IAA Frankfurt report: Cars from Mercedes-Benz to VW

Mercedes-Benz A-Class facelift

Mercedes-Benz A-Class facelift

Mercedes-Benz revamped the A-Class, which features redesigned front and rear bumpers and is optionally available LED High Performance headlamps. From the beginning of 2016 Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink will become available. The refreshed A-Class comes with a range of no less than eight petrol engines, oddly with only two displacements: a 1,6-litre four-cylinder (A 160, A 180 , A 180 BlueEFFICIENCY Edition & A 200) and a 2,0-litre four-cylinder (A 220, A 250, A 250 Sport and A 45 AMG) engine. The A 160 with 102 hp is the new entry-level model. It consumes 5.1 l/100 km (CO2-emissions 119 g/km) when opting for the 7G-DCT dual-clutch transmission, the manual version is slightly less efficient. The diesel range consists of five engines with two displacements: the 1,5-litre Renault engine is offered in the A 160 d, A 180 d and A 180 d BlueEFFICIENCY Edition, while the 2,2-litre Mercedes engine powers the A 200 d and A 220 d. Fuel consumption of the A 180 d BlueEFFIENCY Edition has been reduced slightly to 3.5 l/100 km (CO2-emissions 89 g/km). The A 220 d now offers 177 hp (+ 7 hp). The A 250 Sport now has an additional 7 hp (218 hp) over the regular A 250. Mercedes-Benz was slightly jealous seeing the Audi RS3 dethroning the A 45 AMG (“The best or nothing”, right?), so it has improved the performance of high-performance even further. The four-cylinder engine develops 381 hp (+ 21 hp) and a maximum torque of 475 Nm. Thanks to faster gear ratios, aerodynamic fine-tuning and the Dynamic Select driving mode it launches the A 45 AMG from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.2 seconds, 0.4 seconds than its predecessor.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupé

Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG Coupé

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IAA Frankfurt report: Cars from Alfa Romeo to Lexus

Alfa Romeo Giulia

Alfa Romeo Giulia

Alfa Romeo has finally launched the long-awaited successor to the 159. The brand that has languished and seen plummeting sales over the last fifteen years aims to revive the glory of its heydays with the all-new Giulia. As of now, Alfa Romeo launched the Giulia Quadrifoglio only, the top-of-the-range version capable of some mind-blowing numbers: it features the 510 hp six-cylinder 2.9 turbo petrol engine developed by Ferrari engineers with a top speed of 307 km/h and capable of an acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in just 3.9 seconds, a peak torque of 600 Nm, while it should brake from 100 km/h back to 0 in less than 32 metres. Alfa Romeo claims best in class emission levels, with 198 g/km of CO2, while its dry weight is just 1,524 kg. Sales of the Giulia Quadrifoglio will start during the last quarter of 2015, with prices starting at about 79,000 Euro in Italy.

Alfa Romeo Giulia rear

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US sales 2015 first half Alternative Power segment

US Alternative PowerSales in the Alternative Power segment fell by 12% compared to the first half of 2014, one of the larger drops from among all segments. In fact, only three cars sold more in the first half of 2015 than in the same period last year – Tesla Model S and BMW’s i3 and i8. This fall in sales most likely is driven by the continuing low gasoline price, as well as the expectation that this situation may continue for a long time.

Toyota Prius 2016

Toyota Prius Mk IV

You don’t get points for guessing the market leader – the Toyota Prius has dominated this segment ever since the second generation came to the American shores in 2004. However, while the introduction of the V (quasi-MPV, albeit not available in the US with 7 seats for some reason, unlike in Europe) and C (smaller model) helped the Prius to its best showing in 2012, when almost a quarter million Prius cars were sold in the US, 2015 seems like it will be the first time since then that the Prius will sell fewer than 200,000 units. I guess customers are waiting for the new model, but you have to wonder if the awkwardly-styled Mk IV is everything they were hoping for…… Continue Reading …

US sales 2015 first half Exotics segment

US ExoticsThe Exotics segment grew by 5% compared to the first half of 2014, roughly in line with the whole industry. The problem with the headline figure is that it encompasses the whole of the Maserati brand, none of which are arguably exotic, but end up here because Maserati is the largest brand that does not break out their sales in the US.

