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Porsche 911 GT2 RS: 2018 Motor Trend Best Driver’s Car Contender

6 hours 9 min ago

The McLaren’s Laguna lap record lasted less than an hour before this Porsche shaved a whopping 1.48 seconds off of it with a drama-free, no-sweat textbook lap. That this heavier (especially in back), less powerful, less torquey car averaged 1.5 mph faster here (and 1.7 mph faster across our tiny figure eight) suggests that Weissach has defeated Woking in the chassis-development world cup.

Randy Pobst was utterly beside himself. “Somebody pinch me,” he said. “That was like nothing I’ve driven here ever before. My definition of a great-handling car is that it practically drives itself. It’s not a bloody wrestling match. It’s a dance.” He waxed enthusiastic about how it continues to respond to steering inputs midcorner on power, about the PDK sport mode’s perfect shift strategy, about the exceptional brakes, and about how easy it was to drive. “You could drive a 1:28 around here, not just me. It’s that hooked up.” Our other semi-pro, Jethro Bovingdon, concurred: “The GT2 RS rewards confidence and technique but rarely punishes mistakes.”

Want EVEN MORE from 2018 Best Driver’s Car? See the cars in action right here.

But lap records on smooth tracks aren’t everything. Five editors begged to differ on the rough-and-tumble of Highway 198. Mark Rechtin found the front end “light and a little skittery” under hard acceleration and lacking the confidence of last year’s 911 Turbo S. Scott Evans felt “like the car is driving itself and you’re just hanging on. The Lamborghini begs you to use every horsepower. This one warns against it.” It was the only car that threatened to loop itself off the mountain—even with all nannies switched on. Ed Loh was surprised at how much he didn’t like it: “The chassis wasn’t particularly confidence-inspiring over rough pavement.” Our problem? We rookies foolishly set the suspension to Sport. Too stiff for the bumps. Apparently 911s can’t defy physics when their tires are airborne.

“This is the ultimate 911. For now,” Angus MacKenzie declared. And for some drivers and/or on some roads, it’s best.

Want EVEN MORE from 2018 Best Driver’s Car? See the cars in action right here. More 2018 Best Driver’s Car Contenders: “The torque vectoring is so effective, it feels like traction control. It ain’t. That’s what sticking 553 lb-ft of torque to pavement feels like.” -Jonny Lieberman, Senior Features Editor

2018 Porsche 911 GT2 POWERTRAIN/CHASSIS 2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS 2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Rear-engine, RWD Rear-engine, RWD ENGINE TYPE Twin-turbo flat-6, alum block/heads Twin-turbo flat-6, alum block/heads VALVETRAIN DOHC, 4 valves/cyl DOHC, 4 valves/cyl DISPLACEMENT 213.9 cu in/3,800 cc 213.9 cu in/3,800 cc COMPRESSION RATIO 9.0:1 9.0:1 POWER (SAE NET) 691 hp @ 7,000 rpm 690 hp @ 7,000 rpm TORQUE (SAE NET) 553 lb-ft @ 2,500 rpm 553 lb-ft @ 2,500 rpm REDLINE 7,200 rpm 7,200 rpm WEIGHT TO POWER 4.9 lb/hp 4.9 lb/hp TRANSMISSION 7-speed twin-clutch auto 7-speed twin-clutch auto AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE RATIO 3.96:1/2.65:1 3.96:1/2.65:1 SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Struts, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar Struts, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar STEERING RATIO 13.1-17.2:1 13.1-17.2:1 TURNS LOCK-TO-LOCK 2.6 2.6 BRAKES, F; R 16.1-in vented, drilled, grooved, carbon-ceramic disc; 15.4-in vented, drilled, grooved, carbon-ceramic disc, ABS 16.1-in vented, drilled, grooved, carbon-ceramic disc; 15.4-in vented, drilled, grooved, carbon-ceramic disc, ABS WHEELS, F;R 9.0 x 20-in; 12.5 x 20-in, magnesium 9.0 x 20-in; 12.5 x 20-in, magnesium TIRES, F;R 265/35R20 99Y; 315/30R20 108Y Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R N0 265/35R20 99Y; 315/30R20 108Y Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 N0 DIMENSIONS WHEELBASE 96.6 in 96.6 in TRACK, F/R 62.5/61.3 in 62.5/61.3 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 179.1 x 74.0 x 51.1 in 179.1 x 74.0 x 51.1 in TURNING CIRCLE 36.4 ft 36.4 ft CURB WEIGHT 3,355 lb 3,355 lb WEIGHT DIST, F/R 37/63% 37/63% SEATING CAPACITY 2 2 HEADROOM 37.7 in 37.7 in LEGROOM 42.2 in 42.2 in SHOULDER ROOM 51.3 in 51.3 in CARGO VOLUME 4.1 cu ft (9.2 cu ft behind 1st row) 4.1 cu ft (9.2 cu ft behind 1st row) TEST DATA ACCELERATION TO MPH 0-30 1.2 sec 1.2 sec 0-40 1.6 1.6 0-50 2.1 2.1 0-60 2.6 2.6 0-70 3.2 3.2 0-80 3.9 3.9 0-90 4.6 4.6 0-100 5.5 5.5 0-100-0 8.9 8.9 PASSING, 45-65 MPH 1.0 1.0 QUARTER MILE 10.3 sec @ 139.3 mph 10.3 sec @ 139.3 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 87 ft 87 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 1.17 g (avg) 1.17 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 21.9 sec @ 1.03 g (avg) 21.9 sec @ 1.03 g (avg) 2.4-MI ROAD COURSE LAP 88.30 sec 1:21.08 sec TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 1,950 rpm 1,950 rpm CONSUMER INFO BASE PRICE $294,250 $294,250 PRICE AS TESTED $328,880 $342,560 STABILITY/TRACTION CONTROL Yes/Yes Yes/Yes AIRBAGS 8: Dual front, side, curtain, knee 8: Dual front, side, curtain, knee BASIC WARRANTY 4 yrs/50,000 miles 4 yrs/50,000 miles POWERTRAIN WARRANTY 4 yrs/50,000 miles 4 yrs/50,000 miles ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE 4 yrs/50,000 miles 4 yrs/50,000 miles FUEL CAPACITY 23.8 gal 23.8 gal EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON 15/21/17 mpg 15/21/17 mpg ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 225/160 kW-hrs/100 miles 225/160 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 1.13 lb/mile 1.13 lb/mile RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded premium Unleaded premium

The post Porsche 911 GT2 RS: 2018 Motor Trend Best Driver’s Car Contender appeared first on Motor Trend.

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Aston Martin Vantage: 2018 Motor Trend Best Driver’s Car Contender

6 hours 9 min ago

“Wow. If this car doesn’t win overall, it should win most improved, rookie of the year, biggest comeback, and a few more. I’ve never driven an Aston like this.” Scott Evans spoke for many of us who have driven Aston Martins at past BDCs, where the brand has disappointingly finished near the bottom (eighth, 12th, and 12th). How the mighty have risen.

With strong brakes and a better-tuned chassis, this “brute in a suit” (kudos, Jonny Lieberman) inspired vastly more confidence than its Gaydon predecessors on Route 198. Most of us ran it in the Sport modes (not Track) with ESC on. Chris Walton appreciated its “delicacy and better compliance on bump steer and jumps.” Angus MacKenzie liked the way it “tracks true through turns, no matter what’s happening under the wheels” and that “it will get playful if you want, but the transitions are mature and measured.” Randy Pobst was its biggest fan: “This was perhaps my favorite car on the road drive because of its unique combination of ride, roll precision, and control—one of the best cars here.”

Want EVEN MORE from 2018 Best Driver’s Car? See the cars in action right here.

 

But Pobst’s love soured in Track mode at WeatherTech Raceway. “It must be a lot firmer, because the car no longer wants to put power down,” he said. “There’s a twitch in the corner entry phase, a lot of understeer right in the middle, and then power oversteer on tip-in.” He begged for a second session in a less aggressive setting and found it easier to drive but no quicker. Nevertheless, his lap times were 1.63 seconds quicker than last year’s DB11 and 3.35 seconds ahead of 2016’s V12 Vantage S. Kim Reynolds struggled to rein in the drifts on our figure-eight course, too, where this Vantage roughly matched the DB11’s performance.

The Aston team could tune in a bit more neutrality—and perhaps buy an M5 to reverse-engineer the calibration of its essentially identical ZF eight-speed, as the Aston’s shift timing and logic need refining.

