The 2013 Mercedes-Benz S-class is packed full of advanced technology.
As ever with a new Mercedes-Benz S-class, there’s power in the numbers; 100 electric motors, 360-degree vision and 20 driver-assistance systems.
An aluminium-clad steel monocoque that is 220lb lighter, 50 per cent stiffer and more aerodynamic than its predecessor. That means an overall 20 per cent improvement in economy and, as if that wasn’t enough, this autumn’s plug-in hybrid version will better 95mpg and emit less than 75g/km of CO2 – quite something for a 16ft 9.4in (5m) long, two-ton saloon.
The S-class is most often found lurking outside investment banks, company headquarters and swanky hotels, chauffeurs catnapping and an ironed copy of the pink ’un on the back seat. A similar sense of calm is supposed to permeate the driving experience; the technology works so you don’t have to.
The Audi RS6 Avant is a practical family estate car with supercar-rivalling performance.
The Audi RS6 Avant is a large, luxurious estate car that weighs almost two tonnes, yet it accelerates from 0 -60mph a second faster than a Porsche Cayman S. The all-new RS6 Avant also gets two turbos but, in line with the continuing trend for downsizing, it gets a 4.0-litre V8. Peak power is down from its predecessor’s 571bhp to 552bhp but peak torque rises from 479lb ft to 516lb ft.
As with previous RS6 models, the latest version has permanent four-wheel drive as standard. A new (mechanical) centre differential gives a 40/60 front/rear torque split in “normal” driving, but it can send up to 70 per cent to the front wheels or 85 per cent to the rear wheels if necessary.
There’s also a differential that distributes [...]
Plug-in hybrids like the BMW i8 are coming. Influential industry figures think they are the only way the motor industry will meet the EU’s proposal of a corporate average of 95g/km CO² emissions by 2020.
Its precursor was the 2009 Vision Efficient Dynamics concept, for which BMW had no production intention. The company’s eco “i Project” was all about the i3 electric supermini, but the orgiastic reception for this futuristically transluscent two-plus-two forced the mastodons of Munich to reconsider.
The body shape was retained, including the most audacious automotive flying buttresses since the Jaguar XJ-S, although the production i8 is a little bit shorter, with cleaned up aerodynamics, working air intakes and legal sill sections, but it’s visibly the same car. The concept’s diesel engine has been dropped, however.
“It was never going to have a diesel,” says Carsten Breitfeld, the [...]