Automobile Magazine http://www.automobilemag.com No Boring Cars! | Reviews, Auto Shows, Lifestyle Thu, 23 Feb 2017 04:56:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.4 Mercedes-AMG Preps Three Special Editions for 2017 Geneva Motor Show http://www.automobilemag.com/news/mercedes-amg-preps-three-special-editions-for-2017-geneva-motor-show/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/mercedes-amg-preps-three-special-editions-for-2017-geneva-motor-show/#respond Thu, 23 Feb 2017 02:12:21 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1116001 Affalterbach really knows how to party. To help celebrate its 50th anniversary Mercedes-AMG will debut three new special edition variants at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show. First up is the AMG GT C Roadster Edition 50, followed by the C63 S Cabriolet Ocean Blue Edition, and then there’s new C43 Coupe and C43 Cabriolet AMG...

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Affalterbach really knows how to party. To help celebrate its 50th anniversary Mercedes-AMG will debut three new special edition variants at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show.

First up is the AMG GT C Roadster Edition 50, followed by the C63 S Cabriolet Ocean Blue Edition, and then there’s new C43 Coupe and C43 Cabriolet AMG Performance Studio Packages available. Here’s how you can tell them apart when you spot them in the wild this summer.

2018 Mercedes AMG GT C Roadster Edition 50 rear three quarter

AMG GT C Roadster Edition 50

Outside, the AMG GT C Roadster ‘Edition 50’ gets a sweet Graphite Gray Magno paint job with black highlights on the chrome wheels, skirt trim, front splitter, grille, front fender fins, rear diffuser, and tailpipe trim.

Under the hood, the special roadster packs a 4.0-liter twin turbo V-8 engine with 550 horsepower and 502 lb-ft of torque. The engine is mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. It can hit 0-60 mph 3.7 seconds and has a limited top speed of 196 mph.

Inside, it gets a Silver Pearl/Black Nappa Leather interior with gray diamond-patterned topstitching on the seats and steering wheel. It also receives “Edition 50” badging and the Night Package, which includes steering wheel spokes, shift paddles, and door sill panels in black. Looks like a drop-top made for Bat-fans.

2018 Mercedes AMG C63 Cabriolet Ocean Blue Edition front three quarter

Mercedes-AMG C63 Cabriolet Ocean Blue Edition

Mercedes says the Ocean Blue Edition of the AMG C63 S Cabriolet is limited to just 150 cars worldwide, so your chances of seeing another Deep Ocean Blue soft-top are pretty slim. The exclusive color shade is also found on the cabriolet’s bumper, wheel caps, and clock.

The C63 S Cabrio Ocean Blue edition is decked out in Cashmere White Magno paint. AMG forged wheels are available in titanium gray and feature a cross-spoke design with 19-inch wheels up front and 20-inch ones at the rear.

Underneath the hood, the special cabriolet offers a 4.0-liter twin turbo V-8 engine with 503 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. It’s mated to a 7-speed transmission and can reach 0-60 mph in 4.0 seconds. Top speed is limited to 174 mph, which should be plenty fast with the top down.

The interior gets Crystal Gray nappa leather with diamond quilting and Deep Ocean Blue contrasting topstitching. The steering wheel is plucked from the AMG S63 Cabriolet and features a black rim, nappa leather, and silver buttons. Be sure to dress accordingly so you don’t clash with your ride.

2018 Mercedes AMG C43 Coupe with AMG Performance Studio Package rear three quarter

Mercedes-AMG C43 Coupe and Cabriolet Performance Studio Package

The AMG Performance Studio Package for the AMG C43 Coupe and Cabriolet gets a heavy dose of — you guessed it — black inside and out.

Its diamond radiator grille receives black pins instead of chrome, and the rear bumper; side skirts, trunk lid spoiler, and tailpipe trim are all painted black. It rolls on 19-inch multi-spoke matte black wheels. Inside the steering wheel gets a healthy splash of black too.

Both the coupe and cabriolet offer a potent 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 engine that cranks out 362 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque. It’s paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission. The coupe will get you from 0-60 mph in 4.6 seconds; the Cabriolet in 4.7 seconds, and both cars have a limited top speed of 130 mph.

The special editions will debut at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show and go on sale this summer.

