Property

Alternative deal volumes outstrip traditional sectors in Q1 2019

Property Week News Feed - Fri, 05/10/2019 - 00:00
Investment in alternatives exceeded investment in the three traditional commercial property sectors combined for the first time ever in Q1 2019, according to data from Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH).
Categories: Property

Gerald Eve takes over contract to advise EDF

Property Week News Feed - Fri, 05/10/2019 - 00:00
Firm wins contract to manage 140-asset portfolio from BNP Paribas Real Estate
Categories: Property

12 SUVs and Crossovers That Get Better MPG Than Their EPA Estimates

Motortrend News Feed - Thu, 05/09/2019 - 22:42

Fuel economy remains one of the biggest considerations when you’re in the market for a new vehicle. And with gas prices creeping up this summer, we’re feeling the pain at the pump just a little more right now. The EPA lists fuel economy estimates for different vehicles, but these are self-reported by automakers. Since they’re often not followed up by the government agency, they sometimes don’t reflect real-world fuel economy. At MotorTrend, we developed the Real MPG test as a third point of comparison for consumers. Unlike the EPA, our results are produced in the real world, not on a dyno.

We looked through our extensive test data and compiled a list of 12 crossovers and SUVs that outperform their EPA estimates. Keep reading to find out which ones achieve better fuel economy in the real world.

Dodge Durango R/T V-8

The Dodge Durango offers a powerful lineup of engines and muscular styling that separates it from the likes of the Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot. When paired with the 5.7-liter V-8 engine and rear-wheel drive, our recent tester hit 16.0/25.1/19.1 mpg city/highway/combined, ahead of its EPA rating of 14/22/17.

Subaru Crosstrek manual transmission

It may not be the most powerful crossover around, but the Crosstrek is a practical choice thanks to its spacious interior and solid off-road capability. Add to that impressive fuel economy. When paired with a manual transmission, the Crosstrek achieves a Real MPG score of 25.9/38.9/30.5 mpg, significantly higher than its EPA rating of 23/29/25 mpg. The CVT automatic-equipped Crosstrek is still efficient but doesn’t quite live up to its high EPA estimate. Its Real MPG score is 24.5/35.1/28.3 mpg, compared to its EPA rating of 27/33/29 mpg.

Kia Sportage SX Turbo

Kia’s compact crossover packs a punch with an optional 2.0-liter turbocharged engine making 237 hp. It’s EPA-rated at 20/23/21, but we achieved 21.7/26.0/23.5 mpg on our Real MPG test loop.

Toyota Sequoia 4WD

The Sequoia is an oldie but a goodie. Its smooth ride, powerful V-8 engine, and comfortable seats help make up for the fact it hasn’t received a full redesign in more than 10 years. While it’s known for its inefficiency, its fuel economy is at least better than advertised on the window sticker. The EPA rates the large SUV at 13/17/14 mpg when paired with four-wheel drive, but we were able to achieve 14.4/19.8/16.5 mpg.

Nissan Armada 4WD

Like the Toyota Sequoia, the Nissan Armada is a gas guzzler. The four-wheel-drive version is EPA-rated at 13/18/15 mpg, but we managed to achieve 14.7/20.8/16.9 mpg. That’s an impressive 12.7-percent improvement in combined fuel economy.

Land Rover Discovery Td6

The EPA estimates 21/26/23 mpg for the Land Rover Discovery equipped with a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 engine. But our Real MPG numbers revealed a result of 23.8/32.3/27.0 mpg. That combined rating is 22.7 percent better than the EPA’s and represents the widest discrepancy on this list. But getting better fuel economy than you were expecting is just a bonus to that sweet, sweet diesel torque.

Chevrolet Equinox diesel

You may not have known, but Chevrolet offers a diesel version of its Equinox small crossover. The EPA rates this crossover at up to 28/39/32 mpg when equipped with front-wheel drive, but we achieved results of 33.1/46.7/38.1 mpg. That’s an 18.2-percent higher city rating, 19.7-percent higher highway score, and 19.1-percent better combined fuel economy result.

