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What a Race! If this is what we can expect for the rest of the 2008 season – hold on! This was the first race without the aid of traction control and it really showed. Between crashes and mechanical failures only 7 of the 22 cars that started the race took the chequered flag.
The McLaren Mercedes Team stayed above all of this and kept one of their cars in the for the lead whole race. Our new driver, Heikki Kovalainen, put on a stunning performance. He led for 8 laps and posted the fastest lap of the race. Lewis Hamilton started on pole and led for 50 laps to take the win by more than 5 seconds. This puts him in the lead for the driver’s championship and, combined with Heikki’s fifth place finish, puts the Mclaren Mercedes Team well ahead in the constructors championship.
The large number of accidents also gave plenty of air time to the new 2009 SL63 AMG safety car. A Mercedes did lead every lap!
The 2008 C63 is currently in production for release in April. It has drawn a lot of interest and I am very excited about how well it has been reviewed. While the C63 came in second in this Motor Trend comparison, it is obvious that they loved the car and had a blast driving it.
“Hurtling the C63 down the quarter mile is like firing a Government Model Colt 45. The result is rewarding in an explosive sense. Mercedes-Benz quotes 0-to-60 in 4.3, but just the right launch technique yielded a best time of 4.1 seconds. That’s on par with 8.0-liter Dodge Vipers of just a decade ago.”
“Two areas stand out here: seats and steering wheels. In keeping with its ballsy nature, the C63 has firm, thickly bolstered front buckets….Everyone loves the Mercedes’ steering wheel. It’s squared off at the bottom, like a DTM racer’s, is thickly padded with dimpled leather at the handgrip areas, and has easy-to-reach shifter paddles.”
“The Bad Benz won a lot of hearts. It’s the quickest in a straight line, second fastest in road-course work, and stops the shortest, too. The C63’s fierce accel and Howitzer exhaust note are reason enough to own it. This sophisticated, four-wheeled pit-bull spews emotion, knows what it is, and won’t care if everyone likes its edgy nature or not.”
Read Motor Trend’s full comparison here.
The most obvious changes to appearance of the ML’s will be in the bumpers and headlights. There is a new radiator opening between the foglights that wasn’t there before and the headlights are larger, extending down toward the bumper. There will probably be a new standard wheel as well.
On the inside there is a new steering wheel and the radio seems to have changed over to the same system as the 2008 C-Class. That would be great because that system is much easier to use.
For the ML320 the big change is from being a regular CDI to being a BLUETEC. The BLUETEC technology will make this diesel even cleaner and make it possible to sell in all 50 states!
I’ll know more next week after my 2009 product update training.
There was a great article at AOL Autos today about the advances that have been made in diesel technology. Maybe with enough good publicity everyone will come to understand diesel and love it as much as I do!
Highlights from the article…
“One automaker at the forefront of the clean-diesel movement is Mercedes-Benz. The E320 BLUETEC boasts 40 percent better fuel mileage than a comparable gasoline-powered model, and its EPA city/highway rating of 27/37 mpg means it can cruise more than 700 miles on a single tank of fuel, said Patrik Borenius, manager of advanced product planning for Mercedes.
With a city/highway rating of 21/28 mpg, the R320 CDI gets 32 percent better fuel economy, while the ML320 CDI sport utility (rated at 21/27 mpg) provides a 26 percent improvement. Both CDI models have a cruising range of over 600 miles before refueling.”The new clean-diesel engines provide three key benefits,” Borenius said. “It’s a more fuel-efficient technology, so the customer gets better gas mileage; it offers environmental benefits by producing less carbon dioxide and greenhouse gasses, and it’s one of the answers to the energy issue, in terms of reducing our dependence on foreign oil.”
In April, the E320 BLUETEC was named the “2007 World Green Car” at the 2007 New York International Auto Show.
Since 1996 Mercedes-Benz and AMG have supplied the official Formula One Safety Car and the 2008 season will continue this great tradition. Mercedes relationship with the world’s most popular form of motor racing has provide huge awareness of the stunning combination of luxury and performance that all AMG models provide their owners. Taking over from the CLK63 AMG used in 2006 and 2007, the newly updated SL63 has been modified to take over the 2008 Safety Car duties. In addition the obvious addition of lights and safety equipment this SL has been stripped of it’s retractable top mechanism and various panels have been replace with carbon fiber. These changes resulted in almost 500 pounds of weight savings.
Mercedes will also provide new wheels for Formula One’s Race Doctor and first responders. Based on the C63 AMG wagon, that we don’t get to enjoy in this country, the 2008 Medical Car carries a response team of four and emergency equipment as fast as possible to any accident.
Qualifying for the first Formula One race of the season starts in just 7 days.
I love the Panorama roof option. Photos recently hit the Internet of an SLK with a prototype of this option. This is a stunning option on the SL and makes the hardtop convertible experience even better. A great side effect of the Panorama roof is that the black glass roof gives most cars a really nice look. The S-Class and E-Class with this option are great examples of this. The car that would really look great with this option is the CLS. It would probably hurt back seat head room though…
“The GL is exceptionally quiet, the seven-speed automatic is at the top of the
charts for seamless operation, and ride quality is creamy, surprisingly so for a
vehicle that’s extraordinarily responsive by large-SUV standards.”
“Inside, the GL450 is beautifully finished and equipped with modern luxuries. It also drives with the precision, responsiveness, and ride comfort of a sophisticated car. In other words, it’s our kind of big SUV.”