GSA completes student bed shopping spree in Germany

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 12:28
Student accommodation provider GSA has acquired multiple student schemes across Berlin, Hamburg and Frankfurt adding 1,900 beds to its German division.
Categories: Property

Parabola acquires Frasers department store

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 12:26
Parabola Property Group has acquired the iconic Frasers department store on Edinburgh’s Princes Street.
Categories: Property

Helical signs string of lettings at The Loom

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 11:16
App developer Project M is among several new tenants to take space from Helical at The Loom office development in London’s Whitechapel.
Categories: Property

Whitbread to open hotel and restaurant at Durham’s Milburngate

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 10:43
The developers of Milburngate in Durham have struck a deal with Whitbread to bring a Premier Inn hotel and a steak restaurant to the scheme.
Categories: Property

Green light for shipping container market at Reading’s Broad Street Mall

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 10:05
Moorgarth Group has secured planning permission to create a market built from shipping containers at its Broad Street Mall shopping centre in Reading.
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UBS buys Southwark office building for £75.7m

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 10:03
UBS Asset Management has bought the 42 Southwark Bridge Road office building in London for £75.7m, reflecting a net initial yield of 5.31%.
Categories: Property

Octopus Healthcare appoints retirement director

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 09:54
Kevin Beirne has been appointed as director of retirement at specialist housing developer Octopus Healthcare.
Categories: Property

Clarion plans 135 homes in Brent

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 09:52
Clarion Housing Group is to develop 135 homes for first-time buyers in north west London.
Categories: Property

Lendlease and CPPIB launch £1.5bn BTR joint venture

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 09:00
Lendlease, and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) have launched a build-to-rent (BTR) investment partnership, with an initial target to invest £1.5bn in the sector.
Categories: Property

Investors set to increase allocations to real estate in 2018

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 08:44
More than half of global investors (56%) plan to increase their exposure to real estate over the next 24 months, targeting an average 10.2% of total capital allocation.
Categories: Property

FTSE dips, but Savills up as new CEO revealed

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 08:28
The FTSE 100 nudged down on Tuesday, weighed down by miners and oil giant BP, while the pound slipped after UK inflation fell from November’s five-year high.
Categories: Property

Wanda sells Nine Elms scheme as it continues global sell-off

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 08:09
Wanda Hotel Development, the Hong Kong listed unit of Dalian Wanda Group, has sold its 60% interest in a luxury hotel development at Nine Elms in London for £35.6m, as it continues a programme of asset sales around the world.
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Infiniti to Become the Electrified Brand for Nissan

Motortrend News Feed - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 23:40

All Infiniti models after 2021 will be electrified with the exception of large SUVs in a bid to differentiate the luxury brand from the mainstream Nissan brand, Hiroto Saikawa, CEO of Nissan Motor Company, said at an automotive conference in Detroit.

“We are now trying to make Infiniti the premium brand and highly electrified brand,” Saikawa said at the Automotive News World Congress held in conjunction with the North American International Auto Show, where Infiniti showed the Q Inspiration concept with a short hood because it does not need to house a large engine bay.

The man who replaced Carlos Ghosn was short on details but said the automaker is pursuing a two-prong electric strategy. All vehicles will either be pure electric or will have “e-power” which means there will be a gasoline engine that will help power the generator but will not be used to actually propel the vehicle. The engine serves as a generator for the battery while electric motors power the vehicle.

It means nearly all new Infiniti models introduced after 2021 will be electrified and by 2025 half of Infiniti models will have some form of electrification, Saikawa said.

Infiniti is also investing heavily in gasoline engines with the introduction of the VC Turbo which is the first variable-compression ratio engine that gives the gas engine the torque and efficiency of a hybrid or diesel. The advanced powertrain is debuting in the 2019 QX50.

Saikawa wants more automakers to invest heavily in electric vehicles, which will encourage consumers to embrace them.

Nissan has kicked off their six-year business plan to 2022, in which it expects to be near full potential in the second half of the plan.

The post Infiniti to Become the Electrified Brand for Nissan appeared first on Motor Trend.

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2018 Land Rover Range Rover Sport

The Car Connection News Feed - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 23:00
The 2018 Land Rover Range Rover Sport seems to do it all. The luxury SUV is opulent, comfortable, good looking, tremendously capable, and remarkably quick—almost unbelievably quick in top models. All things that our rating system prioritizes, which is how we arrive at a very high 8.0 out of 10 for the Range Rover Sport. (Read more about how...
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Tesla Model 3 to Expand Voice Control Capabilities

Motortrend News Feed - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 22:30

As Tesla slowly rolls out the Model 3 to customers, it’s already plotting improvements it can introduce in future software updates. Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed this week that the Model 3 will expand its voice control capabilities.

