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Car Reviews

2021 Mercedes-AMG E53: A Meaner Mild Hybrid

Competes with: Audi S6, BMW M550i

Looks like: The 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan, just a bit meaner

Powertrain: Mild-hybrid turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six-cylinder engine making 429 horsepower and 384 pounds-feet of torque (EQ Boost can briefly add an extra 21 hp and 184 pounds-feet); nine-speed automatic transmission; standard all-wheel drive

Hits dealerships: Late 2020

Mercedes didn’t just update the vanilla E-Class for 2021, it also teamed with its AMG performance division to give the mid-tier E53 performance sedan similar updates. The E53 wears new styling front and rear, and it has an updated interior with AMG-specific technology and the latest version of Mercedes’ MBUX infotainment system.

Related: 2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class: New Face, New Wagon

Exterior

The E53 will look meaner even than the E450 sedan, with dual power domes on its hood along with an AMG-specific grille and “A-wing” front bumper with five central vertical struts. The LED headlights and taillights are also a new design, as are the standard 19-inch and optional 20-inch wheels. Additionally, the rear bumper and rear diffuser have been revised for 2021. The optional AMG Night Package blacks out much of the exterior trim to create an even more aggressive look.

Interior

Performance is the name of the game inside the cabin, with a new AMG performance steering wheel as standard equipment and standard sport seats wrapped in a combination of black MB-Tex faux leather and black Dinamica microfiber with red contrast stitching. Red seat belts are available.

MBUX, Mercedes’ infotainment system, takes center stage in the 12.3-inch multimedia screen and can include the optional AMG Track Pace system to record lap and section times while monitoring vehicle data such as speed and acceleration. Track Pace can even use augmented reality to display the ideal racing line of certain stored racetracks in the head-up display.

Engine and Transmission

E53 buyers get only one choice of drivetrain: a mild-hybrid turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six-cylinder engine paired to a nine-speed automatic transmission driving all four wheels via AMG’s Performance 4Matic Plus all-wheel-drive system. The engine produces 429 horsepower and 384 pounds-feet of torque, and it can use an EQ Boost feature to increase those figures by 21 hp and 184 pounds-feet, respectively; Mercedes estimates the E53 can go from 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds. The adjustable air suspension has three settings — Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus — that provide varying levels of stiffness as desired.

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Safety

Advanced safety features — things like a surround-view camera, blind spot collision avoidance and semi-autonomous driving features — are once again expected to be available through Mercedes’ Parking Assistance and Driver Assistance packages.

Cars.com’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

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Car Reviews

New Porsche 911 Turbo S Revealed

If you are those kinds who are not satisfied with what the standard Porsche 911 has to offer, you now have the chance to get your hands on the new Porsche 911 Turbo S. The new-generation Porsche 911 Turbo S could be purchased in either coupe or a cabriolet form and it gets a new 3.8-litre six-cylinder boxer engine with two VGT turbo-chargers that pump out 641 bhp (an increase of 68 bhp) and a massive 800 (Increase of 50 Nm) Nm of peak torque. The Turbo S does the 0-100 kmph sprint in just 2.7 seconds, which is 0.2 seconds faster than the 2.9 seconds that the regular model takes. The top speed of the car stays the same at 330 kmph.

(The new 911 Turbo S get a 3.8-litre flat-six engine, making 641 bhp and 800 Nm)

The new 911 Turbo S is 45 mm wider at the front and 20 mm wider at the rear and the chassis itself has been lowered by 10 mm, to offer better driving dynamics. The front end also get controlled cooling air flaps and the rear gets a new and bigger wing, to generate up to 15 per cent more downforce. The interior has a sporty finish too, with full leather interior and carbon trim combined with light Silver accents being included in the standard equipment list. The layout of the 10.9-inch centre screen is new and some of the standard features on the new 911 Turbo S include GT Sports steering wheel, sport chrono package with Porsche track precision app and a Bose surround sound system.

(The interior of the new 911 Turbo S has been updated as well )

The deliveries of the Porsche 911 Turbo S will begin in May 2020, globally and we believe that the car will be coming to India before 2020 comes to a close.

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2020 Honda Pilot vs. 2020 Acura MDX: Compare Crossovers



















Pour one out for the old family van. Just pour it out of the back windows with the vents, would ya? A generation of children will never know church pews with seatbelts in the back of a tin-can van slowly petering across the U.S. Instead, they know crossover comfort with individualized climate controls and USB chargers for all the touchscreens.

The 2020 Honda Pilot and 2020 Acura MDX are three-row family crossovers from automakers that are both owned by Honda, but are not related. 

