from its forced induction cousin with a different air intake, cylinder heads, modified valve drive, an adapted oil supply system and an optimized crankcase.

The AMG Cylinder Management cylinder shut-off system is a perfect example of just how much technology is going into today’s high-end automobiles in a never-ending attempt to make them more fuel efficient without sacrificing overall performance. To understand how this improved fuel economy is achieve you need to understand how a system like AMG’s cylinder shut-off system works.

When driving in the Controlled Efficiency “C” transmission mode, cylinders two, three, five and eight in the M152 are cut off during partial load. This is available when the engine is operation between 800 and 3,600 rpm. During this range the engine still produces a minimum of 170 lb-ft of torque when running on only four cylinders. If and when the driver feels they need more power and reaches the 3,600 rpm plateau the engine engages the additional four cylinder in less than 30 milliseconds.

The technology placed in the M152 is remarkable, especially when you consider that many of the advanced systems making their way into passenger vehicles were, up until a few years ago, strictly reserved for million dollar race cars. As the auto industry makes its way further into the 21st century it will continue to have to innovate and improve to start ahead of new restrictions and regulations. However, if the M152 proves anything it is that world class performance and fuel efficiency to match can coexist.

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com

By Matt McCarron

The third generation of Mercedes’ mid-sized SUV has been unveiled. The 2012 M-Class has been redesigned or improved in nearly every way. However, the basis of the M-Class, which has made it one of the most popular vehicles in its class since its initial debut in 1997, has remained largely unchanged.

On the outside many characteristics such as the distinctive headlights and C-pillar have stayed the same. Things that have changed include crisper and more aggressive styling, new front grille, 19-inch wheels, LED tail and daytime running lights, chrome accents and aluminum roof rails.

As with any Mercedes-Benz produced these days, the interior of the 2012 M-Class comes complete with lots of leather, exotic wood trim and plenty of high-tech gadgets. There is enough polished Eucalyptus wood on the dash to build a good sized house and the amount of electronics and top-of-the-line technology is mind-numbing. There is a 7-inch LCD display at the top of the dash with Bluetooth audio, hands-free calling, HD Radio and a USB port as accompaniments.

Under the hood the 2012 M-Class features a new engine. Although the displacement of the standard 3.5-liter V6 has remained the same, other aspects have not. The new engine now comes with direct injection, producing 302 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. Despite the increase in horsepower and torque Mercedes claims the new V6 achieves greater efficiency and fuel economy. If the standard gasoline-powered engine seems boring and mundane you can opt for the newly improved 240 hp BlueTEC clean diesel engine. Both power plants are mated to an updated version of the 7G-TRONIC PLUS 7-speed automatic transmission.

If you’re reading this and wondering why nothing has been said regarding safety features, do not be concerned. The new M-Class has enough start-of-the-art warning, protection and assistance systems to survive a nuclear attack. On top of at least nine airbags, yes you heard it right, nine airbags, are the PRE-SAFE anticipatory occupant protection system, ATTENTION ASSIST driver-drowsiness monitoring and adaptive brake technology. If that still doesn’t satisfy one’s needs for safety Mercedes even has two optional safety packages. The first of these is the all-new Lane Tracking Package. Included with this is non-active versions of Blind Spot and Lane Keeping Assist. However, for the ultimate in safety one can choose the Driver Assistance Package. This over-the-top creation not only has the features mentioned above, but has DISTRONIC PLUS adaptive cruise control with PRE-SAFE Brake and new Active Lane Keeping and Blind Spot Assist technologies that can intervene in the event of an impending accident.

With all of this luxury and technology look for the 2012 M-Class to continue its reign as one of the preeminent mid-sized luxury SUVs. The third generation M-Class is scheduled to appear in U.S. showrooms starting in September.

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com

By Matt McCarron

Spirited driving and taking the family on the annual summer vacation are not something that usually go hand-in-hand. However, Mercedes-Benz has managed to create a vehicle that’s capable of fulfilling both of these desires at the same time.

