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Cars

A Cool Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon: Project Geländewagen

Coupe of weeks ago Gordon Wagener, the Chief Design Director of Mercedes-Benz, announced a brand-new G-Wagon. A collaboration with Virgil Abloh (founder of Off-White brand and artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s men wear collection). However, only one has been produced so far, with the project being named Project Gelandewagen. The car is inspired by the Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG and looks fantastic.

The reason I am saying that this is a fantastic vehicle is because G63 AMG is undeniably the most pointless SUV. It has massive wheels, its engine is not fit for off-road drives, it makes too much meaningless noise and the exhaust is overexposed. I would even argue that the G63 AMG should have a different, bolder design than the traditional G-Wagon.

The Mercedes-Benz marketing team initially proposed the G-Wagon as a fashion item rather than a functional vehicle. Sure, this helped increase sales figures, but it distanced people like me from the G-Wagon. I think it’s a really good off-road vehicle which doesn’t need to offer an AMG engine. It should be something like a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon – a true off-roader!

Now Mercedes-Benz has the opportunity to offer a proper G63 AMG; it has been designed by Virgil Abloh and Gordon Wagener, LV men’s fashion director and the founder of the Off-White brand. It is only a one-off project, but I think it should be mass produced.

A bit about the vehicle itself: literally everything inside the vehicle is removed. The steering wheel is from the AMG F1, the seats are from the AMG GT, the chunky door handles are done. There’s brand new paint inside and outside. All dials are replaced with the GT racing dials. Their massive slick tyres reduce suspension height and project for the headlamps with duct tape.

This is a proper G63 AMG – I loved it, and I believe this is how it should be offered.

Images // Daimler AG

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Cars

Mercedes-Benz CLA vs. A-Class Sedan

A couple of days ago, I had the opportunity of seeing the Mercedes-Benz A-Class Saloon, in person, on the King’s Road, Chelsea. I thought it was a CLA, and that someone had decided to remove the CL from the vehicle’s badge. Apparently, I was wrong! I should have read the Daimler AG’s press release more carefully, as the A-Class Saloon is an entirely different car than the CLA model.

I personally consider the CLA to be the most obsolete car on this planet, in fact, in our solar system! It looks like someone put the CLS into a dryer which resulted in the obscure looking CLA. The CLA is, however, a cash maker in emerging markets, where the taxation is burdensome on cars. Even taking this into account, it does not justify the awkward aesthetic of the CLA.

I have always considered the CLA to be the ‘Saloon’ version of the A-Class, with a similar frontage, the same interior but with a larger boot. Daimler AG headquarters had a different idea, launching the A-Class Saloon, based on expensive consultants, Excel spreadsheets, and very long reports to justify the advantages and differences over the CLA.

I have been interested in cars since I was a child, and I can even spot the model of a car at night. I could not, however, decipher the difference in design between the CLA and the A-Class Saloon. True, the A-Class Saloon has a higher roofline at the C-column, along with a few other variances, including the suspension which is probably a bit softer in the A-Class Saloon. Yet no glaringly obvious difference would entice someone to choose anything other than the cheapest.

The CLA is positioned as a sportier version, but the differences are so slight I doubt that someone would visit a dealer and measure the rooflines to then decide.

The CLA and A-Class Saloon will inevitably saturate each-others’ market share.

A similar situation occurred with the BMW brand. Take the BMW 3-Series Gran Tour and BMW 4-Series Gran Coupe; they look the same. I raised this issue on my blog and received an abundance of emails in response as so many people were bewildered about the difference or lack of difference between the two models. The only notable criterion was pricing, and this soon wore thin with the consumers, and consequently, the 3-Series Gran Tour was abandoned!

Inevitably this may also be the fate of the A-Class Saloon and the CLA. Someone accidently pitched the idea to Daimler AG, and it went into production.

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Cars

Does The New Mercedes-Benz S-Class (W223) Interior Design Has Serious Problems?

Mercedes-Benz has finally revealed the interior design of the next-generation S-Class W223. Typically, the features you would see inside one S-Class model would be very similar ten years later on subsequent models, including safety technologies such as ESP and the pre-crash system. This time, Mercedes have broken the mould.

