Tag Archives: New York Auto Show

Mercedes’ G-Class Gets a Slight Revamp for the 2013 Model Year

12 Apr

2013 Mercedes-Benz G-class. Photo courtesy Mercedes-Benz North America.

One week after Mercedes-Benz unveiled their newly resigned GL-class at the 2012 New York International Auto Show the German manufacturer is back at it, this time with the mother of all luxury SUVs the G-class.

Upon seeing the photos of the new G-class those familiar with Mercedes’ original all-terrain vehicle might be struck with the lack of changes to the exterior styling, and you would be correct in saying nearly nothing has changed to this road-going box on wheels. While most vehicles get significant upgrades and improvements when undergoing serious redesigns it’s obvious the G-class is not one of those vehicles, especially considering the fact that it has remained largely unchanged since its introduction in 1979. LED running lights and side mirrors give the 2013 G-class a slightly updated appearance, but it’s so minor many with untrained eyes would probably not even notice the difference. The high-performance G63 AMG receives the added bonus of 20-inch wheels complete with painted red brake calipers and an AMG-specific radiator grille, but that’s it in terms of exterior variation.

2013 Mercedes-Benz G-class. Photo courtesy Mercedes-Benz North America.

While the oh-so-familiar exterior might leave some unimpressed, one only need to glance into the passenger cabin to see the real changes that make the 2013 G-class markedly different from its predecessor, most of which have taken place in the immediate vicinity of the driver.

The instrument cluster and center console have been totally revamped and redesigned when compared to the previous generation G-class. The instrument cluster is made up of two round gauges, behind which lies a TFT (thin-film transistor) LCD display screen that acts as a controller for the COMAND infotainment system. At the top-center of the center console is a large screen that offers occupants luxurious amenities like DVD changer, navigation system with special off-road functions, voice-operated controls and wireless Bluetooth connection. Rounding out the technological features are DISTRONIC PLUS, blind spot assist and PARKTRONIC with a reversing camera.

New instrument cluster in the 2013 Mercedes-Benz G-class. Photo courtesy Mercedes-Benz North America.

Although the aforementioned instrument cluster and center console have varied from the 2012 model, two distinct design features have remained intact. These include the characteristic G-class grab handle located on the passenger side directly above the glove compartment and the three buttons operating the three corresponding locking differentials that the driver can engage when navigating through difficult terrain.

Newly redesigned interior in the 2013 Mercedes-Benz G-class. Photo courtesy Mercedes-Benz North America.

Along with the interior, under the hood is yet another place where you can find differentiation. The standard G550 has retained a 5.5-liter V-8 engine, now producing an additional six horsepower for a peak output of 388. Peak torque has remained unchanged at 391 lb-ft. Power is transferred to the road via a seven-speed automatic, different from the previous five-speed automatic.

Despite the small improvements in the standard V-8, the high-performance G63 AMG has a completely new power plant propelling it down the road. Out is a 5.4-liter supercharged V-8 and in its place is a 5.5-liter twin-turbocharged unit. The new engine produces a maximum of 544 HP and 560 lb-ft of torque along with an “Eco” stop/start function that seems to be making its way into nearly every new Mercedes that makes its way onto the market. The tiny increase in displacement and the addition of turbos results in a 44 HP and 34 lb-ft improvement over the old engine. Badging has also changed from G55 AMG to G63 AMG for new high-performing G-class.

The three buttons for the three locking differentials in the 2013 Mercedes-Benz G-class. Photo courtesy Mercedes-Benz North America.

The G-class is definitely a vehicle that is capable of tackling on-road or off-road duties. Unlike the GLK, M and GL classes, the G-class is the Mercedes you want to be in when going off-road. When you combine technology such as the three locking differentials and the torque-crazy V-8 engines in both the G550 and G63 AMG you get a focused and purpose-orientated vehicle that is really capable of fulfilling its hefty claims and backing up its history of being Mercedes’ primer SUV.

