Tag Archives: Mercedes

Mercedes-Benz SL 400

New Mercedes SL 400 replaces SL 350

Mercedes-Benz SL 400

Mercedes-Benz has unveiled the SL 400, the new model designed to replace the SL 350 in the brand’s line-up.

The Mercedes SL 400 is equipped with a twin turbo V6 engine with 333hp, compared to 306hp on the SL 350.

The roadster accelerates from 0 to 100km/h in 5.2 seconds and boasts a top speed of 250km/h. Average fuel consumption is 7.3L/100km, or the equivalent of 172g of CO2 emissions per kilometer.

Unlike on the SL 350, the Frontbass audio system and the Magic Vision Control smart windshield wiper system both come standard on the SL 400.

Prices for this new model start from 97,282 euros in Germany.

Mercedes Benz S class Coupe S500

Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe unveiled

What seemed like nothing more than a promising luxury sports concept vehicle at September’s Frankfurt Motor Show will be launching as a fully fledged production car at the Geneva Motor Show this March.

Mercedes Benz S class Coupe S500

The 2015 Mercedes-Benz S550 Coupe is a two-door version of the brand’s full-size S sedan and replaces the CL in Mercedes’ lineup.

Under the hood power and performance are derived from a 4.6-liter V8 biturbo engine, good for 455hp and immense levels of torque.

S coupe

Keeping the car’s occupants completely cossetted no matter how tricky the driving gets is a new ‘curve tilting function’, a world-first in a production car.

It means that the S-Class Coupé actively leans into bends, which not only improve the driving line but also dramatically reduces lateral acceleration and the g-force felt by those traveling in the car.

Mercedes Benz S class Coupe interior

This new feature is an addition to the Magic Body Control — essentially a suspension system with eyes — that debuted on the sedan version of the S-Class. It monitors the road ahead and automatically adjusts the ride and shock absorber settings to suit ahead of time.

Mercedes Benz S class Coupe steering wheel

Other features aimed at comfort and affability include a reworked, curving instrument panel and dashboard fascia that uses TFT screens rather than dials and buttons and the inclusion of a panoramic glass roof.

Mercedes Benz S class Coupe S500 top view

Mercedes will be taking the wraps off the S-Class Coupé March 6 at the Geneva Motor Show. A price or release date is yet to be revealed.

Mercedes debuts new V-Class van

Mercedes’ new MPV, the V-Class, offers seating for up to eight and a host of practical features but without scrimping on luxury or performance.

Mercedes-Benz V-Class

As such, it could be the perfect vehicle not just for pulling up outside a family-friendly resort hotel, but also for arriving at a red carpet event.

The reason is that despite its huge size — the vehicle will be available in two wheelbases, the biggest of which measures 5370mm — the German car company has tried every design trick in the book to ensure that the MPV doesn’t just look like a converted van.

However, like a van, the V-Class should be seen as an empty shell that each customer can customize to suit his or her needs.

The seats are trimmed with leather as standard, while all of the gadgets and driver aids and infotainment elements associated with the company’s executive cars are also present in the V-Class.

Before customization, the car comes with 4 individual rear seats in 2 rows which can be moved forward and back to improve access and increase trunk space. A foldaway table between the first row of rear seats is also available.

2015 Mercedes-Benz V-Class

For drivers with more seating needs, the car can be specified with 2 rows of 3 rear seats. They can be fitted so that all rear passengers face each other.

Mercedes hopes that the car will be capable of ticking all of the boxes, whether the V-Class is specified by a driver with a large family, a young couple with an active lifestyle — there’s plenty of room in the back for a couple of mountain bikes — or a chauffeur.

Getting in or out of the car regardless of seating arrangements is made simpler thanks to a sliding rear passenger door, while access to luggage and storage space is equally optimized thanks to the rear tailgate’s clever design.

The whole tailgate can be opened for full access, or just the rear windshield portion when space behind the car is tight — say when parked nose to tail in a side street.

