BMW Mercedes-Benz Volkswagen

VIDEO: Hot hatch mixed masters

Autocar A45 AMG v Golf GTI v M135i

Steve Sutcliffe from Autocar has had the enviable task of comparing a trio of very different hot hatches. There’s the 265kW four-cylinder all-wheel drive Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG, the 250kW inline six-cylinder rear-wheel drive BMW M135i and the 169kW front-wheel drive Volkswagen Golf GTI.

They are three very different hot hatches. Indeed aside from country of origin and the fact all three are turbocharged they don’t really have a lot in common. Pricing, especially, is very different. And yet, if you had the chance to drive all three on the same roads on the same day you’d grab the opportunity with both hands.

So put aside the practical differences for a moment and enjoy the ride. Then, at the end, you can try and rationalise the outcome.

[Thanks to John for the tip]

Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes and Pirelli got away with it (mostly)

2013 Spanish Grand Prix

While we were off last week the FIA International Tribunal delivered its verdict on the so-called secret tyre test carried out by Pirelli and Mercedes AMG.

The test was brought into question on account of Mercedes using a 2013-spec car driven by Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, complete with disguised helmets. Such circumstances would appear to be a clear breach of the rules which ban in-season testing. In handing down its findings the International Tribunal said Mercedes did gain an unfair advantage.

A portion of the detailed ruling, which has been published by the FIA, reads:

It is inconceivable that Mercedes did not obtain a material advantage from three days of testing even if only as a result of the running of its car(s) – wholly irrespective of any matter relating to tyres.

Further, Ross Brawn candidly accepted in his evidence that it was inevitable that some advantage had been obtained, although he regarded that advantage as having been minimal.

Yet, on the face of it, both parties got away with it.

Officially, both Mercedes and Pirelli have been reprimanded and Mercedes will be forced to sit out the three-day young driver test to be held at Silverstone next month.

Since the young driver tests have been moved to mid-season, instead of after the final race, they have morphed from an opportunity to assess young talent to a more season-specific test where teams will extract useable data for the remaining races.

So, on the surface, the penalty will hurt Mercedes, but really, it’s all a bit wet lettuce leaf. The FIA, meanwhile, says it will endeavour to clarify matters regarding testing to ensure similar incidents don’t happen again.

Official commentary from the FIA can be read below.

Ferrari Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz Red Bull Racing

2013 Canadian GP: Post-race press conference

2013 Canadian Grand Prix

Back whenever it was that the FIA started to interview the drivers on the podium after each race (2012 British Grand Prix) we thought it was a clumsy approach. To be fair, there were some teething problems and it did get better. It’s true, also, that fans at the track probably deserve to hear from the drivers they have paid, in many cases, several hundred dollars to watch.

And yet, when you read the transcript below, you won’t really get too much of a clue that all the while during Eddie Jordan’s interview with Sebastian Vettel the German was being booed while Fernando Alonso was being cheered along.

To be fair, the transcript does read a little odd and Jordan seems to cut-off Vettel. In fact he did cut-off the race winner mid-sentence partly to stop the jeering from the crowd we suspect. It was a bad look all around and perhaps the FIA may have cause to reconsider the practice of on-track interviews.

For now, we expect the status quo will remain, as it probably should, but as much as we dislike Vettel at times, he deserved better than the Canadian crowd gave him.

[Pic: Red Bull/Getty Images]

Ferrari Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz Red Bull Racing

Sebastian Vettel wins 2013 Canadian GP

2013 Canadian Grand Prix

The Sebastian Vettel–Red Bull dominance of recent years was captured perfectly at the 2013 Canadian Grand Prix, as the three-time world champion converted his 39th career pole position into his 29th career victory.

Vettel wasn’t troubled during the 70 lap race and the 14.4 second margin back to Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) in second place flatters the rest of the field. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) rounded out the top three.

Mark Webber (Red Bull) flirted with the podium positions for much of the race, despite minor front wing damage suffered on lap 37 in a collision with Giedo van der Garde (Caterham). Webber was not pleased with van der Garde’s actions either, slamming the 28-year-old as a “a pay driver with no mirrors”.

“I got a sensational start, but I didn’t have too many places to go,” said Webber.”We lost some time with Nico in the first stint, and the car was getting hot behind him in the slip stream. Once I got in free air, the car was handling much better. Then we had the incident with Giedo van der Garde which caused some front wing damage and made it more difficult; the whole top section of the wing was gone on the left hand side, so it didn’t help from then on. I don’t know what he was doing.

“There were some positives from today, but it would have been nicer to have finished a bit further up the road.”

Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) finished fifth, ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso) who finished a career-best sixth.

Daniel Ricciardo was well behind his Toro Rosso teammate and could only manage P15. “I got a really good start, making up two positions off the line,” said Ricciardo afterwards. “I felt we could have a good race, but after just four laps, the car was oversteering like crazy and I couldn’t manage the tyres anymore. As the race went on, we tried to improve the car balance and maybe we improved it a bit, but our pace was really slow.

“We didn’t change so much on the car since Friday, so why we were so slow is a mystery to me at the moment.”

Both McLaren drivers finished outside of the points in P11 and P12, ending McLaren’s 64-race run of at least one car scoring championship points.

In awful post-race news it emerged that a marshal was killed in a terrible accident with a crane removing Esteban Gutierrez’s Sauber. The marshal slipped while out of sight of the crane driver and was run over. He was rushed to hospital and passed away last night. Our thoughts are with his family and colleagues.

[Pic: Red Bull/Getty Images]


Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster targets Frankfurt debut

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster

Mercedes-Benz has released these official images of the SLS AMG Roadster which document the car’s development from tin top to rag top.

