Cars, Formula 1, International News, Mercedes-Benz, Motorsports

Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 W11 EQ Performance debuts as team, Hamilton chase seventh titles in 2020


We’re eagerly awaiting the start of the 2020 Formula 1 season, which kicks off in Australia on March 15. To whet our appetite, the Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport team has just released images of its latest challenger, the F1 W11 EQ Performance.

No details have been released just yet, but the car appears to be an evolution of last year’s W10, with hallmarks including a conventional front wing design, aerodynamic wing mirror shrouds and a large air box surrounding a triangular crash structure. There are a few notable changes, such as a new nose “cape” design and even tighter sidepod packaging, the inlet now situated above the side impact structure.

The livery has been revised with red accents derived from chemicals producer Ineos, which signed a major five-year sponsorship deal. Elsewhere, the silver and black design is similar to last year’s car, with the Petronas green stripe now a solid one; the array of three-pointed stars at the back of the engine cover now also gets one red star to honour former chairman Niki Lauda, who passed away last May. Eagle-eyed readers will also notice another new sponsor in the form of AMD, which jumped ship from Ferrari.

Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport will field an unchanged lineup of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. Both the team and Hamilton are chasing their seventh titles this year, before an overhaul of the current regulations takes effect in 2021. What do you think of the new car and livery?

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Cars, EVs and Alternative Fuel, Hybrids, International News, Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz EQS teased, prototype next to concept


Official “spyshots” of test prototypes are a thing now, and Mercedes-Benz has recently posted photos on Facebook of an EQS mule next to last year’s concept. This confirms that not only is the flagship electric sedan headed to production, it’s coming pretty soon – reportedly in 2021.

Looking at the differences between the two, the prototype sports a number of production-ready details such as door mirrors and handles, discrete head- and tail lights and smaller wheels. It also appears to be taller, but otherwise it retains the same “one bow” monobox profile as the show car.

Expect the interior to feature the concept’s portrait-format touchscreen running a new version of the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) – something that should also appear in the next-generation S-Class. The Vision EQS also featured displays in the front doors and a rectangular steering wheel, but it’s unclear if the production version will have them.

Preliminary specifications include outputs of over 350 kW (470 hp) and 760 Nm of torque from twin electric motors that also provide all-wheel drive. This would enable it to get from zero to 100 km/h in under 4.5 seconds, while the range is quoted at up to 700 km/h on the WLTP cycle. The large lithium-ion battery is capable of being charged up to 80% in less than 20 minutes via a 350 kW fast charging station.

GALLERY: Mercedes-Benz Vision EQS at Frankfurt 2019

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Cars, EVs and Alternative Fuel, Hybrids, Mercedes-Benz, Spyshots

SPYSHOTS: Mercedes-Benz SL returns to fabric roof, to receive up to 800 hp in SL73 hybrid twin-turbo V8


The all-new, next-generation Mercedes-Benz SL has been spotted by our spy photographers, and the forthcoming roadster appears to be undergoing some key changes for its next iteration. Firstly, the next SL will mark a return to the fabric roof after preceding generations of the folding hard-top which the German brand started using with the first SLK, and this generation of SL will also feature rear seats.

This early development car is certainly wearing heavy disguise, which leaves still a considerable amount of the aesthetic to the imagination, though the move to a fabric roof construction will help offset any weight gain from additional equipment to come with the next-generation luxury roadster. This will share underpinnings with the next Mercedes-AMG GT, both of which will use the Modular Sports Architecture and save on development costs as a result.

With the next SL to be engineered alongside the next AMG GT, the luxury roadster can be expected to be ‘far sportier’ than the current model, said AMG chief Tobias Moers, though it will still have the “perfect compromise between driving dynamics and comfort” in order to fulfil the cruiser brief, Moers said, adding that this forthcoming SL will be made exclusively as a roadster, which means there will no longer be a hardtop.

It is very much early days in terms of determining the next SL’s engine line-up, however this is rumoured to comprise a 435 hp inline-six, a 522 hp biturbo V8 and the obligatory Mercedes-AMG SL63 version with around 612 hp. This generation may also mark the return of the SL73 AMG badge, the larger numbers denoting not a 7.3 litre V12 but rather an electrified petrol V8 powertrain. This is expected to be a 204 hp motor for a total output of 800 hp and 1,000 Nm of torque, our sources say.

