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Deyjah Harris Explains Why She Skips Out Viral Buss It Challenge

Aces Show Biz News Feed - Fri, 01/22/2021 - 13:00
The daughter of rapper T.I. reveals she doesn't plan to join the trend just yet, and it has something to do with her father's past controversial remarks about her hymen.
Categories: Celebrity

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4×4 First Test: Are Vans Better Than Pickups?

Motortrend News Feed - Fri, 01/22/2021 - 12:00

I love a good pickup, but vans such as the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4×4 have me convinced that what Americans really need is a good full-size van and not one of the hundreds of thousands of pickups our compatriots buy each year. While pickups have—for better or worse—become quicker, more luxurious, and more technologically advanced, vans such as the third-generation 2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4×4 have remained laser-focused on one thing: work.

Sprinting to Work

I probably alienated five out of every four pickup buyers with my previous paragraph, but when it comes to actual work, the only thing a pickup can really do better than a van is tow a heavier load; when it comes to hauling, the van is king.

You have the Sprinter to thank for that. Many of you may remember the Dodge Sprinter of the early aughts. A replacement for the Dodge Ram Van, the Dodge Sprinter—essentially little more than a first-generation Mercedes-Benz Sprinter with a crosshair grille—introduced Americans to the wonders of a European-style van. Compared to the pickup-based doghouse-style vans on American roads at the time (think Ford Econoline/E-Series, or the current Chevrolet Express, which coincidentally hasn’t changed much since its 1995 launch), the Sprinter was purpose-built from the ground up to be a van. It was available as a cargo or passenger van with multiple lengths and roof heights (allowing people to stand up straight inside), with slab sides and a stubby hood that hid a diesel engine underneath to maximize space and performance.

Although the Sprinter never outsold the venerable Econoline/E-Series, it did cause Americans to rethink what they wanted in a full-size van. Ford opted to kill off the E-Series in 2014 after 60 years of production in favor of the distinctly European-flavored Ford Transit (a van that coincidently the first-generation Sprinter was modeled after). With Daimler taking the Sprinter back after its split with Chrysler, the Dodge and Ram brands (now partnered with Fiat) tellingly opted to import the Fiat Ducato as the Ram ProMaster instead of engineering a more traditional North American-style van. Meanwhile, Nissan tried its hand at building a traditional pickup-based van, the NV.

Sprinting Toward a New Generation of Van

Finally facing some stiff competition by the Transit and ProMaster, the third-generation Sprinter reached our shores in 2019 and has been largely unchanged since.

There’s quite literally a Sprinter variant for every conceivable purpose—a cargo van, crew van (think crew cab pickup with an enclosed bed), chassis cab, and passenger van. Mercedes also offers two wheelbases (144 and 170 inches), three different lengths (234, 274, and 290 inches), and two different roof heights (regular and high). There are also three engine options (a gas, turbo 2.0-liter I-4 making 190 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque; a turbo-diesel 2.0-liter I-4 making 161 hp and 266 lb-ft; and a turbo-diesel 3.0-liter V-6 producing 190 hp and 324 lb-ft) and two transmission choices (nine-speed auto for the gasser and seven-speed autos for the diesels). Rear-wheel drive is standard across the board, but the diesel V-6 model offers both all-wheel and four-wheel drive options.

We’ll skip diving deep into the variety of weight classes Mercedes offers for the Sprinter, but there are 1500-, 2500-, 3500-, and 4500-series vans, with the ability to tow up to 7,500 pounds or to haul 6,636 pounds—the latter figure will make a Ford Super Duty pickup blush.

Our test unit was a four-wheel-drive 2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500 passenger van with a 144-inch-wheelbase model and the high roof option. It could hold up to 12 passengers, and anyone just shy of an NBA star ought to have no trouble standing up inside of it. Why a 2019 model? Because the likes of Amazon, FedEx, UPS, and others are buying Sprinters by the buckets, and this 2019 model is all that Mercedes has in its fleet. Rest assured, little has changed about the Sprinter in the ensuing years. The coming 2021 models get a little more standard active safety gear, but that’s about it.

Features-wise, this test van was pretty bare-bones for a Sprinter. Its most expensive option was the Low & High Range 4×4 package, a $7,800 extra on our 2019 model year tester, and the Driver Convenience pack ($1,210) that includes features such as blind-spot monitoring and a multi-function steering wheel.

That’s not even half the tech Mercedes offers in the Sprinter. Adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, and even the brand’s MBUX infotainment system, which works with a 10.4-inch touchscreen, are all available. And, although the cabin will never be as luxurious as something such as a GLE or GLS, its fit, finish, and materials quality easily matches that of models like the GLB.

