Automobile Magazine http://www.automobilemag.com No Boring Cars! | Reviews, Auto Shows, Lifestyle Thu, 21 Sep 2017 14:19:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 2019 Volvo XC40 Crashes Milan’s Fashion Week http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2018-volvo-xc40-crashes-milans-fashion-week/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2018-volvo-xc40-crashes-milans-fashion-week/#respond Thu, 21 Sep 2017 09:30:19 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1192317 MILAN, Italy — Style has long been a key component of the automotive world, from the perspective of both industry and customer, but the connection to the world of haute couture has tended to be a tenuous one for most automakers. As such, Volvo’s decision to debut its new XC40 compact crossover during Milan’s Fashion...

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MILAN, Italy — Style has long been a key component of the automotive world, from the perspective of both industry and customer, but the connection to the world of haute couture has tended to be a tenuous one for most automakers. As such, Volvo’s decision to debut its new XC40 compact crossover during Milan’s Fashion Week initially raised an eyebrow, especially given the automaker’s Swedish roots. However, given the work currently performed by Volvo’s designers, it’s not a bad time or place for the surging Swede to drop its newest hotness.

“Similar but different” is how I’d sum up the design of the new 2019 Volvo XC40 and its connection to stablemates like the XC90 and our 2016 Design of the Year, the S90. For the XC40, Volvo’s designers combined the stately sophistication of its larger offerings with a youthful, modern spark characterized by a black or white contrasting roof. Think chic Stockholm apartment rather than upscale suburban home.

Up front, the XC40 boasts a new recessed variant of the corporate grille. From the side, especially in red, it resembles a Mazda CX-5. And in the back, the plate recess moves below the tailgate, giving it a more cohesive shape. Anchoring the XC40’s design is a bit of plastic cladding at the bottom of the sheetmetal, which gives the small SUV a rugged touch not unlike the one received by the V90 Cross Country.

In all, it’s an attractive vehicle, especially with the contrasting roof in place. You won’t have to go all the way to the top of the line to get it, either, as it’ll come standard on the Momentum (white) and R-Design (black) trims that will be available at launch; in fact, you’ll need to skip the range-topping Inscription trim when it arrives as it will come exclusively with a body-color roof.

The XC40 is built on Volvo’s new Compact Modular Architecture (CMA), the first production vehicle to use it. It’s 106.3-inch wheelbase is almost identical to that of the aforementioned CX-5, but its 174.2-inch overall length gives up almost a full five inches while it’s 73.3-inch width and 65.1-inch height are standard-issue for the compact crossover segment.

That “similar but different” theme carries over into the XC40’s cabin, where you’ll find Volvo’s 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and 9.0-inch infotainment screen. The “different” part comes into play with details like the speakers, which have been moved from the door panels to the dash to make room for additional storage space, even on cars fitted with the optional 13-speaker Harman/Kardon system. There’s also a large center console that features a clever removable waste bin.

Two powertrain configurations will be offered at launch for both trims—the front-drive T4 and all-wheel-drive T5. In the XC60 T5, the 2.0-liter turbo-four is good for 250 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, so expect the T4’s output to come in around 200 for both. An EV will be launched later, likely in calendar year 2019. A hybrid is planned as well.

The 2019 Volvo XC40 Momentum will come rolling on 19-inch wheels, while the XC40 R-Design will be riding on 20s, with the option of 21s. Pricing starts at $33,200 for a Momentum T4 and $35,200 for a Momentum T5.

Volvo’s Ghent, Belgium plant will build the XC40 for worldwide consumption. While production begins in November, with the XC40 T5 set for showroom arrival in early 2018 and the T4 due in the summer, you can order one today.

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One Week With: 2017 Porsche Panamera 4S http://www.automobilemag.com/news/one-week-with-2017-porsche-panamera-4s/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/one-week-with-2017-porsche-panamera-4s/#respond Thu, 21 Sep 2017 04:01:01 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1191319 It was a look of pure envy. The French-cuffed driver of a last-generation Porsche Panamera 4S pulled up next to me, giving me the old up-and-down from the adjacent freeway lane. He grinded his teeth. Foot to the floor, he sped off. As I caught an eyeful of his car’s bulbous rump, I understood what...