According to Benz the SLS AMG Coupé and Roadster were created in parallel. That has given the engineers a head start in refining NVH levels, body rigidity, handling and the soft top roof.

The Roadster has completed 20,000kms of testing, half on urban roads, the other half around the Nürburgring. It will debut in production form at the Frankfurt Motor Show in mid-September.

Mercedes-Benz Video

V8 powered Mercedes B55 lights ’em up

If you want to see and hear what happens when you stick a 388hp V8 into a shopping trolley then here’s the video for you. The Mercedes-Benz B55 one-off creation is one mum’s car you could take to the Summernats and actually gain some genuine street cred!

So, the B55 can do tricks in a straight line, but can it go around corners with any degree of competence? Maybe with rents for testing days at the Nürburgring heading for a 500% increase Mercedes might not be so keen to find out!

[via Autoblog]

Mercedes-Benz Video

Mmmm, donuts!

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG

From time to time we feature videos from car mags that bring us closer to the cars we love, or hope to love. Usually they’re pretty straight laced, informative and good, honest viewing. This clip from Car and Driver, though, breaks the mould. It’s the Mecrdes-Benz SLS AMG as you’ve never seen it before. You will love it!

Green Machines Mercedes-Benz Motor Shows

LA 2010: Mercedes-Benz BIOME

Mercedes-Benz BIOME

Check out this crazy thing, it’s called the Mercedes-Benz BIOME. We’re half expecting it to be some sort of joke. Read the press guff after the break and you’ll see why.

Truth is, the BIOME was created as an entry into the LA Design Challenge and it is a stunning looking creation. But the explanation of how it works and how it draws its power, well—honestly, you just can’t make this stuff up—it’s extraordinary. Who knows, maybe one day the joke will be on us.

Oh, the winner of the LA Design Challenge was the Cadillac Aera, an equally hair-brained concept powered by fiction.


LA 2010: AMG forms alliance with Ducati

AMG & Ducati

Announced at the LA Auto Show is news of a formal cooperation agreement with Mercedes-Benz performance arm AMG with Italian superbike maker Ducati. In its early visible form this new partnership will be seen with AMG sponsoring the Ducati MotoGP team.

Other activities would see Ducati motor cycles available for test rides at AMG performance days and so on. It’s all about exploring new markets that suit each brand. Ola Källenius, CEO of Mercedes-AMG GmbH explains, “AMG and Ducati ideally complement each other, as both companies share the same values: racing as the driving passion, and high performance plus exclusivity as the central brand messages of both AMG and Ducati. This long-term cooperation will help us to jointly access new customer groups.”

You can read the full press release after the break.

UPDATE 22 November: According to Autocar AMG is keen to take its relationship with Ducati to the next level by buying the Italian superbike maker. Click HERE for more.


Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting Brake given green light

Mercedes-Benz Shooting Break Concept

Mercedes has just announced its very cool CLS Shooting Brake concept will become a production reality in 2012. The concept was first shown in April this year in Beijing at the Auto China show.

Now that the four-door coupé is set for production Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars is a bit excited, “In 2004, Mercedes-Benz established a new vehicle segment with the four-door Coupé CLS and created a design icon. 170,000 customers around the globe show how enthusiastic this car has been received by the market. The decision to build the CLS Shooting Brake underscores the leading role of Mercedes-Benz in regards of innovative passenger car concepts and design – and that is exactly what the customers expect from us.”

The Shooting Brake will be built on the same production line as the CLS and the E-Class sedan at Sindelfingen.


Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster spied

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster

A couple of pics of a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster prototype have been doing the rounds today. Of course, the Roadster will lose the gullwing-style doors of the tin top, but it will feature the same stonking 6.3 litre V8 engine. Using a weight and space saving fabric roof the SLS AMG Roadster is expected to debut around the middle of next year.

[Source: Autocar]

Mercedes-Benz Motor Shows

AIMS 2010: Mercedes-Benz G-Class

Mercedes-Benz G55 AMG

If you ask any true car enthusiast to compile a list of the world’s coolest cars you should expect to see the Mercedes-Benz G-Class appear somewhere on that list. It’s the fact that it simply makes no sense for Benz to keep making a car like the G-Class that makes it so right. That they bother to let AMG fiddle about with the G-Class, as well, simply heightens the madness.

I mean, check the side exit exhausts. It’s bonkers and we love Mercedes to signing off on this most politically incorrect creation. Bravo!

The best news is that Mercedes-Benz Australia are re-launching the G-Class down under. It will be the first time in around 20 years since it has been on sale here. There will be two models on offer, the G 350 BlueTEC ($159,900*) and, of course, the G 55 AMG ($214,900*).

The G 350 BlueTEC model is powered by a 155kW V6 turbo diesel. As suggested by its BlueTEC moniker, this model features innovative technology aimed at reducing harmful emissions. Diesel engines are usually great for their low fuel consumption. However, not so great are the Nitrous Oxide (NOx) nasties that are often spat out the exhaust in big black clouds of smoke. This BlueTEC model, though, converts up to 80 per cent of its NOx emissions into nothing more than nitrogen and water thanks to a very clever catalytic converter.

Enough about that, we all know the G 55 AMG is where it’s at! And if you plant your foot to the floor from rest you’ll have your angry off-roader at 100km/h in just 5.5 seconds. That’s all thanks to a stark raving mad 373kW/700N combo provided by its 5.5 litre supercharged V8 engine. Beautiful!

The G-Class is set for its full Australian launch early next year. We can hardly wait!