Mercedes-Benz premiered its all new S-Class sedan in Hamburg on May 15, 2013. Held at the Airbus factory where final assembly of the Airbus A320 and A380 is occurring, Mercedes took advantage of an over-the-top venue for an over-the-top introduction to their new Flagship. While an introduction like this should showcase the car (which it did), the showmanship used by Mercedes in this occasion was second to none. A very official looking YouTube video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U94OftPwcAc) shows the event up to just before Deiter Zetsche announced Alicia Keys who was sitting in the back of the center stage S-Class. They probably were prevented from showing her performance for contract reasons, but it was pretty darn good. She even worked very well with the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra that was playing original compositions prior to her arrival.
Prior to the show was the typical hyperbole about how great the car is (While the A380 is the “Queen of the Sky”, the S-Class is the “Queen of the Road”), it was obvious the presenter was stalling. The presentation was in German, but clearly something was going on. Taking off the earphones provided for translations, you could hear the rain pounding on the roof and claps of nearby thunder. According to people on the support team, they were working on alternative approaches to the presentation minute-by-minute. In the final analysis, they chose the right approach. Mercedes kept it as natural as they could.
Some things to look for in the Premiere… the curtain came up with an Airbus A380 in the background and a Mercedes SLS gullwing in the foreground. It was pouring down rain and the thunder storm had just subsided a bit. Standing next to the SLS was The Stig from BBC’s Top Gear. The Stig stepped into the SLS with practiced flexibility, shut the gullwing door and spun a donut in the water. He drove towards the A380 as the Mercedes lineup all in white lined up to provide a corridor for the new S-Class to approach the stage. Still raining, two S-Class sedans parked on the stage dripping wet. Hats off to Mercedes for not having the cars immediately wiped off as most car companies would have. Very classy!
USA sale of the 2014 Mercedes Sprinter will begin on September 1, 2013 via 218 dealers in the USA. 161 are Mercedes Benz dealers and the remainder is Freightliner dealers. About 80% of the 20,969 Sprinters sold in the USA in 2012 were Mercedes. The only difference between the Mercedes and Freightliner is the grille texture and badging. Prices are the same.
What is new for 2014? Front-end sheetmetal is the big news. A fresh pedestrian-friendly snout has been styled that is more Mercedes-like, but also more SUV-like. The grille opening is more aggressive. The headlamps are more stylish and more contemporary. The whole front end goes better with the new Mercedes family style.
AutoPacific’s Ideal Vehicle Award (IVA) recognizes the vehicle that best hits the target its buyers demand. Winning an IVA shows the product planners, engineers and designers of the manufacturer understand what their target customers want and have created the vehicle to best meet their demands.
S-Class Dominates Porsche Panamera for IVA Win: The 2012 Mercedes-Benz S-Class comes closest to the ideal of any vehicle – car or truck. In the Premium Luxury Car class, the S-Class out-points the second place Porsche Panamera by 72 rating points. Having eighty-percent or more of owners rating a characteristic ideal is outstanding. Getting a score of ninety-percent is even more impressive. Ninety-percent or more of S-Class owners rate these characteristics ideal: exterior size, interior lighting, passenger roominess, driver’s seat comfort, ride and handling, tires and ease of getting in and out. Eighty-percent or more of S-Class owners find these additional characteristics ideal: driver’s seat visibility, cargo space, exterior styling, wheels, power and acceleration, interior storage features, safety features.
The Mercedes S-Class also won AutoPacific’s 2012 Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Best In Class Premium Luxury Car.
Infotainment System – The Only Close Miss for the 2012 S-Class: The only feature S-Class owners weren’t enthralled with was the infotainment and entertainment system. With 79% of the respondents saying the system was ideal in the S-Class, this was a close miss. About 17% of S-Class owners would like more/better infotainment technology than they have now.
