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MERCEDES will build its next-generation C-Class, set to debut as a MY2015 car, at its Tuscaloosa, Alabama, plant, as well as in Germany, China, and other sites. U.S. production will fulfill local demand, which Benz expects to rise. The 2015 model will be on an all-new platform and will use Mercedes'multi-drive concept, with gas and diesel powerplants, mild and full hybrids, plug-in hybrids, range-extender electric vehicles, full EV and fuel-cell variants.

"It's hard to predict what future demand might be"for each type of driveline, research and engineering chief Herbert Kohler explains, "so we need flexible architecture and flexible production.The platform will have space for all the necessary components, and we have designed the components so that they can be used flexibly. We can now put the fuel cell in the engine compartment, as in the F800 show car, whereas before it was under the floor."

But let's not get carried away: In the U.S., the volume-selling C-Classes will remain gas-powered. They will use a new generation of direct-injection V-6s, topped by which works with gas and diesel engines. It puts an electric motor and clutch between engine and auto transmission and feeds the motor from a compact lithium-ion battery. Because of the clutch (which isn't in the current S400 hybrid) and enhanced motor power, the car can drive on pure electric power.

Styling elements will be taken from the F800 show car. Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche has said that this concept is important for Mercedes because the company intends to make all its vehicles more closely related in design themes. The next C-Class's overall dimensions will not grow by much, although packaging improvements will inevitably result in more trunk space and rear seat room.

Available technology will include follow-to-stop cruise control, LED headlights, and the newtouchpad HMI previewed on the F800.The driver touches the pad, which contains a camera, and a ghost image of his finger appears on the display screen."Buttons" on the screen can still be seen beneath the ghost image, making it easy to click the correct one. ■ paul horrell a 300-horsepower 3.5-liter. Mercedes also plans to offer a clean diesel and four-cylinder gas engines in the U.S., including a C250CGI model with a 1.8-liter direct-injection turbo developing 204 horsepower and

229 pound-feet of torque. All versions will feature start-stop technology designed to work with Mercedes'seven-speed automatic.

Hybrid models will use Mercedes'modular system.

©2010 Porsche Cars North Amer ca, Inc. Porsche recommends seat belt usage and observance of all traffic laws at all times.

©2010 Porsche Cars North Amer ca, Inc. Porsche recommends seat belt usage and observance of all traffic laws at all times.

www.porsche.com/intelligent-performance for further information."/>
Porsche recommends Mobil fl Please visit www.porsche.com/intelligent-performance for further information.

One race. One day.

24 hours that will change the sports car world.

The 911 GT3 R Hybrid with flywheel storage puts the power of two electric motors and the internal combustion engine on the race track. And the Cayenne S Hybrid with Parallel Full Hybrid puts it on the road. Both stand as testaments to enormous efficiency combined with electrifying performance. And push even further the idea of Porsche Intelligent Performance. By developing groundbreaking technology for motorsports, Porsche is able to implement the rewards into series production. The result is a company of sports cars utilizing smaller, higher-powered, yet more efficient engines. And lighter bodies that result in less fuel consumption and C02 emissions. The epitome of performance with brains. A pure dedication to progress, the environment and, as always, the driver. Porsche. There is no substitute.

The new 911GT3 R Hybrid at the Niirburgring: The first hybrid car of its kind to compete in a 24-hour race.

With the Crown Vic going away, the race is on for a replacement

FORD IS the 800-pound box of doughnuts in the precinct, having dominated U.S. and Canadian cop shops since the rear-drive Chevrolet Caprice went out of production in 1996. But with the ancient Crown Victoria-based Interceptor finally going to that "Hill Street Blues" episode in the sky at the end of next year. Ford has no rear-drive, body-on-frame sedan with which to supply police departments across North America.

Rear drive is important, because that's what police officers of all stripes say they prefer. Body-on-frame also is important because many PDs have their own frame-straighteners and can fix a Crown Vic within days after it's been used to stop, say, a runaway Toyota Prius. The only alternatives soon will be Chevrolet'sTahoe police special and Ford's own Expedition. But since police departments fill up SUV tanks with our tax dollars, the SUVs haven't been popular (Chevy also offers a FWD police Impala).

What to do? Meet the Ford Taurus Interceptor.The Interceptor is front or all-wheel drive, and Ford explains away this issue by claiming that younger cops grew up driving only front-drive vehicles. Ford also says it's done extensive work with police departments to make sure its new, 2012 Taurus-based Interceptor is cost-effective in municipal repair shops.

The Interceptor's powertrains are a 3.5-liter V-6 with more than 260 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque or the 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost with "at least" 365 horses and 350 pound-feet, which will be available only with all-wheel drive.Transmission is six-speed automatic, with a column-mounted shifter.

Special features include AdvanceTrac roll-stability control, optional ballistic door panels, 220-amp alternator, new cooling package, and 18-inch wheels designed to withstand high-speed curbing.There's also a rearview camera, the rear doors open 71 degrees, and the front buckets are scooped out for officers' utility holsters.The rear seat is easy-to-clean vinyl, and the car meets 75-mph rear-impact collision standards.

While Taurus is an upmarket Ford, the Interceptor's Five Hundred-quality interior will take a lot of cost out. It will still be more expensive than a Crown Vic, but it offers similar interior and trunk space and 25-percent-plus better fuel economy.

The new Interceptor will have more competition this time around, though. Here's a look at three other cars that may be used to chase you down for a ticket in the coming years.

■ CHEVROLET CAPRICE POLICE PATROL VEHICLE

Hiding behind billboards from early 2011

Powertrans: 6.0-liter V-8, estimated 355 horsepower/384 pound-feet, and a sub-six-second 0-60-mph time. Active Fuel Management (cylinder shutoff) technology and E85 capability. Chevy will also offer a V-6 (likely the 3.6 gas direct-injection) from 2012. Rear drive, six-speed automatic.

Special features: Longer than the Pontiac G8 because it's based on the bigger of two Holden Zeta rear-drive sedans. Wheelbase is 118.5 inches.

Your tax dollars at work: Likely to be priced competitively against the Ford Interceptor. GM will build it alongside the Camaro in Brampton, Ontario, to fill production capacity. Now that Fritz "I don't like rebadging" Henderson is gone, will this become a civilian Chevrolet Caprice as well?

Bottom line: Despite RWD, probably won't get as much cop shop work as the Ford.

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