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LeucX3
01-15-2003, 12:08 PM
Well, i decided to leave work early yesterday and saw something cool on the way home. I was going up the 5 (north) around 2:45pm and in the slow lanes I saw a black A-class Mercedes. At first i thought it was up from Mexico, but then I saw a Euro plate front and back. It was an A190.

Testing? Maybe...however the 50-ish woman didnt' exactly scream out Benz engineer, but who knows. Isn't DC supposed to bring the A-class to the States in a couple of years? It could have just been someone who brought their car over from Europe, but wouldn't that have been expensive?

I'm not sure just how well a 1.9 liter 4-banger would work here, they'd probably have to go with the 2.3 liter in the C-class Sports Coupe. Who knows...

Alex Baumann
01-15-2003, 12:26 PM
Well, I don't want to speculate on whether A-Class may sell well in the USA or not, because I'm not that much familiar with the US market.

But, the A-Class is an ugly vehicle which came out of Stuttgart in last 50 years. It's not cute like a Mini nor it's fun to drive.

I had rented an A-Class three or four years ago. After 20 minutes leaving the rental company, I brought it back and took me a C-Class.

Kaz
01-15-2003, 01:12 PM
The next A-class (slightly enlarged) is slated to come to the US when it's introduced.

I've already seen a couple of current A140s (and even a SMART) rolling around here, though.

SoCal is the place to be to see foreign market test cars. I saw a RHD Prius a year before its US introduction, and various Korean market Hyundais, among other things.

JST
01-15-2003, 01:58 PM
Originally posted by Kaz
The next A-class (slightly enlarged) is slated to come to the US when it's introduced.

I've already seen a couple of current A140s (and even a SMART) rolling around here, though.

SoCal is the place to be to see foreign market test cars. I saw a RHD Prius a year before its US introduction, and various Korean market Hyundais, among other things.

It's got nothing on Detroit. The big three bring over both their own foreign market cars and those of competitors for engineering analysis/evaluation. You can see some very cool, very interesting stuff on the suburban streets of Motown. Some examples, just from my own experience:

-A Euro market A6 at Ford WHQ months before it was introduced in the US.

-A Ka in Dearborn.

-A Sierra Cosworth tooling down my parents' street.

-A Lotus Omega on the country roads around the Milford Proving Grounds.

EDIT: I also followed a Euro spec Lincoln LS home one day (you could tell by the amber turn signals), before the decision was made to scrap the Euro market car. It made me wonder how many other "might-have-been" cars are running around on Detroit streets.

Emission
01-16-2003, 09:42 PM
What kind of spy are you? No pics? :D

ALEX325i
01-17-2003, 07:30 AM
Originally posted by JST

-A Ka in Dearborn.

Sorry, but this one stinks. It's THE worse city car money can buy in Brazil...


-A Lotus Omega on the country roads around the Milford Proving Grounds.


Maybe I'm missing something here, but did you mean Opel Omega?

ALEX325i
01-17-2003, 07:31 AM
Originally posted by Alex Baumann
Well, I don't want to speculate on whether A-Class may sell well in the USA or not, because I'm not that much familiar with the US market.

But, the A-Class is an ugly vehicle which came out of Stuttgart in last 50 years. It's not cute like a Mini nor it's fun to drive.

I had rented an A-Class three or four years ago. After 20 minutes leaving the rental company, I brought it back and took me a C-Class.

Alex, you summed it up very well. I couldn't agree more. I'm actually glad the A-class flunked in Brazil...

RaVe
01-17-2003, 07:38 AM
Originally posted by ALEX325i
Sorry, but this one stinks. It's THE worse city car money can buy in Brazil...



Maybe I'm missing something here, but did you mean [B]Opel Omega?

Lotus Omega was a limited production series Opel Omega, tuned by Lotus, with 370HP, in the early nineties.

see http://gear.ign.com/articles/317/317565p1.html

JST
01-17-2003, 07:43 AM
Originally posted by ALEX325i
Sorry, but this one stinks. It's THE worse city car money can buy in Brazil...



Maybe I'm missing something here, but did you mean [B]Opel Omega?

The Lotus Omega was a twin-turbo 380 hp derivative of the Opel, produced in a collaborative effort between Lotus and an apparently temporarily insane GM of Europe in the late 80s/early 90s. At the time, its performance was staggering. Evo magazine (IIRC) just compared it to the current slate of super-sedans (M5, RS6, etc.) and it acquitted itself very well.

It was odd, because I had just read an article about the Omega in the British magazine Car. I went out to get a soda or something in my folks' Taurus SHO, and ran across one of the beasts wearing manufacturer license plates. We played tag for a bit, but the SHO was completely outgunned by the Omega and it wasn't any sort of contest.

Read about the Omega here:

http://www.lotus-carlton.co.uk/mylotus.htm

Jetfire
01-17-2003, 07:51 AM
As we were leaving Cobo Convention Center last Saturday, I saw a silvery/pewtery XLR drive up to the curb. The driver shook hands and handed the keys over to someone waiting there, and I saw it take off down Jefferson.

Last year, as we were driving home from the show, we came across a small fleet of Dodge Rams. One of them was white and covered in body cladding.

ZBB 325Ci
01-17-2003, 08:50 AM
If that A-Class was in the US for testing purposes it would have had US Manufacturer plates on it (I know at least CA, MI, AZ have manufacturer plates).

It more likely belongs to a tourist on an extended vacation and had their car shipped -- The US does allow you to drive a foreign registered vehicle in the US for up to 1 year. I've seen British-registered motorcycles and a French registered Audi coupe (late 80s model), both when I was in college in Tucson. Also saw an Audi S3 at the Grand Canyon over Christmas this year (but it had Texas plates in the window... )

Speaking of places where you see interesting cars, AZ is good too -- most of the manufacturers have their desert test facilities within 80 miles of Phoenix (Toyota even has a runway long enough to land a 747 for when they fly in cars for testing!). I've probably seen 20+ cars that were pre-release by up to 2 years. Here's a sampling (They're dated -- I moved out of AZ or travelled too much starting about 6 years ago):
- VW Sharan and Ford something (Galaxy?) Euro-minivan (jointly developed for Euro-market in early 90s) Saw them about a year before introduction, driving together down a street in Phoenix
- VW Golf (2 of em) & Jetta (only 1). This was the prior generation (3rd gen golf) that came to the US in ~94 (already out in Europe). They passed me on I-10 South of Phoenix at about 95 mph, undisguised about 1 year before going on sale in US.
- Range Rover (the 2nd Gen body style that just went out of production). Saw 2 of them in Tucson, relatively undisguised, but no badges and pulling trailers. This was ~ 1 year before going on sale.
- Opel Omega (late 80s/early 90s body style). This car was rumored to belong to one of the GM execs as his personal transport -- I saw it multiple times driving around Phoenix.
- VW Passat (early 90s body style). Undisguised, driving in Scottsdale ~6 months before US introduction (already out in Europe).

Also -- a lot of new car press introductions take place in AZ... Often at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel, which is close to my Mom's house... Occasionally you'd see 10+ of the same car parked in front (backed in by Valets) in front of the hotel... 2 months later, all the magazines had their intro reviews...

Also, about a year ago, I saw a mid-80s Ford Sierra at the Detroit Airport. Thought it was a Merkur XR4ti at first, but it had the Euro-only Sierra's side windows and Ford badges. Looked really beat up...

LeucX3
01-17-2003, 11:04 AM
Originally posted by Emission
What kind of spy are you? No pics? :D


Wanna buy me a digital camera? :flipoff: :bigpimp: