Upcoming Baby Bronco Will Be Based on the Ford Focus

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 19:00

We’re certainly looking forward to driving the reborn Ford Bronco, but we have to admit there’s another Ford SUV that has our attention as well. It’s the Escape-sized SUV announced back in March that may or may not be built for actual off-roading. Details on this “baby Bronco” (teased in the above image) have been scarce for the last several months, but we now have an important one: It will be built on the recently redesigned Focus platform.

Reuters reports that, according to Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s head of product planning and development, the Michigan-based automaker plans to introduce a Focus-based crossover with “rugged off-road styling.” The new model will reportedly share some parts with the Escape and will be priced at a premium. Thai-Tang also claimed the baby Bronco will have “off-road positioning and imagery,” but it’s still unclear how capable an off-roader it will actually be.

Thai-Tang gave a few other clues about styling, as well. Without revealing too much, he promised the design will be heavily influenced by the look of the original Bronco from the 1960s. Considering the only potential test mule we’ve seen so far looked less than rugged with its stretched and lifted Fiesta body, that’s great news. Based on the teaser, we suspect it will draw a lot of inspiration from Ford’s 2004 Bronco concept shown above.

It may seem odd for Ford to use the Focus platform as the basis for an off-road-focused vehicle, but it’s important to remember that modern platforms are much more flexible than in the past. The Porsche Cayenne, for example, is built around the same modular architecture as the Audi A4, but few people would accuse the Cayenne of driving like an A4. In addition to the baby Bronco, we’ve also heard the new Focus platform will underpin the upcoming all-electric crossover that might be called Mach 1.

But while we’ll probably have to wait at least a year to drive the baby Bronco, we could see it soon. It’s set to be revealed sometime in 2019 and go on sale as a 2020 model. So while there are no guarantees, keep an eye out for an official announcement this coming January as the 2019 Detroit auto show gets closer.

Source: Reuters

The post Upcoming Baby Bronco Will Be Based on the Ford Focus appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: Property

2019 Honda Civic Refreshed with New Styling, Sport Trim

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 18:00

The current-generation Honda Civic is about to receive its first refresh since debuting in late 2015. Along with an updated design, the sedan and coupe receive a new Sport trim and standard Honda Sensing on all trim levels.

At first glance, the refreshed Civic doesn’t look much different from its predecessor. But take a closer look and you’ll notice the upper front fascia wing is painted in black. The layout of the lower fascia has also changed; the vents are now integrated into a single unit rather than separated into three sections. Other updates include a full-width front splitter, chrome side pod accents, updated halogen or LED headlights, new wheel designs, and a chrome accent on the rear bumper of the sedan.

The Sport trim joins the lineup for 2019 with a number of unique styling details of its own. These include piano black accents on the lower front fascia, black 18-inch wheels, and for the sedan, an added rear decklid spoiler. There is also a splitter-style rear lower bumper that has a central exhaust finisher similar to the one on the Civic Si. Inside, Sport models receive an updated 7-inch infotainment screen and a volume knob that replaces the sliding mechanism on previous models.

Honda is positioning the Sport trim between the LX and EX, meaning it should be affordable. Although Honda hasn’t announced pricing for the 2019 Civic, 2018 prices ranged between $19,835 and $22,235 for the LX and EX sedans, or between $20,245 and $22,695 for the LX and EX-T coupes. Under the hood, the Sport model receives the base 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine, and buyers can choose between a six-speed manual or CVT.

Honda Sensing is now standard across all trims of the Civic sedan and coupe. This package includes collision mitigation braking system with forward collision warning, road departure mitigation with lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control. By the 2022 model year, Honda aims to make Honda Sensing technology standard equipment on all of its vehicles.

Source: Honda

The post 2019 Honda Civic Refreshed with New Styling, Sport Trim appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: Property

2019 Toyota Camry, Sienna add Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa

The Car Connection News Feed - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 17:13
The Venn diagram overlap between Toyota shoppers, Apple iOS users, and Amazon Prime members now includes the 2019 Toyota Camry mid-size sedan and 2019 Toyota Sienna minivan. According to Cars Direct, the 2019 Camry and 2019 Sienna will come with Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa compatibility when they go on sale this fall. MORE: Developer derby...
Categories: Property

2019 Honda Civic gets new look, standard active safety features, Sport trim

The Car Connection News Feed - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 17:13
Big changes are happening to one of America's favorite small cars. The new 2019 Honda Civic made its debut Monday with a slightly revised front and rear bumpers, standard suite of advanced safety features, and a new Sport trim for all body styles that was previously reserved for the Civic Hatchback. Honda didn't announce how much the 2019 Civic...
Categories: Property

2019 Chevrolet Silverado first drive: American work horse

The Car Connection News Feed - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 16:42
Wyoming is the American ideal for truck buyers. The sky is vast, the mountains big, and people have room to spread out. Any drive can pass by amber waves of grain with purple mountains’ majesty as their backdrop. It’s that beautiful. Chevrolet has designed the 2019 Silverado not for beauty, but to help Americans get work done. It's now...
Categories: Property

Tungsten Properties appoints Cox as development director

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 15:48
Leicestershire-based industrial and warehouse development company Tungsten Properties has expanded its four-person property team with the appointment of Andrew Cox.
Categories: Property

New industrial addition for Levy

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 15:43
Levy Real Estate has appointed Gavin Quinn to its industrial investment team.
Categories: Property

