PHOTOS! A Visual History of the Toyota Avalon

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 04/23/2018 - 12:00

Entering its fifth generation for the 2019 model year, the Avalon has served as Toyota’s flagship sedan for more than two decades. Back in 1995, the Avalon nameplate was introduced to take the place of the Cressida, which had been discontinued a few years earlier. The Avalon was focused on comfort and even offered a front bench seat for a while to accommodate a total of six. Although most Avalons have been powered by V-6 engines (compare the original Avalon’s 192-hp output to the 2019 Avalon V-6’s 301 hp), more recently, hybrid four-cylinder variants have been available, too.

Take a trip back in Toyota Avalon history with our Avalon photo gallery below and read our 2019 Avalon First Drive review here.

2019 Toyota Avalon (Fifth Gen)

2018 Toyota Avalon (Fourth Gen)

2016-2017 Toyota Avalon (Fourth Gen)

2013-2015 Toyota Avalon (Fourth Gen)

2011-2012 Toyota Avalon (Third Gen)

2008-2010 Toyota Avalon (Third Gen)

2005-2007 Toyota Avalon (Third Gen)

2000-2004 Toyota Avalon (Second Gen)

1995-1999 Toyota Avalon (First Gen)

The post PHOTOS! A Visual History of the Toyota Avalon appeared first on Motor Trend.

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2019 Toyota Avalon first drive: full-size sedan with a sassy chassis

The Car Connection News Feed - Mon, 04/23/2018 - 12:00
First, the Toyota Avalon came for old luxury buyers with old-school ideas. It had stretch-out space, comfortable ride, and it was quiet like the No. 17 tee box at Sawgrass. Then it came for the rest of us. Lagging racier competitors, including the Nissan Maxima, the Avalon looks to shed a stodgy image for a younger, spicier audience. The 2019...
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Orega extends co-working space at Colmore Building

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 04/23/2018 - 09:47
Owner AshbyCapital has signed shared workspace operator Orega to an expanded letting at The Colmore Building in Birmingham.
Categories: Property

Aggressive US hedge fund takes aim at Hammerson

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 04/23/2018 - 09:00
American vulture hedge fund Elliott has revealed it has snapped up a 1.5% stake in Hammerson, sparking speculation its founder Paul Singer is seeking a shake-up in the board’s strategy and management.
Categories: Property

Workspace buys final two Centro buildings in Camden

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 04/23/2018 - 08:20
Workspace Group has paid £76.5m for Centro 1 and 2, completing its acquisition of all seven Centro buildings in Camden, London.
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GPE sells West End scheme to M&G for £50m

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 04/23/2018 - 08:06
Great Portland Estates (GPE) has sold its mixed-use scheme at 78-92 Great Portland Street and 15-19 Riding House Street to M&G Real Estate for £49.6m.
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Capita launches £701m rights issue

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 04/23/2018 - 07:54
Troubled outsourcing group Capita has launched a heavily discounted £701m rights issue in an effort to repair its balance sheet.
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2018 Subaru Crosstrek Long-Term Update 1: The Subaru Comfortable

Motortrend News Feed - Sun, 04/22/2018 - 09:00

The 2018 Subaru Crosstrek is appealing for a number of readily apparent reasons, ranging from its handsome and rugged looks to its competitive pricing and ample cargo and passenger room. However, what many won’t know without driving it is the amount of ride comfort the Crosstrek provides. This was a nice surprise—and one of my favorite qualities—because compact vehicles are not always known for ride quality. The Crosstrek’s is one of the best I have felt.

The raised hatchback does a superb job of ironing out rough patches of road and excels at not transmitting much vibration or noise into the cabin.

I recently drove our long-term Audi A4 Quattro for a few days, a Subaru Outback 3.6R Touring that I reviewed, and a Volvo XC60 T5 for a three-day weekend of SoCal cruising. The Crosstrek’s ride quality is on par with those three larger and more expensive vehicles, and surprisingly it also mutes out and absorbs much of the sound and juddering that accompanies road imperfections better than the above vehicles. It’s worth noting that those vehicles ride on lower-profile tires, but I would still expect the ride quality to be better than my $26,899 Crosstrek.

