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Toyota Scores First Victory at Le Mans

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 20:30

On its 20th attempt, Toyota has finally won the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Japanese automaker nabbed the top two positions, leading other competitors by a considerable margin.

The No. 8 TS050 Hybrid took the checkered flag after 388 laps around the Circuit de la Sarthe in France. Behind the wheel was Fernando Alonso, two-time F1 world champion and a Le Mans rookie. Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima also piloted the race car to victory after enduring a number of upsets with Toyota in the past. The No. 7 car TS050 Hybrid led for long stretches but suffered a fuel issue late in the game. By the end of the race, it had trailed off just two laps behind the winning car to score second place. Rebellion Racing took third place, 12 laps behind Toyota.

Toyota’s victory marks the second time a Japanese automaker has won Le Mans, the first time being Mazda in 1991. Toyota’s No. 8 car had started from pole position, as Toyota had in 1999, 2014, and 2016.

With Audi out of the picture, Toyota has had a better chance of winning Le Mans in the last few years. But 2016 saw an unfortunate failure on the final lap. In 2017, Toyota lost its shot at victory again. Its race-leading No. 7 TS050 Hybrid had a clutch problem at the tenth hour, and then another Toyota was hit from behind and caught on fire. A third car had an issue with its front motor but managed to place eighth.

Source: Toyota

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Audi CEO Arrested in Dieselgate Probe

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 17:30

Audi CEO Rupert Stadler was arrested in Germany on Monday in connection to the diesel emissions scandal that broke in 2015. Stadler is one of 20 current or former Audi employees under criminal investigation related to potential fraud.

Officials said the executive was detained over concerns he might seek to suppress evidence, reports the BBC. Audi confirmed to media sources that Stadler was taken into custody, although it wouldn’t comment about the ongoing investigations. “The presumption of innocence continues to apply for Mr. Stadler,” an Audi spokesman told NPR.

Munich prosecutors said last week they had searched Stadler’s home for evidence. Stadler, who has worked with Audi since 1990 and became chairman of the board in 2007, is under investigation for alleged “fraud and indirect improprieties with documents,” reports The Associated Press.

Just a week ago, German prosecutors fined Volkswagen $1.2 billion for diesel cheating. Volkswagen Group has admitted to using software that helped cars pass pollution tests but then disabled the emissions controls in real-world driving. Another high profile figure under scrutiny in the diesel scandal is former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn, who was indicted in May on charges of conspiracy and fraud related to the emissions cheating.

According to prosecutors, Stadler could be released as early as next week if he cooperates with investigators. Last month, Audi said it discovered emissions-related problems in an additional 60,000 cars. Audi had halted deliveries of A6 and A7s with a certain type of diesel engine after it found a previously unidentified issue with emissions software.

Source: CNN Money, NPR, Reuters

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Categories: Property

VTS launches first-ever real-time commercial benchmarking tool

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 17:19
US proptech giant VTS has announced the launch of the first-ever real-time benchmarking and market analytics for commercial real estate.
Categories: Property

Barings buys Paris opera building for more than a song

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 17:04
Barings Real Estate has acquired an office building at 9 rue du Helder in Paris, from a private investor as part of its pan-European value-add real estate investment strategy on behalf of institutional investors.
Categories: Property

New exec director for LSH

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 15:58
Lambert Smith Hampton has appointed Nick Mullins to the new role of executive director for business transactions.
Categories: Property

Glenhawk adds series of new hires

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 15:53
Alternative lender Glenhawk has expanded with a series of hires including a new finance director.
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Aviva sells 20 Soho Square for £117m

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 15:44
Aviva Investors has sold 20 Soho Square in London’s West End to a private European investor for a price believed to be £117m.
Categories: Property

Montreaux makes trio of appointments

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 15:40
Specialist developer Montreaux has made three senior appointments including Damian Stalley has been promoted to group managing director.
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2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter first drive: generational shift, but as useful as ever

