• ‘17 MERCEDES-BENZ C43 AMG: POINT & SHOOT COUPE!

    17 MERCEDES-BENZ C43 AMG: POINT & SHOOT COUPE

    ‘It’s a usable point-and-shoot coupe, quite willing to play hard, and then settle down for a drive to dinner,’ blogs Dan Scanlan.

    17 MERCEDES-BENZ C43 AMG: POINT & SHOOT COUPEI say AMG, and you say Mercedes-Benz’s hot rod, usually with a big V-8 hand-made by someone in Affalterbach, then signed on an alloy plaque on top. But just as the tuner started by Hans-Werner Aufrecht and Erghard Melcher has been fully folded into Mercedes-Benz, so have some changes come to what’s now called Mercedes-AMG.

    So while this all-wheel-drive C43 AMG has received the golden touch from the folks who tune special Benzes, it is a different breed of Mercedes musclecar. This C-Class’ 3-liter/362 horsepower V-6, its twin turbochargers visible under air intakes in the tightly packed engine bay, wasn’t built in AMG’s operation in Affalterbach. It was just designed there. So, no engine builder’s plate, but it does get a new AMG-enhanced nine-speed automatic transmission with “Manual” mode so you can paddle-shift. With peak torque of 384 pound-feet in the “Sport+” drivetrain setting, it leaps to 60-mph in 4.5 seconds and 100 mph in 11.5 with super-quick up-shifts and no wheel spin. The G-meter on the expansive gauge display claimed .7 Gs acceleration at full launch. Tap the exhaust valve button and there’s an exotic snarling scream, each up-shift punctuated by a rifle shot-like bark from quad pipes. Backing off adds crackling, popping overrun.
    17 MERCEDES-BENZ C43 AMG: POINT & SHOOT COUPESet drivetrain in “Eco,” activating engine shut-off at stoplights, and the C43 AMG delivers 20 mpg on premium. It decouples the transmission from engine when you slow down. Or enjoy “Comfort,” which dials back the throttle response and steering feel for daily commuting, but still delivers precise, buffered shifts and strong mid-range torque for passing – 0 to 60-mph in 5 seconds, and 100 mph in 12.2.

    17 MERCEDES-BENZ C43 AMG: POINT & SHOOT COUPEUnder its steel unibody with aluminum hood, trunk lid and front fenders, there’s an independent multi-link suspension with coil springs, tubular torsion bars and double-tube shock absorbers with adaptive variable damping. “Comfort” setting left us with a nice ride that absorbed everything, a touch of float over repetitive bumps. It was all too buffered, from steering to throttle response, for me.

    “Sport” gave a slightly firmer edge that smoothed out repetitive bumps, further buffering on full compression. The firmer suspension and all-wheel-drive with a rear biased torque distribution of 31 percent front/69 percent rear meant the C43 just hugged curves and went around them in a neutral fashion, turn after turn. Sport+ offered much quicker and tighter bump control, not too nice on rougher road or streets with raised crosswalks, but great for nicely paved sweepers. Its quicker and more aggressive shift pattern meant razor-sharp downshifts for powering out of curves, and tighter steering to help.
    17 MERCEDES-BENZ C43 AMG: POINT & SHOOT COUPEThere’s an “Individual” mode, so you can set steering and drivetrain – I picked powertrain in “Sport+” and suspension in “Sport,” tapping open the sport exhaust valve. The C43 AMG stitched turn to turn, the shifts putting the rpm where needed to pull out of a curve. Tap the paddle and downshifts were executed concisely with a throttle blip. Bumps didn’t bother as we swept through turns, very flat.

    17 MERCEDES-BENZ C43 AMG: POINT & SHOOT COUPEThere was no drama on our skidpad, only a touch of understeer. We regularly pulled .93 Gs in turns. With cross-drilled and vented 14.2-inch front discs, and 12.6-inch rear solid discs, we had great pedal feel and initial bite on our 3,000-mile-old test coupe. Plus solid stopping power with no nosedive and no fade after some very high-speed stops, pulling 1.1 Gs at full pedal push.