Responding to a question on Twitter, Musk said drivers will be able to control “pretty much anything” on the Model 3 by using voice commands.

“Software team is focused on core Model 3 functionality right now, but that will be done soon, then we will add a lot more features,” Musk also wrote.

Definitely. You will be able to do pretty much anything via voice command. Software team is focused on core Model 3 functionality right now, but that will be done soon, then we will add a lot more features.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 15, 2018

Musk didn’t delve into specifics regarding the new voice control system. But as we saw at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, automakers and tech companies are envisioning a future in which the car becomes more and more like your personal assistant. Google Assistant just rolled out to Android Auto this month, and Hyundai previewed a voice control system that can adjust the temperature in the cockpit and perform other advanced functions.

Major navigation overhaul coming in early 2018. Will be light-years ahead of current system, but we are testing it rigorously before rolling out.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 21, 2017

Tesla is expected to update its navigation system early this year as well. Musk said late last year the new system will be “light-years” ahead of the current one.

Source: Elon Musk via Twitter, Business Insider (1, 2)

The post Tesla Model 3 to Expand Voice Control Capabilities appeared first on Motor Trend.

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SUVs and Crossovers From the 2018 Detroit Auto Show

Motortrend News Feed - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 21:50

SUVs and crossovers aren’t just surging in popularity — the vehicles are becoming flagship models and often garner more excitement than sedans. Some SUV concepts even preview the future design direction for automakers, a task once reserved for cars. The 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit showcased the latest SUV and crossover debuts from automakers, including a turbocharged, all-wheel-drive rocket and an unstoppable off-roader.

Keep reading to see what SUVs and crossovers made their debuts at the 2018 Detroit auto show.

Lexus LF-1 Limitless Concept

The LF-1 Limitless concept is a preview of the Lexus’ next flagship vehicle, a sporty-looking crossover with a stretched hood and long dash-to-axle ratio. Revealed in Detroit, the LF-1 shares the same GA-L platform that the LS and LC ride on but is taller, wider, and offers 8.5 inches of ground clearance. The platform is versatile enough for gasoline, hybrid, electric, and fuel cell powertrains. However, don’t expect three rows in the production version—Lexus plans to keep the LF-1’s production version a two-row machine.

To save space, drive, park, and reverse buttons are located on the bottom of the steering wheel, and activating Sport mode and various AWD modes are done by gesture control. We expect to see the production version of the LF-1 Limitless concept in production by 2021 with a starting price around $75,000.

2019 Lamborghini Urus

Making its North American debut, Lamborghini’s first-ever SUV is bold and fast, just as we’d expect from the exotic supercar maker. Under the hood is a 650-hp, 627-lb-ft 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 backed by an eight-speed automatic that delivers power to a torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system. Lamborghini claims that the five-seater (which can also be a four-seater) can hit 62 mph in a very quick 3.6 seconds on its way to a top speed of 186 mph. Stopping the Urus is a braking system consisting of 10-piston front calipers clamping down on 17.3-inch carbon-ceramic rotors and four-piston rear calipers clamping on 14.6-inch rotors.

For improved performance, the Urus will come equipped with rear-wheel steering, an adaptive air suspension, and active anti-roll stabilization. Like most Lamborghinis, the Urus is very customizable, offering 14 exterior colors, 15 interior leather colors, six interior Alcantara colors, hexagon or ribbed seat quilting, various interior trim choices, embossed headrests, exhaust tips in four finishes, multiple caliper colors, and a selection of wheel designs in 21-, 22-, and 23-inch sizes.

2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class

Mercedes-Benz’s unstoppable off-roader enters a new generation featuring a redesigned interior, a new independent front suspension, a new nine-speed automatic transmission, a new G-Mode driving mode, increased interior room, an improved on-road ride, and a revised powertrain layout for greater off-road capability. The SUV still retains its standard 416-hp, 450-lb-ft 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8, three fully locking differentials, and the four-wheel-drive system with low-range gear reduction.

The 2019 G-Glass will come well equipped with 19-inch wheels, a Burmester Surround Sound system, a 12.3-inch center display, a moonroof, leather upholstery with heated seats, three-zone climate control, a 64-color ambient lighting system, and LED headlights. The Mercedes can be optioned with a widescreen cockpit (an additional 12.3-inch instrument panel display), an adjustable suspension, a rear-seat entertainment package, 20-inch wheels, and an AMG Line Exterior package. Expect to see the entry-level G550 model hit showrooms in late 2018.

