Notably, in many of the new and imminent 2020 chassis and models are the inherent use of a “48Volt Mild-Hybrid system” that allows for energy recuperation and regeneration in a way that merges standard engines and electric/hybrid systems.
Systems make use of a belt-driven starter generator that serves as the traditional starter for the engine but also serves as a generator. Energy is stored in 48V lithium-ion batteries and kinetic energy is recycled in converted into electrical current that drives the motor and improves the dynamics of Stop/Start tech, through better and higher speed engine deactivations. Systems have small differences in how they operate but the basic principles remain. The MEHV (Mild Electric Hybrid Vehicle) is becoming a phrase that we should all become rather familiar with given its application. I’ve driven a few cars with this system at this point, and frankly, the benefits of what is claimed in fuel consumption are rather small at present, but the additional boost is something that is best felt and offers real value, despite weight considerations.
The best application of this tech that I have sampled thus far is the Mercedez E53 AMG, being the first of the AMG model line up, Affalterbach’s 3litre inline six-cylinder petrol “twin forced induction” engine boosts 320Kw and 520 Nm with the system adding 16kW and 250Nm under “EQ boost”. Practically this means you start the car and it’s an almost instantly the engine comes alive. It’s a very swift process which is important given this works with a stop/start system that allows for when lifting off the throttle the engine switches of and the car glides making use of the system even it speed.
Given the systems ability to shut off the engine the idea is fuel consumption, lower emissions and the ability to use smaller engines to provide power akin to much bigger motors. The issue is the system does work, but in the real world the re-gen is there and you find the cruising on the freeway with the engine off a bit of an adjustment, but a stab at the throttle and it awakens very quickly. This is all well and great but the issue of additional weight given the need for extra equipment and more importantly the scary notion of how many performance offerings now have or will have this system make it a somewhat of a controversial yet interesting move. VW’s Golf 8 will employ the same tech in a large portion of the range and its growing in popularity across the board so the tech is only going to grow and advance.
The argument simply the power advantage vs economy advantage, some of these systems and the EQ boost abilities make the system rather important in that they can transform the performance as 250Nm is no easy feat. Understand this its a cheat code to power and I feel most cars will adopt this in some way and with some refinement and the advancement it will likely see through the major manufacture support it has will become a very common thing. The E53 AMG, for example, is a torque monster and overtaking in this car makes it feel far more rapid than the numbers suggest. Obviously, there will be no replacement for displacement and the E63 would make this car a tiny spec in the rearview, but it makes this a far better car and makes a lot of sense once you’ve sampled the tech.
Hermanus is a beautiful seaside town with a vast mammal filled ocean on one side and towering mountains on the other. Between us at Cape Town International Airport and Hermanus, though, was a driving route that involved great sections of tar, with long swooping bends, twists and turns. A fitting location, then, for the launch of the all-new Audi A5 and S5 Coupe.
The original A5 launched back in 2008 and it had a unique look with its tornado line running down the full length of the vehicle. The 2017 Audi A5 is still very recognizable as an A5, but does feature very nice enhancements in the design area. The Tornado line for example, is more defined and the headlights feature a sharper design with the “four eyes” to represent quattro. These headlights sit above a larger, flatter grill and below a bonnet which has large grooves, emphasizing its sportiness.
Audi have a new design philosophy which is inspired by the Audi prologue concept car. We have seen elements of this being introduced in recent models such as the Q2 and now the A5. One nod to this design language is flared wheel arches and larger rear shoulders, and we can see this in the 2017 models.
The interior has also undergone some refinement. I have always enjoyed Audi’s simplistic and uncomplicated style with regards to interior design and this is no different with the new A5. The dashboard features a horizontal design which gives the cabin a very spacious feel and as always, the centre console features controls for audio, navigation and the like. This console also features the drive selector, which one can only describe as looking like the thrust control in a jet – its large, bulky and fits in the hand nicely, giving a very commanding feel.
View 360 Images of the interior below. We apologize for the quality, as the light was extremely poor.
In the design area then, the Audi A5 has undergone many refinements resulting in a big improvement. Another area in which the 2017 A5 has improved is in the powertrain department, with the latest engines now producing 17% more power with a 22% reduction in consumption, impressive.