    17 MERCEDES-BENZ C43 AMG: POINT & SHOOT COUPEThe C43 has a more prominent and upright grille with big Benz star and upswept LED headlights. Concentric chrome-plated pins flank the grill’s center star; side brake ducts flanking a low center air intake. The 10-spoke light-alloy wheels in gloss black with brushed alloy finish show off big disc brakes with silver AMG-badged front calipers. Lower profile P225/40R 19-inch Continental tires up front are matched with staggered wider P255/35Rs in back, giving the coupe a well-planted look. Our test car’s “Night Package” adds a gloss black lower diffuser with twin ebony-finished tailpipes, as well as gloss black front splitter.

    17 MERCEDES-BENZ C43 AMG: POINT & SHOOT COUPE17 MERCEDES-BENZ C43 AMG: POINT & SHOOT COUPEInside are highly sculpted bucket seats with leather-like MB-Tex and suede-like microfiber inserts, accented in red stitching. With 10-way power adjustment, they were very grippy in turns, with great support. Black leather and suede accent the flat-bottomed AMG multifunction sport steering wheel, also with red stitching. The fat-rimmed steering wheel has long, easy to reach alloy shift paddles behind it. There’s a 180-mph speedometer and 8,000-rpm tach with 6,500-rpm redline. They flank a 4.5-inch display for stereo, navigation, and an AMG menu item – digital speedometer, gear, G-force, lap-timer, turbo boost and engine gauges. A head-up display shows tach, speed and gear position.

    17 MERCEDES-BENZ C43 AMG: POINT & SHOOT COUPEA base C300 Coupe starts at $42,650, while our C43 AMG coupe started at $55,500 with lots of standards including the high-performance summer tires. But options like the COMAND navigation system, red paint, ash wood interior trim, AMG exhaust and split-spoke alloy wheels brought it to $66,945. You can still get an AMG coupe with more muscle – the C63 AMG with twin-turbo V-8 and 469 horsepower and easily-smoked tires. Or go for AMG-lite C43 and get a very comfortable and usable point-and-shoot coupe, quite willing to play hard, and then settle down for a drive to dinner.

    For the complete AMG story and models available, please visit https://www.mbusa.com/mercedes/amg

    The post ‘17 MERCEDES-BENZ C43 AMG: POINT & SHOOT COUPE! appeared first on Car Guy Chronicles.

    Continue Reading…

  • 10 reasons why your business is losing money

    There’s no doubt that getting up and running with a new business can be very exciting. You are your own boss and that can give you a lot of freedom. However, if you are inexperienced with the corporate world, your enthusiasm could soon fade as the costs start stacking up. Many of those costs, you might not even have foreseen. Perhaps what had started as just a trickle of expenses has, unexpectedly quickly, ballooned into something much more serious. How you use vehicles for business purposes could be to blame – so, let’s look more closely at how you can control these costs better.

    Inefficient use of fuel

    Your vehicles are incapable of running without fuel, making it seem very necessary to spend some of your precious revenue on. However, you might not be maximising the efficiency of that fuel. Alec Lee, operations manager at small-tours firm Rabbie’s, made a major admission to The Guardian.

    He said that training in more energy-efficient driving helped his firm to save money on fuel.Workers were “also decreasing the general wear and tear on the vehicle” – which, in the longer term, could help Rabbie’s reduce its necessity of paying for costly repairs.

    Failure to regularly audit your vehicles

    Spending time carrying out this kind of audit can help you see where cash might be being haemorrhaged, advises Grant Boardman, Fleet Alliance’s regional sales director.

    Boardman, whose firm keeps SMEs supplied with fleet management services, explains: “It’s about understanding the whole-life costs of a vehicle”. That means, he adds: “Not just looking at the purchase or hire price, but other consequential factors over the next three or four years.”

    Leasing commercial vehicles from a single provider

    Does your company routinely hire commercial vehicles, like vans, from the same provider? Then you are making what Boardman has branded a “classic mistake”.

