Tag Archive | "Mercedes Benz"

Mercedes-Benz C220 Sport Saloon – Driven


Taking a car out for a half-hour spin isn’t really enough time to form anything other than a first impression, but it’s nice when that first impression is a good one – as was the case with the C220 BlueTEC Sport Saloon featured in the images. This all-new and significantly lighter car is powered by the well-proven Mercedes-Benz 2.1L diesel motor that’s also used in the slightly more powerful C250 model. The Sport version is bracketed by the SE and AMG Line trim options and costs around £33,000. Our featured car additionally has full leather and the must-have ‘Premium Plus Package’ amongst other extras which brings the price up to a £37820.

2mb1 Mercedes Benz C220 Sport Saloon   DrivenMotor Blogger was impressed with how well the car sits on the road. The aero design is sleek and purposeful with ‘Agility Control’ suspension and a choice of driving modes – Comfort, Eco, Sport, Sport+ – the latter two especially changing the steering weight, throttle response and gear shift timing on auto models. The option to shift with paddles is there for ultimate control but we felt the seven-speed G-Tronic gearbox had most situations covered.

The steering is light but there’s enough weighting there to be confident about exploiting the agile handling. The C220 Sport really has the ability to crack on when needed and this model gets to the benchmark 62mph in a brisk 7.4 seconds yet Mercedes state that emissions are just 110g/km and that a combined fuel consumption figure of 65.7 miles for your expensive gallon is possible.

All buyers will appreciate the Band B VED and executive fleet users with be glad of the 16% BIK percentage, especially when they see the inside which is one of the smartest and most elegant interiors we’ve experienced in this class of car. The modern, cascading dash has robust switchgear and there’s a large high-sitting infotainment screen controlled by an intuitive combination of touchpad and control wheel mounted on the central tunnel.

1mb1 Mercedes Benz C220 Sport Saloon   DrivenThe seats are splendid; really comfortable with bags of adjustment. The interior is roomy with ample space for three in the back. As you would expect, the car is fully featured with the latest technology and connectivity with a list of standard kit that is way too long to publish here. As mentioned above the ‘Premium Plus Package’, although costly, brings with it a host of upgrades like a Burmester Surround Sound system, memory seats, ‘Keyless-go’ and other desirable features.

After our brief encounter, it is clear that this car would be very easy to live with on a day to day basis. It’s spacious, has a big boot and a versatile engine. As a true contender in the executive saloon sector it’s pretty hard to fault and it comes with the quality buyers expect from this brand. Recommended.

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Air-Con Quandary


The pollutants produced in the manufacture and running of cars has been under scrutiny for fifty years or more and as time has gone on there have been many clean green advances in the science. We have now reached the stage where cars pollute the atmosphere far less than was ever dreamed about a few scant decades ago.

Now though, an argument, or debate, has arisen over the type of refrigerant used in car air-conditioning systems. Toyota said it has switched back to using the air conditioner refrigerant known as R134a for some Toyota and Lexus models in Europe in response to public pressure in Germany.

Up until now R134a has been banned from new vehicles built in the EU since the start of the year to meet climate protection targets. The problem seems to be that  the replacement labelled R1234yf is, according to German car makers Daimler/Mercedes-Benz, a potential fire hazard. The suggestion is that one risk is replaced by another.

The result is that Toyota are now saying that they have equipped three models with the old refrigerant in order to respect customers’ safety concerns because of this controversy in Germany. The Japanese company doesn’t actually have a problem with the new refrigerant but did not want to be sucked into the increasingly acrimonious debate.

That debate is with the French Government. Daimler is challenging a French ban on its Mercedes cars that use the old refrigerant. Authorities in France have refused to register Mercedes A-class, B-class and CLA-class models built since mid-June because they use R-134a and do not comply with the EU directive. Daimler, on the other hand, says the vehicles are type-approved in Germany and should be allowed to be registered anywhere in the EU.

