Believe it or not, once upon a time Mercedes was not producing more powerful and agile versions of its best sedans. AMG was a separate tuning company not exclusively owned by Mercedes Benz. They operated much the same as any other tuner, such as Brabus or Lorinser. Most automotive manufacturers dismiss the aftermarket world and few would ever market an aftermarket design through its own dealership network.
The relationship between Mercedes and AMG was different and the two brothers from Großaspach, Germany were able to catch their biggest break in the early 1990s. Mercedes Benz realized that it needed to compete in the sports sedan market and its down right boring C280 model was just not enough when up against a BMW M3. The two companies soon signed a contract allowing AMG to use the extensive worldwide dealer network that was at Mercedes’ disposal to market and sell their cars. The first was to be called the C36 AMG. There is some debate as to what was actually the first AMG car, but this was certainly the first to be sold by Mercedes as an AMG model. Racing collaborations had taken place in previous years, but never sold to the public in this fashion.
The C36 proved to be a success, even though many AMG enthusiasts may dismiss it. The car was more powerful than an M3 and the limited production run made it desirable to Mercedes buyers looking for a special vehicle. Production of the C36 stopped in 1998, but Mercedes would soon after take a controlling 51% share in AMG and begin using it as an exclusive tuning arm.
In 1998, if you were growing out of your boy racer faze and becoming a man that was still looking for driving excitement to go with his morning coffee, then your options were slim. Entry level luxury sedans were still in their infancy and BMW had utter dominance in the segment. The E36 M3 models were the enthusiast’s weapon of choice and they also offered luxury coupled with everyday drivability.
Other manufacturers such as Audi began to use displacement as their weapon of choice and the horsepower wars began. It started with each manufacturer utilizing the specialties of their in house tuning shops more and more, but it has progressed to epic proportions today. Consider that most of these small sedans have changed little in overall size and the “performance” models of the 1990s were powered by small and efficient engines pushing under or just above 300hp. Today, 300hp in a sports sedan would be laughed right off the autobahn by cars pushing at least 400hp with V8s or twin turbo V6s.
Nonetheless, this was the beginning and Mercedes was poised to take things to a new level. A new engine had been developed for use in the ML, CLK, and S-class models as an entry-level V8. It was the 4.3-liter model that was coded 430 on the badges of the vehicles. Before it even made an appearance in those other models for standard duty, AMG was able to get their hands on it and make some major improvements. The beast that emerged would be forced into the C43 AMG in order to take on the other German brands.
Hit the jump for more details on the 1998 Mercedes C43 AMG.
We’ve all played racing games on various systems like the PlayStation 3 or XBOX 360, and for the most part they are all the same. Graphics have been getting better and better with more powerful processors, but the feel of actually driving is largely absent. This is not so much the game creator’s fault, but more a problem with the philosophy of controlling a car with only a handheld remote.
Back in the day when I was playing games like “Cruisin’ USA” for the Nintendo 64, I remember the rumble pack being a revelation. You could actually feel some of the feedback from the road, but mostly just when you crashed. Today, video games have expanded far beyond what I could have ever imagined as a kid and even race teams and manufacturers use these systems to develop their technology before it is ever tested on the track.
Force Dynamics is a company that designs and constructs motion simulators for various applications. They have taken the time to understand how the brain interprets speed and have translated that information into the most advanced gaming chair on the market. The 401 system features full four-axis motion movements, surround sound speakers, and a high definition display to make the driver feel as if they were really on the race track.
Hit the jump for more details on the Force Dynamics Chair
When we got our turn with the new Lexus F-Sports Edition, we weren’t all that impressed with the suped up IS 350C. Lexus had basically taken their boring sedan and juiced it up just for the sheer sport of it and, as it turns out, a geek on steroids still isn’t all that cool. Now it seems as if Lexus is bringing it back for the 2011MY, but with a few changes in its price and number of units.
Either people agreed with us and Lexus is lowering the price with the hopes that more units will sell and even out their bottom line, or the company thinks more people should get the chance to drive around in their pseudo-sports car. Something tells us that the jump from 100 units to 175 and the $55,120 (down from last year’s $57,500) price tag is more of a bargaining chip than it is a gesture of sincerity. Either way, the Lexus IS 350C F Sport Special Edition will go on sale at the end of February 2011.
Lexus didn’t concern themselves with upgrading the engine of the vehicle, which is probably a good thing because the car couldn’t handle the power it was given to begin with, but they did add a few new F Sport Performance accessories to make it worth our while - not that it is. They also changed the exterior colors from Tungsten Pearl and Obsidian to Starfire Pearl and Obsidian.
Hit the jump to read more about the Lexus IS 350C F Sport Special Edition.
The Porsche Cayman began its life several years ago and immediately threatened the position of the Carrera as Porsche’s top dog in performance. No one quite expected this while the car was in development, but once it hit the market the buzz was everywhere. The Cayman has undergone some major changes throughout it’s run and 2011 adds several previously unavailable features.
