Archive for October 2009

F1 Abu Dhabi - SAT - Qualifying - Lewis Hamilton on pole position


Abu Dhabi/Yas Marina, UAE, Oct 31, 2009

- MP4-24-02
- P3 programme:1m40.627s (18 laps, 2nd)

- Q1 - 1m39.873s (on Primes, 1st)
- Q2 - 1m39.695s (on Primes, 1st)
- Q3 - 1m40.948s (on Primes, 1st)

Today we saw the fourth pole position of the season for Lewis, who revelled in the handling of MP4-24 around the Yas Marina circuit today. After an extremely encouraging run yesterday, and going into this afternoon’s final practice, Lewis refined the car’s balance to his liking, finally declaring the car “the best it’s felt all year,” after taking pole.

“My pole lap wasn’t too aggressive,” said Lewis. “I was very smooth, and it just kept getting better and better. KERS Hybrid and the engine have been fantastic all season – and today was no exception – but it’s the chassis that has really come good lately and we’ve brought them all together this weekend to create the perfect package.

“Even more encouragingly, this is all a work-in-progress for next year – and winning tomorrow would be a perfect way to end the season and raise our expectations for 2010.

“It should be an exciting race – I just want to go out and do the job tomorrow.”

- MP4-24-03
- P3 programme:1m41.263s (20 laps, 6th)

- Q1 - 1m40.808s (on Options, 9th)
- Q2 - 1m40.948s (on Options, 13th)
- Q3 –

It was a day of disappointment for Heikki, who looked set for one of his best grid positions of the year before being sidelined with a gearbox problem – just as he was preparing for his fast laps in Q2. Despite that setback, Heikki still finished the session 13th fastest and is well positioned for a charging race tomorrow evening.

“"What a disappointing outcome to my qualifying,” Heikki said. “I got stuck in second gear during Q2 and that was it. I already had minor problems with the gearbox yesterday when it jumped out of gear, so it’s frustrating when you have a car you can easily take into Q3.

“But I’m looking at the positives: the balance of my car has been good throughout the entire weekend, and it’s been great to drive on this fantastic circuit.

“You can absolutely guarantee I’ll be giving it my all in the race tomorrow and I’ll be fighting from the first lap to the very last.”


Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

“Lewis did a brilliant job, demonstrating prodigious speed, to secure pole position in dominant fashion in Abu Dhabi this evening. We were relatively aggressive in terms of his fuel strategy, but we’ve certainly been more aggressive in a few other qualifying sessions this year and there’s therefore no doubt that his pace here is very genuine.

“Heikki, too, would have figured at or close to the front had he not been hampered by a gearbox problem not of his making, but you can be well sure that he’ll be pushing as hard as ever tomorrow to make good progress from his P13 grid slot.

“Tomorrow’s race will be an arduous one for drivers and team members alike – hot and tiring – but we’ll be aiming to end the season on a high by delivering a disciplined, focused and hopefully victorious performance, in an effort to secure third place in the 2009 Constructors’ World Championship.”

Vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

“What a great lap from Lewis. This was his fourth pole in the last seven grands prix since Valencia and certainly a very important one on this fantastic new race track here in Abu Dhabi. Hopefully we can continue in that direction tomorrow. Our race simulation laps showed yesterday that our speed is there.

“Sorry for Heikki who could not make it into Q3 due to a gearbox problem, but tomorrow is another day for him as well and he can still have a good finish in the points.

“The organisers and the hosts here did an unbelievable job to build up this very impressive venue – another good reason why it would be very special to fight for a victory tomorrow at this inaugural GP of Abu Dhabi.”

Copyright © 2009, Mercedes-Benz-Blog. All rights reserved.

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F1 Abu Dhabi - FRI - Free Practice


Abu Dhabi/Yas Marina, UAE, Oct 30, 2009

- MP4-24-03
- P1 programme:20 laps,1m45.123s (10th)
- P2 programme:35 laps,1m41.307s (1st)

“The whole day was pretty good. We’d already done some good work in Woking preparing for this circuit, so we had a good balance right from the start this morning. However, we had a brake issue during first practice which we couldn’t sort out during the session.

“This afternoon, we got it sorted and were able to improve considerably, with both tyres working well. The circuit is cool – it’s very smooth with good grip and the kerbs are nice. Turns Two and Three are not easy-flat, but, with the good balance of the car, they’re fun.

“On the straight, KERS gives us an additional benefit. We can use it for maximum performance and it’s worth three-and-a-half to four tenths.

“The light is no problem with our slightly tinted tear-off visors, which we could remove once the sun had set.”

- MP4-24-02
- P1 programme:18 laps,1m43.939s (1st)
- P2 programme:34 laps,1m41.504s (2nd)

“It looks like we might be quite competitive here – our long runs appear to be good, the car feels great and the track is great – it’s quite interesting coming from daylight into nighttime, you don’t notice the difference through the twilight.

“They’ve done an incredible job here. It’s a really nice circuit to drive – there are a lot of technical corners, where braking stability is important. It’s a great track and I really enjoy driving it. The only bit I don’t like is the tunnel – but it’s a challenge!

“We’ll have to see what happens tomorrow, because the track conditions are always changing, but we feel quite comfortable with the pace we have. Our car seems to behave quite well over the kerbs, we’ve got the balance feeling quite good today.

