Mercedes-Benz shows off self-driving car technology in its new $100,000 S-Class

2014 S-class

2014 S-class

Google has been pushing self-driving car technology for much of the last few years, and Audi showed off its own self-driving vehicle at the last CES, and now Mercedes-Benz is throwing its hat into the ring. According to The New York Times, the automaker showed off its “virtual chauffeur” technology in its new $100,00 S-Class in Hamburg, Germany — it’s a car that Mercedes-Benz says can steer itself in city traffic or keep it in its lane going over 120MPH on a highway, under the right conditions. It can also park itself, brake automatically to avoid hitting pedestrians or other cars, and can even tell when a driver is becoming dangerously fatigued. Mercedes compared it to a plane’s autopilot system, in which the plane can perform many of the routine tasks necessary to get it from point A to point B while a human keeps its eye on things to watch out for trouble.
4-matic also...

4-matic also…

Of course, this is just the beginning — the automaker wants to make the car smart enough to safely change lanes while cruising at Autobahn speeds. While the tech Mercedes-Benz is packing into this vehicle is undoubtedly impressive, we’re still a long ways from this car actually driving itself. Users will be required by law to keep at least one hand on the wheel at all times, so owners won’t exactly be able to just kick back and read the paper on their commute. Still, with major corporations like Google, Audi, and now Mercedes-Benz making autonomous cars a priority, there’s a chance that we’ll see automakers meet that three- to five-year timeline Google is shooting for.

1966 Mercedes Benz 200 “Finner” – Sold !


Finner for sale

Yes, it’s true. The beloved Oregon MBI Special is for sold. The happy new owner has taken delivery of this fine machine.

Fins !

Fins !

At only $20,000 it is a great deal. Many interested Mercedes Benz Club of America
members were impressed with the detail work on the 200 during this years DIY day at MBI.
A complete overhaul of the engine & transmission began the long process of bringing this
fine example back to it’s former glory.

Driver's side detail

Driver’s side detail

No expense was spared during initial overhaul by Larry.
Larry is a legend of overhauling the vintage Mercedes Benz.

 Stereo by Musicar NW

Stereo by Musicar NW

The custom stereo enclosure was built by Tom & Ken at Musicar NW.
Retaining the classic look, with great sound, was Tom’s primary
objective with stereo security also factored in. Both objectives
far exceeded our expectations.

Nice seats

Nice seats

The exhaust is a pleasant, slightly throaty, non-offensive rumble.
The body & paint work was meticulously crafted by Tom at St. Johns Auto Body.
Tom is simply the best.

Classic Chrome

Classic Chrome

A nice classic at a bargain price. With over 30,000 invested, it is an easy turn key classic.

Rear window detail

Rear window detail

Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive prototype charging towards production

Electric B-class

Electric B-class

Development of the Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive is moving along smartly since we first saw the thing in shimmering-blue-concept form at the 2012 Paris Motor Show. Now running about in prototype form, the B-Class ED is having some valuable cold-weather testing done in Sweden, as this box-fresh set of spy shots reveals.

If the concept car is a good indicator (it probably is) this prototype B-Class is likely making use of a Tesla-sourced lithium-ion battery pack, powering a 100-kilowatt electric motor. Initial estimates say that the B-Class ED should have a range of more than 120 miles, with a top speed in excess of 90 miles per hour.

The all-electric B-Class is expected to offer functionality along the lines of Toyota’s large-hatchback Prius V, albeit with the loads of luxury features that befit any vehicle wearing the three-pointed star. The Electric Drive B-Class may be the only version of the vehicle that Mercedes-Benz offers for sale in the US – likely sometime late in 2013, as a 2014 model.

2014 Mercedes CLA Revealed With Premium Style, Budget Price

2014 CLA

2014 CLA

Mercedes-Benz unveiled a concept with hints of its highly anticipated CLA-class concept sedan Sunday night at the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel.
When it goes on sale this fall, the CLA-class will be Mercedes-Benz’s entry-level model aimed at younger buyers. It will be priced below the popular compact C-class with a starting price of about $30,000, about $5,000 less than the starting price for the C-class.

“We are going to offer people a whole new way to enter the Mercedes family,” said Joachim Schmidt, head of sales and marketing for Mercedes. “It will be much more attainable … and win over customers who never thought they could consider a Mercedes.”
Dieter Zetsche, chairman of Daimler, said the CLA-class is built on a new platform and will be the basis for five new models for the brand, including a small crossover. Not all of those models will come to the U.S.