As an entry level model for Porsche, the base Cayman still has plenty to offer. It is considered a luxury-sports car and therefore brings strong performance and craftsmanship to the table. Nestled nicely in between a Boxster and a base 911, this entry level Cayman fills what would otherwise be a void in the portfolio. Most Cayman buyers enjoy the Boxster size and efficiency, but also want the torsional rigidity and tighter handling provided by hardtop 911 models. Starting at $51,900 for a manual transmission, this Porsche can give you the best of both worlds.
Hit the jump for more details on the 2011 Porsche Cayman.
Trying to multitask might seem like a good idea at first, but although you might get things done, you might not get them done well. Watching your favorite football team or Formula One race, while studying for an exam, and typing a paper might work for a while, but you won’t know what happened in the race, you’ll fail the test, and your paper will be poor at best.
The 2010 Lexus RX450h attempts it’s own multi-tasking effort. The hybrid SUV tries to be luxurious, fuel efficient, and practical all at the same time. It manages to accomplish everything it set out to do, albeit with varying degrees of success.
The fifth-generation RX is the newest version of the best selling model in the Lexus line, but only one in five sell with a hybrid motor under the hood. So Lexus is banking on the RX450h being good at everything it attempts to do. So, how does it fair?
Yesterday, Hyundai unveiled the 2011 Sonata Hybrid and 2011 Sonata 2.0T. Today, they brought us the 2011 Equus luxury sedan which makes us take Hyundai a little more seriously than we have before. It will compete with models such as the Lexus LS 460 and the Mercedes-Benz S550 and will go on sale with a starting price in the mid $50,000 range.
The 2011 Equus shares the same architecture as the Genesis sedan, but it’s 7.2 inches longer. It is powered by a 4.6-liter V8 engine that delivers 385 HP and 333 lb-ft of torque and is mated to a ZF 6-speed automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC manual control.
The exterior design is defined by a subtle horizontal radiator grille, well-proportioned headlamps, LED turn signals, bolder lower air intakes, bold taillights, strong shoulders, fully-integrated asymmetrical exhaust tips an,d rear LED turn signal indicators. In the interior, Equus adds leather upholstery, Alcantara headliner, natural wood trim, and a leather-wrapped French-stitched instrument panel.
Updated 10/20/2010: Hyundai today announced prices for the new Equus luxury sedan that will go on sale this December. The lavishly contented Equus Signature will be priced at $58,000 and the top-of-the-line Equus Ultimate at $64,500.
Our motto at this website is ‘no boring cars’. Whether that’s sports cars, Italian exotics, or super luxurious sedans, we love them all. For this review though, we decided to change things up a bit. We wanted to find out what you can and can’t do in a truck during a week test and, living up to our motto, we went all out and got one of the biggest heavy duty trucks on the market, the 2010 Dodge Ram 2500 Heavy Duty Mega Cab.
The Ram 2500 might not be everyone’s choice for a daily driver and to be honest, it wasn’t ours either, but we put all that aside and used this four-door, four-wheel drive turbo diesel behemoth every day of the week, during which time we never came close to the truck’s full capabilities.
Although it couldn’t fit in our garage, or in a normal parking space, we did our best. Hit the jump to see how the week went and our new review style.
When Abarth unveiled the 695 Tributo Ferrari Edition earlier this month, it came with a price tag of 35,500 euro (that’s around $45,000 at the current rates). We thought that was a crazy price for an Abarth model, but, apparently, that’s nothing compared to what the Spaniards have to pay. Spain’s prices for the little hatchback were announced at a costly sum of €46,339, or about US$58,900 at the current exchange rates. Come on, really now!
As a reminder, the Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari is powered by a 1.4L turbocharged engine mated to a 5-speed C510 gearbox. This combination leaves the Abarth with 180hp and a top speed of 140mph. The 0-62mph sprint gets accomplished in under seven seconds. A sport button is placed in the dashboard to give the gearbox, engine control unit, and steering a racier feeling complete with more response from the car. of course, these numbers and features still don’t add up to the competition with a price tag like the one it is exhibiting.
The Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG can be easily summed up in just two words. The first is massively powerful, with a 457-horsepower V8. The second word is flashy. The C63 has looks that can turn heads and a noise that can shatter windows. Welcome to one of the most insane German sedans on the road.
When you first see the C63, you want it. That massive power and those stunning looks are shocking at first, but that initial impression does wear off.
So, does the 2010 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG deserve those looks or is it another look fast and go-slow family car. There’s only one way to find out, take the car to the track.
We usually start with looks first, but in this German monster, it’s the engine that matters most. The 90-degree DOHC V8 engine displaces 6.2-liter and has an 11.3:1 compression ratio. This monster puts out 457 horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 442 pound-feet of torque. Not bad for a start.