Range Rover Velar V-6

The Velar has many strengths, from its off-road capability to its excellent handling, supreme comfort, and striking design. Its fuel economy is much better than expected when paired with the upgraded V-6 engine making 380 hp. The EPA rates it at 18/24/20 mpg, but it actually nets 20.7/27.5/23.3 mpg. When paired with the base 240-hp four-cylinder gas engine, the Velar’s Real MPG rating of 18.0/28.0/21.4 mpg isn’t as impressive as its EPA rating of 21/27/23 mpg.

Volkswagen Atlas V-6

Volkswagen was late to the game offering a three-row crossover. Although we have praised it for its smooth ride and spacious interior, we lament its sluggish acceleration. It’s not particularly efficient with the V-6 engine, EPA-estimated at 18/25/20 mpg for the 2018 model year (17/24/19 mpg for 2019). But our 2018 tester got 19.9/27.5/22.7 mpg.

Honda HR-V AWD

The Honda HR-V is one of the slowest cars in its segment, taking 9.6 seconds to reach 60 mph. But it’s reasonably fuel-efficient, even paired with all-wheel drive, which some competitors in the segment fail to offer. We tested a Honda HR-V at 24.9 mpg in the city and a whopping 40.8 mpg on the highway. That highway number is a staggering 31.6 percent higher than the EPA rating. The HR-V’s combined Real MPG score is 30.2 mpg versus 27 mpg from the EPA.

Mazda CX-5 Turbo

For 2019, Mazda added a powerful turbocharged engine option to the CX-5’s lineup providing a max 250 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. With this engine and all-wheel drive, the CX-5 is EPA-rated to achieve 22/27/24 mpg, but we were able to get 23.3/32.2/26.6 mpg.

Chevrolet Blazer AWD

In our recent First Test, we called the Blazer the Camaro of crossovers. Not only does it look kind of like a Camaro, especially up front, but it has the grunt to back it up. When paired with a 305-hp V-6 engine and all-wheel drive, the Blazer is EPA-rated at 18/25/21 mpg. But we were able to hit 19.6/29.9/23.2 mpg, so you can have your horsepower cake and eat it, too.

The post 12 SUVs and Crossovers That Get Better MPG Than Their EPA Estimates appeared first on Motortrend.

Categories: Property

Cities react to ruling against chalking parked cars

The Car Connection News Feed - Thu, 05/09/2019 - 18:00
Cities in the U.S. have had different reactions to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit's ruling in April that tire chalking—a practice used for decades to enforce parking limits—is unconstitutional. The Washington Post reported Monday that the city of Saginaw, Michigan, has already asked the court to reconsider its ruling...
Categories: Property

Debenhams CVA approved

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 05/09/2019 - 17:38
Creditors have voted in favour of Debenhams entering a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA).
Categories: Property

2019 Fiat 500X

The Car Connection News Feed - Thu, 05/09/2019 - 16:30
The 2019 Fiat 500X is a small crossover SUV that speaks with a faint Italian accent. It’s built in Italy and is chock full of retro design cues from the smaller Fiat 500, but the 2019 500X shares its underpinnings with the Jeep Renegade. Overall, we rate the 500X lineup at 5.6 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.) This year, the...
Categories: Property

Electrifying News: Ford Confirms Bronco Hybrid

Motortrend News Feed - Thu, 05/09/2019 - 16:13

There will be a hybrid version of the Ford Bronco, the rugged SUV that the automaker is bringing back to the market next year. The inclusion of a hybrid was confirmed today by CEO Jim Hackett during Ford’s annual shareholder meeting.

It is not a big surprise. Ford’s main focus going forward is on trucks, SUVs, and commercial vehicles and the automaker is spending $11 billion to electrify them over the next four years.