The Car Connection News Feed - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 15:00
When you consider that new-car life cycles are usually measured in years, not decades, it seems silly to describe new models as “generations.” The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is an exception: the 2019 Sprinter is only the third generation of Mercedes-Benz’s flagship van since its introduction in 1995, and the first new iteration in...
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Trio of Old Oak schemes get green light to kickstart £26bn development

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 13:24
Planning permission has been granted for three developments in Old Oak that represent the first major private sector schemes approved within London’s largest designated ‘Opportunity Area’.
Categories: Property

Revetas & Goldman Sachs acquire TPG's €450m TriGranit portfolio

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 13:19
TPG Real Estate has sold a €450m (£394.5m) portfolio of central and eastern European office assets to specialist investor Revetas in partnership with Goldman Sachs Asset Management’s vintage funds.
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KWE and NAMA to develop 68,400 sq ft at Capital Docks Campus

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 13:18
Kennedy Wilson has secured planning permission for 68,400 sq ft of new office space at Hanover Quay in Dublin in a joint venture with the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA).
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LaSalle IM secures £95m industrial parks for GMPF

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 12:22
LaSalle Investment Management has purchased two new distribution parks in the South East for £95m on behalf of Greater Manchester Pension Fund.
Categories: Property

Workspace takes Biscuit with double refurbishment approval

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 12:19
Workspace Group has received planning consent to refurbish a duo of key schemes at Greville Street and The Biscuit Factory for new flexible workspace locations.
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Cording makes Molloy hire to boost resi team

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 11:52
REIM Cording has expanded its private rented sector (PRS) team with the appointment of John Molloy as senior project manager.
Categories: Property

WeWork takes major Dublin pre-let

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 11:23
US investor Hines and Hong Kong-based Peterson Group have agreed a full pre-let of the office space at its new One Central Plaza scheme in Dublin to WeWork.
Categories: Property

Croydon council clashes with CNM Estates over "nonsense" affordable housing targets

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 09:16
Croydon council’s head of planning Heather Cheesbrough clashed with CNM Estates chairman Wahid Samady over the London mayor’s housing policy after he said the 50% affordable homes target on public land was “a nonsense” during a panel debate at The London Real Estate Forum.
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MT Classic: Sampling Three Vintage Mercedes-Benz G-Wagens

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 09:00

When you’ve produced a vehicle continuously for 40 years, odds are there are gonna be some good ones. So to celebrate the milestone launch of the second-gen 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class, the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center provided a half dozen ’80s G-Wagens for us to sample. Here are the three coolest.

Read about the new 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class in this First Drive review

As I’m a child at heart, I naturally gravitated to the 1981 230G Fire Truck. Powered by a 102-hp 2.3-liter I-4 backed by a four-speed manual, this G-Wagen convertible spent most of its working life with an Italian fire department before being rescued by the Classic Center. For a truck fast approaching 40, the 230G was pretty peppy and happy to rev, though the gearbox had long, vague throws. All driving impressions are irrelevant because the cherries work—I was endlessly entertained by responding to imaginary emergency calls.

Moving chronologically, I took an off-white 1985 230GE four-door down a light off-road course. Powered by a “high-output” 125-hp version of that same I-4 mated to a four-speed auto, the 230GE was hideously slow in the most charming way possible. I basically had to keep the gas pedal pinned to the floor to get anywhere, but it handled off-roading just fine. Even when bombing down dirt back roads, the link between the old G-Wagen and new G-Class is pretty apparent—both ride exceptionally well off-road and are happy to eat any punishment you dish out.

My favorite was a gorgeous roofless blue 1989 300GD Cabriolet complete with plaid(!) seats, a 3.0-liter diesel I-5, and a four-speed manual. Despite producing just 87 horsepower on a good day, the 300GD was a blast. The clattery turboless diesel didn’t have a tach, so it needed to be driven by ear. But it was so slow to rev that it wasn’t a problem. The gearbox was surprisingly direct with long, tractorlike throws. Steering was slow and vague but really not much worse than the final 2018 first-gen G-Wagen. Ultimately it comes down to the special experience the Mercedes provides. Time to hit Craigslist.

