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Nürburgring – With perfect track conditions and in bright sunshine, the second VLN round at the Nürburgring got underway on Saturday at noon with six Mercedes-AMG GT3 and three Mercedes-AMG GT4. In the field with 182 participants, three Mercedes-AMG GT3 had secured top ten grid positions during qualifying in the morning. The Mercedes-AMG Team BLACK FALCON car with starting number 14 started the race from third place followed by the two Mercedes-AMG Team MANN-FILTER cars in fourth and ninth position (#48 and #47).

Maro Engel (GER), the starting driver of the number 14 car, already made use of this good starting grid position in the opening stages of the race and took his first turn in the lead on the second lap. Together with his team-mates Christodoulou, Metzger and Müller, Engel firmly established himself in the group of the front runners and staged a tight battle for the lead. With faultless pit stops and stints, the quartet was in contention for the race win until the very end. Only unfortunate yellow flag situations towards the end of the race prevented victory. After 27 laps, final driver Dirk Müller crossed the finish line in second place, only eight seconds down, and thus already secured Mercedes-AMG Motorsport its first podium finish in the second round of the season.

The Mercedes-AMG Team MANN-FILTER car with starting number 48 and drivers Indy Dontje (NED), Maximilian Götz and Christian Hohenadel (both GER) rounded out the good result with four Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the top ten by finishing seventh. The second cars run by Mercedes-AMG Team BLACK FALCON and Mercedes-AMG Team MANN-FILTER followed in eighth and ninth place. Yelmer Buurman (NED), Thomas Jäger, Jan Seyffarth and Luca Stolz (all GER) drove the car with starting number 15 while double starter Indy Dontje (NED), Dominik Baumann (AUT) and Edoardo Mortara (ITA) were behind the wheel of the #47.

Courtesy of the qualifying results in the first two VLN rounds, already three Mercedes-AMG GT3 have qualified for the top 30 qualifying of the 24-hour race from 10-13 May. The Mercedes-AMG Team MANN-FILTER already qualified itself with its car with starting number 47 in VLN 1 (fourth place in qualifying for VLN 1). The Mercedes-AMG Team BLACK FALCON car with starting number 14 (third place) and the second Mercedes-AMG Team MANN-FILTER car with number 48 (fourth place) did likewise in qualifying for this weekend’s second VLN round. The remaining slots for the shootout will be allocated during the qualification race and directly during the two qualifying sessions for the 24-hour race.

Mercedes-AMG GT4 with a class win and a podium finish
In their second race at the Nordschleife, the Mercedes-AMG GT4 again showed a strong performance. In the SP8T class, Jethro Bovington (GBR), Christian Gebhardt, Bernd Schneider and Patrick Simon (all GER) were first across the finish line with the #155 car after 25 laps, Schneider having posted the fastest qualifying time in class for the Mercedes-AMG Team Driving Academy. In the SP10 class, two Mercedes-AMG GT4 were also successful: BLACK FALCON Team IDENTICA ended up in second place with Stefan Karg, Fidel Leib and Moritz Oberheim (all GER). The BLACK FALCON Team TMD Friction with drivers Kim-Luis Schramm and Alexander Kolb finished fifth.

Maro Engel, Mercedes-AMG Team BLACK FALCON #14: “Dirk did a super lap in qualifying which already qualified us for the Top 30 qualifying for the 24-hour race. That was our primary goal and adds to the good preparation. As a result, one can be a little bit more relaxed going into the 24-hour race weekend. After all, during the 24-hour race, it is often tough and stressful to secure one of the blue lights. Today in the VLN race, I did the start. That was great fun and there was a good fight at the front. The Mercedes-AMG GT3 is really good to drive, even though we still have some fine-tuning to do. Subsequently, Adam, Dirk and Manuel also did a really good job. We are happy with second place."

Dirk Müller, Mercedes-AMG Team BLACK FALCON #14: “Many thanks to the fans for their great support. The race was great fun. The battle was tough today, but I am very happy with second place. The final lap was rather difficult with a yellow flag and a crashed car alongside the track. I am happy that it all worked out well and that I was second across the finish line.”

Bernd Schneider, Mercedes-AMG Team Driving Academy #155: “Of course, we are really happy with today’s class win. This was my first time with my team-mates in the Mercedes-AMG GT4 and of course we tested and tried quite a few things. As a team, we were able to adapt to each other. The goal was for the guys to get a lot of driving time and to get used to the track as well. They have all done a great job. We as the drivers are feeling very well and we were enjoying ourselves in the car. The tyres still need some sorting, but we are confident that we will get that done for the 24-hour race. “

Stefan Wendl, head of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing: “With this podium finish and three further teams in the top ten, our dress rehearsal for the 24-hour race was a successful affair. It reflects the close performance level of our Mercedes-AMG GT3 teams. The race itself was affected by many yellow flags and for the drivers in particular, adapting to the changing situations was difficult. However, the drivers and the teams mastered this in an excellent way. Altogether, I have to extend a compliment to our customer teams who spur each other on to maximum achievements by exemplary team work. In one week, the qualification race is on as the final means of fine-tuning for the highlight with the 24-hour race in May.”
Zolder – Mercedes-AMG Motorsport celebrated a successful start of the new Blancpain GT Series season. In the Sprint Cup at Zolder in Belgium, the Mercedes-AMG GT3 made it onto the winners’ podium during the first event already. Driving the car with starting number 88, run by AKKA ASP, Raffaele Marciello (ITA) and Michael Meadows (GBR) were second across the finish line in race two on Sunday. In summerly conditions, the duo started the 60 minutes’ sprint race at Circuit Zolder from fifth place on the grid and gradually worked its way up. Starting driver Marciello overtook one opponent and handed the car to team-mate Michael Meadows while in fourth place. Thanks to its faultless pit stop, the team even moved up into third positions. Like Marciello, the Brit showed a strong performance and also benefited from the drive-through penalty of a rival. After 39 laps, he scored the first podium finish of the new Blancpain GT Series season, less than seven seconds down.

The three other Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the field of 22 cars, all three of them entered by AKKA ASP, also finished in the top ten. Felix Serralles (PUR) and Nicolas Jamin (FRA) concluded their remarkable progress from 19th place on the grid in fourth position. In the opening stages already, Serralles drove the Mercedes-AMG GT3 with starting number 87 into twelfth place. Jamin continued the great effort and eventually came within two seconds of a podium finish. Russian driver pairing Vladimir Atoev and Alexey Korneev finished in ninth place. The duo with starting number 35 competed in co-operation with SMP Racing and finished second in the Silver class. Nico Bastian (GER) and Jack Manchester (GBR) completed the enjoyable result by finishing third in the Silver class and tenth overall with the #90 Mercedes-AMG GT3. 

On the previous day in the first of the two sprint races, these two cars had already finished on the Silver class podium. The Bastian/Manchester duo was classified in second place followed by Atoev and Korneev. Moreover, two further Mercedes-AMG GT3 made it into the top ten of the overall classification. Marciello and Meadows made up nine places and moved up from 17th on the grid to eighth place at the finish. Nicolas Jamin (FRA) and Felix Serralles (PUR) finished in ninth position.

Raffaele Marciello, AKKA ASP #88: “I am delighted to be able to race for Mercedes-AMG in the prestigious Blancpain GT Series. We had a great race. I had a good start, I was able to make up one place and I kept up the pressure and got everything out of it. The Mercedes-AMG GT3 simply is a joy to drive. Second place is a good start into the new season.”