2018 Mercedes AMG GT C Roadster Edition 50 rear three quarter 2018 Mercedes AMG GT C Roadster Edition 50 interior 2018 Mercedes AMG GT C Roadster Edition 50 front three quarter 2018 Mercedes AMG C63 Cabriolet Ocean Blue Edition rear three quarter 2018 Mercedes AMG C63 Cabriolet Ocean Blue Edition front three quarter 2018 Mercedes AMG C43 Coupe with AMG Performance Studio Package wheels 2018 Mercedes AMG C43 Coupe with AMG Performance Studio Package rear three quarter 2018 Mercedes AMG C43 Coupe with AMG Performance Studio Package interior 2018 Mercedes AMG C43 Coupe with AMG Performance Studio Package interior 02 2018 Mercedes AMG C43 Cabriolet with AMG Performance Studio Package rear three quarter 2018 Mercedes AMG C43 Cabriolet with AMG Performance Studio Package front three quarter

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Tesla Lost $746.3 Million in 2016, Delivered 76,230 Models S and X http://www.automobilemag.com/news/tesla-lost-746-3-million-2016-delivered-76230-models-s-x/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/tesla-lost-746-3-million-2016-delivered-76230-models-s-x/#respond Thu, 23 Feb 2017 01:39:26 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1116156 Tesla, the purveyor of luxury electric cars and batteries that expanded into solar energy panels with its acquisition of SolarCity last year, posted a net loss of $746.3 million for 2016 on $7 billion in revenues, of which $5.59 billion were automotive revenues. The Palo Alto, California-based automaker announced in its fourth-quarter and full-year report...

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Tesla, the purveyor of luxury electric cars and batteries that expanded into solar energy panels with its acquisition of SolarCity last year, posted a net loss of $746.3 million for 2016 on $7 billion in revenues, of which $5.59 billion were automotive revenues. The Palo Alto, California-based automaker announced in its fourth-quarter and full-year report Wednesday that it delivered about 22,000 vehicles globally in the fourth quarter, for a total of 76,230 for the year.

In Tesla’s web conference call with Wall Street analysts, CEO Elon Musk indicated that the $35,000 Model 3 sedan is on-schedule to begin production in the second half of the year. The first cars off the line will go to employees, he said, “because it’s good to have a feedback loop before customers experience them.” (This is known as “captive fleet” in Detroit.)

Tesla’s configurator for the Model 3 will not go online until shortly before the car goes on sale, Musk said. “I think it’s probably three to four months away.”

2016-Tesla-Model-X-official-photos-falcon-door-open-rear-three-quarter

He described a few details of how the Tesla Model 3 will be a simpler, cheaper-to-build car than the Model S and Model X, both of which are typically optioned to well above $100,000.

“It’s going to be a very compelling car, but a simpler design,” Musk said. “We understand car production much better than in the past.”

The Model 3 will have one screen inside, with one power source, in place of two screens and two power sources of the S and X, he said. It will have 1-1/2 kilometers of wiring instead of 3 kilometers and fewer luxury features like the self-presenting door handles in the S and X.

Will the Tesla Model 3 be profitable from Day One? One analyst asked.

It “will not be profitable because of exponential production numbers,” Musk said, referring to the time it takes to ramp up to what he said is a 5,000-vehicle-per-week capacity. But Musk suggested Tesla will reach Model 3 capacity by the end of the year, at which time the “affordable” electric car will be “pretty close” to having the same profit margin as the Model S and Model X.

Tesla and Wall Street analysts have suggested that the Model S and Model X enjoy a 20-25 percent profit margin, which traditional automakers, with their ability to buy parts by the millions, only enjoy with high-end exotics and sport/utility vehicles with internal combustion engines. Despite Tesla’s unit margin, the company has rarely reported a net profit. Tesla posted a net profit for only the third quarter of last year, with losses for the other three quarters.

2017-Tesla-Model-S-front-view-from-far-out

While 2016 deliveries fell short of the 80,000 units analysts had expected, Tesla said about 2,750 Model Ses and Xes missed delivery to Europe and Asia before the end of the year because of “short-term production challenges starting at the end of October and lasting through early December,” when the company made a transition to its latest Autopilot semi-autonomous hardware. Another 6,450 vehicles were in-transit to customers at the end of the year and will be counted as first-quarter 2017 deliveries, Tesla said.

Of the 22,000 or so delivered globally in the fourth quarter, 12,700 were Tesla Model S sedans and 9,500 were Model X sport/utility vehicles.

U.S. consumption accounts for roughly one-third of Tesla’s global sales. In 2016, Tesla sold 26,725 vehicles in the U.S., according to Automotive News, up 5.4 percent. That consisted of 24,000 Model Ses and 2,725 Model Xes.

Musk reassured the investment community that Tesla would meet his previous production plans.

“I currently think we ought to be able to build a half-million in 2018 and 1 million by 2020.”