The Pilot is a much softer family ride, a minivan in every way except for the sliding doors and wayback windows for third-row riders to launch apple cores and grapes at cars behind them. The MDX is sportier, sleeker, and available as a fuel-sipping hybrid. 

Our TCC Rating scale tips the Acura thanks to its standard features and luxury ride baked into every model. When cost is considered the stakes even up in a big way—and nearly every family considers cost when it’s time for a new car. So which one is right for you? Glad you asked. 

MORE: Read our 2020 Honda Pilot and 2020 Acura MDX full reviews

2020 Acura MDX

2020 Acura MDX

2020 Honda Pilot

2020 Honda Pilot

The noticeable difference for most families considering the 2020 Honda Pilot and 2020 Acura MDX will be space in the third row and cargo area. 

The Pilot offers a third row suitable for most children and average-size adults with nearly 32 inches of leg room, and 16.5 cubic feet of cargo space with the third row in place. The MDX is smaller in both measurements: nearly 28 inches of leg room and 15.0 cubic feet of cargo room with the third row in place. What that means for most families: The Pilot’s third row is more usable, more accessible (especially with optional second-row captain’s chairs), more often. The MDX is equipped with a standard second-row bench in all versions. 

2020 Honda Pilot

The Acura’s interior is predictably upscale for the $12,850 price premium it commands over the Honda. The MDX gets standard leather upholstery, a dual-screen infotainment system, 18-inch wheels, LED headlights, and four USB ports. For more money, the MDX can get sportier-looking add-ons, better audio, rear-seat entertainment, navigation, tonier leather, and bigger wheels. All-wheel drive is an option on the MDX and costs $2,000, except on the MDX hybrid, where it’s standard. That hybrid powertrain is an Acura exclusive; no amount of money can buy a hybrid powertrain in a Pilot for now. 

The Pilot’s no slouch in most of its equipment, but only in trims above the base Pilot LX. That version stubs in a 5.0-inch display for infotainment and one USB port, along with cloth upholstery, 18-inch wheels, and front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is a $2,000 upcharge on the Pilot too, except on Elite editions where it’s standard. 

2020 Acura MDX PMC Edition

The Pilot and MDX both rely on a 3.5-liter V-6 that makes 280 and 290 horsepower in their respective versions. Pilot LX and Pilot EX crossovers use a 6-speed automatic that’s down on forward gears compared to the rest of the lineup, but up on drivability. The rest of the Pilot lineup and all MDX crossovers (except the hybrid models) use a 9-speed automatic that’s indecisive and not much more efficient. With either transmission, and two- or four-wheel power the MDX and Pilot manage combined fuel economy around 22-23 mpg, according to the EPA. Only the MDX Sport Hybrid is rated considerably higher at 27 mpg combined, but it’s a big ask at more than $60,000. The most expensive Pilot, in Elite trim, is about $12,000 less.  

Which brings us back to price. The Pilot’s 6.5 TCC Rating is down compared to the MDX’s 6.8 TCC Rating, which is mostly due to standard equipment on base versions. The Acura and Honda both earn good safety scores and offer standard safety features such as automatic emergency braking that families should expect on crossovers. 

The best pick between the Pilot and MDX depends on two factors: how often you need a third row and who gets to go to college. 

We’re kidding. Mostly. 

Summary

Styling

Performance

Comfort & Quality

Safety

Features

Fuel Economy

MSRP

Invoice

Fuel Economy – Combined City and Highway

Engine

Drivetrain




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2020 Porsche 911 Turbo S – 650 PS/800 Nm 3.8 litre biturbo flat-six; 330 km/h, 0-100 km/h in 2.7 seconds!

The Porsche 911 Turbo S has returned for the 992-generation in Coupe and Cabriolet forms, and these represent the most potent iterations of the current generation yet. Here, the Turbo S carries over the 3.8 litre displacement of the horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine, albeit now with 650 PS and 800 Nm on offer, representing gains of 70 PS and 50 Nm over the 991.2-generation Turbo S.

The increased outputs are achieved by the pair of variable turbine geometry (VTG) turbochargers which are now equipped with turbine wheels that are enlarged by 5 mm to 55 mm, and compressor wheels that are enlarged by 3 mm to 61 mm, succeeding the previous smaller units which were otherwise identical, says Porsche.