So, excluding Maserati, the largest Exotic brand remains Bentley with over 1,200 sales in H1 2015 – even the 8% fall year-on-year was not bad for what is arguably a rather aged line-up by now. Still, it is reasonable to expect the sales figure to shoot up like crazy in a year or so when the Beluga… sorry, Bentayga goes on sale. For now, though, the brand was almost caught in sales terms by Ferrari, which is on course to go even better than its 2014 record of over 2,000 units sold in one year. The prancing horse is certainly doing better in the US than its main rival Lamborghini, who recorded less than half as many sales and lies in 5th despite a healthy 11% growth following the introduction of the Huracan.… Continue Reading …

Tesla debuts Model X, forgets to remove masking tape… [w/ Poll]


Tesla Model XTesla finally debuted the production version of the Model X, following what seems like years of teasing, “concepts” and unmasked testers driving around. So imagine my surprise when the final product, well, surprised me, though unfortunately not for the right reasons – it seems someone forgot to remove masking tape from the front…… Continue Reading …

US sales 2015 first half Large Sports segment

US Sports Large

The Large Sports segment in the US stayed pretty much the same size as it was in the first half of 2014 – it did not fall but it did not rise either, broadly reflecting the composition of the marketplace – most cars are recent enough, a few are new and a few are on the way out. As a mature segment it is also likely to stay like that in the forthcoming future, although there are a few notable new models just around the corner: Audi A8, Mercedes-Benz S-Class coupe and the Porsche 911 facelift. … Continue Reading …

US sales 2015 first half Small Premium Sports segment

US Small Sports Premium

The Small Premium Sports segment shrank by 20% compared to the first half of 2014, the largest drop from amongst all segments. This is a very surprising outcome, as this segment is full of attractive cars that aren’t all that old, plus one would think that in a recovering economy fun-to-drive and cool-to-be-seen-in cars would do well. It seems not… While part of the decline is due to the Audi TT being pulled from the market in preparation for the new model, the fact is all cars in this segment experienced a drop in sales, bar for the new Alfa Romeo 4C.… Continue Reading …

US sales 2015 first half Small Sports segment

US Small Sports

The Small Sports segment grew by 14% compared to the first half of 2014, a much better performance than either the Large Sports or Small Premium Sports segments, which did not grow and shrank by 20%, respectively. The headline statistic is deceiving, however, as all the growth came from two cars, with sales of the other cars in the segment shrinking quite a bit. It is clear, though, that a large part of the segment is made up from cars which are quickly aging or about to be replaced, and so I would not be surprised if the growth picked up even more in the next year with the release of the new MX-5 and Camaro.… Continue Reading …

Should this be the next Bugatti? (with Poll)

I came across this amazing design by Alexander Imnadze and it got me thinking: shouldn’t Bugatti really be thinking about producing a real GT car rather than simply updating the Veyron into the Chiron? The problem with a brand like Bugatti that produces tiny number of cars is that, once you’ve all but saturated the market for hypercars with a model like they Veyron, can they really hope to sell as many Chirons?

Bugatti Type-6 GT Vision

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IAA Frankfurt 2015 report: Crossovers

Bentley Bentayga

Bentley Bentayga

The Bentayga is the fastest, most powerful, most luxurious and most exclusive SUV in the world according to Bentley, a statement which could very well be true. The production version of the EXP 9 F Concept is based on the platform of the new Audi Q7, but designed, engineered and handcrafted in Crewe. It sits on the 2,992 mm wheelbase of the Q7, while the overall car length is 5,141 mm, its width is 1,998 mm and height 1,742 mm. It can be selected with four- or five-seat configurations. The four-seat version features two individual rear seats that adjust in 18 different ways and include massage and ventilation functions as well as footrests. The storage space features a leather-trimmed folding seat that matches the style of the cabin seats, according to Bentley “Ideal for those wishing to stop for a moment and enjoy a spectacular outdoor environment or pursuit”. A 6.0-litre twin-turbocharged W12 engine with a power output of 608 hp and 900 Nm torque powers the SUV, with which it could achieve a top speed of 301 km/h and accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 4.1 seconds. The engine is mated to an eight-speed transmission, while the CO2-emissions are 292 g/km. In the future Bentley will launch diesel and hybrid variants.



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