Want EVEN MORE from 2018 Best Driver’s Car? See the cars in action right here. More 2018 Best Driver’s Car Contenders: “The chassis seemed supremely stable. The quick steering was remarkably authentic. The whole vibe was one of effortless control.”-Jethro Bovingdon, Host of Ignition and Head 2 Head

2019 Aston Martin Vantage POWERTRAIN/CHASSIS DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Front-engine, RWD ENGINE TYPE Twin-turbo 90-deg V-8, alum block/heads VALVETRAIN DOHC, 4 valves/cyl DISPLACEMENT 243.0 cu in/3,82 cc COMPRESSION RATIO 10.5:1 POWER (SAE NET) 503 hp @ 6,000 rpm TORQUE (SAE NET) 505 lb-ft @ 2,000 rpm REDLINE 7,000 rpm WEIGHT TO POWER 7.4 lb/hp TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE RATIO 2.93:1/1.95:1 SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Control arms, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar STEERING RATIO 13.1:1 TURNS LOCK-TO-LOCK 2.4 BRAKES, F; R 15.7-in vented, drilled carbon-ceramic disc; 14.2-in vented, drilled carbon-ceramic disc, ABS WHEELS 9.0 x 20-in; 11.0 x 20-in, forged aluminum TIRES 255/40R20 101Y; 295/35R20 105Y Pirelli P Zero A6A DIMENSIONS WHEELBASE 106.5 in TRACK, F/R 64.8/63.4 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 175.8 x 76.5 x 50.1 in TURNING CIRCLE 37.9 ft CURB WEIGHT 3,741 lb WEIGHT DIST, F/R 49/51% SEATING CAPACITY 2 HEADROOM, F/R 36.2 in LEGROOM, F/R 42.3 in SHOULDER ROOM, F/R 53.0 in CARGO VOLUME 12.4/9.9 cu ft TEST DATA ACCELERATION TO MPH 0-30 1.6 sec 0-40 2.2 0-50 2.9 0-60 3.8 0-70 4.8 0-80 5.8 0-90 7.2 0-100 8.7 0-100-0 12.6 PASSING, 45-65 MPH 1.7 QUARTER MILE 12.1 sec @ 116.3 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 100 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.98 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 24.0 sec @ 0.83 g (avg) 2.2-MI ROAD COURSE LAP 98.42 sec TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 1,400 rpm CONSUMER INFO BASE PRICE $153,081 PRICE AS TESTED $186,806 STABILITY/TRACTION CONTROL Yes/Yes AIRBAGS Dual front, front side, f/r side, front head, f/r head, front curtain, f/r curtain, front side/head; f/r side/head, front knee, driver knee, passenger knee, pedestrian BASIC WARRANTY 3 yrs/Unlimited miles POWERTRAIN WARRANTY 3 yrs/Unlimited miles ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE 2 yrs/Unlimited miles FUEL CAPACITY 19.3 gal EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON 18/25/21 mpg ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 187/135 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.94 lb/mile RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded premium

The post Aston Martin Vantage: 2018 Motor Trend Best Driver’s Car Contender appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: Property

Kia Stinger GT: 2018 Motor Trend Best Driver’s Car Contender

6 hours 9 min ago

If seeing an RS, M, or ZR1 badge presets high expectations for a car, the “Kia” badge has the opposite effect. Several judges fretted that we’d invited a spork to a knife fight. Well, the Stinger started last, as the 12th car Randy Pobst lapped, but he instantly declared it “the biggest surprise of the week, with better balance than some of the big names that I’ve struggled with.”

Pobst recited the “B-word” (balance) eight times in his post-session download. Yes, the car is softly sprung and damped relative to this field, but it always laid over and took a nice, predictable set, carving corners with little need for steering correction.

Want EVEN MORE from 2018 Best Driver’s Car? See the cars in action right here.

 

On the track, judicious use of the controls could easily induce controllable drifts. “I love a car that I can impose my own style on,” Jethro Bovingdon said. “The Stinger was always willing to adopt the cornering attitude I wanted.” Interestingly, it’s the only car in which Pobst’s fourth lap was his quickest, indicating that the brakes and tires never tired of slowing or turning the 3,906-pound sedan (third heaviest in the group). In case you’re wondering, its 1:46.16 lap time ranks 96th of 119 BDC laps, ahead of Mitsubishi Evos, Subaru WRXs, and the like.

Driven hard on 198, overly soft springs meant hard cornering over bumps prompted bump-stop visits that induced unwanted slides. Adding more brakes meant we felt some diagonal pitching. “I want to stiffen the springs about 50 percent,” Scott Evans said. But he also noted that the lusty twin-turbo never threatened to overwhelm the chassis.

Most criticisms apply to 10/10ths driving, but “once you calm down, smooth out feet and hands, and get into a rhythm,” Ed Loh noted, “the Stinger’s communicative steering and planted ride bubble to the surface.” It earned its ranking by proving more confidence inspiring and/or fun to drive than those that trailed it.

Want EVEN MORE from 2018 Best Driver’s Car? See the cars in action right here. More 2018 Best Driver’s Car Contenders: “It felt like the ultimate rental car—tires howling and demanding to be driven at maximum attack just for the fun of it.”-Jethro Bovingdon, Host of Ignition and Head 2 Head

2018 Kia Stinger GT POWERTRAIN/CHASSIS DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Front-engine, RWD ENGINE TYPE Twin-turbo 60-deg V-6, alum block/heads VALVETRAIN DOHC, 4 valves/cyl DISPLACEMENT 203.9 cu in/3,342 cc COMPRESSION RATIO 10.0:1 POWER (SAE NET) 365 hp @ 6,000 rpm TORQUE (SAE NET) 376 lb-ft @ 1,300 rpm REDLINE 6,500 rpm WEIGHT TO POWER 10.7 lb/hp TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE RATIO 3.54:1/1.97:1 SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar STEERING RATIO 12.2-13.1:1 TURNS LOCK-TO-LOCK 2.4 BRAKES, F; R 13.8-in vented disc; 13.4-in vented disc, ABS WHEELS 8.0 x 19-in; 8.5 x 19-in cast aluminum TIRES 225/40ZR19 93Y; 255/35R19 96Y Michelin Pilot Sport 4S DIMENSIONS WHEELBASE 114.4 in TRACK, F/R 62.8/63.7 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 190.2 x 73.6 x 55.1 in TURNING CIRCLE 36.9 ft CURB WEIGHT 3,906 lb WEIGHT DIST, F/R 52/48% SEATING CAPACITY 5 HEADROOM, F/R 39.4/37.0 in LEGROOM, F/R 42.6/36.4 in SHOULDER ROOM, F/R 56.4/54.8 in CARGO VOLUME 40.9/23.3 cu ft TEST DATA ACCELERATION TO MPH 0-30 1.7 sec 0-40 2.6 0-50 3.4 0-60 4.6 0-70 5.9 0-80 7.3 0-90 9.3 0-100 11.5 0-100-0 15.7 PASSING, 45-65 MPH 2.2 QUARTER MILE 13.1 sec @ 106.9 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 110 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.93 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 24.8 sec @ 0.79 g (avg) 2.2-MI ROAD COURSE LAP 106.16 sec TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 1,500 rpm CONSUMER INFO BASE PRICE $39,250 PRICE AS TESTED $41,250 STABILITY/TRACTION CONTROL Yes/Yes AIRBAGS 8: Dual front, front side, f/r curtain, front knee BASIC WARRANTY 5 yrs/60,000 miles POWERTRAIN WARRANTY 10 yrs/100,000 miles ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE 5 yrs/60,000 miles FUEL CAPACITY 15.9 gal EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON 19/25/21 mpg ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 177/135 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.91 lb/mile RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded premium

The post Kia Stinger GT: 2018 Motor Trend Best Driver’s Car Contender appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: Property

Ford Mustang GT: 2018 Motor Trend Best Driver’s Car Contender

6 hours 10 min ago

Although our Best Driver’s Car competition is by no means a numbers game, the 2018 Mustang GT Perf Pack 2 really needed to smack down its archnemesis, the Camaro SS 1LE that finished fourth here in 2016. The Mustang, unfortunately, missed that bogey, subjectively and objectively.

First the objective: A lap-time gap of 0.65 second at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca is a lifetime. It even trails the Chevy by 0.3 second on our tiny figure-eight course. Time lost between the corners as a result of the Mustang’s 35-lb-ft torque deficit is easily forgiven for its fabulous soundtrack.

Randy Pobst felt the ’Stang is “not balanced like the Camaro. There’s a little too much oversteer in the entry phase and when I go to power. I would put a little more front anti-roll bar in it.” He was also vexed by the stability control, which, although disabled, seemed to resurrect after a lap or two.

Want EVEN MORE from 2018 Best Driver’s Car? See the cars in action right here.

 

In the braking department, however, Kim Reynolds gushed, “When did the Mustang get such great brakes?”—a sentiment backed up by a Camaro-matching 94-foot stop from 60 mph. But Pobst and Chris Walton wished for initial bite that was a bit less abrupt.

Subjectively, Pobst loved the Mustang on the smooth track—but was surprised to learn the Audi TT RS ran quicker.

On our bumpy Route 198 hill climb, the rest of the jury was underwhelmed by the Ford. A balky high-friction shifter and too-roomy seat drew near universal disdain, as did the front end’s propensity to follow ruts.

The Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 steamrollers are immensely sticky, good for 1.06 g on our skidpad, but they send vague, confidence-sapping messages to the helm—especially when transitioning into a curve, before the chassis settles into the corner. Many drivers reported making constant midcorner course corrections—especially in corners that provoked bump steer.

Scott Evans summarized the staff’s sentiments: “I was hoping for a budget Shelby, and what I got was a better GT.”

