2016 Porsche Boxster Spyder marks the return of something great [w/video]

New York International Auto Show 2015: World Premiere of the Boxster Spyder

New top model in Boxster family

Atlanta. Porsche is highlighting the 2015 convertible season by celebrating the world premiere of the new Boxster Spyder. This pure sports car will make its debut at the New York International Auto Show. The new top model of the Boxster range retains the unique and unmistakable character of the previous Spyder, which has already attained cult status. For example, the classic roadster top is still opened and closed by hand, and the Boxster Spyder is only available with a manual transmission, benefiting both weight savings and driver enjoyment.

Staying true to roadster DNA, the Boxster Spyder offers a traditional sports-car driving experience combined with truly exceptional performance. This includes a firm sport suspension with a 20-mm lower ride height, brakes taken from the 911 Carrera S, more direct steering, and a 3.8-liter horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine with an output of 375 hp, culminating in a genuine sports car experience with outstanding driving dynamics. It is the lightest model of the current Boxster line, and the most powerful Boxster to date. Taking only 4.3 seconds to sprint from 0 to 60 mph, the Boxster Spyder has a top track speed of 180 mph.

The distinctive design of the Boxster Spyder includes stylistic elements reminiscent of legendary sports and race cars from Porsche. Two prominent streamliners that extend down along the sweeping rear lid behind the headrests pay tribute to the 718 Spyder from the 1960s. The manually operated, lightweight top is suitable for everyday use with an electric clasp, while bringing to mind roadsters from the past. The fins that stretch back from the top to the rear lend the vehicle’s silhouette its characteristic design. The front and rear fascia’s also are unique to the Boxster Spyder, and an air outlet is located in front of the forward luggage compartment.

More so than in any other Boxster, the interior of the new Spyder creates an atmosphere that elicits a feeling of pure driving pleasure. The driver and passenger sit in standard Sport Seats Plus, while the new steering wheel with a diameter of 360 mm (compared to 370 mm in other Boxster models) helps ensure the mid-engine roadster can be driven precisely and with great agility.

In line with the model’s traditional roadster character, neither a radio nor an air conditioner is included as standard equipment in order to reduce weight. However, both can be ordered as optional equipment at no cost. Furthermore, the entire range of Boxster audio systems is available for customers to choose from as an option, including the Porsche Communication Management (PCM) system with navigation.

The new Boxster Spyder will be launched in the U.S. market in October and can now be ordered at dealerships. In the United States, the MSRP is $82,100, not including a $995 destination charge.

Source Article from http://www.autoblog.com/2015/03/31/2016-porsche-boxster-spyder-new-york-2015/
2016 Porsche Boxster Spyder marks the return of something great [w/video]
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Porsche releases new Panamera Edition models

Porsche Panamera Edition: Sports sedan with extensive standard features

Atlanta. A new special version of the Porsche Panamera sports sedan stands out through elegant styling combined with a significantly expanded range of standard equipment. Two models with powerful six-cylinder engines will be offered: the Panamera Edition and Panamera 4 Edition both come with an engine that delivers 310 hp. The Panamera 4 Edition features active all-wheel drive with an electronically controlled, map-controlled multi-plate clutch (Porsche Traction Management, PTM).

The exterior of the Panamera Edition models is marked by additional subtle design tones, including high-gloss black trim strips on the side windows. The standard 19-inch alloy wheels in Panamera Turbo II design feature wheel center caps with a colored Porsche crest. The door handles are finished in exterior color when Porsche Entry & Drive is optionally selected. The Panamera Edition also boasts a two-tone standard interior in Black / Luxor Beige with the Porsche crest embossed on all head rests, Sport Design steering wheel, door sill plates with “Edition” lettering, and special floor mats. The standard Porsche Communication Management (PCM) system with a seven-inch touchscreen combines audio, navigation, and communication capabilities. An outstanding audio experience is ensured by a 585 watt Bose® Surround Sound System with 14 speakers.

Additional extensive standard technical features for the Panamera Edition models include Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), Bi-Xenon headlights with Porsche Dynamic Light System (PDLS), Park Assist front and rear including reversing camera and Power Steering Plus. Models in the United States are equipped with 14-way comfort seats in the front, including comfort memory package, as well as seat heating in the front and rear.

The Panamera Edition will go on sale in the United States in June. Prices will start at an MSRP of $80,000 for the Panamera Edition. Panamera 4 Edition will have an MSRP of $84,300. MSRP does not include a destination charge of $995.

Source Article from http://www.autoblog.com/2015/03/30/porsche-releases-new-panamera-edition-models/
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2015 Malaysian F1 GP springs hot, humid surprises [spoilers]

In the two weeks since Australia both Mercedes and Ferrari spoke of the improved performance from their respective cars. In Malaysia, Ferrari showed it. Lewis Hamilton still put his Mercedes-AMG Petronas on pole position, but Sebastian Vettel got within two whiskers of the Brit, lining up second just 0.074 behind. Afterward, Vettel said Ferrari could win the race if everything went well. But in qualifying we didn’t know how much of Ferrari’s performance was truly down to the car and how much was down to the wet weather that struck near the beginning of Q2.

The rain didn’t hamper Nico Rosberg‘s run – the German said “I just didn’t drive good enough” – and he took third spot in the second Mercedes-AMG Petronas. Showing what the Infiniti Red Bull Racing chassis can do when the power unit is working properly, teammates Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat grabbed fourth and fifth. Whippersnapper Max Verstappen, in his second race, qualified in sixth with an excellent drive through the rain; just 0.030 behind Kvyat, he said he could have got fifth if he hadn’t had a running problem with his brakes.

Williams head of vehicle performance Rob Smedley said he wouldn’t complain about Mercedes‘ advantage, but Felipe Massa has spent the whole season so far banging the alarm about Ferrari’s pace. He says Williams has lost its straight-line advantage, part of the reason the first Grove car is back in seventh, while Valtteri Bottas is in eighth. Between them was Romain Grosjean in the Lotus, but he got dropped two positions for a pit-lane infraction in Q2, so he’ll be tenth. Ahead of him is Marcus Ericsson in the Sauber, who would lead the charge to turn in another surprise for the Swiss team.

Image from the 2015 Malaysian Grand Prix.

But the real surprise came from the Scuderia Ferrari, who, on a bright, sunny day proved that they don’t need to add water for race-winning pace. While Hamilton got made usual awesome start at the lights, Vettel channeled that other famous German Ferrari driver and immediately cut across the track to intimidate Rosberg, maintaining his second place position into the first turn.

Arguably the race-winning move came three laps later at that same turn, when Ericsson plunged in too fast and swapped ends, beaching the rear of his Sauber in the gravel trap. The safety car came out when the recovery truck emerged to retrieve the Sauber, and nearly all of the front-runners took to the pits to swap out of the medium tires. Vettel, however, didn’t. When racing resumed on Lap 7, not only did Vettel – on the medium tire – began pulling away from the driver behind him, Nico Hülkenberg in the Force India, and Hülkenberg in turn clogged up the other runners behind. Hamilton was back in sixth trying to make his way through the field, Rosberg another two positions back, while Vettel streaked away.

Sebastian Vettel wins the 2015 Malaysian F1 Grand Prix.

