All posts in “Mercedes-Benz”

Did the Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series set a new Nurburgring record?

According to well-known YouTube Nürburgring-watcher Misha Charoudin, the Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series likely set a new production car record at the famous German race track. According to the channel’s calculations, the 720-horsepower AMG GT Black Series likely crossed the finish line with around 6:43 showing on the stopwatch. If that’s true it would be a new record, taking top billing away from the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ, which did the deed in 6:44.97. It also wouldn’t be a big surprise, since Mercedes was known to be honing the car at that exact track for years.

Instead of rehashing the great debate about the never-ending quest to set records at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, we’ll just recap a few highlights: Does it matter? Is it repeatable? Is it relevant to actual street performance? Do the mods that make it fast at the ‘Ring make it worse on the road? Now that those are out of the way, let’s add this unqualified statement: ‘Ring records are nothing if not impressive and newsworthy.

If Charoudin’s projected time is accurate — and he’s been on the mark in the past — we expect confirmation from Mercedes-AMG will be coming in short order. Probably with onboard video, and probably with much pomp and circumstance. We look forward to it.

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The Aston Martin DBS Superleggera leads this month’s list of discounts

The average price of a new car in America last year was $35,932. This month, the biggest discount off the retail price of a new car in America is awfully close to that figure at $34,001. For those keeping track (as we do every month with a post like this one), that’s by far the largest discount we’ve seen so far this year, and it means buyers of the 2020 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera are paying an average transaction price of $273,819.

The British automaker calls the DBS “the ultimate production Aston Martin.” With a 715-horsepower V12 engine pulsating underhood, sufficient to push this grand touring coupe from 0-60 in a skosh over 3 seconds and on to a top speed of 211 miles per hour, who are we to argue?

If that’s too rich for your blood — and let’s be honest, it’s still a whole heck of a lotta money — the next biggest discount might be at least a little more attractive. According to data provided by TrueCar, buyers of the 2019 Mercedes-AMG GT are seeing discounts of $23,103 off the car’s average sticker price of $159,995. That’s a heck of a lot of car for $136,892, though admittedly still expensive. But at 14.4% off retail, it’s a better deal than the $132,122 average transaction price of the 2020 BMW M8. The BMW’s $16,497 discount equals 11.1% off the M8‘s $148,619 sticker.

For a look at the best new car deals in America based on the percentage discount off their suggested asking prices, check out our monthly recap here. And when you’re ready to buy, click here for the Autoblog Smart Buy program, which brings you a hassle-free buying experience with over 9,000 Certified Dealers nationwide.

Project Geländewagen: Virgil Abloh’s Mercedes-Benz G-Class

Earlier in the week, Mercedes-Benz announced a collaboration with Virgil Abloh. The result is called Project Geländewagen.

The one-off Project Geländewagen is a collaboration between Mercedes-Benz and Chief Creative Director and Founder of Off-White and Men’s Artistic Director of Louis Vuitton Virgil Abloh.

A 1:3 maquette of the unique Mercedes-Benz G-Class will be auctioned through Sotheby’s Contemporary Curated with bidding due to begin on 14 September 2020.

Of Project Geländewagen, Virgil Abloh says: “My ultimate goal in this project with Mercedes-Benz is inspiring young artists, engineers, designers to question the status quo, in addition to experimenting with my own design abilities. For me it’s all about providing opportunities for those coming after me and giving this next generation a foundation for success, both here with Mercedes-Benz and through my own Virgil Abloh “Post-Modern” Scholarship Fund.”

It’s certainly a unique proposition. The typical Mercedes-Benz G-Class shape is clear. Surfaces have been smoother and air vents covered. The indicators, outside mirrors and the bumper bar have all been removed and the body of the car is widened and lowered.

Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon White Interior

The simplicity of the bodywork sits in contrast to some of the racing touches. The car features chunky drag-type tyres, an internal roll cage and window netting; this is the first Mercedes-Benz G-Class race car!

Gorden Wagener, Mercedes-Benz Chief Design Officer says: “With Project Geländewagen we create a unique artwork that showcases future interpretations of luxury and the desire for beauty and the extraordinary. The result is something between reality and future. The collaboration with Virgil has seen two distinct design philosophies unite, for a one-of-a-kind re-imagination of the G that continues to celebrate the extraordinary at its core.”

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS 400d 4MATIC: 5 Things We Enjoyed

It is Mercedes’ most luxurious SUV, with the Maybach variant sitting at the top. Our test car, the GLS 400d, was equipped with just about every equipment available, which made it the perfect car for touring around.

The GLS 400d is powered by a 3.0 litre inline 6 diesel engine with 330 hp combined with 700 Nm of torque. Sprint from standstill to 100 km/h (62 mph) is done in 6.3 seconds, while the top speed is limited to 238 km/h (148 mph). Here are 5 things we loved about it after driving around in it for a week.

The Looks

Completely in black, Obsidian black as Mercedes calls it. Of course there are other colors to choose from but we loved the road presence it presented in this particular spec. The overall look has also improved and one can easily tell this is a sophisticated luxury SUV just from the looks.