The brand is pushing the boundaries with its functionality, with touch-sensitive buttons or tiny touch screens included in its new model for the seat climate controls. The centre console of this S-Class is akin to the likes of the Audi A8, the Tesla Model S, and the Range Rover. There is a complete absence of physical buttons; now you control everything via a state-of-the-art touch screen. It is very much reminiscent of an iPad experience; however, it can be difficult to alter the aircon temperature, for example, whilst you are driving. The lack of real feedback of a physical button when using the touch screen is a concern, and this is a well-known issue.

The S-Class has taken the touch screen control to an entirely new dimension, with even the controls for seat temperature being controlled in this way! Heating and cooling controls for seats used to be psychical buttons. Notably, the Audi A8 still has these, which I consider to be the optimal experience. Now, if you wish to heat your seat, you have to look at the button area to see whether you are touching the correct one; otherwise, you can quickly cool down your seat on a cold winter drive!

Physical buttons allow us to gauge the pressure we apply to the button, and also how many times we have pressed it. These would be much more practical for users when in the motion of driving – something Mercedes have overlooked.

Regrettably, addiction to touch screens will increase the opportunity for a new type of accident. Until now, we haven’t experienced accidents due to driver distraction from touch screen controls, but this could be on the horizon with drivers of cars like this model having to overt their eyes from the road to manage the screen controls. Pre-crash technology systems may prevent such accidents, but there is no need to invent a new type of accident when the existing solutions work perfectly.

Images // Daimler AG

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Cars

Mercedes-Benz New MBUX Technical Details

Mercedes-Benz recently revealed their next-generation user interface system for the upcoming S-Class. I didn’t have a chance to try the system, so my assumptions are based upon what I have observed from press releases and others’ experience.

Since the Tesla Model S was launched, there has been a trend to remove all buttons from the dashboard, instead of replacing all controls via a touchscreen glass panel. On paper, it is a great way of minimising the clutter of buttons on the dashboard, whilst upholding a current on-trend aesthetic that is technologically savvy. Undeniably, it also looks great from a design perspective; who doesn’t admire Bauhaus (form follows function)?

By removing all necessary physical buttons and replacing them with a touch screen also created a new source for vehicle accidents; I crashed while I was trying to adjust the climate control temperature.

This problem is ousted by Mercedes-Benz’s voice-activated technology. The system assumes that people will say something and the car will simply understand; wishful thinking? There are so many accent and sentence structures, it is extremely challenging for a computer to understand what we want. You can also control everything from the interior buttons and knobs whilst driving, therefore it is very easy and safe.

Of course, Mercedes-Benz didn’t simply release a funky user interface. They introduced probably the best navigation system launched yet. By implementing augmented reality into the front screen, the navigation system will show arrows and provide direction directly from the windscreen, placing them at the correct points, instead of telling you ‘turn right after 200 meters’.

I loved the augmented reality navigation system and, likely, other manufacturers and brands will soon follow suit. Admittedly, though, I am not in favour of buttonless dashboards. These will only act to increase accidents and distract people. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if operating a touch screen dashboard is a violation of traffic law. Yes, we need touch screens but not for everything. A hybrid approach would be more optimal than a smartphone approach. What is essentially copying and pasting a smartphone experience into a 2-tone metal object that can travel up to 250 km/h is not the way to move forward.

Here is the technical details of the MBUX (next generation S-Class W223):
Display: 1888 x 1728 resolution, 12.8-inch and 200-ppi (pixel-per-inch) (Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max: 458-ppi)
Storage: 320 GB SSD
Memory: 16 GB RAM with 41,790 MB/sec (bandwidth)
Over-the-air updates

Images // Daimler AG

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Cars

The New Mercedes-Benz S-Class (W223) Leaked

Exactly seven years ago, Mercedes-Benz S-Class press photos were leaked around this time (I have the actual date on my Facebook memories). But this time, it is not a press photo but an Instagram photo. The notorious Instagram account (https://www.instagram.com/cochespias/) for finding leaked car photos managed to find the images of the upcoming S-Class (W223). Sadly though, this is the next model! It looks like a Mercedes-Benz CLA sedan on steroids, and it has finally had its ultra-serious look removed. Yet unfortunately, the upcoming look of the S-Class reminds me of a ‘this look sells more cars’ face.