Tire degradation was key, and not only was the Ferrari able to maintain its lead or pull away from the Mercedes’ when needed, it managed it Pirelli’s on an blisteringly hot Kuala Lumpur day better than the Mercedes. So after Vettel pitted the first time and gave up the lead to Hamilton, the Brit was soon on the radio complaining about the state of his rubber, meanwhile Vettel had carved through the field and passed the Mercedes on track on Lap 24. We haven’t seen that happen since 2013. The German convincingly held onto the advantage for the rest of the race, finishing ahead of a sullen Hamilton and a pragmatic-as-ever Rosberg.

The second Ferrari of Kimi Räikkönen backed up the assessment of the team’s performance. Having started from 11th, his left rear tire got tagged by Ericsson’s front wing at the end of Lap 1 – his second first-lap incident in as many races – and he limped back to the pits with a flat. Coming out in dead last and with a damaged car, he drove a quiet, solid race to fourth place. He was so much stronger than the Williams duo behind that there was no thought of him being caught.

Williams races Red Bull at the 2015 Malaysian F1 Grand Prix.

Until the very last lap it looked like Felipe Massa would finish in front of Valtteri Bottas, the two having scrapped for the last four circuits with Bottas unable to get a good move in. Williams let them both race for it, and Bottas pulled off a high-speed pass on the outside of Turn 4, nabbing fifth position in the process and forcing Massa to settle for sixth at the flag.

A Toro Rosso ahead of two Red Bulls at the 2015 Malaysian F1 Grand Prix.

Red Bull “junior” team Toro Rosso proved it’s having better luck with its chassis and the Renault power unit than its parent. After taking the fight to Red Bull in Australia the Toro Rosso youngsters put in the one-two punch, Verstappen and Carlos Sainz, Jr. finishing in seventh and eighth, ahead of Red Bull drivers Ricciardo and Kvyat in ninth and tenth. Sainz had started in 15th, ten places behind the second Red Bull, but neither Red Bull driver could hold the Spaniard back. And both Red Bull drivers were lapped by Vettel.

Elsewhere in the pack, both McLarens had to retire from the race but they actually put in a good showing when compared to Australia, fighting at the bottom of the top ten. Button actually got on the radio to express surprise at catching up to and passing other cars. However, they’ll be worrying about how many engines they’re going to go through this season while Honda gets its groove on. Lotus looks a lot better, too, but they also endured a double retirement. Manor-Marussia got both of its cars running, but just one of them on track for the race. It’s a start. As for Force India… well, they need to do something, quickly – both of their cars were just too slow.

The winner's podium at the 2015 Malaysian F1 Grand Prix.

Vettel’s win was his fourth in Malaysia – nobody’s won more there. It’s his first victory since Brazil in 2013, Ferrari’s first since Spain of that same year, and to hear him after the race you’d have thought he had won the World Championship. We hope this race wasn’t an aberration, because there was a lot of on-track action throughout most of it, all up and down the order.

Even better: everyone who complains about Mercedes’ domination and the lack of development options can now shut up – and that includes this writer. It’s just one race, but Ferrari eliminated the 34.5-second gap to the leaders from just two weeks ago. It really looks like if the team and engine supplier get the job done properly, anything can happen. After saying his cars would be even faster at this track, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said after the race, “Maybe this was the wake-up call we needed.”

The winner's podium at the 2015 Malaysian F1 Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton still leads the Driver’s Championship with 43 points, Vettel just behind with 40 points, and Rosberg at 33 points. On the Constructor’s side, Mercedes has 76 points, Ferrari has 52, Williams has 30. We’ll be looking to China in two weeks to know if this was a one-off or a sign of the season to come. See you then.

Source Article from http://www.autoblog.com/2015/03/29/2015-malaysian-f1-gp-race-recap-spoilers/
2015 Malaysian F1 GP springs hot, humid surprises [spoilers]
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Mercedes-Benz launching midsize pickup by end of decade

Get ready for the Mercedes-Benz among pickups: Mercedes-Benz Vans to launch midsize pickup
Stuttgart, Mar 27, 2015

Expansion of product range for sustained global growth

Market for midsize pickups primed for first model from a premium manufacturer

Mercedes-Benz to enter the high-volume midsize segment before end of decade

Main markets: Latin America, South Africa, Australia, and Europe

Stuttgart – Before the end of the decade, Mercedes-Benz will expand its product range into a promising segment by launching the first pickup from a premium manufacturer. Thanks to their versatility, all-round utility, and payload of about one metric ton, pickups are popular across the world and thus have good sales potential.

“The Mercedes-Benz pickup will contribute nicely to our global growth targets,” says Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars Division. “We will enter this segment with our distinctive brand identity and all of the vehicle attributes that are typical of the brand with regard to safety, comfort, powertrains, and value.”

Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, adds: “As part of our ‘Mercedes-Benz Vans goes global’ strategy, the pickup is the ideal vehicle for the international expansion of our product range with a newly developed model.”

A promising segment with global scope

The midsize pickup segment is currently undergoing a transformation worldwide. More and more pickups are being used for private purposes, and commercial as well as private users are increasingly asking for vehicles that have car-like specificiations. Mercedes-Benz is the first premium manufacturer to respond to this market shift by developing its own pickup. A similar example was the successful introduction of the M-Class around 20 years ago. As the first sport utility vehicle (SUV) from a premium manufacturer, the M-Class completely redefined the segment.

The new Mercedes-Benz pickup will initially be targeted at markets in Latin America, South Africa, Australia, and Europe, all of which are posting sustained growth in this segment.

Mercedes-Benz Vans: Center of competence for commercially and privately used vehicles

The Mercedes-Benz Vans division is responsible for the new vehicle. With its many years of experience in developing, manufacturing, and marketing vehicles that are used commercially as well as privately, Mercedes-Benz Vans is ideally suited to enter the midsize pickup segment and launch a Mercedes-Benz pickup on the market for the first time in the company’s history. Current models such as the V-Class and the Vito demonstrate that Mercedes-Benz Vans has the high level of expertise to successfully serve customers from a wide variety of private and commercial sectors.

“We can perfectly serve customers looking for a vehicle that offers a high level of utility and at the same time has the comfort, safety, and design of a Mercedes-Benz passenger car,” says Mornhinweg. “We will design our brand’s first pickup according to this recipe for success.”

Source Article from http://www.autoblog.com/2015/03/27/mercedes-benz-midsize%20pickup/
Mercedes-Benz launching midsize pickup by end of decade
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This or That: Mercedes S-Class 350SD vs. 2003 Jaguar XJR [w/poll]

Budget. It’s a wretched word, whether you’re going out to eat, shipping for a new outfit or, more relevant to today’s discussion, buying a car.

Massive marketing machines have convinced us, as a population, to buy the best you can afford, repercussions be damned – If you’ve saved up some money, spend it! All of it, on whatever it is that currently sits atop your personal Amazon wishlist, be it a Timex that takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’, a $17,000 Gold Apple Watch or a $60,000 Rolex Cosmograph Daytona.

But what if the best you can afford is… say, $12,815? For that price, you can buy a brand-new 2015 Nissan Versa (including destination), assuming you’re happy with zero options and a manual transmission. For that price, you’ll get standard air conditioning, a CD player and… well, a warranty.