2019 Ford Edge and Edge ST

Ford unveiled the refreshed Edge lineup in Detroit, but the big news is the all-new performance-driven Edge ST model that packs a potent 2.7-liter twin-turbo V-6 engine that produces 335 hp and 380-lb-ft of torque. That tops the Edge Sport’s output by 20 hp and 30 lb-ft. A new eight-speed automatic transmission routes power to the standard all-wheel-drive system with selectable traction control. Like other ST models, the sport-tuned suspension should provide fun handling dynamics and the optional performance brake package will likely offer good stopping power. A new Sport mode, wheel-mounted paddle shifters, larger seat bolstering, and available 21-inch wheels (20-inch wheels are standard) complements the Edge ST’s sportiness.

The refreshed non-ST Edge is powered by a standard 250-hp EcoBoost 2.0-liter turbo-four engine and receives more technology, new driver assist features, the eight-speed automatic, a new rotary shifter, standard LED headlights, and a redesigned center console, grille, and front fascia.

2018 BMW X2

The new BMW X2 crossover makes its North American auto show debut in Detroit, packing a 2.0-liter turbo-four engine that pumps out 248 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. With an eight-speed automatic and standard all-wheel-drive, BMW claims a quick 6.3-second 0-60-mph time. Unlike the X4 and X6 coupelike SUVs, the X2 does not have a fastback roofline. Although the X1 and X2 share the same wheelbase, the X2 is 3.2 inches shorter and rides 2.8 inches lower.

A suite of driver-assist safety features is available, and LED headlights and taillights are standard. The M Sport X package adds a sport-tuned automatic transmission and paddle shifters, unique bumpers, and sporty exterior trim pieces. An M-sport suspension, adaptive dampers, an M spoiler, and a 20-inch wheel option are available. Expect to see the BMW X2 xDrive28i on sale this spring.

Nissan Xmotion Concept

Nissan’s Xmotion crossover concept takes a look at the automaker’s future design language beyond 2020. The Xmotion (pronounced cross motion) showcases the evolution of Nissan’s V-motion grille and boomerang headlights while the U-shaped body sides offer a fresh look. The tool-inspired 21-inch aluminum alloy wheels and all-terrain tires are one piece, with the tire tread laminated over the wheels.

Inside, the 4+2 interior layout of the Xmotion consists of three rows of side-by-side individual seats. The concept has a total of seven monitors that can be controlled with gestures and eye movements, just like the infotainment system can. Fingerprint authentication starts the car, and a virtual personal assistant—that takes the shape of a koi fish—pops out on the main display and links any smart devices to the car. Once a destination is recognized, the ProPilot autonomous drive system takes over.


2019 Acura RDX Prototype

The 2019 Acura RDX Prototype made its debut in Detroit, and it’s hardly a concept. The near-production-ready example sports Acura’s signature diamond pentagon grille, the next-generation of Acura Jewel Eye LED headlights, and a more aggressive look, thanks to a wider track, longer wheelbase, and shorter front overhang. Acura drops the V-6 and six-speed automatic in favor of a 2.0-liter turbo-four engine backed by a 10-speed automatic, similar to the unit found in the redesigned Honda Accord 2.0T.

Acura’s torque vectoring Super-Handling All Wheel Drive system returns to the 2019 RDX, and a sporty A-Spec trim will be available, a first for an Acura crossover. Acura also introduced the new True Touchpad Interface control system, a high-mounted 10.2-inch high-definition center display, and an available head-up display. The 2019 RDX will come equipped with AcuraWatch, a suite of driver-assist safety features, and will be available with AcuraLink, which features a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot.

2019 Jeep Cherokee

Jeep is showing off the Cherokee’s redesigned front fascia, hood, and LED headlights in Detroit. The refreshed 2019 Jeep Cherokee also offers a new lightweight, hands-free power liftgate, five new wheel designs, and an available dual-pane sunroof. The newsmaker is the new 2.0-liter turbo-four engine—the same unit found in the redesigned 2018 Wrangler—that produces 270 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque and is backed by a nine-speed automatic. The 3.2-liter Pentastar V-6 and 2.4-liter I-4 carry over.

The 2019 Cherokee’s cargo area grew 3 inches in width, now offering over 27 cubic feet of cargo room versus the outgoing model’s 24.6 cubic feet. The Cherokee is still very capable, thanks to the latest generation of Jeep Active Drive I, Jeep Active Drive II, and Jeep Active Drive Lock all-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive systems and the five-mode Jeep Selec-Terrain traction control system.


GAC Enverge EV Concept

Making its debut without front windows and with McLaren-like doors, the Enverge—the all-electric SUV concept from Chinese automaker GAC—is claimed to travel up to a claimed 370 miles on a full charge, thanks to a 71-kWh battery pack. GAC has plans to enter the North American market late next year, starting with a redesigned version of a three-row SUV currently called the Trumpchi GS8.

