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The Differences Between the 2013 Mercedes Benz GLK350 and the 2012 GLK350 In Pictures

2013 Mercedes GLK350

We’ve all read about the new facelifted 2013 GLK350 in the usual motoring press publications and online… I’ve read several synopsis of the new car, and they’re all the same, nobody ever really lays out the differences side by side, with both cars sitting next to each other, until Dave Knows Cars. This article will be laid out in a similar manner to my “Differences between the C300 Sport and C300 Luxury” article (one of the most visited and commented on posts on the Dave Knows Cars  Blog).

The goal here is to educate the reader about both vehicles… the 2013 model and those GLKs built during the 2010 – 2012 model years. This should help you decide which car might be right depending upon whether you’re looking at new cars, Certified Pre Owned examples or both… this should help you weigh the options.

The 2013 GLK350 get mechanical as well as cosmetic changes. Let’s start on the outside….

2013 Mercedes Benz GLK350 Palladium Silver
Our subject 2013 Mercedes GLK350 in Palladium Silver, this is a fairly standard car, with the new style standard wheel and NO appearance package. This is the standard GLK350 ‘look’ for MY 2013.
2012 Mercedes Benz GLK350 Arctic White
This is the standard equipment 2012 Mercedes Benz GLK350, NO appearance package, this car has the standard GLK wheels for 2012.

The most notable cosmetic differences start in the front of the vehicle. The 2013 model gets a new grille with chrome topped horizontal bars, the front bumper and lower front fascia are all new. ALL the metal panels on the two vehicles are the same, only the plastic wrap around bumper and lower front fascia have changed. The new 2013 model gets a sporty chrome front skid plate at the very bottom of the front fascia, as well as standard LED daytime running lamps (similar to the C and E classes). The other major front end difference is the new headlamp shape / style for the 2013 models.

2013 mercedes GLK350 changes
Have a close look at our 2013 GLK350 here: New grille, front bumper and lower front fascia, notice the new LED daytime running lamps which replace the standard round fog lamps on the 2012 model GLK350. Fancy new headlamp treatment too.
2012 Mercedes GLK350 head lamps
This is the 2012 model GLK350… different grille, lower front bumper and fascia are all white plastic… no chrome, round fog lamps instead of the LED daytime running lamps, different headlamp shape.
2013 Mercedes Benz GLK350 Wheel
This is the new, standard equipment, 19″ wheel for the 2013 model GLK350. A larger 20″ wheel is available if you opt for the “Appearance Package”.
2012 Mercedes GLK350 19" Wheel
This is the standard 19″ wheel for GLK vehicles built between the 2010 model year and 2012.

The rear ends of the vehicles have changed in a similar way… the 2013 gets some visual updates, but also some new technology. The rear plastic bumpers are all new on the 2013 model GLK class cars. You’ll notice that the 2013 GLK has chrome down low on the rear bumper, the red lights integrated into the rear bumpers are in a difference place and a different shape, the 2013 model also gets a new tail pipe treatment.

2013 Mercedes GLK350 LED tail lamps
The rear end of the new 2013 GLK350 reveals a new plastic bumper, the lower part of the bumper incorporates a chrome ‘skid plate’ and new tail pipe treatment. New rear tail lamp design boasts LEDs.
2012 Mercedes GLK350 rear styling
The rear end of the 2012 GLK appears a bit more simple and less stylized. The tail pipes don’t seem as integrated here, different tail lamp treatment.

In addition to the visual enhancements and a new tail lamp shape, the 2013 GLK350 gets LED rear tail lamps while the 2012 models still use regular incandescent bulbs. The rear license plate is also lit by LED lamps on the new 2013 models.

2013 Mercedes GLK350 LED tail lamps
The 2013 model GLK gets a new tail lamp, LED tail lamps in fact. They light up more quickly when the brake pedal is applied and LEDs last longer than traditional bulbs, while using less energy.
2012 Mercedes GLK tail lamp
The original 2010 – 2012 GLK350 tail lamp, uses regular incandescent bulbs.

Moving to the interior of the vehicle… the 2013 GLK gets many of the changes that we saw appear in the 2012 model C classes in terms of dash layout. The 2013 models get the new steering wheel we saw appear int eh 2012 model C class cars… but also, all the vents have been upgraded and their shape has been changed to emulate the SL and SLS round shaped air vents. Like the rest of the new Mercedes-Benz model line, the display within the instrument cluster is now full color, not just white pixels on a black back ground.

2013 Mercedes GLK350 new interior
Big changes on the inside of the new 2013 GLK… notice the vents, steering wheel and full color instrument display. If you look closely, you will see there is NO gear shift selector on the console… read on for more info about that!

Since 2010 the gear shift selector for the GLK has been in the console between the seats, so the cup holders were just in front of the arm rest. Well, the new 2013 GLK models have the same electronic transmission selector, on the steering column, to control the 7 speed transmission as the GL, M, S and E class vehicles from Mercedes-Benz. This makes room for more cup holders and storage under that little roll back wood piece where the gear shift selector used to be.

2013 Mercedes GLK interior
This is the interior of the 2013 GLK… no more gear shift selector in the console, now it’s on the steering column like most of the rest of the MB product line. This leaves more room for additional storage and cup holders under the wood roll back compartment in front of the climate control
2012 Mercedes GLK interior
This is the 2012 GLK dash and interior. Doesn’t seem quite as intricate or rich looking, still a great vehicle though, just a different look.
2012 Mercedes GLK350 interior
Transmission selector of the 2012 model, like the 2010 and 2011 models, are situated in the console, good cup holders are right behind the gear shifter.

