What you missed on 7.14.14

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lexus nx 300h fd 1 What you missed on 7.14.14Quick Spin: 2015 Lexus NX 300h

Following our first drive of the turbocharged NX 200t, managing editor Jeremy Korzeniewski tells us about the version of Lexus’ new small crossover that might just be the one we’d buy. The hybrid NX 300h “is one of the more interesting hybrids on the market,” says Korzeniewski, thanks in part to its decent driving dynamics and innovative all-wheel-drive system. Read all about it, here.

elio 4x3 What you missed on 7.14.14Translogic 154: Elio Motors

Despite looking like the next big thing in EVs, the Elio is actually a small trike with a traditional internal combustion engine. It seats two and can achieve a remarkable 84 miles per gallon, thanks to its super-slick design and 900cc gasoline powerplant. What’s more, all of this uniqueness is expected to come in at just under $7,000. We check it out in the latest episode of Translogic.

mercedes s65 coupe 39 What you missed on 7.14.142015 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG Coupe

What has 621 horsepower, 738 pound-feet of torque, two doors, and every luxury amenity you could ever dream of? The 2015 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG Coupe. As associate editor Brandon Turkus writes, this car might be “the most opulent coupe in [Mercedes-Benz's] storied history.” And while pricing hasn’t been announced just yet, we’d be shocked if this thing came in at less than $220,000. Get the full scoop, here.


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Mercedes rolls out Sport Package Plus for CLA250

cla sport pack plus Mercedes rolls out Sport Package Plus for CLA250

If you dig the style of the Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class but can’t quite stretch from the $29,900 MSRP of the CLA250 to the $47,450 CLA45 AMG, we’ve got a bit of good news for you: Mercedes is offering a new Sport Package Plus for the CLA250 that at least punches up the visual attitude.

Similar to the Euro-spec CLA250 Sport introduced in Frankfurt (if not identical save for the mirror caps), the US-spec CLA 250 Sport Package Plus includes a special set of 18-inch alloys, upgraded exhaust and retuned suspension. It also gets red accents on the bumpers and an interior with more robustly bolstered buckets and red stitching. All of this comes on top of the aero kit, chrome grille and upgraded brakes on the existing Sport Package.

Those are the only mechanical changes, so don’t go looking for any more juice out of the 2.0-liter turbo four than the 208 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque that come standard, channeled as they are either to the front wheels or all four through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Pricing for the Sport Package Plus hasn’t been announced, but the existing Sport Package was already going for $2,200, so expect to shell out even more than that for the new kit.

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2015 S65 AMG Coupe is 186 miles per hour of pure luxury

The new S65 AMG Coupe
Unique Exclusivity and performance

Affalterbach The S65 AMG Coupe is the new twelve-cylinder top-of-the- range model in the S-Class Coupe series. Unique drive comfort, benchmark performance and exquisite appointments are all hallmarks of this stuning new two-door. The irresistible contours of the V12 Coupe are accentuated by a host of expressive design elements in high-sheen chrome. The AMG 6.0- litre V12 biturbo engine, with an output of 621 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque, is unique in its segment, as is the AMG sports suspension, based on MAGIC BODY CONTROL with curve tilting function and ROAD SURFACE SCAN.

Tobias Moers, Chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes-AMG GmbH: “There are AMG fans for whom our V12 biturbo engine is the measure of all things. For this clientele we have developed a unique car in the form of the new S65 AMG Coupe. From driving dynamics to comfort and equipment –
our new twelve-cylinder coupe surpasses even the highest of expectations.”

Mercedes-AMG’s unique range and long V12 tradition

Coupe, Sedan and Roadster: following the S65 AMG and the SL 65 AMG, the new S65 AMG Coupe is the third AMG high-performance car with a V12 engine to come to the United States market. Globally, no other car manufacturer in the world offers such a wide portfolio of twelve-cylinder vehicles as Mercedes-AMG. In 2003, the performance brand of Mercedes-Benz presented a coupe with a powerful V12 biturbo engine in the form of the CL65 AMG (C215 model series). Its successor, the CL65 AMG (C216 model series) was available between 2007 and 2014 and was the direct predecessor to the new S65 AMG Coupe.

