2019 Ford EcoSport

The Car Connection News Feed - Wed, 12/12/2018 - 12:24
The 2019 Ford EcoSport is the smallest of six crossover SUVs sold with the blue oval badge. Distinct from the compact Escape, the EcoSport doesn’t offer very good value compared to that larger, slightly more expensive vehicle. The EcoSport’s a dated design sold around the world long before it made it to the U.S., and it shows in its...
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2019 Ford Explorer

The Car Connection News Feed - Wed, 12/12/2018 - 12:24
The 2019 Ford Explorer tackles family life well. The popular Explorer makes its way onto just about every three-row crossover SUV shopping list, and with good reason. It’s roomy, rides well, and offers some standout features. Yet the 2019 Explorer’s basic design is showing its age, now nearly a decade into its life cycle. A new model...
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2019 Ford Transit

The Car Connection News Feed - Wed, 12/12/2018 - 12:23
The 2019 Ford Transit is truth in advertising. It’s a cargo or passenger van with a straightforward look—it’s about what’s inside, not outside. It earns a 4.0 on our overall scale, which is about average for commercial-oriented vans. (Read more about how we rate cars.) This year, the Transit is unchanged from last year...
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2019 Ford Escape

The Car Connection News Feed - Wed, 12/12/2018 - 12:23
The 2019 Ford Escape lives in a household full of bro-dozers and brute-utes, and somehow it thrives. The sleek, hatchback-ish crossover sells hundreds of thousands of copies a year, and we think we know why. Sold in S, SE, SEL, and Titanium trim, the 2019 Escape can and wants to be driven like a hot hatch, so long as you order the frothy engine...
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2019 Ford F-150

The Car Connection News Feed - Wed, 12/12/2018 - 12:23
The 2019 Ford F-150 proves that the title of “best-selling” doesn’t have to mean “sellout.” The F-150 makes few compromises on its way to excellent towing, comfort, and safety; it’s the best among full-size trucks in those regards. It didn’t choose the luxury-wagon life, but in King Ranch and Limited trim...
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2019 Ford Taurus

The Car Connection News Feed - Wed, 12/12/2018 - 12:21
We all forget a thing or two, so perhaps we should forgive Ford for dropping the ball on its full-size sedan. The 2019 Ford Taurus has been around for a while. The current model debuted 10 years ago, and even then its bones were derived from a decade-old Volvo platform. The years have not been kind to the Taurus, which is likely to disappear...
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Private sector provides over half of all student beds

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 12/12/2018 - 12:06
The private sector now makes up over half of all student accommodation if on-campus partnership bed spaces are counted as ‘private sector’ beds, according to data from Cushman & Wakefield released at Property Week’s Student Accommodation Conference.
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Designer Exchange secures luxury flagship on King's Road

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 12/12/2018 - 12:06
Sloane Stanley has secured luxury retailer Designer Exchange for a 1,352 sq ft flagship store on the King’s Road in west London.
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Hillnic acquires Reading's Cadogan House for resi conversion

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 12/12/2018 - 11:45
Residential developer Hillnic has acquired the former Cadogan House site in Reading with plans to convert the two-storey office building into a £12m gross development value housing scheme.
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PMM Group Real Estate refinances Gara Rock Hotel

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 12/12/2018 - 11:33
Angelo Gordon and T&B Capital have secured a £7.8m loan from PMM Group Real Estate Finance for the refinancing of The Gara Rock Hotel.
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Three-cylinder powered Ford Focus recalled for clutch slip and transmission fluid leak

The Car Connection News Feed - Wed, 12/12/2018 - 11:00
Ford Focus models powered by the automaker's inline-3 engine and mated to a 6-speed manual transmission are subject to a new recall. In documents filed with the NHTSA in late November and published this week, Ford said the models could experience a clutch fracture, which can cause a transmission fluid leak. The presence of transmission fluid near...
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Bevan Brittan poaches housing and legal team from Dentons