7 Seater

The most common feature of SUVs in this segment is the option for 7 seats or 3 rows. The GLS offers the 2 persons on the last row of seats, a pleasant sitting and comfortable position. A 1000 km drive as an adult might not be fully comfortable, but the GLS will do it better than rivals in this segment without compromising on luggage space. The total length of 5.34 meters is fully used in this way.

Parking in the city

You can’t possibly expect a car like this to park like an A Class. But it still surprised me how easily I could park it even in very small spaces. Of course this is made easier by the all-round 360° camera . Other than underground parking spaces with low roofs, the GLS will give you an easy time driving around in the city.

Going off-road

The real off-road work, up to the belly in the mud and more is rarely spent in a GLS, especially since our test car drove on normal street tires. But still we couldn’t resist a quick off-road detour. We chose a route filled with bunkers of world war 1 through Flanders. At no time did the GLS have any trouble with a hill, a ditch or other obstacles along the way. The suspension does a great job, to give you the most possible comfort.

Of course, we played it safe and brought a friend along who owns a Land Rover Defender. However, to our surprise…

The Defender got stuck, and we even had to call 3 friends each with a Defender to pull him back out. What an adventure and fun we had! As you can expect, the part where the Defender was stuck was not part of the route, but our friend wanted to prove what a Defender can do … mission failed if you ask me!

Pictures by Wouter Desmet

Henrik Fisker interview, and driving the Polestar 2 | Autoblog Podcast #643

In this week’s Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by Senior Editor, Green, John Beltz Snyder. They’ve been driving the updated 2021 Honda Odyssey, the 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 and the new Polestar 2 electric sedan. After reviewing those, they talk about how the Chrysler 300 appears to be withering on the vine. Next, they take time to talk to legendary automotive designer and eponymous Chairman & CEO of Fisker Inc., Mr. Henrik Fisker himself, about jeans, horses and, of course, electric cars. Finally, they help a listener pick a $100,000 supercar in the “Spend My Money” segment.

Autoblog Podcast #643

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New Mercedes-Benz S-Class Revealed – The Seventh-Generation

The V223 Mercedes-Benz S-Class has been officially revealed. The German giant’s flagship sedan is always an event. Technology which makes its way into the S-Class normally trickles down to the rest of the industry. The V223 is no different.

V223 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Highlights

2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Highlights for the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class include:

– Second generation MBUX infotainment system
– MBUX Interior Assistant – AI for driver
– Active ambient lighting
– Improvements to the Driver Assistance Package
– Redesigned Rear Airbag
– Rear Axle Steering
– Over the air updates
– Pre-Safe Impulse Side
– Automated Mode for the Drive Pilot
– Digital Light projections onto the road

Exterior

The exterior of the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class doesn’t reinvent the wheel. Using the same basic proportions, Mercedes-Benz brings the S-Class in line with the rest of the range.

The front taillights are flatter and smaller than before, the door handles are mounted flush too. The design lines are less prominent with the design curvier than before.

The rear end borrows its taillight design from the rest of the modern Mercedes-Benz S-Class range.

While there isn’t a great deal of change, the S-Class remains one of the world’s most efficient cars with a 0.22 drag coefficient figure, despite a larger frontal area.

Through use of acoustic foam and double seals on some of the finer details, the S-Class takes the lead on aeroacoustic too.

Chassis and Engines

2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class

A range of engines will be offered from launch. All will feature an in-line 6 cylinder engine.

Two petrols, the S 450 and S 500 offer 367 hp and 435 hp respectively. Torque is rated at 500 Nm and 520 Nm. These use EQ Boost which provides an additional 250 Nm of torque. The most powerful hits 100 km/h in 4.9 seconds.

The Diesel models range from an S 350 d with 286 hp and 600 Nm of torque to an S 400 d with 330 hp and 700 Nm of torque. The S 400 d hits 100 km/h in 5.4 seconds.

Expect hybrid versions, AMG variants and possibly a replacement Maybach. The next model will be a V8 using a 48 volt system.

Optional E-Active Body Control incorporates a 48 volt system which can be combined with rear wheel steering. The later option reduces the turning circle by 1.9 metres to less than 10.9 metres.

Interior

Breakdowns on the interior specifications were already revealed. Needless to say, the S-Class retains its class-leading status. Read more about the Mercedes-S-Class interior here, and its technology here.

Competition

Leaked 2019 BMW 7 Series Facelift

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class retains the same competition, cars like the BMW 7-Series and the Audi A8 are the obvious names.

SUV’s are increasingly popular these days, taking a chunk of the market from the S-Class.

Listen to the Mercedes-AMG Project One romp around Mercedes’ proving grounds

It’s been over three years since we saw the reveal of the Mercedes-AMG Project One, and we’re still waiting on a final production car. Mercedes isn’t keeping us entirely in the dark on what’s going on behind closed doors, though.

Today, Mercedes has dropped a new video and new photos of the Project One testing on track. The company says that testing is entering a new phase now, as pre-production models are running hot laps on Mercedes’ proving grounds in Immendingen. Mercedes also says that this is the first time it’s testing with the engines turned up to their full power potential of “more than 1,000 horsepower.”

