Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler AG has announced that it will offer a carbon-neutral model lineup by 2039, only 20 years from today.
The German automaker already provides environmentally-focused buyers plenty of green offerings, including 48-volt hybrid EQ-Boost models such as the CLS, E-Class Coupe, E-Class Cabriolet and upcoming GLE 580 4MATIC, as well as plug-in hybrid entries such as the GLC 350e 4MATIC, S560e, etcetera, and will follow these up soon with the mid-sized all-electric EQC crossover SUV, plus a smaller compact battery-electric car based on 2018’s Concept EQA, so they’re well on the way.
Still, Mercedes’ new plan is amongst the most ambitious in the auto industry, and therefore is appropriately called Ambition2039. The company plans to electrify 50 percent of its new vehicles by 2030, with its fleet comprised of hybrids, plug-in hybrids and fully electric models.
“Let’s be clear what this means for us: a fundamental transformation of our company within less than three product cycles,” stated Ola Källenius, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars since the baton was passed over to him by his predecessor, Dieter Zetsche on May 22nd, 2019. “That’s not much time when you consider that fossil fuels have dominated our business since the invention of the car by Carl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler some 130 years ago. But as a company founded by engineers, we believe technology can also help to engineer a better future.”
Daimler made a major commitment to electrify its new vehicle range with an investment of $15.8 billion CAD ($11.7 billion USD) last year, promising to develop more than ten all-electric vehicles ahead of electrifying its entire Mercedes-Benz new car range.
In preparation to achieving this aspiring goal, Källenius committed Mercedes to working with all partners in an effort to minimize EV production costs as well as make improvements in range and performance, while the three-pointed star brand also projects diversifying its lineup of EVs to vans, trucks, and buses. Additionally, Daimler also plans to continue its investments into alternative technologies, including fuel cells, which it uses now in its GLC F-CELL, the world’s first electric vehicle to combine a fuel-cell and a plug-in battery, and expects to use in larger commercial applications like city buses.
Making its new vehicle lineup carbon-neutral only satisfies part of its agenda, mind you, because Daimler has targets on greening its production facilities too. In fact, it currently uses renewable energy for at its Factory 56 in Sindelfingen, with the result already being CO2 neutrality.
“In ‘Factory 56’, we are consistently implementing innovative technologies and processes across the board according to the key terms ‘digital, flexible, green’,” stated Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain. “We create a modern workspace with more attention to individual requirements of our employees. All in all, in ‘Factory 56’ we are significantly increasing flexibility and efficiency in comparison to our current vehicle assembly halls – and of course without sacrificing our top quality. In this way we are setting a new benchmark in the global automotive industry.”
The automaker added that each of its European factories would follow suit by 2022, pointing to its engine factory in Jawor, Poland as an example of more environmentally and economically efficient already, due to its use of renewable energies.
Also notable, the automaker is transitioning from a value chain to a value cycle, being that Mercedes models now incorporate an 85-percent potential-recycling ratio. Also, Daimler will assist its suppliers in reducing their carbon footprints.
“We prefer doing what our founders have done: They became system architects of a new mobility without horses. Today, our task is individual mobility without emissions,” said Källenius. “As a company founded by engineers, we believe technology can also help to engineer a better future.”
Porsche celebrated its 70th birthday by launching a sensational rendition of its first ever car, the 356 ‘No. 1’ Roadster from 1948, which immediately sent the prognostication crowd into a flurry…
Porsche celebrated its 70th birthday by launching a sensational rendition of its first ever car, the 356 ‘No. 1’ Roadster from 1948, which immediately sent the prognostication crowd into a flurry of future production model forecasts about the brilliant new 2018 911 Speedster Concept. Fortunately those claiming its imminent reality were proven correct in a recent announcement, and this 2019 911 Speedster is the result, now available to order for $312,500.
To clarify, the new 911 Speedster is a 2019 model, meaning that it rides on the outgoing 991 version of the much-lauded GT3 Coupe, not the upcoming internally code-named 992, or 2020 911 that’s been in the news lately.
It’s safe to say the 1,948 fortunate buyers who will begin receiving their limited edition Speedsters later this year won’t care one iota about its rolling stock, because the 991 remains a particularly attractive variation on the 911 theme, and this new Speedster possibly the most stunning of all.
What’s more, the GT3 Coupe it’s based on won’t arrive in 992 guise for quite some time, and therefore the only way to get a 500 horsepower 4.0-litre six stuffed behind the rear axle, capable of a lofty 9,000 rpm redline and solid 346 lb-ft of torque, is to choose a current GT3 or opt for the immediately collectable Speedster, the latter actually good for a slight increase to 502 horsepower thanks to throttle bodies from the GT3 R race car.
This results in a 4.0-second sprint from standstill to 100km/h, which is only 0.1 seconds off the blisteringly quick GT3’s time, while its top speed is claimed to be 310 km/h, 10 km/h slower than the GT3.
Factor in that the Speedster only gets Porsche’s GT Sport six-speed manual transmission, also pulled from the GT3 and saving four kilograms when compared to the seven-speed manual found in regular 911 models, and that acceleration time is even more impressive (paddle-shift operated dual-clutch automated gearboxes are usually quicker).
Along with the GT3 powertrain, which incidentally comes with dynamic engine mounts from the GT3, the Speedster also makes use of its agile race-spec chassis featuring a specially calibrated rear axle steering system, but that’s where the similarities end, with body alterations including lower cut front and side windows, two flying buttress-style “streamliners” formed from carbon fibre composite on the rear deck totally shielding the rear seats, a carbon fibre hood and front fenders, polyurethane front and rear fascias, and a lightweight manually operated cloth top.
