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Apple’s quietness is very concerning to many people. This is including me. If anyone knows me or have watched my content for the past few years here at Gadget Experts…. they know I’m a giant Apple fanatic. Call me a fanboy, call me whatever you like. Since I’ve adopted Apple everything, I buy most things Apple. But as a technology journalist, I’ve been using many devices that are not Apple. Devices like the Samsung Galaxy S4 and BlackBerry Z10, and I like them.
I am exposed to so much technology and different attempts at the same general product that I am starting to feel the heat towards Apple. For the past six years, Apple has had it easy. They introduced the original iPhone and I think that is what kept Apple at the top. We see them as pioneers of the next generation. With each iPhone, we see the innovation within the products. Apple has the things we will be doing already planned out, we call this visionary. So what if they are wrong? What if they have a product idea that just doesn’t fit the world. Or even worse, what would happen if someone released it before Apple, like Google Glass. Would Apple be able to take that kind of blow to their ecosystem? I’m not sure.
During all the conference calls that Apple has held, Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, has given everyone assurance that Apple is working on some incredible hardware to be released in 2013 and into 2014. This could just mean a new iPhone and iPad. Nothing really ‘new’. With all the rumors buzzing around, we all expect Apple to change everything in the product line. We are expecting Apple to make a smart watch, a new iPhone, a new iPad and iPad mini, an Apple Television set, a new line of MacBooks with Retina Displays on more models, and maybe even Apple smart glasses. I’m not saying Apple is not capable of making those but Apple is good at making one product as good as it can be and that takes time. The market is consistently changing in the world of Android because there is more than one manufacture developing new products. Apple is the lone wolf in this. They sell their software to themselves and no one else. Does it feel like Apple is being rushed? Well, to the public and tech community, that’s what we think. Is it what Tim Cook is thinking? Probably not.
With all the assurance Cook is giving us I sort of feel that Apple has been working on these innovations for quite some time…. maybe even stretching into the era of Jobs before he stepped down and sadly passed in 2011. I still do hold my fears about Apple. I hope everything will pan out and Apple will regain its innovation strive but hope is only a word. I want to see action from Apple. Quarter by quarter Apple’s market is shrinking. Features that Samsung, LG, HTC, and others are putting into their devices are crazy. Samsung’s Air Gestures and eye tracking are things we haven’t seen in a consumer device. The software that Google is developing is as polished as Apple’s iOS and the applications being developed for the Android operating system is just as slick as Apple’s in my opinion. As we saw at the Google I/O conference, over 50 billion applications have been downloaded from the Google Play Store and a day after that, Apple’s App Store crossed 50 billion applications. Apple doesn’t have the competitive edge of using the marketplace anymore. They need product differentiation not market talk.
We will see some light shined on Apple at WWDC. We hope to see a different iOS. If we see a difference, that may mean some different hardware will peak its head through in September this year. If we see the same old iOS, we may be disappointed. I’m still an Apple supporter. I’ll still buy the products but we can only take so much of the same thing until we, as consumers, will go with the best deal and best technology choice which right now, I’ll admit, is not Apple. If you want product innovation in the mobile sector, Android is the way to go. The HTC One is beautiful and the Samsung Galaxy S4 is a tower of power. The iPhone is still my main daily driver though. I use it for emailing, messaging, phone calls, and to chat with friends. I use my Note II as my work driver though. I hope Apple can get things together to blow us away this year because that is what I need. Blow us away Apple.
It looks like Apple is preparing for a hibernation scene for the summer. They know people won’t buy new Apple tablets and phones during the summer because when fall hits, new iPad and iPhone will emerge from the dark.
The DigiTimes have reported that AU Optronics, the company that supplies Apple panels for the iPad mini will be making only 2.5 to 2.68 million units this quarter instead of the usual 4 million to meet the demand in the Q4 and Q1 time frames. iPad mini will be a bit harder to get a hold of and the sales from Apple will suffer from that. It won’t be a record breaking quarter for Apple but don’t feel bad for Apple…. they still have tons of cash. I mean TONS.
This is also hopeful for those waiting for iPad mini 2. We expect it to be debuted in September along with iPhone 5S/6! Stay tuned.
Alright, alright. You got me. You may have remembered that Gadget Experts reviewed the Nissan 370Z last year with a negative score. We didn’t like its unpracticality, its clunky transmission, and most of all, its price tag. But I do have a confession to make. If you asked me last year if I liked the 370Z, I would have said no. But after thinking about the Z and looking back at the bare roots of the Fairlady Z, I’ve changed my perspective.
Since I drove the Nissan 370Z last year, I’ve driven many other sports cars and all of them have their share of problems. Some were too disconnected and underpowered, some were just too driver-aid friendly, and others were hilariously slow. So where does the Nissan 370Z fit into the market? Well, you have cars like the Mazda Miata and Scion FR-S which are under powered, rear-wheel drive fun things and then you have cars like the Hyundai Genesis which is the most disconnected sports car in the history of sports cars. Other than that, no other Japanese cars really compete. Then you have cars like the Mustang but in the same price category you have to get a V6 or even worse an eco-boost Mustang which goes like a Mus….. Whatever that is. So really your only choice is the Nissan 370Z if you want the perfect combination of aggressive power and rear-wheel drive. Now if you say I can get a preowned Porsche Cayman…. go ahead. Because I did. And good luck with the maintenance costs.
So what do you get with the $31,000 base price? Well, a console from the 1970s and an engine from the 90s. Yes, it’s an old power plant but one that still delivers some good kicks. It’s a 3.7 liter V6 from Nissan’s classic VQ line of motors. Power output is at a good 332 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. Gets the roughly 3400 pound car up to 60 in 5.1 seconds. But if you are as clever as you look you already know this is not a normal Nissan 370Z. I wanted to feel the best of Nissan and the best Z possible. Nothing is better than the Nissan 370Z NISMO. NISMO stands for Nissan In-House Tuning company. It’s a slightly lighter, slightly more powerful version of the regular Nissan 370Z. It’s been given a lower ride height and stiffer suspension too so it’s not just a Nissan Z with some look at me body panels. The engine ECU software has been rewritten to give the engine a little more power and a higher red line so power is upped to 350 horsepower and 276 pound-feet of torque. Will you feel the power difference? No. You will notice the much more fatter exhaust kicking out some nasty tones. When I say nasty, I mean lovely of course.
The next thing the Nissan 370Z NISMO has is a manual transmission. You can get a normal Z with a manual transmission and you should. If you opt for the automatic, we’ll send out resident hit man to come and take care of business outside of your house. Let’s keep it simple. Get the manual. Do yourself a favor. If you don’t know how to drive a manual, no worries because Nissan has something to make you look like a stick god behind the wheel. It’s something called Syncro-Rev Matching which in plain redneck english is, a little doohicky that makes the engine go up to make me look good. Yes, it’s a little engine blip that will automatically blip the throttle on down shifts and match the road speed. If you already know how to drive a manual in a good fashion don’t worry. You can turn off the system by pushing the S-Mode near the shifter. Many mistake this as sport mode…. its not.
The six-speed box is slick. It’s heavy and it feels mechanical. it buzzes and shakes when you shift. It makes you feel like you are in a race car but you are really stuck in I-10 traffic. The clutch is heavy but the travel of slip is small so if you are going for it, heel toe shifts are very easy to do if you are an experience driver. If not, just keep using the two feet because you will stall this vehicle out. When you wind the car up past 6,000 revs, your heart is racing. The noise is fascinating and well, you start sweating because the speed will quickly climb. It’s a good feeling. Good job Nissan!
