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Mercedes-Benz W123: Retro Road Test

1982 Mercedes-Benz W123 review: Retro Road Test

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Drive a Mercedes-Benz W123 (officially the ‘W 123’) and you’ll never look at cars the same way again. Own one and you’ll never look back.

In creating the W123, Mercedes-Benz left nothing to chance, delivering a worthy successor to the Strich Acht (Stroke Eight) that was every inch the S-Class for the family man.

I added a very gold 1982 230E auto to my fleet back in September 2015. Here are my thoughts.

What are its rivals?

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It would be too much to suggest the Mercedes-Benz W123 is a car without equal, but to some it’s the high watermark in the German company’s long and illustrious history.

As the precursor to the E-Class, the W123’s arch-rival would have been the BMW 5 Series, initially in E12 guise, but latterly as the E28. The BMW was certainly the sportier of the two, but the Mercedes-Benz took quality to new heights.

Other rivals would have included the Audi 200, Citroen CX, Peugeot 504, Ford Granada, Vauxhall Carlton and Volvo 244, but the W123 truly was in a league of its own.

The project started way back in 1968 and Mercedes-Benz took a no-expense-spared approach, with the sole aim of building the world’s finest saloon car. By the time it was launched in January 1976, the W123 had been subjected to eight years of rigorous testing, with crash safety at the heart of its development. Mercedes left nothing to chance.

What engine does it use?

The W123 was mostly powered by a range of powerplants carried over from the ‘Stroke Eight’, but a new 129hp 2.5-litre six-cylinder (M 123) unit was developed for its debut.

Other engines included the 94hp 200 (2.0-litre), 109hp 230 (2.3-litre) and 280/280E, offering 156hp and 177hp respectively. Note, the ‘E’ stands for einspritzung, which is German for injection.

The diesel range included the 55hp 200D, 60hp 220D and 65hp 240D, while the flagship derv was the five-cylinder 300D, which produced 80hp. The engine range was later revamped to include a fuel-injected 230E (as tested here) and – for some markets – a 125hp 300D turbodiesel.

What’s it like to drive?

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You can tell by those power outputs that the W123 is never going to offer autobahn-storming levels of performance, although the six-cylinder 280 models are hardly lethargic.

The four-cylinder diesels and 2.0-litre petrol engines can feel sluggish, especially when trying to keep up with today’s traffic, but the 2.3-litre engine offers the best compromise of performance and economy.

Time seems to slow down when you’re driving, with everything feeling more relaxed and composed. It feels big, with a huge, clutter-free steering wheel giving the impression that you’re a captain steering a land yacht.

Acceleration would be best described as ‘leisurely’ and you’ll be able to recite a few lines of poetry while waiting for the four-speed automatic transmission to engage the next gear. But it all adds to the appeal. Sit back and enjoy life in a W123.

It’s the ride comfort that really stands out. Today, you’d probably need to spec Airmatic air suspension to get anywhere close to the softness and suppleness of the W123, which seems to float over rough surfaces, smoothing things out with grace and aplomb. It’s quite literally from a different era, when steel wheels and tyres with large sidewalls ruled the roads.

Reliability and running costs

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These things were built to last and intergalactic miles are not uncommon in a W123. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t approach ownership with your eyes wide open, as these cars are up to 40 years old and rust could be a big problem.

That said, a well-maintained example should provide effortless reliability, with potential problems ironed out by a strong network of independent specialists.

Since buying mine in September 2015, I’ve averaged 27.7mpg, which is perfectly adequate for a large, petrol-engined car of the era. I’ve read reports that 30 to 35mpg is possible on a long run, but if fuel economy is you’re thing, you’ll be better off with the diesel version. Or buying a more modern car.

As for the six-cylinder engines, if you break into the low 20s, you’ll be doing well.

Could I drive it every day?

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Absolutely. Two years ahead of its launch, Mercedes-Benz sent a number of W123s around the world for testing, including faraway places such as South America and Africa. To this day, you’ll find them enjoying active service as cheap-to-maintain runabouts and taxis in many corners of the globe.