Porsche was smart to gentrify this important feature for easier daily life, because the concept had a button-down tonneau cover that probably wouldn’t have gone over so well, while the Stuttgart company also removed the “X” markings on the headlights, which symbolized tape that was often used to stop potentially broken lenses from littering the racetrack with glass and puncturing tires; the deletion of the ‘50s-style gas cap found in the centre of the concept’s hood for quick refueling from overtop the tank; and a move to stock exterior mirror housings in place of the Talbot caps that were popular back when the 356 ruled the track. Classic 356 series enthusiasts can sigh a breath of relief that Porsche kept the gold-coloured “Speedster” lettering on the thick B-pillars and rear engine cover, however, but keep in mind you’ll only find them on an upgrade package (keep reading).
Just in case you missed all the carbon fibre noted earlier, the Speedster is as much about lightening loads as it is about power. In fact, the Speedster doesn’t even have standard air conditioning or an audio system (these are optional), but with performance as its sole goal it hits the road with a standard set of stronger, lightweight carbon ceramic brakes, featuring yellow six-piston aluminum monobloc fixed calipers up front and four-piston aluminium monobloc fixed calipers in the rear, these chopping a considerable 50 percent of weight from the regular 911’s cast iron discs. Circling the brakes are centre-lock Satin Black-painted 20-inch rims on UHP (Ultra High Performance) rubber.
The 911 Speedster’s interior gets the lightening treatment too, with new door panels featuring storage nets and door pulls instead of handles, while the standard black leather upholstery can be enhanced with red contrast stitching on the instrument panel and “Speedster” embroidered headrest badges. This upgrade also gets red door pulls, as well as a GT Sport steering wheel topped off with a red centre marker at 12 o’clock. The cabin also boasts a carbon fibre shift knob and doorsill treadplates, these latter items further improved with “Speedster” model designations.
The new 911 Speedster will can also be had with a Heritage Design Package, which looks much closer to the concept, as well as original 356 Speedsters from the 1950s. The package includes white front bumper and fender “arrows” over GT Silver Metallic exterior paint, plus the gold Speedster lettering noted earlier, and classic Porsche crests. Also, the racing-style number stickers on each side are optional, so if you don’t like them don’t worry, but if you do you can have Porsche customize them with your favourite number. Additionally, the Heritage cabin gets a few changes too, such as two-tone leather upholstery with an historic Porsche crest embroidered onto each headrest, while key trim pieces and the seatbacks come painted in body-colour.
If you’d like to add a Speedster to your collection, make sure to contact your local Porsche retailer quickly, and while you’re waiting for it to arrive, check out the duo of videos below:
The new Porsche 911 Speedster: First Driving Footage (1:13):
The new Porsche 911 Speedster: Highlight Film (2:10):
It was just last fall that we reported on the sensational Porsche 911 GT2 RS MR setting a street-legal lap record at the famed Nürburgring Norschleife, which only remained beaten by Porsche’s own 919…
It was just last fall that we reported on the sensational Porsche 911 GT2 RS MR setting a street-legal lap record at the famed Nürburgring Norschleife, which only remained beaten by Porsche’s own 919 Hybrid EVO modified World Endurance Championship (WEC) race car, and now the world’s most successful sports car manufacturer has set a new production vehicle record on the highly challenging Road America circuit in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
The 6.5-km (4.04-mile), 14-turn road course combines plenty of high-speed straights, radically sharp corners and a fair number of elevation changes, and is therefore the perfect play area for any Porsche 911, although it’s even more ideal for the track-dominating 2019 911 GT2 RS.
In an attempt to remove the Road America lap record mantle from a GT2 RS privateer that laid down a scorching 2:17.04 banker last year, the 700 horsepower GT2 RS stole the limelight with a new record-setting time of 2:15.17 minutes, slicing almost two seconds (1.87 sec) off the previous lap record.
Making the day even more interesting, Porsche also showed what its 911 GT3 RS could do on the same track with the same driver, 24 Hours of Daytona and Le Mans class winner David Donohue. Despite being almost 200 horsepower less potent than the GT2 RS, yet given an even more alluring soundtrack thanks to a higher revving engine that nears 9,000 rpm at full song, the 911 GT3 RS pulled off a Road America lap time of 2:18.57 minutes, and needed just three laps to do so, which was one lap shy of what the GT2 RS required.
While tracking nearly four seconds off the pace would certainly look like a massive gap if the two cars were racing each other simultaneously, the GT3 RS’ ability to stay as close as it did on a track with such long straights and numerous 90-degree turns says a lot about its cornering prowess.
Both the GT2 and GT3 RS were shod with road-legal, Porsche-approved Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R N0 tires, which are optional upgrades for RS owners, while this event’s lap time was recorded and validated by Racelogic, as was the vehicle telemetry.
Also notable, this 911 GT2 RS set another production car racetrack record at the even more circuitous Road Atlanta circuit in Braselton, Georgia last month with Randy Pobst at the wheel, this time delivering a lap time of only 1:24.88 minutes, which outpaced the previous record-setting Corvette ZR1 by almost 2 seconds, as well as the previously noted Porsche 911 GT3 RS by 1.36 seconds.
It seems like Porsche is smashing global track records at an unprecedented pace lately, no doubt because of this car’s eventual retirement when the all-new 2020 911 arrives later this year. Then again, being that a new GT2 RS based on the redesigned 911 is probably not going to arrive anytime soon, we’ll likely see more broken track records by the current model in the coming months.