Let’s get to the driving characteristics. Let me make it clear. I love the Porsche Cayman. I like the clinical feel of the Porsche, it’s very precise and very light on its feet. Something the Nissan sadly does not posses at slow speed. The Porsche is precise at any speed while the Nissan will feel slow and sluggish when you are in town cruising. The steering is heavy and the turning circle isn’t very good. In corners, you will go wide. You may stray off to the next lane if you are driving with the traction control turned onto James May. Now, if you are a brave soul you will switch the traction control off…. but you better be a good driver. When you wind the car up, the speed will climb and with each mile per hour gained, the car will gain precision. The more speed, the more downforce you have. You will get so much mechanical grip that you can literally fly through corners going twice as fast as you’d normally go. Eventually you will reach the limit of adhesion and you’ll oversteer but with a dash of power from the big V6 and you’ll be right back in order. The car doesn’t pivot around your hips but it feels like without you, the car wouldn’t be able to do anything, which is true. The Z plows through a corner at low speed but give it a boot full mid-corner and you’ll get that back end to come loose. It’s spectacularly easy to hold a power slide in this thing.
So the driving characteristics we like so how about the other things like suspension, ride quality, interior, practicality? Well, it’s what you should expect from a small two-seater sports car. The suspension on the NISMO is stiffened, lowered, and the wheels are 19 inch RAYS alloys. It’s an unforgiving ride when you drive in town or on rough country roads. Bumps at speed feel like you fell down several flights of stairs. So if rough rides are not what you are looking for, look for a Honda Civic. The ride quality is not very good. The suspension thing will be annoying, the seats seem like they hug you in the wrong places if you are under 5 foot 7, the wheel arches seem like they catch every single piece of rock, and some road noise comes through the air vents and other parts of the cabin. The interior is a bit better. On the Z you can navigation, bluetooth streaming audio, a back-up camera (because you need one), and more stuff. You could option your car with Leather seats and climate control which are luxuries to have in a sports car. On the NISMO unit we had, we didn’t have navigation but a back-up camera built into our rear view mirror. I seemed to like that more than have it on the navigation screen but there is no tracking on a screen that small and detail isn’t the best. The leather wrapped around the dashboard is very good, the wheel has a sporty grip and sporty weight to it. The dash doesn’t buzz or vibrate and everything seems well thought through. I’m not saying everything will be perfect because there are a couple buttons still made from bottle top plastic which I don’t like. Overall though, nice place to be in. Now if you ask about practicality, you should leave. It’s a two-seater sports car. No back seats, you get a little storage area and a stiffening bar and the trunk is long but very shallow. You’ll struggle to fit a large sized travel bag in there. It’s definitely not meant to be a cross-country car for more than one or two people. Two would be pushing storage space so make sure you go to a nudist beach and resort.
So as of now you probably want a Nissan Z. It seems well thought through, it has the power, it has the riding characteristics of a young driver, and it’s priced well. What should be holding you back? If you are responsible for more than one passenger, don’t get it. If you complain about how much gas prices are, don’t get it. If you want a car to soothe your brow instead of attack it with scissors, don’t get it. But if you like that sort of car that will get you shouted at, this is the one. If you want to be discrete about your sports car, get the normal Z with a silver or black paint job. If you get the NISMO, get a color that shouts. This Magma Red comes to mind.
It’s a classic Google, telling us all their little dirty secrets before…. well, they tell us all their dirty secrets. Ahead of Google I/O’s keynote, Google may have leaked a page speaking about the new Google Maps and this, Android 4.3. They accidentally published it to the developers page but knowing Google, it was in order to generate major media buzz.
We only have a few minutes before the Keynote begins at 9AM PST. Head over to our Live Blog page here.
Improvements to be made to Google Play.
This is an amazing developers conference full of developer news. Stage roll-outs is awesome.
Google is sharing more love with Apple. Cross platform Google Play Services.
Google Play Game services will use Cloud Save.
Notification sync is pretty useful.
I wonder if a company in Cupertino is watching.
48 billion app installs…. pretty close to Apple…..
900 million activations in 2013. Wow.
Vic Gundotra is on stage.
One more minute.
We have a couple more minutes. Stay tuned http://gadgetexperts.net/?p=8843
Welcome to our Live Blog page or hello if you are following on Twitter!
Welcome to our Live Blog page of Google’s annual developers conference! We will start live blogging as soon as the event kicks off this morning! We have a team on the ground prepared to give you the best coverage they can in San Francisco, CA!
Google I/O kicks off at 9AM PST, 12PM EST on Wednesday, May 15th.
