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K1 - TR2 Triumph SFI-1 Auto Racing Suit - Driving Nomex Style Fire SFI 3.2A/1
$155.00
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K1 - TR2 Triumph SFI-1 Auto Racing Suit - Driving Nomex Style Fire SFI 3.2A/1
$155.00
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2 5/8" Gauge Auto Meter 2226 Gauge Mounting Brackets AUTO METER
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HJC AR-10 III Helmet - Auto Racing Helmet SA2015
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Archive for the ‘new cars’ Category

PostHeaderIcon The 2018 Stelvio Quadrifoglio Will Set You Back $81,590 with Destination Fees

The wait for the official price of the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio is over. The Italian automaker has announced pricing details for the performance SUV, and it’s not cheap. If you want one, you’re going to have to pay at least $79,995 to go home with what Alfa describes as the “world’s fastest SUV.” Throw in the destination fee of $1,595 and the total cost shoots up to $81,590. And, if you’re looking for options, well, at that point, your mileage and the subsequent price of the SUV will vary.


The 2018 Stelvio Quadrifoglio Will Set You Back $81,590 with Destination Fees - image 768836
“If you want one, you’re going to have to pay at least $79,995 to go home with what Alfa describes as the “world’s fastest SUV.””

The announced price is a little steeper than a lot of us probably expected, but it is in line with how much some of the Stelvio Quadrifoglio’s rivals cost. The Porsche Macan Turbo, for example, can cost as much as $87,495 if you attach a Performance Package to it. Even then, the Porsche still owes 65 horsepower to the Stelvio Quadrifoglio even at that price.

Likewise, the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S is priced at around $80,000. It has roughly the same amount of power — 503 horsepower — as the 505-horsepower Stelvio Quadrifoglio.

The only difference is that, unlike the Stelvio, the Macan Turbo and the AMG GLC 63 S are established performance models from established automakers that have been in the crossover and SUV business for a long time. The Stelvio, on the other hand, is Alfa Romeo’s first-ever SUV. Is it worth spending that much on a first-timer?

Evidently, and quite predictably, Alfa Romeo boss Tim Kuniskis believes that it is. “We specifically crafted the Stelvio Quadrifoglio to truly set itself apart among high-performance vehicles, and it does not disappoint – whether being driven on the Nürburgring or on roads across North America,” he said in a statement. “Equipped with the most powerful Alfa Romeo engine ever and our advanced Q4 all-wheel-drive system, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio roars to life with an exhilarating driving experience.”


The 2018 Stelvio Quadrifoglio Will Set You Back $81,590 with Destination Fees - image 768839

It’s hard to blame Alfa Romeo for settling into this price point for the Stelvio Quadrifoglio. Dropping its price below the Macan Turbo may have some advantages, but it’s not going to build the kind of attachment most high-priced vehicles get from their owners.

I think it’s a fair price for the Stelvio Quadrifoglio. All it has to do now is to live up to its end of the deal and become the high-performance SUV it’s been hyped to be.

References

Alfa Romeo Stelvio


The 2018 Stelvio Quadrifoglio Will Set You Back $81,590 with Destination Fees - image 768837

Read our full review on the 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio.


maker logos - image 741736

Read more Alfa Romeo news.

PostHeaderIcon Ram 1500 Sport

The all-new 2019 Ram 1500 hasn’t even hit showrooms yet, and Ram is already rolling out the special editions. Just this week saw the new iteration of the Texas-inspired Lone Star edition. But now, it’s Canada’s turn. Ram is launching a Canada-only trim called the Sport.

Continue reading for more on the 2019 Ram 1500 Sport.

What makes the 2019 Ram 1500 Sport special


2019 Ram 1500 Sport - image 768778
“The Sport name isn’t new to Ram; it’s had the trim around for several years.”

The Sport name isn’t new to Ram; it’s had the trim around for several years. What’s new, though, is its application on the new 2019 Ram 1500, codenamed DT. The truck gets several Canada-specific features that help it stand out in the land up north. Of course, the Sport edition gets all the new technology and features packed into the 2019 Ram truck.

The Ram 1500 Sport will come in both Quad Cab and Crew Cab versions. On the outside, the truck has a monochromatic theme with body-colored bumpers, mirror caps, and grille surround. Aside from the machined faces on the 21-inch and optional 22-inch wheels, there is no chrome on the truck. Nine different colors are offered. As for the wheels, this marks the first time Ram has offered 22-inch wheels on 4WD models.

Accenting the monochromatic appearance are black accents. This includes the grille louvers and R-A-M logo, the badge on the front doors, the Ram’s Head logo on the tailgate, and the identifying Sport badge near the rear bumper.


2019 Ram 1500 Sport - image 768777
“The Sport comes standard with bi-LED headlights with blacked out internal bezels.”

The Sport comes standard with bi-LED headlights with blacked out internal bezels. LED daytime running lights add function and form thanks to their distinctive shape. LED fog lights are present, too.

For those wanting an even sportier look, Ram is offering an optional Sport hood with heat extractors and a rear louver. It’s the same hood that’s found on the Ram 1500 Rebel.

Speaking of the Rebel, the Sport borrows some interior features, as well. The “light black chrome highlights, real metal trim, and a diamond plate-look” on the center stack is a shared piece. The rest of the interior trim, however, is mostly unique to the Sport. The black interior boasts soft-touch materials on the dash and gauge cluster hood accented with Diesel Gray contrast stitching. The upper glove box on the passenger side gets a Sport badge to signify the trim level.


2019 Ram 1500 Sport - image 768774
“The Ram 1500 Sport comes standard with cloth and premium vinyl seats with both power adjustments and three-way heating”

The Ram 1500 Sport comes standard with cloth and premium vinyl seats with both power adjustments and three-way heating. For those who want something more upscale, Ram offers full leather seating with both heat and ventilation. The leather seats also come with an embossed texture that’s unique to the Sport. For an even more extravagant touch, Ram’s new dual-pane sunroof is offered on Crew Cab models.

Regardless of the seat choice, the Ram 1500 Sport gets power-adjustable pedals, a CD player, a heated steering wheel, and front bucket seats with the large center console. Ram’s 7.0-inch Uconnect infotainment system comes standard, but the 8.4-inch system is optional. The massive 12-inch screen isn’t available, however. Nevertheless, both the 7.0 and 8.4 Uconnect systems include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a full-color touchscreen.

Powering all this leather and glass down Canada’s snow-covered highways is the venerable 5.7-liter Hemi V-8. Ram makes no mention of it, but the optional eTorque mild hybrid system is likely available on the Sport. Either way, the V-8 kicks out 395 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque. The next-generation TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission comes standard, as does rear-wheel drive. 4WD is optional. Our guess is the Ram 1500 Sport’s build numbers will skew heavily towards the 4WD, given Canada’s propensity for massive amounts of snow.


2019 Ram 1500 Sport - image 768795
“Hockey moms will be thankful, then, that the 2019 Ram 1500 comes standard with a slew of safety features”

Hockey moms will be thankful, then, that the 2019 Ram 1500 comes standard with a slew of safety features. They include the ParkView backup camera, brake assist, hill start assist, rainy day braking, ready alert braking, and trailer sway control. Optionally, the Advanced Safety Group adds blind-spot monitoring with trailer detection, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with stop, lane departure warning, 360-degree surround view camera, automatic high beams, and the ParkSense Parallel/Perpendicular Park Assist.

Ram hasn’t announced pricing for the 2019 Ram 1500 Sport (or any other trim level), but the Sport will arrive in Canadian showrooms beginning in the second quarter of 2018. That’s not far off, and the order books are already open.

References

Ram 1500


All-New 2019 Ram 1500 Steals The Show at Detroit - image 758490

Read our full review on the 2019 Ram 1500.


maker logos - image 742288

Read more Ram news.

PostHeaderIcon Lexus LC500 – Driven

It was in 2012 when Lexus pulled the covers off its LF-LC concept car at the Detroit Auto Show. The concept boasted curvy lines, massive rear haunches, a big Spindle Grille, those signature fishhook LED daytime running lights, and a nose almost as long as Michael Keaton’s Batmobile. Somehow Lexus managed to keep the concept’s sultry lines almost completely intact for production. The final result is this, the 2018 Lexus LC500.

I spent a week behind its wheel, doing everything from blasting down the Interstate to picking up the kiddos in the carpool line. It fetched groceries and drew crowds in nearly equal amounts. It also fostered a love/hate relationship in my view. I’ll explain below.

Continue reading for more information.

Exterior

  • Based on LF-LC Concept from 2012
  • Front-engine, rear-drive 2+2 coupe
  • 21-inch wheels
  • Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires

2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven - image 767634
“The 2018 Lexus LC500 is certainly something special to view. No other vehicle on the road shares its proportions”

Just look at it… The 2018 Lexus LC500 is certainly something special to view. No other vehicle on the road shares its proportions. The long, sloping hood runs from the high A-pillars down to the tall Spindle Grille while the roof slopes almost as quickly down the LC’s backside. Like any good coupe, its highest point is above the front seats. The rear tires, despite only being 275-series, look as if they’re incredibly wide thanks to the massive rear fenders and narrowing greenhouse.
Its overall shape is simply stunning. But it doesn’t stop there.

The LC500 packs plenty of visual yumminess into its details. Up front, the LED headlights are arranged in a pod of three, accented by the LED daytime running light and the vertical amber turn signals. The optional 21-inch wheels on my tester look nearly identical to those on the 2012 LF-LC concept car.

The rear features alien-like clear taillights with red and satin chrome accents. The chrome repeats on along the sloping C-pillars, on the badges, and on the dual exhaust finishers. It’s just enough brightwork to keep things interesting, but not so much it looks tacky.


2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven - image 767631
“The rear features alien-like clear taillights with red and satin chrome accents”

Getting into the LC500 is done with Jaguar F-Type style push/pull door handles. The passive entry allows the key fob to remain in a pocket or bag. Sadly, the same isn’t true front the trunk. For some reason, Lexus didn’t include a trunk release button, so the only way to open the truck is with the key fob or by the button on the dashboard near the steering wheel. Yeah… Otherwise, the LC’s exterior is a sensuous exercise in form and function.

Interior

  • Beautifully crafted cabin
  • Driver-centric dashboard
  • Digital gauge cluster
  • 10.25-inch infotainment system
  • Lexus’ Enform infotainment software

2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven - image 767653
“That form and function ethos does very well for the LC’s exterior, but sadly, it does not carry into the interior”

That form and function ethos does very well for the LC’s exterior, but sadly, it does not carry into the interior. Lexus has put form very much ahead of function within the LC.

As far as form goes, the interior is simply stunning. The designers did an amazing job sculpting the panels and creating something that’s unique to anything seen before. What’s more, they executed the design with nary a flaw. Panel gaps incredibly small, the intricate detailing with the different colors and materials, and the overall ergonomics of the driving position are all impeccably done.

However, as for function, the LC500 proves that beauty doesn’t always translate into practicality. For example, the rear seats are very cramped with almost no legroom unless the front seats are slid more than halfway up their tracks. And as petty as it might sound, the two cup holders are better left unfilled. The trunk presents a problem for those with lots of luggage. The opening is rather wide, but the floor is so shallow that anything larger than a carry-on bag won’t fit.