France fights back by saying that the ban is legally permissible under an EU law that protects the environment and public health and a French court is going to decide this political issue. France is the only European country to stop the registrations of cars with this refrigerant. This could rumble on as it is yet another case where national and European issues overlap and clash. It has to be said that there does not seem to have been any issues with the old refrigerant so drivers shouldn’t be concerned either way until and if there is some substance to the suggestion. In the meantime the motor industry becomes another political football.

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Aston And AMG – Quite A Team


Buyers know what to expect when they buy a Mercedes. When they specify an AMG Mercedes they also know what to expect only with a portion of additional adrenalin and a touch of madness. When buyers decide on an Aston Martin they are, it is fair to say, buying into a different dream. In the UK there is a certain amount of nostalgia attached to that venerable name which is quintessentially British in origin.

On the other hand, the cars we buy today are really a product of the world car industry rather than some niche brand built in a country corner. So it comes as no surprise to learn that Aston Martin are teaming up with Mercedes-AMG GmbH, the performance arm of the mighty German company.

Both parties have signed a ‘letter of intent’ to this effect whilst working towards a full blown agreement by the end of the year. It isn’t a takeover but rather a collaboration. Both sides are remaining tight-lipped about the deal so there’s a non-disclosure order hanging over the arrangement for the time being. AM cars will continue to be made at Gaydon in Oxfordshire and will remain independent.

The idea is that AM will have access to the development of bespoke V8 power-trains and certain components of electric/electronic architecture. This hints at a future hybrid development. In effect this seems to be an ‘economies of scale’ exercise on the part of AM and Mercedes will get a percentage of non-voting shares. It seems to make sense; although Aston make wonderful cars they are not at the cutting edge of profitability so it does seem like the right thing to do on the face of it. Imagine a world without Aston Martins. Unthinkable.

V Aston And AMG   Quite A Team

So, it looks like, at sometime in the future, our Aston Martins will be powered by Mercedes. Does it matter? If a car looks like an Aston and sounds like an Aston then it must be an Aston. Most buyers won’t care that the car is part Mercedes because that name brings with it a sense of reliability. We’ll draw the line at an AMG badge on the back though. That would be too much. Out of the question. Harrumph.

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The Best Way To Buy a New Car


Many people believe that trying to purchase a new car is hard to accomplish and seems like a distant dream. Well it could be a lot more possible than you think. There are many ways to achieve obtaining a new luxury car whether it’s through finance; leasing and used are the most viable options for many people but which way is the best.

Purchasing a car on finance seems to be the most popular decision at the moment. This allows customers to pay monthly instalments over an agreed period of time that not only allows them to manage the costs easily but they can then also tie down service costs and insurance within this package. A finance option also tends to be available with little deposit needed at the start. This allows customers to get a luxury car without the large starting fee and fewer costs will be carried out on manufacturing faults as the car will be under warranty. However, one of the major disadvantages with purchasing a car on finance is that the car within the first 2-3 years will decrease in value significantly by 25-40%. Another factor to bear in mind is that some dealerships have high interest rates on their finance options so check each individual offer.

One way to avoid the large depreciation cost is by purchasing a slightly used car; this allows customers to avoid the loss and can still have a relatively new car at a significantly decreased price. With some dealerships offering guarantees of 3-5 years any manufacturing faults can still be eligible for repair. Some dealerships like this Mercedes Benz dealership offer finance options on luxury used vehicles proving a better deal for the customer.

The final option highlighted is leasing, which has appealed to so many people recently as no deposit is needed at the start (only needs to be the first month’s payment, taxes, registration and security deposit plus a few extras). When you have reached the end of the leasing you can trade the vehicle in for a newer model and escape the burden of having to sell the car on. There are still some strict rules that come with leasing; no modifications can occur throughout the allotted time period nor any damage, an agreed mileage needs to be met and you will need to have maximum car insurance.