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Enzo and the Damsels – Reference Mark

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 09:00

There are the automotive icons who are household names. Then there are those who work diligently without public recognition to create the magic that makes those icons famous. Those two groups are the subjects of fascinating new books.

Quick: What do the automotive child seat, head-up display, door lamps, adjustable lumbar supports, retractable seat belts, childproof rear-door and -window lockouts, and the in-car Dictaphone all have in common?

These creations were all proposed, designed, or invented by female car designers—in an era well before the rise of modern feminism. These women, bold forebears of a movement in a then (and still) male-dominated business, are profiled in Damsels in Design: Women Pioneers in the Automotive Industry.

Written by Constance A. Smith—a graduate of Pratt Institute hired into GM’s advanced design studio during the Chuck Jordan years—Damsels follows a biographical and technological approach to the women who contributed to Detroit design between 1939 and 1959 and beyond.

You think the Mad Men environment only applied to the advertising industry? Any woman entering the auto industry back then had to fight through institutional discrimination that shepherded them into soft sciences such as PR, HR, and legal. Design was men’s work, not something for “a mere slip of a girl,” as Studebaker designer Jake Aldrich referred to Audrey Hodges—who won the internal contest to design the hood ornament for the 1950 Champion.

Often hired as token color and trim “decorators,” these progressive professional artists and industrial designers bashed through the sheetmetal ceiling to create notable work—including landmark concept cars such as the 1957 Olds Mona Lisa, 1958 Olds Rendezvous, 1958 Corvette Fancy Free, and 1958 Chevrolet Impala Martinique. Virginia Van Brunt penned many of the 1950s Lincolns. The interior design of the 1973 Chevy Titan 90 tilt-cab truck—led by Jayne Van Alstyne—was renowned for its NVH advances (before ergonomic comfort was considered important). In charge of Chevrolet’s interior design, Suzanne Vanderbilt oversaw the layout of the Chevy Vega (which was Motor Trend’s 1971 Car of the Year).

Sometimes the accomplishments were more whimsical: Remember KITT from the TV show Knight Rider? Ripped off from a Firebird lighting concept done for Sylvania by Ruth Glennie.

But these women’s achievements were often quiet personal victories. They were frequently paid less than their subordinates. Pregnancy meant a pink slip. And when Bill Mitchell replaced Harley Earl atop GM Design, Mitchell cut short the nascent damsels movement for blatantly sexist reasons that were prevalent and acceptable at the time.

Painstakingly researched and archived, with hundreds of rare and private photographs, Damsels offers a rarely seen glimpse into the early history of automotive design and development.

Contrast those profiles to the 954-page eponymous hagiography of Enzo Ferrari. Books about this industry legend come a dime a dozen (seriously, check out Amazon). But this latest telling by one-time Ferrari USA public relations guru Luca Dal Monte takes the tale of the racer-turned-automaker beyond the usual fables into new, untold places.

At 3 pounds, 6 ounces, this biography is fit more for a beach bag at the Hamptons than a carry-on from LAX to BLQ. And although the narrative has perhaps lost some of its linguistic enthusiasm in the translation from the original Italian, Dal Monte’s book fills the collective consciousness with Enzo stories previously only told among close friends and family.

Dal Monte’s digging through decades of racing results accounts for a thorough chronicling of Enzo’s early years—which will be a delight for fans of obscurity and arcana. But it takes 400 pages to reach Enzo striking out on his own with his first Ferrari-built racing machine, so those expecting a rollicking start will be disappointed.

Those who are patient, however, will learn the narratives of what made The Man tick: the dealings and deceptions, the rages and the crises of faith, the loyalties struck and disloyalties damned. Perhaps the best summary of the man—and the book—comes halfway through: “Although you might not necessarily like Ferrari, his personality was so overwhelming that a single word from him was enough to focus all the adrenaline in one’s body.” Such leaders come once in a generation. And Dal Monte’s book is a fitting tribute.