While we’re waiting for these to make news, make sure to check out our comprehensive photo gallery of the 911 GT2 RS and 911 GT3 RS on the Road America and Road Atlantic tracks above, plus in-car videos of these record-breaking events below:
Porsche 911 GT2 RS sets production car lap record at Road America – David Donohue onboard camera (2:25):
911 GT3 RS completes Road America lap in just 2:18,57 minutes (2:28):
Porsche 911 GT2 RS Record Lap at Road Atlanta – Highlight Film with Randy Pobst Onboard Camera (2:18):
Porsche 911 GT2 RS sets production car lap record at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta (1:39):
Onboard video of the 911 GT3 RS at the Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta (1:36):
Ask most Canadians to name an electric car and Toyota’s Prius will more often than not get the credit, but the true global EV leader is Nissan’s Leaf. The Prius isn’t actually an electric vehicle,…
Ask most Canadians to name an electric car and Toyota’s Prius will more often than not get the credit, but the true global EV leader is Nissan’s Leaf.
The Prius isn’t actually an electric vehicle, but rather a hybrid that still relies on a gasoline-powered internal combustion engine to get it from point A to B, while using its battery and electric motor for very low-speed (less than 20 km/h), short-distance travel (parking lots) as well as supplemental power to reduce fuel consumption and therefore improve emissions. Toyota now produces a plug-in hybrid dubbed Prius Prime that allows longer EV-mode distances at higher speeds, but its consumer take-rate has been very modest, while the automaker has no full EV available in our market.
The Nissan Leaf, on the other hand, is 100-percent electric, relying solely on its battery and electric motor for propulsion, and therefore requiring regular refills from home and/or public charging stations, instead of the local gas station like the Prius. Where the Prius has long been the world’s best-selling hybrid, the Leaf is similarly dominant when it comes to electric vehicles, having delivered more than 390,000 units since it arrived on the market in 2010.
Wanting to make sure it holds onto that leadership title, Canadians can now purchase the 2019 Leaf with its regular battery as well as with a more potent powertrain featuring stronger acceleration and greater range. The regular Leaf will continue to use a 40-kWh battery and 110-kW (147-horsepower) electric motor resulting in 243 kilometres of estimated driving distance per complete charge, and will also remain the model’s value leader at $40,698. The new Leaf Plus, however, will house a 62-kWh battery within its floorboards, connecting through to a 160 kW (214 hp) electric motor for an estimated 363 km of range, starting at $43,998.
“With the addition of LEAF PLUS, the Nissan LEAF is now available with two battery options and a choice of four trim levels – each featuring the many advanced technologies offered under the banner of Nissan Intelligent Mobility,” said Steve Rhind, director of marketing, Nissan Canada Inc.
To clarify, the 2019 Leaf is available in four trims as of April, including the just noted $40,698 Leaf SV, the $43,998 Leaf S Plus, the $46,598 Leaf SV Plus, and finally the $49,498 Leaf SL Plus, along with a $1,950 freight charge added across the line.
This means the regular Leaf S that was available as a 2019 model mid-way through last year and earlier this year for just $36,798 ($3,900 less than the new base model), and the regular Leaf SL that added features like leather upholstery (actually two-tone black and grey perforated leather and microfibre-like Bio Suede PET cloth), an Intelligent Around View Monitor, Driver Attention Alert, seven-speaker Bose premium audio, turn signal repeaters integrated within the side mirror caps, and more for just $42,698, will no longer be available for order in Canada (they’re still offered in the U.S.), although you may still be able to find them at your local dealer.
An upcharge of $5,900 for more power and approximately 120 km (or about 50-percent) more range might seem like a steep ask for what is basically the same car in mid-range Leaf SV trim, but it’s important to note the non-powertrain/charging system differences between the regular base Leaf and Leaf Plus trims.
For instance, buyers opting for the new Leaf S Plus receive a modified front fascia design integrating unique blue highlights, an “e+” logo plate on the underside of the charge port lid, and new rear badges depending on trim level, while additional standard upgrades include Intelligent Forward Collision Warning (I-FCW), Rear Door Alert (that reminds if something or someone has been left in the back seat when arriving at your destination), and a one-inch larger centre touchscreen measuring 8.0 inches diagonally (the base 5.0-inch display is no longer available).
It should also be noted that both regular Leaf SV and Leaf S Plus models now fill their infotainment systems with standard navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio, and more, but only SV trims offer voice recognition, NissanConnect EV (for remotely connecting via your smartphone), two more audio speakers for a total of six, and more.
Also notable, the $3,300 less expensive Leaf SV adds 17-inch alloy wheels compared to 16-inch alloys with the Leaf S Plus, as well as fog lamps, an electromechanical parking brake (instead of a foot-operated one), an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a Homelink universal remote, an eight-way powered driver’s seat with two-way power lumbar support, a cargo cover, and a host of advanced driver assistive systems such as Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection (which inherently includes the SV Plus model’s Intelligent Forward Collision Warning), High Beam Assist, Intelligent Cruise Control with Full Speed Range and Hold, ProPILOT Assist semi-autonomous self-driving, Steering Assist, Blind Spot Warning, Intelligent Lane Intervention, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and more.
The list of features just noted is also standard with the new Leaf SV Plus, while a shortlist of luxury items covered earlier in this story, when mentioning the now outgoing Leaf SL, also gets pulled up to new Leaf SL Plus trim, albeit with a sizeable price difference of $6,800 due to its performance and range improvements.
This is a good time to explain that many EV owners look at range performance in a similar light to how traditional car buyers might be willing to pay more for quicker straight-line acceleration and better at-the-limit handling. Either way, the new Leaf Plus is “ensuring that there’s a Nissan LEAF to meet the driving needs of a wider range of customers,” stated a press release.