It’s not everyday when a new Mercedes-Benz S-Class is leaked. The S-Class is Mercedes’s best kept secret right up until it is debuted at some motor show. The reason why the S-Class is so important to keep under wraps from the public eye and other copy cat manufactures is because the S-Class is the benchmark of technology in current cars. If you want to know what will be in Hondas, KIAs, and other consumer cars in ten years time, look at the current Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
To my eye, the S-Class is more curvy. I dig the nice and subtle bulge on the hood. The rear tail-lights look Bentley inspired as well.
The leaks have been going around for a few weeks now but this is by far the most substantial leak we have seen on the new S-Class. It appears that someone has scanned the brochure of the S-Class and has leaked it online. The brochure is obviously in German but it shows off the new technology of the S-Class like the full LED headlights. It will have the usual sensors and collusion avoidance that any S-Class the past few years have had. Night-Vision, Infrared this and that.
The new S-Class will be available in regular and long wheelbase form, here in the States long wheelbase will be sold only.
Engine wise, three engines will be available at launch. First, the S550 will come with a Twin-Tubro Charged V8 producing 449 horsepower from a 4.7 liter V8. A more fuel-efficient S350 Bluetec will come with a 3.5 liter V6 producing 258 horsepower. And for those who live in California, a S400 Hybrid will have a 3.5 liter V6 hooked up to some electric motors to deliver 302 horsepower.
The S-Class will be unveiled this week, May 15, so stay tuned for full coverage on the S-Class launch.
We all know the big buzz about Apple’s new iOS software that is expected to be previewed at the World Wide Developers Conference in San Francisco in June of this year. We also know that the famous Jony Ive is in charge of iOS software development and human interactions of Apple’s software division. The rumors of iOS 7 becoming more flat and beautiful to use and look at are going to come to life. I’m sure of it. It’s been almost seven years of the same old iOS. Some changes are in order but it will not stray too far from the iOS we know and use today.
New reports have surfaced this morning from 9to5mac about Apple working towards dominating the automobile. We aren’t talking about iCar or Apple’s own automobile but we are talking about integration of the automobile using Apple technology. Not only to dominate how bluetooth works to broadcast music over the air but actually integrate Apple’s software like Siri and Maps to be broadcasted into the dashboards display. The dashboard will not come with an iPad built in the dashboard but more of a cable to plug into the iPhone then it will mirror its display onto the navigation display inside the car. The version of Maps mirrored will be optimized for the larger display and may feature things like speed limit information, next turn, traffic, and other controls for the driver.
It seems that Apple is working on sealing the deals with existing partners like Volkswagen, Chevrolet, and other manufactures that will feature Siri for vehicles this year. We believe that we will find out about these new partnerships next month at the World Wide Developers Conference and also a glimpse at this new and redesigned iOS 7…. if it is redesigned.
Image Credit: 9to5Mac
The brand new Lexus IS, or now called the Lexus Dyson by Top Gear UK is very soon approaching. We took a look at the brand new Lexus IS vehicle earlier this year at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. It’s new revised look is more sporty and now fits what Toyota wants to do with their Lexus brand and if you were planning on purchasing the new Lexus IS, good news!
This morning, Toyota and Lexus have announced the pricing structure of the brand new Lexus IS. For the IS250, a 2.5 V6 developing 204 horsepower will start out at $35,950. This will get you into a rear-wheel-drive car with the standard options but nothing out of the ordinary. If you want some more power, the IS350, a 3.5L V6 developing 306 horsepower will start at $39,465. The IS350 is 2.1 percent lower in price than than the outgoing IS350. A pretty nice difference to hopefully attract more young buyers to the brand.
All models will come standard with HID headlamps, LED daytime running lamps, dual zone climate control and more. Obviously, the options list is enormous and very pricey but if you need some new technology into your new car, you may want to take a look at it. If tech isn’t your thing but driving very fast is, the sport suspension on the F-Sport model may be the option for you to go as of now. With the F-Sport, you get the new front grille which looks like a vacuum cleaner but to me, it looks great. Very LFA.