Easy Rider

You wouldn’t think so given its size, but shockingly this big Benz drives rather well. Engineered primarily for narrow European roads, the 2019 Sprinter van drives far smaller and, well, sportier than its 234-inch length and 118-inch height suggest.

“I wasn’t expecting much, but I came away impressed,” road test editor Chris Walton said. “Very communicative and precise steering, amazingly effective and consistent brakes … fun in its own way.”

The Sprinter’s slow-steering rack is both low-effort and accurate, allowing you to confidently place the van on the road, and the van’s power is pretty good, too. The carryover turbo-diesel V-6 is a hair laggy off the line, but the turbo comes on quickly just north of 1,000 rpm, providing a strong surge of torque that only begins to peter out around 5,000 rpm—just as the engine hits redline. Uncharacteristically for a diesel, the Sprinter’s V-6 tends to rev quickly, and it reveals itself to be plenty potent even when the van is loaded with cargo.

The Sprinter’s new transmission has a lot to do with that. A welcome improvement over the old five-speed unit, the new seven-speed automatic features short gear ratios and upshifts quickly, helping the van get off the line far quicker than you’d expect. The new gearbox has an annoying tendency to upshift early on long uphill grades, but it responds quickly to downshift requests, delivered via standard steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

Fast Sprinter

At the test track, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4×4 accelerated from 0 to 60 mph in 11.6 seconds and on through the quarter mile in 18.3 seconds at 73.0 mph. That’s a solid improvement on the last-generation Sprinter, the quickest of which (a rear-drive Sprinter 2500 passenger van with the diesel V-6) accelerated to 60 mph in 12.4 seconds and through the quarter in 18.7 seconds at 71.8 mph. It’s also a fair bit quicker than the recently discontinued Ford Transit diesel (12.5 seconds to 60 mph for a Transit 350 cargo van), but far slower than any Transit equipped with the optional twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6. The last one of those we tested, a passenger van, hit 60 mph in 9.4 seconds with 10 passengers on board; with just a driver, its quickest run was an impressive 7.6 seconds.

Aided by its good brake feel, the 2019 Sprinter 4×4’s best 60–0 mph panic stop measured 136 feet, while it lapped our figure-eight course in 34.2 seconds averaging 0.41 g.

Four-Wheel-Drive Sprinter

Although we didn’t have the opportunity to take this particular Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4×4 van off-roading, the van’s four-wheel-drive setup is mechanically identical to the system used on the previous-generation Sprinter 4×4—which could be a shockingly capable off-roader when equipped with all-terrain tires (and provided you choose your path carefully to mitigate its middling breakover angle). Like the old Sprinter 4×4, the new one gets a suspension lift and an all-wheel-drive system that’s engaged via a small black chiclet of a button with hieroglyphics, located near the driver’s right knee.

Tapping the button turns on a little red light, signifying all-wheel drive is engaged (with a 35:65 front and rear torque split). Opting for the aforementioned low-range package nets the Sprinter 4×4 a proper four-wheel-drive system, with a two-speed transfer case and a low-range that’s engaged via another chiclet button (and a 50:50 torque split). Unlike a G-Wagen, no locking differentials are available on the Sprinter 4×4. All diff “locking” comes via a brake-based system tied into the van’s electronic stability- and traction-control systems.

Sprinting to the Bank

The cheapest 2021 Sprinter is the $38,000 1500 cargo van equipped with the gas 2.0-liter engine, 144-inch wheelbase, and standard roof. Sprinter 2500 crew vans (the sweet spot for people- and cargo-hauling) with the same engine, wheelbase, and roof option start at $43,020. Sprinter 1500 passenger vans (again, with the same engine, wheelbase, and roof options) start at $42,290.

The turbo-diesel V-6 is a $6,125 option on the passenger van for the 2020 model year (bumping the Sprinter up a weight class from a 1500 to 2500), and all-wheel drive is $7,975.  Our frills-free 2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500 4×4 with the high roof and 144-inch wheelbase carried an as-tested price of $61,333.

A Van Worth Sprinting For?

The Sprinter 4×4 is pricey, but with the average new pickup (including midsize, full-size, and heavy-duty) selling for more than $50,000, the Sprinter’s pricing is competitive with bigger, more capable trucks. While the Sprinter’s towing capacity may never match that of full-size and heavy-duty pickups, the Sprinter 4×4’s unique combination of utility, payload capacity, and off-road capability—not to mention its relative efficiency and maneuverability—make it an enticing choice for those who can think outside the box. Or, more appropriately, inside it.