The post SUVs and Crossovers From the 2018 Detroit Auto Show appeared first on Motor Trend.

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Bigger Alfa CUV, Pacifica-based CUV, Ferrari SUV All in the Works

Motortrend News Feed - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 21:30

Sergio Marchionne is on his victory lap as CEO of FCA with plans to retire in 2019. It was a more laid-back Marchionne answering questions over two days at the North American International Auto Show. Product updates are top of mind right now as he works with his management team to put the finishing touches on a five-year plan that will outline financial and product goals to 2022 and is expected to be unveiled on June 1. That date is the anniversary of when he joined Fiat in 2004. That could also be the date the board announces his successor from the current management team.

Here are some of the things we learned:

Alfa Romeo three-row crossover

How important is it to have a three-row crossover larger than the Stelvio? “Very,” he said. A larger Alfa CUV is in the new five-year plan, which means before 2022, he confirmed to Motor Trend. Large vehicles will remain popular for many years because powertrain solutions that combine electrification and combustion engines mean “you’re going to get mileage you’ve never seen before.” Not developing the Alfa and Maserati brands “would be financially suicidal for FCA.”

Pacifica-based crossover

The platform used by the Chrysler Pacifica minivan will finally yield the long-promised crossover. It was in the last five-year plan but got pushed back. It will be in the next plan and could be in production in 18 months.

“We’re still playing with that thing,” Marchionne said. “It’s there. We have the car designed and we’re ready to go.” He said there have been various versions since the original plan to introduce both a minivan and crossover on the Pacifica platform and build them both at the Windsor Assembly Plant in Ontario. The crossover was delayed to make sure FCA gets it right, he said. “The platform is ready, and the plant can take it. We can probably get it up and running in 18 months.”


Yes, the Ferrari SUV is shaping up and will be ready at the end of 2019 or early 2020, Marchionne said. He is also head of Ferrari and will keep that job after he retires from FCA.

“I have seen the car when I was in Europe,” he said. “It’s not finished. It’s going to be Ferrari. It will drive like a Ferrari or I’ll be taken to the shed.” He added that he might be taken there anyway for the blasphemous act of a Ferrari SUV. At this point, the SUV is just mock-up bodies so nothing is drivable. “But it looks good.”

“So far the fastest SUV belongs to Alfa,” Marchionne said, referring to the Stelvio Quadrifoglio. “To be honest, I don’t think Ferrari fears Alfa. It will do its best to have the fastest SUV.”

Asked about an electric performance car, “Ferrari has looked at this forever, and if there is an electric supercar to be built, Ferrari will do it,” he said. “What Elon did is doable by all of us.” Back in September 2017, Ferrari’s chief technology officer Michael Leiters stressed that developing hybrid sports cars is the brand’s first priority.

Wrangler pickup

The new Wrangler pickup will launch in late 2019, after Marchionne has retired. “The product is done,” he said, and the truck was ready to launch sooner, but production of regular Wranglers was a priority. The new 2018 Wrangler, which will be at dealers this quarter, is being made in its new home in the Toledo North plant that used to make the Cherokee. During the transition, old Wranglers continue to be made in the Supplier Park portion of the Toledo complex where the pickup will be assembled.

“We can’t lose any Wranglers. Unfortunately the financial damage associated with a shutdown of the plant in Toledo is tremendous, so we decided to keep on running the old Wrangler while this one was coming out.”

The last of the 2017 Wranglers will come off the line at the end of March, Marchionne said, followed by nine months of tooling and testing. “So we will see it sometime in the beginning of 2019. It’s going to be a huge thing.”


Any chance of pickups playing a major role in Europe? “No,” says the CEO. “It is an American thing.”

How about a midsize Ram to replace the defunct Dakota and go up against the Chevrolet Colorado and return of the Ford Ranger? “We’ve talked about this ad nauseam.” The automaker will look at it again, but the CEO does not think it is a segment they need to enter. Dakota has been out of production since 2010 and since then, “we have not found an economic way to get this done.”

More Jeeps for Mexico?

There are no current plans to make another Jeep at the Toluca, Mexico, plant that produces the Compass. Marchionne expects increased sales of the Compass in the future, especially in Europe where sales have been below expectations and addressing it is a priority. The Cherokee has also underperformed in Europe, but the new 2019 Cherokee unveiled at the Detroit auto show should help. It has the international platform it needed and a design that is no longer polarizing and aligns with the rest of the lineup. There is room to build more Cherokees at the Belvidere plant in Illinois.

Still seeking love?

FCA’s efforts to merge with others to create a larger and more viable automaker in 2015 continue to spark speculation. The latest round of rumors, which he debunked, is that FCA would be sold to a Chinese company.