Pretty sensible choice, Captain Frugal. But also ridiculously uninspired. And so that brings us to today’s edition of This or That, in which two Autoblog editors pick differing sides of an argument and duke it out to see which one of us can convince you, dear reader, is better. Or at least less wrong. You be the judge.

As a refresher, I’m two-and-two on these challenges, having lost the first and second editions before storming back in rounds three and four.

Today, as alluded to above, we decided to throw our collective brainpower (oh lord, what have we done?) at what may be the single most difficult question currently confounding the best minds our planet has to offer: What is the best used used luxury car you can buy for the price of a 2015 Nissan Versa?

Shall we meet our contenders?

1991 Mercedes 350SD1991 Mercedes 350SD
1991 Mercedes 350SD

Allow me to introduce you to the most perfect luxury car money can buy (assuming the amount of money you’re holding is equal to the amount of the cheapest new car currently sold in America, the Nissan Versa).

My pick is the 1991 Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Not just any S-Class, but the legendary W126, which was produced between 1979 and 1992. And not just any W126, either, but one powered by a 3.5-liter turbodiesel engine.

And with that, I send the argument to my esteemed colleague, Associate Editor Chris Bruce.

2003 Jaguar XJR2003 Jaguar XJR
2003 Jaguar XJR

Bruce: Jeremy, we had over $12,000 to budget for this challenge, and the best you can manage is a 24-year-old diesel Mercedes? I love oil-burners as much as any other auto writer with their mountains of torque and huge cruising range, but you’re making this too easy on me.

Also, you’re really choosing a brown, diesel, German luxury sedan? You’re just a manual gearbox and a station wagon away from ticking the box on every major auto journalist stereotype.

My choice, on the other hand, offers classic (some might even say iconic) styling, rarity and plenty more horsepower more than your diesel six-cylinder. I present you with a 2003 Jaguar XJR, complete with the R1 option pack that added things like Brembo brake calipers and cross-drilled rotors, and its supercharged 4.0-liter V8 is a thing of beauty. Covered in black paint with just the right amount of chrome to make it all pop, I don’t know that you can carry as many people in such high-speed splendor for this price.

Also, not that the S-Class is exactly common, but how often do you see an XJ on the road, let alone an XJR?

Now, the performance category is no contest here, so let’s here a compelling argument for your Autobahn cruiser as the winner against my supercharged Brit.

1991 Mercedes 350SD1991 Mercedes 350SD
1991 Mercedes 350SD1991 Mercedes 350SD

And here I thought I was being reasonable. I bring a well-mannered German to the table, and Chris counters with a raucous Brit. One with a supercharger, no less.

I respect his chutzpah, but I’m not going to flinch. May as well start with the elephant in the room: reliability.

Korzeniewski: The Best Or Nothing, Mr Bruce.

You’re pulling the journalist card on me so early? I didn’t expect that in the first volley, I must admit. But yes, it’s an auto journalist dream car – diesel, classic body shape, and a delectable color. So sue me. If I could have found one with a proper clutch, you can be sure I’d have gone that direction, too. But no matter, this car is perfect as is.

I happen to have a soft spot for older Jaguars like the XJR you’ve found. I will, however, point out that you could have found a 2004 or newer model, complete with the much lighter, more modern aluminum construction for a similar price. But to each his own.

Perhaps there’s a reason you don’t see many XJRs on the road, Chris. Could it because most of them are currently sitting in driveways and shops, not quite running right? You can rest assured knowing that my diesel-powered Mercedes won’t be suffering such a fate anytime soon.

2003 Jaguar XJR2003 Jaguar XJR
2003 Jaguar XJR2003 Jaguar XJR

Bruce: I was really hoping you might not notice the XJR’s woeful reliability reputation, but I guess we need to go there.

I’ve heard that when buying a used car on a budget, the three tradeoffs to consider are performance, price and reliability, but you only get to pick two of them. In this case, I must concede that the XJR offers plenty of power at a good price but I might be forming a closer relationship with my local mechanic.

Also, the Mercedes isn’t going to be a bargain to keep on the road, either. Sure, it might go longer between trips to the shop, but German replacement parts aren’t exactly cheap, especially for the flagship models.

All of that being considered, this is still a supercharged Jaguar. When it is running right, this sedan is going to be sublime. Meanwhile you’re puttering around in a diesel Mercedes that might as well be a very plush German taxi.

Both of these models have design legacies going back decades. The Jag’s basic shape goes back to the late ’60s, and the W126 wasn’t all that different in styling from the W116 that dates back to the early ’70s. Sell me on your somewhat boxy Merc versus my gorgeous XJR.

1991 Mercedes 350SD1991 Mercedes 350SD

With the reliability quotient firmly established as a black mark on the Jag, Chris wisely U-turned the discussion to driving enjoyment. Specifically, horsepower. Considering that’s not something I can argue with – in fact, I fully agree with him – I choose instead to torpedo his argument of style. And I can’t help but drive home the point that he chose a British luxury car. British! Luxury!

Korzeniewski: While looks are clearly subjective, Chris, I think it’s fair to say that both the W126 S-Class and the Jaguar XJ are classic, timeless designs. You can call my chosen S-Class “somewhat boxy” all you want, and I’ll counter by pointing out that the older Series III XJ models from Jaguar were prettier than the 2003 model you chose, if likely even less reliable.

Now, I’m not going to poke fun at the Jaguar XJR, in general. I love that car. That said, the example you chose has 122,871 miles, Chris. It’s best years are behind it. Not so, my Benz. It’s 171,069 miles mean it’s just broken in, and it’s previous owner has replaced just about all wear items already. The kind soul wanted to put his college-bound son in a good, safe car, bless his heart. And now its new owner will get to reap the rewards with a solid piece of German engineering.

2003 Jaguar XJR2003 Jaguar XJR

In a milestone moment, we’ve found a point we can agree upon. Don’t worry, it doesn’t last long.

Bruce: To your first point, I actually think the Series III XJ is actually the pinnacle of the design. It’s the version that I think of first when considering them, at least. However, the X308 series of this example is a close second best. It’s certainly better looking that the model that directly succeeded it.

Also, you’re being a bit unfair about the Jag’s lack of reliability. I concede that with the proper maintenance your Mercedes should run forever. However, this XJ averages out to a little over 11,000 miles a year of driving. That hardly equates to the end of its life in my opinion. The exterior paint and leather inside all look good. I think this car still has some life in it.

We’ve seemed to have reached a stalemate, though. The Mercedes is definitely going to be more reliable, and the Jaguar is unquestionably the better performer. They also both look great with shapes that withstand the test of time. By my math that works out to a tie.

Although, beyond just the performance aspect, when driving with the windows down I get to listen to a supercharged V8. You, on the other hand, get the sonic misery is two-decade-old diesel. I think that’s one more point in the Jag’s favor.

Whoa! Sonic misery? Them’s fighting words, Chris. Clearly, I need a solid closing argument to counter Mr. Bruce’s drubbing of my diesel.

1991 Mercedes 350SD2003 Jaguar XJR

Korzeniewski: A stalemate? Well, if you say so. I will conclude with an analogy.