With all of this luxury and capability on-board don’t expect for either of these luxury SUVs to come cheap. No official figures for the 2013 G-class have been released, but judging by the 2012 model customers can expect to spend in excess of $107,975 for the G550 and $124,450 for the G63 AMG when they going on sale this August.

2013 Mercedes-Benz G-class. Photo courtesy Mercedes-Benz North America.

© 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

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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

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 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

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2013 SL63 AMG Unleashed Before Geneva Auto Show

22 Feb

2013 Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG: Photo Courtesy Mercedes-Benz North America

Remember the days when it used to take a manufacturer months, if not years to develop a high-performance variant of a model? Well, in anticipation of the 2012 Geneva Auto Show the new SL63 AMG has been unveiled just five weeks after the SL550 made its initial debut.

The new SL63 AMG is lighter, more powerful and is up to 30 percent more efficient than its predecessor. Much like the Porsche 911 (991), Mercedes’ most iconic drop-top has turned to an aluminum bodyshell, reducing overall weight by 275 pounds, counteracting the added technological and safety features that contribute to a greater load. Now, the SL63 AMG is not a light car by any means. With a curb weight of 4,059 pounds it weighs just 500 pounds less than a full-size Chevrolet Silverado 1500.

2013 Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG: Photo Courtesy Mercedes-Benz North America

Less mass to accelerate is always a good thing when it comes to a vehicle’s performance, but its even better when less is combined with more, namely in the form of horsepower and torque. For the first time the SL63 AMG will be available with two different power outputs. A standard SL63 AMG comes equipped with the same 5.5-liter twin-turbocharged V8 found in the CLS63, E63 and CL63 AMGs. In its tamest form the hand-built, power plant cranks out 530 horsepower at 5,500 rpm, and 590 lb-ft of torque from 2000-4500 rpm.

For most, this would be more than enough. But if you want to experience the engine’s full potential you can opt for the optional AMG Performance Package. This boosts the output from 530 hp and 590 lb-ft to 557 hp and 664 lb-ft. The added horsepower and torque aids in 0-60 times too, allowing the SL63 AMG to accelerate to the mark in 4.1 seconds, one tenth quicker than without the package. Other changes include AMG performance steering wheel, limited slip differential and red-painted brake calipers.

2013 Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG: Photo Courtesy Mercedes-Benz North America

Putting the power to the rear wheels is the familiar seven-speed AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT sport transmission found in the majority of AMG models. The four driving modes; Controlled Efficiency (C), Sport (S) , Sport plus (S+) and Manual (M) work in conjunction with a revised and upgraded AMG sport suspension and a new electro-mechanical steering system. Additional options include a locking rear differential, AMG performance suspension and ceramic high performance compound brakes and an increased top speed from 155 to 186 mph.

Exterior design has maintained largely the same as the previous generation. The front has a lower and streamlined appearance. The grill is still emblazoned with the oversized three-point silver star, but fog lights integrated into the lower grill have been replaced with sleek LEDs below the headlights. The rear of the 2013 SL63 AMG has changed more than the front, with taillights that are almost entirely red in color. The rear diffuser has been significantly reduced in size, and the AMG sport exhaust tips have changed from round to a trapezoidal shape.

The SL63 AMG will go on sale later this year. If you’re looking for a premium luxury roadster with plenty of creature comforts, and performance that will keep pace with all but the fastest Porsches, this might be the vehicle for you. However, you better have deep pockets. Although no pricing has been announced you can expect a base MSRP in-excess on $140,000.

Interior of the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG: Photo Courtesy Mercedes-Benz North America

© 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

2012 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Wagon

15 May

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.

Photo Courtesy Mercedes-Benz North America

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-liter twin-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

First ride E30 M3: Superb handling, engine and classic BMW styling

3 May

By Matt McCarron

What do you get when you take an E30 M3 in pristine condition, add a list of modifications as long as the Great Wall of China, some windy back roads and an experienced driver? A memorable experience, that’s what.

