Royal London snaps up 25 Soho Square for £75m

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 05/13/2019 - 12:58
Royal London Asset Management has bought 25 Soho Square in London’s West End from Aviva Investors for £75.3m.
Categories: Property

Edmond de Rothschild launches AI-driven property fund

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 05/13/2019 - 12:57
The Edmond de Rothschild group and its subsidiary, OROX Asset Management, have launched a new fund that uses artificial intelligence to identify the most attractive investment opportunities in key European cities.
Categories: Property

Toys 'R' Us Croydon store sold after legal dispute settled

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 05/13/2019 - 12:46
Legal dispute over the old Toys ‘R’ Us portfolio has been settled, allowing sale of 24 stores.
Categories: Property

2018 Chrysler Pacifica Limited: Is It Fixed Yet? – Long-Term Update 3

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 05/13/2019 - 09:00

Shortly after my last update went live, my inbox filled up with dozens of letters from Pacifica owners. They all reported having similar stalling issues with their vans, and a few had their vans in the shop for long periods of time like I did. They pointed me to PacificaForums, where I found multiple threads detailing problems similar to what I’ve been dealing with. It was starting to sound like my experience wasn’t at all unique.

But we’ll return to that. After the engine cut out and refused to restart on its own just one week after getting the van back, I texted my service adviser to let him know that I’d be coming in again. Just like last time, he hooked up a diagnostic reader and found some codes. He told me it’d be another few days of diagnosis and that my rental would again be covered under warranty. I then mentioned that the suspension knocking noise was back and demonstrated it by rocking the van from side to side. He took note and added it to the work order.

This time, the Pacifica was in the shop for 11 days rather than a full month. The technician traced one of the codes to the anti-lock brake system control module. Determining it to be faulty, the tech replaced the ABS control unit with a new part. That seemed an unlikely culprit to me, but it made slightly more sense than the exhaust gas recirculation cooler that was blamed the last time.

The suspension knock was fixed by replacing the front anti-roll bar links. According to the tech who performed the suspension work, it’s not standard practice to replace the links when you swap in a new bar. The original links are reused, but he noted that at least one other customer had come back complaining of front end noise after their van’s anti-roll bar was replaced, as ours had been. Could there be a design flaw in the front anti-roll bar setup? Or were the links the problem the whole time? It’s hard to say, but this technician says he plans to replace the links and the bar together from now on. It’s been nearly three months since that repair, and so far the suspension has been quiet.

Things seemed to be fixed with the stop/start problem, as well, but three weeks after I picked up the van, it stalled again—exactly the same as before. Two unsuccessful repair attempts totaling more than 30 days in the shop would meet the minimum criteria to file an arbitration claim under California’s lemon law. That is, of course, if I had purchased the car myself. Rather than head to the dealer a third time, we took FCA up on a previous offer to look at the vehicle. It’s true that this exact option wouldn’t be available to an owner, but one of the potential awards of an arbitration claim is an additional repair attempt, which often involves a crack team of technicians charged with doing everything possible to fix the car and save the automaker from having to buy it back. With that in mind, we were OK with Chrysler engineers poring over our long-termer.

While it was in FCA’s care, the powertrain control module software for the stop/start system received an update. Last year, FCA issued a recall for certain 2017 model-year Pacificas to address a stalling issue. The fix involved a software update, though it’s not clear if that was at all related to the update our long-termer received. As of this writing, FCA has not recalled the 2018 model for stalling issues despite numerous complaints filed on the National Highway Traffic Association’s webpage for the 2018 Chrysler Pacifica. According to NHTSA, there’s no set number of reports needed to trigger an investigation. Rather, the number of complaints and the severity of the alleged safety risk are considered together.

I reached out to FCA to see what the automaker is doing about the stalling complaints. “We continually monitor the performance of our vehicles in the field,” a spokesperson said. “We do so using multiple data streams, from observations by service technicians to warranty claims to NHTSA’s public database. If issues are identified, we act accordingly.”

When asked whether complaints on message boards like PacificaForums are also being considered, the spokesperson said, “As with all information we learn, we seek to determine fact.”

So is there a widespread stalling issue on the 2018 Chrysler Pacifica? All I know is that ours has died at least half a dozen times and there are angry Pacifica owners online who, like me, just want a fix so they can enjoy their otherwise fantastic vans. Here’s hoping the third time’s a charm.

Read more about our long-term 2018 Chrysler Pacifica:

The post 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Limited: Is It Fixed Yet? – Long-Term Update 3 appeared first on Motortrend.