Whichever car you have already set in your mind it is vital to weight up all options available with interests varying between dealerships and certain offers available specifically to others. Nothing will beat the feeling of having a brand new set of keys in your hand rushing into a decision immediately can always prove to be costly.

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Mercedes-Benz S-CLASS Documents Leaked


Leaked documents show that the 2014 Mercedes S-Class will go into production in August and launch in September. To add to the information, the car has also been spied on the roads and photographs are already making rounds on the internet.

In addition to this, it has also been suggested that the car shall be unveiled in May during an invitation only event; the S550 4MATIC and S63 AMG 4MATIC are likely to follow later in the year, around October and November.

The information was apparently released by an insider at Mercedes and released to WCF, who published their story earlier last week.

The car is to have an evolutionary design and will be fully kitted out with aluminium roofing and front end components.

Although very little is known so far about the exterior of the vehicle, it is expected to feature wood/leather steering, LED lighting and a Burmester audio system.

According to the documents, there will also be a “dramatic reduction” in noise vibration and harshness.

It is also expected that the car shall be moving somewhat upmarket from its predecessor, with rear “chauffer seats” being offered, alongside a ten-way adjustment and foot rest.

As for the other seats, they shall feature heat/ ventilation systems and Nappa leather seats which are supposedly available in up to six differing colours.

Looking at the prospected technology, the car shall also feature advanced Night View Assist PLUS, which is able to detect both human and animal presence. If a collision were just about to take place, the system would therefore alert the driver to take immediate action.

The car will be revealed in Germany on May 15th, though we may just hear a little more about the vehicle before this, and although it will be some time until we expect to see the car in second hand showrooms in the UK, you can of course by any approved Mercedes Benz from companies such as Inchcape Mercedes-Benz.

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The Fall And Rise Of The Super Car


Over the past couple of years motoring writers have been hinting at the demise of the hypercar and indeed high powered sports cars generally. They have been saying that we must all look forward to a brave new world of economy, twin-air engines and the noiseless advance of alternative technologies. Endless streams of bureaucracy seem to support this.

Well, it turns out that car makers haven’t been listening and it appears that rumours of the death of the supercar have been greatly exaggerated. Following the Geneva Motor Show it is clear that many manufacturers see an on-going market for these great and powerful machines for those who can afford it.

The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black is a case in point. It has gull-wing doors, gulps fuel and causes cracks in the time-space continuum under acceleration and is, on the face of it, completely daft. So why do M-B insist on making it and why do we really, really want one – even if it means paying a quarter of a million pounds?

Porsche’s eminently useable 911 is fine but the company believes that what drivers truly want is a racing car for the road, which is why the 911 GT3 continues to be available in all its awesome awesomeness. In the same vein, Jaguar have been content – until now – to rest its sports car history on the E-Type from years ago so why, in these times of financial woe, would they even consider building and selling the new F-Type V8 S (pictured)? For around a reasonable £80k enthusiasts can buy this future classic which in its way is as good looking as the ancestor.

The Italians of course do not concern themselves with trivialities like global warming and the like; they much prefer to ogle the girls on the Via Veneto and drive cars from Lamborghini. There’s the new Veneno – a snip at £3.1 million – or for those less flush with Euros, the Aventador. It is also why Ferrari’s idea of a family hatchback is the FF and for a million quid will sell you LaFerrari, the replacement for the legendary Enzo.

The list goes on. Rolls Royce have raised the bar with the truly magnificent Wraith and Bentley are producing the GT Speed. If you don’t like two doors then the Bentley Flying Spur is the answer which has the same W12 engine and offers similar performance.

All this hot metal suggests that the furore surrounding climate issues and the need for eco-cars is settling down as manufacturers choose to give their customers cars that they want as well as cars that they should have. Great strides have been made in engine technology, so much so that the above mentioned SLS only produces 321g/km of the nasty stuff. Obviously that’s quite a lot but is way superior to what it would have been just a few short years ago.

