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    William Maley

    Good-Bye B-Class Electric Drive, We Hardly Knew You

    Mercedes-Benz has been selling an electric vehicle - the B-Class Electric Drive - in the U.S. since December 2013. But you have likely not seen on. Mercedes has only sold 3,651 B-Classes, mostly in states that follow zero-emission vehicle mandates such as California. Now, Mercedes-Benz has made the decision to drop the B-Class Electric Drive.
    Mercedes-Benz USA spokesman Rob Moran confirmed the news to Automotive News, saying production of the Electric Drive would be phased out in the next quarter. Part of the reason for the vehicle being dropped is Mercedes putting more focus on their upcoming EQ lineup of electric vehicles.
    "Due to our strategic focus on [connectivity, autonomous driving, sharing and electric drive systems] for the mobility of the future, we are planning the step-by-step electrification of our portfolio. Moreover, we are evaluating the production of our new generation of electric vehicles at all of our locations of Mercedes Benz Cars," said Moran in an email.
    The other part as to why the B-Class Electric Drive is being kicked out is Mercedes will be converting the plant in Rastatt, Germany to produce the next-generation compact lineup. Mercedes will continue to produce the B-Class (gas & diesel variants) for other markets.
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

    William Maley

    No, it is not coming to the U.S.

    Mercedes-Benz shocked everyone last fall with the announcement of the X-Class concepts and saying that a production version would be debuting sometime in 2017. That day was today as Mercedes unveiled the 2018 X-Class in Cape Town, South Africa.
    The production version doesn't stray too far from the concept with the trademark grille that is prominent on Mercedes' SUVs, large headlights, and wheels ranging in size from 17 to 19-inches. We should note that the X-Class is basically a Nissan Navara wearing a Mercedes-Benz dress. You can some of the Navara's design is present such as the design of the cab. Certain trims appear to get roof rails and a tonneau cover.
    The interior looks to be very Mercedes-esq as many parts such as the knobs, switches, instrument cluster, and infotainment system all come the German automaker's parts bin. A 5.4-inch infotainment system comes standard, while an 8.4-inch system is available as an option.
    Mercedes-Benz will be offering a variety of powertrain options including four engines, two transmissions, and three types of drive systems. The engine lineup is comprised of,
    X200: 165 horsepower four-cylinder gas engine X220d: 163 horsepower 2.3L turbodiesel four X250d: 190 horsepower 2.3L biturbo diesel-four X350d: 258 horsepower V6 diesel A six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic transmission routes power to either the rear wheels or all four wheels via an engageable all-wheel drive system or permanent 4Matic all-wheel drive. 
    Under the skin lies the frame from the Nissan Navara. Mercedes has made some tweaks to the suspension with coil springs for the front and rear to improve ride quality. The front uses double wishbones, while the rear features a multi-link solid axle.  This will help when the X-Class is either hauling something in the bed or towing. Mercedes says the truck can haul up to 2,500 pounds and tow more than 7,000 pounds.
    Like other Mercedes models, the X-Class will come with a number of active safety features such as active lane control, automatic emergency braking, traffic sign recognition, and a 360-degree camera.
    The X-Class will launch in Europe towards the end of the year, while other markets such as Australia and Argentina will follow. For the time being, Mercedes has no plans to bring the X-Class to the U.S. 
    Source: Mercedes-Benz
    Press Release is on Page 2

