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Archive for the ‘station wagon’ Category

PostHeaderIcon 2018 Volkswagen Golf Facelift launched in the U.S.

The Golf line-up gets a humble facelift across its range. This includes the Golf hatch, Alltrack, SportWagen, GTI and the R. Some models get just the cosmetic updates, while the others get changes under the hood. Although they are mere updates and not new models altogether, the changes are significantly prominent to differentiate them from the older versions.

There are a few common changes across the range – the LED DRL’s being made standard on all models, slightly tweaked LED Tail-lights which complement the all-new rear bumper, rain sensing wipers, and automatic headlamps. The interiors get a new infotainment touchscreen, which according to Volkswagen, feature the latest software and react faster to touch inputs.

Continue reading for the full story.

Why it matters


2018 Volkswagen Golf Facelift launched in the U.S. - image 744062

Kudos to Volkswagen for making continuous changes all across its range. While other manufacturers generally follow a mid-life facelift once in the product’s life span, VW keeps tweaking its cars which not only keep the cars fresh but also invoke customer’s attention. Perhaps, the competition must tear a page from VW’s book (you listening Ford, Kia?). That being said, the changes to the Golf line-up surely differentiate them from the earlier models. The best part is how Volkswagen tries all permutations and combinations – like introducing the 7-speed DSG transmission from higher cars, or trickle down the Performance Package to the standard trims, etc. and succeeds almost every time. Despite being a model that is in production for 44 years now, it still feels fresh and new due to these little updates and upgrades from time-to-time.

Facelift breakdown for each VW Golf trims:


2018 Volkswagen Golf Facelift launched in the U.S. - image 744058

The Golf hatch gets a 1.8-liter, turbocharged engine producing 170 horsepower. It is mated to a five-speed manual or a six-speed DSG. The Golf is available in two trims – S and SE. The S gets 15-inch “Lyon” alloys while the SE gets 16-inch “Toronto” wheels. In addition to that, the SE also gets full LED lights, fog lights, and panoramic tilting sunroof over its sibling-counterpart.


2018 Volkswagen Golf Facelift launched in the U.S. - image 744050

The Wagons from the stable – Alltrack and Sportwagen – come in 3 trims – S, SE and SEL. Not much of an upgrade here except for the LED DRL’s, Automatic Headlamps, and a fresh, new shade of green. The SE and SEL trims get the updated 8-inch touchscreen.


2018 Volkswagen Golf Facelift launched in the U.S. - image 744076

The GTI comes with a 2.0-liter unit returning 220 horsepower; 10 hp more than the earlier version. The engine is mated to a six-speed manual or a six-speed DSG. The GTI comes in three trims – S, SE and Autobahn. All features that were in the Performance pack can now be seen in the SE and Autobahn models (like the tire size, larger breaks, etc.,) as standard. The Golf GTI gets major updates in terms of safety. The SE and Autobahn get the VAQ Electronic Limited Slip Differential, autonomous emergency braking, and forward collision warning. Over and above this, the Autobahn trim also gets Lane departure warning, High beam control, and updated maneuver braking, to name a few.


2018 Volkswagen Golf Facelift launched in the U.S. - image 744071

The hottest of the lot, the Golf R comes with the same specifications under the hood as before; 2.0-liter engine generating 292 horses. But, the facelift now offers the seven-speed DSG transmission instead of the previous six-Speed automatic, along with the standard six-speed manual. The Golf R features special LED headlights and 19-inch aluminum alloy rims called the
“Englishtown” which , according to VW, are specially designed for enthusiasts. Apart from this, the Golf R also gets VW’s trademark DCC Adaptive Cruise Control with Navigation and 4Motion (All Wheel Drive). On the inside, the car gets the new 8-inch infotainment system with VW’s Digital Cockpit.

How much is this gonna cost?


2018 Volkswagen Golf Facelift launched in the U.S. - image 744078
Golf Hatch $21,760 (six-speed manual) or $22,860 (six-speed auto)
Golf SportWagen $22,535 (five-speed manual) or $23,635 (six-speed auto)
Golf SportWagen 4Motion $24,785 ( manual) or $25,885 (six-speed auto)
Golf Alltrack $26,845 (six-speed manual) or $27,905 (six-speed DSG)
Golf GTI $27,265 (manual) or $28,365 (six-speed DSG)
Golf R $40,635 (six-speed manual) or $41,735 (seven-speed DSG)

References

Volkswagen Golf


2018 Volkswagen Golf Facelift launched in the U.S. - image 744066

Read our full review on the 2018 Volkswagen Golf.


2018 Volkswagen Golf Facelift launched in the U.S. - image 744053

Read our full review on the 2018 Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen.


2018 Volkswagen Golf Facelift launched in the U.S. - image 744079

Read our full review on the 2018 Volkswagen Golf GTI.


2018 Volkswagen Golf Facelift launched in the U.S. - image 744071

Read our full review on the 2018 Volkswagen Golf R.

PostHeaderIcon Mercedes-AMG C 63 Estate By Vath

2017 Mercedes-AMG C 63 Estate By Vath

Estate vehicles, or wagons as we like to call them, aren’t supposed to do 211 mph. It’s just one of those things that don’t happen as far as automakers are concerned. But the car tuning world is a different story, and we see a good example of that with Vath’s latest tuning program for the Mercedes-AMG C 63 Estate.

A lot of us are familiar with Vath’s work in the past, especially when it comes to Mercedes-AMG models. It has put in work to develop kits for the AMG SL 65, AMG C 450, and the sedan version of the AMG C 63. Heck, it’s even worked on the previous version of the AMG C 63 Estate. To say that Vath knows what it’s doing with Mercedes-AMG models is an accurate portrayal of the tuner’s abilities, and we see those abilities on full display once again with its new program for the meaty estate. Pick a section of the AMG E 63, and there’s a chance that Vath has something for it. The estate’s exterior? Check. Interior? Check on that too. Drivetrain? You better believe it. There are even “miscellaneous items” on the table, just in case you’re in the mood to get those. This is the kind of comprehensive tuning program that Vath has built its name on. There may be more popular tuning firms in the world out there, but when it comes to quality Mercedes-AMG tunes, few are as consistently good as Vath.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Mercedes-AMG E 63 Estate by Vath

Exterior

  • Front Carbon Spoiler
  • Rear Carbon Spoiler
  • Roof Spoiler in Development
  • 20-inch V2_GT wheels w\ Continental tires
  • Suspension Lowered by .78 – 1.5 inches

2017 Mercedes-AMG C 63 Estate By Vath - image 743459
“The carbon aerodynamic pack included in the program adds a front spoiler and a rear diffuser into the body of the car”

If you own a Mercedes-AMG C 63 Estate and you’re looking to give it an aftermarket jolt, this is the kind of program that you’ll need to pay attention to. The exterior, for example, may not look much in the context of a tuning build, but there’s enough of it there to play a significant role in improving the overall makeup of the estate.

For example, the carbon aerodynamic pack included in the program adds a front spoiler and a rear diffuser into the body of the car. A roof spoiler is also being developed at the moment so it’s availability is subject to when the piece will be ready to be offered. The impressions created by the aero kit are hard to notice, I know, but observe the front section of the Vath-tuned AMG C 63 with the standard model. Notice the slight difference?

left
right
Mercedes-AMG C 63 Estate Mercedes-AMG C 63 Estate by Vath

It’s the same story in the rear section of the performance estate as the new diffuser help make for a more dynamic-looking profile. Complementing the carbon aero kit is a set of 20-inch alloy wheels that are wrapped in a set of Continental tires.

Interior

  • Floor mats in Black Velor w\ Silver Vath logo
  • New Speedometer reads 360 kph

2015 Mercedes-AMG C63 Estate - image 569895

Note: Mercedes-AMG C63 Estate pictured here.

There’s not much going on in the interior of the AMG C 63 Estate, but unlike some tuners who prefer to keep the upgrades in this section to nada, Vath does offer spankin’ new floor mats as part of the whole package. Likewise, a new speedometer is also on the catalog, one that’s dialed up to 360 km/h (224 mph) to better reflect the estate’s new performance capabilities, which I’m about to get into.

Drivetrain

  • Mercedes 4.0-liter, Biturbo, V-8
  • Tuned to 700 HP & 664 LB-FT (190 hp and 148 lb-ft more than stock)
  • 0-to-60 in 3.3 seconds (supercar acceleration)
  • Top speed unlocked to 211 mph (the same as a Porsche 911 GT2 RS)
  • Vath Turbo with stock electronic tuning
  • Custom exhaust with new downpipe (115 x 85 mm)
  • Vath oil cooler for engine and transmission
  • Vath Brake Optimization (racing brake fluid, steel braided lines, and sport brake pads)

2017 Mercedes-AMG C 63 Estate By Vath - image 743462
“The car delivers 700 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque – or 190 horsepower and 148 pound-feet more than standard”

If you’re going to end up paying for the steep price of this program (more on that later), this is the section where you’re going to see most of your money go. Not that it’s a bad thing because Vath did yeoman’s work on the AMG C 63 Estate’s 4.0-liter biturbo V-8 engine to get its output up to supercar levels. The meal ticket item in this entire program is Vath’s power pack, which is largely responsible for getting performance hauler’s output to a staggering 700 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. Do a little subtracting, and that equates to output gains in the amount of 190 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of twist. Impressive, right? Well, it gets better.

