Entries tagged with: Mercedes-Benz
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Here’s the latest from Shawn Sims, our automotive loving NOTlabs Director! He just got back from adventures with Mercedes-AMG in the desert. We spend 2 days on the tracks of Willow Springs with 41 AMGs… doing 150mph in the SLS black series, exploring the desert with the G63, peeking at the late night garage repairs, and more!
Here’s the latest from Shawn Sims, our automotive loving NOTlabs Director! He just got back from adventures with Mercedes-AMG in the desert. A pair of Mercedes-AMG C63 507 editions (sedan vs coupé) donut duel in the California desert during the Best of AMG at Willow Springs.
It has been impossible to ignore Mercedes-Benz’s targeting of the “younger” market with their new entry level CLA model… from the fantastic Super Bowl spot “Soul” featuring Willem Defoe as the devil tempting a young man… to “Kate Upton Washes the All-New Mercedes-Benz CLA in Slow Motion”, which is pretty much what you’d expect… there’s even the Ryan McGinley film featuring model, Karlie Kloss, “Mind of Its Own” that debuted during fashion week… and how can you forget the “Untamed” spot where the car faces off with a wolf? Basically the marketing of the CLA seems to have its target on the younger/college crowd, playing heavily on the affordability and animalistic nature of the car… so when given the chance, i was too curious to see what this affordable, animalistic, compact car (the little sister of the CLS) feels like in person.
Hopping over to St. Tropez to give it a spin, felt like stepping into the “Soul” ad - being given an other worldly experience to play with the car while exploring the south of france… see a peek at our stay at the Hotel de Paris which just reopened. On first impressions - i was first drawn to the grill that seems spotted from afar… and the lights are just stunning up close (both front and rear), with such aggressive eyes that illuminate in the front, and incredible red gills that fill the back lights, they are definitely my favorite features. As for the interior, the dash seems to be where the affordability compromises were made, or my taste has aged me out of the younger demographic they are targeting… and the neon stripe options on some seats were surprising. As far as drivability, it would definitely make a fun little city car ~ and we even tried taking it to an impromptu flea market we found while driving around the french countryside, and it fit in easily (though drawing quite a bit of attention as well)… take a peek at the adventures and details with the Mercedes-Benz CLA on the next page!
This weekend’s adventures lead me from LA to St. Tropez by way of Paris and Marseille to try out the new Mercedes-Benz CLA. While there, Mercedes-Benz took over newly redone, iconic Hotel de Paris St. Tropez, which barely reopened the doors before Mercedes moved in for this round of drives. Mixed into the sculptures throughout the lobby, we were greeted with displays of the new CLA Dashboard, Direct Steer System, various engines and more… which fit right in! In the main courtyard, the new CLA and it’s larger influence, the CLS were on show. Apparently the Hotel de Paris was one of THE first hotels in St Tropez back in the 1930s, and was THE spot to be seen in the 60s and 70s (think artists, starlets, and more). Freshly redone by interior designer, Sybille de Margerie, it is quite a mix of design styles, and the hardest things to miss are the stunning spherical chandelier of metal petals of sorts in the lobby… and the nearly ready glass bottom pool that is suspended over the lobby which is viewable from all floors! Take a peek at the details of the Hotel de Paris St. Tropez with its Mercedes-Benz CLA flourishes on the next page!
Everyone (that didn’t learn to anthropomorphize cars from Cars) knows that the headlights are the eyes of a car. Especially in the dark! As a car zooms up on your rear, the glow of their lights in the rear view are all you see… and more often than not, that’s enough to distinguish them.