    Pickup meets lifestyle – the Mercedes-Benz X-Class

    Mercedes-Benz X-Class at a glance
    The Mercedes among pickups: The Mercedes-Benz X-Class unites the typical traits of a pickup - robustness, functionality, strength and off-road capabilities - with the classical characteristics of a real Mercedes - design, comfort, driving dynamics and safety. Brand characteristic SUV design: With the centrally positioned star, twin-louvre radiator grille, powerfully honed bonnet and headlamps extending far into the wings, the X-Class seamlessly fits into the Mercedes-Benz portfolio. Premium effect on a new level: Three trim parts for the cockpit, six seat covers including two leather variants with contrasting topstitching, and two colours for the roof lining provide the widest choice of materials and colours in this vehicle segment. A pickup to suit different lifestyles and work environments: The PURE basic variant for classic robust use, PROGRESSIVE for higher requirements in terms of quality feel and comfort, and POWER as the high-end variant for urban lifestyles. Top-of-the-range engine in the segment: A top-of-the-range V6 diesel with 190 kW/258 hp will be released mid-2018 occupying a leading position in the mid-size pickup segment. The market launch will start with the diesel X 220 d (120 kW/163 hp) and X 250 d (140 kW/190 hp) as well as a petrol engine (122 kW/165 hp) in selected markets. Individualisation on account of a diverse range of Mercedes-Benz accessories: As from its market launch, customers can add a styling bar, side bar, canopy, various covers as well as numerous cargo and off-road solutions – all developed and designed by Mercedes. Driving enjoyment on a par with passenger cars: Thanks to the wide track, the spring and damping system tuned for the comfort typical of a Mercedes, and the coil springs as well as internally vented disc brakes on the front and rear, the X-Class is the first pickup that offers not just excellent off-road but also superb on-road performance. All-wheel drive for any surface: The engageable 4MATIC all-wheel drive with low-range gearing and optional differential lock on the rear axle masters any terrain. From the middle of next year a permanent all-wheel drive will complement the portfolio. It will offer maximum performance and traction even while driving on-road with full speed. Star safety: Like all Mercedes-Benz vehicles, the X-Class stands out for its exemplary passive and active safety equipment. This includes Active Brake Assist, Lane Keeping Assist and Traffic Sign Assist, among others. The first intelligently connected pickup: Thanks to Mercedes me connect, X-Class customers are connected to their vehicle via smartphone at all times and can call up useful information such as the location of the vehicle or the fuel level, and navigate from door to door. Attractively priced in the segment: The X-Class is available in Germany from 37,294 Euro (incl. 19 percent VAT). Market launch begins in November 2017 in Europe. South Africa and Australia will follow at the beginning of 2018, as well as Argentina and Brazil at the beginning of 2019. The first pickup from a premium manufacturer
    The Mercedes-Benz X-Class has been developed with the changing requirements of the international pickup markets in mind. The demand for mid-size pickups with typical passenger car characteristics and comfort features has been steadily on the rise for years. At the same time, the number of pickups for private use is increasing. They are no longer viewed purely as workhorses. As the first premium manufacturer, Mercedes-Benz is taking these changes into account – based on its comprehensive experience and competence in developing commercial and off-road vehicles, such as the Unimog and the G-Class for tough operation, vehicles which are equally suitable for work or leisure, such as the V-Class and Vito, and passenger cars that uniquely stand for modern luxury and driving pleasure around the world.
    The X-Class is aimed at very different customer groups: land owners and farmers in Argentina, business owners and building contractors in Australia, families with an affinity for premium products in Brazil, trend-conscious individualists in South Africa and Great Britain as well as sporty adventurers in New Zealand and Germany.
    The Mercedes-Benz pickup is attractively priced in the segment and is available in Germany from 37,294 Euro (incl. 19 percent VAT). Further market-specific prices will be made known successively.
    Tough work, plenty of pleasure: the new X-Class
    Like no other pickup, the new X-Class resolves apparent contradictions: modern design and uncompromising robustness, impressive off-road capability and a high level of driving dynamics, stylish comfort and great functionality. Making the X-Class the Mercedes among pickups. This tough performance pickup delivers a driveability and handling that matches many demands – both with regard to driving dynamics and ride comfort. This is attained thanks to a comfort suspension with the fine tuning expected of a Mercedes. It consists of a ladder-type frame, rear multi-link solid axle, front independent wheel suspension and coil springs on both axles. 
    Built on this platform, the distinctive design of the X-Class is available in three model variants to suit different lifestyles and work environments:
    The X-Class PURE basic variant is ideal for rugged, functional use. It fulfils all the demands placed on a workhorse. At the same time its comfort and design make it perfect for visiting customers or suppliers and for private activities. The X-Class PROGRESSIVE is aimed at people seeking a rugged pickup with extra styling and comfort functions – as a calling card for their own business, while also being a comfortable yet prestigious vehicle for private use. The X-Class POWER is the high-end design and equipment line. It is aimed at customers for whom styling, performance and comfort are paramount. The X-Class POWER is a lifestyle vehicle beyond the mainstream – suitable for urban environments as well as for sports and leisure activities off the beaten track. Through its design and high level of equipment it reflects an independent and individualistic lifestyle. Robust character with dynamic charisma
    With its progressive design, the Mercedes-Benz X-Class manages the fine balance between being both tough and stylish. The pickup embodies the enhanced Mercedes-Benz design philosophy of sensual purity. By emphasising the surfaces and featuring stripped-down, extremely precise elements, the purist design draws attention to the basic virtues of a pickup in an emotionally appealing way – combined with almost unlimited functionality. The X-Class can haul a payload of up to 1.1 tonnes. That is enough to transport 17 full 50-litre barrels of beer in the cargo area. Able to tow up to 3.5 tonnes, it can also pull a trailer containing three horses or an eight-metre yacht.
    Thanks to its long 3150-millimetre wheelbase, the short and cladded front overhang, the backward shifted passenger compartment and the very long rear overhang, the X-Class has an elongated vehicle body which exudes pure dynamism. The design of the side windows with their dynamic kink along the beltline and taut lines contrasting with muscular, sculpted surfaces also allude to the longitudinal dynamics. Widely flared wheel arches, the commanding front and the purist design of the rear all accentuate the impression of width. Together they give the pickup a powerful on-road presence and make reference to the X-Class's excellent lateral dynamics.
    Powerful and commanding front with three different characters
    The front has the masterful looks of one of the brand's typical SUVs – with the centrally positioned star, twin-louvre radiator grille, high and powerfully honed bonnet and headlamps extending far into the wings. The front apron emphasises width and has its own distinct character depending on the chosen design and equipment line. On the PURE basic variant it is unpainted and with the PROGRESSIVE design and equipment line it is painted in the vehicle colour. The POWER high-end model variant likewise has a bumper painted in the vehicle colour and also comes with a chromed underbody panelling. There are nine attractive exterior colours and a variety of exclusive 17, 18 or 19-inch rims to choose from across the three design and equipment lines.
    Purist design for the rear with bumper including step as standard
    Like the front apron, the rear bumper also varies depending on the selected design and equipment line: it is painted black for the PURE line and in the vehicle colour for the PROGRESSIVE line. The POWER line has a chromed bumper for a particularly classy look. To conveniently access the cargo area for loading and unloading, the bumper has an integral step. If the standard 90-degree tailgate opening is not enough, as an option the X-Class can be ordered without the rear bumper. Then the tailgate opens to 180 degrees.
    In terms of width, the load bed is designed in such a way that a Euro-pallet can be loaded straight between the wheel arches. The X-Class is the only mid-size pickup to be equipped with lighting in the cargo area as standard. The third brake light contains LED lights which illuminate the whole load bed. Operation is by a switch in the centre console. As soon as the ignition is switched on, those lights turn off automatically. A 12-volt socket to power additional equipment such as compressors, for example, is also part of the standard equipment in the load bed.
    Dimensions of the X-Class
    Vehicle length
    5340 mm
    Vehicle width
    1920 mm
    Vehicle height
    1819 mm
    3150 mm
    Load bed length
    1587 mm
    Load bed width
    1560 mm
    Load bed height
    474 mm
    Maximum payload capacity
    1042 kg
    Braked towing capacity (depending on engine and equipment)
    1650–3500 kg
    New benchmark in comfort and quality feel
    In the interior, the X-Class elevates comfort and quality feel to a new level within the segment for mid-size pickups. The instrument panel has the concave trim element typical of a Mercedes. It stretches across the entire width of the instrument panel – a novel feature in this vehicle segment. It creates an open feel and purist modernity. There are three trim variants to choose from for the X-Class POWER: a pixelated look in matt black, an aluminium effect with longitudinal grain and a brown matt woodgrain effect. To complement the high-quality feel, the upper section of the cockpit is available with ARTICO man-made leather in either black or nut brown. The characteristic round ventilation outlets add a sporty touch. Depending on the design and equipment line, these come in either high-gloss black or silver shadow, creating a high-end cool touch effect. With the PROGRESSIVE and POWER design and equipment lines, the centre console is also prominently framed by a decorative trim in silver shadow. The large door handles are also finished in silver shadow. The cool touch effect is reinforced by the freestanding central display, which is familiar from the V-Class. In conjunction with the COMAND Online multimedia system it has a screen diagonal of 8.4 inches, making it the biggest display in the segment. With a resolution of 960 x 540 pixels and the high-contrast IPS technology (In-Plane Switching), it offers a brilliant display that markedly increases the image quality of the 360-Degree Camera and the navigation maps.
    The control and display concept shows the familiar high levels of convenience and ergonomic comfort. The instrument cluster consists of the large, analogue round dials from the C-Class and V-Class. In the X-Class PROGRESSIVE and POWER they are tubular. A 5.4-inch colour multimedia display is nestled between the round dials. Thanks to the push-buttons on the standard-fit three-spoke multifunction steering wheel, the settings on the colour display can be controlled without drivers having to take their hands off the steering wheel. The steering wheel with its 12 buttons in total is height-adjustable, thereby improving ergonomic posture and allowing a relaxed seating position. In the X-Class PROGRESSIVE and POWER, the steering wheel, shift lever knob and handbrake lever are also covered in leather. In conjunction with the Audio 20 CD and COMAND Online multimedia systems, and in addition to the central control unit, the X-Class contains the multifunction touchpad familiar from the passenger car model series – the multifunction touchpad is another novelty in this segment. It is located in an ergonomic position on the centre console and, like a smartphone, it can be controlled using gestures or by entering letters and characters.
    Electrically adjustable comfort seats also available with lumbar support
    Plenty of attention was paid to comfort when developing the seats, too. Premium materials and a seat structure featuring optimum lateral support, a high seat position and the use of ergonomically formed soft foam make sitting comfortable for both the driver and front passenger, even on longer journeys. With their clear, ergonomic and functional design, the comfort seats can be adjusted in the longitudinal direction as well as for height and backrest tilt. The X-Class POWER has electrically adjustable seats and electric two-way lumbar support as standard. The rear seat row for three people is positioned at a comfortable height and has reinforced seat side bolsters for optimum support in the outer seating positions. These seats are also equipped with attachment points for an i-Size/ISOFIX child seat as standard.
    Widest selection of materials and colours in the segment
    As well as various trim elements, there are six seat covers to choose from, including two leather variants with contrasting topstitching, and there are two colours for the roof liner as well. The X-Class thus provides the widest choice of materials and colours in this vehicle segment. The seats in the X-Class PURE are fitted with black Tunja fabric as standard. Black man-made leather is available as an option. The comfort seats in the PROGRESSIVE variant are covered in black posadas fabric. Familiar from the Mercedes-Benz passenger car model series, ARTICO man-made leather/DINAMICA microfibre in black is available if desired.
    As standard, the X-Class POWER comes with ARTICO man-made leather/DINAMICA microfibre in black with additional contrasting topstitching in alpaca grey. Black leather with alpaca grey topstitching or nut brown leather with black topstitching are optionally available. Topstitching in a contrasting colour raises the aesthetic appeal of the seats even further. Exclusive topstitching also appears on the ARTICO man-made leather coverings on the upper section of the instrument panel, the armrests and the beltlines of the doors. This emphasises the premium effect of the interior as a whole. For the first time in this vehicle segment there are two variants of roof liner to choose from: macchiato beige fabric and black fabric. On the X-Class POWER, the A-pillar is also covered in fabric of the same colour.
    Made-to-measure individualisation – Style Packages and an extensive range of accessories
    Optional equipment as well as a specific Style Package for each of the PROGRESSIVE and POWER lines enable further individualisation. For example, side running boards and an electrically opening rear window can be added to the X-Class. What's more, Mercedes-Benz had an in-house team of designers and developers create an extensive range of accessories. These allow the X-Class to be modified even more to suit personal tastes and requirements – in respect to design, functionality and off-road capability. For example, there is a choice of styling bar, side bar, soft tonneau cover, hard tonneau cover and roll cover, as well as a canopy which makes the pickup look like an SUV. The canopy continues the X-Class's lines perfectly, merging with the vehicle body to create a distinctive silhouette. Other items available include a bed liner, a bed divider system, load-securing rails in the floor and a technical underguard.
    High-torque, enjoyable performance with four and six cylinders
    As from its market launch, there are two powerful and efficient four-cylinder engines to deliver spirited performance. The high-torque common-rail diesel drive system with a displacement of 2.3 litres is available with a choice of two power outputs. In the X 220 d with single turbocharger it generates 120 kW/163 hp and in the biturbo X 250 d no less than 140 kW/190 hp. Both diesel models are available as left- or right-hand drive vehicles with purely rear wheel drive or with engageable all-wheel drive. Due to very specific market requirements, for example in Dubai and Morocco, the 122 kW/165 hp X 200 petrol model is only available as a left-hand drive vehicle with rear wheel drive. All engines are characterised by quiet, low-vibration running and excellent power delivery coupled with low consumption figures. Power is transferred via a six-speed manual transmission. A seven-speed automatic transmission is available on request for the 140 kW/190 hp X 250 d and X 250 d 4MATIC models.
    A high-torque V6 diesel engine will be released mid-2018, ensuring even greater agility on- and off-road. It will generate 190 kW/258 hp and a maximum torque of 550 Nm. With that the X 350 d occupies a leading position in the segment. The top X-Class model will come as standard with permanent 4MATIC all-wheel drive and the seven-speed automatic transmission 7G-TRONIC PLUS with steering-wheel shift paddles and ECO start/stop function. The DYNAMIC SELECT system is available in addition. To date, the inclusion of a drive program switch has been rare in the pickup segment. This technology enables the driving experience to be tailored to individual preferences – from relaxed comfort to engaged sportiness. There are five drive programs to choose from: Comfort, ECO, Sport, Manual and Offroad. These modify the engine characteristics, the automatic transmission's switching points and the ECO start/stop function.
    Dynamic and comfortable driving enjoyment on a par with Mercedes-Benz passenger cars
    The X-Class is the first pickup to deliver both excellent off- and on-road performance. The wide track, long wheelbase and comfortable spring and damping tuning typical of a Mercedes open up a new world of driving enjoyment and driving dynamics on the road – without resulting in compromises when off-road. A special feature in this segment: coil springs are used both at the front and the rear, which contributes to a harmonious suspension comfort. The comfort suspension is designed in such a way that it achieves a high level of driving dynamics and ride comfort on the road, while also delivering maximum off-road capability in conjunction with 4MATIC all-wheel drive. The elaborately designed comfort suspension consists of a double wishbone front axle and a rear multi-link solid axle that is ideal for transporting heavy loads and has good articulation capability. This combination ensures that the suspension is comfortable and the handling is safe given any permitted load condition.
    With 1632 millimetres at the front and 1625 millimetres at the rear, the X-Class has a wider track than most competitors. This provides the ideal prerequisites for optimum driving stability and higher cornering speeds. At 3150 millimetres, the wheelbase is also longer than many other mid-size pickups. This reduces vibrations during the journey and makes for smooth and reliable straight-running stability. Mercedes-Benz is the only manufacturer in the segment to opt for large, internally vented brake discs on both axles as standard. The front axle has brake discs with a diameter of 32 centimetres and the rear axle with a diameter of 30.8 centimetres. Together they ensure short braking distances, good response times and high thermal capacity.
    The comfort suspension is part of the standard equipment in all European markets. Its ground clearance is 202 millimetres. A 20-millimetre higher suspension is available as an optional extra. The increased ground clearance improves off-road capability even further, including a higher seat position and sharper off-road look. In all markets outside Europe, the X-Class comes with the higher suspension as standard. The safe and comfortable handling typical of a Mercedes is retained despite the higher suspension.
    Engageable or permanent – 4MATIC all-wheel drive for any surface
    Engageable 4MATIC all-wheel drive, which is available on the X 220 d 4MATIC and X 250 d 4MATIC diesel models, masters any terrain. With it, the front wheels can be engaged or disengaged by electric means depending on the surface. As from mid-2018, Mercedes-Benz will also make its pickup available with permanent all-wheel drive. This will ensure that the X-Class delivers maximum performance and traction, even at top speed on roads. The permanent 4MATIC all-wheel drive system will only be offered in conjunction with the six-cylinder engine. Off-road, both 4MATIC variants benefit from the same superior assertiveness thanks to the low-range gearing and optional differential lock on the rear axle. All the all-wheel drive models come with Downhill Speed Regulation (DSR) on board as standard.
    Excellent off-road characteristics
    Fording depth
    600 mm
    Ground clearance
    Front axle 202 mm
    Rear axle 221 mm for suspension with raised ground clearance
    Angle of approach/departure front/rear
    30.1°/25.9° for suspension with raised ground clearance
    Maximum tilt
    49° for suspension with raised ground clearance
    Ramp breakover angle
    22° for suspension with raised ground clearance
    Maximum gradeability
    Comprehensive range of safety equipment
    Like all Mercedes-Benz vehicles, the X-Class stands out for its exemplary level of safety. The pickup bearing the star comes with a comprehensive array of comfort and safety equipment that is exceptional in this vehicle segment. The X-Class’s high level of occupant protection results from its especially solid car body with a high-strength passenger cell and a structure with a front and rear that can absorb energy through well-aimed deformation. Furthermore, passive safety is provided thanks to standard equipment such as seven airbags and the i-Size attachment system for two child seats. The airbags in the front for driver and front passenger come with a two-stage, deferred triggering mechanism. For active safety, three driver assistance systems are at the ready, simultaneously increasing safety and comfort: Active Brake Assist, Lane Keeping Assist and Traffic Sign Assist. Additionally, there are Trailer Stability Assist, tyre pressure monitoring system, emergency call system, cruise control and LED headlamps that deliver the brightest light output in the segment thanks to six LEDs respectively. If required, a 360-Degree Camera is available in addition to a reversing camera. Given this extensive level of equipment, the X-Class perfectly fulfils the requirements placed on a modern family and lifestyle vehicle.
    The first intelligently connected mid-size pickup
    The X-Class is the first mid-size pickup to feature a communications module with an integrated SIM card. This makes it possible to use the extensive Mercedes me connect services and to access the vehicle by smartphone. Thus X-Class drivers in 21 European markets can, for example, call up useful information such as fuel level and tyre pressure, and find out the X-Class's location when it is parked or being driven by someone else. In addition, with the Mercedes me app complete door-to-door navigation is possible. Further Mercedes me connect services include the Mercedes-Benz emergency call system and the standard services Breakdown Management, Accident Recovery and Maintenance Management as well as Remote Vehicle Diagnostics.
    In addition to this, control and display systems – that have already been used successfully in the Mercedes-Benz passenger car model series – are being introduced in the mid-size pickup segment for the first time: these include the multifunction touchpad and fully integrated COMAND Online multimedia system with hard-disk navigation, LINGUATRONIC voice control and internet access via smartphone. Other than COMAND Online, the proven Audio 20 USB and Audio 20 CD audio systems are also available.
    First pickup with Live Traffic Information
    Transferring traffic information in real time is a further highlight of intelligent connectivity thanks to the communications module with an integrated SIM card. In conjunction with an account in the Mercedes me portal, and within Europe, the COMAND Online navigation system can show the beginning and length of a traffic jam on a map to within 100 metres of the exact position and compute a dynamic route with shorter travel times. The potential loss of time is taken into account automatically in real time for the arrival time displayed by COMAND Online navigation. The system also provides a 3D view with three-dimensional urban models, making orientation in unfamiliar city centres easier. Moreover, special personal destinations can be saved or imported via SD card, and four alternate routes can be displayed on the navigation map, one of them a particularly economical variation.
    In conjunction with the optional Garmin® MAP PILOT system, in most European countries the Audio 20 CD also becomes a fully-fledged navigation system with Live Traffic Information. With both systems, X-Class drivers benefit from early information about disturbances such as traffic jams, increased traffic volumes or other possible delays along the route, allowing them to adjust their route planning in good time. The relevant pre-installation for the Garmin® MAP PILOT is likewise available as an option.
    Portfolio expansion in production cooperation with Renault-Nissan
    With the X-Class, Mercedes-Benz Vans is expanding its portfolio to a fourth model series and is closing the gap between commercial vehicles and passenger cars. As such, the pickup marks another milestone in the growth strategy "Mercedes-Benz Vans goes global".
    The pickup with the star is being manufactured in a production cooperation with the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Production for the markets in Europe, Australia and South Africa 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 from 2019. With the pickup, Daimler AG and the Renault-Nissan Alliance are expanding their strategic cooperation which began seven years ago. This affords Mercedes-Benz fast and cost-efficient entrance to the high-growth 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 tonne in the world, and can look back on more than 80 years of experience in producing and marketing these types of vehicles.

