Mercedes-Benz added to the spectacle of the opening day of the Auto Africa Expo by unveiling the all-new A-Class, the brutish SL65 AMG, SLR McLaren supercar and the controversial CLS.
Mercedes-Benz added to the spectacle of the opening day of the Auto Africa Expo by unveiling the all-new A-Class, the brutish SL65 AMG, the SLR McLaren supercar and the controversial CLS.
Shown for the first time on South African soil on Monday, the new A-Class is arguably far more handsome than its somewhat dumpy predecessor. When it arrives on the South African market next year, there will also be a sculpted three-door version. The new range incorporates seven four-cylinder engines, including three newly-developed CDI direct fuel injection models and a new 142 kW turbocharged petrol engine.
The new A-Class is also available with a new Autotronic continuously variable automatic transmission, said to be a first for the manufacturer. Safety equipment includes adaptive two-stage front airbags, seatbelt tensioners for front seat passengers and passengers sitting in the outer rear seats, adaptive belt force limiters, and revised head and front thorax-side airbags to replace the previous sidebags.
The luggage capacity of the new A-Class exceeds that of its predecessor by up to 15 per cent, with a 60:40 rear seat split and individual folding seat cushions and backrests.
One of the stars of CAR’s recent Fantasy Garage feature, the SL65 AMG is expected in South Africa (in right-hand drive form) in February next year. The most powerful version of the low-slung SL is fitted with a biturbo V12 AMG-tuned engine that delivers 450 kW and 1 000 N.m of torque between 2 000 and 4 000 r/min.
It is said to be capable of sprinting from standstill to 100 km/h in 4,2 seconds, bolting past the 200 km/h mark in 12,9 seconds and the top end is electronically limited to 250 km/h.
With its modified AMG sports suspension, mechanical differential lock and newly developed AMG high-performance brake system with composite discs, front and rear, the high-performance roadster's promised handling is impressive.
In the SL 65 AMG power is transmitted by the AMG Speedshift five-speed automatic transmission with steering-wheel gearshift controls and manual mode. To deal with the massive amounts of power and torque available, a number of measures have been taken to optimise its key components. There are also special drive shafts, larger hub carriers and wheel bearings and special spring links at the rear axle.
The SL 65 AMG comes standard with Active Body Control (ABC) and special AMG spring struts with firmer damping. The driver can select an even sportier mode at the touch of a button, reducing pitch and roll still further. Fully reworked dynamic handling control systems such as ABS, Brake Assist, ASR and ESP to complete the enhanced chassis set-up.
Adaptive front, window and side airbags, crash-sensing seatbelt pretensioners and belt force limiters, air suspension, seven-speed automatic transmission, SBC brake-by-wire technology, active bi-xenon headlamps and cornering lights, plus the latest automatic climate control systems are all expected to be fitted to the CLS range.
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