Tag Archives: Mercedes

Top Fastest Cars: Mercedes-AMG GT-R sets a Nürburgring record

The official time, the fastest ever recorded by German publication “sport auto” when testing a genuine road-going sports car on the notorious track, also ranks as the seventh fastest in history around the infamous 20km circuit.

To put its time, also confirmed as the fasted achieved by a rear-wheel drive only car, into some sort of perspective, the much more potent 488 GTB needed 7 minutes and 21.6 seconds to get all the way around the circuit.

Yet the GT-R, on paper, shouldn’t be so rapid. Its bi-turbo V8 engine outputs 585hp and 700Nm of torque and can accelerate from 0-100km/h in 3.6 seconds. The Ferrari 488 serves up 661bhp and can race to 100km/h in 3.0 seconds.

But unlike the 448, this Mercedes lived at the Nurburgring during its development. And it was on that track that the company’s engineers and technicians attempted to transfer as much current generation racing technology derived from Formula 1 and GT3 competition as possible into the car.

“With the new AMG GT R, we have reached the next level of driving performance. This road-going sports car with motor-racing genes and innovative technical solutions offers an ultimate driving experience that allows people to feel our motorsport origins in every fibre,” said Tobias Moers, CEO of Mercedes‑AMG GmbH.

It boasts innovations such as active aerodynamics that make the car slippery when going in a straight line or massively increase downforce when cornering at speed. In this regard it’s the first road-going car to use an active under-floor panel that moves back and forward to channel how air flows under the car at different speeds.

“Our sports-car and performance brand AMG has its roots in motorsport and, ever since its formation, has repeatedly faced up to the competition on the racetrack,” said Prof. Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Group Research and Mercedes‑Benz Cars Development. “[This] new top-of-the-range model is proof of the close collaboration between our constructors of racing cars and road-going vehicles.”

The record  time comes just as the GT-R officially goes on sale. The first deliveries are expected in March and, unlike the equivalent Ferrari, Mercedes has no plans to cap production numbers, meaning that anyone with around $200,000 can have one.

Mercedes-Maybach S 600 Pullman Guard

Mercedes-Maybach S 600 Pullman Guard: Bomb Proof

When the Mercedes-Maybach S600 Pullman Guard arrives in the second half of 2017, the 6.5 meter long, 5.6-tonne limousine will offer a challenge to any Rolls-Royce or Bentley in terms of interior space, creature comforts and passenger safety – even from bombs and bullets. The vehicle provides rear face-to-face seating so that four passengers will be able conduct a moving meeting while sipping champagne from bespoke crystal glasses. Perhaps the bubbly might be a little inappropriate for some meetings but it is a good option to have, especially if you have just escaped an assassination attempt. 

And when the passengers are done conversing, the two seats in the third row are able to recline, similar to a business class flight, complete with adjustable calf rest for a well-needed rest.

As mentioned, since this car conforms to protection class VR9 and Directive ERV 2010, bombs and grenades shouldn’t disrupt anyone’s power nap.

Everything from the floor to the windows is reinforced to withstand bullets, shrapnel and explosive devices. The armor plating on the doors is so dense that Mercedes has had to fit motors to the hinges so that someone with regular human strength can open and close them easily without rupturing a muscle group. Take a look at the interior below and just imagine how heavy those doors must be. Also, if you’re a Mountain-size human, it looks like you might find the space challenging…

Mercedes-Maybach S 600 Pullman Guard

Interior

The reason the Mercedes-Maybach S600 Pullman Guard is able to offer such high levels of protection can be found in the reinforcing and other security elements that are integrated directly into the car’s basic structure, rather than added later as happens when people customize their vehicles after purchase. This approach also means that although the vehicle is considerably heavier than a ‘stock’ Pullman (the S 600 Pullman is Mercedes’ current absolute flagship), it should still behave like a car, not a tank, on the open road. Of course, that means the car is still a pleasant ride for passenger but it does provide some pleasures for the driver too.

The V12 bi-turbo engine has been tuned for power over speed. There’s 530hp on tap but a huge 830Nm of torque available at even low revs, so it will always be able to pull away. And though Mercedes has electronically limited the top speed to reduce the severity of a potential collision, it will still hit 100mph (160km/h). Bear in mind this is a 12,000-pound machine so just getting it to 160km/h is herculean. 

“Besides providing spacious seating in first-class comfort for high-ranking passengers, the Mercedes-Maybach Pullman is of course the embodiment of exclusivity at its highest level,” said Ola Källenius, Mercedes-Benz Cars head of sales and marketing. “One can sense the significance and greatness of it in every detail.”

Prices for the Pullman Guard will begin at €1.4 million.  

Mercedes Brings Responsible Power Paris Motor Show

Mercedes Brings Responsible Power: Paris Motor Show

Mercedes is sharpening its focus on electric mobility at this year’s Paris Motor Show, including EV versions of its entire Smart car lineup plus a plug-in electric concept car. At the same time, the German automaker is promising tighter integration of the AMG unit, basically, bringing the AMG dream to every possible model. For our part, we are waiting for the AMG-tuned Mercedes bus!

At the start of 2016, Mercedes announced that one of its grand plans was to bring its dedicated tuning arm AMG closer to the company’s core clients. To do this it was going to offer models of all shapes and sizes infused with differing levels of AMG performance. To those who don’t know, AMG is the department charged with building sporting flagships. You can think of it as a mirror to BMW M. Of course, AMG is now moving beyond its core mission to make select Mercedes models more fun to drive.

