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    Land Rover Has Been To The Future, Shows Us What They Have Seen With The Discovery Vision Concept


    • The Future, Brought To You By Land Rover


    Land Rover has seen the future and has decided to show their findings in the Discovery Vision Concept, which was revealed last night in New York City.

    The Discovery Vision "is a vision into the future of Land Rover's new family of leisure vehicles." It also marks the return of the Discovery nameplate to the U.S.

    Styling wise, the Discovery Vision is taking some cues from the Range Rover family with a silhouette that is much more futuristic and sportier than the current LR4. Design cues to take note of are the rounded front end, laser-powered headlights, a rising character line along handle-less doors, and twenty-three inch wheels. For the interior, the Discovery Vision comes with seating for seven people and can be folded via a touchscreen in the front. Speaking of touchscreens, the Discovery Vision comes loaded with them. There are two touchscreens on the steering wheel for the driver to control certain functions and two touchscreens on the centerstack.

    On the technology front, Land Rover has gone a bit mad. For starters, the foglights can emit infrared lasers to scan the terrain. This information is used create a map and is displayed on the instrument cluster for the driver to help the navigate. Then there is the trick where the Discovery Vision can make its hood appear transparent to improve driver confidence. This is done with cameras mounted under the grille which provide video of the terrain and the heads-up display system which can overlay the video on the hood in the driver's line of sight, thus pulling off a clever illusion. Finally, there is Remote Control Drive which as the name suggests, makes the Discovery Vision into a RC car. The system works by the driver uses a smartphone or tablet, connected to the vehicle via the built-in wireless network, to drive it slowly over short distances.

    While we're not sure how much of the tech will make it into the next-generation Discovery, expect a lot the design come when the production model is introduced in the next couple of years.

    Source: Land Rover

    Press Release is on Page 2


    LAND ROVER DISCOVERY VISION CONCEPT

    DISCOVERY: A NEW BEGINNING

    In the 25 years since its launch, the Land Rover Discovery has carved an enviable reputation for itself – from deserts, jungles and barren peaks, where its unrivalled capability sees it through the harshest terrain, to cities and country tracks worldwide, where its distinctive blend of spacious design and innovative versatility have made it a global success, winning numerous awards and clocking up impressive sales figures.

    The Discovery shaped the 4x4 leisure segment and, over the course of a generation, became synonymous with it. Always a trend-setting pioneer, the Discovery is now on a journey of transformation and is set to change the face of the next generation too.

    From 2015 onwards, the Discovery nameplate will be borne by not just a single model but a distinct range of vehicles that symbolize the essence of the premium, lifestyle-orientated SUV: modern, versatile, practical and desirable, with the unmistakable DNA of Land Rover at its core.

    As Range Rover has done in the luxury SUV sector, the Discovery nameplate will come to redefine its territory in the leisure category. With the best designed and most premium, practical, versatile vehicles in their class, the future Discovery range is set to fundamentally enhance the way drivers around the world take on the adventure of modern life.

    DISCOVERY VISION CONCEPT: DESIGNING THE FUTURE

    The Discovery Concept is a vision into the future of Land Rover's new family of leisure vehicles. It is a vision of a premium and thoroughly modern lifestyle vehicle – a highly desirable interpretation of our well established Discovery nameplate, with a strong focus on relevant versatility and compelling design. This will truly resonate with customers while respecting the established values of Discovery's unique heritage.

    With its optimised volume and proportions, dramatic silhouette and overall modernity inside and out, this concept is a radical departure from Discovery as we know it – and yet, its unique DNA is evident, with the stepped roof, alpine lights, command driving position and stadium seating all working in harmony to create a vehicle that acknowledges its roots, whilst firmly looking forward.

    Though a full-size SUV, the Discovery Vision Concept looks remarkably compact. This has been achieved through a combination of well-considered design elements such as wrap-around headlamps and tail lamps and the short front and rear overhangs serving to reduce the visual length. The headlamps utilise advanced laser technology to generate incredibly bright, far-reaching beams of light, paired with LED daytime running lights. Slim foglamps on either side of the prominent undershield are capable of emitting both infrared and coloured lasers, which assist in the Laser Terrain Scanning and Laser Referencing functions.

    In profile, the Discovery Vision Concept's raised beltline alludes to the incredible levels of space available inside. The doors are operated by gesture control, and, with no need for handles, the resulting clean, beautifully crafted surfaces and the flush, tight gaps between their interfaces further impart a sense of modernity.

    The slim, aerodynamic wing mirrors have embedded cameras, which augment the view of the driver through the windows, providing an extended field of vision while parking and reversing. Just below the doors, sill steps on either side automatically deploy to facilitate occupants' entry and exit, with LED lighting to illuminate the ground being stepped onto.

    The body coloured C-pillar, the stepped roof flowing into the alpine lights and the distinctive asymmetrical graphic element on the rear number plate also references its Discovery heritage.

    The Discovery Concept takes a thoroughly modern view but also acknowledges the need to evolve specific Discovery elements such as the split tailgate which has evolved on the Discovery concept to a highly flexible new tailgate design incorporating a social seat system in the vehicle's loadspace area.

    The gesture-controlled, electrically powered, single-piece tailgate is paired with an event platform, which electrically deploys from within the rear bumper, just above the rear undershield. The Vision Concept has sleek horizontal tail lamps and vertical foglamps, and as at the front, the rear window also features hidden wipers, neatly concealed under the rear spoiler.

    The concept car, which is painted in a Tribeca Grey finish, is fitted with bespoke 23-inch split-five-spoke Aero Viper alloy wheels with a bright silver turned finish.

    INTERIOR: INNOVATION AND VERSATILITY COMBINED

    The interior of the Discovery Vision Concept is a dynamic blend of form, colour and material, striking in its clean, modern visual simplicity. It has been carefully crafted to deliver enormous levels of spaciousness and an open, airy feel for all occupants, while still cocooning them in an environment that feels cosy and secure.

    With a brief to create the ultimate leisure space, Land Rover's design team has created a warm and welcoming interior, crafted in Nimbus and Navy premium leather, open pore grey wood veneer and polished and brushed aluminium finishes. The large glasshouse and panoramic roof let in plenty of light and afford clear views out, while the vehicle's high beltline creates a feeling of security.

    The Discovery Vision Concept seats seven full-size adults in great comfort, in a 2+3+2 layout across three rows. Every passenger is catered for equally, with plenty of headroom and legroom and access to storage, infotainment and accessories.

    The Discovery Vision Concept maintains the command driving position, within an airy cockpit that gives excellent visibility. Flowing lines and warmly textured materials tastefully complement clean, futuristic technology interfaces. The steering wheel incorporates two small OLED touchscreens to operate the infotainment system, and with turn signals and headlamp functions operated by gesture control, indicator stalks are absent, creating more visual space and less clutter around the driver. This also affords a clear view of the instrument cluster, which features a high-definition screen with a 3-million-pixel resolution for incredibly vivid, sharp imagery.

    The top of the fascia has a leather-wrapped aerofoil-shaped structure for a light, minimalist appearance. The swooping form of the fascia's central 'arm' encases two high-resolution touchscreens, which display the vehicle's system menus. The lower touchscreen flips up to reveal a storage binnacle with an induction pad for easy, cable-free recharging of smartphones. Further down along the console is a rotary gearshift control, which deploys and rises into the driver's hand as it approaches, and a secondary rotary which controls functions such as Terrain Response and Tow Assist. This secondary rotary can detached and taken out of the vehicle to operate Remote Control Drive.

    The seats have a sculpted, wrap-around effect, with bolstered leather wrapped around the frame for a minimalist yet solid structural appearance. The third-row seats get their own colour: Navy leather, in contrast to the other five seats, which are made from Nimbus leather. This visual separation helps create a personalised ambience for the third-row passengers. All seven seats feature Sky Blue contrast stitching.

    Built to take the demands of family life, the Discovery Vision Concept's cabin is finished in Foglizzo H20w, an innovative premium leather that is specially treated to make it completely washable, while the Nubuck inserts on the first- and second-row seats feature Foglizzo H203 treatment that makes them totally oil- and water-repellent, to protect against spills. Soft and beautiful, yet highly durable, the Foglizzo leather is very easily washed and cleaned, making it the perfect solution for an uncompromisingly active lifestyle.

    A SkyLight cabin light is incorporated into the structural cross-beam that spans the panoramic roof. Providing an even, warm spread of light, it can be activated and brightened or dimmed with a gesture. Gentle orange lighting in the doors and floors further enhances the ambience of the interior.

    INNOVATIVE VERSATILITY

    Versatility and practicality have always been fundamental aspects of the Discovery, and every facet of the Discovery Vision Concept's carefully considered design reflects a sense of thoughtful innovation.

    The Discovery Vision Concept's reconfigurable seating system perfectly represents this philosophy. The seats in the second and third rows are able to slide backwards and forwards fully, both independently and as a complete row, fitting flush with the seat ahead or behind them ('theatre-fold'). The seat can also fold down flat, with the seatback effectively becoming a table surface ('table-fold'). Thus, with varying combinations of theatre-fold and table-fold seats, it is possible to create differing configurations for convenience and comfort – all easily selected from the menu on the console touchscreen. Possible configurations include:

    • 7-seat mode: Standard seating for seven adults in three rows.

    • 6-seat-mode: Second row middle seat in table-fold; more convenience for the second-row outboard-seat passengers.

    • 5-seat mode: Both second-row outboard seats in table-fold (more convenience for the middle-seat passenger) or both third-row seats in theatre-fold with the second row (plenty of extra load space).

    • 4-seat, or 'limousine' mode: Second row outboard seats in full theatre-fold with the front seats, and the second row middle seat in table-fold. Two passengers seated in the third row seats enjoy huge amounts of legroom.

    In addition, the back of each seat not only contains a gesture-controlled infotainment screen with a wide variety of functions, but also packs numerous convenience features such as integrated pop-out coat hangers, fold-out tray tables and tablet docking ports.

    With a nod to the original Discovery and its Conran Design-inspired cubby-bag which clipped into the centre console, the Discovery Vision Concept features detachable travel luggage smartly integrated into the doors, so that passengers can save having to pack and carry a suitcase and load it into the boot. The high-quality hard cases clip straight into the insides of the doors, and once detached, can be taken away from the vehicle like a regular stroller bag, as they have wheels in their bases and extendable handles. Accessories such as picnic blankets, sleeping blankets and cushions, are designed to enhance leisure activities. They are handcrafted by Sula and made with material woven by Harris Tweed, exuding British quality and workmanship.

    The Discovery Vision Concept's social seating platform is another elegant manifestation of the Land Rover designers' mission to maximise versatility. The social seat is deployed from under the boot floor. When initially extended, it forms a platform for activity. When further folded out, it becomes a bench that can be used by all to sit on.

    Used in conjunction with the powered single-piece tailgate, which opens up fully to serve as a canopy, and the deployable event platform, which can serve as a viewing platform to stand on, the social seating system supports a variety of outdoor leisure activities, from picnics and watching the polo to changing kids' muddy rugby kit. With conversion attachments, the sill step can also be used as a mounted bike/ski rack when the vehicle is on the move.

    PIONEERING TECHNOLOGY

    The Discovery Vision Concept is packed full of pioneering technology that is being developed by Jaguar Land Rover: technology of incredible intelligence and capability, that makes the driver and passenger experience alike safer, smarter, more connected and more engaging than ever.

    Laser headlamps

    The Discovery Vision Concept's headlamps feature laser diodes in combination with LED running lights. Laser light is the next generation of automotive lighting technology. These lights utilise laser-activated phosphor projection to emit a very bright and even beam of pure white light. The power of the laser light beam adds a distance of over 300 metres to the range of the headlight, and the quality of the light itself is closer to daylight – smooth and clean, with no patchiness or speckling – than any other type of artificial light, all of which makes for excellent and greatly enhanced visibility on the road.

    Further, Jaguar Land Rover's intelligent dipping and tracking technology uses hi-definition cameras to automatically detect and assess oncoming traffic, instantly dipping the relevant parts of the light beam to avoid glare to other road users, and adjusting the rest of the beam to maintain perfect visibility in all driving situations.