Mercedes-Benz announced it will produced the 2012 E63 AMG Wagon for the U.S. market,  joining the E63 AMG Sedan which is already on sale. The E63 AMG wagon will be in direct competition with Cadillac CTS-V Wagon.

To counter the CTS-V Wagon, and its 6.2-liter supercharged V8 which produces 556 hp and 551 lb-ft, the 2012 E63 AMG Wagon will feature the same powertrain as the sedan variant. This means a 5.5-litertwin-turbo V8 engine, producing 518 hp and 516 lb-ft or 550 hp and 590 lb-ft with the optional AMG performance package.

The 2012 E63 AMG Wagon also shares a number of other characteristics with the Sedan, including the AMG seven-speed MCT transmission, ECO stop/start technology and 19-inch AMG 10-spoke wheels. In addition to the above mention features the Wagon also gets a standard panorama sunroof.

Pricing for the 2012 E63 AMG Wagon has not been released. However, judging by the 2011 sedan’s base MSRP of $87,600, you can expect the 2012 E63 AMG Wagon to have a slightly higher starting price when it goes on sale this October.

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com

By Matt McCarron

After many rumors that the 2012 SLS AMG Roadster was among one of the three vehicles Mercedes-Benz was scheduled to debut at the 2011 New York International Auto Show, it turned out to be a no-show. So, if it wasn’t debuted at the New York show, then when would Mercedes finally lift the veil of secrecy and show the SLS AMG Roadster to the world. Well, the automotive world got their answer on Thursday when Mercedes revealed the drop-top version of their SLS AMG supercar will make its world premiere at the 2011 Frankfurt International Auto Show in September.

The final details of the SLS AMG Roadster are still being hammered out by AMG engineers, but numerous things have been set in stone. One of the most unusual and intriguing aspects to the roadster is its soft-top. Mercedes claims the soft-top can be deployed or retracted in just 11 seconds, at speeds up to 31 mph, with just the touch of a button.

The soft-top, which is comprised of three layers of fabric has been engineered with a weight-optimized magnesium,steel and aluminum construction, capable of with withstanding the vehicle’s top speed of 197 mph, regardless of whether or not the soft-top is covering the interior cabin, or neatly hidden behind the passenger seats. To ensure this structural integrity the SLS AMG Roadster has undergone high speed testing at three different high-speed tracks, in Papenburg, Germany, Nardo, Italy and Idiada, Spain.

In addition to the high-speed testing, the SLS AMG Roadster and its high-tech soft-top has endured a plethora of other testing including a high-intensity rain test and climate change tests where the vehicle was exposed to a variety of extreme climates around the world.

Mercedes says the SLS AMG Roadster still needs to undergo a number of quality test on other parts of the vehicle before it makes its world premiere on September 13 in Frankfurt. However, if the soft-top has survived such extensive and extreme testing, chances are the rest of the vehicle will also stack up to Mercedes’ and customer’s demands. But only time will tell if this version of the SLS AMG holds up to the reviews and acclaim of its hard-top sibling.

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com

By Matt McCarron

The days of the 6.2-liter naturally aspirated engine are gradually coming to a close in many of the current AMG models. Mercedes-Benz unveiled the refreshed MY2012 E63 AMG at the 2011 New York International Auto Show on April 20 with a new power plant under the hood. The new engine, a 5.5-liter twin turbocharged V8 replaces the outgoing 6.2-liter naturally aspirated unit. The 5.5-liter blown beast produces 518 hp and 516 lb-ft, and can be increased to 550 hp and 590 lb-ft with the optional AMG Performance Package. Regardless of the impressive performance numbers Mercedes claims the new engine results in a 22 percent decrease in fuel consumption, in accordance the European Driving Cycle (EDC).

The new engine achieves increased fuel economy with the help of new technological gadgets. The MY2012 E63 AMG features an Eco stop/start system, which when placed in the Controlled Efficiency “C” mode shuts off the eight-cylinder engine when the vehicle comes to a stop. When in “C” mode, the vehicle as starts in second gear and shifts earlier, reducing the amount of fuel needed to power the vehicle. Another new feature adding to the increase fuel efficiency is an all-new electromechanical AMG steering system. The system doesn’t use any fuel when traveling in a straight line, rather only when the vehicle is being steered.