The Bronco goes on sale late next year. As details trickle out, we know there will be two- and four-door models and a choice of rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive for a rugged vehicle that will take on the Jeep Wrangler. The doors and top will be removable and can be cleverly stashed in the cargo hold. There will be a spare tire in the back and giant letters spelling Bronco across the front.

In terms of powertrains, educated guesses include the 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and perhaps the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 as the top-spec engine. Ford’s 10-speed automatic transmission is expected and enthusiasts would love the option of a seven-speed manual.

 

Other hybrids in the works

The Ford Bronco hybrid follows the lead of other new utility vehicles to come from the automaker. The new 2020 Ford Escape goes on sale this fall with a choice of two turbocharged gasoline engines as well as a hybrid. A plug-in hybrid Escape will follow in spring 2020. The companion 2020 Lincoln Corsair goes on sale in the fall with a gasoline engine, but a plug-in hybrid is expected to follow in the second model year.

The 2020 Ford Explorer goes on sale next month and choices include a turbo-four and a twin-turbo V-6, as well as a performance ST model and a hybrid. The Lincoln Aviator also goes on sale this summer, and one of the trim levels is a plug-in hybrid.

2020 Ford Explorer Hybrid

The so-far unnamed “baby Bronco,” an Escape-sized compact off-roader, is expected to have hybrid options. Ford has filed a trademark in the U.S. for “Scout” and “Bronco Scout,” names which may possibly refer to this model. Ford is also working on a Mustang-inspired pure electric SUV due in 2020.

The small, entry-level EcoSport is expected to add hybrid options when it is redesigned in 2021. The next Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator will need to add electric motors and batteries as well, likely in two years. Same goes for the next-generation Edge as part of a 2022 redesign if Ford is to keep its commitment to offer some form of electrification in every SUV it offers in North America in the future.

“We’ve got a big commitment to electric vehicles,” Executive Chairman Bill Ford told shareholders. Hackett said their research shows one in five younger buyers say they would consider an electric vehicle for their next purchase.

The executives defended Ford’s low stock price that spent much of the year below $10 as an offshoot of 2018 being a year of transition to fundamentally redesign the company. They said the price should improve in 2019 which they describe as a year of action to execute the new plans. They include 20 new or updated vehicles for North America in the next 24 months of which only 10 percent are sedans.

Work also continues on a level 4 autonomous vehicle in 2021 to be built in Flat Rock, Michigan.

The post Electrifying News: Ford Confirms Bronco Hybrid appeared first on Motortrend.

Categories: Property

Honda to dial back option, trim, and color combinations on its cars

The Car Connection News Feed - Thu, 05/09/2019 - 15:35
Future Honda vehicles will come in fewer color and trim level combinations as the automaker seeks to reduce the complexity of building cars for all markets globally. Automotive News (subscription required) reported Wednesday that the the automaker will seek to streamline versions of the cars its sells. Honda was among the first carmakers to...
Categories: Property

FCA diesel settlement, BMW M8, GM's Ohio assembly plant: What's New @ The Car Connection

The Car Connection News Feed - Thu, 05/09/2019 - 15:30
Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ram 1500 diesel owners eligible for up to $3,075 in settlement Owners of Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 models fitted with a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 engine will be eligible for up to $3,075 because their vehicles did not comply with federal emissions regulations. A federal judge Friday approved the $307.5 million between...
Categories: Property

Get Living secures £112m debt funding deal

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 05/09/2019 - 15:22
Get Living has secured a £112m financing deal from RBC Real Estate Capital Partners, part of RBC Capital Markets, for its Middlewood Locks scheme in Manchester.
Categories: Property

The 2020 Kia Soul GT-Line’s Stereo Has How Many Watts?!

Motortrend News Feed - Thu, 05/09/2019 - 13:00

You’ve seen a hamster drive a car, right? It’s perfectly normal.

The Kia hamsters were a pop sensation when they debuted in commercials in 2009 to sell the original Soul, a boxy subcompact that became as captivating to the American psyche as the anthropomorphic rodents driving it. Remember them? Everyone is a hamster in a wheel, the ads suggested, until the red Soul pulls up with gangsta-rap hamsters showing off a new way to roll.