Michael Meadows, AKKA ASP #88: “I was able to drive a controlled race and largely stay out of all the troubles. Of course, we benefited from the drive through penalty, but the Mercedes-AMG GT3 was also great to drive. Second place gives us a positive feeling for the races to come.”
Mercedes-AMG Motorsport are about to write the final chapter in their 30-year DTM history. Shortly before the start of their anniversary season, the team were at Hockenheim, attending a dress rehearsal for the season opener which will be hosted by the same venue. Over the course of the four days of testing, the six Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM drivers completed 1,606 laps – equivalent to a distance of 7,346 kilometres on the 4.574 km Hockenheimring – more than either of the other two manufacturers.

“I’m pretty happy after my two days of testing,” said team captain Gary Paffett, who set the fastest time on the second day. “ The weather has been good and we had lots of dry running. The cars run very well; we have done lots of testing and lots of mileage. I’m really pleased with that. As for the pace, it’s impossible to say really. I think it means nothing at all so far, but it’s always nice to see your name at the top of the time sheets. That was good, but it means very little at the moment. What is important is that we are working through the changes to the car and we are finding a better balance and making some good progress on short runs and long runs. I think we have a really good understanding of the car now, and we are well prepared for the first race in Hockenheim.”

The test days were particularly important for Daniel Juncadella. The Spaniard had broken his collarbone just over a week before in a cycling accident, but he was determined to return to the cockpit at Hockenheim. “It was great to be back in the car this week,” said Daniel Juncadella after immediately putting in 121 laps. “All in all, it was very positive. I completed my programme and did plenty of laps without experiencing pain. It’s great to feel so fit again just ten days after my injury. This is the most important thing for me to take away from the tests. Now I just can’t wait for the opening race weekend.”

The same goes for the 2015 DTM champion, whose turn it was to drive on Day 1 - the first time he had got behind the wheel of a DTM car since his championship-winning season. “I was delighted to be back in the car again,” said Pascal Wehrlein. “It was high time after the long winter break. The process of adapting from Formula 1 to the DTM went quite fast. Lap times in the winter tests are always hard to judge, but I definitely got a positive feeling. We learned a lot, and it’s been a good two and a half days for me. Hockenheim cannot come too soon.”

After the long winter break, Edoardo Mortara was also delighted to be back on track in his Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM. “I covered a lot of kilometres and managed to do plenty of testing,” he said. “I had my turn at the beginning of the week, so we were doing a lot of work on the setup of the car. After that, we also tested with qualifying and actual race situations in mind. I’m now hoping that we will be competitive at the start of the season.”

Paul Di Resta obviously enjoyed his first laps of the new year: “ I got a feeling of how the new car works. As a team, we got through most of our priorities, and the majority of our test programme is ultimately all about putting the time until the first race to a good use. Credit to the team – it’s been a long four days for them. I’m looking forward to getting back into action, turning on the power, getting aggressive and going out and racing these cars.“

This is precisely what racing drivers such as Paul and Lucas Auer love about their job. “The two days of testing were very productive,” added Lucas. “We tested a lot of components, and I really got back into my rhythm. After the test drives, we know the direction we need to go in. I’m now curious to see who has the upper hand in the first race at Hockenheim.”

Of course, the winter test drives do not conclusively answer the big question of how the teams measure up to each other. “We have an exhausting but successful final week of testing behind us in the run‑up to the season opener at the same venue here in Hockenheim,” said Head of Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM Ulrich Fritz. “We put in 1,606 laps and covered 7,346 kilometres on the four test days this week, which was very important, as every kilometre is enormously valuable for us because of the small number of test days this year. The whole team were highly dedicated and did a good job. Also, it was nice to see all our drivers in action again after the long winter break. We’ll find out just how well we’ve done our homework when the season begins in early May.”

The Mercedes-AMG Motorsport DTM Team now returns to the factory in Affalterbach, where the engineers will continue with final preparations for the season opener on the weekend of 4th - 6th May at Hockenheimring. They will be evaluating the data from the winter test drives and applying the final touches to the cars for the upcoming campaign. The drivers and crew will be working through the last part of their physical fitness programme over the coming weeks. This will include sessions in the gym and pit stop practice. The results of the tough pre-season will become apparent on 5th May when Mercedes-AMG Motorsport embarks on its anniversary season at Hockenheim.
Formula One / 2018 Chinese Grand Prix - Sunday
« Last post by fasteddy on Yesterday at 08:47:36 AM »
Valtteri Bottas

This is disappointing; today doesn’t feel like winning a podium but like losing a win. Coming home second is not what we aimed for after the beginning of the race and the successful undercut. The team did a really good job, the pit stop was absolutely perfect and came at the right moment. We lost the race under the safety car. When it came out, Sebastian and I were already past the pit entry, so we were a bit unlucky – the cars behind us could react, but we didn’t have any choice. They could get fresh tyres, but I ended up doing nearly 40 laps on the Medium, so of course it was slower in the end. It’s very close between Red Bull, Ferrari and us, so we need to make sure we keep developing our car. Nearly winning both last weekend and this weekend is the worst feeling – but it makes both me and the entire team even hungrier. Thankfully there are a lot more races to go.

Lewis Hamilton

It was another difficult day at the office. I was trying to hold on, but my tyres were done, so I had no chance of keeping the Red Bulls behind. Saturday and Sunday felt like a disaster from my side. I just haven’t had the pace since yesterday and I struggled with the car. We’ve been underperforming but I’m not going to let my head drop because I know we have a tough battle ahead of us. I need to get back to my normal level of performance before I lose more valuable points. It could have been worse, Max did me a favour today in terms of the points standings, but it’s a weekend to forget, that’s for sure. Now we need to work hard to understand why we have been struggling and start the climb back to the front of the field.

Toto Wolff

I am sure that was a fantastic grand prix for the fans watching in the grandstands and back at home – but it was a very challenging one from where we were sitting. Ultimately, the reality of today’s pace is that we lacked pace in each phase – Sebastian managed the performance in the opening stint, building a good gap to Valtteri, and the Red Bulls were significantly faster on fresher tyres after the Safety Car. The best part of our day was undoubtedly Valtteri’s drive: the pit wall called an aggressive undercut, the boys delivered a perfect pit stop and he claimed first the position over Sebastian, then the lead from Kimi with a bold pass round the outside. We saw a real fighter in the car today and, while he was unfortunate with the Safety Car timing opening the door for Red Bull, he protected P2 in a perfect way. For Lewis, it was a tougher afternoon. He could not make progress in the opening stint, pitted early for the medium tyre running a one-stop strategy and then was sitting in P3 after the Safety Car came in. At that stage we believed that gaining track position was key as we did not see any overtaking in the first part of the race. In the end we must admit that the decision from Red Bull to pit for a fresh set of tyres under the safety car was the right call but that was not a given at that stage of the race. P2 and P4 is some good damage limitation from a tricky race but it is little comfort that this puts us in the lead of the constructors’ championship as we head home. We have seen the competitive picture change quickly over the past three races and it’s clear that we still have much to understand about our car and how to get the best from the tyres. We have been in tough spots before in recent years and shown the right spirit to respond. We will do the same again this time.