    By immensely boosting driver confidence and decreasing fatigue, reducing glare and avoiding the need to take one's hands off the wheel to operate the dip function, laser headlamps aim to make a huge difference to the automotive landscape by vastly increasing road safety. Additionally, laser lights have the added advantage of also being very compact – a tenth the size of LEDs – which opens up numerous design and engineering possibilities.

    Smart Glass & Passenger HMI

    The Discovery Vision Concept also previews a truly futuristic technology that will radically transform the user experience for drivers and passengers alike: smart glass. This state-of-the-art glass is capable of displaying imagery, like a computer screen – but is otherwise entirely transparent, like regular glass. Smart glass is used in the entire glasshouse of the Discovery Vision Concept – in all the windows, the panoramic roof and, allied to Head-Up Display (HUD) technology, in the windscreen – and opens up a world of exciting possibilities.

    Augmented reality involves overlaying real-time information onto the view of the surroundings as seen through the windows by the driver or passengers. The smart glass in the window can work in conjunction with eye-tracking sensors and the vehicle's sat-nav system to identify that, for instance, a passing landmark is being observed by one of the vehicle's passengers – and displays relevant information, such as navigation or tourist data, to that passenger. That information can then be swiped from the window directly into a passenger's seatback infotainment screen, or – adding in the functionality of passengers' personal devices – even to a docked tablet or smartphone.

    The image projection properties of smart glass also enhance the view through the windows; for instance, bay parking, reversing around corners or parking a trailer is made easier by projecting camera feeds onto the driver's view out of the smart-glass window, broadening the field of vision.

    The graphical properties of smart glass enhance ambience and privacy controls; the window can be dimmed with infinite gradation or completely blacked out with the swipe of a finger, while the panoramic roof also has the option of displaying screensaver-style 'mood screens'. From a soothing starry night sky as you drive through a city to a clear blue summer sky on a winter's evening – the smart glass on the panoramic roof lets you set the mood.

    The Discovery Vision Concept emphasises a great infotainment experience for all passengers. Individual 10-inch high-resolution screens are fitted into four of the seat backs, with the console screens serving the first-row right-hand-side and second-row middle passengers. Each passenger has not only full video and internet access via the vehicle's secure in-car WiFi network and the ability to link up to the smart-glass data from the windows, but can also, thanks to embedded cameras above each screen, video-call any other passenger seated in the Discovery Vision Concept, and talk in a natural face-to-face manner without having to twist rearward. The tablet dock integrated into the seatback folding trays also allows personal smartphones and tablets to be hooked up to the vehicle's system. The screens can be operated with hand gestures – for instance, swiping a hand left or right to change the mode, or rotating a finger to increase or decrease the volume.

    Gesture Control

    A number of other functions in the Discovery Vision Concept are also controlled by intuitive gestures, which is the next generation of HMI technology. Jaguar Land Rover's researchers have developed carefully calibrated motion sensors that precisely recognise designated hand or finger movements, thus eliminating the chance of unintentional triggering of functions. In addition to the passenger infotainment systems, gestures open and close the vehicle's doors and tailgate, operate the lights and turn signals, activate the rotary gearshift control, and dim and brighten the cabin lighting.

    UNSURPASSED ALL-TERRAIN CAPABILITY

    The Discovery, beloved of rutted roads and green lanes across the world, has a proud history of successfully tackling gruelling overland expeditions – most recently, the Journey of Discovery in 2012, where the one-millionth Discovery to be built was driven 8,000 miles from Birmingham to Beijing, China.

    The Discovery Vision Concept carries forward this tradition: from its design and build to the capability of its technical systems, it is not just every inch a Land Rover, but has the most advanced capability of any Land Rover, ever. The Discovery Vision Concept shows the direction of cutting-edge all-terrain technologies developed by Land Rover, which, from motorways to mountaintops, deliver the best functionality whatever the terrain.

    Remote Control Drive

    This feature enables the driver to manoeuvre the car at very low speed while not actually seated inside it, via the removable secondary rotary on the centre console, as well as via a smartphone or tablet. Applications include:

    • extreme off-roading, where it is sometimes safer and easier to inch the vehicle over obstacles from an outside vantage point,

    • coupling to a trailer, or

    • driving through gates, where the driver can avoid repeatedly getting in and out of the vehicle by simply opening the gate and letting the vehicle drive through via Remote Control Drive, before shutting the gate and re-entering the vehicle.

    Remote Control Drive has a simple, easy-to-use interface, encrypted access and operation only via the vehicle's localised WiFi, putting the power of autonomous vehicle control safely and securely in the driver's hands.

    Laser Terrain Scanning

    Another enhancement to the driver's capability is Laser Terrain Scanning. The Discovery Vision Concept's foglamps are capable of emitting infrared lasers, and these are used to scan the ground ahead, map the terrain and display the mapped imagery on the hi-definition cluster screen, providing the driver a vital visual reference and helping him understand the lay of the land while driving in challenging off-road conditions.

    Laser Referencing

    Both on and off the road, the Discovery Vision Concept's laser technology capability offers an additional resource: Laser Referencing. Here, the laser light is tuned to specific colours in the visible spectrum and used to project visible images onto the road. This has numerous useful applications, including projecting warning triangles onto the tarmac behind the car for other motorists to see in the event of a stoppage, or projecting reference points onto roads, walls or any terrain, in order to help the driver to judge tight gaps and to park or drive in congested spaces.

    Transparent Bonnet

    Another way of providing the driver with enhanced visibility and a greater understanding of the terrain is Land Rover's innovative Transparent Bonnet system. Cameras under the vehicle's grille send video of the terrain being traversed, projecting it to the Head-Up Display in the windscreen. By overlaying the imagery through the driver's line of sight on the HUD covering the bonnet area, the system effectively creates a 'see-through' bonnet view of the terrain and the direction of the front wheels, thus improving visibility and enhancing driver confidence.

    Terrain Response

    The next generation of Land Rover's iconic multi-mode terrain-tackling system links up and networks all these advanced capability technologies, as well as Hill Descent Control, wet grass traction control, auto hi/lo, Low Speed Steering Assist and Wade Aid.