2014 CLA

2014 CLA

“The car is tremendous,” said Roger Penske, chairman and CEO of Penske Automotive Group, who was among several hundred people who watched the unveiling of the car Sunday.
Mercedes also said it has developed a new all wheel drive system for front-wheel drive cars that will debut on the CLA-class sedan and will be rolled out globally.
Penske predicted it will be a hot seller and will compete effectively with a growing number of small luxury cars and crossovers.

Rear CLA

Rear CLA

Increasingly, luxury automakers are introducing smaller, sporty cars and crossovers with price tags between $30,000 and $40,000.
Today, Lincoln will unveil the MKC compact crossover at the North American International Auto Show, Cadillac launched its compact ATS sedan last year and BMW launched its subcompact X1 crossover last year.

Larry Dominique, president of, said the percentage of high-end luxury sales is remaining steady. Most of the growth among luxury brands is coming from the lower end of the market. But competition with mainstream brands is getting tougher because the quality and available technology in those brands continues to improve.

“You are going to see a greater number of luxury models, but I am not sure that luxury is going to capture a larger share of the overall market,” Dominique said.

Those interested in the Mercedes CLA-class should look closely at the photos from Sunday’s invitation-only event because the car will not be shown at the Detroit auto show, which begins today.
According to Mercedes, the next time the CLA will be shown will be in March at the Geneva Motor Show.
Success in the U.S. market is more important than ever for both Mercedes-Benz and BMW with Europe’s recession and the automotive industry there struggling to deal with five straight years of declining industry sales.

In 2012, BMW outsold Mercedes-Benz for the second year in a row even as sales of the Mercedes-Benz brand increased 13%.
BMW finished the year with a strong December and boosted its sales for the year to a total of 281,460 cars and crossovers in the U.S. compared with 274,134 for the Mercedes-Benz brand.

2013 Portland International Auto Show

The Portland International Auto Show is excited to have the Camp Jeep Indoor Event for the second year. The Portland Show is one of only 13 auto shows in the nation to have the Camp Jeep exhibit, which is free to ride.
The Jeep Test Track is an interactive adventure zone where professional 4×4 drivers allow riders to experience a Jeep’s on and off-road capabilities. Product specialists will chauffeur participants in a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, Wrangler Rubicon and Grand Cherokee to allow riders to experience the legendary capabilities of a Jeep. Camp Jeep features a thrilling, “can’t miss” hill climb where passengers experience the Jeep’s traction capabilities while climbing the 18-foot high, 35 degree Jeep Mountain, the icon of the ride.



Riders are over 20 feet off the ground when they sit on top of Jeep Mountain. Similar to a roller coaster experience, many riders run back in line to take the Jeep through its paces, again, after experiencing the multiple capabilities of the Jeep lineup. Camp Jeep will also offer several other FREE activities within their display area.

Kids will be able to test their driving abilities in the mini Power Wheel Jeeps and the young-at-heart will be able to display their climbing skills as they try to reach the top of the 25′ climbing wall. New this year will be a DJ, who will create a fun musical atmosphere to the Camp Jeep space.

Join us for Family Day at the Portland International Auto Show on Sunday, January 27.

Have fun in the Kids Zone with face painting and temporary tattoos, balloon artists, Shriners clowns, R/C Driving, an inflatable Cars slide and the Camp Jeep kid’s course.

Mercedes-Benz GL-Class has won the 2013 Motor Trend Sport/Utility of the Year award.

2013 GL550 Mercedes

2013 GL-class

The all-new 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class has won the 2013 Motor Trend Sport/Utility of the Year award. This marks the second time the GL has won the prestigious Motor Trend award.
“We’re honored that the GL-Class has once again been awarded Motor Trend’s Sport/Utility of the Year,” said Steve Cannon, President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA. “From the very beginning, the GL-Class has been perfectly tuned to the needs of U.S. customers and those customers made the GL the segment-leading sales performer. Motor Trend’s critical acclaim for the depth of its functionality together with the broadest powertrain offering in any full size SUV shows our commitment to delivering on our promise to our customers of the best or nothing.”
2013 GL550

Get the Off-Road Package.