Well when you see the double V, four eyed headlights appear - you’ll know a Mercedes-Benz 2014 E-Class is coming up on you. While at the Mercedes-Benz Research & Development Studio in Carlsbad, CA yesterday - we joined the #MBRT13 (Mercedes-Benz Road Trip 13 global blogger group going from LA to Detroit) to see the unveiling of the new 2014 E-Class. The first detail to grab you is certainly the lights (even before the unveil it!). “The front end has been completely revised with new headlamps that incorporate all light functions within a single lens, while flowing light elements within the headlamps help to retain the “four-eyed” appearance that is such a distinctive E-Class signature. When it comes to light and sight, the E-Class sets the benchmark - low beam and daytime running lights both come with partial LED as standard, while full-LED headlamps are available as an option for the first time in this class,” says the press release. When you turn the blinker on, the ice cube like units above the swipes of white LEDs light up yellow in sequence, much like playing a piano scale. The effect reminds me of the concept style coupé. Take a peek at the details on the next page! As well as a peek at the crazy basket in the trunk…
Wishing i were in Chicago tonight! The Rotofugi opening looks awesome - Shag’s Goin’ Places toy release and art exhibit have a dozen amazing Shag Skeletons (with pets and drinks) in classic cars! They are making me swoon… (and of course they all got reserved within moments) The cars in the line up? Rolls, XKE, Beetle, Roadster, Lead Sled, Flairbird, Citroen, Nine Eleven, Avanti, Vette, Morgan, and Benz. Take a peek at all of the cars and the show on the next page!
Mercedes-Benz Ener-G Force Concept Car - it’s like the cartoon super hero car that someone between the Fisher Price Rescue Heroes/Team Fortress/Duke Nukem would drive… with an Xterra-esque rear, an FJ like feel, and the illustrations remind me of Kimberly Wu’s JOY concept from 2008. While I was intrigued by the concept images that have been floating around when it surfaced on NOTCOT.org, i didn’t expect to love it as much as i did in person! The sketches are stunning. The attention to details - fascinating! And in person, in the glow of sunset, it really is hard to take your eyes off of. I love that they created the concept and sketches situations of it for Desert, Polar, and Jungle situations using camel, penguin, and monkey icons - even on the tires, which sadly didn’t make it into the final model. However, they did slip in the side view mirror warning: “Penguins, camels, and other wild animals in mirror may be closer than they appear.” Mercedes, please make this into a toy car model - or an R/C car - or a 3D printable R/C car shell… because it is adorable, and would make for some ridiculously fun photoshoots with action figures.
Take a look at the sketches, details, teaser video (the video is pretty epic) - then the unveiling of the full sized model at Mister C in Beverly Hills tonight. There are a LOT of pictures, but there was too much fun not to share! See it all on the next page…
We just spent the last week playing with the Mercedes-Benz 2013 GL450 - fully loaded with designo package and all the tech add ons! I must say, after driving it (and the other cars all stayed in the garage - all week!), it’s no surprise that it just won Motor Trend’s SUV of the year… having grown up in/driving SUVs for most of my life, i must say this beast of a car handles amazingly, and is surprisingly comfortable as a passenger (in any of the seats) And the new Active Curve System is magical - “to help control body lean during cornering maneuvers, electrohydraullically variable stabilizer bars for the front and rear axies increase roll stiffness based on driving speed and lateral acceleration, as well as the Adaptive Damping System’s Sport Mode.” Oh, and Sport Mode is a must when not off roading…
But the one detail that blew me away (and that i miss now that the car is gone) - the Surround View System. Anytime you are driving below a certain speed (maybe around 15mph?) you can click into the 360 Camera in the System menu and see the views around the WHOLE car - in various merged super views as well as seeing what each camera (one below the front mercedes logo, one on the bottom of each side mirror, and one that pops down above the license plate in the back) is seeing… while i’d like to think i’m pretty good with the parallel parking and lining up nicely between the lines… there is no question here when you can pop the camera on and see EXACTLY where those lines are. Also as you turn the steering, lines appear showing exactly where your car will go. It is a nicely implemented feature, and beyond pictures, we made some videos for you to see it in action on the next page!