2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven - image 767662
“The Entune infotainment system suffers from the same overcomplicated controls, small menu buttons, and endless menu pages”

Then there’s the issue of the Entune infotainment system. It suffers from the same overcomplicated controls, small menu buttons, and endless menu pages. For example, the heat and vent controls for the front seats are buried under the Climate tab and requires at least three scroll and taps before being able to adjust the temperature. It also requires a close eye to watch the cursor’s trek across the screen. By this time, the driver has watched the screen for far too long.

Admittedly, though, Lexus has given the Enform system a respectable makeover in terms of aesthetics. It no longer looks as dated as it has.

Beyond those frustrations, the interior is impeccably wonderful and makes for a great place to spend time.

Drivetrain

  • 5.0-liter V-8
  • Naturally Aspirated
  • 471 horsepower at 7,100 rpm
  • 398 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm
  • 10-speed automatic transmission
  • Available Torsen limited-slip rear differential
  • 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds
  • Top Speed 168 mph
  • EPA estimated fuel economy: 16/26/19 mpg

2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven - image 767650
“The engine uses direct fuel injection and variable valve timing on its dual overhead cams to generate 471 horsepower at an astonishing 7,100 rpm and 398 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm”

The Lexus LC500 comes with the familiar 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V-8. The engine uses direct fuel injection and variable valve timing on its dual overhead cams to generate 471 horsepower at an astonishing 7,100 rpm and 398 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm. While that’s low by supercar standards, the power is more than enough to get the LC500 moving very quickly.

Lexus says the LC500 will hit 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds and will reach a top speed of 168 mph.

Perhaps the LC’s biggest hindrance is its weight. At 4,280 pounds, the coupe is a bit on the porky side, especially considering Lexus’ use of carbon fiber reinforced plastics on the doors and trunk lid. Those panels also have aluminum skin to keep weight down. Nevertheless, the LC500 works best as a grand touring coupe, like I mention here.


2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven - image 767668
“Managing the power is Lexus’ 10-speed automatic transmission”

Managing the power is Lexus’ 10-speed automatic transmission. The gearbox delivers smooth shifts during easy driving and fires off shifts like a dual-clutch when driven hard. Much the transmission’s duality comes from the LC’s drive modes. Select Eco, Comfort, or Normal, and the car drives like a cloud. Sport and Sport+ modes transform the car into a back road bomber. Downshifts are equally satisfying, too, with the revs happily shooting toward the 7,300 redline and the engine blatting and snarling like a proper engine should.

A Torsen limited-slip differential is an option on the LC500 and it keeps the rear wheels from misbehaving. Of course, turning traction control off results in massive burnouts from its 275/35R21 rear tires.

Hauling things to a stop are massive brakes. The front rotors are two-piece, vented rotors measuring 15.7 inches in diameter. They are clamped by six-piston monoblock calipers. The rear brakes have 14.1-inch vented rotors and four-piston monoblock calipers. And as for the front tires, those measure in at 245/40R21. Perhaps most impressively, Lexus actually specs respectable rubber. The tires are Michelin Pilot Super Sports.


2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven - image 767640
“The Lexus rides on adaptive dampers that change firmness in conjunction with the drive modes”

The Lexus rides on adaptive dampers that change firmness in conjunction with the drive modes. Eco, Comfort, and Normal have the coupe soaking up bumper rather well, making for enjoyable long-distance drives. Sport and Sport+ modes drastically firm the dampers’ ride, giving the LC500 a sportier feel and a nearly flat turn-in.

As for fuel economy, the EPA estimates the LC500 at 16 mpg city, 26 mpg highway, and 19 mpg combined. I averaged around 18 mpg combined over a few hundred miles of mixed driving with a somewhat heavy foot. Add to that the need for premium unleaded. Of course, the price of fuel is hardly a concern with a $100,000 car. If it’s the “save the planet” argument, then for $4,510 Lexus will sell you the LC500h – a gasoline hybrid version with the familiar 3.5-liter V-6.

Pricing


2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven - image 767638

There’s no getting around the LC500’s cost. It’s expensive. However, the car does offer a lot for the money. Here’s how things break down.

The 2018 LC500 starts at $92,000. There are eight color choices, and none cost extra. You can also choose from three interior colors themes without incurring an extra cost, but the swankiest interior theme, “Bespoke White Leather,” requires the $1,000 Convenience Package, the $1,790 Touring Package, and your choice between the $1,210 20-inch or $2,650 21-inch wheels.

Other available packages include the All-Weather Package for $250; the Performance Package for $5,960; the Sport Package with Carbon Fiber roof for $2,960; and the Sport Package with the glass roof for $1,400. Not all can be selected at once, of course.

My tester included the All-Weather Package, the Convenience package with the 21-inch wheels, the Head-up display ($900), the limited-slip differential ($390), the Mark Levinson premium sound system ($1,220), and the Sport Package with the glass roof. Add in the key fob sleeve for $10, the trunk matt for $105, and the destination fee of $995, and my tester’s grand total came to $100,920.

The Competition

The Lexus LC500 has no natural competition that aligns perfectly with its stats. As such, I’m comparing it to something more luxury oriented and another that’s more sport oriented.

2018 Mercedes-Benz S550 4Matic


2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe - image 729462

The Mercedes S550 is a much bigger coupe with more room for people and more roof for things in the trunk. The interior caters far more to comfort with massaging seats, dual temperature and fan speed controls, and even an aroma system that wafts pleasant scents through the HVAC system. The digital gauge cluster offers more customization in its view and doesn’t make the tachometer the central focus.

The S550 is rather powerful thanks to a 4.7-liter, biturbo, V-8 making 449 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed automatic sends power to all four wheels. The sprint to 60 mph happens in only 4.5 seconds.

This level of luxury and performance come at a price. The 2018 S550 4Matic Coupe starts at $122,750. And in typical German fashion, the price skyrockets with added options and packages.

Read our full review on the 2018 Mercedes-Benz S550 4Matic

2018 Jaguar F-Type R


2014 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe - image 533031

The Jaguar F-Type R definitely caters to the sporty side of this comparison. The high-performance coupe offers seating for only two, has a supercharged V-8, has all-wheel drive, and massive brakes. The interior has thinly padded, heavily bolstered leather seats and a very driver-focused dashboard. The trunk has more room than the LC’s but is still only good for a few overnight bags.

So about that power – it’s a supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 making an impressive 550 horsepower and 502 pound-feet of torque. The sprint to 60 mph happens in a blistering 3.9 seconds thanks to the power, an eight-speed automatic transmission, and the added grip from the AWD system. Of course, it’s impossible to talk about the F-Type R’s engine without mentioning its wonderful, world-class variable exhaust system. Push a button near the gearshifter and the entire neighborhood will hear the F-Type coming. It’s glorious!

Naturally, the F-Type R isn’t cheap either. It starts at $99,900 and will exceed $120,000 with options. Jaguar does offer less expensive models with less powerful engines starting at $59,900. There is also the F-Type SVR with even more power and more performance. It starts at $121,900.

Read our full review on the 2018 Jaguar F-Type R

Conclusion


2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven - image 767629

The Lexus LC500 is an interesting car. It concentrates on being a good grand touring coupe but offers impressive performance while falling short glory on either extreme. The Mercedes S550 Coupe is a better luxury car and the Jaguar F-Type R is a better sports car. While that might be a downer if only stopping there, this conclusion is good news for those who want to split the difference in both luxury and performance while paying a lower admission price than charged by both Mercedes and Jaguar. That’s a pretty darn good case for the LC500.

On the subjective side, the LC500 is an immensely surprising offering from Lexus. Its performance feels better than the car’s stats suggest and is overall appeal extends past the typical Lexus customer. All told, it’s a serious performance luxury coupe that worth serious consideration from high-end consumers.

  • Leave it
    • * Down on power compared to others
    • * Gets expensive with options
    • * Will it appeal to the right crowd?

References

Lexus LC


2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven - image 767627

What It’s Like to Daily Drive the Lexus LC500


2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven - image 767626

Why The Lexus LC500 Isn’t Perfect


2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven - image 767625

The 2018 Lexus LC500 is the Definitive Grand Tourer


2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven - image 767649

What Lurks Under The Lexus LC500’s Hood


2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven - image 767653

The Lexus LC500’s Interior is Breathtaking


2018 Lexus LC 500 - image 710825

Read our full review on the 2018 Lexus LC 500.


maker logos - image 746643

Read more Lexus news.

PostHeaderIcon Lexus LC500 – Driven

It was in 2012 when Lexus pulled the covers off its LF-LC concept car at the Detroit Auto Show. The concept boasted curvy lines, massive rear haunches, a big Spindle Grille, those signature fishhook LED daytime running lights, and a nose almost as long as Michael Keaton’s Batmobile. Somehow Lexus managed to keep the concept’s sultry lines almost completely intact for production. The final result is this, the 2018 Lexus LC500.

I spent a week behind its wheel, doing everything from blasting down the Interstate to picking up the kiddos in the carpool line. It fetched groceries and drew crowds in nearly equal amounts. It also fostered a love/hate relationship in my view. I’ll explain below.

Continue reading for more information.

Exterior

  • Based on LF-LC Concept from 2012
  • Front-engine, rear-drive 2+2 coupe
  • 21-inch wheels
  • Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires

2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven - image 767634
“The 2018 Lexus LC500 is certainly something special to view. No other vehicle on the road shares its proportions”

Just look at it… The 2018 Lexus LC500 is certainly something special to view. No other vehicle on the road shares its proportions. The long, sloping hood runs from the high A-pillars down to the tall Spindle Grille while the roof slopes almost as quickly down the LC’s backside. Like any good coupe, its highest point is above the front seats. The rear tires, despite only being 275-series, look as if they’re incredibly wide thanks to the massive rear fenders and narrowing greenhouse.
Its overall shape is simply stunning. But it doesn’t stop there.

The LC500 packs plenty of visual yumminess into its details. Up front, the LED headlights are arranged in a pod of three, accented by the LED daytime running light and the vertical amber turn signals. The optional 21-inch wheels on my tester look nearly identical to those on the 2012 LF-LC concept car.

The rear features alien-like clear taillights with red and satin chrome accents. The chrome repeats on along the sloping C-pillars, on the badges, and on the dual exhaust finishers. It’s just enough brightwork to keep things interesting, but not so much it looks tacky.


2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven - image 767631
“The rear features alien-like clear taillights with red and satin chrome accents”

Getting into the LC500 is done with Jaguar F-Type style push/pull door handles. The passive entry allows the key fob to remain in a pocket or bag. Sadly, the same isn’t true front the trunk. For some reason, Lexus didn’t include a trunk release button, so the only way to open the truck is with the key fob or by the button on the dashboard near the steering wheel. Yeah… Otherwise, the LC’s exterior is a sensuous exercise in form and function.