Mechanical upgrades for the interior, beyond the transmission selector relocation includes the addition of the same Electro-Mechanical steering system that is found in the 2012 model ML350, it no longer uses a hydraulic power steering system. This makes the vehicle very easy to turn and maneuver at low speeds, say, in a parking lot, but the steering stiffens as speeds increase. The other big change on the inside for long time Mercedes-Benz owners is the change in position of the cruise control and turn signal stalks. For 20+ years the cruise control stalk has been the upper most stalk on the left side of the steering wheel while the lower stalk has always been the turn signals / wiper controls. Thanks to all the potential customers Mercedes Benz surveyed during the redesign of the 2012 model ML350 (mostly women, mostly Lexus owners) the positioning of these two controls were changed. Apparently, if you’re a driver of Japanese cars, you’re used to hitting the upper most stalk for teh turn signals and people were constantly turning on the cruise control when trying to signal a turn. Interestingly, this happens on almost EVERY SINGLE test drive I’ve ever been on with anyone who hasn’t owned a Mercedes-Benz before. I tell people as we’re getting int he car, they still hit the cruise control as they’re attempting to signal the first turn out of the lot.. no joke.. it happens almost every time.

2013 mercedes GLK turn signal placement
Changed after 25+ years, the turn signal stalk is the upper most stalk on the left of the 2013 GLK350, the cruise control is below. The little stalk in between the two is the power steering column adjustment.
2012 Mercedes GLK turn signals
This is a shot of the 2012 turn signal / cruise control placement. This has been the standard placement of cruise and turn signal stalks since at least the early 1980s as far as I can tell.
2013 Mercedes GLK350 gear shift placement
Notice the steering column mounted transmission selector… this new placement gives you new space for additional cup holders and more storage in the roll back console area.

So, we’ve covered all the enhancements you can SEE on the GLK.. but what lies under the hood. The new GLK350 get the newest Mercedes-Benz direct injection V6 engine that appeared inthe new ML350 in 2012 and now resides in the 2013 model E class cars. The new V6 ups its horsepower from 268HP in 2012 to 302HP for the 2013 model year… ft./lb of torque also increases…. and while we’re increasing numbers… let’s touch on the improved fuel efficiency. The new 2013 mode GLK gets a couple of more miles per gallon according to the EPA (who always have conservative estimates, far less economy that actual owners experience).

2013 Mercedes GLK gas mileage
A shot of the window sticker of the 2013 GLK350… according to the EPA the car gets 19mpg in the city and 24mpg on the highway, about 3 miles per gallon more than the outgoing 2012 model.
2012 Mercedes GLK gas mileage
This is the window sticker of the 2012 model… 16mpg city, 21 mpg highway, combined fuel economy of 18MPG. Real owners always get better than these estimates.

My wife recently completed a 22 hour round trip drive in her 2012 GLK from Minneapolis to Toledo, OH… she averaged a little more than 26mpg on the highway with the cruise control set at 74mph. 5 miles per hour better than the EPA states on the window sticker, so it might not be too much of a stretch to think the new GLK is capable of about 30mpg on the highway. If I have a chance to take an extended road test in a new 2013 GLK, I will report back here and let you know what I find.

So the first face lift of the GLK is out and about, available at dealers today. The new direct injection engine is certainly noteworthy, the new steering system is too, but in my eyes, not a huge deal. There will be a number of option packages for the new 2013 GLK… an Appearance Package to include 20″ wheels and stainless steel roof rails among other things. The next big thing in the GLK world will be the GLK350 BlueTEC diesel arriving in the U.S. in early 2013. There will be a lot of talk about it… it should be good for mid 30s MPG… but chances are we will sell few of them sue to the general distaste the American buyer has for diesel (unfounded of course, it’s really a pity). Those who want them are nuts about them.. those who don’t are just as nuts in their distaste for them.

My next article will focus on my thoughts about the used GLK market.. it’s been very strong since the GLKs were released…and chances are it will remain strong.

‘Miami Vice Style’ 1984 Mercedes 500SEL Limousine For Sale in South Florida

Mercedes Limousine Limo

This 1984 Mercedes Benz 500SEL Limousine may or may not have been used on the style making 80s cop show “Miami Vice” but it certainly would have looked at home on the small screen if it had.

The description from the seller claims ‘redone interior’ with ‘excellent champagne paint’ on the exterior. The wheels are from a late 1990s vintage Mercedes E class which muddles the style a bit in my opinion and I’d pry off those ugly chrome fender trim pieces. The ‘landau’ top is very ‘South Florida’ but just another thing that makes me question the taste of the owner / builder of this rare W126 chassis limousine. There is no mention of the company that performed the limousine conversion or when it was converted.
Mercedes W126 Limousine Limo

Mechanically Mercedes W126 chassis cars can be costly to maintain, this car has a stated 172,000 miles and the owner says it has a new exhaust system and drive shaft.

If you’re looking for a limo like this, there aren’t many out there, but when they do appear, they usually have fewer miles than this example. This car probably had a real life as a working limousine, so many others just sit in the garage of their wealthy private owner.

Mercedes W126 Limousine Limo
Interior looks like a custom layout, not the classic look of a period Mercedes limo.

It’s for sale on Craigslist near Orlando, FL for $9,000. Even with the new paint, interior and recent mechanical work, I don’t why anyone should pay more than about $6,000 for this drug lord chariot… and that’s on the very high side.
Mercedes W126 Chassic Limousine Limo

 

A Very German Road Trip: The web2carz.com Team Experiences the Mercedes Benz E63 AMG

Mercedes E63 amg review web2carz
When I saw this article about a cross country road trip in a Mercedes Benz E63 I thought of the DaveKnowsCars readers who might like it. I was also afraid the guys at web2carz.com “The Original Auto & Lifestyle Online Magazine” might be having a little too much fun. How does a cross country road trip to photograph a Porsche collection in a brand new E63 AMG press car sound? Not a bad gig if you can get it.