The extra horses provided by the said power pack helps the AMG C 63 Estate uncork a sprint-to-60-mph time of just 3.3 seconds. 3.3 seconds for an estate! Not only is that time 0.8 seconds quicker than its standard counterpart, but it also falls in the range of established sports cars like the Lamborghini Huracan LP 580-2, the Porsche 911 Targa 4S, and the McLaren 540C. In case you’re wondering, these cars are regarded as entry-level supercars. That’s the kind of performance mark you get with this Vath-tuned Mercedes-AMG C 63 Estate.


2017 Mercedes-AMG C 63 Estate By Vath - image 743455
“The extra horses provided by the said power pack helps the AMG C 63 Estate uncork a sprint-to-60-mph time of just 3.3 seconds”

And if that’s not enough, the German tuner also did away with the top speed limiter installed by Mercedes-AMG. Rejoice then because the car’s top speed isn’t limited to just 155 mph, nor is it capped at 180 mph with the optional AMG Driver’s Package. The actual number is well beyond my own imagination as the estate is said to be capable of hitting 211 mph with the whole tuning kit in place. You know which sports car also sports the same top speed? The Porsche 911 GT2 RS. How’s that for perspective.

Outside of the sensational power pack, Vath is also offering a custom exhaust system as part of this program. It’s a little pricey (again, more on that later), but it should be good enough to supply that raspy roar when all that power is on display.

Suspension


2017 Mercedes-AMG C 63 Estate By Vath - image 743457

In keeping with its goal of providing a comprehensive tuning program for the AMG C 63 Estate, Vath is also offering suspension upgrades in the form of a suspension lowering kit and upgraded brakes. Nothing speaks to a car’s desire to be totally lethal and drivable at the same time than having that suspension lowering kit installed.

Pricing


2017 Mercedes-AMG C 63 Estate By Vath - image 743466

It always seems that as impressive as a tuning package is, the biggest factor surrounding it always has to do with the price. It’s a similar case with this program from Vath because if you’re interested in getting it, you’re going to have to pay at least €21,420 for it. That converts to just under $25,000 based on current exchange rates. A quick breakdown of the prices of some of the individual pieces can be seen in the table below.

Item Price (€) Price ($)
Power kit €12,800 $15,000
Custom exhaust system €3,440 $4,000
Continental tires €3,050 $3,500
Speedometer €2,130 $2,500

Notice that I said “at least”? That’s because certain elements of the kit don’t have prices attached to them, so if you’re preparing to spend for this kit, do so under the assumption that your costs could go up to about €30,000, or a shade under $35,000.

Competition

Mercedes-AMG C 63 Estate “Rottweiller” by Piecha


Mercedes-AMG C63 S Estate "Rottweiler" by Piecha - image 670936

As surprising as it sounds, the tuning world actually has a soft spot for the Mercedes-AMG C 63 Estate as a number of other tuners have developed aftermarket programs for the car. One recent one to do it was Piecha Design, another tuner noted for its Mercedes kits. It may not have attained the same power gains as Vath did – “only” 612 horsepower and 620 pound-feet of torque – but it sure did make up for it with a pretty cosmetic package highlighted by sporty graphics, including a two-color racing stripe that runs the length of the wagon and a purposeful aero kit that’s made up of a new front spoiler lip, side skirts, and a roof-edge spoiler made from glass-fibre reinforced plastic.

Read our full review on the Mercedes-AMG C 63 Estate “Rottweiller” by Piecha.

Conclusion


2017 Mercedes-AMG C 63 Estate By Vath - image 743458

It’s hard to point to the one thing that makes this program stand out because a few of the elements being offered have appeal in them. But in the end, this kit being offered by Vath for the Mercedes-AMG C 63 Estate is defined by the power upgrade, and on that end, there aren’t a lot of programs that can compete with what the German tuner is offering. I mean, 700 horsepower for an estate, even a performance-oriented one at that, is insane on all fronts. But Vath made it happen so if you have any interest to get the program, do so with a full amount of confidence…and then let us know about it afterward. We’d gladly hear stories about how a 700-horsepower AMG C 63 Estate runs.

  • Leave it
    • Pricey
    • Not enough variety
    • Other options available

References

Mercedes C-Class


2015 Mercedes-AMG C63 Estate - image 569894

Read our full review on the 2017 Mercedes-AMG C63 Estate.



Read more Mercedes news.

PostHeaderIcon Pops’ Rants: Here’s What’s Wrong with the Awesome Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato

So Aston Martin just launched a new version of the Vanquish Zagato with a shooting brake body. Pretty cool, eh? Actually, it’s more than that. Cool is something I would use to describe a Toyota 86 with an extra 30 horsepower. This thing is exciting, to say the least. The sporty cues of the Vanquish, the more aggressive styling of Zagato, and all that carbon-fiber make for a great combination, especially if the end result is a shooting brake. Yeah, I’m crazy about wagons, and I like shooting brakes even more. But despite my feelings toward long-roofed vehicles and the fact that the Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake is brilliant in just about any department, I still have a big rant to shoot out of my system.

Why would I complain about a seemingly perfect car (from my point of view)? Well, it’s not exactly the car I want to complain about. It’s about Aston Martin’s marketing strategy, and the fact that this Vanquish Zagato run is too damn exclusive. And it’s like Aston Martin is going against the tide, which isn’t exactly what it needs at this point as it has yet to reach that safe point after years of struggle. Let me explain what I mean.

Continue reading for the full story.

Make the Zagato a Full-Time Lineup


2018 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake - image 740279
“These designs deserve to become full-time models in the Aston Martin lineup”

Yes, that’s what’s wrong with the four Vanquish Zagato model that Aston Martin launched since 2016. They’re way too exclusive, with just 99 coupes, convertibles, and shooting brakes each and only 28 speedsters. These designs deserve to become full-time models in the Aston Martin lineup and an upgrade for more than just the Vanquish.

Specifically, Aston Martin should find a way to turn Zagato into a higher-end offering for at least the Vanquish and the DB11. Granted, making Zagato some sort of luxury or performance division isn’t the easiest thing, as the Italians seem to enjoy being an independent company, but a collaboration of sorts is definitely possible in today’s market. But Aston Martin could also start thinking about creating its own division. With every important carmaker out there having either a performance or luxury division at its disposal, Aston Martin would make quite an impact with something a little different. And by that, I mean products similar to these Zagato-upgraded Vanquish. Keep the interior similar, but add extra features, uprate the engine, so it stands out compared to the standard unit, but revise the exterior completely for a unique design. What’s more, the speedster and the shooting brake could remain exclusive to this high-end brand, prompting customers to take the big financial step for something entirely different.


2018 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Speedster - image 726604
“The speedster and the shooting brake should remain exclusive to this high-end brand”

Definitely more appealing than the larger vents and different wheels you get with the “AMG,” “BMW M,” and “RS” badges.

As for pricing, there’s a reason why I haven’t labeled the Vanquish Zagato as overpriced, despite the fact that the Speedster is rumored to cost more than $1.5 million. If these cars become full-time production models, Aston Martin would be right to charge way in excess of $500,000 or even $1 million, given that factory output remains limited and the cars are built by hand with tremendous attention to detail.

Seriously now, it may sound difficult to achieve, but it’s not. At least not for a company like Aston Martin. It may require some serious funding, but the Brits are getting back on their feet. Actually, an SUV might solve that problem. And in an era where every automaker is annoyingly predictable and we get similar products from every direction, a full-time lineup of Zagato-designed cars would finally add some excitement.

Revive the Great Coachbuilders

This would also be a great opportunity to save the famous coachbuilder that have entered bankruptcy or have been sold to other firms recently. If more carmakers adopt the idea, we could see Pininfarina and Bertone return to their former glory. Ghia and Vignale could also roll out more intriguing designs instead of Ford trim lines. And why not, maybe we could witness rivals of iconic coachbuilders like Frua, Karmann, Gurney Nutting, Vanden Plas, and Fleetwood.

I can dream, can’t I?

References

Aston Martin Vanquish


2018 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake - image 740277

Read our full review on the 2018 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake.


2018 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Speedster - image 726604

Read our full review on the 2018 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Speedster.

PostHeaderIcon Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake

2018 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake

Redesigned in 2012, the current Aston Martin Vanquish is set to retire in less than a couple of years in order to make way for a brand-new model, and the British firm is doing whatever it takes to spice things up before pulling the plug. In 2016, it unveiled a re-bodied version of the grand tourer made by Zagato, but the coupe was soon followed by a Volante version. 2017 brought a Speedster model as well, and with 2018 just around the corner Aston Martin and Zagato launched a new body style, the Shooting Brake. The wagon model will be as exclusive as its sibling and likely extremely expensive, but it’s an important milestone in a market where shooting brakes have almost gone the way of the dodo bird.