We can expect plenty more development car appearances in the coming months by the next SL which could debut in 2021 at the soonest, and the next-generation AMG GT sports car sibling that shares its platform is set to follow a year after as a 2022 model. Until then, what do you think of the SL’s return to the fabric roof?

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Cars, Local News, Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz Malaysia delivered 10,020 cars in 2019 – remains the market leader in the premium segment


Mercedes-Benz Malaysia (MBM) has announced its 2019 full-year sales performance results, where it managed to deliver 10,020 cars last year. The figure was enough for the brand to retain its position as the market leader in the premium segment with a 1.8% market share, despite being less than the 13,079 units recorded in 2018, a year which saw the previous the goods and services tax (GST) became zero-rated for a few months.

According to sales data released by the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA), close rivals BMW Malaysia managed to sell 9,300 cars last year, while the MINI brand shifted 1,142 cars.

“We wrap up the decade on a great note as we continue to grow our customer base and set our footing in the country. 2019 was a year where we placed great emphasis on expanding our product offensive with innovative technology and emotional design, catering to the needs of our customers,” said Claus Weidner, president and CEO of MBM.

“We also celebrated the 15th year anniversary of local production excellence noting the 100,000th vehicle roll out milestone and the commencement of Philippines export initiatives. Through a solid leadership and vision, we reaffirmed our commitment to the Malaysian market and our customers in delivering the best product and best customer experiences,” he added.

Last year, the company introduced a wide range of models, which includes the updated W213 E-Class range, V177 A-Class Sedan, X253 GLC and C253 GLC Coupe facelifts, V167 GLE as well as the plug-in hybrid version of the S-Class – the S 560 e. The AMG line-up also welcomed a few newcomers in the form of the C190 AMG GT facelifts, V177 A 35 4Matic Sedan, X290 GT 4-Door Coupe and W205 C 63 facelifts.

“Despite facing headwinds, we ended the year on a strong note to cement our position in premium automotive segment. We delivered 10,020 cars to our Malaysian customers signifying a continuous mark of confidence towards our brand. We are fully confident that 2019 has set up a great tone as we power up a great momentum for the new decade,” commented Michael Jopp, vice president of sales and marketing at MBM.

MBM’s local assembly plant in Pekan also celebrated its 15th anniversary last year, which also saw the rollout of its 100,000th vehicle. The plant’s CKD line-up currently consists of 13 variants from five model lines – C-Class, E-Class, S-Class, GLC and GLC Coupe.

Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz Services Malaysia (MBSM), which is MBM’s financial arm, recorded new contracts worth over RM1 billion and introduced new financing and insurance solutions such as Mobility Plus along with Lease@Ease. In 2019, MBSM financed five out of every 10 Mercedes-Benz vehicles sold and held a servicing portfolio of RM2.6 billion.

As for aftersales, a record-breaking 165,299 vehicles were serviced last year, which represented an 11% increase over the 148,800 vehicles managed in 2018. Among the customer experience enhancements made last year are the introduction of Express Service 2.0, online appointment bookings and the introduction of Mercedes me connect services.

On MBM’s outlook for the year ahead, Weidner said, “2020 will be a memorable, exciting year for Mercedes-Benz with refreshing innovations and new products to elevate the customer experience.”

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Audi, BMW, Cars, Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes beats Audi, BMW to be top luxe brand, again


While BMW may be the top dog in the US market, Mercedes-Benz remains as the best-selling luxury car brand in the world, beating BMW and Audi for the fourth consecutive year, Automotive News Europe reported. Mercedes-Benz recently announced its global sales grew 1.3% to 2.34 million vehicles, outselling BMW’s tally of 2.17 million cars (up 2%) in 2019, while Audi lagged behind at 1.85 million cars (up 1.8%).

The report stated that demand for upscale vehicles have shown to be more resilient than mainstream, mass-market cars, which has seen sales crimped in some regions due to slower economic growth, as well as fallout from trade disputes.

According to Mercedes-Benz, it posted record sales in Germany, China, and the US, thanks to strong reception for its SUVs and high-end sedans. Demand in China – the world’s largest auto market – rose by a staggering 6.2%, where local customers are buying the Maybach S-Class sedan at a rate of over 700 units a month.

China remains as Mercedes-Benz’s largest market, with sales of 693,443 units (6.2% increase, a new record year) driven largely by its compact car range and SUVs. In fact, every third Mercedes model sold is an SUV. The company maintains market leadership in the luxury segment in Germany, Great Britain, France, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, Poland, Portugal, South Korea, Japan, Australia, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Canada and South Africa.