As we approach the end of 2016 and with it the Paris Motor Show, the 2500-square meter Mercedes-Benz stand will boast four new models with an AMG badge on their rear.

mercedes-amg-gt-roadster-featured

The most exciting of these are two soft-top Mercedes-AMG GT models, the Roadster and the C Roadster. Officially revealed earlier this month, they offer different levels of comfort and performance but will both are presented as compelling challenges to anything at that level from Porsche.

The company will be debuting a sportier take on its GLC crossover coupé, the Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 4Matic complete with twin-turbocharged V6 powerplant and a 0-100km/h time of 4.9 seconds plus plenty of room for four adults and their luggage. As good as it promises to be, the 43 4Matic is simply a taste of things to come – a 63 4Matic, with a twin-turbo AMG V8 is also on its way in due course.

The AMG 43 4Matic versions of the E-Class in sedan and station wagon form will complete the company’s sporting focus at this year’s show and they will be joined by something Mercedes is calling the E Class All Terrain. Another new variant for the E-Class range, this will boast genuine off-road capability and styling cues but will stop short of being an actual SUV.

As for the anticipated concept car, Mercedes is expected to unveil an electric SUV with a range between charges equal to the Tesla Model X. And while that particular car won’t be going into production for several years, the Paris show will mark the official launch of the Smart plug-in electric range. With an EV version of the ForTwo, ForFour and the ForTwo cabrio, the company will become the first in the world to offer a plug-in electric version of every model in its current vehicle range.

Mercedes Brings Responsible Power Paris Motor Show

Audi, BMW, Lexus, Mercedes Top UX Awards

Audi, BMW, Lexus, Mercedes Top UX Awards

The inaugural WardsAuto Top 10 Best User Experience Awards highlight those cars where technology and infotainment systems are a pleasure rather than a punishment to use.

Why is a user interface like a joke? If it needs to be explained, it’s not very good. This programmer’s mantra is very quickly moving from software and website design and into the lexicon of automotive design.

Once upon a time, the only knobs and dials found in a car’s interior did little more than turn on the air conditioning or re-tune the radio. Today’s cars offer everything from turn-by-turn navigation and 360° camera-assisted external views, to semi-autonomous system, wi-fi hotspots and, of course smartphone integration.

Therefore, to help buyers know which car companies are getting the hang of simplifying this “user experience” issue, WardsAuto created the 10 Best UX Competition and over the past several months has been putting 29 new cars on sale in the US through their paces.

“We’re trying to quantify how easy it is overall to interact with a vehicle,” said WardsAuto Senior Content Director Drew Winter. “Are controls easy to understand, or do you have to consult the owner’s manual? Are the driver-assistance systems, such as adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping, functioning reliably, and do the interior materials enhance the user experience?”

bmw_individual 7 series_the next 100 years_exterior

And the good news is that of the inaugural award winners, announced this week ahead of an official ceremony in October, there is an equal split among US, European and Japanese cars (three entries, each) with the final spot going to Korea’s biggest car company, Hyundai.

However, just as important as country split is that mass-market vehicles like the Ford Escape and the Hyundai Elantra have made the cut alongside the likes of the Audi Q7 and Mercedes E-Class and the latest generation BMW 7-Series which, at $128,445, is by far the most expensive car on the list to win an award.

All of which shows that all car companies are taking the concept of user experience seriously, from simple pairing of smartphones to available USB charging ports and voice recognition systems that actually understand what the driver is saying.

The winners, in alphabetical order, are:

  • Audi Q7
  • BMW 7-Series
  • Chrysler Pacifica
  • Ford Escape
  • GMC Acadia
  • Honda Ridgeline
  • Hyundai Elantra
  • Infiniti Q50
  • Lexus RX
  • Mercedes E-Class
Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 Coupé

Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 Coupé: Accessible Performance

When AMG brings its magic to a standard Mercedes model, the keywords are usually power and performance; with the Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 Coupé, things are a little more complicated. The latest Mercedes SUV to get the AMG tuning treatment won’t break any crossover land speed records but it won’t break the bank either.

The Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 Coupé is propelled by a 3-liter twin turbo 367hp V6 engine that sends its power through a nine-speed automatic gearbox to all four wheels. That is perfectly respectable, if prosaic, for an AMG-treated vehicle. This power plant and power train result in an admirable 0-100km/h time of 4.9 seconds and an electronically limited 250km/h top speed.

In isolation, those numbers are impressive but when this new variant of the GLC Coupé makes its official debut at the Paris motorshow in October, it will do so alongside the latest Porsche Macan. Also announced last week, the Macan Turbo with performance package offers similar interior space and four-wheel drive, but its twin-turbo V6 serves up 440hp, a 0-100km/h time of just 4.4 seconds and a top speed of 272km/h.

But before those in the market for a sporty SUV start Googling ‘Porsche Dealership’ the Mercedes has Porsche completely beat in two important ways.

First this is a Mercedes and therefore at the cutting edge of luxury and of latest-generation driving tech. Admittedly, if you’re not a fan of the Mercedes way then this point makes little difference but the second point may yet win you over. Though prices for the GLC have not been confirmed yet, it will cost roughly 30% less than the new €91,000 Porsche.

This means that, according to Tobias Moers, Chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes AMG GmbH: “The Coupé is able to appeal to new target audiences.”

In times gone by, the AMG badge meant a massive, supercharged V8 or a monstrous V12 under the hood. But regardless of cylinder count, those three letters signified the pinnacle of performance possibility.