While the Vantage Zagato wagon arrived unexpectedly, it’s not exactly surprising that Aston Martin created a shooting brake. The British firm is no stranger to this body style, and it has released quite a few wagons in the past. Harold Radford built such versions of DB5, DB6, and DBS back in the 1960s, but Aston Martin made its very own production run of the Virage in the early 1990s. More recently, Bertone transformed the Rapide in a shooting brake, but these are just a few examples. We definitely need more shooting brakes on the market today, and even though the Vanquish Zagato is limited to very few examples, it will be great to see one more sports wagon hit public roads.

Continue reading to learn more about the Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake.

Exterior

  • Muscular, Zagato-design body
  • Unique roof and rear end
  • DB11-inspired features
  • Carbon-fiber body elements
  • Glass and carbon roof
  • Exclusive wheels

2018 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake - image 740278
“Arguably the biggest change to the car's profile is the longer, wagon-style roof”

Much like the Speedster and the Volante, the Shooting Brake model is identical to the Zagato coupe below the waist. So you’re basically getting an already good-looking grand tourer with more muscular cues and a unique twist thanks to the revised roof.

Up front, the new Zagato model sports the same massive grille with LED daytime running lights at each corner, a big splitter at the bottom, and a sculpted engine hood with big vents on each side of the center section. It also has the same deeply sculpted side skirts and DB11-inspired fender strake, but the latter was mounted on a black background. With all the other Zagato models having their front fenders finished in one color, this is yet another element that makes the Shooting Brake unique.

The side mirrors carry over unchanged, but this is cool since they’re inspired from those seen on the One-77 limited-edition supercar. But, arguably, the biggest change to the profile is the longer, wagon-style roof. The upper section is actually identical to the coupe from the A- to the B-pillars, but from there on, Aston Martin designed significantly longer quarter windows and C-pillars. The latter are flatter and continue the arch of the roof toward the front fascia. It forms a wagon-like tailgate, but with a narrower design that allows the Vanquish Zagato to keep it muscular haunches.


2018 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake - image 740277
“This Zagato is a mighty fine example of how a modern shooting brake should be designed and engineered”

The rear fascia remains the same as far as the round taillights, the pointy decklid, and the carbon-fiber diffuser go. However, the rear glass is obviously smaller, while the heavily raked angle of the coupe is now gone. But the sloping roofline and the aggressive spoiler make the shooting brake just as aggressive as the coupe. The roof itself is also an interesting piece of engineering, with the fully transparent area being shaped like a V, with the narrower end oriented toward the rear. The remaining surface and the spoiler seem to be made of carbon-fiber, so Aston Martin took some precaution to keep the roof as light as possible.

All told, this Zagato is a mighty fine example of how a modern shooting brake should be designed and engineered and it’s by far the most appealing of the Vanquish Zagato lineup. Of course, this has to do with the fact that shooting brakes aren’t very common nowadays and the fact that I’m a big fan of sporty wagons.

Interior

  • “Herringbone” carbon-fiber paint
  • Anodized bronze detailing
  • “Z” quilt pattern on seats
  • Rear-seat delete
  • Enhance luggage room

2017 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato - image 680400

Note: 2017 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato pictured here.

“The rear-seat delete provides more luggage room than the standard Vanquish”

There aren’t any photos of the interior, but it’s safe to assume that the Shooting Brake is like any other Vanquish Zagato out there. This also means that it’s almost identical to the standard Vanquish, being set apart by new luxury features. The main highlight here is the “Herringbone” carbon-fiber paint with anodized bronze detailing on the center stack. There’s also the aniline leather and a unique “Z” quilt pattern stitch on the seats and door panels. The headrests have the letter “Z” embossed, while the upper door panels received double contrast stitching.

The coupe also has “Z” headliner stitching, but this feature is obviously missing here since the most of the roof is transparent. What remains unknown is whether the Shooting Brake is a two or a four seater. A picture showing the car from above suggests that Aston Martin may have removed the rear seats. This makes it somewhat less practical than a standard Vanquish in terms of how many passengers it can carry, but it provides additional luggage room. Not that customers will actually use it as a vacation car, but it remains somewhat true to the original shooting brake concept, which was as utilitarian as a full-fledged wagon.

Drivetrain

  • 5.9-liter V-12 engine
  • 592 horsepower
  • 465 pound-feet of torque
  • 0 to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds
  • Eight-speed automatic transmission

2014 - 2015 Aston Martin Vanquish - image 461514

Note: Standard Aston Martin Vanquish engine pictured here.

“Just like the rest of Vanquish Zagato family, the shooting brake gets its juice from the familiar 5.9-liter V-12”

Just like the rest of Vanquish Zagato family, the shooting brake gets its juice from the familiar 5.9-liter V-12 that powers the standard Vanquish. Output is rated at 592 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque in Europe, while the U.S.-spec version comes with 580 horsepower. The 12-horsepower deficit most likely has something to do with emission regulations on this side of the pond.

There’s no info on performance as of this writing, but we do know the coupe model hits 60 mph in 3.5 seconds. The shooting brake could be just as quick, as it shouldn’t be significantly heavier. The V-12 mates to the same ZF-developed, eight-speed automatic transmission from the regular Aston Martin Vanquish.

Prices


2018 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake - image 740276

Aston Martin hasn’t revealed pricing for any of its Vanquish Zagato models, and the Shooting Brake is no exception from this rule. The only hint we have about this series is that the Zagato Speedster could cost a whopping £1.3 million, which converts to around $1.7 million as of October 2017. But, unlike the Speedster, which is limited to only 28 units, all the other Zagato models, the Shooting Brake included, are built in 99 examples. So it’s safe to assume that the Shooting Brake will cost less. than that. It won’t be as “affordable” as the regular Vanquish, priced from around $300,000 either, but it could cost around $1 million. Granted, it’s a lot of money even for a beefed-up Vanquish, but much like any other boutique shooting brake out there, this Zagato-design wagon will sell out in no time.

Competition

In the current market, there are only four regular production shooting brakes you can buy: the Mercedes-Benz CLS and CLA, the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo, and the Ferrari GTC4Lusso. Of the four, only the Ferrari is a worthy competitor to the Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake.

Ferrari GTC4Lusso


2017 Ferrari GTC4Lusso T - image 689068

Essentially an upgrade to the Ferrari FF, the GTC4Lusso is actually very similar to the Vanquish Zagato. It has a long nose, a sporty roof, and virtually no decklid to the rear. Sure, it’s roofline and tailgate aren’t as sleek as the Zagato’s, but it’s a proper shooting brake model. And, the new features it received in 2016 make it more appealing than the FF. Luxury is a given inside the cabin, with nearly every surfaced draped in leather, Alcantara, aluminum, and carbon-fiber. Unlike the Vanquish, it also has a number of race-inspired features, like instrument cluster with the white clock in the middle and the flat-bottom, multi-control steering wheel. Output-wise, it’s the more potent option, with its 6.3-liter V-12 engine generating a whopping 680 horsepower and 514 pound-feet of torque. This translates into a 0 to 60 mph sprint of 3.3 seconds, which should be at least two tenths quicker than the Aston Martin. Top speed is also far superior at 209 mph. Pricing starts at a little over $300,000, so it’s more affordable too.

Read our full review of the 2017 Ferrari GTC4Lusso.

Conclusion


2018 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake - image 740277

When Aston Martin unveiled the Vanquish Zagato Concept as I said to myself “that’s one hell of a sexy coupe” and I just knew that we will eventually see a production model. And, Aston Martin delivered shortly after. But I honestly didn’t expect the British brand to expand the Vanquish Zagato nameplate to include four different models. Aston Martin has rolled out quite a few Zagato models in the past, but no project was a complex as this one. And on top of the usual coupe and convertible, we also got a speedster and a shooting brake. Needless to say, all of them are spectacular in their own right, but the Speedster and the Shooting Brake are by far the more exotic versions, especially since you don’t see these body styles on the road quite often.

Up until now, the Speedster was my favorite variant of the Vanquish Zagato, but I just fell in love with the new Shooting Brake model. I must admit that I am a fan of vintage shooting brakes, but I’d take the Vanquish Zagato in a heartbeat. Assuming it wouldn’t be this exclusive and expensive. But hey, these attributes are part of what makes a car stand out from the pack.

  • Leave it
    • Exclusive and expensive
    • Not so much official info

References

Aston Martin Vanquish


2017 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato - image 727558

Read our full review on the 2017 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato.


2017 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Volante - image 685633

Read our full review on the 2017 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Volante.


2018 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Speedster - image 726604

Read our full review on the 2018 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Speedster.


2018 Aston Martin Vanquish S - image 695571

Read our full review on the 2018 Aston Martin Vanquish S.

