Tag: Mercedes

We Drive the New Mercedes-AMG E53

Is it worthy of the the AMG badge? Alex Shahini reports from the launch at Zwartkops Raceway

Mercedes-Benz recently launched the updated version of their top-selling, 5th generation E-Class line-up in early March. Coming in multiple variations including 6 models and 9 derivatives, there is sure to be a style and powertrain for every consumer’s taste and preference wanting to combine luxury and sporty into a single package. While the more refined and comfortable cruisers may dominate the sales figures of the E-Class line-up, the stalwarts of the range will remain to be the AMG powered hooligans.

The trend of internal combustion engine downsizing is fully underway with most automotive manufacturers reducing cylinders and displacement in favour of more efficient alternatives. Mercedes-Benz has in some way kept true to their bewildering AMG roots and retained the iconic V8 in their range (albeit for now). Their additional incorporation of a 3-litre, in-line 6-cylinder turbocharged motor falls under their umbrella too featuring in models bearing the E53 nameplate. The motor is a compromise featuring the best of both worlds, but is it a true AMG?

Testing the E63 brute on the same day can provide an underwhelming feeling when getting behind the wheel of the E53. While it must be understood that they are not internal competitors, the E53 functions more as a stop gap for buyers wanting to step-up from the base model but without the need for the ludicrous nature of its 450kW bigger sibling. It has sufficient power rated at 320kW and comfortably delivers it through a 9 speed automatic gearbox into the standard 4Matic all-wheel drive system while mild hybrid tech assists in the form of a 48-volt battery. Despite this, the engine lacks punch at the top end and the gearbox feels slightly more lethargic when shifting. While the 520Nm that propels it to 100km/h in over 4 seconds makes it no slouch, the experience of it all feels underwhelming and dumbed down. It simply lacks that expectation of something adorned with the AMG badge.

This theme is continued when it comes to the suspension and overall handling characteristics, it feels a lot looser when cornering but as a result, more comfortable and negotiable. While it may not be as rigid as the E63, the pliant nature suits it well for comfortable use as a daily driver that can still traverse pothole-littered roads and undulating surfaces. And with combined efficiency rated below 9l/100km when driven sensibly, it won’t require a private oil refinery either.

The E53 remains a comfortable model in the line-up, ideally suited to urban cruising and trundling around in style but it lacks the raw, unadulterated character synonymous with larger AMG models. This is not to say it is bad at its intended function, but rather that the rapport of all AMG models that have come before it instil such an expectation to those that get behind the wheel that anything less can feel underwhelming. 

While it is well priced at R1 618 000 between the base E-Class model and the significantly more expensive R2 423 000 E63S 4Matic+ sedan, the E53 4Matic+ coupe should still comfortably fill a gap in the Mercedes-Benz sales catalogue.

It is expected that as we stray further from 6.2l V8 behemoths of yesteryear and gravitate closer to smaller displacements, Mercedes-Benz is likely to continue capitalising on the Affalterbach-based AMG division by branding models that can induce a sporty appeal to the consumer. The verdict is that the E53 is a good car, just perhaps without trying so hard to be something that it is not: a large AMG brute.

Mercedes-AMG GT 4 door coupe – Practicality meets performance.

Bring the kids along: Mercedes-AMG GT 4 door coupe on the way.

If the upcoming CLS is not sporty enough for you, the Mercedes-AMG GT 4 door coupe may just be what you’re looking for. Based on the E-Class chassis, this vehicle is aimed at the likes of the Porsche Panamera and Audi’s A7 model – a niche segment for an eccentric buyer. Despite bearing looks similar to that of the AMG GT, the Mercedes-AMG GT 4 door shares more similarities with the Mercedes-Benz E Class (so we’re told). Having seen the blistering results of vehicles such as the Mercedes-AMG E63 S, one can only imagine what’s in store for the GT 4 door coupe.

Engine speculations:

At this point, all we know is the fact that the vehicle is undergoing testing “around the world”, with a few vehicles doing the rounds in specific areas. We can only imagine a unit or two running around the heat infested Upington region – an area often used for hot weather testing. In terms of engines to be offered, it’s all speculation – but judging by Merc’s push into electrification, we can expect EV technology to present itself. The recent announcement of inline 6 cylinder “53” engine variants is a telltale sign regarding where the brand is going. Publications such as Autocar have also reported on an apparent upcoming high powered 4.0 litre V8 turbocharged engine, integrated with EV systems – providing epic performance (800hp+) and electric range too. All we can do for now is wait for the official announcement at the Geneva Motor Show on the 6th of March. Tobias Moers, you have our attention…

Mercedes-Benz Straight Six Engines Are Back

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.

Mercedes E63 S – Most Powerful E-Class Ever Produced.

Mercedes have just announced that the E63 S 4Matic+ is now available to order. This E-class doesn’t quite fit the stereotype, though, for one simple reason, its the most powerful E-Class ever produced.  The typical old man’s car comments go out of the window when you set your eyes on the E63, and it doesn’t just look the part either.

The E63 S provides 450Kw ( 585bhp) and a generous 850Nm of torque from a 4L V8 with twin-scroll turbochargers, which are situated inside the V. This design helps make the engine more compact, increases efficiency and turbo response.  All this power will launch to you 100kph in 3.4 seconds, with the top speed electronically limited to 250kph. This can be increased to 300kph with the AMG Drivers Package.


What’s New?

The E63 features a 9-speed sports transmission(AMG SPEEDSHIFT MC), as well as a new 4-wheel drive system and updates to the chassis and differentials. The E63 also features a drift mode in which the vehicle becomes 100% rear wheel drive when certain modes are selected. Dynamic engine mounts come standard on this model, these engine mounts adjust their stiffness in relation to driving conditions.

When cruising or in comfort mode, the E63 benefits from Cylinder Deactivation in which the engine uses only four cylinders instead of all eight to help with fuel economy and emissions. This system had helped the E63 S set a new best when compared with its competitors at 8.9L/100km.


The Race Start system has been improved. When in Sport, Sport + or Dynamic driving modes, holding the brake with the left foot and applying the accelerator with the right will activate Race Start/Launch Control – This is a much easier setup than in previous models.

The AMG Studio is also available for those who would like more personalization with their vehicle. For example, there is a Night package, different wheel packages and two carbon fibre packages for the exterior.

The intelligent driving system has also been updated and includes a concierge service in which you can find out weather information, If your stocks are performing well( If they are, you are more likely to be driving an S-Class) Route recommendations and  reservation making for sporting and cultural activities.


Overall, I like the new look of the E-Class and the E63 More so, Mercedes have put a lot of time and effort into redesigning and improving the technology inside this car. On paper, it looks good. My favourite feature? Drift Mode.

Price and Delivery

The E63 S starts at R1 868 400, and we can expect to start seeing these on South African road’s in the 2nd quarter of this year.


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Mercedes-AMG GT updated range

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.d304452

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”.16c822_003_d323397


If your mind is a little flustered with all of the AMG GT variants, there are now five models in the range, listed below.

AMG GT Coupe – 340Kw (455bhp) – R1 776  000

AMG GT S Coupe – 375kw (502bhp) – R 2 142 600

AMG GT Roadster – 350kw (469bhp) – R 2 199 900

AMG GT C Roaster- 410kw (549bhp) – R 2 599 000

AMG GT R Coupe – 430kw (576bhp) – R 2 689 900

Mercedes GLC Coupe – The Sportier GLC.

Mercedes are pumping out cars like hot cakes at the moment, and I must admit, its hard to keep up. The latest German machine to hit the shelves in the Mercedes GLC Coupe.