Want EVEN MORE from 2018 Best Driver’s Car? See the cars in action right here. More 2018 Best Driver’s Car Contenders: “There’s a ton of grip—those tires earn their keep—but the pronounced vertical body motions mean the car feels busy as speeds rise.”-Angus MacKenzie, International Bureau Chief

2018 Ford Mustang GT (Performance Pack 2) POWERTRAIN/CHASSIS DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Front-engine, RWD ENGINE TYPE 90-deg V-8, alum block/heads VALVETRAIN DOHC, 4 valves/cyl DISPLACEMENT 307.4 cu in/5,038 cc COMPRESSION RATIO 12.0:1 POWER (SAE NET) 460 hp @ 7,000 rpm* TORQUE (SAE NET) 420 lb-ft @ 4,600 rpm* REDLINE 7,400 rpm WEIGHT TO POWER 8.3 lb/hp TRANSMISSION 6-speed manual AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE RATIO 3.73:1/2.32:1 SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Struts, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar STEERING RATIO 16.0:1 TURNS LOCK-TO-LOCK 2.3 BRAKES, F; R 15.0-in vented disc; 13.0-in vented disc, ABS WHEELS 10.5 x 19-in; 11.0 x 19-in, forged aluminum TIRES 305/30R19 98Y Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 DIMENSIONS WHEELBASE 107.1 in TRACK, F/R 62.4/65.1 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 188.5 x 75.4 x 53.9 in TURNING CIRCLE 41.7 ft CURB WEIGHT 3,829 lb WEIGHT DIST, F/R 55/45% SEATING CAPACITY 4 HEADROOM, F/R 37.6/34.8 in LEGROOM, F/R 45.1/29.0 in SHOULDER ROOM, F/R 56.3/52.2 in CARGO VOLUME 13.5 cu ft TEST DATA ACCELERATION TO MPH 0-30 1.8 sec 0-40 2.4 0-50 3.4 0-60 4.3 0-70 5.3 0-80 6.8 0-90 8.1 0-100 9.6 0-100-0 13.3 PASSING, 45-65 MPH 2.0 QUARTER MILE 12.6 sec @ 113.5 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 94 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 1.06 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 23.6 sec @ 0.86 g (avg) 2.2-MI ROAD COURSE LAP 1:38.42 sec TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 1,750 rpm CONSUMER INFO BASE PRICE $44,685 PRICE AS TESTED $51,770 STABILITY/TRACTION CONTROL Yes/Yes AIRBAGS 8: Dual front, front side, f/r curtain, front knee BASIC WARRANTY 3 yrs/36,000 miles POWERTRAIN WARRANTY 5 yrs/60,000 miles ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE 5 yrs/60,000 miles FUEL CAPACITY 16.0 gal EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON* 15/25/18 mpg ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 225/135 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 1.06 lb/mile RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded regular * Horsepower/torque ratings with Premium fuel; EPA ratings with Regular

The post Ford Mustang GT: 2018 Motor Trend Best Driver’s Car Contender appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: Property

First SpaceX Moon Tourist Yusaku Maezawa is an Avid Car Collector

Tue, 09/18/2018 - 23:31

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has been chosen as SpaceX’s first private passenger. Maezawa will fly around the moon on SpaceX’s upcoming Big Falcon Rocket in 2023. The lucky space tourist posed with SpaceX founder and fellow billionaire Elon Musk ahead of the announcement this week (pictured in the Tweet below). Why should any of this matter to you? Because Maezawa also happens to be an avid car collector who owns some of the world’s rarest, most expensive vehicles.

Hanging out with @yousuck2020 before the @SpaceX moon mission announcement pic.twitter.com/RTOwutzMtG

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 18, 2018

Maezawa founded the online retail fashion company Zozo, which offers among other things a service called Zozosuit that lets customers self-measure themselves at home and mail away for a custom-fit suit. That may not sound like an idea that would make you billions of dollars, but nevertheless, Maezawa landed in 18th place on Forbes’ 2018 list of the 50 richest people in Japan. The publication pegged the 42-year-old’s net worth at $2.7 billion.

It should come as no surprise that anyone with that much money would have a few expensive cars, but Maezawa’s collection includes some extremely rare and noteworthy pieces. According to Reuters, the Japanese billionaire owns a Bugatti Chiron—likely one of the only examples in Japan. Meanwhile, his Instagram account is filled with photos of his Mercedes-Maybach G650 Landaulet, the ultra-luxurious convertible version of the G500 4×4² that was limited to just 99 units.

View this post on Instagram

すごいの出るみたい。 G650 Landaulet #g650landaulet

A post shared by Yusaku Maezawa (@yusaku2020) on Feb 10, 2017 at 5:50am PST

Maezawa also commissioned a custom Pagani Zonda called the Zonda Zozo, but that multi-million-dollar coupe was destroyed in a crash in 2016. Losing a one-off supercar would understandably devastate any car lover, but at least Maezawa has an Aston Martin One-77, plus a Valkyrie on order, to console him.

View this post on Instagram

#pagani #zonda #zondazozo

A post shared by Yusaku Maezawa (@yusaku2020) on Aug 14, 2015 at 1:09am PDT

It’s unknown exactly how much Maezawa paid for the first commercial trip around the moon, which will include passage for himself and six to eight invited artists, but he told Reuters the cost was “much higher” than the record-breaking $110 million he paid for a Jean-Michel Basquiat painting last year. Sounds like he may have to cut back on the supercars for a while.

Source: Reuters, Forbes

The post First SpaceX Moon Tourist Yusaku Maezawa is an Avid Car Collector appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: Property

2019 BMW Z4 sDrive30i Detailed, Launches in March

Tue, 09/18/2018 - 23:01

The 2019 BMW Z4 was unveiled last month sporting an aggressive look that takes the roadster in a bold new direction. But until now, BMW has been light on details, especially regarding the base engine option.

On sale starting March 2019, the 2019 Z4 will initially launch with the sDrive30i variant, which is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 rated at 255 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. The Z4 M40i will follow afterwards in the second quarter packing a 3.0-liter turbo I-6 that has now been confirmed to make 382 hp and 369 lb-ft, the same as the prototype we drove earlier this year. An eight-speed automatic will be the only transmission available. BMW says the Z4 sDrive30i can hit 60 mph in 5.2 seconds while the M40i will do the deed in 4.4 seconds.

Compared to its predecessor, the 2019 Z4 is 3.3 inches longer, 2.9 inches wider, and 0.5 inch taller. However, its wheelbase is 1.0 inch shorter. The car rides on a new platform with double-jointed front spring struts and a five-link rear suspension, which BMW says is a first for its roadster lineup. Suspension components are now made of aluminum to help cut weight. To further improve handling, the Z4 will come standard with a new steering system with variable power assist and ratio to improve precision and ease low-speed maneuvering. Of course, the Z4 is best known to Toyota fans as the jointly developed platform-mate to the Supra.

To distinguish the Z4 M40i from the less power Z4 sDrive30i, it gets an adaptive M suspension with a 10-mm lower ride height, M Sport brakes, and an M Sport differential as standard. These features are also available on the Z4 sDrive30i as options. Three modes will be available, including Comfort, Sport, and Sport+. Electronically controlled dampers come with the M Sport suspension, which enables the driver to pick between a softer ride or sharper handling. All 2019 Z4s will come standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, and if you pick the optional 19s, you also get staggered-width summer tires that are wider at the rear.

Standard active driver assistance tech includes collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, and lane departure warning. Blind spot warning, adaptive cruise control with stop and go function, rear cross-traffic alert, and a new rear collision protection system are optional.

BMW will also allow buyers to customize their Z4s via their Individual program, allowing them to choose colors like Frozen Grey on M Sport models or opt for a soft top with with a silver effect. Other options include dual-zone climate control, interior ambient lighting, and a 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system.

BMW’s iDrive interface comes standard on the 2019 Z4 and can be had with a 10.25-inch touchscreen when you opt for the optional navigation system. It’ll also be available with BMW Cloud storage, which enables drivers to take their infotainment settings from one BMW vehicle to another. Two USB ports comes standard and cars with the built-in navigation system get 20 GB of storage. The 2019 Z4 will be one of the first BMWs to feature remote software updates, allowing the car to refresh its software over-the-air or via a smartphone.

Inside, the 2019 Z4 has a slick-looking interior with a futuristic dash and an available 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster. Sport seats come standard and now have rails that are 0.9 inches longer to provide more range for adjustment. Trunk space has also increased to 9.9 cubic feet regardless of whether the top is up or down. A ski pass-through is optional for added practicality.

Source: BMW

The post 2019 BMW Z4 sDrive30i Detailed, Launches in March appeared first on Motor Trend.

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Ferrari Debuts Monza SP1 and SP2

Tue, 09/18/2018 - 18:49

Ferrari not only launched a new, limited edition duo of supercar barchettas with the Monza SP1 and SP2, but it also launched a fourth pillar of the brand. The house that Enzo built is calling the latter Icona—Italian for Icon—and if the Monzas are any sort of indication, expect to see some radical Ferraris in the future. But I’m jumping ahead. Let’s look at the Monzas.

 

What Are They?