Over the years, the ads showed the Soul cruising past toasters, a nod to the infamous quote by auto veteran Bob Lutz decrying modern cars as having the design elements of “angry kitchen appliances.” The hamsters changed over the years, as well. With the Soul turbo came a baby hamster named Turbo, featuring the music of Motörhead.

Kia introduced the controversial, slimmed-down, GQ-type hamster in the ad for the redesigned 2014 Soul with a Lady Gaga soundtrack. Lesson learned: People like the fat-boy, baggy-pants mammals busting a move. An electric Soul ad brought out sexy female hamsters shaking their booties.

And now we have MotorTrend’s take on the 2020 Soul GT-Line. No hamsters, just our own expert behind the wheel of the third generation of a boxy vehicle that has outlived like-minded cubed competitors.

The 2020 Soul GT-Line still has the heart of a hip hamster with its 201-hp, 195-lb-ft 1.6-liter turbo-four. Wrap your paws around the Soul’s first paddle shifters with the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. As the video makes clear: “It moves.”

And it rocks with a 640-watt Harman Kardon stereo system. There’s also a 10.25-inch touchscreen, and the Soul is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto because a hamster needs to be hooked up at all times.

 

 

The post The 2020 Kia Soul GT-Line’s Stereo Has How Many Watts?! appeared first on Motortrend.

Categories: Property

Nuveen provides £55.5m loan for Midtown deal

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 05/09/2019 - 12:22
Turkish investor Esas Holdings has secured a £55.6m loan facility from Nuveen Real Estate to help fund its acquisition of 15 Fetter Lane in London’s Midtown.
Categories: Property

Chancerygate forward sells two schemes to M&G

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 05/09/2019 - 12:19
Industrial developer and asset manager Chancerygate has completed four new schemes totalling 282,400 sq ft and forward sold two of them to M&G Real Estate.
Categories: Property

Self-storage occupancy continues to climb

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 05/09/2019 - 12:14
Occupancy across the UK’s self-storage market has continued to climb and now stands at 77.2% of lettable space, according to research by Cushman & Wakefield and The Self Storage Association UK (SSA UK).
Categories: Property

A fifth of lots in the latest Acuitus catalogue are guided at more than £1m

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 05/09/2019 - 12:00
Acuitus has also released a catalogue packed with high-value lots for its next sale on 23 May.
Categories: Property

L&G launches £2bn business combining retirement living with children’s nurseries

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 05/09/2019 - 11:24
Legal & General is expanding its retirement living business with the launch of Guild Living, a new brand focused on city centres that will build children’s nurseries with later living alongside.
Categories: Property

Government sets up £200m fund for cladding removal from private buildings

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 05/09/2019 - 11:05
The government has set up a £200m fund to help speed up the removal of unsafe cladding from high-rise privately-owned buildings.
Categories: Property

Google Assistant turns smartphones into infotainment systems

The Car Connection News Feed - Thu, 05/09/2019 - 11:00
Drivers won't have to upgrade to a new car with a big screen and the latest hardware to use certain functions similar to Google's Android Auto. The tech giant on Tuesday said at its developer conference that its revamped Google Assistant feature set to roll out over the next few months will include a car-oriented Driving Mode that may even be more...
Categories: Property

Intu promotes Sangar to chief investment officer

Property Week News Feed - Thu, 05/09/2019 - 10:57
Intu has promoted corporate development director Dushyant Sangar to chief investment officer.
Categories: Property

Mercedes-Benz in Motorsports at 125 Years: Blitzen Benzes

Motortrend News Feed - Thu, 05/09/2019 - 09:00

When I was a kid, Eddie Rickenbacker was a boy’s perfect hero—World War I fighter pilot (America’s Ace of Aces), prewar racing hero, postwar owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The moment in his life that still lingers with me, though, was November 11, 1918. At exactly 11 a.m., the instant WWI ended. Against orders, he flew his SPAD above the Western Front to watch as the German and Allied soldiers slowly climbed from their tired trenches, hesitantly intermingled, and finally embraced. He was the War to end all wars’ only aerial witness. And I’ve been fascinated by people who’ve had a rare view of the world ever since.