A few years ago, it was estimated that some 55,000 W123s could be found operating as taxis in Morocco.

It’s a surprisingly easy car to drive, with superb all-round visibility and a feeling of lightness, which is unexpected for a vehicle of this type and era. My car weighs 1,360kg, which is a shade lighter than a new Mercedes-Benz A-Class. Don’t expect infotainment screens, iPod connectivity and head-up displays. Do expect a comfortable and relaxed drive to work.

You’re also spoilt for choice when it comes to body styles. At launch, the W123 was available as a saloon and coupe (CE), but in 1977, Mercedes-Benz launched its first estate car, known as the T, for Touring and Transport. The internal designation was S123, with the ‘S’ standing for Stationswagen. Today, the T is the most sought-after model, not least because it can provide reliable everyday transport for growing families.

How much should I pay?

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In common with other cars on the cusp of classic status, prices vary depending on condition, mileage and history. According to the latest Practical Classics price guide, you should expect to pay between £650 and £5,500 for a 200/230, and slightly more for a 250/280.

The CE (coupe) models, which are rarer than their four-door cousins, command a sizeable premium – at typically twice the price. You’ll spend even more for a low mileage estate car, which are in demand as useable, everyday classics.

Look after a W123 and you’re unlikely to lose any money. Improve one and you may even make a small profit. In the meantime, simply enjoy what is a useable and quite delightful everyday classic.

What should I look for?

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Although the W123 offered better rust protection than its predecessor, corrosion still has the capacity to kill a mechanically-sound car.

Standard checks apply, such a rot around the sills, jacking points and wheelarches, but there are a number of notorious trouble spots to look out for. These include the front wings, battery tray, inner sills and sunroof opening. Check beneath the underseal, which can hide a multitude of sins.

If you intend to use your W123 everyday, the 2.3-litre engine makes a great deal of sense, offering performance close to that of the six-cylinder units, but with the benefit of improved fuel economy and reduced costs should things go wrong.

It’s still possible to buy new parts from Mercedes-Benz, but a specialist such as Mark Cosovich of W123 World would be a good first port of call for support and advice.

Should I buy one?

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If you’re thinking of buying one, don’t hesitate. If, on the other hand, you’ve never previously considered a W123 and fancy a future classic you can drive everyday, put one on your shortlist.

It might not be the most expensive, the cheapest, the quickest or the most beautiful car I’ve ever bought, but it’s arguably the best. Spend some quality time with the W123 and evidence of its craftsmanship will shine through.

Few cars offer such a supreme blend of charm and classlessness. Be warned: once you’ve own a W123, all other cars might seem rather ordinary.

Pub fact

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Production of the W123 saloon came to an end in November 1985, but the station wagon lived on until January 1986. A total of 2.7 million were built, of which 2,389,140 were saloons, 199,517 were wagons and 99,884 were coupes, with the remainder used for special-purpose bodies, such as ambulances

Around 1,080,000 were exported overseas, with the 240D the most successful model. The 230E was the most popular petrol-engined W123.

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Mercedes-Benz 190E: Retro Road Test

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Mercedes-AMG A35 (2020) review

Mercedes-AMG A35 (2020) review

Mercedes-Benz AMG A35

The hot hatch has reached boiling point. Mercedes recently revealed a new AMG A45 S, with the most powerful four-cylinder engine ever.

Its scorching 416hp bests a 288 GTO – Ferrari’s mid-1980s poster car – in a game of Top Trumps, meaning 0-62mph in less than four seconds.

A supercar-slaying hatchback was unthinkable back in 1974, when the Simca 1100 Ti first screeched into showrooms. Arguably the origin of the species, it eked out 82hp from a 1.3-litre twin-carb engine – good for 60mph in 12 seconds.

