Tag Archives: 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show

Mercedes’ large, yet compact gamble

13 Sep

By Matt McCarron

Mercedes-Benz Concept A-Class at the 2011 NYIAS

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

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First Glance: Audi S6, S7, S8 to debut in Frankfurt

1 Sep

By Matt McCarron

2012 Audi S6: Courtesy Audi USA

Three models from Audi’s high-performance S-line, the S6, S7 and S8 will debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show. All three vehicles will be powered by versions of Audi’s new 4.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V8. According to Audi the new engine offers greater performance while reducing emissions and improving fuel economy.

Despite being substantially smaller than the outgoing 5.2-liter, naturally-aspirated V10, the new engine in the 2012 S6 and S6 Avant (wagon) pushes out nearly identical horsepower and torque numbers. Peak output has been reduced by 15 hp to 420 hp, but torque has increased by just over 7 lb-ft to 405.6 lb-ft from 1,400 to 5,300 rpm. Even with the significant reduction in displacement and slight drop in horsepower, the new engine still delivers performance figures consistent with Audi’s S models. The S6 reaches 60 mph in 4.8 seconds and the S6 Avant just 0.1 slower in 4.9 seconds. All power for the S6 is transferred to the wheels via the seven-speed S tronic transmission and offers Quattro all-wheel drive.

While performance is impressive what really shines through is the S6′ efficiency. Audi claims overall fuel economy has improved by as much as 25 percent to roughly 24 mpg. Much of the added mileage is the result of high-tech technologies, namely in the form of start-stop, energy recovery and cylinder management systems. The S6 has also incorporated an active Noise Cancellation system (ANC), which reduces and cancels out much of the noise emitted from the engine during cylinder disengagement.

Stylistically the S6 differs from the A6 courtesy of exterior mirrors in an aluminum-look finish, prominent side sills and a single-frame front grill. It can also be distinguished by two exclusive exterior paint colors, Estoril Blue, crystal effect and Prism Silver, crystal effect.

2012 Audi S7: Courtesy Audi USA

The S7 offers the same engine, with the same horsepower and torque numbers as the S6 and S6 Avant. Technology and other features are identical between the two models. The S7 comes standard with an adaptive air sport suspension, 19-inch wheels, and internally ventilated disc brakes front and rear.

The top-of-the-line S8 once again sets the standard for Audi’s S-line. With a more robust V8 engine the S8 sprints from 0-60 mph in just 4.2 seconds with a limited top speed of 155 mph. As with the S6 and S7, the S8 has increased performance while drastically improving fuel economy. Average consumption has jumped from 17.8 mpg to 23 mpg, regardless of a 70 hp improvement in power. Cylinder management, Active Noise Cancellation among other technology are all standard on the S8. All other aspects to the S8, from the near-exclusive use of aluminum in the body design, to the high-end finish in the interior all reflect why this is Audi’s flagship model.

2012 Audi S8 TFSI V8 engine: Courtesy Audi 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

SLS AMG Roadster revealed, finally.

5 May

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.

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster testing in Papenburg, Germany: Courtesy MB USA

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