The outputs from the Turbo S powerplant are channeled to all four wheels via an eight-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic transmission that is specific to this model, as well as the latest iteration of Porsche Traction Management (PTM) with a transfer case that can now shift up to 500 Nm to the front axle. Thus equipped, 0-100 km/h is elapsed in 2.7 seconds, and 0-200 km/h in 8.9 seconds, or 0.2 second and one second quicker respectively than the previous model.


Helping the 992 Turbo S achieve its output gains is a new intake system, where the previous routing of process air and charge air cooling has been switched around. In addition to the side intakes that are a Turbo signature, two more air intakes have been incorporated into the rear grille for a total of four intakes. This provides a lager overall cross section and lower resistance, aiding engine efficiency.

Combined fuel consumption is 11.1 l/100 km with CO2 emissions of 254 g/km for the Coupe, and 11.3 l/100 km with CO2 emissions of 257 g/km for the Cabriolet. The 992 Turbo S has grown dimensionally, now measuring 1,840 mm wide in front and 1,900 mm at the back, representing growths of 45 mm and 20 mm respectively.

Track widths have also increased, and are now 42 mm wider in front and 10 mm wider at the back. Rolling stock is a set of 20-inch wheels in 255/35 tyres in front, and 21-inch wheels in 315/30 tyres at the back. Optional equipment includes the Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), which lowers the car by 10 mm. For braking, the 911 Turbo S now gets PCCB ceramic composite brakes as standard with brake discs larger than before, and paired with 10-piston calipers.


Inside, the 911 Turbo S gets a full leather interior with carbon-fibre trim and light silver accents as standard, while a two-tone interior scheme from Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur will be available as an option. The front occupants get 18-way adjustable sports seats with stitching that pays tribute to the first, 930-generation 911 Turbo of 1974, contrasting with the latest equipment including the PCM infotainment setup with a 10.9-inch screen.

For the driver, the classic central tachometer with dual digital display instrument layout alongside is carried over from the rest of the 992-generation range, while the driver gets the GT sports steering wheel and the Sport Chrono package with the integrated Porsche Track Precision app. The cabin of the 911 Turbo S is also outfitted with a Bose surround sound system.

The 992-generation Porsche 911 Turbo S Coupe will go on sale in Germany starting from a price of €216,396 (RM1,011,301), while the 911 Turbo S Cabriolet starts from €229,962 (RM1,074,700) in Germany.

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Koenigsegg Jesko Absolut debuts – 1,600 hp 0.278 Cd

When Christian von Koenigsegg presented the Jesko (named after his father) at last year’s Geneva Motor Show, he promised that an even faster version will debut later on. Well, the time has finally come to welcome just such a model, as the Swedish carmaker recently took the wraps off of the new Jesko Absolut.

No, this isn’t a tie-up product with the vodka brand. Instead, the Jesko Absolut is dubbed the fastest Koenigsegg ever made and the company says it “will never endeavor to make a faster series-production road car, ever.”

For now, the company hasn’t revealed just how fast its new creation will go but based on its math and advanced simulations, “it will be unbelievably fast.” The obvious barometer will be the Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+, which managed to hit a top speed of 490.484 km/h (304.773 mph) in September last year.

That’s not to say there are no obscene figures to mention, as the Jesko Absolut retains the same powertrain as its more track-focused sibling. Power comes from an aluminium 5.0 litre twin-turbo V8 that weighs in at just 189 kg and features a flat-plane, 12.5-kg crankshaft, a carbon-fibre intake manifold as well as an 8,500-rpm rev limit.

With regular gasoline, the engine runs at 1.7 bar of boost pressure to develop 1,298 PS (1,280 hp) at 7,800 rpm, and with E85 ethanol fuel, the boost pressure goes up to 2.2 bar for 1,625 PS (1,600 hp), while peak torque is 1,500 Nm at 5,100 rpm.

The engine is connected to Koenigsegg’s nine-speed Light Speed Transmission that tips the scales at just 90 kg with fluids, and uses seven clutches for changes between any gear to happen almost instantly. Supporting systems include a gearbox control module with Ultimate Power on Demand (UPOD) and an electronic differential, with the former allowing for multi-jump gear changes in addition to regular single-increment gear changes.

What makes the Jesko Absolut different from a regular Jesko is aerodynamics, as a lot of effort was put into the reducing drag or surrounding turbulence around the car while increasing high-speed stability. As the company puts it, “the Jesko Absolut is a more seamless and stealthier interpretation of the Jesko.”

Exterior revisions include an extended rear bonnet (+85 mm), covered rear wheels, smoother front wheel louvres as well as a lowered ride height. Several aerodynamic aspects of the Jesko were also deleted, as seen with the front bonnet air ducts, front splitter, side winglets and massive rear wing, which has been replaced with two fins instead.

