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Report: Mercedes-Benz looking to cut at least seven models from lineup

The Mercedes-AMG CLS is one of the models that is likely on the chopping block

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz CL

New reporting indicates that Mercedes-Benz is looking to slim its lineup. The move hardly comes as a surprise given that the Mercedes stable is increasingly packed these days. Automotive News was the first to report the move.

A quick glance at the company's U.S. website reveals listings for eight SUVs, six sedans and wagons, seven coupes, six convertibles, one hybrid/electric model, and nine models In various stages of preparing to enter production. Then, there's traditionally two or more powertrain options for every model.

2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class The Mercedes-Benz E-Class may lose its coupe and convertible option in the U.S. Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

According to sources within the dealership community, Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Nicholas Speeks spoke of the changes during a webinar a month ago though he did not identify which models are on the chopping block nor a timeline for their removal from the lineup.

Insiders told Automotive News that coupe and convertible versions of the S-, C-, and E-Class nameplates are up for extinction, as well as the CLS coupe and one of the GTs.

On the surface, this moves make sense for four different reasons. Americans are buying less sedans than they were even half a decade ago. Practical sedans, let alone more impractical coupes and convertibles aren't on many shoppers lists these days as buyers turn toward SUVs and trucks.

The worldwide impact of the COVID-19 pandemic means that all car sales will be down even further than already predicted when 2020 kicked off. Less sales means less expenditures, but is also means less money is coming in.

Innovation is expensive. The cost of developing autonomous technology, even when entering into partnerships to do so, is a cost measured in the tens of billions of dollars range. The company's profits were already down by two-thirds in 2019. Daimler AG recently pulled out of its automated driving alliance with BMW.

As the push toward electrification intensifies, costs are not yet coming down. Many automakers lose money on each electric vehicle they sell. Minimizing the expenditures related to multiple car variants, and their development, helps keep costs down, which allows those funds to be reallocated to investing in cutting-edge product.

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Today Apple unveiled its latest lineup of new products.

Photo courtesy of Apple

Today's Apple Event hits home on many levels for consumers. Literally. The tech giant is aiming to make everyday life easier and more connected for their customers. Connectivity is extending past the iPhone and iMac, and into your home, your car, and your ears.

Earlier this year, Apple announced a host of changes that would effect Apple Maps, Apple CarPlay, and other components. You can read about iOS 14 updates here, Apple Maps upgrades here, and phone-as-key technology here.

How does today's news effect your car? Let's take a closer look at the products Apple debuted and what we know about them.

Apple HomePod Mini

Apple HomePod Mini

Photo courtesy of Apple

In addition to a slew of features that includes acting as synched surround sound speakers and the ability to handoff entertainment from a variety of apps like iHeartRadio, Pandora, and Amazon, Apple HomePods will be able to send suggestions to Apple CarPlay.

The real-life application of the technology may look a little something like this.

Scenario: You call your spouse and ask them if they need anything while you're out. The spouse asks you to swing by the house of a friend of you child's and pick up the Girl Scout cookies you both forgot you ordered. There's only one problem. You don't know where the kid lives.

Apple's Solution: At home, your spouse has their phone and contacts list connected to the HomePod. Said spouse then asks the HomePod to send the address to Apple CarPlay in the family's BMW 5 Series that you're driving. While in the car, using Siri, you tell Apple CarPlay to navigate you to that address.

There's also an intercom function. This means that you can broadcast from one HomePod to a series of others and Apple CarPlay. Think of this as a modern household intercom system that connects all the elements of your household. Think of how much easier it just got to survey your family to see what they want on their pizza.

Perhaps most importantly, Apple will allow customers to opt-out of allowing Apple to store their recordings.

Wireless iPhone charging

Apple iPhone 12

Photo courtesy of Apple

Apple is making wireless charging its primary method of charging for iPhone 12. The company is already working with Belkin on a new accessories line that includes car mounts and multi-charger docks.

In response to real world user experience, and with an eye toward sustainability, Apple has announced that it will no longer include Lightning headphones or power adapters in iPhone boxes. It's the end of an era, really. This is projected to save 2 million metric tons of carbon emissions annually, the equivalent of removing 450,000 cars from the road each year.

What will the iPhone box include. There will now be a USB-C to Lightning cable. That means that if your car only has USB-A (commonly referred to as USB) ports, you'll need to invest in an adapter if you want to plug in your phone to the car. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with wireless charging, are becoming more popular as a new car offering so if you purchase a new car, you may not have to worry about this issue.