Andrew Shovlin

Firstly congratulations to Valtteri finishing his 100th race with another podium. Last week Valtteri was wanting the race to run a few laps longer and this week he’ll be glad that it finished when it did. He drove a strong race, managed his tyres well and had the pace to make the undercut work with Vettel. It would have been great to have seen him on the top step but we missed it by quite a margin today as we just weren’t fast enough compared to Red Bull. Leading up to the safety car, the race was going reasonably well. Valtteri was running in first place and Lewis was in fourth having benefit from Ferrari going long on the first stint with Kimi. The safety car changed the situation: we had to stay out with Valtteri to retain the lead and decided not to stop Lewis as we might have lost a position to Ricciardo, and risked losing a further place to Kimi. We’d not been able to overtake during the first stint so were conscious that if we’d lost that position, we may have been stuck there. However, we simply didn’t have the pace to beat Red Bull on the same strategy today and we need to be very honest with ourselves regarding our performance of our car this weekend. We’ve had very different conditions over qualifying and race but haven’t been fastest in either. We’re off to Baku next which is a very different type of circuit and we are fully expecting another close battle. We’ve got work to do in many areas, both qualifying and race pace need to be improved. This championship is anyone’s to win and we will be working flat out over the next few weeks and month to try and solve our weaknesses.
Formula One / 2018 Chinese Grand Prix - Saturday
« Last post by fasteddy on Yesterday at 08:46:48 AM »
Valtteri Bottas

We came here thinking we’d be fighting for pole position but unfortunately that was out of reach. It was a pretty straightforward qualifying and it felt like I got everything out of the car. Maybe we didn’t get the tyres absolutely perfect for the lap but I don’t think it would have been enough for us to beat the Ferraris. That’s particularly disappointing because the gap to them is quite big. We definitely have work to do but tomorrow is a different day. Today it was really windy and cold, tomorrow it should be nice and sunny. We’ve been looking better on the harder compounds and we will start the race on the Soft, so maybe we can use that to our advantage. It’s a long race ahead and, as we saw last weekend, it will be close. On paper, this track is easier for overtaking than Bahrain, so hopefully tomorrow we can make up for what we lost today.

Lewis Hamilton

It’s been a difficult day. We started the weekend positively in practice, but the car went away from us today, the pace just wasn’t there. Ferrari have definitely improved over the weekend – maybe they didn’t quite show their true pace yesterday – but today they were rapid. We were half a second behind them in qualifying, which is why I boxed on my final lap because I knew I couldn’t match their pace. It’s not going to be easy to beat Kimi and Sebastian tomorrow, they’re the quickest on the straights too, so overtaking will be tough. We start fourth and I’m gonna have to fight from there. It should be hotter tomorrow, which could turn everything on its head. We’ll keep our heads up and keep pushing. The fans here in China have been amazing, I hope they know I’ll do everything to fight for them tomorrow.

Toto Wolff

It has been a complex weekend for us so far – on some laps, we have hit the window of tyre performance just right like on the final run in Q2; but more often it has felt like we were chasing that window, especially on the UltraSoft tyre where we have been lacking overall grip. On the other hand, Ferrari have been strong in all conditions and on all tyres and this afternoon’s qualifying results reflect as much. We can see a number of areas of difference on the GPS traces and we need to analyse those carefully. We expect the track temperatures to be much warmer tomorrow and we hope that we have anticipated that change in the right way with the set-up. Ferrari and ourselves will start of the soft tyres, which is a strategic variation to the cars right behind us, and should provide one more ingredient for an interesting race.

Andrew Shovlin

Conditions today have been even cooler than yesterday and we really struggled to get the tyres to work well. We saw this more or less straight away in FP3: both drivers were reporting that the grip wasn’t there and it was taking us multiple laps to get down to a time.  Conversely it seemed to come easily for some other teams. We made some changes to improve the situation for qualifying however, we always seemed to be a step behind Ferrari and we didn’t have an answer for their performance in the final session. We were able to get through Q2 with the more durable soft tyre and, although this wasn’t initially as easy as we would have hoped, it does mean that we can challenge Ferrari on the same strategy. For tomorrow, we’re expecting clear skies, sunshine and a different situation regarding the track and tyres. This is a circuit where you can overtake and so long as we can stay close to Ferrari, there are plenty of ways that we can put them under pressure. We’re also going to have to keep our eyes on Red Bull who looked very consistent on Friday on the UltraSoft and will be able to take risks on strategy if there is no threat from behind. As always, our goal is to win and we will be doing everything we can to make that happen.
Formula One / 2018 Chinese Grand Prix - Friday
« Last post by fasteddy on Yesterday at 08:45:44 AM »
Lewis Hamilton

When I got to Shanghai the weather was really good, but it’s gone downhill – now we got the rain and it’s cold. But it has been a good day, we got through all the laps that we needed and got some good feedback about the car. All the tyres here are quite similar in pace, so there’s not a big difference between them even though we have the double step between the Soft and the UltraSoft. The balance of the car is good but we have some fine-tuning to do on it tonight. Ferrari were quick and Red Bull looked really fast on the long run. It’s good to see all the times so close, but it means that we really need to bring our A game. We need everyone in the team to be on it throughout the weekend because it is a joint effort.

Valtteri Bottas

It’s good that the rain didn’t come until the end of the session because the race is expected to be dry. The track improved a lot over the course of the day, even during the sessions. Lap after lap you could just feel more and more grip but that’s quite usual for this track. We’re expecting tomorrow morning to be a little bit trickier after the rain, and hopefully the conditions will improve for qualifying. We had some issues with the balance in the morning; the car was quick, but it wasn’t easy to drive. We changed the set-up for FP2 and saw the lap times improve; hopefully we can make another step forward for tomorrow.. Overall, we got some good running and plenty of information, so I’m feeling all set for tomorrow. It looks like it will be extremely close again with Ferrari, both in qualifying tomorrow and the race on Sunday.

Andrew Shovlin

We’ve had a fairly normal Friday programme here, a few test items on the cars for the early running but mainly we have been focussed on understanding the car balance and the tyre behaviour for qualifying and the race. We only tried the Soft tyre during FP1 but the initial feedback from the drivers was quite encouraging and the car seemed to be working well. Shanghai is never an easy track to balance because there are so many different types of corner but overall we seemed to be in reasonable shape. Free practice two saw us running all three tyres, both using UltraSoft but splitting the harder tyres so that Valtteri could focus on the Medium and Lewis on the Soft. We had concerns over the UltraSoft coming into this event but it was surprisingly consistent over the long runs and still going strong when we boxed both cars having seen the rain approaching on the radar. The Soft and Medium runs were cut short by the rain when it finally arrived although we managed to get a feel for the grip and balance and it seems that most of the other teams were also unable to complete their plans. The conditions are very cool today, similar to winter testing, and that does change the way the tyres behave. We are expecting more mixed weather tomorrow and our normal qualifying preparation could be affected by a bit of rain in free practice three. However, for Sunday the current forecasts show the sun coming out and we should get a much hotter track. Some of the work tonight needs to focus on that change of temperature for the race, but even for the cool conditions we anticipate tomorrow, we have work to do on the balance to fine tune a few corners. It’s clear that ourselves, Red Bull and Ferrari are closely matched on pace and, as always, they will be improving their cars overnight so we will be working with our usual diligence to try and find every last bit of performance.
Smart / smart mobile disco by Konstantin Grcic: smart ready to party
« Last post by fasteddy on April 13, 2018, 08:45:48 AM »
Stuttgart/Milan. smart has revolutionised urban mobility and pioneered innovative services that stand for joie de vivre in the city. The same now goes for night-life, too: with the smart mobile disco, the brand has developed an unusual workstation for DJs – with DJ booth, mixer console, fog machine and various light effects. The show car was created by product designer Konstantin Grcic. JBL, smart's long-standing audio partner, provided the professional sound equipment. The unusual smart was one of the highlights at the preview of "Night Fever. Designing Club Culture 1960 – Today" at the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein on 16 March. The exhibition will run until 9 September 2018. The show car will make its next public appearance at a smart party during the "Salone di Mobile Milano" (17 to 22 April), the world's largest furniture trade fair, which draws some 350,000 visitors each year: a smart party featuring the smart mobile disco will take place in the centre of Milan on 17 April, beginning at 7 p.m.

