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LA MOTOR SHOW

CONFIDENTIAL GOSSIP | RUMOURS | T R ENDS

New E63 has four-wheel drive and up to 603bhp

New Merc-AMG E63 tipped to be a hit in UK THE THIRD GENERATION of the Mercedes-AMG E63 is expected to be the most successful in the UK yet, according to AMG boss Tobias Moers. Launched at the LA motor show, the brand’s performance saloon is the most suited yet to the UK market, Moers explained. He said: “It’s going to be more important [than before] because it’s a fourwheel drive in right-hand drive. That’s the first time we’ve had a performance car available for the UK with a four-wheel drive system. So it’s my expectation that sales will rise.”

Despite the introduction of a slightly milder Mercedes-AMG E43 in April, Moers said the traditional performance cars, such as the E63, are “very, very strong”. He acknowledged that the volume of 43s was increasing but the 63s were still dominating. The new E63 is the fastest-accelerating model yet produced by Mercedes’ burgeoning performance car division, with an official 0-62mph time of 3.4sec in range-topping S 4Matic+ guise. It is also the most powerful series-production four-door model from AMG to date.

Fitted with AMG’s twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 engine, it will be sold in two distinct versions. In standard E63 4Matic+, it has 563bhp and 552lb ft of torque. However, the most popular model is expected to be the range-topping E63 S 4Matic+, which has extra turbo boost pressure and other powerenhancing tweaks, allowing it to deliver 603bhp and 626lb ft. The car also introduces a Drift mode so owners “can have fun with the car on a race track”, said Moers. It prompts the four-wheel drive system to deliver drive exclusively to the rear wheels, remaining

engaged until the driver deactivates it. Moers confirmed this set-up would be carried over to other AMG models, but he declined to say which of them would get it next. AMG is growing rapidly. With 40% growth from 2014 to 2015, around 68,000 cars were sold last year. Moers expects at least the same increase this year, which would result in sales of more than 95,000 units. He said the next major development phase for AMG was electrification and hybrids, and its upcoming hypercar would be “the car that opens the door into the future [of that]”.

Merc has ‘lots of options’ for Maybach MERCEDES HAS NO plans to make Maybach its own “pure brand” again, despite recent speculation after the launch of the Vision 6 concept earlier this year. Talking to Autocar, global sales boss Matthias Luhrs said: “There are currently no plans to have a pure Maybach brand and there is no need.” He pointed out that more than 15,000 S-Class Maybachs have been sold since its launch, half of them in China. “It shows we’ve found the sweet spot,” Luhrs said. However, he did admit that Mercedes is considering a

number of different options for Maybach, including an SUV. If Mercedes is to continue its strategy of building on existing models, this would most likely be based on the GLS. “A Maybach SUV is definitely one of lots of options, but we have no decision yet,” he said. Asked how the Vision 6 concept fitted into a strategy focused on existing Mercedes models, Luhrs said it showed future possibilities, “especially when it comes to the interior”. The Vision 6’s red paint colour has also

been used on the new S650 Cabriolet, revealed at the LA motor show. Luhrs said there are no current plans to incorporate

Mercedes’ upcoming electric EQ brand with Maybach, although he did say “it might be an option for the next generation”.

Merc-Maybach S650 Cabriolet had an LA debut

PLUG-IN HYBRID FOR LUXURY CADILLAC

GENESIS TURNS UP WICK ON G80 SALOON

The Cadillac CT6 range has been expanded by a new plug-in hybrid variant. The BMW 7 Series rival mixes a 2.0-litre petrol engine with two electric motors for a combined 335bhp. UK imports are being considered but are thought unlikely.

Hyundai’s luxury arm, Genesis, has created a performance-focused Sport version of its BMW 5 Series-sized G80 saloon for the US. The model gets a turbocharged 3.3-litre V6 with 356bhp. The Genesis brand will be launched in the UK in 2018.

SMART PRODUCT manager Rouven Remp said the city car brand is better suited than its owner, Mercedes, to execute a car sharing scheme – which it will launch early next year. He said, joking: “If you would ask me personally, I think you’d be rather reluctant to share your S-Class. With a Smart, it’s a bit easier.” DIVERGENT 3D, A California-based tech firm that displayed a 3D-printed car at the LA motor show, has done a technology exploration deal with PSA Group chief Carlos Tavares. Divergent 3D CEO Kevin Czinger said the process removes 50% of chassis weight and 75% of parts.

MINI SAYS OPERATIONS at its Oxford plant are currently unaffected by the result of the Brexit vote. Mini boss Peter Schwarzenbauer said it remained “business as usual” and would be so for some time because, unlike Nissan and its Sunderland plant, Mini has no imminent investment decisions to make about its plant. NEXTEV BOSS Padma Warrior laid out her vision for the next evolutionary step change in the development of the car at the LA show. Warrior painted a picture of what she called “Car 3.0” as being a selfdriving electric vehicle that learns about its occupant’s habits and adapts its behaviour accordingly.

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