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First Look: 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK

It’s “Magic.”

by on Jan.13, 2011

Mercedes launches its third-generation SLK roadster, with the 2012 model reaching U.S. showrooms over the summer.

Mercedes promises a little magic when it launches the all-new, third-generation SLK roadster, later this year.  Magic Sky Control, to be more precise.

The original Mercedes-Benz SLK, launched 14 years ago, helped usher in an era of folding hardtop convertibles, a concept that is as much the norm as the exception today.  You’ll be able to go with that origami metal on the 2012 roadster, or a roof with large, panorama-sized glass.  But the big news is the all-new Magic Sky Control, which uses a special type of glass that can be switched from almost totally transparent to opaque with the touch of a button.

New Product!

In clear mode it provides a sense of being out in the open without those annoying drawbacks like having snow fly in your face in the middle of a Michigan winter.  On a hot summer day, however, the roof, set to dark, provides some much-needed shade.

“The new SLK embodies the role of the trend-setter like no other car”, says Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.

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First Look: 2012 Volkswagen EOS

The hardtop convertible “perfected”?

by on Nov.17, 2010

The second-generation 2012 Volkswagen Eos will reach showrooms in March 2011.

We may be nearing winter but what better place than Los Angeles to roll out your new convertible, or so Volkswagen has apparently decided, as it is using the L.A. Auto Show as the stage for the launch of its second-generation Eos hardtop convertible.

The maker says it has “perfected” the Eos, which is named for the ancient goddess of the dawn – but which gets a decidedly more masculine feel in the 2012 remake.

The new model’s face adopts the latest VW three-bar chrome grille, here framed by conventional halogen or optional xenon beams, which are surrounded by 14 LED bulbs on either side which serve as daytime running lamps. An optional Light Assist system automatically switches between low and high beams, as necessary.  Two-part LED rear lights and a new rear bumper distinguish the 2012 Volkswagen Eos from the rear.

The new droptop will be powered by the updated Volkswagen 2.0-liter turbo I4, which is paired, in Eos, with a 6-speed DSG gearbox.  Expect fuel economy of around 31 on the highway, 22 around town.  A variety of gas and diesel powertrains will be offered in other parts of the world.

Interior changes are modest, primarily focusing on the use of new dashboard and door trim.  A new “cool leather” helps reflect the sun’s rays to keep the seats comfortable, even on the brightest summer days, VW claims.

Along with the Light Assist, new technology includes an advanced auto-park feature that can now handle both parallel and adjacent parking situations, a more sophisticated multifunction color display, keyless entry and push start.

Look for the 2012 Volkswagen Eos to hit U.S. showrooms next March.

First Drive: Lexus IS250C and IS350C

Adding some passion - and a little fresh air - to the brand.

by on May.15, 2009

Can Lexus inject some passion into the brand with models like the 2010 IS250C convertible?

Can Lexus inject some passion into the brand with models like the 2010 IS250C convertible?

Let’s face it, when you think about passionate car brands, Lexus is not the first to come to mind.  Among luxury marques, Ferrari, BMW, possibly Audi will immediately pop into your head.  Toyota’s luxury division is all about quality, reliability and, well, the brand you think of for folks who like reliable automotive appliances.

At least, that’s how things were for much of the maker’s first two decades.  The flagship Lexus LS is a perfect example.  It’s loaded with luxury features and routinely wins the quality awards, but it’s certainly no 7-Series when it comes to spirited driving.

Enter the IS, the entry-luxury sedan first launched in 2000, and updated five years later.  It’s steadily morphing into a car that, while not quite yet the match of a 3-er, certainly can be described as “spirited.”  Last year’s launch of the V-8-powered IS-F boosted the nameplate’s bona fides.  Now comes the 2010 Lexus IS250C and IS350C convertibles. (more…)

Spy Shots: Maserati Hardtop Convertible

by on May.12, 2009

Lift the camouflage and you'd see the bones of Maserati's newest coupe and convertible.

Lift the camouflage and you'd see the bones of Maserati's first-ever hardtop convertible.

In the words of our photographer:

Maserati’s most exciting car at present – the GT – will soon be given a beautiful sister, and she’ll be walking around topless at times: Spotted at the German Nürburgring earlier today was this prototype of a Maserati Spider.

Judging from the heavy camouflaged packed onto the car and in par with the brand-new Ferrari California, we reckon the Spider will be given a retractable metal roof rather than a conventional canvas top. Competitors like the Aston Martin DBS, on the other hand, will not follow this trend and will soon come with a traditional soft top. A Porsche 911 Cabrio, too, will never be built with anything but a canvas roof.

Different from the new GT Spider’s predecessor, the new model will apparently come as a 2+2- rather than a pure 2-seater. Engine and mechanics of the Maserati Spider won’t change compared to the coupe. We expect the cabriolet to debut at the 2009 Geneva Show.

More pictures available at www.leftlanenews.com    Brenda Priddy & Company