The A5 coupe has four engines on offer with the S5 currently leading the way, producing a healthy 260 kW and 500 N.m. Following this is the 2.0T FSI Quattro producing 185 kW and 370Nm. We then have two 140 kW power plants, coming in the form of a 2.0T FSI which puts out 320N.m and a 2.0 TDI producing 400 N.m.
You would probably expect me to say that the S5 was my favorite variant but actually, the 185 kW A5 quattro was a car that really stood out. This car really shifts and has lots of torque from low down in the RPM range. It was just so enjoyable to drive through the twisty mountain passes but was then also very comfortable and quiet when driving in a relaxed manner.
The S5 is sharper, firmer and faster with 260 kW and 500 N.m but the difference is not night and day. It does give you a little more confidence in all aspects, though, such as high-speed cornering, as the S5’s suspension is firmer which can be felt quite a lot in the rear.
If you want more performance and styling, the S5 is a good option but it is by no means a “monster” like an RS variant would be. What sold me on the Audi S5 is the song it sings from that beautiful 3.0-litre V6 Twin Turbo motor – wow! It sounds absolutely fantastic throughout the rev range and this means that the S5 has a driving experience which is hard to match in its segment. It goes from being a car that is a little faster and sharper than the quattro, to a car that really makes you feel warm inside when driven – It’s not always about sheer acceleration and performance and this reason alone could mean the S5 pips the BMW 440i and Mercedes C43 to my top spot out of the three.
The higher powered A5’s are impressive, but we must not forget the smooth cruisers, the 140 kW T FSI and TDI models. These variants are very refined and easy to drive and while both cars were very nice, I feel that out of the two, the TDI is the one to go for. Power delivery is linear and it just feels like a smoother, calmer experience. Although not the most powerful variants, these two models should not be under estimated as they can really hold their own on some of the Cape Town passes against the bigger boys and are by no means boring. You can still have a lot of fun in these models and we can vouch for that. If your main aim when looking at an A5 is not so much performance based but rather directed towards a quiet, comfortable and smooth vehicle, either of these two are the ones to go for. The 14kW T FSI comes only as FWD, but the TDI variant is available with quattro.
Which model would I personally choose? Well this decision for me is all about which rules first, the head or the heart. My consumer brain tells me that the 185 kW quattro is the vehicle to go for – it gives performance just a little short from the S5, but has the comfortable benefits of the T FSI and TDI Models and is also R170 000 cheaper. However, from a performance enthusiast’s point of view, my heart wants to hear that singing V6 whenever I drive to work in the morning, although I’m sure my wife would have something to say about that!
Its also worth noting that the A5 is available with its new driver assistance system -Traffic Jam Assist. This is Audi’s first step in the direction of autonomous driving. In conjunction with Adaptive Cruise control, the vehicle will accelerate, brake and steer the car up to speeds of 65 km/h.
The A5 will comes standard with a range of equipment including Audi Drive Select, Xenon Plus Headlights and Rear LED lights, 17” Alloy wheels and cruise control.
The A5/S5 Sportback will be following the same model and pricing structure below and will be available from May 2017. In June we can expect the arrival of the A5/S5 Cabriolet – we have no information on pricing as yet.
Audi A5 Coupe 2.0T FSI 140kW S tronic: R 589,000
Audi A5 Coupe 2.0T FSI 140kW S tronic Sport: R 623,000
Audi A5 Coupe 2.0 TDI 140kW S tronic: R 619,000
Audi A5 Coupe 2.0T TDI 140kW S tronic Sport: R 653,000
Audi A5 Coupe 2.0 TDI 140kW quattro S tronic: R 652,500
Audi A5 Coupe 2.0T TDI 140kW quattro S tronic Sport: R 686,500
Audi A5 Coupe 2.0T FSI 185kW S tronic: R 723,500
Audi A5 Coupe 2.0T FSI 185kW S tronic Sport: R 757,500 Audi S5 Coupe 3.0T FSI 260kW quattro S tronic: R928,000
2018 will see the arrival of the all-new Ford Fiesta ST aka the Ultra Mobile and if you listen carefully, you can already hear all the boets fist-pumping in anticipation of this auspicious occasion!