As for BMW, it is targeting a slight increase in group sales for 2020, along with “solid sales growth” in China. European sales outlook are expected to be on par with 2019 due to a “deterioration in the economic environment,” although US sales are expected to go up marginally.

BMW sales boss Pieter Nota said in a statement: “Thanks to our large model offensive, we once again succeeded in increasing our sales to a new high in 2019. I am confident that we will continue on our successful course in the current year.” With sales of luxury vehicles and large SUVs picking up, BMW said it will double sales of its higher-end cars between 2018 and 2020, buoyed by the launch of the flagship X7 SUV last year.

Audi’s new sales chief, Hildegard Wortmann, said the automaker’s new product line-up should help it sustain positive sales momentum and win back ground lost to Mercedes-Benz and BMW over the past few years.

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2020 CES, Cars, International News, Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR debuts at CES – Avatar-inspired concept offers a sci-fi glimpse of the future


Mercedes-Benz has unveiled its Vision AVTR concept at the 2020 Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The radical-looking is not just inspired by James Cameron’s sci-fi blockbuster, Avatar, it has been designed in collaboration with those behind the film, and the result is a vehicle aiming to show what mobility in the distant future might well look like.

With its stretched “One Bow” design and organic design language, the AVTR has a general shape reminiscent of the F 015 study from half a decade ago, but that’s about the only commonality. Flowing and fluid, this one takes its design cues from several creatures in the movie, combining inside and outside into a distinctive, emotional structure.

Design elements include 33 “bionic flaps” on the back of the vehicle, which the company says is reminiscent of scales of reptiles. These can communicate with the driver, and through the driver with their outside world, through naturally flowing movements in subtle gestures.

The all-electric Vision AVTR is equipped with four individually-controlled, high-performance electric motors, with a combined engine power of more than 350 kW. These motors feature fully variable torque distribution, meaning that each wheel can be driven separately and depending on the driving situation.

This, the company says, makes it possible to drive the front and rear axles simultaneously or in opposite ways, giving the car the novelty of being able to move sideways by approximately 30 degrees, essentially in crab-like fashion, which allows the vehicle flexibility of movement in congested traffic or tight spaces.

Power is stored in a high-voltage battery featuring graphene-based organic cell chemistry, which makes the unit rare earth and metal free and 100% recyclable through composting. Despite being anywhere far from production reality, the numbers running off the unit sounds mouth-watering – the 110 kWh capacity unit will provide 700 km of travel range as well as full recharging in less than 15 minutes.

The open cabin contains plenty of thought-provoking concepts, especially in user experience (UX) interface. These include a biometric vehicle start-up process involving placement of the hand on the control unit on the centre console, the car activating itself upon recognising the driver by his or her heartbeat and breathing.

The interface adapts to the user. By simply lifting the hand, a menu selection is projected onto the palm of the hand, through which the passenger can intuitively choose between different functionalities, including sound elements.

Real-time 3D graphics can be used to explore surroundings from different perspectives, with the curved display module creating a visual connection between passengers and the outside world.

Elsewhere, the seats – which are dressed in vegan Dinamica microfibre – make the surroundings around the vehicle experienceable through haptic feedback, courtesy of eight exciters within the unit. Vibrations adapted to the situation transmit information in a non-visual way and make objects noticeable.

The control unit, meanwhile, is a multi-functional interface used to control the AVTR, either by the driver’s or from the passenger seat. It can be raised or lowered by a short tap if necessary, making it only visible when it is needed.

Depending on the mood and vitality of the driver, the car offers driving options beyond autonomous – if the control unit is driven up to half, the driver can influence the speed, while completely lifting the steering provides full control of the vehicle.

Those with families will find the Child Connect function a boon. When the car senses that family travel is involved, it connects the front seats to the rear seats, and serves up monitors can be used to keep tabs on the kids in the rear.

There’s also a “Magic Pool,” a cute way to describe rear seat display screens. Here, they offer the young ones learning-oriented gaming and a child-friendly augmented reality experience of the surroundings to ensure they never get bored while on the road. A lot of imagination then from this one, but one wonders, how much of it will shape up in future reality.

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Cars, International News, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo

Daimler, Volvo mulling engine cooperation – report


Daimler, the maker of Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo Cars, are considering cooperating to reduce costs of developing internal combustion engines, German magazine Automobilwoche reported on Sunday, picked up by Reuters. Volvo has been owned by China’s Geely since 2010, and the Chinese carmaker also holds close to 10% stake in Daimler.