Tesla Model S Glass roof 2016 Tesla Model S P90D front end in motion 2017-Tesla-Model-3-front-three-quarter-in-motion-03 2017-Tesla-Model-3-front-three-quarter-in-motion-02 2017-Tesla-Model-3-rear-end 2017-Tesla-Model-3-side-profile 2017-Tesla-Model-3-front-three-quarter-in-motion-e1462915023916 Tesla Model 3 side view 2017 Tesla Model S side view from far out 2017-Tesla-Model-3-top-view-e1462810146195 2017-Tesla-Model-3-top-view-interior-seats 2017-Tesla-Model-S-rear-side-view 2016 Tesla Model S P90D 2017 Tesla Model 3 rear three quarter 02 2017 Tesla Model 3 2016 Tesla Model X Tesla Model S front end in motion 02 1

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Carlos Ghosn Steps Down as Nissan CEO http://www.automobilemag.com/news/carlos-ghosn-steps-nissan-ceo/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/carlos-ghosn-steps-nissan-ceo/#respond Thu, 23 Feb 2017 01:08:15 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1116048 Carlos Ghosn has stepped down as chief executive officer of Nissan Motor Company, a position he has held since June 2001, the automaker announced Wednesday. His replacement is 40-year company veteran Hiroto Saikawa, currently (and somewhat confusingly) Nissan’s co-CEO and a representative director. The energetic Ghosn, 62, continues as Nissan chairman, as chairman and CEO...

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Carlos Ghosn has stepped down as chief executive officer of Nissan Motor Company, a position he has held since June 2001, the automaker announced Wednesday. His replacement is 40-year company veteran Hiroto Saikawa, currently (and somewhat confusingly) Nissan’s co-CEO and a representative director. The energetic Ghosn, 62, continues as Nissan chairman, as chairman and CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, and as CEO of Renault.

Ghosn also was named chairman of Mitsubishi Motors last December following Nissan’s purchase of a controlling 34-percent of the struggling automaker for $2.2 billion.

With the addition of Mitsubishi, Nissan-Renault expects to sell about 10 million vehicles globally in 2017, which would place it in the same volume league as Volkswagen Group, Toyota Motor Company, and General Motors. VW Group was the biggest automaker globally last year with 10.31 million sold.

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn Mitsubishi president Osamu Masuko

“I am confident that the management team I have developed at Nissan over the past 18 years has the talent and experience to meet the company’s operational and strategic goals,” Ghosn said in a prepared statement. “Having recently taken on new responsibilities at Mitsubishi Motors, and taking into consideration the upcoming Nissan general shareholders meeting, I have decided that the time is right for Hiroto Saikawa to succeed me as Nissan’s CEO.”

Nissan formed a strategic alliance with Renault in 1999. Ghosn, then Renault’s executive vice president, took over Nissan as its first non-Japanese leader in 2001 as the company struggled following decades of quick growth. He restructured the company, firing Japanese employees who thought they had jobs for life, and quickly reversed Nissan’s fortunes again.

“There is no problem with a car company that good product cannot solve,” he told auto and business journalists at international auto shows.

2014 Infiniti Q50 with Carlos Ghosn and Johan de Nysschen factory

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Italdesign Launches Specialty Supercar Division with New V-10 Coupe http://www.automobilemag.com/news/italdesign-launches-specialty-supercar-division-new-v-10-coupe/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/italdesign-launches-specialty-supercar-division-new-v-10-coupe/#respond Wed, 22 Feb 2017 20:18:09 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1115781 Are current Lamborghinis not Lamborghini enough for you? You might want to give Italdesign a call. The Audi-owned design house announced it will develop a new specialty division for extremely low-volume supercars, k­icking things off with a run of five V-10 powered coupes. Italdesign bills the new bespoke division as “Italdesign Automobili Speciali,” a sub-brand...

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Are current Lamborghinis not Lamborghini enough for you? You might want to give Italdesign a call. The Audi-owned design house announced it will develop a new specialty division for extremely low-volume supercars, k­icking things off with a run of five V-10 powered coupes.

Italdesign bills the new bespoke division as “Italdesign Automobili Speciali,” a sub-brand aimed at creating handfuls of supercars primarily for high-end collectors. The first car to wear the I.A.S badge is a wild Lambo-esque coupe that wears much of the same wild angular design flairs we’ve found on cars like the Centenario and Veneno.

Italdesign Automobili Speciali Side

Considering Italdesign’s ownership by Audi, it’s no surprise power comes from a Lamborghini-sourced 5.2-liter V-10 engine, likely producing a tick over 600 hp. Power will likely be routed to the rear- or all-four-wheels through a dual-clutch transmission, returning a mighty 0-60 mph time of just 3.2 seconds.

Prices for the as-of-yet unnamed coupe is set at around $1,600,000, a huge leap from even the Aventador, let alone the Huracan. If you miss out on this coupe, keep an eye out for the future, as Italdesign says there’s more to come. The design house plans to debut a new model every 18 to 24 months.

Italdesign Automobili Speciali Rear Three Quarters

 

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Next Generation Super Series McLaren Gets Sideways in Video http://www.automobilemag.com/news/next-generation-super-series-mclaren-goes-full-initial-d/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/next-generation-super-series-mclaren-goes-full-initial-d/#respond Wed, 22 Feb 2017 19:50:56 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1115671 We didn’t think the drifting was the most methodological of test procedures as, to us; it’s more about screeching tires and smiles per hour than rigorous analytics. That, however, according to McLaren’s chief test driver Chris Goodwin, isn’t the case. As Goodwin flogs the upcoming second generation Super Series around one of McLaren’s test tracks...

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We didn’t think the drifting was the most methodological of test procedures as, to us; it’s more about screeching tires and smiles per hour than rigorous analytics. That, however, according to McLaren’s chief test driver Chris Goodwin, isn’t the case. As Goodwin flogs the upcoming second generation Super Series around one of McLaren’s test tracks in full camouflage, he states, “Drifting isn’t just about show-boating and having fun. It actually teaches us quite a lot about the car and drives us in a direction that serves every driver on an everyday driving situation on the road.” Color us surprised.

From the teaser you can see Goodwin push the upcoming McLaren supercar to its limits, sliding like a professional drifter. What’s interesting is how Goodwin describes why drifting is important.

“We have a mid-engine car with a super-stiff carbon fiber chassis. The lightweight development of our MonoCage II, allows the suspension to accurately do its thing, and the control, and the development of the tires are all key in being able to drive the car to and over the limit, creating those nice perfect sustained drifts and not going under and over the limit too much.”

Drifting, it seems, is super important when it comes to supercar development, at least to McLaren. Into the braking zones, we’re also seeing for the first time the 650S replacement’s active rear wing. Like the last generation 650S and 675LT, the new Super Series will have an active rear wing that works in conjunction with the car’s brakes and aerodynamics to improve performance.

The upcoming second generation Super Series is set to debut next month at the Geneva Motor Show, and will feature a brand new 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 that develops around 700 horsepower. The new Super Series also uses a new carbon fiber chassis called the MonoCage II and is loosely based off the hybrid hypercar P1’s chassis.

The new car will hit 124 mph in just 7.8 seconds and blitz the quarter mile in just 10.3 seconds. As we’ve stated before, that’s just barely slower than McLaren’s hybrid hypercar, the P1, which passes the quarter mile lights in 9.8 seconds. Not much beyond these few performance statistics is known about the car, but given that Geneva is just around the corner, we won’t have to wait long before all its details are revealed.

Next Generation Super Series McLaren Next Generation Super Series McLaren Drift Next Generation Super Series McLaren Wing Next Generation Super Series McLaren Rear

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2018 Audi S4 Hits 60 MPH in 4.4 Seconds, Starts at $51,875 http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2018-audi-s4-hits-60-mph-4-4-seconds-starts-51875/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2018-audi-s4-hits-60-mph-4-4-seconds-starts-51875/#respond Wed, 22 Feb 2017 16:37:51 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1115366 What do 21 hp and 44 lb-ft and a switch from supercharging to turbocharging get you? Well, in the case of the 2018 Audi S4, the exact same 0-60 mph time as the outgoing model. Audi announced today that the 2018 S4 needs 4.4 second to hit 60 mph, which is equivalent to the time...

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What do 21 hp and 44 lb-ft and a switch from supercharging to turbocharging get you? Well, in the case of the 2018 Audi S4, the exact same 0-60 mph time as the outgoing model.

Audi announced today that the 2018 S4 needs 4.4 second to hit 60 mph, which is equivalent to the time posted by a 2013 S4 in a Motor Trend test. Given the fairly minor changes in output, the lack of a significant change in performance is not surprising.

We first saw the latest S4, which is powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 good for 354 hp and 368 lb-ft of torque (the latter of which is available from just 1,370 rpm all the way to 4,500 rpm), at the 2015 Frankfurt auto show, but Audi made the U.S. market wait until this spring to receive the all-new sports sedan.

Transferring that power to all four of the S4’s wheels via Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive is a standard eight-speed automatic transmission, with neither a manual nor a dual-clutch automatic on offer. We’ve known this was the case since the car’s debut and the absence of a manual is not at all surprising, but depending on the eight-speed’s performance, Audi’s choice of transmission could be a point of contention over the car’s entire lifecycle.

When it arrives in dealer showrooms in the next few months, the 2018 S4 will carry a price tag of at least $51,875, including a $975 destination fee. Because someone at Audi appears to have a curious sense of humor, the base trim is dubbed “Premium Plus” while the upgraded version, which starts at $56,775, carries the more-appropriate moniker “Prestige.”