If the Nissan Versa that we’ve targeted in this little showdown is like a Timex watch – sensible, affordable and reliable – then the Jaguar is like a Gold Edition Apple Watch. It’s pretty, for sure, and it’s got lots of performance underhood, but it isn’t a true luxury item for the discerning buyer who makes big purchases based on a real-world timeline: from the time-honored past through to the present realities and well into an investment-grade future.

The Mercedes is like a Rolex. Exquisitely designed to beat back the ravages of time through solid engineering, craftsmanship and reputation-burnished cachet. It may be older than your Jaguar, but that only drives home the point: This Mercedes 350SD is worth owning and worth the effort to keep it on the road, long after your 2003 Jaguar, as enjoyable as it may be over its short period of usefulness, has gone the way of the X-Type.

With that, we’ve rested our cases. Is the Benz a solid and distinguished gentleman or an old-timer well past his prime? Is the XJR a Jag of all trades or master of none? The ball is in your court, readers.

Source Article from http://www.autoblog.com/2015/03/26/mercedes-350sd-jaguar-xjr-this-or-that-poll/
This or That: Mercedes S-Class 350SD vs. 2003 Jaguar XJR [w/poll]
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2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen [w/video]

Volkswagen currently offers five Golf models in the US, and in just a few weeks it will add the 2015 SportWagen to the lineup. The previous version sold as the Jetta SportWagen, although it was technically a Golf. For the new model, VW product planners decided to align all the hatchbacks under the same name. The SportWagen employs the same engines as the Golf, but significantly stretches its new MQB architecture.

The result is greater practicality in the form of cargo room. With the seats up the SportWagen holds 30.4 cubic feet, almost 8 more than the Golf. The gap widens to nearly 14 cu ft with the seats folded; a max capacity of 66.5 cu ft puts the SportWagen into compact crossover territory. That added functionality leads VW to think it can sway buyers shopping the likes of the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. And with the high-mpg diesel variant – 31 mpg city, up to 43 highway – VW hopes to lure those considering fuel-sipping MPVs like the Toyota Prius V and Ford C-MAX. What separates this Golf from those other two segments is the driving prowess we’ve come to expect from Wolfsburg’s best-selling nameplate.

2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen

While the silhouette is similar to the outgoing Jetta wagon, designers honed the character lines to give the Golf SportWagen a more modern, angular aesthetic. The LED headlights look sharp, the hood now scoops down at a steeper angle into the front fenders, and the general proportions – in line with other Golf models – have changed. The new SportWagen is lower, longer, and wider and than the Jetta SportWagen it replaces. Specifically, it is 1.1 inches longer, 0.7 inches wider, and despite being about an inch lower, actually boasts more headroom.

Inside, things look pretty familiar to the current Golf family. There are small, premium touches such as a sporty, flat-ish-bottom wheel, piano-black trim, and an optional one-touch panoramic sunroof that makes the cabin a bright, airy, and pleasant place to be. Otherwise, it’s your standard Golf fare, but with a whole lot more room out back.

2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen

The same two engines that power the standard Golf – the 1.8-liter turbocharged inline-four TSI, and 2.0-liter turbocharged TDI diesel – are also found under the hood of the SportWagen. Gasoline-powered models come with a five-speed manual or a traditional six-speed auto, while the TDI gets six-speed transmissions across the board – either as a row-your-own manual, or a dual-clutch DSG auto with steering wheel-mounted paddles.

An impressive 80 percent of SportWagen buyers opted for a TDI when the longroof still wore a Jetta badge, and 40 percent of those cars were ordered with the six-speed manual. Thus, the rare desire for a manual, diesel configuration is still very much alive here. And to broaden its appeal in cold- and wet-weather markets, VW will add an all-wheel-drive option at some point – likely next year. Beacuse most SportWagen customers choose the diesel, we spent a rainy day driving through Texas Hill Country in a pair of TDI SportWagens, starting off with the volume-model DSG, and finishing with the manual.

2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen

The 2.0-liter inline-four produces 150 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque, but how that power behaves varies with the driver’s level of involvement. With the DSG left to its own devices, the SportWagen is slow to accelerate – both off the line and when getting up to highway speeds. The DSG is quick to upshift, which helps with fuel economy, softens the shifts and works just fine for getting around town. But if you really want to tap into the generous torque of the TDI, fuss with the paddles, as we did, keeping it in lower gears. What you lose in fuel economy you’ll make up in happiness, leaving you with a large, endorphin-releasing grin. The engagement level of three-pedal driving in the manual stretches that grin just a bit further too, as you dictate the pace of the gear shifts.

Steering is predictable and accurate, consistent with other Golf models. And the wagon maintains a familiar balance of comfort and sport, even with our test cars’ larger 17- and 18-inch wheels (15-inch wheels are standard on TSI models, while TDIs start with 16s). TDI wagons use the same strut-type front suspension as the standard Golf, but opt for a torsion beam rear suspension with coil springs and an anti-roll bar.

2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen

Packaging is simple with three trims starting at the base S, moving up to SE, and finishing at the top-of-the-line SEL. Volkswagen says a content-adjusted entry-level S model can now be had for $2,000 less than the previous Jetta SportWagen – prices start at $22,215 for the TSI and $25,415 for the diesel.

The 2015 SportWagen carries on the Golf family reputation as a fun, ergonomic, and practical ride, only now with increased utility. Regardless of whether or not the SportWagen can sway buyers from the scorching compact crossover segment – as VW hopes – it’s one of the only affordable wagons out there. The Subaru XV Crosstrek and Outback are similar to the Golf in price, but behave more like the soft and tall SUVs they emulate, and upmarket offerings like the Audi Allroad or Volvo V60 are pricey. If AWD is mandatory consideration, Subaru makes the decision easy, at least until the all-wheel drive SportWagen arrives. But if that’s not a priority the SportWagen offers more refinement, a premium feel, and incredible highway fuel economy with the diesel option. In other words it’s just like a Golf, but more, and we like that.

2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen

Source Article from http://www.autoblog.com/2015/03/25/2015-volkswagen-golf-sportwagen-video-first-drive/
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Mercedes-Benz GLE gets official before NY Show

World Premiere for the Mercedes-Benz GLE and Mercedes-AMG GLE63

Efficiency meets performance

Stuttgart. Mercedes-Benz has thoroughly revised its best-seller in the SUV segment. The highlights of the new GLE include considerably more appealing front and tail ends and extensive measures which make new benchmarks with regard to emissions and drive system possible. For the first time in its SUV history, Mercedes-Benz offers a plug-in hybrid model, the GLE550e 4MATIC, which combines maximum efficiency with outstanding performance. This multi-talent will even best the already low fuel consumption figures of the efficiency champion GLE300d with four-cylinder diesel engine, while delivering the performance of a V8 model. The advantages of the new GLE furthermore include best on-road and off-road handling, outstanding spaciousness and high levels of active and passive safety. The high- performance SUV models, the Mercedes-AMG GLE63 4MATIC and the GLE63 S 4MATIC, celebrate their world premieres at the same time at the New York International Auto Show.

“State-of-the-art and efficient drive technology, combined with superior ride quality and the versatility and robustness typical for SUVs – the new GLE has all the ingredients to continue the success story of our best-seller,” is how Ola Källenius, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, Mercedes-Benz Cars, characterizes the newest member of the Mercedes-Benz SUV family. Outstanding safety and a high level of driving dynamics both on the road and in terrain are among the other strengths of the premium SUV. Furthermore, the GLE impresses with ground-breaking assistance systems and the innovative DYNAMIC SELECT dynamic handling control system, which offers extensive drive and off-road programs for even the base model.