The 110hp Volkswagen Golf GTI debuted soon afterwards, bringing power to the people like never before, hotly pursued by the 128hp Peugeot 205 1.9 GTI. By 1992, the Ford Escort RS Cosworth mustered a mighty 227hp, on par with a contemporary Porsche 911.

Today, even the lowliest Golf GTI outguns the classic Cossie, while outputs beyond 300hp are routine. Yet the horsepower race has, ironically, left a gap for something (slightly) more sensible. Meet the Mercedes-AMG A35, which slots below the ballistic A45 as Affalterbach’s entry-level offering. Could it be all the hot hatch you really need?

Mercedes-Benz AMG A35

Let’s start with the spec: a 306hp turbocharged four-pot, seven-speed paddle-shift transmission and four-wheel drive. The suspension has solid mounts to sharpen response, tyres are bespoke 19-inch Pirelli P Zeros and the four-piston brakes are borrowed from the A45.

Our car also sported the AMG Style bodykit, with motorsport-style canards sprouting from the front bumper, a high-rise rooftop wing and a functional rear diffuser. I’d save the £2,595, choose a subtle paint colour and go incognito.

Wild or mild, the A35 actually looks best from the inside. This is hands-down the classiest cabin of any hot hatch, with superb quality and game-changing tech. Highlights include two giant widescreen displays, ‘augmented reality’ sat nav that overlays directions onto a video feed from the front-facing camera, plus a voice control system that responds when you say “Hey Mercedes”.

There’s a caveat, though: most of this must-have kit costs extra. You’re even asked £495 for Apple Carplay and Android Auto phone connectivity. The £35,580 base price of our A35 had swollen to £43,660 by the time options were factored in.

If you hoped for a headstrong hooligan in the mould of AMG’s V8 models, you may be disappointed. This is a point-and-squirt sort of car, with punchy power delivery, snappy twin-clutch shifts and all-wheel traction.

Select Sport or Sport+ modes and more torque is diverted to the rear wheels, yet the chassis remains planted rather than playful. More ‘Golf R’ than ‘Type R’, in other words.

Mercedes-Benz AMG A35

Much of the time, that slight detachment is welcome, making the A35 comfortable and easy to live with. Unlike some cars of its ilk (here’s looking at you, Renault Megane RS), it doesn’t constantly shout about how sporty it is. Occasionally, you may wish for a malleability and a magic that isn’t quite there – perhaps a less civilised soundtrack, too. But you’ll rarely hanker for more speed.

On British B-roads, most drivers this side of Lewis Hamilton will cover ground more confidently – and likely more quickly – in this baby Benz than AMG’s flagship GT supercar.

Mercedes has pitched the A35 perfectly. It’s not madcap enough to overshadow the A45, nor is it too sober to justify an AMG badge.

Like the now-ubiquitous Golf R, it serves up driving fun, practicality and car-park kudos in a well-rounded package. It’s a car for the North Coast 500 and the North Circular. And that, surely, is what hot hatchbacks were all about in the first place.

Price: £35,580

0-60mph: 4.7 secs

Top speed: 155mph

CO2 G/KM: 169

MPG combined: 38.7

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Mercedes-AMG GT 63S 4-Door (2020) review

Mercedes-AMG GT63S

Pity the poor Mercedes-Benz salesperson. The world’s oldest car company lists no fewer than 33 separate models on its UK website, from A-Class hatchback to S-Class limousine. Factor in engines, trim levels and optional extras, and the list of potential combinations is… a lot.

Such bountiful choice results in overlap between many models, too. Want a small, swoopy-looking saloon? Pick from the A-Class saloon and CLA. Want a large swoopy-looking saloon? Step forward the CLS and AMG GT 4-Door.

The latter car – which I’ve been driving this week – is a conundrum in its own right. Named after the AMG GT supercar, it shares its platform with the E-Class and CLS. Oh, and it actually has five doors. Go figure.