The weekly cited a Volvo manager as saying there were initial talks with Daimler, but no concrete plans, while a company spokesman said it was too early to talk about firm projects, although it was not excluding parties. A Daimler spokesman said the company’s cooperation with Geely was developing in a positive way, but declined to elaborate.

In October last year, Volvo said that it would merge its engine development and manufacturing assets with those of parent company Geely, creating a division to supply group brands and also third parties with next-generation ICE and hybrid engines.

The Automobilwoche piece said this new division would start operating by the end of March, and that could be a possible starting point for cooperation with Daimler. A further step could be a partnership to develop electric powertrains.

Geely isn’t in it just for the shareholder bragging rights, as Li Shufu’s company has kicked off projects with Daimler. Both companies are set to build the next generation of Smart electric cars in China through a 50:50 joint venture, and both are also collaborating on a premium ride-hailing service in China. Geely’s deepening ties with Daimler has even caused some friction between the German company and its original Chinese JV partner, BAIC.

The appetite for tie-ups and even full mergers, as seen in the recent FCA-PSA marriage, is because of the auto market being a much tougher place to be in today. Global tariffs, accelerated by a trade war between the US and China, as well as big investments needed for electric and autonomous vehicles, are forcing carmakers to seek new avenues for cost reduction. Daimler is already working with its premium German rival BMW on autonomous tech.

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Audi, BMW, Cars, Feature Stories, Infiniti, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, MINI, Porsche, Volvo

2019 year in review and what’s to come in 2020 – tough year for Mercedes-Benz and BMW, but Volvo soars


Having looked at how the national carmakers and Japanese brands fared in 2019, we continue on the year that was with the premium brands. It was a mixed year for players in the segment, with most of the activity coming from the German marques, as expected. The usual duo led the way in with the introductions this year, but it was a bumper year for the four rings as well.

Things were however a whole lot quieter for many players, and although this will change in 2020 for some, it doesn’t look rosy for at least one.

A slew of Audis. Really?

The brand that has always played bridesmaid to the two other Germans made a real go of it this year, introducing no less than 10 models in 2019. Amazing, really, when you consider how quiet it has been in recent years, with only the occasional low-key introduction to signal that it was still around.

The action started in March with the debut of four vehicles, three of which were new. The Q7 received a specification update, but it was the Q2, Q5 and Q8 that made for the news, with their arrival significantly bumping up the Audi SUV count in the country at a go. The second-gen Q3, meanwhile, joined the party late in the year.

Sedans – and fastbacks – were not forgotten in the rare Audi blitz. April saw the introduction of the A3 Sedan, with the C8-generation A6 and D5 A8L entering the showrooms in June before making their working debut in August. Elsewhere, the second-gen F5 A5 Sportback and the C8 A7 Sportback went on preview for a bit before they made they were officially launched.

That’s quite a haul from Ingolstadt. Whether Euromobil continues to play aggressive in 2020 remains to be seen, but Audi fans surely won’t complain if it does. In terms of what’s coming, the facelifted B9 A4 should be one of the highlights next year.

Monthly debuts from BMW

BMW Malaysia started out their campaign in January with two M Performance Editions, which essentially signed out the F30 330e and F15 X5 xDrive40e, and these were each limited to 300 units. Next up, the G20 3 Series, which arrived as a CBU 330i in March, and its debut also saw a full catalogue of M Performance parts being introduced.

The same month saw the debut of the G15 8 Series, and a month later, to show that the G30 5 Series wasn’t forgotten, the company brought the 520i Luxury and 530e M Sport variants into the market. The all-electric i3s was also launched in April, but final pricing was only announced in August.

In May, the G02 X4 M Sport went the CKD route (pricing revealed in June), and the G05 X5 and F39 X2 M35i went on preview, ahead of their official pricing being announced in July. The F87 M2 Competition was next up to bat in June, making its debut in Sepang, and this was followed by the X7 SUV in July.

The month also saw the G29 Z4 sDrive 30i and facelifted G12 7 Series being announced, the latter continuing on with a 740Le xDrive badge designation. In September, another variant was added to the G01 X3 range in the form of an xDrive30i M Sport model, and the G20 3 Series went the CKD route, retaining the 330i variant.

