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” »

Mercedes-Benz phasing out V12-powered roadsters

August 2nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

There’s not much new news about the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class vehicles. That may be because the current model is almost eight years old or perhaps because it’s slowly and quietly being phased out.

The SL-Class received a facelift back in 2008 but has fallen off the radar for many since then and fuel economy could be a reason. To combat this Mercedes is discontinuing its twelve-cylinder versions of the SL. The SL600 was the first to go and now the SL65 AMG is getting the chop as well. But it remains unclear if the fixed-roof SL65 AMG Black Series will continue on. Continue reading “Mercedes-Benz phasing out V12-powered roadsters” »

Daimler posts record $2.5 billion USD profit

July 28th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Daimler, the company who owns the Mercedes-Benz brand has just posted a record net profit of $2.5 billion USD for the second quarter of 2011. This has exceeded estimates and marks a 30 percent increase over the same period last year.

The results come from a much increased demand for Mercedes-Benz product, with sales increased to 357,600 units in the quarter, an increase on last year’s already record level of 342,500 units.

The big sellers for Mercedes were the freshly facelifted C-Class range, the S-Class flagship sedan and the new SLK roadster. The Chinese market has also become a gold mine for Mercedes-Benz where demand is currently greater than supply. Continue reading “Daimler posts record $2.5 billion USD profit” »

Mercedes-Benz unleashes C63 AMG Coupe Black Series

July 26th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Mercedes-Benz has revealed details of the most potent C-Class ever built, the new C63 AMG Coupe Black Series.

The hardcore version of Mercedes’ C63 AMG Coupe shares the models same naturally aspirated 6.2-litre V8 engine but with plenty of mods. There’s forged pistons, conrods and crankshaft a larger oil cooler and a new ECU.  The end result is 380kw of peak power, 22kW more than the C63 AMG with Performance Package and max torque of 620Nm. Acceleration from 0-100km/h is crossed off in 4.2 seconds.

Power is sent to the rear wheels through a seven-speed dual clutch AMG Speedshift transmission. The gearbox has four modes and a gear change time of just 100 milliseconds.

Mercedes has equipped the C63 AMG Coupe with an adjustable AMG coil-over sports suspension and upgraded AMG brakes. Filling the guards are  titanium grey forged 19-inch light-alloy wheels. An available option is the AMG Track Package which includes sports tyres and active rear-axle transmission cooling, plus the AMG Aerodynamics package that includes a specially tuned front splitter and an adjustable carbon-fibre rear aerofoil. Continue reading “Mercedes-Benz unleashes C63 AMG Coupe Black Series” »

Mercedes-Benz reveals variable-displacement V8 engine

July 22nd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

With many auto makers dropping cylinders off their larger engines Mercedes-Benz was rumoured to be developing a hardcore turbocharged V6. But those rumours have now proved false with news that Mercedes is set to continue with a naturally aspirated V8 engine in the next generation of the SLK AMG.

Details have been released before the new sportscar debuts at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show. The latest AMG powerplant, labeled M152, is based closely on the M157 engine that already sees use in the new CL63 AMG and its four-door brother – the S63 AMG. But the M152 is different in a few key areas, first of all, is the removal of the twin turbochargers. It also uses a new air intake, cylinder heads, valve drive, oil system, crankcase and, most importantly, a Formula One-derived cylinder deactivation system. This new system allows it to cut back to just four cylinders when required and with only four pistons firing, fuel economy is markedly improved. Continue reading “Mercedes-Benz reveals variable-displacement V8 engine” »

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster officially unveiled

May 30th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

After much teasing, prompting, rumour and speculation Mercedes-Benz has released full details and images of its new 2012 SLS AMG Roadster. The much anticipated drop-top will receive an official world premiere at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show this September.

The gullwing doors of the SLS coupe have had to go but even with conventional doors and body stiffening the convertible only weighs 40kg more than the hard top.

The three-layered fabric soft top will not eat in the roadster model’s boot area as its capacity remains the same with the roof either up or down, and is roughly the same to that of the SLS AMG Coupe. The automated top will come in a choice of three colors – black, beige and a classic red. It opens and closes in eleven seconds, and can be operated at speeds up to 50km/h.

Under the bonnet the roadster shares the coupe’s AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission that sends power to the rear wheels. The naturally aspirated eight-cylinder engine produces 425kW and 650 Nm of torque. Apparently, even with the slight weight increase the quoted 0-100kph acceleration time for the roadster is 3.7 seconds, down 0.1 second from the coupe’s sprint time. Continue reading “2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster officially unveiled” »