“Our car is probably driving better than it has all year – it’s just been getting better and better. In a way, it’s been an excellent year: it’s a bit like a race when you start from the back of the field and fight back to the front – that’s what our season has been like.

“And I’m extremely proud of everyone in our team, they’ve done a fantastic job all year and I’d like to finish on a high for all of them.”


Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

“I think everybody in the Formula 1 paddock has been overwhelmed by the scale and ambition of the Yas Marina circuit – it sets standards within our sport that I think will be almost impossible to eclipse. It is a truly fantastic facility, and a fine testament to the incredible vision of our hosts here in Abu Dhabi, who have treated everyone in our team with enormous warmth and hospitality.

“To finish the second practice session in first and second positions on the timesheets is, of course, highly encouraging, but we are aware that there are a number of closely matched teams who will be working hard to win this race.

“Both Heikki and Lewis did a fantastic job today. Now, our efforts will shift towards maximising our performance and ensuring we are fully prepared for a thrilling qualifying session tomorrow.”

Vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

“An exceptional new racetrack with fantastic facilities. Sincere compliments to the hosts in Abu Dhabi for establishing the new benchmark of new grand prix racetracks. The atmosphere here – especially at night – is absolutely fascinating, and I am sure this will become even better during tomorrow’s qualifying and Sunday's race.

“Our performance on this new track was very good today. Both Lewis and Heikki posted very competitive lap times during their race simulation long runs on both tyre compounds.

“I guess this was our most competitive Friday performance of the whole season.”

Copyright © 2009, Mercedes-Benz-Blog. All rights reserved.

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Mercedes-Benz Museum: A winter full of innovations


Stuttgart, Germany, Oct 28, 2009

In winter 2009/ 2010 the Mercedes-Benz Museum will be presenting two special exhibitions focusing on innovations and pioneering technologies at Mercedes-Benz. These are A Journey of Innovations, which runs from November 2009 until March 2010, and Concept BlueZERO, from mid December 2009 to the end of January 2010.

“To round off the year we are showing these two special exhibitions, demonstrating once again that we are a museum which deals with the past, present and future,” says Michael Bock, managing director of Mercedes-Benz Museum GmbH. “Innovation is a tradition here at Daimler. While one of the exhibitions documents the advances made over the last 123 years to the present day, the other focuses on future developments of the Mercedes-Benz brand.”

3 November 2009 - 21 March 2010: A Journey of Innovations

For the second time this year the museum will be staging an exhibition in Collection 5. This special exhibition will form the final stage of the Collection tour, the theme-based journey that takes in the major topics and events at Mercedes-Benz down the years. Nine vehicles, including the Benz Patent Motor Car of 1886, the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL of 1955, the E 250 CDI of 2009 and the S 400 HYBRID, will serve to illustrate how the concept of mobility has been constantly redefined over the course of time.

Ever since the invention of the automobile by Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler, Mercedes-Benz has regularly brought fundamental innovations to the market. These have set new standards in terms of comfort, safety and drive systems – from the introduction of supercharger technology and direct fuel injection to the use of diesel engines for production passenger cars and alternative technologies such as hydrogen, electric or hybrid drive systems. A summary of the vehicles can be found at

15 December 2009 - 31 January 2010: Concept BlueZERO

For seven weeks the Mercedes-Benz Museum will be presenting the special exhibition Concept BlueZERO in the Fascination of Technology section. The exhibition will show developments in the field of alternative drive systems and provide insights into tomorrow’s world of mobility.

Custom-built electric drive technology is the idea behind the near-series study Concept BlueZERO which has just been presented at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt. As the key to sustainable individual mobility, electric drive systems are set to play a crucial role in the years ahead. The exhibition shows three vehicle studies featuring various drive systems: the BlueZERO E-CELL PLUS with electric drive and auxiliary internal combustion engine, the BlueZERO E-CELL equipped purely with a battery electric drive and the BlueZERO F-CELL equipped with fuel cell technology. An expert is on hand to explain to visitors the technologies on which they are based. Admission to the exhibition area on the museum’s lowest floor is free.

Both exhibitions are bilingual (German/ English). The Mercedes-Benz Museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday and on public holidays from 9.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. Closed on Mondays. Further information for visitors is available at or from the Mercedes-Benz Classic Customer Center on tel. 0711 / 17-30 000. The address of the Mercedes-Benz Museum is: Mercedesstraße 100, 70372 Stuttgart.

Copyright © 2009, Mercedes-Benz-Blog. All rights reserved.

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Mercedes-Benz new models offensive for the next years

In the years that come, Mercedes-Benz will thoroughly update its automobile range with new or facelifted models.

Beginning with the spring of 2010, Mercedes-Benz will introduce the new E-Klasse Cabrio. Although its main opponent, the 3er Cabriolet, uses a hardtop, the engineers have decided to stick to the already famous cloth top, in order to save costs. The sexy design of the open-top model will be derived from that of its Coupe brother, displaying the elegant double headlights, the tail lights with LED technology and the historical Ponton rear wing crease. The engine offer and the safety, assistance and infotainment systems will be borrowed from the other models of the E-Klasse range.