When GermanAutoNews was offered the chance to take a ride in an E30 M3, it didn’t take much time to come up with a decision. After all, this is the E30 M3 we’re taking about, a car synonymous with the S14, a high-revving inline four-cylinder that loves to be pushed above 3,000 rpm, and impeccable handling thanks in part to the vehicle’s 52 to 48 weight distribution. However, this wasn’t your run-of-the-mill E30 M3. In fact it’s about as far from the stock North American spec E30 M3 as it could possibly get.

1991 BMW E30 M3

This special E30 M3 was built by Turner Motorsport of Amesbury, Mass. To make this M3 stand out from the pack Turner went all-in with just about every option or upgrade available including a 2.5-liter stroker kit, stage 3 ported/polished head, Evo 3 throttle bodies, Evo 2 camshaft, B&B Triflow muffler, heavy duty clutch, lightweight flywheel, coilover suspension and a whole host of other improvements.

All of these improvements were evident as the M3 rounded the corner of Haigis Mall at UMass Amherst. The vehicle’s exhaust gave off a subtle yet undeniable drone as it made its way toward our camera, and the suspension could be seen trying to keep up with the never-ending bumps and dips that are much too prevalent around the UMass campus. The final component to be experienced before even entering the vehicle was the award-winning sound system, featuring two Focal 27VX 11″ subwoofers,  165EX 3-way and 136EX 2-way speakers and Precision Power 4400 and 2600 amplifiers.

As the ride began we hoped the owner and driver of the M3 would drive the car like it was supposed to be driven. And it didn’t take long to figured out the owner wasn’t intent on leisurely driving around town, all the while being careful to stay under 3,000 rpms and stay at the recommended speed limit.

Actually, from the moment we left the first stoplight it was apparent this was going to be a fun ride. So we fastened our seat belt and away we went. The 2.5-liter S14 screamed with ever-growing intensity as it roared towards redline, while the heavy duty clutch gave the ride a sudden and attention-grabbing snap as it ripped into the next gear. Both upshifts and downshifts came quickly, maybe even somewhat harshly, courtesy of the five-speed Dogleg transmission and upgraded drivetrain.

2.5-liter S14 with Evo II valve and intake cover paint design

The stiff and tight suspension, featuring coilovers along with upgraded camber plates, control arms, strut braces and sway bars made taking corners at high speeds a thing of beauty. There was practically no bending and no nose-diving whatsoever when carving through a corner. The 52 to 48 front to rear weight distribution really showed its worth on the back roads, allowing little to no understeer or oversteer.

As we made our way back toward the campus we really showed the under-appreciated power of the 2.5-liter S14. In today’s high-end, high-performance car industry, where more and more vehicles are approaching or eclipsing 500 horsepower, the 270 provided in this M3 might seem like a pathetic amount. I mean really, the Hyundai Sonata Turbo puts out 274 hp, but that doesn’t matter. The Sonata might have more horsepower, but the S14 delivers all 270 horses to the driver in an unforgettable crescendo of noise and emotion. The S14 screams and howls in ways modern engines just can’t match. In a world where naturally aspirated engines are increasingly being discontinued in favor of forced induction units, the S14 stands alone as one of the truly great naturally aspirated four-cylinder engines of all time.

Our ride in the E30 M3 showed us something. It isn’t the most powerful, quickest or most eye-catching vehicle we have been in. However, when push comes to shove it just might be the best. It combines a raw, un-computerized experience, something that is becoming harder and harder to find in today modern vehicles, and something we will not soon forget.

© 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: Onboard 1991 E30 M3 with 270 horsepower

3 May

Here’s a video of a very agile and powerful E30 M3. This vehicle has at least 78 more horsepower than a stock North American spec E30 M3, which has 192 hp.  This E30 M3 is a replica of the Sport Evolution (Evo III) version of the E30 M3. The Sport Evo was limited to 600 units and featured an enlarged 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine. It produced 238 horsepower and is considered to be the epitome of the legendary E3o model line.

Photos and story will follow soon.

© 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