When it officially goes on sale in 2015, the V-Class will be available with a choice of two engines — 2.1-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel engine with two-stage turbocharging; and a sportier, more potent BlueTec 3-liter V6 turbodiesel.

maybach beijing

Mercedes bringing back the Maybach

Gangster rappers and royalty rejoice — two years after the brand was axed due to poor sales, the ultra-luxury limousine marque is making a return.

maybach beijing

The new ultra-luxury cars will be ultra-long-wheelbase versions of the company’s new flagship S Class model and will take the comfort up to 11. The cars will have larger, rectangular rear doors for effortless ingress and egress, and the rear compartment will contain every creature comfort needed to work or recline in comfort while someone else takes care of the driving.

When Mercedes first revived the Maybach luxury brand, in 2002, it did so with two cars — the long wheelbase Maybach 57 and even longer wheelbase 62, which were meant to be Mercedes’s even more luxurious answers to a resurgent Rolls-Royce.

Based on an older S Class platform, they were devised to offer rear seat passengers an experience equivalent to flying business class — fully reclining leather seats, panoramic glass roof, a wine chiller and slide-out solid wood picnic tables.

Despite finding a cult following within the rap community, the marque bombed so badly that Mercedes’s parent company, Daimler, was forced to pull the plug in 2011.

But they didn’t fail because they were too expensive, they failed because they were built on an already out-of-date platform which couldn’t offer any of the advanced driver or passenger features that were on all of Mercedes’s new cars at every price point form city car to executive sedan.

This time around it looks as if it has learned its lesson. The current S Class is the most technologically advanced car currently available and one of the best big cars to drive. Therefore, anything that makes it even more comfortable will make it even more desirable.

According to Autoweek, this time around the cars are expected to cost $250,000-$300,000 before customization or bespoke treatments — in other words roughly the same as a Rolls Royce or Bentley.

The new Maybach is expected to launch some time in 2014 and could make a surprise debut at the upcoming Geneva motor show this March.

 

Mercedes S600

Mercedes-Benz S600 launched

The car is brimming with so much active safety technology that it can pretty much drive itself, but giving the S600 full autonomy would rob owners of its greatest feature — its 6-liter, bi-turbo V12 engine.

Mercedes S600

And what an engine it is. Bigger and more powerful than the V12 that graced the outgoing model — 530 hp, 830 Nm of torque and a 0-62 mph (100kph) time of just 4.6 seconds — yet lighter and more fuel efficient. It will guarantee exactly the right levels of performance on tap at exactly the right time, whatever the prevailing road conditions.

But thanks to its Magic Body Control suspension the car shouldn’t roll in the corners or feel anything other than smooth for the rear-seat passengers.

Mercedes Benz S600 interior

Further ensuring a comfortable ride is something called Road Surface Scan that alters the car’s set-up to suit the driving surface — silky tarmac or cobblestones or concrete.

The car has a host of systems, from Collision Prevention Assist Plus to Active Lane Keeping Assist that work together to keep the car safe from front and rear-end collisions, to help drivers avoid obstacles, and track the movement of other vehicles around the car.

Mercedes-Benz S600

In fact, it has so many active safety and driver assist features that it is just one or two regulatory changes away from being able to taking over the driving completely.

It knows which lane it’s in, is aware of cars joining the road from slip lanes and can brake in such a way that it stops short of the vehicle in front but at just the right speed to make sure the car following also has enough time to stop too, without crashing.

But that is the S-Class’s reason for being. It is not only Mercedes-Benz’s flagship car, each new imagining of the luxury executive sedan serves as the pinnacle of what is possible in terms of automotive technology at any given moment and gives consumers a taste of what they can expect to find in their cars in the near future.

Mercedes-Benz S600 Interior

The first car with rear seatbelts? The S-Class. The first car with anti-lock brakes? The S-Class. First airbag? First parking sensors? First active collision avoidance system? The list goes on and on and with the latest addition the list is no even longer still.

Inside, it’s the same story. Two displays have been integrated into the dashboard that offer digital representations of the dials but can also display other crucial or necessary driver information.

Mercedes S600 controller

The infotainment system has also been upgraded to feature a new controller that will be immediately familiar and intuitive to anyone who owns a smartphone that uses finger taps, gestures and even handwriting recognition. Or, simply talk and the car will respond to vocal commands.

Then there’s the full-color head-up display that projects the car’s speed, and navigation information onto the windshield — directly within the driver’s field of vision to minimize potential distraction.

Mercedes S600 driver display

The Mercedes Benz S600 will be available to order in the US and Europe from March and can be specified with the standard or extended limousine wheelbase.

