Mercedes-Benz Renames Much of its Lineup


It seems to be happening all the time in the auto industry. A manufacturer just isn't happy with its vehicles' names, especially when it wants to add new, additional models to the lineup.

Related: Cadillac Changes All Model Names To Alphanumeric, Starts With CT6, etc.

Mercedes-Benz is the latest to do the ole name switcheroo in advance of this year's auto show season. While the company's sedans will continue as-is, that can't be said of its SUV and sports car lineup.

By David Thomas | November 11, 2014 | Comments (5)

Top 10 Features for Showoffs


Prefacing any great show-off moment is the phrase, "Hey, watch this." That's what editors imagined when picking the greatest show-off features in new cars. What's surprising is the sheer number of over-the-top features surely wild enough to impress even the most non-interested parties. Want to set off car alarms in a parking garage or attract the attention of everyone who sets eyes on your car up to a mile away? This list has what it takes to be the center of attention.

By Joe Bruzek | October 13, 2014 | Comments (3)

Recall Alert: 2014 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class and SLK-Class


Vehicles Affected: Approximately 300 model-year 2014 versions of the SLK250, SLK350, SLK55 AMG, SL550, SL63 AMG and SL65 AMG vehicles manufactured March 19 through May 5, 2014

The Problem: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is reporting that an airbag assembly error could prevent the front passenger airbag from properly deploying.

The Fix: Dealers will inspect and replace the front passenger airbag for free.

What Owners Should Do: Parts for the fix aren't yet available, but Mercedes-Benz says they should be by the end of this month and the automaker will send a second notice when they're ready. NHTSA advises owners not to place a passenger or other items in the passenger seat until the airbag is fixed. Owners can call Mercedes-Benz at 800-367-6372 or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at 888-327-4236 for more information.

Need to Find a Dealer for Service? Go to Service & Repair to find your local dealer.

More Recalls

By Jennifer Geiger | July 17, 2014 | Comments (2)

The Top 10 Smallest Recalls of 2013


We recently counted down the top 10 biggest recalls reported by KickingTires in the first half of 2013. This week, we're out to show it's not always size that counts.

As we demonstrated last time out, among the many millions of vehicles for which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issues recalls each year, individual actions themselves can number in the millions — as was the case when Chrysler agreed to inspect and repair 2.7 million Jeep SUVs due to a potential fuel-system problem that could cause fires in rear-end collisions.

At the other end of the spectrum are recalls so small — single-digits-small — that in some cases it might be quicker for us just to shoot an email to the individual vehicle owners than it is to report it. Don't get us wrong; safety recalls are serious business and have the potential to save many lives each year. That said, some households have as many cars parked in their driveway right now as are affected by some recalls.

Without further ado, the smallest recalls reported by so far in 2013 are:

By Matt Schmitz | July 29, 2013 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 2013 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class

Mercedes-Benz is recalling 71 model-year 2013 versions of the SLK250 and SLK350 roadsters due to a problem with the airbag occupant classification system, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The affected vehicles were manufactured from Oct. 9 through Nov. 20, 2012; check your vehicle's build date on driver-side doorjamb sticker. In these cars, the OCS incorrectly classifies a very light person as being a child and deactivates the airbag. This increases the risk of injury to the passenger in the event of a crash.  

Mercedes-Benz will start notifying all affected owners this month, and dealers will replace the passenger side seat cushion and the OCS for free. Owners can call Mercedes-Benz at 800-367-6372 or NHTSA's vehicle safety hotline at 888-327-4236 for more info.

Research the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class
More Safety News
Check Out Other Recalls

By Jennifer Geiger | June 13, 2013 | Comments (0) Reviews the 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class
Since its debut in 1996, the Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class has been a model that looks better than it drives, according to Industry Analyst Kelsey Mays. The third-generation 2012 SLK-Class is certainly sportier than its predecessor, but it still can’t keep up with the BMW Z4 or the Porsche Boxster, Mays says.

