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.

Mercedes-Benz reveals hardcore 2012 ML63 AMG

November 15th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

It was back in 1999, that Mercedes-Benz revealed its first AMG-worked ML SUV – the ML55 AMG. During the following 12 years the performance SUV has sold over 24,000 units worldwide. Now the German brand is ready for the third generation of the series that will be called the 2012 ML63 AMG and will be officially revealed at this week’s 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show.

Powering the family-friendly beast is Mercedes’ 5.5-litre V8 biturbo engine that delivers 386kW of power and 700Nm of torque, representing an increase over the 375kW/630Nm output of its predecessor. If you need to do the school run even faster, there’s also an available AMG Performance Package boosts the V8 engine’s output to a crazed 410KW of power and 780Nm of torque.

With the “standard” package, acceleration from zero to 100 km/h takes just 4.7 seconds while top speed is quoted at 280 km/h. Estimated combined fuel is hardly frugal at 14.7l/100km.

Power is put to the tarmac through a permanent all-wheel drive system that operates at a ratio of 40:60 to the front and rear axle, and a standard AMG SPEEDSHIFT PLUS 7-speed automatic transmission featuring three driving modes – Controlled Efficiency (C) for improved fuel economy, Sport (S) and Manual (M). Continue reading “Mercedes-Benz reveals hardcore 2012 ML63 AMG” »

Mercedes-Benz C250 CDI Avantgarde 2011 Review

September 23rd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class maintains an important position in the German automakers range. Before the A-Class was introduced in 1997 it was the company’s entry-point model and had a tough job offering the same exclusivity and advanced technology as its more expensive siblings. In 2007 the third generation C-Class was released with improved dynamics and bold new design. It went on to become a desirable sales success. Now for 2011 Mercedes has put its compact sedan under the knife for a mid-life facelift. This is no token gesture either; the updates include design and bodywork tweaks, new powertrain technology and safety features. In total there’s been around 2,000 changes to the new C-Class over its predecessor. So, has the facelift made this popular baby-Benz even better? Car and SUV spent a week rolling in the diesel-powered C250 to find out.

There aren’t that many design tweaks but they are highly effective in sharpening up the C-Class sedan aesthetic and visually aligning it with the current E- and S-Class models.  There’s a new aluminum bonnet, which saves 10kg in weight and re-profiled front and rear bumpers. Both the headlights and taillights have been restyled and there’s new LED daytime running lamps dissecting the lower air inlets. The front grille has been changed to a sportier three-bar job with a prominent three-pointed star badge. Along the flanks little has changed but our test subject looked smart with chrome trim bordering the window line. At the rear, there’s more chrome highlights and the tail lamps use LED lighting for a distinctive glow at night. Our tested mid-range C250 CDI is finished with a single chrome exhaust tip and 18-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels. Continue reading “Mercedes-Benz C250 CDI Avantgarde 2011 Review” »

Mercedes-Benz drops covers on 2012 SLK 55 AMG

August 22nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Mercedes has dropped the covers off its most powerful small hardtop roadster ever – the 2012 SLK 55 AMG. Due for a world premiere at the Frankfurt Motor Show in mid-September photos and specification details have just been released.

In terms of styling the new model is distinguished by a reworked front aesthetic, new side skirts and LED daytime running lights. There’s also a larger set of alloy wheels finished in Black. In the cabin there’s leather surfaces everywhere and deeply bolstered sports seats.

Under the bonnet, power for the roadster comes from a new naturally-aspirated AMG 5.5-litre V8 engine. Power is rated at 310kW and there’s 540Nm of torque on tap. Power is sent to the rear wheels through a 7-speed AMG Speedshift automatic transmission featuring three modes (sport, manual and efficiency). Additionally, the aluminum V8 engine also features the AMG Cylinder Management system that can shut off four-cylinders from 800 to 3,600 rpm to improve fuel efficiency. With the engine start/stop system engaged the SLK 55 AMG can apparently return economy of 8.5l/10okm. Continue reading “Mercedes-Benz drops covers on 2012 SLK 55 AMG” »

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