For us, this is simply a great chance for us to hear the 1.6-liter turbocharged V6 scream around a racetrack. Mercedes says the sound we’re hearing is authentic and what owners will hear from behind the wheel of their Projects Ones. Since this engine is a street-tamed Formula One engine, it sounds very similar to the Mercedes race cars piloted by Lewis Hamilton and Valterri Bottas on Sundays. The sound isn’t exactly the same as what we hear on TV, but there’s no mistaking this engine’s origins. 

In addition to running at full power, Mercedes says it’s working to validate and develop the active aerodynamics. After this bout of testing is complete, Mercedes says it plans to head to the north loop of the Nurburgring. Don’t expect to see a record attempt, though — AMG already ruled that out a couple years ago.

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2021 Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series revealed with 720-horsepower flat-plane crank engine

AMG has been playing a game of one-upmanship with itself by releasing ever more impressive versions of the Mercedes-AMG GT. First there was the GT R coupe, then the even more powerful four-door GT 63 S and eventually a more track-focused version of the GT R. But the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series is something more. It’s like, a ten-upmanship.

It starts with the engine. It’s a heavily revised version of the twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 AMG uses in multiple other Mercedes products. But it gains a flat-plane crankshaft like you’ll find in a Shelby GT350 or a Ferrari. The reason was for better engine response and more power. Supplementing this change are new camshafts, larger turbo compressors, bigger intercoolers and a revised exhaust system. The final results of the changes mean this GT makes 720 horsepower from 6,700 to 6,900 rpm and 590 pound-feet of torque from 2,000 to 6,000 rpm. That makes it the most powerful V8 ever made by AMG. It also will get the GT Black Series to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds on the way to a top speed of 202 mph.

All that power goes through a carbon fiber driveshaft inside a carbon fiber torque tube to the rear-mounted seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. It has been upgraded to handle the extra power and torque, though Mercedes-AMG didn’t specify exactly how. It also has revised gear ratios and shift logic. This power also only goes to the rear wheels.

The powertrain is only part of what makes this GT so wild, though. As you can plainly see, AMG has been busy with the aerodynamics. The car gets a giant grille inspired by the GT3 race cars to increase airflow to the engine and wheel areas. A manually adjustable front splitter can be put in a less easily damaged “street” setting or extended to the “race” setting for more downforce. The large vents in the hood provide greater engine cooling, and the ones above the fenders help with downforce. Also improving downforce are the smoothed and channeled under body and the giant rear wing. That wing can be manually adjusted for how much rear downforce the driver wants. It also integrates an electrically adjusting flap. This flap is controlled automatically with different parameters depending on the driving mode, or it can be controlled independently by the driver. It goes down for high speed, and goes up for better downforce and grip under braking and cornering. Put together all the aerodynamic upgrades and the GT Black Series can generate over 882 pounds of downforce at 155 mph.

AMG has also used a liberal amount of carbon fiber in the construction of the GT Black Series. The wing and many of the car’s aero aids are made of the stuff, but so are the roof, hatchback, many chassis reinforcements and even the transmission mount and front anti-roll bar. Speaking of the suspension, the GT Black Series has electronically adjustable coilovers like the GT R. Camber is manually adjustable front and rear, and the rear steel anti-roll bar has three positions for varying its stiffness. The car rides on lightweight wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R MO tires specifically formulated for the GT Black Series. Two compounds are available, softer or harder. The latter is intended for extensive track time. The front tires are 285-mm wide, and the rears are 335-mm wide. Stopping power comes from standard carbon ceramic brakes.

2021 Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series

The AMG GT Black Series also gets some attention inside. The door panels are lighter pieces with fabric door pulls. The entire interior is swathed in black leather and Dinamica faux suede. Orange stitching and stripes provide some bright highlights. Behind the seats is a roll cage, and the seats themselves are special carbon fiber pieces, but only if you don’t live in the U.S., Canada or China. In those countries, Mercedes fits regular AMG sport seats. Also worth noting is that the windshield and the rear hatch glass are lightweight pieces compared to regular GTs.

Pricing for the ultimate AMG GT has not been announced yet. It seems safe to say that it will start above the GT R Pro’s price tag of $200,000, though. If you think you can afford it, you’ll be able to pick one up early next year.

2021 Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series looks hardcore

It’s finally official, Mercedes-AMG has revealed the ultimate version of the ultimate version of its ultimate sports car: the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series. The announcement comes somewhat unexpected in the form of a trailer that clearly shows an uncovered example of the track-oriented supercar. Unfortunately, the company hasn’t revealed any other details.

Thankfully there is plenty to see in the trailer. The car gets a huge frowning grille that echoes the AMG GT race cars that compete in the GT3 class. It’s flanked by little dive planes, and below it is a deep splitter. The hood sprouts a center scoop and big vents on either side. The front fenders have enormous vents, and they’re large enough we wonder if the fenders are wider than the regular AMG GT R. The rear isn’t as clear, but the fenders look quite wide, and the side skirts and diffuser area are probably quite aggressive. Certainly the rear wing looks serious with its width and tall supports.

