Cocktail Chatter: December 14, 2012

Automobile Staff
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What cocktails go best with all this car chatter? automobilemag.com is here to help with weekly recipes. Remember, this is for talking about cars, not driving — always designate a driver. This week we're drinking Negronis. The Negroni is a wonderfully simple aperitif  that consists of equal measures of gin, Campari, and sweet (red) vermouth. Combine the liquor in a shaker with ice and serve in a cocktail glass or skip the shaker and serve on the rocks in an Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with an orange peel.

Investment grade?: Wall Street, where everyone rides in the back of black Lincoln Town Cars, has decreed the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra the fiscal thread on which General Motors hangs. According to this mindset, if the truck can gain market share, the stock price will rise and the Feds can sell its 26% share in GM. Sorry, but it's not about market share. If GM stock is worth buying (and thus worth selling), it's because the company can make money on cars, even when the truck market weakens. As for the trucks; they look to be significantly improved, but they need 8-speed automatics and a diesel option before they can become segment breakouts.

Todd Lassa, Executive Editor

Niche Attack: This week BMW unveiled the M6 Gran Coupe, a high-performance car that slots in between the M5 and M6. BMW is king of building niche vehicles, and this is a great example of the company filling yet another infinitely-tiny hole in its product range. The M5 and M6 are great cars, but it's hard to believe there are many buyers out there for a 560-hp M6 Gran Coupe. Of course, it looks great and will be just as fast as its forbears, so I want one.

Totally Recalled: Ford announced the fourth recall for the 2013 Escape since it launched earlier this year. While Ford has quickly remedied every problem with the Escape, and fixes aren't uncommon on brand-new vehicles, the steady stream of recalls must be reducing consumer confidence in the new crossover. Even if the problems are repaired for free, imagine how annoying and inconvenient it must be for owners to visit the dealership every couple months for another patch.

Jake Holmes, Associate Web Editor

Thinkin’ Lincoln: My op-ed about the future of the Lincoln brand went live this week, and with it I received my first trolling comment since my days back at FastLaneDaily.com. However, by the time I finally went to check out said vitriol, another commenter had defended my honor in an effusive – and grammatically correct – manner. Gotta love our readers.

Donny Nordlicht, Associate Web Editor

A Concept Dies: If you were eagerly anticipating the launch of the wild Jaguar C-X75 concept, we have some bad news to bear: it's dead.

Jaguar says today's economy means it can either flesh out a well-rounded lineup filled with high(er) volume models, or put the ultra-niche C-X75 into production. Perhaps Jag began writing on the wall months ago, when it acknowledged it had to scrap the concept's micro-turbine engines in favor of a conventional piston engine -- but then again, even the XJ220 witnessed a drastic change in powertrain (AWD to RWD; V-12 to twin-turbo V-6) during its transition from concept to reality.

If you want to own a C-X75, you'll have to act fairly quickly, as two of the five prototype development cars are allegedly heading to auction.

Evan McCausland, Associate Web Editor

Lead Feet? More Like Aluminum: I'll say from the start I like Ford -- I like its products, and I like where it's headed in the marketplace. But Raj Nair's comments this morning at the Ford Transit/Transit Connect reveal make Ford no better than Hyundai when it comes to fuel economy talk. Nair said "when I drive my C-Max using all of the eco guides, maximizing my use of the electric motor, and setting the cruise control at 60 mph, I get 47 mpg…when I drive the car like my Shelby GT500, I get at least 12 mpg lower."

Two problems: one, Nair claimed not two minutes earlier that Ford's hybrids were designed to drive exactly like its conventional gas-powered ones (logic would dictate, then, that you should drive Ford's hybrids just like its other cars). Two, the speed limit on Nair's commute (from Dearborn, MI to Ann Arbor, most likely taking I-94) is 70 mph for cars and 60 mph for trucks. If Nair thinks that setting your cruise control at 10-under (and likely drafting a semi doing its legal limit) is normal fare, I'd love to see what his idea of "spirited" driving is.

Ben Timmins, Associate Web Editor

Whose standard is it anyway?: Pickups have increased payload and tow ratings at an unsustainable level for years. The SAE J2807 towing standards were supposed to bring those ratings back to reality for all-new trucks starting with the 2013 model year. GM isn't planning to rate its 2014 half-ton trucks' towing capacities using the SAE standard. Why not? Because the first automaker to implement the standard will have significantly lower tow ratings than other automakers who are selling older trucks that aren't rated according to J2807. Even though everyone knows the current tow ratings are exaggerated, nobody wants to be the first to admit it. Instead of being realistic, GM decides to go after best in class towing across the board.

Phil Floraday, Senior Web Editor

New tricks for an old dog: In a stunt intended to increase adoptions from animal rescues, the New Zealand SPCA teaches a Giant Schnauzer to drive a Mini Cooper. If the German complains, maybe Mini’s parent, BMW, will finally make some changes to the Cooper’s quirky dash controls.

Jennifer Misaros, Managing Editor, Digital Platforms

On a roll: Tesla looks damn good going into 2013. A tweet from head honcho Musk saying that “Tesla was narrowly cash flow positive" preceded the automaker’s approval for a Class 1 dealer license in Boston. Now Tesla says its Model S, packing a mid-level 60-kWh battery pack, should go 230 miles on a charge and achieve an EPA-estimated 94/97 MPGe (city/highway). Someone buy Musk a drink, please.

Christopher NelsonRoad Test Editor

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