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It was a look of pure envy. The French-cuffed driver of a last-generation Porsche Panamera 4S pulled up next to me, giving me the old up-and-down from the adjacent freeway lane. He grinded his teeth. Foot to the floor, he sped off. As I caught an eyeful of his car’s bulbous rump, I understood what the fuss was all about. The 2017 Panamera 4S I was driving ruined his day. When people turn their heads at the barge-ish Panamera nowadays, it’s with wide eyes instead of a gag reflex.

Yes, the Panamera is no longer the obese black sheep of the otherwise athletic Porsche family. Without making the car any smaller (the wheelbase is about 1.2 inches longer), Porsche made the new luxury sedan look much more cohesive. Though the roof profile and rear end have been completely overhauled, it’s still totally recognizable, owing to a very similar front end. The roofline is noticeably sharper, and some may even see a little 911 in the Panamera’s cab-backward proportions. Also borrowed from the 911 is a horizontal LED light bar for the more sharply defined rear bumper, complete with fresh Porsche badging we’ve seen on the new 718 Cayman and Boxster.

Given all that’s gone into the Panamera’s new silhouette, it’s a relief that the effect is still befitting of a classy full-size luxury sedan. It’s refined and not overly exuberant, especially in my tester’s dark blue metallic paint and 20-inch five-spoke Turbo wheels.

The interior, as well, has benefited from a fresh perspective. Dominating the center of the dashboard is a seriously sleek 12.3-inch touchscreen display, which flows subtly down into a haptic-reactive control panel between the front seats. Not only is the screen crystal clear, it’s easy to control and intuitive to master. (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto can be had for those who prefer to simply mirror their phones.) Shy of collecting oily thumbprints, there’s little to nitpick about with the haptic center console, which is as precise and responsive as it is a massive improvement compared to the last Panamera’s jumbled button-fest. As always, Porsche nails the details, down to the distinctive key-shaped ignition switch and perfectly shaped steering wheel. Even in its behemoth sedan, Porsche makes sure a driver feels right at home.

Porsche’s rear seats are more comfortable than anything I’ve got at home, too. As is essential in a big luxury road-yacht, the Panamera’s rear passengers are treated to a relaxing, slightly reclined seating position and gorgeous leather. A similar haptic console setup with a dedicated monitor make controls from the rear a cinch, although the electronic center air vent controls both up front and in back are overly complicated—simple analog would have done fine here without taking away from the ultra-modern feel.

On to the red meat. Under the hood is Porsche’s new 2.9-liter twin-turbo V-6, which is both more powerful, more torque-rich, and more efficient than the 3.0-liter engine it replaces. Now making 440 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque (increases of 20 hp and 22 lb-ft, respectively), the engine is refreshingly responsive and smooth, even under heavy loads and at high rpm. It seems to just pull and pull all the way to redline, where the engine makes a confident snarl. The engine is very polished in concert with Porsche’s eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, which helps the 4S dig out a healthy 4.0-second sprint from 0-60 mph with the optional Sport Chrono package, on its way to a top speed of 179 mph.

I most enjoyed the engine’s flexible and versatile performance. Select your drive mode using the 918-derived steering-wheel dial, offering up Normal, Sport, Sport+, or Individual modes. Normal is far from a bore, and shy of a somewhat delayed throttle response, is the wisest choice for daily driving. Should the need to suddenly pass a slow-moving Ford Transit Connect arise, simply press into the drive-mode selector on the steering wheel for 20 seconds of faster throttle and steering response, eliminating the need to be constantly switching between modes.

With the $6,930 Sport package, alongside rear-axle steering, Sport Chrono, and a Sport exhaust, comes an adaptive air suspension with three chambers at each wheel. Fewer chambers with air means a stiffer suspension, varying between Normal, Sport, and Sport+. Even in Normal, though, the Panamera feels totally planted, and in the very rigid Sport+, the ride is neither harsh nor jarring over terrible metro Detroit roads. Brakes are extremely quick to react to inputs, which is fantastic at speed, but somewhat hyperactive and touchy in the parking lot.