We also get a glimpse of the interior in the trailer. We can clearly see a roll cage behind the sporty seats. There are also seat belt straps running through the holes in the seats, so it seems to have a racing harness, too.

The mechanical details of the car haven’t been revealed yet, and we’ll probably learn about it at a more formal reveal. No date has been given, though. According to previous reports, the car could make 720 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque from the twin-turbo 4.0-liter AMG V8. That would make it the most powerful Mercedes on sale today. The base price for this ultimate Mercedes is also reported to be about $283,000.

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Leaked Mercedes-AMG GT R Black Series Photos Spoil Surprise

Leaked Mercedes-AMG GT R Black Series Photos

The Mercedes-AMG GT R Black Series has leaked online. New photos show the hotly anticipated Black Series model sitting in a workshop completely uncovered.

Positioned above the Mercedes-AMG GT R Pro, the Black Series will be the most extreme version of the AMG GT to date.

Leaked Mercedes-AMG GT R Black Series photos show its Aerodynamics

The leaked Mercedes-AMG GT R Black Series photos show extensive modifications to the wide-body of the supercar. Starting from the rear, the Black Series gets a new rear diffuser with rear wheel vents sitting either side of massive quad exhaust tailpipes.

The twin rear spoiler looks adjustable in the photos with an interesting mount which sits towards the central of the rear end. The rear boot lid is also replaced with a more distinct lip than any other GT model.

The sides include a new skirt and a new front wheel vent. Towards the front, the bonnet is all-new, incorporating carbon fibre accent panels and a set of fender vents to cement the extreme new look.

The front bumper has a comprehensive redesign too with a new grille, deeper front splitter, carbon fibre flicks and a set of canards.

Its not clear if the dual tone finish is the release colour, or whether the parts are exposed to show where Mercedes-AMG has made modifications. Regardless, it seems clear that we weren’t supposed to see the finished product just yet.

What else do we know about the Mercedes-AMG GT R Black Series?

Leaked Mercedes-AMG GT R Black Series

What these leaked Mercedes-AMG GT R Black Series don’t confirm is what hides underneath. It’s almost certain that the 4.0 litre V8 will receive some work. Reports in other publications have confirmed that the tune will likely push power up to 720 hp and 850 Nm of torque.

We also expect Mercedes-AMG to make the Black Series limited edition.

AMG Boss Tobias Moers Confirmed as Next Aston Martin CEO

Coronavirus could not have arrived at a worse time for British supercar manufacturer, Aston Martin. The company had arrived at the end of the development program for its make or break Aston Martin DBX SUV, having secured further investment from turnaround expert Lawrence Stroll.

With current CEO, Andy Palmer at the helm, the company had enjoyed somewhat of a renaissance since its dark days at the beginning of the 2010’s. Since arriving in 2014, Palmer returned Aston to profitability, revamped its ranges, opened a factory in South Wales, and oversaw the company’s stock market launch.

Yet it was the later that proved his undoing. While the company shares floated at 545 p, since 2018, they have been on a consistent downwards trajectory. Late last week, the quoted price was as low as 33 p.

Clearly, urgent action was necessary to avoid bankruptcy. It was announced on Tuesday that Andy Palmer would step down, a victim to circumstances. The announcement was quickly followed by an announcement that Tobias Moers will take over from 1 August.

Aston Martin Vantage 2020Aston Martin Vantage 2020

Palmer’s immediate departure leaves Keith Stanton to fill the gap as interim chief operating officer. Three further directors, Richard Solomons, Imelda Walsh and Tensie Whelan, were also confirmed departures as part of the shake up.

The news was met with instant relief. Aston Martin’s share price soared, during the early part of this week. Indicating that the markets approved the move.

So just how dire is Aston Martin’s position? The company’s latest results show that it sold 578 vehicles during the first quarter of 2020, down from 1,057 in the same period last year. It announced a £118.9 million loss before tax, up from £17.3 million the year before. That said, with DBX and Valkyrie in the pipeline, it was clear that these losses were only temporary.

And what of Aston Martin’s new CEO? Tobias Moers is currently the CEO of Mercedes-AMG, a 5% shareholder in Aston Martin. AMG also provides engines, electronics and consulting. Moers will be stepping into a business he knows intimately.

Holding the top job at AMG for 7 years, it seems the perfect move, with Moers reportedly frustrated at the direction the Mercedes-Benz parent company wished to push its performance arm.

Mr Moers said: “I am truly excited to be joining Aston Martin Lagonda at this point of its development. I have always had a passion for performance cars and relish the chance to work for this iconic brand.”

Special Report: The Mercedes-AMG G 63 Is The Ultimate All-Rounder

What do Britney Spears, Kylie Jenner, Sylvester Stallone, Bradley Cooper, Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian and The Weeknd all have in common? Yes, they are all household names, but, they also all drive Mercedes-Benz G Wagons. The G was born back in 1979 and was an instant success. As I write this, Iran and the United States of Donald J Trump are locking horns and driving fuel prices through the roof. Thanks Iran, just what I needed to kick of my week with a G 63 AMG. In something of a coincidence, it was the Iranians that triggered the production of the G Class more than 40-years ago.