If all that sounds more confusing than the beer menu at Oktoberfest, the result is something quite spectacular. This four-seat family car (of sorts) has more power than a McLaren F1. Driving all four wheels via a nine-speed auto ’box, its 639hp twin-turbo V8 delivers 0-62mph in 3.2sec and nigh-on 200mph. You could lose your licence and end up behind bars without getting beyond third gear.

A rippled bonnet and Hannibal Lecter grille endow the 4-Door with formidable rear-view-mirror presence, although it’s less athletic from other angles. Inside is where it really makes a statement, with widescreen digital displays, a jutting centre console, animated switch graphics and 64-colour ambient lighting.

At night, my car’s cabin was bathed in neon pink and purple, an effect somewhere between Blade Runner and a seedy German strip club. Or how I imagine such an establishment, at least. Ahem.

No question, though, this is one of the best interiors of any new car – even for passengers sat in the two sculpted rear seats (a three-person bench is optional). Mercedes has finally trumped arch-rival Audi at its own game, blending daring design with build quality to shame the Berlin Wall. The only disappointment is the new touchpad interface for the media system, which replaces a vastly more intuitive clickwheel. Try changing a playlist at your peril.

Thankfully, the blood-and-thunder V8 is all the soundtrack you need. It exhales through four tailpipes with a belligerent bellow, piling on speed with psychotic intensity. Throttle response feels exuberant and there’s ample four-wheel-drive traction, backed up by belt-and-braces suite of active safety systems.

Navigate several sub-menus and the daring/deranged can also select Drift Mode, which effectively makes the car rear-wheel drive. I had stern words with my inner hooligan and left well alone.

Mercedes-AMG GT63S

I suspect few cars could devour a derestricted Autobahn quite like a GT 63S. However, it’s also agile and engaging at sensible speeds, helped by precise steering and a keen chassis. Around town, the rear wheels turn in the opposite direction to the fronts to aid manoeuvrability, then in faster corners all four wheels swivel in the same direction to improve stability.

There’s also selection of drive modes from Comfort to Race, with numerous configurations in-between. Mercedes-Benz does like offering choice, after all.

Apart from its £135,615 cost and 22.1mpg thirst (low teens if you enjoy yourself), the only downside here is the restless ride. Three-chamber active air suspension quashes body-roll, keeping the car poised and planted, but the pay-off is a fidgety feel at odds with the ‘GT’ side of the AMG’s character. If you want comfort, both the CLS and S-Class fit the bill better.

The AMG GT 4-door, though, defies such level-headed logic. A Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid is more rounded and no less rapid. And, if you can sacrifice two doors, the Bentley Continental GT is even more louche and luxurious. Yet for sheer chutzpah, nothing tops the bombastic AMG. Here’s one car that sells itself.

Price: £135,615

0-62mph: 3.2sec

Top speed: 196mph

CO2 G/KM: 257

MPG combined: 21.4-22.1

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Your new Mercedes-Benz will now read your horoscope

Mercedes MBUX horoscope update

The Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) operating system has been updated with four new entertainment options.

Using the voice command “Hey Mercedes,” you can now ask MBUX for the day’s horoscope report, along with a number of other queries.

MBUX: Looking into the stars for the driver

Mercedes MBUX horoscope update

MBUX-equipped Mercedes can now deliver your forecast from the stars. For example, if you’re an Aquarian, you’d say “Hey Mercedes, give me a horoscope for Aquarius”.

Only available in German or British English, the date of birth or the star sign of the driver will be requested for a forecast to be given.

It joins region-specific weather enquiries and even a quiz feature.

The former means that someone planning on skiing in Samnaun, for instance, can ask “what’s the snow like in Samnaun?”. This feature is available in virtually any language. The car would show details on the depth of snow and how many lifts are available, as well as how many are operating.

Mercedes MBUX horoscope update

MBUX can now act as a quizmaster too, with a geo quiz on capital cities of the world. This will help ease long journeys, and make Mercedes-specific journeys more enjoyable and memorable.

Take that, Tesla Arcade mode.