PostHeaderIcon Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake

2018 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake

Redesigned in 2012, the current Aston Martin Vanquish is set to retire in less than a couple of years in order to make way for a brand-new model, and the British firm is doing whatever it takes to spice things up before pulling the plug. In 2016, it unveiled a re-bodied version of the grand tourer made by Zagato, but the coupe was soon followed by a Volante version. 2017 brought a Speedster model as well, and with 2018 just around the corner Aston Martin and Zagato launched a new body style, the Shooting Brake. The wagon model will be as exclusive as its sibling and likely extremely expensive, but it’s an important milestone in a market where shooting brakes have almost gone the way of the dodo bird.

While the Vantage Zagato wagon arrived unexpectedly, it’s not exactly surprising that Aston Martin created a shooting brake. The British firm is no stranger to this body style, and it has released quite a few wagons in the past. Harold Radford built such versions of DB5, DB6, and DBS back in the 1960s, but Aston Martin made its very own production run of the Virage in the early 1990s. More recently, Bertone transformed the Rapide in a shooting brake, but these are just a few examples. We definitely need more shooting brakes on the market today, and even though the Vanquish Zagato is limited to very few examples, it will be great to see one more sports wagon hit public roads.

Continue reading to learn more about the Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake.

Exterior

  • Muscular, Zagato-design body
  • Unique roof and rear end
  • DB11-inspired features
  • Carbon-fiber body elements
  • Glass and carbon roof
  • Exclusive wheels

2018 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake - image 740278
“Arguably the biggest change to the car's profile is the longer, wagon-style roof”

Much like the Speedster and the Volante, the Shooting Brake model is identical to the Zagato coupe below the waist. So you’re basically getting an already good-looking grand tourer with more muscular cues and a unique twist thanks to the revised roof.

Up front, the new Zagato model sports the same massive grille with LED daytime running lights at each corner, a big splitter at the bottom, and a sculpted engine hood with big vents on each side of the center section. It also has the same deeply sculpted side skirts and DB11-inspired fender strake, but the latter was mounted on a black background. With all the other Zagato models having their front fenders finished in one color, this is yet another element that makes the Shooting Brake unique.

The side mirrors carry over unchanged, but this is cool since they’re inspired from those seen on the One-77 limited-edition supercar. But, arguably, the biggest change to the profile is the longer, wagon-style roof. The upper section is actually identical to the coupe from the A- to the B-pillars, but from there on, Aston Martin designed significantly longer quarter windows and C-pillars. The latter are flatter and continue the arch of the roof toward the front fascia. It forms a wagon-like tailgate, but with a narrower design that allows the Vanquish Zagato to keep it muscular haunches.


2018 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake - image 740277
“This Zagato is a mighty fine example of how a modern shooting brake should be designed and engineered”

The rear fascia remains the same as far as the round taillights, the pointy decklid, and the carbon-fiber diffuser go. However, the rear glass is obviously smaller, while the heavily raked angle of the coupe is now gone. But the sloping roofline and the aggressive spoiler make the shooting brake just as aggressive as the coupe. The roof itself is also an interesting piece of engineering, with the fully transparent area being shaped like a V, with the narrower end oriented toward the rear. The remaining surface and the spoiler seem to be made of carbon-fiber, so Aston Martin took some precaution to keep the roof as light as possible.

All told, this Zagato is a mighty fine example of how a modern shooting brake should be designed and engineered and it’s by far the most appealing of the Vanquish Zagato lineup. Of course, this has to do with the fact that shooting brakes aren’t very common nowadays and the fact that I’m a big fan of sporty wagons.

Interior

  • “Herringbone” carbon-fiber paint
  • Anodized bronze detailing
  • “Z” quilt pattern on seats
  • Rear-seat delete
  • Enhance luggage room

2017 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato - image 680400

Note: 2017 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato pictured here.

“The rear-seat delete provides more luggage room than the standard Vanquish”

There aren’t any photos of the interior, but it’s safe to assume that the Shooting Brake is like any other Vanquish Zagato out there. This also means that it’s almost identical to the standard Vanquish, being set apart by new luxury features. The main highlight here is the “Herringbone” carbon-fiber paint with anodized bronze detailing on the center stack. There’s also the aniline leather and a unique “Z” quilt pattern stitch on the seats and door panels. The headrests have the letter “Z” embossed, while the upper door panels received double contrast stitching.

The coupe also has “Z” headliner stitching, but this feature is obviously missing here since the most of the roof is transparent. What remains unknown is whether the Shooting Brake is a two or a four seater. A picture showing the car from above suggests that Aston Martin may have removed the rear seats. This makes it somewhat less practical than a standard Vanquish in terms of how many passengers it can carry, but it provides additional luggage room. Not that customers will actually use it as a vacation car, but it remains somewhat true to the original shooting brake concept, which was as utilitarian as a full-fledged wagon.

Drivetrain

  • 5.9-liter V-12 engine
  • 592 horsepower
  • 465 pound-feet of torque
  • 0 to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds
  • Eight-speed automatic transmission

2014 - 2015 Aston Martin Vanquish - image 461514

Note: Standard Aston Martin Vanquish engine pictured here.

“Just like the rest of Vanquish Zagato family, the shooting brake gets its juice from the familiar 5.9-liter V-12”

Just like the rest of Vanquish Zagato family, the shooting brake gets its juice from the familiar 5.9-liter V-12 that powers the standard Vanquish. Output is rated at 592 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque in Europe, while the U.S.-spec version comes with 580 horsepower. The 12-horsepower deficit most likely has something to do with emission regulations on this side of the pond.

There’s no info on performance as of this writing, but we do know the coupe model hits 60 mph in 3.5 seconds. The shooting brake could be just as quick, as it shouldn’t be significantly heavier. The V-12 mates to the same ZF-developed, eight-speed automatic transmission from the regular Aston Martin Vanquish.

Prices


2018 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake - image 740276

Aston Martin hasn’t revealed pricing for any of its Vanquish Zagato models, and the Shooting Brake is no exception from this rule. The only hint we have about this series is that the Zagato Speedster could cost a whopping £1.3 million, which converts to around $1.7 million as of October 2017. But, unlike the Speedster, which is limited to only 28 units, all the other Zagato models, the Shooting Brake included, are built in 99 examples. So it’s safe to assume that the Shooting Brake will cost less. than that. It won’t be as “affordable” as the regular Vanquish, priced from around $300,000 either, but it could cost around $1 million. Granted, it’s a lot of money even for a beefed-up Vanquish, but much like any other boutique shooting brake out there, this Zagato-design wagon will sell out in no time.

Competition

In the current market, there are only four regular production shooting brakes you can buy: the Mercedes-Benz CLS and CLA, the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo, and the Ferrari GTC4Lusso. Of the four, only the Ferrari is a worthy competitor to the Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake.

Ferrari GTC4Lusso


2017 Ferrari GTC4Lusso T - image 689068

Essentially an upgrade to the Ferrari FF, the GTC4Lusso is actually very similar to the Vanquish Zagato. It has a long nose, a sporty roof, and virtually no decklid to the rear. Sure, it’s roofline and tailgate aren’t as sleek as the Zagato’s, but it’s a proper shooting brake model. And, the new features it received in 2016 make it more appealing than the FF. Luxury is a given inside the cabin, with nearly every surfaced draped in leather, Alcantara, aluminum, and carbon-fiber. Unlike the Vanquish, it also has a number of race-inspired features, like instrument cluster with the white clock in the middle and the flat-bottom, multi-control steering wheel. Output-wise, it’s the more potent option, with its 6.3-liter V-12 engine generating a whopping 680 horsepower and 514 pound-feet of torque. This translates into a 0 to 60 mph sprint of 3.3 seconds, which should be at least two tenths quicker than the Aston Martin. Top speed is also far superior at 209 mph. Pricing starts at a little over $300,000, so it’s more affordable too.

Read our full review of the 2017 Ferrari GTC4Lusso.

Conclusion


2018 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake - image 740277

When Aston Martin unveiled the Vanquish Zagato Concept as I said to myself “that’s one hell of a sexy coupe” and I just knew that we will eventually see a production model. And, Aston Martin delivered shortly after. But I honestly didn’t expect the British brand to expand the Vanquish Zagato nameplate to include four different models. Aston Martin has rolled out quite a few Zagato models in the past, but no project was a complex as this one. And on top of the usual coupe and convertible, we also got a speedster and a shooting brake. Needless to say, all of them are spectacular in their own right, but the Speedster and the Shooting Brake are by far the more exotic versions, especially since you don’t see these body styles on the road quite often.

Up until now, the Speedster was my favorite variant of the Vanquish Zagato, but I just fell in love with the new Shooting Brake model. I must admit that I am a fan of vintage shooting brakes, but I’d take the Vanquish Zagato in a heartbeat. Assuming it wouldn’t be this exclusive and expensive. But hey, these attributes are part of what makes a car stand out from the pack.

  • Leave it
    • Exclusive and expensive
    • Not so much official info

References

Aston Martin Vanquish


2017 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato - image 727558

Read our full review on the 2017 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato.


2017 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Volante - image 685633

Read our full review on the 2017 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Volante.


