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    William Maley

    Debut: 2016 Audi A4

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      Less Weight and Larger.. But Why Does It Look Like the Old A4?


    Meet the fifth-generation Audi A4 sedan and Avant. The new A4 follows the same formula as previous models: grow in size, add more features, improve performance, and cut weight. Although there is one element missing from this formula - make it look slightly different than the model it replaces.

     

    There are small changes to the A4 such as new headlights and larger grille found on the new Q7. But you have to look very closely to notice the changes, since it almost looks like the A4 it will replace. At least Audi has cut a fair chunk of weight out of the new A4 - 264 pounds to be exact (mostly dependent on engine and trim). Also Audi has worked on improving the A4's aero. The new model has a drag coefficient of just 0.23, making it the most aerodynamic in the class.

     

    At least the A4's interior has gotten a massive change. A lot of the elements such as the steering wheel, large 8.3-inch infotainment display, and updated MMI system with LTE connectivity, come from the new Q7 crossover.

     

    For the European market, the A4 will launch with three gas and four diesel engines. For the U.S. market, Audi hasn't said what engines will be appearing. Our guess is that the 2.0L TFSI with 272 horsepower will be coming first. Front and Audi's quattro all-wheel drive will be available. Front-wheel drive models will drop the CVT and get a dual-clutch automatic.

     

    We'll likely have more information for the U.S.-spec A4 in the coming months.

     

    Source: Audi

     

    Press Release is on Page 2


     