2017 audi s4 rear three quarters in motion

2017 audi s4 front end 2017 audi s4 front three quarters 2017 audi s4 front three quarters 02 2017 audi s4 front three quarters in motion 03 2017 audi s4 front three quarters in motion 2017 audi s4 profile 2017 audi s4 profile in motion 2017 audi s4 rear end 2017 audi s4 rear three quarters 2017 audi s4 rear three quarters 02 2017 audi s4 rear three quarters in motion 02 2017 audi s4 front interior 2017 audi s4 front interior 02 2017 audi s4 front seats 2017 Audi S4 live front three quarter 2017 Audi S4 live rear1 2017 Audi S4 live exhausts1 2017 Audi S4 live wheel1 2017 Audi S4 live interior1

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Range Rover Velar Teased Ahead of Debut http://www.automobilemag.com/news/range-rover-velar-teased-ahead-of-debut/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/range-rover-velar-teased-ahead-of-debut/#respond Wed, 22 Feb 2017 15:35:46 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1115220 This just in from our friends in Mahwah, New Jersey: Land Rover is introducing an all-new model called the Range Rover Velar. UPDATE: “The Velar is not an EV,” says Land Rover. The new Range Rover fits between Evoque and Sport models. Its world premiere will be held on on March 1 ahead of its...

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This just in from our friends in Mahwah, New Jersey: Land Rover is introducing an all-new model called the Range Rover Velar.

UPDATE:The Velar is not an EV,” says Land Rover.

The new Range Rover fits between Evoque and Sport models. Its world premiere will be held on on March 1 ahead of its U.S. debut at the 2017 New York auto show, which will presumably follow an appearance at the 2017 Geneva auto show.

From the teaser photo, the Velar looks like a slightly larger Evoque with a slanted rear roof deck and a massive moonroof like a Tesla.

Inside, we can also catch a glimpse of the sparse interior and a giant touch screen with green, red and gray power bars, which leads us to believe it is probably an EV.

“Elegant simplicity, a visually reductive approach and all-new consumer technologies are the hallmarks of the new Range Rover Velar,” the press release coos.

“Refined for every occasion and for various terrains, the Range Rover Velar uses unique sustainable materials and advanced engineering to continue Land Rover’s drive to go Above and Beyond.”

Yep, “sustainable materials,” “above and beyond” can only mean one thing — Tesla fighter! But is it a hybrid, a plug-in, or is the Velar all-electric? Perhaps it is all three or none of the above. A request for comment was not returned at this time.

Range Rover Velar Lineup

Side by side comparisons show that it is shorter than the Range Rover Sport. Around back, it features two LED taillights that wrap horizontally around its sculpted rear and huge wheel wells.

“We call the Velar the avant-garde Range Rover. It brings a new dimension of glamour, modernity and elegance to the brand. The Range Rover Velar changes everything,” Gerry McGovern, Land Rover chief design officer, announced in a statement.

The name Velar comes from the original 1969 Range Rover prototypes and is pronounced “vel-ar,” not “ve-lar” or “v-el-ar” we are informed.

“When development engineers needed to hide the true identity of the 26 pre-production Range Rover vehicles, they chose the name Velar, derived from the Latin ‘velare’ meaning to veil or cover,” says RR.

Stay tuned as more electrifying details of the Range Rover Velar as they emerge next month.

Range Rover Velar Family Tree 2018 Range Rover Velar Range Rover Velar Lineup

Range Rover Velar Family Tree 1

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By Design: 2018 Lexus LS http://www.automobilemag.com/news/by-design-2018-lexus-ls/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/by-design-2018-lexus-ls/#respond Wed, 22 Feb 2017 14:55:59 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1110383 Some six decades ago Chrysler unleashed a batch of dramatically different 1957 models that made its General Motors and Ford rivals seem shockingly old and tired. An advertising tagline for its volume seller, Plymouth, summed up the situation nicely, suggesting Chrysler was three years ahead of the industry: Suddenly, it’s 1960! I’m reminded of that...

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Some six decades ago Chrysler unleashed a batch of dramatically different 1957 models that made its General Motors and Ford rivals seem shockingly old and tired. An advertising tagline for its volume seller, Plymouth, summed up the situation nicely, suggesting Chrysler was three years ahead of the industry: Suddenly, it’s 1960!

I’m reminded of that history because on first sight of the 2018 Lexus LS, I immediately thought, “Suddenly, it’s 1957!” At first glance this big, powerful modern car reminded me of a 1957 Buick Roadmaster. Not because of any specific details, obviously. But both cars are strongly assertive, their grilles complex assemblages of an enormous number of discrete pieces, far bigger than necessary for cooling the mechanisms behind them but impressive in their massive presence. And, of course, another 1957 touchstone came to mind instantly: “Zorro,” the Disney TV show. When you stand to the left of the LS, it’s impossible not to see that mark of Zorro Z-slash in the headlamp cluster. It is superposed on the fat-bellied front fender form, conjuring images of bumbling Sgt. Garcia’s sword-mutilated uniform after another humiliating encounter with the masked Hidalgo.

