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May 2013

Mercedes taking “big” to new heights

There used to be a limit to how much you could spend on a sport-utility vehicle, with the Range Rover holding the high ground pretty much all on its own. However, with the top luxury sedans now selling for six figures and exotic supercars for seven, the elite class of SUV’s is following suit. Porsche already makes an SUV and soon so will Lamborghini, Bentley and Maserati, with Aston Martin, Spyker and even Rolls-Royce considering getting in on the action. But this auto…this is the new king of the hill.

As it is, the Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG is about as high up the market as it gets. The German automaker took its Gelandewagen workhorse (which has been produced since 1979) and handed it over to its AMG performance division, fitting it with a 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8 producing a whopping 537 horsepower and 561 lb-ft of torque. Only the G65 can out-class it with its 6.0-liter twin-turbo V12.

Just in case the “standard” G63 AMG isn’t enough, Mercedes has taken it a step further (or an axle further anyway) with this new G63 6×6. The difference, as you can see, is that the 6×6 packs an extra set of wheels — very large wheels at that, wearing 37-inch tires — to give the G-Wagen even more traction. The six-wheel-drive system is derived from the military version, but takes it into more upscale territory. Instead of a wagon body-style, the G63 AMG 6×6 also has an extended pickup bed, lined with bamboo. The interior, meanwhile, is upholstered in leather and Alcantara micro-suede for an unsurpassably luxurious ride. The finished product measures some 19 feet long and weighs over four tons.

Mercedes isn’t saying how many it will build, but sources indicate it could produce 20 or 30 per year if it sees enough demand. Pricing also hasn’t been released yet but it is expected to be the second most expensive model in its line-up, behind the $450,000 SLS Electric Drive supercar.


India rolls out new sports car: Avanti by DC Design

India will soon have its very own sports car, as local design firm DC Design plans to start production of its mid-engine Avanti coupe, which was revealed in concept form at last year’s Delhi Auto Expo.
DC Design, led by designer and entrepreneur Dilip Chhabria, is looking to establish a new manufacturing facility in Gujarat, in India’s west, and could have the facility online as early as 2014.

The information was revealed during an interview between Chhabria and India’s The Economic Times, which was first picked up Autoblog.

In the interview, Chhabria said he would like to build the Avanti in a limited run of 3,500 examples, with pricing for the car ranging from about “25-30 lakh rupees” (approximately $46,000-$55,000).

Only one engine has been announced for the Avanti so far, a turbocharged and direct-injected 2.0-liter four-cylinder rated at 240 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. Drive goes to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transmission and helping with the handling is double wishbone suspension with coil-over shocks.

Under its skin sits a tubular spaceframe chassis, presumably made from steel, and the curb weight is said to be 3,443 pounds. As previously reported, the car’s panels are aluminum.

DC Design already has a network of stores in India to start selling the Avanti. In addition to its design work, the company also manufactures and sells automotive accessories and has its own coach building business. If the Avanti proves successful, DC Design hopes to follow it up with a high-performance SUV.


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