Other models to be launched in 2010 are the R-Klasse FL, in the first part of the year, and another updated version of the legendary Gelandewagen. The G 500 will pe powered by the all new 4,6 litres biturbo V8 unit, delivering 435 BHP, whereas the top-of-the-range, the G 63 AMG, will boast 544 BHP and an estimated price tag of 135,000 euros.

In December 2010, the 3rd generation of the SLK-Klasse will celebrate its world premiere. The compact cabrio will lose its F1-inspired nose and will display a more conventional radiator grille, a la SLS AMG. The exterior design will feature the new Mercedes philosophy, with a sportier front fascia and clear lines. The powerplants offered for the SLK R172 will be completely new, amongst which the most delicious-sounding unit will be the one under the bonnet of the future SLK 55 AMG, which is said to be capable of delivering a maximum output 422 BHP.

In 2011, Mercedes-Benz will introduce the third generation M-Klasse. Alongside other big SUVs in the range, the ML will receive a power boost for ML 350 CDI version, which is to reach 252 BHP, and for the ML 450 version, rising up to 408 BHP. Among the major premieres of the new M-Klasse will be a sophisticated 4x4 management system.

For the R/M/GL ranges, Mercedes-Benz prepares the introduction of hybrid powertrains, such R/ML/GL 400 HYBRID-petrol V6 with 326 BHP;ML/GL 500 HYBRID-petrol V8 with 415 BHP and ML/GL 63 HYBRID with a staggering 564 BHP.

In 2013, the Stuttgart-based carmaker will launch the opponent for the recently-presented BMW X1. Badged BLK-Klasse, it will use the new FWD platform of the A- & B-Klasse models and an attractive offer of petrol and diesel engines. Of course, the clients will be able to ask for AWD configuration, but the entry-level, the BLK 220 CDI, with a price tag around 34,000 euros, will only be available in FWD mode.


Copyright © 2009, Mercedes-Benz-Blog. All rights reserved.

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SPY - 2012 Mercedes-Benz B-Klasse spotted again

Further spy photos after the jump!


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Mercedes-Benz 124 series: An automotive milestone becomes a Young Classic


Stuttgart, Germany, Oct 26, 2009

- Mercedes-Benz introduces the designation E-Class in the 124 series
- Large diversity of models and body variants
- Innovations range from 4MATIC to clean diesel engines

When Mercedes-Benz introduced the 124 series saloons in November 1984 they caught the attention of both trade and public alike. But this premiere 25 years ago would not be the last, for during its lifetime until 1997 the series notched up a string of firsts. And for the first time in winter 2009, the 124 took its first steps to becoming a Young Classic. From 1993 the 124 series was designated the first E-Class, having already become the first Mercedes-Benz vehicle to feature the 4MATIC automatic all-wheel drive back in 1985, and in 1990 the Mercedes-Benz 500 E became the first midsize model to be equipped with a V8 engine. Such milestones provide the framework for the biography of this model series, which appeared not only as a Saloon, Estate, Coupé and Convertible, but also as chassis and long-wheelbase Saloon versions, and as such served up six major players to the Mercedes-Benz model initiative.

The first generation of the midsize series made its debut in late November 1984 in Seville, Spain. Mercedes-Benz presented the eagerly awaited new saloon (W 124 series) in the upper midsize segment as the 200 D, 250 D, 300 D, 200, 230 E, 260 E and 300 E models. In addition, there was a 200 E version built for export to Italy. In terms of design and engineering the series borrowed elements from the 190 model
(W 201), the precursor of the C-Class built from 1982. Parallels with the compact class were evident, for example, in the use of high-strength steel and other weight-reducing materials.

In spite of the lightweight design, the Mercedes-Benz engineers made further improvements to vehicle safety – thanks in part to innovative development and design methods. For example, the 124 series was the first vehicle model subjected by Mercedes-Benz not only to classic crash testing but also to computerised accident simulation. The passenger cell was extremely rigid in terms of side impact and roll-over resistance, and was equipped with ingenious front and rear crumple zones. The saloons from the midsize series also fulfilled the criterion of the asymmetric head-on collision with 40 percent overlap at 55 km/h. In addition, potential contact zones with pedestrians and cyclists were designed to yield on impact should the situation arise.

Elegant lines for enhanced environmental performance

Developed by Bruno Sacco, Joseph Gallitzendörfer and Peter Pfeiffer, the thinking behind the design of the saloon was pragmatic and functional. The characteristic rear end, for example, was particularly advantageous in terms of drag. Aerodynamic optimisation in the new saloons (the drag coefficient was cut from cd=0.44 in the
W 123 series to cd=0.29 or 0.32 in the W 124 series, depending on engine type) reduced fuel consumption significantly compared with the predecessor model. In 1984 there were as yet few differences in design between the powerful six-cylinder models and the four-cylinder variants with moderate power output. Externally all models in the series were identical, with the exception of the rear silencer, which had a twin-pipe design in the six-cylinder models, and the louvre-like air intake vents in the front spoiler of the 300 D and vehicles fitted with air conditioning.

The engineers developed numerous engines for the 124 series from scratch. All new, for example, were the six-cylinder direct injection engines in the 260 E models
(125 kW) and 300 E (140 kW). All three compression ignition engines for the new
124 diesel generation – the 200 D (53 kW), 250 D (66 kW) and 300 D (80 kW) – were designed as a modular series.