Key data at a glance:
S65 AMG Coupe
Displacement: 5980 cc
Output: 621 hp (463kw) at 4800-5400 rpm
Max. torque: 738 lb-ft at 2300-4300 rpm
Acceleration 0-60 mph: 4.0 s (est.)
Top speed: 186*
* Electronically limited

Twelve-cylinder engines are still considered the pinnacle of engine design. Among connoisseurs the AMG 6.0-litre V12 biturbo engine in particular is seen as an outstanding example of its type. Open the hood of the S65 AMG Coupe, and it is immediately obvious why. The exclusive carbon fibre/aluminium engine cover is synonymous with the exceptional strengths of the V12 engine that is built in Affalterbach according to the “one man, one engine” principle. Apart from serving as an AMG hallmark confirming superlative precision and production quality, the AMG engine plate bearing the master engine builder’s signature is also a clear testament to the peerless DNA of Mercedes-Benz’s high-performance brand.

A sensational drive and effortlessly superior performance

The AMG V12 delivers a peak output of 621 hp and a maximum torque of 738 lb-ft – resulting in effortlessly superior performance. The S65 AMG Coupe accelerates from 0-60 mph in 4.0 seconds and has a top speed of 186 mph (electronically limited). In other respects, the AMG 6.0-litre V12 biturbo engine assures a sensational drive. Stylish drive comfort, tremendous pulling power and effortless power delivery in all speed ranges are coupled with refined engine running characteristics and the distinctive typical sound of the AMG V12.

Technical highlights of the AMG 6.0-litre V12 biturbo engine:

• Biturbocharging
• Aluminium crankcase
• Forged crankshaft in high-grade alloy steel
• Multi-spark ignition with 12 twin-spark ignition units
• Air-to-water intercooler with low-temperature circuit
• Alternator management
• ECO start/stop function

Power transmission with three individual driving modes The AMG SPEEDSHIFT PLUS 7G-TRONIC is responsible for transmitting power to the rear axle. The transmission offers three individual modes: the driver can choose between Controlled Efficiency (C), Sport (S) and Manual (M) by pushing a button on the center console. Sport and Manual emphasize the vehicle’s dynamic pedigree. The ultimate emotional appeal and tangible sportiness are ensured by the brief, precisely defined cutback of ignition and injection when shifting up a gear under full load. This shortens shift times and lends an audibly more emotive tone to gearshifts. The ECO start/stop function is activated in transmission mode “C”.

Lithium-ion battery reduces weight by over 44 lbs

The S65 AMG Coupe features a lithium-Ion battery as standard equipment. This innovative technology offers numerous advantages over a conventional battery concept. With a capacity of 78 Ah, the lithium-ion battery replaces both the starter battery and the backup battery – resulting in a weight saving of over 44 lbs.

AMG sports suspension with curve tilting function

The AMG sports suspension based on MAGIC BODY CONTROL delivers an incomparable driving sensation. The standard combination of Active Body Control (ABC), ROAD SURFACE SCAN and curve tilting function is unique. This function allows the S65 AMG Coupe to lean into bends in a manner similar to a motorcyclist or skier. The lateral acceleration acting on the occupants is similar to driving on a banked curve. On country roads in particular, the curve tilting function heightens motoring enjoyment and comfort. The object is not to reach higher cornering speeds, but to produce an even more pleasant motoring experience. The curve tilting function can be selected as one of three drive modes using the ABC switch, and it is active in the speed range from 10 to 111 mph.

On bends the vehicle leans into the turn automatically and continuously in fractions of a second – depending on the curve radius and vehicle speed. The innovative suspension system detects curves using both a stereo camera behind the windscreen, registering the curvature of the road up to approximately 50 feet ahead, and an additional lateral acceleration sensor. The curve tilting function is making its United States debut in the S65 AMG Coupe.