    Terrain Response not only analyses the type of terrain being traversed – snow, ice, mud, grass, water, rocks, ruts, tarmac, gravel, sand, inclines and so on – but also proactively anticipates upcoming terrain via Laser Terrain Scanning and forward-facing camera sensors, and instantly engages the appropriate system to best respond to that type of terrain and situation.

    Wade Aid is a new sensory wading system that uses lasers to judge the depth of water ahead before the vehicle even begins to wade, and informs the driver of the feasibility of the intended wading manoeuvre.

    The Discovery Vision Concept's all-terrain capability enables differing levels of driving enhancement:

    • All Terrain Progress Control: A low-speed all-terrain cruise control that vectors torque to enable semi-autonomous off-road driving at a steady speed.

    • All Terrain Coach: for the more manually inclined. Here, the driver chooses from a menu the type of terrain being traversed and then gets a recommendation as to which off-road system ought to be activated for the best response.

    • Enhanced All Terrain Coach: marks a specific route across a terrain map rendered on the console display via Terrain Scanning, and suggests the appropriate systems to help navigate it step-by-step.

    The systems on the Discovery Vision Concept offer multiple levels of autonomy, so that the driver always has the choice to be engaged and involved with the terrain just as much as desired or needed.

    By enabling better vision and decision-making, they aim to provide the driver with more of the right information at the right time, helping progress through seemingly impassable terrain, and leading to more confidence, security and enjoyment on any terrain.

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    I actually love the look, very SUV. Impressed with the technology, hope it is reliable.

    Question, where is the engine specific's? Nothing about the power train?