The eccentric-sweep panoramic windscreen wiper made its debut in the W 124. This cleaned 86 percent of the windscreen – the largest swept area for any passenger car worldwide at the time of the launch of the W 124. Outstanding ride characteristics, on the other hand, were supplied by the tried-and-tested front and rear axle design from the compact class. This incorporated a shock absorber strut independent front suspension with anti-dive control and an independent multi-link rear suspension.

The Saloon’s big brother: the Estate

The history of the 124 series is characterised by a previously unrivalled diversity of models, body styles and innovations. The presentation of the Estate (S 124 series) in September 1985 at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt am Main represented an important step towards the assured style of the extended 124 family. The Estate was largely identical to the Saloons in terms of technological and stylistic design. Apart from modifications to the rear, the raised roof and other concomitant changes, there were no differences to the body. The only alterations to the major assemblies, braking system and chassis were to adapt them to the increased payload; otherwise they were taken from the Saloons virtually unmodified. Depending on engine type, the drag coefficient of the Estate model ranged from cd=0.34 to 0.35.
Where possible the designers also incorporated into the Estate the safety standards achieved in the Saloons. In particular, they introduced the latest findings from safety research into the development of the rear body overhang, a critical area for estate car rear ends. One example of this was the fuel tank, which featured slanting abutting surfaces. This ensured that in the event of a rear-end collision involving deformation of the longitudinal members, the tank would be displaced downwards and held in check by arrester cables to avoid the possibility of contact with the road surface.

The close relationship between Saloon and Estate was evident in the engines with which they were equipped. The original Estate range consisted of eight models, which – with one exception – used engines that also featured in the Saloons. The
105 kW 3-litre six-cylinder turbodiesel used in the 300 TD TURBO was developed by the Mercedes-Benz engineers from the naturally-aspirated Saloon unit. In this modified form, the turbocharged compression-ignition engine was used in the export version of the 300 SDL from the S-Class.

Driving elegance with two doors: the Coupé

In 1987 Mercedes-Benz expanded the model programme of the 124 series further still. First, in March, two Coupé models made their debut at the Geneva Motor Show, bringing to three the number of body variants on offer. As with the 123 series, there were close technical and stylistic similarities with the Saloon. However, the floor assembly in these new models was modified in such a way as to give the Coupé a wheelbase that was shorter by 8.5 centimetres. This served to underline its sporty nature and made the two-door vehicle a completely independent body variant in terms of design and form.

Reinforced A-pillars, side skirts and doors and a particularly high proportion of high-strength steel served to compensate for the absence of B-pillars. One characteristic design element that marked out the Coupés from the other body variants were the rub strips with integrated side-skirt trim. Positioned between the wheel cutouts at bumper height, these created a visual link between the front and rear aprons and were similarly painted in contrasting metallic colours.

The model range initially included the 230 CE and 300 CE models. Their engines, a 2.3-litre four-cylinder and a 3-litre six-cylinder with mechanically/electronically controlled fuel injection, were the same as in the respective saloon versions. And in terms of all other mechanical components, the Coupés were identical to their four-door counterparts. The only visible features that distinguished the models were the twin-pipe exhaust of the six-cylinder and the vehicle identification plate.

For the joy of open-topped driving: the Convertible

In September 1991 Mercedes-Benz premiered another body variant, the 300 CE-24 convertible, production of which began in 1992. After an interlude of around 20 years, a four-seater convertible was once again available in the midsize class. The car was based on the Coupé, although preparation for its role as an open-topped vehicle involved considerable design investment. Around 1,000 parts had to be redesigned just to strengthen the body alone. For example, the A-pillars were welded to interior steel sections at their weakest point to form a rigid unit.

A full safety system was achieved by combining this A-pillar with an automatic roll-over bar. Created specifically for the 300 CE-24 Convertible and positioned behind the rear seats, this linear roll-over bar extended almost vertically upwards within 0.3 seconds at the onset of a rollover incident. The fully retractable soft top featured a compelling wealth of ingenious technical detail – including, for example, a heated rear windscreen made of safety glass and with a double frame fitted flush to the outer skin, offering an undistorted rear view.

For special purposes: chassis with partial body

As had been common with the Mercedes-Benz midsize series for decades, the 124 series chassis also came with a partial body, ready for domestic or foreign coachbuilders to develop into ambulances, hearses or other special purpose vehicles. The novelty in this case, however, was that these chassis were now based on the Estate models and produced at the same plant in Bremen. In addition to the normal length vehicle, there was also a longer wheelbase variant.

From 1989 onwards there was also a long-wheelbase Saloon. This six-door version was 80 centimetres longer than the series Saloon in overall length and wheelbase.

Milestones in safety and environmental protection

The 124 series set numerous technical milestones. Among the most notable premieres was the introduction of the 4MATIC automatic four-wheel drive system in 1985. This all-wheel system involved a complex electronic control unit and a full additional front-wheel drive with transfer case and differential. In addition to the 4MATIC automatic four-wheel drive, the “Mercedes-Benz dynamic handling concept” also included an automatic locking differential (ASD) and acceleration skid control (ASR) – meaning that in this package Mercedes-Benz offered three stepped automatic electronic dynamic handling systems – all of which used signals from the anti-lock brake system ABS.