However, in an attempt to bring AMG’s engineering excellence to the Mercedes masses, since the beginning of 2016, the company has started offering two AMG variants (63 and 43) of new models with either eight or six cylinders calling the shots – think the difference between full cream and semi-skimmed – meaning that the calorie count is lower but the taste is still the same. Something that Moers highlights.

“The new GLC 43 4MATIC Coupé is characterized by a high level of agility and sporty driving dynamics,” he said.

Creating two AMG variations of each new model also means that the best (from a performance perspective) is still to come in terms of the GLC Coupé range at least. And that model will be a statistical match for any Porsche Macan or BMW X4.

Luxury Concept Cars Pebble Beach 2016 Lamborghini Centenario Roadster

5 Luxury Concept Cars Dominate Pebble Beach

At Pebble Beach this year, there was an impressive display of classic and concept cars that would have kept motoring enthusiasts on the edge of their seats. The Concours d’Elegance was an opportunity to showcase luxury concept cars and limited edition automobiles to the public, and boy did automakers pull out all the stops. We take a look at five of the most impressive luxury concept cars that caught our attention.

Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6Mercedes-Maybach 6

Clocking in at 6-meters, this all-electric concept car is an awe-inducing spectacle from Mercedes, representing where it thinks the storied Maybach name fits into the global automotive narrative. Fitted with an electric power train deliver 750 horsepower, the car is able to go from 1 to 100 km/h in under four seconds. The Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 comes on the heels of other concepts presented by the brand and is actually the first indication of what’s to come for Maybach, a marque we love to ogle. Obviously, it is set to pave the way for an upcoming model in the Maybach range.

Fisker Karma

fisker-karma

Henrik Fisker’s Fisker Karma cars are no more but the spirit of this marque gets its second wind here. Now christened the Karma Revero, the reborn plug-in hybrid is the first of Karma Automotives, complete with a new management team that focuses on the rather zen philosophy of cause and effect. It has inherited the same good looks as its namesake, and the solar roof is retained, which Karma Automotive boldly claims will generate enough energy to power the car.

BMW 2002 HomageThe BMW 2002 Hommage

Celebrating 100 years is a big deal and BMW is partying in many different ways, not least of which is this homage to one of its most symbolic creations, the 2002 Turbo. First created in 1973, the BMW 2002 was the first-ever road-going sports car that was equipped with a turbo charger. While the initial concept was unveiled at Villa d’Este in Italy earlier this year, Pebble Beach saw the manufacturer present a new version in orange and black — the original colors of the competition car that raced in the 1970s.

Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato VolanteAston Martin Vanquish Zagato

British carmaker Aston Martin and Italian coach builder Zagato have dropped the top to present the American public with a convertible version of their Vanquish Zagato coupe. You’ve no doubt seen this dream machine before and it is certainly going into production although it may never reach showrooms anywhere. The production run for the model, which is equipped with a 592 horsepower V12 engine, will be limited to 99 copies.

Lamborghini Centenario RoadsterThe Lamborghini Centenario Roadster

At this year’s Pebble Beach, the Italian brand has opted to present the roadster version of its Centenario coupe. Unveiled earlier this year in Geneva, Switzerland, the Lamborghini Centenario, which marks the centenary of the birth of the founder of the brand, Ferrucio Lamborghini, is the most powerful ever built, with 770 horsepower enabling it to hit 100 km/h in only 2.8 seconds. The production run for the convertible version will be limited to just 20. The regular Centenario is already sold out and we expect the same here.

Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6

Electric Concept: Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6

What’s 6 meters long, goes from zero to 100km/h in under four seconds and is fully electronic? Currently, nothing but Mercedes intends on changing that with the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6. The German automaker unveiled the Vision, a stylishly spectacular (just look at that picture and tell us you aren’t convinced), futuristic and electric concept coupé, ahead of the famous Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in the US.

This outsized concept car is almost six meters long (5.70m or 18.5ft, to be precise) and is a 2+2 coupé with 24-inch rims. This might make it the longest coupe in the world but we digress.

Its electronic power system delivers 750 horsepower and onboard batteries promise a range of up to 500 kilometers (311 miles), according to the New European Driving Cycle. Plus, a quick-charge function brings 100km (62 miles) of range in under five minutes. The Vision will be all-wheel drive, with one electric motor effectively per wheel and that 500km range is apparently possible from a single charge.

In spite of its imposing dimensions, the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 boasts performances worthy of a supercar, including 0 to 100km/h (0 to 62 mph) acceleration in under four seconds and a top speed electronically capped at 250km/h (155 mph). Mercedes reports that none of this performance negatively impacts range but we’ll have to wait and see on that.

In terms of exterior design, the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 reinterprets the aesthetic features historically associated with Mercedes, notably the prominent front grille, apparently inspired by a pinstripe suit. Its butterfly doors nod to the legendary 300SL, while the back end surprises with a rear window shrunk to minimal size. The futuristic interior is reminiscent of the F 015, unveiled at CES 2015 in Las Vegas (USA).

This coupé is the latest addition to a series of visionary concept cars presented over the last few years by Mercedes, including the Vision Ener-G-Force (2012), the AMG Vision Gran Turismo (2013) and the Vision Tokyo (2015). It no doubt presages an upcoming addition to the Mercedes Maybach line, creating a direct rival for the Bentley Continental Flying Spur and the Rolls-Royce Wraith.

