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2019 Mercedes-Benz CLA revealed at Las Vegas tech show

2019 Mercedes-Benz CLAIt’s not just new technology being revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this year – Mercedes-Benz is unveiling its brand new CLA compact coupe. And don’t worry, gadget fans, it’s not wanting for on-board wizardry.

First, the car itself. Consider this the four-door coupe version of the acclaimed Mercedes-Benz A-Class. The previous one was popular; Mercedes-Benz sold 750,000 of them, mainly to people who’d never owned a Merc before. Those buyers are typically 10 years younger than the average Mercedes customer, too. The firm is targeting more of the same this time.

2019 Mercedes-Benz CLA

The fact the new CLA is even sportier than the original should help. It’s longer, wider and a bit lower-slung, and Mercedes has worked hard to make the rear end smoother-flowing and less awkward. It’s tried to give it the ‘long-nose’ look of a proper GT, which isn’t easy to achieve on a compact car, but the balance is better here than the original.

2019 Mercedes-Benz CLA

Inside, it has the same open-plan architecture as the A-Class, complete with freestanding dual widescreen displays. With extra emphasis on sportiness and jewel-like detailing, the wow-factor is upped even more. The CES crowds are going to love it.

Underneath, it’s all A-Class, albeit with a lower centre of gravity and wider tracks front and rear. The suspension is firmed up accordingly (electronically controlled adaptive suspension is optional) and we’re told it will be the sportiest of all Merc’s compact-class cars. Wheels? From 16 inches to 19 inches. Of course, you really need the 19s.

2019 Mercedes-Benz CLA

The engine is a four-cylinder turbo that puts out 225hp and drives the front wheels via a DCT automatic gearbox. More engines will filter through in due course. But engines are immaterial: the new Mercedes-Benz CLA is all about the tech.

Gesture control

2019 Mercedes-Benz CLA

The dual screens are built around the new MBUX architecture, and the CLA introduces the next development of that, called MBUX Interior Assist. This introduces gesture control, but don’t worry – it’s a step beyond the rather rubbish systems we’ve seen from brands such as BMW up to know.

For starters, it works in both sunlight and darkness. Raise your hand towards the interior mirror and the reading lamp comes on, reach over to the passenger seat and the area is illuminated, turning off again when your hand moves away. It recognises which passenger is gesturing, too – so an animated passenger won’t inadvertently turn the stereo volume up.

2019 Mercedes-Benz CLA

There are gesture control ‘favourites’ too. Spread index and middle finger in a v-shape over the centre console (flick it the v-sign?) and commands can be stored – such as, ‘navigate me home’. Again, driver and passenger can have their own favourite commands.

“We are now igniting the next level with an intelligent interior assistance system for the compact class,” said R&D chief Ola Kallenius. “By recognising gestures, it facilitates natural operation.

“Hey Mercedes” and avocados

2019 Mercedes-Benz CLA

Voice control has also been developed. Part of the MBUX User Experience, saying “Hey Mercedes” now works on much more complex queries than the launch system on the A-Class.

You can, reckons Mercedes-Benz, say, “Which child-friendly Asian restaurants are nearby that are neither Chinese nor Japanese?” and it will find just the place for you. You can ask it sport questions, stock exchange questions (“How has the Apple share price performed compared to Microsoft?”), even get it to do calculations (“What is the square root of three?”).

2019 Mercedes-Benz CLA

If you’re really keen, ask Hey Mercedes general knowledge questions. It really can, if you want, tell you the fat content of avocados, or the size of Texas. Coming to America first, other markets will follow with this next-level functionality in due course.

Oh, and if you have passengers in the car, they don’t need to zip it when you’re talking to your Mercedes: the system has been trained to respond only to the commands of the person who last said “Hey Mercedes”.

Tech fest

2019 Mercedes-Benz CLA

What else? The so-called Mercedes-Benz ‘Energizing Coach’ connects to a Garmin wearable device and logs stats such as stress level, pulse rate or quality of sleep. It duly adjusts the air-con, seat massage, lighting and music to give a bespoke ‘wellness’ mood tailored to both an individual and a situation.