“Last time I checked I had no food and no tables set up for any wedding,” Marchionne said. FCA is moving on, he insists, with full employment at its plants. “We cannot wait for this infamous wedding to happen. I don’t care, and I don’t think it will happen while I’m here.”

Successor to be named soon

It will be up to the FCA board to announce Marchionne’s successor. It will be a male from the existing management team.

One top contender is Chief Financial Officer Richard Palmer, the man behind the numbers—Marchionne has made it a top priority to become debt-free in 2018. He is confident the remaining debt will be eliminated by the end of the year and is hopeful he can make the claim at the June 1 release of the five-year plan. His successor will provide continued maintenance of FCA’s financial future. “That is not negotiable.”

Also in the running is Mike Manley who oversees the crucial and profitable Jeep and Ram brands. Other contenders include Alfredo Altavilla who has turned operations around in Europe and has overseen business development, as well as Reid Bigland who is in charge of the Alfa Romeo and Maserati brands. Marchionne said this week that there is also an internal candidate that has not been mentioned in press reports.

The post Bigger Alfa CUV, Pacifica-based CUV, Ferrari SUV All in the Works appeared first on Motor Trend.

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Sexiest Cars of the 2018 Detroit Auto Show

Motortrend News Feed - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 20:54

Unlike some other auto shows, Detroit has a reputation for showing a large number of cars that will eventually reach customer garages. Here, you’ll find a good mix of production and concept vehicles, many of which hint at the direction of future models. Although it’s not courting audiences with as many outlandish concepts, the 2018 Detroit auto show offers plenty of eye candy from every corner. Check out the list below to find out which cars are heating up the Cobo Center in Detroit right now.

Infiniti Q Inspiration Concept

Infiniti was looking to change up the traditional sedan with this concept, which previews design cues we’ll see on future models from the brand. Infiniti kept the silhouette clean, from the character lines running across the side of the vehicle to the single taillight bar and the full-glass roof. From the back, this Infiniti reminds us of the Porsche Mission E, and that’s certainly not a bad thing.

2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class

Timeless and muscular, the new G-Class retains the same formula that makes us do a double take whenever we see it on the road. It’s also more capable than before. Now, it has a stiffer frame, an independent front suspension with control arms and more rigid rear axle, and a new G-Mode that adjusts the damping of the chassis, steering, and accelerator to avoid unnecessary gear shifts and improve off-road capability. We went for a ride in the new G-Class, and it proved very controlled in off-road situations.

2019 BMW i8 coupe

After the debut of the i8 roadster in Los Angeles, BMW has brought the coupe version to Detroit. It packs 369 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque from its hybrid powertrain, consisting of a three-cylinder engine driving the rear wheels and an electric motor powering the front wheels. BMW estimates the model can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds.

2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the movie Bullitt, Ford brought out this new Mustang. And it looks ready to chase Chargers off the road. Staying true to the original movie car, the 2019 Mustang Bullitt features a Dark Highland Green paint job and will also be available in Shadow Black when it goes on sale this summer. Inside, there are modern accoutrements such as a 12.0-inch LCD instrument cluster that greets drivers with a unique welcome screen. Under the hood sits a 5.0-liter V-8 engine making 475 hp, 15 more than the regular GT.

Lexus LF-1 Limitless Concept

Lexus isn’t content resting on its laurels with the RX, which is by far the best-selling model in its lineup. In Detroit, Lexus is previewing a new large flagship crossover with the LF-1 Limitless concept. This vehicle is full of drama, from the hypnotic grille and angular headlights to the unusual rear window.

2019 Ram 1500

Due for a redesign, the Ram 1500 gets a more distinctive look for the 2019 model year. With new grooves on the hood and a sleek new grille with integrated headlights, the Ram looks quite handsome as it moves into a new generation. It’s longer and wider on the outside, and inside you’ll find a sleek 12.0-inch reconfigurable touchscreen display. The Rebel version looks even more formidable, boasting 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires.

2019 Audi A7 Sportback

From the front, the A7 Sportback features a conventionally beautiful face, with a new grille, sleek headlights, and subtle creases on the hood. In the back, the roof drops unexpectedly to reveal a more dramatic silhouette. The second-generation model adds a 48-volt mild hybrid system in addition to a turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6. Expect it to arrive in the U.S. later this year.

2019 Mercedes-AMG CLS53

Moving into its third generation, the CLS now seats a maximum of five people instead of four. After introducing the standard CLS at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Mercedes is rolling out a more powerful version with 429 hp. Mercedes estimates a 0-60 time of 4.4 seconds.

2019 Mercedes-AMG E53 Coupe and Cabriolet

Like the CLS53, the E53 coupe and cabriolet will launch in the U.S. by the end of this year. Both pack a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six producing 429 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque, with an EQ Boost starter-alternator adding an extra 21 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque in brief spurts.

