The Porsche Mission E Cross Turismo is a Fast-Charging, Low-Slung Wagon

Motortrend News Feed - Tue, 03/06/2018 - 09:00

Elon Musk will have to reckon with a new fast gun in town when it comes to battery-powered SUVs.

When Porsche brings its first pure electric vehicle to market in late 2019, it will bear a strong resemblance to the Mission E Cross Turismo concept unveiled at the Geneva auto show.

This is the second iteration of Porsche’s Mission E concept—which bowed in 2015 as a four-passenger sports car with suicide doors and promises to beat Tesla with more than 600 horsepower, 440 kW and an 800-volt system to charge its lithium-ion batteries twice as fast.

Since then, Porsche has continued to hone the engineering side while finalizing the body style and design of the first Mission E due next year, part of a $622 million investment in the new dedicated electric platform. The Cross Turismo is a low-slung yet rugged four-passenger crossover, smaller than a Panamera but carrying the familiar Porsche roofline and haunches. The goal was to keep the Porsche DNA intact but make it blatantly obvious that this is an e-Porsche, a new creature on the road.

Although many cool European wagons never make it across the pond, this is a global vehicle so North America gets it, too. The only real variation by region will be choice of paint colors.

Porsche has built two prototypes so far, both in light gray metallic paint, said Michael Mauer, vice president of Style Porsche. It was important that the Mission E family retain brand identity with flat hoods and pronounced fenders, a tapered roof or “flyline,” and big rear shoulders and a sculpted rear. “These elements you will find in all our cars,” Mauer said simply.

With features like headlamp shapes that differ with each model, Mauer wants Mission E vehicles to be instantly recognizable as electric vehicles. The trick was determining how different. He thinks he got it right with the Cross Turismo. In an exclusive interview with Motor Trend ahead of the Geneva show, he admitted the production car has been in development alongside the concept. Hence, what you see here is pretty much what we’re going to get. The Cross Turismo name is still being vetted.

The Cross Turismo headlights are rectangular with rounded corners, where the bulbs are concentrated. The unit sits inside the air intake and appears to be floating. There is no grille, and the body-colored lower airflow vent presents a closed-nose look in keeping with Porsche design heritage, said Peter Varga, director of exterior design. Where exhaust pipes would be in back, there is now an air diffuser.

But it is the light bar across the back of the car that will be a true Mission E signature, with “Porsche” lit up in white against a blue background of blue lines. The final “e” in the backlit glass nameplate pulsates when the vehicle is charging. Mauer said it is unclear whether illuminated lettering will be deemed legal on public roads, but there are no laws against it flashing in the garage or driveway to let the owner know the state of charge.

This is no ordinary electric vehicle. Like the first Mission E, the 440-kW system sends power through two permanent synchronous electric motors, enough to go from 0 to 60 mph in less than 3.5 seconds and 0 to 124 mph in under 12 seconds—with repeatable track performance—to show an EV with a Porsche badge will live up to the brand’s performance heritage.

There are charge ports that open with a touch on both sides. The 800-volt charging system can be done through induction, a charging dock, or Porsche’s home energy management system, and it can provide 250 miles of range in 15 minutes. Porsche is spending $870 million on charging infrastructure. It is working with dealers to build a fast-charging network in North America and in Europe is part of the Ionity network partnership with other automakers.

One challenge of electric vehicles is the low center of gravity with packs of lithium-ion batteries in the floor and people sitting above it—not conducive to the dramatic proportions of a sports car, Mauer said. An SUV is easier.

Don’t let its squashed-Macan look or electric powertrain fool you into thinking this is Porsche Lite. Billed as a lifestyle vehicle, the Cross Turismo has Dynamic Chassis Control, rear-axle steering, all-wheel drive with torque vectoring to each wheel, and air suspension to raise the ride height almost 2 inches. It rides on 20-inch wheels with 275/40R20 tires.

Mauer admitted a sporty vehicle with no engine sounds takes some getting used to. Driving the prototypes, he has come to appreciate the different experience of performance and dynamics without sound: “It’s like driving a jet.” His ideal garage: a 911 GT3 RS and a Mission E, he said with a smile.