Interior

  • Beautifully crafted cabin
  • Driver-centric dashboard
  • Digital gauge cluster
  • 10.25-inch infotainment system
  • Lexus’ Enform infotainment software

2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven - image 767653
“That form and function ethos does very well for the LC’s exterior, but sadly, it does not carry into the interior”

That form and function ethos does very well for the LC’s exterior, but sadly, it does not carry into the interior. Lexus has put form very much ahead of function within the LC.

As far as form goes, the interior is simply stunning. The designers did an amazing job sculpting the panels and creating something that’s unique to anything seen before. What’s more, they executed the design with nary a flaw. Panel gaps incredibly small, the intricate detailing with the different colors and materials, and the overall ergonomics of the driving position are all impeccably done.

However, as for function, the LC500 proves that beauty doesn’t always translate into practicality. For example, the rear seats are very cramped with almost no legroom unless the front seats are slid more than halfway up their tracks. And as petty as it might sound, the two cup holders are better left unfilled. The trunk presents a problem for those with lots of luggage. The opening is rather wide, but the floor is so shallow that anything larger than a carry-on bag won’t fit.


2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven - image 767662
“The Entune infotainment system suffers from the same overcomplicated controls, small menu buttons, and endless menu pages”

Then there’s the issue of the Entune infotainment system. It suffers from the same overcomplicated controls, small menu buttons, and endless menu pages. For example, the heat and vent controls for the front seats are buried under the Climate tab and requires at least three scroll and taps before being able to adjust the temperature. It also requires a close eye to watch the cursor’s trek across the screen. By this time, the driver has watched the screen for far too long.

Admittedly, though, Lexus has given the Enform system a respectable makeover in terms of aesthetics. It no longer looks as dated as it has.

Beyond those frustrations, the interior is impeccably wonderful and makes for a great place to spend time.

Drivetrain

  • 5.0-liter V-8
  • Naturally Aspirated
  • 471 horsepower at 7,100 rpm
  • 398 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm
  • 10-speed automatic transmission
  • Available Torsen limited-slip rear differential
  • 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds
  • Top Speed 168 mph
  • EPA estimated fuel economy: 16/26/19 mpg

2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven - image 767650
“The engine uses direct fuel injection and variable valve timing on its dual overhead cams to generate 471 horsepower at an astonishing 7,100 rpm and 398 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm”

The Lexus LC500 comes with the familiar 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V-8. The engine uses direct fuel injection and variable valve timing on its dual overhead cams to generate 471 horsepower at an astonishing 7,100 rpm and 398 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm. While that’s low by supercar standards, the power is more than enough to get the LC500 moving very quickly.

Lexus says the LC500 will hit 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds and will reach a top speed of 168 mph.

Perhaps the LC’s biggest hindrance is its weight. At 4,280 pounds, the coupe is a bit on the porky side, especially considering Lexus’ use of carbon fiber reinforced plastics on the doors and trunk lid. Those panels also have aluminum skin to keep weight down. Nevertheless, the LC500 works best as a grand touring coupe, like I mention here.


2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven - image 767668
“Managing the power is Lexus’ 10-speed automatic transmission”

Managing the power is Lexus’ 10-speed automatic transmission. The gearbox delivers smooth shifts during easy driving and fires off shifts like a dual-clutch when driven hard. Much the transmission’s duality comes from the LC’s drive modes. Select Eco, Comfort, or Normal, and the car drives like a cloud. Sport and Sport+ modes transform the car into a back road bomber. Downshifts are equally satisfying, too, with the revs happily shooting toward the 7,300 redline and the engine blatting and snarling like a proper engine should.

A Torsen limited-slip differential is an option on the LC500 and it keeps the rear wheels from misbehaving. Of course, turning traction control off results in massive burnouts from its 275/35R21 rear tires.

Hauling things to a stop are massive brakes. The front rotors are two-piece, vented rotors measuring 15.7 inches in diameter. They are clamped by six-piston monoblock calipers. The rear brakes have 14.1-inch vented rotors and four-piston monoblock calipers. And as for the front tires, those measure in at 245/40R21. Perhaps most impressively, Lexus actually specs respectable rubber. The tires are Michelin Pilot Super Sports.


2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven - image 767640
“The Lexus rides on adaptive dampers that change firmness in conjunction with the drive modes”

The Lexus rides on adaptive dampers that change firmness in conjunction with the drive modes. Eco, Comfort, and Normal have the coupe soaking up bumper rather well, making for enjoyable long-distance drives. Sport and Sport+ modes drastically firm the dampers’ ride, giving the LC500 a sportier feel and a nearly flat turn-in.

As for fuel economy, the EPA estimates the LC500 at 16 mpg city, 26 mpg highway, and 19 mpg combined. I averaged around 18 mpg combined over a few hundred miles of mixed driving with a somewhat heavy foot. Add to that the need for premium unleaded. Of course, the price of fuel is hardly a concern with a $100,000 car. If it’s the “save the planet” argument, then for $4,510 Lexus will sell you the LC500h – a gasoline hybrid version with the familiar 3.5-liter V-6.

Pricing


2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven - image 767638

There’s no getting around the LC500’s cost. It’s expensive. However, the car does offer a lot for the money. Here’s how things break down.

The 2018 LC500 starts at $92,000. There are eight color choices, and none cost extra. You can also choose from three interior colors themes without incurring an extra cost, but the swankiest interior theme, “Bespoke White Leather,” requires the $1,000 Convenience Package, the $1,790 Touring Package, and your choice between the $1,210 20-inch or $2,650 21-inch wheels.

Other available packages include the All-Weather Package for $250; the Performance Package for $5,960; the Sport Package with Carbon Fiber roof for $2,960; and the Sport Package with the glass roof for $1,400. Not all can be selected at once, of course.

My tester included the All-Weather Package, the Convenience package with the 21-inch wheels, the Head-up display ($900), the limited-slip differential ($390), the Mark Levinson premium sound system ($1,220), and the Sport Package with the glass roof. Add in the key fob sleeve for $10, the trunk matt for $105, and the destination fee of $995, and my tester’s grand total came to $100,920.

The Competition

The Lexus LC500 has no natural competition that aligns perfectly with its stats. As such, I’m comparing it to something more luxury oriented and another that’s more sport oriented.

2018 Mercedes-Benz S550 4Matic


2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe - image 729462

The Mercedes S550 is a much bigger coupe with more room for people and more roof for things in the trunk. The interior caters far more to comfort with massaging seats, dual temperature and fan speed controls, and even an aroma system that wafts pleasant scents through the HVAC system. The digital gauge cluster offers more customization in its view and doesn’t make the tachometer the central focus.

The S550 is rather powerful thanks to a 4.7-liter, biturbo, V-8 making 449 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed automatic sends power to all four wheels. The sprint to 60 mph happens in only 4.5 seconds.

This level of luxury and performance come at a price. The 2018 S550 4Matic Coupe starts at $122,750. And in typical German fashion, the price skyrockets with added options and packages.

Read our full review on the 2018 Mercedes-Benz S550 4Matic

2018 Jaguar F-Type R


2014 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe - image 533031

The Jaguar F-Type R definitely caters to the sporty side of this comparison. The high-performance coupe offers seating for only two, has a supercharged V-8, has all-wheel drive, and massive brakes. The interior has thinly padded, heavily bolstered leather seats and a very driver-focused dashboard. The trunk has more room than the LC’s but is still only good for a few overnight bags.

So about that power – it’s a supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 making an impressive 550 horsepower and 502 pound-feet of torque. The sprint to 60 mph happens in a blistering 3.9 seconds thanks to the power, an eight-speed automatic transmission, and the added grip from the AWD system. Of course, it’s impossible to talk about the F-Type R’s engine without mentioning its wonderful, world-class variable exhaust system. Push a button near the gearshifter and the entire neighborhood will hear the F-Type coming. It’s glorious!

Naturally, the F-Type R isn’t cheap either. It starts at $99,900 and will exceed $120,000 with options. Jaguar does offer less expensive models with less powerful engines starting at $59,900. There is also the F-Type SVR with even more power and more performance. It starts at $121,900.

Read our full review on the 2018 Jaguar F-Type R

Conclusion


2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven - image 767629

The Lexus LC500 is an interesting car. It concentrates on being a good grand touring coupe but offers impressive performance while falling short glory on either extreme. The Mercedes S550 Coupe is a better luxury car and the Jaguar F-Type R is a better sports car. While that might be a downer if only stopping there, this conclusion is good news for those who want to split the difference in both luxury and performance while paying a lower admission price than charged by both Mercedes and Jaguar. That’s a pretty darn good case for the LC500.

On the subjective side, the LC500 is an immensely surprising offering from Lexus. Its performance feels better than the car’s stats suggest and is overall appeal extends past the typical Lexus customer. All told, it’s a serious performance luxury coupe that worth serious consideration from high-end consumers.

  • Leave it
    • * Down on power compared to others
    • * Gets expensive with options
    • * Will it appeal to the right crowd?

References

Lexus LC


2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven - image 767627

What It’s Like to Daily Drive the Lexus LC500


2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven - image 767626

Why The Lexus LC500 Isn’t Perfect


2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven - image 767625

The 2018 Lexus LC500 is the Definitive Grand Tourer


2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven - image 767649

What Lurks Under The Lexus LC500’s Hood


2018 Lexus LC500 - Driven - image 767653

The Lexus LC500’s Interior is Breathtaking


2018 Lexus LC 500 - image 710825

Read our full review on the 2018 Lexus LC 500.


maker logos - image 746643

Read more Lexus news.

PostHeaderIcon 2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Unveiled

As if it weren’t already obvious from the vast quantity of examples seen on the road, the current generation of the C-Class compact four-door is officially the German brand’s best-selling model, moving as many as 417,000 units worldwide last year. Now, there’s a new model on the horizon, and it’s promising refreshed goods inside and out.

Let’s start with the stuff outside, where the high-powered AMG-spec’d models make their presence known thanks to a diamond grille fitted in front as standard, plus a new front apron and a rear diffuser for the 2019 model year. The rest of the line includes a bevy of silver and chrome trim, as well as halogen headlights with LED daytime running lights. Options include full-LED headlights, which also include goodies like
“High Performance” elements with an “Ultra Range” high beam. The exterior paint options now throw in shades like Mojave silver metallic and emerald green metallic, while standard 17-inch wheels are found in the corners.

Step inside, and you’ll find an interior layout that looks more or less identical to the outgoing model, but Merc swears it’s updated for 2019, and includes a redesign for the center console. Optional interior materials include open-pore brown walnut trim and open-pore anthracite oak, while new interior color schemes include magma grey and black, plus saddle brown for the AMG line. There’s also a new multi-contour seat package which allows for individually adjustable side bolsters and lumbar support, as well as a massaging effect.

In terms of tech, the new C-Class is offered with a fully digital instrument display taken from the S-Class, and complete with three individual viewing modes. Standard spec throws a 5.5-inch display in between the gauges, but with the full digital option, you get a 12.3-inch screen instead. The center screen on the dash measures in at 7.0 inches as standard, but there’s also a high-resolution 10.25-inch screen if you’re willing to pay a bit more. Further features include touch-sensitive controls on the steering wheel, a Qi wireless phone charging system, and the optional Comand Online navigation system.