I am not the first editor to feel this way about Subaru’s latest compact. “The ride quality is downright plush with luxury car levels of suspension compliance and rally car–rivaling suspension travel,” features editor Christian Seabaugh said during a three-way comparison against the Jeep Compass and Nissan Rogue Sport, which the Subie won.

International bureau chief Angus MacKenzie summed it up best during his First Test review of the Crosstrek. “The little Subaru rolls down the road with the quiet comfort and dignified composure of a mini luxury car,” he said. “The ride is exceptional for a vehicle this size, the long-travel suspension calmly damping body motions while ably suppressing impact harshness where the rubber meets the road.”

So if you are considering a Subaru Crosstrek, add “premium ride quality” to the list of pros. It’s among the best in class.

Read More About Our 2018 Subaru Crosstrek:

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2017 Audi A4 2.0T Quattro Long-Term Update 10: Going Ultra

Motortrend News Feed - Sat, 04/21/2018 - 09:00

Calling it the “A4 Minus $4,500” probably wouldn’t be good for business, but that price cut is at the heart of the A4 Ultra’s appeal. Compared to the all-wheel-drive A4 I’ve driven over thousands of miles, the front-wheel-drive A4 Ultra is less powerful, more efficient, less fun, and—oh yeah—way cheaper. Now that I’ve driven the A4 Ultra base model, our long-term A4, and even the spiffy S4, I can speak to how much of our long-termer’s well-rounded package is retained in the more affordable base-engine A4 Ultra.

We tested the front-drive, 190-hp A4 Ultra accelerating to 60 mph in a respectable 7.0 seconds, compared to our all-wheel-drive, 252-hp A4’s 5.2-second time. The A4 Ultra is shown here.

First, know that you can load up the A4 Ultra with lots of options—Audi doesn’t restrict you to a basic set of features. The A4 Ultra model is offered with front-wheel drive only (unlike the RWD or AWD BMW 320i), so if you want all-wheel drive, upgrade to the regular A4 that is powered by a 252-hp 2.0-liter turbo-four with 273 lb-ft of torque. The A4 also has a 2.0-liter turbo-four under the hood, but its engine is tuned to produce 190 hp and 236 lb-ft. The reduction in power comes with an increase in EPA-rated efficiency, from the all-wheel-drive 2018 A4’s 24/34 mpg city/highway (up 3 mpg highway from the 2017 model) to the 2018 A4 Ultra’s 27/37 mpg. That’s not a huge increase, but because the A4 Ultra uses the same 15.3-gallon gas tank, it means you’ll get a few more trips to work in before needing to refuel.

On the road, the A4 Ultra’s engine doesn’t feel underpowered—the car’s problem is the excessive wheelspin you sometimes get when applying full throttle from a stop. Although better tires would help (our A4 Ultra tester wore 225/50R17 all-season rubber wrapped around modest 17-inch alloy wheels), the car’s front-drive layout is limiting in this extreme situation. The 245/40R18 all-season tires with 18-inch wheels on the middle and top trims might improve steering feel, which didn’t feel as solid on the A4 Ultra as it does on our better-equipped 252-hp all-wheel-drive A4 long-termer.

Although Audi does a good job of making the A4 Ultra model look just as good as the pricier and more powerful all-wheel-drive model (pictured above), the real difference—and the reason I wouldn’t get an A4 Ultra—is the way the car’s seven-speed dual-clutch transmission behaves at low speeds. I don’t like the way the transmission on my long-term A4 is tuned at low speeds, but it’s a minor issue. On our A4 Ultra tester over the course of multiple days of driving, I found the car was far too eager to accelerate from a stop with a moderate amount of throttle, and coming to a gentle stop was a bit rougher than I expected, too. I’ll admit I’m more sensitive to matters of transmission roughness, which is why if you’re considering an A4 Ultra as well as the 252-hp all-wheel-drive A4, I’d suggest doing a brief stop sign test in both cars. Find a residential neighborhood with stop signs, and take a few of them at moderate speeds, driving however you normally drive. It’s in those situations that our A4 Ultra tester didn’t pass my personal smoothness test, giving me a bit too much acceleration and not coming to a stop smoothly enough as it downshifted.