Also in 1985, the Stuttgartbrand offered an optional closed-loop emission control system with three-way catalytic converter for all petrol-engined models in the
124 series except the 200 model equipped with carburettor. From September 1986 onwards the catalytic converter then became standard-fit, and even the carburettor model in the 124 series was now available with emission control system.

Living development of a series

During its twelve-year production period the 124 series was regularly improved and further developed by the Mercedes-Benz engineers. This manifested itself in new models, as well as in technical innovations. These included, for example, the 300 D Turbo and 300 D Turbo 4MATIC saloons, introduced in 1987, with turbodiesel units from the corresponding estate models. Then in 1988 at the Paris Motor Show came the 200 E (hitherto produced only for the Italian market) and 250 D (featuring a modified version of the turbocharged 2.5-litre diesel engine from the compact class).
In September 1988 Mercedes-Benz introduced diesel engines for the 250 D and 300 D Turbo with redesigned prechambers and oblique injection for more efficient combustion. This reduced particulate emissions and at the same time boosted output. Moreover, in September 1988 all models in the series were given an enhanced standard equipment package, including anti-lock brakes (ABS) and a heated right-side exterior rear mirror.

As part of the “Diesel ’89” initiative, in February 1989 the non-turbocharged diesel passenger cars were equipped with revised engines. These also featured the new prechambers with oblique injection, which gave rise to improved emission levels and output. Emissions were further reduced by means of a complex emission control system, which combined an oxidising catalytic converter specially designed for diesel engines with a carefully tuned exhaust gas recirculation unit. This highly efficient system was available from October 1990 as optional equipment for diesel passenger cars with naturally-aspirated engines, and six months later also for turbocharged models.

The first model refinement package

In September 1989 Mercedes-Benz presented a completely revised model programme for the midsize category at the IAA International Motor Show Frankfurt. The focus of the model refinement package was on stylistic revisions to the body and a redesign of the interior. The most distinctive feature of the facelifted models was the lateral rub strips with integrated side-skirt trim. The newly designed interior benefited from enhanced seats and many detailed improvements.

The revised model programme for the 124 series offered five entirely new models. Now for the Saloon, Coupé and Estate there was the 3-litre, six-cylinder engine with four-valve technology and adjustable intake camshaft from the 300 SL-24 model. But on account of different installation conditions it was not possible to install the same catalytic converter cross-section from the SL in the 300 E-24, 300 CE-24 and
300 TE-24 models. For this reason rated power was 162 k – 8.1 kW lower than in the sports car (170 kW).

Alongside these top-of-the-range models from the series, the Stuttgart company also introduced a fourth body variant in the midsize class – the long wheelbase Saloon. This restored a long version to the sales programme after an absence of four years. The long body was developed in close cooperation with the Binz firm of bodybuilders based in Lorch, who then took care of the body-in-white process for series production. The wheelbase was increased by 80 centimetres to 3.60 metres, and the overall length grew by the same amount. In contrast to their predecessor models, the long-wheelbased 250 D and 260 E came with six doors and a full central seat bench, which in terms of seat depth and height of backrest virtually matched that in the rear. Series production of the long saloons began in May 1990.

Top sports car from the midsize series

Available exclusively as a saloon, the 500 E made its debut at the Paris Motor Show in October 1990 – this was the new top-of-the-range model in the 124 series and also the first E-Class to feature a V8 engine. Series production began in February 1991. Externally the 500 E was at first sight no different to its sister models. That merely lent greater emphasis to inner values, however. The newcomer was equipped with a 240 kW 5-litre, four-valve V8 engine which was based on the tried-and-tested power unit from the 500 SL and delivered breathtaking performance. In conjunction with a four-speed automatic transmission the Saloon could reach 100 km/h from a standing start in 5.9 seconds, its top speed was automatically limited to 250 km/h. Standard equipment included acceleration skid control (ASR) to prevent the drive wheels from spinning even at full acceleration.

To improve emissions behaviour, the volume of the double catalytic converter was increased from 3.9 to 5.8 litres; the system was supported by secondary air injection and exhaust gas recirculation. The 500 E for the first time used a new variant of the V8 four-valve unit, featuring a different fuel injection system, modified crankcase, Bosch LH-Jetronic electronically controlled fuel injection system and with the same engine block height as the 4.2 litre variant.

The distinctive features of the 500 E included subtly widened wings, fog lamps integrated into the front apron and 16-inch eight-hole alloy wheels with wide-base tyres measuring 225/55 ZR 16. The body was set 23 millimetres lower in comparison to other models, and to compensate for spring contraction under load the rear axle was equipped as standard with a hydropneumatic self-levelling rear suspension.

Bestseller reaches the two million mark before second facelift

The two millionth vehicle in the 124 series came off the production line in June 1992. Just a few weeks later the midsize series was subjected to a second model refinement package. This time Mercedes-Benz placed the focus on engine and equipment. The petrol versions were unveiled with a thoroughly revised engine range, which had now switched completely to four-valve technology. This meant all four and six-cylinder units now had the same bore, thereby rendering production more flexible and economic.