So when the middle-aged gentleman next to me introduces himself, I glance through his thin-framed glasses into his eyes. “Good to meet you. I’m Bernd Mayländer” he says. “Good to meet you, too,” I smile.

For 20 years, he’s been Formula 1’s Safety Car driver, belted in and ever-ready to roar out of the pits to buy time for corner workers to sweep up scattered carbon fiber or crane away a wounded car. For the last three years, his view—which is usually of the befeathered front wings of Hamilton’s or Sebastian Vettel’s nosecones surging in frustration—hasn’t been on any TV monitor. It’s reflected in his AMG-Mercedes GT R’s rearview mirror. Nobody sees Formula 1 quite the way Bernd Mayländer does.

We chat at one of the tables in Exhibit Hall 1 at Silverstone for Mercedes’ blowout, 125 years in motorsports. Surrounding us are a mix of journalists and prominent Mercedes-Benz figures; Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes-AMG Petronas CEO Toto Wolff are in back. White-haired Hans Hermann—at 91, Mercedes’ oldest living driver-icon—is regaling his tablemates. An announcer regrets that Stirling Moss isn’t here, but everybody’s thinking about him. I’m sensing that this really isn’t so much a PR program as our simply tagging along to a multigenerational family reunion.

Schneider’s Eyes

At a table somewhere behind me is five-time DTM champion Bernd Schneider. Two days before and 600 miles to the east, it was Schneider’s eyes that were watching me through the rearview mirror of a very different GT R. Before Silverstone, Mercedes let us sample the super coupe’s latest, screwballiest incarnation, the AMG GT R Pro, in its native Hockenheimring habitat. At one point, Schneider keyed his walkie-talkie with one hand while steering with the other, and, of course, watching in that mirror, too. “I’m taking an unusual line to avoid the puddles. Try to follow me.” How about I just see you? I was half-blind in his plume of mist. My car’s stability control was on, but the car was still wagging its tail anyway on the exit’s glistening wet curbs. You literally couldn’t be too delicate with the throttle; if your right foot’s big toe presses its shoe’s insole, the tail hopped sideways.

If the AMG GT R is Mercedes’ 911 Turbo, the Pro would be its GT3 RS. Although its powertrain and unit body are the same, Mercedes engineers have shaken the Champagne bottle to pressurize its performance with adjustable shocks, a hollow rear anti-roll bar, a carbon-fiber front one (both adjustable), squirmless Uniball bearings on the rear upper A-arms, a carbon-fiber stiffener bolted under the rear floor, and carbon-shell seats. The cockpit’s appropriated several modernized features of the AMG GT 4-Door, including its 12.3-inch instrument and 10.3-inch infotainment displays, a sweet new center console of touch-sensitive buttons, and its elegant steering wheel with touchpads and performance mode switches. And it’s all gift-wrapped in a big chin splitter, fender air extractors, stripes licking over the top and sides, and as its bow on top, a dandy rear wing (complete with a Gurney lip). A lucky 150 recipients will receive these track-day terrors at a mere $240,000 a pop. Order yours now.

Blitzen Benzes

As our dinner plates are placed before us, I ask Mayländer which are his favorites Grand Prix venues. “Here, Silverstone—because it’s so fast. Suzuka. Interlagos. Spa.” I’m surprised by Interlagos and expected Spa to be the very first one he’d mention. Surrounding all our tables is a pocket museum of Mercedes’ crown jewels of racing history. Team manager Alfred Neubauer’s famous pit boards. Nearby, the helmet Juan Manual Fangio wore as he splashed his Mercedes W196 Formula 1 car to victory at the 1955 Argentinian GP hangs like a religious relic. Through its plexiglass visor, Fangio’s gun-metal eyes saw racetracks reel by faster than anyone of his generation. El Maestro—The Master—won an unbelievable 46 percent of the Grand Prix he started. Nearly every other race.