The Cross Turismo is 194.9 inches long, 78.3 inches wide, and 55.9 inches tall, making it smaller than a Panamera. The panoramic roof extends from windshield to tailgate and offers some design delight with a diamond pattern painted into the glass. The diamond pattern is repeated throughout the vehicle, including the backlit Aniline leather door inserts and the carbon-fiber cargo area floor with diamond rubber nubs.

The interior of the first Mission E concept was Porsche’s vision of the future, said Ivo van Hulten, director of interior design. “This is closer to something we could do mass production of,” he said, clarifying that 70 to 80 percent of the concept interior is feasible.

The curved instrument cluster is angled to the driver for a cockpit feel. Interestingly, the instrument panel is wider than the steering wheel, a throwback to 911s in the ’60s. There is no need for a rev counter, but eye tracking software recognizes which of three instrument displays the driver is viewing and moves it to the foreground. The screen continues across the dashboard to access apps, navigation, and other controls.

Taking a page from Tesla and Mercedes, the electronic air vent is adjusted by swiping the strip of screen below each vent. The raised center console adds to the feeling of being ensconced in the car.

The on button is activated by touchscreen—and remains to the left of the steering wheel, per Porsche tradition. One of the few holdover traditional knobs is the drive mode button in the steering wheel. Two stalks behind the steering wheel serve as the PRNDL selector and turn signal.

Those familiar with Porsche’s wild array of buttons and switches will find them noticeably absent. Although the screen system is reminiscent of the Tesla Model 3, Porsche executives insisted their systems are more intuitive and don’t require drilling into menus for basic functions. Van Hulten said classical knobs are for more traditional combustion engine vehicles while electric vehicles represent the future with minimalist interiors that shed unnecessary buttons. “We want people to recognize they are sitting inside an electric Porsche.”

There are Nordic blue accents everywhere: around the air vents, window switches, seat belts, mood lighting, and the unique wheels.

Inside the Cross Turismo, futuristic, show car bucket racing seats are almost molded into the body of the car—though those won’t reach production. Rear passengers have their own wireless charging pad for devices.


Shown in the cargo area is a Porsche-branded drone, something Van Hulten says can be used to scout scenic areas ahead or take shots of you blasting around in your Cross Turismo.

The whole vehicle looks like an advanced wind tunnel experiment with air intakes and diffusers, as well as touches like the ribs on either side of the spoiler to direct the air—all in the name of better aeronautics.

“We tried for the right combination of old and new world,” Mauer said.

Mission E was not designed just to go after Tesla, Mauer said. “We are so self-confident we say there is no competition,” he said. So should Tesla be worried? “The whole auto world should be worried.”

The Cross Turismo will be the first Mission E, but it certainly won’t be the last. After all, this is Porsche. There will be derivatives.

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Toyota Supra Previewed By GR Supra Racing Concept

Motortrend News Feed - Tue, 03/06/2018 - 09:00

It ain’t the actual production-spec Toyota Supra, but if you squint a bit and use your imagination to remove some of the racing bits like the huge rear wing and all the intake scallops, there you have it.

It’s been 15 years since a Supra last graced a Toyota showroom floor, and the GR Supra Racing concept unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show is the closest indication of the next iteration, which will arrive in dealerships early next year.

In this instance, “GR” stands for Gazoo Racing, Toyota’s racing and go-fast parts operation. It’s a pet project of Akio Toyoda himself, so you know this car means business.

The concept’s composite hood, front and rear bumpers, front splitter and rear diffuser, side skirts, door mirror housings, and rear wing likely will be replaced with aluminum or other lightweight materials in the production version. But you can expect those composites to be available through the aftermarket.

Toyota supplied dimensions for the concept—wheelbase 97.2 inches, length 180.1 inches, width 80.6 inches, height 48.4 inches—but those are for a race-spec car, so comparing that to a future production model isn’t a good idea.

But it’s in the exterior design where we get the best clues. It’s actually pretty close to the FT-1 concept seen at the 2014 Detroit auto show. (Has it really been four years since they showed that? Indeed it has.)