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 12/12/2018 - 10:29
The law firm Bevan Brittan LLP has hired the housing and legal team which previously worked at Dentons.
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Aviva acquires Aurora office in Ealing

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 12/12/2018 - 10:08
Aviva Investors has acquired the Aurora office building in west London from Moorfield for an estimated £38m, as tipped by Property Week.
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2019 Infiniti QX50 Long-Term Update 2: Commute King

Motortrend News Feed - Wed, 12/12/2018 - 09:00

As I wrote in my previous update, the 2019 Infiniti QX50’s cutting-edge powertrain needs a little more refinement (and probably a different transmission). But with a 40-minute morning commute that stretches to an hour or more when I head home, I tend to value a low-stress drive more than anything else. Thanks to ProPilot Assist, that’s one area where the QX50 really shines.

When I say ProPilot Assist, though, it’s important to point out that I’m really referring to all the features included in two driver-assist packages. For $550, ProAssist gives you adaptive cruise control, rear cross-traffic alert with collision intervention, and a sort of ACC-lite called Distance Control Assist. Another $2,000 gets you the ProActive package, which adds the more advanced ProPilot Assist, along with a few other driver-assist features.

Infiniti’s adaptive cruise control can adjust driving speed based on the car in front of you, but it can’t handle the kind of low-speed traffic urban commuters deal with on a daily basis. That’s where ProPilot Assist comes in. Not only does it add steering assist for easier highway cruising, but it also adds stop-and-go capability.

Over the past few months, ProPilot has become a popular feature among the staff. Following a 700-mile drive, editor-in-chief Ed Loh even went so far as to declare it “Infiniti’s best technology.” But unless I’m in the HOV lane, I tend to use Distance Control Assist instead. It gives you most of the safety benefits you get from adaptive cruise control without requiring you to set a desired speed. Most luxury automakers offer lane-centering adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking, but features similar to DCA are much less common.

That said, these systems aren’t perfect. ProPilot’s steering assist is generally pretty good at keeping the car in the middle of a lane, but it does occasionally pull hard to one side or the other, and low-speed stops could be smoother. DCA is also a little finicky, often throwing on the brakes right as you start to change lanes. Reducing the system’s sensitivity when the turn signal is on would probably help.

The good news is that it isn’t hard to adapt to or work around these issues. And especially if you have a long commute, ProPilot’s probably worth the price.

Read more about our long-term 2019 Infiniti QX50:

The post 2019 Infiniti QX50 Long-Term Update 2: Commute King appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

Medici and Corestate launch world’s largest co-living investment vehicle

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 12/12/2018 - 08:34
Berlin-based Medici Living and Frankfurt-listed Corestate Capital Holding are joining forces to invest €1bn (£910m) of equity and debt in the co-living sector in Europe over the next three to five years.
Categories: Property

Mixed day for property as FTSE rises

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 12/12/2018 - 07:58
The FTSE 100 rose 1.27% on Tuesday to 6,806.94 points and the FTSE EPRA/NAREIT UK Index climbed 0.32% to 1,591.48 points.
Categories: Property

Buyer revealed for £48m Clapham Junction Debenhams

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 12/12/2018 - 06:20
Developer W Real Estate has been unmasked as the buyer of BL’s Grade II-listed, Debenhams-let ‘Arding and Hobbs’ building in Clapham Junction.
Categories: Property

Dukelease to buy City’s Ibex House for more than £120m

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 12/12/2018 - 06:00
Dukelease is under offer to buy City of London office building Ibex House from Israeli pension fund Harel Insurance & Financial.
Categories: Property

Marvel at the Aston Martin Valkyrie’s 6.5-Liter V-12

Motortrend News Feed - Wed, 12/12/2018 - 00:37

The Aston Martin Valkyrie is inching closer to production, and that means concrete details are beginning to trickle out. Today, the British sports car builder has released detailed specs for the Valkyrie’s primary motivator, its naturally aspirated 6.5-liter V-12 engine that produces 1,000 hp.

Aston says it wanted a naturally aspirated engine from the outset of the project, which was originally code-named AM-RB 001. Working with renowned engine tuner Cosworth Engineering, Aston Martin developed a 65-degree 6.5-liter V-12 that revs to 11,100 rpm and makes 1,000 hp at a stratospheric 10,500 rpm. Torque, on the other hand, is nearly half that at 546 lb-ft, and arrives at a still-high 7,000 rpm. As we previously reported, the Valkyrie will be a hybrid hypercar, so an electric motor (or two) will be employed to complement its peaky 12-cylinder gas engine. Aston says it will detail the Valkyrie’s hybrid system at a later date, however.

But even without that info, there’s plenty to unpack with just the Valkyrie’s internal combustion engine. For example, the V-12 produces 153.8 hp per liter, an incredible amount for a naturally aspirated car. Additionally, the engine weighs just 454 pounds. To put that into perspective, Aston says Cosworth’s 3.0-liter V-10 used in Formula 1 weighs 214 pounds, but if it were scaled up to 6.5 liters it would come in at 463 pounds. Much of the savings comes from internals machined out of solid aluminum or titanium billet, including the crankshaft, connecting rods, and F1-spec pistons. According to Aston Martin, the Valkyrie’s crankshaft is 50 percent light than the One-77’s.

Apart from the engine, there’s quite a bit we already know about the Valkyrie. The carbon-fiber-intensive hypercar will weigh in somewhere between 2,200 and 2,400 pounds, and have a power-to-weight ratio of 1:1 (hp/kg). The engine will be mated to a seven-speed paddle-shift transmission developed by the gearbox specialists at Ricardo Engineering. The battery hybrid system that Aston is keeping close to the chest will be supplied by Rimac, which should mean the electric half of the drivetrain will be no slouch. Production will be limited to 150 units for the standard Valkyrie, and just 25 copies of the track-only AMR Pro variant. Then, of course, there’s the price. The Valkyrie will cost $3.2 million when it finally arrives in 2019.

We still have a little bit of time before the first Aston Martin Valkyries are delivered, so expect more details to surface as we get closer. In the meantime, enjoy this gallery of engine porn courtesy of Aston Martin.

Source: Aston Martin

The post Marvel at the Aston Martin Valkyrie’s 6.5-Liter V-12 appeared first on MotorTrend.

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2019 BMW 330i M Sport First Drive: Bavaria is Back

Motortrend News Feed - Tue, 12/11/2018 - 23:00

Can BMW deliver on the promise of the Ultimate Driving Machine once again?

Over the past four decades, Bavaria’s sporting marque has endured tremendous pressure to constantly improve on what is seen as the segment benchmark. It is a cruel task. Improving one area often comes with a trade-off in another.

BMW owners are as demanding as they are proud. Take it from someone who owned the 3 Series that really started it all—the 1988 E30 325i—as well as the outgoing-generation 2012 F30 328i (and who has tested every generation in between). We’re an arrogant bunch possessing sturdy right feet, and we have no qualms calling out missteps in handling and steering feel.

The competition doesn’t sit still, either. For those of you who track these things, the last two MotorTrend Car of the Year winners have been compact luxury sport sedans designed to dethrone the 3 Series as the default choice for shoppers in the segment.

Both the COTY-winning Genesis G70 and Alfa Romeo Giulia make outstanding cases as the best-executed compact sport sedan extant. And the rival Mercedes-Benz C-Class has outsold the 3 Series for the past two years (although to be fair, Mercedes lumps sedans and coupes into C-Class sales, whereas BMW splits the sedan from the 4 Series coupe; if you add 3 and 4 Series sales, BMW still outsells the Mercedes C-Class). But still, BMW is facing some stiff competitive winds.

With the sixth generation of the 3 Series arriving in March, BMW’s new G20 Series edition fires a response that will hopefully endear itself to loyalists and halt the wandering eyes of those shopping around. The incoming 330i is roomier, quicker, more adept, and a sharper performer.

Segment creep persists. The 2019 3 Series carries 1.6 inches more wheelbase and 2.6 inches more overall length. As such, it has almost outgrown the conventional dimensional definition of a compact sport sedan. On the plus side, the added wheelbase length addresses the persistent 3 Series complaint about the lack of back seat space; it is now possible for a 6-foot-tall passenger to have sufficient legroom and footroom behind a 6-foot-tall driver without the driver having to scooch the seat forward.

The 330i’s engine remains a 2.0-liter twin-scroll single-turbo, though it gains 7 hp (to 255) and a whopping 37 lb-ft (to 295). BMW claims a 0–60 time of 5.6 seconds (5.3 with all-wheel drive). That’s likely a conservative estimate, as MotorTrend testing of the 2017 330i delivered a 0–60 time of 5.5 seconds—and the new 330i is lighter by 121 pounds, thanks to increased usage of aluminum and high-strength steels in the body-in-white, sheetmetal, and chassis.

The turbo-four still features direct injection, variable valve lift, and variable cam timing, but the fuel pump now delivers 5,100 psi (compared to 2,900 psi of the old one). It also now has a split cooling system, separated for the cylinder head and crankcase. And twin exhaust tailpipes are standard (yay!). BMW says the new engine will also boast better fuel economy; kudos to the engineers who found the holy grail of performance and efficiency.

Coming in summer 2019, the 340i variant will also keep its existing 3.0-liter twin-scroll single-turbo configuration but see impressive gains in power, delivering 382 hp (up 62) and 369 lb-ft (up 39) and an estimated 4.2-second 0–60 time (with xDrive AWD). Also, a 330e plug-in hybrid arrives this summer, with 37 miles of electric-only range and a 6.0-second 0–62 time. There’s also a trio of diesel variants, which Americans will never see, according to BMW. Also, the loss-leader depowered version of the turbo-four will not be offered, as BMW will likely bring the 1 Series sedan back to life at that price point.

Then there’s the look. BMW interior designer Bruno Amatino said the automaker considered more evolutionary styling but decided to be bolder instead. “This was the largest step we could take without scaring the customer,” Amatino explained. “We wanted to make it look like we were skipping a generation.”

Yet for the most part, it’s still unmistakably BMW’s design language. The kidney grille is more three-dimensional due to the revised hoodline, and the notched headlight housings feature laser lamps that can project nearly the length of six football fields.

One key design note that BMW fans will debate, however: The famed Hofmeister kink that defines the C-pillar is now more of a chevron. BMW calls it “a new interpretation,” as the headliner of the back seat still keeps the original counter-swinging shape (the shadow of which can be seen from the outside if you squint). But the exterior detail has turned the distinct kink into a double-angled point that subtly aims toward the rear deck rather than visually directing one’s gaze hard toward the rear axle to emphasize that this is a performance sedan.

Purists may howl, but Amatino defended the new C-pillar, saying it was “extended for visual length, in two movements. We wanted to extend the glass all the way to the edge of the door cut.” Function over form, evidently.

Inside, the 3 Series gets a thorough reworking. Unlike the X3 crossover’s recent interior redo, which felt more like a mere freshening, the 3 Series interior changes are more dramatic. The slim dashboard is detailed by defined creases. Cool upscale touches abound, such as the knurled metallic prisms that form the edges of the vent-opening adjusters and iDrive knob. The leather surfaces and aluminum detailing wouldn’t be out of place in a flagship vehicle. Every surface that falls to hand has an appropriately upscale feel, save for the plasticky response of the center console’s stowage tray lid. The sunroof is 4 inches longer.

The instrument panel now has more room in the center for the trip computer information, not merely because the 8.8-inch screen is larger but also because designers reversed the swing of the right-side tachometer—it now registers revs counterclockwise, which takes some acclimation. Designers also placed the center console’s display screen at the same elevation as the instrument panel to provide “a horizon of information,” Amatino said.

However, in slightly reconfiguring the center console, BMW moved the gearshift and many control buttons rearward so that a driver must bow out their elbow and knuckle under their wrist to change many settings, compared to the easy user interface of the outgoing model. Perhaps most notably, changing driving modes is now accomplished by pressing individual buttons that are not identifiable by touch (the old model had a ridged rocker setup), so the driver must look away from the road to see what button they are pushing.