The unmistakable design with the hallmark C-pillar and the variable interior with the wellness factor of a luxurious sedan model enrich the Mercedes-Benz GLE experience additionally. “Often copied, rarely equalled – the M-Class established the segment of premium SUVs in 1997 and since then has been one of the most successful models in the world. With the launch of the GLE, the edition will surpass the 1.6 million mark,” Kaellenius went on to say. And Tobias Moers, Chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes-AMG GmbH, added: “With the new GLE63 and seven additional performance SUV models from the GLA45 AMG to the G65 AMG, Mercedes-AMG is in an extremely strong and very confident position. All three generations of the predecessors were highly popular. We offer the right performance automobile for every individual taste in the further growing SUV segment.”

Diesel and hybrid drive: efficiency meets the joy of driving

In addition to the appealing design, the variable driving experience thanks to DYNAMIC SELECT and the assistance systems familiar from the E- and S-Class, the GLE impresses with an extensive engine line-up. Five equally efficient and powerful powertrain options with four, six or eight cylinders are available to choose from.

The special focus:

The (201-hp) four-cylinder diesel model GLE300d offers superior performance with an all-time low fuel consumption for this class of vehicles. It is the world’s first production full-size SUV with conventional drive that under the European cycle emits just 140 g of CO2/km (5.4 l/100 km).

No less impressive is the first Mercedes-Benz SUV with plug-in hybrid technology. A system output of 436 hp in the GLE550e 4MATIC guarantees brilliant performance – with European cycle CO2 emissions of just 78 g/km (3.3 l/100 km). With a power consumption of 16.7 kWh/100 km, the GLE 500 e 4MATIC is the benchmark in this market segment. In addition, the hybrid model is capable of up to 30 km (18.6 mi) of all-electric driving.

GLE550e 4MATIC: plug-in hybrid technology meets a luxury SUV

The new GLE550e 4MATIC with plug-in hybrid drive combines the power and refinement of a V8 engine with the fuel consumption of a three-liter car and the versatility of a premium SUV. The drive system components comprise a V6 direct- injection gasoline engine with 329 hp and a hybrid module with 114 hp of electric power. The system peak torque is a massive 479 lbs-ft. In addition to impressive acceleration thanks to the boost function, the innovative system drive also offers all-electric driving at speeds up to 81 mph, optimized energy recovery thanks to the intelligent operating strategy and comfort functions such as pre-entry climate control in summer and winter.

A selector switch on the center console and the instrument cluster offer the driver a choice between four specific operating modes:

HYBRID: the system controls automatically select the most sensible operating mode with combustion engine and/or electric motor for optimising the overall energy balance

E-MODE: all-electric driving

E-SAVE: this mode preserves the current state of charge of the battery to be
able to drive on all-electric power at a later time, for example in urban traffic

CHARGE: battery is charged while driving and when the vehicle is stationary

The compact hybrid module is fully integrated into the seven-speed 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission. The electrical energy is stored in a lithium-ion battery with an energy content of 8.8 kWh, which can be recharged using public charging stations, the wallbox charger at home or on a conventional 220 volt power outlet. The charging time using the wallbox charger or the charging station is around two hours.

Intelligent drive system management

The best strategy for efficient driving has always been anticipatory driving without unnecessary braking and accelerating. This is even more important in a hybrid model: because braking manoeuvres serve not only to deliver deceleration, but are also used to recover kinetic energy. The route or the traffic also has influence on the most efficient charging and discharging of the high-voltage battery. For this reason the intelligent drive system management aids the driver with specific control strategies in adopting the most efficient driving style.

State-of-the-art BlueDIRECT V6 and V8 petrol engines

The GLE400 4MATIC is powered by a direct-injection twin-turbo V6 engine with spray-guided combustion, new piezo injectors and MSI multi-spark ignition. This engine produces an output of 329 hp and 354 lbs-ft of torque from 1400 rpm and makes do on 8.8 l/100 km or 209 g CO2/km (NEDC combined) on the European cycle.

The range of gasoline and plug-in hybrid engines* at a glance:

Powerful clean diesel engine

With the start of the new GLE generation, the diesel model will be equipped with the optionally available off-road reduction gear and inter-axle differential lock. The transmission is fitted with a new type of torque converter with a high efficiency of 92 percent and a wide spread of 9.15 across the nine speeds. Both contribute to the high energy efficiency of the GLE models. A double turbine torsional damper with centrifugal pendulum and the torque converter lock-up clutch with return spring ensure the extremely refined operation typical of the brand. Depending on the mode selected for the DYNAMIC SELECT variable dynamic handling control system, the 7G-TRONIC impresses with great agility and responsiveness or poised composure.

The diesel engine at a glance:

Workout for the best-seller: Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 and GLE 63 S

The new Mercedes-AMG GLE63 4MATIC is now stronger and more appealing than ever with an expanded model line-up and even more power. Following the introduction of the new naming logic, the successor of the successful Mercedes- Benz ML63 AMG is now called the Mercedes-AMG GLE63. The AMG 5.5-liter twin- turbo V8 engine is even more powerful than before: in addition to the basic variant developing 550 hp, there is also the highly sporty S-Model to choose from which is rated at 577 hp. The chassis was completely revised to deliver even better driving dynamics and agility. The throttle response of the engine and the shift times of the transmission are now on a new, even sportier level and thereby underscore the hallmark AMG Driving Performance. With the characteristic AMG family face featuring “A-wing” and twin-blade radiator grille, the power SUV also has a more dynamic appearance than before.

DYNAMIC SELECT combined with off-road drive programs

The DYNAMIC SELECT dynamic handling control system of the new GLE offers up to six drive programs. In addition to the established settings INDIVIDUAL, COMFORT, SLIPPERY and SPORT, in the 4MATIC models the driver can choose the additional OFFROAD setting for mild terrain with the DYNAMIC SELECT controller on the centre console. If the GLE model is equipped with the optional Off-Road Engineering package, the OFFROAD+ setting is available. In this setting, the off- road reduction gear and a 100% inter-axle differential lock come into play to generate high traction even in challenging terrain. This is further boosted by the expanded functions of the optional AIRMATIC air suspension with raised ride heights for a ground clearance of up to 11 inches and a fording depth of 23 inches. The reinforced underfloor panelling of this equipment variant protects important components against not so gentle contact with the ground.

The selection of the individual drive programs effects the DYNAMIC SELECT variable dynamic handling control system to activate entirely different characteristics. The system networks all the control systems, generating different sets of parameters for distinct driving experiences. The names speak for themselves: SPORT turns the GLE into a sporty and dynamic vehicle with strong linear and lateral dynamics. COMFORT is the opposite end of the spectrum. Here the emphasis is on the feel-good parameters so typical of classic Mercedes-Benz saloon cars, for relaxed, effortless cruising with the greatest possible energy efficiency. SLIPPERY optimises the handling on surfaces with low friction coefficients such as snow or ice. And special off-road algorithms for ABS, 4ETS or ESP boost traction in the OFFROAD settings. In addition, INDIVIDUAL mode enables the driver to programme and store personal preferences in the individual control strategies, regardless of the engine variant.