Up front, the FT-1’s F1-styled hawk nose and double air inlets have been replaced by a three-inlet setup. But the squinty headlights remain. Going around the side, the giant scoop at the B-pillar is now more of a hint. The gaping rear ducts seem relatively intact, as is the swoopy, peaked rear deck.

The interior is set up for racing (which is cool), but there is nothing to be gleaned from it regarding the production Supra.

The Supra first arrived on the scene in 1978 as a more powerful A40 trim level to the Celica. But it gained its own nameplate with the A60 in 1981 then evolved into the A70 in 1986 and A80 in 1993. Given the huge “90” splashed on the door panel of this concept, it’s pretty clear the new version is code-named A90.

However, whereas past Supras were developed internally by Toyota, this version shared R&D with BMW for its next Z4. And although Toyota gave few details about the Supra, sources say the cars will share many underpinnings, including powertrain and suspension setups.

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2019 Ram 1500 Priced Starting at $33,340

Motortrend News Feed - Tue, 03/06/2018 - 05:01

The 2019 Ram 1500 is on its way to dealerships now, and FCA has just revealed that its next-gen full-size pickup truck starts at $33,340 including destination. That price gets you a quad cab 4×2 Tradesman with the base 3.6-liter V-6, $1,050 more than what you would have paid for a 2018 model in the same configuration.

So far, we’ve only heard about quad and crew cab models, but a regular cab body style is also likely on the way, potentially bringing the starting price closer to the $28,490 Ram charged for a base 2018 model. Springing for the long-wheelbase version of the Crew cab costs $300, and adding four-wheel drive will run you $3,500 on any model. If you want the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, tack on an extra $1,195, or $1,995 for a Hemi with the new eTorque mild hybrid system.

The 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 gets eTorque as standard, but won’t be available until later in the year. That means the cheapest Ram 1500 you’ll be able to buy at launch will be a Hemi-equipped quad cab 4×2 Tradesman at $34,535.

2019 Ram 1500 Limited interior

But of course, you could pay a lot more for a new Ram 1500 if you want. The current range-topper is the $60,135 crew cab 4×4 Limited with the eTorque V-8 and an upscale interior that includes a huge 12-inch Uconnect touchscreen. Below that is the Longhorn, offered only as a crew cab and starting at $51,840 for a V-6 model. The midlevel Laramie starts at $41,140 for a quad cab 4×2 V-6 model, and the Bighorn starts at $37,340—a drop of $1,700 from last year’s model. The sporty, off-road-oriented Ram 1500 Rebel starts at $45,640 for a crew cab 4×2 model, which is slightly cheaper than last year—and for the first time, the Rebel will be available as a quad cab 4×4 for $46,340. For 2019, Ram also lowered the price of the popular Ram Box in-bed cargo system from $1,295 to $995.

Check out the list below to see pricing for the 2019 Ram 1500’s various configurations. Prices given are for V-6 models and include destination.

Source: Ram

 Model MSRP with Destination Crew Tradesman 4X2 LWB $36,440 Crew Tradesman 4X2 $36,140 Crew Bighorn 4X2 LWB $40,340 Crew Bighorn 4X2 $40,040 Crew Rebel 4X2 $45,640 Crew Laramie 4X2 LWB $44,140 Crew Laramie 4X2 $43,840 Crew Longhorn 4X2 LWB $52,140 Crew Longhorn 4X2 $51,840 Crew Limited 4X2 LWB $54,640 Crew Limited 4X2 $54,340 Crew Tradesman 4X4 LWB $39,940 Crew Tradesman 4X4 $39,640 Crew Bighorn 4X4 LWB $43,840 Crew Bighorn 4X4 $43,540 Crew Rebel 4X4 $49,140 Crew Laramie 4X4 LWB $47,640 Crew Laramie 4X4 $47,340 Crew Longhorn 4X4 LWB $55,640 Crew Longhorn 4X4 $55,340 Crew Limited 4X4 LWB $58,140 Crew Limited 4X4 $57,840 Quad Tradesman 4×2 $33,340 Quad Bighorn 4×2 $37,340 Quad Laramie 4×2 $41,140 Quad Tradesman 4×4 $36,840 Quad Bighorn 4×4 $40,840 Quad Rebel 4×4 $46,340 Quad Laramie 4×4 $44,640