    William Maley

    Mercedes-AMG adds 10 to 43 via a mild-hybrid system

    The 43-badged models from Mercedes-AMG provide a choice to those who want something a bit different from the standard Mercedes model but cannot afford the full-blown AMG variant. But a new report says the 43s will transition to 53s and come with an electric motor to boot.
    Wheels has learned from a source that the next-generation CLS-Class - due in 2018 - will be the first Mercedes-AMG model to debut the 53 badge. It will use a new turbocharged 3.0L inline-six with 429 horsepower, along with a mild-hybrid system that is capable of producing 70 extra horsepower when needed. Like other mild-hybrid systems, this will not allow the CLS 53 to travel on electric power alone.
    Other models such as the E-Class coupe and cabriolet, and S-Class will follow.
    Source: Wheels

    Drew Dowdell

    Mercedes will add another sedan below the CLA.

    Mercedes has informed dealers that there will be another sedan heading their way for 2018.  Mercedes-Benz has decided the US is finally ready for the A-Class. Mercedes has previously shown the 2011 A-class concept in the U.S., but did not send that model over. 
    Currently, the smallest and least expensive Mercedes sold in the U.S. is the Mercedes-Benz CLA, a 4-door fastback sedan that Benz calls a 4-door coupe.  When the CLA originally debuted in the U.S. in 2013, it started at $29,900 before delivery charge.  It has since crept up to $32,700. This new A-Class is expected to start below the $30k mark.
    Previously, the A-Class was only sold as a hatchback (2017 A-Class in European Spec shown right), a bodystyle not particularly popular in the U.S. The 2018 A-Class will be the first time the model is offered as a sedan. The A-Class will use the same front-wheel-drive platform as the current CLA and GLA and is expected to utilize similar powertrain arrangements. 
    The 2018 Mercedes Benz A-Class sedan is expected to go on sales in the U.S. in September of 2018 with sales in other markets (read: Europe) next spring and China to follow.
    Look for the A-Class reveal at one of the auto shows during Fall 2017.
    Source: Automotive news (Subscription Required)

    William Maley

    Time to call the lawyers

    Daimler finds itself under investigation by both German and American authorities into whether or not they cheated emission tests with their diesel vehicles. As we reported last week, German prosecutors raided various Daimler buildings to find evidence. Now, the company is beginning to search out search criminal defense lawyers in the U.S. for various executives in the investigation being conducted by the Justice Department.
    Bloomberg has learned from two sources about the lawyer search as the Justice Department plans on interviewing various executives from the company. It is unclear whether the executives are based in Germany, U.S., or both.
    Spokespeople for both Daimler and the Justice Department declined to comment.
    Last year, Daimler disclosed in a filing that various authorities in the Europe and the U.S. were investigating the emission control systems and test results on various Mercedes-Benz diesel models.
    “It is possible that further civil and criminal investigative and enforcement actions and measures relating to Daimler and/or its employees will be taken,” the company wrote in a filing last month. 
    Mercedes-Benz announced earlier this month that it would be stopping efforts on trying to certify 2017 model year diesel vehicles.
    Source: Bloomberg

    William Maley

    More diesel problems, this time for Daimler

    Volkswagen isn't the only automaker that has the attention of German prosecutors. Yesterday, prosecutors carried out raids at various Daimler (parent company of Mercedes-Benz) buildings. This is part of an investigation into fraud related to false advertising and the possible manipulation of emissions with diesel powered vehicles.
    The Stuttgart public prosecutor's office told Reuters the raids were carried out "against known and unknown employees at Daimler, who are suspected of fraud and misleading advertising connected to manipulated emissions treatment of diesel passenger cars."
    23 prosecutors and around 230 staff, including police and state criminal authorities, searched 11 sites to look for evidence to help build a case.
    Diamler confirmed the raids to Reuters and said it was "cooperating with authorities."
    The company is also under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department for emission discrepancies with diesel vehicles.
    Source: Reuters