Barchetta means “boat tale” in Italian, but Ferrari is using the term to mean a vehicle without a traditional windscreen. Both versions of the Monza come with a Virtual Windscreen, a carbon fiber hoop in front of the driver that diverts air up and over one’s head. You’ll probably want to wear a helmet anyhow, but luckily a custom fit one by Berluti comes with the car. You get a pretty nifty driving suit by Loro Piana, too.

Ferrari’s design team looked to the past—specifically the 166 MM and the 750 Monzo—for inspiration. But they did not want to go retro. All they wanted to take from the old cars was purity of line, harmony of shape, and the “Symbiosis between driver and car.”

 

Are They Fast?

Uh, yeah! Under the long hood sits a modified version of the screaming 6.5-liter V-12 from the 812 Superfast. In the Monza it makes 809 horsepower, up by 30 from 789 hp. The gains are mostly achieved via variable length intake ducts. Torque stays steady at 530 lb-ft. The chassis is in fact the aluminum undercarriage from the 812. The body, however, is mostly carbon fiber pieces with bits of Kevlar tossed in here and there. Ferrari says it’s fifteen percent lighter than aluminum panels.

Ferrari says 0-62 mph happens in 2.9 seconds, and 0-124 mph happens in 7.9 seconds. Top speed is greater than 186 mph. Probably much greater.

 

Why Two Versions?

If you like driving around with your friend, you’re going to want to opt for the Monza SP2, as it has two seats. Happiest by yourself? Opt for the monoposto, the single seater SP1, as there is literally no passenger seat. I’m not even sure the door opens (it probably does) but the space where the passenger seat would sit is encased by a tonneau cover. This is the one I would get. The SP1 is lighter than SP2 (Ferrari is claiming a “dry weight” of 3,306 pounds for the one seater, and 3,351 pounds for the duoposto. Also, “dry weight” is Italian for hahahahaha!!).

 

How Many Are They Building?

Great question. Less than 500 between the two models, and they will let customer demand determine the mix. If everyone listens to me, there will be no SP2s built save for the black one they showed. However, I’d imagine most customers are going to be a touch more mature and opt for the second seat. What a pity. Only time will tell.

 

How Much?

Ferrari won’t say officially until the Paris Motor Show, but I think $2,000,000 a pop is a pretty safe bet. A bargain, too, when compared to a limited edition like say the F60 America, which went for $2.5 million and was essentially just an F12 with the roof hacked off. Though Ferrari did only build 10. But hey, back to the Monzas. You get a free leather-wrapped carbon fiber helmet plus other clothing! Not the worst deal ever.

 

A New Pillar?

Yes—Ferrari now consists of four pillars: Sport, which is made up of 488 and 812 (as well as an upcoming mid-engine supercar); GT, which consists of Portofino, Lusso, and the upcoming SUV-ish vehicle, now called Purosangue; Special Series, including cars like Pista and the previous F12 TdF; and the new pillar, Icona, which for now only has the new Monza in its stable. Ferrari would not announce the cadence of offerings, but did say that going forward, Special Series and Icona will make up about 5 percent of the company’s sales volume each. Sport cars will be 50 percent, and GT machines will be the remaining 40 percent. Until the Purosangue shows up in 2021 for the 2022 model year and changes everything.

In other news…

Ferrari will bring out 15 new products from 2019 through 2022. And by 2022, 60 percent of Ferraris will be hybrids. We’ll see two flavors of the mid-engine Ferrari: a replacement for the 488 and a supercar above that—but not a hypercar.

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FCA Confirms Ram Midsize Pickup

Tue, 09/18/2018 - 18:00

We’ve long known that Jeep will have a pickup based on the current generation JL Wrangler. For a few years now, we’ve also heard rumblings of a Ram midsize pickup. Now, suppliers have confirmed to Automotive News that Ram will build its own midsize truck, and it will be body-on frame.

The suppliers revealed that Ram’s midsize pickup won’t be unibody as previously imagined, meaning it won’t be based on the Fiat Toro or the Ram 750 sold in Latin American markets. FCA’s new CEO, former Jeep and Ram boss Mike Manley, has disclosed plans of a midsize Ram pickup but didn’t reveal many details. However, he did say to expect the vehicle to arrive in 2020 as a 2021 model for the U.S. market.

FCA’s Toledo, Ohio plant, which is currently shut down for retooling since April of this year, will build Ram’s midsize truck alongside the Wrangler-based pickup. The report notes that the Jeep pickup isn’t expected to sell in high volumes like the Wrangler, allowing FCA to utilize the Toledo plant’s underused capacity by building Ram’s midsize offering. Before it closed for retooling, FCA’s Toledo facility had the capacity for 160,000 units, but it regularly produced well over 230,000 examples of the previous generation JK Wrangler every year.

The last time Ram had a midsize truck in its lineup was back in 2011 when it sold the Dakota. Before the Ram brand’s split from Dodge, the Dakota was sold for three generations with the first appearing in the 1987 model year. The third generation, which was sold from the 2005 to 2011 model years, was closely related to the Mitsubishi Raider and was offered with a choice of six- or eight-cylinder engines.

Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)

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Volkswagen Debuts MEB Platform for Electric Vehicles

Tue, 09/18/2018 - 17:00

In Dresden, Germany, Volkswagen unveiled the platform that will underpin a proposed 10 million electric vehicles across its various brands. This platform will first appear underneath the Volkswagen I.D. set to enter production at the end of next year.

Designed specifically for electric vehicles, the MEB architecture can accommodate both small and large vehicles, and it makes it possible to install large batteries in the floor. An e-motor can sit at the front or the rear of the platform. Thanks to the flexibility of MEB, VW plans to achieve mass economies of scale. The platform also supports fast charging; VW says the battery can be replenished up to 80 percent in around 30 minutes.

VW says it will have 27 different models on the MEB platform worldwide across four of its brands by the end of 2022. After the I.D. hatch, which isn’t coming to the U.S., the I.D. Crozz crossover, I.D. Buzz van, and I.D. Vizzion sedan will enter production on the MEB platform. I.D. models will be produced in Volkswagen’s Zwickau plant in Germany, set to become the brand’s first dedicated EV plant.

But MEB won’t be the automaker’s only platform for electric vehicles. Porsche’s upcoming electric sports car sits on a platform it developed in house called J1, while the Audi E-Tron Quattro uses a modified version of the MLB-evo platform seen on the A4 and other VW Group models. From around 2022 onward, Volkswagen will replace this platform with a new architecture called PPE, tailored for large, higher-performance luxury vehicles.

Source: Volkswagen

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Audi TT RS: 2018 Motor Trend Best Driver’s Car Contender

Tue, 09/18/2018 - 12:00

Talk about a contrast in style—America’s Corvette blusters with noise, tire smoke, fear, and slightly disappointing track numbers, while Germany’s technical Audi TT RS delivers assured competence, sensible understeer, and surprisingly quick lap times. Multiple editors on Route 198 wondered aloud whether all 400 horses were hitched up and pulling (answer: yep). After his lapping session, Randy Pobst was shocked to hear he’d run within about a second of the Porsche 718 Cayman GTS “sweep vehicle.”

Want EVEN MORE from 2018 Best Driver’s Car? See the cars in action right here.

Although its lap times were quicker than they felt from the driver’s seat (within 1.5 seconds of the Aston and almost 4.0 seconds ahead of the next-quickest Alfa), they’d have been quicker still with better brakes and more performance-oriented all-wheel-drive tuning. “The car wouldn’t stop,” Pobst recalled. “There wasn’t enough bite, and the pedal was kind of soft. I think I lost a lot of time because I didn’t trust the brakes. It needs more power to the rear wheels to balance it.” He also found the shock damping inadequate and generally felt the RS badges wrote checks this chassis wasn’t cashing. “When I see ‘RS’ on an Audi, I have really high expectations. The TT RS is a huge disappointment. The compromises for comfort slow it down on track.”

Our judges agreed. Chris Walton wished the Audi was more amenable to lift-throttle rotation. Jethro Bovingdon concurred: “The balance is one-dimensional with almost zero throttle adjustability.” But Mark Rechtin found this trait reassuring. “Once you set your steering angle,” he said, “a grenade couldn’t throw it off its line.” Scott Evans postulated that its “super-consistent behavior and response” would be “perfect for beginners.” Still, in a head-to-head, Evans quipped: “Would I buy this over a Cayman at the same price? Not a chance.”

Everybody loved the Ur-Quattro-reminiscent five-banger’s snarl, though Erick Ayapana wished “the volume was cranked to 8—it’s at about 3.”

In short, the TT RS left us all wanting more … something. “It doesn’t actually need more power,” Ed Loh said. “But it needs to feel more powerful, sharper, more directed. Where’s the danger?”