Mercedes says the C-Class can “drive semi-autonomously in certain situations,” and includes optional features like Active Distance Assist, Active Lane Change Assist, Active Steering Assist, and Active Emergency Stop Assist. Active Brake Assist is standard.

Motivation is once again derived from a turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, which gets up-rated in the latest 2019 model year to produce as much as 255 horsepower. A 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic transmission routes the power aft as standard, with AWD offered as an available option.

Pricing will be announced in March when the C-Class makes its formal debut at the Geneva International Motor Show. Look for the first batch to arrive hot off the presses in August.

References

Mercedes C-Class


2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class - image 698581

Read our full review on the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class.


2016 - 2022 Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe - image 641175

Read our full review on the 2016 – 2022 Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe.


2018 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe - image 699025

Read our full review on the 2018 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe.


maker logos - image 743625

Read more Mercedes-Benz news.


maker logos - image 763348

Read more Geneva Motor Show news.

PostHeaderIcon Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

Mercedes-Benz has debuted its third-generation Sprinter van in Duisburg, Germany, appropriately at a portside warehouse. This marks the first all-new Sprinter since 2006 and represents a huge leap forward for the utility vehicle. The van sports a new exterior design, a classy interior with touches from the E-Class, and Mercedes’ new MBUX infotainment system that recently debuted at the 2018 Consumer Electronics show. What’s more, the Sprinter is going electric with the eSprinter variant. Preliminary specs say it uses a 41.4 kWh battery pack with a range of roughly 100 miles.

The Sprinter has enjoyed a very successful run since its introduction in 1995. The van is currently sold in 130 markets and has a lifetime sales figure exceeding 3.4 million. Just last year, Mercedes sold 200,500 Sprinters globally. The new 2019 model replaces the aging second-generation Sprinter, which has been around since 2006. Unfortunately for the U.S., the new Sprinter won’t arrive until late 2019, likely making it a 2020 model.

Continue reading for more information.


Exterior

– * New design

– * Upscale appearance

– * Double sliding doors on cargo models

– * Large barndoor-style rear doors


2018 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter - image 765620
“The new 2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter has a new face, along with several updated details”

The new 2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter has a new face, along with several updated details. The new front end has a taller, more distinguished face. The bumper extends nearly halfway up the grille and the new headlights are more compact and carlike. Lower trim levels have a black plastic bumper, while upper models have a body-colored bumper. Upper trims also get swanky LED headlights with LED daytime running lights shaped after Mercedes’ typical “eyebrow” design. Fog lights are an option, too.

Thanks to the taller grille and more upright bumper, the hood is actually flatter than before. The new look is likely to help with crashworthiness. Nevertheless, the driver will have an unobstructed view forward through the massive windshield.


2018 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter - image 765632
“Around back, the rear doors are now very minimalists due to that missing character line from before”

Things don’t change much around the Sprinter’s sides. That’s actually by design, though. Mercedes wanted to keep the dimensions and overall shape the same so aftermarket upfit companies will need very little modifications to their equipment. Examples include wall-mounted shelving, dividers for the cab and cargo space, and other clever storage options. The stylized character line found on the outgoing Sprinter is gone, however. The van’s new sides look cleaner and less cluttered than before.

Around back, the rear doors are now very minimalists due to that missing character line from before. The Mercedes logo has also been moved; it’s now located below the windows rather than incorporated into them. New, more stylized taillights are more upscale than the segmented and blocky taillights on the outgoing model.

Interior

– * Upscale interior with E-Class cues

– * New MBUX infotainment system

– * Available wireless phone charging

– * Available 360-degree camera system

– * Up to 600 cubic feet of cargo space

– * Hauls up to 12,125 pounds of cargo


2018 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter - image 765653
“While improved, the outside’s changes pale in comparison to the 2019 Sprinter’s new interior”

While improved, the outside’s changes pale in comparison to the 2019 Sprinter’s new interior. The new dash takes after the E-Class by using several of the same switches and controls, along with the turbine-style air vents. Even the power seat adjustment buttons look pulled from a premium luxury sedan – and even the passenger side gets memory settings on upper trims.

Aside from looking nice, the new van also includes some cutting edge technology. The optional infotainment system is the new Mercedes-Benz User Experience, or MBUX, infotainment system. It has voice recognition like many modern smart devices. Simply say “Hey Mercedes” or just “Mercedes,” and the infotainment system will begin listening for commands. The 10.25-inch HD screen includes 3D mapping that’s aided by an Nvidia graphics chip.

The system also receives updates automatically and over the air. A 360-degree camera system can be had, too, making the large van much easier to drive in tight spots. Other optional safety equipment includes Blind Spot Assist, pedestrian detection, and Mercedes’ Crosswind Assist. Autonomous safety tech includes adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking.


2018 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter - image 765650
“The 10.25-inch HD screen includes 3D mapping that’s aided by an Nvidia graphics chip.”

The driver gets to view a rather large, full-color information screen in the gauge cluster. it offers trip computer information, vehicle parameters, audio info, and turn-by-turn directions from the navigation system. Of course, the screen can be configured by the driver.

The steering wheel is also very “E-Classy” it features touch-sensitive controls that operate the driver information screen, along with other buttons that control the audio, phone connectivity, and cruise control. Push-button starting is standard.

Lower trims make use of a less glamours radio head. It only has a small LCD screen with radio information and a clock. Interestingly, Sprinters equipped with the manual transmission have the shifter placed on the center console in what is otherwise a storage compartment. It’s not too dissimilar from the outgoing Sprinter’s design.

In the business end of things, the Sprinter remains very similar to the outgoing model. As mentioned, that’s a great thing for aftermarket upfitter companies that sell custom-fit shelving and other equipment for the Sprinter. Cargo models offer dual sliding doors for nearly limitless access. Both sliding doors and the rear access are wide enough for a standard shipping pallet. The Sprinter has a maximum cargo volume of 17 cubic meters, or 600 cubic feet and will carry 5.5 metric tons, or 12,125 pounds. That’s impressive.


2018 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter - image 765647
“When it comes to hauling people rather than cargo, the Sprinter can be optioned with up to 18 seats in the rear, making for a total of 20 occupants.”

When it comes to hauling people rather than cargo, the Sprinter can be optioned with up to 18 seats in the rear, making for a total of 20 occupants.

More amazingly, the Sprinter is offered in more than 1,700 variants with different cab, body lengths, drivetrain options, payload capacities, roof heights, trim, and other options.

Powertrain

– * U.S.-spec Sprinter now offer four-cylinder gasoline engine

– * Four- & six-cylinder turbodiesel options

– * New eSprinter with 41.4 kWh battery & 100-mile range


2018 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter - image 765639
“The big powertrain news is the new eSprinter version.”

Mercedes was pretty quiet on powertrain details at the launch. We do know both four- and six-cylinder turbodiesel options will be prevalent. Here in the U.S., the Sprinter will debut with a four-cylinder gasoline engine – a first for the U.S.-spec Sprinter. Those turbodiesel engine options will follow. Both automatic and manual transmission options will be available, too. Mercedes will also continue to sell the 4×4 version with its 4WD powertrain, lifted suspension, and off-road tires. The bulk of U.S. Sprinters will have rear-wheel drive.

The big powertrain news is the new eSprinter version. The van will use a 41.4 kWh battery pack that offers a range of roughly 100 miles. Mercedes says those figures are subject to change as the van is still in development. This isn’t Mercedes’ first all-electric van, though. The compact Vito van got an eVito version back in November of 2017. Mercedes is still taking orders for the eVito and will begin shipping them later this year. The eSprinter is expected several months after the standard 2019 Sprinter makes its European debut in showrooms.

Pricing


2018 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter - image 765623

As with most new vehicle debuts, Mercedes did not discuss prices. However, Robert Veit, managing director for Mercedes-Benz USA, spoke with Trucks.com and said the new model will actually have a sharp decrease in pricing thanks to the newly available gasoline engine. According to Dave Sullivan, manager of product analysis for the AutoPacific consulting firm, told Truck.com that prices could drop by $3,000 to $4,000.

Aside from the decreased cost of manufacturing for a gasoline engine, the decrease in price will help the Mercedes better compete with the Ford Transit and Ram ProMaster. Both the Ford and Ram are priced below the current Sprinter’s base MSRP of around $34,000.

The Competition

Ford Transit


Ford Transit Connect Gets Diesel Engine in Chicago - image 766081

The Ford Transit might be relatively new to U.S. shores, but Ford has sold the van globally for decades. Replacing the outdated Econoline van in 2014. Like other “Euro van” configurations, the Transit has a cab-forward design that allows for a short nose. This both allows for maximum use of the wheelbase for cargo room, but also makes for a high, commanding view of the road for the driver.

Here in the U.S., the Transit comes with three engine options. The base is Ford’s 3.7-liter V-6. The humble engine makes 275 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Those fond of gasoline but want something more powerful will like the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6. That engine kicks out 310 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. Diesel fans will like the 3.2-liter inline-five turbodiesel. It makes 185 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. Regardless of engine, every Transit comes with a six-speed automatic transmission that powers the rear wheels.

Prices for the 2018 Ford Transits start at $32,285. Three wheelbases, three roof heights, three trim levels, and the choice between the cargo and passenger model make the Transit incredibly customizable. Not to mention, Ford offers a cut-away version, too.

Read more about the 2018 Ford Transit.

Ram ProMaster


2015 Ram ProMaster City - image 557867

Like the Mercedes and Ford, the Ram ProMaster is a globally available “Euro van” that offers maximum cargo space with a low load floor and a cab-over design. However, the Ram ProMaster name is an American thing. Before FCA was formed, the van was the Fiat Ducato. It still uses that name outside the U.S., though all but the badge is basically the same. Like the others, the ProMaster is available in a nearly limitless number of sizes and configurations.

Powering the U.S.-spec ProMaster is the familiar 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6. In this application, it makes 280 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. The 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 was available until the EPA’s lawsuit with FCA over diesel emissions, however, it seems the EcoDiesel’s future is still bright.

Prices for the 2018 Ram ProMaster start at $29,995 for the cargo version and $34,345 for the passenger model.

Read more about the 2018 Ram ProMaster.

Conclusion


2018 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter - image 765616

The new 2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van is a huge leap forward for Mercedes commercial vehicle division. The updates and innovative in-dash technology aren’t only new for the commercial van segment, but break ground for the entire auto industry. Count on seeing much more of the Mercedes MBUX system over the coming years, for sure.

While U.S. customers will have to wait until late 2019 for the updated van, the wait seems worthwhile. That’s especially true for the new eSprinter electric version. It marks the first full-size commercial van to make the leap to an electric drivetrain. Sadly, that model will require an even longer wait.

On a related note, we’re expected to see these changes reach the Freightliner Sprinter in the near future, too. Freightliner in under the Daimler umbrella and sells its rebadged version of the Sprinter van in the U.S.

  • Leave it
    • * Won’t arrive stateside until late 2019
    • * Base four-cylidner gasser probably weak

References


2015 Mercedes Sprinter - image 625763

Read our full review on the 2015 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.


maker logos - image 743625

Read more Mercedes-Benz news.