2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500 4×4 BASE PRICE $50,185 PRICE AS TESTED $61,333 VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, 4WD, 12-pass, 4-door van ENGINE 3.0L/190-hp/324-lb-ft turbo-diesel DOHC 24-valve V-6 TRANSMISSION 7-speed automatic CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 6,190 lb (54/46%) WHEELBASE 144.0 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 234.0 x 80.0 x 118.0 in 0-60 MPH 11.6 sec QUARTER MILE 18.3 sec @ 73.0 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 136 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.56 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 34.2 sec @ 0.41 g (avg) EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON Not rated

The post Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4×4 First Test: Are Vans Better Than Pickups? appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

Kendall Jenner's Beau Devin Booker Goes Speechless Over Her Bikini Pic

Aces Show Biz News Feed - Fri, 01/22/2021 - 12:00
The 'Keeping Up with the Kardashians' star and the pro athlete were first romantically linked in April 2020 when they were spotted on a road trip to Sedona, Arizona.
Categories: Celebrity

2021 Mini Cooper Countryman

The Car Connection News Feed - Fri, 01/22/2021 - 12:00
What kind of vehicle is the 2021 Mini Countryman? What does it compare to? The 2021 Mini Countryman small crossover SUV is the largest Mini offering for the U.S. It competes with its parent company’s BMW X1 and X2, as well as the Audi Q3 and Volvo XC40. Is the 2021 Mini Countryman a good SUV? If different is good—and it is—then...
Categories: Property

How Isabel Dos Santos, Once Africa’s Richest Woman, Went Broke

Forbes News Feed - Fri, 01/22/2021 - 11:20
The daughter of Angola’s longtime former president accumulated riches through embezzlement and money laundering, an Angolan court claims.
Categories: Business

The Forbes Billionaires’ List: Africa’s Richest People 2021

Forbes News Feed - Fri, 01/22/2021 - 11:20
The pandemic hasn’t hurt most of the continent’s richest--in fact, they’re wealthier than a year ago. But a corruption probe and court actions led to Africa’s longtime richest woman falling from the ranks.
Categories: Business

Ola Kallenius: Why the EQS Hyperscreen Is Key to Mercedes’ Revenue Future

Motortrend News Feed - Fri, 01/22/2021 - 11:00

Ola Källenius took over as Daimler AG’s chairman of the board of management in 2019. His tenure has been marked by the launch of high tech within vehicles, the need to cut fixed costs, and a pandemic that could have easily thrown everything off course. In his first media roundtable of 2021, Källenius focused on the premiere of the massive MBUX Hyperscreen that constitutes the dashboard of the new 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS flagship electric vehicle. Mercedes largely designed the EQ vehicle family around the massive screen, and the digital services such a screen makes possible are seen as a vital revenue stream going forward.

After the Hyperscreen launches on the EQS, will it roll out across the lineup? The EQS will be the first on a fully dedicated, large luxury electric car. And that will be a family of at least four vehicles. All those four will have access to the Hyperscreen.

What about other brands and vehicles? This is a big physical part literally designed for the interior of those vehicles. So, at the moment, it will be [only for] the family of electric vehicles that come off of that architecture.

Is it standard equipment? It’s not standard equipment; it is an option. There will be another version, which will also be pretty fantastic, but this is so spectacular that this will be a high-end option. We expect a very high take rate.

Is this being driven by the tech business or coming from consumers asking for it? Since we introduced the first generation of MBUX, which was a game changer, the take rate has gone up significantly. [Customers] want the most beautiful, high-tech screen, the physical piece like a piece of art. But as digital content has increased, customers are also looking at buying lots more content.

Will Mercedes partner with streaming services like Netflix and Hulu to provide entertainment content? Yes, we are targeting music and streaming services. Not all of that is available yet in the car world, but we are ready to go and are talking to all of them. For music it is already there, and on movies it will come.

How much work was done in-house?
We are the architects, and we do a lot of it in-house, especially artificial intelligence features. The whole software stack we are gradually building up, the Mercedes-Benz OS, will essentially be an in-house effort, but that doesn’t mean you should reinvent the wheel on everything. We have strong tech partners in many areas to help us do this, but we remain the architects.

What are some of the revenue streams this will open? At the point of sale, when you buy different packages of this MBUX, that is still the biggest revenue source right now. Customers also make over-the-air downloads. There are the obvious things like live traffic services. There is a growing pool of revenue and profit in subscription. We’re looking forward to this growing significantly. In the strategy we presented in the fall for Mercedes as a whole, growing digital and recurring revenues is one of the pillars. We’re targeting about 1 billion euro [earnings before interest and taxes] by the year 2025 for this.

How much of your overall cost-reduction efforts are to develop technology like this? In terms of overall cost-down efforts, lowering our fixed costs, also lowering the break-even point of our business as a whole, we accelerated those efforts in 2020. We took a new look at this on a transformation plan that we had decided upon by the end of 2019 and doubled down on some of those efforts, and made a very big step in the right direction in 2020. But this is not something you stop. You don’t do it once. It’s like mowing the lawn. You cannot stop.