Want EVEN MORE from 2018 Best Driver’s Car? See the cars in action right here. More 2018 Best Driver’s Car Contenders: “Is there a cooler engine on planet earth than the TT RS’ burping, snarling, turbo five-cylinder?” -Jonny Lieberman, Senior Features Editor

2018 Audi TT RS POWERTRAIN/CHASSIS DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Front-engine, AWD ENGINE TYPE Turbocharged I-5, alum block/head VALVETRAIN DOHC, 4 valves/cyl DISPLACEMENT 151.3 cu in/2,480 cc COMPRESSION RATIO 10.0:1 POWER (SAE NET) 400 hp @ 5,850 rpm TORQUE (SAE NET) 354 lb-ft @ 1,700 rpm REDLINE 6,800 rpm WEIGHT TO POWER 8.2 lb/hp TRANSMISSION 7-speed twin-clutch auto AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE RATIO 4.06:1 (1st, 4th, 5th); 3.45:1 (2nd, 3rd, 6th, 7th)/2.19:1 SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar STEERING RATIO 14.6:1 TURNS LOCK-TO-LOCK 2.0 BRAKES, F; R 14.6-in vented, drilled, carbon-ceramic disc; 12.2-in vented disc, ABS WHEELS 9.0 x 19-in forged aluminum TIRES 255/30R20 92Y Pirelli P Zero R01 DIMENSIONS WHEELBASE 98.6 in TRACK, F/R 61.6/60.8 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 165.0 x 72.1 x 52.9 in TURNING CIRCLE 36.0 ft CURB WEIGHT 3,267 lb WEIGHT DIST, F/R 61/39% SEATING CAPACITY 4 HEADROOM, F/R 37.1/33.8 in LEGROOM, F/R 41.1/28.9 in SHOULDER ROOM, F/R 53.6/47.9 in CARGO VOLUME 12.0 cu ft TEST DATA ACCELERATION TO MPH 0-30 1.3 sec 0-40 1.9 0-50 2.6 0-60 3.4 0-70 4.5 0-80 5.7 0-90 7.1 0-100 8.9 0-100-0 12.8 PASSING, 45-65 MPH 1.7 QUARTER MILE 12.0 sec @ 114.6 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 100 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.99 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 23.7 sec @ 0.85 g (avg) 2.2-MI ROAD COURSE LAP 99.95 sec TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 1,750 rpm CONSUMER INFO BASE PRICE $65,875 PRICE AS TESTED $80,200 STABILITY/TRACTION CONTROL Yes/Yes AIRBAGS 8: Dual front, front side, f/r head, front knee BASIC WARRANTY 4 yrs/50,000 miles POWERTRAIN WARRANTY 4 yrs/50,000 miles ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE 4 yrs/Unlimited miles FUEL CAPACITY 14.5 gal EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON 19/29/22 mpg ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 177/116 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.86 lb/mile RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded premium

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Honda Civic Type R: 2018 Motor Trend Best Driver’s Car Contender

Tue, 09/18/2018 - 12:00

In the decade we’ve been running BDC, we’ve invited only 10 front-drive cars to compete. They tend not to do well against rear-drive or all-wheel-drive cars that handle better and put down power more authoritatively. No previous front-driver has made a judge wonder, “Could this be our first front-drive winner?”

This little Honda did.

Want EVEN MORE from 2018 Best Driver’s Car? See the cars in action right here.

“The Type R is perhaps the best front-drive, factory-delivered car I’ve ever driven on a racetrack,” a grinning Randy Pobst gushed. “It was a thrill. This whole car behaves as if it costs a whole lot more than it does. It’s swinging way above its fighting weight.” Angus MacKenzie declared it “the best front-drive hot hatch in the world. Period. The powertrain gets the headlines, but it’s the chassis that makes this car special.” Chris Walton said it “feels like a detuned rally car.”

Editor logbooks overflowed with hyperbole for the better-than-Miata’s short-throw shifter, the all-day-comfy supportive seat, and the VTEC/turbo engine’s uncanny eagerness to pull hard to redline. Everyone appreciated how unflappable the body is in +R mode and how remarkably supple the ride quality is in Comfort and Sport modes.

The Type R wasn’t without flaws, however. Both Pobst and Jethro Bovingdon wished for at least a whiff of trailing-throttle oversteer—a tool drivers could reach for when the front starts to run a bit wide. A slightly stiffer rear anti-roll bar should do the trick. Second, this car, like several Type Rs that Pobst has lapped, pegged its temperature gauge. A Honda rep intimated that the digital gauge may be overly conservative. Indeed, the power never faltered, no coolant was disgorged, and lifting for two corners unpegged the gauge. Oh, and not everyone was crazy about the engine note.

Ed Loh summed up the Type R: “That all this performance comes from a 2.0-liter turbo powering only the front wheels—and that there are four seat belts and a huge trunk—represents a greater feat of engineering than the ZR1.”

Want EVEN MORE from 2018 Best Driver’s Car? See the cars in action right here. More 2018 Best Driver’s Car Contenders: “What a great car! The Type R sends the message that front-wheel-drive cars can be just as fun to drive.” -Miguel Cortina, Managing Editor of Motor Trend en Español


2018 Honda Civic Type R POWERTRAIN/CHASSIS DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Front-engine, FWD ENGINE TYPE Turbocharged I-4, alum block/head VALVETRAIN DOHC, 4 valves/cyl DISPLACEMENT 121.8 cu in/1,996 cc COMPRESSION RATIO 9.8:1 POWER (SAE NET) 306 hp @ 6,500 rpm TORQUE (SAE NET) 295 lb-ft @ 2,500 rpm REDLINE 7,000 rpm WEIGHT TO POWER 10.1 lb/hp TRANSMISSION 6-speed manual AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE RATIO 4.11:1/3.02:1 SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Struts, coil springs, adj shocks; anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, adj shocks; anti-roll bar STEERING RATIO 14.9-11.7:1 TURNS LOCK-TO-LOCK 2.1 BRAKES, F; R 13.8-in vented, drilled disc; 12.0-in disc, ABS WHEELS 8.5 x 20-in cast aluminum TIRES 245/30R20 90Y Continental SportContact 6 DIMENSIONS WHEELBASE 106.3 in TRACK, F/R 63.0/62.7 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 179.4 x 73.9 x 56.5 in TURNING CIRCLE 39.5 ft CURB WEIGHT 3,096 lb WEIGHT DIST, F/R 62/38% SEATING CAPACITY 4 HEADROOM, F/R 39.3/37.4 in LEGROOM, F/R 42.3/35.9 in SHOULDER ROOM, F/R 56.9/55.0 in CARGO VOLUME 46.3/25.7 cu ft TEST DATA ACCELERATION TO MPH 0-30 2.1 sec 0-40 3.2 0-50 4.0 0-60 5.0 0-70 6.6 0-80 8.0 0-90 10.2 0-100 12.2 0-100-0 16.3 PASSING, 45-65 MPH 2.4 QUARTER MILE 13.7 sec @ 105.9 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 99 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 1.01 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 24.3 sec @ 0.79 g (avg) 2.2-MI ROAD COURSE LAP 104.22 sec TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 2,450 rpm CONSUMER INFO BASE PRICE $35,595 PRICE AS TESTED $35,595 STABILITY/TRACTION CONTROL Yes/Yes AIRBAGS 6: Dual front, front side, f/r curtain BASIC WARRANTY 3 yrs/36,000 miles POWERTRAIN WARRANTY 5 yrs/60,000 miles ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE 3 yrs/36,000 miles FUEL CAPACITY 12.4 gal EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON 22/28/25 mpg ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 153/120 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.80 lb/mile RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded premium

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McLaren 720S: 2018 Motor Trend Best Driver’s Car Contender

Tue, 09/18/2018 - 12:00

It’s the Sybil of supercars. McLaren’s new 720S manifests different personalities depending on driver skill and electronic settings. Nearly every judge left most safety settings engaged for Route 198, and most emerged feeling invincible. Chris Walton: “This McLaren reads your mind, and you just ‘think’ your way through corners.” Mark Rechtin: “It handles as though it has its own volition or sentience—but completely predictably.” Jethro Bovingdon: “It rides with a fluency that the Lambo and GT2 RS can only dream of, with a balance that ebbs and flows so naturally.” The car is astonishingly responsive, the steering is fingertip-light and communicative, and drivers with an ounce of skill will never detect electronic intervention on a dry road and will emerge convinced they’ve just defied physics. All good!

Want EVEN MORE from 2018 Best Driver’s Car? See the cars in action right here.

Then our race driver with a championship pedigree climbed in and turned off most of the nannies—and set a BDC lap record. Yet Randy Pobst climbed out of the McLaren sweaty and complaining about what a sloppy lap it was and how difficult the car was to control: “I was busy! It’s two different cars. Off throttle, it oversteers a lot. On throttle, it understeers a lot.” This suggests that electronics may be compensating for some essential handling deficiencies. Pobst managed to fade the brakes a bit, but only because of the crazy high speeds the car achieves—a BDC-record 154.7 mph on the front straight of his first hot lap, torching the Porsche’s top speed of 149.0. Pobst is convinced that improving the car’s inherent balance could earn the 720S a 1:27 lap time. This car behaved so differently from an earlier one he lapped at Willow Springs’ big track that we also wonder if something was amiss.

As for the long drives to the track, many editors were uncomfortable in the optional fixed carbon-fiber racing-shell seats, which are tricky to get into and out of. And the McLaren’s overly electronic nature left a few editors, such as Scott Evans, cold: “I’m super impressed with it, but I’m not crazy-stupid in love with it.”