This is far and away the best Panamera yet, and its faults are few. It tops the BMW 7 Series in just about every way I can think of, and while not quite as supple and lovely to bask in as the S-Class, Porsche’s driver-focused approach and sporty chassis tune put it in its own category entirely. $133,185 is a lot of scratch, no doubt, but I can’t say my week with the Panamera 4S made me feel like this ugly duckling made pretty is anything but worth every penny.

2017 Porsche Panamera 4S Specifications

ON SALE Now
PRICE $100,950/$133,185 (base/as-tested)
ENGINE 2.9L twin-turbocharged DOHC 24-valve V-6/440 hp @ 6,600 rpm, 406 lb-ft @ 1,750
TRANSMISSION 8-speed dual-clutch automatic
LAYOUT 4-door, 4-passenger, front-engine, AWD hatchback
EPA MILEAGE 21/28 mpg (city/hwy)
L x W x H 198.8 x 76.3 x 56.0 in
WHEELBASE 116.1 in
WEIGHT 4,123 lb
0-60 MPH 4.0 sec (with Sport Chrono, 4.2 sec without)
TOP SPEED 179 mph

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Future Dodge Chargers and Challengers May Ride on Maserati Ghibli’s Platform http://www.automobilemag.com/news/future-dodge-chargers-challengers-may-based-maseratis/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/future-dodge-chargers-challengers-may-based-maseratis/#respond Thu, 21 Sep 2017 00:12:31 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1192159 It’s been more than a decade since Dodge brought back the Charger, and in that time, it’s received several major updates but no complete redesign. The story’s been the same with the Challenger, too: continual updates but no all-new car since its introduction. For a while, we’d heard both the Charger and the Challenger would...

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It’s been more than a decade since Dodge brought back the Charger, and in that time, it’s received several major updates but no complete redesign. The story’s been the same with the Challenger, too: continual updates but no all-new car since its introduction. For a while, we’d heard both the Charger and the Challenger would eventually be moved to the Giorgio platform that underpins the Alfa Romeo Giulia. But according to the latest rumor, that plan has changed.

Automotive News reports that the Charger and Challenger will get one more refresh for 2019 before being completely redesigned for 2021. That redesign will reportedly focus on reducing weight and improving fuel economy. But when they do get redesigned, they’ll supposedly ride on the Maserati Ghibli’s platform, not the Alfa Romeo Giulia’s. We reached out to Fiat Chrysler for confirmation, but FCA’s spokesman said he couldn’t comment, calling AN’s piece “pure speculation.” Then again, he didn’t deny the rumor, either.

If you think about it, the change of plans makes sense. The Ghibli’s platform underpins the larger Quattroporte, which has a wheelbase much closer to the Charger’s. Compared to the Charger, the Giulia has a wheelbase that’s about 10 inches shorter. It could presumably be stretched, but starting with the Maserati platform sounds like it would be simpler.

Interestingly, that report also suggests that the next-generation Dodge Journey will migrate to the Giorgio platform, becoming a two-row, rear-wheel-drive performance crossover instead of a three-row, front-wheel-drive minivan alternative. Considering how impressed we were with the Giorgio-based Alfa Romeo Stelvio‘s handling, the idea of a less expensive, Dodge-badged version sounds like a great idea to us. We’ll believe it when we see it, though.

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Lamborghini Introduces Huracan Super Trofeo EVO http://www.automobilemag.com/news/lamborghini-refreshes-huracan-super-trofeo/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/lamborghini-refreshes-huracan-super-trofeo/#respond Wed, 20 Sep 2017 20:49:36 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1192133 Sant’Agata is back with a revised Super Trofeo Huracan called the EVO and its nickname should be Vlad the Impaler as it looks like it’s going to put your head on a spike. Based on the previous Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo, the EVO designation comes from a heavily revised aerodynamic kit, as well as improved...

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Sant’Agata is back with a revised Super Trofeo Huracan called the EVO and its nickname should be Vlad the Impaler as it looks like it’s going to put your head on a spike.