I am sure that many people will buy the new S-Class, there is no doubt about that. It is the critical player in this segment. But the interior is a bit disappointing. The new steering wheel is touch-capacitive capable, with Mercedes-Benz opting to use the touch screen features of a smartphone on the steering wheel and assumes that this is a good idea. While it means they don’t need moving buttons, this type of design will increase accidental taps and makes the learning curve too steep.

The centre console is a disaster. All touch screen trends started with the Range Rover and Audi caught this terrible virus. Now it is time for Mercedes-Benz. All touch screen centre consoles are pointless and silly – you can’t have button feedback, and you have to stop all the time to adjust the aircon temperature, or the seat heating, or whatever that can be done quickly using knobs and buttons.

Mercedes-Benz’s defence will, in all likelihood, be that it is a new technology and that the driver can use voice control. Voice control in cars has historically been rubbish and never works. Drivers need physical buttons and feedback to control basic controls while driving; otherwise they have to look at the central console to adjust minor things and stop looking at the road. This technology will work in level-5 autonomous vehicles, but we are not there yet! In the meantime, we still need physical buttons on the central console.

I think everyone agrees with you on this. So, what do you think about the buttonless touch only central consoles?

New Mercedes-Benz S-Class W223

New Mercedes-Benz S-Class W223

New Mercedes-Benz S-Class W223

New Mercedes-Benz S-Class W223

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Cars

Beautiful Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600

Following much anticipation, Mercedes-Benz has revealed its Maybach SUV, a vehicle that has been in the pipeline for nearly a decade. Just a few days ago, the Maybach GLS 600 SUV which is based on its existing GLS model.

Interestingly, the launch of the Maybach GLS 600 was timed to perfection. The GLS 600 may not be the most attractive of the luxury SUV market fleet, but from a behavioural economics perspective, we judge everything based on a reference point and the luxury SUV market hosts a more limited range of vehicles. Starting with the Bentley Bentayga, the Rolls Royce Cullinan and the Aston Martin DBX (that looks akin to a Ford Focus SUV despite Aston Martin not being affiliated with Ford). Owing to the competitors’ sense of design the GLS 600 does favourably well in terms of aesthetics and style.

The GLS 600 offers state-of-the-art technology that somewhat supersedes the existing S-Class (the S-Class will have a re-vamped model next year). The Mercedes-Benz technological capabilities are superior to the BMW brand and the VW Group, therefore you can enjoy the tech and added comforts bestowed by luxury brands such as Bentley or Rolls-Royce.

Regrettably, as seen on some of the press images, there are some less aesthetically appealing parts to the interior including some plastic trims. Admittedly, the slightly ridiculous front perspective of the car is not a selling point, but when compared with its rivals in this market, the other alternatives are not much improved. Interestingly, the GLS 600 is the only luxury SUV that offers a central differential lock and a low range gearbox, though this has not been officially confirmed as yet.

Unfortunately for Mercedes, the GLS 600 does not offer the 6-lt V12 engine that you can find inside the Mercedes-Benz S600. The GLS 600 featured a 4-lt V8 bi-turbo engine that is available on AMG models, however, failing to offer the V12 engine means that the GLS will lag behind the Bentley and Rolls-Royce.

Ultimately, the Maybach GLS 600 is a captivating vehicle for this market. Personally, I would not choose to purchase one, however, it will undoubtedly capture the market of Bentley Bentayga as well as penetrating the boundaries of the Rolls-Royce Cullinan market.



Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 4MATICMercedes-Maybach GLS 600 4MATIC

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Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 4MATICMercedes-Maybach GLS 600 4MATIC

Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 4MATICMercedes-Maybach GLS 600 4MATIC

Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 4MATICMercedes-Maybach GLS 600 4MATIC

Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 4MATICMercedes-Maybach GLS 600 4MATIC

Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 4MATICMercedes-Maybach GLS 600 4MATIC

Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 4MATICMercedes-Maybach GLS 600 4MATIC


Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 4MATICMercedes-Maybach GLS 600 4MATIC

Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 4MATICMercedes-Maybach GLS 600 4MATIC

Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 4MATICMercedes-Maybach GLS 600 4MATIC

Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 4MATICMercedes-Maybach GLS 600 4MATIC

Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 4MATICMercedes-Maybach GLS 600 4MATIC

Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 4MATICMercedes-Maybach GLS 600 4MATIC

Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 4MATICMercedes-Maybach GLS 600 4MATIC

Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 4MATICMercedes-Maybach GLS 600 4MATIC



Photo Credit // Mercedes-Benz

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Cars

Why Mercedes-Benz Ended S65 AMG?

A couple of months ago, Mercedes-Benz finalised the SL65 AMG model – the legendary torque monster 6-lt V12 (Internal code M275). I still remember the day when I read about SL65 AMG being unveiled to the public – it was around 2005. The engine output looked insane, going as quick as 100 km/h just like the Ferrari F430 (3.9-sec to 100 km/h)! SL65 AMG was producing 612 HP and 1000 Nm of torque, but it was reduced to avoid destorying the transmission.

This engine was based on the existing V12 engine that was introduced in 1998 (Internal code M137). I can’t say the engines were the same, but they were very similar.

A V12 petrol engine with a bi-turbo was mind-blowing in those years. The Bugatti Veyron was still in the production phase, but it was failing all the time. Ferrari and Aston Martin were producing moderate engine outputs, but Mercedes-Benz came out from nowhere and upped the game.

In the following years, Mercedes-Benz introduced CL65 AMG, S65 AMG, G65 AMG (Yes, they made this for a very short period of time), Maybach 57S and 62S. All of these models were ready to burn some rubber.

As the years passed, the world changed, and the V12 bi-turbo engine became more efficient, kind of. Sadly, the emission restrictions and the lack of demand for this engine forced it out of production.

As people preferred the 63 models (they were much better at delivering power to the wheels), demand was drying out. Mercedes-Benz didn’t make a serious revision to the engine and instead kept using the outdated single overhead camshaft (SOHC) technology. We can’t ignore the weight imbalance when you place a massive V12 engine at the front of a car; it has a negative impact on braking and acceleration.

Unfortunately, 65 models struggled to deliver such enormous power to the road. Aside from the G65 AMG, the rest of the range had a layout of rear-wheel drive, which wasn’t the best set-up to deliver 1000 nm of torque to the road.

The torque problem was so serious that the last S65 AMG models were letting automatic transmission slip on the first two gears to keep the transmission in one piece. Otherwise, it would be shredded into pieces.

This year, Mercedes-Benz decided to stop making 65 models and introduced the S65 AMG Final Edition. It was limited to 130 vehicles, and the legendary V12 was producing 630 HP and 1000 Nm of torque. I am pretty sure this car will be a future ‘classic’ when looking back!


Mercedes-AMG S 65 Final EditionMercedes-AMG S 65 Final Edition Mercedes-AMG S 65 Final EditionMercedes-AMG S 65 Final Edition Mercedes-AMG S 65 Final EditionMercedes-AMG S 65 Final Edition Mercedes-AMG S 65 Final EditionMercedes-AMG S 65 Final Edition Mercedes-AMG S 65 Final EditionMercedes-AMG S 65 Final Edition Mercedes-AMG S 65 Final EditionMercedes-AMG S 65 Final Edition Mercedes-AMG S 65 Final EditionMercedes-AMG S 65 Final Edition Mercedes-AMG S 65 Final EditionMercedes-AMG S 65 Final Edition Mercedes-AMG S 65 Final EditionMercedes-AMG S 65 Final Edition Mercedes-AMG G 65 Final Edition: Kraftvoll und kultiviertThe Mercedes-AMG G 65 Final Edition Mercedes-AMG G 65 Final Edition: Kraftvoll und kultiviertThe Mercedes-AMG G 65 Final Edition Mercedes-AMG G 65 Final Edition: Kraftvoll und kultiviertThe Mercedes-AMG G 65 Final Edition Mercedes-AMG SL 65