"The smart mobile disco is a great symbol of the smart brand's links with club culture – a scene that draws people together, forges bonds and brings joy," says smart boss Dr Annette Winkler. "The many different facets of club culture all embrace a departure from given norms, a different way of looking at things and the courage to try out something new. This is what links the club culture with smart. Visionary thinking and a passion to keep questioning the status quo encapsulate smart's aims and its essential attitude."

The smart mobile disco is based on a smart EQ fortwo (combined power consumption: 13.0-12.9 kWh/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 0 g/km[1]). The interior now accommodates the equipment for operating the lifting platform on which the DJ's booth is installed. The booth can be raised and is fitted out with various items of equipment, including a mixer console and gooseneck microphone. Laminated side supports stabilise the smart mobile disco when in use for deejaying.

A fog machine located behind the radiator grille blows smoke onto the dance floor. A host of different light effects are on board to conjure up the ultimate disco fever: the smart is fitted with LED headlamps, which project an animated light show onto the dance floor. A stroboscope inside the vehicle sets the smart flashing at the push of a button. There is an LED matrix on either side of the boom, and a spotlight which can be turned in any direction is also part of the show. The smart mobile disco's alloy wheels are back-lit, and the show car’s underbody is also illuminated.

smart is a global sponsor of the exhibition "Night Fever. Designing Club Culture 1960 – Today", which will be on show from 17 March to 9 September 2018 at the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany. The exhibition has been designed by Konstantin Grcic. The smart mobile disco was evolved in the course of this collaboration.

Back in 2015, smart and JBL produced arguably the world's smallest mobile concert location in the guise of the smart forgigs study.

Club sound for production vehicles, too: JBL sound system

The smart mobile disco is a one-off model and not for sale. But with the JBL sound system a unique sound experience is possible in all new-generation smarts. The JBL sound system develops impressive sound volume and incorporates a 6‑channel DSP amplifier (240 watts) in the fortwo and an 8‑channel DSP amplifier (320 watts) on board the forfour. A total of eight (fortwo) or twelve (forfour) high-performance loudspeakers provide for outstanding sound quality: one broadband centre loudspeaker, two tweeters in the mirror triangle, two lower mid-range speakers in the doors (on the forfour additionally in the rear doors), two broadband rear-fill loudspeakers and in the fortwo a removable woofer on the left-hand side of the luggage compartment. The woofer is simple to remove without needing tools, should more space be required in the luggage compartment.

About Konstantin Grcic

Konstantin Grcic (*1965) learned cabinet making at the John Makepeace School in Dorset, England, before going on to study design at the Royal College of Art in London. Since establishing his own design studio, Konstantin Grcic Industrial Design (KGID), in Munich in 1991, he has developed furniture, products and lights for a number of leading companies.

Many of Grcic's products have won international design awards, and some works are included in the permanent collections of leading design museums (including MoMA, New York and Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris).

He has curated a number of design exhibitions, such as DESIGN-REAL for The Serpentine Gallery, London (2009), COMFORT for the St. Etienne Design Biennale (2010) or black2 for the Istituto Svizzero in Rome (2010). He is currently responsible for the design of the exhibition "Night Fever. Designing Club Culture 1960 – Today".

Vitra Design Museum

As one of the leading design museums worldwide, the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein focuses on design and architecture in the past and the present. A further key area of work at the museum centres on exploring and presenting design-related topics. This gives rise to up to ten exhibitions annually. "Night Fever. Designing Club Culture 1960 – Today" at the Vitra Design Museum is the first comprehensive exhibition tracing the history of club design over six decades. As a global sponsor of the exhibition, smart is promoting the worldwide "Night Fever" tour. The exhibition will be open to visitors daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. until 9 September 2018.
In April 1958 the then Daimler-Benz AG acquired a majority in Auto Union GmbH. All the remaining shares followed on 31 December 1959. By 1960, Auto Union was therefore a wholly-owned subsidiary of Daimler-Benz. Important moves for the future were made in the period up to 1 January 1965, when Volkswagen acquired a majority in Auto Union from Daimler-Benz: From 1961, the major Mercedes-Benz plant in Düsseldorf was constructed on a site previously operated by Auto Union. Mercedes-Benz also made important contributions to the development of the Audi models of the 1960s.

Stuttgart. 60 years ago the Board of Management of Daimler-Benz AG held four meetings to deliberate on an initiative by major shareholder Friedrich Flick: in early 1958 he proposed a merger between Daimler-Benz AG and Auto Union GmbH. The industrialist reckoned that the model ranges of the two companies would complement each other. This would enable synergies to be used for future development work. At that time Flick owned a shareholding of around 40 per cent in each of the two companies. On 6 March 1958 the Board of Management in Stuttgart finally decided to take over a majority of the Ingolstadt-based company with the four rings as its trademark.

On 1 April 1958 the Supervisory Board of Daimler-Benz AG approved the acquisition of just under 88 per cent of the authorised share capital of Auto Union GmbH. The transaction was retrospective to the beginning of 1958. Before the Second World War Auto Union AG, founded in Chemnitz in 1932, was one of the major competitors of Mercedes-Benz with its Audi, DKW, Horch and Wanderer brands. This rivalry also manifested itself in motor sport, where the Silver Arrows from Stuttgart competed against the racing cars of Auto Union. Following the reincorporation of Auto Union GmbH in Ingolstadt in 1949, the only vehicles in production were the two-stroke models under the DKW brand and, for a few years, the likewise two-stroke Auto Union 1000 (1958 to August 1963).

On 14 April 1958, the first joint Board of Management meeting between Daimler-Benz AG and Auto Union GmbH was held in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim. The agenda included two important questions concerning the technical direction for the future. For example, the representatives of Daimler-Benz AG had their doubts whether the three-cylinder two-stroke engines of DKW would have much of a chance in the passenger car market even for just a few years. In fact, the matter appeared to have been settled, as Auto Union had already declared itself willing to equip the successor to the DKW 3=6 passenger car with a four-cylinder four-stroke engine. Ingolstadt was not willing to dispense with the two-stroke engine at once, however.

At the end of April 1958, the Daimler-Benz Board of Management members Professor Fritz Nallinger and Wilhelm Künkele travelled to Düsseldorf to begin coordinating the activities of the two companies. In August 1958 Hanns-Martin Schleyer and senior engineer Arthur Mischke were appointed to manage the liaison between Daimler-Benz AG and Auto Union. And on 21 December 1959 Daimler-Benz made an agreement to acquire the remaining shares of the Ingolstadt company on 31 December 1959. From 1960, Auto Union therefore became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Daimler-Benz AG.

Birth of the Mercedes-Benz plant in Düsseldorf

In July 1958 the foundation stone was laid for a completely new Auto Union plant in Ingolstadt. This went into operation in 1959. This immediately opened up capacities that were highly attractive to Mercedes-Benz at the Düsseldorf location of Auto Union founded in 1950. And when the Supervisory Board of Auto Union decided to relocate its production entirely from Düsseldorf to Ingolstadt on 31 May 1961, this made fundamental changes possible.