Apart from the new engine range for the petrol engines, the model refinement also included a significantly stepped-up standard equipment package for all midsize models. As of October 1992, standard-fit equipment included airbags, central locking and electrically adjustable exterior mirrors on both sides. In addition, the four-cylinder models were equipped with five-speed transmission at no extra cost.

The new 400 E model appeared on the European market at the same time as the facelifted midsize models. This variant of the W 124 had already been produced for export to the US and Japan in September 1991. As the new top-of-the-range vehicle among the large-displacement models, the car boasted the familiar 4.2-litre V8 engine with four-valve technology and 205 kW.

A world first in 1993 was the use of four-valve technology in five and six-cylinder naturally-aspirated diesel engines. That ensured not only increased torque and output, but also reduced fuel consumption at full load by up to 8 percent. In addition, the optimised combustion process meant that exhaust particulate emissions were reduced by 30 percent.

Name change for the 124 series: the first E-Class

A new nomenclature came into force for the 124 series with effect from the sales launch of the newly revised models in June 1993. In line with the S-Class and the new C-Class, the midsize category was henceforth renamed the E-Class. This meant that model designations were now also part of a modified system, in which the class to which a vehicle belonged was represented by a letter of the alphabet. This letter was followed by a three-digit number, based as previously on the engine displacement. The coding of body variants such as coupé and estate was now abandoned, since these were clearly identifiable. In the case of diesel-powered models, the word “Diesel” or “Turbodiesel” placed after the three-figure number replaced the earlier abbreviation.

Along with the change in nomenclature, the most striking feature of the modified vehicles was the radiator grille, redesigned in line with the S-Class. This so-called integrated radiator had a much thinner chrome frame compared with the previous design, and the Mercedes star was positioned – as with the S-Class saloons – on the bonnet. The headlamp unit was also modified: the front indicator lights were given colourless lenses, with bi-chromatic covers for the rear light cluster.
There were also changes to the shape of the boot lid, wheels and bumpers. The pressed steel wheels were fitted with six-hole wheel trims and the bumper mouldings now appeared in the same colour as the add-on parts. The rear bumper moulding was also wrapped round as far as the wheel cutouts.

At about the same time the E 60 AMG appeared on the scene as the new top-of-the-range model, offered by the company-owned tuner with the 6-litre V8 M 119 engine. This sports saloon developed 280 kW at 5,600/min. AMG also boosted the output of the Coupé and Convertible models: these also appeared on the market in 1993 as the
E 36 AMG, delivering 200 kW at 5,750/min.

End of production, start of a career as a Young Classic

In June 1995, two years after implementation of the last comprehensive model refinement measures, Mercedes-Benz introduced the E-Class saloons of the 210 series, the successor to the 124 series. Production of the 124 series Saloons ended a short time afterwards, depending on the model between June and August 1995. Production of the Estate continued until 1996. Mercedes-Benz also continued to produce ckd (“completely knocked down”) parts kits of the E 250 Diesel and E 220 until 1996 and shipped them for assembly to Pune in India. The last Convertible finally rolled off the production line in 1997.

During a period of over eleven years, production figures amounted to 2,058,777 Saloons, 340,503 Estates, 141,498 Coupés, 6,343 Convertibles, 2,342 long-wheelbase Saloons and 6,398 chassis with partial bodies for special purpose vehicles – 2,555,861 vehicles in total.

With the end of production, the Stuttgart company opened a new chapter in the ‘auto’-biography of their 124 series. With its classic lines and multiple body variants, the series has already started to establish itself as an attractive, Young Classic.
And on its 25th birthday in 2009, the first cars from the series officially achieved the rank of ‘youngtimer’ or recent classic – a piece of automotive heritage with youthful appeal. This is also reflected in the collection housed at Mercedes-Benz Young Classics, where dream cars such as the E 500 and 300 CE wait to transport enthusiasts on a trip down memory lane to revive the history of the 124 series.

Copyright © 2009, Mercedes-Benz-Blog. All rights reserved.

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F1 Abu Dhabi - Preview


Woking, United Kingdom, Oct 23, 2009

Lewis Hamilton
“We’ve had a fantastic second half of the season, and it would be perfect to end the year with a win – it would send us into the winter fully motivated and pumped up for the 2010 season. All the signs point to Abu Dhabi being another strong track for us – there are plenty of slow corners leading onto long straights, where KERS will be very advantageous.”

“Seeing as it’s likely to be the last race for KERS, it would be fantastic to send it off with a perfect result – that would be a very fitting farewell for all the engineers who have worked so hard to make the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes system the best in the business.”

Heikki Kovalainen
“I had a very strong race in Brazil and I’m determined to rack up a points finish in Abu Dhabi to make sure we hold on to third position in the constructors’ championship. From what I’ve seen of the track, it looks pretty good – it’s got a couple of fast corners at the start of the lap, but then there’s a real low-speed, technical section towards the end.”
“It still looks like it will be a tough track for overtaking, but the facilities look amazing – totally world-class – and I think the idea of a dusk race is very good for our sport. Singapore has set the standard very high with its night race, but Abu Dhabi looks like it will set new standards in Formula 1. I can’t wait to get out there.”