2018 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Speedster - image 726604

Read our full review on the 2018 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Speedster.


2018 Aston Martin Vanquish S - image 695571

Read our full review on the 2018 Aston Martin Vanquish S.

PostHeaderIcon The Smoking Tire Takes A Modified Datsun 510 Wagon Out To The Canyons: Video

To many car enthusiasts, the Datsun 510 is the quintessence of old-school cool. Produced between 1967 and 1973, the box-tastic 510 is a fantastic platform for creating any number of customized dream cars, from polished, chrome-trimmed cruisers, to stripped-down, lightweight speed machines. The owner of this particular ’72 wagon would agree. His focus was on performance, adding a roll bar and some serious suspension upgrades to help the plucky compact bring the goods at autocross events and track days. Under the hood is a 2.1-liter inline four-cylinder engine making around 130 horsepower and 130 pound-feet of torque, which is actually sufficient for a car that weighs just 2,000 pounds. Best of all, the majority of the work was done at home in the owner’s garage. All that and more is explained in this new One Take video from our friends over at The Smoking Tire.

Watching the video, you get a definite sense that this 510 is a labor of love, a work in progress that’s always improving, always changing, and always presenting new challenges. Matt Farah is a fan, calling it “responsive” and “lively,” especially praising the feel of slotting through the shifter. Overall, he even thinks it beats the venerated BMW E30 3 Series in several respects. The brakes seem a little sketchy though, requiring a “double-pump” action to actually get it to slow down. Then of course there’s the ever-present tear in the headliner seen towards the top of the interior camera angle… but hey, this is a project car. We call those things “character builders.”

Datsun 510 in pictures


The Smoking Tire Takes A Modified Datsun 510 Wagon Out To The Canyons: Video - image 738546

The Smoking Tire Takes A Modified Datsun 510 Wagon Out To The Canyons: Video - image 738547

The Smoking Tire Takes A Modified Datsun 510 Wagon Out To The Canyons: Video - image 738549

The Smoking Tire Takes A Modified Datsun 510 Wagon Out To The Canyons: Video - image 738550

The Smoking Tire Takes A Modified Datsun 510 Wagon Out To The Canyons: Video - image 738551

The Smoking Tire Takes A Modified Datsun 510 Wagon Out To The Canyons: Video - image 738547

References

BMW 3 Series


1986 BMW E30 M3 review - image 83786

Read our full review on the BMW M3 E30.


Celebrity Special – Happy Birthday Sammy Hagar! - image 738202

Read more video news.

PostHeaderIcon Gensis G70 Sportwagon

Gensis G70 Sportwagon

Launched in 2015, Genesis is the newest luxury brand on the market and the first such company to come from South Korea. Established after Hyundai rolled out increasingly more premium versions of the Genesis and Equus sedans, Genesis has already introduced three products since 2016. It all started with the G90, a redesigned and more luxurious version of the Equus, which was followed by the G80, a better replacement for the Hyundai Genesis. The third sedan, the G70, was introduced in late 2017 as a competitor for the highly popular BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and Audi A4. Having already seen the G70 in all its glory, we began wondering what if Genesis decided to expand the lineup with a wagon?

Called the G70 Sportwagon by X-Tomi Designs, which provided the rendering of what could become Genesis first ever grocery getter, this luxury wagon would compete in a very small niche that no longer benefits from a global presence. While BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi continue to sell station wagon versions of their compact sedans in Europe, the United States only gets the 3 Series Sports Wagon. The G70 Sportwagon not only would add a bit of drama to this market, but it could also come to the U.S. to give BMW a bit of action and maybe even motivate Mercedes-Benz and Audi to bring their own grocery getters over the pond. But, until that happens, let’s have a closer look at what this wagon could bring to the table.

Continue reading to learn more about the Genesis G70 Sportwagon.

Exterior


2018 Genesis G70 - image 731677

Note: Genesis G70 sedan pictured here.

“Expect it to have the same styling cues as the sedan from the nose to the C-pillars, but a longer roof and a redesigned rear fascia”

Much like any station wagon out there, the G70 Sportwagon will be heavily based on the recently unveiled G70 four-door. Specifically, expect it to have the same styling cues from the nose to the C-pillars, but a longer roof and a redesigned rear fascia. And this is great news, as the sedan is quite the looker, even when compared to the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

Up front, the wagon will showcase many of the already familiar Genesis features, starting with the crest-shaped grille with chrome horizontal bars. Should the Sportwagon also get a Sport version like the sedan, expect it to wear a honeycomb-like pattern. The G70’s sleek headlamps with angular edges will give the wagon an aggressive stance, as will the vertically oriented side vents and the complex layout of the center intake, which includes various thin elements that enhance aerodynamics.


2018 Genesis G70 - image 731675

Note: Genesis G70 sedan pictured here.

“The Sportwagon should retain the sedan's athletic profile, despite the longer roof and the boxier rear end”

The Sportwagon should retain the sedan’s athletic profile, despite the longer roof and the boxier rear end. At the same, it should feel elegant as well, mostly due to the subtle beltline and character line just above the side skirts. The profile will change dramatically from the C-pillar to the rear. Not only the muscular rear haunches of the sedan will be gone, but the Sportwagon will get the wagon-specific third window and thick D-pillar. However, the sloping roofline and the angle rear glass will prevent the car from looking like a 1980s Volvo (read “hearse”),


2018 Genesis G70 - image 731668

Note: Genesis G70 sedan pictured here.

“The rear end will be almost radically different than the sedan's, so forget about the nicely sculpted trunk lid”

The rear end will be almost radically different than the sedan’s, so forget about the nicely sculpted trunk lid, which will make way for a more utilitarian tailgate. It will be interesting to see what Genesis decided to do with the taillights. While the ones seen on the sedan are rather small for a wagon and placed outside the trunk lid, Genesis could opt for longer units that extend into the tailgate. This isn’t necessarily a rule for modern wagons, but it’s a common practice among other brand competing in this niche. I guess that if Genesis chooses to keep the sedans taillights, the Sportwagon will have one more reason to stand out.

The ten exterior colors that are available for the four-door G70 should make it on the wagon too. So expect the palette to include hues like Platinum Silver, Carbon Metal, Marble White, Titanium Black, Racing Gray, Graceful Gray, Lapis Blue, Royal Blue, Blazing Red, and Umber Brown.

Interior


2018 Genesis G70 - image 731670

Note: Genesis G70 sedan pictured here.

“Look for the same modern design with a clean and simple dashboard”

Naturally, the interior of the wagon will also mimic that of the sedan, except for the wagon-style trunk. Look for the same modern design with a clean and simple dashboard that’s slimmer than usual to provide better visibility up front and a sports car-like feeling.

As seen in the sedan, the front section will have a horizontal layout, which is rather common in today’s premium cars, while the wide and tall center console will be topped by a driver-oriented center stack. The latter will include only a handful of buttons placed under the A/C vents for that clean look most premium customers are looking for.


2018 Genesis G70 - image 731671

Note: Genesis G70 sedan pictured here.

“The seats feature the company’s smart posture control system”

The seats, which have been positioned so that they lower the center of gravity of the car to maximize performance for the sedan, feature the company’s smart posture control system. Introduced in the range-topping G90, this system automatically adjusts the seat, steering wheel, outside mirror, and heads-up display to the optimal position based on the driver’s body information.

As far as materials go, we’ve already seen some premium appointments in the sedan. So the wagon should come with Nappa leather seats, quilted leather door panel inserts, and aluminum door handles and trim. Almost everything else is covered in soft-touch materials, just like in the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Upholstery color options should include Obsidian Black, Sandstorm Gray, Velvet Burgundy, Tobacco Brown and Vanilla Beige.

“The Sportwagon will benefit from the larger trunk that all wagons get behind the second-row seat”

Passenger comfort will also be enhanced thanks to the lower levels of noise, vibration and harshness achieved through the use of sound absorption and isolation materials, revised suspension and body frame connection, and the design of the door sealing systems. In the convenience department, the eight-inch display will provide access to MirrorLink, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and server-based voice recognition technology via artificial intelligence platform Kakao I. A 15-speaker Lexicon surround-sound system will be available for audiophiles.

Of course, the Sportwagon will benefit from the larger trunk that all wagons get behind the second-row seat. In addition to that, it will also benefit from folding rear seats for that extra space that comes in handy when hauling long objects or when you’re simply moving into a new apartment, and you have a lot of stuff to carry.

But, in order to be competitive, the Sportwagon needs to come as close as possible to the rather high bar set by the competition. For instance, the BMW 3 Series Sports wagon can hold up to 27.6 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 61.5 cubic feet with the seats folded flat. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class Wagon isn’t quite as roomy, but it can still haul a lot of luggage at 17.3 and 53.3 cubic feet, respectively. The new Audi A4 Avant is similar to the Merc with 17.8 and 53.3 cubic feet ratings.

Drivetrain


2018 Genesis G70 - image 731669

Note: Genesis G70 sedan pictured here.