Check out the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 in this video:

Mercedes E-Class

Mercedes E-Class 2016: Most Intelligent Saloon

Is the new Mercedes E-Class the future of automobile intelligence? Mercedes believes so, and with a smorgasbord of smart features, we’re starting to buy into it too. Lovingly dubbed the “Most intelligent executive saloon”, the 10th-generation E-Class not only looks spiffier, but also hopes to be the benchmark for an accident-free ride and varying degrees of autonomous driving.

First, let’s talk about the ride. Powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder petrol engine, the E200 mode produces 184hp, achieving nought to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds, while the E300 version’s 245 hp will do the same in 6.3 seconds. Merc’s new 9G-TRONIC nine-speed automatic transmission enables nifty gear changes with low engine revs so your fuel goes the extra mile (literally). As the only car in its segment to offer multi-chamber air suspension, the new Mercedes E-Class customizes the suspension’s stiffness with chambers of differing sizes (two in the spring struts of the front axle, three in the rear axle), so your ride feels more stable, even at higher speeds.

Mercedes E-Class

The new E-Class has grown over the past 10 years, quite literally. The wheelbase length is now 65mm longer, and the car, an overall 43mm longer than its predecessors so you can expect a suitably bigger cabin. Outside, the new Mercedes E-Class receives Mercedes’ trademark saloon proportions. Its elongated bonnet, coupe-inspired roof and well-defined flanks emit a quiet sophistication the German carmaker has come to be known for.

Mercedes E-Class

But this car is all about redefining safety and autonomous driving and there are plenty of features that attest to this. Standards include Active Brake Assist (warns drivers of impending collisions and reacts to vehicles and pedestrians in its danger zone), Attention Assist (alerts drivers of inattentiveness and drowsiness) and Crosswind Assist (reduce effects of strong crosswinds to prevent vehicle from drifting off track).

On the options list:

Drive Pilot – keeps car the correct distance behind vehicles automatically, and can follow them at a speed of up to 210km. Drivers no longer need to operate the brake or accelerator pedal during normal driving. The Steering Pilot function will actively help with steering even under poor lane marking conditions.

Active Brake Assist – detects crossing traffic at junctions and will apply brakes autonomously if driver fails to respond.

Evasive Steering Assist – precisely calculated steering torque will help driver avoid pedestrians in a controlled manner while facilitating the straightening up of the vehicle, thereby safely avoiding a collision.

Remote Parking Pilot – vehicles can move in and out of parking spaces remotely with a smartphone app.

Pre-Safe Sound – based on a human reflex in the inner ear (the stapedius reflex), this function emits a short interference signal through the vehicle’s sound system prior to an impending collision, preparing the occupants’ ears for the expected sound of the accident and reducing stress caused.

Multibeam LED headlamps – precision-controlled LEDs automatically illuminate the road with exceptionally bright light without dazzling other road users by adapting to the changing road situations.

Mercedes E-Class

The fully digital cockpit is also technologically superior to the previous variants. For a little top-up, drivers can enjoy two wide-screen, high-resolution displays, which respond to swiping movements on touch-sensitive controls on the steering wheel. Mobile phones can now also be charged wirelessly via Near Field Communication (NFC).

If you’re still not impressed with the new Mercedes E-Class, this video below might just change your mind:

 

Hyundai Goes Upmarket: Genesis G80

The 2017 Genesis G80 should be familiar, yet unfamiliar at the same time. This is because this latest luxury sedan on the market once hailed from the Hyundai Genesis family but is coming into its own, now that the Korean car maker has turned it into its own brand.

This sedan retains the powertrain options once offered in the Hyundai version. At its heart sits either a 3.8-liter V6 engine that serves up 311hp, or a 5.0-liter V8 that pushes out 420hp. Both are paired with eight-speed automatic transmissions, and together with a stiffer body, provide handling that is reportedly better than BMW 5 Series.

Safety technology is also a selling point for this new Genesis. Adaptive cruise control, blind spot detection, autonomous emergency braking with collision avoidance or mitigation and lane keep assist will babysit you throughout your drive (though it is still probably best you give your utmost attention whenever on the road, for obvious reasons).

hyundai_genesis g80_2017

Surprisingly, the G80 retains its predecessor’s façade and interiors, save for a few minor updates and new badging. We’re happy to announce, though, that the car is far superior technologically. Its 8.0-inch infotainment system enables navigation, and is compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Sing-along sessions won’t be the same again now that you have the accompaniment of a Lexicon Discrete Logic 7 Surround setup, complete with 17 speakers. Connected services also means that you can start the car remotely, set climate control, unlock doors and find your car in a crowded parking lot – all via an app. The car is also considerably more spacious with 107.7 cubic feet of passenger space – 10 cubic feet more than a Cadillac CTS and nine cubic feet more than Merc’s latest E-Class (which we will be looking at next week in Singapore). Frequent travelers will appreciate luggage space that beats out the Infiniti Q70 and BMW 5 Series.

Hyundai knows that the customer experience is as important as the driver’s, and will hence give Genesis owners three years of complimentary maintenance besides sending a valet to collect the car, and providing a courtesy vehicle during servicing. Connected services such as a concierge service are also in the package. “Genesis cars exude confidence, and it has driven us to design an ownership experience that is personalized, convenient and saves time,” said Erwin Raphael, general manager of Genesis in the US market. “Respect and courtesy are the foundation of the Genesis Experience. We will honor our owners’ time through streamlined processes that put their needs first.”

Mercedes Debuts Summer Travel Range

Mercedes’ new summer accessory line offers everything from roof racks to cuddly toys in order to help vacationing families hit the road in style. Yes, everything you see here is from the German automaker, or made available by it, including the cuddly soft toy.