Over there, near the corner of the room, is a gigantic 1909 21.5-liter Blitzen Benz. A tall, white, ancient tombstone of a car, with huge chain sprockets and exhausts like four black elephant trunks reaching down its left side for peanuts somewhere behind it. This one was assembled in the 1930s from parts from two cars, so its story is a puzzle of pieces of forgotten origin. However, its nickname, “Blitzen Benz,” is known to have been coined by Americans as a carnival barker come-on to attract crowds to its popular speed runs. Barney Oldfield did 131.4 mph at Daytona Beach in 1910. Eddie Rickenbacker’s eyes saw 134 mph a decade before his hawklike stare would watch 26 enemy aircraft fall out of the sky after crossing the path of his machine gun’s sites.

Farther along are eerie artifacts of engineering brilliance from an era of human darkness. On January 28, 1938, Rudolph Caracciola’s eyes probably didn’t have their usual happy arcs as they strained within the tiny plexiglass bubble atop his W125 streamliner as it projectiled down the closed A5 autobahn. Wind thundered around the canopy as Caracciola’s eyes saw 268.9 mph through a measured mile—a public road record that would stand for another 80 years. Later that same day, his rival, Bernd Rosemeyer, tried to beat it in his mid-engine Auto Union but was brushed by a sidewind and fatally tumbled off the road at 250. For such a giant car, the W125 has only two small nostril air openings because its engine was actually cooled by ice; its absurdly long and tapering tail is now extending out from behind the table of guests to my right.

At the table ahead of it, Hans Hermann sits grandly. When you can, Google his name. Your screen will fill with black-and-white images from one particular second of 1959. Hermann is on his hands and knees on the AVUS race track’s surface (part of another autobahn, near Berlin), his goggled face looking up at the BRM he’s just fallen out of as the car disintegrates overhead. Has anyone else ever seen their own crash like that?

And corralled all around us are examples from Mercedes’ three epochs of Grand Prix cars. As lore has it, the famous color of the 1930s “Silver Arrows” originated when a car’s white paint (Germany’s original racing color) was sanded down to the aluminum to meet a race’s minimum weight. These cars’ shapes are iguanalike, heavily louvered, with snaking exhausts that slither out of the engine compartment and low along the side. The intimidating red numbers on their flanks only adds to the menace. As two of them lapped Silverstone earlier today, they looked like giant-caliber bullets, sirening to 8,000 rpm gearshifts and crackling repeated downshifts into the corners.

The 1950s Fangio and Moss–era W196s are aluminum skinned, too, but now painted silver, with engineered air ducting instead of those prewar cars’ louvers that simply leaked hot air through their bodywork. These are flatter, square-shouldered cars—masculinely handsome—powered by straight-eights with desmodromic valves, its block canted over to lower their center of gravity. In 1976, I was among a handful of people watching Fangio shake down a W196 at the defunct Ontario Motor Speedway in preparation for an exhibition race at the first Long Beach Grand Prix (for Formula 1). As he climbed in, tanned and fit at 65 in a polo shirt while positioning his goggles, he and the W196 seemly made of the same DNA. Both dense and compact, neatly tailored and supremely confident. Lewis Hamilton did some laps in the W196 at Silverstone, and it was a time-warp contrast—another dominating five-time World Champion, tattooed with earrings. I wonder what Juan would have thought.

Along the wall of glass windows overlooking Silverstone’s pits are the modern-era Formula 1 Mercedes. In fact, an example from 10 consecutive years, 2010 to 2019, all in a row. The first one, driven by Schumacher, was painted a dull gray. Niki Lauda insisted on painting them silver; the painters said that would weight too much (here we go again), then Lauda insisted again (he owns 10 percent of the team). So they came up with a lightweight paint what they’ve ingeniously named Sterling Silver. If the 1930s cars have the primal intimidation of wartime weapons and the ’50s cars are sunny and Cary Grant classy, our eras are plumb ugly to my eyes: chaotic messes of insect snouts and arthritically twisted airfoils imposed on the cars by tight rules and the imperative of aerodynamics.