PostHeaderIcon Ford Reveals Updated Ka+; Adds Crossover Model and Diesel Engine

Launched back in 1996 as the company’s smallest vehicle, slotted under the popular Fiesta, the Ford Ka+ was redesigned in 2014. Four years later and the tiny hatchback is getting its mid-cycle refresh with new styling cues and updated technology. But unlike most facelifts, the Ka also gained a much-needed diesel engine and a crossover-inspired model. Design changes are pretty much what you’d expect from a mild facelift. The headlamps are slightly larger; the grille was revised and gained a new chrome frame, while the rear features chrome taillight detailing and C-shaped moldings at each corner of the bumper.

Inside, there’s a revised dashboard that looks clean and crisp, plus some new tech. Highlights include a 6.5-inch touchscreen with Sync3 infotainment, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, rain-sensing wipers, and a heated windscreen. Automatic climate control and parking sensors are available as options. Under the hood, the Ka+ continues with the familiar 1.2-liter, three-cylinder gasoline engine. The unit is rated at either 70 or 85 PS (69 or 84 horsepower), depending on trim. The big news is the addition of a diesel engine for the European market. But more about that and the new Active version below.

Continue reading for the full story.

Finally, a Diesel for the Ka+


Ford Reveals Updated Ka+; Adds Crossover Model and Diesel Engine - image 765439
“The mid-cycle update brings a new diesel powerplant to European dealerships”

The mid-cycle update brings a new diesel powerplant to European dealerships. The unit in question is the familiar 1.5-liter four-cylinder that’s already available in the Fiesta and Focus. The turbodiesel isn’t exactly new to the Ka+, having been offered in India since 2014, but it’s the first time this model gets an oil burner on the European market. The unit is rated at 95 PS and 215 Nm of torque (94 horsepower and 159 pound-feet), which makes it the most powerful engine available with the new Ka+.

The mill delivers maximum torque from as low as 1,750 rpm and features an optimized combustion chamber design, new fuel injection, and Smart Regenerative Charging for improved fuel economy. Mileage figures aren’t yet available, but Ford did say that CO2 emissions are estimated from 99 g/km. Just like the gas engines, the diesel mates to a new five-speed manual transmission with Teflon-coated internals and low-friction bearings for improved shifting and refinement, and enhanced fuel economy.

New Crossover-Inspired Trim


Ford Reveals Updated Ka+; Adds Crossover Model and Diesel Engine - image 765418
“Called Ka+ Active, the new trim adds a bit of ruggedness to the tiny hatchback”

Another big highlight is actually a brand-new model. Called Ka+ Active, the new trim adds a bit of ruggedness to the tiny hatchback. It’s basically a competitor for the Hyundai i20, adding a raised ride height and extra cladding to the bumpers and wheel arches to the familiar design. The Ka+ Active is the second Active model after the Fiesta Active, set to go on sale later this year, so Ford is looking to expand to into this niche with hatchbacks that deliver enhanced practicality.

But it’s more than just a perched-up Ka+. It features a unique front sub-frame and suspensions components, both optimized for European roads, improved sound proofing, a wider track, and a larger anti-roll bar up front. The steering was also optimized for crossover-like handling, while the retuned dampers deliver a smoother ride over harsh surfaces.

A Couple of Good Ideas


Ford Reveals Updated Ka+; Adds Crossover Model and Diesel Engine - image 765437
“The new diesel engine is the best idea Ford could've had for the Ka+.”

The new diesel engine is the best idea Ford could’ve had for the Ka+. It should’ve happened years earlier in Europe, where diesels are incredibly popular. The diesel-powered Fiestas and Focuses are selling like hotcakes, and I’m pretty sure that the Ka+ with the diesel option will soon become the most popular of the range. Not only in big markets like Great Britain and Germany but in emerging countries from Central and Easter Europe too.

The Ka+ Active is also a brilliant idea for emerging markets. While European highway and main roads are smooth as a baby’s bottom, local roads aren’t as good in most Central and Easter Europe, or the Balkans. So the Active’s higher ground clearance will come in handy in those parts of the continent. Coupled with the compact size that’s perfect for crowded cities, the fuel-efficient diesel engine, and the affordable sticker, the Ka+ Active has everything it needs to become a thing in some markets.

References

Ford Ka


2016 Ford Ka+ - image 679001

Read our full review on the 2016 Ford Ka+.


maker logos - image 744958

Read more Ford news.

PostHeaderIcon Ford Reveals Updated Ka+; Adds Crossover Model and Diesel Engine

Launched back in 1996 as the company’s smallest vehicle, slotted under the popular Fiesta, the Ford Ka+ was redesigned in 2014. Four years later and the tiny hatchback is getting its mid-cycle refresh with new styling cues and updated technology. But unlike most facelifts, the Ka also gained a much-needed diesel engine and a crossover-inspired model. Design changes are pretty much what you’d expect from a mild facelift. The headlamps are slightly larger; the grille was revised and gained a new chrome frame, while the rear features chrome taillight detailing and C-shaped moldings at each corner of the bumper.

Inside, there’s a revised dashboard that looks clean and crisp, plus some new tech. Highlights include a 6.5-inch touchscreen with Sync3 infotainment, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, rain-sensing wipers, and a heated windscreen. Automatic climate control and parking sensors are available as options. Under the hood, the Ka+ continues with the familiar 1.2-liter, three-cylinder gasoline engine. The unit is rated at either 70 or 85 PS (69 or 84 horsepower), depending on trim. The big news is the addition of a diesel engine for the European market. But more about that and the new Active version below.

Continue reading for the full story.

Finally, a Diesel for the Ka+


Ford Reveals Updated Ka+; Adds Crossover Model and Diesel Engine - image 765439
“The mid-cycle update brings a new diesel powerplant to European dealerships”

The mid-cycle update brings a new diesel powerplant to European dealerships. The unit in question is the familiar 1.5-liter four-cylinder that’s already available in the Fiesta and Focus. The turbodiesel isn’t exactly new to the Ka+, having been offered in India since 2014, but it’s the first time this model gets an oil burner on the European market. The unit is rated at 95 PS and 215 Nm of torque (94 horsepower and 159 pound-feet), which makes it the most powerful engine available with the new Ka+.

The mill delivers maximum torque from as low as 1,750 rpm and features an optimized combustion chamber design, new fuel injection, and Smart Regenerative Charging for improved fuel economy. Mileage figures aren’t yet available, but Ford did say that CO2 emissions are estimated from 99 g/km. Just like the gas engines, the diesel mates to a new five-speed manual transmission with Teflon-coated internals and low-friction bearings for improved shifting and refinement, and enhanced fuel economy.

New Crossover-Inspired Trim


Ford Reveals Updated Ka+; Adds Crossover Model and Diesel Engine - image 765418
“Called Ka+ Active, the new trim adds a bit of ruggedness to the tiny hatchback”

Another big highlight is actually a brand-new model. Called Ka+ Active, the new trim adds a bit of ruggedness to the tiny hatchback. It’s basically a competitor for the Hyundai i20, adding a raised ride height and extra cladding to the bumpers and wheel arches to the familiar design. The Ka+ Active is the second Active model after the Fiesta Active, set to go on sale later this year, so Ford is looking to expand to into this niche with hatchbacks that deliver enhanced practicality.

But it’s more than just a perched-up Ka+. It features a unique front sub-frame and suspensions components, both optimized for European roads, improved sound proofing, a wider track, and a larger anti-roll bar up front. The steering was also optimized for crossover-like handling, while the retuned dampers deliver a smoother ride over harsh surfaces.

A Couple of Good Ideas


Ford Reveals Updated Ka+; Adds Crossover Model and Diesel Engine - image 765437
“The new diesel engine is the best idea Ford could've had for the Ka+.”

The new diesel engine is the best idea Ford could’ve had for the Ka+. It should’ve happened years earlier in Europe, where diesels are incredibly popular. The diesel-powered Fiestas and Focuses are selling like hotcakes, and I’m pretty sure that the Ka+ with the diesel option will soon become the most popular of the range. Not only in big markets like Great Britain and Germany but in emerging countries from Central and Easter Europe too.

The Ka+ Active is also a brilliant idea for emerging markets. While European highway and main roads are smooth as a baby’s bottom, local roads aren’t as good in most Central and Easter Europe, or the Balkans. So the Active’s higher ground clearance will come in handy in those parts of the continent. Coupled with the compact size that’s perfect for crowded cities, the fuel-efficient diesel engine, and the affordable sticker, the Ka+ Active has everything it needs to become a thing in some markets.

References

Ford Ka


2016 Ford Ka+ - image 679001

Read our full review on the 2016 Ford Ka+.


maker logos - image 744958

Read more Ford news.

PostHeaderIcon The 2018 Chevy Traverse RS Gets Ready for Chicago

Chevrolet pulled the covers off the all-new second-generation 2018 Traverse crossover at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show. Now, a year later, Chevy is finally making the Traverse RS available to customers. The news happens as Chevy officially pulls the covers off the sporterized SUV at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show.

The Traverse RS takes cues off other Chevy RS models by adding blacked-out styling cues, larger 20-inch gray wheels, and those red RS badges. The Traverse RS even gets blacked-out Chevy bowties. The overall look isn’t terribly different than the Traverse’s other trim levels, but it’s just enough to justify the special badging.

But the outward appearance is only half the story. The big news is what’s under the RS’ hood.

Chevy has dropped in its familiar 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. This marks the first time the Traverse has used forced induction since its introduction in 2009. The engine uses direct fuel injection and variable valve timing on its dual overhead cams to deliver 257 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, 90 percent of which is available at only 2,100 rpm. The engine pairs exclusively with GM’s nine-speed automatic transmission that powers the front wheels. Unlike the V-6 Traverse, AWD is not available.

Continue reading for more information on the 2018 Chevy Traverse RS.

Turbo-Fueled Torque Monster For Families


The 2018 Chevy Traverse RS Gets Ready for Chicago - image 765866
“The 2.0-liter has 29 pound-feet more torque than the V-6. Unfortunately, horsepower is down by 53 horses.”

While a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder might sound far too small for a three-row full-size crossover that weights no less than 4,362 pounds, Chevy somehow was able to squeeze more torque from the four-pot than what the V-6 engine achieves.

Yep, the Traverse’s 3.6-liter V-6 makes 310 horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 266 pound-feet of torque at 2,800 rpm. That means the 2.0-liter has 29 pound-feet more torque. Horsepower is down by 53 horses compared to the V-6, however. The interesting power figures certainly spark a debate over horsepower, torque, and engine revs.

Generally speaking, the vast majority of daily diving by regular people is done well below an engine’s peak horsepower. Even when merging on to an interstate, the average person probably won’t squeeze every last revolution from their engine. In the V-6’s case, peak horsepower happens at 6,800 rpm – well above what most people would ever use – and what the nine-speed automatic would allow before upshifting to a higher gear.

As such, the 2.0-liter turbo-four and its 29 more pound-feet of torque would likely feel more powerful during daily driving. That’s especially true since the 2.0 offers 90 percent of its peak torque at just 2,100 rpm. That’s smack in the middle of usable revs.