With respect to those more traditional performance conventions, despite hitting the scales at 1,737 kilos (3,831 lbs) instead of 1,580 kg (3,483 lbs), thenew Leaf Plus is 13 percent quicker off the line than the regular Leaf, which Nissan says will allow its drivers to “confidently pass slower-moving vehicles, exit corners faster and more seamlessly, and merge easily with fast-moving traffic.” What’s more, the Leaf Plus’ top speed is 10 percent higher, which Nissan says is beneficial “for comfortable cruising.”
Many will find its faster charging capability an even better reason to ante up for the Leaf Plus. It comes with a new standard 100kW-capacity quick charging system that allows more efficient charging of up to 80-percent in only 45 minutes (according to the Nissan Canada’s retail website). If you can only find a 75-kW DC quick charger it will take just 5 minutes longer (50 minutes) to reach that 80-percent total, or an hour with a 50-kW DC quick charger (the regular Leaf needs about 40 minutes for an 80-percent charge with the same 50-kW DC quick charger, but can’t hook up to either 75-kW or 100-kW DC faster chargers).
Lastly, a regular 240-volt home charging station will completely fill the new Leaf Plus’ battery after approximately 11.5 hours, which is only 3.5 hours more than the regular Leaf requires, and take note the Leaf Plus can also receive an extra 35 km of range after about 60 minutes of being plugged into this less potent charging station.
Utilizing resources in mind, both Nissan EVs are incredibly efficient, with their energy equivalent ratings measuring 1.9 Le/100km in the city and 2.4 on the highway for the regular Leaf, or 2.1 Le/100km city and 2.5 highway for the Leaf Plus. Of course, litres of gasoline never enter the picture, but the Le/100km rating can be used as a guide to help those new to electric vehicles understand how their energy consumption more directly compares with an equivalent gasoline-powered vehicle, and how the energy use of EVs compare to each other.
Also important, the more capable Leaf Plus battery doesn’t impact interior passenger or cargo volume one iota, with front and rear seating still generous in all dimensions, and the rear cargo area capable of swallowing up a sizeable 668 litres (23.6 cubic feet) with its 60/40-split rear seatbacks upright, and 849 litres (30.0 cubic feet) when they’re folded flat.
If saving a few thousand is more important to you and your budget than increasing performance and range, or alternatively purchasing a more luxurious Leaf SL for considerably less money, make sure to contact your local Nissan dealer as they may have regular 2019 Leaf S and SL stock still available. Then again, if the charging benefits, extended range and added performance of the new Leaf Plus appeal more, these new models are now starting to arrive at said retailers across Canada.
To learn more about all 2019 Nissan Leaf and Leaf Plus trims, packages and standalone options, including pricing on each, plus find out about available rebates and dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands, make sure to check out CarCostCanada.
An explanation for the uninitiated: “Polestar Engineered” is like Mercedes’ AMG or BMW’s M brands, but for Volvo. Yes, once staid and conservative Volvo has not only become a lot more dynamic…
An explanation for the uninitiated: “Polestar Engineered” is like Mercedes’ AMG or BMW’s M brands, but for Volvo.
Yes, once staid and conservative Volvo has not only become a lot more dynamic in recent years, but also has a performance division. Polestar was born and bread in motorsport, just like its German counterparts, and having already provided an assortment of go-fast models in previous generation S60 and V60 models, is now doing the same with Volvo’s updated lineup.
“At Volvo Car Canada, we are very excited about the addition of the new Polestar Engineered products in our portfolio,” said Alexander Lvovich, Managing Director, Volvo Car Canada Ltd. “Polestar always played a special role in the Volvo business in Canada, as in the last 2 years we achieved one of the highest levels of Polestar optimized product sales in the world. We plan to fully capitalize on this upcoming opportunity to strengthen both Volvo and Polestar brands in Canada.”
Its most recent project was based on the 2019 Volvo S60, but the S60 T8 Polestar Engineered (as it was called) sold out before most of us even knew it existed. Now we have word from Volvo Canada’s Richmond Hill, Ontario office that new Polestar Engineered variants of the V60 sport wagon and XC60 compact crossover SUV are on the way for the 2020 model year, which should cause those in the know to get pretty excited.
For starters, the new Polestar Engineered duo are once again based on Volvo’s turbocharged, supercharged and electrified T8 Twin-Engine Plug-in Hybrid AWD powertrain, which is sport-tuned to make 415 horsepower and 494 lb-ft of torque, 15 horsepower and 22 lb-ft of torque more than the regular T8 powertrain.
Thanks to software updates, torque arrives earlier making throttle response quicker for more immediate response to input, while more of that twist targets the rear wheels for greater performance feel. To be clear, along with the boosted 2.0-litre four-cylinder, the T8 drivetrain combines an electric motor at each end of the vehicle for a total of two, while its battery pack is fed in both traditional hybrid form and via plug.
Along with the handling benefits of a rear-wheel bias, performance will be further enhanced via an Öhlins-produced strut bar under the hood to aid body rigidity and allow for “more precise and responsive control,” says Volvo in a press release, while the Swedish-based suspension technology brand also designed adjustable dampers for the new models, featuring dual flow valves that respond “quickly to road imperfections.”
Additionally, traditional Polestar gold-coloured six-piston Brembo calipers add stopping power, while lightweight 19-inch forged alloy wheels, unique on all three Polestar Engineered S60, V60 and XC60 models, have been designed to provide freer cooling to those upgraded brakes.