Based on the previous Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo, the EVO designation comes from a heavily revised aerodynamic kit, as well as improved safety standards.

The new body kit was co-developed with Dallara Engineering, the company that builds IndyCar chassis’, LMP2 chassis’ for Le Mans, DPi chassis’ for IMSA, KTM’s X-Bow, Alfa Romeo’s 4C, and the chassis for the Bugatti Chiron.

According to Lamborghini, the revised aerodynamic kit comes after the Italian marque was looking to maintain the Super Trofeo’s high-downforce, but “achieve higher overall aerodynamic efficiency and so less resistance to forward travel with improved stability.”

And judging from the Huracan Super Trofeo EVO’s appearance, it looks like Lamborghini has achieved those goals.

The race-spec supercar is still powered by the same naturally aspirated V-10 engine, generating 620 horsepower, but now develops 3-percent more torque at top speed than the previous generation Super Trofeo. The engine is coupled to a six gear sequential gearbox made by X-Trac and sends power to the rear wheels alone.

The new Huracan Super Trofeo EVO costs $295,000 here in the U.S. and will make its official track debut in the spring of 2018.

Customers who already run Huracan Super Trofeos won’t be left out though, as Lamborghini will offer the revised kit and upgrades as a separate package, although Lamborghini didn’t specify how much the update would cost.

Speaking to Sportscar365, Lamborghini’s head of motorsport Giorgio Sanna, stated, “Our customers are the main reason we continue in our pursuit of excellence and ongoing improvement. But with the EVO, we wanted to give our customers an even more thrilling experience at the wheel with superior performance and stability.”

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Six Unusual Finds from the 2017 California Citroën Club Gathering http://www.automobilemag.com/news/six-unusual-finds-2017-california-citroen-club-gathering/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/six-unusual-finds-2017-california-citroen-club-gathering/#respond Wed, 20 Sep 2017 20:00:53 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1191317 Some car clubs meet where there are donuts and coffee. Others find an excuse to get together near swap meets where they can forage for old parts. Leave it to the tres Francais Citroën club to not just meet, but rendezvous, in Atascadero, California, where there is no shortage of the French national pastime: wine....

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Some car clubs meet where there are donuts and coffee. Others find an excuse to get together near swap meets where they can forage for old parts. Leave it to the tres Francais Citroën club to not just meet, but rendezvous, in Atascadero, California, where there is no shortage of the French national pastime: wine.

Founded in 1919, Citroën is a little over a year away from its centennial anniversary, so both Northern and Southern California chapters of the club decided to get the party started a little early for some pre-gaming.

Over 30 hot cars showed up this past sweltering weekend and we’ve picked out a few of our favorites but, sacre bleu, be forewarned, there are a couple of interlopers in the mix.

Sport Maserati—Nope, it’s not an Italian Car

Since we got a ride in this stunner, we know how well the hydro-pneumatic, self-leveling suspension still works in this. The smooth ride is one of the innovations borrowed from its older brother, the DS, which came to the market in 1957. And those channeled leather seats aren’t just for good looks. They’re part of the reason automotive journalists still gush about this model, noting that one could cruise all day at 120 mph in the lap of luxury.

This particular example, outfitted with a 178-hp 2.7-liter V-6 and a five-speed manual transmission, had a top speed in its day of 141 mph. Today, this baby doesn’t like to languish in traffic, but we don’t know anyone who does. Vive le speed.

The Goddess of Lemons

This D Spécial from 1972 is a base model of the DS that only makes about 92 or 93 hp. Originally bought as a parts car, the owners decided to run it in the LeMons Rally during their Monterey Car “Weeeeak” when the opportunity arose this past August. These guys had a month to get it running and road-worthy enough to cover the almost 2,000 miles from Monterey, California to Bend, Oregon, to Bremerton, Washington and back to Monterey in time for the 2017 Concours d’Lemons, which is where we first noticed it.

According to the owners, despite its horrifying looks, it drives great. Based on the condition of the interior, we’ll take their word for it instead of getting a ride. The hydraulics are still in operation, even with over 200,000 miles on it. If you’re interested in becoming an owner of a part of French history, it’s yours for the right price.