The 2018 Chevy Traverse RS Gets Ready for Chicago - image 765867
” The 2.0-liter turbo-four and its 29 more pound-feet of torque would likely feel more powerful during daily driving.”

Then there is fuel economy. Chevy says a FWD Traverse with the V-6 will get 18 mpg city and 27 mpg highway while the FWD Traverse with the 2.0-liter turbo is expected to achieve 20 mpg city and 26 mpg highway. While the V-6 does best the I-5 by one mpg on the highway, city fuel economy is better by two mpg with the 2.0-liter.

Standard Equipment with the Traverse RS

The RS trim level is one step above the LT Leather trim in the 2018 Traverse’s wide range of trims. At $43,095, it splits the cost between the LT Leather at $42,195 and the Premier at $45,495.

Since the RS is based on the LT Leather, it means it comes pretty well-equipped. It also means the second-row bench seat is replaced with captain’s chairs. The list of standard equipment includes the upgraded HID headlights with LED daytime running lights; the larger 8.0-inch MyLink infotainment system with navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and 4G LTE Wi-Fi; heated front seats; tri-zone climate controls; universal home remote for garage door and gate openers; the premium Bose sound system with 10 speakers; a power liftgate; and keyless entry with remote start and passive entry.


The 2018 Chevy Traverse RS Gets Ready for Chicago - image 765865

Standard safety items include Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert; Rear Cross Traffic Alert; Surround View 360-degree camera system; Rear Camera Mirror; Rear Seat Reminder; and Teen Driver.

And because the RS is basically an appearance package, it includes black leather seats and a choice between five exterior colors. These include Mosaic Black Metallic, Silver Ice Metallic, Summit White, Cajun Red, and Iridescent Pearl.

The 2018 Traverse goes on sale now for $43,095. That includes Chevy’s destination fee, but of course, excludes things like tax, tag, and other ancillary fees dealerships tend to charge.

References

Chevrolet Traverse


2018 Chevrolet Traverse - image 700701

Read our full review on the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse.


maker logos - image 762150

Read more Chicago Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon The 2018 Chevy Traverse RS Gets Ready for Chicago

Chevrolet pulled the covers off the all-new second-generation 2018 Traverse crossover at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show. Now, a year later, Chevy is finally making the Traverse RS available to customers. The news happens as Chevy officially pulls the covers off the sporterized SUV at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show.

The Traverse RS takes cues off other Chevy RS models by adding blacked-out styling cues, larger 20-inch gray wheels, and those red RS badges. The Traverse RS even gets blacked-out Chevy bowties. The overall look isn’t terribly different than the Traverse’s other trim levels, but it’s just enough to justify the special badging.

But the outward appearance is only half the story. The big news is what’s under the RS’ hood.

Chevy has dropped in its familiar 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. This marks the first time the Traverse has used forced induction since its introduction in 2009. The engine uses direct fuel injection and variable valve timing on its dual overhead cams to deliver 257 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, 90 percent of which is available at only 2,100 rpm. The engine pairs exclusively with GM’s nine-speed automatic transmission that powers the front wheels. Unlike the V-6 Traverse, AWD is not available.

Continue reading for more information on the 2018 Chevy Traverse RS.

Turbo-Fueled Torque Monster For Families


The 2018 Chevy Traverse RS Gets Ready for Chicago - image 765866
“The 2.0-liter has 29 pound-feet more torque than the V-6. Unfortunately, horsepower is down by 53 horses.”

While a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder might sound far too small for a three-row full-size crossover that weights no less than 4,362 pounds, Chevy somehow was able to squeeze more torque from the four-pot than what the V-6 engine achieves.

Yep, the Traverse’s 3.6-liter V-6 makes 310 horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 266 pound-feet of torque at 2,800 rpm. That means the 2.0-liter has 29 pound-feet more torque. Horsepower is down by 53 horses compared to the V-6, however. The interesting power figures certainly spark a debate over horsepower, torque, and engine revs.

Generally speaking, the vast majority of daily diving by regular people is done well below an engine’s peak horsepower. Even when merging on to an interstate, the average person probably won’t squeeze every last revolution from their engine. In the V-6’s case, peak horsepower happens at 6,800 rpm – well above what most people would ever use – and what the nine-speed automatic would allow before upshifting to a higher gear.

As such, the 2.0-liter turbo-four and its 29 more pound-feet of torque would likely feel more powerful during daily driving. That’s especially true since the 2.0 offers 90 percent of its peak torque at just 2,100 rpm. That’s smack in the middle of usable revs.


The 2018 Chevy Traverse RS Gets Ready for Chicago - image 765867
” The 2.0-liter turbo-four and its 29 more pound-feet of torque would likely feel more powerful during daily driving.”

Then there is fuel economy. Chevy says a FWD Traverse with the V-6 will get 18 mpg city and 27 mpg highway while the FWD Traverse with the 2.0-liter turbo is expected to achieve 20 mpg city and 26 mpg highway. While the V-6 does best the I-5 by one mpg on the highway, city fuel economy is better by two mpg with the 2.0-liter.

Standard Equipment with the Traverse RS

The RS trim level is one step above the LT Leather trim in the 2018 Traverse’s wide range of trims. At $43,095, it splits the cost between the LT Leather at $42,195 and the Premier at $45,495.

Since the RS is based on the LT Leather, it means it comes pretty well-equipped. It also means the second-row bench seat is replaced with captain’s chairs. The list of standard equipment includes the upgraded HID headlights with LED daytime running lights; the larger 8.0-inch MyLink infotainment system with navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and 4G LTE Wi-Fi; heated front seats; tri-zone climate controls; universal home remote for garage door and gate openers; the premium Bose sound system with 10 speakers; a power liftgate; and keyless entry with remote start and passive entry.


The 2018 Chevy Traverse RS Gets Ready for Chicago - image 765865

Standard safety items include Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert; Rear Cross Traffic Alert; Surround View 360-degree camera system; Rear Camera Mirror; Rear Seat Reminder; and Teen Driver.

And because the RS is basically an appearance package, it includes black leather seats and a choice between five exterior colors. These include Mosaic Black Metallic, Silver Ice Metallic, Summit White, Cajun Red, and Iridescent Pearl.

The 2018 Traverse goes on sale now for $43,095. That includes Chevy’s destination fee, but of course, excludes things like tax, tag, and other ancillary fees dealerships tend to charge.

References

Chevrolet Traverse


2018 Chevrolet Traverse - image 700701

Read our full review on the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse.


maker logos - image 762150

Read more Chicago Auto Show news.

PostHeaderIcon This Is It! Meet the 2019 Ford Ranger Raptor!

Ford has finally pulled the covers off its much-anticipated 2019 Ranger Raptor. This is the hard-core off-road version the world has waited for. It boasts many similar attributes to its big brother, the Ford F-150 Raptor, but benefits from a smaller size, a Watt’s link and coil spring rear suspension, and a twin-turbodiesel powerplant. The debut event took place in Bangkok, Thailand, where pickups are extremely popular. And while Ford hasn’t admitted it yet, the Ranger Raptor will arrive in the U.S. Keep reading to learn all about it.

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“Compared to the conventional Ranger, the new Raptor is wider and taller”

Compared to the conventional Ranger, the new Raptor is wider and taller. New fenders cover the 285/70R17 BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires. The fenders are composite, too, which Ford says will resist trail damage. And like the F-150 Raptor, the Ranger Raptor boasts a new grille with the F-O-R-D lettering and a steel bumper with a high approach angle of 24 degrees. The departure angle also measures 24 degrees thanks to the new rear bumper. Ground clearance measures in at an impressive 11.1 inches. Both front and rear bumpers have easy-access recovery points, just like the F-150 Raptor.

Naturally, the Ranger Raptor uses Fox Racing shocks. Both front and rear have 46.6mm pistons for ruggedness over terrible driving conditions. The front suspension uses a familiar aluminum upper and lower control arms while the rear suspension uses something not seen on American trucks – a Watt’s link. In a nutshell, the connection keeps the solid rear axle located in the same horizontal position regardless of its vertical travel. What’s more, Ford uses coil springs and control arms to both dampen and locate the axle, not to mention those Fox Shocks.

Most surprising is the Ranger Raptor’s new powerplant. Ford is debuting an all-new 2.0-liter bi-turbo four-cylinder turbodiesel. This high-tech engine is unlike anything currently found in the Ranger. The dual turbo setup includes both high-pressure and low-pressure turbos for a quick spool-up and massive airflow. The result is 210 horsepower and an impressive 369 pound-feet of torque. Comparatively, the Chevrolet Colorado’s 2.8-liter turbodiesel makes 181 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. Not surprising, however, is Ford’s use of its new 10-speed automatic transmission.


“Most surprising is the Ranger Raptor’s new powerplant. Ford is debuting an all-new 2.0-liter bi-turbo four-cylinder turbodiesel”

The Ranger Raptor inherits the F-150 Raptor’s drive modes, too. For on-road performance, there is Normal and Sport modes. When it comes to off-road, there is Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Sand, Rock, and Baja modes.

Inside the truck, the interior is updated with suede covered seats and steering wheel. The wheel features the familiar red, on-center marker and thick grips. The seats are heavily bolstered and have leather side accents that make getting in and out easier. The suede center section, combined with the thick bolsters, should do a fantastic job at holding the driver and front passenger in place.

While Ford hasn’t mentioned any details about a U.S.-spec Ranger Raptor, we know the time is coming. Mike Levine, Ford’s main man with Product Communications in North America, said on his Instagram that, “Today’s announcement is about the launch of the new Ranger Raptor in Asia Pacific markets. We’ll have more to share about [the] Ranger Raptor at a later date.”

Of course, pricing hasn’t been announced either, even in for the Asian Pacific markets. We’ll keep you updated as new information becomes available.

References

Ford Ranger


This Is It! Meet the 2019 Ford Ranger Raptor! - image 765831

Read our full review on the 2019 Ford Ranger Raptor.


2019 Ford Ranger - image 758142

Read our full review on the 2019 Ford Ranger.


2017 Ford F-150 Raptor - image 610255

Read our full review on the 2018 Ford F-150 Raptor.


maker logos - image 744958

Read more Ford news.

PostHeaderIcon Mercedes-Benz Debuts 2018 A-Class And Wants You To Feel All Warm And Gooey

Mercedes-Benz just dropped the camo on its latest A-Class model, showing the fresh four-door hatch in a special live-streamed debut event in Amsterdam. In addition to crisper lines outside and a totally new interior, the A-Class also comes packing with a huge number of new and updated technology features.

Continue reading for the full story.


The Full Story


Mercedes-Benz Debuts 2018 A-Class And Wants You To Feel All Warm And Gooey - image 764854
“Inside, the A-Class seeks to offer customers a top-tier luxury experience, similar to what you get in Merc's more-expensive models.”

Mercedes sold over 620,000 compact cars worldwide in 2017, so it’s not gonna be shy when it comes to keeping its entry-level segment feeling as fresh as possible. To that end, the new A-Class comes with a restyled exterior draped in the brand’s very latest design language. Up front, the fascia gains sharper headlight housings, a large bisected grille and diamond insert, plus a sleek profile. In back, there are triangular taillights and a diffuser element between a duo of trapezoidal exhaust tips.

