Monthly Archives: July 2014

Mercedes Discusses Their New C-class

What does Mercedes have up their sleeve for the new C-class?  Mercedes-Benz is vying for the luxury compact crown with the redesigned 2015 C-class sedan, equipped with new technology and features trickled down from the S-class flagship.

BMW is the market leader in the segment, with the 3- and 4-series compacts. But Mercedes-Benz executives say the C class may finally give them the edge.

The C class looks like a smaller version of the S-class sedan, and it has the optional $2,800 Intelligent Drive package of integrated safety features. They include adaptive cruise control, rear-end collision protection, Pre-Safe braking and steering, and cross-traffic and lane-keeping assist.

“Mercedes-Benz is demonstrating that we are not just going to set the standard with the S class, our goal is to set the standard in every segment — even one that might be traditionally associated with the 3 series and BMW,” said Steve Cannon, CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA. “We have spent the last few generations closing that gap.”

With the new-generation C class that goes on sale Aug. 25, “we are going to set a standard for style, for interior fit and finish and standard features,” Cannon said. “We have been more of an S- and E-class company.”

To further separate the C class from the CLA sedan — the entry to the brand that went on sale last year — Mercedes made the C-class sedan about 4 inches longer and 1.5 inches wider than the previous model.

With the frame and body structure made of aluminum, it will be more agile and handle better than today’s model, said Bart Herring, general manager of product management for Mercedes-Benz USA. The redesigned C class is up to 200 pounds lighter than today’s model.

The C class will have Collision Prevention Assist Plus as a standard feature. The system senses if a collision is imminent, and if the driver doesn’t respond, it autonomously brakes the car at speeds up to 124 mph. It also can brake to avoid a stationary vehicle ahead and to prevent rear collisions.

Competing brands don’t offer this feature in this segment — or on many of their high-end vehicles, Cannon said.

Collision Prevention Assist Plus “is us throwing down the gauntlet — no one has it in the segment,” he said. “Our competitors do not have it on their highest cars. It demonstrates where we are going.”

The Intelligent Drive package is another edge, said Herring. “We have networked it to almost give the car senses to set you up to make better decisions or assist to keep you out of danger. That is cool on a $100,000 S class.  Their are big difference between the S-class and the C-class but both are beautiful vehicles.

The New Lincoln President is Here!

Kumar Galhotra was named the new Lincoln President today. Ford Motor Co.’s top engineer, was named president of the Lincoln brand today, a new position that reports directly to CEO Mark Fields, in another management change designed to jumpstart sales at the luxury brand.

Jim Farley, executive vice president of global sales, service and marketing, has directed Lincoln since 2012, and will continue to oversee Ford’s sales, service and marketing operations, but will also have a role in Lincoln’s marketing and product plans, Ford said today.

“Now is the right time to have a dedicated global leader for the brand,” Ford spokeswoman Susan Krusel said today.

She said it was Farley who recommended to Ford’s board of directors that Lincoln get a “totally dedicated leader.”

Galhotra, 48, has been Ford’s vice president of engineering since August 2013. He will oversee all Lincoln operations worldwide, including product development; marketing, sales and service; and all team members under the Lincoln brand.

The change is effective Sept. 1.  Fields, who took the reins at Ford on July 1 after the retirement of Alan Mulally, said the move makes clear the company is “serious about Lincoln.”

“Now is the right time for the next chapter in accelerating Lincoln as a world-class luxury brand,” Fields said in a statement. “Kumar has more than 25 years of global product and business experience, including leading engineering for all of our Lincoln vehicles today. Being our dedicated senior Lincoln leader will serve our clients, employees and dealers extremely well going forward.”  The Lincoln brand has needed a face lift for some time now and perhaps Kumar is just the man to do it!

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The Newly Released Aston Martin

If you have never heard of the Aston Martin, then you have been living in a rock for the past 30 years.  The newly released Aston Martin truly keeps the brands beautiful, sexy car alive and well.

You have to hand it to Aston Martin. Its entry-level V8 Vantage may be nearly a decade old, but the British automaker never tires of rolling out ever more powerful versions. Where the original packed a 4.3-litre V8 derived from a Jaguar design and producing 380 horsepower, this latest version packs 565 hp to become the company’s quickest and fastest roadster to date, not to mention its most powerful.