If both cars look very heavy, I believe it is by intention. For the LS 500, the imagined weight was artfully achieved by design, as it was in the Roadmaster. There’s little question today: Lexus builds the world’s highest quality mass-produced cars, infinitely more reliable electronically than Germany’s finest, just as it’s evident Lexus makes near-perfect traditional American cars — smooth boulevard cruisers never remotely intended for the Nürburgring or DTM racing. This LS is not particularly sleek or aerodynamic—not with those huge, high-drag holes up front — but it does look substantial and more at home on streets in the fancier parts of town than a sublimated race car that’s clearly out of place.

Toyota did a fabulous end run around midrange American cars when it introduced the Avalon, a totally bland, bench-seat, anonymous-looking sedan the U.S. market accepted quickly and that helped kill off midrange domestic brands Mercury, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, and Plymouth. It seems Lexus pulled off something similar with this car, perfectly suited to our market.

The thick-pillared, nearly flat-sided body seems to press down heavily onto a perfectly flat base plane. There’s a strong horizontal theme to the LS, emphasized by the hard chrome edges at the bottom of the front end, carried back along the sills by a straight chrome trim piece. A hard horizontal line just below the side glass parallel to that base carries back over the taillights, in conflict with the side window profile, itself inflected at two points for no apparent reason. I see this design as an esthetic mess, but it’s a carefully executed purposeful mess that achieves almost exactly what I suspect was desired. So despite my misgivings about its beauty (or, rather, its lack thereof), I predict this car will sell well and satisfy its owners.

By Design 2018 Lexus LS rear three quarter

1. This sharp line parallel to the ground above the thick, fat-bottomed bumper emphasizes width and makes the car seem bigger and heavier than it actually is.

2. This chrome bar and those underlining the taillights again stress the horizontal theme of the entire body.

3. The rear fender is cut away to allow the lamp to be visible from the sides and results in a surface point emphasizing length, allowing the outer surface to be farther outboard.

4. A continuation of the hard horizontal line below the side glass around the rear corner again stresses horizontality.

5. Two inexplicable bends in the window chrome leave a nearly straight section of chrome above the rear door handles.

6. This dead-straight kink in the body side has two obvious points of origin, front and rear, and fades away in the sheet metal bulge over the rear wheel opening.

7. The front fender bulge looks almost spherical from this angle. It is quite fat however you regard it.

8. This upward-facing section in the doors is deliberate, created by a hard rising bottom line running into the rear wheelhouse, with the upper part a soft radius into the doors.

9. This is a nicely sculpted piece, perfectly straight top and bottom but curved at its peak width.

10. Note the sill surfaces tip a bit outward toward the wheel opening.

11. Also subtly sculpted, this trim piece continues the horizontal line very low on the body.

12. The kink in the plastic bumper shroud is unrelated to anything but the chrome strip below.

13. Casting, rather than cheaply extruding constant sections, has been a feature of Lexus LS models for decades. It subliminally projects quality.

By Design 2018 Lexus LS front three quarter

14. The upper corners of the spindle-shaped grille frame are razor-sharp points.

15. The headlamp assembly on the left has the classic mark of Zorro embedded. On the other side it’s backward. A sign of dyslexia on the part of the swordsman?

16. The hood cut line is really interesting as a decorative element, rising and falling as it moves to the rear.

17. It’s easy to see here that the A-pillar blocks a lot of vision for the driver.

18. There is a break in the transverse roofline where the massive structure surrounding the doors intersects with the lower, flatter roof panel.

19. Door handles are too big visually but just right in the hand. Relief behind them is too close to the hard line above, in the interest of having a convenient height for a standing person.

20. The corner grilles are simpler, with the horizontal theme emphasized.

21. A complementary trim piece, horizontal and pointed on the inner ends.

22. Lower corners of the grille frame have substantial depth, are slightly radiused at the forward point and greatly softened as the frame recedes to allow the texture to be more vertical.

23. A whole lot of texture-weaving in this massive grille. On the whole I like the ’57 Roadmaster’s equally overdone grille better. But both are too much for any decade.

By Design 2018 Lexus LS interior

24. Lines swirling down and forward from the windowsill are a surprisingly fanciful idea for what is, for the most part, a very staid automobile.

25. The exterior’s horizontal theme brought inside, the armrest form not unlike the taillights’ pointing form.

26. Pretty standard look for steering wheels these days: lots of leather, lots of buttons, not much style, elegance, or innovation.

27. These rotating knobs up high on the glare shield are quite practical and convenient, if a bit obtrusive.

28. An analog clock, a really nice thing to have in a car. Digital time pieces cost a lot less, but there’s little joy in looking at them.