Models to look forward to in 2020 are likely to include the F40 1 Series, the F48 X1 facelift, G06 X6 and Munich’s answer to the CLA, the F44 2 Series Gran Coupe. The G20 3 Series range will also expand with the upcoming 320i, although there’s still no word on when the 330e plug-in hybrid will arrive, or whether it is even coming. Guess we’ll know in 2020.

Lexus rolls on, while Infiniti stalls

It wasn’t until June that Lexus Malaysia got into the swing of things with the refreshed NX 300, in three variant forms (Urban, Premium and F Sport). The facelift has been around since 2018, but the latest update adds on kit such as Lexus Safety System + while lowering prices.

The seventh-generation ES sedan made its debut as an ES 250 model in September, in two trim levels, Premium and Luxury. The same month saw the RX facelift making its way to Malaysia, with the RX 300 going on sale in Premium, Luxury and F Sport guise.

The coming year will see the introduction of the UX, which was first seen here in 2018 when it was previewed at KLIMS. At that point Lexus Malaysia said there were no plans to bring it in, but it looks like that has changed, and the SUV is slated for our market.

No cheer however for its fellow automaker Infiniti. With the brand languishing globally and in the midst of a restructuring (which will see it exit Europe completely and focus on the United States and China), it’s no surprise that the turnout of new models this year locally was zilch. The brand remains in the country, but with the KL showroom having closed (operations have been moved back to Edaran Tan Chong Motor premises), one wonders how long before the carmaker calls it quits in Malaysia.

The tristar juggernaut chugs along

As 2019 draws to a close, and unless something dramatic takes place in the sales charts, it looks like Mercedes-Benz Malaysia will still hold on to its best-seller title for another year, edging out BMW once more. However, this year won’t be like 2018, because the overall numbers are down for both – up to November, MAA figures reveal that Mercedes sales are down by 24% and BMW, down by 19.6%, year-on-year.

It hasn’t been for a lack of trying or products, with the introduction of new cards at every opportunity continuing to be very much the game plan. The ball started rolling with the introduction of the W213 E350, equipped with the automaker’s new M264 engine, in March. The E200 Sportstyle and E300 Exclusive, bearing new engines and kit, were also launched at that point. The same month also saw the pre-facelift C253 GLC 300 making its debut.

Next to arrive was the V177 A-Class Sedan in A200 and A250 forms. This was followed by the Mercedes-AMG C63S Sedan and Coupe facelifts, along with the AMG GT 4-Door Coupe, which went on sale here in GT 43, GT 53 and GT 63S 4Matic+ forms. Then, the W222 S 560 e PHEV came along in June at the same evebt that gave the all-electric EQC its ASEAN debut.

The AMG A35 Sedan was introduced in September, and October was a busy month for the brand, with the W247 B-Class, C190 Mercedes-AMG GT R and GT C facelifts and X156 GLA 200 Style being introduced to the market. Rounding off the new product list for 2019 was the X253 GLC and C253 GLC Coupe facelifts, which were launched earlier this month. The refreshed SUVs also debuted Mercedes me connect, which will make its way on to upcoming models.

Expect no let-up in the introductions in 2020. Among these will be the second-gen C118 CLA, H247 GLA, X247 GLB, C167 GLE Coupe and the W213 E-Class facelift. The EQC is also slated to arrive in 2020.

MINI adventures continue

The brand’s first product introduction this year was the F60 Cooper S Countryman Pure in April. This was followed by the F57 Cooper S Convertible in July. The latter was a small scale outing, with a run limited to only 20 units.

Nothing like a commemorative edition to evoke nostalgia (and add to sales), and that was certainly the case when the 60 Years Edition popped up in August. The model is a 60-unit limited-edition offering based on the Cooper S 3 Door hatch.

Elsewhere, the F54 Clubman facelift premiered in November, going on sale here in sole Cooper S form. The John Cooper Works Clubman and Countryman were also unveiled at the same time. The next year should see the MINI Electric among the new introductions heading to our shores.

Short but Swede

There were only two new Volvos coming our way this year, and both arrived towards the tail-end of it, but despite this the Swedish brand has been gaining traction – up to November, it sold 1,691 cars, 32% up from the 1,279 units it had achieved by the same time last year. Doesn’t sound like much, but when you consider that the German brands will sell less this year than in 2018, it’s a big plus on the brand’s report card.