Mercedes C-Class sedan

Mercedes unleashes more luxurious C-Class

Mercedes Benz unveiled Sunday a larger, much better-appointed version of its best selling C-Class model to further distinguish it after introducing the cheaper CLA last year as its new “entry level” car.

Mercedes C-Class sedan

The car that has made Mercedes the leading luxury car maker in the United States was the starter Benz for years. But the company has given it a makeover that raises its class and promises a new life in the mid-range of the luxury market.

Mercedes Chairman Dieter Zetsche said the company has taken some of the high-level styling and functions of the pricier E and S-Class cars and added them to the C-Class, including driver assistance systems — partly autonomous driving — and the Airmatic suspension technology.

The car has also lost 220 pounds (100 kilograms) helped by the use of lightweight materials.

“We believe this star will rock the mid-sized segment” of the market, Zetsche said at the launch, on the occasion of the annual Detroit auto show.

The C-Class has been Mercedes’ most popular model in the U.S. and around the world for several years, and helped lock the company’s lead over its rivals BMW, Audi and Cadillac in the US market.

Zetsche said the CLA has been a “breakthrough car” enjoying “overwhelming demand,” allowing the company to migrate the C-Class up a notch in market segment.

2015 Mercedes GLA

Production begins on Mercedes GLA crossover

The latest compact SUV from Mercedes, the GLA, presented at the Frankfurt Motor Show this year and slated to hit dealerships from spring 2014, has gone into production at the Mercedes plant in Rastatt.

The future crossover will be available in four versions, ranging in power from 136hp (GLA 200 CDI 4MATIC) to 211hp (GLA 250 4MATIC). The most eco-friendly model in the line will be the Mercedes GLA 200 CDI, with its 136hp diesel engine and average CO2 emissions of 114g/km.

2015 Mercedes GLA

The most powerful model, meanwhile, is the Mercedes GLA 250 4MATIC, which can accelerate from 0 to 100km/h in 6.5s and reach a top speed of 235km/h. The latter model’s fuel consumption averages out at 7.1L/100km, which translates into CO2 emissions of 151g/km.

The Mercedes GLA will have the latest version of Mercedes’s branded all-wheel drive system, 4MATIC, designed to distribute power effectively among the wheels. It also includes a collision-prevention system to avoid crashes at speeds of over 7km/h, a rear park assist feature, and the option to automatically cap the vehicle’s top speed at 200km/h.

Mercedes GLA 250 4MATIC

The Mercedes GLA is the latest arrival in the increasingly competitive market for entry-level, compact SUVs or crossovers. The new Mercedes line will be competing with the BMW X1 and Audi Q3 lines.

The Mercedes-Benz Class S 400

Mercedes S Class is China Car of the Year

The Mercedes-Benz Class S 400

The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class scooped the top honor at the inaugural award ceremony held during the Guangzhou Auto Show.

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class was chosen from the initial entry list, the shortlist of seven, and the three finalists: the Land Rover Range Rover, the Chang’an Ford Mondeo, and the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

Of receiving the ceremony’s top honor, President of Mercedes-Benz China Mr. Nicholas Speeks, said: “the decision reaffirms the model’s stature and position in China, its top market worldwide.”

As well as the overall winner, there were prizes for different car categories with Porsche’s hybrid hyper car, the 918 Spyder, becoming the first China Performance Car of the Year.

What’s more, the same company’s Panamera E-Hybrid GT car was named the China Green Car of the Year, leading Chief Operating Officer of Porsche China, Mr. Michael Kirsch, to say: “it makes us humble that Porsche has won two awards tonight. I’m surprised a luxury sports car can win a green car award. That means our effort in developing green technology has paid off.”

The final award, for outstanding design, went to the Citroen DS5, or, as it is known in China, Chang’an PSA DS5. It was chosen for “breaking the rules of a conventional design with its unique style.”

The awards were open to any new car that went on sale in China between October 1, 2012 and September 30, 2013 and winners were selected and voted on by a panel of 10 independently appointed automotive magazine editors.

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT Final Edition

Mercedes Benz has announced Final Edition hardtop and roadster versions of the SLS AMG GT. Strictly limited to 350 examples, the cars present customers’ last ever chance to get their hands on the AMG-co-developed supercar.