For most families, the summer means a road trip and with it problems packing everything in the car, arguments over what to listen to on the radio and children asking “Are we there, yet?”

According to a July YouGov survey, when it comes to keeping the kids occupied on long journeys, British families are unique in preferring to play “I-Spy”, sing songs or read stories over more high-tech distractions.

However, for a growing number of families, a smartphone or tablet is quickly becoming a road trip necessity and so one of Mercedes’ new accessories is a foldaway table that can be fixed to the back of a seat so that kids can draw or read or that can also be used to hold an iPad.

Mercedes-Benz KIDFIX XP Child seat, Reversible bear and Children's bike

For smaller children, Mercedes has also co-developed a new child seat with BRITAX RÖMER that will fit easily into any current Mercedes model and that is suitable for those aged between four and 12 years of age. The final touch is a cuddly toy called the ‘Reversible Bear’ that can be transformed into a plush Mercedes G-Wagon and back again in a matter of moments.

An April study from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Berkeley Lab shows that old-fashioned open roof racks and bike racks can increase a car’s fuel consumption by up to 25% thanks to extra drag.

Mercedes has added three new aerodynamic roof boxes for the summer with capacities of 330, 400 and 450 liters that should increase packing space and not put so much strain on fuel. It’s also added a new Alustyle bicycle carrier that can carry three adult bicycles and has integrated tail lamps and a number plate.

And of course, Mercedes being Mercedes, it is also offering bikes to go in the rack. The Trekking bike for example, boasts hydraulic disc brakes, front fork and seat-post suspension and Shimano gears and is available in three adult frame sizes. For younger riders there’s the Children’s Bike which comes with a unisex frame shape and 16-inch wheels wrapped in chunky tires for a smoother off-road ride.

4 Supercars Dominating Goodwood 2016

The annual Goodwood Festival of Speed in England has always been a great opportunity for various automobile marques to showcase their best creations. This year’s festival is no different, as our previous story on this subject indicates and our selection of highlights proves. We have already witnessed a comeback by sportscar company Alpine with its 11 model display in the festival, but quite a number of notable supercars showed up as well. Ranging from names like Ferrari to Mercedes – these are four of the biggest show-stealing supercars at Goodwood.

Ferrari

Ferrari-MM-Speciale

The company dropped a couple of cars never before seen in the UK. Among those, though, the cream of the crop was definitely the Ferrari 458 MM Speciale. This bespoke commission was based on the standard 458 Speciale and boasts of a variety of uniquely reworked features.

Aston Martin vantage_gt12_ro.bf13d090249.h0

Even more exclusively tailored was the drop-top variant of Aston Martin’s Vantage GT12 coupe – the Vantage GT12 Roadster, done up by the bespoke department of Aston Martin. With its carbon fiber stylings and beefed up performance, it made for quite a ferocious model among the other cars to appear at the festival. In fact, to further maintain its exclusivity, the client who requested the model paid a premium so that no other Aston client could ask for something similar.

Bugatti

Bugatti-Chiron

Although it is yet to be confirmed as the world’s fastest production super sports car by Guinness, the Bugatti Chiron roared into action at Goodwood with its 1500PS and 420km/h top speed. It has already stood out in its rarity, desirability and collectability – with only 500 models scheduled for production, the first 200 are already spoken for.

Mercedes

Mercedes-AMG-GT-R

Even with the sheer power of the Chiron on display though, it was the Mercedes-AMG GT R that potentially made the deepest impression on the crowd. In the twisting circuits set out by the festival, it proved to be the direct competitor to the Porsche 911 GT3 in terms of thrills, spills and track-friendly performance. The active aerodynamics in the design, coupled with its 4-liter twin-turbo V8 (which outputs 585hp), as well as a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and active rear-wheel steering – made it a pleasure to behold in action. Best of all, its production isn’t restricted, and it’ll go for around $200,000 at the end of the year.

Fastest Ever: Brabus 850 Biturbo Cabrio

If we know anything at all about Brabus, it is that Brabus cars are either fast or powerful…well more than likely they are both, as is the case with the 850 6.0 Biturbo Cabrio. The Internet, the blogosphere and the Thunderdome are all abuzz because this not-so-gentle giant might be the fastest road-legal four-seat convertible in the world. This is no showhorse either because it is both real and is really for sale.

How fast, exactly? The German tuning firm says that the car, based on a Mercedes S 63 Cabriolet can hit 350km/h (that’s 217mph for the metrically challenged). That makes slowpokes out of the Audi R8, Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible, Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet, Ferrari 488 Spider, McLaren 650S Spider and any series production Lamborghini other than an Aventador. Even the Aventador is merely equal to the Brabus 850 6.0 Biturbo Cabrio because both top out at 350km/h.

But as well as mph there is an immense amount of bhp on offer too. The car’s twin-turbo 6-liter V8 produces 625kW, that’s 850hp or 838bhp plus an epic 1450Nm of torque, accessible from as little as 2,500rpm.

All of those performance stats working in harmony equate to a 0-100km/h time of 3.5 seconds, a 0-200km/h time of 9.4 seconds and, so claims Brabus, an electronically limited top speed. The tires of the 850 6.0 Biturbo Cabrio can’t handle more than 350km/h, even if the rest of the car can.

To achieve those sorts of numbers, Brabus has had to almost completely rebuild the Mercedes’ stock V8: increasing capacity to almost 6 liters from 5.5. Adding its own turbochargers, crankshaft, pistons, connecting rods and even re-machining the cylinder heads to ensure the biggest bang possible with the least possible waste on every revolution.