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      "We will open up and change the segment of mid-size pickups – with the world's first true premium pickup for the modern urban lifestyle", says Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans. "Our future X-Class will be a pickup that knows no compromise. Ladder-type frame, high-torque six-cylinder engine, and permanent all-wheel drive are compulsory for us. As an added value we bring safety, comfort, agility, and expressive design – in other words, everything that distinguishes vehicles bearing the Mercedes star. We will thus appeal to new customers who have not considered owning a pickup before."
      Changing segment: Mercedes-Benz first premium manufacturer of a pickup
      Worldwide the market for mid-size pickups is undergoing a radical change. Gone are the days when they were bought as mere "workhorses". Instead, they are becoming increasingly popular as versatile vehicles for a simultaneous private and commercial use and as vehicles for a strictly private use. The percentage of privately used pickups has been growing steadily for years. Accordingly, the double cab has emerged as the dominating body style, because it offers room for up to five persons. More and more private and commercial customers ask for vehicles with the characteristics and comfort features of a passenger car. A similar development took place in the segment of off-road vehicles some 20 years ago. Back then, Mercedes-Benz was the first premium manufacturer to launch a sport utility vehicle (SUV), the M-Class, and completely redefined the off-road segment – with lasting success.
      "The Concept X-CLASS design variants interpret the hallmark brand design idiom of our SUVs in a most expressive form, and embody the dichotomy of our design philosophy: they are hot and cool", says Gorden Wagener, Head of Design at Daimler AG. "With its progressive design the powerful adventurer expresses cool modernity and thirst for adventure, while the stylish explorer on the other hand uses pure emotion to provide a tangible experience of modern beauty."
      Concept X-CLASS stylish explorer: progressive design with SUV looks
      The Concept X-CLASS stylish explorer, painted in a cool elegant white metallic, impressively demonstrates how the Mercedes-Benz pickup will make a decidedly stylish statement in its segment and in the urban environment. The contrast of emotionally appealing and yet purist surface treatment ("hot") and technically precise, innovative and clever details ("cool") reinterprets the design philosophy of Mercedes-Benz. The athletic design lends the concept car a markedly expressive and dynamic appearance. The distinctive front represents an evolution of the hallmark SUV face of the brand – with a more massive powerdome on the bonnet and headlamps extending far into the wings. The classic SUV front apron and the strongly flared wheel arches put even more emphasis on the sense of width, and give the vehicle an even more solid stance on the road. At the same time, the front cites the single-louvre grille with centrally positioned Mercedes star, the face of the elegant Mercedes-Benz coupés.
      The flared front and rear wings make room for a wide track and large tyre/wheel combinations for tough off-road use. 22-inch light-alloy wheels with a contrasting anthracite chrome finish give the Concept X-CLASS stylish explorer a towering and superior stance. The running boards are integrated into the bodywork and emphasise the athletically sculpted body. Depending on the angle of the incoming light, the paintwork developed specifically for this concept car lends the urban pickup a look that gives the athletic profile even more emotional appeal.
      The extremely short front overhang, the very long rear overhang and two long lines stretching along the side amplify the focus placed on driving dynamics. The rear of both concept cars sports the hallmark chromed SUV trim at the lower edge, and, as a distinctive feature, a continuous LED light strip in a slim chrome surround on the tailgate. It points to the unique character of the future pickup.
      Stylish interior with a high level of operating and display comfort
      The interior of the Concept X-CLASS stylish explorer is an equally emotional and stylish statement – characterised by an intriguing contrast of warm and cool colours, as well as by high-quality materials. The world of colours and materials translates the Mercedes-Benz design philosophy of sensual purity. The sensual touch and feel of the brown, very natural nubuck leather on the seats provides a cosy feel. This warm colour, which is also found on the dashboard, is combined with cool white nappa leather. The trim made of open-pore smoked oak contrasts with the brushed and polished aluminium trim elements. The world of modern luxury is realised in a highly stylish fashion.
      The modern flair is further boosted by round air vents, the free-standing high-resolution central display as well as the central controller and multifunctional touchpad. Similar to a smartphone, all telematics functions can be controlled with the touchpad by using gestures or by entering letters and characters. Mercedes-Benz thus introduces the most modern control and display concept in the segment of mid-size pickups. At the same time, the characteristics and functionalities typical in the pickup segment have been retained, such as the handbrake in the centre console.
      Concept X-CLASS powerful adventurer: the redefinition of toughness
      Complementing the Concept X-CLASS stylish explorer, the second concept car focuses on the classic traits of a pickup. The Concept X-CLASS powerful adventurer with a lemonax metallic paint finish stages toughness, durability, and off-road capability. As a result, it impressively underscores the fact that the future Mercedes-Benz pickup will combine comfort and style with the basic virtues of this vehicle category.
      The Concept X-CLASS powerful adventurer towers above it all with a height of 1.90 metres. Large tyres of size 35x11.50, the huge ground clearance, and the athletic design instil respect even at first glance. The brand's hallmark SUV radiator grille with two louvres, front and rear underride guard, wing claddings, and matte carbon wheel arches additionally underscore the superior off-road aesthetics. An electric winch at the front and a metal hook at the rear are further indications of the toughness and power of the future pickup.
      With its progressive design the concept car exudes independence and thirst for adventure in their purest forms. This feel continues in the interior. Matte carbon elements in the exterior and interior, metallic brushed surfaces, and a bold colour scheme lend the vehicle a sense of power. The lemonax metallic exterior paint finish is perfectly tailored to the interior colour highlights. The colour and material concept underscores the outdoor look with glossy black nappa leather and the use of carbon-style black embossed leather surfaces. To ensure the seats provide lateral support in all handling situations and in any terrain, the seat side bolsters are trimmed with black leather that offers extremely good grip and has a pleasantly soft touch and feel.
      The X-Class: powerful engine, high ride comfort, and exemplary safety
      As is the norm for Mercedes-Benz, customers of the X-Class will be able to choose from different equipment scopes to customise the exterior and interior. In addition, the premium brand will develop a special range of accessories for the pickup, for example bed covers and various styling elements. Thanks to the tried and proven modular strategy, a host of interior components that customers know and appreciate from the C-Class and V-Class will be found in the X-Class – from the perfectly finished high-quality materials and the infotainment system to the ergonomic seating comfort. As a result, the pickup will offer the "welcome home" feeling typical of the brand, and define a new level of comfort and value appeal in the segment of mid-size pickups.
      The X-Class will also set new standards in the segment with regard to connected life. Thanks to the communication module with on-board SIM card, it will be possible to use the extensive Mercedes me connect services. Drivers can connect with their pickup by smartphone, tablet or PC at any time and from anywhere. For example, to send navigation destinations to the vehicle or query where the pickup is parked and how much fuel is in the tank. In addition to these optional remote online services, standard services such as accident recovery, maintenance management and breakdown management will also be available.
      Variety will likewise distinguish the engine range. The top-of-the-line model will be powered by a V6 diesel in combination with 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive. The high-torque engine will provide high driving dynamics on the road and off the road. The all-wheel-drive system will combine an electronic traction system, a transfer case with reduction gear, and two differential locks. The traction system and the electrically operated on-demand differential locks channel the power to where traction is best. Under extreme off-road conditions, the rear differential and the inter-axle differential can be locked. This will make it possible to safely master difficult obstacles and inclines.