If you still believe in alternative power sources but want an SLS they can do you a fully electric version for only one hundred thousand pounds more. It has a battery the size of a house coupled to four electric motors but thanks to something called the ‘SLS eSound’, makes noises like a proper car. The trouble is, most of us like meat with our potatoes. Which is why the true supercar will live on for a while yet.

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Mercedes Hot Hatch


It isn’t often you see the words Mercedes and hot hatch in the same sentence is it? Certainly there are powerful Mercs but not in the sense of a small car with big ambitions; yet here we are – a £36,000 pocket rocket from this prestige brand. It will be officially introduced at the Geneva Motor Show after which buyers can begin the ordering process.

The new A45 AMG from the company’s tuning arm will do the traffic light sprint in 4.6 seconds which means, for example, that you would still be alongside a Porsche Carrera GTS at 62mph. Most of Mercedes performance cars use the big V8 or V12 engines but in line with current thinking this good looking vehicle makes do with just 4 cylinders in a turbo-charged two litre power plant. Nevertheless 355bhp is on offer which, according to the makers, makes this the most powerful four pot engine in the world.

The hand-built A45 also boasts four wheel drive and a dual-clutch seven speed auto ‘box and for the sensual pleasure of performance noise, a tuned AMG exhaust is fitted to make up for the loss of that natural growl from a V8. Sports suspension as standard obviously and the usual array of specialist equipment like speed sensitive steering and ESP are all there to keep things on the straight and narrow. There’s even something called Curve Dynamic Assist which can brake wheels individually to counter under steer.

Even the hot hatch bling is tastefully done as you can see in the image. There’s a body kit, a rear diffuser and some attractive wheels to make the look match the performance; yet despite all this Mercedes reckon that a frugal 40mpg is on the cards. The VED won’t hurt your pocket too much either because only 161g/km of the nasty stuff is produced, which is excellent given the power of the car.

The German company haven’t neglected occupant comfort either. With a mix of AMG dynamism and Mercedes exclusivity the interior should suit discerning customers. Sports seats with contrasting stitching hold you snug. The multifunction steering wheel sports a pair of paddles and the centre console, Mercedes insist, sets new standards for appearance and quality.

As ever, there’s a host of extras including a must-have aero package that includes a rear aerofoil, a larger front splitter and additional ‘flics’ to the front apron. It seems highly likely that Mercedes are on to a winner with this car. It is well priced, has Porsche-like performance and looks the part. This car sets new standards for what we like to think of as a ‘hot hatch’ and, if nothing else, will make a choice addition to your fantasy garage.

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Top 5 lease options for your company


There are numerous car leasing deals out there for all kinds of businesses, but if you really want your employees to make the right impression while they’re representing your firm, I think you should consider one of the following five models to offer as a company car.

BMW 5 Series Touring 520d SE

When What Car? reviewed the latest models in the BMW 5 Series range, they selected this vehicle as the best of them, describing it as “an extremely good car”. The 5 Series also got picked as the third-best executive motor of 2012 by Auto Express.

So, what makes the vehicle stand out? As you might expect from a BMW, it is engineered and finished to a high quality, so you are practically guaranteed a comfortable, smooth and stylish drive.

Audi A4 TDIe

Audi has been making a name for itself as a great business car for some time now and, although it isn’t right at the top, it’s certainly not far off. Business Car Manager commended the Audi A4 TDIe in the best executive car category at its 2012 awards, while it also received an honourable mention in the 2011 Carbuyer awards.

Business Car Manager highlighted the car’s economical credentials – something that’s bound to be important if you pay mileage for your employees. Carbuyer also praised its eco-friendly engine, as well as drawing attention to its “impressive build quality and carefully-designed interior”.

BMW 3 Series

The new range of motors in the BMW 3 Series have come out on top at numerous motoring awards in the executive car category this year – including What Car?, Business Car Manager and Carbuyer. Described as the best compact executive vehicle on the market, this is certainly one to consider if you’re looking for new autos for your firm’s fleet.