p.s. Now, if only someone could hack it so you could record video out of them…
Since my first visit to the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, i’ve been hearing about the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center that is nearby in Irvine… we finally made it over there yesterday, getting a peek not only at the pristinely restored cars both on display and for sale in the lobby, as well as a look at what’s waiting in line in the garage and what is currently being worked on in the workshop… and WOW. It is beyond breathtaking. The curves. The colors. The multiple generations of history all in the same room… and to see the wealth of knowledge and incredible attention to detail, as the technicians and engineers inspect not only every part of the car, but also the vehicle’s legitimacy - from verifying its history, and tracking down exact paint colors down to the original chemical mixtures used, to spending years reviving barn finds into “authentic, as-new” conditions. With a small team of around 21 men, it was great to hear that the Irvine Mercedes-Benz Classic Center is a mix of seasoned Mercedes-Benz technicians as well as a few newer apprentices, coming from McPherson College’s Auto Restoration Degree (which is the first degree program in the world available in auto restoration founded in the 70s, and Mercedes-Benz has been a big supporter of it over the years.)
On the next page, take a walk through the garage as well as the incredible Classic Center Workshop and get a peek at what is currently being worked on or in line to be next!
There has been an interesting trend recently of high end luxury cars taking more design/materials queues from yachting… particularly the wooden flooring going into trunk spaces! Remember the Rolls Royce Drophead Phantom Coupé where the paneling opens to showcase a fridge? And there is the 2012 Range Rover Autobiography Ultimate Edition. While those two have teak flooring ~ Mercedes-Benz took it to another level with their CLS Shooting Brake with their American Cherry tree wood with inlaid smoked oak and aluminum rails. These “specially selected veneer sheets are glued and pressed by hand in five layers to attain a high level of dimensional stability. The blanks are milled to their exact format using a CNC machine and the surfaces are ground smooth and impregnated to bring out the wood’s natural beauty,” says the press release.
It was most certainly, the stand out design detail of the new Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting Brake when we were playing with it in Florence ~ and it was fun to see how they used this feature to inspire the design of the press conference in the Castello di Casole’s converted little chapel… from the swooping curves of the seating to projection area… to the metal modular rails that the wood slatted stools and tables locked into… and even the table they displayed the various paint/leather color options of the cars! Take a peen on the next page to see all the fun wooden details of the car and press conference as well as a few other cute details (the tweeters are quite a surprise!) on the next page!
Currently in Florence, Italy with Mercedes-Benz to try out the new CLS Shooting Brake. It’s quite fun (esp the AMG one) ~ and even prettier in person! Josh Rubin of CoolHunting and i were driving together for much of today, and as we went from airport to castle to florence and such, we were ultimately hunting for the ultimate tree/forest lined spot to shoot some car pictures… and as i was driving, Josh suddenly found the perfect spot and although we had to go a few twists and turns before being able to safely turn back to make it up the street he spotted, it was totally worth it!
Welcome to Località Lilliano near Poggibonsi, Siena, Italy. It is one of the most magical streets you’ll ever wander down. The trees are AMAZING. The way they branch… the lush green color… the way they line the whole street… the way the sunlight dances through the leaves and off the matte designo magno white paint job of the CLS Shooting Brake… SO. before i crash this 3am, i had to share these pictures of the Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting Brake and the trees on the next page!!!
There’s something very Rorschach looking about some of the tree images!
I’m delighted to share with you tonight’s latest adventure of an experience with two of our favorites… Mercedes-Benz and Bompas & Parr. What an unexpected duo to team up and take on London Fashion Week by popping up the Mercedes Drive Thru at the Old Selfridges Hotel to solve the problem where “Models, journalists, and buyers go hungry as they dash between presentations and appointments. The Mercedes Drive Thru is our solution, an art installation that serves emotionally compelling food on all fours within 180 seconds of arrival,” says their pamphlet/menu. They continue to say that “Guests emerge holding steaming meat luggage within minutes of entering. You experience a specially commissioned light installation by Jason Bruge Studio, a big and nasty soundscape by Dom James and our troupe of roller-girls, Marawa and the Doughnuteers.” Sound like craziness? Well it is ~ and Mercedes-Benz’s Avant Garde Diaries chose Bompas & Parr to curate this latest experience for us all!
