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Mercedes chills out
8. Mercedes chills out
Posted by Joe Lorio, Automobile

Though the weather outside Detroit's Cobo Hall was relatively balmy, the theme at Mercedes-Benz was decidedly cool.

The German manufacturer's show stand had a large ice rink as its centerpiece. The chairs in the refreshment zone were covered in white fur and ice skaters circled around an S-class 4Matic. The press conference started with a dogsled riding out onto the ice, after which Mercedes-Benz chief (and DaimlerChrysler chairman) Dieter Zetsche informed the crowd that Mercedes was celebrating 100 years since the introduction of its first four-wheel-drive car, in 1907.Next, several Mercedes-Benz SUVs rolled onto the ice amid circling hockey players and music from Vanilla Ice, as Zetsche boasted of the brand's 48 different all-wheel-drive models.

Despite the ice theme, the bigger news was the GL420 Bluetec, a V-8 diesel with exhaust-cleansing Bluetec technology. (photos from automobilemag.com) The GL420 Bluetec makes 290 hp and 515 lb-ft of torque, yet still manages a combined city/highway fuel economy rating of 24 mpg.

Unfortunately, for now the GL420 Bluetec is only a concept; to see a diesel GL you can buy today, one instead had to look to the V-6 diesel GL320 CDI, which along with the R320 CDI and the ML320 CDI is currently available in 45 states.

Next came more figure skaters and then a red carpet rolled out over the ice as the star of the show arrived: the Ocean Drive concept.

This four-door convertible S-class was driven out by Mercedes-Benz design chief Peter Pfeiffer, with "Dancing with the Stars" winners Emmitt Smith and Cheryl Burke riding in back.

Based on the S600 and powered by a 517-hp, twin-turbocharged V-12, the Ocean Drive rolls on 36-spoke wheels. (photos from automobilemag.com) Up front are LED headlights and inside there is extensive use of real wood, including on the hard tonneau. The massive, power-operated soft top disappears under the trunk lid in 20 seconds.

The Ocean Drive itself will hang around a bit longer, but don't expect this fanciful creation to make production.

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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.