    William Maley

    Bad news for those wanting A 2017 Mercedes-Benz Diesel

    Those hoping to purchase a 2017 diesel vehicle from Mercedes-Benz will be disappointed by this news. Reuters has learned Mercedes' parent company, Diamler has dropped plans on trying to get 2017 model year diesel vehicles certified.
    "We constantly review our portfolio offerings and make adjustments to meet immediate customer need. Combined with the increased effort to certify diesel engines in the U.S., we have put the certification process for diesel passenger cars on hold," said Mercedes-Benz USA spokesman Rob Moran.
    Diesel only accounted for 1 percent of Mercedes-Benz's total sales in the U.S. for 2016.
    This doesn't mean Mercedes is getting out of selling diesel vehicles in the U.S. Moran said the automaker is "leaving the door open to offer diesels as a potential option in our passenger cars and SUVs."
    Source: Reuters

    William Maley

    Mercedes USA's CEO admits the future of diesel vehicles in the U.S. is unknown

    Mercedes-Benz is still waiting on the EPA to give the ok for them sell 2017 model year diesel vehicles. This is causing them to rethink their diesel strategy in the U.S.
    Speaking with reporters at the New York Auto Show this week, Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Dietmar Exler said engineers are still in talks with the EPA over their diesel vehicles. Exler admitted that he isn't aware of the current status of those talks. When asked about the future of diesel sales for the U.S., Exler said,
    "No decision made one way or the other."
    Before the EPA put all 2017 model year diesel vehicles under an intense review process, only 2 to 3 percent of Mercedes' total U.S. sales were made up of diesels.
    It should be noted that Mercedes-Benz has also canned plans on bringing over diesel version of the C-Class sedan last year.
    Exler said the focus going forward would be electric vehicles, with 10 new EVs being launch by 2025.
    Source: Reuters

    William Maley

    By 2022, Mercedes plans on having 10 electric vehicles for sale

    Mercedes-Benz is going all in on electric vehicles with the launch of the EQ sub-brand by the end of this decade. Previously, the German automaker planned to have ten electric vehicles in the EQ lineup by 2025. But a new report from Automotive News says that timeframe has been pushed up to 2022.
    Why move this goal forward? According to the report, Mercedes wants to lessen the backlash various automakers are currently dealing with due to the diesel vehicles. Diamler, Mercedes-Benz's parent company is currently under investigation by German prosecutors for possible fraud and false advertising on some of their diesel models. Also, Diamler's plan on reducing CO2 emissions across their entire fleet hit a snag last year due to buyers going for larger vehicles.
    "We want to shape the profound transformation of the automotive industry from the forefront," said Daimler Chairman Manfred Bischoff in a statement.
    "Further fundamental changes will be required for Daimler to remain successful," as the industry adjusts to cars running on electric motors and capable of driving themselves, he said.
    We know that the EQ lineup will include two SUVs (one previewed by the Generation EQ concept from last year) and two sedans.
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

    William Maley

    More details spill on Mercedes-AMG's upcoming sedan

    Back in November, we first learned about Mercedes-AMG's next standalone model possibly known as the GT4, a four-door coupe. The new model would be previewed by a concept before going on sale in 2019. We now have some new details on this model.
    Autocar reports the GT4 concept will be shown next month at the Geneva Motor Show to celebrate the 50th anniversary of AMG. A production model will soon follow a year later for European markets.
    The GT4 will serve as the replacement for the CLS Shooting Brake and use a modified version of Mercedes' modular rear architecture (MRA). According to sources at AMG, the GT4's variant of MRA will come with 'unique' wheelbase and track width measurements. The GT4 will also utilize aluminum and hot-formed high-strength steel in an effort to help cut weight.
    Power will come from a 4.0L V8 biturbo engine that will be offered in two states of tune - the highest one offering 600-plus horsepower. A performance-oriented version of Mercedes' 4Matic all-wheel drive will come standard. There is also talk about adding integrated starter generator (ISG) that would add a brief boost of power along with improving fuel economy.
    A 3.0L turbocharged V6 is possibly in the cards as well.
    Source: Autocar