Tonight we got a preview at their opening party which was quite the affair… while the drive thru turned into a walk thru, and instead of a menu, the roller girls were serving quite the assortment of surprising cocktails and munchies in the usual Bompas & Parr fashion (with them we’ve inhaled Campari gas, rowed in Truvia, mini golfed through cakes, and so much MORE) … things really got taken to the next level when the first car came thru… the Mercedes Benz A Class and it’s trunk was full of CHEESE! Then, there’s also the salami step and repeat… the mortadella stools… the glittery high heeled light up roller skates… and so much more. See the video and pictures of all the fun on the next page!
Currently at the Venice Architecture Biennale, and the latest beautiful Aesthetics sculpture from Mercedes-Benz just arrived in my inbox. Honestly, these sculptures would be right at home here at the biennale! (Remember the liquid inspired No. 2? Or my favorite collection of them?)
Well the freshly launched Mercedes-Benz Aesthetics S is another subtle, sensuous form emerging as a relief which comes to life with projection mapping. Take a look at the teaser video on the next page as well as some details and more information about what is to come at the Paris Auto Show 2012.
The new Mercedes-Benz Concept Style Coupé debuted last night at MOCA during the Avant/Garde Diaries: Transmission LA: A/V Club festival curated by Mike D of the Beastie Boys. In fact, it is integrated into one of the installations you can experience… “The four-door coupé is set in front of a large, matte mirror wall and is illuminated from above by LED panels arranged at a 30-degree angle to accentuate the distinctive, powerfully taut side lines. The LED lights react to a soundtrack that Ad Rock from Beastie Boys produced specifically for the installation.” says the press release… and from the high ceilings, AIAIAI headphones are hanging for you to stand and listen to the soundtrack as you stand in front of the car.
Throughout the party you’d see people midconversation waving their fingers as if mimicking the action of drumming your fingers on a table (pinky to forefinger one by one…) and you know they were all talking about the most fascinating feature of the Concept Style Coupé ~ the kinetic signal lights. With robotic eyelash like plates covering the yellow signal lights it almost feels like the car is trying to flirt with you as it bats its metal eyelashes.
Shawn had a chance to chat with the design/engineering team about how they worked, saying, “The car’s lights were an exciting opportunity for the design and engineering team to play with new technologies and interactions that we may see in the future. Each kinetic turn signal uses one actuator to power the 6 fingers which reveal the yellow light. This works a bit like a camshaft in your engine, where a single rod has multiple oblong attachments that are all rotated slightly. When the rod spins, the appearance is that of drumming or taping your fingers on a table. The main high/low beam light also opens with it’s own unique twist. It rotates open and has the effect of an iris of a lens. The combination of these simple mechanical elements and different lights offers an amazing peek into what the future of automotive lighting may be.” This also means my dream of programming them to move independently isn’t currently possible… it will be interesting to see if they keep this flirty detail in the production vehicle next year. Take a peek at a video of the lights in action on the next page as well as a few peeks at the car in the installation.
It’s another 4am and with so much inspiration from today to share, trying to just pick one to post before passing out… just back from the launch of Mercedes-Benz’s Avant/Garde Diaries: Transmission LA: A/V Club, curated by Mike D of the Beastie Boys at MOCA. A stunning body of work on show, great performance by Santigold, and a peek at the new Mercedes-Benz Concept Style Coupe… but before we get to any of that…
I never thought i’d be the girl wearing a heavy gold chain… especially a gold chain with a Mercedes Emblem! But tonight it happened… I remember as a little girl, being terribly confused when my dad’s Mercedes emblem was stolen. He tried to explain that people turned them into necklaces… It was the 80s. I was pretty young… and it wasn’t until years later that it all started to make sense. Mike D has apparently always had a thing for the car emblems, and even Inspired Fad Boosts VW Emblem Thefts when he was wearing a large VW emblem off a car on a gold chain… So it’s only natural that when curating this art festival (which they gave him carte blanche on!) he created a HUGE Mercedes emblem hanging on a large chain in the central pavillion of the exhibition… as well as a few huge emblems tucked around the space… and then around 25 special chain necklaces with authentic Mercedes-Benz emblems for the artists and key brand folks…
As a girl with a passion for logos and brands since a young age… it was absolutely fascinating to see how far this brand nostalgia goes, and the amusement everyone had seeing the HUGE chain necklace logo pieces as well as the select few roaming the party wearing the Mercedes Necklaces! Christoph Horn (Mercedes-Benz Director of Global Communications) generously gave me his necklace before heading off to china for the autoshow mid party! The details and story of the automotive chain necklace motif are far too fun ~ so take a peek at them (HUGE and life sized) on the next page… they are sure to bring a grin to your face.