If not for that one fault, I could more wholeheartedly recommend the A4 Ultra to those who want an A4 on a budget. I can see how tempting it would be for some to save $4,500 for a car that looks exactly the same but doesn’t accelerate as awesomely quick as my 252-hp all-wheel-drive long-termer. If, like me, you’re on the more sensitive side when it comes to driving smoothness, consider paying attention to that part of the test drive to see if you notice it at all.

Read our 2018 Audi A4 Ultra vs. 2018 Honda Accord 2.0T  Touring comparison right here!

Read more about our 2017 Audi A4 2.0T:

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Refreshing or Revolting: 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe

Motortrend News Feed - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 23:30

Hyundai has few crossovers in its lineup, but all of them are getting a makeover. This year, the automaker began selling the new subcompact Kona and will bring out a face-lifted Tucson in the fall. Meanwhile, Hyundai is completely revamping the Santa Fe. Replacing the midsize, two-row Santa Fe Sport, the new Santa Fe seats up to five passengers while offering them more modern amenities than the old model. But has Hyundai made a more visually compelling crossover?

The Santa Fe’s front face is an attention-grabber because it’s so different than that of its predecessor. Taking after the smaller Kona, the new Santa Fe features a split light design. LED daytime running lights are positioned above the LED headlights, unlike traditional cars which put the two together. The grille takes on a new shape, funneling down from a silver bar that encases the top lights.

Although it replaces the Santa Fe Sport, the new model is actually a bit bigger. It measures 2.8 inches longer and 0.4 inch wider, and it has a wheelbase that’s 2.6 inches longer. You can sort of see the difference in size between the two models by looking at their side profiles. And while the Santa Fe Sport had a sloping roofline and wedge-shaped window profile, the 2019 model appears to have a more upright back end.

Moving to the rear, we can see the Hyundai Santa Fe has updated taillights. They’re not as droopy as before, and are connected by a silver bar. Once again, the back end appears a bit more upright, and it also features more character lines, one of which runs right below the rear window. Both models feature a spoiler that flows down from the roof.

New screens comprise some of the biggest interior updates on the Santa Fe. The instrument cluster display has been redesigned, and the new model also features a head-up display that projects key information on the windshield in front of the driver. Also notice a new center infotainment screen that sits on the dash. The array of buttons below the screen has been reorganized to take up less space. The cupholders are now positioned in a vertical fashion to the right of the shifter, unlike the old model that arranges the cupholders horizontally below the gear stalk.

In case you were wondering what happened to the three-row Santa Fe, Hyundai will keep selling the old-generation version under the name Santa Fe XL. Eventually, Hyundai will bring out a new three-row SUV, although we haven’t seen this model yet.

Do you think the 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe is refreshing or revolting? Let us know your thoughts on Facebook.

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Infiniti Hopes to Triple its Sales in China Over Next Five Years

Motortrend News Feed - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 22:30

Infiniti will launch five new vehicles in China as it prepares to triple its sales over the next five years in the world’s largest auto market, the automaker has revealed. The announcement comes ahead of the Beijing auto show which takes place next week.

The first new vehicle coming to China is the redesigned QX50 midsize crossover that’s now on sale in the U.S. The model will enter production at Infiniti’s factory in Dalian, China, and all copies produced there will be sold in China. The model goes on sale in China later this year, and should help Infiniti reach its goal to sell around 150,000 vehicles on an annual basis.

Right now, infiniti produces just two vehicles in China, long-wheelbase versions of the Q50 and Q70. These vehicles are built at Nissan’s plant in Xiangyang.

Just like here in the U.S., crossovers are proving popular in China. Sales of SUVs and crossovers were up 11 percent in the first quarter, reaching 2.66 million units, reports Automotive News. This growth outpaces the overall market’s rise of 2.6 percent.

Electrification will also help Infiniti achieve success in China and other parts of the world. By 2025, Infiniti hopes more than half of its new vehicles sold globally and in China will be electrified. Infiniti’s Q Inspiration concept, which makes its Asia debut in Beijing, provides a glimpse into the automaker’s future electric offerings with compact powertrains and clean design lines.