What I like so much about this article is that it isn’t another review like you see in so many magazines and on so many other websites… this is a real world experience of a few car guys buddies taking a road trip… what’s it like to put in a lot of hours behind the wheel? What’s the interior and trunk space like? This article will shed some light on a real car guy’s real world experience in the legendary Mercedes Benz E63. The article was written by Web2Carz.com Staff Writer Andrew Krok, accompanying photos are by automotive photographer Jeremy Cliff. Reprinted in its entirety with permission.

A Very German Road Trip
A long journey to the heart of driving excitement.

We were somewhere around Fremont on the edge of Indiana when the rain began to take hold. I remember saying something like, “Are we sure these wipers don’t go any faster?” Suddenly, there was a terrible roar all around us, and the sky was full of what looked like rain. And a lot of it, at that. Here we were, no more than three hours into our hastily-planned, yet much-anticipated road trip, and God was already trying to piss us off.

Driving in blinding rain, on a highway with very narrow shoulders, in a $100,000 car that’s not your own, can be quite the harrowing ordeal.

People go on road trips all the time. They even make shitty movies about road trips, featuring Tom Green doing something so incredibly stupid, yet so incredibly expected. But our trip was different. It was a gross, physical salute to the art of driving – but only for those that can afford the cost of entry. Luckily, we sidestepped that last part.

Our faithful steed on this trip was a collection of everything right and beautiful with automobiles, ground up and run through the Mercedes-Benz brand sausage stuffer from hell. The E63 AMG would be Darth Vader’s ride if he traded his job as a Sith Lord for an upper-management position at a Fortune 500 company. 550 horsepower from a twin-turbo V-8 engine, forced into the pavement through all four wheels, burbling and cracking and growling its way across a landscape wrought with fire and death.

Okay, maybe that’s a bit over the top, but the car was painted black, with matching black wheels, and an exhaust note that would send the animal kingdom’s most vicious predators running. It was big. It was angry. And it was about to take us 1,800 miles to the East Coast and back.

On top of being addicted to nicotine, I’m addicted to cars. In order to get my fix above and beyond the nine-to-five, I freelance for a magazine that focuses entirely on the Porsche 911. I’d been sent a mission from the head office – get to Connecticut and write a feature on a handful of incredibly-rare 911s, all currently owned by one of the largest and most highly-celebrated Porsche collectors on the planet, Richard Sloan.

Mercedes E63 amg review web2carz
The E63 is a like a bear, in that it’s pretty cute and cuddly … until it decides to rip your face off.

So, after figuring out dates and securing a car for the trip, I set off on Friday evening to pick up two photographers and a friend. We each had a bag with a weekend’s worth of clothes, along with sleeping bags, pillows, and the like. That fit in the trunk easily. What made it difficult, though, was the tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of camera equipment we also needed to bring. We were professionals, after all, and pros need egregious amounts of lenses, strobes, tripods, camera bodies, and remotes. And we made sure to put that equipment to good use, as you will notice in the wallpapers we’ve included at the end of the story.

The awfully-spacious trunk was packed, quite literally, to the brim. We managed to get the trunk lid closed on just our second re-arrangement of all the items inside, and we were still stuck with two backpacks and two pillows to shove into the passenger compartment. Despite a very full car, the E63’s air suspension kept the vehicle from looking like the rear springs had given out – clearly this car does not screw around. Nearly an hour after we began, it was now time to spend 14 hours staring straight ahead in the pitch black.

The biggest issue leaving Illinois was the traffic. At 8 o’clock on a Friday night, every highway was filled with lazy drivers, shuffling along at whatever speed they deemed appropriate. The laser-guided cruise control in the E63 was getting a workout, speeding up and slowing down for every idiot in the left lane who can’t be bothered to move to the right.

Indiana wasn’t much better. It was still early enough in the night to where some commuters and vacationers were on the road, but once we moved past the cities and out into more sparsely-populated areas, we were able to stretch our legs and let the cruise control do its thing. That’s when our trip was renamed the AMG Inclement Weather Driving Academy.

Driving in blinding rain, on a highway with very narrow shoulders, in a $100,000 car that’s not your own, can be quite the harrowing ordeal. But Mercedes really has their shit together in this regard, because it’s not like they want you to crash the damn thing. Between the Lane Keep Assist and the fat, grippy tires, the E63 pushed forward with nary a complaint.

E63-amg trunk-space web2carz
This is roughly mid-way through packing the trunk. There’s still plenty of space!

We had stopped for gas the first time right before we entered Ohio. Thanks to an obscenely low fuel cost, nearly a full tank’s worth of premium cost us under 60 dollars. Not too shabby, considering a 22-gallon fuel tank translates to a fair chunk of change if you’re not the typical, well-heeled M-B buyer.

I-80 in Ohio, for those of you who haven’t driven it, is boring. Very boring. And there’s almost always some degree of construction that creates miles of backlogged cars and trucks. Thanks to our late departure, though, this wasn’t a problem. It was past midnight, and we were alone, save for the occasional long-haul truckers that do little more than give us reason to change lanes.

The E63 took everything we could throw at it, and it powered through without even a modicum of hesitation. Aside from the rain, which is nobody’s fault, the car exhibited no strange issues. Except for that whistle. That stupid whistle, undoubtedly a loose piece of trim somewhere underhood, which sounded like a pissed-off bird. Who knows, maybe there actually was a bird under there. We were making good time, so we opted not to check.