    High tech all the way – the new Audi A4 and A4 Avant
    The new-generation Audi A4 and A4 Avant are a fascinating synthesis of technology and esthetics. All the technology in the brand’s bestselling family has been redeveloped so that it yet again defines the benchmark in the segment. During the development work, high priority was placed on the reduction of CO2 emissions. All technologies were focused on reducing drive resistance.
    A good example is aerodynamics: The A4 Sedan has the best drag coefficient in its class at 0.23. The new models also have impressively low CO2 emissions of 95 grams per kilometer (152.9 grams per mile) for the A4 Sedan 2.0 TDI ultra with 110 kW (150 hp); the A4 Avant 2.0 TDI ultra emits 99 grams CO2 per km (159.3 g/mi). The 2.0 TFSI with 140 kW (190 hp) emits 109 g/km (175.4 g/mi) in the A4 Sedan ultra and 114 g/km (183.5 g/mi) in the A 4 Avant ultra. The most powerful engines are two TDI six-cylinder units with up to 200 kW (272 hp). Driver assistance systems and infotainment are of luxury quality. A new generation of four-cylinder TFSI engines with newly developed combustion methods sets benchmarks in terms of fuel consumption, emissions and performance for four-cylinder gasoline engines. The A4 Sedan and the A4 Avant will be launched this fall.
    At 4.73 meters (15.5 ft) long and with a wheelbase of 2.82 meters (9.3 ft) – the new Audi A4 and A4 Avant have a confident stance on the road. A prominent horizontal line on the front and rear emphasizes the car’s width. The flowing design with concise lines communicates the sporty elegance of the brand. The Singleframe grille is wide and low; the optionally available headlights in LED and Matrix LED technology (including dynamic turn indicators) make technology a visual trademark.
    Up to 120 kilograms (264.6 lb) lighter
    Compared with the previous model, the car’s dimensions have grown but its weight has been reduced significantly – by up to 120 kilograms, depending on the engine. The body of the new Audi models is one of the lightest in its class thanks to an intelligent material mix and lightweight construction.
    The Audi A4 is a leader in its class also in terms of noise levels. All occupants enjoy generous space; the smooth lines emphasize the width of the interior. The front of the dashboard features a broad band of air outlets and a large decorative surface. At night, optional discreet contour lighting illuminates the doors and the central console. The quality of workmanship is uncompromisingly high. Colors and materials follow a new line concept allowing customers even more freedom during configuration.
    Sensor-controlled opening of luggage compartment: the A4 Avant
    The luggage compartment of the new A4 Avant offers basic storage space of 505 liters, which is the most of any premium model in this class. With the rear seats folded down and loaded to the roof, a volume of 1,510 liters is available. The electric luggage compartment cover and electric tailgate are standard equipment. An optional extra is sensor control for opening and closing the tailgate.
    The two new models offer an abundance of intelligent technologies, the use of which is even more intuitive with the new Audi MMI display and control concept. Technological highlights of the new A4 include the Audi virtual cockpit, the Audi Matrix LED headlights, the Audi smartphone interface, the Bang & Olufsen Sound System with 3D sound, the Audi phone box with wireless charging, the head-up display, and new driver assistance systems and Audi connect services.
    Information and fascination: the Audi virtual cockpit and the MMI
    The focus here is on two innovations. The optional Audi virtual cockpit, a fully digital combination instrument, features a 12.3-inch LCD screen that displays the most important information in brilliant high-resolution graphics, with great detail and sophisticated effects.
    The MMI control concept in the center console is also a newly designed feature and acts as the main control element. The top-end infotainment system, MMI Navigation plus with MMI touch and a large 8.3-inch monitor, has a touchpad in the rotary controller to zoom in and out and to enter characters. The entire MMI control logic is similar to that of a smartphone and includes an intelligent free-text search function. The new, more natural, voice-control system also understands input in normal everyday language, such as “I want to call Peter Miller.”
    Concentrated computing power
    MMI Navigation plus is backed by the computing power of the second-generation modular infotainment platform, which allows Audi to bring consumer electronics innovations into the vehicle quickly.
    If customers order a car with MMI Navigation plus, they automatically receive the Audi connect hardware module, which connects the A4 and A4 Avant with the Internet via the high-speed LTE network. Passengers can surf the Internet and send and receive e-mail with their mobile devices via a Wi-Fi hotspot while the driver can use the tailored services of Audi connect.
    The Audi smartphone interface is a new feature. It integrates iOS and Android mobile phones into an environment developed especially for this purpose – Audi MMI. The Audi phone box connects smartphones to the on-board antenna and charges them inductively according to the Qi standard. For discerning hi-fi fans, the Bang & Olufsen Sound System with innovative 3D sound is available, which introduces the additional dimension of height. The new Audi tablet can also be used as flexible rear seat entertainment.
    Powerful six and four-cylinder engines
    The new Audi A4 and A4 Avant will be launched in Germany with seven engines, three TFSI and four TDI. Their power output has increased significantly and ranges from 110 kW (150 hp) to 200 kW (272 hp), but fuel consumption has been reduced by up to 21 percent. The A4 2.0 TDI ultra has fuel consumption of just 3.7 liters of diesel per 100 kilometers (63.6 US mpg) and CO2 emissions of just 95 grams per kilometer (152.9 grams per mile); the figures for the corresponding Avant model are 3.8 l/100 km and 99 g/km CO2 (61.9 US mpg and 159.3 g/mi). All the engines combine high efficiency with sporty power delivery and smoothness. This applies in particular to the two 3.0 TDI six-cylinder engines.
    The new Audi A4 has a groundbreaking innovation for the gasoline engines: The 2.0 TFSI ultra with 140 kW (190 hp) uses an absolutely new combustion method that makes it especially efficient and allows fuel consumption of 4.8 liters per 100 km (49 US mpg) and CO2 emissions of 109 g/km (175.4 g/mi); the figures for the corresponding Avant model are 5.0 l/100 km and 114 g/km CO2 (47 US mpg and 183.5 g/mi). During the model lifecycle, a g-tron version will be launched which can use natural gas or the sustainably produced Audi e-gas as fuel.