p.s. Also take a peek at the brilliant cassette tape USB press kit!
Oscars are this weekend, and to celebrate, Mercedes-Benz have us playing in Hollywood to celebrate the 60 years of the SL... which has been featured in more movies and tv shows over the years than i could imagine! (Don't worry, there's a massive "selection" listed on the next page!) To catch us up on the history in person, we headed to Warner Brothers' studio to see the SL@Hollywood exhibition taking us through the decades, which was popped up in one of their warehouses... complete with hollywood stars on the ground highlighting films the SL has been featured in. Take a peek at the fun exhibition and stunning cars on the next page...
There’s something amazing that will never grow old about perfectly hand crafted goods. Also the sound of my Mercedes AMG C63 Coupé engine… it just screams - happy. One of the incredible aspects of AMG is that each engine is hand built by a single person ~ thus, One Man, One Engine. And everyone engine comes out of their beautiful factory in Affalterbach, Germany. While doing things a little backwards, i met the man who built my engine before i met my car! Darius Garbas is the man behind my engine, and so far it seems like he’s done an incredible job with it. What i love is how much pride and passion they all seemed to have at the factory ~ and how nice they all were! There’s a plaque that reads “Leidenschaft, Leistung, und Verantwortung.” along with the signed plaques of EACH engineer building engines ~ and it means “Passion, Power, and Responsibility.” So take a peek into the One Man, One Engine world of Mercedes-AMG and meet Darius (and my engine!) on the next page.
On my adventure to see where my AMG C63 Coupé (like the one we tried on the track!) will come from, Shawn Sims joined me with his automotive and engineering expertise on the adventure to the factories to learn about the whole process. He rounded up our story in Bremen below for you!
As we raced to the Mercedes-Benz factory along the Autobahn from Hamburg to Bremen, I couldn’t help but wonder what crazy German engineering mega-center we were about to stumble into. We arrive at the campus (more like small town) of the 15,000,000 sqft factory that has over 12,000 people inside. Starting at from the customer welcome center (where the GT5 set up greeted us and where you can pick up your new car directly), we first watch a video overview of how Mercedes’ are produced and get a peek at the people and machines behind them. Then we headed into Building 9; a pristine, lively, mechanical wonderland responsible for the production of the C-class (as well as a few others simultaneously). There are over 8.5 kilometers of assembly lines in Building 9 alone, and the majority are stations for assembly by hand. Each employee on the line is trained in multiple positions so that day to day work changes. Supply trucks are whizzing by, car bodies flying on overhead tracks, robots twisting and turning, all while the seemingly endless hall is filled with the sounds of motors, robots, drills, and presses. We have entered an engineering mecca!
Photos wouldn’t even do the mesmerizing process justice, so check out the great introduction video we saw (the robots really are quite incredible), as well as our pics and videos of the adventure on the next page.