“A diesel version will also be offered, powered by a 2.2-liter four-banger rated at 199 horsepower and 325 pound-feet”

Once again, the Sportwagon will mimic the sedan version of the G70 under the hood. The four-door is offered with a drivetrain lineup consisting of three engines, starting with the familiar 2.0-liter GDI available in other Hyundai models. The turbocharged four-cylinder is rated at 252 PS and 353 Nm of torque (249 horsepower and 260 pound-feet), while opting for the Sports package increases the power rating slightly to 255 PS (252 horsepower). A diesel version is also available, powered by a 2.2-liter four-banger rated at 202 PS and 441 Nm of twist (199 horsepower and 325 pound-feet).

Performance ratings for these drivetrains aren’t yet available, but it’s safe to assume that the wagon versions will have slightly slower sprint times. Probably a tenth or two due to the extra weight and the different aerodynamics.

“G70 Sport, which will be the range-topping model, will hide a 3.3-liter Lambda V-6 under the hood”

Finally, G70 Sport, which is the range-topping model, hides a 3.3-liter Lambda V-6 under the hood. Also available in many Hyundai cars, this powerplant cranks out 370 PS and 510 Nm (365 horsepower and 376 pound-feet) of torque and enables the sedan to hit 62 mph from a standing start in 4.7 seconds. Interestingly enough, that’s two tenths quicker than the range-topping 3 Series model with RWD and as quick as the same model equipped with AWD. So I guess it’s safe to assume that the G70 Sportwagon will be competitive enough for its German rivals. Top speed is rated at 168 mph for the four-door, significantly higher from the 155-mph ratings that come with most compact BMW and Mercedes-Benz sedans, and this figure should remain unchanged with the wagon.

When equipped with the Sport package, the wagon should also get the variable-ratio steering and electronically controlled suspension offered as standard with the sedan. Another standard feature will be Launch Control and rack-mounted, motor-driven power steering and multi-link rear suspension, both designed to provide more precise handling and comfortable ride. Finally, the dynamic torque vectoring system will improve the wagon’s cornering control, while the mechanical limited slip differential will enhance handling in low friction road conditions such as rain, snow, and ice.

Prices

We still don’t have pricing information for the G70 sedan, which makes it difficult to estimate how much the wagon will cost, but Genesis needs to keep pricing close to the competition. For instance, the BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon starts from $44,450 in the U.S. Of course, pricing will depend on which engines are offered, but being a new brand, Genesis may have to keep the sticker a bit lower in order to score some sales. Somewhere around $40,000 to $42,000 seems like a good guess.

Competition

BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon


2016 BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon - image 629407

Should it come to the U.S., the Genesis G70 Sportwagon will have just one competitor. But it will have a hard time stealing customers from BMW, as the 3 Series Sports Wagon has been around for quite a while and built itself a solid reputation. Sure, it’s a few years old, and its popularity was enhanced by the fact that there aren’t any other options, but the sporty design, the well-appointed interior, and the powerful engine make it tough to beat.

Speaking of engines, there are two options to choose from. First up, there’s the 330i, which uses a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder rated at 248 horsepower and 258 pound-feet. The second option is the 328d, powered by a 2.0-liter turbodiesel that’s good for 188 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of twist. It’s worth noting that the 3 Series Sports Wagon is the only Bimmer, alongside the X5, to get a diesel powerplant in the U.S. In Europe, the drivetrain lineup is much more diverse. Ranging from the entry-level 318i with 136 horsepower to the 340i M Sport with 326 horses, the 3 Series Touring meets every need performance-wise. On the diesel front, the range begins with the 316d rated at 116 horsepower and goes all the way up to the 335d xDrive M Sport with 313 horses. U.S. pricing starts from $44,450, while German prices start from €34,550.

Read our full review of the 2017 BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Wagon


2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Wagon - image 552973

Unveiled in 2014 alongside the then-brand-new C-Class, this grocery getter has been one of the most celebrated compact premium wagons for decades now. And for good reason, as the longer, five-door version of the C-Class is just as classy and luxurious as its four-door sibling. The latest model is particularly appealing, as the C-Class’ design language, which is based on the larger S-Class, is both sporty and elegant. And despite having a wagon rear end instead of the sedan’s sleek, coupe-like roofline, the C-Class Wagon is as sexy as wagons get. Okay, so maybe it’s not as gorgeous as the CLS Shooting Brake, but it’s definitely one of the most beautiful wagons you can buy. The same description can be used for the interior, which blends sportiness and elegance under acres of leather and wood veneer.

The engine lineup isn’t as diverse as the sedan’s, but you get plenty of options ranging from the 154 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of the base C180 to the 362 horses and 384 pound-feet of the C450 AMG. Of course, proper AMG C63 and AMG C63 S variants are also offered. More importantly, Mercedes also launched a plug-in hybrid version, the C350, rated at 275 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of twist. Diesel models range from the C220 BlueTEC with 168 horsepower and 295 pound-feet to the C300 BlueTEC Hybrid with 228 horses and 369 pound-feet. Unfortunately, none of them are available in the United States. German pricing starts from €33,534.

Read our full review of the 2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Wagon.

Audi A4 Avant


2016 - 2018 Audi A4 - image 635402

Introduced for the 2016 model year, the A4 Avant is the newest offering in this comparison. It’s also one of the most aggressive wagons you can buy thanks to Audi’s recent design language with more angular lines. The interior is also new and quite the significant departure from the previous design. While the outgoing model felt dated, the current-generation A4 has everything it takes to give its competitors a run for its money. And it’s pretty unique too with the classy air-vent strip that stretches across the dashboard. The German wagon is sold with four engines besides the performance-oriented S4 and RS4. The base 1.4-liter unit cranks out 150 horsepower and 184 pound-feet, while the 2.0-liter four-pot is available with either 190 horses and 236 pound-feet or 252 horsepower and 273 pound-feet. The range-topping model uses a 3.0-liter V-6 that generates 354 horsepower and 369 pound-feet. The diesel lineup includes various versions of the company’s 2.0-liter and 3.0-liter mills, ranging from the 2.0 TDI with 120 horsepower and 199 pound-feet to the 3.0 TDI V-6 with 272 horses and 443 pound-feet. Like the C-Class Wagon, the A4 Avant isn’t available in the U.S. However, you can buy the A4 Allroad, an Avant with SUV features and higher ground clearance. This model is priced from $44,500. In Germany, the standard A4 Avant retails from €33,700.

Read our full story of the 2017 Audi A4 Avant.

Conclusion


2019 Gensis G70 Sportwagon - image 734727

The Genesis G70 Sportwagon is just a rendering as of this writing, and the Korean firm didn’t say whether such a model is under consideration or not. But it’s more than just a cool idea. With the luxury brand having rolled out three sedans so far, and with at least two SUVs underway, a wagon version of the G70 should be included in the company’s future plans. The G70 may be enough to grant the company access to the tough compact market that’s controlled by the 3 Series, C-Class, and A4, but Genesis needs more than just a sedan in order to survive. A coupe and a convertible should also be considered, but a station wagon sounds like a good first step in a niche that doesn’t have too many propositions on offer. And judging by the G70’s looks, lush interior, and solid drivetrain lineup, I think that a station wagon could make a significant impact.

  • Leave it
    • Genesis may never build it
    • Lacks the brand cachet of BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi
    • Is the station wagon segment slowly dying?

PostHeaderIcon Audi RS4 And RS5 Carbon Editions

In a day and age where “special edition” models can mean just about anything under the sun, Audi has found a nifty trick to kill two birds with one stone by offering special edition models for the Audi RS4 Avant and the Audi RS5 Coupe. Officially, both models are have been designated as Carbon Editions, a nod to the smattering of carbon bits they received that help make them lighter and a bit more fun to drive on the open road.

The lightweight blueprint is a tried-and-tested one, and many automakers have taken that approach to squeeze out every ounce of improved performance they can out of their cars without having to pump more power out of the engines. Audi’s approach with the RS4 and RS5 Carbon Editions is similar by the sheer number of carbon fiber reinforced polymer add-ons both models received. The goal of replacing the standard parts with CFRP counterparts is to make both cars lighter, which is exactly what Audi accomplished. The RS4, for example, is now 80 kilos (176 pounds) lighter than its standard counterpart whereas the RS5 slashes 60 kilos (132 pounds) from its original weight. Does the weight loss spell massive improvements in performance? Not quite. But don’t think that these are “standard” RS4s and RS5s either. If anything, these two new special editions should be lighter on their feet, and we know what that equates to in the end.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Audi RS4 Avant and RS5 Coupe Carbon Editions.

What makes the Audi RS4 and RS5 Carbon Editions special?


2018 Audi RS4 And RS5 Carbon Editions - image 734768

It’s not a sexy billing when you describe a special edition’s calling card as “lighter than the original.” There’s just nothing fancy about it. There’s no new aesthetic look, and certainly no extra horsepower to tout. But, not everything about cars is defined by looks and power, and that’s where the Audi RS4 and RS5 Carbon Editions come into the picture.