“The aim is for passengers to feel well and relaxed even during demanding or monotonous journeys,” says Mercedes-Benz. Presumably, if a driver hasn’t had much sleep, the air con chills and blasts accordingly, to keep them sharp.

2019 Mercedes-Benz CLA

Mercedes-Benz is even launching a special Vivoactive 3 Garmin smartwatch at CES to link up with it.

After being shown at CES 2019, Mercedes-Benz will ship the new CLA to other auto shows in the build-up to its market launch in May. The firm says it “sets new benchmarks for the compact class”. It certainly packs in plenty of tech for the CES faithful to get their teeth into.

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2019 Mercedes-AMG GT R Pro

Nurburgring-ready Mercedes-AMG GT R Pro leads refreshed 2019 range

Mercedes-AMG has updated its GT sports car for 2019 and introduced a hardcore flagship – the Porsche-baiting AMG GT R Pro

Mercedes Instagram 1 billion likes

Mercedes-Benz now has over one billion Instagram likes

Mercedes’ 35 million Instagram follows have liked its content over one billion times, making it the most-liked Interbrand Best Global Brand

Lewis Hamilton art car tribute for sale

Artist spray-paints Mercedes as tribute to Lewis Hamilton

 

Lewis Hamilton art car tribute for saleWith this year’s F1 championship in the bag, Lewis Hamilton has joined the ranks of Grand Prix racing’s all-time greats. To celebrate this living legend, artist Paul Karslake has created a Hamilton-themed art car. The results are… interesting.

Being a tribute to Lewis, it had to be a Mercedes-Benz, right? What steed for art car duty, then? An AMG SL? Maybe an AMG GT? Not quite, although the 2002 CLK 500 selected does at least pack V8 power.

Lewis Hamilton art car tribute for sale

 

Paul’s masterstroke, if you will, is the livery. It’s designed to ape Hamilton’s 2018 Formula 1 car, complete with a detailed portrait of Lewis on the bonnet.

The scheme required a mixture of Paul’s hand-painting and airbrush skills. Six layers of clear lacquer followed, locking down the livery beneath a glossy finish.

The CLK itself is far from standard. It sits on uprated Bilstein suspension with Cosmis Racing wheels, has a raucous performance exhaust and a raft of outlandish aero accoutrements to ramp up the racing appeal.

“The addition of the full bodykit and a specially-designed rear spoiler before I started added nicely to the look I wanted to achieve,” said Paul.

“But there are also some serious tweaks hiding beneath the surface, and it’s a brilliant fun car to drive.”

Lewis Hamilton art car tribute for sale

The car will be going up for sale with Historics on Saturday, November 24th at Mercedes-Benz World in Surrey. The estimated take? They’re expecting this ‘one-off masterpiece’ to go for between £20,000 and £25,000.

Would you add this unique tribute to Lewis Hamilton to your collection? Could it be worth a small fortune in 50 years time? Stranger things have happened.

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Mercedes Pram

Baby Benz: Mercedes will now sell you a pram

Introducing the Mercedes-Benz baby carriage Avantgarde. That’s right, Mercedes will now sell you a pram.

The company is teaming up with veteran German pram manufacturer Hartan, which has been building baby buggies since the 1950s. 

So, what distinguishes it as a Merc? Well, you’ll be hard-pressed to mistake it for anything else, thanks to the AMG-style five-spoke wheels. They are much smaller than the 18-inch fare on many Mercedes cars, but the style is a dead ringer for those available on certain specifications of C-Class.

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With an aluminium frame and seat unit, the baby carriage Avantgarde is ‘characterised by a very low weight’ (13kg all-in). The ‘handling dynamics’ should be notable, too, given it comes with adjustable suspension and air-chamber tyres. It moves ‘effortlessly on any surface’, says Mercedes.

There are three colour specifications available. Dessin Sport combines black, anthracite, grey and silver with red seams and red piping on the hood. The Dolce Vita is beige, sand and brown with an ‘Arenisca’ carrier. Dessin Deep Sea blends anthracite and blue with a ‘Seaskin’ carrier. 