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Spied! BMW M8 Barely Even Tries to Cover up

Motortrend News Feed - Tue, 03/06/2018 - 02:30

Almost a year ago, BMW officially confirmed plans to bring back the 8 Series. A few weeks later, it showed off the gorgeous Concept 8 Series. But as fantastic as the 8 Series looked in concept form, we had to wonder how it would make the transition to production. Would it lose its good looks in favor of a more generic, watered down design? Based on this barely camouflaged M8 prototype caught testing in Sweden, it doesn’t look like that’s the case.

With only a tiny bit of camouflage hiding the car’s shape up front, the headlights and grille are easy to make out, as are the power bulges on the hood. Overall, the look is a bit more restrained than an exotic like the Aston Martin DB11 or even the Lexus LC 500, but it’s still a handsome coupe that should give the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe a run for its money.

The rear end, on the other hand, looks questionable at best. But before jumping to conclusions, take a closer look at the back. It appears that BMW screwed extra camouflage to the prototype’s body in an attempt to hide the rear end. Besides, we’ve already seen an official teaser that shows more graceful rear styling.

One detail we hope ends up on the production version is the exhaust. Instead of adding stylized tips, this prototype has a good old-fashioned quad exhaust. In this day and age, it’s hard to imagine the production exhaust going undecorated, but earlier prototypes have all rocked the same look.

Thankfully, the wait for more information is probably almost over. BMW’s teased what looks like an 8 Series Gran Coupe concept for Geneva this week, and odds are good that the production coupe will finally be revealed before it goes on sale later this year.

Photo source: CarPix

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2019 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Exclusive Edition Gets the Swarovski Touch

Motortrend News Feed - Tue, 03/06/2018 - 00:15

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class is already nicer than most people’s living rooms, but a new special edition model ups the ante even more. For 2019, Mercedes-Benz is offering an Exclusive Edition S-Class coupe and cabriolet with a host of upgrades, including LED lights with Swarovski crystals.

They also receive exclusive paint finishes named Aragonite Silver and Rubellite Red. Convertible models come with a dark red or beige soft top, depending on the paint selected. Inside the cabin, look for light brown high-gloss wood, a Burmester surround sound system, and “Exclusive Edition” badging on the cup holder cover in the center console.

The Exclusive package brings along special Nappa leather seats with a diamond pattern. The seats come in Porcelain/Titian Red or Porcelain/Espresso Brown color themes with contrast stitching. For added plushness, the Nappa leather extends to the armrests, instrument panel, and door center panels. Also look for special floor mats in Titian Red or Porcelain and door sills with illuminated Mercedes-Benz lettering. Like other S-Class models, the Exclusive Edition’s interior revolves around a Widescreen Cockpit that has spread throughout the Mercedes lineup even down to the new A-Class.

Mercedes will begin selling the special two-door models in April. Details for the U.S. market, including pricing and engines, have not yet been announced.

Source: Mercedes-Benz

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New Maybach Headlights can Project Images on the Road

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 03/05/2018 - 23:00

Last month, Mercedes showed off the latest version of the Maybach-branded S-Class. It’s more of a mild update than a true midcycle refresh, but with a new grille, more paint and leather options, and a few other tweaks, it should keep the chauffeured crowd happy. Today, however, Mercedes announced a new feature that will soon be available on Maybachs: image-projecting headlights.

Called Digital Light, the new headlights promise a high-definition main beam that projects with two-million-pixel resolution. Those beams can then project images onto the road. Mercedes says the images can be used like a head-up display, giving drivers information without requiring them to take their eyes off the road. The headlights could also be used to communicate with others.

The more practical reason to use software-controlled headlights is to optimize lighting depending on the situation. Cameras, sensors, and mapping data are used to evaluate road conditions, allowing the car to adjust its headlights accordingly. Theoretically, that would make it easier to see at night without blinding other drivers with obnoxiously bright lights.