2019 Acura RDX safety, Tesla and the Saudis, VW diesel claims: What's New @ The Car Connection

The Car Connection News Feed - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 15:30
2019 Acura RDX aces IIHS crash tests The IIHS said last week that paying more for fancier headlights doesn't necessarily mean better nighttime visibility. The headlights fitted to the range-topping 2019 Acura RDX luxury crossover SUV earned an "Acceptable" rating, while the standard LED units in the base trim level scored "Good." 2019 Cadillac XT5...
Categories: Property

Some 2019 Subaru Ascent crossover SUVs may be replaced for faulty roof welds

The Car Connection News Feed - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 14:11
Some owners of 2019 Subaru Ascent crossover SUVs may get a second chance at the new car smell. The automaker said in government filings last week that it will recall 293 examples of its new three-row crossover to inspect them for spot welds that may have not been applied at the factory. If Subaru finds that spot welds around one of the roof...
Categories: Property

2019 Acura RDX aces IIHS crash tests

The Car Connection News Feed - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 13:43
The IIHS said last week that paying more for fancier headlights doesn't necessarily mean better nighttime visibility. The headlights fitted to the range-topping 2019 Acura RDX luxury crossover SUV earned an "Acceptable" rating, while the standard LED units in the base trim level scored "Good." The headlights standard on the base, Technology, and...
Categories: Property

Industry pays tribute to City office legend Simon Harris

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 13:33
Tributes have poured in for Simon Harris, the development consultant remembered as a driving force behind some of the City of London’s most celebrated office buildings.
Categories: Property

New COO as Avant Homes targets huge increase in housebuilding

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 13:15
Housebuilder Avant Homes has appointed Mark Mitchell to the position of chief operating officer as part of the company’s plans to double output to 4,000 homes a year and a £1bn turnover by 2023.
Categories: Property

Abbey New Homes acquires Stoke Mandeville site for resi development

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 13:08
Developer Abbey New Homes has acquired a 15.49 acre former agricultural site on the northern edge of Stoke Mandeville in Buckinghamshire with planning permission for a new residential scheme.
Categories: Property

Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk vs. Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio vs. Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 Coupe vs. Range Rover Sport SVR vs. Porsche Macan Turbo

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 13:05

The craft came to a stop in a cloud of dust. A slender figure emerged from inside the swoopy, sleek sheetmetal—loose skin, bulbous head, humanoid but with a hint of something extra—and a swarm of scientists descended, needing feedback. Needing data. Needing to know: Have we finally broken through?

I have always been fascinated with Area 51. Stories of secret test flights, of government scientists collaborating with alien pilots to push the limits of what we believed possible, hooked my childhood mind. And seeing Capt. Steven Hiller pilot his F/A-18 through the Grand Canyon, flying saucer in hot pursuit, only solidified my intrigue (Independence Day’s fictional nature notwithstanding). Was that top-secret area in southwest Nevada really the place where the government had hidden the Roswell aircraft? Had we reverse-engineered spacecraft not of this earth, perhaps with alien aid? Or were the feds telling the truth when they said the facility was merely the development site for military jets such as the U-2, SR-71, and F-117 Nighthawk—jets that suspiciously flew higher, faster, and sneakier than any before?

Like those military jets—or flying saucers—these five ridiculously high-performance SUVs we are piloting refuse to conform to classical ideas of appearance and capability. Originally created for rock-crawling or helping out around the estate, sport-utility vehicles have become America’s favorite mundane family haulers. But somehow, in a recent unexplainable technological leap, SUVs have also evolved into supercars, with overboosted engines stuffed between their fenders and suspensions cranked down for sports car levels of performance. This is higher, faster, sneakier space-alien stuff.

Which is how our pack of otherworldly vehicles is screaming at post-apocalyptic velocities across Nevada’s Extraterrestrial Highway. What better place to find answers on the hottest transport advancements than America’s most secret environs?

So we rip a hole through the desert air, alien experimentation on our minds, in a 2,730-hp convoy of performance SUVs built by manufacturers that have thrown out their rulebooks.

The 503-hp 2018 Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S 4Matic+ Coupe I’m piloting is a challenge to the automotive status quo. SUVs don’t need to be big and slow; sports cars don’t have to be light, low, and lean. Like it or not, SUVs are where the auto industry is going. With its twin-turbo V-8 making 516 lb-ft of torque mated to a nine-speed auto with all-wheel drive, I can’t say I mind this form of transport.

Coming from brands traditionally known for their off-road prowess, the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk and 2018 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR both turn their backs on knobby tires and mud slinging in favor of a pair of supercharged V-8s. The Rover’s new-for-2018 5.0-liter unit makes 575 hp and 516 lb-ft of twist and is paired with an eight-speed automatic and a full-time four-wheel-drive system—its vestigial link to its past.

The Jeep, in a nod to the nuclear wasteland that is the Nevada Test Site surrounding Area 51, goes all in with its 6.2-liter Hellcat V-8, which puts out an absurd 707 hp and 645 lb-ft of torque. The Grand Cherokee’s engine is abetted by an eight-speed automatic and an all-wheel-drive system.