As a result, the car has a frontal area of just 1.88 square metres and an overall drag coefficient of 0.278. On the move, the Jesko Absolut generates 40 kg of downforce at 250 km/h and a maximum possible 150 kg at higher speeds. By comparison, the normal Jesko creates 800 kg of downforce at 250 km/h, 1,000 kg at 275 km/h, and a maximum of 1,400 kg.

With less downforce generated, the engineers are able to soften the suspension and make the overall package slightly more compact. The latter does without front Triplex dampers (regular ones are used instead), and together with the lack of a front hood air dam, makes it possible to stow the detachable roof in the frunk, which couldn’t be done on the normal Jesko.

The setup still uses double wishbones and adjustable dampers, with electronically-adjustable ride height capability and a set of forged aluminium wheels that can be upgraded to Aircore carbon-fibre wheels (20-inch front, 21-inch rear) with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R tyres (265/35 front, 325/30 rear). Braking power is courtesy of discs measuring 410 mm at the front (with six-piston calipers) and 395-mm discs at the rear (with four-piston calipers).

Life inside is unchanged from a regular Jesko, as you still get leather or Alcantara upholstery, carbon-fibre sport bucket seats, climate control, a wireless phone charger, a digital audio system, an around-view monitor and a key fob that is tied to the Autoskin electro-hydraulic system for the bonnets and doors.

“The Jesko Absolut with its shockingly low drag coefficient of 0.278 Cd, combined with its high-speed stability-optimised aero features, daily drive-friendly characteristics and luggage space, make the Jesko Absolut a land-based rocket ship determined to reach unheard-of speeds in record-setting pace,” says the company CEO and founder. How fast? Time will tell.

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2020 New York Auto Show To Be Held As Planned

Expressing their regrets about the Geneva Motor Show being cancelled due to coronavirus scare, the organisers of the 2020 New York International Auto Show have announced that the annual motor show will be held as planned. The Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association, organisers of the New York Auto Show, said, “As a small family of global auto shows, our thoughts remain with the Swiss organizers. We are equally compassionate for the world’s automakers who have been impacted by this unforeseen set of circumstances.” The New York Auto Show will be held between April 10 to April 19, 2020.

The Geneva Motor Show was cancelled because the Federal Council announced that no events with more than 1,000 people can take place until March 15, 2020

Following the first case of coronavirus being reported in Switzerland, last week, the organisers of the Geneva Motor Show decided to go ahead with the show, taking precautionary measures. However, the Federal Council on February 28, 2020, announced that no events with more than 1,000 people can take place until March 15, 2020. Slated to be opened for the general public from 5 to 15 March, the decision came in 3 days before the opening of the exhibition to the media (March 2).

As for the New York Auto Show, it will be opened for press days (April 8 and April 9) in less than six weeks, and the organisers have been in constant communication with the state and local officials, along with the Jacob K. Javits Convention Centre to be prepared for the event. They have confirmed that the Javits Centre is also taking precautionary measures inside the venue to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Several brands, including Volkswagen, Ford, Lamborghini, Rolls-Royce, Jeep, Jaguar Land Rover, Honda, and Genesis, among many others will participate in the 2020 New York Auto Show this year. We are also likely to see the US debut of Genesis’ first-ever SUV, the GV80 at the motor show, and many other new product launches and unveils. We’ll be bringing you all the updates from the even here, so watch this space for everything from the 2020 New York Auto Show.

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Indian Automakers Say China Coronavirus Outbreak Hitting Parts Supply

Indian automakers Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd (M&M) and Tata Motors said on Sunday their supply of parts from China had been hit, as fallout from the coronavirus outbreak mounts.

“Going into March, we anticipate the challenge on parts-supply to continue for another few weeks, before we get back to normalcy,” Veejay Ram Nakra, Chief of Sales and Marketing at M&M’s automotive division said in a press release.

Tata Motors said in a press release that it, too, had been hit by supply disruptions due to the coronavirus outbreak in China, and was working to mitigate the situation.

Along with Maruti Suzuki – India’s biggest carmaker – both companies on Sunday reported a decline in sales in February, compared with a year ago.

M&M said its domestic sales had fallen by 42 per cent, while Tata Motors reported a drop of 34 per cent. Maruti Suzuki said its total domestic sales were down by 1.6 per cent in February from a year ago.