ROAD SURFACE SCAN is a technology that can detect surface undulations in advance with the help of a stereo camera. MAGIC BODY CONTROL then adjusts the suspension in advance to suit the situation, effectively compensating for irritating chassis movement. Both suspension modes – “Comfort” and “Sport” – are also available here. In addition the AMG sports suspension, the S65 AMG Coupe features specific elastokinematics – the driver therefore benefits from more directness with a dynamic driving style.

Speed-sensitive sports steering with variable steering ratio

The electromechanical speed-sensitive sports steering with variable steering ratio perfectly complements the sophisticated suspension technology by optimizing vehicle handling and agility while maintaining driving safety at high speeds. In “Comfort” suspension mode, the speed-sensitive sports steering enhances comfort by providing more steering assistance. If the “Sport” suspension setting is selected, the driver feels a stiffer and more commanding level of steering assistance. The pre-programmed curves for power assistance enhance feedback from the road surface and steering precision.

Polished forged wheels with fully integrated wheel bolt cover

The S65 AMG Coupe features forged wheels in a multi-spoke design, size 8.5 x 20 at the front and 9.5 x 20 at the rear, with 255/40 R 20 and 285/35 R 20 tires. The exclusive forged wheels of the V12 Coupe fascinate with their exceptional design that represents a contemporary interpretation of the classic sports car rims. Each of the 16 spokes twists so that the light-catching contours radiate to the center of the wheel hub. The ultimate effect is that the wheel gives the impression of being even bigger.

The matchless visual superiority of the ceramically polished, high-sheen AMG forged wheels is the result of an elaborate finishing process. Initial polishing is followed by manual grinding of the light-alloy wheels. Two polishing stages using different polishing compounds ensure the desired deep sheen. Having been cleaned, the wheels then undergo final treatment, including final clear coat sealing.

The forged wheels feature a high-quality, screw-on, fully integrated wheel bolt cover in forged aluminium. Its shape is reminiscent of a center lock as seen in motorsport. The AMG lettering is incorporated into the rim as a design element. Additional forged wheels are available as optional alternatives – one design variant features a matte black finish and high-sheen rim flange.

Optional ceramic high-performance compound brake system

The AMG high-performance compound brake system features brake callipers with a grey finish. Red callipers are also available, and a ceramic high- performance compound brake system is optional. This design, which is more than 20 percent lighter than its conventional counterpart, ensures lower unsprung masses as well as enhanced driving dynamics, agility, ride comfort, and brake performance.

Design: irresistible contours, lavishly accentuated with chrome

Supreme sportiness combined with the sensual clarity typical of Mercedes-Benz – the irresistible contours of the S65 AMG Coupe are a captivating sight. V12- specific features include the countless design elements in high-sheen chrome at the front, sides and rear which are particularly effective in conjunction with dark paintwork. The large central Mercedes star on the front apron, the “twin blade” radiator grille, all of the air intake grilles, the trim strip on the “A-wing”, the side flics (air deflector elements) and the front splitter are chromed-trimmed. The three-dimensional front splitter increases downforce at the front axle, while the gap above the front splitter ensures an effective flow of air to the separate engine oil cooler behind it.

At the side, the eye is drawn to the “V12 BITURBO” lettering on the wings and the high-sheen chrome inserts in the side skirts which harmonize perfectly with the high-sheen polished forged wheels. The rear view is also unmistakable. The AMG sports exhaust system’s two chromed twin tailpipes in V12 design are integrated into the rear apron. Above the distinctive diffuser insert, painted in high-gloss black, the trim element forms an effective contrast. It echoes the design of the “A-wings” on the front apron and is finished in high-sheen chrome.

Interior: equipment, quality and ambience of the highest standard

The extraordinary character is also evident on the inside. The S65 AMG Coupe welcomes its occupants with an incomparably exquisite ambience. This two- door features the finest materials, the highest manufacturing quality and an extensive range of standard equipment. In visual terms, the interior is dominated by the sports seats. The upholstery in designo AMG Exclusive Nappa leather with seat upholstery layout in a diamond-pattern design boasts delineated perforations which ensure beautiful harmony between perforations and stylistic stiching. The result is exceptionally neat seams and an unrivalled impression of quality.