In 1961 Daimler-Benz AG took out a lease on the location, which had been constructed on a former Rheinmetall-Borsig production site after the Second World War. The Stuttgart-based company then relocated production of the L 319 van and the OM 636 diesel engine, as well as the assembly of steering gears and gearshift linkages, to Düsseldorf. In 1962 Auto Union sold the Düsseldorf plant to Industriemotoren GmbH, a subsidiary of Daimler-Benz AG.

This firmly enshrined the Düsseldorf plant in the company’s production network. Over the years it was continuously expanded to reach the outstanding position it holds today. In recent years alone, Daimler has invested around 300 million euros in the location. Today around 6,600 employees work in Daimler AG’s largest worldwide van plant in Düsseldorf. It is the lead plant for worldwide production of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. In early March 2018, the production line for the latest-generation Sprinter went into operation in Düsseldorf.

Audi models with Mercedes-Benz genes

While Düsseldorf was being established as the lead plant for the Mercedes-Benz van division, the aim was also to modernise the production of Auto Union now concentrated in Ingolstadt. The financial resources required for this were considerable: between 1959 and 1964, more than 340 million German marks were invested at Auto Union in addition to the proceeds from the sale of the Düsseldorf plant to Daimler-Benz AG.

Yet development at the company progressed only slowly. This is why Daimler-Benz dispatched one of its most capable engineers to Ingolstadt on 8 October 1963: Ludwig Kraus, head of design in the Mercedes-Benz pre-development department. Kraus had been designing marine diesel engines since the late 1930s, played a major role in the design of the 1.7-litre OM 636 diesel engine after 1945, and in the early 1950s was head of design for the successful Mercedes-Benz W 196 R Formula 1 racing car and the 300 SLR (W 196 S) racing sports car. Now his mission was to accelerate changes at Auto Union. Kraus had something of a home advantage, as he had gone to school and obtained his higher school leaving certificate in Ingolstadt.

His arrival was to have far-reaching consequences. This is because Ludwig Kraus not only brought a team of highly motivated young Daimler-Benz technicians with him to Ingolstadt, but also a new, almost fully developed four-cylinder engine with the in-house designation M 118 and the original code name “Mexico”. Its high compression ratio (1:11.2) and the intense swirling effect on the intake mixture of helical intake ducts led to a low fuel consumption. It was also low in vibrations, as all the tests at the time confirmed.

As a so-called medium-pressure engine, this Mercedes-Benz four-cylinder unit had its 1965 debut in the new Auto Union Audi Premiere, also known internally as the F103. This vehicle was the first post-war passenger car by Auto Union to feature a four-stroke engine, and also the first post-war model under the Audi brand.

Moreover, subsequent vehicle developments at Auto Union and its Audi brand also bore the distinct signature of Mercedes-Benz. This is because Ludwig Kraus remained in Ingolstadt as Technical Director when Daimler-Benz AG sold its majority in Auto Union to the Volkswagen group on 1 January 1965. From 1966 the company was a wholly-owned subsidiary of Volkswagen.

Kraus and the other former Mercedes-Benz engineers were familiar with the prototype development work carried out since 1953 for the possible Mercedes-Benz medium-class model series W 122 and W 119. These had a front section reminiscent of the W 113-series SL sports cars, modern body lines with a low beltline and a dynamic rear end design. It is therefore not surprising that the body of the first Audi 100 developed at Auto Union shares features with the W 119. This model too was equipped with the four-cylinder medium pressure engine. Kraus initially worked on the medium class car in secret, though it finally celebrated its premiere in 1968 – and brought the company its great leap forward into the future. The Audi 80 (1972) and Audi 50 (1974) were also designed under the aegis of Kraus.
Daimler Business / Dieter Zetsche at the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting
« Last post by fasteddy on April 05, 2018, 08:48:33 AM »
Berlin, Germany – “Daimler AG mastered many challenges extremely well in financial year 2017 and achieved outstanding results. New records were set for unit sales, revenue, earnings and profitability,” stated Manfred Bischoff, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Daimler AG, when welcoming the expected approximately 6,000 shareholders at the company’s Annual Shareholders’ Meeting held at CityCube in Berlin today. “Daimler is now more successful than ever before. In the mobility sector, which is currently being reinvented, further fundamental changes will be necessary also for Daimler in order to stay successful,” said Bischoff. He believes this includes not only technical and social developments that will significantly change the industry, but also the planning required for the Group’s organizational realignment.

“The goal is to reshape individual mobility with sustainable products and innovative services. And to get there, the key to success will be intermeshing mobility concepts with drive technologies,” continued Bischoff. “The planned organizational realignment through Project Future will make Daimler faster, more flexible and more digital, and will thus secure its future strength.”

“At Daimler, we take advantage of the opportunities that arise from change. That’s why we occupy the top spot today,” said Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, at the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting. “In recent years, we have demonstrated more than once that Daimler can do more.”

Daimler AG systematically continued along its profitable growth path in 2017, and once again set records for unit sales, revenue, Group EBIT and net profit. With a workforce of over 289,300 employees, the Group sold approximately 3.3 million vehicles. Revenue amounted to €164.3 billion and EBIT amounted to €14.7 billion, which is significantly higher than in the previous year. Net profit increased to the new high of €10.9 billion (2016: €8.8 billion). Earnings per share therefore increased to €9.84 (2016: €7.97).

The Board of Management and the Supervisory Board proposed to the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting that the dividend be increased to €3.65 per share (previous year: €3.25), representing the highest dividend ever paid out in the company’s history. The total dividend distribution thus also increases to the record amount of €3.9 billion (previous year: €3.5 billion).

Changes in the Supervisory Board

In its meeting on December 7, 2017, the Supervisory Board dealt with the specific election proposals and decided to propose to the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting that Sari Baldauf and Dr. Jürgen Hambrecht be reelected and that Marie Wieck, General Manager at IBM Blockchain, be newly elected to the Supervisory Board as a member representing the shareholders. Sari Baldauf and Jürgen Hambrecht were both elected as members of the Supervisory Board for the first time at the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting in 2008. Baldauf is a member of the Nomination Committee and is to continue to be active in that role also in her coming period of office. Hambrecht is a member of the Presidential Committee and of the Mediation Committee, and is to be reelected to both of those committees.

The Annual Shareholders’ Meeting will vote on the proposed candidates for election to the Supervisory Board. When a person is elected, his or her period of office begins at the end of the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting for a period of five years.

In March and April 2018, elections were held of the members of the Supervisory Board representing the employees. On Wednesday, almost 700 voting delegates from the plants and offices of the Daimler Group elected to the Supervisory Board of Daimler AG the ten representatives of the employees (seven employees of the Group, including a representative of the management staff, and three trade-union representatives).

Some of the existing Supervisory Board members representing the employees were confirmed in office by the election: The reelected members are Michael Brecht, Ergun Lümali, Elke Tönjes-Werner, Wolfgang Nieke and Michael Bettag as workforce representatives along with Sibylle Wankel and Roman Zitzelsberger as representatives from the IG Metall. Dr. Sabine Zimmer and Raymond Curry Jr. have been newly elected to the Supervisory Board. Raymond Curry Jr. will continue as a trade-union representative from outside Germany in the Supervisory Board of Daimler AG. Dr. Frank Weber was reelected as a member of the Supervisory Board and will represent the management staff during the new term of office. The term of office of the employee representatives will begin at the end of this year’s Annual Shareholders’ Meeting and ends after five years at the end of the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting in 2023.

