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Mercedes-AMG Teaming Up with Agusta

German maker returns to its roots.

by on Oct.31, 2014

The new Mercedes-AMG GT S and the MV Agusta F3 800 Ago: the best of the new business partners.

Mercedes’s performance division AMG has launched what it’s billing as a “long-term partnership” with Italian motorcycle manufacturer Agusta Motor SpA. The deal will give Mercedes-AMG GmbH a 25% stake in Agusta.

Exactly how the alliance will work remains to be seen – though Mercedes had a previous alliance with another high-performance bike maker, Ducati, before that Italian firm was snapped up by rival automaker Audi. Indeed, Mercedes is given credit for the invention of the motorcycle itself.

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“The partnership provides us with an entry into a world of additional high-performance enthusiasts,” explained Tobias Moers, chief executive of Mercedes-AMG, in a prepared statement. The two, he added, “are connected not only by a long and successful racing history, but also by shared values and goals for the future – allowing the experience of utmost perfection, optimal performance and motorsport technology for the road.” (more…)

Mercedes Unleashes its New AMG GT Sports Car

Porsche and Audi have been put on notice.

by on Sep.10, 2014

Mercedes sets out to take on the Porsche 911 Turbo with its new AMG GT S sports car.

Five months after delivering word it would unleash an all-new high-performance sports car, Mercedes-Benz has lifted the covers on its new AMG GT S.

The new model comes shortly after the Teutonic maker ended production of its SLS supercar. But the 2016 Mercedes AMG GT S isn’t a direct replacement. At around $120,000 or less than half the price of the SLS, the new 2-seater will be targeting such German competitors as the Porsche 911 and Audi R8.

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“We are venturing out into a challenging sports car segment with its top-class competitive field,” proclaimed Mercedes’ R&D chief Thomas Weber. “This is an incentive and motivation for us at the same time to prove to sports car enthusiasts around the world the kind of performance that AMG is capable of.”

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Lexus Counts on F Sport to Improve Sales

Line-up competes against luxury sport models.

by on Aug.01, 2014

Based on the success of its IS F Sport line-up, Lexus is expanding the portfolio to the NX and RX models.

The F Sport models will play a bigger role at Lexus going forward.

The F Sport version of the new Lexus IS 250 and Lexus IS 350 has been a major success, accounting for roughly half of all sales of the new IS Lexus last year according to Owen Peacock, Lexus’ national marketing manager.

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“The F Sport makes up 50% of the IS sales mix and the average buyer is five to 12 years younger for the than standard model,” he added. (more…)

Mercedes-Benz Downsizes with New AMG Engine

Set to debut in maker’s upcoming AMG GT sports car.

by on Jul.25, 2014

The new, 510-hp Mercedes-Benz engine will debut under the hood of the upcoming AMG GT.

With the unveiling of its all-new 4.0-liter V-8, Mercedes-Benz joins a growing trend in the automotive performance market. Smaller, it seems, is better as performance and mileage requirements collide.

Due to make its debut under the hood of the planned Mercedes-Benz AMG GT, the new twin-turbo V-8 will deliver the sort of numbers that would traditionally require a far bigger engine – along with the fuel economy traditionally not possible in a high-performance sports car.

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A growing number of makers are opting for features like turbocharging, and even hybridization, to generate more power out of smaller engines. And as ever-tougher fuel economy and emissions standards go into place around the world, the trend is only likely to accelerate, according to industry planners and engineers.

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First Look: Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG Coupe

Redefining the luxury flagship.

by on Jul.14, 2014

Mercedes brings back the V-12 in its S65 AMG Coupe.

With its big V-12 putting out 621 horsepower and a raft of luxurious and high-tech features filling the cabin, Mercedes-Benz is out to redefine the concept of an automotive flagship as it rolls out the new S65 AMG Coupe.

It’s the latest variant of the S-Class line-up first introduced a year ago, and is clearly meant to shore up the Teutonic maker’s reputation as king of the premium luxury segment. The S-Class sedan launched a year ago has been handily outselling competitors such as the BMW 7-Series and Audi A8.

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Mercedes added a new 2-door version earlier this year, renaming the CL the S-Class Coupe. Along with the “base” model it recently launched a new 8-cylinder AMG version, the S63 AMG. The 2015 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG caps the line-up.

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First Look: Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG

A good thing in a small package.

by on Jan.07, 2014

The production version of the new Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG will debut in Detroit next week.

Mercedes-Benz has set out to rewrite the rules on small, entry-level luxury cars.  Forget the little C-Coupe of a decade back, and the original Baby Benz.  The maker is out to prove that good things can come in small packages – and with the upcoming introduction of the new Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG, add the word, “powerful” to your list of superlatives.