Want EVEN MORE from 2018 Best Driver’s Car? See the cars in action right here. More 2018 Best Driver’s Car Contenders: “When the tachometer crests 6,000 rpm, the engine finds an extra ax-murderer gear, resulting in real, actual terror. Alien technology for the street.”-Jonny Lieberman, Senior Features Editor

2018 McLaren 720S POWERTRAIN/CHASSIS DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Mid-engine, RWD ENGINE TYPE Twin-turbo 90-deg V-8, alum block/heads VALVETRAIN DOHC, 4 valves/cyl DISPLACEMENT 243.7 cu in/3,994 cc COMPRESSION RATIO 8.7:1 POWER (SAE NET) 710 hp @ 7,500 rpm TORQUE (SAE NET) 568 lb-ft @ 5,500 rpm REDLINE 7,500 rpm WEIGHT TO POWER 4.5 lb/hp TRANSMISSION 7-speed twin-clutch auto AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE RATIO 3.31:1/2.27:1 SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Control arms, coil springs, adj shocks; Control arms, coil springs, adj shocks STEERING RATIO 15.2:1 TURNS LOCK-TO-LOCK 2.5 BRAKES, F; R 15.4-in vented, drilled, carbon-ceramic disc; 15.0-in vented, drilled, carbon-ceramic disc, ABS WHEELS 9.0 x 19-in; 11.0 x 20-in, forged aluminum TIRES 245/35R19 93Y; 305/30R20 103Y Pirelli P Zero Corsa MC DIMENSIONS WHEELBASE 105.1 in TRACK, F/R 65.9/64.2 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 178.9 x 76.0 x 47.1 in TURNING CIRCLE 39.7 ft CURB WEIGHT 3,167 lb WEIGHT DIST, F/R 42/58% SEATING CAPACITY 2 HEADROOM, F/R n/a LEGROOM, F/R n/a SHOULDER ROOM, F/R n/a CARGO VOLUME 5.3 cu ft (front)/7.4 cu ft (rear) TEST DATA ACCELERATION TO MPH 0-30 1.1 sec 0-40 1.6 0-50 2.1 0-60 2.5 0-70 3.1 0-80 3.7 0-90 4.5 0-100 5.3 0-100-0 8.8 PASSING, 45-65 MPH 1.0 QUARTER MILE 10.1 sec @ 141.5 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 93 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 1.09 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 22.3 sec @ 1.05 g (avg) 2.2-MI ROAD COURSE LAP 89.78 sec TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 1,750 rpm CONSUMER INFO BASE PRICE $288,845 PRICE AS TESTED $376,465 STABILITY/TRACTION CONTROL Yes/Yes AIRBAGS 6: Dual front, curtain, knee BASIC WARRANTY 3 yrs/Unlimited miles POWERTRAIN WARRANTY 3 yrs/Unlimited miles ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE 3 yrs/Unlimited miles FUEL CAPACITY 19.0 gal EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON 15/22/18 mpg ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 225/153 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 1.11 lb/mile RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded premium

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BMW M5: 2018 Motor Trend Best Driver’s Car Contender

Tue, 09/18/2018 - 12:00

This is a sedan worthy of every superlative. Objectively, it ricocheted around our figure-eight course quicker than any sedan we’ve tested. It stops shorter than any sedan we’ve tested. And its quarter-mile stats are the best of any combustion-powered sedan we’ve tested. Credit for these achievements is shared by its 600-hp engine and sophisticated AWD system. Two rear-drive BDC sedans lapped Laguna quicker—the lighter Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio on R-compound tires (by just 0.16 second) and the lighter and more powerful Caddy CTS-V (by 1.29 seconds). Neither is a pussycat like this M5.

The M5 feels huge until you really start working it hard. “In spite of its prodigious size, this car is quite happy on the racetrack,” Randy Pobst said. “I forgot it was all-wheel drive! That’s a well-balanced modern all-wheel-drive system.” Quipped Ed Loh: “It initially feels heavy, but then you look down and see speeds comparable to those in the mid-engine British and Italian ballerinas.” Angus MacKenzie added that the M5 is “quiet and refined” and “feels less of a hooligan car than the AMG E 63 S. And more capable.” And continuing the AMG comparison, Jethro Bovingdon found it “more introverted than an AMG but somehow more sinister and a whole lot cooler.”

Want EVEN MORE from 2018 Best Driver’s Car? See the cars in action right here.

The BMW was one of the few cars that seemed to display little or no bad chassis behavior over the alternately sharp hits and swoopy undulations of Route 198. It feels like a precision tool engineered for this sort of driving. After predicting bank-vault numbness, Jonny Lieberman uttered the rarest of passages: “I love being proved wrong.”

One piece of constructive criticism: pare back the adjustability. Drivers don’t need the distraction of selecting between multiple operating modes on umpteen different systems. Pobst also noted that after about two laps, the brakes, tires, and even the engine started to get hot enough for performance to diminish a bit. Now you know why BMW built the harder-edged M5 Competition.

Want EVEN MORE from 2018 Best Driver’s Car? See the cars in action right here. More 2018 Best Driver’s Car Contenders: “For those wondering if BMW had lost the plot with suspension tuning, never mind. All those demons have been banished with the new M5.” -Mark Rechtin, Executive Editor

2018 BMW M5 POWERTRAIN/CHASSIS DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Front-engine, AWD ENGINE TYPE Twin-turbo 90-deg V-8, alum block/heads VALVETRAIN DOHC, 4 valves/cyl DISPLACEMENT 268.2 cu in/4,395 cc COMPRESSION RATIO 10.0:1 POWER (SAE NET) 600 hp @ 5,700 rpm TORQUE (SAE NET) 553 lb-ft @ 1,800 rpm REDLINE 7,200 rpm WEIGHT TO POWER 7.1 lb/hp TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE RATIO 3.15:1/2.02:1 SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Control arms, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar STEERING RATIO 14.3:1 TURNS LOCK-TO-LOCK 2.2 BRAKES, F; R 15.6-in vented, drilled, carbon-ceramic disc; 15.0-in vented, drilled, carbon-ceramic disc, ABS WHEELS 9.5 x 20-in; 10.5 x 20-in, forged aluminum TIRES 275/35R20 102Y; 285/35R20 104Y Pirelli P Zero (PZ4) DIMENSIONS WHEELBASE 117.4 in TRACK, F/R 64.0/62.8 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 195.5 x 74.9 x 58.0 in TURNING CIRCLE 41.3 ft CURB WEIGHT 4,268 lb WEIGHT DIST, F/R 55/45% SEATING CAPACITY 5 HEADROOM, F/R 39.2/37.5 in LEGROOM, F/R 41.4/36.5 in SHOULDER ROOM, F/R 58.7/56.0 in CARGO VOLUME 18.7 cu ft TEST DATA ACCELERATION TO MPH 0-30 1.1 sec 0-40 1.6 0-50 2.3 0-60 3.0 0-70 3.8 0-80 4.8 0-90 5.8 0-100 7.0 0-100-0 10.7 PASSING, 45-65 MPH 1.4 QUARTER MILE 11.1 sec @ 126.7 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 97 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 1.00 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 23.3 sec @ 0.91 g (avg) 2.2-MI ROAD COURSE LAP 99.81 sec TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 1,500 rpm CONSUMER INFO BASE PRICE $104,595 PRICE AS TESTED $129,795 STABILITY/TRACTION CONTROL Yes/Yes AIRBAGS 6: Dual front, front side, front head BASIC WARRANTY 4 yrs/50,000 miles POWERTRAIN WARRANTY 4 yrs/50,000 miles ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE 4 yrs/Unlimited miles FUEL CAPACITY 20.1 gal EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON 15/21/17 mpg ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 225/160 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 1.13 lb/mile RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded premium

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2019 Volkswagen Jetta Sets Record at Bonneville Salt Flats

Tue, 09/18/2018 - 11:00

Volkswagen set a new record at the Utah Salt Flats Racing Association’s World of Speed event with a modified Jetta. The 600-hp sedan recorded a speed of 210.16 mph, breaking the previous class record of 208.472 mph.

Sitting behind the wheel was veteran Salt Flats racer Scott Goetz. “The car inspired a lot of confidence at very high speeds,” Goetz said in a statement. “I have no doubt that we could go even faster by running some more boost, but we are very happy to have the record, knowing that there is more to come in the car if we need it.”

To increase output on the Jetta’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, the Bonneville preparation specialists at THR Manufacturing upgraded the turbocharger, exhaust system, connecting rods, pistons, valves, and camshafts. With these changes, the engine makes 600 hp at 8,500 rpm on the dyno. VW says the Bonneville Jetta previews the powertrain we’ll see on the Jetta GLI high-performance model. This vehicle is also expected to receive a 2.0-liter turbo-four.

The Bonnesville Jetta features a lowered suspension, limited-slip differential, and unique wheels and tires that can handle the salty terrain near Wendover, Nevada. Inside the cabin is typical race car fare: a roll cage, racing seat, harness, and fire suppression system. The car also has a pair of parachutes that can slow it down if needed.