However, if you getting concerned the new E63 AMG might have lost some of its potency, fear not. In addition to the fuel sipping “C” mode, the seven-speed AMG Speedshift transmission also has the familiar “S” (Sport), “S+” (Sport plus) and “M” (Manual) modes which consume plenty of fuel.

The MY2012 E63 AMG also comes with an upgraded interior, complete with all of the leather-trimmed luxuries AMG customers have come to expect. Characteristic AMG exterior styling rounds out the package with new lightweight alloy wheels, wider front fenders and AMG rocker panels and a sports exhaust with chrome plated tips.

The new MY2012 E63 AMG will go on sale in the U.S. starting in the fall.

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com

By Matt McCarron

Mercedes-Benz has announced the all-new A-Class concept will make its North American debut at the 2011 New York International Auto Show later this month. In addition, the A-Class concept will also make its world debut at the Shanghai auto show this month.

Mercedes-Benz A-Class concept: Courtesy MB USA

The A-Class concept is a front wheel drive vehicle, powered by a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, producing 210 horsepower. The new engine is part of Mercedes’ BlueEFFICIENCY line, meaning the A-Class concept will be able to deliver the performance Mercedes owners have come to expect, while have low emissions and excellent fuel economy. The turbocharged power plant isn’t the only new piece of technology on the A-Class concept. All 210 horses are transferred to the wheels via the new Mercedes duel clutch transmission.

Other technological firsts on the A-Class concept include being the first compact car to feature a radar-based collision warning system, that is backed up with Mercedes’ brake assist technology.

If size, appearance and horsepower count for anything, then you can expect the production version of the A-Class concept to compete directly with the BMW 128i and Audi A3.

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com

By Matt McCarron

Just months after the world premiere of the 2012 C-Class coupe at the Geneva Auto Show, Mercedes-Benz has unveiled the car which they hope will lay waste to competitors such as the Audi RS5, and current benchmark of two-door sports cars, the BMW M3.

The C63 AMG coupe will be powered by the same 6.3-liter naturally aspirated V8 engine in the C63 AMG sedan. The hand assembled power plant produces 451 hp and 443 lb-ft. This allows the C63 AMG coupe to accelerate from 0-60 in 4.4 seconds. Although the C63 AMG coupe produces more horsepower than either the M3 or RS5, the real difference is with the amount of torque. The 443 lb-ft in the C63 AMG coupe is significantly more than the M3 or Rs5, with 295 and 317 lb-ft respectively.

The C63 AMG coupe can become even more potent with the addition of the optional Mercedes-Benz Performance Package. The package utilizes technology from the SLS AMG including forged pistons, connecting rods and lightweight crankshaft. This reduces the weight by 6.6 pounds. The addition of this high-tech equipment results in a total horsepower output of 481 hp and reduces the 0-60 time to 4.3 seconds. Other benefits include an increase in top speed from 155 to 174 mph (electronically limited). In addition to the performance modifications, the Performance Package features a number of cosmetic changes to the exterior of the vehicle. This includes the variable intake manifold finished in titanium gray, the AMG high-performance braking system with two-piece front rotors and red painted brake calipers, a carbon fiber spoiler and the AMG performance steering wheel.

2012 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe: Courtesy Mercedes-Benz USA.

Ironically, for a car having so much power and torque the C63 AMG coupe also has a greener side. The high-revving V8 is mated with the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission. The transmission allows the driver to select from a variety of driving modes, including the Controlled Efficiency or “C” mode. This limits the amount of acceleration and makes the transmission shift early, resulting in improved fuel economy.

However, most customers who are in the market for a world-class high-performance coupe are not concerned about the amount of gasoline being consumed, and do not want to be driving around with slow, conservative transmission settings. Luckily the transmission in the C63 AMG coupe has faster and more aggressive settings. The “S”, “S+” and “M” modes are available at the touch of a button, with the gear changes in the “S+” and “M” modes taking only 100 milliseconds. The C63 AMG coupe also has a Race Start function to provide the best possible launch.