    S tronic, tiptronic and manual transmission
    The powertrain and the chassis of the new Audi A4 and A4 Avant have been completely redeveloped. The six-gear manual transmission, the seven-gear S tronic (now also available for front-wheel drive) and the eight-stage tiptronic have been redesigned; the automatic transmissions now offer a fuel-saving freewheeling function. Wheel-selective torque control supplements the work of the front-wheel drive and the quattro drive. For the most powerful TDI, Audi will offer the sport differential on the rear axle as an option starting in 2016.
    Driving dynamics
    The handling of new A4 makes a great leap forward: on the one hand sporty and performance oriented, but with a focus on comfort at the same time. The suspension and steering filter out disturbances such as an uneven road surface, but communicate to the driver important information such as increases in lateral forces and tracking. This performance is based on the redeveloped five-link axles and the electromechanical power steering – they are exceptionally light. They lay the foundation for dynamic handling and first-class ride comfort while also reducing fuel consumption. Additional options are dynamic steering, which varies its ratio according to the car’s speed and the steering angle, and suspension with adjustable shock absorbers with which the driver can for the first time select between two settings: sports or comfort. Both of suspension settings are included in the Audi drive select driving-dynamics system, which is standard equipment for models with engines of 140 kW (190 hp) and above.
    Widest range in its class: driver assistance and safety systems
    The Audi A4 and A4 Avant set the benchmark in their class with numerous driver assistance systems. The predictive efficiency assistant helps drivers to save fuel, Audi active lane assist helps them to stay in lane and the Stop&Go adaptive cruise control including traffic-jam assist eases driving in slow-moving traffic. One special feature of traffic-jam assist is its control strategy. It takes into account a large number of parameters such as road markings and the traffic ahead. Some more innovations that make important contributions to safety are parking assist, rear cross-traffic assist, exit warning, collision avoidance assist, turn assist and the Audi pre-sense systems. Camera-based traffic-sign recognition is also available.
    At a glance: The new Audi A4 and Audi A4 Avant
    Exterior design and body
    – Athletic proportions and sporty elegance; the Avant with raked D-pillars
    – 4.73 meters (15.5 ft) long, 2.82-meter (9.3 ft) wheelbase, 1.84 meters (6.0 ft) wide, 1.43 meters (4.7 ft) high
    – Optional LED headlights and matrix LED headlights with dynamic turn indicators
    – Light body: weight reduced by up to 15 kilograms (33.1 lb) compared with the previous model
    – Best drag coefficient in its class: 0.23 for the Sedan, 0.26 for the Avant; aeroacoustics ensure peace and quiet on board
    Interior
    – The longest interior and greatest shoulder width at the front compared with competitors
    – Avant has a luggage compartment volume of 505 liters (17.8 cu ft)
    – Avant has an electrical luggage compartment cover as standard
    – Interior design with large decorative surfaces and continuous air vent strip; new colors and materials, spacious interior, LED interior lighting as standard equipment, first-class workmanship
    – Largest range of lightweight seats amongst the premium competitors
    – Automatic climate control with a new interface
    – Optional LED interior lighting packages with color-adjustable ambient lighting
    – New equipment concept with sport and design lines – for the first time with exterior differentiation
    Controls
    – Optionally available: head-up display and Audi virtual cockpit
    – Completely redesigned MMI operating concept including free-text search function
    – Can also be operated by multifunction steering wheel and natural-language voice control
    Infotainment and Audi connect
    – Optional top-end infotainment system MMI Navigation plus with MMI touch and an 8.3-inch MMI monitor including – Audi connect, LTE connectivity and Wi-Fi hotspot. Audi phone box available with inductive charging
    – Many new Audi connect services including remote control via smartphone app to check and control the car
    – Audi smartphone interface for connecting Apple and Android phones
    – Bang & Olufsen Sound System with innovative 3D sound and Audi tablet as mobile rear-seat entertainment
    Engines
    – Three TFSI and four TDI engines at market launch, 110 kW (150 hp) to 200 kW (272 hp), up to 25 percent more power
    – Fuel consumption reduced by up to 21 percent, Audi A4 2.0 TDI ultra with new best figures: just 3.7 liters of diesel per 100 km (63.6 US mpg) and 95 grams of CO2 per kilometer (152.9 grams per mile)
    – Highly efficient 3.0 TDI in two power versions
    – Economical 1.4 TFSI with 4.9 liters per 100 km (48.0 US mpg) and 114 grams CO2 per km (183.5 g/mi)
    – New 2.0 TFSI ultra with 140 kW with newly developed combustion method and just 4.8 liters of gasoline per 100 km (49.0 US mpg) and 109 grams of CO2 per km (175.4 g/mi)
    – A4 Avant g-tron – can operate on sustainably produced Audi e-gas
    Drivetrain
    – New generations of the S tronic, tiptronic and manual transmission. S tronic in A4 for front-wheel drive for the first time, both automatic transmissions with freewheeling function
    – Front-wheel drive or quattro drive with wheel-selective torque control
    Suspension
    – Redesigned, light five-link axles at front and rear, significant increase in comfort with accentuated sportiness
    – Newly developed electromechanical power steering, with dynamic steering on request
    – Audi drive select dynamic driving system standard as of 140 kW (190 hp), suspension with adjustable shock absorbers available as an option
    Driver assistance systems and integrated safety
    – Stop&Go adaptive cruise control including traffic-jam assist for slow-moving traffic
    – Predictive efficiency assistant for even lower fuel consumption
    – Audi active lane assist and Audi side assist
    – New: parking assist, rear cross-traffic assist, exit warning, turn assist, collision avoidance assist and camera-based traffic-sign recognition
    – New safety systems: Audi pre sense city, basic and rear