During a tour of Mercedes AMG Petronas factory in Brackley, England, we came across a mechanic assembling the current car with its drivetrain—the heart of Mercedes’ Grand Prix domination—exposed and half-apart. Wow, the mighty Mercedes on an operating table, its guts for all to see. I positively blanched peering into it. If these cars are praying mantises on the outside, here within is astonishing sculpture. Its gleaming, delicate tendons of structure spear through the cam covers; the surfaces of the tiny, intricate block are 1.6 liters of artwork. Engineering can have its unique style. Release the clamps of the bonnets, and the engine bays of those Mercedes ’30s and ’50s cars look like jumbled, industrial plumbing. The parts have dull finishes because their only intention is horsepower-making on their insides. Nothing else matters. This looks like the gleaming structural delicacy of a space probe at JPL.

Valtteri’s View

The next day we were back at Silverstone and quickly divided into groups. Mine was directed down into the garage and its cacophony of mechanics rapping air guns and revving engines to warm them for hot laps. I’m handed a driving suit and shoes. “Go in there and put these on,” I’m told. I don’t know what’s going on, but I close the dressing room curtain and change. Coming out, I’m handed a helmet. “Let me help you with the HANS device.” I’m getting very nervous. “Get in that car.”

That car is a Mercedes-AMG C63 DTM machine—externally, a slammed and aero-modded C-Class coupe, inside, a carbon-fiber tub powered by a 4-liter AMG V-8. I rope my way through its rollcage into the tight passenger seat. Arms reach in and start yanking down hard on shoulder belt straps. “Tell me when it’s hard to breath.” There’s already a driver in the car, but my HANS device limits my twisting to see him. I hear disconnected voices in my helmet’s communication system, but who’s saying them? “Ready?” I’m asked. “Yep,” I say and give a thumbs-up, too, just to be sure.

As the car grapples for traction out of the pits, I’m glancing over at this guy. White driving suit with two lime green stripes. Silverstone is famously fast, and the g’s from this car’s downforce are seriously pushing me around, but I try to lean to my left some more. His shoes are moving fluidly over the pedals like a ballet dancer’s feet in slow motion. The car is slightly understeering, but his gloved hands are twisting the wheel calmly and certainly. “You OK?” he asks. Despite seeing the braking point coming, I’m still jerked into the belts, my helmet embarrassingly tilting down. “Yes, ah, great.” I know that voice. Christ, this is Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 driver, currently leading the World Driving Championship. I make a mental note to remember all this stuff the next time I figure eight a car around our parking lot traffic cone course.

We veer off the racing line, thread into the pits, and stop. Those hands reach in and release me from the belts that weren’t too tight after all. I twist toward Bottas. “Thank you. That was really great!”

“You’re welcome!” his blue crystal eyes are genuinely friendly.

Last year, they watched his teammate clobber him in an indistinguishable car, winning 11 Grands Prix to his goose egg. My guess is that over the winter break, Bottas’ eyes spent a lot of time staring into a mirror. So far this season, he’s won two out of four.

Three-Pointed Prism

The cars crowded all around Mayländer’s and my table are museum pieces, yes, but very different than anything in the Louvre. They’re touched by human stories and sometimes tragedies, can be described as engineering genius, seen as object beauty, and when fired up can animate our imaginations with their sounds and motion to bring us closer to years like 1910 and 1938, 1955 and 2019. But to me, maybe they’re really windows for our eyes to see life through. In the case of Rickenbacker, Caracciola, Fangio, Mayländer, and Bottas, the windows made by Mercedes-Benz have been like no others.

The post Mercedes-Benz in Motorsports at 125 Years: Blitzen Benzes appeared first on Motortrend.

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