If the lighter and more nimble C63 AMG coupe is anything like it’s four-door sibling then BMW and Audi will be forced to take notice. Mercedes AMG seems to have its eyes on taking the top spot in the two-door sports car category and continues to develop and produce vehicles which are getting closer to doing just that. The C63 AMG coupe is scheduled to make its first appearance in U.S. showrooms starting in September.

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com

By Matt McCarron

Following its television debut during Super Bowl XLV, Mercedes-Benz said information on the new 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class coupe would become available during mid-February, and it didn’t take long at all. Keeping with their word, Mercedes released details for the new two-door C-Class on Feb. 13.

The 2012 C-Class coupe is poised to make its world debut at the 2011 Geneva Auto Show on Mar. 1. True to form, the C-Class coupe will be offered in two variations. The entry level C250, will be powered by a turbocharged, 1.8-liter, inline four-cylinder engine, producing 201 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 229 lb-ft of torque between 2,200-4,300 rpm. The upper level model C350 has a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 302 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 273 lb-ft of torque from 3,500-5,250 rpm. Both power plants will be paired with a 7-speed automatic transmission.

2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe: Courtesy M-B USA

The 2012 C-Class coupe will offer a number of improved communication and design features, allowing the driver to keep in contact without sacrificing safety or driver appeal. Some of the improved communication aspects include larger displays, phone book transfer, wireless streaming Bluetooth audio and a USB interface now located in the center armrest. The Sirius weather information and “Comand” navigation systems allow the driver to access maps and directions via Google maps, or transfer previously uploaded files from a PC directly to the vehicle.

Even though the C-Class coupe offers optional features, giving the driver access to the latest in-car technology, many Mercedes-Benz owners expect a certain level of quality and finish when purchasing a vehicle from the German manufacturer, whether it be in an entry-level C-250 or a top-of-the-line C63 AMG. The 2012 C-Class coupe is no exception. The interior of the C-Class coupe is tastefully adorned with metallic trim pieces, adding a feeling of class and elegance to the two-door coupe. The instrument panel’s three cylindrical rings are finished in a metallic hue, along with many of the controls and central and side air vents.

The 2012 C-Class coupe is an all-in-one package, combining sporty handling, a classy interior and aggressive styling. The MSRP should be expected to range between low-30 and 40K range. The 2012 C-Class coupe is expected to arrive in U.S. dealerships and showrooms in September.

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com

By Matt McCarron

When car manufacturers unveil automobiles they usually do it one at a time. Sometimes there’s two or three versions of the same model, depending if it’s offered as a sedan, coupe or convertible. However, I had never heard of a company choosing to debut four all-new, entirely different models at once. Well, at least until last night.

2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS550: Courtesy of M-B USA

Point-in-case Mercedes-Benz. During Super Bowl XLV the German luxury manufacturer showed the world four all-new models:  the 2012 CLS-class coupe, SLK-class roadster, C-class coupe and SLS AMG roadster.

The first car to be debuted is the 2012 CLS-class coupe. Wait a minute, coupe? To me a “coupe” is a vehicle with only two doors, as opposed to a sedan which has four. But there’s a problem, the CLS coupe has four doors. The reason for this is because, according to Mercedes-Benz, the CLS-class is classified as a “four-door sedan.” One of the first changes an individual will notice on the new 2012 CLS-class will be its headlights. It’s the first vehicle to offer full LED capability on all of its head and taillights. The improvements also extend to the interior. The stitched leather dashboard now covers the entire length of the vehicle, from the driver’s side door to the passengers. In addition to the exterior and interior changes, the engine is completely new to the 2012 CLS-class. The 2012 model features a 402 horsepower twin-turbo V8 engine, as opposed to the 382 hp naturally aspirated V8 engine in the current CLS-class.