Meanwhile, the 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Q4 Quadrifoglio and 2017 Porsche Macan Turbo with Performance package are a weird, roundabout return to the roots of the two storied racing brands. The Stelvio packs a Ferrari-developed 505-hp 2.9-liter twin-turbo V-6 under its hood, and it’s backed by an eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. The Macan rides on an Audi-developed platform, but its 3.6-liter twin-turbo V-6 is all Porsche. It packs 440 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque, and it’s backed by Porsche’s famed PDK seven-speed twin-clutch gearbox and torque-vectoring all-wheel drive.

The stakes here are high, and I’m really pondering the idea of a 440-hp Porsche being the lowest-output beast of this bunch. The winner of this performance SUV comparison test will have the honor of being the first SUV to compete in our annual Best Driver’s Car competition next month.

As such, the rules are simple: The winner needs to be the most engaging, exciting, fun-to-drive super SUV in our quintet—the SUV that’s most likely to upset the world order.

Welcome to Earth

The scenery a day earlier couldn’t be more different. A twin-turbo V-6 growls in front of me as the sapphire blue Macan slices through soupy coastal clouds and mist as we climb the Angeles Crest Highway to meet up with the rest of the group. It’s been a while since I’ve driven a Macan; this one offers an extra 40 hp, larger front brakes, and a few other go-fast options. It feels the same as the Turbo without the Performance package, but Angeles Crest will be the place to prove it. The highway twists and turns 66 miles up and over the San Gabriel Mountains as it links the L.A. basin to the Mojave Desert and beyond. It’s the perfect nearby-substitute for the Best Driver’s Car’s State Route 198 hill climb.

Once linked up with the rest of the crew, we picked one of our favorite stretches of the highway and set off. The Porsche makes things easy. Despite the Macan having the least powerful engine here, I found myself parked on the Trackhawk’s tail as we rocketed up Angeles Crest for our first run of the day. The Macan is easy to drive fast. “Zuffenhausen did a fabulous job with the suspension,” senior features editor Jonny Lieberman said. “The damping is superb, and the body control is excellent.”

But there’s something off about the Porsche. It’s not in the way it drives, but in the way it makes you feel—or not feel, rather. There’s a sort of numbness to the Macan Turbo that’s tough to identify—the Novocain-numb steering is part of the issue, but there’s more to it. Although this crossover is supremely capable, I found myself daydreaming about bills to be paid and errands to run. Nearly every other editor felt (or didn’t feel, as the case may be) the same detachment. “There’s no doubt about its capability, but there’s just no emotion in it,” features editor Scott Evans said. Driving a good car up a good road is supposed to be an escape. The Macan wasn’t acting like one.

Seeking a shot of adrenaline, I swapped into the Darth Vader–black Range Rover Sport SVR for my next run. I have fond memories of the pre-refresh Rover Sport SVR. Although it’s short 25 horsepower compared to the new one, it was absolutely hilarious to drive—the only SUV as prone to swinging out its backside as it was to plowing through a bend. It took all of four corners to discover that the SVR’s manners have finally been tamed. I haven’t decided if that’s a good thing, but because you’re no longer fighting the Rover, you do get a chance to evaluate its prowess in other areas. “Not nearly as ridiculously tail happy as the last SVR, this iteration does feel noticeably smoother,” Jonny said. The Range Rover Sport’s steering rack has a surprising delicacy and lightness to it, given the Rover’s size, but its air suspension can’t keep up on a good road. “Its weight is noticeable on the twisties, where it leans quite a bit,” associate road test editor Erick Ayapana said.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk has a lot in common with the Rover. There’s a lot to love about the Trackhawk, but in this group it turns about as well as a B-2 in a dogfight. Its steering feel is actually pretty responsive—direct, linear, mechanical—but its dragstrip-oriented suspension makes it feel like, well, a Jeep. “I ran out of desire to go faster long before I ran out of grip,” associate online editor Collin Woodard said. As Scott would discover, braking could be a bit of an issue when the Jeep was pushed hard. “In a few miles, I managed to set the brakes on fire,” he said. “Not smoking. Actual flame from the right front pad.” The Jeep sports decent-sized brake rotors; we suspect that higher-quality brake pads and fluids would help avoid small, easily extinguished fires like we had. (Note: Pushing heavy vehicles repeatedly to their limits can ignite the brakes, and although it’s rare, it is not unheard of in the testing community.)

If you’re only looking to figuratively set your world on fire, the Alfa feels like it comes from a different galaxy than the Rover and Jeep. The Stelvio is a crossover only in that it looks like the rest of the SUVs assembled here. From behind the wheel it feels like its sedan stablemate, the Giulia Quadrifoglio, with an extra carbon-fiber halfshaft driving the front wheels. “The body control on this high-rider is incredible,” Scott said. Collin agreed, adding, “From the moment you take off, everything just feels right. Thirty seconds in, I almost forgot I was in a crossover.” It might sound like hyperbole, but the Stelvio really manages to capture the engaging, dynamic feel of the Giulia sedan (warts and all), from its pure steering to its grabby, hard-to-modulate brake-by-wire system.

Stuck in both camps is the AMG GLC 63. In some ways it bridges the gap between the Jeep/Range Rover camp and that of the Porsche/Alfa, offering up a V-8 for the former crowd and the European sensibilities of the latter. “It didn’t take long to feel confident behind the wheel of the AMG,” Erick said. True to its new AMG badge, the GLC 63 begs to be pushed to its limit. Trouble is, you might not like what you find once you get there. “Steering just feels good: sharp, precise, perfectly weighted,” Jonny said. “But once you start pushing the GLC 63 S Coupe, the damping lets the car down, and it starts to bounce around on its air springs.” Even in its firmest mode, the AMG’s suspension never proved to be stiff enough to deliver the high-gain experience that the rest of the GLC package was promising.