The Mercedes pram will be available from certain baby outlets from this month. Will you be buying the ‘Mercedes of baby carriages’ for your little one?

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Brabus Widester

Mob goals: Brabus Widestar G-Class defies physics (and taste?)

Brabus Widester

What could possibly make the all-new Mercedes-Benz G-Class any better than it already is? Well, Brabus, famed Mercedes tuner, has an idea, mostly involving giving it 700 horsepower…

More power isn’t exactly the top of the list of changes we’d make but hey ho. Welcome to the Brabus 700 Widestar.

The standard G63 is already the Kardashian/mob boss/Middle East oil baron daily hack of choice, but the Widestar takes it to the next level. And where better to debut such an outlandish machine than in Monaco at the exotic 2018 Yacht Show?

The looks

You won’t need to even fire up your 700hp Brabus Widestar to get noticed. 100mm-wider wheelarches can harbour enormous 23-inch Monoblock “Platinum Edition” wheels if you so desire. Measly 20s come as standard.

Brabus badging all around the car lets everyone know this is no (ahem) pauper-spec AMG. Roof-mounted LEDs are perfect for lighting up the next sand dune to be conquered.

The cabin

It should come as no surprise that the sky is the limit when it comes to speccing out the cabin of your new Brabus Widestar. The finest leathers, Alcantara, carbon fibre highlights and wood are all available.

The car on display in Monaco features a literally tasty-sounding vanilla and black leather cabin, with orange piping and vanilla seams.

The power

The power was perhaps the easiest thing to eek out for the Brabus Widestar. The B40 700 package is already available for other models that come with the 4.0-litre V8.

The changes include a new control module and a new engine map that up the boost and fuel flow, as well as an optional sports exhaust to really make it sing. There’s even a subtle “Coming Home” exhaust mode; an uncharacteristic consideration of others who might not want to hear your booming 700hp V8 truck as you leave of a morning.

That said, neighbours aren’t something we imagine Brabus Widestar buyers are blighted by.

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Best AMG Cars

A brief history of Mercedes-AMG

Best AMG Cars

Aufrecht Melcher Großaspach, more commonly known as AMG, can trace its roots back to 1965. To celebrate Mercedes-Benz at its most bonkers, we pick 25 of the best AMG cars.

AMG 300 SEL ‘Red Pig’ (1971)

Best AMG Cars

Messrs Aufrecht and Melcher created the AMG Mercedes 300 SEL 6.8 in 1971 and it finished second overall at the 24 Hours of Spa. The ‘Red Pig’ was the first major milestone on the AMG journey.

Mercedes-Benz 300 E 5.6 AMG (1986)

Best AMG Cars

AMG moved to its current home in Affalterbach in 1976 and, 10 years later, created the 5.6-litre V8 300 E. At the time it was the fastest production saloon car in the world.

Mercedes-Benz 190 E AMG (1989)

Best AMG Cars

The 225hp 190 E AMG is significant for being the first AMG model to be available through Mercedes-Benz dealerships and with a full M-B warranty.

Mercedes-Benz C 36 AMG (1993)

Best AMG Cars

The 280hp C 36 AMG of 1993 is even more significant, as it was the first AMG car to be jointly developed by Mercedes-Benz and AMG. Looks remarkably subtle by modern standards.

Mercedes-Benz SL 73 AMG (1995)

Best AMG Cars

The SL 73 AMG is a rare beast, as only 85 were ever made. It was a tad heavy and very, very expensive, but who wouldn’t want a 7.3-litre V12 SL? With a fuel card, preferably.

Mercedes-Benz S 70 AMG (1996)

Best AMG Cars

Talking of rarities, how about the S 70 AMG? Only 112 of these Autobahnstormers were built, each one with a 500-horsepower 7.0-liter V12 engine.

Mercedes-Benz C 43 AMG (1997)

Best AMG Cars

The C 43 AMG of 1997 was a tad more affordable, but no less alluring. Available as a saloon or estate, it was powered by a V8 engine developing 306-horsepower.

Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR (1999)

Best AMG Cars

The first of the Top Trumps-winning AMG cars. The CLK GTR was created for homologation purposes and only 26 were built (20 coupes, six roadsters).

Pagani Zonda C12 (1999)

Best AMG Cars

Yes, we know the Pagani Zonda doesn’t wear an AMG badge, but it has the beating heart of Affalterbach. Power was sourced from the same 7.3-liter found in the earlier SL 73 AMG.

Mercedes-Benz E 55 AMG (2002)

Best AMG Cars

The year 2002 was a big one for Mercedes-AMG. Five new models were launched, including the E 55 AMG super-saloon, which represents a formidable used car bargain.

Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren (2004)

Best AMG Cars

Formula One technology and a hand-built supercharged AMG V8 engine. What’s not to like about the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren?

Mercedes-Benz CLK DTM AMG (2004)

Best AMG Cars

It’s hardly a name that rolls off the tongue, but the Mercedes-Benz CLK DTM AMG was capable of giving supercars a bloody nose. Top speed was knocking on 200mph and it would sprint to 60mph in 3.8 seconds.

Mercedes-Benz SLK 55 AMG Black Series (2006)

Best AMG Cars

The first Black Series car arrived in 2006, in the form of the Mercedes-Benz SLK 55 AMG. These track-focused special editions were designed for those who found ‘standard’ AMG products just a tad tame.

Mercedes-Benz CLK 63 AMG Black Series (2007)

Best AMG Cars

Designed to take on the Porsche 911 GT3 RS, the CLK 63 AMG Black Series of 2007 was a brutal machine. Jeremy Clarkson bought one. And then complained about it. A lot.

Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG Estate (2008)

Best AMG Cars

There have been many Mercedes-AMG F1 safety cars over the years, but the C 63 AMG Estate is one of our favourites. Under the bonnet you’d find a hand-crafted 6.2-litre V8 engine. Nice.

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG (2009)

Best AMG Cars

The gull-winged SLS was the first car developed entirely by AMG and was designed to be a successor to the SLR McLaren. It featured the same 6.2-litre engine you’d find in the C 63.

Mercedes-Benz SL 65 AMG Black Series (2009)

Best AMG Cars

What an absolute legend of a car. Top speed limited to 199mph and a 0-60 time of 3.8 seconds provide some clues as to this track warrior’s potential. It cost £250,000 when new.

Mercedes-Benz S 63 AMG (2010)

Best AMG Cars

One of the world’s greatest limos treated to a full-fat AMG makeover. What’s not to like about that? Later, it would be offered as a coupe, too.

Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG Coupe (2011)

Best AMG Cars

Could this be one of the most accomplished AMG cars of all time? It was the last AMG C-class to have a naturally-aspirated engine, meaning superb throttle response.

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster (2012)

Best AMG Cars

How would sir like his SLS? Coupe, with the iconic gullwing doors? Or Roadster, to enjoy the magnificence of the 6.3-litre V8 engine? We’d take the latter, please.

Mercedes-Benz A 45 AMG (2013)

Best AMG Cars

Mercedes-Benz has been accused of diluting the AMG brand in recent years, but the A 45 AMG proves it can also get it right. This is a hot hatch, AMG-style. Bonkers, but brilliant.

Mercedes-Benz G 63 AMG 6×6 (2013)

Best AMG Cars

And speaking of bonkers… We could have included the ‘normal’ G 63 AMG, but that would be foolish when there’s a 6×6 in existence.

Mercedes-AMG C 63 AMG (2015)

Best AMG Cars

For similar reasons, we’d probably opt for the estate version of the current C 63 AMG. The modern version isn’t quite a match for its forebears, but it remains a formidable machine.