I never thought I’d catch myself saying, “Oh thank goodness, we’re in Pennsylvania,” but when it’s going on three in the morning on Saturday – and you haven’t slept since Thursday night – you’re thankful for whatever state you’re about to cross into. It’s one step closer to getting some sleep. More than that, I was the one with my name on the papers for the car; anything that happened on the trip was on me. Fear is an excellent stimulant; every time my eyelids got heavy, I imagined my co-drivers Billy or Jeremy careening off the road, sending us all to a Thelma & Louise-style death.

With Pennsylvania came our first relief from the rain. As we moved further into the Appalachian mountain range, however, all the water vapor sitting on the ground turned into fog. Thick, penetrating fog that brought visibility down under 100 feet. With another thin shoulder and a fear of somebody not seeing us, we turned on the rear fog light and pushed forward, driving straight into the literal unknown.

The GPS on the map proved an excellent co-driver, alerting us to slowdowns on the route, as well as zooming in far enough to tell us when sharp curves lay ahead, obscured by the ground-level cloud cover.

E63-amg-roadtrip-interior
Being able to see the road ahead was a luxury, given the awful weather we encountered.

As we made our final push out of Pennsylvania and into New York, both the fog and rain subsided. But it’s not like the car gods were ready to let us have fun. Nope, now it was time for early-morning traffic. Thankfully, we took a bypass around New York City, but even the White Plains congestion proved difficult to manage.

Then we met the worst driver on the planet. This person (because being gender-specific, while accurate, will likely be seen as misogynistic) in a Toyota RAV4 did everything in their power to bounce between the edges of the lane like a bowling ball rolling down an alley with the bumpers up. She even cut off an unmarked police cruiser, but he didn’t pull her over. It made me wonder why I cared about speed limits so much. Thankfully, the E63 didn’t give two shits what the speed limit was, as we made sure to use every inch of available power to move as far away from that RAV4 as possible.

Connecticut, our destination, proved to be the most brilliant part of the entire road trip. For one entire day, we had no rain and no traffic. Combine those factors with hilly terrain and speed limits that were generously high, and we finally got to have some good ol’-fashioned back road fun. The all-wheel-drive did an excellent job of keeping the E63’s shiny side up, and the brilliantly precise steering put the vehicle exactly where we expected it to – not necessarily a trait in every 4,500-pound luxury sedan.

E63-amg-roadtrip-web2carz
We spent most of the photo shoot getting high.

As much as we wanted to spend the whole weekend driving, most of the time in Connecticut was spent facilitating the photo shoot for the magazine feature. After a single night’s sleep at a Days Inn, where we accidentally stole a pillow, we finished up our required photography and set out for Illinois. With significantly more seat time under our belts, and save for a little bit of rain again in Ohio (seriously, screw you, Ohio), we had a clear and straight shot back home.

The E63 kept pushing the entire way, showing absolutely no signs of relenting in its mission to try and earn us all speeding tickets. Even when I made it back home after dropping everybody off, a mere twelve hours after departing New England, I struggled to get any meaningful sleep. I was just too wired up, too excited to drive the car even more. I may have even dreamt about it. The car is just that exemplary; it invades your dream-space. It’s like Freddy Kreuger, minus all the murder.

Did we reach any sort of meaningful level of self-reflection, wherein the trip itself became an allegory for all the great and wonderful things about life? No. Did anything crazy happen to either the car or any of its drivers? No. Did we hit the speed limiter? We wish.

So what, exactly, did the trip teach us then? Well, it taught us that the E63 AMG is one of the best road-trip cars you can buy. It’s everything you need – power, luxuriousness, fun-factor – turned up to 11. The gas mileage isn’t abhorrent (roughly $300 for the entire 1,800-mile trip), it’s so comfortable you want to spend even more time inside it, and there’s enough trunk space for two professional photographers’ worth of equipment.

That’s also what makes it a bit of a sad story. Most E63 owners are well-off enough to the point where a road trip seems foolish compared to round-trip airfare, so the cars will more likely see duty as suburb-crawlers and grocery-getters. I certainly didn’t see any other performance luxury vehicles being driven across the country on my travels, but I’m secretly hoping that they’re out there, somewhere, disregarding efficiency and having an absolute blast in the process.

Here is a link to the original article as it appeared on Web2Carz.com.

Rare Mercedes Benz 560SEL Convertible For Sale – The Only W126 Convertible in the U.S.?

During my regular rounds searching for interesting Mercedes-Benz cars online I came across this rare gem. A 1986 Mercedes 560SEL Convertible. The owner claims this is just one of three Mercedes W126 convertibles on the planet and the only one in the United States. I’m not sure how you verify that claim… I’d be most interested in verifying the quality of the convertible conversion before I ever considered a purchase. Scroll all the way down…
1986-Mercedes 560SEL-Convertible-

These cars have long wheel bases and while it looks like they left the B pillar in the car, so when the top is down there is a sort of ‘roll bar’ that is made up of the B pillar. Forget the way it looks, I have to think the structural integrity of the car has been compromised to some degree… but I’m not engineer, I think you’d have to look at the car and see for yourself.

1986-Mercedes-560SEL-Convertible
Rare indeed, I don’t even think they used one of these in Miami Vice.

 

There is a video walk around of the car… scroll all the way down… where the owner shows us some basics of the car. It does look like it’s in very good condition. The interior looks very nice and it is said to have just 79,000 original miles. In the video the owner mentions that it is a power top, although doesn’t demonstrate the top in operation. I dare say it’s quite a sight to see… I’ve got to assume its a hydraulic powered top, again, you’ll have to get more details from the owner.

