Tag Archives: 2012

Concepts Abound at 2012 Beijing Auto Show

24 Apr

It’s not surprising the world’s largest automobile market would receive one of the most expansive and encompassing auto shows, and that is exactly what’s taking place at the 2012 Beijing International Auto Show. With the Chinese market growing by leaps and bounds each month German manufacturers Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche all have debuted new vehicles at this year’s show, with a large majority being in the form of concept vehicles.

Audi A6 L e-tron Concept: Photo courtesy Audi North America.

Audi’s has a total of three concepts, the first is the A6 L e-tron, based on their luxurious full-size A6 sedan. The the other is the RS Q3, a high-performance variant of the already-existing Q3 crossover SUV and the last is a Chinese-exclusive Q3 model.

The A6 L e-tron is a plug-in hybrid capable of operating for just over 49 miles exclusively on electric power, while maintaining a consistent speed of 37 mph. That’s not practical for highway use, but with the amount of vehicles on China’s busy roads it’s perfect for stop-and-go traffic and low-speed driving. In addition to the 95 horsepower electric motor the A6 L e-tron has a 2.0-liter TFSI gasoline engine with a maximum of 211 horsepower. Audi’s decision to produce an e-tron on the A6 platform comes as no surprise. The A6 is extremely popular among Audi’s Chinese clientele, and the Chinese have always associated the A6 with success, prestige and power.

Audi RS Q3 Concept: Photo courtesy Audi North America.

On the other end of the spectrum is the RS Q3. This tuned version of the Q3 is powered by a 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine with a peak output 360 horsepower, 152 more than the top engine option in the regular Q3. The power plant together with a seven-speed S-Tronic automatic transmission allow the RS Q3 to accelerate from 0-60 mph in 5.2 seconds and hit a top speed of 164.66 mph. Like many performance models, the modifications extend beyond what’s found under the hood. The suspension has been lowered by 25 mm as well as being widened to improve handling. Weight has been reduced with the use of carbon fiber reinforced polymers (CFRP). The front spoiler, door mirror housings and diffuser on the lower rear bumper all employ the use of this lightweight material. As with other RS models like the TT-RS the engine bay of the RS Q3 has a valve cover painted in red with carbon fiber trim pieces adorning various other parts.

Mercedes-Benz Concept Style Coupe: Photo courtesy Mercedes-Benz North America.

Not to be outdone Mercedes-Benz introduced their Concept Style Coupe. The four-door concept has a number of unique design features that could potentially make their way onto future Mercedes vehicles. The front end of the Concept Style Coupe has two distinct powerdomes that are slightly reminiscence of the one on the current BMW M3. Below the hood, the grille is nearly identical to the Concept A-Class that made its world premiere at the 2011 New York International Auto Show. Under the hood is a new 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engine with 208 horsepower and Mercedes’ 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system. The headlights are aggressive in their design and are illuminated in red when in standby mode. Ultimately the Concept Style Coupe has many features normally found on concept vehicles. The majority of these won’t make their way onto the production model due to government and safety regulations, but they’re are always cool to look at.

Finishing off the list of German concept vehicles is the BMW i8 Spyder. The two-door, drop-top hybrid is being proclaimed by BMW as their vehicle of the future along with the i8 Coupe and smaller four-door i3. At the front of the i8 Spyder is a 131 horsepower electric motor, and at the rear is a 223 horsepower turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine. Together the unit is estimated to achieve 70-80 mpg.

BMW i8 Spyder: Photo courtesy BMW Group.

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Large and In Charge

6 Apr

2013 Mercedes-Benz GL450 4Matic at the 2012 New York International Auto Show.

SUVs are an uniquely American creation, like apple pie and baseball. Nowadays there are crossovers, SAVs and a whole laundry list of vehicles that have come about thanks to the original SUV concept. Long past is the time when a Jeep was the only go-anywhere, do-anything vehicle solely designed to handle the rigors of large rocks, rivers and mud. With the passing decades SUVs have progressively become larger, heavier and more powerful, all the while moving away from the off-road trails for a more leisurely life of grocery-getting and trips to-and-from school to pick up the kids.