The Supervisory Board of Daimler AG has decided to comply with the statutory quota of 30% female members. On the shareholder side, 30% of the members were women with Petraea Heynike and also Sari Baldauf and Marie Wieck with their election by the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting. The required quota of women is fulfilled on the employee side with Elke Tönjes-Werner, Sibylle Wankel and Dr. Sabine Zimmer. The legal requirements are therefore fully complied with.

The transformation of the automotive industry and of Daimler AG

Daimler has been pushing forward with the transformation of the automotive industry for several years and is playing a key role in shaping it from the very top. “We have ambitious plans for the future as well. Daimler is undergoing the biggest transformation in its history,” Zetsche told the shareholders. “Once again we are going to demonstrate that Daimler can do more.”

In this context, Daimler is concentrating on five strategic areas: expanding the core business, pushing forward with the CASE topics, further developing the corporate culture, optimizing the Group structure and, above all, focusing on the customer.

With CORE, Daimler understands the expansion of its core business. “It is our economic backbone, which we will strengthen even further,” emphasized Zetsche. For that purpose, Daimler will invest above all in new products, with more than a dozen new car models to be launched by 2018. In the first three months of this year, among others the new Mercedes-Benz G-Class, the new A-Class and the Mercedes-AMG GT four-door have already been presented. Zetsche promised: “Our product offensive is maintaining its fast pace.” The highlight of 2018 from Mercedes-Benz Vans is the new Sprinter. In addition, ultramodern combustion engines are being further developed and will contribute towards further reductions in CO2 emissions.

In this connection, Zetsche emphasized the responsibility of the automotive industry: “It is absolutely clear that we automakers are responsible for reconciling individual mobility with climate protection and clean air.” To this end, Daimler is also adjusting its production to a mix of drive systems to allow every model to be produced on every assembly line in the next decade. By the end of this decade, four new plants in Poland, Hungary, Russia and China will be added to the global production network in order to achieve that goal.

According to Zetsche, a decisive factor for success in the future is the second strategic area: CASE: “For a long time, our business model was clearly defined: We develop, build and sell outstanding vehicles. We will continue to do that. But it is no longer the whole story.” With connectivity (Connectivity), autonomous driving (Autonomous), shared mobility (Shared) and electric mobility (Electric), an almost infinite number of additional opportunities will be created to delight the customers.

Zetsche looked back: “At Daimler, we initiated the transformation from an automobile manufacturer into a mobility provider about ten years ago.” In order to accelerate this development, Daimler and BMW plan to combine their forces in the field of mobility services. The two companies signed an agreement to that effect in late March. “That way, we can offer our customers a complete package that ranges from car sharing to ride sharing, and to parking, and charging.”

Daimler also flipped the switch in the field of electric mobility long ago: Mercedes-Benz will offer at least one electrified version in each segment by 2022. smart is already completely electric in North America and the changeover will take place in Europe by 2020. “At the same time, we are electrifying our vans, trucks and buses. And we have many more plans – also going beyond our products,” added Zetsche.

The further development of the corporate culture is summarized under CULTURE. In addition to a lasting efficiency culture, this also includes the desire for change throughout the company. This is why the Leadership 2020 initiative was launched early in 2016. “If we want real change, it’s not enough simply to revise our guidelines. Above all, it requires the right internal mindset,” emphasized Zetsche. To this end, a focus in 2018 will be on the principles according to which employees want to work: even more active involvement rather than being managed.

With COMPANY STRUCTURE, the company is optimizing its positioning. “We want our corporate structure to support the entrepreneurial spirit that we are promoting with Leadership 2020,” explained Zetsche. “Because internal mindset and external structure should complement each other.” It is planned to further develop the divisions into legally independent entities with their own entrepreneurial responsibility. With a view to the customers, they will then be able to work in a more focused manner. “All of this will boost our impact and make us even more attractive to investors and partners,” added Zetsche.

The company’s fifth and overarching strategic field is the focus on the customer: CUSTOMER. “So Daimler is changing in almost every respect: technologically, economically, culturally and structurally,” said Zetsche. “But one thing was, is and will remain the same: The focal point of our strategic thinking is the customer.” He emphasized: “We will only be as successful in the future as our products and services are in the market.”

Zetsche summarized the development of the automotive industry and the company: “The changes at Daimler have one overall objective: making sure that we continue to fulfill our customers’ wishes and requirements to the best of our ability.”

Daimler aims to achieve a sustainable return on sales of 9% in its automotive business across market and product cycles. This is based on the returns targeted: 8 to 10% for Mercedes-Benz Cars, 8% for Daimler Trucks, 9% for Mercedes-Benz Vans and 6% for Daimler Buses.

“Since we invented the automobile, the world has changed,” stated Zetsche. “The success of the automobile has become its biggest challenge. Our task is to solve this paradox,” he summarized at the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting. “Our passion to create better future is part of our DNA. We know this is a very ambitious goal. But that’s exactly what our founding fathers did. And it’s time to do it again.

Links to the Daimler website for the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting 2018:


C-Class / The new Mercedes-AMG C 63 models
« Last post by fasteddy on March 29, 2018, 11:03:49 AM »
Affalterbach. Powerful V8 engines, thrilling driving dynamics and distinctive, motorsport-inspired equipment have turned the top-of-the-range models of the C-Class from Mercedes-AMG into best-sellers. The C 63 perfectly embodies the core of the performance and sports car brand and now offers, in the guise of the Saloon, Estate, Coupé and Cabriolet (fuel consumption, combined: 10.4-9.9 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 236-227 g/km)1, even better dynamics and a more modern interior with extended individualisation options. The AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 9G transmission with wet start-off clutch makes for an even more agile gearshift response. The 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine is available in two output variants rated at 350 kW (476 hp) or 375 kW (510 hp) for all four body styles and delivers a performance on a par with that of a sports car – the top speed of C 63 S Saloon and Coupé is 290 km/h. Greater driving pleasure is guaranteed also by the redefined drive programs, which allow further differentiation of the road performance of the eight-cylinder engine. Visually, the looks of the new C 63 are even more emotionally appealing: the AMG-specific radiator trim underscores the brand identity while emphasising the muscular appearance. The interior benefits from an optional fully digital cockpit with unmistakable AMG displays and the new generation of AMG steering wheels.

"The AMG C-Class is our best-selling model series and therefore a key cornerstone of our company's success of recent years. We have therefore increasingly expanded our C-Class offer: customers can now choose between twelve models from the C-Class family. As part of the latest facelift, we have upgraded all variants of the model series even more substantially," says Tobias Moers, CEO of Mercedes-AMG GmbH. "This relates to the 43-series models and especially, of course, to the AMG C 63. The perfected driving dynamics and expressive design underscore the powerful, muscular character of the rear-wheel drive icon."

The impressive driving dynamics are based, among other things, on the elaborately retuned AMG RIDE CONTROL steel suspension with adaptive damping adjustment, the electronically controlled rear-axle limited-slip differential which is now also standard on all C 63 variants, and the dynamic engine mounts, which are part of the standard equipment on all C 63 S models.

Even greater emphasis on brand identity: the exterior design

The exterior of the new C 63 underscores the brand identity of the performance models with the AMG-specific radiator trim with vertical louvres in high-gloss chrome. With a redesigned transverse fin in the outer air inlets, the front apron in A-wing design gives an even stronger emphasis to the width of the vehicle.