Exhausted after a long day on Angeles Crest, we fueled up and cannonballed to Las Vegas. Little green men were waiting.

Warp Speed

Ride and handling get a well-deserved portion of the attention during Best Driver’s Car. But as you well know, it’s only half of the formula that makes a driver’s car just that. It’s the atom without the neutron, if you will. Our next stomping ground: a blazing-hot scenic drive along some of America’s most top-secret sites on the deserted Extraterrestrial Highway, skirting Area 51, across the barren U.S. Route 6, and then a straight shot down US-95, hugging the edges of the nuclear-weapons Nevada Test Site to reach our end point in Death Valley.

Leaving Vegas by car is always a gamble, one I won by scoring the keys to the Alfa. For a knife-fighter, the Stelvio is remarkably comfortable on the highway. Its high-strung V-6 is brutally powerful; it’s laggy off the line, but once the turbos spool up, it sends out wave after wave of torque. “The engine is powerful and the transmission doesn’t need your guidance; it’s fine on its own,” said Scott. The test data shows he’s right. The Alfa accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds, and it’ll run the quarter mile in 12 seconds flat at 114.4 mph. Yet these startling numbers are only midpack in this group.

The Macan futilely attempts to hang on the Alfa’s tail. Hustling through the San Gabriel Mountains the day before, the Macan felt quick. But out on the endless straights of Nevada highway, its power disadvantage becomes apparent. It’s kind of amazing how much horsepower can skew things; the Macan’s 440 ponies are enough to get it from 0 to 60 mph in a properly quick 3.8 seconds and through the quarter mile in 12.5 seconds at 109.4 mph. But in this group that still makes it second slowest.

The Range Rover Sport SVR brought up the rear of our strike package—not that those driving it minded. Arguably the most comfortable long-haul cruiser of the bunch, the Rover had another trick up its sleeve. “The award for best exhausts goes to the Range Rover Sport SVR,” Erick said. “But it sounds much quicker than it feels behind the wheel.” He’s right. In nearly all of our instrumented tests, the SVR trailed this pack. It takes the Range Rover Sport 4.3 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph, and it needs 12.7 seconds to cross the quarter mile at 110.9 mph. That’s hardly slow, but it ain’t setting speed records in this crowd.

Amazingly, our two fastest SUVs were designed for the same job but go about it in completely different ways. The Jeep is all about power. Its 707-hp V-8 allows Jeep to ignore the Grand Cherokee’s curb weight and focus instead on blistering straight-line speed. That suspension that left the Trackhawk flopping around Angeles Crest? Well, when launched, the Trackhawk hunkers down on its rear haunches as it claws down the tarmac. Your view changes from street to sky. “All the SUVs in this group are quick, but oh my, the Trackhawk is something else completely,” Collin said. “From a stop. At low speeds. At highway speeds. You put your foot down, and it just takes off. It never gets old … at least as long as you’re going in a straight line.”

The better-balanced Mercedes doesn’t need any more than the 503 horses under its hood thanks to its nearly 1,000-pound weight advantage. “The AMG’s ‘big’ V-8 puts out all the cruel and lovely snarls we’re used to, deep and throaty and pretty much hinged,” Jonny said. “It feels both torquey and fast.” The GLC 63 S loves eating up highway miles at extralegal speeds just as much as it does launching hard for drag races.

In instrumented testing, the GLC 63 S and Grand Cherokee Trackhawk are constantly trading blows. The German and American tie each other from 0 to 30 mph, the Jeep edges the Mercedes to 40 mph, the Mercedes comes even at 50 mph, and then ultimately it takes the 0–60 crown. The GLC’s 3.2-second 0–60 run ties the Tesla Model X P90D for the quickest SUV we’ve ever tested. The Merc is also the quickest gas-powered SUV we’ve ever run down the quarter mile—tying the Jeep’s 11.7-second quarter-mile time but at a higher 116.5-mph trap speed. It’s close enough to call it a draw. Even in the open desert, local police presence means this fight won’t be settled today.

Mission Accomplished

I think it’s fair to say that everyone hated my logistical planning skills after our loop through Nevada to Death Valley. After a long day, the only alien we saw was the plaster one standing outside of the Alien Research Center in Hiko, Nevada. The only flying saucer we saw was hanging from a battered tow truck outside the Little A’Le’Inn in Rachel, Nevada. As for under-the-radar military stuff, we did see an old Nike nuclear-tipped missile serving as a gate guard for the secretive Tonopah Test Range, and a ’50s-era French fighter jet—likely belonging to the Air Force test pilot school—buzzed us. I’m sure those were secret at one point or another.

But despite the hassle, there was a reason we wound up in Death Valley.

While the military develops its latest black projects in Area 51, not far away in Death Valley, the auto industry tests its own top-secret stuff. Bugatti Chirons and Ford GTs were both partially developed in the national park. Hell, we even bumped into Acura engineers hard at work on a to-be-announced performance MDX variant. It’s a fair bet that each of our five super SUVs spent some development time in Death Valley, their test drivers, decked in bulbous helmets and the loose skin of racing suits, taking on a vaguely alien appearance as automotive engineers prod them for thoughts on how to push the performance envelop just a little bit past what we previously imagined possible.