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    Seems like they stole the 3-series interior.   But the power to weight ratio should be pretty good with the power bump, the A4 always lacked horsepower compared to the other Germans.  The new Q7 and this A4 look a bit boring, there is just something bland about these new Audis.

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    "Hey guys...we still have these older models left. What do we do with 'em?"

     

    "Just give a bunch of sales stuff about less weight yada yada yada"

     

    "Got it!"

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    Its still a handsome car never-the-less.

    At least some of the mechanicals were upgraded and improved.

    It will continue to sell. If it aint broke dont fix it approach to the exterior design has been working out for the A4...since its introduction in 1994...like I said...it is what it is.

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    200 lb weight losses are all the rage now.  So at least cars are going back to early 2000s weights, after many got fat. 

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    200 lb weight losses are all the rage now.  So at least cars are going back to early 2000s weights, after many got fat. 

    Yeah...Im most liking this reversal of weight in vehicles too.

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    Its still a handsome car never-the-less.

    At least some of the mechanicals were upgraded and improved.

    It will continue to sell. If it aint broke dont fix it approach to the exterior design has been working out for the A4...since its introduction in 1994...like I said...it is what it is.

    94? I didn't realise it's been around that long, I thought it came about in the very early 90's.

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    1994 or 1995...

    I gave my dad $5000 and he matched it and we financed and bought together a 1994 Pontiac Grand Am GT 4 door after I totaled my 1989 Firebird and his 1986 Celebrity...why I mention that?

    Its because I remember liking that Audi A4 in 1994...or it could have been 1995. Whatever. But yeah...

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    7 engines in Europe. Wow... talk about a tool for any job. The wagon looks pretty legit actually, and I love the interior. It's more tech focused than Mercedes; and more luxurious still than a 3 Series or ATS. I think it's the right combination. 

     

    Audi knows its customers and what they like. Their cars have always been on the understated side. I do believe the next A5 should spawn an A7 like derivative as well. That's the one that should deliver some spice into the mix.

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    7 engines in Europe. Wow... talk about a tool for any job. The wagon looks pretty legit actually, and I love the interior. It's more tech focused than Mercedes; and more luxurious still than a 3 Series or ATS. I think it's the right combination. 

     

    Audi knows its customers and what they like. Their cars have always been on the understated side. I do believe the next A5 should spawn an A7 like derivative as well. That's the one that should deliver some spice into the mix.

     

     

    Dude U really need to go to Europe. Audi is not, at this level, really anything more than a "Ford or Chevy" with VW being a Hyundai. They have to have a combination of engines. 

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      Venue offers comfort and convenience features. The cargo space features a rear covering shelf for added privacy and can be conveniently stowed along the rear seatback when not being used. While, the dual level cargo floor feature provides flexibility to have the floor of the cargo area in either the top position - level with the seats when folded down, or at a lower position to accommodate taller cargo. Consumers will appreciate available convenience features such as Dual USBs, 3.5” TFT instrument cluster display to illustrate useful information, rearview camera and Bluetooth® hands-free phone. The leather-wrapped steering wheel provides daily comfort for the driver.
      Fun, Youthful Colors
      To complement the dramatic design, Venue is available with fun, youthful colors. A total of eight exterior colors are available, including Ceramic White, Black Noir, Steller Silver, Galactic Gray, Scarlet Red, Intense Blue, Green Apple and Denim. Denim can be coupled with denim cloth and leatherette interior with a white contrasting roof. Venue offers a choice of gray or black cloth interiors. An all-new two-tone roof, power sunroof and privacy glass contribute further to the head-turning style options.
       
    • By Drew Dowdell
      While pictures of the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS leaked out a few days ago, Mercedes officially pulled the wraps off the big SUV today at the New York International Auto Show.
      The GLS is Mercedes' largest and most luxurious SUV, and in this new iteration it is even larger than before in most dimensions, but probably most importantly is the 2.4 inch longer wheelbase. That allows for more seating space. Three fully electrically adjustable seat rows offer all passengers a generous amount of space and outstanding seating comfort. The seats in the third row can be lowered into the floor to increase the trunk space, while the seats in the second row fold flat.
      The GLS debuts a new engine with the GLS 580 4Matic. It is an electrified V8 with a 48-volt and EQ Boost, an onboard electrical system and starter-generator.  The base engine will be a GLS450 4Matic, a 3.0 liter turbocharged inline-6 and EQ Boost. 
      As the S-Class of Mercedes-Benz SUVs, the new GLS indulges its passengers in every way, especially those in the rear. Here are some key comfort features at a glance:
      Executive Rear Seat Package: Separate tablet for controlling all of the MBUX comfort and entertainment functions from the rear seats Electrically adjustable seats throughout as standard, as is the Easy- Entry function, which makes it easier to get into and out of the third row seats Simple folding-down of all rear seats at the push of a button Choice of either three-seat rear bench seat or two luxury individual seats with armrests in the second row Two fully fledged seats in the third row (for people up to 6.4 feet/1.94 meters tall) Heated seats and separate USB charging ports for the third row Five-zone automatic climate control available (standard on GLS 580) The GLS comes with the enhanced AIRMATIC air suspension system with Adaptive Damping System Plus fitted as standard. This setup uses highly complex sensor systems and algorithms to adapt the damping characteristics to the road condition and driving situation in real time. All components have been enhanced compared with the previous generation, and the wheel suspension mountings have been optimized to maximize ride comfort. In addition, the air suspension keeps the car at the same level, regardless of the load on board.
      The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS will go on sale by the end of the year. 
      Mercedes-Benz Press Release on Page 2