    William Maley

    A German Unicorn is revealed

    Wagons are a rare species in the U.S. A high-performance wagon for the U.S. falls into the unicorn category. But Mercedes-Benz has been the one to carry the torch with the E55 and E63 wagons. Once again, Mercedes has gifted the U.S. with another high-performance wagon in the form of the E63 S.
    It follows the same recipe as the E63 S sedan; biturbo 4.0L V8 producing 603 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque; nine-speed automatic, and a performance-oriented version of Mercedes' 4Matic all-wheel drive system with drift mode. The wagon is slower than the sedan to 60 mph - 3.4 seconds vs. 3.3 seconds. Top speed is limited to 180 mph.
    The E63 S wagon mimics the sedan in terms of exterior styling with a clam-shell hood, wider fenders, rear diffuser, and quad exhausts. Of course, when hauling ass, the E63 S wagon offers space to haul cargo as well. Open the rear tailgate and you'll be greeted with 35 cubic feet of space. You can expand this by folding the rear seats.
    Mercedes will be showing off the E63 S wagon at the Geneva Motor Show next month with sales beginning later in the year.
    Source: Mercedes-Benz
    Press Release is on Page 2
    The New Mercedes-AMG E63 S Wagon
    Sportiness meets space and intelligence February 01, 2017 - Affalterbach
    In the new E63 S Wagon, Mercedes-AMG combines the brand's hallmark Driving Performance with high utility value and the intelligence of the E-Class. As in the E63 S Sedan, the hand-crafted AMG 4.0-liter V8 biturbo engine with an output of up to 603 hp and the fully variable AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive deliver outstanding driving dynamics. Acceleration from 0 to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds sets a new record in this class. At the same time the engine is now even more efficient thanks to a cylinder deactivation system fitted as standard.
    Like the E63 S Sedan, the E63 S Wagon offers innovative drive technology and outstanding performance coupled with a unique design, exclusive appointments and the latest infotainment features for a wide range of connected multimedia applications.
    The new Wagon boasts even more agile response than its predecessor: the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT (Multi Clutch Technology) 9-speed sport transmission is combined with a wet clutch. Another highlight is the new AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel- drive system, which combines the advantages of various drive configurations. Torque distribution on the front and rear axles, which is fully variable for the first time, ensures optimum traction in all road conditions.
    "The new AMG E63 Wagon combines our brand's hallmark driving dynamics with high everyday practicality. It is not for nothing that the model has been a permanent fixture in the AMG portfolio for 40 years. The powerful engine and the intelligent all- wheel drive underpin our claim to always be at the forefront of development when it comes to performance," states Tobias Moers, CEO of Mercedes-AMG GmbH.
    Technical data at a glance          
    E63 S Wagon
    Hand-crafted AMG 4.0L V8 biturbo
    3,982 cc
    603 hp at 5,750–6,500 rpm
    Max. torque
    627 lb-ft at 2,500–4,500 rpm
    Drive system
    AMG Performance 4MATIC+ permanent all-wheel drive with variable torque distribution and drift mode
    AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 9-speed sports transmission
    Acceleration 0-100 mph
    3.4 s
    Top speed
    180 mph (electronically limited)
    Exterior design
    Every detail of the exterior is designed to enable AMG Driving Performance to be experienced at first hand from every perspective. The distinctive, sporty design of the front end forward of the A-pillar demonstrates the lengths AMG goes to when it comes to development: For the first time on an AMG wagon, the hood is inset between the fenders and bumper like on a coupe, thus exhibiting an entirely new, more dynamic approach to the sculpting. More powerful-looking and 1.1-inches wider, the wheel arches accommodate the greater track width and the larger wheels on the front axle.
    A wide front bumper inspired by the design of a jet wing, with flics in black and a large front splitter, impressively epitomises the power of the new E63 S Wagon. It also showcases sophisticated cooling technology – a typical feature from motorsport and another visual reference to the powerful engine.
    The side sill panels make the wagon appear to sit lower on the road and elongate the overall line, culminating in a muscular rear end with an bumper insert sporting a diffuser look and the two high-gloss chrome-plated twin tailpipe trims of the exhaust system. The hallmark AMG V8 sound has been tuned specifically for the Wagon model.
    Designers and aerodynamics experts worked closely together to develop the E63 S Wagon. Their insights not only resulted in the striking AMG bodystyling but also the performance-oriented lift balance – for agile handling characteristics on country roads and optimum driving stability at high speed on the motorway.
    The new E63 S Wagon likewise sets standards in its segment when it comes to everyday practicality: boasting a generous 35 cu.ft. (SAE) of trunk capacity with the second row of seats upright, its trunk is the largest in the performance wagon segment. The rear seat back comes as standard with a new cargo-related functionality: it can be positioned at a 10-degree steeper angle creating even more usable trunk space. In addition, the rear seat back can be folded down in a 40:20:40 split.
    New peak of performance: Handcrafted AMG 4.0L V8 biturbo engine with twin-scroll turbochargers
    The versatile Hand-crafted AMG 4.0L V8 biturbo engine in the E63 S Wagon takes peak output to a new level at 603 hp. The maximum torque of 627 lb-ft is likewise a new high. It is available over a broad engine speed range of 2,500 to 4,500 rpm and so provides a feeling of effortless superiority in every accelerator pedal position. The E63 S Wagon completes the sprint from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.4 seconds.
    The standard-fit AMG Cylinder Management and a number of other measures make the new performance wagon exceptionally efficient. Twin-scroll turbochargers are installed for the first time to further enhance the performance and response of the AMG 4.0-liter V8 engine. They reduce the exhaust gas backpressure and optimize the gas cycle, resulting in higher output, exceptionally spontaneous response and higher torque at low revs.
    AMG Performance 4MATIC+ variable all-wheel drive
    The E63 S wagon comes with the innovative AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel- drive system fitted as standard. This newly engineered, intelligent system brings together the advantages of various drive configurations— torque distribution on the front and rear axles, which is fully variable for the first time, ensures optimum traction on any surface. The driver can rely on a high level of handling safety.
    An electromechanically controlled coupling connects the permanently driven rear axle variably to the front axle. The best possible torque distribution is calculated continuously. The performance wagon can thus be driven in a continuously variable way from traction-oriented all-wheel drive to purely rear-wheel drive. In addition to traction and lateral dynamics, the all-wheel-drive system also improves the longitudinal dynamics for even more powerful acceleration.
    Short shift times, high efficiency: the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 9-speed transmission
    The AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 9-speed transmission is specially tuned to the requirements of the E63 S Wagon, and features re-engineered hardware and software. The software enables extremely short shift times and fast multiple downshifts, while the double-clutching function makes for an emotional gearshifting experience. A wet clutch replaces the torque converter, saving weight and optimizing response, especially when accelerating.
    For a personalised experience: AMG DYNAMIC SELECT drive programs
    The E63 S Wagon comes equipped with five different AMG DYNAMIC SELECT drive programs: "Comfort," "Sport," "Sport +," "RACE" and "Individual." These modes allow drivers to extensively influence the characteristics of the E63 S Wagon. Key parameters are modified - such as the response of the engine, transmission, suspension, steering, ESP®  and all-wheel-drive system. Independent of the drive programs, the driver has the option of pressing the "M" button to switch directly to manual shifting mode, in which gearshifts are performed exclusively using the shift paddles on the steering wheel. Individual suspension settings can be selected as required. The "RACE" drive program has been designed for highly dynamic driving on closed race circuits and all parameters are set for maximum performance.
    Specially developed suspension for maximum lateral and longitudinal dynamics
    The agility and high cornering speeds of the new E63 S Wagon are attributable to the all-new AMG suspension with full-support multi-chamber air suspension. This suspension ensures exceptionally high levels of camber stability, driving dynamics and steering precision.
    A four-link front axle design uses forged aluminium components with wishbones, strut rod and spring link. Independent wheel control and wheel suspension parts enable higher lateral acceleration, but minimal torque steer on the steering system. The likewise model-specific, completely redesigned rear axle was specially adapted to the higher vehicle dynamics. The suspension thus ensures hallmark E-Class comfort with high levels of precision and driving dynamics.
    Personalised driving experience thanks to three-chamber air suspension system
    Thanks to a sporty spring and damper set-up and continuously variable damping, the new three-chamber air suspension system combines exemplary driving dynamics with excellent road roar and tire vibration characteristics. The stiffness of the air springs can be adjusted over a wide range by activating or deactivating individual air chambers, which enhances comfort and handling.
    There are three degrees of spring tuning, depending on the selected drive program and current driving status. The spring rate is hardened automatically in the event of sudden load changes, fast cornering, heavy acceleration or heavy braking, which effectively reduces roll and pitching while stabilising the performance wagon.
    The adaptive damping can be set in three stages – "Comfort," "Sport" and Sport +" – to choose between relaxed comfort on long journeys and maximum sportiness. The rebound and compression levels are adjusted independently of each other, and the freely programmable characteristics map permits a wide spread between the minimum and maximum damper force. The difference between the comfortable and sporty suspension settings are refined and are clearly perceptible.
    Rear differential lock: optimum traction
    For improved traction and vehicle dynamics, the E63 S Wagon comes with an electronically controlled rear limited slip differential. The electronically-controlled limited slip differential reduces slip on the inside wheel when cornering without braking system intervention, resulting in the ability to accelerate out of bends earlier and more powerfully. Additionally, this limited-slip unit allows the E63 S Wagon to remain more stable when braking from high speeds and improves traction when moving off.
    The greatest benefit of the electronic rear-axle limited-slip differential is the sensitive and proactive control it allows, which pushes the thresholds higher and makes it easier to drive at the vehicle's limits. The three-stage ESP® with "ESP ON." "ESP SPORT Handling Mode" and "ESP OFF" settings works in precise unison with the rear-axle limited-slip differential and the all-wheel drive system, and is optimally tuned for outstanding dynamics.
    E63 S 4MATIC+ with dynamic engine mounts as standard
    Uniquely in this segment, the E63 S Wagon is fitted with dynamic engine mounts, which solve the conflicting goals of achieving as soft a connection as possible to the powertrain for high comfort and as rigid a connection as possible for optimum driving dynamics. The dynamic engine mounts are quickly and variably able to adapt their stiffness to the driving conditions and handling requirements. These measures enhance the vehicle's precision when driven dynamically, while the soft setting increases comfort.
    Direct and with clear feedback: the AMG speed-sensitive steering
    The E63 S Wagon features electromechanical, speed-sensitive sports steering with a variable ratio, which impresses thanks to the rack ratio with precise and authentic feedback. Steering power assistance is variably adjusted in the stages "Comfort," "Sport" or "Sport Plus." Relevant steering feel characteristics are automatically activated depending on the selected AMG DYNAMIC SELECT drive program or can be personalised in "Individual" mode.
    Good sensitivity and fade-resistant: the AMG high-performance braking system
    The large-sized high-performance compound braking system is reliable, quick and fade-resistant, even under high loads. The E63 S Wagon is fitted with internally ventilated and perforated 15.4" x 1.4" compound brake discs on the front axle with six-piston fixed callipers. In the rear, 14.2" x .9" discs and single-piston floating brake callipers are equipped.
    Optionally available is an AMG Ceramic Composite braking system, with 15.8" x 1.5" brake discs in on the front axle and and 14.2" x 1.3" discs on the rear axle.
    Sporty characteristics: the interior design
    The interior of the E63 S Wagon reinforces the consistently dynamic bias with numerous, specially designed details. The AMG Performance Steering Wheel in black nappa leather is ideal for a sporty driving style. The driver and front passenger enjoy a secure position in the front sport seats, whatever the driving style, thanks to improved lateral support. AMG Performance Seats with integral head restraints can be ordered as an option. Additional interior touches include nappa leather trim for the dashboard and beltlines, seat belts available in crystal grey and a steering wheel with a grey '12-o'clock' marking.
    All important speed, safety and performance information appears within the driver's field of vision on the standard-fitment dual-12.3"screen digital instrument cluster. Gauges in a carbon-fiber look and distinctive typography lend the displays an especially sporty touch. The widescreen display also allows the driver can choose from three display designs unique to AMG: "Classic," "Sport" and "Progressive."
    Intelligent Drive
    The E63 S Wagon features all the connectivity and Intelligent Drive functions of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Wagon, such as DRIVE PILOT, which assists the driver with semi-automated driving in traffic jams or on routine trips.
    The world premiere of the E63 S wagon will take place at the Geneva Motor Show in March, 2017.
    The E63 S Wagon is scheduled to be on-sale in the US by fall of this year.

    William Maley

    Rube Goldberg would be proud

    Automakers go to great lengths to avoid being hit with the 25 percent chicken tax when they import trucks or vans into the U.S. Mercedes-Benz takes the cake for the most absurd method.
    For the past decade, Mercedes-Benz would build Sprinter vans fully in Germany before disassembling them and shipping the pieces to South Carolina. Workers in a small assembly building would put the vans back together. This method allowed Mercedes-Benz to claim the vans as "locally made".
    "I really couldn't believe it. To build up and tear down, that's really something that hurts me, personally. And the costs!" said Volker Mornhinweg, worldwide head of Mercedes-Benz Vans.
    Mornhinweg first learned about this back in 2010 and like us, found himself wondering 'WHY?!' Thankfully, Mornhinweg began working on making this process not seem like Rube Goldberg machine which will fully culminate with a new assembly plant in South Carolina that will be tasked with building the next-generation Sprinter, most likely in 2018.
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) 

    William Maley

    Information begins to flow on the next-generation Mercedes-Benz CLS

    Ever since Mercedes-Benz introduced the new E-Class earlier this year, there has been speculation as to when its sister model, the CLS would be redesigned. A new report says that it will take place in 2018.
    According to Automotive News, the next-generation CLS is expected to go on sale in the summer of 2018 for the U.S. The model will use Mercedes' Modular Rear Architecture (MRA) that is not only lighter than the platform underpinning the current CLS, but also bring more room. Spy shots reveal that the design of the next CLS will evolve, but will not depart from the current look. There is talk that the new inline-six that Mercedes announced earlier this month could be used for the CLS.
    The interesting bit about Automotive News' report is that Mercedes could move the CLS name to a new four-door sedan that AMG is currently developing, while the standard model would use the CLE nameplate. Also under speculation is that CLS shooting brake will be dropped when the next-generation model is introduced.
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

    William Maley
    Those who were hoping that Mercedes-Benz would bring the X-Class pickup to the U.S., we have some bad news for you. Dietmar Exler, Mercedes-Benz USA CEO tells Automotive News they are passing on bringing the X-Class here for the time being. At the moment, the market doesn't make sense for Mercedes to start selling it. That doesn't mean it will never come. Exler revealed the company will continue its analysis of the U.S. market along with keep track of how well the X-Class is doing in other markets.
    “It’s the biggest segment we’re not in. It’s overall an attractive, huge segment, but we need to make sure it’s the right time for Mercedes," said Exler.
    Exler wouldn't give a timetable of when the X-Class could arrive in the U.S. But he did hint that the second-generation model could be in the cards.
    “Once the next version of the truck comes out -- when we see the next iteration -- there might be an opportunity to bring it in the medium and the long-term.”
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

    William Maley

    Mercedes-Benz: Maybe we should skip out on selling diesels for the U.S.