Even the basic model has more than enough mod-cons to keep the most discerning businessperson happy, including Bluetooth connectivity and a driver performance control system. Choose one of the models equipped with BMW’s EfficientDynamics technology and you’ve got a ride that is economical as well as comfortable.

Mercedes-Benz C Class

The Mercedes-Benz C Class is another vehicle that has picked up nods at several car awards ceremonies this year for its credentials as an executive motor. Its style, performance and range of features that come as standard have all been highlighted as reasons why it deserves to be at the top.

Choosing one of the models fitted with the firm’s BlueEfficiency technology also makes the drive that bit more economical. Among the features included with this setup are an ECO start/stop function, lower displacement engines and lighter alloy wheels, all designed to improve the car’s fuel consumption.

Of course, all of this also translates into reduced running costs and more environmentally-friendly cars, all without compromising on performance, according to the automaker.

Hyundai i40

Moving away from the top-end executive models, there are plenty of excellent, more everyday cars available for companies to hire that work well as company vehicles. Among them is the Hyundai i40, which was named as the second-best company car by Automotive blog in 2012.

The website pointed out that the auto comes with “some truly premium design features”, is affordable, has low CO2 emissions and is fuel efficient, delivering 62.8 miles per gallon.

If you’ve recently signed up for a new business car leasing contract, tell us what model you opted for and why.

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There’s never been a better time to buy a convertible


We know it’s not customary to start searching for a convertible in the cold season – we’re in the darkest depths of winter with the country’s roads still slick with salt and atmospheric conditions not best suited to top-down motoring.

But, and it’s one of those big, wholesome well-rounded buts, the winter could mark the right time to start searching for an al fresco motoring proposition, ready for the warmth of spring and summer.

As the warm months arrive they’ll bring with them inflated prices in the two-seater market.

It’s widely recognised that open-top cars are harder to sell on with the weather doing its best to pinpoint their drawbacks – but, start scouring the classifieds before green shoots appear on the trees and a smart buyer could bag a slice of open-top motoring for an appealingly discounted price.

There’s something for everyone in the open-top class, too. Hardened track day enthusiasts will know that the Series 1 Lotus Elise is a properly focussed sports car.

Driven well, even the entry-level Elise with it’s 118bhp 1.8-litre Rover K-Series engine will rival a Porsche 911 of the same era for go and eclipses it through the twisties thanks to its superbly agile handling and 725kg kerb weight.

Believe it or not, examples of this gem of a sportscar can be had for as little as £8,000 pounds. But when spring comes, you can expect prices of even the cheapest and tattiest Elise’s to rise by at least £500.

There’s plenty for the driver looking for a more laid back approach to convertible motoring, too.

The BMW 3 Series convertible, Mercedes-Benz CLK drop-top and roofless version of Audi’s A4 can all be picked up for prices around the £10,000 mark – and that’s not the bottom of the range models either.

They may be the previous generation vehicles but with lower than average mileage (convertibles often are due to the seasonal nature of when they’re driven), gutsy straight-six, V6 and four-cylinder turbo engines respectively, electric roofs, and plenty of executive level equipment, all three examples are a bargain buy for a large chunk of premium open-top motoring.

If you’re on the look out for a convertible as a second car and don’t want to spend a great deal then there’s more affordable but no less attractive convertibles available, too.

The Mazda MX-5 MK3 on an 07 plate car can be snapped up for as little as £4,995 – the famous roadster offers sweet handling, smart styling and solid build quality.

Whatever your choice, there’s a couple of basic rules to follow. Watch all your usual motoring outlets like a hawk and don’t buy the first car you see.

Whatever you do though, don’t leave it too long as those winter prices will start to creep up to spring/summer levels.

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Top 10 Business Cars of 2012


The Benefit in Kind company car tax bands are changing for 2012 and that means many manufacturers are making some choice modifications to their line-up of business-focused models, improving overall efficiency with better fuel economy and emissions performance.