The asking price in one listing I saw from early June was $15,000, it looks like it has been reduced to $12,500 at this point, the car is advertised on Craigslist in Iowa. I dare say it will take a few thousand dollars of additional discounting before this car is actually sold. The W126 market is fairly soft, even for great examples. A stock Mercedes 560SEL can be hugely expensive to maintain, especially if they haven’t been maintained regularly over the past 20+ years… an example such as this, with an essentially, one off, power, convertible could mean HUGE repair bills in the future. There certainly is some 1980s ‘Pimp Appeal’ in this car… reclining rear seats, smoke silver exterior (read gold). I’d be a player in about the $8,000 range.

2nd Annual Walleye 1000 Vintage Rally Video and Photos! Participants Drive Twisty Roads Through Wisconsin and Minnesota and Visit Crazy Roadside Attractions Along the Way

Walleye-1000-Vintage Rally
2013 marked the second year for the Walleye 1000 Vintage Rally, open to interesting cars more than 20 years old, the event is a leisurely two day driving tour covering about 500 miles of scenic Minnesota and Wisconsin back roads. I needed an excuse to put a few hundred miles on my 1973 Mercedes 280C last year with other like minded car enthusiasts, so I came up with the inaugural event last year. This year turned out to be extra fun behind the wheel of a 1984 Porsche 911 Targa. The skies were threatening enough all weekend, I never took the top off, but the roads were twisty and smooth, I don’t know that I’ve ever had such fun on public roads.

Walleye-1000-Vintage Rally
Participants go over route directions and maps before departure.

(A Little Walleye 1000 video from behind the wheel of Tobin’s Porsche 911… narration begins at about 30 seconds… thanks to Kool and the Gang for the music playing on the CD player).

The weekend of June 8-9, 2013 marked the 2nd Annual Walleye 1000 Vintage Rally. The spirit of this event is one of laid back camaraderie among people who have a passion for vintage cars.

The idea is that the guy with the MG Midget with a rusty door and a fender in primer is as welcome as the guy who just wrote the last check for his 300SL Gullwing restoration and wants to put some miles on his new million dollar car. The motto of the event it ‘Check your tires, check your oil, check your ego at the starting line and let’s go!’ Everyone is equal, no matter the size of their engine or their pocketbook. No jerks allowed.

Walleye-1000-vintage-rally
“Spirit of the Walleye” award winners, Jim and Kim Larsen… who completed the rally in their Citroen 2CV with 1/4 – 1/2 of the cylinders as the rest of us with big smiles on their faces the whole time.

Visit the Walleye 1000 website for more info and to see photos of the event!

SL Market Letter editor and publisher, John Olson, came along with his very original 1963 Mercedes-Benz 300SEL fintail. SL Market Letter subscribers on the event included David Steingas of Wayzata, MN who put his 1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SL through it’s paces with some very spirited driving. Frankly, I didn’t know a 280SL could do some of the things he was doing with his car as I tried to keep up in my 1984 Porsche 911… apparently I have a lot to learn about what Pagoda SLs can and can’t do. SLML subscribers Dick and Marty Olson were on the tour with their 1968 280SL, silver with dark green hard top. SLML subscribers Bruce Kelly of Lake Country Classics in Minneapolis was the navigator for Warren Rauch in their W126 chassis 500SEL, not what you normally think of as a rally car… but they were probably two of the most comfortable people on the event.

Walleye-1000-Vintage Rally
Authentic, as usual, Olson with his ’63 300SEL sedan, one of the few models the Mercedes factory actually used for rallying in the early 1960s.

Other cars on the event included several 1980s vintage Porsche 911s, a 1965 Porsche 356 a 1970 Triumph GT6+, even a Citroen 2CV that made it just fine despite having far fewer cylinders than the rest of the field.

Walleye-1000-Vintage Rally
Group photo over looking Lake Pepin from the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi River.

While not technically a true rally (there are no checkpoints or timed sections) the Walleye 1000 is simply a chance to get out and drive some great roads in our vintage cars, stop at some nice restaurants and visit some quirky roadside attractions with new and old friends. A car show is created each time we roll into a small town along the way.

Walleye-1000 vintage rally
Steingas navigates a twisty Wisconsin country road in his ’71 280SL.

Stops included Slippery’s Restaurant along the Mississippi River in Wabasha, MN, the site where several scenes of the movie ‘Grumpy Old Men’ were filmed as well as the National Eagle Center in downtown Wabasha. Saturday night accommodations were in La Crosse, WI, again, along the Mississippi River where we had dinner at Huck Finn’s Restaurant on the water. Special parking was secured for the group, it seemed wherever we pulled up there was an impromptu car show.

Walleye-1000-vintage-rally
Tobin’s 911 among the ‘fish out of water’.

Sunday began early with more great, very twisty roads, up and down the bluffs along the Wisconsin side  of the Mississippi River. We traversed roads with names like ‘Pretzel Pass’ and ‘Alligator Back Rd.’ the roads were great fun, taking concentration and a good bit of caution as there were no guardrails to save you from a mistake. While not a speed contest by any measure, there were plenty of opportunities for spirited driving for those who were so inclined.

Walleye-1000-vintage rally
Olson’s fintail next to a fiberglass fish mold at F.A.S.T. Corp., Sparta, WI

The most bizarre stop on the route had to be headquarters of F.A.S.T. Corporation in Sparta, WI. F.A.S.T. stands for “Fiberglass Animals Shapes and Trademarks.” In business for almost 40 years, this company is responsible for 75-80% of all fiberglass attractions in the United States. Everything from ice cream cones and elephants to gigantic Paul Bunyan figures and Coke bottles. There is a huge grass field behind their plant building that they call the ‘mold yard’. All of the molds for all of the projects they’ve completed are strewn about like an alien amusement park. Visitors are welcome to browse through this creepy landscape of lichen covered leprechauns and circus animals. There is a photo opportunity around every corner which some of us took full advantage of.