The much-awaited third-generation S60 finally made its way here in October, going on sale in solitary T8 R-Design guise. While initial units are fully imported (CBU), local assembly is set to start later on, with no changes expected in the specifications when CKD production begins.

The XC90 facelift was the other, the refresh bringing about minor design tweaks, new kit and a bigger battery for the T8 Twin Engine, which increases the pure electric driving range, all accomplished without raising the price from before. The brand also introduced a leather dashboard for the T8 versions of the S90, XC60 and pre-facelift XC90 in August.

No new cats, nothing roving on the ground either

With no new product introductions in the past 12 months, Jaguar Land Rover Malaysia continued to sell what it had in 2019, but there should be a fair bit of activity next year. On the Jaguar front, while the I-Pace has been teased on the local website, it surely won’t be the next in.

That honour should go to the E-Pace – the SUV, first seen locally at our PACE 2018 event, was sighted in the country earlier this month, so it shouldn’t be long before it finally makes its long-awaited local debut. It will be joined by the second-gen Range Rover Evoque, which was previewed at PACE 2019, and was spotted this month undergoing vehicle type approval (VTA).

As for the new Land Rover Defender, don’t hold your breath too long waiting for it to show up that fast – any sign of it will likely be well into the second half of the year at the earliest, given that Australia only gets it in June. High right-hand drive demand might also delay timelines.

Taycan get it out fast enough

No shortage of ground activities – and customer engagement – in Sepang this year for Porsche, but in terms of product launches things were rather on the quiet side. The biggest bang was the introduction of the 992-generation 911 in July, the eighth-gen making its local debut in Carrera S and 4S guise.

Two versions of the Macan facelift were also introduced, the base 2.0 litre in June and the Macan S in August. Earlier in the year, Sime Darby Auto Performance revealed a 15-unit, limited-run 718 Cayman SportDesign edition for the Malaysian market.

Models due next year should include the Cayenne Coupe, but all eyes are of course on the new all-electric Taycan. We do know its set to arrive in 2020, but now we know around when – it’s due in around eight months. According to the folks at Porsche Asia Pacific, the first examples for Malaysia are due sometime in August, and we’ll be getting the Turbo and Turbo S first, well ahead of the entry-level 4S.

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Cars, International News, Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz begins battery production in Thailand


Mercedes-Benz has begun local production of plug-in hybrid-batteries in Thailand with the opening of its new battery plant, which is located at the company’s vehicle manufacturing plant in Samut Prakan.

The new facility, which sits on a 50,000 square metre site and has a 100-strong workforce, was announced last year when the automaker – together with local partners Thonburi Automotive Assembly Plant (TAAP) and Thonburi Energy Storage Systems (TESM) – said it was investing over 100 million euros (RM483 million) in expanding production operations in the country.

Output will serve localised needs in the production of the automaker’s plug-in hybrids, of which the C- and E-Class versions are in particular demand, but the plant will be able to make batteries for full electric vehicles in the future, according to a previous report. While no mention of production capacity was made, a figure of 5,000 units was indicated previously, and this can easily be doubled according to demand.

The new facility is the latest addition to the company’s global battery production network, which already has plants running in Kamenz, Germany, with Beijing also going online this year. With new plants in the United States, Poland and Germany set to begin operations at the beginning of the next decade, the network will eventually consist of nine factories at seven locations on three continents.

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Cars, International News, Mercedes-Benz

New Mercedes-Benz GLA shows off its practical seats


Mercedes-Benz is continuing to tease the second-generation GLA, which is set to make its debut on December 11. This time, we’re introduced to the compact crossover’s new rear seat layout, and it looks to offer better practicality than the outgoing model.

For starters, the new GLA will adopt a 40:20:40 rear seat layout instead of the previous 60:40 arrangement, providing owners with more configurability when it comes to boot space.

This setup is similar to the one you get in the larger GLB, and just like the SUV, the second-row seats in the GLA will also have sliding and reclining capabilities. The added flexibility is certainly welcomed, and should bring the Mercedes-Benz crossover closer to rivals SUVs like the BMW X1 and Audi Q3.

As revealed previously, the new GLA will be 100 mm taller than its predecessor, and this should translate to more room for occupants’ heads and possibly cargo.

The rest of the cabin should be similar to other Mercedes-Benz compact models like the A-Class and CLA, with the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system being the main highlight of the dashboard, as another teaser suggests.

We’ll only see exactly what’s new with the GLA when it makes its global debut on December 11, so stay tuned.

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