On surprises when i went by the Mercedes-Benz Bremen Factory where my AMG C63 Coupé was just built (and unfortunately we missed it on the factory line by a few DAYS), they brought us out on the TEST TRACK!!! To do a few laps with their pro drivers. Apparently EVERY AMG that goes to the USA take a few laps here (and one out of a few for other countries to test). While i unfortunately don’t know how fast he got on the straight away and 60 degree bank of a hairpin turn… it was great fun! And at first i was far too busy experiencing it to take pics/vids… then we tried videoing two laps which you can see below ~ i tried hand holding my 5D MKII ~ as carefully in front of my face as possible without letting the g-forces slam it into my face! You’ve got crazy banking, straight away, speed bump, turns and more on this factory track… Take a peek at the video and pics on the next page!
Wow. The Mercedes-AMG SLS and SLS Roadster have internet browsing built in… and turn into WLAN hotspots… and runs Android… and someday you can even have apps… since it’s on android does that mean we can write our own?
I’ve never seen NOTCOT flanked in carbon fiber… or navigated to on an in car dashboard after we just hopped across the french/italian border and ended up on the top of some hilly lush greenery… granted, they don’t allow you to browse the internet while driving (so i guess no posting while racing around in the Mercedes-AMG SLS Roadster!) ~ this is only one of a series of fascinating options in the “AMG Performance Media” section. But on the internet related side first ~ “AMG Performance Media provides fully-fledged, mobile high-speed internet access: when the car is stationary, the driver and passenger are able to surf the web and install apps.” YES. Your car is a smartphone. Running on Android. You can even scroll through the websites with the usual COMAND Controller (the big dial). This all even turns into a WLAN hotspot! (Which passengers CAN access with their phones, laptops, etc while you’re driving.) Amazing, right? I want my car to come to life with internet! Oh, and in addition, you can also enter Race Mode, have dials showing engine outputs and torque in real time, output your stats to USB, record lap times, and more… It’s 3am sleep time before playing with it all a bit more tomorrow before ending up in Munich, so see some screenshots as well as full details on the next page!
We joked about Nail Polish Colors to match cars when i was playing with the Louboutins on the Mars Red C63… then i found the Mercedes Designo Zircon Red SLK inspired polish… well at AMG yesterday, they gave me a bottle of Le Mans Red SLS inspired nail polish… so at the AMG SLS Roadster drive in Nice/Monaco today, i couldn’t help trying it out to see just how “inspired” the nail color was from the car also in Le Mans Red… the conclusion (well you can judge for yourself on the next page as well) is that it needs a bit more metallic in it to be fully awesome… but it is still quite the bright red!
I tweeted yesterday that i was in Black & White heaven with AMG in Affalterbach, Germany. Have you ever just walked into a space and felt ~ just right in it? The black an white, the beautifully versatile lighting, and so many iconic designer furniture pieces put together so nicely ~ while pulling together car accoutrements, the ducati from transformers, a wall of design inspiration books and toys, and the focal point being a stunning mural made by the AMG designers out of TAPE. You’d barely realize it is layer upon layer of sketches on velum with tape until you get extremely close to it (and check out the making of pics as well). This new lounge only opened a few months ago in early summer 2011 ~ and apparently “The new AMG Private Lounge in Affalterbach is an exclusively and unusually designed meeting-point in which to spend time. We see it as a second living-room for our customers. We want the AMG Private Lounge in Affalterbach to provide the perfect setting for the most exciting day of the year - for example when our customers take possession of their new AMG-Mercedes here in Affalterbach,” said Ola Kallenius, Chairman of Mercedes-AMG GmbH. So, while my car is apparently on a boat headed to LA already, it was still magical to wander into the world of AMG and see where these clean modern designs met the heart of the racing company in what was once a farm house and corn fields. More to come on the engines and factory and the world of AMG, but first, take a peek at the new lounge design and the surprising mural!
So many fun things to share with you from the last few days, but so sleepy this 1am and currently in the Côte d’Azur… so, silly things first. While visiting the Mercedes-Benz factory in Bremen, i couldn’t help but admire their Gran Turismo 5 + PS3 + Logitech circle of racing fun set up in the lobby. The design details of the racing pod are great ~ but even better is the Nürburgring mat it sits on, complete with each twist and turn labeled. The PS3 mount even resembles an engine! See all of the details on the next page!