Walleye-1000-vintage Rally
Hoping the Porsche 356 isn’t mistaken for a piece of cheese by the giant mouse.

Elmer’s Car and Toy Museum (and Salvage Yard!) in Fountain City, WI was another stop that really defies description. There is a salvage yard full of cars from the 40s – 80s covering acres and acres, but it’s the eclectic car and toy collection that is housed in all of the barns on the property that is most amazing. Over 100 cars and between 600 and 700 pedal cars, toys, dolls, wagons, automobilia of all kinds. It simply can’t be described. Elmer himself literally invites you to go inside his house to see the Ford Model A sitting in his family room, just off the kitchen. It must have been taken apart to get it inside there where it was then reassembled.

Walleye-1000-elmers car and toy museum
Elmer’s Car and Toy Museum, Fountain City, WI. Ron and Karen Scott’s very nice ’80 450SLC in foreground.

Added safety and convenience is right behind the group the entire way, friend and past MBCA Twin Cities Section President Dave Bortner brings up the rear in his GMC Yukon with beautiful hydraulic car trailer in tow, just in case someone does break down and needs a lift to the next bit of civilization. Dave is a great sport for taking on this duty, especially considering he has about the nicest 1969 Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.3 that he could bring along instead. For the second year in a row there were no mechanical failures to speak of. One of the 280SLs did have a fouled plug late Saturday afternoon, but it wasn’t anything removal and a little cleaning couldn’t take care of.

Walleye-1000-vintage rally
Diagnosing a fouled spark plug Saturday afternoon, this was the extent of the mechanical failures of the weekend.

The 2014 event is already in the works and we’d love to have more participants next year. There were just 11 cars on this year’s event, the event could easily handle double that. We’d love to have participants from all over the Midwest come up to Minneapolis for the event, SLML subscribers are welcomed and encouraged to sign up. We depart from somewhere in the Minneapolis / Twin Cities metro area Saturday morning and return Sunday by about 6:00pm for the finisher’s dinner.  Next year’s event will be held the second weekend in June – Saturday, June 14 – Sunday, June 15, 2014. Visit the Walleye 1000 for more information and pictures of the 2013 and 2012 event!

Difference Between the Mercedes Benz Premium 1 Package (P01 Package) and Premium 2 Package (P02 Package) Contents Explained

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A 2013 E350 4matic equipped with the P2 Package, note the KEYLESS-GO button, heated seats and rear window sunshade buttons.

Mercedes Benz, like many other automobile manufacturers bundle common options for their vehicles into packages. Mercedes-Benz has used their Premium Package line up over the last 5 years or so as their container for large bundles of various options, rather than being a set of options for a specific purpose.

Some manufacturers have a ‘Sport Package’ with specific options like tuned suspension and bigger wheels or a ‘Winter Package’ with a heated steering wheel and heated seats and exterior mirrors. Mercedes has similar packages, but their most common option packages are the Premium Packages.

Mercedes-Benz Premium Packages bundle common amenities that have historically high ‘take rates’ by buyers, things most people want in their cars. Mercedes Benz offers a Premium 1 Package, Premium 2 Package and in some cases, a Premium 3 Package. They’re generally abbreviated as P1 Package, P2 Package and P3 Package. For this article we will be exploring the contents of the P1 and P2 Packages on the 2013 model year Mercedes-Benz E350 Sedan.

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Window sticker of a moderately equipped 2013 E350 4matic sedan with the P01 Package (Premium 1 Package).

It’s important to realize that Premium Package contents vary by vehicle class with Mercedes-Benz, and even within body style within class. The E class sedan’s P1 Package is different than the E class wagon’s P1 Package and the E class Cabriolet’s Package is different than both of those. To further complicate things, the P1 Package often changes slightly on each class and model every single year, so there is a lot to keep track of, especially if you’re considering a Certified Pre Owned vehicle… the 2010 will have a different P1 Package than the 2011.

2013 Mercedes Benz E class Premium 1 Package (P01 Package):

  • COMAND with hard-drive-based navigation, 3D maps, 10GB Music Register and MB Apps compatibility
  • harman/kardon LOGIC7 surround-sound system with Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Gracenote media databaseand iPod / MP3 media interface
  • SiriusXM Radio, SiriusXM Traffic and SiriusXM Weather (with 6 mo service)
  • Enhanced Voice Control for audio, phone and navigation
  • Rearview camera
  • Active multicontour driver seat (E63 only)
  • Heated and Active Ventilated front seats (heated seats standard on E550; package adds Active Ventilated front seats)
  • Heated front seats (E350 and E400 only)
  • Power rear window sunshade

What does the Premium 1 Package cost?
E350 / E400 Hybrid: $4,000
E550: $4,450
E63 AMG: Standard

One interesting piece of information that most people are surprised by when I tell them… I have probably seen hundreds of 2013 E classes, I have NEVER seen one without the Premium 1 Package. Some people say they don’t need or want navigation, I don’t need the upgraded sound system, I want a ‘base E class’ (usually in order to keep the price of the car down, in the end, it’s always about money). They simply don’t exist… or at least they don’t exist in very large numbers because very few people want such a basic car. If you do want a non P1 Package car, your best bet is to place a factory order for it, build it as you want it and hope you never have to trade it in or sell it as a used car because it will be a tough sell indeed.

As far as the Premium 2 Package goes… the P02 package always includes everything in the P01 Package plus some other things.