“Both received a menu of carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer details”

Both models still look largely like their standard counterparts. But they also received a menu of carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer details. Both models, for example, share new front spoilers, sill extensions, diffuser inserts, and door mirror casings. The two special edition models also benefit from receiving matte aluminum finishes for their respective radiator grilles. Each one also gets a privacy glass, window surrounds, and RS Matrix LED headlamps. Being the coupe of the two, the RS5 Carbon Edition also gets an exposed roof and a rear spoiler. The two special edition models also get the exclusive treat of having a set of one-piece milled 20-inch alloy wheels. This wheel set is not only new and exclusive to the Carbon Edition models, but they also provide weight savings of up to 8 kilos (18 pounds) compared to the standard wheels.


2018 Audi RS4 And RS5 Carbon Editions - image 734771

2018 Audi RS4 And RS5 Carbon Editions - image 734772

Move inside both special edition models, and similar upgrades are also in the offing. From interior inlays featuring the same CFRP material to fine Nappa leather sports seats in black with contrast red stitching, the RS4 and RS5 Carbon Editions have both been dressed up to legitimately look the part of special edition models.

“It must be expected though that neither the RS4 nor the RS5 feature any power and performance enhancements”

It must be expected though that neither the RS4 nor the RS5 feature any power and performance enhancements. Both the models are still powered by the same 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 engine that pumps out 444 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. Identical output aside, the RS4 is capable of sprinting from 0 to 62 mph in 4.1 seconds while the RS5 is 0.2 seconds quicker at 3.9 ticks. Top speed also remains at 155 mph for both models, though if customers avail of the option, Audi can lift the limiter up to unleash a 174-mph top speed for both models.


2018 Audi RS4 And RS5 Carbon Editions - image 734773

The two Carbon Edition models are available in the UK, each with a price that’s understandably higher than their standard counterparts. The RS4 Avant Carbon Edition, for example, costs £71,625, or about $95,700 based on current exchange rates. That price point is higher by £10,000 ($13,360) over the standard RS4 Avant. Likewise, the RS5 Coupe Carbon Edition will sell for £75,400, or just over $100,000. Do the math, and that’s a premium of around £12,500 ($16,700) over the regular RS5 Coupe.

It’s unclear how many RS4 Avant and RS Coupe Carbon Editions Audi plans to sell, though we can at least be certain that none of them will find their way into the US market. That could still change depending on where the wind is blowing in Ingolstadt, but if history is an indication of the company’s allocation of these models, don’t expect any good news in that regard.

References

Audi RS4 Avant


2018 Audi RS4 Avant - image 730957

Read our full review on the 2018 Audi RS4 Avant.

Audi RS5 Coupe


2018 Audi RS5 - image 708379

Read our full review on the Audi RS5 Coupe.


Audi Looks To Our Autonomous EV Future With Aicon Concept - image 730650

Read more Audi news.

PostHeaderIcon 2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo Unveiled

Porsche first introduced the Panamera in 2009 at the Shanghai Auto Show, and since then, we’ve seen a plethora of models and updates. The second generation arrived just last year, and now, there’s a new flagship iteration dubbed the Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo. Put all those names together, and what you’re left with is a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 mated with an electric motor, offering both rip-snortin’ performance and plug-in hybrid eco friendliness, as the mood may strike you. The electric motor makes 136 horses all by itself, while the V-8 makes 550 horsepower. Working in concert, they produce 680 horsepower and 626 pound-feet of torque, essentially making this new Panamera one of the most powerful Porsches ever.

Outside, you’ll find active aero like an adjustable roof spoiler, as well as 21-inch wheels. Handling stuff includes the option for rear-axle steering, plus standard spec like Porsche’s branded ceramic brakes, dynamic chassis control, and torque vectoring. Keeping it shiny side up is a three-chamber air suspension system. Meanwhile, the power makes its way to the pavement by way of an eight-speed PDK transmission, as well as an active AWD system. Important numbers look like 3.2 seconds for the 0-to-60 mph run, 11.6 seconds in the quarter mile, and a top speed of 192 mph. Fuel mileage and range will be announced closer to launch. Pricing is set at $188,400. Look for it in dealers next spring, and read on for further details.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid.

What Should I Expect In The Cabin?


2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo Unveiled - image 733839

Inside is Porsche’s advanced cockpit set-up, as well as a variety of driver assistance tech (adaptive cruise control, etc.). Options include seating for four to five passengers.

And since the Sport Turismo is framed as a wagon, practicality was a definite consideration. As such, the new model gets a big tailgate, low loading floor, and more cargo volume. With the rear seats up, there’s 15 cubic feet of space, while the rear bench can fold in a 40:20:40 split for extra room. Folded all the way down, cargo room expands to 45.7 cubic feet.

What About The Electric Motor? Does It Make This Porsche Green?


2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo Unveiled - image 733837

Maybe not by Prius standards, but framed as a sports car with nearly 700 horsepower, most definitely.

The electric motor is juiced by a lithium-ion battery pack rated at a 14.1-kWh capacity. Plug it into the wall, and it takes 12 hours to reach full charge, while the optional 7.2-kW charger will take just three hours from a 240-volt source. Charge management is controlled via the Porsche Connect app, supported on either smartphones or Apple Watch, which means you can suckle at the teat of the local grid during off-peak hours.

And while Porsche has yet to announce the all-electric range, we’d expect around 30 miles with a full charge, give or take. After that, you’re the burning dino juice.

Conclusion


2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo Unveiled - image 733836

What do you think, dear reader? Does the 2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid tickle your fancy? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below, and stay tuned for our forthcoming full written review.

PostHeaderIcon Audi RS4 Avant

Introduced in 1999, the Audi RS4 placed itself at the top of Audi’s compact car lineup. With a sportier, more aerodynamic exterior, exclusive features on the inside, and a more powerful engine, the RS4 quickly became a solid competitor for the BMW M3. However, unlike BMW, Audi also built a wagon version a created a brand-new niche for performance grocery getters. The RS4 Avant become such an important car in the Audi lineup, that the third-generation RS4 didn’t even get a sedan version. Come 2017 and a brand-new generation RS4 arrived, also introduced with an Avant variant only.

Essentially a beefed-up version of the latest A4 wagon, which already sports Audi’s new design language with more angular features, the RS4 Avant gained a brand-new engine that smaller, but more potent than the outgoing unit. The new performance wagon is also lighter than its predecessor, which had quite a few issues when compared to the awesome Mercedes-AMG C63 Estate. All told, Audi finally has a proper competitor for the souped-up Merc and we will find out what it brings to the table in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Audi RS4 Avant.

PostHeaderIcon Opel Insignia GSi Sports Tourer

German automaker Opel first offered the Insignia in 2008, replacing the Vectra and Signum in its lineup. Also sold as a Vauxhall in Britain, a Holden Commodore in Australia, and the a Regal in China and the U.S., we’ve already seen a fastback iteration of the model offered on this side of the pond as the new 2018 Buick Regal GS. Now, Opel is offering up a hot-to-trot wagon version called the GSi Sports Tourer. The GSi nameplate was pulled from previous go-faster versions of Opel’s street cars, with previous examples including the Manta GSi and Kadett GSi from the mid-‘80s, as well as the Kadett 2.0 GSi 16V and Astra GSi and Corsa GSi. Now, followingw a full reveal at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, there’s a new one that the automaker says was designed to be both fun and practical. Outside, you’ll find long, lean, wide, and horizontal styling elements, while under the hood resides a potent turbo 2.0-liter engine, all of which combines with a substantial amount of space in back for people and things.

This is Opel’s new flagship station wagon, so it makes sense the Germans gave it the royal treatment. In fact, Opel is so certain it’ll bring the sporting goods, it included a picture of a racing suit, helmet, and gloves in the back of the trunk in the press shots. But is it really worthy of such connotations? Read on the find out.

Continue reading to learn more about the Opel Insignia GSi Sports Tourer.

PostHeaderIcon This Fancy Interior Is a Sign that Kia Is Taking the Luxury Path

When it comes to luxury cars, Kia isn’t the automaker you’d usually go to. But the brand that was once associated with cheap, poorly built cars has evolved to the point where it can compete head-on with class leaders. Granted, it’s not yet there in the full-size luxury market, where the K900 has yet to gain popularity, but it’s making tremendous progress. And proof of that are not only in the latest production cars, but also the Proceed concept that was just unveiled at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Essentially a slightly more futuristic, shooting brake variant of the Kia Stinger, the Proceed isn’t overly spectacular on the outside. However, the interior is an attention grabber due to its out-of-the-box design and fancy features. More importantly, it shows what the brand is capable of and looking at it make me very confident that Kia will climb higher and higher on the premium ladder. Sure, the Proceed will remain a concept for now, but if previous show cars are any indication, we could see many of these features production models really soon. Keep reading to find out why I think this is one of the most exciting interior designs launched in 2017.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Kia Proceed Concept

Launched in 2006 as a replacement for the Cerato, the Kia Cee’d is now one of the company’s most popular vehicles in Europe. Redesigned in 2012 into a more modern, better-looking car, the Cee’d, along with its Procee’d, GT, and station wagon variants, is getting a little long in the tooth, and a third-generation model is likely under way for 2018. While we don’t know much about it, Kia unveiled the Proceed concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show, giving us a good glimpse of what the next-gen Cee’d might bring to the table.