So, based on the business-biased diesel models, here is our recommendation for the top 10 (in no particular order) business cars for 2012:

  1.  Toyota Avensis – the new Avensis in D-4D spec emits an astonishing 119g/km CO2 dropping it into the lowest company car tax bracket at 17%. The new Avensis is refined, has a solid 124bhp making motorway cruises a breeze, and will return a combined fuel economy of 61.4mpg. Not bad for a big saloon.
  2. Ford Mondeo – The Mondeo has always been a brilliant drive with communicative steering and taut handling. With Ford’s 200bhp 2.2-litre turbo diesel – it still emits less than 160g/km CO2 so will be relatively wallet and environmentally friendly – the Mondeo promises hugely capable in-gear acceleration.
  3. Vauxhall Insignia – The fastback-cum-coupé styling makes the Insignia a pretty little number to look at, and available with a 2.0-litre diesel engine in either 130bhp or 160bhp tune – the later comes in at under 140g/km CO2 – you can have your cake and eat it (well, sort of) with the Insignia.
  4. Volkswagen Passat – The Passat has grown in stature over the last decade but it seems to occupy a place in the market of its own – not quite in the big league with the likes of BMW, Mercedes and Audi, yet more premium than the Mondeo, Insignia and the rest of the crop, the Passat is still a good buy. Especially with the notoriety VW has gained with its 2.0-litre turbo diesel engines.
  5. Skoda Superb – Sharing underpinnings with the MK6 VW Golf is not a bad place to start. Inheriting the former’s diesel engine line up is even better, but somehow the Superb is just a bit bland. It does everything the VW Passat does admirably but it doesn’t stand out from the crowd. Two choices of VW’s 2.0-litre diesel engine are available – a 138bhp unit and a 168bhp spec engine.
  6. Mazda6 – The Mazda6 shares its chassis with the Ford Mondeo so is bound to be a good steer. The 2.2-litre diesel engines (128, 160 and 186bhp power outputs are available) in the 6 are strong too and give a good slug of performance – it’ll hit 62mph from rest in 8.7 seconds – whilst remaining relatively efficient at 53.3mpg and 140g/km CO2.
  7. Hyundai i40 – Coming way out of left field is Hyundai’s i40 saloon. It’s a striking looking thing with some truly premium design features that bely the car’s basic £22,995 price – around £2,000 less than a similarly specced Mondeo – and comes with decent kit as standard. Its 2.0-litre diesel will return 62.8mpg combined and produce just 119g/km CO2, so it’s efficient and wont break the bank to run, too.
  8. Mercedes-Benz C-Class – The face lifted C-Class is a properly good looking car. That matinee idol face just looks effortless, and combined with Merc’s 2.2-litre diesel engine, emitting 127g/km CO2, it’s a decent drive with better than brisk performance and agile handling. The one problem with the Merc? It’s always lived the shadow of the BMW 3 Series.
  9. BMW 3 Series – In 320d EffecientDynamics trim the 3 Series will return 69.9mpg and emit ljust 109g/km CO2. So it’ll be frugal to run, dynamic, exciting and thrilling to drive, a joyous proposition to own, retain its value well, be easy to sell, and generally cover every base with aplomb. If we were recommending a best in class (whisper it) it’d be the 320d EffecientDynamics. At £27,245 it’s relatively keenly priced, too.
  10. Audi A4 – ‘Vorsprung durch technik’ or ‘advancement through technology’ (it doesn’t sound so cool in English) is what Audi does best. The new A4 offers four different 2.0-litre diesel options, two TDIe eco versions in 136 and 163bhp tune and two non-eco variants in 144 and 177bhp trim, available for the same money. Headlines figures of 112g/km CO2 and 65.7mpg for the lower powered eco diesel are pretty damn good.

 

Check out the emissions based vehicle excise duty/road tax bands to see where your business vehicle falls: http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Motoring/OwningAVehicle/HowToTaxYourVehicle/DG_10012524

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