The Shah of Iran at the time suggested to the German manufacture that it would be interesting to see what a MB 4×4 would be like. Mercedes-Benz teamed up with Austrian military vehicle manufacturer, Steyr-Daimler-Puch, and started production of the “Geländewagen” (German for cross-country vehicle). This was not restricted to military use, but also civilian cruising.

The G Class was an instant hit, the price tag has always been as big as the boxy wheel arches and, as a result, the 4×4 has been an object of desire. The desire, price tag and power all grew to new levels in 1998 with the introduction of the Mercedes-Benz G 55 AMG, a V8 brute packing 358 horsepower. The foray into the AMG power for the G Class continued as the G 55 transitioned into the G 63. The on road handling continued to improve, but never to the detriment of the offroad capabilities. Every G Wagon model still has to pass the gruelling trail of conquering the Shöckl mountain in Austria.

As you would imagine, the G has been getting better with age, that being said, few generations have improved as much as the latest model that was updated in 2018. It won many awards including the GTspirit Car of The Year accolade. The engine is downsized to 4.0-litres but power and torque were significantly improved. Remarkably, the engineers were so confident in the improvements that they made to the chassis that they dropped a V8 closely related to that of the AMG GT R halo car into the 2.485 tonne brute. The power figure is identical, that’s right, 585 horsepower in a truck with a near vertical windscreen. Who said Germans don’t have a sense of humour?

I had a week to understand the G 63 in a plethora of different environments. I lived with it through the traffic plagued City of London and spent a weekend in the country to explore the AMG side of the G.

In the city the G looks monumental. London is a city that is home to exceptional wealth, G wagons, particularly 63s, are a common sight. That does not detract from how much presence they have. Against architecture, old and new, it looks imposing and modern, yet still harks back to Gs of old. Enough posing, what’s the G 63 AMG like to drive? Having driven every variant of the current model and almost all of the precious generation, I feel I am well placed to comment on just how vast the improvements are. It’s difficult to overstate just how much more dynamic and willing the latest offering is in comparison to its predecessors.

Having escaped the cities narrow streets and constricting speed limits at dawn, it was time to see what the G felt like when it could stretch its legs. Make no mistake, this is no Caterham or GT3 RS, the 63’s nose points to a sky under throttle like a cigarette racing boat with a sizeable bow wave. It leans in the corners, but the chassis can really handle the power. The steering is a revelation in comparison to the agricultural style system has been replaced by a modern, conventional rack and pinion and the difference could not be more significant. In conjunction with an independent suspension arrangement up front, there is a confidence that was absent in its predecessors that makes this an SUV that really can be driven enthusiastically. The trade-off is the suspension which is stiff, well engineered dampers take the edge off harsh bumps and holes, but it does not possess S Class rivalling levels of comfort.

In 63 guise, there is genuine speed mixed into the G Wagon recipe. The G 63 is a wonderful car, one that could be considered the ultimate all-rounder. I guarantee that any challengers will not be as iconic, capable in such a wide range of scenarios or cool to look at as the G 63. It is a living legend and one that laughs in the face of the endless new ‘SUVs’ that the markets are needlessly demanding. Don’t think about buying one, just do it.

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2020 Chicago Auto Show Editors’ Picks

Best in Show

The Chicago Auto Show usually isn’t home to the biggest and boldest debuts, but that allows other vehicles and their variants to shine. Interestingly, our top favorite vehicles this year are all variants of cars that are on sale right now.

Check out what updated models caught our attention in the next slides.

Fifth Place: 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid — 26 points

Senior Editor, Green, John Snyder: “It’s elegant and efficient. I like its U.S. specs. Give me a plug-in, though.”

Consumer Editor, Jeremy Korzeniewski: “This is the most attractive midsize sedan on the market, and the hybrid powertrain adds an extra dose of fuel-sipping practicality that will make a heck of a lot of sense for Americans looking for a nice comfortable commuter of family mobile. And even if the solar roof doesn’t add much range, it sure does look cool.”

Fourth Place: 2021 Chrysler Pacifica — 31 points

Assistant Editor, Zac Palmer: In a small show as the Chicago Auto Show was this year, the Pacifica was the biggest surprise for me. I love the styling changes, and those quilted throw pillows … they are choice, and I’m glad to see Chrysler adding in some plush luxury to its minivan.

Managing Editor, Greg Rasa: “A new look, nice interior and all-wheel drive for the best minivan in the business. There were wilder, sexier products in Chicago, but this one gets points for real-world appeal.”

  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips

Third Place: 2020 Mercedes-Benz Metris Weekender — 42 points

Senior Producer, Chris McGraw: “In May of 2018 I fell in love when I drove the VW California here in the States. In the two years since there hasn’t been a single camper van you can buy direct from the dealer until now. You wouldn’t catch me dead in an RV but a van like this is perfect, provided it doesn’t cost an outrageous amount of money, which, unfortunately it probably will.”