Martin Whitmarsh
Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

“We may have just overhauled Ferrari in Brazil to move into third place in the constructors’ championship, but, being just one point ahead with just one race remaining, means that we go into the Abu Dhabi weekend fully focused on scoring the maximum possible points to consolidate that position.”
“As usual, there has been no let-up from the team in its preparations. We head to Abu Dhabi not only extremely encouraged by the improved pace we showed in Brazil but also very optimistic that the final race of the season offers us another opportunity to challenge for victory.”
“Everything I’ve seen and heard about the Abu Dhabi circuit speaks of the race organisers’ total passion and commitment to perfection. The track already looks to have eclipsed the facilities we have anywhere else in the world and I’m very optimistic that, like Singapore before it, this weekend’s race will set a new benchmark for Formula 1 and open up new opportunities for the sport in the Middle East and the rest of the world.”

Norbert Haug
Vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

“This exciting season is coming to its end with the very first race at the new track in Abu Dhabi. This circuit defines the new state-of-the-art Formula 1 racetracks, and I’m sure it will be a truly exciting and hard-fought race.”
“After both world championships have been decided, every team that is in a position to do so will try to use the chance to win this prestigious final race of the season. Since Lewis’ first victory in Hungary in late July, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes has shown a clear upwards trend.”
“Both Lewis and Vodafone McLaren Mercedes have achieved two wins and five podium finishes, resulting in more points than any team and any other driver in the last seven races.”
“We try to continue in that direction and hopefully with a similar result to the last street race in Singapore, which Lewis won.”

Copyright © 2009, Mercedes-Benz-Blog. All rights reserved.

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Expansion of Mercedes-Benz Rastatt Plant: Daimler invests EUR 600 million in center of excellence for compact vehicles


Rastatt/Stuttgart, Germany, Oct 22, 2009

- Dr. Dieter Zetsche: “With this significant investment we are defining our future in the compact car segment and safeguard the plant Rastatt in the long term.”
- In 2009 and 2010, Daimler will invest a total of about 3 billion euros in German passenger car locations

Mercedes-Benz is further expanding its center of excellence for compact vehicles by enlarging its Rastatt plant with an investment of 600 million euros. In addition, a further 800 million euros will be invested in a new plant at the Hungarian location of Kecskemét. The Company’s total investments for these two locations thus amount to approximately 1.4 billion euros. The first vehicles of the successor generation to the current A- and B-Class will roll off the assembly lines in Rastatt from the end of 2011.

“With this significant investment we are defining our future in the compact car segment and safeguard the plant Rastatt in the long term. In addition, we will continue to invest in our locations in Germany – about EUR 3 billion in 2009 and 2010 alone,” said Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. “The expansion of the Rastatt plant illustrates our clear commitment to our center of excellence and the excellent work of the Rastatt employees,” continued Zetsche.

“The expansion of the Mercedes-Benz plant in Rastatt is a symbol of our country’s innovative capability and export strength. At the same time, is it also a signal to continue to invest particularly in times of crisis, thus maintaining and creating technology jobs for the future,” said Baden-Württemberg Finance Minister Willi Stächele on the occasion of the plant expansion in Rastatt.

New body shell hall in Rastatt

An additional production hall, in which construction for the plant equipment for body shells will begin soon, has been built as an auxiliary to the existing building facilities in Rastatt. To enable part deliveries and unloading directly at the production site, a direct train connection is planned for the hall. The new body shell hall has an area of approximately 66,000 m2. This is where parts from the local region will also be installed: The groundbreaking ceremony for a new Mercedes-Benz press shop for production, among other things, of exterior parts for the follow-up generation to the A- and B-Class from 2011 was held in the nearby town of Kuppenheim in June. The total investments for the Kuppenheim press shop amount to around 70 million euros.

Follow-up generation of the A- and B-Class

With the expansion of its product line in the compact vehicle segment, in future Mercedes-Benz will be offering four models instead of the current two with a view to acquiring new customer groups and growing in additional markets. The future models will also offer product features like generous interior space, which are already popular with customers of the A- and B-Class. In addition, further variants and designs will set new trends.

Production network between Rastatt and Kecskemét

The construction work in Kecskemét, Hungary began a few days ago with the official ground-breaking ceremony. The building for vehicle paintwork at the new factory is being constructed first, followed by the body shop and the assembly hall starting early next year. Both plants together form a coordinated production network. The first models of the successor generation will be produced in Rastatt from the end of 2011, and the production ramp-up in Hungary is planned for 2012.

“Production costs are a key factor in the competitiveness of the price-sensitive compact vehicle segment: The coordinated production network of the Rastatt and Kecskemét plants will make a key contribution to this,” said Rainer Schmückle, Chief Operating Officer of Mercedes-Benz Cars. “In future, three of four vehicles of the successor generation to the A- and B-Class will come from the Rastatt plant location, which will remain a central proven component of our production network.”

Successful in the premium compact vehicle segment

With the A- and B-Class, Mercedes-Benz is already a successful premium manufacturer of compact vehicles. Since the A-Class entered production in 1997 and the B-Class in 2005 over 2.4 million A- and B-Class vehicles have rolled off assembly lines. Between 2002 and 2005 Daimler AG invested about 900 million euros in the Rastatt plant for the second generation of the A-Class and the B-Class.