Way before Volkswagen introduced the current generation Jetta, we made Bonneville history in a modified 2013 Jetta Hybrid. Hitting 185.394 mph, we set a new record at Bonneville during Speed Week back in 2012.

Source: Volkswagen

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2018 Ram Power Wagon Adds Mojave Sand Package

Tue, 09/18/2018 - 05:05

We’re quite fond of the Ram Power Wagon, our new long-term vehicle and the winner of our recent off-road truck comparison. Now, the model receives a Mojave Sand package that doesn’t make it more or less capable, but adds a few cosmetic touches.

The package includes a new beige paint job and all-black wheels. Other goodies include LED bed lighting, universal garage door opener, and overhead console power heated and fold-away mirrors, all part of the Heavy Duty Luxury Group included on this model. The Mojave Sand package is available in one iteration: Crew Cab 4×4 models.

The package itself costs $795, which means the starting price of the Mojave Sand rings out to $56,525. These vehicles arrive in dealerships in the fourth quarter of this year, and only 1,500 copies will be made.

Competing with the Ford F-150 Raptor and Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, the Ram 2500 Power Wagon features a 6.4-liter HEMI V-8 engine with 410 hp and 429 lb-ft of torque. The model also receives beefy 33-inch Goodyear all-terrain tires as well as a 12,000-pound electric Warn winch mounted behind the front bumper. The standard model already offers a host of paint colors, from shades of black, gray, white, blue, and red.

Source: FCA

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2019 Audi E-Tron First Look: Targeting Model X

Tue, 09/18/2018 - 05:00

The ominous drip-drip-drip of would-be Tesla Killers prophesied in Angus MacKenzie’s Rise of the E-Machines piece in May continues this month with Audi’s E-Tron midsize SUV. It’s expected to deliver somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 hp and 400 km (248 miles) of range thanks to its 95-kW-hr battery pack, and it’ll generally be priced above Jaguar’s I-Pace but below Tesla’s Model X.

Size-wise the E-Tron also splits the difference between the existing I-Pace and Model X, measuring 8.7 inches longer, 1.7 inches wider, and 4.2 inches taller than the Jag and 5.3 inches shorter, 5.2 inches narrower, and 1.7 inch lower than the Tesla. Its 115.1-inch wheelbase is shortest of the three. Its dimensions are close to those of a Mercedes GLE Coupe or BMW X6, including the cargo capacity with seats up or down (28.5 and 57.0 cubic feet). Within Audi’s lineup, think of it as a Q6.2.

Like its e-competitors, it packages a giant 1,543-pound, 90.0-inch-long, 63.6-inch-wide battery pack under the floor between the axles. The battery breaks some new ground and earns some patents by segregating its cooling system completely below the sealed battery compartment, with a special proprietary gel/glue material conducting the heat from the cell modules down to the aluminum coolant channels. This ensures there can never be intermingling of battery acid and coolant. The pack is also surrounded by an extruded aluminum crumple zone for added crash protection. And if one of the 36 cell modules goes bad or somehow gets damaged, it can be removed and replaced. The pack lends considerable torsional rigidity to the E-Tron’s modified MLB-evo unibody structure.

Battery cooling is critical when using the latest SAE J1772 DC fast chargers, which can jam an 80 percent level of charge into the pack in just 30 minutes at a rate of 150 kW. Overnight charging at home is enabled by the onboard 9.6-kW charger when using a 240-volt 40-amp Level 2 charger. Audi has teamed with Amazon Home Services to simplify the process of ordering and setting up a home charger, and of course after it’s set up the myAudi app eases management of charging and preconditioning the vehicle. And although it’s not quite free Supercharging for life like you can get with a Tesla, new E-Trons will come with a pre-purchase of 1,000 kW-hr of charging at Electrify America charging stations.

For now Audi is remaining tight-lipped about U.S.-spec power, torque, and curb weight, and the EPA hasn’t completed testing for the final range specs (that 248-mile estimate is from the similar Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure). In Euro trim the front and rear motors combine to produce 355 hp and 487 lb-ft in general driving, with “boost” power of 402 hp available in Sport mode when you engage the accelerator’s kickdown switch. Audi says that’ll produce a 0–60 run in 5.5 seconds en route to an electronically limited top speed of 124 mph. And like Tesla, but not Jaguar, Audi is rating the E-Tron to tow 4,000 pounds.

In normal acceleration, this first ever electric Quattro system routes power first to the rear motor, engaging the front one predictively as conditions demand. The motors are of the asynchronous type rather than permanent-magnet type, so there’s no magnetic drag torque when coasting (as the front axle usually does). The motors also earned a few patents for an innovative cooling system that routes coolant from the power-control module to the spinning rotor (a trick that requires fancy water bearings) and finally to the stationary stator. Both motors contribute to regenerative braking, which is offered at three levels, selectable via steering wheel paddles. Presuming there’s room for the energy in the battery, they can provide up to 0.3 g of braking by regen alone, after which an electrically boosted integrated brake controller blends in as much friction braking as required. Single-speed 8.4:1 reduction transaxles are used on both axles, with brake-based virtual torque vectoring at the rear. (A three-motor setup with honest-to-goodness torque vectoring has been rumored for a possible S or RS variant.)

Audi claims that by centralizing control of the traction, stability, braking, electric motors, and standard height-adjustable air suspension with variable damping into a single master controller, the E-Tron will deliver new levels of traction, stability, and handling. The system even incorporates the navigation and camera views to predictively advise the driver when to lift of the accelerator for optimum efficiency. Oh, and the standard Audi Drive Select program now offers seven profiles, including off-road settings that can raise the body ride height by 1.4–2.0 inches above standard ride height.

Style-wise the E-Tron looks way tamer and more mainstream than the I-Pace, EQC, or Model X. The designers sought to telegraph its electric-ness with little cues like horizontal elements in the daytime running lights and taillamp designs that mimic battery-charge status icons. Black inserts on the door trim telegraph the battery location as the center of power in much the same way that hood bulges are used to the accentuate powerful combustion engines within. Meanwhile, its Quattro-ness is telegraphed via blisters over the wheels. Inside, the seat upholstery is sewn to look like printed circuits. A pair of tactile-feedback touchscreens like those that have rolled out on the A7 and A8 control almost everything, the 10.1-inch upper one handling the infotainment, phone, navigation, and special e-tron screens; the lower handling climate and comfort functions. Like a smartphone, the screens can be configured for various favorites and startup screen functions. Speaking of climate control, a heat pump greatly reduces the system’s power consumption.

Built in a spanking-new plant in Brussels, Belgium, that has been certified CO2 neutral, the E-Tron will start at $75,795 when it hits the market in the second quarter of next year. That price buys a pretty well loaded SUV with a standard panoramic sunroof, 705-watt 16-speaker 3-D-sound Bang & Olufsen sound system, and 12-way power heated and cooled front seats. The Prestige trim adds $7,000 for a head-up display, Valcona leather, massaging seats, and the full driver-assistance package. A First Edition model tops the lineup at $87,695 with night-vision assistance and a color and trim package that gets Daytona Gray pearl paint, 21-inch black wheels, orange calipers, black leather with gray piping, and gray ash wood trim. Oh, and those prices are before the federal tax credits that Audis still qualify for.

Taking a page from EV guru Elon Musk, the E-Tron can be reserved with a fully refundable $1,000 deposit toward deliveries, which will start in the second quarter of 2019. Audi claims 10,000 folks have placed orders in Europe already—none of whom will spend years waiting for delivery.

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Welcome to the 2018 Motor Trend Best Driver’s Car Week

Mon, 09/17/2018 - 23:13

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Forget Christmas in July. This is Christmas for car enthusiasts. It’s the one time of year price tags and cupholders and fuel economy don’t matter. It’s all about amazing cars, amazing roads, and the euphoria you feel when you combine the two.

Best Driver’s Car isn’t about numbers, but we collect them because they tell their own stories and give us a basis for comparison. Every contender is subjected to our standard test regimen to measure acceleration, braking, and road holding in a controlled environment first. Then, it’s off to southern Monterey County and California Route 198, an undulating ribbon of asphalt that cuts across ranches and minor mountain ranges. To keep our impressions directly comparable from car to car, we close a 4.5-mile stretch of hill climb east of Route 25 to create a 9-mile up-and-back real-world test track. Not just twisty, it’s bumpy, worn, and, in early July, hot as hell. Not just your average handling course, it’s a torture test that separates the trailer queens from the all-around performers.

We do this not (just) because it’s fun, but because cars spend most of their lives in the real world on real roads, not on tracks. Making a car go around a perfectly maintained track quickly is hard, but making that car go fast up a canyon road and still feel fun and rewarding is harder. A Best Driver’s Car has to be at home on your favorite road and your favorite track.

A driver’s car is the one kind most likely to see a track day, so from 198 it’s up to Monterey proper and WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca where pro racer Randy Pobst will find out what each car is really made of. As with the test track, the numbers tell us how any car stacks up against others of the same class, price, or power. Like our test team, though, Randy isn’t just a number generator. His insights, along with the test team’s impressions, all factor into our final decision.