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class Review

By Colin Bird | November 30, 2011 | Comments (0) Podcast: 2012 Honda Civic Si, 2012 Nissan Altima, 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK

Our podcasts are often a mixed bag in terms of discussing various cars for very different buyers. That holds true with this podcast where editors Joe Wiesenfelder, Kelsey Mays and Mike Hanley talk about a high-power compact coupe, mainstream family sedan and luxury hardtop roadster.

Download via iTunes
Download MP3

By David Thomas | November 28, 2011 | Comments (1)

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG: First Look

2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG

  • Competes with: BMW M3 convertible, Audi TTS roadster
  • Looks like: AMG name is again a part of the SLK lineup
  • Drivetrain: 415-hp, 5.5-liter V-8 engine with a seven-speed automatic transmission
  • Hits dealerships: Early 2012

Mercedes-Benz has revived its high-performance AMG trim (absent for the 2011 model year) for the redesigned 2012 SLK-Class.

The 2012 SLK55 AMG features the only V-8 powertrain offered on the roadster. Like the four-cylinder and six-cylinder, which feature new fuel economy measures, the new V-8 is also more fuel efficient and powerful than its predecessor.

The 415-horsepower 5.5-liter V-8 produces 60 hp more than the last generation’s 5.4-liter V-8. That’s achieved through a high-pressured fuel-injection system and high compression ratio compared with the outgoing model. The 2012 model can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds (three-tenths of a second faster than the previous generation) and can reach a top speed of 155 mph.

By Colin Bird | August 22, 2011 | Comments (6)

Convertibles and Gas Mileage: What Does it Cost to Put the Top Down?

Jealous of that top-down roadster in the next lane? Take heart: Its driver will probably pay for it at the pump. Put the top down in a convertible and gas mileage takes a hit at cruising speeds — the result of an open cabin that’s anything but aerodynamic. The exact reduction is open for debate: One test found a slight mileage improvement at low speeds with the top down, followed by a mileage decrease at medium and high speeds.

I logged 100 miles of steady highway cruising in one of our test cars, a 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK350, to investigate. According to the trip computer, losing the SLK’s folding hardtop cost 4.4 mpg — 27.3 versus 31.7 mpg. That’s significant, but probably not enough to deter any SLK driver from going topless on a nice day. (With the car, that is.)

Still, a 14% hit in gas mileage seems significant. I consulted James Smith, former president of the Society of Automotive Engineers, to find out why. Smith currently teaches mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of West Virginia.

“The [auto] designers are making every attempt they can to make the air flow smoothly up the windshield, across the roof and down the back deck,” Smith told me. “And when you remove that roofline you have more area there; more room for the air to get recirculated back in.”

Not every top-down scenario is created equal.

By Kelsey Mays | July 26, 2011 | Comments (5)

New Mercedes V-8 Increases Power, Efficiency

A new Mercedes-Benz V-8 debuting in the 2012 SLK55 AMG later this year will be a prime example of having your cake and eating it too. Power is up significantly over the preceding V-8, and thanks to new gas-saving technologies, Mercedes says mileage increases by around 30% over the 2010 SLK55 AMG. That car returned mileage of 14/22 mpg city/highway.
The 5.5-liter V-8 has 60 more horsepower than the previous SLK55 AMG for a total of 415 hp. It’s similar to the 518-hp, twin-turbo V-8 found in the 2012 CLS63 AMG, but loses those turbochargers in favor of natural aspiration.
Cylinder deactivation and direct injection are two added features used to increase gas mileage on the new engine. Mercedes calls its cylinder deactivation "AMG Cylinder Management," though the feature is used elsewhere in the industry under different names. During light driving conditions, four of the eight cylinders are shut down by closing the valves and cutting the cylinders’ fuel and ignition supply. The feature in the SLK55 will only activate if the efficient Controlled Efficiency (C) driving mode is turned on by the driver.
A stop/start function like that found in the CLS63 AMG is paired with the 5.5-liter on the new SLK55 AMG. It automatically shuts off the engine when the car is stopped to save gas. The feature is most common in hybrids and rarer in non-hybrids. It’s especially rare in performance cars like the SLK55 and CLS63.

The SLK55 AMG with 5.5-liter V-8 debuts this September at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

By Joe Bruzek | July 22, 2011 | Comments (2)

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