Big news is that this new model is the first ever Ford Performance vehicle to make use of a 1.5-litre 3-cylinder motor and, while sharing a platform with the model it replaces, is the first Fiesta to feature selectable drive modes, enabling steering, engine and stability controls to be configured to Normal, Sport and Track modes. Yoh boet!
Unfortunately, along with the drive modes, we’ll have to put up with Ford’s nauseating and quite frankly miserable Electronic Sound Enhancement Technology which, in short, makes a dreary and depressing come through the vehicle’s speaker system in order to artificially enhance the sound of the engine. We have already been unfortunate enough to endure this in both the 2.3 Ecoboost and 5.0 V8 Mustangs and there’s not much to say really other than no. Just no.
Outputs of 149 kW and 290 N.m. are hugely impressive from a 3-cylinder motor and if you are able to block out Martin Garrix and the shocking sound enhancement, you might even be able to hear a fruity and characterful 3-pot thrum coming from within the engine bay on your sprint from 0-100 km/h which will take 6.7 seconds. A clever little motor, it is also able to shut off one of its cylinders during low-load conditions in order to save fuel, an industry first in a 3-cylinder motor, and thus resulting in emissions as low as 114 g/km.
The current generation Fiesta ST met much praise when launched in 2013 and was even crowned as Top Gear’s Car of the Year 2013. Unsurprisingly then, it still sells in droves to this day thanks to its loyal following of tank top owners and rave-goers. It also has one of the best front-wheel-drive chassis’ money can buy so it’s a good thing then that this will be carried over to the new model.
There is no word on pricing yet but we can expect to see the first units in South Africa during the first half of 2018.
As you may know, Mercedes and Maybach has re-joined forces to create cars of extreme luxury and customisation for a special type of customer. Over the past year they have released some exquisite vehicles. Earlier this week, Mercedes-Maybach released the G 650 Landaulet, which you can read about here, and now another model has arrived.
I would like to introduce to you the Mercedes-Maybach S600 Pullman, a longer limousine styled S-Class. The Pullman is not a new vehicle, it has been around for 90 years but of recent times, had disappeared until now.
The Pullman is a very long vehicle. At 6.5 metres it is 125cm longer than the S-Class long wheel base, 105cm longer than a Mercedes-Maybach S600 and is 41cm longer than a Rolls Royce Phantom LWB. This is a car doused in luxury. Many features on this car would be an optional extra on a standard S-Class, but not with the Pullman. For instance, it provides features such as the PartitionWall with Electrochromatic glass, the refrigerated compartment and the centre console featuring four champagne flutes.
Power closing doors are also standard, along with power curtains, a Burmester 3D surround sound system and the panoramic roof with sky control, once again Electrochromatic. The occupants can choose to have the glass transparent or blue. Further to this and as expected, is a full rear entertainment system featuring an 18.5 inch power retracting flat screen. And if it’s not all play and you need to do business during your travels in the Pullman, stow away tables are also included.
The Pullman can also seat four occupants in the rear with two electronic controlled seats becoming available in a conference type rear facing fashion. When these are not needed, they can be electronically reclined to provide even more space.
With almost everything you could image in a luxury car as standard, what is optional? Well for one, you can change the wheels, for £10 000. But that is just scratching the surface, you can request your Mercedes-Maybach Pullman in any exterior colour you like. For example, you can have the colour of your Maybach to match your spouses eyes, if you wish. Not bad for £5k. On the inside, Mercedes-Maybach do offer a range of different and more expensive leathers, but they also state that virtually any other leather or colour is available.
Your personal family crest or initials are also available to have stitched or embossed into the seats, or other areas by luxury craftsman. Mercedes state that with this vehicle, anything the customer requires they can have, such as an additional fridge, a walk through centre console or even lambskin floor mats.
The Mercedes-Maybach Pullman is clearly an ultra luxury vehicle for a very select person. It reminds me of how we don’t just have super cars now, we have hyper cars. The Pullman is a hyper luxury car and Rolls Royce should be worried.
How’s it’s made?
To order a Pullman, you first need to order a Mercedes-Maybach S600. This is the donor car, many parts such as the engine and other interior components are used. Mercedes don’t state exactly how it is done, but they do say that it’s not cut in half and stretched, but built on an individual platform.