Associate Editor Byron Hurd: “What can I say? I used to camp in a Mercedes-Benz van, so how can I not feel at least some degree of fondness for this? I like that it’s more compact than some of the big Sprinter-based builds, too. Much more practical for the average ‘Let’s drive our house’ crowd.”

Second Place: 2020 Ford GT — 43 points

Editor-in-Chief, Greg Migliore: A refresh is typically pretty boring. Not when it comes to the GT. Now it’s making 660 hp and offers a gorgeous Gulf livery, which I prefer to the liquid carbon version. The GT is one of the most exhilarating cars I’ve ever driven. Now it’s even better. I guess I need to drive it again.

Social Media Manager, Michael Ferrara: “Bring on the carbon, the Liquid Carbon! So glad Ford is revisiting the GT. The GT is truly is one of the best cars ever made.”

First Place: 2020 Jeep Gladiator Mojave — 55 points

Associate Editor, Joel Stocksdale: “It would have been really easy for Jeep to just roll out another paint and graphics edition, but the Mojave has significant and thoughtful mechanical upgrades that make it something special.”

Production Manager, Eddie Sabatini: “I’ve not owned a Jeep of any kind but I’m quickly becoming a Gladiator fanboy. I doubt I’ll ever spend anywhere near $45K on a vehicle but if I were to, this would be near the top of my list.”

Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore: “I like that Jeep is already looking at ways to evolve the Gladiator. The desert tuning provides awesome capability, and many of those practical enhancements, like the huge tires and lift kit, make the Gladiator look even meaner in Mojave trim. I would love to tackle the dunes in this Jeep.”

600hp for the New Mercedes-AMG A45 S by Renntech

Renntech recently announced its tuning measures for the Mercedes-AMG A 45. The three stage package is currently available in an initial first stage, however, plans are afoot for a Stage 3 package in the near future which will boost power to 600 hp. In a hot hatch!

The Florida-based tuning firm is renowned for its tuning packages, exclusive to AMG models. It’s latest package is available for the latest A 45 4MATIC or A 45 S 4MATIC models. It’s the first tuning package for the current generation 45 model which has only recently began deliveries.

Renntech Mercedes-AMG A45

The first stage package is designed to improve the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, with an increase in output to 475 hp and 575 Nm. The software tweaks should be available by mid-January with the final stages of testing underway. Customers at this stage can also opt for a modified diverter valve which adds the crackles AMG became known for, but which regulations have restricted in recent years.

Once Stage 1 is complete, Renntech has 550 hp and 600 hp options in the works, to follow in the course of the first quarter of 2020. These changes will involve modified turbocharger systems, a suitable exhaust system and an optional downpipe with sports catalytic converter. These options should become available in Spring.

Renntech Mercedes-AMG A45 Rear

Other modifications include a set of Renntech-designed 19 or 20 inch rims, manufactured by US specialists Vossen. A lowering module should also follow.

GTSPIRIT NEWSLETTER

Zombie cars: 9 discontinued vehicles that aren’t dead yet

  • Image Credit: Dodge

Like zombies, these dead cars still sell among the living

Car models come and go, but as revealed by monthly sales data, once a car is discontinued, it doesn’t just disappear instantly. And in the case of some models, vanishing into obscurity can be a slow, tedious process.

That’s the case with the nine cars we have here. All of them have been discontinued, but car companies keep racking up “new” sales with them.

There are actually a lot more discontinued cars that are still registering new sales than what we included here. We kept this list to the oldest and most unlikely vehicles still being sold as new, including a couple of supercars. Every car on this list was discontinued at least two years ago. We’ve ordered the list in order of fewest vehicles sold. Click on the image above to get started.

Last updated January 2019

  • Image Credit: Dodge

2014 Dodge Avenger: 1 sale

Wow. We’re truly amazed. Someone actually bought a brand new 2014 Dodge Avenger in 2019. The Avenger was uncompetitive when it was new, and it’s woefully uncompetitive now. Here’s hoping the sole individual who parked a new Avenger in their driveway in 2019 got a smoking deal.

Dodge Avenger Information

Dodge Avenger

  • Image Credit: Lexus

2012 Lexus LFA: 3 sales

The first supercar on this list (which otherwise is full of highly lackluster automobiles) is the Lexus LFA. It’s an exhilarating car to drive, and is packed full of interesting technology. Lexus sold a total of 3 LFA coupes last year to what we have to guess are very satisfied customers. By our count, there ought to be 5 more unsold LFAs sitting somewhere on dealer lots in America.

It’s also worth noting that Lexus only sold the LFA for two model years, 2011 and 2012, which means it is by far the oldest new vehicle on this list.

Lexus LFA Information

Lexus LFA

  • Image Credit: Chrysler

2016 Chrysler Town & Country: 5 sales

The Chrysler Town & Country was already an old vehicle when it was officially killed off in 2016. The basic van was introduced for the 2008 model year, and saw only refreshes until its conclusion eight years later. Some of those updates were helpful and kept the car at least somewhat competitive.