      The powerful drive system and the tough ladder-type frame will make a payload of more than 1.1 ton and a towing capacity of up to 3.5 tons possible. Enough power for transporting some four cubic metres of firewood on the pickup bed and a sail boat hooked up to the trailer coupling, for example. At the same time, the specially constructed suspension with wide axles, a five-link rear axle with coil springs, and a precisely calibrated spring/damper set-up will ensure a high ride comfort – on the road and off the road. The pickup bearing the three-pointed star will impress with precise steering, a comfortable ride, and agile cornering. It will absorb bumps in a superior fashion, making it a perfect fit for the urban environment.
      Like all Mercedes vehicles, the pickup will be distinguished by exemplary safety. Modern driver assistance systems based on cameras, radar and ultrasound sensors will support and relieve the driver in many situations, and in so doing equally enhance safety and comfort. A host of assistance systems will already come as standard.
      The Mercedes among pickups: focus on five customer groups
      The X-Class will combine the strengths of a pickup with the value appeal, comfort, driving fun, and safety that distinguish the vehicles bearing the Mercedes star. As a result, the Mercedes-Benz pickup will bridge the gap between commercial and private and between urban and rural use. It will consequently appeal not only to pickup owners wishing for more car-like characteristics, performance, safety, and comfort, but also and above all to people who drive a passenger car, SUV or van. Extensive market research studies conducted by Mercedes-Benz with potential customers in the target markets bear this out.
      Mid-size pickups currently have the largest share of the total vehicle market in Australia with 14.1 percent. Argentina comes close behind with 11.6 percent. This means that in these countries, one out of every eight registered vehicles is a pickup in the one-ton category. In Brazil, mid-size pickups have a share of almost five percent of the total vehicle market. That figure is 0.5 percent in Germany, 1.3 percent in Great Britain, 1.4 percent in Turkey, and 0.8 percent in Russia.
      Based on its market research studies, Mercedes-Benz has identified five customer groups for the X-Class, which are of different relevance in the individual countries.
      One important target group is constituted by families with an active lifestyle and an affinity to premium products. They use the pickup mostly for commuting to work, for shopping, taking the kids to school or sports activities, for weekend trips, and vacation. The key markets are Brazil, Argentina, Australia, and South Africa.
      Another target group for the X-Class are successful adventurers, who live in an urban environment and participate in outdoor sports such as skiing or riding jet skis, or have their own boat. They need a comfortable premium vehicle for everyday use that at the same time offers sufficient cargo space and towing capacity for their recreational equipment. The top markets are Australia, South Africa, Brazil, Great Britain, and Germany.
      In addition, the Mercedes-Benz pickup will have the potential to inspire trend-conscious individualists with an affinity to premium products. They lead an independent lifestyle and want a vehicle outside the mainstream that underscores their personality and status with a unique design. Independent individualists use the pickup as an "everyday vehicle" in the city, for evening and weekend activities, and for sporting events. The key markets for this target group are Germany, Great Britain, South Africa, and Brazil.
      The fourth customer group comprises business owners such as building contractors, architects, and service providers who want to use their pickup for commercial and private purposes: that is as a comfortable company car for customer meetings, which is equally perfect for transporting customers and employees as well as tools and building materials, as an "everyday vehicle", and as a vehicle for weekend activities. Significant markets for business owners are Germany, Great Britain, Australia, and Argentina.
      Landowners, such as cattle ranchers in Argentina, soy bean farmers in Brazil or vintners in South Africa, also use their pickup for commercial and private purposes. They need a vehicle that on the one hand takes them through unpaved terrain and has sufficient cargo and towing capacity. On the other hand, it must be suitable for driving to customer and supplier meetings as well as for use as an "everyday vehicle" for the family.
      Production cooperation with Renault-Nissan
      The market launch of the Mercedes-Benz X-Class in Europe will begin in late 2017. The new model series will be positioned in the segment at an attractive price. The pickup will be manufactured in a production cooperation with the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Production for the European, Australian and South African markets will start at the Nissan plant in Barcelona, Spain, in 2017. The X-Class for the Latin American market will roll off the assembly lines at the Renault plant in Cordoba, Argentina, starting in 2018.
      With the X-Class, Daimler AG and the Renault-Nissan Alliance expand their strategic cooperation which began six years ago. This affords Mercedes-Benz fast and cost-efficient entrance to the fast-growing segment of mid-size pickups. In addition, both companies benefit from optimal utilisation of the production capacity. Nissan is the second-largest manufacturer of mid-size pickups with a payload of one ton in the world, and can look back on more than 80 years of experience in producing and marketing these types of vehicles.
      Previous Page Next Page
      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Previous Page Next Page Mercedes-Benz has unveiled two concept versions of the upcoming X-Class pickup. 
      The X-Class Stylish Explorer is likely a preview of the production model that we'll be seeing next year. It features a massive Mercedes-Benz grille, flared-out wheel fenders, 22-inch wheels, and a set of sporty bumpers. The X-Class Powerful Adventurer comes with a raised ride height, winches on the front and rear bumpers, meaty off-road tires, and interesting design for the tailgate. The interior features a lot of design ideas and pieces from other Mercedes models such as the vents for the HVAC system and protruding screen from the center stack. The Powerful Adventure features a fire extinguisher as well because why not.
      The concepts feature a V6 turbodiesel engine and Mercedes' 4Matic all-wheel drive paired with a transfer case with low gears and two differential locks - this combination will be available on higher trims. Lower trim trucks will get turbodiesel four-cylinders and the choice of either rear or all-wheel drive. Under the skin, the X-Class is based on the Nissan Navara and uses the same chassis, albeit with some slight changes.
      “With the X-class, we will close one of the last gaps in our portfolio. Our target is to offer customers vehicles matching their specific needs. The pick-up will set new standards in a growing segment,” said Mercedes-Benz chairman Dieter Zetsche in a statement.
      The X-Class will be built alongside the Navara and Renault Alaskan in factories in both Spain and Argentina. Sales are expected to begin next year in Europe, with other key markets such as Australia and South Africa following thereafter. A decision on whether or not the U.S. will get the X-Class is still up in the air at the moment.
      Source: Mercedes-Benz
      Press Release is on Page 2
      Mercedes-Benz Vans expands product range: Mercedes-Benz Concept X-CLASS – First outlook on the new pickup bearing the three-pointed star
      Product range expansion for sustainable global growth Market launch in late 2017 Key markets Europe, Latin America, South Africa, and Australia Investments in the high nine figures Two design variants, one message: the first true premium pickup The X-Class: powerful engine, high ride comfort, and exemplary safety Stockholm/Stuttgart – With the Concept X-CLASS, Mercedes-Benz Vans gives a concrete outlook on its new pickup, the X-Class, in Stockholm. The first premium pickup will combine the best of two worlds. This is demonstrated impressively by Mercedes-Benz with two design variants of the concept car. The Concept X-CLASS powerful adventurer illustrates that the future X-Class will possess all the strengths of a classic pickup – tough, functional, strong, and with off-road capability. The Concept X-CLASS stylish explorer goes a step further and shows what will distinguish the pickup bearing the Mercedes star. The X-Class will be a true Mercedes from the hallmark brand design and comfort to the driving dynamics and safety. This will make Mercedes-Benz the first premium manufacturer to account for the changing customer requirements in the global segment of mid-size pickups, and it will make the tough one-ton pickup with seating for up to five persons the first to be attractive as an urban lifestyle and family vehicle.