The production version of the new Benz crossover’s most powerful model will make its official debut at the North American International Auto Show next week, but Mercedes is offering up an advanced look at the 355-horsepower compact crossover.

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Based on the same basic “architecture” as the new Mercedes CLA coupe-like sedan, the GLA is taking aim at Gen-X and Millennial buyers who put a premium on luxury brands but might otherwise be stuck in a more mainstream segment.  The AMG version, meanwhile, is the most affordable high-performance crossover the Teutonic maker has ever offered.

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First Look: 2015 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG

Firing on all – 12 – cylinders.

by on Nov.08, 2013

Mercedes brings back its V-12 with the launch of the new 2015 S65 AMG model.

For those who think the recently redesigned Mercedes-Benz S-Class isn’t quite exclusive – or powerful – enough, the maker has an alternative making its debut at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show in the form of the 2015 Mercedes S65 AMG.

The new model – not to be confused with the more plebian S63 – brings back the Teutonic twelve-cylinder powertrain, here making an impressive 621 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque, more than enough to leave the kid in the Mustang GT gob-smacked when the light turns green.

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Of course, performance isn’t all that matters when you’re talking about something that in the European market is expected to go for an equally jaw-dropping € 232,050. The 2015 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG will be outfitted with such niceties as diamond-quilted nappa leather and only the most exclusive woods. There’ll also be an IWC Schaffhausen clock mounted in the dashboard.

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Mercedes-Benz, Aston Martin Partner Up

Might a deeper alliance be in the works?

by on Jul.25, 2013

The retro-futuristic Aston Martin CC100 concept could hint at ideas the new partners will develop into future products for the British maker.

Two classic European luxury makers, Mercedes-Benz and Aston Martin, have decided to team up in a deal with wide-ranging opportunities. They’ve signed a letter of intent to work together on a new technical partnership and hope to have the final papers signed by year-end.

The move could prove a critical one for Aston Martin, the British-based maker that is struggling to define its future even as it celebrates its centenary.  The announcement of the new deal raises as many questions as answers, however, and could foretell an even broader alliance if the initial partnership work out.

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“We are proud to work with Aston Martin,” said Ola Kallenius, the head of Mercedes-AMG GmbH, the high-performance arm of Mercedes-Benz.

Under the new partnership, AMG will provide Aston with some of its powertrains and electrical systems, while the British maker also will gain access to other Mercedes performance technologies.  Significantly, the Germans appear to positioned to take a role in the development of future products from Aston Martin.

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The Hottest Small Car We May Not Get

Mercedes pulls the wraps off A45 AMG.

by on Mar.08, 2013

No plans for the US - for now, anyway - the Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG at its Geneva debut.

Take a close look.  Breathe deeply, then sigh.  Finally, start sending out those e-mails.  A deposit check might help, too.

For now, it seems, Mercedes-Benz has no plans to bring over its sporty new small car, the A-Class, including the high-performance version, the Mercedes A45 AMG that is drawing crowds at this year’s Geneva Motor Show.

Too bad.  The pint-sized luxury model is the latest incarnation of the Mercedes A-Class and a major shift in direction from the previous generation, abandoning the ungainly tall wagon approach for this more elegant shape that might almost be called a coupe-like wagon.

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Several more mainstream versions of the new A-Class recently went on sale in Europe, both gas and diesel powered. But the big news in Geneva was the unveiling of the AMG edition.  This is the luxury equivalent of the hot hatch.

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Nissan Aims to Transform Nismo into “Affordable Performance” Brand

Two new models debut in Chicago.

by on Feb.08, 2013

Nissan's global marketing chief Simon Sproule with the new Nissan 370Z Nismo.

Nissan plans to transform its long-time motorsport arm into an “affordable” performance brand, two new models wearing the Nismo badge making their debut at the Chicago Auto Show this week.

Originally launched in September 1984, its name a shorthand reference to Nissan Motorsport International Limited, Nismo was primarily focused on sports car racing, including Japan’s Formula 3 series.  Until now, only a handful of vehicles were built for road use, but that’s about to change, according to Nissan’s global marketing and communications chief Simon Sproule.

Power! Power! Power!

The two offerings on display at Chicago’s McCormick Place include the Juke Nismo, a sporty version of Nissan’s little crossover, and an update of the 370Z Nismo, the 2-seat sports car until now being one of the few production Nissan models to get the Nismo treatment.  And there will be more to come, according to Sproule.

“This represents an exciting new growth opportunity for the Nissan brand,” he said during an interview at the Chicago Auto Show.

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