Inside, the A-Class seeks to offer customers a top-tier luxury experience, similar to what you get in Merc’s more-expensive models. The extra refinement starts with better driveability and ride comfort courtesy of the increased torsional rigidity, which enables the suspension to do its work more efficiently.

Customers will also flock to the all-new interior design, which is dominated by two large screens on the dash. The latest infotainment features from Merc’s MBUX infotainment suite give it a smartphone-esque operation, as well as digital assistant voice command functions.

Mercedes says it’s the same tech that you’d get in Merc’s range-topping S-Class, which is surely a big selling point among younger buyers. Additional features include augmented reality, which uses screen overlays to show navigation instructions and other helpful info overlaid on a live camera feed (think big arrows pointing where to go).


Mercedes-Benz Debuts 2018 A-Class And Wants You To Feel All Warm And Gooey - image 764833
“Additional features include augmented reality, which uses screen overlays to show navigation instructions and other helpful info overlaid on a live camera feed (think big arrows pointing where to go).”

Two new features include expanded blind spot assist, which will remain active for three minutes after parking to help you keep an eye out for dangers, such as approaching cyclists. There’s also casual private car sharing, which lets you leave the key in the car for select friends and family, who then use an app to access the vehicle for a certain amount of time.

There will be three models offered to European buyers, starting with the A180d, which comes with 114 horsepower and a 1.5-liter diesel powerplant. Next is the A200, which gets a 1.4-liter gas engine making 160 horsepower, and finally the 2.0-liter A250 with 221 horsepower. We also fully expect an AMG iteration pumping out around 400 ponies sometime in the next year or so.

No word on stateside availability, but odds are Merc will simply lift it and sell it as a compact SUV.

References

Mercedes-Benz A-Class


Mercedes-Benz Debuts 2018 A-Class And Wants You To Feel All Warm And Gooey - image 764835

Read our full speculative review on the 2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class.


maker logos - image 743625

Read more Mercedes-Benz news.

PostHeaderIcon Mercedes-Benz Debuts 2018 A-Class And Wants You To Feel All Warm And Gooey

Mercedes-Benz just dropped the camo on its latest A-Class model, showing the fresh four-door hatch in a special live-streamed debut event in Amsterdam. In addition to crisper lines outside and a totally new interior, the A-Class also comes packing with a huge number of new and updated technology features.

Continue reading for the full story.


The Full Story


Mercedes-Benz Debuts 2018 A-Class And Wants You To Feel All Warm And Gooey - image 764854
“Inside, the A-Class seeks to offer customers a top-tier luxury experience, similar to what you get in Merc's more-expensive models.”

Mercedes sold over 620,000 compact cars worldwide in 2017, so it’s not gonna be shy when it comes to keeping its entry-level segment feeling as fresh as possible. To that end, the new A-Class comes with a restyled exterior draped in the brand’s very latest design language. Up front, the fascia gains sharper headlight housings, a large bisected grille and diamond insert, plus a sleek profile. In back, there are triangular taillights and a diffuser element between a duo of trapezoidal exhaust tips.

Inside, the A-Class seeks to offer customers a top-tier luxury experience, similar to what you get in Merc’s more-expensive models. The extra refinement starts with better driveability and ride comfort courtesy of the increased torsional rigidity, which enables the suspension to do its work more efficiently.

Customers will also flock to the all-new interior design, which is dominated by two large screens on the dash. The latest infotainment features from Merc’s MBUX infotainment suite give it a smartphone-esque operation, as well as digital assistant voice command functions.

Mercedes says it’s the same tech that you’d get in Merc’s range-topping S-Class, which is surely a big selling point among younger buyers. Additional features include augmented reality, which uses screen overlays to show navigation instructions and other helpful info overlaid on a live camera feed (think big arrows pointing where to go).


Mercedes-Benz Debuts 2018 A-Class And Wants You To Feel All Warm And Gooey - image 764833
“Additional features include augmented reality, which uses screen overlays to show navigation instructions and other helpful info overlaid on a live camera feed (think big arrows pointing where to go).”

Two new features include expanded blind spot assist, which will remain active for three minutes after parking to help you keep an eye out for dangers, such as approaching cyclists. There’s also casual private car sharing, which lets you leave the key in the car for select friends and family, who then use an app to access the vehicle for a certain amount of time.

There will be three models offered to European buyers, starting with the A180d, which comes with 114 horsepower and a 1.5-liter diesel powerplant. Next is the A200, which gets a 1.4-liter gas engine making 160 horsepower, and finally the 2.0-liter A250 with 221 horsepower. We also fully expect an AMG iteration pumping out around 400 ponies sometime in the next year or so.

No word on stateside availability, but odds are Merc will simply lift it and sell it as a compact SUV.

References

Mercedes-Benz A-Class


Mercedes-Benz Debuts 2018 A-Class And Wants You To Feel All Warm And Gooey - image 764835

Read our full speculative review on the 2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class.


maker logos - image 743625

Read more Mercedes-Benz news.

PostHeaderIcon Mercedes-Benz Debuts 2018 A-Class And Wants You To Feel All Warm And Gooey

Mercedes-Benz just dropped the camo on its latest A-Class model, showing the fresh four-door hatch in a special live-streamed debut event in Amsterdam. In addition to crisper lines outside and a totally new interior, the A-Class also comes packing with a huge number of new and updated technology features.

Continue reading for the full story.


The Full Story


Mercedes-Benz Debuts 2018 A-Class And Wants You To Feel All Warm And Gooey - image 764854
“Inside, the A-Class seeks to offer customers a top-tier luxury experience, similar to what you get in Merc's more-expensive models.”

Mercedes sold over 620,000 compact cars worldwide in 2017, so it’s not gonna be shy when it comes to keeping its entry-level segment feeling as fresh as possible. To that end, the new A-Class comes with a restyled exterior draped in the brand’s very latest design language. Up front, the fascia gains sharper headlight housings, a large bisected grille and diamond insert, plus a sleek profile. In back, there are triangular taillights and a diffuser element between a duo of trapezoidal exhaust tips.

Inside, the A-Class seeks to offer customers a top-tier luxury experience, similar to what you get in Merc’s more-expensive models. The extra refinement starts with better driveability and ride comfort courtesy of the increased torsional rigidity, which enables the suspension to do its work more efficiently.

Customers will also flock to the all-new interior design, which is dominated by two large screens on the dash. The latest infotainment features from Merc’s MBUX infotainment suite give it a smartphone-esque operation, as well as digital assistant voice command functions.

Mercedes says it’s the same tech that you’d get in Merc’s range-topping S-Class, which is surely a big selling point among younger buyers. Additional features include augmented reality, which uses screen overlays to show navigation instructions and other helpful info overlaid on a live camera feed (think big arrows pointing where to go).


Mercedes-Benz Debuts 2018 A-Class And Wants You To Feel All Warm And Gooey - image 764833
“Additional features include augmented reality, which uses screen overlays to show navigation instructions and other helpful info overlaid on a live camera feed (think big arrows pointing where to go).”

Two new features include expanded blind spot assist, which will remain active for three minutes after parking to help you keep an eye out for dangers, such as approaching cyclists. There’s also casual private car sharing, which lets you leave the key in the car for select friends and family, who then use an app to access the vehicle for a certain amount of time.

There will be three models offered to European buyers, starting with the A180d, which comes with 114 horsepower and a 1.5-liter diesel powerplant. Next is the A200, which gets a 1.4-liter gas engine making 160 horsepower, and finally the 2.0-liter A250 with 221 horsepower. We also fully expect an AMG iteration pumping out around 400 ponies sometime in the next year or so.

No word on stateside availability, but odds are Merc will simply lift it and sell it as a compact SUV.

References

Mercedes-Benz A-Class


Mercedes-Benz Debuts 2018 A-Class And Wants You To Feel All Warm And Gooey - image 764835

Read our full speculative review on the 2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class.


maker logos - image 743625

Read more Mercedes-Benz news.

PostHeaderIcon Watch the Mercedes A-Class Debut Here @ 1:00PM EST Today!

We won’t know the full details of the new A-Class until we see it debut live below, but based on the teasers and spy shots that we’ve seen, the German automaker seems to have taken a proactive approach in jazzing up the A-Class beyond its status as an entry-level model. The interior, in particular, looks less like a low-cost model and more like a premium model. The ambient lighting, floating widescreen, and touchpad control system on the center console are all signs of a well-provisioned interior. The new A-Class will also debut the automaker’s new User Experience multimedia system, which incorporates voice control, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence. When was the last time you saw an entry-level model this loaded in luxury and new-age tech?

Stay tuned for the live debut @ 1:00 EST Today.


References

Mercedes-Benz A-Class


2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class - image 719286

Read our full speculative review on the 2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class.


maker logos - image 743625

Read more Mercedes-Benz news.

PostHeaderIcon Watch the Mercedes A-Class Debut Here @ 1:00PM EST Today!

We won’t know the full details of the new A-Class until we see it debut live below, but based on the teasers and spy shots that we’ve seen, the German automaker seems to have taken a proactive approach in jazzing up the A-Class beyond its status as an entry-level model. The interior, in particular, looks less like a low-cost model and more like a premium model. The ambient lighting, floating widescreen, and touchpad control system on the center console are all signs of a well-provisioned interior. The new A-Class will also debut the automaker’s new User Experience multimedia system, which incorporates voice control, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence. When was the last time you saw an entry-level model this loaded in luxury and new-age tech?

Stay tuned for the live debut @ 1:00 EST Today.


References

Mercedes-Benz A-Class


2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class - image 719286

Read our full speculative review on the 2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class.


maker logos - image 743625

Read more Mercedes-Benz news.

PostHeaderIcon Watch the Mercedes A-Class Debut Here @ 1:00PM EST Today!

We won’t know the full details of the new A-Class until we see it debut live below, but based on the teasers and spy shots that we’ve seen, the German automaker seems to have taken a proactive approach in jazzing up the A-Class beyond its status as an entry-level model. The interior, in particular, looks less like a low-cost model and more like a premium model. The ambient lighting, floating widescreen, and touchpad control system on the center console are all signs of a well-provisioned interior. The new A-Class will also debut the automaker’s new User Experience multimedia system, which incorporates voice control, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence. When was the last time you saw an entry-level model this loaded in luxury and new-age tech?

Stay tuned for the live debut @ 1:00 EST Today.


References

Mercedes-Benz A-Class


2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class - image 719286

Read our full speculative review on the 2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class.


maker logos - image 743625

Read more Mercedes-Benz news.

PostHeaderIcon Wallpaper of the Day: 2019 Chevy Corvette ZR1

High Wing as standard for extra downforce

The beast in the metal, and now you can have it on your desktop too!

2019 Chevy Corvette ZR1


Wallpaper of the Day: 2019 Chevy Corvette ZR1 - image 764184

Read our full review of the 2019 Chevy Corvette ZR1 or check out the gallery below for more awesome wallpaper options!