All DYNAMIC SELECT programs are visualized on the central media display. Especially impressive are the off-road animations: various parameters such as slope angle, tilt angle, steering angle or heading are displayed dynamically in real time.

Superior high everyday practicality and perfect traction, sports-car agility and spontaneous throttle response – the new Mercedes-AMG GLE63 guarantees its driver an exclusive driving experience without parallel. DYNAMIC SELECT is a major factor in this as well: the drive programs provide even more variety in the area of driving dynamics. The additional SPORT+ setting offers the driver tailor-made characteristics for particularly sporty driving dynamics. Throttle response, gear- change strategy, ESP® thresholds, steering power assist or the characteristic of the continuous damper adjustment exclusive to AMG: the system networks all the control systems, generating a wide variety of distinct driving experiences.

Mercedes-AMG uses a special transfer case for the AMG Performance 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive in the GLE63 and GLE63 S. This exclusive solution splits the torque at a ratio of 40:60 between the front and rear axles, resulting in greater agility about the vertical axis of the vehicle. The pay-off for the driver: even more dynamic cornering.

Stable combination for all M-B GLE models: optional AIRMATIC ADS and optional ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM (ACS is standard on AMG models)

In addition to the ground-breaking powertrain configuration, the retuned AIRMATIC air suspension with ADS variable damping system guarantees extremely stable driving. The damping system changes its priorities depending on the preselected DYNAMIC SELECT mode. SPORT focuses on the greatest possible lateral dynamics with the best possible ride quality. Conversely, COMFORT mode enables maximum ride quality with the best possible dynamics. The current handling conditions are detected via a steering angle sensor, four rotation sensors, the driving speed from the ESP® signal and the brake pedal switch. The control unit uses these signals for continuous adjustment of the current damping force for each individual wheel.

The optional ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM roll stabilization system can be combined with the optional AIRMATIC package with air suspension and ADS or with the Off- Road Engineering package. The system uses active anti-roll bars on the front and rear axle and compensates the roll angle of the body during cornering. This enhances agility and driving fun. At the same time, the system provides increased handling stability and therefore safety, especially at higher speeds. Better driving comfort both when cornering and on straights as well as expanded off-road capabilities are also part of the advantages of the ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM.

All models with four- and six-cylinder engines are equipped with the AGILITY CONTROL steel suspension as standard. The AIRMATIC package with ADS is optionally available for these versions. An electro-mechanical Direct-Steer system is standard on all models.

The AMG RIDE CONTROL sports suspension with AIRMATIC package comprises more than just the air suspension with automatic level control. The new GLE 63 is also fitted with special struts, which were refined with ADS Plus continuously variable dampers, a solution exclusive to AMG. The ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM roll stabilisation system is part of the standard equipment in this model.

The towing capacity of the GLE is up to 7700 lbs on non-diesel models.

High protective potential through comprehensive safety

As is already a tradition, the new GLE impresses with outstanding active and passive safety. The models regularly score highest marks in the international crash ratings. With its high protective potential, the GLE also creates the best conditions for passing future tests with the highest rating. The comprehensive safety concept follows the brand’s hallmark strategy and comprises four areas:

Safe driving: avoid dangers, provide timely warnings, and aid the driver with extensive assistance systems

In the event of danger: prevent and activate protective measures preventively (PreSAFE®)

In the event of an accident: provide tailor-made protection with a highly stable passenger cell, defined deformation zones and restraint systems such as airbags or belt tensioners

After an accident: prevent the worst and make swift assistance possible

Modern times: new design with classic style elements

Even at first glance, the new GLE blends tradition and modernity. Classic SUV elements meet modern Mercedes-Benz design and form a convincing whole. On one hand, the confident appearance of the GLE is enhanced with the typical stylistic features of all generations: the characteristic C-pillar and the harmoniously integrated rear side window have been an integral part since this model series started in 1997. At the same time, elements of the modern Mercedes-Benz design idiom catch the eye. Radiator grille, bumpers, headlamps, wings and the hood with its two power domes follow the current sensuous and clear design idiom of Mercedes-Benz. Especially the harmonious, organic transition of the two radiator louvres to the central Mercedes star is convincing. New headlamps with the daytime driving lights forming the brand’s hallmark eyebrows and the current lamp layout – optionally as LED Intelligent Light-System – blend harmoniously with the front end. The new wings with their arched wheel wells lend the entire front end more harmony and presence.

The tail end of the GLE was likewise matched to the current design idiom and updated cautiously. New LED tail lamps now glow in the brand’s hallmark night design. Also striking are the redesigned tailpipe embellishers firmly integrated in to the lower section of the bumper. Front and rear bumper furthermore are fitted with the likewise characteristic three-dimensional chrome-look underride guard. New light-alloy wheels boost the superior appearance of the new GLE.

Mercedes-AMG GLE63 and GLE63 S: powerful sportiness with “A-wing”

Performance and perfection revealed: the design of the new Mercedes-AMG GLE63 inspires with exclusivity, powerful sportiness and dominance. It underscores the progressiveness of the AMG brand and transports the impressive motor sport history. From now on, the new GLE63 also sports the distinctive “A-wing” in the front bumper, which is characteristic for the AMG design philosophy. The design of the radiator grille with the silver chrome double louvre, the integrated AMG lettering and the central Mercedes star are distinguishing features of current AMG Performance automobiles.

The performance SUV also impresses with dominance when viewed from the side. Wheel arch flares in vehicle colour provide space for the large wheels. As standard, tires of size 265/45 R 20 are mounted on 9J x 20 AMG multi-spoke light-alloy wheels painted titanium grey with high-sheen finish. Optionally the GLE63 can be upgraded in terms of looks and driving dynamics with tires of size 295/35 R 21.

The black diffuser insert in the rear bumper with black trim strip in the shape of the front “A-wing” represents typical motor racing design. The special exhaust system with two chrome-plated dual tailpipe embellishers and “AMG” lettering underscores the sportiness and exclusivity.

Detail work for an even more harmonious interior*

In the interior the larger media display stands out, which is now partially integrated into the instrument panel. The centre air vents next to the display and the outer air vents are framed by classy silver shadow surrounds. In combination with the black high-gloss surround this emphasises the sophisticated design of the interior. The centre console houses the COMAND controller with the touchpad fitted above in an optimal ergonomic position.

New colors make the interior even more attractive and lend it the feel-good atmosphere that is typical of the brand. The choices now also include ginger beige, espresso brown, saddle brown or porcelain, which in combination with black interior elements create an interesting contrast. In addition to the standard aluminium with light-coloured longitudinal grain, the large trim elements are also available in a version featuring a particularly classy black piano lacquer or various types of wood: open-pore brown ash wood or the glossy wood types brown eucalyptus, black poplar or brown burred walnut. And especially sporty minded customers can choose high-quality AMG carbon-fibre trim.