Another update in April will make MBUX more informal. This will be available for users in Germany, Sweden, Spain, Italy, Brazil, Poland, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Mercedes says that MBUX has ‘loosened its tie’, with the ability to use the familiar form of “you”.

Mercedes MBUX horoscope update

The MBUX user interface debuted on the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, with significant updates coming to it upon the introduction of the A-Class.

It already features touchscreen controls and augmented reality navigation, with the latter overlaying directions onto a video image of your surroundings.

1990 Mercedes Benz 190E Evo II

Buy this extreme 1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II now

1990 Mercedes Benz 190E Evo II

Mercedes-Benz might today produce an entire range of aggressive performance cars, but things were a little different three decades ago. 

The rare 1990 190E Evolution II sedan currently advertised on auction website Bring a Trailer bucked the trend, shocking Mercedes fans at the 1990 Geneva Motor Show.  

But this retro Benz is about more than just the looks, being a true road-going version of a successful racing car. 

Raddest Touring Car Master

1990 Mercedes Benz 190E Evo II

The 190E was chosen by Mercedes-Benz as the basis for the firm’s entry into the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft (DTM) in the 1980s.

FIA Group A regulations meant that Mercedes-Benz had to produce a street version of the race car, starting with the 190E 2.3-16 model. These cars used a 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine, modified by British tuning company, Cosworth. 

Cosworth would go on to develop a larger 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, fixing reliability issues with the 2.3-liter unit and extracting more horsepower. 

German Winged Warrior

1990 Mercedes Benz 190E Evo II

Mercedes-Benz entered into an arms race against DTM competitors, using the FIA’s Evolution rules to develop the 190E further. Modifications could be made to the basic car, but manufacturers had to offer 500 examples to customers to use on the road. 

The 2.5-16 Evolution II model shown here was the ultimate expression of the 190E, wearing a giant adjustable rear spoiler, widened fenders, and jutting front splitter. Unique 17-inch alloy wheels were also fitted. 

Having been developed in a wind tunnel, all of these modifications were made solely to help the car perform on track. It makes the 190E Evolution II similar to the Dodge Charger Daytona and Plymouth Superbird in ruthless single-mindedness.

1990 Mercedes Benz 190E Evo II

An AMG Power Pack was fitted to the 2.5-liter engine, taking total output from the naturally aspirated unit to 232 horsepower at a high-revving 7,200 rpm. Torque was more limited at 181 lb-ft. 

A dogleg five-speed manual transmission sends power to the rear wheels, with a standard limited-slip differential. Top speed was rated at 155 mph.

Adjustable self-levelling suspension was standard, allowing the car to be lowered from a dashboard button. A wider track, stiffer suspension springs, and larger brakes also helped with the performance makeover. 

Still a Mercedes-Benz on the inside

1990 Mercedes Benz 190E Evo II

Despite the race track refugee look on the outside, Mercedes-Benz maintained usability inside. Heated leather Recaro seats, wood trim, climate control, and even a sunroof can all be found in this example. 

Of the 502 examples made, according to the plaque mounted by the gear shifter this is the 130th. The short production run took place between 1990 and 1991, with all cars expect two painted in Blue-Black metallic. 

Demonstrating the success of the modifications, the 190E Evolution II won the DTM Manufacturers’ title for Mercedes-Benz in 1992. Klaus Ludwig also took the Drivers’ championship behind the wheel of an Evo II

1990 Mercedes Benz 190E Evo II

This car was delivered to a Swiss buyer from new, and remained with the original owner until October 2019. Having covered a total of 84,000 miles, the car is now currently for sale in the Netherlands.

Swiss-specification cars were delivered with a smaller Evo I rear spoiler from the factory. This car has had the correct larger main wing fitted, but not the lower trunk element. 

A repaint of the bodywork, excluding the roof, was commissioned by the former owner. Servicing records detail maintenance work done from 1990 through to 2016, with the most recent service undertaken then.