The engine also breathes better thanks to new intake manifold, exhaust and bigger air filter boxes. The finishing touch is real gold in the engine bay for heat shielding the turbos’ intake and charge-air pipes.

The exterior has needed some serious aerodynamic upgrades to reduce drag and to ensure it stays on the road rather than entering a near-Earth orbit when approaching top speed. They include a new lower front spoiler, larger side air intakes and a redesigned rear air diffuser. All of which have been wind-tunnel developed, made from carbon fiber, and will be made available to S Class owners who want to improve or individualize the look of their cars without the total engineering overhaul.

However, like with all things Brabus, despite the incredible retuning, the 850 6.0 BiTurbo Cabrio comes with a three-year, 100,000km warranty.

Fun Squared: Mercedes G550 SUV

It seems only days ago that we brought you news of the Mercedes G350 d but we have another very impressive G-Wagen to show you, the G550 SUV. Seriously, this monster of a car doesn’t even look like a car and it is most affectionately known as a ‘wagon’ believe it or not. Capitalizing on the massive (pardon the pun) appeal of the SUV in the United States, the G550 4×4² is coming stateside. Briefly, the G550 4×4² is an off-roader that stands 2.25 meters tall and 2.1 meters wide and, in the eloquent words of the AFP, it has a ground clearance greater than the average toddler.

When it goes on sale in early 2017 don’t expect to get much change from $250,000 but do expect to get noticed, no matter where the road leads. The car’s gargantuan proportions are certain to attract attention but they’re the result of fitting it with portal axles.

On a normal car and even on a normal SUV, the axles – front and rear – are perfectly in line with the centers of the wheels they drive, because the wheels are fitted to them and the axles to the engine via a transmission.

That means that ground clearance – what you can drive over without hearing the sound of metal crunching and bending – is dictated by wheel size and wheel size alone because that height dictates the level of the axle.

Even a monster truck has to use immense, oversized wheels to overcome this problem. Axles and wheels being in line also reduces what the suspension can do in terms of how much or how far the body can move to overcome an obstacle.

Portal axles eradicate all of these problems by breaking this union. A series of gears send the power down from the axles above (at engine height) to the wheels below.

This remarkable piece of engineering means the car has a 51.6° approach and 43.8° departure angle (a normal G-Class can only manage 30°) and a fording depth of 1 meter. It also means that for the uninitiated at least, it will seem like someone’s allowed a monster truck on the road.

It won’t quite have the grunt of Big Foot. The G550 4×4² will run on normal pump gas for starters and that fuel will be running through a 4-liter biturbo V8 engine good for 416hp and 450 lb-ft of torque that will run to all four wheels via a seven-speed automatic gearbox.

The car will also come with a satnav as standard, but with such an elevated driving position, owners should have no problem seeing the route ahead even without it.

Off-Road Warrior: Mercedes G 350 d Professional

While Mercedes has been making cars more suited for the urban explorer, they’ve not forgotten those with a more Indiana Jones kind of spirit. The Mercedes G 350 d Professional is the latest version of their iconic G Wagon and it is all fitted out for maneuvering through the harshest conditions and terrain – whilst still maintaining a certain level of passenger comfort.

In terms of its performance, the Professional will be sporting a 3-liter turbocharged V6 diesel engine under its castellated hood, with 245hp on tap and, most importantly, 600Nm of torque available from as little as 1,600 rpm. Beyond that, this new model sports permanent all-wheel-drive, a low-ratio transmission and three electronically locking differentials.

With specs like that, it is clear Mercedes intends for you to go on as rocky and as unstable ground as you can get. The Professional completes its encouragement by being hard to tarnish – with grille and wheels finished in matte black rather than easy-to-scratch chrome, and also chunky all-terrain tires as standard. The suspension, too, has been overhauled to give it an extra 10mm of ground clearance (245mm versus the standard 235mm), and that in turn results in an improved angle of approach (36˚) and a 600mm fording depth (because with this G Wagon, of course fording will be something you’ll get up to). All in all, this is an exciting step up from the now discontinued G 300 CDI.

As for the interior, with its electronically operated seats, a multi-function steering wheel and optional compatibility with Apple Car Play and Android Auto, you can expect yourself to still have access to your entertainment in the wildest countries. Just in case, though, the floor is clad in non-slip mats and there are drainage ports so that dirt from muddy boots and clothes can be easily washed away.

What about those who are G-class fans simply because of it is a luxury SUV with serious utilitarian chic? Don’t worry about it – the rest of the range is also being updated with the latest Mercedes infotainment, navigation and communication systems. With all that, the price for the Professional (in Europe) will start from €90,636.35. You can book your orders now, and European deliveries commence in September.

Mercedes-Benz Introduces Luxury Motor Yacht

Mercedes-Benz may not be the first to have been the first to unveil the first-ever luxury motor yacht — we’re looking at you Aston Martin and Bugatti — but the German automaker is making a splash nevertheless. The Arrow460-Granturismo was presented to the world in Côte d’Azur, France.

The 14-meter long ‘silver arrow of the seas’ is the perfect blend of what motor and boating fans look for. With a 960 horsepower (706 kW), the yacht brings the performance of Mercedes-Benz sports cars with the unique innovations of the boating industry. This move to areas outside the automotive industry is another chapter in the brand’s expansion.