Au Naturale

No, it’s not a Citroën, but this Bugatti Type 44 gatecrasher definitely caught our attention at the soiree. The current owners acquired it from a former Bugatti Club president on the condition they not restore it for car shows but drive it “as is.” With only minimal interior updates that are period correct, this 1928 and its eight-cylinder engine are now driven regularly.

In its heyday, according to its owners, doctors and lawyers primarily used the Type 44 to conduct their business, but assured us that when you bury the throttle, it still “goes like stink”. Smells good to us!

CV2 Convertible?

This 1988 Hoffman CV2 Convertible is a kit car based on the 1962 Citroën CV2. Wolfgang Hoffman, at his factory in Hohenfurch, Germany manufactured only about 250 of the 1700 examples that exist. The rest were shipped out to customers in bits and parts to be assembled. It’s a steel-framed and fiberglass-bodied car, very few of which found their way to the United States, which probably explains why this is the first one we’ve seen.

At first glance, we assumed someone had chopped the top off a CV2 and were intrigued. We also thought, as a convertible, it’s a little reminiscent of the Volkswagen Thing, which we love. For a knock off, this German did a pretty good job of imitating the French real thing.

The Short Bus

At most car shows usually anything you see is for sale for the right price. This 1958 VW Bus that’s been shortened, is absolutely not. The owner, who is also the fabricator of this squishy cutie, claims his to be the first of its kind, though there are lots of copycats now. After putting together a long camper bus out of two buses at his VW wrecking yard, Frank Atkinson put the two left over pieces together and voila—Hello, shorty!

With a wheelbase shorter than a motorcycle, Atkinson made a lot of modifications to ensure stability. This bus was even used as a daily driver for a while, though a fellow auto journo claims one of these was the most dangerous thing he’s ever driven. Equipped with Porsche seats that face each other in the rear, this short stuff has seen over 40,000 long, fun miles.

British Invasion

While it initially has the appearance of a rare, much older car, the Citroen Traction Avant was a popular French model that remained virtually unchanged from when it began production in 1936 to when it ceased in 1957. This 1954 is a right-hand drive version built in Citroën’s factory in Slough, England, so this one is a bit rare.

After being driven by its original owner in South Africa and Botswana for 20 years, it ended up in a barn in Canada for 30 years before it was discovered in 2005. It was eventually restored in Toronto before coming to California. Of the nearly 700,000 Traction Avants built during its entire run, only about 16,000 of those were made in the Slough factory. This 1954 Light 15 model is one of less than 1,000 made. Jolly good find.

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Mitsubishi e-Evolution Concept to Debut at 2017 Tokyo Motor Show http://www.automobilemag.com/news/mitsubishi-e-evolution-concept-for-tokyo-is-a-new-kind-of-evo/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/mitsubishi-e-evolution-concept-for-tokyo-is-a-new-kind-of-evo/#respond Wed, 20 Sep 2017 19:34:37 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1192111 It’s been a long time since Mitsubishi introduced a new car that was legitimately fun to drive. Sure, the Lancer Evolution X was technically available new until midway through last year, but it hadn’t actually been new new since 2007. And let’s not even talk about how long it’s been since “VR-4” still meant something. But Mitsubishi...

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It’s been a long time since Mitsubishi introduced a new car that was legitimately fun to drive. Sure, the Lancer Evolution X was technically available new until midway through last year, but it hadn’t actually been new new since 2007. And let’s not even talk about how long it’s been since “VR-4” still meant something. But Mitsubishi seems to want to get a little of that mojo back, so it announced it will bring a new crossover concept to the Tokyo Motor Show.

That’s right. The car Mitsubishi says will help it return “to where it belongs to better embrace the future” is no Lancer Evo. It’s a coupe-like crossover SUV called the e-Evolution Concept. And if you believe the press release, its reveal will mark “a true milestone event in which the corporation will wave the flag under new circumstances to usher a new era of long-term growth and sustainable development.” So the e-Evolution is a pretty big deal, at least for Mitsubishi.