You can find an Autobytel review of this IVA award winner at http://www.autobytel.com/auto-news/awards/consumer-s-ideal-cars-revealed-in-2012-iva-awards-112116/
For a complete summary of all AutoPacific 2012 Ideal Vehicle Award results contact firstname.lastname@example.org and title your email “IVA Results”. A copy of the results will be emailed to you within 48-hours.
Mercedes-Benz GL350 BlueTEC
Mercedes’ (@mbusa) top of the line SUV, the 7-passenger GL (#2013GL-Class), is new for 2013. As the top selling premium luxury sport utility vehicle, GL certainly is a healthy profit contributor to parent company Daimler AG. Built at Mercedes-Benz Tuscaloosa, Alabama assembly plant, 53% of GL production is sold in the United States. The 2013 GL is the second generation GL and continues to be derived from the platform that also underpins the 5-passenger ML. About 80% of the GL is all new for its second generation. We had a chance to drive several versions of the new GL at its global press preview in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Best in Class 2012 Aspirational Luxury Car: Mercedes-Benz C-Class
2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Wins AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Award
The top satisfying car in the Aspirational Luxury Car Class for 2012 is the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The C-Class wins not by achieving top scores in many categories in AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Award research, but by having a solid performance in most. It is top rated in only one category, Cupholder Design and Size. While this may seem very minor, it is rare for a German vehicle to even think of having a good cupholder. With a possible high score of 5.0 on each of 48 characteristics, owners of the C-Class rated the car 4.7 or higher on several, including: Overall Satisfaction, Vehicle’s Reputation, Brand’s Reputation, Exterior Color, Exterior Styling, Fun to Drive, Reliable/Dependable, Feeling Safe While Driving, Safety Features, and Overall Quality. The lowest satisfaction from owners of the C-Class were in fuel economy, rear seat comfort, cargo capacity and flexible seating.
The flagship sedan market today probably has the most competitive set of entries we’ve seen in years. The Audi A8, Jaguar XJ, BMW 7 Series, Lexus LS460 and the Mercedes-Benz S-Class all are eager to showcase just what the brand is about today and where technology is going in the next few years. They all have their own unique way to navigate between iPod playlists and the nearest Chipotle on the navigation screen. Some are better than others. Some have better audio systems than others. Some have more powerful powerful engines or sportier suspension tunings. Some just make people drool more than others. Once you dig in and realize how well respected the S-Class is around the world and look at the 2011 S550, you begin to understand what the hype is all about.
The E-Class is the top ranked Premium Luxury Car in AutoPacific’s 2011 Ideal Vehicle Research. Its owners indicate that there is little they would change about their new car with a few notable exceptions. They would like for the E-Class to be easier to get into and out of and they would like more room inside. They definitely want more power and would not sacrifice power for better fuel economy. They most like seat comfort, the car’s responsive handling and its styling. The E-Class handily wins its class outscoring the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 5-Series that were tied for second.
Hyundai delivered a pearl white 2011 Sonata Limited to our office today for evaluation purposes. By now, you’ve seen the car’s standout styling and maybe even asked yourself if YOU could see yourself driving a Hyundai. One thing’s for sure, they have come a long, long way and their hits just seem to keep coming.
In any case, I took the car at lunch to run an errand at the store. Ten minutes later, I returned to the strikingly styled Hyundai to find this under the windshield wiper. Yes, you are reading that right: it’s a flyer for a local Mercedes-Benz service and repair shop. I looked around for any Mercedes-Benz vehicles nearby, and there was only one – a black GL450 SUV. Indeed, that was the only other car in sight that also had that flyer on its windshield.
In other words, the new Hyundai Sonata got mistaken for a Mercedes-Benz (probably the CLS)…by a representative of a Mercedes-Benz repair shop! If that isn’t ringing endorsement of the Sonata’s new duds, I don’t know what is.
One big difference between the Sonata and the CLS (other than many tens of thousands of dollars)…the Sonata actually has a big and spacious interior that you can easily get in and out of!