Polestar Engineered models don’t receive the same level of visual stimulation as their aforementioned German competitors, which may help them slide under the radar both figuratively and literally, with styling enhancements including a high-gloss black grille, extended wheel arches, black chrome tailpipes, plus “discreet” Polestar badges front and back.
Following a similar theme inside, the two Polestar models will get a special leather-clad sport steering wheel and shifter, metal mesh aluminum inlays, plus signature gold seatbelts over unique charcoal-coloured Nappa leather and “open-grid” textile upholstered seats.
The V60 T8 Polestar Engineered and XC60 T8 Polestar Engineered will arrive as early 2020 models this summer, so if interested make sure to let your local Volvo retailer know.
Mercedes’ CLA has been a strong seller in its subcompact luxury segment since being introduced to Canadians in 2013, dueling it out with Audi’s A3 for top spot while up against its own B-Class, Acura’s…
Mercedes’ CLA has been a strong seller in its subcompact luxury segment since being introduced to Canadians in 2013, dueling it out with Audi’s A3 for top spot while up against its own B-Class, Acura’s ILX, BMW’s 2 Series, and others in a traditional car category that’s now under threat by an ever-burgeoning class of subcompact luxury SUVs.
Still, while Mercedes-Benz has always offered a bevy of industry segment stalwarts, it’s also become the brand of micro-niches, having invented the four-door coupe body style, so it would be highly unusual behaviour for its leadership to say so long to its plentiful car lineup just because its utilities are currently experiencing more growth. After all, Mercedes has been around longer than most of its competitors, and therefore has endured all the trends the automotive industry has ever weathered.
Speaking of endurance, or lack therefore, Lexus said goodbye to the entry-level luxury car market by cancelling its CT, Acura hasn’t bothered to update its ILX in too long to remember, everyone’s still wondering if BMW will ever offer North Americans anything in this class with four doors, and all other premium brands haven’t even bothered showing up at all, but take note that Mercedes has been selling its brand new A-Class Hatchback for two months already, and plans to add the completely new A-Class Sedan that more specifically targets the most popular four-door version of the segment-leading A3 (and will become the most affordable Mercedes model) later this year, while the fall of 2019 will also see the arrival of a fully redesigned CLA-Class four-door coupe that promises a serious move up the desirability ladder, not that the current model is particularly lacking.
“With the first CLA we celebrated a huge success by selling some 750,000 vehicles and created a totally new segment with a four-door coupe in the compact class,” says Britta Seeger, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Mercedes-Benz Cars Marketing & Sales.
Of those new CLA buyers in Canada, more than two thirds were new to Mercedes-Benz at the height of the model’s popularity, while also important, these new Mercedes owners averaged seven years younger than the brand’s typical customer at the time. Starting this fall, Mercedes will offer Canadian entry-level luxury consumers the choice of three recently redesigned or all-new subcompact car and SUV models (four if you split the A-Class into its hatchback and sedan body styles, and five if you count any potentially remaining stock of B-Class models still around when Mercedes wraps up its tenure at the close of this model year), the CLA being the sportiest, most expressive of the bunch, and many of these customers will likely move up to pricier more profitable models within the automaker’s lineup as their careers and personal finances progress.
“The new CLA is even more emotional and sportier than its predecessor,” added Seeger. “Coupled with new operating systems, it sets a new benchmark for the entire class.”
First shown at Las Vegas’ Consumer Electronics Show (CES) earlier this year, an apropos venue considering the ultra-advanced MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment interface that together with the integrated digital instrument cluster covers more than half the dash top, the new CLA looks a bit more grown up thanks to a more serious, almost frowning and forward-slanting M-B sport grille which, in its release, Mercedes claims is “reminiscent of a shark’s nose.”
The new grille, found ahead of a longer hood topped with classic Mercedes “powerdomes”, is flanked by sharper, narrower and more complex LED Multibeam headlamps featuring 18 individually-controllable LEDs, all of which is underscored by additional complexity in the lower front fascia, while the updated model sees more muscular lower haunches and its greenhouse moved rearward for a more traditional GT profile. It continues this grand touring tradition with squarer more conventional trunk cutout as part of a revised rear end design featuring narrower, more horizontal LED taillights that sit higher up above the back bumper and therefore add more visual width to the design, its slipperier sheet metal registering a wind-cheating 0.23 coefficient of drag.
“As a four-door coupe, the new CLA intrigues with its puristic, seductive design and sets new standards in the design DNA of ‘sensual purity’. It impresses with its perfect proportions reflecting the first design sketch: a long, stretched hood, a compact greenhouse, a wide track with exposed wheel arches and our typical GT rear with a strong distinctive ‘Coke-bottle shoulder’,” said Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer of Daimler AG. “In short, the CLA Coupe has the potential to become a modern design icon.”
Inside, it’s easy to see that Mercedes is targeting the younger market mentioned earlier, thanks to an edgy, sporty look including bright colours, plus those all-in-one digital displays that are large enough to cause screen envy amongst owners of the latest Apple, Microsoft and Samsung tablets. That fixed freestanding gauge cluster and central widescreen display unit eliminates the need for a cowl to shield instruments, with the rest of the completely dash panel including a sporty paddle-shifter-infused leather-wrapped flat-bottom steering wheel ahead of the driver, a very narrow, near retro HVAC interface at centre, and an uncluttered floating-style lower console featuring Mercedes’ exclusive palm rest and new infotainment touchpad controller within easy reach. Only the circular dash-mounted air vents appear carryover, but of course their “avant-garde” turbine-like jet-engine design is entirely new and particularly striking.