For M3 seekers, the IS F has not been announced as of yet but I’m sure by the end of this year we will know more about the new IS F. Most likely we will see the return of the big 5.0L V8 but with some new improvements on the Port Injection system along with some fuel saver options like engine stop at traffic lights.
We will keep you updated on the new car and our review of the new IS from Lexus when we get our hands on one! Stay tuned and for those press release junkies, enjoy below.
Lexus Announces Pricing for All-New 2014 IS Sedan
2014 Lexus IS 350 priced 2.1% lower than the model it replaces
Price difference between IS 250 and IS 350 has been reduced by 33% versus outgoing models
Over $1,400 in previously optional equipment made standard for 2014
Industry-first subscription-free real-time traffic and weather information on all multimedia systems
TORRANCE, Calif. (April 29, 2013) – Lexus today announced the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Prices (MSRP) for the all-new 2014 IS sedan, which will arrive at dealerships this summer with a bold new design, engaging driving dynamics, innovative technology and increased interior and cargo room.
The IS 250, powered by a smooth 2.5-liter V6 delivering 204 horsepower and 185 lb.-ft. of torque, will have a starting MSRP of $35,950 for RWD and $38,485 for AWD. The IS 350, which produces 306 horsepower from its 3.5L V6 power plant, will have a starting MSRP of $39,465 for RWD and $41,700 for AWD. The base price for the 2014 IS 350 is 2.1% lower than the model it replaces.
The new IS will be equipped with an array of standard features such as HID headlamps, L-shaped LED daytime running lights, Drive Mode Select, paddle shifters, a dual zone climate control system, a next-generation Remote Touch Interface, Display Audio, a color 4.2 inch TFT multi-information display and 10 airbags. In an industry first, the all-new multimedia system delivers real-time traffic and weather information without a subscription. In all, over $1,400 in previously optional equipment has been made standard for the 2014 IS.
Premium, Luxury and F SPORT packages will be available across the model range. The available Premium Package ($1,050 for RWD models) includes LED headlamps and heated and ventilated front seats. The Luxury Package ($3,665 for RWD models) includes Premium Package features plus a perforated leather-trimmed interior, linear wood trim, electrochromic exterior mirrors with reverse tilt, rain-sensing wipers, driver seat memory, a power tilt/telescopic steering wheel, center stack knee pads and Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
A revamped F SPORT Package ($3,115 for IS 250 RWD and $3,620 for IS 350 RWD) offers a unique full-mesh grille and front bumper, LED headlamps, 18″ split 5-spoke wheels, front sport seats, and a more aggressive sport-tuned suspension. Inside, all F SPORT models feature the attention-grabbing center-mounted tachometer with moving bezel adopted directly from the LFA. The IS 350 F SPORT adds standard Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) with a Sport S+ drive mode. For the first time, the F SPORT package is also available for IS AWD models.
2014 IS Pricing:
Model Drive Type Engine Transmission MSRP*
IS 250 RWD 2.5L V6 6AT $35,950
IS 250 AWD 2.5L V6 6AT $38,485
IS 350 RWD 3.5L V6 8AT $39,465
IS 350 AWD 3.5L V6 6AT $41,700
Package IS 250 RWD IS 250 AWD IS 350 RWD IS 350 AWD
Premium Package $1,050 $610 $1,050 $610
Luxury Package $3,665 $3,225 $3,665 $3,225
F SPORT Package $3,115 $2,675 $3,620 $3,180
Navigation System $2,085
Navigation System with Mark Levinson $3,225
Backup Monitor $350
Power Rear Sunshade $210
18″ Wheel Package with All-season tires $935
18″ Wheel Package with Summer tires $935
Variable Gear Ratio Steering (VGRS) $400
Intuitive Park Assist $500
*MSRP does not include a delivery, processing and handling fee of $895.
Shanghai’s Motor Show is only days away and the buzz has already starting coming out of one of the largest cities in the world. In particular, the Mercedes-Benz GLA Concept. This concept car has been showing its face here and there but we have yet to see one at a auto show.
Mercedes-Benz have announced that we will see the concept roll out at the Shanghai show in a few days. It will be packed with a 2.0L four-cylinder engine delivering 208 horsepower and 258 foot-pounds of torque. It’s hooked up to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic and Mercedes-Benz’s Intelligent All-Wheel-Drive, 4Matic.