More by Mark Rechtin:

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2018 Ferrari 812 Superfast First Test: More Is More

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 09:00

Even Colin Chapman, famous for, among other things, his take on the old maxim, “less is more,” put turbos on the Lotus Esprit. Because sometimes more is more. No one who drove a Ferrari F12 Berlinetta would argue it needed more power, yet its successor, the 812 Superfast, has just that.

Actually naming a car “super fast,” regardless of historical justifications, requires the same sort of “damn the torpedoes” approach to car building. It had damn sure better be fast or forever be mocked as a triumph of arrogance over engineering. Fortunately for Ferrari, there’s no risk of a Mondial T redux.

The 812 Stoopidfast, as tester Chris Walton took to calling it, is exactly what it claims to be. It’s among the top five quickest rear-wheel-drive cars we’ve ever tested and far and away the quickest front-engine, rear-drive car. Every quicker two-wheel-drive car—McLarens, other Ferraris, and a Porsche—is aided by a mid- or rear-engine platform that shifts weight to the rear wheels at launch to increase grip.

How quick? How about 2.8 seconds to 60 mph and a 10.4-second quarter-mile pass at 138.6 mph? Even in the modern pantheon of supercars, a 0–60 time under 3.0 seconds is damn impressive. The 812 really gets its legs farther down the road, where its quarter-mile time vaults it ahead of cars like the Ferrari 488 GTB and McLaren P1, though the P1 carries slightly more speed.

All this from the only purely naturally aspirated car in the group. If there’s never another new naturally aspirated V-12 developed—and the possibility becomes more likely every day—this will be the greatest swan song ever sung. With 6.5 liters of lung, Ferrari’s 789-hp, 530-lb-ft V-12 is equal parts musical instrument and mechanical precision. It makes you want to pass other cars, not to show off but to share this aural perfection with them. It’s classic V-12 F1 car in the tunnel at Monaco good.

For the fullest appreciation, make liberal use of those long, delicate shift paddles. The seven-speed twin-clutch transmission does a fine job of shifting for you in all circumstances, but it doesn’t seem to understand how sinfully glorious this engine sounds at redline. The computer knows the torque peak is well below the rev limiter and will let the engine dig out from 5,000 rpm. But there are another 4,000 rpm on the dial, and their voices must be heard. This world will be a colder place when this engine is gone.

Such an evangelist am I, I took to giving other editors three pieces of advice before they drove this car: The auto engine stop/start switch is by the map lights; use a light touch; and drive it at 9,000 rpm every chance you get.

About that second bit: Everything happens very quickly in the 812, in part because every input is hair-trigger sharp. So sharp that for the first 30 minutes you drive it, you’ll feel like it’s twitchy and high-strung. Eventually, though, you learn to slow your inputs—steering, braking, throttle—more than you thought you could. You slow them to the point where you’d barely get a reaction from a normal car, but the 812 will feel like magic. Then it flows down the road perfectly.

Once you’ve had a taste, legal limits will never do. All perception of speed is perverted, such that the car won’t feel fast until you’ve left the double digits well behind. At this point, it will occur to you that you don’t seem to be spending much time at wide-open throttle. It seems like a heinous oversight on your part, but it’s OK. This car is so powerful that trying to get to wide-open throttle just for the sake of it will cause you to drive erratically. You’ll always be at full throttle or full brake, never enjoying the in-between. Waiting for the appropriate time and place for full throttle makes it all the more rewarding, and everywhere else, the throttle’s adjustability allows you to fine-tune exactly the amount you need for any given situation.

