Mercedes-Benz at the North American Auto Show 2007
At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Mercedes-Benz presented its broad range of all-wheel drive cars and SUVs on a 7,250 sq. ft. (570 sq. meter ice rink). This year’s show celebrates two important centennials: the 100th anniversary of the Detroit Auto Show, as well as the 100th anniversary of the first all-wheel drive Mercedes automobile. Other highlights of the Mercedes-Benz press conference included the S-Class with the latest 4MATIC all-wheel drive technology and the V8-powered “Vision GL 420 BLUETEC” SUV concept vehicle, with which the luxury brand continues its initiative for clean diesels in the USA. As a high-point, the red carpet was rolled out for the striking Concept Ocean Drive – a convertible that revives the tradition of four dour luxury cars with an open top.
BLUETEC, new AWD Technology and a Fascinating Luxury Convertible That Dreams Are Made of
“A hundred years after introducing our first automobile with four-wheel drive, we offer one of the largest ranges of four-wheel drive passenger cars and SUVs on the market: 48 models in seven model series,” explained Dr. Dieter Zetsche, CEO of DaimlerChrysler AG and head of the Mercedes Car Group, at the kick-off of the Mercedes-Benz press conference. The new star of the four-wheel drive line-up from Stuttgart is the S-Class 4MATIC, the first model to be equipped with the high-tech fourth generation of the Mercedes-Benz four-wheel drive system. The new 4MATIC combines agility, comfort and enhanced traction with considerably reduced fuel consumption which is roughly (0.1 gallons / 0.4 litres) more than that of a comparable model with rear-wheel drive. This is partly due to a significant reduction of the model’s additional weight, which ranges between merely145 to 154 lbs. (66-70 kg.), depending on the type of engine. That’s approximately 77 lbs. (35 kg.) less than its predecessor or competing systems.
Mercedes-Benz’ four-wheel drive models also include the GL-Class, which was introduced last year and has established itself in the USA as one of the three best-sellers in the luxury full-size SUV segment. The leading U.S. automobile magazine, “Motor Trend,” named it the “SUV of the Year 2007.”
Vision GL 420 BLUETEC — another milestone of the BLUETEC initiative
The Vision GL 420 BLUETEC concept car demonstrates that BLUETEC makes it possible for large and powerful vehicles in particular to offer good fuel economy and the lowest possible emission levels. The vehicle with the powerful V8 diesel engine delivers 216 kW (290 hp) and generates 700 Nm (515 lb-ft) of torque, with an expected fuel consumption of 9.8 litres per 100 km (24 mpg). This impressive combination of top performance, high torque, fuel efficiency and impressive range makes all Mercedes-Benz BLUETEC ideal for the U.S. market.
“Thanks to our second-stage BLUETEC technology, featuring AdBlue injection to eliminate more than 80 per cent of the NOx emissions, this powerful, clean and efficient engine complies with strict BIN 5 regulations,” said Dr. Thomas Weber, head of Development at DaimlerChrysler. “The same goes for the three new V6 BLUETEC models — the R 320 BLUETEC, ML 320 BLUETEC and the GL 320 BLUETEC — we will launch in the U.S. market in 2008.”
Concept Ocean Drive concept car — a look at the design of tomorrow
With its luxury convertible Concept Ocean Drive, Mercedes-Benz revives the tradition of large four door convertibles. This striking concept car stands out thanks to its elegant body design and head-turning appearance. Its clearly defined lines and vibrant two-tone paint finish make it exceptionally charismatic. Exotic materials and uncompromising perfection make it a showpiece for today’s automobile connoisseurs.
The Concept Ocean Drive inspires automotive dreams — but its purpose is also to reach out to customers and find out how the public is reacting to new automotive ideas. That supports the designers at Mercedes-Benz as they look into the future, develop new design vocabularies and implement them in coming vehicles. Apart from the four doors, the distinguishing exterior features of the concept car include a very large and upright radiator grille, headlights and taillights featuring LED technology, its two-tone paint finish and a striking interplay between taut lines and large, restful surfaces. The Concept’s dramatic profile is enhanced by the deletion of traditional B-pillars or window frames, ensuring a seamless continuity of the exterior – even when the top is raised.
By virtue of its long wheelbase, the 12-cylinder Mercedes-Benz S 600 was chosen as the technical basis of the design study. The vehicle’s special technical highlights include an innovative soft-top mechanism with smooth operation and fast closing times and the unrivalled AIRSCARF neck-level heating system at all four seats, which allows occupants to enjoy top-down motoring even in the colder months of the year.