      The new Mercedes-Benz GLS is the largest and most luxurious SUV from Mercedes-Benz and, above all, offers more: more space, more comfort, more luxury. The confident presence of its exterior stems from its impressive dimensions, which are larger than those of its predecessor. One of the benefits of the 2.4-inch (60 mm) longer wheelbase is interior spaciousness, especially in the second row. The three fully electrically adjustable seat rows offer all passengers a generous amount of space and outstanding seating comfort. The seats in the third row can be lowered into the floor to increase the trunk space, while the seats in the second row fold flat. Furthermore, a six-seater variant with two luxurious individual rear seat Captain's Chairs in the second row is available for the first time. Also celebrating its world premiere in the GLS is a new engine: the GLS 580 4MATIC will have an electrified V8 engine featuring EQ Boost - a 48-volt onboard electrical system with an integrated starter generator. The GLS 450 4MATIC will feature a 3.0-liter inline-6 turbo engine with EQ Boost. The all-new Mercedes-Benz GLS will celebrate its World Premiere at the New York International Auto Show in April and will go on sale in the U.S. by the end of the year.
      Also available on the new GLS, the sophisticated E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL active suspension paired with the 48-volt technology offers outstanding suspension comfort, agile handling and a high degree of off-road capability. Like the GLE, the GLS features the latest generation of Mercedes-Benz driver assistance systems giving cooperative support to the driver. The new variable 4MATIC system ensures great agility on the road and strong performance off the beaten track. The new GLS has impressive aerodynamics in its segment, with a global Cd figure of 0.32. It also has a new Carwash function, which enables the car to be prepared for entry into a carwash with a single press of a button.
      As the S-Class of Mercedes-Benz SUVs, the new GLS indulges its passengers in every way, especially those in the rear. Here are some key comfort features at a glance:
      Executive Rear Seat Package: Separate tablet for controlling all of the MBUX comfort and entertainment functions from the rear seats Electrically adjustable seats throughout as standard, as is the Easy- Entry function, which makes it easier to get into and out of the third row seats Simple folding-down of all rear seats at the push of a button Choice of either three-seat rear bench seat or two luxury individual seats with armrests in the second row Two fully fledged seats in the third row (for people up to 6.4 feet/1.94 meters tall) Heated seats and separate USB charging ports for the third row Five-zone automatic climate control available (standard on GLS 580) "The new GLS is the S-Class of premium SUVs. It embodies luxury, confidence and intelligence like almost no other vehicle," states Ola Källenius, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for corporate research and Mercedes-Benz Cars development.
      "The GLS combines modern luxury with the character of an off-roader," says Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer at Daimler AG. "Powerful highlights of the off-road design idiom combined with an elegance reminiscent of a classic luxury sedan. The interior is a synthesis of modern, luxurious aesthetics, hallmark SUV practicality and digital high-tech. In our view, the new GLS therefore offers the best of all these worlds."
      Since the M-Class was introduced in 1997, Mercedes-Benz has been building premium SUVs in the USA - the largest market for these vehicles worldwide. The full-size GL offering space for seven people was launched in 2006. In 2015, a facelift emphasized the luxurious character of this large SUV's second generation and also heralded the changing of the name to GLS. On top of that, the GLS is the market leader in its segment - just like the S-Class Sedan.
      At present, Mercedes-Benz offers seven models in the SUV segment (GLA, GLC, GLC Coupe, GLE, GLE Coupe, GLS and G-Class). The SUVs are a major structural pillar in the Mercedes-Benz product portfolio, and greatly contribute to the growth of the brand. To date, more than five million customers worldwide have purchased a Mercedes-Benz SUV.
      The new Mercedes-Benz GLS, produced in the U.S. in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, will be presented to the public for the first time at the New York International Auto Show.
      Exterior design: powerful presence
      Modern luxury both on and off the road: that is the design message of the new GLS. Its aesthetics are based on the confident presence that its impressive dimensions alone create (length 205.2 in, width 77 in). The wheelbase of 123.4 inches, which is 2.4 inches longer than that of its predecessor, makes the vehicle beneficially longer and gives it harmonious proportions, emphasized by the understated, elegant side design. The GLS follows the design strategy of Sensual Purity, and dispenses with individual edges and beading in favor of generously sculptured surfaces.
      The front section of the new GLS exudes a powerful presence: this is ensured by the upright radiator grille in an octagonal SUV interpretation, the prominent, chrome-plated under guard in the front bumper with the bone- shaped air inlet grille, and the hood with two power domes. This striking appearance is emphasized day and night by the distinctive headlamp design. The GLS is equipped with MULTIBEAM LED headlamps as standard, with a total of 112 LEDs per headlamp. These produce the maximum light intensity permitted by law, which results in the brightness of the main beam headlamps only falling below the reference value of 1 lux after a distance of more than 2,000 feet (650 meters). The daytime running lights with three LED segments underline the status of the GLS as the S-Class of SUVs.