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT FINAL EDITION

And for those lucky enough to snap one up when they hit the market in March following their official reveals at the Tokyo and LA motor shows this week, there will be no need to worry that jealous onlookers won’t be able to tell just how special the car is.

Thanks to a matte black carbon fiber effect bonnet, real carbon-fiber front air-splitting chin spoiler and similarly black carbon fiber fixed rear wing, no one will be left in any doubt.

Although not to everyone’s taste, all three additions to the standard model are needed to keep the outrageously powerful car on the straight and narrow as are the specially developed Cup tires for better steering precision and increased grip. With 591 horsepower on tap, thanks to a 6.3-liter V8, it would otherwise be very easy to end up going sideways.

And even though it is a big, heavy car, it can still accelerate from 0-100km/h in just 3.7 seconds and onto an electronically limited top speed of 198mph (318km/h).

One of the things that has made both the coupé and roadster versions of the car so popular since its launch in 2009 is that despite all of that bruising power — it’s the vehicular equivalent of a battering ram — it still offers all of the comfort, refinement and gadgetry of any other flagship Mercedes model.

SLS AMG GT FINAL EDITION

The cabin’s soundproofing is excellent, as are the choices of materials and levels of finishing. The Final Edition’s seats, doors and center panel are trimmed in designo exclusive leather with a diamond stitching pattern. The seats also feature an embossed AMG emblem while a plaque on the carbon fiber dashboard officially states the car’s number in relation to the 350 models that will be produced.

Mercedes Benz will confirm country-by-country pricing at a later date.

Mercedes-Benz AMG Vision Gran Turismo

Mercedes reveals ‘Gran Turismo’ vision

The Mercedes-Benz AMG Vision Gran Turismo, a virtual supercar concept, is set to make a real-world debut at the company’s new US R&D center in California.

Mercedes-Benz AMG Vision Gran Turismo

It turns out that the concept car, which was created for “Gran Turismo 6,” the Playstation racing game, is more than simply a collection of pixels and computer code.

Mercedes Gran Turismo vision

A real-life, scale 1:1 version of the 585hp, super-light-weight car, complete with heads-up display and gullwing doors, will be arriving in Sunnyvale, California to mark the official opening of Mercedes-Benz’s new Research and Development facility on November 19.

Mercedes AMG Vision Gran Turismo

The car, which manages to pay homage to the marque’s supercars of decades past, such as the 300SL, while also being clearly a visitor from the automotive future, blends long, feminine flowing lines with aggressive animalistic front and rear haunches that cover the car’s oversized alloy wheels.

Mercedes-Benz AMG Vision GranTurismo

Under the hood is a front mid-mounted V8 biturbo engine courtesy of AMG and as the car is built using an aluminum space frame adorned with carbon fiber, it tips the scales at just 1385kg, meaning that it offers a power-to-weight ratio of 1hp to every 2.4kg.

Mercedes Vision Gran Turismo

To mark the game’s 15th anniversary, its developer, Polyphony Digital Inc., approached a number of car companies, including Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin and Volkswagen, as well as legendary automotive design studios Bertone, ItalDesign Giugiaro and Zagota and asked them to create exclusive virtual concept cars which will be released as gifted downloadable content to gamers as online updates.

And when the game goes on sale in December, the Mercedes-Benz AMG Vision Gran Turismo will be the first concept that players will be able to download.

Mercedes S 65 AMG

New Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG revealed

Mercedes S 65 AMG

At the upcoming LA Auto Show, Mercedes-Benz will premiere the S65 AMG 2014, its new luxury sedan powered by a V12 twin-turbo engine with 630hp.

This third iteration of the Mercedes S 65 AMG has a 6.0L V12 twin-turbo engine with a total output of 630hp coupled with an automatic 7G-Tronic transmission offering three driving modes (economical, manual and sport). The sedan can accelerate from 0 to 100km/h in 4.3s, and its top speed is electronically limited to 250km/h.

The model’s fuel consumption over a mixed cycle is announced at 11.9L/100km, for CO2 emissions equivalent to 279g/km. The Mercedes S 65 AMG also has a lithium-ion battery, which allows it to save more than 20kg compared to the traditional starter and back-up batteries.