By the sounds of it, Mercedes wanted to bring more of a sports coupe element to the mid-sized Suv, The GLC Coupe will feature none optional sports suspension, in the form of DYNAMIC BODY CONTROL which features classic steel springs, or the AIR BODY CONTROL, which features multi-chamber air suspension. Both providing electronically controlled characteristics, for example, In Sports + mode, the vehicle is lowered by 15mm to give a “sports car” feel.  A permanent 4MATIC all-wheel drive is standard along with Mercedes 9 Speed automatic transmission.

The design is similar to the standard GLC, with headlights that resemble the shape and style found on the latest C and E class vehicles. The GLC Coupe is also 8cm longer and 4cm lower, but features mainly the same design features.



Standard to all GLC Coupe models is 18”wheels, chrome exterior pack, EASY-PACK tailgate, 20 CD multimedia system ( strange one, who uses CD’s anymore?) keyless-go and man-made leather interior. Further to this, Mercedes include a lot of their assistance systems, such as collision prevention and crosswind assist.

Diesel Variants : The Mercedes GLC Coupe will feature six variants, with three diesel engines included. The range will start with the GLC 220 d Coupe, producing 125Kw and 400Nm of torque, with a price of R735 900. From here we go to the GLC 250 d – 150kw and 500Nm for a price of R754 900. Finalising things in the diesel range is the GLC 350 d with 190kw and a hefty 620Nm. The price is also hefty to at R894 900.

Petrol Variants: The GLC 250 will be the baseline petrol model with 155Kw and 350Nm, rising to the GLC 300 with 180kw and 370Nm, priced R739 900 and R794 900 respectively. The final petrol model will come in the form of a Mercedes-AMG  GLC 43, 270Kw on tap with 520Nm to back it up.

As always, when we get our hands on one, we will provide a full, driven review in our Motorist Digital Magazine.16c106_038_1800x1800







A Mercedes-Benz Bakkie – Would you buy one?

Over recent years we have seen the Pickup or Bakkie market change, instead of the classic workhorse, Bakkies are used more for commercial and private sectors, simultaneously. Not only have they adapted into vehicles that look and feel great, they also have plenty of space for passengers, especially the double cab models.

Mercedes have cottoned onto this and released the first concept images of their new  X – Class. Mercedes say they will change the segment of mid-size pickups by releasing the world’s first premium Bakkie, fair enough. There are two model variants, the first being entitled “stylish explorer.” As you can see from the designs, this is a more upmarket urban vehicle which maybe gets used for a cross-border family trip once in a while. The interior is true Mercedes style with leathers, woods, and shiny metal. Although being a Bakkie, I can’t imagine this vehicle will be lugging around too much construction/building materials during its life. I feel its more aimed at the owner or big boss of a construction company or architectural firm, maybe once in a while a spanner and screwdriver might slip into the back.



The second is the X Class “powerful adventurer.” This vehicle, as the name suggests have been aimed at those kinds of people who like to go out, explore and conquer many terrains and lands. This model is my kind of vehicle; it features massive ground clearance, big, chunky off-road tires measuring 35 inches high, by 11 inches wide, the wild offroad styling is finished off by an electric front winch. The interior is still luxurious but has more rugged, out there kind of feel. The Powerful Adventurer is the kind of vehicle which would be loaded up with surfboards and driven over the border into Namibia when the Skeleton Bay surf is firing. Both variants will contain the classic Mercedes tech such as online connected drive systems, lots of sensors, fancy suspension systems and the like. Regarding engines, Mercedes have said top-of-the-line models will be powered by a V6 Diesel, coupled with a very technical four-wheel drive system.



Mercedes are aiming the X Class at five markets with one of them being the successful adventurer/extreme sports person.( They will need to be successful to afford one of these) Another target market is active families with an “affinity” to premium products( See above, once is a while cross-border holiday). The X class is also aimed at trend-conscious individualists, business owners and landowners in South Africa.