      With the pickup, Mercedes-Benz Vans will expand its product range with a fourth model series. At the same time, the brand bearing the three-pointed star will become the first premium manufacturer to occupy the promising segment of mid-size pickups. Daimler AG will make investments in the high nine figures (euro) in the new model series by the time of the market launch. It will be launched in late 2017 under the name Mercedes-Benz X-Class. The key markets will be Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Australia with New Zealand, and Europe.
      Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars: "With the Mercedes-Benz pickup, we will close one of the last gaps in our portfolio. Our target: we want to offer customers vehicles matching their specific needs. The X-Class will set new standards in a growing segment."
      "We will open up and change the segment of mid-size pickups – with the world's first true premium pickup for the modern urban lifestyle", says Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans. "Our future X-Class will be a pickup that knows no compromise. Ladder-type frame, high-torque six-cylinder engine, and permanent all-wheel drive are compulsory for us. As an added value we bring safety, comfort, agility, and expressive design – in other words, everything that distinguishes vehicles bearing the Mercedes star. We will thus appeal to new customers who have not considered owning a pickup before."
      Changing segment: Mercedes-Benz first premium manufacturer of a pickup
      Worldwide the market for mid-size pickups is undergoing a radical change. Gone are the days when they were bought as mere "workhorses". Instead, they are becoming increasingly popular as versatile vehicles for a simultaneous private and commercial use and as vehicles for a strictly private use. The percentage of privately used pickups has been growing steadily for years. Accordingly, the double cab has emerged as the dominating body style, because it offers room for up to five persons. More and more private and commercial customers ask for vehicles with the characteristics and comfort features of a passenger car. A similar development took place in the segment of off-road vehicles some 20 years ago. Back then, Mercedes-Benz was the first premium manufacturer to launch a sport utility vehicle (SUV), the M-Class, and completely redefined the off-road segment – with lasting success.
      "The Concept X-CLASS design variants interpret the hallmark brand design idiom of our SUVs in a most expressive form, and embody the dichotomy of our design philosophy: they are hot and cool", says Gorden Wagener, Head of Design at Daimler AG. "With its progressive design the powerful adventurer expresses cool modernity and thirst for adventure, while the stylish explorer on the other hand uses pure emotion to provide a tangible experience of modern beauty."
      Concept X-CLASS stylish explorer: progressive design with SUV looks
      The Concept X-CLASS stylish explorer, painted in a cool elegant white metallic, impressively demonstrates how the Mercedes-Benz pickup will make a decidedly stylish statement in its segment and in the urban environment. The contrast of emotionally appealing and yet purist surface treatment ("hot") and technically precise, innovative and clever details ("cool") reinterprets the design philosophy of Mercedes-Benz. The athletic design lends the concept car a markedly expressive and dynamic appearance. The distinctive front represents an evolution of the hallmark SUV face of the brand – with a more massive powerdome on the bonnet and headlamps extending far into the wings. The classic SUV front apron and the strongly flared wheel arches put even more emphasis on the sense of width, and give the vehicle an even more solid stance on the road. At the same time, the front cites the single-louvre grille with centrally positioned Mercedes star, the face of the elegant Mercedes-Benz coupés.
      The flared front and rear wings make room for a wide track and large tyre/wheel combinations for tough off-road use. 22-inch light-alloy wheels with a contrasting anthracite chrome finish give the Concept X-CLASS stylish explorer a towering and superior stance. The running boards are integrated into the bodywork and emphasise the athletically sculpted body. Depending on the angle of the incoming light, the paintwork developed specifically for this concept car lends the urban pickup a look that gives the athletic profile even more emotional appeal.
      The extremely short front overhang, the very long rear overhang and two long lines stretching along the side amplify the focus placed on driving dynamics. The rear of both concept cars sports the hallmark chromed SUV trim at the lower edge, and, as a distinctive feature, a continuous LED light strip in a slim chrome surround on the tailgate. It points to the unique character of the future pickup.
      Stylish interior with a high level of operating and display comfort
      The interior of the Concept X-CLASS stylish explorer is an equally emotional and stylish statement – characterised by an intriguing contrast of warm and cool colours, as well as by high-quality materials. The world of colours and materials translates the Mercedes-Benz design philosophy of sensual purity. The sensual touch and feel of the brown, very natural nubuck leather on the seats provides a cosy feel. This warm colour, which is also found on the dashboard, is combined with cool white nappa leather. The trim made of open-pore smoked oak contrasts with the brushed and polished aluminium trim elements. The world of modern luxury is realised in a highly stylish fashion.
      The modern flair is further boosted by round air vents, the free-standing high-resolution central display as well as the central controller and multifunctional touchpad. Similar to a smartphone, all telematics functions can be controlled with the touchpad by using gestures or by entering letters and characters. Mercedes-Benz thus introduces the most modern control and display concept in the segment of mid-size pickups. At the same time, the characteristics and functionalities typical in the pickup segment have been retained, such as the handbrake in the centre console.
      Concept X-CLASS powerful adventurer: the redefinition of toughness
      Complementing the Concept X-CLASS stylish explorer, the second concept car focuses on the classic traits of a pickup. The Concept X-CLASS powerful adventurer with a lemonax metallic paint finish stages toughness, durability, and off-road capability. As a result, it impressively underscores the fact that the future Mercedes-Benz pickup will combine comfort and style with the basic virtues of this vehicle category.
      The Concept X-CLASS powerful adventurer towers above it all with a height of 1.90 metres. Large tyres of size 35x11.50, the huge ground clearance, and the athletic design instil respect even at first glance. The brand's hallmark SUV radiator grille with two louvres, front and rear underride guard, wing claddings, and matte carbon wheel arches additionally underscore the superior off-road aesthetics. An electric winch at the front and a metal hook at the rear are further indications of the toughness and power of the future pickup.
      With its progressive design the concept car exudes independence and thirst for adventure in their purest forms. This feel continues in the interior. Matte carbon elements in the exterior and interior, metallic brushed surfaces, and a bold colour scheme lend the vehicle a sense of power. The lemonax metallic exterior paint finish is perfectly tailored to the interior colour highlights. The colour and material concept underscores the outdoor look with glossy black nappa leather and the use of carbon-style black embossed leather surfaces. To ensure the seats provide lateral support in all handling situations and in any terrain, the seat side bolsters are trimmed with black leather that offers extremely good grip and has a pleasantly soft touch and feel.
      The X-Class: powerful engine, high ride comfort, and exemplary safety
      As is the norm for Mercedes-Benz, customers of the X-Class will be able to choose from different equipment scopes to customise the exterior and interior. In addition, the premium brand will develop a special range of accessories for the pickup, for example bed covers and various styling elements. Thanks to the tried and proven modular strategy, a host of interior components that customers know and appreciate from the C-Class and V-Class will be found in the X-Class – from the perfectly finished high-quality materials and the infotainment system to the ergonomic seating comfort. As a result, the pickup will offer the "welcome home" feeling typical of the brand, and define a new level of comfort and value appeal in the segment of mid-size pickups.
      The X-Class will also set new standards in the segment with regard to connected life. Thanks to the communication module with on-board SIM card, it will be possible to use the extensive Mercedes me connect services. Drivers can connect with their pickup by smartphone, tablet or PC at any time and from anywhere. For example, to send navigation destinations to the vehicle or query where the pickup is parked and how much fuel is in the tank. In addition to these optional remote online services, standard services such as accident recovery, maintenance management and breakdown management will also be available.