As you can see, the concept gets a low, sporty roofline with aggressively styled taillights and a broken C-pillar that makes the roof look like it’s floating. The rest of the release is light on details, but it does sound like there’s a lot of potential here. Mitsubishi says the e-Evolution combines an electric powertrain with a four-wheel-drive system and some sort of artificial intelligence technology. Regardless of your opinion on coupe-like CUVs, this concept’s drivetrain could end up being pretty cool.

And it’s not like the idea of a sporty Mitsubishi CUV is new. We’ve known for years that Mitsubishi was working on something tall and sporty, and at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, we got a look at the Eclipse Cross CUV that’s set to go on sale soon. But it looks like the e-Evolution will be something even sportier and more aggressively styled. Perhaps Nissan’s recent purchase of Mitsubishi has finally given the struggling Japanese automaker the cash it needs to build something legitimately fun.

Look for the Mitsubishi e-Evolution concept to make its debut toward the end of October at the Tokyo Motor Show.

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2018 Lexus RC Receives Minor Updates, 5-Horsepower Bump for V-6 http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2018-lexus-rc-receives-minor-updates-5-hp-bump-v-6/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2018-lexus-rc-receives-minor-updates-5-hp-bump-v-6/#respond Wed, 20 Sep 2017 18:57:57 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1192040 Lexus is giving its RC coupe subtle updates for 2018, revising the infotainment screen and endowing V-6 models with an additional 5 hp. If you had a problem with the way the RC looked before—too bad. The coupe’s polarizing exterior design soldiers on for 2018. V-6 models, including the RC 300 AWD, RC 350 RWD,...

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Lexus is giving its RC coupe subtle updates for 2018, revising the infotainment screen and endowing V-6 models with an additional 5 hp. If you had a problem with the way the RC looked before—too bad. The coupe’s polarizing exterior design soldiers on for 2018.

V-6 models, including the RC 300 AWD, RC 350 RWD, and RC 350 AWD, make 5 more horsepower than before. The 3.5-liter V-6 in the RC 300 now makes 241 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque and is still paired to a six-speed automatic transmission. The higher-output 3.5-liter now makes 311 hp and 277 lb-ft, and comes mated to an eight-speed automatic.

The turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine in the base RC still makes 241 hp and 258 lb-ft and gets the same eight-speed as the RC 350, but the trim level has been renamed from RC 200t to RC 300 RWD. It was marketed as the RC Turbo very briefly for the 2017 model year.

Lexus also adds two new driving modes for F Sport models, including Sport S+, which tunes the Adaptive Variable Suspension for optimal handling, and Custom, which lets the driver tinker with certain powertrain and suspension settings.

Opt for the available navigation system and you get a new, larger 10.3-inch screen. All RC models now receive Enform Safety Connect and Enform Service Connect free for 10 years. The former provides 24/7 emergency response in the event of an accident, while the latter sends you alerts when your RC is due for service and also notifies your preferred dealership (if you opt in).

Meanwhile, Enform Destination Assist and Wi-Fi have been made free for one year and Scout GPS Link now comes with a three-year trial period. The Lexus Safety System+ suite of advanced safety features, which includes Pre-Collision System (PCS), Lane Departure Alert (LDA) with Steering Assist, Intelligent High Beam (IHB), and High Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, has been made standard for 2018.

Lastly, Flare Yellow has been added as a new exterior color for F Sport models, joining the other exclusive hue, Rioja Red.

It’s not a full mid-cycle refresh, but assuming pricing stays relatively the same, the updates will give RC buyers slightly more bang for their buck.

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2018 Land Rover Discovery Tows 121-Ton Road Train Down Under http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2018-land-rover-discovery-tows-121-ton-road-train/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2018-land-rover-discovery-tows-121-ton-road-train/#respond Wed, 20 Sep 2017 17:43:01 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1192047 Don’t try this at home—it’ll probably void your truck’s warranty or you’ll end up in a “hold my beer” video on YouTube. A stock 2018 Land Rover Discovery HSE Td6 pulled a 121-ton road train for 9.9-miles in the Australian Outback to show off its towing badassery. The Discovery Td6 has a normal towing capacity...