    What you should instead do, he says, is look for a combination of providers capable of offering what you need – and all at what adds up to the lowest possible overall price. He also notes that, in doing so, you should especially strongly consider lease costs and fuel consumption.

    Not paying attention to company cars’ CO2 emissions

    You might often use cars in running your business; cars put to this purpose can be succinctly referred to as company cars. If you indeed utilise cars in this manner, then check, before you decide to buy any such vehicle, how much it will produce in CO2 emissions on the road.

    This is crucial as, for discerning how much tax should be payable on different cars, the government puts these cars into different “emission bands”. The less CO2 emissions a car is responsible for, the better its CO2 rating can be and so the less tax you could need to pay on this vehicle.

    Improper management of your fleet

    If you have an entire fleet of vehicles at your company’s disposal, how is that fleet being managed? If the company is directly handling those affairs, you might want to rethink that strategy.

    John Hargreaves, Kia’s head of fleet and remarketing, has noted that a vehicle fleet poses a “significant overhead” for many businesses. That fleet “should be managed professionally, whether by a dedicated person within the company or by outsourcing to a specialist vehicle management company,” headded.

    Not taking advantage of telematics for cost-cutting

    You might have seen or heard the word “telematics” occasionally popping up in discussions about how money can be saved on corporate vehicles. However, what does it actually mean?

    It is commonly used as shorthand for “vehicle tracking systems”, as they are more formally called. Jenny Powley, who has worked at the RAC as a sales director for corporate partnerships, has recommended such systems that “collect data on the vehicle and give business owners a much better picture of wear and tear, enabling them to take cost-effective preventative measures.”

    Not using fuel cards

    These payment cards are available from various firms, the RAC included, and can help you lower your fuel bills. Furthermore, as Powley points out, when a business owner uses them, they receive “regular reports and can see exactly what is spent, rather than having drivers submit receipts”.

    Taking out vehicle insurance for longer than is necessary

    Your company’s vehicle needs might actually be very low. For instance, they could be limited to requiring simply a van for use in transporting items to a new office or an even more modest car for occasional times that you want to attend a trade show or team bonding event.

    That’s fine, but it doesn’t take away from the need to check that you have insurance for a vehicle before you use it. In the UK, driving without insurance can lead to you incurring a massive fine and other penalties. However, a standard insurance policy lasting a year or more can be much costlier than short term car insurance which you could source through UK broker Call Wiser.

    Trying to meet vehicle costs by pricing products too highly

    You might reason that you need to price your company’s products at a particular – probably relatively high – level because you have hefty costs to pay in keeping vehicles running.

    However, advice posted by Forbes insists on the need to strike a middle ground when pricing products. Set prices excessively high and too many people could be put off. Nonetheless, on the other hand, keeping prices overly low could see you struggling to achieve a profit.

    Whatever prices you settle on, consider that trimming those vehicle costs – by, for instance, using remedies listed in this article –could be a better strategy than keeping your prices high.

    Reluctance to invest in vehicles necessary for growth

    One reason why we are eager to provide advice on how to cut costs of running vehicles is that paying those costs could, ultimately, be necessary for cultivating your company’s growth.

    Therefore, if you have so far resisted drawing extensively on automotive assistance for your own company, this could help explain why it is financially struggling. Avoid the false economy!

    Continue Reading…

  • CTEK: SMART CHARGER FOR SUPERCARS!

    CTEK’s latest high-tech MXS 5.0 Smart Charger ushers in a new generation of fully automatic, microprocessor controlled, multi-functional chargers ideal for high-performance and exotic vehicles.

    Today’s luxury and high-performance vehicles, including Supercars and Hypercars – place incredible loads on conventional 12-volt batteries and charging systems.

    Less-than-fully-charged batteries can negatively affect complex electronics, including computer systems that control powertrain, suspension, and entertainment and body function management. Start-Stop technology is another drain on charging systems. To alleviate some of these problems, some manufacturers have provided dual battery systems, one dedicated for starting; the other for maintenance while the car is parked.