Now there is something special with the car but it has nothing to do with the engine, transmission, nor interior. It’s the headlamps. They are shiny blue that will most likely give you a great view in the night but say you park in a drive-in theatre and the projector is not working…. You can use your GLA to display images or videos with the headlamps. The GLA also comes with removable HD cameras that are mounted on the roof so you can shoot HD videos and watch them back through the cars headlamps.
Other than that fascinating feature, the GLA is total Mercedes-Benz. Leather, quality, and comfort. What more can you ask for?
Will the headlamps actually make it? Maybe. But who will really use it?
Mercedes-Benz Concept GLAEscape the everyday
MONTVALE, NJ – Mercedes-Benz announced today that it will debut the Concept GLA premium compact SUV at the Shanghai auto show (April 21- 29). The Concept GLA blends dramatic styling with clear functionality for recreational use. Under the hood of this new concept vehicle
(length/width/height: 172.5/77.8/62.1 inches) sits a four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine rated at 208 hp with a displacement of 2.0 liters. Its power is transmitted to the road via the 7-speed dual clutch automatic transmission and 4MATIC all-wheel drive. A unique highlight
is the new headlamps featuring laser technology, which not only shine more light on the road, but also function as projectors.
“The Concept GLA marks a new approach for us in the compact SUV segment – this is a sporty and more coupé-like evolution of this category of vehicle”, commented Dr. Joachim Schmidt, Executive Vice President Mercedes-Benz Cars, Sales and Marketing. “The Concept GLA is a compact SUV that combines its sporting spirit with the all-round qualities of a tough, leisure-time companion. ‘Escape the everyday’ is the message that this car conveys to its
driver. It also makes clear the further potential of our compact vehicle architecture, which provides the basis for the A- and B-Class models that led the German market in their respective segments in the first quarter of 2013.”
Clever use of SUV design cues: the exterior design
Clear evidence of the innovative thinking on the part of the designers that has gone into this concept vehicle is provided by a number of distinctive features. These include the powerful hood with its powerdomes and a bold radiator grille with centrally positioned star. The new trim surrounding the star merges elegantly into two horizontal bars. Also new are the “softcubes”: these are soft, raised pads that help to give definition to the radiator grille and are also found
on the side sill panels and surrounding the exhaust tailpipes.
The distinctive door mirrors, with their twin supporting struts, are fitted with a protective grille. This, like the skid plate at the front, is very typical of an SUV. The striking appearance of the Concept GLA is also due in no small part to its silver Alubeam paint finish. Even when viewed from the side, the Concept GLA conveys a sense of power and confidence. This reinforces the overall design philosophy behind the vehicle with a “dropping line” that extends from the headlamp to the rear wheel arch. The beltline trim rises slightly from the rear door towards the Cpillar. Together with the light-catching contour formed by the curvature of the vehicle flank and the line that rises from the level of the door sill towards the dropping line, this creates a unique interplay of lines that adds to the sense of powerful elegance. The slim door handles of the five-door vehicle are fully recessed, emerging at the touch of a button. The frameless side windows also emphasize the coupé characteristics of this concept vehicle.
The 20-inch wheels, with their distinctive five-spoke turbine design, are shod in size 255/45 R 20 tires. These have been specifically created for the Concept GLA: their tread pattern continues the lines of the spokes in an optical illusion that makes the wheel spokes appear longer. The muscular haunches above the rear axle, accentuated by the way the
C-pillar is pulled in slightly, extend to the rear over the light clusters, also emphasizing the broad stance of the tail end. The result is a powerfully taut arc that nevertheless avoids aggression. This impression is reinforced by the curvature of the rear window and the elegant chrome strip between the rear light clusters. The large roof spoiler is another eye-catching feature. This
follows through very neatly on the structure of the rear roof paneling and provides the housing for the additional brake light.