Still, we’re thankful Chrysler replaced it with the Pacifica, a superb van that is arguably the best in the segment. And if you do happen to really like Chrysler’s older minivan offering, the Dodge Grand Caravan is still on the market.

In any case, Chrysler managed to sell five of these minivans so far this year. Here’s hoping the buyer scored a great deal.

Chrysler Town & Country Information

Chrysler Town & Country

  • Image Credit: Dodge

2017 Dodge Viper: 5 sales

The second supercar on our list out is one that we love. We don’t think there are a bunch of unsold Dodge Viper coupes sitting on dealer lots all across America. Nevertheless, five lucky individuals managed to bring new Vipers home in 2019.

At least we know those buyers are out there having fun!

Dodge Viper Information

Dodge Viper

  • Image Credit: Mercedes-Benz

2017 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive: 8 sales

Mercedes-Benz sold the B-Class Electric Drive in the United States from 2013 through 2017. Though the rest of the world gets other versions of the B, only the electrified variant was sold here in the States. And it was never a big seller — just over 3,500 were sold over its production run in America. Now that 2019 has come to a close, we can add eight more to the total.

Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive Information

Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive

  • Image Credit: Dodge

2016 Dodge Dart: 25 sales

Dodge discontinued the compact Dart back in 2016, just three years after its launch. The automaker just wasn’t able to compete with the segment leaders like the Honda Civic or the sales juggernaut that is the Toyota Corolla. Despite the fact that it’s been dead for several years, Dodge managed to sell 25 Darts in 2019.

Dodge Dart Information

Dodge Dart

  • Image Credit: Jeep

2017 Jeep Patriot: 27 sales

The Jeep Patriot initially launched back in 2007 alongside its more car-like Compass sibling, but while that vehicle got a redesign and is still on sale in Jeep dealerships, the boxier Patriot ended production in 2017.

Apparently there are a handful of Patriots still collecting dust on dealership lots in America, because the automaker tallied 27 total sales last year.

Jeep Patriot Information

Jeep Patriot

  • Image Credit: Chrysler

2017 Chrysler 200: 48 sales

The Chrysler 200 is actually a pretty nice sedan, with good looks and decent driving dynamics let down by a lack of roominess, particularly in the back seat. Chrysler never really found its footing in the ultra-competitive midsize sedan segment, but apparently has a bunch of leftover 200s floating around in America with a total of 48 sold in 2019.

  • Image Credit: Volkswagen

2017 Volkswagen CC: 58 sales

Volkswagen discontinued the CC in 2017, and the slinky coupe-shaped sedan recently got a replacement in the form of the 2019 Arteon. Here’s hoping last year’s 58 CC buyers managed to get a good deal on their new old sedans.

Volkswagen CC Information

Volkswagen CC

The Mercedes-AMG One sounds just like a Formula One car

Billed as the closest thing to a road-going Formula One car, the Mercedes-AMG One, unveiled as a close-to-production concept at the 2017 Frankfurt auto show, is still under development. Mercedes-Benz’s go-fast division released an update on the project that shows the hypercar in action.

Six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton took a break from winning races around the world and trying to save the planet to check in with the team developing the One. Designing a groundbreaking hypercar is an expensive and time-consuming process, and the One stands out from its peers because it uses a street-legal version of the powertrain found in AMG’s championship-winning Formula One car. This explains why development has taken so long. Deliveries are now tentatively scheduled to begin in 2021, about two years later than originally announced, but it sounds — literally — like AMG’s most powerful street-legal model will be worth the wait.

“The sound is pretty much exactly the same as it is in the race car,” Hamilton pointed out. Video footage of the One going around a track hints it will take a turn like a race car, too.

The turbocharged, 1.6-liter V6 is the One’s main source of power, and its main source of delays. Getting it to comply with emissions regulations was easier said than done. It idles at 1,200 rpm, which is high for a road car but low for a Formula One car, which turns at a stratospheric 5,000 rpm when it’s waiting on the starting grid. The electrified part of the powertrain consists of four electric motors, including two that zap the front wheels into motion, and they also need to be fine-tuned for road use. All told, the One will put over 1,000 horsepower under the driver’s right foot. The tradeoff is that the powertrain will require a major overhaul after about 30,000 miles.

Mercedes-AMG will cap One production at 275 units, and pricing starts at $2.7 million. That’s an eye-watering sum, but the hypercar market is stronger than ever, and every build slot was spoken for before the model made its official debut. Don’t expect to bag a used example shortly after deliveries begin; AMG is going to great lengths to ensure reservation holders don’t flip their car for a profit.

2020 Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 S: Flagship AMG SUV Revealed

During a week when the Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 captured most of our attention, Mercedes-AMG also had a few announcements to make. The biggest (literally) was its new flagship SUV, the Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 S!

The biggest story here is that the Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 S gets the latest version of the ’63’ drivetrain. It receives mild-hybrid treatment for the first time.