2019 Lamborghini Urus

We’ve been waiting since 2012 to see Lamborghini introduce a follow-up to the Urus concept. After its initial debut in December, Lamborghini is bringing its modern new SUV to Detroit. The final version stays true to the concept, from the sharp creases to the wide haunches and sloped roof. The Urus can keep pace with some of the best sports cars. Powered by a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 with 650 hp, the Urus is estimated to hit 62 mph in 3.6 seconds and a top speed north of 186 mph.

2018 BMW X2

There’s something special about the X2. It eschews the conservative styling of many BMW crossovers while staying away from the polarizing look of others such as the X4 and X6. Immediately noticeable are the bold side skirts, fluid character lines, and the brand’s signature roundel on the C-pillar. Also notice the reinterpretation of the kidney grille, in which the outline is wider at the base than it is at the top, the first for a modern BMW. Despite what the nomenclature suggests, the BMW X2 is smaller than the X1 in length and height.

The post Sexiest Cars of the 2018 Detroit Auto Show appeared first on Motor Trend.

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Best Cars of the 2018 Detroit Auto Show: Motor Trend Favorites

Motortrend News Feed - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 20:37

It’s a good time to be in the market for a new truck—not long after the refreshed 2018 Ford F-150 became the 2018 Motor Trend Truck of the Year, the 2018 Detroit auto show hosted the debuts of the new 2019 Ram 1500 and 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500. But what made this year’s Detroit show so entertaining to cover from the auto show floor were the surprises beyond the expected truck debuts. From a concept with an interior design described by one editor as “pure fantasy” to an asymmetrical hot hatch variant tuned on the Nurburgring, keep reading to see all our favorites.

Lexus LF-1 Limitless Concept

Akio Toyoda needs positive market reaction to this concept before hitting the “go” button for production. Consider us among those saying, “Go!” This evolution of the SUV shape into something more akin to a tall wagon makes all those flagship SUV coupes look dowdy. Sure, the spindle grille is over-the-top, but the exterior design is crisp and flowing all at once. Oh, and please keep the split spoiler off the back of the roof. Cool. —Mark Rechtin

Nissan Xmotion Concept

With tighter budgets, many concepts these days end up looking all too practical and production-feasible. Not the Xmotion. Especially inside, this is pure fantasy. It features a real cedar wood structure in the dash and a full-length center structure that smells heavenly but would explode into zillions of toothpicks and splinters in a crash. Crazy perforated wood shoulder supports in the seats look hideously uncomfortable but unspeakably cool. My favorite element: The holographic taillights that are supposed to resemble “kumiko woodwork and puzzles.” I love it. —Frank Markus

Shiro Nakamura might have retired as Nissan’s design boss, but you could see this as a paean to his early days when he was at Isuzu cranking out a stream of VehiCross concepts. This survivalist’s fantasy is equal parts Xterra and Range Rover Velar. The dashboard-wide infotainment screen panel looks ready for Lt. Pavel Chekov to take command. —Mark Rechtin

2019 Ram 1500

In the battle of the trucks, I took a hard look at the Ram 1500 and Silverado 1500 (Ford kept Ranger behind stanchions and wouldn’t allow entry into the cabin). Although there are many things to like about the Chevy, including its sharply creased sheetmetal, the squint of its Clint Eastwood “well, do you, punk?” face, and clever, new packaging solutions, I have to go with the Ram as the truck of the 2018 show. Ram’s exterior design team managed quite a tricky feat by making the new 1500 look more modern and sophisticated yet still masculine and ready for business. And then there is the interior; stylish, but not over-styled, and simply oozing with tech. The 12.0-inch vertical screen looks straight out of a Tesla, and thus more flashy and tech-focused than Silverado. Only the Ford F-150’s numerous menu-driven screens and readouts comes close in the truck space. —Ed Loh

When we compared the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, I closed the story with a quote from fellow reviewer Collin Woodard, who wrote: “Toyota built a better Camry. Honda built a better car.” Granted, we haven’t driven the all-new Chevrolet Silverado or Ram 1500 yet, but in person and on paper, it’s déjà vu writ extra-large. Chevrolet built a better Silverado, but Ram stole the show with a forward-thinking truck. From the mild-hybrid powertrains to the two-mode shocks, the heated/cooled/reclining rear seats to the Tesla-aping 12.0-inch touchscreen, the Ram 1500 is clearly looking ahead to future trends, demands, and regulations and taking them head-on now rather than later, all while maintaining top-of-the-class capability. Meanwhile, Ford won’t have a hybrid F-150 until 2020, Chevrolet hasn’t said a peep about bringing back the Silverado hybrid, and Toyota and Nissan have said even less. —Scott Evans