Further SUV references, such as a load sill guard and a concealing skid plate fascia panel, highlight the rear bumper. The twin-pipe exhaust system complete the SVU’s aggressive appearance. The tailgate features a power closing system that allows it to be opened or
closed at the touch of a button. Opening the tailgate with its integrated rear light cluster reveals supplementary lights to warn approaching vehicles of the open tailgate. Further light clusters are housed in the rear cross member between the roof rails.
Perfect craftsmanship: the interior
In terms of its design, the interior reflects a clear alignment with the interiors of the other new compact Mercedes-Benz models, reinterpreted here for a sophisticated and exceptionally high-quality SUV. It is dominated by an exciting contrast of leather and dark galvanized aluminum. The four individual seats and the door center panels are upholstered in natural leather in a rich brown tone. Both color and workmanship bring the image of a saddle to mind: all in all, the Concept GLA incorporates more than 65 feet of hand-stitched seams to hold the raw edges of the leather together. The seat cushions, which feature central inlay panels in a high-quality canvas material, display an embossed pattern that continues the saddle theme. An illuminated insert is set into the integrated head restraint of each of the four sports seats.
Grey leather with a graphically applied grain is used on the backs of the front seats, among other places, and continues the idea of patterns flowing over from other surfaces. The armrests and center panels of the door linings are designed as a very clear structural unit. The dashboard is constructed in several layers. On top of a leather-upholstered surface sits a framework in a combination of matte and polished aluminum, which provides the necessary support for all the instruments. This is held in place by clearly visible screws, featuring a special design. This unit is
protected from dust and dirt by a plexiglas covering that is illuminated from behind, adding to the impression that the different layers are free-floating. The control buttons for the COMAND system have also been crafted with meticulous technical precision. They are made of plexiglas and painted from the back in black. Symbols are then etched into the black, also from the back,
before being filled in.
The air vents in the dashboard as well as in the rear represent a further stylistic development of the vents used in the Concept A-Class and Concept Style Coupé, and are also illuminated from behind. They change color according to the interior temperature set by the occupants. At a temperature of 71 degrees Fahrenheit they light up in white. If a cooler temperature is selected for the interior, they turn blue, while choosing heated air switches the illumination to red.
Fiber-optic ambient lighting in the load compartment visually extends the line drawn by the center console all the way from the instrument panel through to the rear seats. A rectangular strip of lighting inset into the load compartment floor serves to highlight the storage locations. Luggage can be secured firmly with a spring-loaded four-point harness, as used in helicopters. A simple handle is used to fold the backrests of the rear sports seats forward to create a
level load compartment floor.
Laser light: new-style headlamps project light and images
Show time! The front headlamps of the Concept GLA are each fitted with a laser-beam projector. These not only provide the light to drive by, but are also capable of projecting pictures or videos onto a screen or other surface. Any media format that can be operated through the COMAND system can serve as a source: pictures or video from a smartphone, the internet, or from a hard drive.
Alternatively, the action can be produced live. The Concept GLA is fitted with two cameras, housed in the front roof rail. And these can be used for far more than just 3D images taken as the Concept GLA drives along: the HD cameras can be removed and, for example, fitted to a mountain bike helmet. An additional lamp unit in each camera ensures that the lighting is right, whatever the situation. As an alternative to the projection option, movies may also be
viewed inside the car on the COMAND screen.
The laser-beam projectors represent far more than simply an academic exercise on the part of the engineers and designers at Mercedes-Benz. As a further enhancement of the head-up display, they could also help to improve road safety: the technology could be used, for example, to project the directional instructions from the navigation system onto the road in the form of
arrows – in this way other drivers and pedestrians would be able to see where a driver is heading.
Laser and LED technology: the headlamps
It is not only the laser-beam projectors and their visible cooling system with rotating vents that make the shimmering blue headlamps of the Concept GLA such an interesting feature. With the “Coming home” function, the blue light begins to pulsate to indicate that the vehicle is ready and waiting for its driver. While the driving lights are the first use of a laser beam reflected off a mirror, the daytime running lamps, with their characteristic “torch” effect, and the indicator lights use LEDs. The indicators feature digital chase lighting strips which blink in a progressive “wave” pattern familiar from the Concept Style Coupé.