Mercedes has made some significant changes to the GL for 2013, including new engines, new styling, and a heavily updated optional off-road package.
This seven-passenger SUV is comparable in size to the Cadillac Escalade — and outsells it. The 2013 GL is taller, wider, and longer than the 2012, sits on a wheelbase that’s more than 5 inches longer than the Cadillac’s, and is about the same length, and is wider. Style changes are most apparent below the rear side windows, where the body uses an angular upsweep that matches the angles on the nose and the sharp bodylines. The interior is filled with the lux touches you would expect in a Mercedes, the materials, fit and finish being similarly top-notch.

There are currently three engine choices: the 3.0-liter turbodiesel, tweaked for 2013 to add 30 hp (now 240) and 55 lb-ft of torque (now 455), and two 4.7-liter V-8s. The one in the GL450 is basically a refresh of the 2012 engine and now puts out 362 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque, increases of 27 and 67, respectively. The one in the GL550 takes over for the 5.5-liter V-8 found in the 2012 GL550 and offers 429 horses and 516 lb-ft. When the AMG-tuned GL63 goes on sale in early 2013, it will have a twin-turbo 5.5-liter V-8 good for 550 hp and 560 lb-ft. All four engines are backed by a seven-speed automatic. Towing capacity is 7500 pounds for all non-AMG models.

2013 GL350

2013 GL350 Bluetec adds 30hp & 55 ft/lbs torque !

We had the opportunity to drive three of the four (the GL63 wasn’t available yet), and though the diesel and base 4.7-liter are impressive, the 550 is easily the biggest news here. WIth a 0-60 mph time of 5.1 seconds, it is incredibly fast for a vehicle that boasts a 5700-plus-pound curb weight. Braking is equally impressive: 60-0 mph takes just 116 feet.
Inside, it’s roomy and quiet. There is no question it’s a luxury vehicle. The ride is pleasant and cushy on the highway in Comfort mode. Putting it in Sport mode makes steering response, shifts, and steering quicker and crisper. In turns, the suspension is tighter and more responsive.

2013 GL350 Bluetec

The GL’s Active Curve System, available on all models, uses a set of electronically disconnecting anti-roll bars, making Mercedes-Benz the second manufacturer to offer them. However, with the Electronic Disconnecting Front Sway Bar in the Wrangler Rubicon and Power Wagon, the driver can push a button to connect the two-piece bar on-road and can disconnect it off-road — basically “on” or “off.” Mercedes’ system uses various sensors in the vehicle that measure things like wheelslip, wheel height, and steering angle to determine how much the anti-roll bars will work. Active Curve responds to what the vehicle is doing, on-road or off, to activate the anti-roll bars (on twisty roads, for example). The anti-roll bars’ intervention is variable and automatic, determined by data from the sensors, and can be completely disconnected off-road.

The On/Off-Road package, available on the 450 and 550, is similar to other systems on the market — such as those in the LR4 and Grand Cherokee — where you can select the icon that best matches what you’re doing, whether towing, driving in snow, or rock-crawling (or as close to that as a Mercedes driver would get), and also allows you to select low range and vehicle ride height. A screen on the IP shows side slope angle and vertical angle when off-road. Base ground clearance is 8.5 inches, which can go up to 12 total with the air suspension.

2013 GL-class

Nice Job MB.

Is the GL550 expensive? Yes. Our tester cost more than $100,000 as equipped. But for that you get Mercedes luxury, fantastic power, and plenty of capability. It’s a shame that only about 10 percent of GL buyers will opt for the On/Off-Road package, as this system makes it really easy to go off-road, where the GL is highly competent. But even those who don’t want to explore the back country can enjoy towing, carrying 94 cubic feet of cargo, or chauffeuring six others in style.
Source: Motor Trend

2013 Mercedes-Benz S-Class safety technology

2013 221

2013 S-class – Safety Flagship

The next-generation 2013 Mercedes-Benz S-Class is set to bring new safety technologies to the automotive world, just as its predecessors have done in the past.
With the implementation of Pre-Safe in the S-Class more than a decade ago, Mercedes-Benz introduced a collision avoidance technology that has since filtered down to the entire range. Next year the S-Class will take the technology to an entirely new level, with the next-generation model capable of 360-degree vision thanks to a complex series of 26 sensors and cameras which Mercedes calls “sensor fusion”.
222 2014 Mercedes

222 for 2014 in the US

“The intelligent assistance systems of the future will be able to analyse complex situations and recognise potential dangers out on the road with the aid of improved sensor systems even more accurately than today,” says Professor Dr Thomas Weber, member of the Daimler board of management responsible for group research and head of Mercedes-Benz cars development.

222 safety systems are cutting edge.