Mercedes-AMG SL 65 Mercedes-AMG SL 65 Mercedes-AMG SL 65 Mercedes-AMG SL 65 Mercedes-AMG SL 65 Mercedes-Benz SL 65 AMG Black Series Mercedes-Benz SL 65 AMG Black Series Mercedes-Benz SL 65 AMG Black Series Mercedes-Benz SL 65 AMG Black Series Mercedes-Benz SL 65 AMG Black Series Mercedes-Benz SL 65 AMG Black Series Mercedes-Benz SL 65 AMG Black Series
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Cars

Should Daimler AG Cut Cost for Mercedes-Benz?

There has been much discussion in the news recently about Daimler’s decision to cut costs with Mercedes-Benz due recent financial quarters indicating that it is underperforming. They are planning to make redundancies within Mercedes-Benz and are implementing new cost cutting measures.

This cost cutting is of particular interest. In 1997, when Mercedes-Benz revealed the M-Class SUV, it was a ground-breaking product that pioneered the SUV segment. The M-Class SUV was a beautifully designed vehicle; however, its production quality was terrible. There were noticeable exterior and interior gaps between the parts, so much so that you could easily put your finger between them. Such gaps are always a clear indication of a poor quality automotive.

This poor quality was also seen in the E-Class and other models, except for the S-Class. The E-Class and SL-Class released in 2002 were generally just problem cars. They had serious issues with the SBC brake systems, parts were failing and, whilst I am not saying this for dramatic effect, I remember a moment when a brand new E-Class’s spare tyre compartment lever fell off as soon as the customer tried to open it; it was just a plastic lever. The E-Class also had serious electronic problems; the horn was activating windscreen wipers; signals were flashing the fog lights – the story goes on.

During those years, Daimler decided to cut costs and rely on their heritage to sell cars. It was effective however when a car’s brakes fail, it is not something you can easily recover from. As a result of the problems of E-Class, M-Class, SL-Class, C-Class and others, Daimler invested heavily to restructure their quality and improve customer confidence in the brand. This was a very expensive decision.

Unfortunately, Daimler is heading in the same direction again. With the implementation of new cost cutting measures, it is inevitable that we will witness more electronic problems in the upcoming Mercedes-Benz vehicles. Whilst I hope this won’t happen, today’s vehicles are heavily reliant on electronics. When you cut costs or cut corners with electronics, the consequences are catastrophic. Especially during this era where the automotive industry is highly competitive and there is less consumer demand for cars.

Daimler’s decision to cut costs to satisfy investors will not go well. Sooner or later, they will have to invest heavily again to recover the damage they have caused. However, this time, the damage will be broadcast across social media, having a truly emphatic negative impact on the brand name; much more so than in 2000 when social media was less influential.

We all hoped that Daimler would adopt a more conscious cost cutting measurement this time around, but it seems they may not have learnt their lesson.

Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG 2003

Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG 2003

Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG 2003

Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG 2003

Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG 2003

Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG 2003

Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG 2003

Photo Credit // Mercedes-Benz

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Saying Goodbye to Mercedes SLC (aka SLK) Final Edition

Mercedes-Benz have announced the Final Edition for the SLC (aka SLK), with the initial yellow that was revealed in 1997. I was sad to learn that the SLC will no longer be produced. Nowadays, everyone wants to own an SUV, like the MPV trend a decade ago. During the last decade, people have moved away from sports cars and even sedans to SUVs. As the SUV market has become more saturated, there is an SUV for any taste.

People like the practicality of an SUV and assume that an SUV can be sporty. The demand for the sports car started to decline. This happened slowly but, when we look at recent years, people don’t really buy sports cars anymore. Just SUVs!