Exclusively developed AMG sports seats ensure optimal long-distance comfort. Electric adjustment, memory function, seat heating and climate control are standard features. More contoured seat cushions and backrests improve lateral support when cornering at speed. High-quality AMG badges are prominently displayed on all four backrests, and the AMG crest is embossed on the front centre console.

Other features of the exclusive package include the Nappa leather roof liner, a leather-lined dashboard, door center panels in a diamond-pattern design, leather-clad roof grab handles, chromed door pins and AMG stainless steel door sill panels illuminated in white. Customers ordering designo AMG Exclusive Nappa leather upholstery are able to choose between black, porcelain/espresso brown, saddle brown/black and crystal grey/black.

New sports steering wheel in a three-spoke design

The new three-spoke sports steering wheel allows perfect vehicle control. It features shift paddles, a distinctly contoured rim trimmed with perforated leather in the grip area, and a metal insert featuring AMG lettering.

Another typical AMG speciality is the AMG instrument cluster. Information on the engine speed, vehicle speed and much more appears on two animated round dials on the 12.2 inch, high-resolution colour TFT display. The typography, the needles in red/silver, the speedometer with its 220 mph scale and the “V12 BITURBO” lettering in the rev counter all have a distinctive AMG look. When the driver’s door is opened, an AMG start-up screen appears on the right-hand display, while an animated S65 AMG Coupe appears in the instrument cluster.

Extensive standard equipment with head-up display and touchpad

The extensive range of standard equipment for the S65 AMG Coupe includes the head-up display and the touchpad. The head-up display projects key information such as the vehicle speed, speed limits, navigation directions, traffic signs and information from DISTRONIC PLUS onto the windscreen. The visualization of the engine speed and the current gear is exclusive to AMG. In manual transmission mode, a colored upshift bar and the possible gears for a manual gear change are also projected onto the windscreen. The virtual colour display, measuring 8 x 2.75 inch, appears to hover above the hood at a distance of around two meters from the driver. The innovative Mercedes-Benz touchpad makes it significantly easier to operate the radio, telephone and navigation system. In contrast to conventional systems, the touchpad can be used to operate all of the infotainment functions. The input area is approximately 2.5 x 1.7 inches in size and is integrated into the handrest with a cover for the keypad.

Intelligent Drive: new standards in safety

The S65 AMG Coupe also sets new standards in terms of active and passive safety. What began with PRE-SAFE® ten years ago and continued with DISTRONIC PLUS is now leading to a new dimension in driving. Comfort and safety have merged into one. Mercedes-Benz calls this Intelligent Drive. Ground-breaking systems make the new S-Class Coupe even more comfortable and safe.

Standard equipment for the S65 AMG Coupe includes (selection):

• 360° camera
• Active Parking Assist with PARKTRONIC
• Burmester® high-end 3D surround sound system
• Driving Assistance package Plus, including DISTRONIC PLUS with Steering Assist, PRE-SAFE® Brake, BAS PLUS with Cross-Traffic Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist and PRE-SAFE® PLUS
• Upholstery in AMG Exclusive nappa leather
• KEYLESS-GO package

Orders can be placed for the S65 AMG Coupe in the coming weeks, and the United States market launch at Mercedes-Benz sales outlets and authorized dealerships is planned for the end of 2014.

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Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet nears production readiness

lead Mercedes C Class Cabriolet nears production readiness

Mercedes-Benz has lifted some camouflage off the C-Class Cabriolet, the vehicle that will finally give the German manufacturer a dedicated challenger to the BMW 4 Series Convertible and Audi A5 Convertible.

As has been reported already, there’s a folding canvas roof below that camouflaged faux hardtop. We’ll admit, we do find it somewhat surprising that Mercedes isn’t going with a folding metal roof, like competitor BMW. Aside from that detail, expect the C-Class Cab’s sheetmetal to be nearly identical to its four-door counterpart below the beltline.

As for when we can expect this new model to arrive, there’s no clear date, although it does look remarkably production ready. If it doesn’t debut earlier, we’d expect to see the new C-Class Coupe and Cabriolet at the 2014 Paris Motor Show in October. As for where it will be built, don’t expect either two-door C-Class to head to Alabama. For reasons unclear, Mercedes will likely opt to keep production of both the coming Coupe and Cabriolet in Germany.

