2014 Mercedes-Benz E350 4MATIC Wagon

Yet another wonderful wagon from a long and storied line.

TESTED

Mercedes-Benz boasts that the 2014 E350 4MATIC wagon tested here is “not like every wagon in its class. It is every wagon it its class.” And it’s true. Cadillac’s CTS wagon is being eulogized, and so, in the U.S. at least, the long-roof E-class has outlasted all its competitors. Its strength is derived from its strict adherence to Mercedes’ signature traits: understated luxury, dynamic competence, and bank-vault solidity. Sure, the rest of the refreshed 2014 E-class lineup shares those signatures, but as before, the wagon’s stoic stance against mainstream style and hordes of SUVs, SAVs, and crossovers lends it a practically unmatched sense of classicism.

Now, as Then, the Connoisseur’s Selection

Living happily in the brown-tinted shadow of the 1970s-era W123, Benz wagons have always exuded a sort of timelessness. The 2014 E350 remasters this well-played formula, mixing retro chrome roof rails with futuristic LED-accented headlights and Benz’s latest styling language. Buyers can pick between equally priced Luxury and Sport design themes. Our test vehicle wore the latter, which replaces the Luxury model’s old-school grille design (and hood ornament!) and soft suspension with a lowered-but-still-not-sporty suspension, body addenda, and a modern star-in-grille design.

Opening any of the E350’s five doors reveals a sumptuous cabin befitting its nearly $60,000 base price. Matte-finished brown ash wood trim, glitters of brightwork, and beige leather seats ($1620) with rolled inserts drip with old-money aura, and a power-opening hatch grants entry to a capacious cargo hold that hides a neat rear-facing third-row bench. Our test car was fancified further by the $1090 panoramic sunroof, $970 parking assist, $250 heated steering wheel, $500 18-inch AMG wheels, $3370 Premium package (navigation, Harman/Kardon audio system, heated front seats, and rear-side window shades), $1500 Lighting package (adaptive, full-LED headlights), and Lane Tracking package (blind-spot monitoring and lane-change assistance).

Rollin’, Rollin’, Rollin’ down the River

Under way, the E350 is admirably nonconformist, even if, as in the E350 sedan, that’s precisely because it doesn’t set your pulse racing. (That’s the twin-turbo V-8–powered E63 AMG wagon’s job.) The wagon wafts above the pretense of those luxury cars for which Nürburgring lap times matter most, with a soothingly compliant suspension and some body roll in corners. Everything, from the brake pedal to the steering, operates with an expensive, damped feel, and the structure is granitelike. That the E350 can ooze from 0 to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds, cling to our skidpad for 0.87 g, and halt from 70 mph in an impressive 167 feet are secondary capabilities baked in more for the occasional emergency maneuver than enthusiastic driving.

Although popular in Europe, the wagon body style is losing ground to crossovers and SUVs among U.S. buyers, so five-door E350s sell here in predictably small numbers. But Mercedes’ people tell us owners are fiercely loyal, and we can see why—the car harks back to a simpler, more cosseting definition of luxury. Squint at it or take it for a drive, and you can trace its lineage through three generations of E-class, and back to the W124 and W123 models that came before those. It’s really not much different from last year’s E350 wagon, which amplifies the sense of tradition about the car that we adore. We can’t say that about any crossover.

Specifications >

VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, 4-wheel-drive, 7-passenger, 5-door wagon

PRICE AS TESTED: $70,670 (base price: $59,525)

ENGINE TYPE: DOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection

Displacement: 213 cu in, 3498 cc
Power: 302 hp @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 273 lb-ft @ 3500 rpm

TRANSMISSION: 7-speed automatic with manual shifting mode

DIMENSIONS:
Wheelbase: 113.2 in
Length: 192.7 in
Width: 73.0 in Height: 58.9 in
Curb weight: 4401 lb

C/D TEST RESULTS:
Zero to 60 mph: 6.1 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 15.8 sec
Zero to 120 mph: 24.1 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 6.6 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 3.6 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 4.9 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 14.8 sec @ 97 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 132 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 167 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.87 g

FUEL ECONOMY:
EPA city/highway driving: 19/26 mpg
C/D observed: 20 mpg

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Icon Thriftmaster at SEMA 2013

If you’ve been jonesing for some news from Icon, the release of the E-Flyer electric bicycle the other day may or may not have done the trick. But either way, the Californian company known for retrofitting and restoring classic trucks is back with the Thriftmaster, which it has helpfully displayed on the show floor at SEMA (incidentally, with an E-Flyer in the bed).