    Thanks to the Volkswagen diesel emission scandal and demand for diesel vehicles beginning to shrink, Mercedes-Benz is wondering if it's time to pull back on their diesel efforts in the U.S. 
    "We have to look at that and see whether it makes sense to offer diesels in the future. We have not come to a conclusion but we obviously always tend to develop cars and offer vehicles according to customers' demands," said Matthias Luehrs, vice president of sales and product management for Mercedes-Benz.
    Dropping diesels for the U.S. "is a theoretical option," he went onto say.
    Mercedes have already dropped plans for bringing the C-Class diesel, a model that was supposed to go on sale earlier this year. Right now, the priority at Mercedes-Benz is getting EPA certification for the GLS-Class. Other models are expected down the road. 
    Luehrs said the company is currently doing market research and expects the first results to come in early next year.
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

    William Maley

    AMG is planning another dedicated model, this time in sedan form

    AMG, the division known for building some of the maddest Mercedes-Benz performance models has something very special planned for their 50th anniversary next year. Autocar reports that AMG will be showing off a new performance sedan 'Vision' concept at an event. This concept will preview a production model possibly named GT 4 that is expected to debut in 2019.
    The GT 4 will be AMG's third dedicated production model – following the SLS and GT. It will target the likes of the Porsche Panamera and Bentley Continental Flying Spur. 
    Codenamed 'X290', the GT 4 will differ from the GT as it will use a new modular platform from Mercedes-Benz, not a bespoke one found in the GT. However, various design cues of the GT will make its way to the new sedan. Power will come from a 4.0L BiTurbo V8 recently introduced in the E63. It will come in two states of tune and feature a tweaked version of the 4Matic all-wheel drive system. 
    AMG is also considering whether or not the GT 4 should use a new integrated starter generator (ISG) that would not only give a quick boost of performance (around 20 horsepower), but also allow the vehicle to have a stop/start system to improve fuel economy.
    Source: Autocar

    William Maley

    The return of the inline-six at Mercedes-Benz, along with two other engines

    Mercedes has unveiled four new engines this week that feature some clever technologies and will be appearing in models beginning next year.
    The big news is the return of the inline-six layout. Mercedes introduced two engines with this layout, a gas and a diesel. The gas engine is the more intriguing of the two as it will feature a 48-volt electric system. It will power an electric turbocharger and integrated starter-alternator (ISG). Mercedes says the ISG will provide some hybrid functionality such as providing boost when the vehicle leaves a stop and recovery energy. The engine is rated at 408 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. Mercedes claims this engine emits 15 percent less CO2 emission than the current V6.
    The inline-six diesel does without the additional electrics, but it features a stepped-bowl combustion process, two-stage exhaust turbocharging, and a first for a Mercedes' diesel, variable valve timing. Horsepower is rated at 313, but no torque rating is given. Mercedes says it uses seven percent less diesel.
    Next up is a new biturbo V8. Displacing 4.0L, the V8 is rated at 476 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. The V8 features a cylinder deactivation system that can shut off four cylinders to improve fuel economy by 10 percent. This engine will also be one of the first Mercedes models to feature a particulate filter - something commonly used with diesel engines.
    Finally, there is a new twin-turbo four-cylinder. This engine gets a set of twin-scroll turbochargers and a 48-volt belt-driven starter-alternator (BSA). BSA improves the engine's overall efficiency by recovering up to 12.5kW of power and minimizing turbo-lag up to 2,500 rpm. No power figures we're given on this engine.
    The new biturbo V8 will debut in the 2017, but we don't if the other engines will make it to the U.S. at this time.
    Source: Mercedes-Benz
    Press Release is on Page 2

    Extensive strategic engine initiative from Mercedes-Benz: More powerful, more economical and cleaner
    Stuttgart/Sindelfingen. The biggest strategic engine initiative in the history of Mercedes-Benz will enter its decisive phase in 2017. Following the launch of the new four-cylinder diesel engine in spring 2016, next year will see the addition of no fewer than four more members to the all-new family of engines: six-cylinder in-line engines in both diesel and petrol versions, a new four-cylinder petrol engine and a new biturbo V8. At the same time, there will be world premieres for ground-breaking technologies, such as the Integrated Starter-Alternator (ISG), the 48 V electrical system and the electric auxiliary compressor (eZV). These new technologies are tuned to the vehicles on state-of-the-art test rigs at the equally new Powertrain Integration Centre (AIZ) in Sindelfingen.
    "More powerful, more economical and cleaner - the new modular family of engines from Mercedes-Benz offers the right powertrain for every vehicle," says Prof. Dr Thomas Weber, 62, Member of the Daimler Board of Management with responsibility for Group Research at Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. "The systematic optimisation of our high-tech engines plays a crucial role in the road map towards sustainable mobility. They also need to be designed with a view to all current and future requirements. A key success factor in this regard is the extensive electrification of the powertrain."
    Systematic electrification: new six-cylinder in-line petrol engine M 256
    The new six-cylinder in-line petrol engine M 256 represents an outstanding example of electrification, including a 48 V electrical system. New, intelligent turbocharging, e.g. with an electric auxiliary compressor (eZV), as well as an Integrated Starter-Alternator (ISG) provide the guarantee of excellent drivability with no turbo lag. The ISG is responsible for hybrid functions, such as boost or energy recovery, while allowing fuel savings that were previously reserved for high-voltage hybrid technology. The bottom line is that the new six-cylinder in-line engine offers the same performance as an eight-cylinder machine while being much more fuel-efficient. The new petrol engine (internal code: M 256) launches next year in the new S-Class.
    Systematic electrification dispenses with the need for a belt drive for ancillary components at the front of the engine, which reduces its overall length. The narrow construction, together with the physical separation of intake/exhaust, creates space for near-engine exhaust aftertreatment. The 48 V electrical system serves not only high power consumers, such as the water pump and air-conditioning compressor, but also the Integrated Starter-Alternator (ISG), which also supplies energy to the battery by means of highly efficient energy recovery.
    An additional bonus is the unsurpassed refinement of the six-cylinder in-line engine. Output and torque are similar to the current eight-cylinder engine, i.e. over 300 kW (408 hp) and more than 500 Nm. In comparison with the previous V6, the CO2 emissions from the engine have been reduced by around 15 percent.
    At 500 cc, the new machine has the same displacement per cylinder as the premium diesel engine family unveiled last year as well as the family of four-cylinder petrol engines.
    Most powerful passenger-car diesel engine in the history of Mercedes-Benz: six-cylinder OM 656
    The new top-of-the-line engine in the premium diesel family is likewise a six-cylinder in-line machine. The characteristics of the OM 656 include the stepped-bowl combustion process, two-stage exhaust turbocharging and, for the first time, the use of CAMTRONIC variable valve timing. Its design features a combination of aluminium engine block and steel pistons as well as further-improved NANOSLIDE® coating of the cylinder walls. Although there is a significant increase in output compared with the previous OM 642 (over 230 kW/313 hp instead of 190 kW/258 hp), the new engine consumes more than seven percent less fuel.
    Like the already unveiled four-cylinder OM654, the new six-cylinder diesel engine OM 656 is likewise designed to comply with future emissions legislation (RDE – Real Driving Emissions). All the components of relevance for efficient emissions reduction are installed directly on the engine. The integrated technology approach of new stepped-bowl combustion process, dynamic multi-way exhaust gas recirculation and near-engine exhaust aftertreatment, combined for the first time with variable valve timing, opens the way for further reductions in consumption together with extremely low emissions. Thanks to the near-engine insulated configuration, exhaust aftertreatment has a low heat loss and extremely favourable operating conditions. This is reinforced by the CAMTRONIC switchable exhaust camshaft, which supports the consumption-neutral heating of the exhaust system.
    Number of cylinders to suit the requirements: new V8 biturbo petrol engine M 176
    Dynamic power delivery combined with high efficiency: the new biturbo (internal code: M 176) is one of the most economical V8 petrol engines in the world. Its special features include cylinder shutoff at part load as well as the positioning of the turbochargers in the V between the cylinder banks. From its 3982 cc displacement, the new V8 biturbo produces over 350 kW (476 hp) with a maximum torque of around 700 Nm from 2000 rpm. The new engine will consume over 10 percent less fuel than its predecessor, which is rated at 335 kW (455 hp). The new V8 will launch with this technology next year in the new S-Class.
    For lower fuel consumption, when operated at part load the new M 176 shuts off four cylinders simultaneously by means of CAMTRONIC valve timing. This reduces the pumping losses while improving the overall efficiency of the remaining four cylinders by shifting the operating point towards higher loads.
    Sporty specific output: new four-cylinder petrol engine M 264
    A two-litre four-cylinder engine with a specific output of around 100 kW: the new Toptype petrol engine from Mercedes-Benz (internal code: M 264) advances into output regions previously reserved for high-displacement six-cylinder machines. At the same time, it consumes significantly less fuel than a comparable six-cylinder engine. The engine's special features include twin-scroll turbochargers, belt-driven 48 V starter-alternator (BSA) and electric 48 V water pump.
    The BSA is also responsible for fuel-saving hybrid functions:
    Easy start: virtually imperceptible starting and acceleration of the engine Boost in the engine-speed range up to 2500 rpm Energy recovery up to 12.5 kW Shifting of the load point: allows operation in a more favourable area of the engine map Coasting with engine off. In the interests of high power output and a spontaneous engine response, Mercedes-Benz has opted for twin-scroll turbocharging. Unlike conventional systems, a twin-scroll turbocharger merges the exhaust gas ducts of cylinder pairs in the flow-optimised manifold. This turbocharging concept with systematic cylinder flow separation produces high torque in the low-rpm range together with high specific output. Further efficiency measures include intake CAMTRONIC and a friction loss reduction package.
    Even cleaner: particulate filter for petrol engines as standard
    Mercedes-Benz is the first manufacturer to opt for the large-scale use of particulate filters for petrol engines to further improve their environmental compatibility. After more than two years of positive experience in the field with the S 500, in 2017 further S-Class variants will be equipped with the new M 256 and M 176 petrol engines with this technology. The filter will then be gradually introduced in other new vehicle models, facelifted models and new engine generations, such as the M 264.
    The particulate filter for petrol engines reduces the emissions of fine soot particles. How it works: the exhaust-gas stream is supplied to a particulate filter system. The filter has a honeycomb structure with alternately sealed inlet and outlet channels. This forces the exhaust gas to flow through a porous filter wall, which traps the soot. The filter can be continuously regenerated under corresponding driving conditions.