Described as an “extended hot hatch that presents a new body type for Kia,” the Proceed concept appears to be the bastard child of a Kia Stinger and a low, sleek shooting brake. And it’s one of Kia’s most intriguing design to date. Not surprisingly, it was penned at the company’s European design center in Frankfurt, only 500 meters (0.3 miles) from where it will be unveiled. Kia also says that the Proceed concept indicates what the next-generation Cee’d “could look like,” so we might be looking at a fancier version of the upcoming hatchback.

Continue reading to learn more about the Kia Proceed Concept.

PostHeaderIcon Kia’s Upcoming Shooting Brake Concept has us Saying “Please Take our Money!”

The 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show is just around the corner and, as usual, we’re in for a ton of debuts including both production and concept cars. Kia, which runs a design center just 500 meters from the Frankfurt Motor Show, is among carmakers that will bring new products to the event. The company’s main highlight is a concept car that presents “a new body type for Kia.” It doesn’t have a name yet, but the Korean manufacturer points out that it indicates what the next-generation Cee’d “could look like.”

It’s bold, athletic, and indeed brings a new body style to the current Kia lineup. While the company describes it as an “extended hot hatch,” it’s actually some kind of modern shooting brake. Or a really sleek wagon with an almost fastback rear end. But it’s gorgeous, and the really wide wheel arches, the sculpted side skirts, and the rear diffuser suggest we’re looking at a performance model. Kia didn’t share any actual details about the car, but I might have an idea about what it may be. Keep reading to find out.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon 2018 Volvo S60 and V60 Get Carbon Fiber Enhancements From Polestar

Of the models in Volvo’s automotive lineup, the S60 and V60 are the two that have yet to adopt the Swedish automaker’s design language. Don’t worry though because that’s coming in the next few years. In the meantime, the two models are getting a nice treat for the 2018MY, all thanks to some new aerodynamic accessories provided by Polestar.

The kit itself covers plenty of real estate on both the S60 and V60 and was designed to help enhance the sedan and wagon’s performance and handling credentials. It covers upgrades on both the exterior and interior of the two models, with the exterior of each model promised to receive improvements in downforce by as much as 30 percent. There are no power upgrades, though, so don’t expect anything on that front. Still, there’s plenty of new bits and pieces to get excited about, especially for those who are looking into either the S60 or the V60 as their new automotive purchase. Best hurry though in making up your mind because Volvo is limiting production of the Polestar aerodynamic package to just 1,500 units. Should you decide to hold off until the next-generation models for both the S60 and V60 arrive, you’re going to have to wait at least another year for both cars to adopt Volvo’s current design looks. Either way, it’s not a bad idea to go in either direction.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Subaru Enthusiast Makes Intake Out Of Cardboard, Goes Faster: Video

Folks like us do some pretty silly things in the name of performance. Whether its justifying the purchase of a new Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio as a “family car,” or breaking your back running coilovers on the daily driver for a few seconds per lap on the weekends, you wouldn’t be wrong for calling our perspective “skewed” at best. That said, where there’s a will, there’s a way, as evidenced by this intrepid young Subaru driver’s unorthodox approach to boosting horsepower. Documented in a short five-minute, 21-second video from our friends over at 1320 Video, the Subaru in question is a mostly stock early 2000’s Forester running flat out at the Pikes Peak Airstrip Attack event at the Colorado Springs Airport. In a bid to crest the 100-mph mark, the driver fabricated a new intake from a Pringles can and cereal box, plumbing it through the headlight for a budget-friendly ram air effect. The result is just enough extra power to reach three digits, making this driver our new hero.

Never mind the Mustangs and Vipers this kid is running against. We’re much more interested in the box-shaped, 15-year-old grocery getter chipping away for a personal record. This is real enthusiasm, people, and it’s infectious. Fingers crossed the owner continues to have fun for years to come.

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Cadillac CTS-V Wagon

The Cadillac CTS was introduced back in 2002 as a replacement for the Opel Omega-based Catera, and since 2013 it’s being sold in its third-generation version. Much like its predecessors, the current CTS is also available in a performance-oriented CTS-V version. On the flipside, both the coupe and wagon were cancelled for the third-gen model, and there’s no sign that they will return anytime soon. But what if Cadillac would change its mind and produce a high-performance grocery getter?

I’m obviously talking about the CTS-V Wagon, the shortest lived version of the nameplate. First introduced in 2011, the CTS-V Wagon survived only until 2014, when Cadillac decided to axe it due to demand. The death of the CTS Wagon also marked the end of the last mid-size luxury wagon built in the United States, leaving only the Mercedes-Benz E-Class to compete in this niche. More recently, the Merc was joined by the new Volvo V90, but needless to say, wagon enthusiasts still don’t have too many options to choose from. So maybe it’s time Cadillac revives the CTS Wagon in both standard and V performance guises, especially with an updated third-gen sedan already in dealerships?

Continue reading to learn more about the Cadillac CTS-V Wagon.

PostHeaderIcon Jaguar XF Sportbrake

Introduced in 2007 to replace the ageing S-Type, the Jaguar XF was redesigned for the 2016 model year. The makeover brought an evolutionary restyling but turned the four-door sedan in a sportier proposition on the outside and a more luxurious vehicle on the inside. The XF also received new drivetrains, most notably the company’s recently launched 2.0-liter four-cylinder in both gasoline and diesel formats. The 3.0-liter V-6 was also carried over, but with significant upgrades. Unlike the first-generation model, the second-gen XF arrived without a wagon version. This changed for the 2018 model year when Jaguar launched a redesigned XF Sportbrake.

Making things that much better, it’s available in the U.S. too!

The Sportbrake’s return is a bit surprising, especially since Ian Callum, Jaguar’s director of design, once predicted the death of the station wagon. But, while I’d like to know what made him change his mind, I’m actually glad that the Sportbrake is back in dealerships and especially in the U.S., where the midsize market was limited to just two models, with a couple more available in other niches. Sure, it’s still ridiculous, but with three different products in the premium market, we finally have some proper action going on.

Continue reading to learn more about the Jaguar XF Sportbrake.


PostHeaderIcon Buick Prepares To Enter the Station Wagon Game Yet Again

TV killed the radio star, and now, SUVs are killing the car. Want proof? Buick, yes I said Buick, is going to drop the Regal sedan altogether and replace it with a sedan-styled, five-door that’s more like an SUV or wagon than the sedan that we’ve all known for so many years. It’s not surprising, considering the sale of midsize sedans have dropped for two years in a row, while crossovers have accounted for roughly two-thirds of Buicks sales in 2016 alone. We also saw this coming after Buick showed off the Cadillac Escala concept not that long ago.

So, what kind of design is Buick actually going with? Well, don’t hold your breath for anything special because GM is all about badge-engineering these days and the 2018 Regal is going to be no exception. Need a hint? How about the name Opel? Need another hint? How about Insignia? That’s right; the next-gen Regal is likely to be nearly identical to the Opel Insignia Grand Sport hatchback and the Insignia Sports Tourer wagon that debuted at the Geneva Auto Show just this month.

There has been no comment from Buick about this development, however, rumor has it that the new Regal will be built in Opel’s Ruesselsheim factory in Germany and imported into the U.S. On the plus side, if the Buick really is going the five-door route with the Regal, it will be the brand’s first official wagon since the Buick Century and Buick Roadmaster of the 1990s. And, on another note, it could be the last produced by Opel now that the brand (and Vauxhall, for that matter) are being sold to PSA Group.

Keep reading for the rest of the story


PostHeaderIcon BMW 5 Series Touring with M Performance Parts

In a world often taken up by personalization divisions and aftermarket options, it’s easy to miss out on the benefits of something as simple as an add-on package. They don’t get the flashy reviews or the top-of-the-page headlines, but there is an argument that they’re just as effective in giving life vehicle. BMW’s M Performance Parts is a good example of that since it’s often overshadowed by tuning companies and Bimmer’s Individual personalization division. But as it showed in the 5 Series Touring variant of the mid-sized luxury sedan, there’s more to the M Performance Parts than meets the eye.

The treatment itself is getting some well-deserved shine at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show where BMW will be displaying the 5 Series Touring with M Performance Parts in all its glory. It might be hard to recognize the difference, but rest assured, the package comes with an assortment of sporty goodies meant to drive up the personality of the 5 Series Touring. Starting with the exterior and moving to the interior and the engine (yep, there’s an optional power kit included) the M Performance Parts lives up to its name by turning the 5 Series Touring into a veritable M car.

It may not carry the iconic M badge, but that’s just a matter of cosmetics. The BMW 5 Series Touring with M Performance Parts looks and acts like an M car. That in itself is worth giving the station wagon the attention it deserves.

Continue after the jump to read more about the BMW 5 Series Touring with M Performance Parts


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