2012 SLK-class: Courtesy of M-B USA

The SLK-class has also been updated and improved, a lot, for the 2012 model year. There are a number of new design features, including LED daytime running lights. and taillights, much like the 2012 CLS-class. Since the SLK-class is a hardtop convertible the lack of noise and reliability of the hardtop is very important. In order to combat this potential problem Mercedes has developed a hardtop capable of retracting in less than 20 seconds, and with little to no noise.

The 2012 SLK-class also has a number of added safety features including “Attention Assist” which alerts the driver if they begin to fall asleep behind the wheel. Another option, the “Distronic Plus” cruise control system, keeps the car at a safe distance from the vehicle in front of it. The last safety feature is the “Pre-Safe” crash detection system. In the event of an eminent crash the vehicle will prepare the vehicle for impact, and will call for assistance following the crash.

Along with the 2012 CLS-class and SLK-class, Mercedes-Benz debuted the 2012 C-class and the all-newSLS AMG Roadster.

Video Courtesy of Mercedes-Benz USA

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com

By Matt McCarron

High performance and fuel efficiency are not something that tend to go hand in hand. However, German manufacturers, particularly Mercedes-Benz AMG and BMW Motorsport have embarked on a new quest. It’s no longer acceptable to have the car with the most horsepower and torque, or the one with the largest displacement engine. In today’s ever-evolving high-performance race to produced the world’s best super sedan, it’s much more important to leave the competition in the dust, and do it in a cleaner and more fuel-efficient manner.

There are three German manufacturers who produce a high-performance version of their standard family hauler. And although all three, Audi, Mercedes-Benz and BMW can claim to have the highest performing and cleanest burning engine, and subsequently the best vehicle, this comparison will only focus on two of the three. The major reason for this is because the Audi RS6 isn’t offered for the U.S. market. The Audi S6 is a very capable vehicle in its own right, but it really can’t compete with the likes of the CLS63 AMG and upcoming BMW F10 M5. For the record, the Audi RS6 officially gets a combined 17 mpg in Europe and is powered by a 5.0-liter twin-turbocharged V10, producing 580 hp at 6,250 rpm and 479 lb-ft of torque at 1,500 rpm.

The new 5.5-liter twin-turbocharged AMG engine: Courtesy of M-B USA

Mercedes AMG seems to have fired the first shot in the latest super sedan war. In November 2010 Mercedes AMG revealed their all-new 5.5-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine, replacing it’s predecessor, the 6.3-liter naturally aspirated V8. The 5.5-liter twin turbo offers a 33% increase in fuel efficiency over the 6.3 NA, resulting in an estimated 16 mpg city and 21 mpg highway. The 5.5-liter also produces more horsepower and torque, with 518 hp and 516 lb-ft respectively, 550 hp and 590 lb-ft with the optional AMG Performance Package, as opposed to the 507 hp and 465 lb-ft from the old power plant.

Although Mercedes AMG has been the first out of the gate in the sedan race for the U.S. market, their competition, namely BMW Motorsport have been busy in the secretive depths of Munich and Garching, preparing their answer to the 2012 CLS63 AMG, the all-new BMW F10 M5. Although details of the upcoming ‘bahn-burner have been numerous, few have been concrete. However there are certain things that seem to have been figured out. The F10 M5 will be powered a highly tuned version of the 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine that currently powers the X5M and X6M. Horsepower estimates range from the upper 500’s to even 600 hp.

BMW F10 M5 in the Netherlands - Courtesy Autojunk.nl

In a September 2010 interview with Kilometer Magazine, BMW Motorsport CEO Dr. Kay Segler said the F10 M5 will reduce CO2 emissions by 20-25 percent. “We had very clear targets, and we worked toward those targets. Twenty to twenty-five percent less CO2 output, day-to-day car and a pure sports car in one, and a beautiful design as well,” said Segler.

The location of the F10 M5 debut is still uncertain. However one thing is for certain, the fast-paced race to produce the greatest super sedan seems to be escalating, and is getting more intense with each passing day. Unfortunately, the verdict on the world’s best super sedan will have to wait for the foreseeable future, or at least until enough automotive journalists have had the chance to drive the F10 M5 to make an educated decision.