Based on a classic Chevrolet 3100-series pickup, the Thriftmaster picks up where Icon’s Bronco, Jeep CJ and Toyota FJ left off, but with a form that would make an Old Navy display truck seem campy. Underneath the beautifully restored bodywork sits a 5.3-liter V8 with 315 horsepower on tap and that can be upgraded to 435 hp with an optional Magnuson supercharger kit.

Either way, buyers can specify a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission that may seem desperately behind the times in a modern ride, but in a retro classic like this, seems downright cutting-edge. As do the four-wheel disc brakes, independent front suspension, Kenwood nav and on-board Wi-Fi.

Of course, Icon’s trademark meticulous attention to detail is evident throughout, from the CNC machined trim to the bison leather interior. But if the hundred-thousand-dollar sticker price on some of Icon’s previous creations struck you as steep, the $220,000 price of entry for this truck, of which Icon will only build five, puts the Thriftmaster name firmly alongside tongue in cheek. Check it out in gallery of live shots above and the extensive stock gallery below, along with the official press release.

Show full PR text
ICON is proud to debut the new ICON Thriftmaster Pick Up.
Inspired by the 1947-53 Chevy 3100 five window classic pick up, this modern iteration is ready for adventure.

Make no mistake, while the look is vintage, the drive is decidedly modern. From the chassis engineering refinement, fuel injected supercharged aluminum emissions equipped V8, ABS four wheel disc brakes, to the sophisticated electronics, this truck has no peers.

ICON is a niche automotive brand based in Los Angeles, focused on revisiting classic automotive designs in a modern context. We celebrate the history while infusing the best state-of-the-art content, to create unique daily drivers rich in character and distinction. This new ICON will be built by hand in very low volume along side our other offerings; including the ICON Bronco, FJ series, and CJ series resto-mod vehicles.

This first, “Ultimate Edition” ICON Thriftmaster, comes in your choice of body color (matte or gloss finish), with your choice of manual or automatic transmission, naturally aspirated or with an intercooled supercharger. Otherwise, it comes one way… loaded. Standard equipment includes four wheel disc brakes, A/C, PW, PDL, Wi-Fi Hot Spot, Web-enabled Kenwood and Audison digital audio, NAV, tilt column, copious insulation, Bison hide seating, Wilton wool carpet, Alcantara headliner, smoked glass, and innovative brushed nickel plated trim with aircraft ceramic clear coat.

The performance and refinement is astounding. Never before has a classic pick up managed such comfort and handling. With approximately 435HP, there is plenty of power on hand. With Wilwood oversized disc brakes at all four corners, 60-0 is equally impressive. The Platform specific Art Morrison chassis is unparalleled in its balance and handling characteristics.

For 2014, ICON will build only five Ultimate Thriftmasters. Each will be signed and sequentially numbered. Pricing will be in the $220,000-250,000 range. In the future, expect a wider range of ICON Thriftmasters.

The matched ICON E-Flyer electric bicycle (see stand alone press release for further details) is a special edition collaborative effort between ICON and E_Tracker, available now as well.

Related GalleryIcon Thriftmaster
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News Source: Icon

Image Credit: Copyright 2013 Jeff Ross / AOL

Category: Aftermarket, SEMA Show, Truck, Chevrolet, Design/Style, Luxury

Tags: chevy, chevy 3100, icon, icon thriftmaster, sema, sema 2013

Hot Rod Conspiracy Castrol Rocket

Quick, what is a car that’s actually a motorcycle that can go 400 miles per hour and has 1,000 horsepower? The answer is this – the Castrol Rocket, from Hot Rod Conspiracy, Triumph and others. The bullet-shaped, carbon-fiber shell hides a motorcycle that will attempt to be the first two-wheeled vehicle to crack the 400-mph barrier and beat a record set in 2010.

