Tag - mercedes-benz

Speed Read: 2016 Lexus ES350

Lexus’s comfort-oriented, near-luxury cruiser – the ES – has passed through my hands on more than one occasion. In fact, I’ve sampled its every iteration – although to be fair, there are really only two: the ES350 and its hybridized sister, the ES300h. Refreshed for 2016 with a sharpened maw and more equipment, the ES350 nevertheless remains true to its principles of low-key, fuss-free transportation.

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Driven: 2015 Mercedes-Benz E250 BlueTEC

Anyone – alright, any car nut – who’s travelled to Germany likely remembers their first time being greeted outside the airport or train station by a gleaming row of custard-colored Mercedes E-klasse. Nearly every one of them probably had a diesel engine ticking away, an interior outfitted with cloth seats and perhaps even plastic wheel covers, of all things. It’s a memorable image because for those who were raised in the US, Mercedes-Benz has a long-held image as being a builder solely of luxury cars. And luxury cars certainly don’t sit outside train stations with fare meters on the dash and surly cab drivers behind the wheel. Jarring and amusing in a single instant, it crystallizes the understanding for the travelling auto enthusiast that in Germany, Mercedes-Benz is simply a full-line car maker – churning out everything from vans to cabs to front-wheel drive economy cars.

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Driven: 2015 Audi S3

We were summarily impressed with the A3 sedan when we attended its press introduction in San Francisco a year ago. Since then, Audi dealers have had trouble keeping the little sedan on their lots as demand for the entry-entry-luxury segment ramps up. In order to broaden the A3 line, as well as go head-to-head with other small, high-performance German offerings such as the BMW M235i and Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG, Audi rolled out the S3 sedan – a more heavily pressurized and tightly suspended version of the previous 2.0 TFSI range-topper. So is this simply a Golf R in evening wear, or a legitimate successor to the performance Quattro throne? Read on to find out.

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Driven: 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

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.

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New car review: 2015 Audi A3 Sedan

SAMSUNG CSC

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.

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