      The GLS cuts an imposing figure from the rear, too. This is particularly ensured by the powerful shoulder muscle extending from the rear doors to the tail lamps, which enables the GLS to strike an imperious pose on the road. The two- piece tail lamps are based on LED technology, and their high-caliber, three- dimensional look conveys depth and solidity. The reflectors are relocated lower down, giving the tail lamps a flatter appearance. They are crowned by a slender, continuous chrome trim strip. The rear is strikingly rounded off with the chrome-plated under guard.
      Aerodynamics: exquisite fine-tuning
      The new GLS achieves global cd figures as low as 0.32 - a clear improvement compared with its predecessor (cd 0.35) and an impressively low figure in the large luxury SUV segment. The excellent aerodynamics help to reduce fuel consumption and limit wind noise, one of the areas on which development work focused specifically.
      Special attention was paid to the underbody and the air flowing through the engine compartment because the hallmark SUV shape, with its upright front end and high ground clearance, makes these areas susceptible to low- frequency airflow noise. A host of details were optimized with numerous computation loops, CAE simulations (computer-aided engineering) and measurements in the wind tunnel in Sindelfingen.
      Interior design: luxuriously elegant and powerfully progressive
      The interior of the new GLS is all about luxuriously elegant aesthetics, as evidenced immediately by the interior appointments that combine the comfort of a Mercedes-Benz luxury sedan with the robustly progressive detailing of an SUV. The central element in the dashboard's design is an impressively sized screen unit embedded in a distinctive dashboard support. The dashboard support flows into the door panels, and the integral trim element extends to meet the doors.
      The prominently wide, raised center console creates a robust contrast with the free-floating appearance of the dashboard. As a typical feature of off-roaders, there are two prominent grab handles on the center console. Apart from good ergonomics, fluent surfaces create a modern, luxurious impression, rounded off by a broad area of trim and flush-fitting sun blinds. The controls with haptic and audible feedback appear to have been milled from a solid metal block.
      The large touchscreen of the MBUX infotainment system allows all the GLS comfort features to be controlled from the driver's seat. Very fine chiseling and the pyramid structures of the trim surfaces showcase the desire for perfection and craftsmanship. The new multifunction sport steering wheel with its striking spoke design accentuates the impressive appearance of the SUV's interior.
      Interior: generous amount of space in the second and third seat row
      The new GLS has a considerably longer wheelbase than its predecessor (123.4 in, an increase of 2.4 in). This creates more space, especially in the second seat row, which can also be adjusted. Legroom here is increased by 3.4 inches when the seats are in their rearmost position, which also makes it easier to get into the vehicle.
      As standard, the second row has a 60:40-split folding rear bench seat with adjustable 40:20:40-split backrests. Alternatively, it is possible to order the two luxury individual rear seats with armrests, between which it is possible to access the rearmost seats with ease. This is particularly useful when child seats are fitted in the second seat row.
      All seats are electronically adjustable. The same applies to the EASY-ENTRY function, which makes it easy to get into and out of the two individual seats in the third row. For this, the seats in the second row move a long way forwards and fold forwards.
      The seats in the third row are fully-fledged seats that are suitable for people up to 6.4 feet (1.94 m) tall and are heated for the first time. There are also two additional USB charging ports here.
      The new GLS has several climate control options: three-zone, four-zone or five- zone. If the GLS is equipped with the five-zone automatic climate control (as is standard with the GLS 580), the third row has its own zone with climate control vents in the roof. This zone is supplied by its own, electrically powered heater and air conditioner.
      A push of a button is all that is required to stow away the comfortable seats and make full use of the trunk space in the GLS. The switches on the left and right of the load compartment and on the front of the wheel arches on the front- passenger side in the C-pillar area allow the seats in the rear rows to be folded completely flat. It is also possible to fold down all the seats simultaneously by pressing the "ALL" button. The carpet-trimmed backs of the backrests form part of a flat, practical load area. Another push of a button lowers the trunk sill by approximately 2 inches to make it easier to load heavy or bulky items.
      Even more comfort in the rear: MBUX served on a tablet
      Luxury in the new GLS is shared generously among all passengers, particularly if the Executive Rear Seat Package is ordered. It includes a 7-inch Android tablet in its own docking station in the second row's larger luxury center armrest. The tablet allows control of all MBUX comfort and entertainment functions (see next section) from the rear seat rows, such as access to the radio, media, phone and a web browser. It can also be used to control the Executive Rear Seat Package and the five-zone automatic climate control for the rear seats. The driver can seamlessly assume control of all options and features from his or her seat at any time too.
