Much has been made of the German Big Three’s move toward the mainstream in terms of price; at no time in history has one of these luxury marques been more attainable by the non-wealthy (in the US at least). But most of the opinions voiced in the press have been somewhat negative, at least from a purist’s perspective. “What’s the point of an aspirational brand if any middle management type can afford one”, they argue. We spent a week with the CLA250 in the hopes we could separate the editorial banter from the car underneath.
Tag - mercedes-benz
In a car industry flush with new luxury categories, the one that seems to present the most room for growth is the one at the small end of the spectrum – the “Premium A-segment”, filled with cars like the A3 seen here, the Mercedes-Benz CLA, and the BMW 1-/2-series. Audi of America’s President, Scott Keogh, told the group of journalists gathered in northern California for the press introduction of the A3 1.8 and 2.0T sedans that he saw 400% growth potential in the segment over the next few years. That’s serious headroom, and if these first new A3 models to hit our shores are any indication, a place where torrid competition will be taking place among manufacturers.
As an enormous fan of the original 2010 W212 generation E-class, I was more than a little worried when the introduction of a 2014 facelift was first announced during last year’s Detroit auto show. After all, the W212 was considered, by many in addition to me, to be perhaps the best-looking Benz sedan of the modern era. Why mess with success? As it turns out, I needn’t have worried. Because while the rectangular quad headlights and the sedan’s throwback ponton-style rear fender flares are now gone, an extremely cohesive and simply handsome car remains in place.
Mercedes-Benz has announced the hot rod version of the new A-class compact with the inevitable AMG A45, which will make its world debut at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show next month. Mercedes say that the A45 AMG is the highest output turbocharged 4-cylinder engine in the world in a production car with 360-horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque. Power is delivered to the road by way of the AMG-tuned 4MATIC AWD system. This level of grip provided by the 4MATIC system results in a 0-100km/h time of just 4.6 seconds, according to Mercedes-Benz. Mercedes also say that the A45 AMG has fuel consumption of just 6.9 liters per 100 kilometer, and that it already complies with the EU6 emissions standards. Pretty slick, even if we doubt that a hatchback version will ever make it to this side of the pond.
Photo gallery and Mercedes-Benz PR after the jump.
Mercedes-AMG continues to emphasize performance, dynamic purpose and efficiency: The new 2014 E63 AMG 4MATIC (world debut at the 2013 NAIAS) now features a redesigned, performance-oriented AMG all-wheel-drive system as standard equipment and is also available as an especially powerful SModel with output of 577 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. The 5.5-liter AMG V8 Biturbo continues to be the benchmark of efficiency: No other competitor in this segment offers this combination of maximum performance and low fuel consumption. Permanent all-wheel drive is standard on all U.S. models – which also feature a power increase from 518 hp to 550 hp with a peak torque of 531 lb-ft. With this step Mercedes-AMG now for the first time offers powerful passenger cars with an all-wheel-drive system designed for vehicle dynamics. The 2014 E63 AMG 4MATIC goes on-sale in the U.S. this summer.
Photos: Zerin Dube & John Kucek
The idea of removing the roof from a supercar is about as heretic a concept for diehard auto enthusiasts as scalping a baby bunny would be to a card-carrying PETA member. Hence the personal crisis I’ve been having in the days since driving two of 2012’s most over-the-top topless sportsters: the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster, and the Jaguar XKR-S Convertible. What I’m grappling with, as an enthusiast, is the thought that truthfully, I’d rather have either of these beasts in drop-top form than their coupe counterparts. Blasphemy? Read on to decide for yourself.