That evening, with beers to quench the desert’s heat, our SUVs ticking in the cool desert night behind us, it was time to take all we’d learned and pick the SUV that most deserved a shot at Best Driver’s Car. After all—only the best-driving SUV stands a shot at knocking BDC’s purebred sports and supercars off their pedestal.

Were Best Driver’s Car singularly focused on straight-line speed, the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk would’ve been a sure bet. It’s stupid fun to bury the Trackhawk’s throttle in a straight line, but it’s severely underbraked for an object as fast and heavy as it is, and its handling performance is perhaps most kindly described as “sharp as a hammer.” Last place in this group is nothing to hang your head about, but this bruiser would be outgunned at Best Driver’s Car.

The 2018 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR finished ahead of the Jeep by a nose. Despite the Rover being the slowest SUV in this comparison, this isn’t a numbers game. Simply put, out on the road, the Range Rover Sport is more enjoyable to hustle through a corner or two, making the most of its power. Although price wasn’t a factor in this comparison, it’s worth mentioning that the SVR, especially its interior, felt worth every bit of its $28,500 premium over the next-cheapest SUV here.

The 2017 Porsche Macan Turbo with the Performance package earned third. The Porsche does almost everything right—it’s quick, it goes around a corner well, and it’s easy to drive fast. So what went wrong?  “It commits the cardinal sin of being boring,” Jonny said. “I’m sorry, but Porsches, by definition, cannot be boring.” Collin agreed: “Driving the Macan was kind of like watching Tom Brady play football. He’s an incredible quarterback, but guys like Cam Newton and Russell Wilson play a more exciting game.”

And that sets us up the battle for first place between the 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio and 2018 Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S. The Alfa lives for slicing up your favorite back road, yet it’s equally satisfying at high straight-line speeds. “This thing is phenomenal in a way that you have to experience to understand,” Collin said. The Mercedes trades some of that sharpness in favor of a slightly more comfortable commute-friendly ride, and it’s also the fastest  SUV we’ve ever tested, period. “The experience reminds me of the GT R,” Erick said. “That the GLC 63 S evokes the same visceral and satisfying experience as AMG’s halo car is a huge success.”

Ultimately it’s a game of inches, and with Best Driver’s Car rules in place, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio earns the win. The Merc is quicker, but the Alfa is the most fun SUV here to drive, and in spite of its SUV-ness, it’s also one of the most outstanding vehicles on the road—regardless of shape, size, or curb weight.

Like the secret projects being built in the middle of the Nevada desert, automotive enthusiasts might not like what the Stelvio Quadrifoglio represents. But there’s no denying that Alfa accomplished its mission of building a driver’s SUV. Best Driver’s Car contenders, you have your work cut out for you. Godspeed.

5. 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

The world’s fastest studio apartment is great in a straight line but leaves us wanting in corners.

4. 2018 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR

It’s guaranteed to score you a primo valet spot, if not necessarily a spot on the podium.

3. 2017 Porsche Macan Turbo (Performance Package)

The soul we’ve come to expect from Porsche products is nowhere to be found.

2. 2018 Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S 4Matic+ Coupe

Say hello to the quickest SUV we’ve ever tested. Sort out its body control, and we might have had a different winner.

1. 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Q4 Quadrifoglio

Take everything you thought you knew about lumbering SUVs and throw it out the window. Blistering performance and sublime handling in an attractive, practical package. Bring on Best Driver’s Car.