Power train and Performance
The Pullman uses the V12 Twin Turbo, producing 390kw or 530bhp. This is a lower output then other Mercedes vehicles that use the same engine and is probably for safety, due to the size of the vehicle. Torque is also down at 830Nm,but still quite plenty. The Pullman weighs in at just over 3 tonnes, but will still do 0-100km/h in around 6.5 seconds, delivered though an automatic 7G gearbox.
If your wondering if you can stretch the budget this year, here is the price. £522,000. Yes that is in English pounds. So with today’s exchange rate of R16.5, that puts this car at over R8 million. Yikes.
Let’s be honest, for many a Porsche is on their bucket list of cars to own. As a result this has caused people to work hard in order to reach this goal. Reaching this goal usually takes time, unless you’re one of those IT geniuses who develops an app and sells it for millions after a year. If not and you go through the “usual” route to find monetary success, chances are you’ll be closer to middle aged when you can afford a new Porsche. The problem with that is that by the time you’re financially able to buy the car, you may have little things called children. Those things take up space, so your dream of owning a 911 can quickly be dashed. Do you then settle for a Cayenne? Possibly, but there is another option, the Panamera.
When the Panamera first launched, people didn’t know what to do with themselves. Their facial expressions resembled those of people who had just eaten caviar for the first time, or Bovril. The majority of people thought the car was hideous. That being said, the cars sold very well around the world. Perhaps the looks grew on us? Personally we feel any large car will look terrible if it’s not specified correctly. A basic Panamera with small wheels is not a thing of beauty. Throw in some large wheels to fill the arches and the GTS package styling, then you’ve got something that looks great. Why are we telling you this though? Well the acquired taste is back, and it’s bigger and better. 30mm longer and 5mm wider to be exact.
Aesthetically the car has the same overall shape as before but it’s become sleeker. There is a kink in the rear that separates the boot from the overall body, making it seem less station wagon-like. The design lines are sharper and more defined and much more modern altogether. The headlights remind us of the the Porsche 918 Spyder, with the rear looking more like the current 911 range. Nine models are available ranging from the base Panamera to the the Panamera Turbo Executive. The entry point Panamera features a 3.0 litre Turbocharged V6 (243kW/450Nm), with the S variant featuring a 2.9 litre Twin-Turbo V6 (324kW/550Nm). The big boy Turbo Executive will give you a 4.0 litre Twin Turbo engine producing 404kW and a whopping 770Nm. All models have an Executive variant which is 15cm longer, making it the Panamera you get chauffeured in should you feel inclined.
The new Panamera has one of the nicest interiors in its segment. With the correct options ticked, you can have a tech-fest in the car that combines class and sportiness. For instance there is a rear touch-screen that will control the 4-Zone climate control. You have the option of Bose or Burmester sound systems and you can have the sporty 911-esque seats too, as well as rear entertainment. As we mentioned, choosing the right exterior options on your Panamera is a must. Small wheels are no no, whereas the larger wheels are a big yes. The car also has a James Bond like rear wing that presents itself at speed. As it lifts, it has two pieces that become one, instantly making you look cooler than your non Panamera driving friends.
Like caviar, the Panamera will always be that love/hate car. Which is good because you don’t want anyone to feel “meh” about your vehicle, so those who don’t like it can jump. Porsche doesn’t really care we can imagine, as long as people are buying, they’re happy. This new Panamera is bound to be a bigger success than the previous model because it looks much better and it’s a Porsche after all. It’s a bucket list car remember?
In days gone by, Mercedes-Benz were the last word in refinement. Silky smooth straight sixes were the order of the day and while slightly less practical to package than a V6 motor of equivalent capacity, the inherent benefits of a straight six over a V6 made it worth the long bonnet. Because people hate long bonnets.
It would seem, however, that BMW are the only big manufacturer to produce straight six motors these days. Ford Australia did for a while, but they don’t exist anymore and neither do TVR…
This is strange because while a V6 motor makes packaging a breeze thanks to its compact dimensions, it becomes very complicated due to the inherent vibration issues caused by two banks of cylinders with yaw moments on different axis. Balancing shafts can easily cancel out these vibrations but this means that more inertial mass is required to spin the engine – ie: you need more power.