Source: Infiniti, Automotive News (Subscription required)

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You Can Own This Original-Condition BMW 3.0 CSL “Batmobile”

Motortrend News Feed - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 20:45

Not all Batmobiles are black and driven by caped crusaders. This pristine 1975 BMW 3.0 CSL happens to be Chamonix Metallic White and is one of only a handful of 3.0s built with the “Batmobile” aerodynamics package.

The car will cross the block at RM Sotheby’s Monaco 2018 sale in May along with several other choice BMWs and other marques.

It appears to be in original condition and wears the optional aerodynamics kit that includes a front air dam, short roof spoiler, and a wild-looking three-piece rear wing.


The interior looks clean and features original black and red Scheel sport seats and the original three-spoke steering wheel. Also, to sweeten the deal, the engine numbers match and there’s just 39,072 kms (roughly 24,278 miles) on the clock.

Records indicate that it was built in the summer of 1973. The car spent much of its early days in Spain, but was not registered until 1975 by the first owner.

Ten years later it moved back to Germany and remained there until 2007. It was sold and returned to Spain once again and reportedly received a complete service in Barcelona by an expert racing mechanic. The auction house states that the auto was purchased by its current owner in 2013.

RM Sotheby’s estimates this rare bewinged bimmer will sell for 290,000-390,000 euros (roughly $356,000-479,000 U.S.), so if you’re interested, you’d better be as cash-flush as Bruce Wayne.

Source: RM Sotheby’s

Photos courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.

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This Tiny Honda Hot Hatch Concept is the Definition of Forbidden Fruit

Motortrend News Feed - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 19:45

As far as mainstream automakers go, Honda’s current lineup is pretty darn fun to drive. You don’t even have to spring for the Si or Type R to enjoy driving the Civic, and it’s almost impossible to not have a great time behind the wheel of the 2.0-liter Accord Sport. Heck, even the Fit is pretty sporty. But despite all of that, we’re still going to complain about the fact there’s no chance Honda will bring this tiny hot hatch concept to the U.S.

Revealed this week at the Indonesia International Motor Show, the diminutive concept in question is called the Small RS. According to Autocar India, it’s most likely a lightly disguised version of the next-generation Honda Brio, a city car sold throughout the Asia Pacific region. But to our American eyes, it looks like the Civic Type R got put in the dryer and shrunk down to an adorable size. And while it’s still identifiable as a modern Honda, we think we like the styling even better than the aggressively in-your-face Civic.

According to a Google-translated release from Honda Indonesia, the Small RS “features a sporty, stylish exterior design in accordance with Honda’s DNA in a small car platform that can be used for everyday activities for young-minded consumers while offering a sporty driving experience.” It also “represents Honda’s vision of how a small sports car should be.” With its large wing, hood scoop, and aerodynamic body kit, we agree. This thing looks like an absolute hoot.

We haven’t been able to find what kind of engine the Small RS uses, but as a concept likely built to get potential customers excited about an upcoming city car, it may not have one. Still, we can only hope the local reception is positive enough to convince Honda to actually put it into production. Even if the U.S. won’t ever get the Small RS (or even a Fit Type R), enthusiasts in the Asia Pacific region deserve to enjoy this baby Type R.

Source: Honda, Autocar India

The post This Tiny Honda Hot Hatch Concept is the Definition of Forbidden Fruit appeared first on Motor Trend.

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Audi e-tron SUV Can Recharge in as Little as 30 Minutes

Motortrend News Feed - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 18:30

Audi is expected to bring out the production version of the e-tron SUV sometime this year. Ahead of the debut, we now know what to expect from the electric SUV in terms of range and recharging, at least for European markets.

Early press releases said the e-tron could travel 310 miles on a single charge. Now, Audi is placing range at 248.5 miles based on the new WLTP driving cycle, an update to the NEDC test cycle. It’s unclear how this rating would translate to the EPA cycle that’s used here in the U.S. Audi confirmed the floor-mounted battery can store an impressive 95 kilowatt-hours of energy.