Who says trucks have to be clunky and simplistic? The interior has all sorts of smart touches—the perfectly sized and placed rotary shifter, the array of knobs and buttons that make perfect sense, the giant optional infotainment screen that rivals Tesla’s, and the array of clever storage options. Following Ford’s lead, there’s a grille for every personality. I thought I would miss the Freightliner-style fascia, but in person, the sleek new front gives it a Ram-of-the-future appearance. Best running boards in the segment, too. —Mark Rechtin

It’s the Ram’s inner space that wins me over. Fancy models are said to have more authentic leather, wood, and metal trim than any competing truck, and that all looks great. But it’s that Tesla-esque, big-screen user interface that really grabs me. Fun fact: it was originally developed for police use in Charger Interceptor models to eliminate the need to mount a laptop in the cabin. As Elwood Blues might have said, “It’s got a cop motor, cop shocks, and a cop screen. What do you say? Is it the new Bluesmobile?” —Frank Markus

2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

Although we saw it in Texas about a month ago, Chevy hadn’t revealed the entire lineup of the Silverado. The Detroit auto show was the place for that, and the Bow Tie brand surprised us with eight different trims that go from a work truck to a sportier RST to the top trim High Country. Its wide design, improvements in aerodynamics, and bigger cabin space have current Silverado owners excited about the new truck. Ride quality has improved, and that’s something we’re looking forward to when we drive it later this year. —Miguel Cortina

Infiniti Q Inspiration Concept

This is a design study and I like where Infiniti is going. In a world of in-your-face grilles, this tasteful, inverted face built around the three-dimensional logo is a welcome breath of elegant air. Designers also managed to make a short hood elegant with dramatic vents. The huge four-passenger interior is clean and simple with innovative flairs such as how the wood and leather on the door meld into one artistic piece, some crazy threads in the door pockets act as sensors to turn on a light, and a birch dash has built-in backlit controls. –Alisa Priddle

2019 Ford Edge ST

Props to Ford for introducing this performance-focused Edge that’s due this summer and available in “performance blue.” The Ford Performance team took the all-new Edge and added horsepower to the 2.7-liter V-6 EcoBoost engine, taking it to 335 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque with a new eight-speed automatic and paddles to go manual.  Hit sport mode on the rotary dial e-shifter to change the throttle response and shift patterns, and open up that exhaust note.

2019 Hyundai Veloster N

It’s an asymmetrical three-door hatchback that was developed by the former head of BMW’s M division, tuned on the Nurburgring, and will be sold alongside more practical Hyundais like the Sonata and the Tucson. Sure, it’s weird, but it’s also one of the most interesting vehicles to go on sale in the U.S. in a long time. Considering how fun the closely related i30 N was to drive, it’s also a safe bet that the Veloster N will be a blast to drive. There were some really cool cars at the show this year, but this one is definitely the coolest. —Collin Woodard

The Veloster lineup: The Veloster has long been an unfulfilled promise, a sporty-looking car writing checks its powertrains and suspension couldn’t cash. The new Veloster promises to be fun to drive at every trim level and take it to the extreme on America’s first-ever N performance model. Hyundai’s new head of fun, Albert Biermann, espouses a philosophy of lively, engaging handling over raw performance numbers. It’s thinking like that that made cars such as the Fiesta ST and Civic Si perennial enthusiast favorites, and now more than ever we need fun cars at an affordable price point. The cherry on top is the styling, which finally just looks good rather than just unique. —Scott Evans

2019 Ford Ranger

Excuses aside about how long it took Ford to bring the Ranger back to North America, I am just glad it will be on sale again later this year. There is a market for a supercab or supercrew pickup that is easier than a full-sizer to drive and park, fits in your driveway, and costs less to buy and fill up. The North American styling of the Ranger sold in other markets is about what we expected: a nice combo of world truck and big brother F-150 elements. Steel body and frame as well as terrain management and off-road capability round out the package. The only engine offered is the second-generation 2.3-liter twin-scroll turbocharged four-cylinder engine with a forged steel crankshaft and a new 10-speed automatic transmission—no manual. –Alisa Priddle

2019 Volkswagen Jetta

The thing that has me very excited about the Jetta is the switch to the MQB platform. The Golf won 2015 Motor Trend’s Car of the Year when it made its debut on the same platform, and I have high hopes that the Jetta will improve its ride quality, NVH, and performance. Interior space is something that new buyers will be very happy about, and the addition of Volkswagen Digital Cockpit is something we’re looking forward to. Of course, the compact sedan segment is extremely competitive, but VW is looking to gain a bigger piece of the pie of what it currently has. —Miguel Cortina