Even though the price of a gallon of regular unleaded is nearly $4 dollars per gallon they continue to be popular with families and those who want to drive a large vehicle with room for seven passengers, the dog and everything else one might wish to carry. When you add in all of the leather-appointed interiors, DVD players and safety prevention technologies today’s SUVs are more akin to oversized luxury cruisers than simple all-terrain vehicles.

4.6-liter direct-injected twin-turbo V-8 in the 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL450 and GL550

Enter the all-new 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-class. The pinnacle of the manufacturer’s line of SUVs, the GL-class is designed for those who wanted to be large and in charge when driving down the road. Everything about the new GL is huge, from its engine to its sheer breadth.

The 2013 GL-class is available in three model designations, the GL-350 BlueTec clean diesel, GL450 and GL550. The GL-350 comes equipped with a 3.0-liter V-6 diesel engine producing a maximum of 240 horsepower and 455 lb-ft of torque. Next up on the list is the GL450 with its 4.6-liter twin-turbo V-8 gasoline-powered engine producing a peak output of 362 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. The last and final variant of the 2013 GL-class is the GL550. Although the engine is the same the power has been boosted be an additional 67 hp to 429 and torque is also higher at 516 lb-ft.

Interior of the 2012 Mercedes-Benz GL450 4Matic at the 2012 New York International Auto Show.

The redesigned 2013 GL-class has rounder and less aggressive styling than its predecessor. The headlights and taillights have been extended to stretch across the corner of the vehicle. Even the exhaust tips have changed from a edgy trapezoidal shape to a rounded rectangular one. From the side the rear section resembles the Infiniti QX56, although not to such an extent as the strangely designed Infiniti. Along with the rear stlying the new GL-class shares many similar dimensional characteristics as its competition. The wheelbase of both vehicle is identical at 121 inches. The GL measures in at 201.6″ long, 84.3″ wide and 72.8″ high, compared to the QX56 at 208.3″, 79.9″ and 75.8″ respectively.

Helping the driver safely operate and maneuver such a large SUV are a nearly endless list of standard and optional safety features. The top-tier GL550 comes equipped with such things as Parktronic with Active Parking Assist, Bi-xenon headlamps with Active Curve Illumination and Corner Illuminating Lamps as standard. If that wasn’t enough you can opt for four addtional assistance system that monitor everything from the vehicles blind spots to the highbeams.

As with the previous GL-class the interior is draped in copious amount of leather, fine wood veneers and brushed aluminum trim. Not to mention the available TV screens in the rear headrests to keep the kids entertained during those long drives to the beach or to the in-laws for Sunday dinner.

When it comes down to it the Mercedes GL-class is a statement vehicle suited for those who want the ability to go off-road, but will rarely if ever do it. And that’s not unexpected especially when considering the GL’s hefty price tag. No official pricing has been announced, but judging by the 2012 model its safe to say the GL350 BlueTec and GL450 have a base MSRP in the low-to-mid $60,000 range while the more powerful GL550 will command closer to $90,000. That’s a lot of money. For that price of a fully loaded GL550 you could buy any SUV in the BMW, Audi or Porsche lineup, with the exception of the Porsche Cayenne Turbo. The GL-class is a well designed and engineered vehicle but is ultimately not worth the expense when compared to its competition.

2012 Mercedes-Benz GL450 4Matic at the 2012 New York International Auto Show.

© 2012 GermanAutoNews

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New York Auto Show off to Rip-Roaring, High-Performance Start

4 Apr

2013 Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG at the 2012 New York International Auto Show.

The 2012 New York International Auto Show is off to a rip-roaring start with the debut of four of the most powerful and high-performance two-door vehicles on the market.

Mercedes-Benz was the first German manufacturer to unveil the their latest incarnations of the SL, GL and GLK classes, and not surprisingly Mercedes chose to come out swinging with their most powerful, expensive and exclusive vehicle. The all-new 2013 SL65 AMG made its way onto the stage, followed by the GLK350 BlueTec and the GL450.

6.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-12 engine in the 2013 SL65 AMG.

The SL65 has been tweaked and reworked for the 2013 model year. A new twin-blade grille stands out at the front along with two inlets finished in black. The massive 6.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-12 has an additional 17 horsepower compared to the previous generation, boosting the peak output to 621 bhp and 738 lb-ft of torque. The 0-60 mph sprint is covered in just 3.9 seconds with a top speed of 186 mph, impressive considering its curb weight is a considerable 4,100 lbs.