      Variety will likewise distinguish the engine range. The top-of-the-line model will be powered by a V6 diesel in combination with 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive. The high-torque engine will provide high driving dynamics on the road and off the road. The all-wheel-drive system will combine an electronic traction system, a transfer case with reduction gear, and two differential locks. The traction system and the electrically operated on-demand differential locks channel the power to where traction is best. Under extreme off-road conditions, the rear differential and the inter-axle differential can be locked. This will make it possible to safely master difficult obstacles and inclines.
      The powerful drive system and the tough ladder-type frame will make a payload of more than 1.1 ton and a towing capacity of up to 3.5 tons possible. Enough power for transporting some four cubic metres of firewood on the pickup bed and a sail boat hooked up to the trailer coupling, for example. At the same time, the specially constructed suspension with wide axles, a five-link rear axle with coil springs, and a precisely calibrated spring/damper set-up will ensure a high ride comfort – on the road and off the road. The pickup bearing the three-pointed star will impress with precise steering, a comfortable ride, and agile cornering. It will absorb bumps in a superior fashion, making it a perfect fit for the urban environment.
      Like all Mercedes vehicles, the pickup will be distinguished by exemplary safety. Modern driver assistance systems based on cameras, radar and ultrasound sensors will support and relieve the driver in many situations, and in so doing equally enhance safety and comfort. A host of assistance systems will already come as standard.
      The Mercedes among pickups: focus on five customer groups
      The X-Class will combine the strengths of a pickup with the value appeal, comfort, driving fun, and safety that distinguish the vehicles bearing the Mercedes star. As a result, the Mercedes-Benz pickup will bridge the gap between commercial and private and between urban and rural use. It will consequently appeal not only to pickup owners wishing for more car-like characteristics, performance, safety, and comfort, but also and above all to people who drive a passenger car, SUV or van. Extensive market research studies conducted by Mercedes-Benz with potential customers in the target markets bear this out.
      Mid-size pickups currently have the largest share of the total vehicle market in Australia with 14.1 percent. Argentina comes close behind with 11.6 percent. This means that in these countries, one out of every eight registered vehicles is a pickup in the one-ton category. In Brazil, mid-size pickups have a share of almost five percent of the total vehicle market. That figure is 0.5 percent in Germany, 1.3 percent in Great Britain, 1.4 percent in Turkey, and 0.8 percent in Russia.
      Based on its market research studies, Mercedes-Benz has identified five customer groups for the X-Class, which are of different relevance in the individual countries.
      One important target group is constituted by families with an active lifestyle and an affinity to premium products. They use the pickup mostly for commuting to work, for shopping, taking the kids to school or sports activities, for weekend trips, and vacation. The key markets are Brazil, Argentina, Australia, and South Africa.
      Another target group for the X-Class are successful adventurers, who live in an urban environment and participate in outdoor sports such as skiing or riding jet skis, or have their own boat. They need a comfortable premium vehicle for everyday use that at the same time offers sufficient cargo space and towing capacity for their recreational equipment. The top markets are Australia, South Africa, Brazil, Great Britain, and Germany.
      In addition, the Mercedes-Benz pickup will have the potential to inspire trend-conscious individualists with an affinity to premium products. They lead an independent lifestyle and want a vehicle outside the mainstream that underscores their personality and status with a unique design. Independent individualists use the pickup as an "everyday vehicle" in the city, for evening and weekend activities, and for sporting events. The key markets for this target group are Germany, Great Britain, South Africa, and Brazil.
      The fourth customer group comprises business owners such as building contractors, architects, and service providers who want to use their pickup for commercial and private purposes: that is as a comfortable company car for customer meetings, which is equally perfect for transporting customers and employees as well as tools and building materials, as an "everyday vehicle", and as a vehicle for weekend activities. Significant markets for business owners are Germany, Great Britain, Australia, and Argentina.
      Landowners, such as cattle ranchers in Argentina, soy bean farmers in Brazil or vintners in South Africa, also use their pickup for commercial and private purposes. They need a vehicle that on the one hand takes them through unpaved terrain and has sufficient cargo and towing capacity. On the other hand, it must be suitable for driving to customer and supplier meetings as well as for use as an "everyday vehicle" for the family.
      Production cooperation with Renault-Nissan
      The market launch of the Mercedes-Benz X-Class in Europe will begin in late 2017. The new model series will be positioned in the segment at an attractive price. The pickup will be manufactured in a production cooperation with the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Production for the European, Australian and South African markets will start at the Nissan plant in Barcelona, Spain, in 2017. The X-Class for the Latin American market will roll off the assembly lines at the Renault plant in Cordoba, Argentina, starting in 2018.
      With the X-Class, Daimler AG and the Renault-Nissan Alliance expand their strategic cooperation which began six years ago. This affords Mercedes-Benz fast and cost-efficient entrance to the fast-growing segment of mid-size pickups. In addition, both companies benefit from optimal utilisation of the production capacity. Nissan is the second-largest manufacturer of mid-size pickups with a payload of one ton in the world, and can look back on more than 80 years of experience in producing and marketing these types of vehicles.
      Previous Page Next Page
    • By William Maley
      In 2016, nine brands sold 20 diesel models in the U.S. But in light of the Volkswagen diesel emission scandal, a number from Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche have been sidelined. But there are diesel models from GM, FCA, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, and Land Rover still being offered. But the only 2017 models you can buy at the moment are from Jaguar and Land Rover. Where are the rest? In limbo thanks to a new battery of tests being doing by the EPA.
      Automotive News reports that since last October, the EPA has been subjecting diesel models to new tests to determine if other automakers are pulling any sneaky cheats. The EPA hasn't said anything publicly about the tests aside from them keeping the vehicles and testing them in unpredictable ways. So far, the new tests haven't uncovered any cheating.
      "It is true that diesel vehicles are getting extra scrutiny and that has extended the certification process longer than normal. In general, manufacturers have been supportive of this additional testing and have adjusted their timing to account for the additional test duration," EPA spokesman Nick Conger said to Automotive News.
      Case in point, BMW will not be launching their 2017 3-Series and X3 diesels until the end of the year, with the X5 following in January. Meanwhile, sources at GM tell Automotive News they're awaiting approval for 2017 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon diesels before they start sending them out to dealers. FCA doesn't have any 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee or Ram 1500 EcoDiesels at the moment despite press details saying they would be offered. An FCA spokesman declined to comment to Automotive News - our guess is that FCA is waiting.
      Mercedes-Benz could be the big loser with this extensive testing. The German automaker was planning to sell four diesel models; C-Class sedan, GLC, GLE, and GLS. Mercedes-Benz spokesman Robert Moran tells Automotive News in an email that the priority for the moment is getting the certification for the GLS. Moran declined to say if Mercedes is planning to offer diesel versions of the GLC and GLE. However, the C-Class diesel has been taken off the table due to "product strategy reasons." This model was supposed to go on sale at the beginning of this year.
      Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

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