Aramco/Achates-Powered Ford F-150

I’ve written multiple future-tech features covering oddball better-mousetrap engines, almost none of which ever amounts to anything. So it is with great joy that I can finally point to one that has been rendered functional and installed in an actual pickup truck. The claims made by Achates Power for its 2.7-liter three-cylinder, opposed-piston, gasoline compression-ignition engine are impressive: 270 hp, 480 lb-ft, and 37-mpg highway fuel economy. Wow. Last year we reported one manufacturer had committed to produce it. Keep an eye on this radical engine rethink. —Frank Markus

2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class

There’s nothing harder than updating an icon, respecting heritage while advancing both the look and the tech, but Benz has pulled it off. The G-Wagen still looks and sounds like the G-Wagen, but it’s roomier, techier, and according to Benz, somehow even more capable. It’s longer, but the breakover angle has improved, and it fords deeper water. It’s wider and has a longer wheelbase, but you can’t tell unless you park an old one next to it. The interior is thoroughly modern, but you still have to slam the doors, and they still have the loudest locks in the world. We’ll miss the eccentricities, from the sloppy steering to the total lack of elbow room, but there’s no arguing it isn’t a better all-around vehicle. Plus, I now have a promising business opportunity in retrofitting basket cupholders to the new truck. —Scott Evans

I’ve heard some grumbling about how incredibly lazy Mercedes-Benz must be to release an all-new Gelandewagen that looks exactly like the old one. Actually, the opposite is true. The G-Wagen is an icon, with legions of rabid followers, so kudos to Mercedes for staying true to the straight-sided, no-nonsense design. It is quite a feat of engineering that the G did not puff up and smooth out, as all vehicle lines seem to do over time in the name of increasingly stringent safety standards. And what of aerodynamic efficiency? Surely precious of drops of benzin could have been saved by reducing the frontal area and eliminating all those boxy bends? But nope—Benz made the smart call to stick with its iconic design. Do you think the guys at Land Rover will do the same with the next-generation Defender? Let’s hope they’re taking notes. —Ed Loh

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China’s GAC Preps to Enter U.S. Market in 2019

Motortrend News Feed - Tue, 01/16/2018 - 20:15

Last year at the 2017 Detroit auto show, we learned that China’s GAC Motor was serious about its plans to break into the U.S. market. The timeline wasn’t yet set in stone, but with plans to open an American R&D center that year, we had a feeling it wouldn’t take long. Yesterday, we learned that GAC believes it can get here by 2019.

The Enverge electric crossover concept was supposed to be the attention-getter with its wildly futuristic styling, a promised 370-mile range from a 71-kWh battery, wireless charging, butterfly doors, and no side windows. But the Enverge won’t be GAC’s first vehicle in the U.S. That will be the Trumpchi GS8, a three-row crossover SUV.

When the GS8 goes on sale for the 2020 model year, however, don’t expect it to look like the GS8 that GAC had on the show floor. The version we’ll get will be a completely redesigned next-generation GS8 that GAC says will appeal more to American buyers’ tastes. Specs are still undecided at the moment, but we have been told that the 201-hp four-cylinder will be replaced something more powerful. GAC says price points and market positioning are also still undecided.

If past rumors prove true, GAC will partner with Fiat Chrysler to begin selling the GS8, giving it access to a much larger dealer network than it could build on its own in a few years. FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne is apparently ready to assist, telling journalists in Detroit, “We are talking to [GAC] about how and if we can help if they come to the U.S.,” The New York Times reports. Once it’s established here, GAC says it plans to slowly add new models to its U.S. lineup. But like the GS8, they’ll all get a redesign before showing up on dealer lots.

But while the current lineup won’t make it to the U.S., the fact that GAC brought quite a few cars to the show did give us the opportunity to get a feel for things like material quality and interior fit and finish. Those things may or may not change after the redesign, but overall, it was a mixed bag.

Panel gaps, for example, weren’t all bad, but some were pretty awful. Some of the buttons and knobs felt solid and well-built, but other switchgear felt cheap and flimsy. With the trim pieces, it was the same story. The plastic “open-pore wood” on what was supposed to be a nicer car felt awful, but some of the aluminum-looking pieces were much higher quality.

Perhaps the most noticeable issue, though, was the sharp contrast between some of the premium materials GAC used as inserts and the hard, cheap plastic right next to them. Some of the quilted leather and faux suede felt pretty nice, especially for a non-luxury car, but the material right next to those pieces was usually bargain-bin plastic.

At the same time, with so much still undecided, it’s hard to be too critical. Yes, the designs are derivative at best, and material quality is inconsistent, but we don’t know how the redesigns will change all of that. Without a big improvement, though, even ultra-cheap prices might not be enough to attract American buyers.

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