In terms of safety features, the Mercedes S 65 AMG stands out for its Pre-Safe autonomous emergency braking system and its night vision assistant. Extra options include a 360° camera, exclusive seats, or even individual entertainment systems for each of the back seat passengers.

The new S 65 AMG will be available in the sedan version only from March 2014 in certain markets, with prices starting at €232,050 (around $310,600).

Last spring, Mercedes garnered headlines in the automotive world with the presentation of its new S Class, designed around three major principles: luxury, safety and energy efficiency.

The range will be available with four engine systems, including two hybrids (S 300 BlueTEC Hybrid and S 400 Hybrid) equipped with a small electric motor.

Mercedes S Class Coupe Concept

Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe Concept

Mercedes Benz S Class Coupe Concept

The Mercedes-Benz Concept S-Class Coupe, which previews the 2015 Mercedes-Benz S-Class coupe, debuted on Tuesday at the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show.

Mercedes stresses that although this car is merely a concept, the design cues, flourishes and technology on display are all destined to make it onto upcoming cars.

Inside, the instrument panel has been shaped to reflect, in Mercedes’ words, “a whale fluke just before it re-enters the water”. Finished in white with milled aluminum switchgear, the effect is of flowing, unbroken lines and of space. Emphasizing the aura of luxury are the calfskin upholstered seats and the hand-woven silk carpeting and roof liner while under the hood.

Mercedes S Class Coupe Concept interior

The new car features a host of technology: its Intelligent Drive system uses stereo cameras which can map a three-dimensional representation of the road ahead to alert the driver and can also detect and predict the position of objects around the car at any given moment up to a distance of 500 meters.

This technology is also tied into the suspension system so that it is always prepared to iron out kinks in the road ahead before the car encounters them, for the smoothest possible ride.

Mercedes Benz S Class Coupe roof

Increasing the sense of well-being is an infotainment system that uses Gracenote technology and can play a track list based on the driver’s mood and has a catalogue of 18 million tracks to choose from.

Under the hood, there’s a bi-turbo V8 that’s been massaged and refined by AMG so that it puts out 455 hp and over 700Nm of torque, but the top speed remains a mystery.

Mercedes Benz S Class Coupe side

Mercedes-Benz experimenting with Google Glass

Google Glass photo

Mercedes-Benz’s North American R&D chief claims the ultimate goal is to use Google’s head-worn computer to create a seamless GPS system.

Despite the fact that Gary C. Howell, a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, is currently trying to pass a bill that would make them illegal while driving, Mercedes-Benz’s US research and development arm is hard at work developing in-car applications for Google Glass.

In an interview with Business Journal this week, Johann Jungwirth, president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America, says that the company’s ultimate goal is to create a “seamless” door-to-door transition between pedestrian directions and in-car GPS. The idea being that the information displayed via the headset automatically switches from in-car navigation to on-foot directions the moment the driver kills the engine and alights from his or her luxury German sedan.

The contextual awareness of Google Glass would mean that a destination would only have to be entered once to cover the journey, no matter how many different forms of transport were required to arrive at a destination.

As a device, Google Glass is still also very much in its own R&D phase. Only a handful of the headsets are ‘in the wild’ and they mostly belong to developers who are busy getting to grips with what the wearable computer can do and how they can best exploit its features via specially created apps.

Mercedes-Benz Vision Golf Cart

Mercedes unveils luxury concept golf cart

Mercedes-Benz Vision Golf Cart

For golf fans craving a bit more luxury on the links, Mercedes has unveiled a new “Vision Golf Cart,” a concept golf cart of the future.

Sketches for the new state-of-the-art fantasy cart were shown at the 2013 Open Championship in Scotland this past weekend. It was created by Mercedes-Benz’s head of design Gorden Wagener, who relied on the help of golfers who submitted their ideas to the company.

“I was very inspired by the idea of designing a golf cart, giving it a new shape and new sorts of meaning,” Wagener said in a statement. “Why not treat a golf cart like a car, and make it a ‘Golf Car?'”

Drivers can control the cart via a central joystick, which lets you sit on either side of the cart to control its direction. Also it features a revolving iPhone/iPad docking station, heating/cooling cup holders and a cooler/warmer refrigerator.

It features an “air scarf” heater, as well as a solar panel roof. A “fore button” notifies other players of a misplaced shot. In addition, the cart features touch screen monitors and a USB interface.