A (three-pointed) rising star

1990 Mercedes Benz 190E Evo II

Made in such low numbers, and with a prestigious motorsport pedigree, 190E Evolution II models are becoming seriously collectible. Just this month, Gooding & Company’s Scottsdale 2020 auction saw a low-mileage example sell for an incredible $434,000.

Commenters on Bring a Trailer have noted that the selling dealer has previously supplied cars to North America, meaning importing this rare Benz should not be a hassle. 

Bidding has already pushed the price high, with several days still left to run before the auction ends on Thursday, February 6th.

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Mercedes-Benz named 2019’s most influential car brand

Mercedes-Benz influential car brand

Mercedes-Benz has been named the most influential car brand by a social media agency in Scotland.

The agency looked at the social accounts for the major car brands, before calculating the total followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

With 48,133,119 fans and followers, Mercedes-Benz finishes top, ahead of BMW (46,284,467) and Volkswagen (41,587,168) in second and third place.

Whether or not true ‘influence’ can be judged purely on number of followers is up for discussion. However, there’s no doubt that the three German brands are big players in social circles.

With 34 million Twitter followers, Volkswagen leads the way in the automotive sector, while BMW tops the Instagram table with 23 million fans. 

Mercedes EQC owner

But Mercedes-Benz only manages to finish 27th overall, making it a relative minnow in comparison to some non-automotive brands.

National Geographic leads the way with a mammoth 202,817,271 followers and fans, making it the most influential brand in the eyes of Pilotfish Media.

Next up is Samsung (180,880,818), followed by Nike (134,840,198), NBA (118,371,052) and Coca-Cola (116,650,534).

Top 10 most influential car brands

BrandFacebookTwitterInstagramYouTubeTotal
Mercedes-Benz20,992,1483,415,14322,625,8281,100,00048,133,119
BMW20,992,2551,992,76023,043,452955,00046,284,467
Volkswagen34,046,736580,6696,801,763158,00041,587,168
Lamborghini12,722,6421,852,72522,531,8911,090,00038,197,258
Ferrari16,381,658562,12016,103,144641,00033,687,922
Porsche11,694,5231,799,7201,760,357786,00032,240,600
Audi11,206,2742,029,07714,901,907448,00028,585,258
Ford15,773,2351,193,8863,602,8082,000,00022,569,929
Mini12,283,15791,3771,099,070100,00013,573,604
Jeep6,013,939996,2695,627,470168,00012,805,678
Toyota9,466,553771,6631,529,967370,00012,138,183

Most influential brands overall

Looking at brands overall, Pilotfish Media claims these are the most influential:

  • Most influential brand: National Geographic
  • Most influential sector: Sport
  • Most influential brand on Facebook: Samsung
  • Most influential brand on Twitter: NBA
  • Most influential brand on Instagram: National Geographic
  • Most influential brand on YouTube: National Geographic

Click here to see the table in full.

The 10 new tech features Mercedes-Benz has introduced in 2019

New Mercedes-Benz tech

Nobody could accuse Mercedes-Benz of standing still. Ever since Karl Benz presented the Patent Motor Car in 1886, the company has consistently pushed boundaries.

Indeed, Mercedes-Benz has registered more than 80,000 patents to date.

Examples of its innovation include the electronically controlled anti-lock braking system (ABS) in 1978, an automatically extending rollover bar in 1989, and electronic stability control (ESP) in 1995.

In a kind of end-of-year Christmas ‘best of’ round-up, Mercedes-Benz is showcasing 10 new technologies it has introduced for the 2020 model year.

Mercedes Energising Coach

MBUX with Interior Assistant

A camera in the overhead console monitors movements of the driver’s and front passenger’s hands and arms. When a hand approaches the touchscreen or touchpad, the media display changes and individual elements are highlighted. The system also includes gesture control.

E-Active Body Control

Works in combination with the air suspension  to counteract body roll, pitch and squat. The spring and damping forces can be individually controlled at each wheel.