Commenting on the debut of the “Arrow460–Granturismo,” Silver Arrows Marine Chairman Ron Gibbs said: “Almost everything about Arrow460-Granturismo is unique, from its concept to the smallest bespoke detail. It is a motor yacht with a personality that truly embraces life, combining the best marine engineering with the inspired innovations and elegance that the world associates with the Mercedes-Benz name. By merging marine and automotive worlds, with their respective design language, technologies and ideas, we have created a new standard of motor yacht, unlike all others.”

Slick Hammer: Mercedes AMG GT S

Replacing a well-loved leader is never easy, but that is the task that the Mercedes-AMG GT S will have to do, as it takes the place of the iconic Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, a car that cemented the AMG name once and for all as a bona fide performance badge.

But it is a job that the AMG GT S does well, and it proves again that Mercedes-Benz is ready to push AMG to the next level. The AMG GT S follows its predecessor in being fully designed and developed solely by the AMG brand, and this two-door two-seater proudly takes its place at the top of the Mercedes-Benz range, being the Stuttgart carmaker’s flagship sports car model.

Unlike the SLS AMG however, which was a brute force of a car designed to pummel rivals into submission with its muscular power, the AMG GT S take a slicker approach to things. The new car is smaller, and is now targetted at that other icon from across Stuttgart town, the Porsche 911. This is demonstrated by its dimensions, with the AMG GT S both shorter and lower than the SLS AMG, giving it a taut look that helps it assert a rather intimidating stance. The dramatic gull-wing doors are now absent too, replaced by regular-looking items on the AMG GT S.

Things have been downsized under the bonnet as well, with the AMG GT S now sporting a 4.0-liter bi-turbo V8 engine. Sure, it is not quite the sledgehammer that is the previous car’s monster 6.3-litre V8, but that doesn’t mean that the AMG GT S is incapable of rattling your senses. The handcrafted powerplant churns out a hefty 503bhp and 650Nm of torque, which is still enough to send you rocketing from 0-100km/h in a mere 3.8 seconds, and continue to a dizzying top speed of 310km/h, enough to get you into plenty of trouble with the authorities.

And you do this while cocooned in a snug and sporty interior that has been designed to let you know in no uncertain terms that this car means business. The suede-covered steering wheel complements the plush leather upholstery, and the car is assembled with precision Teutonic quality, as you’d expect from Stuttgart’s best. Sporty metal bits such as the pedals add further to the occasion.

As the highlight of Mercedes-AMG’s range, the AMG GT S proves to be absolutely deserving of its place at the top. All hail the new king, slimmer, trimmer but equally powerful and exciting as before. Business as usual for AMG then.

 

Story Credits

Text by Ben Chia
This article first appeared in Men’s Folio Singapore.

6 Stars of New York Auto Show

New York’s International Auto Show opened to the public last Friday, March 25, 2016, and a few pieces caught our eye, courtesy of the wire services. Now, the buzz happens to be about the rechargeable Toyota Prius but for us, we are invigorated by the Mercedes GLC Coupé and the spectacular Audi R8 Spyder. In terms of performance vehicles, a couple of models from brands we don’t normally follow caught our eye. We are thinking of the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and the Nissan GT-R.

Audi R8 Spyder 2016

Audi R8 Spyder

Loaded with a 540hp V10 engine promising 0 to 62mph (0 to 100km/h) acceleration in 3.6 seconds and a top speed of 198mph (318km/h), the new-generation Audi R8 Spyder caused a sensation at the New York show. It’s expected to land in Europe from September 2016.

Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 2016

Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

General Motors unveiled the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, which comes with a 640hp V8 engine and a choice of six-speed manual or 10-speed automatic gearboxes. Surprisingly, the American automaker hasn’t yet announced performances for this car, which is due to land before the end of 2016. A convertible version, also presented at the New York event, should be available in early 2017.

Mazda MX-5 RF 2016

Mazda MX-5 RF

In a worldwide premiere, the Mazda MX-5 RF showed off an automatically retracting roof and rear window, and a new color finish called “Machine Gray.” It should be available in autumn in Europe, in a gasoline version with manual or automatic transmission.

Mercedes GLC Coupe 2016

Mercedes GLC Coupé

Daimler presented the Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupé at the New York event, billed as a cross between a functional SUV and a sports coupé, with a sleek, sporty, off-roader design and a stylish interior. The GLC Coupé is set to land in eight different versions, including gas and diesel options. A rechargeable hybrid version is expected towards the end of 2016.

Mini Clubman All 4 2016

Mini Clubman All 4

The Mini Clubman All 4 has a lighter build and gets all-wheel drive, promising improved handling, a more comfortable ride in the larger cockpit, and a special mode for boosted efficiency. It’s expected to land in dealerships in the springtime.

Nissan GT-R 2016

Nissan GT-R

The 2017 version of the Nissan GT-R supercar gets a 570hp V6 biturbo engine. It also has a new chrome-finished V-shaped front grille and a redesigned trunk promising increased stability and holding at high speeds, particularly at the front of the car. It’ll be available from summer 2016, with trims including a “Gentleman Edition” with a leather interior.

The New York International Auto Show runs March 25 to April 3, 2016.

Mercedes Maybach S-Guard is Bulletproof

For James Bond wannabes (and cartel bosses, most likely), the Mercedes Maybach S-Guard is the first civilian vehicle ever to achieve a VR10 ballistic protection rating. In fact, Germany’s own Federal Office of Criminal Investigation has fully approved of its use after testing. This inconspicuous but hardy limousine looks just like any other Maybach S 600 making it well suited to cover any VIP in need of protection.