The e-tron will be the first vehicle on the market capable of charging at stations with up to 150 kilowatts. An advanced thermal management system in the battery enables the SUV to safely charge up at this level at high-power charging stations that use the European standard Combined Charging System. Audi says it takes less than 30 minutes to juice up. There will be nearly 200 of these compatible stations with six charging points each by the end of 2018, with more to come in the following years.

The e-tron can recharge at AC and DC stations in public areas, or at home with a 230-volt household outlet or a 400-volt three-phase outlet, which takes 8.5 hours. An optional connect charging system will charge your car according to your home’s energy usage and can double the charging power to 22 kilowatts.

Perhaps to draw attention to the strides it has taken to recharge EVs quickly, Audi placed its e-tron prototype in a Faraday cage at the Siemens high-voltage test bay in Berlin. Here, where experts are researching the possibility of lightning-fast charging, Audi ran a test on its e-tron. In the middle of an impulse voltage generator the size of a house, the Audi e-prototype is targeted with a flashover voltage, creating a light show and a crackle over the roof measuring 82 feet tall.

In addition to the e-tron SUV, Audi also plans on introducing an E-tron Sportback in 2019. Both models will be built in Brussels, Belgium.

Source: Audi

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Watch the Porsche 911 GT3 RS Clock 6:56.4 on the Nurburgring

Motortrend News Feed - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 17:00

Porsche debuted the 911 GT3 RS, its most powerful naturally aspirated car ever, at the Geneva auto show in March. And already, the track beast has set a lap time of 6:56.4 on the Nürburgring Nordschleife.

The GT3 RS is one of only three production sports cars from Porsche to lap the ‘Ring in under seven minutes. The 918 Spyder recorded a time of 6:57 back in 2013, and the 911 GT2 RS became the quickest production car to hit the Nürburgring by achieving a time of 6:47.03 last year.

Porsche works race driver Kévin Estre piloted the GT3 RS to its impressive new lap time. The car came in 24 seconds quicker around the ‘Ring than its predecessor.

Packing a 4.0-liter flat-six, the GT3 RS makes 520 hp and 346 lb-ft of torque. It’s paired exclusively to a seven-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic, and according to Porsche, can hit 60 mph in just 3.0 seconds. Top speed is 193 mph.

The GT3 RS borrows its aero and lightweighting technologies from the standard GT3 while also tacking on a magnesium roof and carbon-fiber front lid and fenders. From the GT2 RS, it takes the larger front spoiler for additional downforce and NACA ducts in the frunk lid that aid with brake cooling. During the recent run, the GT3 RS was equipped with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R tires, which will be available for order at Porsche Centers and selected dealers and tire fitters. The sports car arrives in the U.S. this fall with a starting price of $188,550.

Watch the video below to see the 911 GT3 RS conquer the Nürburgring.

Source: Porsche

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Cadillac shakeup, Jaguar F-Type, Maybach SUV concept: What's New @ The Car Connection

The Car Connection News Feed - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 15:30
Cadillac shake up: division chief out, strategy could shift General Motors announced Wednesday what could be the beginning of a major shift for its Cadillac luxury division—starting from the top down. 2019 Jaguar F-Type Review The 2019 Jaguar F-Type defines beauty without beastliness. This shapely two-door, available as a coupe or as a...
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Sigma acquires £31m dev sites for PRS REIT

Property Week News Feed - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 13:29
Developer Sigma Capital has acquired a trio of PRS development schemes in the North West and Midlands.
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Sweet deal sees Choccywoccydoodah secure first London location

Property Week News Feed - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 13:22
Shaftesbury has signed specialist chocolaterie Choccywoccydoodah for a London flagship at 27 Shorts Gardens at Seven Dials.
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Grainger refinances with £350m bond issue

Property Week News Feed - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 13:11
The UK’s largest listed residential landlord Grainger has issued a £350m senior bond aimed at cutting the cost of its debt.
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M&G unveils plans for £100m Glasgow office development

Property Week News Feed - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 13:00
M&G Real Estate has unveiled plans for a new £100m office development in Glasgow, which will provide 277,500 sq ft of grade A space over 12 levels.
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