Carwash Function

In simple terms, this system prepares the car for the car wash by adjusting the suspension to the highest position, folding the exterior mirrors, closing the windows, suppressing the rain-sensor and switching the air conditioning to air-recirculation mode. It will be standard on the next-generation GLS. 

Fully-variable 4Matic

The system can vary torque distribution between the front and rear axle from zero to 100 percent to improve handling and traction. The system is premiering on the GLE. 

V8 engine with 48-volt system

The twin-turbocharged V8 in the GLE 580 and GLS 580 features a 48-volt on-board electrical system and an integrated starter motor. This increases the performance and efficiency while eliminating the need for a belt drive for ancillary components.

New entry-level ‘35’ variant

Mercedes-Benz has introduced a new entry-level version to the AMG range. The ‘35’ is powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine and is available on the A-Class and CLA. Meanwhile, the ‘45’ version is powered by the world’s most powerful four-cylinder engine.

Active Stop-and-Go Assist

The system recognises traffic jams at an earlier state, supporting the stop-start system at speeds of up to 37mph.

Cross-Traffic Function

The system intervenes if it detects a collision with oncoming traffic when making a turn.

Vehicle Exit Warning Function

New models fitted with Blind Spot Assist will boast a Vehicle Exit Warning Function. It monitors the blind spot when the vehicle is parked and will warn the driver of the presence of approaching vehicles, motorcyclists and cyclists.

Energising Coach

If a compatible Garmin wearable device is worn by the driver, the car can measure stress levels or quality of sleep. It acts as a comfort guide for drivers.

To find your next new Mercedes-Benz, check out our car reviews section.

Girls given toy cars to combat gender stereotypes

Matchbox Mercedes-Benz car

Mercedes-Benz is donating 50,000 toy cars to young girls across America.

It’s part of a plan to challenge gender stereotypes while encouraging girls to pursue science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) careers.

More than 100 organisations will engineer toy racetracks, design cars, engage with female role models and attend STEM workshops. The aim: to expand how girls see their future.

Research show that women represent 29 percent of the current science and engineering workforce in the United States. When pressed for reasons for not majoring in STEM subjects, young women cite a lack of encouragement and role models.

Which is why Mercedes-Benz, in partnership with Mattel and the National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP), launched the No Limits initiative.

The 50,000 girls participating in the No Limits project will be given a Matchbox Mercedes-Benz 220 SE toy car.

It was in this car that Ewy Rosqvist and co-driver Ursula Wirth became the first all-female crew to win a major rally. In 1962, Rosqvist won the Argentinian Touring Car Grand Prix, finishing over three hours ahead of the rest of the field.

‘Question the gender stereotypes’

Mercedes-Benz toy cars USA

“Whatever they aspire to be – an astronaut, engineer, judge, nurse, even the President, we want all children to dream big, dream bold and never give up on that dream,” said Mark Aikman, general manager of marketing services for Mercedes-Benz USA.

“We’ve seen that stories like Ewy’s – championing women trailblazers and achievers – can have a big impact by calling into question the gender stereotypes that children may inadvertently adopt.”

Karen Peterson, founder and CEO of NGCP, added: “The No Limits initiative is important to the future success of our young girls.

“Demand for workers with STEM-based skills is rapidly growing, yet women are still significantly underrepresented in these fields. We know that gender associations are formed at a very young age. We applaud Mercedes-Benz and Mattel in their efforts to breakdown the gender stereotypes that keep young girls from engaging in STEM studies.”

If you’re not one of the 50,000 girls who’ll be gifted a Matchbox Mercedes, the toy car will be sold in stores across America from December. Just in time for Christmas… 

Mercedes prepares eActros electric truck for service

Mercedes electric truck

Customers have been testing the Mercedes-Benz eActros electric truck for over a year, so it’s almost ready for active service. It’s due to go into production in 2021.