When viewed from the side, eye-catching features include the sporty side skirts plus aerodynamically optimised AMG light-alloy wheels. Their specifically designed outer aero rings and spoke geometry which has been optimised in the wind tunnel help to improve the air flow around the wheels and thus increase aerodynamic efficiency. The developers aimed for the optimal combination of aerodynamics, weight and brake cooling, for maximum performance and optimum efficiency.

There is a choice of two aerodynamically optimised wheel designs for the C 63: in the standard specification, the vehicles are shod with 18-inch 10-spoke aero-wheels, painted in tantalite grey with a high-sheen finish. Standard on the S-variants and optional for the basic models, there is another, 19-inch design with five twin spokes, also painted in tantalite grey with a high-sheen finish.

Redesigned rear view

The rear view, too, with two remodelled twin tailpipe trim elements in high-gloss chrome, has a muscular look, which is reinforced by the new, more expressive diffuser. The S-versions are additionally provided with a diffuser board. The lateral air curtain look of the rear apron makes for improved air flow at the rear end, as does the spoiler lip on the boot lid (Estate: roof spoiler), which is painted in the vehicle colour.

The optional AMG Aerodynamics package for the C 63 Coupé provides an even sportier look: the more expressive front splitter, spoiler lip with integral Gurney flap, broader side skirt inserts, flics in the rear bumper and more expressive diffuser insert are finished in high-gloss black.

New trim and equipment details: the interior design

The interior reinforces the dynamic calibre of the new C 63 with numerous details. The standard specification includes the classic-sporty equipment with black seat covers in ARTICO man-made leather/DINAMICA microfibre, combined with trim in black piano-lacquer look/light longitudinal-grain aluminium.

New options for all four body styles include trim in anthracite open-pore oak wood, open-pore walnut plus the combination of longitudinal-grain aluminium for the doors and black open-pore ash wood for the centre console. Additionally available are AMG trim in carbon fibre/light longitudinal-grain aluminium and AMG trim in matt silver fibreglass.

The options for the upholstery are nappa leather in black, black with grey accents, red pepper/black, platinum white pearl/black and, as a new option, magma grey/black with yellow contrasting topstitching. For Saloon and Estate, a combination from the designo range comes with diamond quilting in saddle brown/black and platinum white pearl/black.

Performance seats with extended features

The optional AMG Performance seats provide optimum lateral support when adopting a dynamic driving style thanks to the special design of the seat side bolsters of the seat cushion and backrest. As an option, the seat side bolsters can be perfectly adjusted to the body contours by means of built-in air cushions. The Performance seats additionally lend the interior a sporty, distinctive character with their integral head restraints. The seats can not only be heated, but now also climatised in three levels in conjunction with leather upholstery. For the Cabriolet, there is also the optional AIRSCARF neck-level heating. The AMG Performance seats are available in all upholstery options.

Interior with innovative display concept and operating system

Whether with touchpad and Controller, Touch Control buttons on the steering wheel or via voice entry: the operating system of the C 63 is just as versatile as it is flexible. All options are aimed at enabling the control tasks to be carried out as conveniently, quickly and appropriately to the situation as possible.

Just as flexible is the display of the optional fully digital instrument cluster in front of the driver with 31.2 cm (12.3-inch) screen diagonal, which brings the vehicle functions directly to life with the three AMG-specific display styles of "Classic", "Sporty" or "Supersport".

A host of additional AMG information

Via the specific AMG menu, the driver is able to call up a host of additional information to make the driving experience even sportier:

    Warm-up: engine and transmission oil temperature plus charge pressure as Boost display
    Setup: current status of systems such as the drive system, suspension, AMG Dynamics, exhaust system, ESP®, transmission
    G-Force: display of current g-forces in a coordinate system and ability to save maximum values
    Race Timer: manual stopwatch for lap times and colour display of fastest and slowest laps, plus average speed and distance
    If the AMG TRACK PACE option is ordered, instead of "Race Timer" the instrument cluster shows the "AMG TRACK PACE" menu, with visualisations of race tracks, sector and lap times
    There is also a specific AMG TRACK PACE view in the optional head-up display (HUD) with circuit graphic, bends, braking points, delta speed and absolute times
    Engine Data: engine torque / rated output in a bar chart plus charge pressure as Boost display

In addition there is a digital display of the speed and the currently engaged gear. Manual transmission mode is identified by a yellow "M" and a prompt to shift up when reaching maximum engine speed, a touch inspired by the world of Formula 1.

The visualisations in the central media display equally enable further vehicle functions to be experienced even better, among other things through animated presentation of the driving assistance, vehicle and communication systems. A media display measuring 17.8 cm (7 inches) with a resolution of 960 x 540 pixels comes as standard on board. Another alternative is the 26.0 cm (10.25-inch) media display with a resolution of 1920 x 720 pixels, standard in conjunction with COMAND Online.

Firm grip guaranteed: the new generation of AMG steering wheels

Extremely sporty design, a grippy shape with a heavily contoured rim and intuitive operation are the key attributes of the new AMG steering wheel in nappa leather, which comes as standard equipment. It has a flattened bottom section and is perforated in the grip area. The galvanised steering wheel gearshift paddles allow an even sportier driving style with manual gear shifting. On the C 63 S, the steering wheel comes as standard with a rim in nappa leather/DINAMICA microfibre (optional for C 63). The AMG steering wheel is optionally available in nappa leather with trim in black piano lacquer, DINAMICA all-round as well as DINAMICA with trim in high-gloss carbon fibre

The built-in Touch Control buttons are a new feature. These can be used to control the functions of the instrument cluster (left) and the multimedia system (right) by means of horizontal and vertical swiping movements of the finger. Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC and the cruise control are adjusted in the control panels on the left. The control panels on the right are used to activate the voice control and telephone, and to regulate the sound volume, music selection and other functions of the multimedia system.

As an option the performance steering wheel can be equipped with extra innovative features. They consist of a round controller with an integral display beneath the right-hand steering-wheel spoke, plus two vertically positioned colour display buttons beneath the left-hand steering-wheel spoke.

The AMG drive programs can be actuated directly via the controller. The selected drive program is shown on the colour LCD display directly integrated in the controller.

With the two freely configurable display buttons and the additional switches, further AMG functions can be controlled within easy reach, directly on the steering wheel. This means that the driver can concentrate fully on dynamic driving without having to take their hands off the wheel. Each function required can be depicted on the other LCD display, and its switch is tapped by the driver to set the respective function. The driver's two preferred AMG functions can be defined in this way and the settings changed with just one tap of the finger.

AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 9G transmission with shorter shift times

The C 63 now makes use for the first time of the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 9G transmission, which the Mercedes-AMG developers have tuned specifically for a dynamic driving experience. A wet start-off clutch continues to replace the torque converter. This saves weight and optimises the response to the driver's accelerator pedal input, particularly during acceleration and load changes.

The multiple downshift function allows more spontaneous bursts of speed, while the double-declutching function in "Sport" and "Sport+" drive programs makes for an even more emotional driving experience. Defined ignition adjustments also provide faster gear shifts in the other modes. In all modes moving off occurs in first gear in order to always guarantee a dynamic driving experience.

"Manual" mode can be selected using a separate button in the centre console. The gear changes are based on the selected drive program, and the driver can now change gear using the paddles on the steering wheel. Moreover, the transmission stays in the selected gear and does not automatically shift up when the engine speed reaches the limit.

Yet more differentiation in driving experiences: AMG DYNAMICS

Depending on the engine, up to six drive programs are available: "Slippery", "Comfort", "Sport", "Sport+", "RACE" and "Individual". These levels are selectable via the gearshift paddle in the centre console and stored with the new drive program attribute AMG DYNAMICS, which can be adjusted to match the C 63's handling characteristics to different demands and driving conditions in a much more differentiated way.