2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Q4 Quadrifoglio 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk Supercharged 2018 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR 2018 Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S 4Matic+ (Coupe) 2018 Porsche Macan Turbo (Performance Pack) DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Front-engine, AWD Front-engine, AWD Front-engine, 4WD Front-engine, AWD Front-engine, AWD ENGINE TYPE Twin-turbo 90-deg V-6, alum block/heads Supercharged 90-deg V-8, iron block/alum heads Supercharged 90-deg V-8, alum block/heads Twin-turbo 90-deg V-8, alum block/heads Twin-turbo 90-deg V-6, alum block/heads VALVETRAIN DOHC, 4 valves/cyl OHV, 2 valves/cyl DOHC, 4 valves/cyl DOHC, 4 valves/cyl DOHC, 4 valves/cyl DISPLACEMENT 176.4 cu in/2,891 cc 376.3 cu in/6,166 cc 305.1 cu in/5,000 cc 243.0 cu in/3,982 cc 220.0 cu in/3,605 cc COMPRESSION RATIO 9.3:1 9.5:1 9.5:1 10.5:1 10.5:1 POWER (SAE NET) 505 hp @ 6,500 rpm 707 hp @ 6,000 rpm 575 hp @ 6,000 rpm 503 hp @ 5,500 rpm 440 hp @ 6,000 rpm TORQUE (SAE NET) 443 lb-ft @ 2,500 rpm 645 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm 516 lb-ft @ 3,500 rpm 516 lb-ft @ 1,750 rpm 442 lb-ft @ 1,500 rpm REDLINE 6,500 rpm 6,000 rpm 6,500 rpm 7,000 rpm 6,750 rpm WEIGHT TO POWER 8.6 lb/hp 7.7 lb/hp 9.5 lb/hp 9.0 lb/hp 10.2 lb/hp TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic 8-speed automatic 8-speed automatic 9-speed automatic 7-speed twin-clutch auto AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE RATIO 3.73:1/2.39:1 3.70:1/2.48:1 3.31:1/2.21:1 3.27:1/1.96:1 4.67:1/2.42:1 SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Multilink, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar Control arms, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar Multilink, air springs, adj shocks, adj anti-roll bar; multilink, air springs, adj shocks, adj anti-roll bar Multilink, air springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar; multilink, air springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar Control arms, air springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar; multilink, air springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar STEERING RATIO 12.1:1 16.5:1 17.7:1 14.5:1 14.3:1 TURNS LOCK-TO-LOCK 2.2 3.0 2.7 2.0 2.6 BRAKES, F; R 14.2-in vented, drilled disc; 13.8-in vented, drilled disc, ABS 15.8-in vented, grooved, 2-pc disc; 13.8-in vented, grooved disc, ABS 15.0-in vented disc; 14.4-in vented disc, ABS 15.4-in vented, drilled, 2-piece carbon-ceramic disc; 14.2-in vented, drilled disc, ABS 15.4-in vented, grooved, 2-piece disc; 14.0-in vented, disc, ABS WHEELS, F;R 9.0 x 20-in; 10.0 x 20-in, forged aluminum 10.0 x 20-in forged aluminum 10.0 x 22-in forged aluminum 9.5 x 21-in; 10.0 x 21-in, forged aluminum 9.0 x 21-in; 10.0 x 21-in, forged aluminum TIRES, F;R 255/45R20 101Y; 285/40R20 104Y Pirelli P Zero AR 245/45R20 110Y Pirelli P Zero (runflat) 295/40R22 112Y Continental ContiSportContact 5 SUV 265/40R21 105Y; 295/35R21 107Y Michelin Pilot Sport 4S 265/40R21 101Y; 295/35R21 103Y Pirelli P Zero N0 DIMENSIONS WHEELBASE 111.0 in 114.7 in 115.1 in 113.1 in 110.5 in TRACK, F/R 61.2/63.3 in 65.7/64.8 in 66.6/66.4 in 65.4/64.9 in 64.9/65.4 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 185.1 x 77.0 x 66.3 in 189.8 x 76.5 x 67.9 in 192.2 x 78.1 x 69.0-73.6 in 186.8 x 76.0 x 62.4* in 184.7 x 76.1 x 63.0 in (in std mode) GROUND CLEARANCE 7.9 in 8.1 in 6.4-10.9 in (8.4 in, std mode) 6.4 in* 6.2-0.0 in APPRCH/DEPART ANGLE 20.8/20.0 deg 18.0/23.1 deg 20.6-26.9/22.6-27.8 deg 17.6/21.5 deg* 24.0-25.5/19.5-24.2 deg TURNING CIRCLE 38.4 ft 38.0 ft 40.7 ft 39.0 ft (est) 39.2 ft CURB WEIGHT 4,339 lb 5,448 lb 5,450 lb 4,503 lb 4,466 lb WEIGHT DIST, F/R 53/47% 56/44% 51/49% 55/45% 56/44% TOWING CAPACITY 3,000 lb 7,200 lb 6,613 lb 3,500 lb 4,409 lb SEATING CAPACITY 5 5 5 5 5 HEADROOM, F/R 40.2/38.9 in 39.9/39.2 in 38.7/39.0 in 41.1/38.3 in (est) 38.6/38.7 in LEGROOM, F/R 36.6/31.9 in 40.3/38.6 in 42.2/37.0 in 34.3/33.6 in (est) 40.9/35.6 in SHOULDER ROOM, F/R 57.7/55.9 in 58.7/58.0 in 60.7/59.5 in 51.7/55.1 in (est) 56.9/54.9 in CARGO VOLUME, BEH F/R 56.5/18.5 cu ft 68.3/36.3 cu ft 59.5/27.5 cu ft 49.4/18.3 cu ft (est) 53.0/17.7 cu ft TEST DATA ACCELERATION TO MPH 0-30 1.2 sec 1.1 sec 1.6 sec 1.1 sec 1.3 sec 0-40 1.8 1.6 2.3 1.7 2.0 0-50 2.6 2.4 3.2 2.4 2.8 0-60 3.5 3.3 4.3 3.2 3.8 0-70 4.5 4.2 5.5 4.2 5.1 0-80 5.7 5.3 6.9 5.5 6.6 0-90 7.2 6.8 8.5 6.8 8.3 0-100 9.0 8.4 10.4 8.4 10.3 PASSING, 45-65 MPH 1.8 1.8 2.1 1.7 2.1 QUARTER MILE 12.0 sec @ 114.4 mph 11.7 sec @ 116.2 mph 12.7 sec @ 110.9 mph 11.7 sec @ 116.5 mph 12.5 sec @ 109.4 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 103 ft 108 ft 106 ft 105 ft 105 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.92 g (avg) 0.90 g (avg) 0.89 g (avg) 0.96 g (avg) 0.95 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 24.6 sec @ 0.79 g (avg) 24.7 sec @ 0.79 g (avg) 25.2 sec @ 0.77 g (avg) 24.1 sec @ 0.85 g (avg) 24.3 sec @ 0.81 g (avg) TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 1,750 rpm 1,700 rpm 1,450 rpm 1,400 rpm 1,600 rpm CONSUMER INFO BASE PRICE $81,390 $87,645 $114,595 $81,745 $88,750 PRICE AS TESTED $86,940 $101,610 $133,860 $105,610 $98,030 STABILITY/TRACTION CONTROL Yes/Yes Yes/Yes Yes/Yes Yes/Yes Yes/Yes AIRBAGS 8: Dual front, front side, f/r curtain, front knee 7: Dual front, front side, f/r curtain, driver knee 6: Dual front, front side, f/r curtain 10: Dual front, f/r side, f/r curtain, front knee 7: Dual front, front side, f/r curtain, driver knee BASIC WARRANTY 4 yrs/50,000 miles 3 yrs/36,000 miles 4 yrs/50,000 miles 4 yrs/50,000 miles 4 yrs/50,000 miles POWERTRAIN WARRANTY 4 yrs/50,000 miles 5 yrs/60,000 miles 4 yrs/50,000 miles 4 yrs/50,000 miles 4 yrs/50,000 miles ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE 4 yrs/Unlimited miles 5 yrs/60,000 miles 4 yrs/50,000 miles 4 yrs/50,000 miles 4 yrs/50,000 miles FUEL CAPACITY 16.9 gal 24.6 gal 27.3 gal 17.4 gal 19.8 gal EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON 17/23/19 mpg 11/17/13 mpg 15/20/16 mpg 15/22/18 mpg 17/23/19 mpg ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 198/147 kW-hrs/100 miles 306/198 kW-hrs/100 miles 225/169 kW-hrs/100 miles 225/153 kW-hrs/100 miles 198/147 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 1.01 lb/mile 1.48 lb/mile 1.15 lb/mile 1.11 lb/mile 1.01 lb/mile RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded premium Unleaded premium Unleaded premium Unleaded premium Unleaded premium *At standard ride height; range N/A