This year, 12 cars from 12 manufacturers representing six countries on three continents went through hell just for the chance to be named our 2018 Best Driver’s Car. The contenders, in alphabetical order, are:

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
Audi TT RS
Aston Martin Vantage
BMW M5
Chevrolet Corvette ZR1
Ford Mustang GT Performance Pack 2
Honda Civic Type R
Kia Stinger GT
Lamborghini Huracan Performante
Mazda MX-5 Miata Club
McLaren 720S
Porsche 911 GT2 RS

Wait, isn’t one of those an SUV? You bet. High-performance SUVs are a new breed, and we want to know if they can compete with sports cars. To find out, we pitted five of the best head to head and invited the winner to Best Driver’s Car to carry the torch for the big and tall team.

Their individual results will be chosen at random and posted four at a time through Wednesday, with this year’s Best Driver’s Car revealed Thursday. We didn’t forget the best part: World’s Greatest Drag Race 8 goes live Friday, and there might even be a special surprise for Motor Trend On Demand subscribers.

Check in all week at MotorTrend.com/bdc for 2018 Best Driver’s Car stories, photos, and videos you won’t find anywhere else.

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2019 Volkswagen Golf Receives 1.4-Liter from Jetta

Mon, 09/17/2018 - 21:30

The saddest change Volkswagen announced for its 2019 lineup is that the Beetle enters its final year of production. Fortunately, there is better news in store for VW’s other small hatch. The 2019 Golf receives a new 1.4-liter engine paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission, among other updates.

Both Golf and Golf SportWagen models borrow the same 1.4-liter powertrain found in the new Jetta. This unit, making 147 hp, replaces the previous 1.8-liter engine that produced 170 horses. Buyers can choose between a six-speed manual and an eight-speed automatic. The 1.8-liter engine remains only on the S 4Motion SportWagen, where it’s paired to a six-speed manual or six-speed DSG automatic.

We have no way to know how the 2019 Volkswagen Golf will drive, but we generally liked the new powertrain in the Jetta. “The Jetta’s response to full throttle from a stop is a slight hesitation followed by more oomph than you might expect from a 147-hp car,” we wrote in our First Test, also praising the model’s responsive passing acceleration and quick-shifting eight-speed.

But the updates aren’t limited to the powertrain. The regular Golf hatch now comes standard with a number of safety features: blind spot monitor, rear traffic alert, and forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian monitoring. For 2019, most VW models come standard with these amenities, including the Atlas, which used to offer these features higher up the chain.

The Golf GTI now packs a standard 228 hp, an increase of 8 hp from past years. The model also adds a Rabbit Edition, which features a black rear spoiler, 18-inch gloss black wheels, and Rabbit-badged seat tags as well as a few other upgrades. Golf R buyers can now choose from 40 different custom colors as part of the VW Spektrum program, and there is a new Black Wheel package.

Source: Volkswagen

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BMW Vision iNext Previews Future Model Due in 2021

Mon, 09/17/2018 - 19:15

A Boeing 777F—the most efficient cargo plane in the skies, several PR handlers declare proudly—sits behind a warehouse on the cargo side of San Francisco International Airport. Inside lies a semi-cylindrical version of an auto show stage and the BMW Vision iNext, which previews the future of all BMW technology, and the coming production version, which will be the marque’s technology flagship.

A moment’s glance confirms the Vision iNext is, however, still very much a concept car. The doors are too thin, the greenhouse openings too large, and the fit and finish altogether too good to be suited for crash testing, rollover standards, or production cost requirements. That said, a BMW representative did tell us that the exterior design is “very close” to production, and that we should expect the production iNext to share as much resemblance with the Vision iNext as the original i8 shared with its concept. In other words, the iNext will definitely stand out on the road.

Power for the iNext, like all i-brand vehicles, will involve electrification, including the fifth generation of BMW’s electric drive system. But the iNext isn’t a powertrain prototype; instead, it’s about what’s inside the cabin.

That cabin is dramatic, to say the least, and a significant departure from typical vehicle cabins. The front seats are fairly standard fare, though the integrated headrests on the passenger side can be bent backward to form a comfortable rest for conversation with rear-seat passengers. Those rear-seat passengers will be more tempted than ever to curl up and take a nap, as the back row is more like a couch than a typical bench seat. Upholstered in a chunky, textured fabric—the interior design of the iNext was inspired by high-end hotel room decor—the rear seat also features some of BMW’s biggest “wow factor” tech: smart fabric that lights up when you touch it and provides gesture-based control of infotainment and other systems. A similar hidden touch function lies just beneath the surface of the center console’s sleek wood cover, lighting up at the driver’s caress. BMW calls these hidden but available on-demand systems “shy tech,” a play on “high tech.”

We were able to test the light-up touch surfaces for ourselves on some demonstration units BMW had set up beside the concept, and although the tech still has some way to go in terms of responsiveness and consistency, the experience is both intuitive and, perhaps more important, genuinely new and futuristic-feeling.

The reason for the hotel-inspired interior design and the lounge-like rear seating area is that the BMW Vision iNext is designed as a full Level 3 autonomous vehicle. We spoke with BMW board of management member Klaus Fröhlich about the iNext’s self-driving intentions.

“This car will have a Level 3 system for every end customer,” said Fröhlich, “but it will be a very advanced Level 3 system, and it will also be capable of Level 4. But because regulation is so slow, I can’t guarantee I will be able to sell it to an end customer. … But we will develop [Level 4 capability for the iNext] and have it ready for production, and if possible, we will produce it.”

Of course, the car business is a global business, and that means the wave won’t break at the same time for everyone. “Today I can’t tell you where [a framework for advanced autonomous driving] will happen first. I personally think China will be the first, like with electromobility; they want it, they will make it possible,” said Fröhlich. “Europe is very slow. You can see this even with our new Level 2 system, which is completely hands-off—in America and China. In Europe, I have to touch the steering wheel every few seconds.”

“For the Level 3 system, I’m interested that it can be used by you for most of your use cases,” said Fröhlich. “Level 3 is limited to divided roads. Our system will offer you that capability wherever there is a divider, on the highways or in the city, and will be able to drive in the rain and snow and mud at least 130 kph [81 mph] and can overtake.

“It will have adaptable driving strategies, so that you feel safe. Because if you drive with different drivers, you feel safe or unsafe” depending on their driving styles, according to Fröhlich.

Autonomous driving will no doubt continue to be a headline-grabber (and a hot feature for those who can afford it), but the iNext is also chock-full of other fresh tech, like the Intelligent Beam system, which can recognize keys printed on the otherwise blank pages of a book, for instance, and project media, such as video, directly onto its pages—and track the projection to stay on the page even as the user moves the book around. The Intelligent Beam system can even recognize when the user points to or touches a specific portion of the image, and can respond to that touch or gesture input.

Artificial intelligence, or AI, is another buzzword that’s bandied with increasing abandon by brands in every segment of the economy, from smartphones to home entertainment to cars. And although it’s definitely buzzworthy, AI has yet to prove itself capable of delivering on its promise of natural, effortless human-machine interactions. BMW hopes its Personal Assistant AI will offer some of that proof and plans to thread its voice-activated assistant throughout the iNext’s system—and therefore, presumably, all of its cars’ systems—from infotainment to navigation and even to smart home control through BMW Connected.

So when will we be getting all of these flashy new goodies? Not until 2021, when the production iNext arrives. The technology that debuts on the production iNext will then percolate throughout the BMW Group’s vehicles—including Rolls-Royce and Mini—over the ensuing several years.

The BMW Vision iNext and BMW’s plan for its near-to-medium-term halo technology are both bold statements, aiming to deliver a genuine sense of the future coming to pass before our very eyes. Not the washed-out, overhyped, ultimately disappointing future—no Jetsons cars, no helpful androids, and no food materializers. No, the BMW Vision iNext is BMW’s plan to deliver the future we all hope for, or at the very least, a future that looks a lot more like it.

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Spied! Porsche 911 Turbo Convertible Hits the Pavement

Mon, 09/17/2018 - 17:15

It has been several weeks since we last spotted the next-gen Porsche 911, but now the sports car has reemerged sporting an attractive gray paint job.

Our spy photographers caught the convertible version enjoying the final days of summer with its top down. The scoop just behind the rear door indicates this is the Turbo model, and unsurprisingly, the overall design hasn’t changed too much from the current version.

Up front, however, you’ll notice revised air intakes, and in the rear, there is a new light bar that extends the entire width of the car. This detail is hidden by some camouflage, but it hints at an updated design inspired by the new Panamera. Many details in the rear will likely change for production, such as the exhaust. Last month, we spotted a coupe prototype with less camouflage.

Porsche hasn’t announced powertrain details. But expect the Turbo to come with a six-cylinder twin-turbo boxer engine making around 600 hp. The current Turbo S already produces 580 hp, so making the 600-hp mark seems like a pretty reasonable goal.

We expect the next 911 to debut in one form or another pretty soon. It’s possible the reveal could happen as soon as the Paris Motor Show next month. In the meantime, check out the full gallery of images below.

Photo Source: CarPix

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