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com

Video Courtesy of M5board.com

By Matt McCarron

Mercedes-Benz has announced the C63 AMG will be enhanced cosmetically and feature new technologies for the 2012 model year. The C63 AMG will now feature the 7-speed AMG Speedshift MCT transmission, with a “controlled efficiency” mode that Mercedes says will improve fuel efficiency by up to 10 percent. The AMG MCT transmission is currently featured on the SL63 AMG.

2012 C63 AMG with AMG Performance and Development Packages: Courtesy of M-B USA

Another new feature for the 2012MY is the addition of the AMG Development package, currently available on the SLS AMG.  Purchased in conjunction with the AMG Performance package, the development package will offer improved performance and handling.

The stock engine output will be increased from 451 horsepower to 481 due to forged pistons, connection rods and lightweight crankshaft, borrowed from the engine in the SLS AMG. The development will offer special cosmetics as well, including a titanium gray intake manifold, AMG performance braking system with red-painted brake calipers, a carbon fiber spoiler on the trunk lid and the AMG performance steering wheel.

The suspension will be yet another part of the C63 AMG to be revised for the 2012MY. Mercedes AMG has changed the front axle, rear axle and has widened the rear track, resulting in increased responsiveness and agility. The front damper and springs have been improved too.

The 2012 C63 AMG is scheduled to make its U.S. market debut in the fall of 2011.

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com

By Matt McCarron

Not many people get the chance to sit in a car worth $200,000, so when I was presented with the opportunity to do so at the Connecticut International Auto Show on Nov. 20 I took full advantage. I found myself sitting in a two-seat, Autobahn blistering, 563 horsepower, $200,000 ballistic missile, also known as the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG.

As I first moved towards the vehicle the first thing that caught my eye was the gullwing door. A gullwing door is very different than a conventional car doors, in that it opens upwards to an angle of 70 degrees and the door hinge is located at the top of the door, as opposed to the left side with most vehicles.

Copyright 2011 GermanAutoNews.com

As I moved closer I started to smell leather, lots and lots of leather. The interior of this particular SLS AMG was covered from head to toe. It was a moving masterpiece. The entire dash, from the top of the instrument cluster to the air vents, was covered in leather. So was the vast majority of the gullwing doors. The steering wheel consisted of leather and polished aluminum and portions of the top of the center console were leather, as was both sides. All of this leather, which smelled of high quality and class, was carefully held together with striking white contrast stitching.

After viewing the stylish interior I decided it was time to actually sit in the driver’s seat. After seeing the interior from outside the car I thought sitting in it would send me into automotive bliss. However looks can be deceiving and getting into the car wasn’t as easy as expected. The car was slightly elevated on a display stand, and although the car sits very low to the ground, I had to sit on the edge of the seat and swing my legs in.

So the entry didn’t go as smoothly as I expected, surely sitting in the driver’s seat would erase any memories of the seconds before…wrong! When I finally wrestled my way into the driver’s seat I was shocked to find myself somewhat confined and cramped. I had heard that anyone six feet or taller could have a hard time sitting in a supercar, but I didn’t think that would apply to me. Here I was, sitting in a $200,000 supercar, capable of reaching a top speed of 197 miles-per-hour, and all I was thinking about was how the top of my head was sitting above the roofline.

After my experience inside the car I took my video camera and explored the outside of the car. However I couldn’t get my thoughts of the interior out of my mind. Looking back on it, I’m sure if given the opportunity to actually drive the SLS AMG I would’ve made myself fit, no matter how confined and cramped the interior was.

Now, looking back on my first experience sitting in a supercar I realize it wasn’t as bad as originally thought. After all if I was actually driving the car I’m sure the acceleration from the 6.2-liter V8 would push me down in my seat, giving me enough space for my head to squeeze under the gullwing door. I’d be smiling from ear to ear.

© 2011 GermanAutoNews

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any unauthorized reprint or use of any material is prohibited. No content information whatsoever may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written consent of the creator of GermanAutoNews.com

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