It gives me great pleasure to write that, because it wasn’t the initial impression from our instrumented testing session. There, the 812 put up fantastic numbers but felt loose and a bit unrefined. On the figure eight, it wanted to be manhandled. Driving delicately just got you midcorner understeer. Coming in hot with a healthy portion of trail braking delivered extra bite from the front tires and rotated the rear slightly. Once the understeer was managed, you could aim for the exit and roll on the throttle, at which point it became all about managing power oversteer. The ultra-quick steering and easily adjusted throttle make it easy to do a little drift off the exit, and even with a slight rear weight bias and front-mid-engine placement, it’s not snappy like a mid-engine car. If you’re using CT Off mode rather than ESC Off, the computer will let you hang the rear end out, provided you’ve got it under control, but just wood it, and the nanny will straighten you right out.

Out on the road, absolutely none of that matters. The 812 is far too quick for you to ever worry about limit understeer or trail braking. The car has so much grip that if you were actually going fast enough to worry about any of that, you wouldn’t have time to think about it. The car shrinks around you in the best possible way, right up until there’s a car coming the other way on a narrow road and you instantly remember how wide it really is.

Even more important is how much better all of this behavior is than the F12. A few years ago, I wrote, “Too much power for public roads,” in my notes after I tried to hustle the F12 down a back road where a Corvette and a 911 were getting away from it. The F12 just couldn’t put the power down, and it only got hairier when we lined the three cars up for a drag race. Piloting the F12 from the middle position, I fought a fishtail through second gear on every pass, praying it wouldn’t get away from me and take out another car. The 812 isn’t like that at all. Whatever Ferrari’s done to the suspension, the Side Slip Control computer has turned a wild child into a straight-A student.

Accelerating in the 812 doesn’t have the jump-to-hyperspace feel of today’s latest turbocharged supercars but rather a short swelling of intention followed by a long, continuous burst of acceleration that feels like it ought to let up at any moment but never does. It’s naturally aspirated perfection we so rarely get anymore, and grabbing the next gear at redline almost feels like a turbo boost hitting. Pulling an upshift at the exit of a long sweeper feels as though the outside rear tire is somehow digging in a little harder and pushing you out of the corner with some secret reserve of power.

The 812 does have a few bad habits left, though. For one, the braking isn’t as strong as you think it is. It stops hard, but the car weighs 3,845 pounds (about 150 pounds less than the F12) and you don’t realize that until you need to turn triple-digit speeds into medium double digits for the next corner. ABS intervention comes on sooner than you expect, and it’s in no small part due to how fast you’re traveling. The car is far more enjoyable when you brake early than trying to wait until the absolute last second.

The other downside is its touchiness in city driving. You need only blow kisses at the pedals to get a mature reaction from the car. The slightest bit of aggression will get you a tenfold return from either. Everything with this car is done with the smoothest and most minimal effort; the trick is to never ask for more. Touch the gas lightly, and be patient while the transmission lets the clutch out. Pushing it harder won’t make it work faster; it’ll just dump the clutch and snap your head back. Same with the brakes: Touch them nicely, and let them work. They don’t bite all at once, but they do their job fine without you micromanaging them to a stop.

When I was making notes about the 812 for this review, my phone autocorrected Superfast to “superfluous,” almost as if Siri had been eavesdropping on my drive. Is it? Absolutely, in every sense of the word. A car like this is as unnecessary as it is ostentatious, and that’s what makes it wonderful.

2018 Ferrari 812 Superfast BASE PRICE $340,712 PRICE AS TESTED $465,509 VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, RWD, 2-pass, 2-door coupe ENGINE 6.5L/789-hp/530-lb-ft DOHC 48-valve V-12 TRANSMISSION 7-speed twin-clutch auto CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 3,845 lb (47/53%) WHEELBASE 107.1 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 183.3 x 77.6 x 50.2 in 0-60 MPH 2.8 sec QUARTER MILE 10.4 sec @ 138.6 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 99 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 1.03 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 23.3 sec @ 0.93 g (avg) EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 12/16/13 mpg ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 281/211 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 1.43 lb/mile

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