For nighttime play, the Vision features floodlight functionality on the LED headlamps and an illuminated vanity mirror for primping.

Also, riders can send emails, view weather forecasts, order meals from a country club restaurant, share their scores and photos via social media, or make calls over the loudspeaker system.

2014 Mercedes S63 AMG

2014 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Revealed: Video

A work of mechanical art, the latest AMG-infused Mercedes S Class sets new performance figures for the luxury car sector.

The S 63 AMG car, which starts off life as a Mercedes Benz S Class, before being handed over to the crack team of engineers that make up AMG, will make its official debut at September’s Frankfurt Motor Show where it will no doubt draw a huge crowd.

From a purely technical point of view, it’s easy to admire the work that AMG carries out and its approach to reinvigorating stock Mercedes Benz cars. And, as always, the handcrafted V8 engine, bedecked with twin turbochargers, that sits snugly under the hood of the S 63 AMG is a work of art.

In fact, the engine’s use of lightweight aluminum alloys, its eight cylinders and 32 valves, plus its 585hp make it more suitable for inclusion in an exhibition than in a luxury Merc.

Which raises the question of who exactly a luxury sedan capable of accelerating from 0-100km/h in 4.4 seconds and one with a stiffened sports suspension set-up is aimed at.

Perhaps a chauffeur who moonlights as a racecar driver at weekends but who is in a financial position where he can only afford to run one vehicle?

Mercedes-Benz S 63 AMG

Nevertheless, the car is a technical masterpiece, the engineers somehow managing to make the vehicle 100kg lighter than a stock Mercedes S Class without cutting back on luxury.

It is also faster than the last AMG iteration of an S Class and features a number of high-tech features including Magic Body Control — a stereo camera which scans the road ahead to identify road-surface undulations and adjust the car’s suspension settings in advance to retain ride quality.

The S 63 AMG will be available in short and long-wheelbase versions and pricing will be confirmed in September, following its Frankfurt unveiling.

Fangio F1 Mercedes

Fangio’s rare F1 Mercedes sells for $29.6 million

1954 Mercedes Benz W196

A classic Mercedes-Benz race car driven by Formula 1 legend Juan Manuel Fangio has sold for 19.6 million pounds ($29.6 million) at Bonhams Goodwood Festival of Speed Sale auction on Friday.

The 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196 single-seater was driven by the five-time world champion racer when he clinched his second title in 1954. The Argentine drove the car to victories in the 1954 German and Swiss Grand Prix races.

Bonhams chairman Robert Brooks called this car the “most important historic Grand Prix racing car ever offered for sale”.

A Ferrari 330GT, first owned by John Lennon, fetched 359,900 pounds at the same auction. The late Beatle bought the blue Ferrari after he passed his driving test in 1965 and sold it three years later.

Sui He mercedes S class

Watch: Carine Roitfeld x Mercedes-Benz

Sui He mercedes S class

Mercedes-Benz has teamed up with super-stylist Carine Roitfeld on a new car campaign, and has also worked with London menswear designers Spencer Hart on a new shooting brake model.

Mercedes has released a new film titled Vision in Motion shot by photographers Max von Gumppenberg and Patrick Bienert and styled by Carine Roitfeld alongside V-Magazine editor Stephen Gan.

Chinese supermodel Sui He was dressed in a billowing minimalist cape designed by Roitfeld herself to appear alongside the new Mercedes S-Class.

At the London Collections: Men, attendees at the Spencer Hart fashion show were also treated to the unveiling of the CLS 63 AMG Shooting Brake, specially styled by Nick Hart, the brand’s creative director.

Mercedes CLS 63 AMG Shooting Brake

It’s the car company’s first ever collaboration with a UK fashion label, and the CLS will be available to order in a signature ‘Nick Hart Midnight Blue’ with an Italian leather trim in dark chocolate brown.

It’s a growing trend. Last year Italian car manufacturer Fiat worked with luxury brand Gucci on a new version of the famous Fiat 500 model.

Larisa Katz

Luxurious Mercedes Viano by Carisma Auto Design

The Carisma Viano

A seemingly humble van could be the solution for those that want to travel in state, but without drawing unwanted attention to themselves.

