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Illuminating Saab Pics

saab-9-3-automobiles-de-luxeBy Gunnar Heinrich | IMG Stenza’s Flickr Acct via SaabsUnited

THREE quarters of Saab’s 9-3 may look like a vanilla bean, but the front fascia on the current model year is downright compelling. Those LED accents- more masterfully intergrated than those on Audi’s slick A5 coupe – do justice to a model that’s needed this kind of fresh design T.L.C. five years ago. Better late than never. Take a look at these shots of the 9-3 Aero XWD >>>

Daimler Debuts “PCC”

gatorsBy Gunnar Heinrich

DAIMLER’S Freightliner trucking division has announced a new feature called “predictive cruise control” (PCC). PCC uses satellite maps to signal the truck’s throttle control to respond to the road’s topography up to a mile ahead- thereby saving fuel. Given the thirsty nature of some of MB’s SUVs and AMG models, this feature may just have consumer applications down the road (no puns). At this time, the system does not predict “gators”.

Mercedes ML450 HYBRID @ NY

mercedes-ml450-hybrid-automobiles-de-luxeBy Gunnar Heinrich

WHAT can Blue do for you? Little, apparently. This time last year at NYIAS Mercedes was “a-buzzzzz” about BlueTEC  – showcasing a diesel M-Class as the way of the future. But super efficient diesel SUVs are so 2008.  This year it’s hybrids (!) which seems so, oh, 2004,  given that Toyota’s been there, done that, & collected the trophies. But here we are with the ML450 HYBRID, nonetheless. Next year, “e85″?

Yassou Bentley! Greek Expansion

acropolisBy Gunnar Heinrich

SINCE opening its first Athenian salon in ’06, Bentley has sold 46 cars in Hellas (one might imagine Yanni and EasyJet’s Stelios being clients). But Athens is a hodgepodge of the ancient and the seedy, and there are access restricting blackout days that go odds/evens for car plates. Plus there were anarchist riots last winter. So, Bentley’s moved to the safely posh suburb of Attiki Odos (like going from Foggy Bottom to Chevy Chase). There, they’ll be happy to service your pre-’03 Rolls-Royce, too, efxaristo poli.

Maybach Rumored To Sell Cars In March

maybach-62-automobiles-de-luxeBy Gunnar Heinrich

DAIMLER, AG claims that part of the total figure for the co.’s auto unit sales for March is actual numbers from slow selling Maybach. Trouble is Stuttgart’s still mum on the marque’s hard figures – the division’s sales are lumped in with Mercedes. When it finally be revealed just what kinda bread Maybach brings to the table? Only Dr. Z knows for sure.

GM: No Confidence for Saab

saab-side-impactBy Gunnar Heinrich

GM is wasting no time in washing its hands of Saab. And with that, Saab’s set to fall into a grey area should GM  file for Chapter 11 protection. While Cadillac or Chevy warranties would be insured under the Federally backed GM Total Confidence Plan should GM go bankrupt, Premier Channel VP Mark McNabb has told Saab USA dealers  that GM chose to exclude Saab from the government backed warranty plan. Love lost?  The letter >>>

Gallery of British Neo-Antiquity

morgan-aeromaxBy Gunnar Heinrich | IMG Morgan Motors

ONLY in Albion could a car company so deliberately old fashioned like Morgan persist. Studying these tree framed Shermans is to consider an old Tory ideal of the classic British countryside. You can just smell the musk, leather, and horse s#!%.  Mind you… Morgans are part of what makes reviewing cars unique to, say, writing about kitchen appliances. Gallery following jump.

Mercedes S-Class Modified For 2010

2010-mercedes-s-class-automobiles-de-luxeBy Gunnar Heinrich | IMG via TMR

BENZ is re-sculpting the S-Class for the next model year. Among the subtle changes: a prouder, more pointed grille; canted C-Class-ish headlights with trademark ridged signal indicators; edgier bumpers with smarter LED foglamps up front, rectangular tailpipes aft; and solid red tail lamps. The like ‘em/hate ‘em wheel well arches stay as does the big Benz’s self confident disposition of being technically superior to 99% of whatever else is on the road.

The Ravages of Socialism: Jag XJC

By Gunnar Heinrichjaguar-xjc-automobiles-de-luxe

FEWJaguar XJC’s still exist. The ones that do likely provide shelter for critters in grassy backyards – such is the 70s coupe’s rep. for quality. Yet, in the day CAR judged the Leyland cat  ideal for forging thru the Iron Curtain. Lucky for them, the lights failed and the autobox seized somewhere between Austria and W. Germany. Ten pages eerily, if laughingly, tell what socialism does to a country and a car maker.

[Linked: CAR‘s Destination Budapest!]