Following the debut of the V12 Vantage S coupe, the new V12 Vantage S Roadster packs the most powerful iteration of Aston’s ubiquitous 6.0-litre V12 engine to date. Equipped with CNC-machined combustion chambers and hollow camshafts, unburdened of 44 pounds (20 kilograms) of excess weight and mated to Gaydon’s latest Graziano-developed Sportshift III seven-speed sequential gearbox, that engine is capable of propelling the open-top rocket to 60 (0-96km/h) in 3.9 seconds en route to a top speed of 201 miles per hour (324 kilometres per hour). That’s considerably quicker than the flagship Vanquish Volante, which runs to 60 (96 km/h) in 4.1 seconds and tops out at 183 mph (295 km/h), painting the V12 Vantage S Roadster as Aston’s most performance-focused droptop to date.

It’s also got a flatter and fatter torque curve than the previous V12 Vantage Roadster, three-stage adaptive damping, three-stage stability control and two-stage ABS, carbon-ceramic disc brakes and a lightweight exhaust derived from the pipes on the One-77. Like what you see? There are more details to digest in the press release below, including a full range of customization options from the Q by Aston Martin catalog.  This car should continue to bring love and joy to the iconic brand which is the Aston Martin.

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Lincoln Releases Their New MKZ 2015

Lincoln finally releases their new MKZ. Back in 2012, Lincoln claimed its comeback bid was finally underway with the new-for-2013 MKZ. But don’t you believe them – the renaissance won’t actually begin in earnest until the shapely compact crossover seen here reaches showrooms in big numbers. That’s because while the four-door MKZ was indeed a proper step toward rebirth, the 2015 MKC is the first wholly conceived vehicle under Lincoln as a standalone brand, a move first announced back in 2012.

That’s an important distinction, because Lincoln’s newfound emancipation from Ford’s design and development processes has given the struggling marque both the corporate wherewithal and the will to develop a more fully formed product. The four-wheeled result seen here is a surprisingly cohesive luxury CUV, one with significantly more aesthetic and dynamic separation from its Ford Escape sibling than the MKZ and its Fusion counterpart. Said another way, after flogging Lincoln’s latest for hundreds of miles over canyon roads outside of Santa Barbara, we’ve come to understand that this is far from a re-grilled Dearborn special with luxury tinsel – it’s a bona fide standalone product that readily displays the sort of clear differentiation seen in platform cousins like the Audi Q3 and the Volkswagen Tiguan. It’s the real deal.

As noted before, this is the first modern application of Lincoln’s split-wing grille we can get behind. With the hood’s deeply sculpted creases drawing down into its slats, the MKC’s nose has real directional thrust, with piercing HID headlamps that bookend the grille’s sweeping form. It’s an aggressive look, with a sturdy, wheels-at-the-corner stance augmented by a fast windshield rake and by our top-shelf Reserve model’s optional 19-inch alloys.

The profile is also nice work, with a clever bone-line crease originating in the headlamps that diminishes just above the front door handle only to reappear and gain definition anew above the rear handle. Combined with the narrowing greenhouse (which is wholly different from The Blue Oval Model That Shall Not Be Named) and an elegant piece of tapered rocker panel brightwork, the eye is subtly drawn around the rear of the vehicle to the liftgate. It’s that hydroformed clamshell that literally and figuratively seals the deal, though. Not only is it an elegant piece of metalsmithing, it allows for a rear graphic that’s uninterrupted by shutlines, giving Lincoln’s trademark long-band taillamps the room to stretch out, wrapping ’round the corners and emphasizing the vehicle’s width. This is a thoughtful, 360-degree design.

Mercifully, the same can be said of the interior. With a minimalist, uncluttered aesthetic furthered by the absence of a traditional gearshift lever and boasting sweeping expanses of real wood and aluminum trim, the MKC’s cabin is a very nice place to be, particularly when fitted with our Reserve tester’s panoramic moonroof, which helped keep its ebony interior from being too dreary. It’s worth mentioning that low-gloss, open-pore timber again for a moment. That elongated piece on the passenger side? It’s slightly concave, making it the sort of minute detail that you’ll want to inspect and run your hand over more than once.  The new MKZ will bring back the lincoln name and reestablish their dominance of the past.

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