Aside from a long-wheelbase version only for the Chinese market, BMW tuned the 3 Series identically for all the world, said Thomas Bäumer, the car’s project leader.

Behind the wheel of the new 3er, the most noticeable element is the return of firmness to the suspension. The new car attacks road imperfections with a snooty impunity. BMW has installed standard hydraulic stop dampers on the rebound stroke up front and compression stroke in the rear; M Sport versions have an optional adaptive suspension with electronically controlled dampers.

But even in Comfort mode, we received some hard jolts from the rear suspension when encountering sharp bumps and jounces—especially in Sport mode. (Note, we were driving 330i M Sport trims, not the base suspension, so for those of you chasing the 330i lease-deal special, your suspension response may vary.)

That said, the 2019 330i feels more planted. You can thank increased chassis rigidity (improved by up to a claimed 50 percent) as well as the front track being 1.7 inches wider and the rear track adding 0.8 inch.

The speed-sensitive electric power steering seems to have more direct feel, as opposed to the too-light video game response of the outgoing model—although there was some vagueness in the range of 5 to 10 degrees off center with the M Sport’s variable sport steering. BMW claims a 50/50 weight distribution and a center of gravity lowered by 0.4 inch.

The 330i’s brake pedal has a reassuring precision of response in nearly every situation—even with hard braking for a corner that has come on quicker than you expected. However, a spirited four-minute drive down a twisting Portuguese grade left the 330i M Sport’s front brakes smoking.

BMW has delivered more intelligent semi-autonomous driving features, with increased hands-off driving assistance, reversing assistance to back out of tricky parking garages, and “narrow passage support” where lanes may have narrowed due to road construction.

However, the lane keep assist programming is more insistent, snapping you sharply back into your lane if you approach the stripes. That could be a drawback when performing a courtesy pass of a bicyclist by inching into the oncoming lane; you could find yourself arm-wrestling the steering wheel to give the cyclist some space.

As for the allegedly Intelligent Personal Assistant voice-recognition system, I found it not so smart. For nearly every voice command, the system either didn’t recognize it or responded in error. For those commands it did recognize (“Turn down the radio,” or “I’m cold”), it took far longer to execute than it would have taken me to merely reach out to rotate the volume knob or flick the temperature gauge.

Although programmed to respond to “Hey BMW,” it frequently self-activated by someone merely saying “BMW.” As you know, BMW owners love to brag about their BMWs by saying “BMW” a lot—meaning the system frequently intrudes into conversations like an embarrassing mom chaperoning a teenage date. To be sure, BMW is far from alone in voice-command errata, but to label the system “intelligent” seems a bit of a misnomer.

There’s also a “revitalizing” function if the driver is tired. The climate control fan pulsates at a chilly 64 degrees, the interior lights change color, and the stereo cranks up a weirdly hypnotic Euro-techno track (which actually made me feel drowsier).

Standard features for all 3 Series buyers include LED headlights, a rain sensor, automatic headlight activation, a hands-free phone system, automatic climate control, cruise control with automatic braking, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, 18-inch alloy wheels, and split-folding rear seats.

Since 1975, BMW has sold 15.5 million compact luxury sport sedans worldwide. Those owners tend to be as enthusiastic as they are demanding. Upon encountering the G20 3 Series, they should feel reassured that BMW has their best interests at heart.

2019 BMW 330i BASE PRICE $41,245 VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, RWD/AWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan ENGINES 2.0L/255-hp/295-lb-ft turbocharged DOHC 16-valve I-4 TRANSMISSIONS 8-speed automatic CURB WEIGHT 3,250 lb (mfr) WHEELBASE 112.2 in LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT 185.4 x 71.9 x 56.8 in 0-60 MPH 5.3-5.6 sec (mfr est) EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON Not yet tested ON SALE IN U.S. March 2019

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