Mercedes-Benz USA has a potential problem on its hands with the 2015 GLA-Class. No, it’s not the kind of problem that can spell doom and gloom for the new crossover itself. It’s the kind of problem that spells doom and gloom for U.S. customers of the GLA-Class. That’s because the supply of GLA models headed to the U.S. could be scarcer than anybody expected.
Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Steve Cannon lamented on the potential dearth of GLA models headed stateside, telling Auto News that demand in other markets could cut off the allocation of the compact crossover in the U.S. Demand for the GLA-Class in China, for example, is as strong, maybe even stronger than the U.S. Even sales in Europe have rebounded to the point that models Mercedes-Benz USA usually receives from its European counterpart aren’t arriving this year.
All that points to the GLA being even scarcer than the CLA-Class compact sedan that went on sale in the U.S. last year. So if you were planning on buying the GLA-Class, it might be best to be that early bird that gets the worm. Otherwise, you might end up losing out on the GLA-Class when sales begin here in September 2014 for the GLA250 4MATIC.
Click past the jump to read more about the Mercedes GLA.
If you’ve been itching to get a piece of the Mercedes CLA-Class, we may have just found a way for you to get one without having to spend a dime on it.
The German automaker is launching a new contest through Instagram, pitting some of the most-followed "iGers" against each other for a chance to go home with a brand new CLA-Class.
But before we get into how you can win the car, a background on the contest is in order. Mercedes has tapped five of Instagram’s best photographers to spend five days each driving the CLA. Whoever gets the most likes will be the one to keep the car.
Here’s where you get into the picture: you have a chance to become the sixth driver. All you have to do is submit you’re Instagram handle with the five drivers selecting the winner based on your account. As far as the criteria needed to be chosen, you must have with you some of the characteristics that best captures the spirit of the CLA. Remember, you must have a public feed or accept Mercedes’ follow request to be eligible for the competition.
Should you be selected, you and a co-pilot will take a three-day road trip, beginning on September 5, 2013 and you’ll have to document whatever you do during this road trip on the @MBUSA Instagram feed where you get a chance to win a three-year lease on Mercedes’ newest model.
Again, we ask: interested yet?
Click past the jump to read about the Mercedes CLA-Class
You may not know a whole lot about Mara Hoffman, but the colorful and vibrant fashion designer sure does have quite a following.
Hoffman is considered one of the most prestigious swimwear designers in the world and her stature caught the attention of Mercedes-Benz, who proceeded to name her this season’s "Mercedes-Benz Presents" design.
As part of being named with the honor, Mercedes gave Hoffman a chance to showcase her fashion design skills, not on a two-piece bikini, but on an actual Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet.
Judging by the look of Hoffman’s creation, we have little doubt that she really put her personality into that drop-top E-Class with a one-of-a-kind print that will also debut as an exclusively designed fashion item and be sold at Alchemist fashion boutique in Miami.
If you want to take a closer look at Mara Hoffan’s bursting design on the E-Class Cabriolet, you can keep an eye out for it at numerous spots by South Beach in Miami.
Given the fact that South Beach is known for being one of the most hip and happening places in America, there’s no doubt that this one-off Mara Hoffan-designed E-Class Cabriolet will fit right in.
Click past the jump to read about the standard Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet
Leave it to Audi to take advantage of an opportunity to get some digs on a rival automaker.
With the unexpected Super Bowl power outage taking well over 30 minutes to get resolved, the German automaker decided to throw a grenade Mercedes’ way. In case you didn’t know, the Superdome is officially titled as the Mercedes SuperBowl by way of Merc’s sponsorship of the dome.
So with the lights out, Audi went to Twitter to send a hilarious tweet Mercedes’ way. Here’s what it said:
"Sending some LEDs to the @MBUSA Superdome right now..."
Shots fired! Shots fired!
To be fair, the lights did come back on, but it was still another ingenious dig by an automaker that’s fast becoming one of the must-follow Twitter accounts in the industry. Remember their previous shots at Acura and its NSX Concept for "spiking" the design of the 1991 Quattro Spyder?
This Mercedes zing, though, is a lot funnier than that one.
It’s that time of the year again, fellas. The Super Bowl is less than two weeks away and, as is always the case around this time, a lot of automakers are gearing up for a blitzkrieg of commercials to be shown during the game, which features the 49ers and Ravens this time around.
One commercial that has made its way onto the Web is the one for the Mercedes CLA-Class. And wouldn’t you know it, Mercedes tapped the perfect celebrity to pique the interests of men everywhere: Kate Upton.
Everything Kate Upton does these days generates strong interest from all warm-blooded males. Heck, if she showed up in a commercial with a space suit on and covering her entire body, she’s going to find a way to make wearing a space suit sexy.
So, imagine how transfixed we all were when we watched this commercial featuring Upton shaking her thang while a bunch of dudes washed the CLA-Class. She’s too beautiful for words so we’ll just leave it all up to you to enjoy it as much as we did.
And remember, there is a car in the ad too, so pay attention!
Autonomous driving is on the tips of all of our tongues at any given moment, as it is the most likely “next generation” step in the automotive world. One of the key components of perfecting automated driving is the introduction of car-to-car-to-object communication – communication between cars and traffic-control devices. Think of it as a Facebook for the automotive world. Every car needs to update its status and plans to all of the other cars and the traffic controls “in its network” (in the area), so that they know how to plan accordingly.
Sure automated driving works okay via a series of sensors, but that only allows so much. This social networking allows car to plan routes, avoid traffic, avoid accidents, and so forth, ahead of time. Germany has taking the driver’s seat in this matter, by introducing the Safe Intelligent Mobility – Testfield Germany (sim TD) - which allows controlled testing of these communication systems. Mercedes-Benz is one maker that will provide Germany with cars for this testing program and has now chosen to do some of its own car-to-car-to-object testing at its own facility in Palo Alto, California. During its infancy, this system will utilize the network of cars to sense a line of stopped cars over the peak of a hill or around a blind turn, helping prevent a rear-end collision because the driver and automated sensing devices couldn’t see the stopped cars.
In the long run, this system may end up being the basis that automated driving on a regular basis spawns from. Using sensors alone to eliminate the driver’s need to control a car is pretty dangerous, as the sensors can only see what the human eye can see. This automotive network, on the other hand, allows the car to see things well in advance, making automated driving the safest driving method. That sounds like a good plan to us.
We’ll keep you updates as testing continues.
What can we say, we love free stuff! Mercedes is getting in on the giveaway fun now by offering a trip to the acclaimed AMG Driving Academy in Fontana, California. All you have to do is head over to Mercedes’ Facebook page – yes, it’s always Facebook – “Like” the sweepstakes photo, and then fill out an entry form.
According to the rules, you and a friend will attend the “Basic Training” session, which lasts just a day. This session covers all of the basic skills needed to race or just drive in normal, everyday situations. It teaches you how to handle oversteer and understeer, slalom courses, lane changing, braking and collision avoidance, and you get to ride with a professional driver.
In addition to the driving school, you get a coach-class flight for two people, a two-night stay in a “standard” hotel with double occupancy, and transportation between the hotel, airport, and Driving Academy. What’s really cool is that Mercedes is also giving you an extra $3,271.21 to help offset the taxes you will incur by winning this grand prize.
The dates for the trip are October 26th through 28th, so mark those days on the calendar, and the big drawing is on or around July 16th.
So, if you have ever wanted to learn how to drive like the big boys, you can get an entry-level lesson on Mercedes’ dime, while whipping around a corporate-provided luxury racecar. We have a sneaking suspicion that the car you get to learn in is not a C63 AMG, but it’ll be a blast either way.
This week’s episode of Top Gear is probably the most disgusting episode we have ever seen. The guys were faced with the challenge of finding the best car for $500 and driving them 500 miles from Santa Monica to Twin Peaks in San Francisco. At first, we could only imagine just how crappy these cars were, then the Top Gear crew let us know.
In addition to the foul $500 car challenge, Ruttledge Wood was given the chance to review the scintillating Cadillac CTS-V in all three body styles: coupe, sedan, and wagon. The wagon was by far Rutt’s favorite and he was absolutely clear on that.
We were also treated to Maroon 5’s Adam Levine as he cruised around the Top gear test track in the show’s Suzuki SX4. His driving may not have been top notch, but he was extremely successful at cursing up a storm.
Hit the jump for details on Top Gear USA: Season 2 Episode 6.
In the world of mid-size mom mobiles, style is often a hard thing to find. When you examine the field most fit in the background as opposed to the centerfold. As Benjamin Franklin once said "A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body." Most of the luxury mid size SUV’s fail to deliver this food and fire to the consumer. This precedence of indifference ended when we walked to the parking lot and gazed at the 2012 Mercedes Benz GLK 350.
What struck us about this is the graceful angles of the GLK that set it apart from the rest of the field. Although the GLK has only been in production since 2009, it has taken lessons from others in the field. The interior looks like it can stand up to your Lab and yet also haul the kids to school in the morning. The teflon interior is very comfortable which makes that early morning commute with kids in tow that much more bearable. On top of all this utility, you actually get some sport in your SUV (imagine that!). The GLK makes the most mundane tasks like merging onto the interstate quite fun. When you press the loud pedal you are pleasantly surprised and the engine emits a raspy bark akin to Tom Waits impersonating a seal.
More details on the 2012 Mercedes Benz GLK 350 after the jump.
Mercedes-Benz USA’s AMG Driving Academy Performance Series is getting more and more interesting with each passing episode. Now on its seventh installment, these three-minute instructional videos have given us plenty of tips from a wide variety of racing techniques, including ESP, line technique, and slaloms.
For this particular episode, Tommy Kendall returns and brings AMG driving instructor, Nick Kunewalder, with him to walk us through the art of drifting. Describing drifting as "the ballet of power-sliding", Kendall and Kunewalder teach us the techniques in executing a perfect drift, from the initiation to the transitions to inducing a slide - a critical element of drifting - and carrying that slide all the way through a corner.
Kendall also points out that with drifting, all convention on racing flies out the window because in trying to induce a slide and create the theatrical smoke from your tires, you’re basically going against everything you’ve learned as a race car driver in trying to keep control of your car at all times. But that’s the allure of drifting and its popularity has soared to such great heights that it’s become a unique sport by itself.
By now, we’ve already been immersed in the traction control technology that is now prevalent within the auto industry. In this episode of Mercedes USA’s AMG Driving Academy Performance Series, professional driver and AMG Driving Academy instructor, Nick Kunewalder, introduces us to ESP - Electronic Stability Program - technology and the three corresponding advanced traction control settings: On, Sport, and Off.
Each setting has a different effect on the handling of the car and Kunewalder. When the ESP is turned ’on’, the computer doesn’t allow the car to break a whole lot of traction; at a certain point in this set-up, the computer will instantaneously take over by refusing to let the car slide no matter what the driver does.
The ’Sport’ mode allows the driver to push the car a little harder with a much later computer assistance compared to when the ’ESP’ is turned on. There might be a little rotation, but once the computer recognizes it, it begins to add that stability program.
Lastly, when the ESP is completely disabled, the car is completely at the mercy of the driver with no electronic traction assistance whatsoever.
All three have their pros and cons unique to themselves. It’s just a matter of figuring out what set-up applies best to what situation.
Four-time Grand Am champion and Speed Channel host, Tommy Kendall, returns for the fifth episode of Mercedes USA’s AMG Driving Academy Performance Series. After detailing a number of important techniques in the past four episodes - AMG Driving Academy instructor, Don Harple, helped out in episode 4 - Kendall now turns his attention to teaching us the importance of the racing line and how to maximize your lap by using it as often as you can.
Being adept in using the ’line technique’ goes a long way in becoming a great driver. As Kendall says, "there’s an infinite number of lines in a race track, but there’s only one that’s fastest".
Taking this to heart, finding the track’s racing line not only minimizes the number of times you turn the wheel - the more you turn, the slower you become - but also allows you to hit corners quickly and exit without losing any speed. The key, according to Kendall, is to use every inch of the track at your disposal. You start out wide as you enter the corner and turn inside all the way to the apex, or the clipping point before drifting to the exit point.
The most important thing in line technique is to think a couple of moves ahead and see where all three sections of a corner are before you hit them. That way, you can carefully gauge your move before you actually do it, saving you precious time and speed in the process.
The last episode of the AMG Driving Academy Performance Series, Four-time Grand Am champion and Speed Channel host, Tommy Kendall, gave a few tips on controlling the car in different situations. Now professional driver and AMG Driving Academy instructor, Don Harple, takes the reigns to show us the importance of keeping the balance on your car to avoid oversteering and understeering. Apparently, these are two critical mistakes that could affect a driver’s lap time.
In this episode, Kendall gives some ideas on how corners should be attacked at varying levels of speed in order to maintain control of the car. Kendall teaches three things to remember when attacking corners: Correct, Pause, and Recover.
With Correct, the important thing is to stir into the skid, which is something that’s already second nature with a lot of drivers. The second part, Pause, is a little trickier because it involves split-second calculations in waiting for the skid to stop before turning into the other direction. At that point, the third thing to remember is Recover, is recognizing the change in direction and correcting it as soon as possible in order to corral your car and avoid understeer or oversteer.
The third episode of Mercedes USA’s AMG Driving Academy Performance Series takes us on a brief introduction into the world of slalom driving and how the tire contact patch affects the weight transfer of a car as it enters and leaves a corner.
Four-time Grand Am champion and Speed Channel host, Tommy Kendall, continues to play the role of AMG Driving Academy instructor and he introduces us to a concept that neophyte drivers may not be too familiar with: tire contact patch.
This concept, he explains, deals with how to perfectly manage the weight transfer of the car to allow it to navigate in and around a race track. It doesn’t sound all that sexy, but considering the twisty and topsy-turvy nature of race circuits, it’s something that is worth watching and listening.
Being able to manage the throttle of the car while knowing how to shift the weight from the front and back goes a long way in allowing your car to run smooth turns as opposed to big, stabbing turns that inevitable lead to understeering and oversteering.