    William Maley

    Mercedes-Benz's interpretation of a pickup truck from Nissan

    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

    William Maley

    The All-Terrain is a maybe for the U.S.


    Mercedes-Benz will be launching the E-Class All-Terrain wagon in Europe to take on the likes of the Audi A6 Allroad and Volvo V90 Cross Country. But Mercedes might bring the All-Terrain to the U.S.
    "We're still debating that and thinking about it. It's a very, very exciting vehicle, and we're taking a look at overall production, volumes that we have to have and business case and so on. So we'll see. Decision not finally made," said Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Dietmar Exler.
    Mercedes already announced that the regular E-Class wagon would be coming to the U.S. early next year, so trying to build up a case for bringing the All-Terrain becomes slightly easier. Also, a number of automakers that still sell wagons in the U.S. make them somewhat capable off-road to take advantage of the current SUV/Crossover craze.
    If Mercedes' U.S. office is able to make a case, Exler said it could arrive as early as next year.
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

    William Maley

    Is it EQ?

    Earlier this week, we reported on the rumor that Mercedes is planning a new subbrand for electric vehicles that might launch towards the end of the decade. Now, Autocar has found a number of trademark applications by the German automaker possibly revealing the name of this new subbrand.
    The applications filed in the United Kingdom revolve around the letters EQ and includes such names as,
    EQA EQC EQE EQG EQS EQ Inside EQ Boost Generation EQ

    Autocar speculates some of the names could be used for electrified versions of current models (ex: EQC for C-Class). EQ Boost might be used for hybrid models.
    We know Mercedes is planning to show an electric SUV concept next month at the Paris Motor Show. This might be where we learn if EQ is the name or not.
    Source: Autocar

    William Maley

    Mercedes follows BMW with creating a subbrand for electric vehicles

    Mercedes-Benz is planning to launch a handful of electric vehicles in the near future, and those vehicles will be part of a new subbrand.
    Bloomberg has learned from sources that the German automaker will be taking a page out of BMW's playbook and introduce a new subbrand that will be comprised of two electric sedans and two SUVs - something we first reported back in May. A name hasn't been chosen yet according to the sources. What is for certain is that Mercedes will show off a concept electric SUV at the Paris Motor Show in September. Using a new platform for electric vehicles, the concept is expected to boast a range of 310 miles. Mercedes hopes to start selling vehicles under this subbrand before the end of the decade.
    But doing a subbrand for electric vehicles is a risky proposition. BMW's i hasn't made any real impact in terms of sales or recognition. This has caused the brand to delay plans for another i model. Whether Mercedes-Benz is able to avoid the pitfallls remains to be seen.
    Source: Bloomberg

    William Maley

    Those who were hoping for a rear-drive E63, we have some bad news

    As much anyone will tell you there is no such thing as too much power, there is a point where power will just overwhelm the tires and you'll be sitting there, doing a burnout. This is why you're seeing more manufacturers adding all-wheel drive to their vehicles to actually get the power down to the wheels.
    The latest one is Mercedes-AMG. Speaking with Top Gear, Mercedes-AMG boss Tobias Moers says the next-generation model will be available with all-wheel drive. The reason comes down to people preferring the current model with the all-wheel drive model.
    “But we are going to introduce a completely new four-wheel drive system, one which we’ve never had in the company. That’s going to be the biggest step we ever did with a generation. In Germany we had the choice of 4x4 and 4x2, and 90-plus per cent bought the 4x4. People in that segment are looking for four-wheel drive,” said Moers.
    It should be noted when Mercedes introduced the refreshed E63 for the U.S. in 2014, you could only get it with all-wheel drive. Elsewhere, you had the choice of rear-wheel or all-wheel drive.
    Moers also dropped that the next E63 would use the same biturbo V8 as the C63 and AMG GT. For the E63, the engine will get a number of changes including new cylinder heads and a different arrangement of the turbos. The plan is to produce around 600 horsepower.
    “I’m more focused on the overall package. Maybe not in the past, but we’ve moved to that, to a certain extent. Power should be in line with the overall capabilities of the chassis. It’s more important to have a precise throttle response than all that power. You need a certain level and in that segment, it’s around 600bhp.”
    It is expected that the E63 will debut this fall at the Paris Motor Show in September.
    Source: Top Gear

    William Maley

    There's a new modular electric platform coming soon from Mercedes

    Mercedes-Benz will be showing off an EV concept at the Paris Motor Show this fall. This concept EV will be riding on a new modular electric platform that will underpin a new dedicated EV in 2020.
    Last week at an event in Stuttgart, Mercedes teased this new modular platform. A lithium-ion battery pack is mounted to the floor and a set electric motors will be used on the front and rear axles. This layout is similar to the modular platform used by Tesla. Range is expected to be around 310 miles for the production model.
    We're wondering if this platform is the rumored MEA (Modular Electric Architecture) we first reported on last month. Sources tell Car and Driver the dedicated EV will be a crossover that is GLC-sized, something we learned in our May report.
    Source: Mercedes-Benz, Car and Driver
    Press Release is on Page 2

    Road #3: Electric pioneer Mercedes-Benz significantly expands carbon-free mobility
    Reducing CO2 emissions across all vehicle categories is a top priority for Daimler AG. Electromobility has an important part to play in this regard. The company already has a large number of electric vehicles on the market, and the product range is set to continue to grow. Prof Dr Weber: "We are investing massively in electromobility, and we are convinced that the market is now ready. With the new vehicles we offer, we want to impress the benefits of the new mobility on car owners who have not yet opted for an electric vehicle."
    The smart fortwo electric drive made Daimler the first manufacturer to offer a series-produced electric vehicle in 2007. Today, the company will soon have more than a dozen vehicles on the market including vans and commercial vehicles that are capable of emission-free driving. The range is going to be significantly expanded in the near future. The fourth generation of the smart as a fortwo and also as a forfour for the first time ever is being launched onto the market before the end of the year. The smart fortwo coupé electric drive, smart fortwo cabrio electric drive and smart forfour electric drive are making their global débuts at the Paris Motor Show in September 2016. With the début of the fourth generation of the electric smart, smart will be the only automotive manufacturer in the world to offer its entire range of models either powered by internal combustion engines or operating entirely on battery power. The new smart fortwo electric drive is being launched onto the US market by the end of this year, where approximately 25 percent of all battery-driven smarts have been sold recently. This will be followed by the European market launch of the two- and four-seat models in early 2017.
    This will be followed by the Mercedes-Benz GLC F-CELL with innovative plug-in fuel cell technology from 2017. Fuel-cell technology is an integral part of Daimler's powertrain strategy. The benefits are obvious: a long operating range and short refuelling stops as well as a broad spectrum of possible uses ranging from passenger cars to urban buses. A new generation of vehicles is being launched from 2017 on the basis of the Mercedes-Benz GLC. The Mercedes-Benz engineers joined forces with partners in the Daimler network of expertise to develop a new, compact fuel-cell system which for the first time fits into conventional engine compartments. The GLC F-CELL also boasts another innovation for the next generation of fuel cell vehicles in the form of a large lithium-ion battery. Rated at around 9 kWh, the battery serves as an additional energy source for the electric motor and can be charged externally by means of plug-in technology for the first time. The combination of the fuel cell and battery systems in concert with the refinement of the intelligent operation strategy offers the best possible efficiency and comfort. With this set-up, the GLC F-CELL achieves a combined range of around 500 km in the NEDC.
    Another important step is the development of a multi-model electric vehicle architecture for battery-powered vehicles. The first model is to be launched onto the market before the end of the decade.
    The light-duty Fuso Canter E-Cell truck has been undergoing commercial fleet testing since 2015. This was initially carried out in Portugal where they are produced, and five of the vehicles have also been on the road for the City of Stuttgart and the logistics company Hermes since April this year. Instead of a diesel, an electric powertrain with a strong permanent-magnet motor delivers an output of 110 kW (150 hp) to the rear axle via a single-speed transmission. 650 newton metres of torque allow the six-tonne vehicle to accelerate almost as fast as a passenger car, and are available from the very first second of driving.
    Dozens of fuel cell-powered Mercedes-Benz Citaro buses have already been proving their mettle for twelve transport operators on three continents since 2003. The next milestones on the way to the future are the Citaro E-CELL (battery-powered) and Citaro F-CELL (fuel cell-powered). Both are based on a shared e-platform, which allows tailored electromobility for any city and even any bus line. The capacity of the battery and charging technology are adjusted to suit the specific requirements. The forecast: By the year 2030, 70 percent of all newly acquired Citaro buses will run on electricity with zero local emissions.

    William Maley

    Mercedes joins the off-road wagon brigade

    Earlier this week saw Mercedes-Benz introduce the next-generation E-Class wagon. But there is a new variant that will debut later this fall.
    Mercedes-Benz confirmed to Autocar that a model to compete against the Audi A6 Allroad and the upcoming Volvo V90 Cross Country will be shown at the Paris Motor Show in September. Known as the E-Class All Terrain, the wagon will feature Mercedes' 4Matic all-wheel drive system and an air suspension that can be raised or lowered depending on the terrain.
    “It won’t be as good as an SUV off road, but it will be able to go farther than most owners will expect,” said Michael Kelz, chief engineer on the E-Class.
    The exterior will come with plastic body cladding, new bumpers, and underbody protection.
    Mercedes-Benz will kick off sales of the E-Class All Terrain early next year. At the moment, there are no plans to bring it to the U.S.
    Source: Autocar

    William Maley

    Meet the new E-Class Wagon (and it's coming to the U.S.!)