This trend is the most evident in the premium market; we still see Ferraris, Aston Martins, and Bentleys. However, we don’t really see BMW Z4s or SLCs like the old days. As I have understood, Mercedes-Benz pushed as far as possible to keep the SLC on the production line, but it didn’t manage to survive.

SLC was a ground-breaking car when it was revealed in 1997! With a metal roof and a very attractive design, it was the most iconic car of its era. However, the metal roof is a serious additional weight and people generally want more space. Also, most importantly, buying an SLC is not cool or trendy anymore. People usually buy this type of car to show that they are trendy and cool. They are not buying it for its features! As being trendy moved from SLC to GLC, people started to avoid the SLC.

This shockwave has reached the SL as well. Hopefully, Mercedes-Benz will keep the SL in production, even though it will make a loss. Their strategy is to keep an iconic product in the production line. Like the S-Class, the SL is an important asset of Mercedes-Benz and makes it distinctive from other manufacturers. People might be buying other Mercedes-Benz products while being influenced by the SL.

Long story short, the SLC is going to end soon, but it will be remembered in the future. I am sure the same will happen to SUVs, as it happened to MPVs. Sooner or later, we will see a reduction in the SUV range.
Mercedes-Benz SLC Final Edition

Mercedes-Benz SLC Final Edition

Mercedes-Benz SLC Final Edition

Mercedes-Benz SLC Final Edition

Mercedes-Benz SLC Final Edition

Mercedes-Benz SLC Final Edition

Mercedes-Benz SLC Final Edition

Mercedes-Benz SLC Final Edition

Mercedes-Benz SLC Final Edition

Mercedes-Benz SLC Final Edition

Mercedes-Benz SLC Final Edition

Mercedes-Benz SLC Final Edition

Photo Credit // Mercedes-Benz

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The New Mercedes-Benz GLE

Mercedes-Benz recently revealed the fourth generation GLE (otherwise known as the ML or M-Class). The first generation was recognised as entirely ground-breaking when it was first revealed in 1997. Prior to it being unveiled, the SUV did not exist; Mercedes-Benz created a new market. They did quite well with a half-baked vehicle. Despite this problem, it was a really good-looking vehicle.

Then the second generation of M-Class arrived. Despite the widespread improvements across every dimension of the car, the design did not benefit from the revamp, resulting in the M-Class becoming known as the most boring SUV.

The third generation failed to escape the boring reputation and was simply an average SUV. I, personally, couldn’t find a single reason to own one. One addition to the third generation that was interesting, however, was that Mercedes-Benz dropped the rear-differential lock and made it a proper soft off-roader. Additionally, the facelifted ML became the GLE!

We are now graced with the presence of the fourth generation of this historic brand and the design reached a different level. It looks hilarious and it kind of resembles the early sketches of the M-Class in the mid-1990s. Despite its melted LEGO design, it has some good tech underneath. Now, if you lose traction, the suspension system increases the pressure on the wheels to increase the traction, which is a brilliant trick! Unfortunately, Mercedes-Benz has yet to outline whether the new GLE has the rear differential lock or not.

Keep in mind, if you buy a 4-cylinder version, it will contain the old 4MATIC system. If you buy the larger engines, you will benefit from the new 4MATIC system that, currently, very little is known about.

Worth to buy? Kind of! The BMW X5 looks like an estate car and the Audi Q7 looks quite interesting. The Range Rover is being a Range Rover. Literally, it is up to you.
Mercedes-Benz GLE

Mercedes-Benz GLE

Mercedes-Benz GLE

Mercedes-Benz GLE

Mercedes-Benz GLE

Mercedes-Benz GLE

Mercedes-Benz GLE

Mercedes-Benz GLE

Mercedes-Benz GLE

Mercedes-Benz GLE

Mercedes-Benz GLE

Mercedes-Benz GLE

Mercedes-Benz GLE

Mercedes-Benz GLE

Mercedes-Benz GLE

Mercedes-Benz GLE

Mercedes-Benz GLE

Mercedes-Benz GLE

Mercedes-Benz GLE

Mercedes-Benz GLE

Photo credit // Mercedes-Benz