29. Parallel lines bound by stitching near the driver’s door suggest a lot of hand work. I suspect that’s not true.

30. The half-dozen trim lines again, this time diverging in the center, converging to the end spacing.

2018 Lexus LS 500 front three quarter 2018 Lexus LS 500 rear three quarter 03 2018 Lexus LS 500 front three quarter 03 2018 Lexus LS 500 rear three quarter 2018 Lexus LS 500 touch pad 2018 Lexus LS 500 steering wheel 2018 Lexus LS 500 rear monitors 2018 Lexus LS 500 push start 02 2018 Lexus LS 500 interior 2018 Lexus LS 500 push start 2018 Lexus LS 500 rear interior seats 2018 Lexus LS 500 touch pad 02 2018 Lexus LS 500 front interior seats 02 2018 Lexus LS 500 rear center console controls 2018 Lexus LS 500 front interior seats 2018 Lexus LS 500 interior door panel 2018 Lexus LS 500 interior dashboard details 2018 Lexus LS 500 interior view 2018 Lexus LS 500 gear knob 2018 Lexus LS 500 cockpit 2018 Lexus LS 500 center console touch pad 2018 Lexus LS 500 rear end 2018 Lexus LS 500 front three quarter 02 2018 Lexus LS 500 front end 2018 Lexus LS 500 badge 2018 Lexus LS 500 air vents 2018 Lexus LS 500 center stack screen 2018 Lexus LS 500 front end in motion 2018 Lexus LS 500 front three quarter 1 2018 Lexus LS 500 headlamp 2018 Lexus LS 500 interior 1 2018 Lexus LS 500 side profile 2018 Lexus LS 500 front end 1 2018 Lexus LS 500 front side 2018 Lexus LS 500 front three quarter 2 2018 Lexus LS 500 grille 2018 Lexus LS 500 headlamp 1 2018 Lexus LS 500 interior door panel 1 2018 Lexus LS 500 interior view 1 2018 Lexus LS 500 interior 2 2018 Lexus LS 500 side 2018 Lexus LS 500 rear three quarter 1 2018 Lexus LS 500 wheels 2018 Lexus LS 500 tailpipe 2018 Lexus LS 500 rear taillight 2018 Lexus LS 500 rear interior view 2018 Lexus LS 500 rear badge

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Four Seasons 2016 Nissan Maxima SR Update 5: Cross Country Journey http://www.automobilemag.com/news/four-seasons-2016-nissan-maxima-sr-update-5-cross-country-journey/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/four-seasons-2016-nissan-maxima-sr-update-5-cross-country-journey/#respond Wed, 22 Feb 2017 14:54:08 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1112196 Cross-country road trips have a tendency to get monotonous. Freeways, fast food, and hotels make the trip easy on paper, but also predictable. When I was tasked with guiding our Four Seasons 2016 Nissan Maxima SR to our Los Angeles HQ, I did things a little differently. My then-girlfriend (now fiancée) Ellie joined me for...

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Cross-country road trips have a tendency to get monotonous. Freeways, fast food, and hotels make the trip easy on paper, but also predictable. When I was tasked with guiding our Four Seasons 2016 Nissan Maxima SR to our Los Angeles HQ, I did things a little differently. My then-girlfriend (now fiancée) Ellie joined me for the trip and we challenged ourselves to find unique places for us to stay during our westward drive.

We only have a small cooler, but we’re able to plan and pack our own meals for each day of the journey along with basic utensils. Not only is it easy to pile everything into the Maxima’s wide trunk opening, there’s more than enough room for all of our junk in the 14.3-cu-ft cargo space. The storage area is both tall and deep, and there was no need to fold down the rear seats.

The long and straight stretches of freeway on the way out of Illinois offer views of nothing but acres of corn in all directions, causing the mind to wander. This is where the Maxima is at its finest. The little knobs in front of the center console make it easy to switch between heated and cooled seats as conditions dictate, the 11-speaker Bose stereo makes our book-on-tape narrator feel like he’s in the car with us, and the adaptive cruise control system lets us loosen our grip and relax our legs as the big Nissan eats mile after mile.

Ellie uses the nav system to find a cornfield-free place to pull off and make lunch. The screen’s graphics are a little fuzzy and the control dial is slightly clunky to use, but it’s not long before we locate a picnic site at a boat launch alongside the Mississippi River. Definitely beats fluorescent lights and plastic booths at Subway.

Sandwiches consumed, we cross the river and make our way into Nebraska, where the Maxima’s navigation takes us off the interstate and down smaller and smaller roads deep into the country as we head toward tonight’s stop, the Slattery Vintage Estates.