Complete standard equipment, attractive equipment packages*

The extensive range of standard equipment of the new GLE is based on the predecessor model, enhanced with new assistance systems such as Crosswind Assist and COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS. ECO start/stop function, the DYNAMIC SELECT controller on the centre console, the revised multifunction
steering wheel as well as the Audio 20 CD infotainment system with 7-inch display and communications module for the use of Mercedes connect me services are also part of the standard delivery scope.
This high equipment level can be upgraded further with attractive equipment packages. The Driving Assistance package Plus includes DISTRONIC PLUS with Steering Assist and Stop&Go Pilot, PRE-SAFE® Brake with pedestrian protection, BAS PLUS with Cross-Traffic Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist and PRE-SAFE® PLUS. With the Comfort package, the equipment is enhanced with the automatic EASY-PACK liftgate, the soft and automatic power closing of all doors and a reversing camera. The Parking package with 360° camera and Active Parking Assist with PARKTRONIC guarantees an excellent overview and problem-free manoeuvring into and out of parking spaces. Night-time vision is improved by the LED Intelligent Light System which is available for all models; adverse weather conditions resulting in impaired visibility are defused by MAGIC VISION CONTROL, the heated adaptive windscreen wiper system with purposeful water distribution.

Freely combinable packages lend the GLE additional appeal. With the AMG Line exterior, the GLE has an even more dynamic and athletic appearance. The package comprises, among other things, special front and rear bumpers in the distinctive AMG styling and 50.8-cm (20-inch) AMG light-alloy wheels. Those who like things even more exclusive can combine this feature with the Night package, which features a high-gloss black radiator grille louvre and exterior mirror housings, for example. The line-up of options is rounded out by high-sheen black 50.8-cm (20-inch) AMG light-alloy wheels.

The AMG Line interior transfers the sporty appearance to the interior with sports seats with MB-Tex man-made leather upholstery (optional nappa leather), a black nappa leather multifunction sports steering wheel, an instrument cluster with distinct dial in chequered-flag design and brushed stainless-steel sports pedals with rubber studs.

As an option, the latest generation of COMAND Online offers perfect infotainment with a 20.3-cm (8-inch) display and intuitive touchpad. The system comprises, among other things, a DVD player and traffic sign recognition including wrong-way warning function. Customers can supplement COMAND Online optionally with a 6-disc DVD changer, the Rear-Seat Entertainment System with remote control or a TV receiver. Also available are sound systems from Harman Kardon or Bang & Olufsen to elevate the music experience to the level of a concert hall.

Vehicle functions that can be controlled remotely or traffic information in real time – Mercedes CONNECT ME makes personal mobility easier and more convenient: from the basic services for safety and security and LIVE TRAFFIC information in real time to the in part fee-based Remote Online services, the desired data can be exchanged via the mobile phone network and via an internet connection.

Even more exclusive: design and equipment of the Mercedes-AMG GLE63

In the interior the new GLE63 demonstrates what constitutes a true AMG Performance automobile. Exquisite materials, first-class workmanship and maximum precision create a unique driving experience. Design and equipment underscore the exclusive high-end positioning.

Aluminium trim with longitudinal grain in the black MB-Tex man-made leather instrument panel set attractive highlights. Perforated nappa leather sports seats with special upholstery layout and topstitching as well as AMG badges make for an exclusive look and feel. Thanks to their specific upholstery with greater contouring and higher side bolsters at the front, the sports seats offer excellent lateral support. The fitting complement is the 3-spoke AMG Performance steering wheel with flat bottom and silver paddle shifters with “UP” and “DOWN” lettering.

Two tube-shaped round dials with silver chrome surrounds and the central 11.4-cm (4.4-inch) multifunction display provide the driver with comprehensive information. The typical AMG equipment scope includes sporty dials in carbon-fiber appearance with a 200 mph speedometer scale, AMG lettering and red pointers, as well as the main menu including RACETIMER, manual gear indicator and AMG start-up screen. The top-of-the-line Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S model offers nappa leather exclusive AMG upholstery in addition – a highlight both in terms of looks and touch and feel.

“G” to the fore: the new SUV nomenclature

Mercedes-Benz has rearranged its successful SUV model range. The multifunctional all-rounders now always carry a G in their name as a reminiscence to the legendary G-Class. The name in each case is an acronym of three letters. The G is always followed by an L, the third letter facilitates orientation in the SUV line-up based on the passenger car model range of Mercedes-Benz. In detail, this new naming scheme results in the following nomenclature for the SUV and off- roader range in which only the legendary G-Class on account of its unchanged model designation signals its special position as the forefather of all modern SUVs and off-roaders:

GLA SUV in the A-Class segment
GLC SUV in the C-Class segment; formerly GLK
GLE SUV in the E-Class segment; formerly M-Class
GLE Coupé SUV in the E-Class Coupe segment
GLS SUV in the S-Class segment; formerly GL
G unchanged

The names of the AMG model series are also adapted accordingly:

Mercedes-AMG GLA45 4MATIC
Mercedes-AMG GLE63 / GLE63 S 4MATIC
Mercedes-AMG GLE63 / GLE63 S Coupé 4MATIC
Mercedes-AMG GLS63 / GLS63 S 4MATIC
Mercedes-AMG G63 / G65

About Mercedes-Benz USA
Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA), headquartered in Montvale, New Jersey, is responsible for the distribution, marketing and customer service for all Mercedes- Benz products in the United States. MBUSA offers drivers the most diverse line-up in the luxury segment with 14 model lines ranging from the sporty CLA-Class four- door coupe to the flagship S-Class.

MBUSA is also responsible for the distribution, marketing and customer service of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Vans, and smart products in the U.S. More information on MBUSA and its products can be found at www.mbusa.com, www.mbsprinterusa.com and www.smartusa.com.

Source Article from http://www.autoblog.com/2015/03/25/mercedes-benz-gle-official-new-york/
Mercedes-Benz GLE gets official before NY Show
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2015 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG Coupe

For Mercedes-Benz to truly demonstrate the capabilities and sensations of the S65 AMG Coupe, it needs to commission the building of a highway halfway to the moon. That’s right, a ribbon of Autobahn roughly 120,000 miles long, with 50,000 miles of twisties and sweepers. Let’s even add some loop-de-loops though the ionosphere, since, you know, we’re going all the way with this.

We’ve been following the headlines about progress on a new lunar lander and the SpaceX Mars Colonial Transporter, but we recently discovered that we’ve already got both of them in the S65 AMG Coupe. This isn’t a car, it’s a rocket ship. And it’s not perfect, but it is spectacular.

Starting with the way it looks. When Mercedes unveiled the concept at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, I wasn’t impressed. In fact, I told the Mercedes PR person, “It’s fine, but the rear end doesn’t do anything for me.”

And today? I’ll have the crow, please, with lots of ketchup. When the test car you see here arrived, my loins tumbled and my knees developed a slight tremble. By the following week I was posing thought experiments like, “What’s hotter: me in this car, or nothing else ever?”

2015 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG Coupe 2015 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG Coupe

It’s big – just eight inches shorter than the S-Class sedan and only an inch narrower. It’s an inch longer than the Porsche Panamera and four inches wider, but just 0.3-inches taller than that slinking sport sedan. Its size and segment seem to have freed the designers’ pens, and we think it’s the best and most unapologetic expression of the brand’s current language. We’d normally vote “nay” to a face full of chrome, but the coupe has the width to spread the polished elements around, and the top-to-bottom three-dimensionality indeed earns the adjective “jewel-like.” A button on the center console lifts the entire car to protect those jewels when needed.