Mercedes-AMG GT S (2015)

Best AMG Cars

And then there’s the achingly good looking Mercedes-AMG GT S. It boasts a fantastic chassis and a soundtrack to rival that of the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Mercedes-AMG GT R (2016)

Best AMG Cars

In June 2016, none other than Lewis Hamilton helped Mercedes-AMG reveal a new 585hp AMG GT R. This is the AMG GT at its most hardcore, with a stiffer chassis, rear-wheel steering and a huge wing. How does 0-62mph in 3.6 seconds and a top speed of 197mph grab you?

 

Toyota Yaris

How much profit do car companies make every SECOND?

Toyota profit

Ever wondered how much money car manufacturers make? Well, motor trade insurer Staveley Head has done the maths and worked out the profits of 15 carmakers down to the second.

The sums start with each manufacturer’s yearly takings and profits. Then, all that’s needed is some very long-winded division based on those numbers.

For example, it means taking Toyota’s £13.5 billion profit over the previous 12 months and dividing it by 31,536,000 (the number of seconds in a year). The result is Toyota’s per-second profit for the past year: £430. 

How much do they make?

Toyota comes top, but rivals don’t fare so well. Ford made an average of £173 profit in a second, while Volkswagen is down at just £91.

Premium brand Mercedes-Benz seems to have had an excellent 12 months, with £255 made every second on average. That’s over twice the amount of Porsche.

Jaguar Land Rover is down at £46 per second – and Bentley, Ferrari, Seat, Aston Martin, Renault, Hyundai, Bentley and Skoda are all included in the tool above, too.

Porsche profit

How many they’re selling

Units sold is a very different thing to profit, of course, but still very interesting. Over the course of two minutes, Toyota sold 34 cars, Mercedes nine and Porsche just one. All of a sudden Porsche’s lower profit-per-second number doesn’t look so bad, given they sell one car for every nine Mercedes…

VW and Ford aren’t too far behind Toyota, with 24 and 25 cars shifted every two minutes respectively. JLR manages just two.

Per-unit profit is perhaps the biggest indicator of success, though. On each car sold, JLR made an average £2,774. Porsche, on the other hand, made £13,757.

Jaguar profit

Is this a reliable source?

There are a lot of averages and aggregates incorporated here. It’s not a live feed of what each carmaker is selling and earning, rather a year’s information divided over various measurements of time. Still, it’s an interesting way to take it all in.

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Mercedes Unimog

Branching out: mighty Unimog makes light work of trees

Mercedes Unimog

If you’re a plumber, you buy a Transit. If you’re a farmer, you buy a tractor. If you’re an Formula 1 driver, you endeavour – these days – to get in a Mercedes-AMG F1 car. What about if you’re a tree surgeon? Something akin to a mix of all three was found to be best by Greenworx, a British tree-chopping outfit.

Take the agricultural capability of a tractor, the road manners of a Transit and the badge from the Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+ and you get… a Unimog.

This latest Mercedes Unimog success story comes a lifetime after the original’s debut, with brothers Brett and Ryan Skelton buying one to take the place of the tractor they were previously lumbered with. If you’ll pardon the pun.

Mercedes Unimog

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Mercedes G65

Mercedes-Benz recalls G-Class because it goes too fast in reverse

Mercedes G65Recalls with cars have become so commonplace in the automotive industry, they’re not often newsworthy anymore. However, the latest, involving a mere 20 Mercedes AMG G65 V12s in North America, could be one of the weirdest yet.

Such is the rate at which brands develop and manufacture cars en masse, and the amount of co-operating parts suppliers, that things sometimes slip through the cracks. Sometimes they can be serious. Sometimes they can be headline-grabbing. Sometimes – Takata airbags, anyone? – they can involve millions of cars and take years to resolve.

Mercedes G65

The Mercedes G-Class, however, is afflicted with something a little more specific and, well, odd. Excessive reverse speeds are achievable, as the cars aren’t furnished with software to limit them. 

Result? There is a risk of the cars rolling over when quickly going backwards and then suddenly changing direction. (Dare we suggest, it’s a bit like the original A-Class incident, in reverse?)

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is thus urging owners to take their cars into dealers for a free software upgrade.

We wonder how many owners may take part in a little reversing race before they do so…

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