      The center console also offers a wireless charging compartment for smartphones and additional USB ports. Rear passengers are indulged further still thanks to luxury headrests with additional cushions and the rearward- extended center console between the front seats with cup holders.
      It is even possible to order rear seats with a lumbar massage function and climate control as an additional option for the Executive Rear Seat Package Plus in the second row.
      MBUX with Interior Assistant
      The GLS is equipped with the latest generation of the infotainment system MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience). Upgrades compared with the A-Class, in which the revolutionary system made its debut, include two large 12.3-inch screens as standard. The information on the digital instrument cluster and central media display is easily legible on the large, high-resolution screens. The presentation with brilliant graphics underlines the comprehensibility of the intuitive control structure.
      The optional MBUX Interior Assistant also allows intuitive operation of different comfort and MBUX functions by movement recognition. A camera in the overhead console registers movements of the driver's and front passenger's hands and arms. When a hand approaches the touchscreen or the touchpad on the center console, the media display changes and individual elements are highlighted. The system is able to distinguish the driver's hand from that of the front passenger, and therefore knows for whose seat the massage function is to be activated, for example.
      In addition there are functions that can be controlled by simple hand gestures: the reading lamp can be switched on and off by extending a hand towards the interior mirror, for example. Furthermore, the driver and front passenger can each store personal favorite functions such as "navigate home" or "call office."
      A unique feature of MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) is its learning capability thanks to artificial intelligence. With its predictive functions, MBUX anticipates what the user would like next. For instance, anyone who often calls their mother on Tuesdays during their drive home will receive her telephone number as a suggestion in the display on this day of the week. Anyone who regularly switches over to a radio station with news at a certain time also receives this as a suggestion.
      Also available is a next-generation full-color Head-up Display, which sets new standards with a resolution of 720 x 240 pixels and an extended projection distance.
      Powertrain: all engines have an EQ Boost integrated starter generator
      The high aspirations of the new Mercedes-Benz GLS are also clearly apparent in its engine line-up. Powerful six and eight-cylinder engines deliver the comfort and effortlessly superior power that suit the characteristics of this luxurious vehicle.
      The introduction of the GLS 580 4MATIC will mark the world premiere of a new, electrified V8 gasoline engine with 48-volt on-board electrical system and integrated starter generator. It has an output of 483 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque, with a further 184 lb-ft of torque and 21 hp available via EQ Boost over short periods. The integrated starter generator (ISG) is responsible for hybrid functions such as EQ Boost or energy recuperation, while allowing fuel savings that were previously reserved for high-voltage hybrid technology.
      ISG eliminates the need for a belt drive for ancillary components at the front of the engine, which reduces its overall length. The slim design of the in-line engine, together with the physical separation of intake/exhaust, creates space for close-coupled exhaust after treatment. The 48 V on-board electrical system serves not only high power consumers, such as the water pump and air- conditioning compressor, but also the integrated starter-generator (ISG), which also supplies energy to the battery by means of highly efficient energy recuperation.
      The Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 4MATIC is also available with a six-cylinder in- line engine electrified with 48-volt technology. This sophisticated engine produces 362 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, with a further 184 lb-ft of torque and 21 hp available via EQ Boost over short periods.
      4MATIC variable all-wheel drive: agile on the road, superior when off- road
      In all variants of the new GLS, power is transmitted by the 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission. The broad ratio spread of gears from one to nine allows a clearly perceptible reduction in engine speed and is a decisive factor behind the high level of energy efficiency and ride comfort. A transfer case with an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch is also fitted as standard. This allows a variable transfer of drive torque from 0-100 percent (torque on demand) between the axles.
      Also new, and available as an option on the GLS 580, is a transfer case specially configured for superior off-road driving characteristics. In addition to the controlled multi-plate clutch with torque-on-demand function, it also features a reduction gear for off-road driving.
      When driving on the road, and particularly when cornering, the two fully networked transfer cases with torque-on-demand function allow a further improvement in handling safety and agility by specifically influencing the degree of yaw to induce oversteer or understeer.