How far along are you on your cost-reduction targets? We have a significant efficiency program put in place up until 2025, because we’re in the transformation of the auto industry. So we’re investing at levels like never before into new technologies, electrification of a whole fleet. It is a dual effort, investing at the highest level ever and at the same time doubling down on efficiencies, and we’re on track for that.

Are there more layoffs to come? Technically we’re not laying people off. We are offering severance packages to people that want that, and we’re using attrition and other means. In some areas, such as the software side, we’re hiring.

The post Ola Kallenius: Why the EQS Hyperscreen Is Key to Mercedes’ Revenue Future appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

Paul Bettany Dubs Daughter 'Incredibly Cruel Child' for Preferring Other Superheroes to His

Ace show biz movies - Fri, 01/22/2021 - 11:00
During an appearance on 'The Kelly Clarkson Show', the 'WandaVision' star also spills on what happened when he got Robert Downey Jr. on the phone to talk to his 9-year-old.
Categories: Movies

Aster Group secures £250m sustainability bond

Property Week News Feed - Fri, 01/22/2021 - 10:45
Housing association Aster Group has priced its first £250m sustainability bond under the group’s new European Medium-Term Notes (EMTN) programme.
Categories: Property

Gym boss calls for formalized landlord/tenant legislation

Property Week News Feed - Fri, 01/22/2021 - 10:43
Gym operators are calling for formalised landlord and tenant legislation to help the fitness sector survive the pandemic.
Categories: Property

Shoppers stuck at home shun new clothes in 2020

BBC Money News Feed - Fri, 01/22/2021 - 10:36
Clothing was the hardest-hit sector last year, seeing a 25% drop in sales overall.
Categories: Money

Kodak Black Already Released From Jail Following Pardon From Trump

Aces Show Biz News Feed - Fri, 01/22/2021 - 10:34
According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons website, the 'Tunnel Vision' rapper has been released less than 24 hours after Trump announced his final list of pardons and commutations.
Categories: Celebrity

Dakota Johnson Claims She's Not a 'Tattoo Fiend' Despite Having '11 or 12' Tattoos

Aces Show Biz News Feed - Fri, 01/22/2021 - 10:11
In a revealing new interview, the 'Fifty Shades of Grey' actress also reveals that she and mom Melanie Griffith got mother-daughter belly button piercings together when she was 14 years old.
Categories: Celebrity

10,000 pubs and restaurants permanently closed in 2020

Property Week News Feed - Fri, 01/22/2021 - 10:09
Nearly 10,000 pubs and restaurants closed their doors for good last year, marking a 15% rise on the number of closures in 2019.
Categories: Property

The (Only) Four Things To Say If You’re Stopped By The Police

Forbes News Feed - Fri, 01/22/2021 - 10:00
Craig and Marc Wasserman, the Pot Brothers at Law, share their script to preserve your rights during interactions with law enforcement.
Categories: Business

'Bachelor' Star Victoria Larson Arrested for Shoplifting - See Her Mugshot

Aces Show Biz News Feed - Fri, 01/22/2021 - 09:50
According to an arrest report, the California native, who calls herself 'queen' on the ABC dating reality show, stole $250 worth of groceries and makeup from a Tallahassee Publix on July 3, 2012.
Categories: Celebrity

'No Time to Die' Release Date Bumped Again to Fall

Ace show biz movies - Fri, 01/22/2021 - 09:40
The newest installment of the spy film franchise is among the latest movies which releases are postponed amid the continuously rising number of coronavirus cases.
Categories: Movies

Nissan confirms Sunderland will stay open due to Brexit deal

Auto Express News Feed - Fri, 01/22/2021 - 09:30
The uncertainty surrounding the plant’s future has been resolved – but Nissan will make changes to keep the plant profitable
Categories: Cars

Jane Krakowski Counters MyPillow CEO Romance Rumors With Fantasy Engagement to Brad Pitt

Aces Show Biz News Feed - Fri, 01/22/2021 - 09:26
The '30 Rock' actress has a hilarious response to rumors saying that she has a secret relationship with Mike Lindell, noting that she's in a full-fledged fantasy relationship with the 'Fight Club' actor.
Categories: Celebrity

Extent Of Bitcoin Bubble Fears Revealed After Huge $200 Billion Bitcoin Price Downturn

Forbes News Feed - Fri, 01/22/2021 - 09:20
Survey data has revealed investors are fearful bitcoin could halve over the coming year—with 50% of respondents giving bitcoin a rating of 10 on a 1-10 bubble scale...
Categories: Business