    “The battery in today’s automobile is under enormous stress and the alternator is not capable of fully recharging the battery. As a result, many batteries never achieve their full service life,” said Bobbie DuMelle, executive vice-president, CTEK North America. “The use of a CTEK charger/maintainer, like our new MXS 5.0 with its proprietary eight-step battery care program, can help double or even triple average battery life.”

    For a variety of reasons, including packaging, weight distribution and shielding from engine heat, batteries are being located in difficult to service locations. The battery in my Ford GT is buried under a panel in the front ‘trunk” and the one in my Jaguar XKR is mounted behind the back seat, accessible only via a removable panel at the rear of the trunk. Servicing or replacing a battery is an awkward, time-consuming task, and costly if done at a Jaguar dealership!

    While the primary problem with a car’s battery is loss of adequate power to start the engine, there are other issues. Running modern HP cars with batteries not fully charged can often translate into the loss of some personal settings for everything from seat position and entertainment to critical engine and suspension tuning. In the case of the 2005-2006 Ford GT, some owners have attributed instrument failures to low-output batteries. It’s not unusual to see threads on Ford GT and Jaguar owner forums related to battery performance, impact on vehicle electronics, and the necessity of using a maintenance charger on cars that are not driven daily.

    Since both my Ford GT and Jaguar XKR are not daily drivers and spend a lot of downtime when I’m traveling, I chose the latest CTEK MXS 5.0 charger/maintainer with a proprietary eight-step charging program. It is the first of a new generation of smart chargers, able to sense battery condition throughout the charging cycle and avoid overcharging that can damage cells and shorten battery life. It automatically adjusts the charging rate depending on ambient temperature to ensure ideal charging in extreme cold or hot weather conditions. Since I live in Florida and extreme heat negatively affects a battery as much as extreme cold, the choice was simple!

    Award-winning hot rod and Corvette Resto-Mod builder Mike Griffin, top, right, Sarasota, FL, installed the 5.0’s Comfort Connect Eyelet wiring to the remote Positive terminal and a Ground, located behind an easily accessible and vented panel in my Jaguar XKR’s trunk, below. Mike utilizes charger/maintainers on his vintage Corvettes with modern LS powertrains as well as his Porsche 911 GTS.

    The Ford GT has a cigarette lighter receptacle, above, that’s “hot” when parked;no special wiring was necessary.

    CTEK chargers are packaged with Comfort Connect Eyelet wiring as well as Alligator clamps to cover most vehicle hookups. A Comfort Connect Cig Plug, above, is available for use on cars with cigarette lighter receptacles that are “hot” when the engine is turned off. Additionally, CTEK supports its sophisticated chargers with a system of accessories, all geared to keeping batteries up to optimum performance. There’s a Comfort Indicator Panel that displays battery strength via Red, Yellow and Green lights, allowing you to constantly monitor battery condition and then charge when necessary.

    The most unique support accessory is the new CTX BATTERY SENSE, allowing remote tracking of a vehicle’s battery on an Android OS or iPhone iOS smartphone. You can monitor up to three months of stored battery data on your smartphone and you will be notified when the battery’s state of charge falls to a critical level. CTEK BATTERY SENSE syncs battery stats via Bluetooth; free downloads for iPhones are available from the AppStore, https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ctek-battery-sense/id977976405?mt=8

    For Android phones, free downloads are available from GooglePlay, https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ctek.sba&hl=en

    CTEK manufactures the most sophisticated and comprehensive line of battery chargers for on and off-road wheeled and tracked vehicles, including motorcycles and boats. Models range from 0.8-amp, 6-volt to 25-amp 12/16-volt applications. Designed, engineered, developed and manufactured in Sweden since 1997, sleek CTEK chargers boast unique four-to-eight patented microprocessor-controlled charging programs that consistently monitor battery condition and respond. They automatically regulate charge voltage to protect complex vehicle electronics.

    Most dealers of luxury and high-performance vehicles, including Bentley, BMW, Ferrari, Jaguar, Lamborghini, McLaren, Mercedes, Porsche, Rolls-Royce and others, offer customers private label, “brand-logo” chargers that are manufactured by CTEK.

    For more information about CTEK’s complete line of on and off-road battery chargers and accessories, please visit http://smartercharger.com/

    Check out this video about CTEK chargers and applications, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHSI_qHOI4U

    Shop for a CTEK battery charger and accessories at, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B006G14FK8/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_ep_dp_4bpzzb43XSDNP

    The post CTEK: SMART CHARGER FOR SUPERCARS! appeared first on .

    Continue Reading…

  • 2017 Peugeot Django 125i Switches to EasyMotion

    The 2017 Peugeot Django 125i continues to offer a vintage look with modern technology. And for this year, that tech will include the new fuel injected 125cc EasyMotion engine and Syncho Braking Concept (SBC) linked brakes.

    2017 Peugeot Django 125i Evasion Easymotion
    The 2017 Pegueot Django 125i Evasion

    Most new Peugeot scooters are being moved across to the new fuel-injected motor to meet Euro4 emission rules. For example, the horribly-named Tweet also has the same engine. In the case of the retro-style 2017 Peugeot Django 125i, that means around 100 miles per gallon. Under World Motorcycle Test Cycle Conditions, it managed 104mpg. That’s helped by the engine switch not having much effect on the 135kg weight, or the 7.5kW (10hp) output.

    2017 Peugeot Django 125i Allure Easymotion
    The 2017 Peugeot Django 125i Allure tops the range

    The 2017 Peugeot Django 125i also shares the SBC braking system with a number of other scooters from the French manufacturer, including the racier Speedfight4 125. When you apply the left lever, you activate the SBC, which distributes the braking between the 200mm front disc brake and 170mm rear disc. Which should slow you down quickly, without locking the wheels. Or having the front dive like a Premier League footballer.

    If you need to stop any more quickly, then add the right-hand lever for extra power. Obviously there’s no need for a clutch lever with an automatic scooter.

    Although those are two sizeable changes under the surface, the Django has generally stayed pretty unchanged from the outside. You still get a look inspired by the vintage 1950s Peuegot S55. And a mix that incluces an analogue speedo with a digital displayer, for example. Or retro chrome trim with LED indicators, rear and signature lights around the front grille. The under seat lockable storage bay will easily store your retro open-face helmet, but the glove compartment has a 12v socket for your smartphone.

    2017 Peugeot Django 125i S Sport Easymotion
    The coolest of the 2017 Peugeot Django 125i range has to be the matt black S model

    2017 Peugeot Django 125i Model Range:

    If you’re interested in picking up a Peugeot for learning, commuting or as your main transport, then there are 5 different model levels you can choose from.

    • Heritage: Single colours,white wheels and round chrome mirrors.
    • Sport: Grey wheel rims and sport numbers. Dual seat has removable passenger seat shell and chrome hand-grip.
    • S: – based around the Sport, with matt black body panels and colour-matched passenger seat shell. Wheels, fork legs and engine cover are all painted black, with contrasting satin chrome finish on the trim, mirror covers and headlamp peak.
    • Evasion: Two-tone colours, with white wheel rims and white-wall tyres. Painted rear-view mirrors have a chrome surround. Fly screen and chrome front luggage rack are standard equipment.
    • Allure: Two-tone bodywork, grey wheel rims, white-wall tyres and three-tone dual seat. Painted mirrors with chrome surround. Fly screen, colour-match top-case, passenger back-rest and chrome rear luggage rack as standard equipment

    Prices start at £2,799 for a Heritage version, and all of them comes with two-year-unlimited mileage parts and labour warranty. Obviously the matt black S is the coolest, because matt black. We’re not joking – the fact the wheels, forks and engine cover are also black makes it look like it’s going racing in the 1960s. It’s definitely the one we’d pick!

    Continue Reading…

dd