That MBUX infotainment system, which debuted in the new A-Class a year ago, after a similar system was first integrated into the E-Class, is more than just a very large pretty interface with impressive high-resolution graphics capable of Augmented Reality navigation and fully customizable displays, it also provides serious computing power with integrated software that can even “learn and respond to natural speech,” says Mercedes.
This will be good news to anyone who has ever been frustrated by the majority of voice recognition systems past and current, which need very precise and often not intuitively thought out commands. Instead, Mercedes’ voice assistant reportedly communicates similarly to Amazon’s Alexa system, only needing an occupant to say “Hey Mercedes” in order to prompt any number of functions via less direct questions, plus it’s smart enough to recognize the person asking the question, rather than others in the car that might be having a separate conversation.
“The latest version of voice control for MBUX – the Mercedes-Benz User Experience – can be experienced in the new CLA. For example, the voice assistant ‘Hey Mercedes’ is able to recognize and answer considerably more complex queries,” said Sajjad Khan, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars for CASE and Head of Digital Vehicle & Mobility. “What’s more, the voice assistance no longer gets confused by other passenger’s conversations. Instead it only responds to the commands of the person who last said ‘Hey Mercedes’ to activate the system.”
According to Mercedes, the updated voice assistant is now capable of recognizing and responding to more complicated questions than previous voice recognition systems offered, citing the example, “Find Italian restaurants with at least four stars that are open for lunch but exclude pizza shops.”
MBUX can also cover a broader range of topics than previous hands-free voice systems, with an example of a sports query being, “Hey Mercedes, How did the Toronto Raptors play?” The question, “How has the Apple share price performed compared to Microsoft?” may be more concerning to Mercedes drivers these days however, stock market information being one of the subjects MBUX is well versed in. Alternatively, maybe you need a simple calculation performed while driving. Mercedes’ example might be a bit rudimentary for anyone old enough to be behind the wheel of the CLA, but possibly a child in the back seat might ask, “What is the square roof of 9?” or for that matter “How big is Texas?” when it comes to a general knowledge question, but it’s fair to expect that plenty of health-conscious Mercedes owners may want to ask, “What is the fat content of avocados?”
Also designed make life with a new CLA easier and more accommodating, the upcoming model grows by 48 millimetres (1.9 inches) to 4,688 mm (184.5 in) from nose to tail, and rides on a 30-mm (1.2-in) longer wheelbase that now measures 2,729 mm (107.4 in), while it’s also 53 mm (2.1 in) wider at 1,830 mm (72.0 in), not including the side mirrors, and fractionally (2 mm/0.1 in) lower overall at 1,439 mm (56.6 in).
According to yet more measurements provided, the result of its mostly increased exterior dimensions is a roomier and therefore more comfortable cabin, with front occupants getting 17 mm (0.6 in) more headroom, rear occupants benefiting from a hair’s-width (+3 mm/0.1 in) of additional head space, and width measurements experiencing the greatest improvement thanks to shoulder room up 9 and 22 mm (0.3 and 0.8 in) respectively front to back, and front to rear elbow room increasing by 35 and 44 mm (1.4 and 1.7 in) apiece.
Despite the new CLA’s longer wheelbase and greater overall length, front legroom is actually down by a millimetre while rear legroom grows by the same nominal measurement, plus the trunk is also surprisingly smaller, albeit by just 10 litres (0.3 cubic feet) to a nevertheless still commodious 460 litres (16.2 cu ft), but this said the load compartment opening’s width expands by a considerable 262 mm (10.3 in), while the load floor is now 113 mm (4.4 in) wider and 24 mm (0.9 in) deeper.
Under the opposing deck lid, the updated CLA will once again come standard with Mercedes’ 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, currently featuring 208 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque yet making the same twist and 13 horsepower of additional thrust in the new A-Class, which will more than likely be the go-to powerplant for this future CLA. It will come mated to the premium brand’s in-house developed and produced 7G-DCT twin-clutch automated transmission, while both front- and 4MATIC all-wheel drivetrains will be available. An AMG-powered version is expected after the base CLA 250 debuts, with performance that will likely match or exceed the current model’s 375 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque.
The new CLA’s increased width makes a difference to the chassis’ track too, widening it by a substantive 63-mm (2.5-in) up front and 55-mm (2.1-in) in back, while it also receives a reduced centre of gravity for what should be especially sporty driving dynamics. Suspension specifications include Mercedes’ Direct-Steer system and front hydromounts, plus a decoupled multi-link rear axle that minimizes noise, vibration and harshness levels, while larger stabilizer bars help reduce body lean when pushed hard. The standard tires should measure 225/45R18, with 225/40R19s being optional.
As with all new Mercedes-Benz passenger vehicles, plus most luxury competitors, advanced driver assistance systems play a big part in enhancing ease-of-use and safety, so the CLA will include standard Active Brake Assist automatic braking, and included in the optional Intelligent Drive Package is Active Lane Keep Assist that helps drivers remain centered in their chosen lane while also keeping them from wandering off the road, plus additionally it will include Pre-Safe Plus with rear traffic warning and automatic reverse braking.
The Intelligent Drive Package, pulled from the ultra-advanced Mercedes S-Class, does more than that, mind you, thanks to its ability to drive the CLA autonomously for short distances. This is a semi-autonomous system requiring “cooperative driver support,” says Mercedes, but in certain situations it can drive itself.