Even when the new headlights are used to project images onto the road, Mercedes says the focus is more on safety than fashion. For example, guidelines could be projected onto the lane to make it easier to drive through a narrow construction zone. Or if the car detects a pedestrian in the road, it could mark their position with an arrow. Mercedes says the lights will also be able to project symbols that give blind spot warnings, lane departure warnings, collision warnings, speed notifications, and low-grip surface alerts.

If the initial roll-out goes well, we may see this technology trickle down to Mercedes’ other mainstream models. For now, though, Digital Light will only be available on the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class beginning in the first half of this year. There’s no word on pricing, but considering it won’t even be available on the regular S-Class at first, it’s probably safe to assume that Digital Light isn’t cheap.

Source: Mercedes-Maybach

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Toyota to streamline its self-driving car development

The Car Connection News Feed - Mon, 03/05/2018 - 22:49
Toyota said last week that it will invest billions into creating a new, wholly-owned company devoted exclusively to researching and developing self-driving cars Partnering with automotive suppliers Aisin and Denso, Toyota says that it is investing $2.8 billion into the Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development (TRI-AD). The three parties...
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Bugatti Chiron Variant Teased Ahead of Geneva

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 03/05/2018 - 22:30

Bugatti has teased what could be an even hotter version of the Chiron in a new video posted to its Facebook page. The mystery supercar will make its official debut at the Geneva Motor Show this week.

Visual details in the video are highly obscured, so it’s unclear exactly what to expect from this new model. But given Bugatti introduced more powerful versions of the Veyron during its life cycle, we can only assume the automaker will repeat this formula with the Chiron. The standard Veyron made 1,001 hp, but the Super Sport bumped output up to 1,200 hp. Today, the Chiron makes 1,479 hp  and 1,180 lb-ft of torque from its quad-turbo 8.0-liter W-16 engine. Bugatti delivered 70 copies of the supercar last year.

We notice the supercar in the video has four round exhaust pipes, contrasting with the standard Chiron’s angular outlet cluster situated in the rear. This could be another signal that the car is a higher-performance version of the Chiron. Meanwhile, the Koenigsegg Agera RS claims to have beaten the Chiron’s record in the 0-249-0 mph run, so perhaps it’s a good time for Bugatti to silence rivals and roll out a more potent supercar.

We’ll know more about the new model on March 6 when it debuts in Geneva.

Source: Bugatti via Facebook

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2018 Audi Q7

The Car Connection News Feed - Mon, 03/05/2018 - 22:15
The 2018 Audi Q7 is a three-row luxury crossover. It’s loaded with features and technology and is easily one of the brand’s most impressive products, and that’s saying something. We’ve rated it an 7.8 out of 10, a commendable score based on its superb attention to detail, its cosseting feel, and its impressive technology...
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Bentley Bentayga Hybrid is an Ultra-Lux Plug-in SUV

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 03/05/2018 - 20:15

The Bentley Bentayga Hybrid will be the British automaker’s first electrified model featuring a plug-in hybrid powertrain that combines a turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 and an electric motor. It can travel up to 31 miles in EV mode, based on the NEDC testing standard, and can get to a full charge from empty in 2.5 hours using a level 2 charger or 7.5 hours when plugged into a level 1 charger or a household outlet.

The plug-in hybrid powertrain allows drivers to manage battery use while on the road. The Bentley Bentayga Hybrid features a unique multimedia system that provides powertrain details, allowing the driver to monitor the battery’s charge and see the vehicle’s current distribution of power. Navigation information is also used to maximize the hybrid powertrain efficiency on your route by engaging the ideal E mode for the conditions. A total of three E modes have been added, including EV Drive, Hybrid, and Hold modes, in addition to the four on-road settings, which are Sport, Bentley, Comfort, and Custom. Total system output for the hybrid powertrain hasn’t been announced yet.

The Bentayga Hybrid gets a number of model-specific touches such as a unique gauge cluster with a dial that shows battery status in EV mode, which changes to a standard tachometer when the V-6 engine is active. The MyBentley3 telematics service shows battery charging status via a smartphone app in addition to vehicle status and remote heating and cooling functions. Additionally, the app will also come with a charging station locator that will also show you the closest charging stations via a smartphone app. The Bentley Bentayga Hybrid also comes with a cool home-installed recharging unit built by Philippe Starck.