The post Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk vs. Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio vs. Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 Coupe vs. Range Rover Sport SVR vs. Porsche Macan Turbo appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: Property

2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club First Test: The Perfect Roadster, Now Just More So

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 13:05

Seventeen percent.

It might not sound like a lot, but it is. A 17 percent election victory margin is a historic landslide. If you weighed 200 pounds and lost 17 percent of your weight, you would weigh 166 pounds (talk about getting back in shape).

For 2019, Mazda has given its traditionally peppy-but-not-quick MX-5 Miata 17 percent more horsepower, its engine output jumping from a modest 155 hp to an exuberant 181.

Does that mean Mazda’s tossable ragtop is 17 percent quicker? Not so fast.

Let’s get our testing numbers out of the way: The refined 2019 model races from 0 to 60 in 5.7 seconds; in three separate tests of the 2016 version of the MX-5 Club, we hit 60 in 6.1, 6.0, and 5.8 seconds. Similarly, the 2019 Miata hits the quarter mile in 14.4 seconds at 95.5 mph, whereas the 2016 version was only one-tenth slower in two tests and two-tenths slower in the other.

So the 2019 Miata is not light years faster stoplight to stoplight. It’s a tenth here and there (but for you weekend racers, it was 2 full seconds quicker around WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca than the 2016 MX-5 Club). Perhaps more important to everyday driving, the engine feels different. It’s a healthier sensation you get underfoot, in your buttocks, and in your ears as the 2.0-liter naturally aspirated inline-four winds out. Editor-in-chief Ed Loh noted that it doesn’t feel like Mazda gave the Miata 26 more ponies, “but rather that each of the original horsies bulked up a bit.”

In the old MX-5, as you got within 1,500 rpm of redline, you’d feel the power delivery wane and hear the engine get reedy. Not so with the new gen, which has a deeper tone and is content to zing all the way to redline and just hang out. “[In] the original ND, the engine just went south about 5,300 rpm,” staff pro racer Randy Pobst said. “It just was wheezing; it was sipping through a straw. And that’s not sporty. This Miata revs. It’s pulling so well at high revs. It just feels free.”

Added road test editor Chris Walton: “It doesn’t so much add objective performance as it does subjective. Power is solid through the rev range. I found myself shifting far less often—third gear for longer stretches and fourth occasionally for the fast bits.”

What does the seat-cushion stopwatch indicate? Features editor Scott Evans answers that query: “Before, you spent a lot of time at full throttle thinking, ‘Man, I wish it had just a little more.’ Now, you keep it floored and you think, ‘This is the perfect amount of power.’”

Engine upgrades include lighter pistons and connecting rods, as well as reconfigured intake ports and higher-pressure fuel injectors for improved efficiency. The engine’s increased valve opening angle and valve lift height, as well as the increased inner diameter of the exhaust manifold, help reduce exhaust loss.

The Miata has long been known for its snick-snick gearbox and easy clutch. Engaging the clutch remains a tip of the cap as opposed to fully doffing your chapeau. There’s no need to take the pedal all the way to the firewall. Just a little nudge of your toes will do. For 2019, the Miata receives a low-inertia dual-mass flywheel that promises to improve smoothness and responsiveness over the previous single-mass flywheel. Mazda also increased the transmission’s final drive ratio from 3.45 to 3.58. This might be one reason why you can reach 60 mph (barely) before having to perform the 2–3 shift.