2013 Mercedes Benz E class Premium 2 Package (P02 Package):

  • Bi-Xenon headlamps with Active Curve Illumination, Adaptive Highbeam Assist, headlamp washing system and corner-illuminating front lamps
  • KEYLESS-GO
  • Electronic-trunk closer

 

P02 Package Cost:
E350 / E400 Hybrid: $6,450
E550: $6,900
E63 AMG: Standard

There are the packages, but what if you want the KEYLESS-GO option but you don’t need the entire P02 Package? Some options are available as stand alone options, KEYLESS-GO for the 2013 E class happens to be one of them, so it is possible to get a P01 Package car with KEYLESS-GO as a stand alone option, it save you about $1,500. There are other such examples of stand alone options that come bundled in other Premium Packages, some classes offer a special Lighting Package which will give you Bi-Xenon head lamps, unrelated to the P02 Package. Again, there are always exceptions and if you dig all the way into it, things can get complicated quickly.

P1-back-up-camera
The rear view camera peeks out from under the trunk lip near the rear license plate on this 2013 E350 4matic sedan, another component to the P01 Package.

A short, in person visit to a dealership with a row of new E classes to look at will make your life easier. If you don’t want to be ‘bothered’ by a salesperson, visit a dealership after hours. If you just walk down a row of new cars, look at the window stickers, see how the cars are actually built and optioned, the smoke will clear for you very quickly. You can spend forever on mbusa.com building your ideal car, but you’ll be disappointed when you call a dealer only to find that you’ve built a unicorn that doesn’t exist in any dealer inventory. This is extremely common, people submit the exact car they’ve built online to me via email and, in most cases, there is an easier, better or cheaper way to get what they want on a car without having to also pay for a bunch of stuff they don’t really want.

I’ve never cared for ‘base price’ advertising with cars… you can say an E class ‘starts at $53,500 (per the window sticker above), but if I’ve never seen an E class without the $4,000 P01 Package, and they all get the ‘destination and delivery’ charge added to them… any E class you’d actually want to own is $58,000+ in 2013.

In the end, it depends upon each potential owner… what do you, the guy who’s about to buy a $60,000+ car want? Are you looking for the best deal (read, cheapest car), do you want what you want, exactly how you want it? Maybe a factory order is best for you then. Try a European delivery if you want. If you want a nicely equipped car that makes sense, you can usually find it in your local dealer’s inventory. If they don’t have what you want, they can probably perform a ‘locate’ or ‘dealer trade’, they can find what you want and truck it in for you, but remember, the ‘best deal’ is always on what’s in stock… Mercedes-Benz will make you a pink E class with gold plated wheels if you want them to, with money, you can buy anything… but for most of us, a P01 Package E class is all the car we’ll ever need.

I am beginning to compile a comprehensive list of all the Premium 1  and Premium 2 Package contents for the most common Mercedes-Benz vehicle classes starting with the 2008 model year. I will add them to the blog soon.

 

Sears Imported Autos to Enter Lucrative Mercedes-Benz Funeral Coach Market Segment

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As luxury auto sales hit record numbers during the first quarter of 2013, the sales race between Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Lexus is heating up. Dealerships are looking for new ways to differentiate themselves and offer their customers something new and innovative. Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van sales are brisk across the U.S. Mercedes-Benz trucks and commercial vehicles are the norm in Europe. Sears Imports Mercedes-Benz in Minnetonka, a family owned car dealership for more than 40 years, continues to innovate with their announcement of a business expansion in to the lucrative Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles market, specifically, the funeral coach market, hearses based on the Mercedes-Benz E class.

It’s this type of innovation that has kept Sears Imported Autos in Minnetonka, MN at the forefront of Mercedes-Benz sales and customer service over the years. To say Sears a full service dealership is an understatement, they take care of their customer’s vehicle needs throughout their lives, and now, beyond.

“Sears is a unique company in that we’re willing to take calculated risks to enter a new market if we think it can work” says Mike Roeder, General Sales Manager at Sears Imported Autos about their foray into the funeral coach market.

“The baby boomers aren’t getting any younger,” says Gary Emfield, new Mercedes-Benz manager at sears Imports, “after polling a number of local funeral homes regarding their transportation needs it became clear that a high end option for funeral coaches was grossly lacking, we’re simply offering an alternative to the typical Cadillac or Lincoln hearse.” Emfiled is optimistic about the new segment “Our first three units are already spoken for, due to be delivered to local funeral homes later this month.”
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It’s true, Europeans have been taking their ‘last rides’ in Mercedes-Benz hearses for more than 50 years. Sears Imports believes their clients who drove Mercedes-Benz vehicles throughout their lives, will appreciate taking their ‘last ride’ with dignity in a Mercedes-Benz.

Teaming up with the German firm Huiskamp Carrosserie, makers of specialty vehicles for over three decades in Germany, Sear Imports hopes to deliver between 100 and 125 units throughout the United States during 2013. “We are the exclusive Huiskamp representatives in the United States” reports Roeder, “We’re making the investment, we knew we wanted an exclusive deal with Huiskamp, it’s the only way we would have done it.”

For more information on these new Mercedes-Benz hearses, please feel free to contact me directly… Dave Tobin, 952-512-6685, you only go around once, right?
(See date on this post below… April Fools!)

2014 Mercedes Benz CLA Class Makes Appearance at Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance – Twin Cities Auto Show Just Gets ‘Empty’ Concept Car Version

2014-Mercedes-CLA-Class-production car-Amelia Island Concours
2013 CLA250 on display at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.