As with other Mercedes-AMG models, it comes equipped with an integrated EQ Boost starter-alternator. The performance is short-term, however, it allows 22 hp of output and 250 Nm of torque. As well as the additional performance, the EQ Boost system supplies the 48-volt electrical system, recuperates energy, shifts the load point, enables gliding and restarts the engine with the start/stop function.

Otherwise, the V8 engine is pretty familiar with twin turbochargers mounted within the V. It produces 612 hp and 850 Nm of torque which helps reduce the 100 km/h sprint time to 4.2 seconds, with a top speed of 250 km/h or 280 km/h with the optional AMG Driver’s package. The power is routed through a 9-speed automatic transmission, configured specifically for this model.

The suspension benefits from AMG Ride Control+, air suspension with special spring/damper set-up and adaptive adjustable damping ADS+. The damping can be preselected in the usual three stages – “Comfort”, “Sport” and “Sport+”. The air suspension allows the ride height to be lowered by 10 mm in the latter two. In Comfort, the ride height only lowers at 120 km/h.

The Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 S uses active roll stabilisation for the first time too. Much like the system which Audi uses, the Mercedes-AMG system uses two independently operating, electro-mechanical actuators on the sway bars at the front and rear axle.

Safety systems also receive an update with the latest versions of the Active Distance Assist Distronic system and the Driving Assistance package Plus.

Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 S Rear

Overall, the Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 S also gets the usual AMG Dynamic Settings, Comfort, Sport, Sport+, Individual, Trail and Sand. The ESP settings also include “Basic”, “Advanced” and “Pro”.

The rest is pretty much the same as the new Mercedes-Benz GLS. The interior gets the latest MBUX infotainment system. The displays form a Widescreen Cockpit. The instrument cluster and touchscreen multimedia display merge into one and can be operated through a touchpad, Touch Control buttons on the steering wheel, by voice control or gesture control.

The interior also benefits from AMG sports pedals, ARTICO man-made leather and high-gloss anthracite limewood trim elements. The AMG seats use black AMG nappa leather as standard. The 3-spoke AMG steering wheel is also a new addition.

On the outside, the Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 S gets an AMG-specific radiator grille with vertical louvres in high-gloss chrome. The bonnet gets a heavily contoured power dome, AMG has also added flared wheel arches, side skirts and new exterior mirror housings. 21-inch, 10-spoke lightweight-alloy wheels are standard painted in tantalite grey with a high-sheen finish. Six further wheel variants up to 23 inches are available.

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Exclusive: V12 Will Return in Next Generation Mercedes-Benz S-Class in 2021

Good news for fans of the V12 engine. During an exclusive interview with GTspirit, today at the Guangzhou Auto Show 2019, Daimler CEO Ola Kallenius confirmed that the V12 engine will return in the next generation 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

Doubts about the return of the V12 engine were raised when Mercedes-Benz released the Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 earlier this week. 600 modes normally receive the iconic V12 power plant, yet the GLS features a V8 unit instead. It has now been confirmed that, in the S Class at least, the V12 will live on.

Official details for the V12 version of the Mercedes-Benz flagship limousine will be announced next year. It is likely that Mercedes-Benz will develop the current V12 engine, found in the S 600 and Mercedes-Maybach S 600, will be updated to comply with strict upcoming emission standards.

During our interview, we also spoke with We also spoke with Kallenius about the brand new Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 luxury SUV:

GTspirit: Exclusively available in China, the six-cylinder Mercedes-Maybach S 400 is the top selling Maybach model. Is there any chance we can expect a Maybach GLS with a six-cylinder any time soon?

Kallenius: “We launched the new Maybach GLS 600 with a V8 engine first but it is possible there will be a six-cylinder version of the GLS Maybach in due time. The AMG developed 4.0 liter V8 fits the GLS Maybach very well and was the obvious choice for launch of our first Maybach SUV.”

Asked about a possible Mercedes-Maybach GLS V12, the Daimler CEO is short and clear: “We have no plans for a Maybach GLS V12.”

Read more about the Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600

Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600

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IAA Frankfurt 2019: Mercedes-Benz EQS Live Photos

The IAA Frankfurt Motor Show 2019 is underway. We caught up with the Mercedes-Benz EQS on the show floor.

The Concept debuts a new set of Digital Light headlamps which use two holographic lens modules. The LED’s in the rear also create a light belt across the car. The digital front grille uses 188 individual LED’s to create a light matrix, repeating the Mercedes-Benz star continuously.

Inside, the cockpit uses a long dashboard, combined with armrests and a centre console to envelop the driver. The surfaces are finished in sustainable material, Dinamica microfibre in crystal white and maple trim. The roof liner is made from recycled PET ocean waste plastic.

The powertrain is integrated into the floor of the EQS Concept. An electric all-wheel-drive system distributes approximately 470 hp (350 kW) of power with 760 Nw of torque on demand. 100 km/h is dispatched in just 4.5 seconds. The batteries in the show car perform well enough to offer a 700 km range with a 350 kW charge offering 80% battery in just 20 minutes.

For more from the IAA Frankfurt Motor Show 2019, check out our dedicated news feed. For more from the Mercedes-Benz EQS, take a look at our earlier article.

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