The engine’s power is transferred to the wheels via the familiar seven-speed sequential gearbox found on a host of AMG models such as the E63, CLS63 and S63. Four driving modes; Controlled Efficency (C), Sport (S), Sport+ (S+) and Manual (M) enable the driver to choose the aggressiveness and shift times of the transmission, from the eco-friendly C mode to the track-inspired Sport + or Manual modes.

Directly next to the Mercedes booth was fellow rival BMW. Not to be outdone, BMW delivered a number of new and pulse-pounding automobiles, consisting of three cars and one SUV.

2013 BMW M6 Coupe at the 2012 New York International Auto Show

Headlining Bavaria’s best was the all-new BMW M6 coupe and M6 convertible. Just as the SL65 AMG is one of Mercedes’ top-of-the-line vehicles, so can be said for the M6. Much like its four-door sibling the M5, the M6 is powered by a 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V-8. It might not match the SL65 in sheer power or torque, but the M6’s figures are nothing to scoff at. With 560 bhp, eight more than in the M5, BMW’s premiere two-door coupe is the most powerful six-series ever produced. As with the SL65, the V-8 in the M6 is mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

2013 Audi RS5 at the New York International Auto Show

Rounding out the German performance-laden first day is the Audi RS5, which will be making its way to states for the first time later this year. The RS5 will compete directly with the BMW M3, Mercedes C63 AMG coupe and the Cadillac CTS-V coupe. Unlike the SL65 AMG and M6 which feature forced injection, the RS5 flies down the road courtesy of a 4.2-liter naturally-aspirated V-8 engine producing a maximum of 450 horsepower. The RS5 also varies from its fellow Audi S-line vehicles due to the fact that the S6, S7 and S8 are all powered by twin-turbo V-8’s. As with the Mercedes and BMW performance coupe and roadster the RS5 has a sequential automatic transmission.

If you want to get your hands on any of the fast two-doors debuted you better be quick and act fast! The SL65 AMG is a special order only vehicle and comes at a heafy pricetag. No official pricing has been announced, but buyer should expect to dish out in the neighborhood of $200,000. Like the TT-RS and R8 GT the RS5 will have a limited production run with under 1,000 units produced.

Interior of the 2013 Audi RS5 at the New York International Auto Show

© 2012 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

2012 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe unveiled

20 Mar

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

New BMW 6-Series Coupe unveiled

13 Mar

Matt McCarron

The latest incarnation of the BMW 6-series coupe has been released, and will make its debut at the Shanghai Auto Show next month. The new 6-series, BMW’s largest and most expensive two-door vehicle will be in direct competition with the likes of the Mercedes E550 coupe, and Jaguar XK.

2012 BMW 650i: Courtesy of BMW

The top-of-the-line 650i features a 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8, producing 407 hp from 5,500-6,400 rpm and 442 lb-ft from 1,750-4,500 rpm, and the 640i features a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline-six producing 320 hp at 5,300 rpm and 331 lb-ft from 1,300-4,500 rpm. Both power plants are capable of excellent fuel economy. The 4.4-liter V8 gets a combined 27.2 mpg, while the even more fuel-efficient 3.0-liter inline-six gets a very impressive combined 36.7 mpg. The increased efficiency in the 640i is made possible by an automatic start-stop feature and BMW’s ECO PRO driving mode. Both models feature a eight-speed automatic transmission.

The length and wheelbase are 75 mm longer, the width has increased by 39 mm and the height has been reduced by 5 mm. The new 6-series has a newly developed chassis with electronic power steering and drive dynamic control standard. Integral active steering, dynamic damper control and adaptive drive are also available as an option.

This 6-series also offers a number of luxury and convenience features including: BMW iDrive control system with freestanding control display, heads-up display complete with high-definition, full-color-spectrum graphics, rear-view camera, night vision and parking assist.

The new 6-series is expected to start appearing in U.S. showrooms in the late summer to early fall, with the all-new M6 making its first possible appearance in the final months of the year.

© 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


2012 Mercedes Benz C-Class Coupe to debut in Geneva

13 Feb

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 March 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