    It may seem odd for an automaker to launch a new wagon in the U.S. considering how crazy we are for crossovers. But Mercedes-Benz knows there is a small subset of luxury buyers who prefer the looks and practicality of a wagon. For those, Mercedes has announced a new E-Class wagon.
    The 2017 E-Class wagon takes the shape found on the sedan and adds a longer roof and rear tailgate. Using the same 115.7-inch wheelbase as the sedan, the wagon will offer more interior space. As to how much, Mercedes doesn't provide that information. But considering the current wagon offers 57.4 cubic feet of cargo space, we expect it to be about the same or slightly more.
    Like the current E-Class wagon, Mercedes-Benz will only offer the 2017 model in one configuration: A Biturbo 3.0L V6 with 329 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque (known as the E400). This will come paired with a nine-speed automatic and 4Matic all-wheel drive.
    The interior is handsome with high-quality materials and a design that is reminiscent of the S-Class. There is seating for seven thanks to a rear-facing third row (best reserved for small kids).
    Mercedes says the 2017 E400 wagon will arrive in the U.S. early next year. Pricing will be announced at a later time.
    Source: Mercedes-Benz

    Press Release is on Page 2

    2017 E-Class Wagon: Peerless in German Luxury
    The all-new MY2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Wagon is expected to be on sale at U.S. dealers by early 2017:

    June 06, 2016 - Stuttgart.

    Innovative engineering and a compelling conception of space make it the most intelligent wagon that Mercedes-Benz has ever built.
    In terms of the space, the all-new model year 2017 E400 Wagon will launch by early 2017 and will continue to be the only German luxury wagon available in its segment. Its cargo volume and, in spite of a much sportier roof line, headroom and elbowroom in the rear are best in class. The E400 Wagon will once again will offer a third row folding bench seat as standard equipment in the USA.
    "The new Wagon is as dynamic as the Mercedes-Benz brand and as spacious as our customers expect. Intelligent features such as the cargo position for the rear seat backrest with its 40:20:40 split as standard allow even better use to be made of the generous load-carrying capacity," says Ola Källenius, member of the Board of Management at Daimler AG and responsible for Mercedes-Benz Cars Marketing and Sales. "And what is more, the Wagon obviously has all the innovations of the new E-Class – the most intelligent executive sedan in the world."
    For the market launch in the USA, the new E400 4MATIC Wagon will be available with a six-cylinder Biturbo engine that generates 329 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. The E400 4MATIC Wagon is equipped as standard with the new 9G-TRONIC nine-speed automatic transmission.
    Intelligent load compartment: large, versatile and easy to access
    The E-Class Wagon's load compartment is one of the biggest in the segment globally. As standard, the rear bench seat has new cargo-related functionality: it is possible to position the backrest at an approximately 10-degree steeper angle, creating an additional space for cargo while continuing to enable full use to be made of five seats.
    As with the all-new MY2017 E-Class sedan, the rear seat backrest folds down in a 40:20:40 split as standard, opening up plenty of potential configurations between transport capacity and seats. To release the backrests, there are electric switches located in the load compartment and to the right and left next to the backrests.
    Developers paid particular attention to practical dimensions and innovative management of the load space. With a minimum load compartment width between the wheel arches of 43.3 inches, it was possible to retain the preceding model's already-impressive measurements. The proven combined cargo cover and net is back, offering both security from prying eyes and safety. Thanks to an electric motor, the load compartment cover moves upwards automatically when the tailgate is opened.
    The EASY-PACK tailgate provided as part of the standard equipment can be opened and closed very easily at the touch of a button for comfortable loading and unloading. Operation is electromechanical. To prevent the tailgate making contact with the garage roof, for example, it can be halted in any position.
    Optional KEYLESS-GO with HANDS-FREE ACCESS makes loading cargo even more convenient: to open the trunk, all that is required is to make a kicking motion with one's foot underneath the rear bumper and the trunk lid will be opened and closed automatically.
    A self-levelling rear air suspension continues to be equipped as standard. This ensures that the Wagon remains level, even when fully loaded with cargo or when towing. With AIR BODY CONTROL, all-round air suspension is available as an option.
    Exterior design: dynamic proportions, powerful-looking at the rear
    The new E-Class Wagon appears modern, confidently stylish and dynamic, and looks like the E-Class Sedan through to the B-pillar. From the long hood, a silhouette emerges that flows across the long roof with its sporty curve into the powerful rear of the wagon with its steeply tapering rear window. Short overhangs, a long wheelbase and large wheels make for dynamic proportions. In conjunction with the high beltline, the low, stretched side windows make the vehicle seem longer. Flowing into the greenhouse, the sidewall's positively exaggerated lines extend powerfully towards the rear. Completing the exterior form, the rear has broad shoulders over the rear wheel arches for a sensual look. A roof spoiler with a third brake light (LED) defines how high the broad, functional tailgate can open. From a visual perspective, horizontal lines at the tail end and the rear window both emphasize width, as do the horizontally aligned, two-piece LED tail lights with integral chrome trim. Complementing the form, LED reflectors underscore the vehicle's character by creating a design highlight by day and night. On the tailgate, the wide, chrome-plated handle acts as the visual centerpiece.
    As on the Sedan, the powerful front will vary depending on the chosen design and equipment line. The Luxury model features the classic Mercedes radiator grille with the star on the hood, and the Sport model can be recognized by the central star on the sports radiator grille. Each variant of radiator grille gives the E-Class a distinctive character, be that elegant or sporty.
    Interior design: a synthesis of emotion and intelligence
    Inside, too, the Wagon utilizes the Sedan's award-winning design. The instrument panel can be adorned with two optional wide, high-resolution displays, each with a 12.3-inch screen. Located under a shared glass cover, they merge to form a widescreen cockpit. The driver may configure the fully digital display to show the information and views that are relevant for them. There are three different styles to choose from: "Classic," "Sport" and "Progressive." Touch Control Buttons on the steering wheel allow the instrument cluster and multimedia system to be controlled at the swipe of a finger and have made their debut in the new E-Class.
    Further controls are provided in the form of a touchpad with controller in the center console, which can also recognize handwriting, plus the voice- operated control system. There are also direct-access buttons for controlling the air conditioning and for convenient activation and deactivation of certain driving assistance systems.
    High-quality materials define the interior style. They include natural grain wood, and wood in a yachting look with flowing lines as a contemporary interpretation of inlaid wood. The use of authentic materials is continued in the optionally leather-covered doors and the beltline. Another Mercedes hallmark is the high-quality look and feel created by meticulous attention to detail and craftsmanship. Just as carefully composed is the material and color concept with various shades of brown, including attractive color combinations such as macchiato beige/espresso brown or macchiato beige/saddle brown. The design and equipment lines include enhanced ambient lighting featuring 64 colors, offering plenty of opportunities for personalized adjustment.
    When it comes to the seats, their ergonomic, sculptural form combines Mercedes-Benz's hallmark suitability for long journeys with a refined, sporty look, featuring a unique design for each line. Other new features in this segment are Warmth and Comfort package, which includes heated steering wheel, heated armrests in the doors and on the center console, and the quickly responding heated front seats Plus.
    Relieved of much noise and vibration: one of the quietest wagons
    In the interior, the new E-Class Wagon is one of the quietest vehicles in its class – even though an wagon is at a disadvantage by design compared to a sedan due to the large resonating body. Quiet running and low vibration make a significant contribution to the level of energizing comfort, particularly on long journeys.
    A whole raft of measures help to reduce vibrations and noise. As on a cabriolet, struts strengthen the main floor and front end of the body shell. For that reason, the vehicle body is very rigid and transmits less noise.
    Special insulation on the bodywork (including on the bulkhead, sidewalls and main floor), as well as sound absorbers under the rear seats and on the wheel arches, keep noise out of the vehicle interior. The kinematic design of the chassis, axles and steering system reduces disturbances that can be caused by road surfaces, the wheels being out-of-balance or when braking. Engine and transmission mounts have also been optimized in terms of noise levels.
    Various aeroacoustic measures have been taken. These include sealed door handles, seals on the door joints and optimizing details associated with the geometry of the sealing sections for the side windows. Improvements have also been made to the formed parts for the inside sealing rails so that these are connected to the window run channel without any gaps by positive locking. As on the E-Class Sedan, the exterior mirrors and A-pillar have been optimized in terms of aeroacoustics. The roof structure and the tilt/sliding sunroof module have been aeroacoustically improved to benefit noise comfort in these areas too. In the case of the panoramic sliding sunroof, multiple wind-deflection measures (wind deflector, covers and seals with the appropriate geometry) ensure the same high level of noise comfort as in the preceding model, despite the larger aperture.
    The Acoustic & Comfort package is available for US customers on both the sedan and wagon models. A special acoustic film in the windscreen and side windows ensures low levels of background noise in the vehicle interior. The Acoustic Comfort package contains further sound- insulating measures such as additional insulation in the rear footwell and on the center tunnel. To provide excellent heat insulation in the interior, the windscreen, side windows and rear windows are made of laminated safety glass with another layer of film that absorbs infrared. Surfaces in the interior like the armrests, steering wheel and seats get less hot from solar radiation as a result.
    Intelligent Drive: all the E-Class innovations are on-board
    As the most intelligent executive sedan, the E-Class sets new benchmarks in terms of safety, comfort and reducing the driver's workload. These innovations are, of course, also available on the wagon. Active Brake Assist is fitted as standard. It is able to warn the driver of impending collisions, provide optimum support with emergency braking and, if necessary, also autonomously apply the brakes. In addition to slower-moving, stopping or stationary vehicles, it can also detect pedestrians crossing the danger zone ahead of the vehicle.
    Other highlights include DRIVE PILOT: this system represents Mercedes- Benz's next step along the road to autonomous driving. Distance Pilot DISTRONIC is not only able to automatically keep the car the correct distance behind vehicles in front on all types of road, it can also follow them at a speed of up to 130 mph.

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