The redesigned 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA, which will be built at the Kecskemét assembly plant in Hungary, will arrive this coming fall, at which time it just might reclaim top spot in the subcompact luxury car hierarchy, although Mercedes’ more traditionally sedan-style A-Class will more than likely assume that position. After all, the more upright four-door will start at just $34,990 (see all new A-Class Hatchback and Sedan prices and features on CarCostCanada), about $4k less than the current CLA, so it has a significant advantage in the sales department. Still, with all the big upgrades made to the new CLA it should easily reclaim its loyal following while attracting a fresh set of adventurous newcomers to the Mercedes-Benz brand.
Until the new model arrives, be sure to check out our comprehensive photo gallery above and these six Mercedes-Benz-supplied videos below:
Mercedes-Benz CLA Coupé (2019): World Premiere | Trailer (1:21):
Mercedes-Benz CLA Coupé (2019) World Premiere at CES in Las Vegas | Re-Live (18:40):
Mercedes-Benz CLA Coupé (2019) World Premiere at CES | Highlights (1:50):
Mercedes-Benz CLA Coupé (2019): The Design (1:06):
Mercedes-Benz CLA Coupé (2019) and Jan Frodeno: In the Wind Tunnel (1:41):
Mercedes-Benz CLA Coupé (2019): Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) (1:03):
The Cayenne has long been respected as one of the sportiest crossover SUVs in the entire automotive industry, both in performance and styling, but that hardly held Porsche back from joining the crossover…
The Cayenne has long been respected as one of the sportiest crossover SUVs in the entire automotive industry, both in performance and styling, but that hardly held Porsche back from joining the crossover coupe fray, evidenced by the all-new 2020 Cayenne Coupe.
Prior to the Cayenne’s arrival in 2002, BMW’s X5 firmly held the sportiest SUV mantle, but at least from a design perspective the Bavarian automaker arguably took that title back in 2007 with the introduction of the X6 Sports Activity Coupe, a model that ushered in an entirely new niche market segment.
The brave albeit short-lived Acura ZDX quickly followed the X6 in 2009, after which came the Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class Coupe in 2015, the Lamborghini Urus in 2017, and the Audi Q8 last year.
Being that the latter two, along with Audi’s Q7, Bentley’s Bentayga, and Volkswagen’s own Touareg, share VW group’s MLBevo platform architecture, this Cayenne Coupe’s arrival was only a matter of time. More importantly, it could very well become the most successful of the three VW group luxury crossover coupes, let alone all others in this uniquely positioned slice of the luxury SUV market due to Porsche’s enormous brand power and seemingly forever rising star.
“The Coupé includes all the technical highlights of the current Cayenne, but has an even more dynamic design and new technical details that position it as more progressive, athletic, and emotional,” said Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG.
Whether you think of the new Coupe as a sportier Cayenne with less cargo space, or alternatively as a raised Panamera with a more rugged personality and better off-road prowess, the new model also provides Porsche with the opportunity to grow the size of its traditional Cayenne when the next generation arrives, if it so chooses, just like BMW has made its X5 more family friendly over the years, even adding a third row.
“The significantly more steep roof line that falls away to the rear makes the Cayenne Coupé appear even more dynamic, and positions it as the sportiest-looking model in the segment,” added Michael Mauer, Vice President Style Porsche.
To be clear, everything below the new Coupe’s 20-millimetre lower roofline, which includes a new front windscreen and shallower A pillars, is pretty much 2020 Cayenne, other than its much more tapered rear side windows, reshaped second-row doors, new rear quarter panels, and a revised back bumper, the latter of which now includes an integrated license plate holder. The result is a slight 19-mm (0.7-inch) increase in overall width, which along with the lower ride height adds to its more aggressive stance.
Additional Cayenne Coupe highlights include an adaptive rear deck lid spoiler, individual rear seats split by an open centre console bin, plus two different roof choices that include a standard 2.16-cubic-metre fixed glass panoramic sunroof with an integrated roller blind, or an optional carbon-fibre panel.
Like with the regular Cayenne, the Cayenne Coupe will be first to its market segment with an adaptive rear spoiler, the former SUV using a roof-mounted version for its top-line Turbo model. The active aerodynamic aid comes standard with the new Coupe, extending by 135 mm (5.3 inches) when the SUV hits 90 km/h. In addition, a smaller rooftop spoiler joins the active rear deck lid spoiler to optimize airflow. The system, which is dubbed Porsche Active Aerodynamics (PAA), both increases downforce on the rear axle to improve handling, and improves high-speed aero efficiency for less wind noise and better fuel economy.
Incidentally, if you want your Cayenne Coupe with a carbon roof you’ll need to opt for one of three lightweight sports packages, which also include various Sport Design features, special 22-inch GT Design wheels, classic hound’s-tooth Pepita checked fabric seat inserts, plus carbon and suede-like Alcantara interior accents. Additionally, the Cayenne Coupe Turbo gets a sport exhaust system.
That upgraded exhaust manages waste gases for the same twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 engine as the regular Cayenne SUV, which is good for 541 horsepower and 567 pound-feet of torque. With an official zero to 100km/h sprint time of 3.9 seconds the new Cayenne Coupe Turbo’s acceleration will only be bested by the aforementioned 650-horsepower Lamborghini Urus that manages the feat in just 3.6 seconds, leaving the 567-horsepower X6 M and 577-horsepower AMG-Mercedes GLE 63 S Coupe needing 4.2 seconds apiece to achieve the same feat. Of note, the smaller 503-horsepower AMG-Mercedes GLC 63 S Coupe zips from standstill to 100km/h in just 3.8 seconds, while the identically powerful BMW X4 M requires 4.1 seconds to hit the same mark. Incidentally, the Cayenne Coupe Turbo gets a claimed terminal velocity of 286 km/h.