Keep an eye open for more on the new C-Class Cabriolet in the coming weeks and months, and in the meantime, check out the spy shots above.

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Mercedes S-Class Pullman to be built by Brabus?

brabus s class Mercedes S Class Pullman to be built by Brabus?

Back in the late 1990s, something came over Germany’s automakers that made them all want to break into the market for super-luxury sedans. BMW bought Rolls-Royce and Volkswagen took over Bentley, but Daimler opted to go a different way and revived the long-dead Maybach brand. As we all know, that didn’t go exactly as planned, but Mercedes-Benz is still determined to compete in that stratospheric market in a different way. And that different way will reportedly involve Brabus.

One of the premier tuners of Mercedes vehicles, Brabus has made a business out of turning Benzes into even more powerful and luxurious modes of transportation. And the latest word from Germany has it that Mercedes will tap Brabus to build its upcoming top-of-the-line S-Class limousine. Expected to revive the Pullman name, the vehicle is set to compete with the Rolls-Royce Phantom and Bentley Mulsanne at the top of the market with a sticker price as high as $1 million.

It wouldn’t be the first time that Mercedes would turn to an outside partner for this kind of project. It wouldn’t even be the first time Mercedes would call on the talents of Brabus for such a vehicle, either, the two having already collaborated on top-of-the-line versions of the Smart city car. Remember that Mercedes also turned to McLaren – with which it at that point fostered a close relationship – to produce the SLR. Here’s hoping that the Pullman project goes (even) better.

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Mercedes and Infiniti confirm joint production in Mexico [w/video]

Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler expand cooperation with new plant in Mexico

- Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler expand cooperation with new plant in Mexico
- Teams will work closely on development of next-generation compact vehicles for both Mercedes-Benz and Infiniti
- New plant in Aguascalientes, Mexico, will add nearly 5,700 additional workers and annual capacity of 300,000 vehicles when fully ramped up
- Companies will equally divide investment costs of approximately €1 billion

MEXICO CITY (27 June 2014) – The Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler AG are significantly expanding their cooperation with joint development of premium compact vehicles and joint production in Mexico.

Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn and Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche announced today that their companies have agreed to establish a 50:50 joint venture, the business entity that will oversee construction and operation of the new plant in Aguascalientes in north-central Mexico. The new plant will be built in the immediate vicinity of an already existing Nissan plant and will have an annual capacity of 300,000 vehicles when fully ramped up.

Start of production is planned for 2017 with Infiniti models. The production of Mercedes-Benz brand vehicles will follow in 2018.

Daimler and Nissan will share the total investment cost for Aguascalientes of approximately €1 billion. The companies will add almost 5,700 jobs (including engineering, line workers and support staff) by the time the plant reaches full capacity, expected in 2021. In addition, a high localization rate will significantly increase the Mexican supply base.

Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance: “Joint development of compact premium vehicles and joint production in Aguascalientes together represent one of the largest projects between the Renault-Nissan Alliance and Daimler. It also shows how our collaboration, which began in Europe, has become global in scope.”

Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars: “In Aguascalientes, we will take our successful partnership to the next level by combining the skills of our two companies Daimler and Nissan in one production plant. Just over four years after the cooperation was founded, the decision for the new plant in Mexico is a major milestone.”

Close collaboration between Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz at every stage of development, from advanced research and design to production, will ensure that vehicles within the scope of the project will clearly differ from each other in terms of product design and specifications.

Growing together in Mexico

In Aguascalientes both partners will enjoy access to Nissan’s award-winning, highly efficient workforce. Nissan has been producing vehicles in Aguascalientes since 1992, and the plant has expanded significantly just in the past year.

In November, Nissan opened the first stage of a US$2 billion manufacturing complex in Aguascalientes. This increased Nissan’s total capacity in Mexico to more than 850,000 vehicles annually.