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Don’t try this at home—it’ll probably void your truck’s warranty or you’ll end up in a “hold my beer” video on YouTube.

A stock 2018 Land Rover Discovery HSE Td6 pulled a 121-ton road train for 9.9-miles in the Australian Outback to show off its towing badassery.

The Discovery Td6 has a normal towing capacity of 7,716 pounds, but it still managed to tow a fully loaded road train thanks to its 3.0-liter turbocharged diesel V-6 engine with 254 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque. The engine is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission with four-wheel-drive.

“When Land Rover first got in touch, I didn’t think the vehicle would be able to do it, so I was amazed by how easily the standard Discovery pulled a [121-ton] road train. And the smoothness of the gear changes under that amount of load was genuinely impressive,”
said John Bilato, G&S Transport driver, in a statement.

If you recall, the original Discovery was used to pull a train back in 1989 for a similar stunt and last year a Discovery Sport towed a trio of rail carriages 85-feet above the Rhine River.

“Towing capability has always been an important part of Discovery DNA and the raw weight of the road train tells only half the story here,” said Quentin Spottiswoode, Land Rover product engineer.

“Pulling a rig and seven trailers, with the rolling resistance of so many axles to overcome, is a huge achievement. We expected the vehicle to do well but it passed this test with flying colors, hitting 27 mph along its 10-mile route.”

The Disco was hooked up to the road train using a factory-fitted optional tow bar attachment for its epic ride. Watch the impressive video here.

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McLaren Debuts Ultimate Vision Gran Turismo http://www.automobilemag.com/news/mclaren-debuts-ultimate-vision-gran-turismo/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/mclaren-debuts-ultimate-vision-gran-turismo/#respond Wed, 20 Sep 2017 17:13:38 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1192034 Over the last few years, automakers have partnered with Playstation’s Gran Turismo racing simulator to let their engineers loose to design something wildly extreme and not fit for public consumption. The latest in the long line of these psychotic machines comes from McLaren and is one of the wildest concepts ever to be featured in...

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Over the last few years, automakers have partnered with Playstation’s Gran Turismo racing simulator to let their engineers loose to design something wildly extreme and not fit for public consumption. The latest in the long line of these psychotic machines comes from McLaren and is one of the wildest concepts ever to be featured in Gran Turismo.

Similar to the recently revealed Mercedes-AMG Project One, and the Aston Martin Valkyrie, McLaren’s Ultimate Vision Gran Turismo car follows function over form, as every line, crease, canard, wing, and inlet have been designed to produce speed, downforce, and giving players the ultimate track car of their dreams.

“We wanted to break new ground and to innovate and the McLaren Ultimate Vision Gran Turismo does exactly that,” says recently promoted Rob Melville, McLaren design director.

Powering the purpose-built racecar is McLaren’s newest 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 engine that drives the rear wheels. The front wheels are powered by twin electric motors housed in the front wheel pods. Both combined for a total output of 1,134 horsepower and 941 lb-ft of torque. The torque, according to McLaren, is available instantly from launch thanks to the electric propulsion and all-wheel traction.

The Ultimate Vision Gran Turismo McLaren also features a chassis that weighs just 2205 pounds, which means it’s power to weight ratio is better than Koenigsegg’s ludicrous One:1 hypercar.

Additionally, McLaren gave the new concept an ultra-advanced active aerodynamic package called Integrated Active Aero, which works by “opening tiny aperture covers around air inlets on key surfaces during cornering to create drag and generate downforce, rather than moving the surfaces altogether.” And in-board carbon ceramic disc brakes help reduce unsprung mass.

However, the McLaren’s most futuristic detail is obviously its seating position.

“From the game player’s point of view, the driving experience in this car will be like nothing else: the amazing glass cockpit and the motorcycle-like driving position—with your head far forward, almost right above the front axle—combine to allow you to see exactly where the apex of the corner is so you can shave vital milliseconds off each lap,” says Melville.

“It puts the driver absolutely at the center of the action, delivering a sensory overload with incredible sound and awe-inspiring acceleration.”