If you’re wondering where Audi’s new Q8 fits into the realm of slant-back SUVs, with one sole 335 horsepower turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 at its beck and call it’s clearly targeting the entry-level portion of the mid-size luxury sport utility coupe segment, and to that end the new base Cayenne Coupe comes fitted with identical output to the Audi, plus the same as found in the standard Cayenne.
The entry model’s turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 is therefore good for 335 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque, which allows for a 6.0-second run from naught to 100km/h in standard guise, or 5.9 seconds with one of its lightweight sports packages—the Sport Chrono Package comes standard across the entire Cayenne Coupe line. Interestingly, Porsche claims 5.9 seconds to 100km/h for the regular base Cayenne when fitted with its Sport Chrono Package, which actually makes it 0.1 seconds quicker than the new Coupe. Likewise, the base Cayenne has a top speed of 245 km/h, whereas the entry-level Coupe’s terminal velocity is a claimed 243-km/h. Splitting hairs? Of course, but that’s par for the course in this high-priced, high-performance game.
Additional standard equipment on the new Coupe includes speed-sensitive Power Steering Plus, Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), and 20-inch alloy wheels, all costing more with the regular Cayenne.
Pricing in mind, the 2020 Cayenne Coupe will start at $86,400 plus freight and fees, whereas the Cayenne Coupe Turbo will be available from $148,000.
Other notable changes from regular Cayenne to Coupe form include a sportier set of eight-way power-adjustable performance seats with more pronounced side bolsters, while rear passengers will sit 30 mm (1.18 inches) lower to allow for extra headroom.
As noted earlier, that tapered roofline also negatively impacts the Cayenne Coupe’s cargo capacity, but it’s only off by 145 litres (5.1 cubic feet) compared to the regular Cayenne, the base Coupe good for 625 litres (22.0 cu ft) behind its 40/20/40 split-folding rear seatbacks and the larger model capable of 770 litres (27.2 cu ft). Lowering the second row opens up 1,540 litres (54.4 cu ft) of gear-toting space compared to 1,710 litres (60.4 cu ft) with the regular Cayenne, for a difference of just 170.0 litres (6.0 cu ft), which means the new Coupe is almost as practical as the regular Cayenne.
Of note, the Cayenne Turbo Coupe’s cargo capacity drops by 25 litres (0.9 litres) to 600 litres (21.2 cu ft) with the rear seats upright, and by 30 litres (1.0 cu-ft) to 1,510 litres (53.3 cu ft) when folded. Also notable, current Panamera owners tempted by the new Cayenne Coupe will find 125 litres (4.4 cu ft) of additional luggage space when comparing base models, while those with the Panamera Sport Turismo will gain 105 litres (3.7 cu ft) of extra cargo carrying capacity.
The new 2020 Cayenne Coupe will be arriving in Porsche dealerships later this year, but preordering will make certain you’ll be first in line.
And while you’re waiting, make sure to check out our comprehensive photo gallery above (we’ve got all the images and pictographs on offer) as well as all of the latest videos below:
The new Porsche Cayenne Coupe – Design Film (1:33):
The new Porsche Cayenne Coupe – First Driving Footage (0:59):
The new Porsche Cayenne Coupe – Shaped by Performance (1:44):
The new Porsche Cayenne Coupe – Highlight Film (1:55):
The new Porsche Cayenne Turbo Coupe – First Driving Footage (1:00):
Who isn’t excited to see the new 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera on the road, let alone experience one first hand? While the latest sports car of sports cars might look to some like a mild makeover of a classic…
Who isn’t excited to see the new 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera on the road, let alone experience one first hand? While the latest sports car of sports cars might look to some like a mild makeover of a classic design, it’s a radical departure to those who live and breathe Porsche.
Most applaud its fresh new styling, although some have criticized its backside when its attractively tapered deck lid transforms into a rather unorthodox rear wing, but no matter how much you like or dislike the car’s design, the method behind Porsche’s madness is hard to argue against.
Less noticeable than the protruding rear wing are a set of active shutters that hide within the front corner grilles, which open above 70 km/h to minimize aerodynamic drag, while at 90 km/h the just noted rear spoiler gets raised into its most fuel efficient Eco position to once again reduce air resistance, although the aero system’s purpose changes from eco stewardship to maximum speed and grip at 170 km/h, when the front shutters open and the rear spoiler moves farther upward into its Performance position.
What’s more, as part of this Performance position the PASM (Porsche Active Suspension Management) sport chassis automatically drops down by 10 millimetres in order to improve its aero efficiency further, this sole feature adding four seconds per lap to the 911’s Nürburgring performance.
The 911’s adaptive aero also adjusts for new Wet mode, plus the active rear spoiler will literally spring into action when emergency braking is needed by automatically canting farther upward into its “Air Brake” mode, adding downward pressure over the rear wheels for greater braking grip.
How does it work? Like the previous 911, the new model’s sculpted body panels provide precise paths for oncoming air to flow overtop, underneath and around the entire car so as to minimize drag and maximize downforce, a balancing act that’s always challenging to perfect, but the new 911’s adaptive aerodynamics take it a step further by letting that air vent into the front corner intakes, pass through each radiator, and then flow around the front wheels like an air curtain in order to reduce turbulence.
This airflow continues along the 911’s doors before moving up and over the rear fenders into the engine vents mounted below the rear window, which feeds the 3.0-litre, twin-turbocharged horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine’s new air-to-air intercoolers, after which it gets directed down and out rear vents at each side of the back bumper.
For a more visual insight, make sure to watch the video provided by Porsche below, and don’t forget to check out the photo gallery above, where we’ve included some close up shots of the rear wing as well as some illustrations of frontal and rear airflow.