These vehicles are targeting for a late 2017 launch, the question for me is price, the X class is a much more premium vehicle than the R600k Wildtrack, so how much more is it going to cost? Unfortunately for most, I feel this vehicle is going to be out of their league.


Super Car or Super Saloon?

How would you spend your R1.9M?: Mercedes Benz AMG GTS tested.

Years ago, a supercar was the pinnacle of automotive excellence. Driving such a car was not only an indication of wealth, but a symbol of success for those who have been afforded the opportunity to make such a purchase. Brands such as Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche were always the top tier supercar “must haves” for the rich and powerful. This all changed when niche brands entered into the market, take McLaren for instance. In a relatively short period of time, the brand has clawed away market share from the aforementioned brands, creating an unbalance in the supercar hierarchy.

Interestingly, mainstream car makers have also dipped their feet into the supercar market, adding further to the confusion of the consumer. As a result, cars like the Mercedes Benz SLS and the Audi R8 V10 made buyers think twice before going to the “big three” brands. Now with inflation playing a major role on the prices of everything, gone are the days where you can buy a new Ferrari for R2 500 000 or a Lamborghini for that matter. This has opened up the entry level supercar category, for those not wanting to spend upwards of R4 000 0000. Porsche has always dominated that market, with cars like the 911 Carrera. We now have cars like the new Mercedes Benz AMG GT and GTS which seek to seduce Porsche’s clients to their offering.



All that and a big V8:

Mercedes Benz have brought a nuclear weapon to a gun fight with the power-plants offered in the AMG GT and GTS. A 4.0 litre Bi-turbocharged V8 offering 350kW in the GT or 375kW in GTS guise. We had the lovely pleasure of sampling the latter, which so happens to propel its driver from 0-100 km/h in 3.7 seconds. Needless to say that this car is as fast is it looks, another factor which shows Mercedes’ seriousness to compete in this segment. Visually the car makes no mistake to prove that it’s here to do damage, it’s low and hunkered down and it snarls and barks at onlookers oogling it. The soundtrack is one of thunder and lightning especially when the exhaust valves are open, allowing eight cylinder expletives to escape from the exhaust pipes. All this drama for a cool R1 910 000.

Is it good enough?

Is the new AMG GTS competent enough to face off with the Porsche 911 in a dual? Most certainly, but for cars such as these we feel that the biggest fight is not an internal one, it’s from a different segment all together. A segment that has plagued Porsches and Ferrari’s for years, the super saloon. It’s no secret that cars like the BMW M5, Mercedes Benz E63 and Audi RS7 all have the ability to annoy and at times humble some supercars. These saloons also have a different appeal to that of a supercar which is space, most times lots of it. Price wise, the most super of super saloons won’t cost anything less than R1 600 000, in fact the BMW M5 we tested alongside the AMG GTS cost a staggering R1 780 000 with all the extras. The most notable extra on the car being the Competition package and Carbon Ceramic brakes, which bumps up the power to 423kW, 57kW more than the GTS.



Pros vs Cons:

We slipped into wealthy executive mode to weigh up the advantages of both cars versus the disadvantages. For the AMG GTS, you have a unique experience visually due to the way the car looks and feels. The car is also a different sensory experience because you’re so close to all the action. You feel as if you’re sitting on the rear wheels as the car takes you to a different dimension. The downside to this is that the cabin can be lonely at times, a very special person has to be chosen to share your supercar experience with you. If you’re a family man, chances are the GTS will only be used on a weekend, especially if you have the school run to do.

This is where the M5 appeals to the same client, the car is simply more usable for day to day activities. With five comfortable seats available mixed with those power figures, the car truly is a family supercar. Not to say that one would do the school run at warp speed, but after the kids are dropped off, if the opportunity allows, one can enjoy the car’s capabilities. The sacrifice one makes for buying a super saloon over a supercar is that the rawness of the AMG is replaced by refinement, making the super saloon not seem as fast as a supercar, even if it is.



