Mercedes-Benz: 2014 S 500 sedan

October 13th, 2014 by Robert Barry

The luxury flagship of Mercedes-Benz has always introduced greater levels of comfort, safety and sophistication through each new generation, and the new S Class is no exception.

My first introduction to the S Class occurred when I was a spotty-faced teenager, my athletic coach Kevin Taylor owned a first-generation W116 series 280S sedan as his daily driver, and I was smitten by the build quality and design detail that this car offered.

Even though by todays standards it was relatively sparsely equipped, central locking, a factory stereo, electric steel sliding sunroof and power steering were about the few luxury items. It certainly didn’t have air conditioning or electric windows. Continue reading “Mercedes-Benz: 2014 S 500 sedan” »

Mercedes-Benz: 2014 CLA 250 Sport 4Matic review

September 22nd, 2014 by Robert Barry

A few months ago we drove the CLA 45 AMG 4Matic (read review here) and were thoroughly impressed with its ability, but we felt the terrier-like nature of the car could become tiresome for some consumers.

Enter stage left the CLA 250 Sport 4Matic, which we found was an equally well equipped and entertaining drive, but a vehicle that’s much less frenetic than its AMG sibling, and one that we feel would be a more comfortable day to day proposition for people commuting into the office or doing the school run. Continue reading “Mercedes-Benz: 2014 CLA 250 Sport 4Matic review” »

Mercedes-Benz: 2014 CLS 250 CDI Shooting Brake

August 13th, 2014 by Robert Barry

What is a shooting brake you ask? Thats a very good question.

According to the all-knowing Wikipedia, the term shooting-brake originated in the 19th century, and was used to describe a particular style of motor-vehicle that carried shooting parties, their equipment, and their game.

Wikipedia says the term brake was coined to describe a chassis used to break in horses, and was subsequently used to describe a motor-vehicle.

Early 19th century shooting brakes were often custom built to order for their wealthy clients, normally members of the British aristocracy. Continue reading “Mercedes-Benz: 2014 CLS 250 CDI Shooting Brake” »

Mercedes-Benz: All-wheel-drive GLA and CLA models arrive

July 13th, 2014 by Robert Barry

CLA250_3_4fcnr5It was ironic that Mercedes-Benz held its Australasian media launch of the new all-wheel-drive CLA 250 Sport 4Matic and GLA 250 4Matic models during one of the worse winter storms to hit the North Island in July.

However, this didn’t dampen the driving experience, rather it was the perfect weather to put the new 4Matic system of both the sexy-looking coupe-like CLA sedan and the compact GLA SUV to the acid test. Continue reading “Mercedes-Benz: All-wheel-drive GLA and CLA models arrive” »

Mercedes-Benz: 2014 C 63 AMG Edition 507 review

May 22nd, 2014 by Robert Barry

IMG_0439When swapping over from the CLA 45 AMG reviewed on Car and SUV last week, to the new C 63 AMG Edition 507 pictured here, I posted a picture of the two cars side by side on my personal Facebook page, and the caption read, “from the sublime to the ridiculous”.

The reality is, I was wrong, it was actually the other way around. Continue reading “Mercedes-Benz: 2014 C 63 AMG Edition 507 review” »

Mercedes-Benz: CLA 45 AMG 4Matic 2014 review

May 14th, 2014 by Robert Barry

DSC_0068Theres always something quite special about an AMG fettled Mercedes-Benz and the new CLA-Class version is no exception. Continue reading “Mercedes-Benz: CLA 45 AMG 4Matic 2014 review” »

Mercedes-Benz C200 Dynamic Sedan 2013 Review

January 31st, 2014 by Darren Cottingham

Your entry into the Mercedes-Benz C-class starts with the C200 at just under $70,000, and you can go right up to the C63 AMG which is a beast of a car at just under $167,000. At the fiscally sensible end of the scale the C200 comes in three flavours: C200, C200 CDi (diesel-powered), and C200 Dynamic (our test car).