2016 Nissan Maxima SR Four Seasons Cross Country 45

We follow handcrafted wooden signs around the side of a house to check in. Our host, Barbara, welcomes us and introduces us to the other guests before we locate our tent for the evening and settle in with a bucket of beer. The approach of a distant chill and the rumbling of thunder interrupts our second round of brew and board games, causing us to contemplate seeking shelter in the Maxima’s soft leather back seat. Fortunately, come 2:30 in the morning, the storm is no longer directly above us the wind persists, though, and our tent is illuminated by lightning streaking across the sky.

2016 Nissan Maxima SR Four Seasons Cross Country 46 2016 Nissan Maxima SR Four Seasons Cross Country 07 2016 Nissan Maxima SR Four Seasons Cross Country 74 2016 Nissan Maxima SR Four Seasons Cross Country 08

We awake the next morning and trek across the wet grass to retrieve the Maxima and resume our journey. The corn eventually gives way to rolling grassland and by the time we reach Lyons, Colorado, we can start to actually use the Maxima’s fat, flat-bottomed steering wheel in earnest. On the edge of town, we turn off onto a winding dirt road, spotting our own private little treehouse perched atop a small hill.

Our host, Leam, excitedly comes down to greet us. He built this wonderful little house in the tree himself and gives us the brief history behind it while showing off its intricacies. From the outdoor heated shower that also waters the tree house built on to the fold out Murphy bed and lofted reading space, no detail was overlooked. Before settling in for the night, we decide to head back to Oskar Blues Brewery in town to stock up on some beer for the next few evenings. As the sun begins to set, we return to a quiet evening in the tree, the orange light bathing the Maxima’s pearl blue paint in a rich glow.

2016 Nissan Maxima SR Four Seasons Cross Country 11

We awake the following morning well rested and ready for another long day on the road gassing up once more for yet another 400-mile stretch. Being the proud holder of an annual National Park Pass, I make my best effort to put it to use and take a detour to Rocky Mountain National Park, which is just 20 minutes outside Lyons. With its sporty SR-specific suspension and aggressive all-season tires, the Maxima is hunkered down through the road’s flowing bends. We stick to route 34, which winds its way through the park and leaves us in awe as we look out of the broad windshield at gorgeous 12,000-foot peaks.

California is still many hours away, but that’s just enough time for me to reflect back on what’s been a memorable trip. With its brave looks and sporty ambitions Maxima SR isn’t the conventional choice for most, but that seems fitting for how this trip has gone. I’ll take style, fun, and comfort over the straight and narrow any day.

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Our 2016 Nissan Maxima SR

MILES TO DATE 19,349
PRICE $38,750
ENGINE 3.5L DOHC 24-valve V-6/300 hp @ 6,400 rpm, 261 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm
TRANSMISSION Continuously variable
LAYOUT 4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, FWD sedan
EPA MILEAGE 22/30 mpg (city/hwy)
L x W x H 192.8 x 73.2 x 56.5 in
WHEELBASE 109.3 in
WEIGHT 3,564 lb
0-60 MPH 6.0 sec
TOP SPEED 135 mph

 

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Dream Theater: Ripping Through Iceland in a Porsche 964 Carrera 4 http://www.automobilemag.com/news/dream-theater-ripping-iceland-porsche-964-carrera-4/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/dream-theater-ripping-iceland-porsche-964-carrera-4/#respond Wed, 22 Feb 2017 02:11:25 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1113145 For this week’s episode of Petrolicious, the team returns to Iceland, profiling an Icelandic pilot and his gorgeous Porsche 964 Carrera 4. Throughout the short film, Icelandair pilot Peter Lentz discusses his love for Porsche as we rip through the expansive Icelandic countryside. Despite owning a relatively fast German sports coupe, Lentz admits he isn’t...

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For this week’s episode of Petrolicious, the team returns to Iceland, profiling an Icelandic pilot and his gorgeous Porsche 964 Carrera 4. Throughout the short film, Icelandair pilot Peter Lentz discusses his love for Porsche as we rip through the expansive Icelandic countryside.

Despite owning a relatively fast German sports coupe, Lentz admits he isn’t too keen on driving fast anymore. “I’m not especially keen on driving fast anymore. I used to when I was younger, but not anymore. I like flying fast, especially if you level off on top of the clouds,” he says. “When you cruise along at 860, or 880, almost 900 kilometers an hour, you have an immense sense of acceleration and speed. So, I get my kicks for speed up there because on the roads it’s not so sensible.”

As you might imagine, there aren’t too many cars for sale in Iceland, let alone Porsches. Cutting through the countryside, the 964 seems completely in its element.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Iceland through the lens of Petrolicious — last year, we explored another Icelandic pilot’s obsession with two German V-8s.

Check out Lentz’s wonderful Porsche 964 Carrera 4 in the video below.

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