But anyone wishing to don the mantle of 007 wants to have all the safety, as well as the style. The S-Guard aims to please. At 470,000 Euros (before taxes), you can get reclining rear seats, the softest leathers and an optional drinks chiller cabinet optimized for champagne (what else). While sipping your tipple of choice, you can expect protection from “hardened steel core bullets fired from an assault rifle” (thus the VR10 rating). RPG you ask? This defender laughs in the face of the question. Seriously, for a higher rating of protection, clients would need to consider non-civilian modes of transport – like a tank.

Yet everyone knows that bad guys have many ways of getting at their targets. Don’t worry because you, as the owner of the S-Guard, are shielded. Any of those pesky explosive charges snuck underneath are fended off by the entire underbody being shaped and armored. Even the fuel-tank is reinforced with some sort of self-healing coating (reportedly the same as used in the Apache assault helicopter). Run-flat tires and a very powerful engine (6-liter V12 with 500+ horses) helps you to a clean getaway in case you’re outnumbered and under fire.

For now, you can expect this stealthy and comfortable juggernaut to be favored by Heads of State, undercover agents and Martin Shkreli. Oh yes, on that note about crime bosses who might have an eye on this model, Mercedes says it will screen all prospective buyers to avoid just such a scenario.

Ferrari Berlinetta Drives to Top Lot at Bonhams

British auction house Bonhams is gearing up for the sale of classic cars and motorbikes at the Grand Palais museum this Thursday, February 4. In its sixth year, the auction is expected to fetch millions of dollars where German and Italian models may garner the highest bids. Listed with the highest valuation as the top lot is the 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB Berlinetta. Those looking to own a model that was developed closely by Enzo Ferrari himself can expect to begin their bid at $2.7 million.

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1990 Ferrari F40 Berlinetta

Joining the Ferrari, is the Mercedes- Benz CLK GTR Coupé from 2000 ($2 million), a 1990 Ferrari F40 Berlinetta ($1 million), a 1955 Lancia Aurelia B24 Spider with a hardtop ($980,000), a 2005 Porsche Carrera GT ($870,000), and a 1937 Alfa Romeo 6C 2300B Berlinette ($810,000).

Bonhams-Alfa-Romeo-1962

1962 Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZ2 Coda Tronca Coupé

Next in line comes a 1962 Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZ2 Coda Tronca Coupé ($650,000 to €870,000), then a 1961 Aston Martin DB4 Series IV Coupé ($487,000 to $700,000), a 1961 Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZ Berlinette Coda Ronda ($490,000 to $700,000) and a 2002 Ferrari 550 Barchetta Pininfarina ($490,000 to $600,000).

Among other curiosities, auction-goers will have the chance to bid for a 1967 Citroën DS21 Cabriolet Le Caddy ($270,000 to $380,000) and a 1971 Mercedes 280 SE 3.5l Coupé once owned by Lino Ventura ($98,000 to $130,000).

A total of 250 lots will be up for auction, with 133 cars and 54 motorbikes, including 18 rare Italian motorbikes from the Stockholm Motorbike Museum in Sweden. All of the vehicles for sale will be on show at the Grand Palais exhibition center in Paris on Wednesday, February 3, from 9 am to 5:30 pm and on Thursday, February 4, from 9 am.

The Bonhams auction is being held at the Grand Palais, Paris, on Thursday, February 4, 2016. Visit the Bonhams official website for more information.

40 for Detroit: New Models Galore at Auto Show

Forget the winter chill: the mood at the Detroit auto show is expected to be bubbling with merriment when carmakers riding high on record US sales reveal their latest wares to the world January 16. We are especially interested in offerings from Mercedes, Porsche and, of all things, Hyundai and Buick!

“The industry is truly firing on all cylinders, and that will be reflected at this year’s show,” said Paul Sabatini, chairman of the North American International Auto Show, also known as the Detroit auto show or Detroit motor show as we are tagging it here.

More than 40 new vehicles will vie for the attention of over 5,000 journalists from dozens of countries during two days of official press previews.

“There are certainly important vehicles there,” Jack Nerad, an analyst with Kelly Blue Book, said in a telephone interview.

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Volvo S90 at Detroit

Chrysler will be unveiling the next generation of its Town and Country minivan while General Motors will reveal its China-made Buick Envision sport utility vehicle. The Buick Avista has already stolen the spotlight ahead of the show and we will be following up with more this model, if it is up our alley.

This is a nice bridge to news that we like very much: lots of activity on the high end. Mercedes will be trying to steal the spotlight by revealing its new E class luxury sedan at a party.

The luxury market is reported to be crowded, with an all-new Porsche 911 Turbo set to debut alongside Volvo’s new S90 premium sedan, Ford’s much-anticipated updated Lincoln Continental and fresh models from BMW and Infiniti. Yes BMW has more to reveal, even after CES in Las Vegas earlier this month.

Korea’s Hyundai is hoping to replicate the success of Japanese rivals Toyota, Honda and Nissan by introducing a separate luxury brand, Genesis.

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Global debut of the Genesis badge by Hyundai at Detroit

Technology will take center stage, said Joe Wiesenfelder, executive editor of Cars.com. Given that the biggest forward leaps in terms of consumer technology have already been revealed at CES, we are not looking for new developments, just more of the same. In other words, look for more semi-autonomous features.

Press previews were held this week at Detroit’s convention center. The show opens to the public on January 16 and 800,000 people are expected to attend by the time it closes on January 24.