The great news, then, is that Mercedes-Benz are back on the straight-six train as announced towards the end of 2016 and the new M256 promises to be a powerhouse of note. A part of their new range of modular engines, the new six will arrive alongside petrol and diesel straight-fours, straight-sixes and a petrol V8. They all have identical bore spacing and interfaces to vehicle which cuts production costs.
Back to the M256, it features a host of new technology, most notable of which is the Inline Starter Generator or ‘ISG’. The ISG is a 15kW electric motor which drives the crankshaft, starts the internal combustion engine when start/stop is enabled, recovers energy during coasting and braking and acts as a generator for the 12v electrical system. It can also reduce the load on the engine which aids performance and economy.
It is also part of the 48v electrical system which comprises an electric air-conditioning compressor, electric auxiliary compressor and electric water pump which means there is no need for a belt-driven accessory drive. This means that engine length is reduced which, as I have already mentioned, causes packaging issues with the straight-six motor.
Another brilliant up-side to the whole electrification thing is that the 48v compressor is essentially a supercharger which doesn’t have a parasitic effect on the combustion engine. So at low RPM’s, the compressor kicks in and provides boost up until the big exhaust driven turbo kicks in. Expect figures of around 304 kW (407bhp) and 501 N.m and remarkable efficiency, we hope.
Expect to see this exciting new motor in the updated Mercedes-Benz S-Class before trickling down into the rest of the Mercedes-Benz stable.
Gas flowing, or porting of cylinder heads, is viewed by most laymen as being more mysterious than the US foreign policy. What does it actually mean? How is it done? Does it even work? Of course, there’s no short answer. But hopefully, this article will serve to clear the murky waters somewhat.
The function of the cylinder head, and the inlet ports in particular, is to introduce air from the inlet manifold into the combustion chamber with as little restriction as possible, and hopefully take advantage of the velocity of the fast moving air in some way. The exhaust ports must do the same as they get rid of the burnt products of combustion.
Now, a mass produced cylinder head will have ports which are left “as cast”, so they have a rough finish and various casting flashes which will all cause a disturbance to airflow. They will also often be of a less than optimal shape. This is particularly true of the older designs like the Ford Kent Crossflow or cast iron Chev V8 heads, which have all sorts of undesirable lumps of metal in the wrong places. And you only need a brief glance at an MGB head to see that it’s about as free flowing as a blocked drain. So, with these older heads, it’s a relatively simple matter to remove the offending lumps, and gain a heap of airflow. This is normally done with a pneumatic handheld porting tool or die grinder turning at 5 or 6 thousand RPM, and is extremely easy to make a complete mess of, which would result in the cylinder head being chucked in the bin. For this reason alone, it’s worth leaving it to a professional cylinder head shop. Outfits which habitually do large numbers of the same heads might CNC mill the ports, but in this country, we never see these volumes, so it’s all done by hand.
Generally, after removing metal with an abrasive mounted point or tungsten carbide burr, the ports are polished with fine grit sandpaper, again mounted in a die grinder. The ideal finish of the ports is the subject of much debate – some tuners prefer to leave the intake ports slightly rough, and some prefer a smooth, almost mirror finish. Bench testing seems to indicate there is not much difference to airflow either way.
But what about the size of the ports? Does it make sense just to make them as big as possible before one goes right through the port into the water jacket? No. There is definitely an optimal size, based on the intended speed range of the engine, the capacity of the engine, the valve head size, the camshaft, carburation, etc. In fact, some standard ports are already too big, and more adventurous tuners have filled in these ports with special epoxies. The problem with very large ports is that gas speed drops as a result of the increased port area, and bottom-end power suffers. This may not be an issue in a racing engine which never goes below 4000rpm, but it certainly is in a road car.
The shape of the port is equally important. Material may need to be removed in some places and not in others. Generally one would try to “straighten out” the port as much possible, removing material from the roof of the port and leaving the floor more or less untouched. The area just below the valve seat, called the throat, is also important as it needs to accelerate the gases as they enter the chamber, taking advantage of the venturi effect caused by slightly reducing the cross sectional area of the port just before the exit into the chamber.