The profile doesn’t give up on the rising, sculpted wedge we’ve known for years – the one we used to love on the SL-Class. And again, the 16.6-foot expanse of sheet metal gives those opposing swage lines an unhurried opportunity to carve the body. The sidelong swell is enhanced by the carbon-fiber rocker panel laid into the concavity along the bottom, as well as those hips over the rear wheels. Speaking of which, the polished, 20-inch forged rollers are spot on. The bluff backside is sculpted just enough to keep it interesting, from the decklid spoiler to the horizontals across the bumper and carbon diffuser. Mostly, though, it seems to say to anyone behind, “Please. Don’t even…” The package is so arresting that a man driving a Lamborghini Aventador roadster caught up to me in traffic to ask questions. The first word he said? “Wow.”

2015 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG Coupe 2015 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG Coupe 2015 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG Coupe 2015 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG Coupe

I do have two gripes about the exterior. The tailpipe finishers aren’t connected to the actual tailpipes, a trend I can’t wait to see the end of. Call it persnickety, but for about $231,000, I want every detail attended to (everyone does it, though, including Rolls-Royce). There’s also no button on the trunk to open the trunk – from the outside you have to use the key or wave your foot under the bumper. I used the key because the foot trick worked exactly once in a whole week. A man in a parking lot fruitlessly waving his loafers under a car that costs a quarter of a million? Can you say, “Um, hello, LAPD?”

The cabin, drenched in cross-stitched saddle brown leather with diamond patterns in the seats, is even better than outside – or as one friend told me, “This is nicer than my apartment.” Thanks to the integration allowed by the two giant TFT screens, the 10-footer view of the cockpit is high on luxury and minimalism. Get in and look closely, though, and one realizes the coupe should come with a saddle-brown, leather-wrapped clipboard to perform pre-flight checks; every one of those polished accents is a gaggle of buttons. There are more buttons, in black, on either side of the steering wheel and on the roof console. Yet somehow Mercedes left out an “Off” button for the climate control, that act required flipping through screens, pushing and levering the COMAND knob. There must be an Easter Egg in there somewhere for making that simpler, but we couldn’t find it.

2015 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG Coupe 2015 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG Coupe 2015 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG Coupe 2015 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG Coupe

Power comes from a 6.0-liter, twin-turbo V12 that’s launchpad-ready with 621 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque. Peak torque doesn’t arrive until 2,300 rpm, but the shift mapping in Controlled Efficiency means you rarely get outside the rev band from 1,000 to 1,500 rpm. There’s no lack of power, but roll-off from a stop is relaxed; the 7G-Tronic automatic transmission always starts in second gear unless you put the car in Sport or Manual, and the engine is laid back about spooling up unless you command it otherwise. The stop/start mechanism is similarly unhurried – take your foot off the brake and the engine turns over as if you’re starting it for the first time, then you can pull off. At least now, though, start/stop doesn’t shake the whole car on restart like it does in less-refined applications.

Let’s get our biggest and only substantial complaint out of the way right here: the inconceivably unrefined carbon ceramic brakes. An $8,950 option, not only were they grabby and nearly impossible to modulate at urban speeds, they howled and moaned when operated with anything other than featherweight or heavyweight pressure on the brake pedal. Every single time I had to come to a stop it sounded like I was driving That Shady White Van that can’t legally be parked within 500 feet of a school zone. There were only three ways to stop it: take a whole block to come to a stop; hit the brakes hard at the last minute; or run the car hard and get the brakes hot, then enjoy 10 or 15 minutes of quiet deceleration. Sticking with the standard high-performance composite stoppers is the best option.

Outside of that, the V12 kraken is stellar. From standstill to 60 miles per hour you will beat the Bentley Continental GT V8 S and tie the W12 GT Speed, outrun any Porsche 911 below the Turbo, smoke any Jaguar F-Type, and get pipped – but only just – by the Audi R8 V10 Plus. Would you beat any of them to the top of an ess-filled canyon road? No, but we wager you’d keep it game with the Bentleys and you’d surprise absolutely all of them.

2015 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG Coupe

The S65 AMG’s sport suspension with Magic Body Control is truth in advertising. It kept 2.5 tons of hedonism thoroughly in check up and down every twisted Malibu stretch we tried, and the system comes outfitted with a dynamic curve setting that tilts the car up to 2.65 degrees into a corner, solely to alleviate some lateral forces on occupants. In Sport, with elevated revs producing a geyser of force, acceleration is instant. The 255-section rubber in front and 285-section out back held on for sticky grip, and I could wield the mammoth hammer with vigor through all points of a turn. Keep pushing and I could begin to feel the coupe’s various handling aids working to maintain the chosen line. Those nannies won’t get intrusive until you got imbecilic, and even then you mostly sidestepped any sensation of driving a vehicle that’s 800 pounds heavier than a 2015 Ford F-150 4×2.

If anything, the coupe’s ability to parry with physics took the most getting used to; it builds speed so quickly and is so even-keeled that I’d approach a corner and realize, “Oh, I didn’t mean to be going that fast.” Thankfully, this is where those carbon-ceramic brakes shine. I wouldn’t complain about even more aggressive shifting and even weightier steering in Sport, and more exhaust note allowed into the cabin, but that could be straying too far from the mission of a 5,000-pound GT. And the A-pillar and outside mirror are huge.

Around town, the Road Surface Scan suspension proves it’s no gimmick – I’d pass a familiar stretch and think, “There used to be a bump there.” And it’s still there, but outside of sharp-edge holes or speed bumps profiled like cinderblocks, or the few times it seemed to be playing catch-up, the predictive setup swallowed imperfections quite well.

2015 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG Coupe

For road trips, the S65 AMG Coupe operates at Threat Level: ICBM, delivering locomotive creaminess at any speed and splendor that doesn’t isolate you from the rest of the planet. I’m a card-carrying Anglo-luxury-phile, but sometimes you want to stay in touch with the Earth and driving sensations during midnight runs to Nogales.

Plus, there are all of the safety doodads you expect from Mercedes, a variable and perfectly simple heads-up display, the Magic Sky Control roof that keeps the sun out and the airiness in (even though I wish it opened), adaptive cruise control that is one of God’s own blessings in Los Angeles traffic, and infrared vision that automatically pops on at night if it detects people or animals by the side of the road. It’s too bad those detent-less door hinges mean you can’t keep the wide (and heavy) portals open or closed when the car is parked on a grade. But hey, if I just spent $250,000 on a car… that’s what footmen are for!

I’m arguably more impressed with the S65 AMG Coupe than I am with the AMG GT S. The compact coupe is an exquisite implement, but there was never any doubt that it would be. The colossal coupe is not only exquisite, it goes, and for the 95 percent of the time that you’re not trying to prove it’s The Mountain That Rides, it’s like driving an immaculately appointed penthouse. That parks itself.

So again I say, fly me to the moon. Even halfway will do. My rocket ship has arrived.

Related Video:

2015 Mercedes-AMG Hot Laps at Portimao | Autoblog Short Cuts

Source Article from http://www.autoblog.com/2015/03/23/2015-mercedes-benz-s65-amg-coupe-review/
2015 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG Coupe
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