There are nine safety features which have been significantly improved for the W222-series Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

Distronic Plus with Steering Assist: The S-Class is getting closer and closer to complete autonomous driving, however Mercedes-Benz’s philosophy remains that the driver must always be in control. Nonetheless, with the new steering assist system in Distronic Plus, the S-Class can not only follow the car in front at the same speed, it can now keep in its own lane in the highway and adjust the steering input to remain in the middle of the lane. The system works from 0-200km/h. There are limitations to this, of course. It cannot turn sharply, however we tested the system in a simulator and it worked flawlessly on open roads.

Brake Assist System with Cross-Traffic Assist: With brake assist already helping many Mercedes-Benz vehicles limit the severity of an accident or avoid one altogether, the new S-Class will take this system one step further. The cross-traffic assist component can now see cars and pedestrians crossing the street from either side, which is ideal for when another vehicle runs a stop sign or red light. The S-Class will now warn the driver, tighten up the seat belts and provide braking assistance to avoid or reduce the severity of the accident.

Pre-Safe Brake: Now capable of pedestrian detection and capable of autonomous braking to avoid an accident when speeds are less than 50km/h.

Pre-Safe Plus: This system looks behind the car in the event of an imminent rear-ending. It flashes the rear hazard lights at a higher speed than normal to alert the incoming driver and, if an accident is imminent, applies full brake force to stop the S-Class from moving forward, while also activating all Pre-Safe occupant protection systems to minimise injury.

Pre-Safe Impulse: In an interesting way to avoid serious injury, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class can now pull the driver and front passenger away from the direction of travel well before the accident has caused vehicle deceleration. It’s a simple approach that may significantly reduce the severity of injuries in a frontal accident.

Active Lane Keeping Assist: As before, Mercedes-Benz vehicles are capable detecting unwanted lane departure and both warn the driver and apply brakes via the stability control system to bring the car back in the intended direction. The new system takes this further by using actual steering force and is also able to detect incoming cars in the adjacent lane.

Adaptive High-beam Assist Plus: Many high-end vehicles on the road now have high-beam assist – a system that turns off the high-beams when an incoming car is detected. With High-beam Assist Plus, Mercedes-Benz’s light engineers have found a way to keep the high-beams on but mask out the incoming vehicles so they are not blinded by the light. In a demonstration to showcase this technology, we were amazed as to how the headlights simply carved out the light accordingly, so the entire road would light up except the section where the oncoming car was approaching to avoid dazzling the driver.

Night-view Assist Plus: Yet another feature that has been made possible by the S-Class’s amazing headlight technology, the night-view system can not only detect animals and pedestrians using its infrared systems, it can now clearly show the driver the location of the object in the dash and then using its headlight, actually spotlight the object on the road four times to warn the object of the car and to mark its location on the road.

Attention Assist: A further enhancement of the Mercedes-Benz drowsiness detection system, now with dual mode so you can tell the S-Class that you’re feeling unwell before getting in so that it can keep a closer eye on your attentiveness.

Other features of note include the seat belt airbag for the rear passengers, which helps reduce pressure on the ribs in an accident.

222 lighting systems

222 advanced lighting systems

Perhaps the most fascinating new feature to be introduced in the S-Class is the lighting technology both inside and out. The S-Class becomes the only car in the world not to feature a single light bulb. The company has chosen to go full LED with the new S-Class, noting the technology’s longevity and closer resemblance to daylight. Each dynamic S-Class headlight now contains 55 LED lamps and three motors to provide everything from infrared detection to spotlight feature.
Overall, the array of new technologies in the 2013 Mercedes-Benz S-Class is second to none, and showcases why the S-Class remains the leader for introducing new in-car and safety technologies to the automotive world.

Mercedes-Benz Develops Ener-G-Force Concept for Los Angeles Design Challenge

Ener-G Force

Future Mercedes Highway Patrol SUV ?

The Los Angeles Auto Show has attracted entries by major automakers into a themed Design Challenge since 2003. This event pushes engineers to imagine vehicles that would fit into the future needs of consumers. Organizers selected “Highway Patrol Vehicle 2025” as the theme for this year’s Design Challenge. Participants were tasked with creating law enforcement vehicle concepts that produced few emissions, achieved high performance and used creative design. Mercedes-Benz drew from the previous G-Class SUV line to produce a concept called the Ener-G-Force. This futuristic SUV would allow police officers to trail perpetrators across all terrains without slowing their pace.