The most important markets for the compact vehicles from Rastatt are Germany, Italy, France and the UK. In addition, this year the B-Class was successfully launched in China where it has gained a market share of 25%, significantly above expectations.

A-Class E-Cell in small series production starting in late 2010

From the end of 2010 production at the Rastatt plant will also be expanded with small series production of the electrically-operated A-Class E-Cell. Peter Wesp, head of the Mercedes-Benz plant in Rastatt: “Small series production of the A-Class E-Cell will once again prove the expertise of the Rastatt plant in premium compact vehicles. The employees are also intensively preparing for the successor generation of the A- and B-Class – we are thus well-prepared and highly motivated for the future.”

Mercedes-Benz Rastatt plant

The Rastatt plant is Mercedes-Benz’ center of excellence for compact vehicles, with around 5,700 employees. The production start of the A-Class marked a new generation of vehicles in 1997. The Mercedes-Benz B-Class has also been rolling off the assembly lines in Rastatt since 2005, with a production of more than 500,000 vehicles to date. Both compact vehicles appeal to customers mainly with their unique security concept, spacious interiors and excellent variability.

Copyright © 2009, Mercedes-Benz-Blog. All rights reserved.

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Performance Package Plus: enhanced performance for successful AMG model: C 63 AMG with a shot of SLS


Affalterbach, Germany, Oct 21, 2009 - Enhanced driving dynamics ex factory for the Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG: the new Performance Package Plus is an attractive optional extra that is designed to appeal to the power-hungry sports driver. The Performance Package Plus increases output by 22 kW/30 hp to 358 kW/487 hp. As a result, the C-Class approaches the level of performance offered by C-Class DTM vehicles, which deliver 377 kW/500 hp. The Performance Package Plus is available for the saloon and estate models and includes an AMG high-performance braking system featuring composite technology on the front axle, a carbon fibre spoiler lip (saloon) and an AMG performance steering wheel in nappa leather/Alcantara.

With the Performance Package Plus, the C 63 AMG accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.4 seconds and 0 to 200 km/h in 13.9 seconds. This beats the 336 kW/457 hp standard model by up to 1.2 seconds (0–100 km/h: 4.5 seconds; 0–200 km/h: 15.2 seconds). The top speed is 250 km/h (electronically limited).

The improvement in power output to 358 kW/487 hp is due to the AMG 6.3-litre V8 engine's modified engine compartment: the forged pistons adopted from the new SLS AMG super sports car together with new connecting rods and a lightweight crankshaft translate into a weight saving of three kilograms. Reduced inertia boosts the agility and responsiveness of the uprated V8 engine, which is recognisable from the variable intake manifold painted in titanium grey. New engine management completes the powertrain measures in the Performance Package Plus for the C 63 AMG.

Key data at a glance:

Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG with Performance Package Plus

Cylinder arrangement - V8
Cylinder angle - 90°
Valves per cylinder - 4
Displacement - 6208 cc
Bore x stroke - 102.2 x 94.6 mm
Compression ratio - 11.3:1
Output - 358 kW/487 hp at 6800 rpm
Max. torque - 600 Nm at 5000 rpm
Maximum engine speed - 7200 rpm
Engine weight (dry) - 196 kg
Fuel consumption NEDC combined - 13.4 (13.6) l/100 km
CO2 emissions - 318 (323) g/km
Acceleration 0–100 km/h - 4.4 (4.5) s
Top speed - 250 km/h*

*electronically limited; figures in brackets: estate model

AMG high-performance braking system featuring composite technology

The Performance Package Plus braking system has been adapted to the enhanced driving dynamics. A new AMG high-performance braking system ensures greater stability when driving dynamically, with compound brake discs on the front axle and red painted brake callipers all round showing the AMG logo. The brake discs feature a composite design and are connected to an aluminium bowl to avoid temperature peaks. The connection between the disc and bowl is new: instead of the usual screw connection, the aluminium bowl is now connected to the brake disc via cast-in arms. The advantage is more homogenous temperature distribution on the brake disc.

A further identifying feature of the Performance Package Plus is the AMG carbon fibre spoiler lip on the boot lid (saloon). In the interior, the AMG performance steering wheel in nappa leather with a grip area trimmed in Alcantara feels good, while at the same time making a striking visual impact.

The new AMG Performance Package Plus is available for C 63 AMG saloon and estate models and can be ordered now. The sales price is €7080.50 or €6426(saloon/estate; prices include 19% VAT) with the market launch taking place in December 2009.

Extended appointments in black designo leather

New black designo leather as an optional extra will enhance the interior even further and covers the upper section of the dashboard, the upper door trim and the armrest on the centre console. This high-quality feature is available in conjunction with nappa leather appointments for €2856 (price includes 19% VAT).

The internationally successful C 63 AMG model

The C 63 AMG is one of the most popular vehicles in the Mercedes-AMG model range. In 2008, 8100 units of this high-performance car were sold worldwide. The C 63 AMG demonstrates its sports credentials in international motorsport as well as on the road. For example, the C 63 AMG estate is used as the official F1™ medical car and the C 63 AMG saloon acts as a safety car in the DTM German Touring Car Masters.

Copyright © 2009, Mercedes-Benz-Blog. All rights reserved.

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