Just in time, given Bristol city plans to charge diesel trucks £100 per day for entry in 2021, with many other cities likely to follow suit.

eActros ‘innovation fleet’

Mercedes electric truck

Mercedes calls its range of electric trucks the ‘innovation fleet’. The mileage count built up by customer testers is now into five figures. The results and commentary from businesses and testers are being taken on board by the marque, as it prepares the truck for production. 

Ten companies across Germany put the trucks to use, including Hermes. They were used for a variety of haulage tasks. Mercedes says that “heavy-duty short-radius distribution is already possible with local zero emissions and quiet operation”.

Bristol, Mercedes-Benz is looking at you…

How far will the eActros go?

Mercedes electric truck

Mercedes has found that, regardless of payload or route, the eActros is good for a realistic electric range of around 120 miles. Not exactly up to Tesla’s claims for its semi, but a start nonetheless.

The potential for driving style to recover more miles is there, too, with the effective use of the recuperation system. The truck and all associated systems, such as climate control, reportedly performed flawlessly in all temperatures.

The batteries have a 240kWh capacity, which can be charged in two hours using a 150kW charger.

Mercedes electric truck

“We’re on absolutely the right track with the concept behind the Mercedes-Benz eActros,” said Andreas von Wallfeld, head of marketing, sales and services at Mercedes-Benz Trucks.

“For me, this is the key finding after more than a year of extremely intensive real-world trials with our battery-electric heavy-duty short-radius distribution truck.”

Jay Kay’s classic Mercedes estate heads to auction

Jay Kay Mercedes

Jay Kay has owned everything from a McLaren 675LT to a ‘Kermit Green’ LaFerrari. But the Mercedes-Benz estate heading under the hammer at this weekend’s NEC Classic Motor Show in Birmingham, England is a little more down-to-earth.

Not that it comes with a down-to-earth price tag. In fact, you could say that the pre-auction estimate for the 1983 Mercedes-Benz 280 TE wagon is cosmic, girl.

Silverstone Auctions has given the Thistle Green estate an estimate of between £20,000 to £25,000 ($26,000 to $32,000), which might seem steep for an ageing load-lugger, but there are many reasons why it stands every chance of reaching such heady heights.

The celebrity factor shouldn’t be underestimated. Although the Jamiroquai frontman only bought the car in 2009, his reputation as a collector of fine vehicles gives it real provenance. One suspects that Jay Kay doesn’t buy just any old motor.

But there’s more to this Mercedes-Benz than a link to a music icon. The estate version of the W123 series Mercedes is regarded as one of the finest vehicles of its kind – people pay good money for fine examples.

The original Mercedes ‘Stationswagen’

Jay Kay Mercedes estate

Known as the ‘T’ (for Tourism and Transport) – with an internal designation of ‘S’ for Stationwagen – this was the company’s first production estate car. Although it was technically similar to the saloon, the estate had a bespoke feel, thanks to upgrades including self-levelling hydropneumatic rear suspension and carpeting throughout.

These vehicles were pressed into hard service, often used on business during the week and for family and lifestyle reasons at the weekend. Which is why it’s remarkable that this 1983 car has covered a mere 30,000 miles from new. It would appear that Jay Kay has added just 1,500 miles during his time, which suggests he’d prefer to drive his Enzo or LaFerrari.

It’s also worth noting that the car’s MOT expired in August 2019, so the winning bidder won’t be driving it away from the NEC unless it’s tested before the auction.

Jay Kay Mercedes interior

The 280 TE, powered by the six-cylinder petrol engine, is the pinnacle of the W123 estate range, and Jay Kay’s motor features cruise control, air conditioning, ABS, alloy wheels and headlight wash-wipe.

It’s not cheap, but when you consider that the top estimate is roughly the same as an entry-level Mercedes-Benz A-Class or GLA, it begins to make more sense. Besides, neither of these cars offers a rear-facing child bench in the boot.

If Jay Kay’s Mercedes-Benz appeals to you, it will be going under the hammer at the NEC Classic Motor Show Sale on 9 November 2019.

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