Engineers at the Advanced Design Studio in California focused on hydrogen power when creating the Ener-G-Force. The design team developed a fuel-cell drive system that only produces water waste that can be recycled within the vehicle. A series of rooftop tanks stores the water before delivery to the hydro-tech converter. Conversion technology created by Mercedes-Benz turns this water into hydrogen that replenishes fuel cells on the fly. This focus on hydrogen power fits within the automaker’s focus for production models slated for the market in the next decade. The Ener-G-Force could compete with the most powerful cruisers on the market today without producing emissions or eating into department budgets.


Terra-Scan will reduce discomfort from bumpy roads and off-road trips.

The side panels of the Ener-G-Force are designed to handle swappable battery packs necessary for long-range travel. These panels do not protrude far from the frame, thus avoiding bulges that could slow the vehicle down at high speeds. Mercedes-Benz has moved away from a heavy electric motor to four in-wheel motors that keep curb weight from going out of control. The Ener-G-Force could travel up to 500 miles per charge according to computer simulations by the automaker. Police departments would not experience range anxiety thanks to the efficiency of this concept’s drive system.
Another innovative feature imagined by the Advanced Design Studio is the Terra-Scan system. A row of sensors just above the windshield scans terrain constantly to optimize vehicle performance. This 360-degree scan picks up on road conditions and topography. Mercedes-Benz hopes that Terra-Scan will reduce discomfort from bumpy roads and off-road trips. Terra-Scan allows each in-wheel motors to respond second by second especially on rough terrain. This innovation seems most likely to reach the market as automakers have already incorporated sensors into new models with park assist features.

The Los Angeles Design Challenge might seem like a flight of fancy but the future of automotive technology depends in part on creative thought. We think of reliable but uninspiring models like the Ford Crown Victoria when recalling police vehicles. Police cruisers in the future not only need to perform consistently but cost less to operate and produce fewer greenhouse gases. The Ener-G-Force does not look like a conventional cruiser and Mercedes-Benz seems to be imagining a future where off-road pursuit will be commonplace. The use of an SUV frame for an eco-friendly police vehicle might not be ideal but Mercedes-Benz has struck the right nerve in terms of drive technology.

MBI brings specialized automotive training to Portland

MBI LMV Training 2012

Marty braves the cold to bring training to the Northwest.

Marty Velozzi From LMV Industries Visited Portland this weekend for an advanced automotive training seminar at the request of MBI Motors  owner, Corbin Lancaster. Marty & Corbin are longtime friends, so when Corbin asked Marty to come to the Northwest and brave the less sunny weather it had to be important. I want to send the whole crew to training this year, Corbin told Marty. The class size is kept small (23 max.) to allow plenty of time for technicians to absorb the complex electrical and vehicle diagnostic systems information available. MBI Motors together with other local northwest received some great training from one of the best electrical troubleshooters in the nation. As an added bonus Marty held a couple additional classes on amp draws, DAS, and Lin Bus fault tracing at MBI on Friday. Thanks Marty, for all you do.

History of the Hawthorne Bridge

Originally constructed in 1910, the Hawthorne Bridge is the oldest operating vertical lift bridge in the United States. The 1,383-foot long Hawthorne Bridge is one of Portland’s busiest bridges, safely carrying approximately 30,000 vehicles and untold pedestrians and cyclists across the Willamette River. Vertical clearance for river traffic is limited and approximately 200 openings per month are required for this vertical lift bridge. Like other vertical lift bridges, the Hawthorne Bridge uses a system of counterweights and cables to move the lift span straight up and down. The operating system is mostly original, but the electrical power and control systems—which were installed in 1975—were upgraded in 1999. Hawthorne’s counterweights each weigh 450 tons and are supported by the bridge’s two towers, which rise 165 feet above the bridge deck. The Hawthorne Bridge’s main span can be raised 110 feet to allow vessels to pass underneath. On average, an opening of the Hawthorne Bridge is 8 minutes long. Major structural modifications on the truss spans have included: Removal of the original timber deck and sidewalk Installation of open steel grating deck and concrete and aluminum sidewalks. Widening the sidewalks from 6 feet to 10 feet to allow greater room for pedestrians and cyclists. This resulted in the overall deck width extending out to 72 feet. The Hawthorne Bridge was designed by Waddell and Harrington, Consulting Engineers from Kansas City, MO and constructed by the Pennsylvania Steel Co and United Engineering and Construction and Robert Wakefield. It opened to traffic on December 19, 1910.