The not so mature test: The drag race.

To fully convince ourselves what we would choose between the two, we had to put theory into practice, so we found a quiet space to test the cars. Could Bobby’s dad in the BMW M5 win over Bobby’s cool uncle in the AMG GTS? On paper the GTS’ 0-100 time had it in the bag. With sweaty palms we jetted off, not using launch control as the GTS would have the advantage, but something interesting happened. The 650 Nm of torque in the GTS made for a tail happy start, whereas the heavier rear end of the BMW M5 got the car off the line cleaner. Obviously the GTS’ supercar strengths would reel the M5 in right? Well no…See 423kW is a difficult number to catch up to when it’s going and going and going. To our surprise Bobby’s dad won.

What does all this mean? 

The question this test answered was where do you spend your R1.9M if you had the choice of one special car? Do you A: Buy a supercar like an AMG GTS or a Porsche to use on special occasions or when the kids are visiting their grandparents? Or do you B: Buy a ridiculously fast saloon that can be used daily for R100 000 less?

The answer lies with who you are and your vehicle usage. If like us you have no children and spend most of your time working very hard, reward yourself and buy that special supercar. Chances are you’ll find any opportunity to drive it. On the other hand, if you have a family, what’s the point of spending so much money on a car that will spend most of the time in the garage? Rather buy something you will use which offers the same type of performance as a supercar, but is a normal road car too. Unless you have enough resources to have both cars, in that case we congratulate you and envy you at the same time.

These two cars are from different ends completely and they wouldn’t be traditionally put up against one another from a motor journalism point of view. From a consumer point of view though, many who are looking to spend this kind of money for a car often wonder what is the best choice. As mentioned it all boils down to your lifestyle. Whatever you choose, as long as the car doesn’t live in the garage, you won’t regret it. The AMG GTS is a superb vehicle indeed, in its segment it is a definite podium choice, but if your lifestyle does not allow it, it’s good to know that you great have options such as the BMW M5.




Maybach S600, a new level of luxury.

First Class at zero thousand feet.

The Mercedes S class has arguably been the crème de la crème of luxury vehicles for some time now. This car is Mercedes’ answer to the BMW 7 Series, Audi A8 and Jaguar XJ. These vehicles are built to be driven long distances in the utmost of comfort.  You might also remember Maybach, a company purchased by Mercedes-Benz back in 1960. They released cars such as the Maybach 57 and 62, ultra luxury vehicles with an ultra-luxury price. To cut a long story short, they hardly sold any cars and produced their last vehicle in December 2012.

Mercedes are now reviving the brand as an ultra-luxury sub-brand of the S class, the same way the Mercedes AMG brand fits in. Mercedes have really pushed the boat out with this one; luxury is of critical importance with Nappa leathers covering almost every conceivable surface inside the vehicle. This is complimented by technology such as the “Cabin fragrance system”, an option which sends a scent into the vehicle at pre-set times. The scent is emitted in a way so as not to hang in the air or stick on clothes.

Along with this is other technologies such as the Ambient Lighting System with over 300 LED’s, silver champagne flutes, hot and cold cup holders, folding tables and of course, power executive rear seats which recline to a 45-degree angle. Rear entertainment systems are also included, you get the idea, everything is pretty top notch.

Powering this first class cabin is a bi-turbo 6-litre V12 engine, kicking out over 500 horses which will get you to 100 km/h in 5 seconds. Keeping everything smooth on your journey is the “Magic Body Control System” which uses the multi-purpose camera of Intelligent Drive to scan the road ahead for variations and bumps in the road. The system then informs the suspension components before the wheels reach them.

I could write all day about the innovations and exciting features on this car, in doing so I would probably crash the site. The S600 Maybach is an S-Class on steroids, luxury steroids that is. It’s hard to improve on what already is a fantastic car, but by giving that extra bit of refinement and quality, it makes a big difference.