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Mercedes-Benz Announces 3 New Plug-In Hybrids

Mercedes-Benz is all set to introduce 3 new plug-in hybrids to the global market in March 2020. The company teased all three cars on its social media handle and the plug-in hybrid variants will be seen in the GLA, CLA sedan and finally on the CLA shooting brake. All three cars are based on the same platform and come with the same engine options too. This is Mercedes’ way of telling the world that affordable plug-in hybrids are on their way.

The CLA and The GLA are the most affordable product offerings from Mercedes-Benz and the plug-in hybrid variants will help Mercedes penetrate into a segment with electrified offerings from the company. Making affordable plug-in hybrids will certainly push the company’s agenda of introducing more electrified models to its portfolio. One key aspect of the sustainable business strategy of Daimler AG is electric mobility. With its ‘Ambition 2039′ initiative, Mercedes-Benz is working towards being able to offer a CO2 neutral new car fleet in 19 years’ time.

All the three cars will get the third-generation hybrid powertrain from Mercedes-Benz and the company is gearing up to bring more plug-in hybrids to international markets. Yes, India too falls into this spectrum and we’ll see more electric hybrids from the company in the market very soon.

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C118 Mercedes-AMG CLA35 and CLA45 S 4Matic+ introduced in Thailand, priced at RM535k to RM670k

The C118 Mercedes-Benz CLA has been announced for Thailand, and the second-gen four-door coupe will go on sale in the Kingdom initially in two Mercedes-AMG variant forms, the CLA 35 4Matic and CLA 45 S 4Matic+, priced at 3.99 million baht (RM535,500) and 4.99 million baht (RM669,800) respectively, the Bangkok Post reports.

Unveiled in April last year, the CLA 35 is powered by a M260 2.0 litre turbocharged petrol engine, which produces 302 hp (306 PS) at 5,800 rpm and 400 Nm of torque from 3,000 to 4,000 rpm, and this is paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, with power sent to all four wheels via a 4Matic fully-variable all-wheel drive system. Performance figures include a 0-100 km/h sprint time of 4.9 seconds and an electronically-limited 250 km/h top speed.

Standard kit includes a new-generation steering wheel with a flattened lower section, perforated leather and red contrast stitching with metal gearshift paddles and a Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system.

As for the CLA 45 S, which was revealed last July, its M139 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine develops 416 hp (421 PS) at 6,750 rpm and 500 Nm of torque from 5,000 rpm, which is 34 hp and 20 Nm more than that found on the base CLA 45, which already manages the 0-100 km/h run in 4.1 second and has a 270 km/h top speed.

The mill is mated to an eight-speed AMG Speedshift DCT 8G dual-clutch transmission, with an AMG Performance 4MATIC+ fully-variable all-wheel drive system in tow. Standard fit items for the Thai-spec CLA 45 S will include AMG bucket seats.

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2020 Geneva show cancelled amid Covid-19 concerns

The Covid-19 novel coronavirus outbreak has claimed yet another high profile event. Just a few days ago, the organisers of the Geneva International Motor Show announced the cancellation of the major annual automotive event, after the Swiss government banned gatherings of more than 1,000 people, Automotive News reports. The show was supposed to kick off this week.

“We regret to announce the 2020 Geneva motor show will be cancelled. This is force majeure,” a spokesman for the Palexpo show venue said. The show will be cancelled outright, and not postponed. “The show cannot be postponed. It’s not possible. It’s too big. It’s not feasible,” the spokesman said.

Just last week, Swiss federal health minister Alain Berset announced that events involving more than 1,000 people were prohibited with immediate effect. “In view of the current situation and the spread of the coronavirus, the Federal Council has categorised the situation in Switzerland as ‘special’ in terms of the Epidemics Act.”



“Large-scale events involving more than 1,000 people are to be banned. The ban comes into immediate effect and will apply at least until March 15.” Some cars such as the Aston Martin Vantage Roadster, Audi A3 Sportback, BMW i4, Fiat 500 EV, Kia Sorento, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Porsche 911 Turbo and Volkswagen Golf PHEV were among the few high-profile launches set to be formally introduced at the show. The Hyundai Prophecy and Polestar Precept were also set to be unveiled.

Several car brands and supplies have already started withdrawing employees from the event after the virus became more widespread in Europe. Apparently, an outbreak has paralysed large parts of northern Italy, which borders Switzerland. As of February 27, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Switzerland was nine.

Meanwhile, the 2020 Beijing Motor Show, which was originally scheduled to be held from April 21 to 30, will be postponed as well. Unlike the Geneva show, the Beijing show organisers have decided to postpone the event, but the new dates have yet to be announced. The 2020 Baselworld event for watches has also been called off.

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