The valve seats are then cut using a specialised machine (usually known as a Serdi), giving it a smoother profile and a narrower valve seat which will aid gas flow at small valve openings.
The valve itself is also reshaped to aid gas flow – a particularly critical area, as all the gas must pass over the back of the valve. If one compares a typical valve from 20 years ago to a valve from any modern high-performance car, it is obvious how much development there has been in this regard.
So if all this works on older cars, does that mean it doesn’t work on newer engines? No, of course, it works; it’s just a bit harder, and the gains may not be as big. And if the application is totally different, for example, building a full race engine from a normal road car engine, then bigger valves and bigger ports will be needed to allow the engine to breathe at the higher RPM it will be operating at. There are some exceptions, like an E90 M3 V8, for example, which has big, beautifully-shaped CNC-machined ports, which most sane tuners wouldn’t dare touch.
Measuring the changes in airflow can be done using a device called a flow bench, which measures the flow rate of air through a port at a constant vacuum. It provides a useful yardstick, but is by no means a sure way of predicting the power increase, as the actual conditions in the engine are quite different to what is happening on the flow bench. For example, the vacuum in a combustion chamber is nowhere near constant. It’s also a very time-consuming exercise. And there’s always the infamous story, no doubt greatly exaggerated by now, of a 1950s works Jaguar Le Mans team, which measured each gas-flowed six cylinder head on the flow bench and obviously kept the higher-flowing heads for themselves, selling the others to the customer teams. Imagine their surprise when the customer cars turned out to be faster than the works cars down the Mulsanne straight! Back to the drawing board…
There are other aspects to gas flowing or modifying a cylinder head; one may want to impart a circular motion to the gas as it enters the combustion chamber which will aid cylinder filling. This is known as “swirl”, and is most often associated with 2 valves per cylinder heads.
Obviously, this subject could have several postgraduate theses written about it, so it’s only possible to lightly scratch the surface on these pages, but hopefully it’s enough to enlighten the average armchair enthusiast. Just don’t be tempted to get out your Dremel and start hacking away at your ports on the weekend…
We recently posted an article about the new Mercedes-AMG GT R setting a fantastic lap time around the infamous Nurburgring, well you will be pleased to know that the AMG GT R and other new AMG GT models have been added to the South African range.
Apart from the Mercedes-AMG GT R Coupe, which produces a staggering 430Kw ( 576BHP) Mercedes have introduced two roadster models, the first being the AMG GT Roadster, which features the same 4.0 V8 powerplant but power is limited to 350KW(469BHP) which is 10kw more than the entry level Coupe model.
The second addition comes with the title of AMG GT C Roaster, the difference? Another 60kw, bringing the total power output to 410KW(549BHP). This model slips in between the lower powered AMG GT S which has 375kw (502BHP) and the newly released AMG GT R. The Roadster models also features slightly different designs from the Coupe’s, with the AMG GT C even more aggressively styled than its younger brother. Both models come standard with Nappa leather, the AMG performance steering wheel and the extra driving program entitled ” RACE”.
If your mind is a little flustered with all of the AMG GT variants, there are now five models in the range, listed below.
A Mercedes S-Class is a car limited to a minority of people. It’ one of the most comfortable and luxurious vehicles you can buy, with technology that’s streets ahead. If you have ever owned, driven or being a passenger in one of these cars, you will know what I’m talking about. As you go up in the range and into the AMG Class this luxury increases, along with horsepower and torque.
Ever since Maybach announced that they are back in the game, we have expected very special things, and this is one of them, limited to a minority of people who own an S-Class. Yes, the brand new Mercedes-Maybach S650 Cabriolet is available to just 300 humans, as that is the number of models being built. It’s worth mentioning the Mercedes-Maybach S650 will retail at around 300,000 euros or R4.5 Million.
What is so special about it? Firstly the Mercedes-Maybach features its pinnacle engine, a V12 with a twin turbo setup and a displacement of 5980 cc – 6 litres. ( in case you didn’t know) This produces 463kw and a staggering 1000Nm of torque at 2300rpm! Mercedes-Maybach has probably limited the torque as well. As was the case with the SL65 Black. In fairness, though, you can get this engine in a Mercedes-AMG s65.