It’s motivated by two Triumph Rocket III engines, which run on methanol. Harnessing the aforementioned 1,000 hp and 500 pound-feet of torque to the ground is the job of Goodyear’s Land Speed Special tires. When it makes its eventual attempt on the world record, it will be with Jason DiSalvo at the controls.

Triumph Motorcycles originally held the record of world’s fastest motorcycle from 1955 to 1970, a record it’s keen to recapture. “This project is a celebration of Castrol and Triumph’s motorsports heritage, innovation, courage and perseverance. It’s an incredible opportunity to simultaneously chase history and celebrate your heritage. Our hats are off to the Hot Rod Conspiracy/Carpenter Racing team and all of the racers who make land speed racing such a colorful and meaningful sport,” said Triumph president and CEO, Greg Heichelbech.

The Castrol Rocket made an appearance at this year’s SEMA Show, and we really couldn’t pass up the opportunity to stop over and take some snaps of it. Have a look at the gallery above, or scroll down for the full press release from Triumph.

Show full PR text
Once proclaimed the king of the Bonneville Salt Flats, Triumph Motorcycles is back at work on its latest innovation. This time with the world’s most technologically-advanced streamlined motorcycle – the Hot Rod Conspiracy/Carpenter Racing Castrol Rocket.

The Castrol Rocket (video here) is unique in that it’s a 1,000-horsepower motorcycle built like a fighter jet. The project is undergoing testing this week at the famed Bonneville Salt Flats in northwestern Utah. The goal is an eventual 400-mph-plus record-breaking run. The current American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) and Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) motorcycle land speed record is 376.156 mph, set in 2010, by Rocky Robinson with the Ack Attack streamliner.

“Castrol has been actively involved with land speed racing on multiple platforms across the globe and since competitors started running at the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1914,” said Rob Corini, Brand Manager, Castrol Motorcycle and Powersports Products. “The Castrol Rocket personifies our heritage as a performance brand, with an incredible balance of power and aerodynamics, and is capable of amazing speeds. It’s the ultimate symbol of performance.”

A shared passion for land speed racing brought aerodynamic engineer Matt Markstaller, engine builder Bob Carpenter and Daytona 200 winner Jason DiSalvo together. The cross-country team – from Oregon, New Jersey and Alabama respectively – quickly discovered a shared interest to create and race the world’s fastest motorcycle. The Castrol Rocket is their labor of love – an homage to the high-performance heritage of Castrol and Triumph.

“Land speed racing is the purest form of motorsport. It’s about bringing all of your ingenuity, resources and determination together for a constant battle against the elements,” said pilot Jason DiSalvo. “The salt surface has little traction. The wind pushes against you from every side. But what’s really special about Bonneville Land Speed Racing is the people. The conditions are so challenging that for the past 100 years, racers with little else in common, have banded together to support and encourage each other to become the world’s fastest.”

The Triumph name has been synonymous with speed since its four record-breaking motorcycle records with Devil’s Arrow, Texas Cee-gar, Dudek/Johnson and Gyronaut X1. From 1955 to 1970, with the exception of a brief 33-day period, Triumph was “The World’s Fastest Motorcycle.” The Castrol Rocket aims to restore that title.

“This project is a celebration of Castrol and Triumph’s motorsports heritage, innovation, courage and perseverance,” said Greg Heichelbech, President and CEO, Triumph Motorcycles North America. “It’s an incredible opportunity to simultaneously chase history and celebrate your heritage. Our hats are off to the Hot Rod Conspiracy/Carpenter Racing team and all of the racers who make land speed racing such a colorful and meaningful sport.”

CASTROL ROCKET SPECS:
• Chassis: Carbon Kevlar monocoque
• Dimensions: 25′ x 2′ x 3′
• Engines: Two Triumph Rocket III engines
• Horsepower: 1,000-plus-horsepower at 9,000 rpm
• Torque: 500-plus lbs. combined
• Suspension: Custom made by Hot Rod Conspiracy
• Fuel: Methanol
• Tires: Goodyear Land Speed Special
• Engine Lubricant: Castrol Power RS™ 4T 10W-40 full synthetic oil

For more information on the Castrol Rocket, please visit castrolrocket.com.

Stay tuned for further developments.