As for the game’s creator and president of Polyphony Digital Inc, Kazunori Yamauchi, McLaren’s concept encompasses the very essence of why he devised this part of Gran Turismo.

“I created the Vision Gran Turismo project to give car manufacturers the opportunity to design something that has all of the characteristics of their brand, and will live on as a playable vehicle in Gran Turismo. Many of the cars have become legendary in their own right, continuing to shine for years and attracting players from different eras.”

The McLaren Ultimate Vision Gran Turismo concept will be available through Gran Turismo Sport on October 17. Who’s ready to race?

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Genesis Honcho Says Don’t Believe the Tech Hype http://www.automobilemag.com/news/genesis-boss-thinks-german-automakers-invest-stupid-tech/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/genesis-boss-thinks-german-automakers-invest-stupid-tech/#respond Wed, 20 Sep 2017 15:38:18 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=1191884 If you’re not sure features like gesture controls and perfume diffusers are really features at all, you may have an ally in Albert Biermann, Genesis’ head of performance and former head of BMW’s M division. Speaking to reporters at the launch of the new Genesis G70 sports sedan, Biermann took aim at his former employer...

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If you’re not sure features like gesture controls and perfume diffusers are really features at all, you may have an ally in Albert Biermann, Genesis’ head of performance and former head of BMW’s M division. Speaking to reporters at the launch of the new Genesis G70 sports sedan, Biermann took aim at his former employer and other German automakers, claiming they’re wasting money on technology that is only marginally useful.

Australia’s Drive reports that Biermann dismissed a lot of the new features in luxury cars, calling it “all marketing.” He then added, “Much of this exists for media, to give a hype, to show the technology level. But how many people really buy it later on? If the tech will fail, you’re just adding the burden to the buyer, right?”

According to Biermann, Genesis has decided to focus on simpler, more useful features that can be trusted to work for years to come. That’s partly because Hyundai chairman Chung Mong-koo wants the automaker’s cars to still drive like new after 10 years on the road. To achieve that goal, the cars undergo a lot of testing during development.

“We have 30,000 km (18,641 miles) test driving in [Hyundai’s research and development headquarters] Namyang, with all the bad cobblestones and potholes you cannot imagine. We run our cars there for 30,000 km, and then on top of that, we do 10,000 km (6,214 miles) at the Nürburgring,” said Biermann. “I don’t think anyone else is doing that anymore—maybe Porsche or Ferrari. But all the other guys, they’ve stepped down from 10,000 km to 8,000 km (4,971 miles) or 5,000 km (3,107 miles). And some, they do nothing anymore.”

Biermann also thinks that at a certain point, cars get big enough that automakers should stop pretending they can be corner carvers. “If I want to sell a G90 to a U.S. customer, there are other OEMs that show their flagship car on the racetrack,” he said. “The car in the luxury car segment, they show all the racetrack talent, but which 2.2-ton (4,850-pound) luxury segment car will ever see the racetrack?”

And the way he tells it, focusing on keeping cars reliable, comfortable, and relatively simple works for Genesis. “In our G90, you will not find any air suspension, or active roll-bars, or active whatever. A camera sensing the road, and this stuff. It’s stupid,” Biermann explained. “We have a solid Hyundai steel platform, tonnes of high-strength steel—okay, it’s a little bit heavier than the other cars—and we have adjustable shock absorbers, and that’s it. We still outpace the S-Class in the double lane-change in the Consumer Reports. We almost beat the BMW without all the fancy stuff.”

On the one hand, Biermann definitely has a point. Luxury sedans offer plenty of features that sound more exciting on paper than they are in practice, and when they break a few years down the line, fixing them can be pricey. Plus, it’s not like most luxury flagship buyers are more interested in their cornering than their ride comfort.

But you also have to wonder if he isn’t saying this partly because he doesn’t have the budget to invest in developing similar technologies. After all, Genesis has only been around since 2015, and launching a new luxury brand is incredibly expensive.

Either way, for buyers who want a luxury car that’s focused more on comfort and reliability than gimmicks, it sounds like Genesis is your brand.

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