Mexico is already an important market for Daimler. The company has production plants for trucks and buses in Saltillo, Santiago Tianguistenco and Garcia, a parts distribution center in San Luis Potosí and a remanufacturing plant in Toluca. For passenger cars Daimler has a pre-delivery-inspection and a training center.

Four years of increasing collaboration

The French-Japanese-German industrial cooperation of Daimler and the Renault-Nissan Alliance began in April 2010, with three “pillar projects” primarily focused on Europe. Since then, the portfolio has increased to twelve significant projects, including major initiatives from the Americas to Japan.

Just yesterday, Infiniti and Daimler launched production of four-cylinder gasoline engines in Decherd, Tennessee, USA. With an annual production capacity of 250,000 units, the Decherd facility produces engines for use in the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and in the Infiniti Q50.

Later this year, the Alliance and Daimler will start selling the next-generation smart and Twingo city cars, developed on a shared platform, the Twingo and the four-seater smart being produced at the Renault plant in Novo Mesto, Slovenia, the two-seater smart in Hambach, France.

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Mercedes’ $1M S-Class Pullman’s could make it the most expensive sedan ever

001 mercedes s class lwb Mercedes $1M S Class Pullmans could make it the most expensive sedan ever

If insider sources are to be believed, Mercedes-Benz is getting ready to launch the most expensive luxury sedan on the market next year in the form of the S-Class Pullman armored car for $1 million. If it’s too flashy for you, then Mercedes is also reviving the Maybach name for an even longer wheelbase variant of the S-Class.

According to company insiders speaking with Bloomberg, the Pullman will be positioned at the ultimate expression of the Mercedes brand and will hark back to the classic S600 Pullman models of the ’60s. The driver will sit in a partitioned cabin up front, while wealthy and fortunate passengers will be cosseted in two rows of face-to-face seats in the rear. At a reported 21-feet long, it will be even bigger than a Rolls-Royce Phantom Extended Wheelbase. While the armor probably makes up a few hundred thousand dollars of the price, the cost is still likely going to be significantly more than the old Maybach 62 S at $470,350. Only the one percent of the one percent need apply here.

A slight step down from the Pullman will be the still opulent S-Class Maybach. The reincarnation of the twice-dead brand would ride on an even larger body than the long wheelbase S-Class but still offer four seats. Prices for it are rumored to be double the current S600, which puts it around $300,000 or more. The insider told Bloomberg that the unveiling is planned for November at the LA Auto Show and Guangzhou Motor Show in China.

With four different wheelbase lengths of the S-Class possibly on offer by the end of next year, things could get a bit crowded in the lineup. After the utter failure of Maybach as a brand, critics might suggest it’s surprising to see Mercedes putting so much stock in super-expensive luxury sedans. But with the mushrooming number of ultra-wealthy potential clients in markets beyond Europe and North America who are greedily sucking up record numbers of exotics from other automakers, the math doesn’t seem so bad after all.

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Next Mercedes E-Class caught testing in C-Class body

Mercedes Benz E Class Spy Shot 001 Next Mercedes E Class caught testing in C Class body

At first glance, you might think these spy photos show off the upcoming Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG. After all, this test car sports obviously widened fenders, not to mention camouflage around all of the areas we would expect Mercedes to modify its C-Class sedan for a high-power version. However, according to our spy shooters, it’s all a ruse. Under all the obfuscation, this C-Class is apparently a test mule for the next-gen E-Class.

The key to this cover-up is that the next E-Class is expected to share the same modular platform with the C-Class. That makes it relatively easy for Mercedes’ engineers to mock up the larger sedan and send it out for testing with a modest amount of camo. In this case, the wider fenders are easy to spot, but it takes an eagle eye to also spot the added length. If you look at the test car in profile, notice that there is extra room in the length of the hood and in the area between the wheel well and front door, compared to the standard C-Class.

Earlier rumors put the launch of the new E-Class in 2016, possibly to coincide with the debut of Mercedes’ rumored, new inline-six engine. If true, that might make this a fairly early prototype for the next E. We expect the sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon variants to all continue to be offered, but of course, Mercedes has yet to confirm any of them as of right now.

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