A friend of mine emailed me this photos from the Amelia Island Concours ‘d’Elegance yesterday from beautiful Amelia Island, FL. My friend, Dave Bortner from Freedom Boat Service, has a 1930 30’ Hacker Craft Triple Cockpit Runabout, a beautiful vintage wood boat, in the RM Auctions sale being held in the area. While strolling the grounds of the Concours he took this photo, of a Mercedes-Benz display showing off some vintage Mercedes hardware from the Classic Center in Irvine, CA… along with a new production model CLA class car.

So, while at the Twin Cities Auto Show we get a cool looking concept… it is a non running (no engine, no interior, can’t even open up the doors) example. At the Amelia Island Concours they get a road ready street version.

2013-Minneapolis-Auto-Show-Mercedes-CLA-Concept-car
2013 Twin Cities Auto Show got this shell of a CLA Concept.

At the Twin Cities Auto Show yesterday, people were asking me about the door handles on the concept… there aren’t any really, just a different color silver inlay, flush to the body. I mentioned to one person that I was quite sure the door handles on the actual production car would be just like all the other door handles on the cars. Looking at this photo, that does seem to be the case. I’m not sure that I love the wheels chosen for this car, in black. The lower front bumper is a bit different than the concept, as one would expect… but keeps the same general shape. As expected, the CLA is basically a ‘baby CLS’.

I suppose there is no argument to be made as to where the ‘money is’ when it comes to reaching the most REAL potential buyers and where Mercedes-Benz would get the most bang for their marketing buck… Amelia Island is essentially the Pebble Beach of the East, held each March.

Hopefully they’ll make them fast enough to keep up with demand, my guess is that they will be in short supply for the first few months of production, it probably won’t be easy to get one.

1930-hacker-craft-freedom-boat-service
The 1930 Hack Craft Triple Cockpit Runabout consigned at RM Auctions by Freedom Boat Service from Mound, MN.

Apple iPhone 5 Unable to Pair with Mercedes Benz Bluetooth After IOS Version 6.0.2 Upgrade

Mercedes-iPhone5 IOS 6.0.2 Upgrade

12/31/2012 – Breaking News – It’s come to my attention that there is an issue with the new iPhone 5 when trying to pair to Mercedes-Benz Blue tooth equipped vehicles (which means any new Mercedes Benz).

Quite simply, if you perform the automatic ‘upgrade’ from IOS 6.0.1 to the newer IOS 6.0.2, the iPhone 5 that you had previously paired for use in your Mercedes-Benz vehicle will no longer be paired… and worse, CANNOT be paired to your Mercedes-Benz vehicle for easy Bluetooth hands free usage. Bluetooth phone capabilities, GONE, Bluetooth streaming music capabilities… SORRY, that won’t work either.

Once the IOS 6.0.2 upgrade is made to your iPhone 5, the phone cannot be paired to your Mercedes Benz vehicle.

I’ve got to believe that a fix will be made for the situation… whether it will come from Mercedes-Benz or from Apple, I don’t know. I would guess it will be an Apple upgrade or ‘fix’, as the way I understand it the same problem is cropping up in other vehicles from other manufacturers.

So, if you have an iPhone 5 and you want to talk hands free or stream music in your Mercedes-Benz, at least for now… you’ll have to hold off on the 6.0.2 upgrade or downgrade back to IOS 6.0.1 if you’ve already made the change. There is a third option… make the upgrade an go back to holding your phone up to your ear.

I’m sorry for the bad news… You’ve gotta love the accelerated speed of technology and how one compatible device jumps ahead of another.

I will try to provide an update to the situation once I learn more from either Mercedes-Benz or from Apple.

A Very Merry Christmas! Local Father / Son Duo Pick Up Their New Mercedes Benz C and E Classes in Time For Christmas!

Mercedes E350 and C300 Sedans

It was a good day for these guys on Thursday! This is a local father and son that I met very early this year on the show room floor here at Sears Imports Mercedes-Benz. Alan (the father) purchased this Palladium Silver E350 while his son, Austin, went with this black C300 4matic Sport (Mercedes-Benz demographic engineers are right again… dad gets an E, son gets a C!).

Austin had been looking at brand new cars recently to replace the car that got him through college… and he almost pulled the trigger on a new Volkswagen Passat with front wheel drive when he figured he could get an almost new, Certified Pre Owned C300 4matic all wheel drive car for about the same money.

He wanted a 2012, he wanted a lot of options… the stars aligned and this black car happened to come in to Sears Imports as a one owner lease return. It’s a P1 Package car with Keyless Go and the Multi media package. Austin is one guy who will actually use all the features and options in that Multi Media Package. Congratulations Austin, you weighed your options and made an informed decision. I would imagine this young man has a very bright future indeed!

Alan, Austin’s father, had been watching lightly pre owned E350 4matic inventories for months. A car came in a few months ago that checked every box on his wish list… but he couldn’t live with the interior color. Another potential contender showed up not too much later, but he was set on a silver car (Iridium, Palladium, maybe Steel Grey) so the search continued. He was looking for a highly optioned Certified Pre Owned E class with low miles with a clean history, plenty of warranty left at a fair price. What just about everybody wants, right? If I could have called the ‘Used Car Factory” I would have.

In the end Alan had the patience and diligence to find the right car. He knew it was what he wanted, and he was able to take advantage of aggressive 1.99% APR interest rates for up to 66 months on the purchase. His car is equipped with the P2 Package (Premium 2 Package), the wheel Package which give him those great looking AMG wheels, PARKTRONIC, and a Panorama sunroof among other options.

Alan’s wife Sherri and daughter Ariel (Austin’s mother and sister of course) came down with them to pick up the cars, it was a real family adventure, just in time for the holidays. Thank you gentlemen, it’s been great getting to know you, I hope the whole family enjoys the cars… and I hope we can do it again some time.
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