      Driver assistance systems: even better support
      The new GLS is equipped with the latest generation of Mercedes-Benz driver assistance systems giving cooperative support to the driver. These systems further enhance the level of active safety.
      When Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC with route-based speed adaptation is activated, the new GLS is able to recognize and respond to traffic jams or slow-moving traffic with the help of information from LiveTraffic before the driver becomes aware of the hazard. For example, when a traffic jam is detected on the highway (and if the driver does not choose a different response), DISTRONIC reduces the speed to around 62 mph (100 km/h) as a precaution.
      A new feature of the Driver Assistance package: when actually driving in a traffic, Active Stop-and-Go Assist is substantially able to perform the tasks of keeping the vehicle in the lane and maintaining a safe distance with a high level of availability at speeds up to around 37 mph (60 km/h). In addition, restarting can be automatic up to one minute after coming to a stop. Once the traffic jam clears, the GLS accelerates back up to the speed preset for Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC with route-based speed adaptation. If traffic signs differ from this, the sign posted speed limit is automatically given priority.
      Suspension: AIRMATIC air suspension as standard
      The GLS comes with the enhanced AIRMATIC air suspension system with Adaptive Damping System Plus fitted as standard. This setup uses highly complex sensor systems and algorithms to adapt the damping characteristics to the road condition and driving situation in real time. All components have been enhanced compared with the previous generation, and the wheel suspension mountings have been optimized to maximize ride comfort. In addition, the air suspension keeps the car at the same level, regardless of the load on board.
      Carwash function: ready for cleaning
      One new standard feature is the Carwash function - which comes in handy, especially for a large vehicle like the GLS. When this function is selected, the suspension moves to the highest position, which reduces the track widths due to the axle geometry. This makes it easier to drive into a carwash as well as remove any dirt remaining in the wheel arches from the last off-road trip. The Carwash function also:
      Folds in the exterior mirrors. Closes the side windows and the sliding sunroof. Suppresses the rain sensor information so that the windshield wipers remain switched off in the carwash. Switches the climate control to air-recirculation mode and, after eight seconds, activates the 360° camera's front image to assist the driver when driving into the carwash Deactivates these settings automatically when the driver drives out of the carwash and accelerates to a speed above 12 mph. Outstandingly intelligent suspension: E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL
      Even better ride comfort and agility plus new functions such as recovery mode are provided by the optional E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL suspension, which is combined with the newly developed AIRMATIC air suspension. This is currently the only system on the market that can individually control spring and damping forces at each wheel. This means that it not only counteracts body roll, but also pitching and squat. Together with ROAD SURFACE SCAN and the curve inclination function CURVE, E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL makes an exceptional level of comfort possible, and supports the claim of Mercedes- Benz to build the world's most intelligent SUV suspension.
      E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL operates with a voltage of 48 V. On poor road surfaces the system is even able to recuperate energy, roughly halving the energy requirement compared with the preceding system in the S-Class. The hydropneumatics generate dynamic forces that overlay the air suspension forces and actively support and dampen the vehicle body during linear and lateral acceleration or when driving on uneven roads.
      The off-road functions include rocking mode. For example, if the GLS has become bogged down in a sand dune, this can help to free the vehicle more easily in many such situations. If possible, the suspension level is automatically raised and lowered several times, which changes the ground pressure of the tires and therefore improves traction and allows the GLS to rock itself free. Individual wheel actuation is another function for off-road driving. This allows the level at each wheel to be individually adjusted via the touchscreen of the media display, thus improving the vehicle's alignment on rough terrain when one wheel is stuck in a ditch or a wheel spring is fully contracted. This also helps to increase traction and the torque at the wheel.
      E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL in the GLS also has the curve inclination function CURVE: like a motorcycle, the GLS leans into bends and thereby allows cornering in three stages with practically no centrifugal force. If the GLS is equipped with a stereo multi-purpose camera, ROAD SURFACE SCAN becomes possible: the camera continuously scans the road surface, while the suspension responds in advance to any undulations before the vehicle drives over them and largely compensates for them. In this way, the GLS improves the perceived road quality.
      The new Mercedes-Benz GLS will go on sale in the U.S. by the end of the year.

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