PostHeaderIcon Mercedes-Benz G-Class

For the first time since its introduction 40 years ago, Mercedes has given the G-Class a complete makeover. But unlike other “makeovers” that plaster a new body onto an existing chassis, Mercedes went in the opposite direction.

The all-new 2019 G-Class retains its iconic looks while receiving a new, longer frame; independent front suspension; and an interior befitting the Mercedes S-Class sedan. And yet despite its modernization, the G stays true to its off-road roots. It comes with a full-time 4WD system, three locking differentials, skid plates, and proper ground clearance. Among the updates is a new G-Mode that further improves the SUV’s go-anywhere capability with electronic aids.

But let’s be honest – 99 percent of G-Class owners will never trek over anything more challenging than wet grass or a snowy road. That’s why Mercedes injected high levels of luxury into the new model. The wheelbase is two inches longer and 4.7 inches wider for a more planted on-road feel and more interior room. The G will undoubtedly be a smash hit around the world, even with its starting price of €107,040 in Germany – roughly $130,900 U.S. dollars.

Continue reading for more on the 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class.


Exterior

  • New design stays true to heritage
  • Longer by 2.0 inches
  • Wider by 4.7 inches
  • Ground clearance of 10.6 inches
  • Improved approach, breakover, and departure angles

2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class - image 760943
“Changes noticeable by the untrained eye are minimal for 2019”

The G-Class, otherwise known as the Geländewagen or G-Wagen, has been around for 40 years. It’s served in Germany’s military forces, traversed terrible terrain all across the world, and even conquered the sophisticated streets of Rodeo Drive in California. Yep, the G-Wagen has been everything from an army grunt’s get-around to the go-to vehicle of the rich and famous.

Mercedes has kept that status with the all-new G-Wagen thanks to an evolutionary design change rather than something revolutionary. It’s like the Jeep Wrangler; the round headlights, seven-slot grille, wide fenders, and overall shape have been around since 1941 (save for the 1986 – 1995 Wrangler YJ’s square headlights).

Changes noticeable by the untrained eye are minimal for 2019. Beside the length, the new G-Class drops the vents on the front fender, has new LED headlights, a restyled grille and front bumper, and the hood is slightly longer and more flat than before. Around back, new LED taillights and a restyled third brake light above the rear window are the biggest changes. Familiar elements include the tailgate-mounted spare tire, the rub rails along the body, and the push-button door handles that look almost identical to the outgoing version.


2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class - image 760944
“Overall ground clearance between the axles has improved a quarter-inch to 9.4 inches”

In keeping with the G’s functionality, the new body boasts improved clearances. Overall ground clearance between the axles has improved a quarter-inch to 9.4 inches; the approach and departure angle improve by one degree to 31 and 30, respectively; and the breakover angle improves by one degree to 26 degrees, despite the added length.

Interior

  • S-Class inspired interior
  • G-Class cues hint at its past
  • More legroom and elbowroom in both rows
  • Available Multicontour Seat Package with massaing

2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class - image 760933
“Unlike the outside, Mercedes completely revamped the G-Wagen’s interior”

Unlike the outside, Mercedes completely revamped the G-Wagen’s interior. Gone is the 2000s-era dash with dozens of buttons. Mercedes’ new glass cockpit-style interior finds its way from the S-Class and E-Class and into the G-Class. Twin, 12.3-inch displays shows a digital gauge cluster for the driver and the standard barrage of navigation, vehicle settings, and menus on the center screen. The gauges can be configured into one of three styles at the driver’s whim. They include Classic, Sport, and Progressive.

Mercedes’ current infotainment controller resides on the center console and offers haptic feedback when selecting menu options. The rotary dial makes easy work of scrolling. Controls on the steering wheel allow for operating menu screen on the driver’s gauge cluster.

Like with other Mercedes vehicles, the HVAC system is logically controlled via the bank of toggle switches on the center stack. Dual zone climate comes standard, of course, and heated and vented front seats make for a comfortable trip. Speaking of the seats, Mercedes makes these thrones almost infinitely adjustable and accompanied by memory settings.


2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class - image 760969
“Controls on the steering wheel allow for operating menu screen on the driver’s gauge cluster.”

Optionally, Mercedes offers its Multicontour Seat Package in the new G-Class. It includes upgraded front seats with both heated and ventilation, massaging, and air-filled side bolsters that change firmness depending on the driving style. Apparently the seats are so comfortable and supportive, they are recommended by a German spinal health organization.

While the G-Wagen’s interior is completely new, it has subtle hints at its past. The passenger side grab handle has been a staple in the G and the center-mounted buttons for the locking differentials has been around for decades. It’s clear Mercedes didn’t just slap an S-Class dash in the new G.


2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class - image 761007
“The front seats have an additional 1.5 inches and the rear seats get nearly six inches extra”

Legroom in both rows has increased thanks to the G-Wagen’s added length. The front seats have an additional 1.5 inches and the rear seats get nearly six inches extra. What’s more, elbowroom has improved 2.6 inches in front and 2.2 inches in the rear thanks to the G’s wider stance.

Description Difference (vs. previous gen)
Legroom in the front +1.5 in (38 mm)
Legroom in the rear +5.9 in (150 mm)
Shoulder room in front +1.5 in (38 mm)
Shoulder room in rear +1.1 in (27 mm)
Elbow room in front +2.7 in (68 mm)
Elbow room in rear +2.2 in (56 mm)

Drivetrain

  • G500 powered by 4.0-liter biturbo V-8
  • 422 horsepower
  • 450 pound-feet of torque from 2,000 to 4,750 rpm
  • Full-time 4WD
  • Front, center, and rear locking differentials
  • New G-Mode off-road setting
  • Adaptive suspension dampers
  • New independent front suspension
  • Revised solid rear axle and multi-link suspension

2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class - image 760848
“Mercedes chose the familiar 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 as the debuting engine for the G-Class, though more are expected in the future”

Mercedes chose the familiar 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 as the debuting engine for the G-Class, though more are expected in the future. Named the G500, the V-8 kicks out a very respectable 422 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque that peaks at only 2,000 rpm and stays strong until 4,750 rpm.

A new nine-speed automatic transmission and its torque converter were unique tuned for the G500 to meet both on- and off-road driving situations. Mercedes says the gearbox has quicker shift times thanks to a dedicated software application. And thanks to the nine speeds and wide overall ratio of gears, the V-8 can move the G-Class down the highway at very low revs, which helps conserve fuel. Mercedes is estimating the G500 will achieve 21 mpg combined.

A big part of the G-Class’ story is its 4WD system. Like before, the G comes with a full-time 4WD system equipped with low-range gears and locking differential in both axles, as well as in the transfer case. New for 2019 is G-Mode. This drive mode engages when the low range is selected or one of the lockers is turned on. G-Mode adjusts the throttle response, holds gears longer, and softens the adaptive dampers within the suspension.


2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class - image 760938
“The Dynamic Select rocker switch allows the driver to choose between Eco, Comfort, Sport, and Individual modes”

When it comes to on-road driving, the G-Class also has modes for that, too. The Dynamic Select rocker switch allows the driver to choose between Eco, Comfort, Sport, and Individual modes. Things like transmission tuning, throttle response, suspension firmness, traction control, and stability control are all tailored to each mode. Like in other vehicles, Individual mode lets the driver customize the settings for each parameter and save the setting for quick selection.

A massive change for the 2019 G-Class also happens under body. The suspension has been completely redesigned to better handle the G’s wide range of driving. Gone is the solid front axle – replaced with an independent suspension system using a double wishbone design mounted right to the frame. A strut tower brace adds rigidity to the front suspension for better cornering. The rear axle remains the solid type, but is now held in place with a four-link setup with a panhard bar that controls lateral movement.


Pricing


2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class - image 760961

The 2019 Mercedes-Benz G500 starts at €107,040 in Germany. That converts to $130,900 U.S. dollars at current exchange rates and represents a roughly $8,000 increase over the outgoing model. Details on option pricing haven’t been announced, but should become available closer to the G-Class’s on-sale date later this year.

The Competition

Land Rover Range Rover


2018 Land Rover Range Rover - image 737761

The Land Rover Range Rover is perhaps the best-known luxury off-roaders in the world. Its heritage stems back to Brittan’s Imperialistic days of exploration, forging paths though thick jungles and trekking across the wild planes of Africa. This modern, high-tech interpretation is far removed from the low-tech ‘Rovers of yesteryear. The current Range Rover rides on an aluminum monocoque structure with independent suspension fitted with air ride and powered by sophisticated engines like Jaguar Land Rover’s supercharged 5.0-liter V-8.

That air suspension allows the Range Rover to tackle rough terrain one minute and hit triple digit speeds on the highway the next. This versatility is nearly unmatched in the industry.

Pricing reflects that functionality, however, with the “base” Range Rover starting at $84,940. Opt for the high-end SVAutobiography model with the extended wheelbase, and you’re looking at $200,000.

Read more about the 2018 Land Rover Range Rover.

Lexus LX570


2016 Lexus LX 570 - image 640410

In relation to the G-Wagen and Range Rover, the LX570 seems downright humble. That’s far from the truth, however, as Lexus gave this SUV a full makeover for 2016. It shares the same underpinnings and powertrain as the highly respected Toyota Land Cruiser, which was also all-new for 2016. The Lexus obviously appeals to a wealthier subset, making it the proper choice in this competition.

Power comes form the venerable 5.7-liter V-8 making a meager 383 horsepower and 403 pound-feet of torque. Like the Range Rover, it can tow 7,000 pounds. Its top speed is limited at 137 mph, down from the 155-mph governed speeds of the G-Wagen and Range Rover. The Lexus also features a full-time 4WD system with a Torsen limited-slip center differential that splits power between the front and rear axles.

Pricing for the 2018 Lexus LX570 is technically lower than in years past thanks to a new two-row version. By deleting the third row, customers save $5,000. The two-row LX starts at $84,980 and the three-row version starts at $89,980. Select all the options and the price jumps to roughly $99,000. That’s a bargain compared to the Merc and ‘Rover.

Read more about the 2018 Lexus LX570.

Conclusion


2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class - image 760960

Mercedes has clearly done its homework with the new 2019 G-Class. It retained the iconic, boxy design while vastly updating the G’s interior, underpinning, off-road capability, and on-road performance. That’s a tall order, but the German automaker pulled it off. We can’t wait to get behind the wheel and see these improvements first hand.

The new G-Class will definitely be a massive hit with wealthy elites looking to distinguish themselves from the crowd. Expect to see everybody from Russian oligarchs to Hollywood’s A-list crowd rocking the new G within a short time.

  • Leave it
    • * Likely too utilitarian for most
    • * Prices expected to rise

References

Mercedes-Benz G-Class


2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class Blitzkriegs Detroit! - image 758373

2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class Blitzkriegs Detroit!


2013 Mercedes G-Class - image 448949

Read our full review on the 2017 Mercedes-Benz G-Class.


maker logos - image 753286

Read more Detroit Auto Show news.


maker logos - image 743625

Read more Mercedes-Benz news.

PostHeaderIcon Wallpaper of the Day: 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee

2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee


Wallpaper of the Day: 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee - image 759336

Read our full review of the 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee or find some more awesome wallpapers in the gallery below!

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