Although its curb weight is in line with past Miatas, the 2019 took a foot longer—112 feet at its best—to stop from 60 mph. Walton noted “a firm pedal, a little dive, a little light in the rear, and good fade resistance even with a couple 100–0 stops.” However, around Laguna Seca, the brakes went “bye-bye” on Pobst at the start of his fourth lap. “I was amazed,” he said. “It was pure fade. The pedal was still firm. It just flipping wouldn’t stop. And that surprised the heck out of me.”

Of course, most folks don’t buy an MX-5 for its power; rather, they delight in its handling, which is communicative and direct at up to 80 percent then thrillingly (some might say startlingly) tail-happy at the extreme. It’s the same lovably annoying Miata: flittery, flighty, wiggly, and floppy. In short, its behavior is a reflection of its driver.

“The steering is light and precise, and it feels delightfully light and chuckable,” technical director Frank Markus said. But Markus also noted an “almost disorienting amount of body roll. The big body motion excursions sometimes result in bump-stop compression events that upset the chassis.”

Walton agreed: “Turn-in is crisp, but the rear flop is still there. Hops and compressions are not this car’s friend; steady state is.”

During his Laguna Seca hot laps, Pobst deemed the shocks and springs to be too soft: “It rolls a lot, and it oversteers. And I have fun with that, but it’s better if it’s balanced.” He added this caveat racer for the SCCA crowd: “This Miata wants you to brake pretty straight and then go to power and drive through the corner on the power. And the reason for that is because of the way it’s tuned, with a little bit of oversteer, which is fun in a way and beautiful. But when I’m going really fast, it’s a fight. I’m trying to keep that tail behind me. I’m a trail-braker. My style is to enter the corner with some weight on the nose. This car hates that when you’re at the limit. If you put weight on the nose and get the rear end a little light, you’ve got a lot of oversteer. It would be a difficult car for a normal person to drive fast because they’d have to deal with that oversteer all the time. And most people are not capable of correcting, catching, and controlling a slide.”

Off the racetrack, just driving around, how does it feel? Even taller drivers, such as myself, didn’t feel claustrophobically entombed. Did Mazda somehow find an extra inch of headroom or seat pitch with the top up? No, it just feels that way. I’m 6-foot-1, and I never felt my head come near the ragtop (although my knees were widely splayed, and my tailbone was pinned into the base of the seat back). Similarly, with older Miatas, my sightline was frequently impeded by the top of the windshield frame, and I would have to scrunch down to see out. Not so this time.

As is true with all Miatas, the seats offer ample lateral support without feeling confining. And as is true with all Miatas, it’s loud as hell inside—a run from King City to Monterey on the 101 carried a level of top-up road roar so thundering that the stereo (with cool headrest-mounted speakers) couldn’t drown it out. Even with the top up, you can forget calling home from the road, as all your beloved will hear is wind and tire noise.

In terms of features, the Miata gets a new standard rearview camera (you can stop with the jokes about the old rearview involving flinging back the ragtop). Other safety bits include traffic sign recognition and automatic braking below 19 mph, as well as different levels of the i-Activsense suite, depending on the trim level.

But mostly, we’re nitpicking at the Miata’s faults. This is a retro racer with all mod cons, coming in a Club trim that will start at around $30,500. (Our tester had additional options) Evans summed it up best: “This remains the best sports car for the money in the world, full stop. You cannot have more fun per dollar spent. They nailed it. This is everything I wanted the Miata to be two years ago. The stiffer rear suspension that still moves and leans with you but doesn’t bang down on its bump stops. The freer-revving engine with the sky-high redline. The horsepower-to-weight ratio. All of it is perfect. Don’t change anything.”

2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata (Club) BASE PRICE $30,500 (est) PRICE AS TESTED $35,000 (est) VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, RWD, 2-pass, 2-door convertible ENGINE 2.0L/181-hp/151-lb-ft DOHC 16-valve I-4 TRANSMISSION 6-speed manual CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 2,318 lb (52/48%) WHEELBASE 90.9 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 154.1 x 68.3 x 48.8 in 0-60 MPH 5.7 sec QUARTER MILE 14.4 sec @ 95.5 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 112 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.95 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 25.2 sec @ 0.73 g (avg) EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 26/34/29 mpg ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 130/99 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.67 lb/mile

The post 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club First Test: The Perfect Roadster, Now Just More So appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: Property

Henry Boot fires up £60m Imperial Tobacco redevelopment plans

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 12:38
Henry Boot Developments has outlined plans to redevelop the former Imperial Tobacco production site in Nottingham into an enlarged industrial scheme incorporating 500,000 sq ft of new logistics buildings.
Categories: Property

Sports Direct appoints CBRE on House of Fraser estate

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 11:16
Sports Direct has appointed CBRE to advise on all property related matters in relation to its acquisition of House of Fraser.
Categories: Property

CBRE GI sells industrial portfolio

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 11:13
CBRE Global Investors has sold the Atlas Portfolio to clients of Knight Frank Investment Management (KFIM) and Schroders, for its Multi-Let Industrial Property Unit Trust.
Categories: Property

Valor buys Wincanton-let logistics asset in London

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 10:21
Valor Real Estate Partners has acquired a 160,000 sq ft logistics asset in Thurrock, East London.
Categories: Property

HB Reavis buys development site in Farringdon

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 10:16
HB Reavis has expanded its London development portfolio with the acquisition of a Crossrail over-site development at Farringdon West.
Categories: Property