Available active driver assistance features on the Bentley Bentayga Hybrid include an adaptive cruise control system that uses navigation data, sensors, and camera to predict oncoming turns, boundaries, and speed limits. Other driver assistance features include an automatic parking system, traffic sign recognition, night vision, and a head-up display. The infotainment system features an 8.0-inch touchscreen, a 60GB hard drive, and 30 languages to choose from. Other available features include a 10.2-inch tablet, an 18-speaker Naim audio system, 22-way power adjustable front seats, 18-way power adjustable rear seats, heated, ventilated, and massaging functions for front and rear passengers, and a large panoramic sunroof. In addition to the five-seat configuration, the Bentley Bentayga Hybrid will also be offered in a four-seat layout with two individual seats in back.

Source: Bentley

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Volkswagen I.D. Vizzion Concept is an Autonomous Flagship Sedan

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 03/05/2018 - 19:45

The Volkswagen I.D. Vizzion Concept is the latest addition to the German automaker’s lineup of I.D. concept vehicles and previews a future autonomous flagship sedan. Volkswagen brand CEO Herbert Diess says the I.D. Vizzion Concept shows that the autonomous and electric vehicles don’t have to look boring. On a single charge, the I.D. Vizzion Concept can travel up to 650 kilometers or 403 miles, according to Volkswagen. It’s unclear which range standard that estimate is based on, however.

Based on Volkswagen’s MEB platform that’s been developed with electrification in mind, the I.D. Vizzion Concept’s exterior dimensions are similar to a Passat but its interior is as spacious as the larger Phaeton. Inside, you’ll find a cabin with seating for four passengers and a floating center console with what appears to be mouse-like controls for the front occupants and another for the rear, hinting that all passengers have control of the infotainment system. The rest of the cabin isn’t conventional and looks more like a mobile lounge rather than a car’s interior. There are no screens in the cabin; instead, there are large projections on the windshield showing your infotainment functions.

There’s no steering wheel, which indicates that the I.D. Vizzion is fully autonomous. However, the automaker says that once this model goes into production by 2022, it will have a traditional cockpit and a steering wheel. Like the rest of the I.D. vehicle family, the I.D. Vizzion has been built with self-driving tech in mind. Previously, VW has promised full autonomous capability by 2025.

Source: Volkswagen

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BMW Z4 Will Debut This Summer, Report Says

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 03/05/2018 - 17:30

It looks like we’ll have to wait just a little longer to see the new BMW Z4 in its production form. Despite rumblings that the roadster would debut at the Geneva Motor Show this week, a source at BMW says the car will instead debut this summer.

Speaking with Automotive News Europe, an unnamed source at BMW revealed the automaker currently plans to debut the roadster at a special event this summer before bringing it to the Paris Motor Show in October.

In mid-February, Toyota released a teaser suggesting the Supra would debut at the Geneva show this week. But as we reported earlier, Toyota will probably only reveal the GTE-class racing version at the show. We may have to wait until later this month at the New York auto show to see the road-going Supra.

BMW debuted a Z4 concept at Monterey Car Week last summer. Since then, we’ve spotted Z4 prototypes wearing some of design cues from the concept under its camouflage. Like the radical concept, recent prototypes bear a grille with a mesh pattern instead of the slats you typically see in BMW grilles.

When it arrives in the U.S., the BMW Z4 will likely come in two variants: the base sDrive30i and the more powerful M40i. Expect the model to come standard with a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission, although a six-speed manual may be offered, likely on the base model.

Source: Automotive News Europe (Subscription required)

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APAM acquires OneSixty offices in Edinburgh

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 03/05/2018 - 17:28
Real estate investment and asset manager APAM has acquired the OneSixty Dundee Street office building in Edinburgh city centre for £10m.
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TH Real Estate adds Rotterdam asset to European Logistics Fund

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 03/05/2018 - 17:06
TH Real Estate has acquired a 425,000 sq ft modern logistics property in Rotterdam for its European Logistics Fund (ELOF) in a sale and leaseback transaction.
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