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For the 2021 model year, the RS 5 Coupe and Sportback have received a mid-cycle update and gotten special edition options.

Photo courtesy of Audi AG
Fresh looks and new special editions are on tap for the 2021 Audi RS 5 Coupe and Sportback. The two models also get the company's new infotainment system as part of their mid-cycle refresh.

The refined refined exterior of the models brings them in line with the latest design in the Audi lineup. The Singleframe grille is flatter, wheel arches are wider, and the LED headlights are standard. At the back are new pentagon-shaped, contoured inlets. The more confident stance further differentiates the RS 5 from the A5 and S5.

2021 Audi RS 5 Coupe and Sportback The 2021 Audi RS 5 Coupe and Sportback Black Optic special edition model will feature a black roof.Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Horizontal lines dominate the interior of the RS 5. Standard honeycomb stitched S sport seats with RS embossing include power side bolsters and massage function, and are covered in fine Nappa leather, along with the center console and door armrests. The RS 5 Sportback is also now standard equipped with heated rear seats.

At the center of each model is now the 10.1-inch infotainment screen, which runs using the MIB3 operating system. That system allows for standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, among other capabilities. Special RS displays provide information on tire pressure and temperature, torque, power output, engine oil temperature, boost pressure, lap times, acceleration measurements and g-forces. The optional head-up display also offers an exclusive RS display mode.

All RS 5 Coupe and Sportback cars feature the automaker's 2.9-liter bi-turbo V6 engine that creates 444 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque. The Coupe can get from zero to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds while the Sportback takes 3.8 seconds. The engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The company's RS sport suspension is standard. With the available Dynamic package, the RS sport suspension with the Dynamic Ride Control uses steel springs and adjustable dampers to increase the support and reduce pitch and roll movements to improve the vehicle's overall driving dynamics.

2021 Aud RS 5 Ascari launch edition

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Audi will sell the models in two new variants: the Ascari launch edition and the Black Optic launch edition. Both have unique exterior and interior design elements that set them apart from the flock.

The Ascari model has Ascari Blue metallic paint, bue brake calipers and ceramic front brakes, 20-inch five-arm-flag design forged wheels in silver finish with summer performance tires, carbon fiber trimmed engine cover, three-spoke flat-bottom steering wheel in Alcantara with shift paddles, Audi dynamic steering which offers a variable steering ratio that adjusts based on vehicle speed and the Audi drive select setting, painted matte alu optic side sill inlays, RS Carbon matte inlays, RS design package interior with gray contrast stitching, RS sport suspension plus with Dynamic Ride Control, RS sport exhaust system with black tailpipes, the driver assistance package, and the navigation package. Just 25 Coupe and 100 Sportback versions of the car will be made.

The Black Optic model's features list is slightly different and includes more options for buyers. It starts with 20-inch five-segment-spoke-evo design wheels in high-gloss black finish with summer performance tires. Buyers can choose from Mythos Black, Glacier White, Daytona Gray, Nardo Gray, or Tango Red paint colors. Black details extend from the Audi rings and badges to the room (excludes Mythos Black), mirror housings, front spoiler, and rear diffuser trim. It has the same steering wheel as the Ascari model and also features dynamic steering.

Audi has given the RS 5 Black Optic a dynamic package that includes red brake calipers, RS sport suspension with Dynamic Ride Control, and the RS sport exhaust system with black tailpipes. It also features RS Carbon matte inlays, RS design package interior with red contrast stitching, the driver assistance package, and the navigation package.

Slightly more of these will be made - 100 Coupe and 325 Sportback models.

All RS 5 models come standard equipped with Audi pre sense city and lane departure warning. The available side assist package adds Audi pre sense rear, Audi side assist, and matte alu optic exterior mirror housings. The available RS driver assistance package adds adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, active lane assist with hands on detection steering wheel, park assist, top view camera system, and head-up display with traffic sign recognition.

The 2021 Audi RS 5 Coupe starts at $75,100. The 2021 Audi RS 5 Sportback starts at $75,400. Special edition pricing ranges from $87,400 for the 2021 Audi RS 5 Coupe Black optic launch edition to $95,900 for the 2021 Audi RS 5 Sportback Ascari launch edition. The price excludes a $1,405 designation charge.

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