mercedes-benz-c200-dynamic-sedan-rear-quarterThis Dynamic model gets 18-inch wheels, satellite navigation, a glass sunroof and electric seats with 3 memories per side. Everything about the seats is electrically adjustable. The other big improvement over the standard C200 are the headlights. It has Intelligent Light System with Bi-Xenon headlamps, Active Light System, variable light distribution, headlamp cleaning system and dynamic headlight beam control. Basically, as you turn the wheel, extra lights illuminate to the side of you to help you see as you turn. Continue reading “Mercedes-Benz C200 Dynamic Sedan 2013 Review” »

High Spec Brake Lining

July 2nd, 2012 by Tim Grimley

Let me start this week with a little history lesson regarding a rather archaic transportation method, the shooting brake. The name has its origins in the ‘brake’ wagons, which were carriage chassis’ attached to unruly equestrians in order to break them of their wild ways. With a body added capable of carrying a hunting party and its various accoutrements, the shooting brake was born.

With the arrival of the motor vehicle, the name was taken to describe a custom built luxury vehicle adapted to suit the requirements of gentlemen off on a shoot. Diversification of purposes also saw the terms ‘estate’ and ‘station wagon’ tags attached to the style, yet the original moniker has always maintained a certain mystique. Cars that are blessed with this title have sleeker styling, more exuberant performance and a certain je ne sais quoi when compared to the more common or garden mutt transporter.

Certainly a brake from the average

And because of this, Mercedes Benz has not unveiled the CLS Station Wagon this week, but rather the CLS Shooting Brake. The Herr’s and Frau’s in Stuttgart have clearly got it in their collective heads that what they have to offer is a cut above the mob of mere station wagons available on the market.

In fairness the CLS is quite a stunning car and one could easily picture it as a bespoke hunting vehicle, commissioned by a wealthy aristocrat who found the original CLS to be a little restrictive when it came to transporting beagles and a brace of 12 gauges. And with a range which includes the BlueEfficiency 250, capable of dropping under 4.5 litres per 100km, it means you can go away for the weekend safe in the knowledge that the only damage you’ll do to nature will involve lead shot and ducks.

The air suspension standardised across the range will also provide the reassurance that no matter what you throw in the back, the car will still drive like a Mercedes Benz. Although this is a little bit pointless, because no-one who ever gets around to buying a CLS would consider putting anything in the back and risk scuffing the cherry tree decking inlaid with smoked oak that lines the rear load area.

I have complained loudly and often about manufacturers who make a supposed utility vehicle and then line the bit where you put pets, sporting equipment and other items of muddy miscellany with cream carpet so thick you could lose a small child in it. While its all very well making sure the Jones’ know that you have not only kept up, but seriously overtaken them, doing so in a way that means you have to pull out the carpet steamer every time the bichon frise needs walking is plain idiocy.

Impressive aft deck.

But a wooden deck which wouldn’t look out of place on a Caribbean yacht takes things to a whole new level. It’s every bit as impractical as carpet, because the chance of scratching will limit use to people who regularly need to transport sizeable quantities of pillows, yet due to its complete ostentatiousness this really doesn’t matter.

There is absolutely no reason why anyone would choose to line a car with wood in the same way that no-one would choose to listen to a record over a CD, write a letter rather than send an e-mail or light a fire rather than turn on a heat pump. Some things should have been consigned to the scrapheap of history a long, long time ago and yet somehow they maintain a sense of occasion that will forever defy the changing demands of time and fashion. Much like the name ‘shooting brake’ really.

Mercedes have deliberately gone down the route of cocking a snook at technology in order to offer the discerning buyer a car with a unique point of difference; for that alone it earns its spot alongside the bespoke vehicles of gentry past. And should this latest panzer wagon eventually follow the tried and true Mercedes route of finding its way into the hands of AMG, the brake may once again have some seriously wild horses to tame.

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