Behind the umbrella term AMG DYNAMICS are the agility functions "Basic", "Advanced", "Pro" and "Master", which are automatically selected by the respective drive program. Parameters relevant to driving, such as the response of the engine and suspension or the control thresholds of the completely redeveloped ESP®, are intelligently adapted according to the drive program.

The spectrum ranges from extremely safety-oriented to highly dynamic. The "Master" mode, which is included in the RACE drive program, guarantees optimal agility and makes ideal use of the new C 63's high driving dynamics potential - for example by means of higher yaw rates and faster response of accelerator, gearshift and electronically controlled rear-axle limited-slip differential.

Irrespective of the drive programs, as before the driver can use the display buttons in the centre console to directly select manual transmission mode, their favoured suspension level and also the exhaust system, for instance.

Data logger for use on the race track: AMG TRACK PACE

As the virtual race engineer for recording data when driving on closed-off race tracks, AMG TRACK PACE provides a significantly extended and even more precise scope of functions. On the C 63 S, AMG TRACK PACE is a standard (C 63: optional) part of the optional COMAND Online infotainment system.

If this function is enabled, while driving on a race track, over 80 vehicle-specific sets of data (e.g. speed, acceleration) are recorded ten times per second. On top of this there are displays of lap and sector times and also the respective difference for a reference time. Because specific display elements are shown in green or red, the driver is able to see at a glance without reading numbers whether he/she is currently faster or slower than the best time.

After putting in some fast laps, the driver can use the data to analyse and, if necessary, improve his or her driving skills. In addition, acceleration and deceleration values (e.g. 0-100 km/h, ¼ mile, 100-0 km/h) can be measured and saved. Thanks to a new developed algorithm which determines the vehicle position as precisely as possible, AMG TRACK PACE even detects when the circuit is left or shortened. Alongside GPS data, the sensors available in the vehicle (acceleration, gyroscope, steering angle, wheel speeds) are used.

The data are displayed on the multimedia display, in the instrument cluster and on the head-up display. Known race tracks, for example the Nürburgring or Spa Francorchamps, are already stored. Furthermore, it is also possible to record your own circuits. The map display can be switched from 2D to 3D and updated online.

With adaptive damping adjustment: AMG RIDE CONTROL suspension

With its adjustable, electronically controlled damping system, the AMG RIDE CONTROL steel suspension of the C 63 provides both sporty driving dynamics and brand-typical comfort on long journeys. The basis for this is formed by the 4-link front axle and multi-link independent rear suspension. The AMG-specific kinematics and elastokinematics with newly developed components result in very high camber stability when cornering at speed. The axial brake connection on the front axle supports the agile and precise handling.

The adaptive damping adjustment comes as standard. This fully automatic, electronically controlled system adjusts the damping at each wheel to the current requirements. This improves driving safety and ride comfort. The damping is adjusted individually for each wheel, and depends on the driving style, the road surface and the selected suspension setting. The ideal operating point can be selected at all times on the basis of a broad scope of information relating to acceleration or vehicle speed, for example.

Via a switch on the centre console the driver can select between three different sets of damper characteristics, namely "Comfort", "Sport" and "Sport+", and thus individually influence the driving experience — from highly comfortable to sportily taut.

Rear-axle limited-slip differential: optimal traction, including on the race track

For improved traction and driving dynamics, the C 63 and C 63 S are equipped with an electronically controlled rear-axle limited-slip differential. This reduces the slip on the inside wheel when cornering, without any control intervention in the braking system. The result is that it allows the driver to accelerate out of corners earlier thanks to the improved traction. The car remains more stable when braking from high speeds, and the limited-slip differential also improves traction when accelerating fast from a standing start. The greatest benefit of the electronically controlled rear-axle limited-slip differential is the especially sensitive and fast control, which pushes the critical threshold higher, making it even easier to drive at the vehicle's limits.

Direct and with clear feedback: the AMG speed-sensitive steering

The electromechanical speed-sensitive power steering has a variable ratio. It impresses with its precise, authentic feedback. The steering servo assistance is reduced at high speeds, and continuously increases at lower speeds. This means that comparatively little steering force is required at low speeds, and that the best possible control over the vehicle is maintained at high speeds. The steering servo assistance in the two modes "Comfort" and "Sport" is automatically linked with the currently selected drive program.

Unique offering in the segment with V8 biturbo engine

All four body styles are available as basic model and S-model: the proven AMG 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine in this case puts out 350 kW (476 hp) or 375 kW (510 hp), while the maximum torque is 650 or 700 Nm. Depending on body style, the C 63 S accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds, the C 63 in 4.0 seconds. The top speed is up to 290 km/h for the C 63 S and 250 km/h for the C 63 (both electronically limited).

V8 biturbo closely related to engine in the Mercedes-AMG GT

The 4.0-litre eight-cylinder biturbo engine is already used in numerous AMG Performance vehicles. A characteristic feature is that the two turbochargers are positioned not on the outside of the cylinder banks, but inside the cylinder "V". The main advantages of this design are the compact engine construction and optimal response.

The spray-guided direct petrol injection system ensures clean and efficient combustion with high thermodynamic efficiency. Fast-acting piezo injectors enable multiple injections of fuel to be delivered to the engine on demand and with the utmost precision.

The large cooling system guarantees the performance of the engine even under extreme loading ‑ such as at track days on the race track. The same is true for the flow-optimised cylinder heads, which are made of a special heat-resistant alloy. Continuous adjustment of the intake and exhaust camshafts improves power delivery and efficiency. It delivers excellent throttle response and optimises the charge cycle for every operating point. An oil pump with variable control also contributes to low fuel consumption.

One mechanic assembles each engine in the engine shop in Affalterbach according to the "one man ‑ one engine" principle.

Exhaust system with flap technology for a differentiated engine sound

The typical V8 engine sound is another key element of the AMG driving experience. The C 63 comes as standard with an AMG exhaust system with a variable flap. This is steplessly map-controlled depending on the drive program, the power demanded by the driver and the engine speed. The engine sound varies accordingly between discreet/suitable for long-distance driving, and robust/emotively appealing. A Performance exhaust system with three selectable exhaust flaps is optionally available for both engine variants. This gives the driver an even wider sound range. In any case, the exhaust systems are designed in such a way that all statutory noise limits are complied with at all times, irrespective of the flap position.

C 63 S with dynamic engine mounts as standard

The more powerful C 63 S comes with dynamic engine mounts. These resolve the conflicting aims of comfort and dynamic performance by reducing vibrations in the engine/transmission unit. These dynamic mounts are instantly and variably able to adapt their rigidity to the driving conditions and style of driving. Soft engine mounts improve comfort, as they provide more effective decoupling of noise and vibration. However, handling and agility benefit from a generally stiffer mount set-up. The driver feels more connected to the vehicle when driving dynamically, as there is more feedback and the steering response is more direct. All in all the driver benefits from more precise vehicle control: minimised mass movements of the major assemblies mean less corrective action to be taken by the driver when steering into bends.

Wellness on long-distance journeys: ENERGIZING comfort control

The optional ENERGIZING comfort control is also available for the new C 63. It networks together the various comfort systems in the vehicle and uses specific functions of the air conditioning and seats (heating, ventilation) plus lighting and music moods. Depending on the mood or requirement of the driver, it generates a special wellness set-up to enhance well-being and performance.
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