The exterior features some design changes to identify this as a Maybach, with the main changes coming in the form of a new front bumper, chrome highlights around the vehicle, including the Maybach badge and a set of unique forged Maybach wheels. The Interior is an even higher standard, as expected, with features like diamond quilting, nut brown magnolia and the fact that the trim elements are commissioned individually based on colour and grain. Further to this, every optional extra available on the standard S-Class Cab is a standard feature on this vehicle.
The small things : Also included in your many Rands is an exclusive travel luggage set, this set is made out of the original leather and coordinated with the interior of the vehicle. A nice touch. Along with this, the owner will also receive a high-quality car cover, in the same colour as the soft top roof of his vehicle.
Mercedes – Maybach says that they”stand for the ultimate in exclusivity and individuality for status-orientated customers”. This is certainly the case with this vehicle, the attention to detail and quality is above and beyond. For me, even though this vehicle is out of reach for almost everyone, it is nice to see beautiful cars like this being made, stretching the boundaries of luxury and tech. When you look at the images, this car screams class, there are many small changes which make the Mercedes-Maybach stand out, but not over the top. So, Who do I call to place my order?
The folks from “Merc” have chosen the right time to reveal their summer bodies with an array of drop-tops now available to the South African market. From Mercedes-Benz, we have the C -Class Cabriolet and the S-Class Cabriolet which have both let their hair down. The C-Class Cabriolet is undoubtedly the most important of the two as it’s more accessible to the general public. As a result, this car should be the volume seller amongst all the cabriolets offered by Mercedes-Benz. It also operates against strong contenders such as the BMW 4 Series Convertible, a car loved by many a South African. The S-Class Cabriolet, on the other hand, is a tastefully luxurious affair, limited to those who have the means to enjoy the lavish offerings it features. As a result, this is a very exclusive car but offers rich brand heritage and a specific grandeur that only be achieved by this type of car.
Looking at both the C-Class and the S-Class, there is a noticeable similarity in design language. They have styled the cars to have a father and son appeal, both looking very sophisticated and handsome. The interior keeps to the chic theme of the exterior with modern and clean lines on the fascia and luxurious seats to match. The aim is to keep you driving with the top down, so measures have been taken to ensure a comfortable open-air experience. AIRCAP is one of the systems used to do this. This feature reduces interior turbulence in the car while driving to stop your ears from exploding, a feeling not loved by many. Another handy feature for the colder months is AIRSCARF, a feature known to many Mercedes-Benz Cabriolet drivers. This feature heats up the neck area of the person seated, allowing them to keep the top down even when the weather is frosty. If it does get unbearably cold or hot, you’ll be happy to know that it only takes 20 seconds of the soft-top to open and close on both the S-Class and C-Class. The difference is that you can operate the mechanism up to a speed of 60km/h in the S-Class and only 50km/h in the C-Class.
They see my floating, they hatin…
Another cool feature about these new Cabriolet’s is the AIRMATIC suspension that is optional on the C-Class and standard on the S-Class. This electronically controlled air suspension can be adjusted depending on which mode you want the car in. An option of ECO, Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus, and Individual is available, with Individual allowing you to customise the setup. The suspension is not the only smart thing in the S-Class though, an all new intelligent climate control system called THERMOTRONIC allows the occupants to have a fully automatic air-conditioning system. By using 12 sensors and 18 actuators, the system can provide optimum air distribution when the top is up or down. As a result, there will no longer be a need for a driver to save a setting for the car, it knows how best to keep you cool, literally and figuratively.
If the fancy looks of these new convertibles are not enough for you and you seek a little bit more power, you’ll be happy to know that there’s an answer. On the C-Class side, you have the C43 4MATIC which produces 270kW of power. If that’s still not enough, you can get the full blown C63 and C63 S cabriolets. The C63 produces the same 350kW you’ll find in the sedan and the S version makes a healthy 25kW more, giving it 375kW. The S-Class also has AMG versions with the “entry level” AMG being the S63 which ONLY makes 430kW and 900Nm whereas the S65 produces 463kW and (wait for it) 1000Nm.
So the long and short of all this is that if you want some drop top Mercs, you’re spoiled for choice. Whether you’re a slick executive or an Oligarch, Mercedes-Benz and Mercedes-AMG will have something to keep you busy with this summer.