Cocktail Chatter: December 7, 2012

What cocktails go best with all this car chatter? is here to help with weekly recipes. Remember, this is for talking about cars, not driving — always designate a driver. Let’s start out with the classic martini, which contrary to common Bond movie lore, does not contain vodka. That would be a Kangaroo, according to Imbibe magazine. Our favored martini recipe varies from tradition in that we shake, we don’t stir (purists insist shaking breaks down the gin), and in place of orange bitters, we rim the glass with a thin coating of Cointreau. After the Cointreau, combine a martini glassful of ice cubes in the shaker with three ounces of gin to a half-ounce of dry vermouth, and shake to a waltz (1-2-3) beat until cold in your hands. Pour into the glass, through the shaker’s strainer and garnish with olives or to turn it into a Gibson, garnish with a pearl onion, instead.

Making the best of heritage: In the spirit of Lincoln’s temporary display of classic ’20s to ’60s models at the LA Show, BMW rolled out a vintage 3.0 CSL for its Design Night in Munich last Wednesday, where it unveiled the new Concept 4 Series Coupe. Unlike the Lincoln display, the CSL didn’t make me pine for the good old days. The 4 Series captures classic Bimmer style, from the twin kidneys to the Hoffmeister kink, but in a very modern way. The name change from 3 Series Coupe is the most radical change. Check out its F1-style front aero package.

Todd Lassa, Executive Editor

This is awkward: The November sales announcements showed that the crude, dated Ford E-Series van outsold the entire Lincoln luxury brand in November. Losing the respected Town Car severely hurt Lincoln’s sales volumes, and the rest of the lineup is simply too milquetoast to attract real luxury-car customers. It’s hard to believe that simply adopting a new name will be enough to revive Lincoln, so the brand desperately needs the 2013 MKZ to take off and bring in tens of thousands of new customers.

Jake Holmes, Associate Web Editor

Texas-style spice: I arrived to work in a Chevrolet Spark and left in a GMC Sierra Denali. Talk about running the gamut of GM vehicles. For those who are counting, that’s 319 more hp, 334 more lb-ft, and 79.2 more inches in length, but 100% less jalapeno [paint].

Using the right rubber: With the approach (and sometimes the arrival) of freezing weather, winter tires have been on my mind. I’ve poured much thought into how the different rubber changes dynamics, handling, and steering feel, but I keep coming back to their need. Or rather, the fact that I keep finding myself having to explain over and over the importance of picking the right tires for cold weather. People just don’t seem (or want) to get it, and all this explaining is getting tiring.

Donny Nordlicht, Associate Web Editor

Get (My) Real (Car Back): At least he has an interesting car: Dr. Phil is annoying, but I’m glad to see his classic was recovered this week, and in one piece.

Kelly Ryan Murphy, Creative Director

A Ford GT follow-up, but not by Ford: I love the Ford GT. I also love the stillborn Ford GR-1 concept, which paid homage to the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe. That said, I’m not entirely sure what to think of Galpin Auto Sports’ new supercar project, which seems to stretch the GR-1 form over the GT’s mid-engine packaging. I’m also not sure I’d sacrifice a perfectly-good Ford GT to have this new body – made from either aluminum or carbon fiber – stretched atop it. Perhaps I’ll change my mind when I see the finished product, but as GAS concedes, the prototype build won’t be complete for some time yet.

Evan McCausland, Associate Web Editor

Heavy drinking Hyundais: I know it’s slightly old news, but I can’t stop thinking about the debacle that is Hyundai’s fuel economy numbers. If you’ll recall, Hyundai’s CEO John Krafcik told me back in July that advertising combined MPG figures—or making a concerted effort to advertise actual, not theoretical, mileage numbers—would be “not socially responsible” because it might lead to lower sales of greener vehicles. Unfortunately for Hyundai inflated MPGs and PR nightmares might also lead to lower sales. Perhaps it’s time for Hyundai to rethink its marketing–let’s talk about this over a martini, John. I’ll buy.

Ben Timmins, Associate Web Editor

Your mileage will definitely vary: Hyundai and Ford vehicles have come under scrutiny for failing to achieve EPA estimated fuel economy in the real world. But could it be that our whole way of estimating fuel economy is outmoded? Perhaps, says David Greene, a researcher with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory who oversees the website “It’s not a question of bias—are the ratings too high or are the ratings too low. The problem with the ratings are they don’t tell me what I’m going to get. What we need to do is essentially throw away this old paradigm—that we’re going to test a car on a test cycle…because the test cycle is just a test cycle… it’s not the way I drive. We need to move to using information technology and the data the car generates every second from the OBD system to figure out a way to accurately describe your driving. And then you transfer that data to a system, which will tell you, ‘for this car, this is how you will do.’ We’re some way away from that but the technology exists.”

David Zenlea, Associate Editor

Money for nothing: I just received my reimbursement MasterCard in the mail for registering my 2012 Hyundai Elantra Limited in the Hyundai MPG reimbursement program. It’s too bad I haven’t driven enough to see a huge return (ODO reads about 7200 miles today). But, hey, free money is free money.

Thomas Hang, Graphic Designer

Ugly Ducks: Fiat and Nissan are whining about who has prettier cars. If this keeps up, “Your Momma” jokes are likely, a “Step Up”-style dance-off between Marchionne and Ghosn less so but not out of the question. Nissan, one word: CrossCabriolet. Fiat, you gave birth to the 500L. You both make ugly cars, move on.

Christopher Nelson, Road Test Editor

A pleasant surprise: It’s no surprise when Lexus engineer Junichi Furuyama tells us that he wants to make the new Lexus IS 350 F Sport so good that it’s easy to drive, but it is surprising when he says he wants to make it so good that it’s easy to drive at the Nurburgring.

EREV? PHEV? BBQ? In the aftermath of the L.A. auto show, even the journalists are still confused about the theme of the show, which proves only that even journalists don’t understand the appeal of EVs, plug-in hybrids and 40-mpg cars.

Michael Jordan, Senior Editor

Eight is enough: Our Four Seasons Range Rover Evoque is by and large a fabulous car, but its six-speed automatic transmission has soiled our overall opinion a bit. It is often reluctant to downshift, upshifts too soon, and isn’t as smooth as we’d like. Help is on the way, though—a Land Rover executive told me this week that the company is developing an eight-speed for the Evoque. He wouldn’t say when the six-speed would be put to pasture, but he implied that it’ll be sooner rather than later. My guess is model year 2014 or at least calendar year 2014.

Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor

Too bad Jimmy Fallon isn’t available: At the launch of the new Encore crossover, marketing chief Tony DiSalle said Buick hopes to craft an image as “the most friendly, down-to-earth luxury brand.” Of course, it’d be a stretch to aim any higher when your newest product shares a chassis and engine with a bunch of small Chevrolets. That said, we were mightily impressed by the Encore’s upscale polish for a price of less than $30,000. Down to earth, indeed.

Eric Tingwall, Senior Editor

250,000-truck pickup: It’s never fun picking up a deck of cards that falls to the ground and scatters everywhere, but trying to sell 250k 2012 and ‘13 Chevy Silverados and GMC Sierras without massive discounts seems impossible. Instead of admitting a heavily revised half-ton pickup will be available in dealerships by mid-2013 (and severely slowing production of the current GMT 900 products); GM is bragging about how little it spends on truck incentives. That tune will change when there are 300,000 unsold GM trucks on the lots and everyone has seen the 2014 model year vehicles.

Phil Floraday, Senior Web Editor


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