The Carisma Viano is perfect for those who like to travel first class but hate the often crass statement that arriving for an engagement in a less than subtle Rolls-Royce Phantom or (soon to be defunct) Maybach makes.

And while it may start out life as a Mercedes van, on the inside the attention to detail and the scope of bespoke touches and luxury features is limited only by a client’s imagination.

Its makers, Carisma Auto Design, claim that, as such, no two of its Viano conversions are the same and that discerning customers are equally likely to specify their vehicle as a mobile office as they are for traveling in complete unbridled comfort.

The leather interior on each conversion is sourced from barbed-wire-free countries and each installation is designed, hand-built and fitted by master craftspeople who learned their trade restoring classic cars to concourse condition.

Recent client requests have included solid crystal ashtrays and champagne flutes; integrated fountain pens and ink wells; and a 42-inch TV and refrigeration units.

But as well as old-school luxury, the Carisma Auto Design Viano comes with the latest technological innovations.

Clients can specify a Windows or Apple on-board operating system, paired with a Bang & Olufsen sound system for optimum multimedia enjoyment.

And if a van, even one built by Mercedes is too utilitarian for some clients’ tastes, Carisma also does an equally subtle but luxurious line of Land Rover conversions.

The Carisma Viano interior

Mercedes showcases Google in-car integration

Mercedes Google Map integration

At Google I/O, Mercedes-Benz demonstrates upcoming integration with Google services using an iPhone connected to its Drive Kit Plus feature in an SL-class.

The DigitalDriveStyle app combines powerful Google search, location and mapping features into a single, safe-to-use-while-driving service for Mercedes owners.

The system enables a driver to seamlessly integrate their smartphone into the car’s infotainment architecture and for the device’s apps to be categorized and displayed on the vehicle’s dashboard screen and to be accessed via console buttons or through voice commands.

The DigitalDriveStyle app also integrates predictive search into the Google Places API meaning that as a driver starts to type or dictate a destination, the software automatically predicts the most likely destination, whether it’s a street, a shop or restaurant.

By combining Google Street View and Google+ local images, users can also take 360° virtual tours of any intended destination before they set off.

The app also adds ‘heatmaps’ to searched for destinations to highlight areas with the highest predicted concentrations of people — such as shopping centers and nightclubs.

Mercedes was the first car company to open a research and development centre in Silicon Valley — its Palo Alto site opened way back in 1995.

The car company has invested heavily in developing its own apps and services in-house, and the integration of Google’s services into the latest edition of DigitalDriveStyle app is a result of the close working relationship the two companies have formed.

The irony is, however, that all of these innovations will not be coming to the Android platform. The DigitalDriveStyle app and the Drive Kit Plus — the combination of hardware and software that enables a smartphone to be integrated into a Mercedes — only work with the iPhone.

Mercedes Google integration

mercedes benz gla front

Mercedes Debuts New Compact GLA SUV

Mercedes GLA

Mercedes has confirmed that it will be taking the wraps off its latest premium SUV concept, the GLA, at Auto Shanghai, the doors to which officially open on April 21.

Conceived to help owners “escape the everyday” at 4.38 meters long and 1.97 meters wide, the GLA is small enough to negotiate busy city centers but thanks to permanent four-wheel drive should make for a willing leisure-time companion too.

Under the hood is a four-cylinder, 2-liter turbocharged petrol engine capable of pumping out 211bhp via a seven-speed double-clutch automatic transmission.

The inside of the cabin benefits from prodigious use of leather and aluminium. Other interesting interior touches include light-emitting air vents that shine blue when the air conditioning is set below 22°C and start to glow a brighter red as the heat is turned up.

Mercedes GLA interior

The car also boasts externally mounted 3D/HD cameras that give the driver a clear, birds-eye view of everything surrounding the car, but that can also be removed and mounted on a helmet or mountain bike so that families can record their adventures.

The cameras can also be operated to make films or take still photos while the car is in motion and, thanks to an integrated, front-mounted lens, can project those images directly on to a wall or any other vertical surface, essentially turning the car into a mobile drive-in cinema.

“The Concept GLA marks a new approach for us in the compact SUV segment — this is a sporty and more coupé-like evolution of this category of vehicle,” commented Dr Joachim Schmidt, Executive Vice President Mercedes-Benz Cars, Sales and Marketing.