Categories: Property

The 15 Quickest SUVs We’ve Ever Tested

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 05/13/2019 - 09:00

SUVs are built for practicality, but why can’t they also be quick? You might not think it, but plenty of utility vehicles can hold their own in a drag race against a low-slung sports car. Read on to find out the 15 quickest SUVs we’ve ever tested here at MotorTrend.

2011 BMW X6 M

0-60 mph: 4.1 seconds

¼ mile: 12.7 seconds at 110.1 mph

We tested this vehicle quite a while ago, but it’s still one of the quickest SUVs around. The 2011 version made a healthy 555 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque from its 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8. You’ll see an updated version of this vehicle further down this list.

2019 Jaguar I-Pace

0-60 mph: 4.0 seconds

¼ mile: 12.5 seconds at 110.1 mph

Tesla isn’t the only company making electric SUVs with exceptional performance. Jaguar made one stunning—and stunningly quick—EV in the form of the I-Pace, which delivers a total of 394 hp and 512 lb-ft of torque. This SUV benefits from excellent high-speed stability, superb handling, and instant power and torque delivery.

2016 Mercedes-AMG GLE63 S Coupe 4Matic


0-60 mph: 3.9 seconds

¼ mile: 12.5 seconds at 110.5 mph

This is one of several coupe SUVs to make the list. Packing a 5.5-liter twin-turbo V-8, this vehicle produces a healthy 577 hp and 561 lb-ft of torque. Along with its quiet road manners, it is also highly capable off-road.

2017 Porsche Macan Turbo Performance Pack

0-60 mph: 3.7 seconds

¼ mile: 12.3 seconds at 109.5 mph

In our review, we noted this vehicle is equally at home on the track, on the highway, or even off the beaten path. With the optional Performance package, the Macan Turbo makes 440 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque from its 3.6-liter twin-turbo V-6 engine. Drivers will enjoy its direct steering, brake feel, and canyon carving agility.

2015 BMW X5 M

0-60 mph: 3.7 seconds

¼ mile: 12.2 seconds at 112.8 mph

The X5 M looks like a regular luxury crossover, but under the hood it packs quite a bit of power. The M variant delivers a whopping 567 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque from its 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine.

2015 BMW X6 M

0-60 mph: 3.7 seconds

¼ mile: 12.1 seconds at 114.3 mph

Say what you want about its looks, but the X6 can be quite impressive in M guise. Not only is it quick, but we also tested it braking from 60 to 0 mph in just 105 feet. We’ve praised this 567-hp coupe SUV for its quick-shifting eight-speed automatic and surprising cornering ability. The X6 M managed to pull 0.98 g on the skidpad, which is among the highest numbers we’ve recorded for an SUV.

2019 Jaguar F-Pace SVR

0-60 mph: 3.7 seconds

¼ mile: 12.0 seconds at 116.5 mph

The folks at Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations estimated this SUV to hit 60 mph in 4.1 seconds, but we actually clocked it at 3.7. Its 5.0-liter supercharged V-8 engine delivers 550 hp and 502 lb-ft of torque. Subtle indications of its go-fast capabilities include its quad tailpipes, large air intakes, and vents in the hood and front fenders.

2017 Bentley Bentayga (European Spec)

0-60 mph: 3.5 seconds

¼ mile: 11.9 seconds at 117.1 mph

Bentley helped usher in a new era of ultra-luxury SUVs when it unveiled the Bentayga in 2015. Its sturdy 6.0-liter twin-turbo W-12 produces 600 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque. Our 5,653-pound tester managed to hit 60 mph in 3.5 seconds, making it quick enough to cream a Lamborghini Murcielago. The engine pairs to a silky-smooth eight-speed automatic.

2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Q4 Quadrifoglio

0-60 mph: 3.3 seconds

¼ mile: 11.8 seconds at 116.1 mph

We’ve had our qualms about its build quality, but the Stelvio remains one impressive SUV. In Quadrifoglio guise, the Stelvio makes 505 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque from a 2.9 liter V-6 engine, enough to hit 60 mph in 3.3 seconds. That straight-line performance combined with razor-sharp handling helped the Stelvio Quadrifoglio place eighth in our 2018 Best Driver’s Car competition—ahead of heavyweights like the Corvette ZR1 and Mustang GT Performance Pack 2.

2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

0-60 mph: 3.3 seconds

¼ mile: 11.7 seconds at 116.2 mph

Want a Dodge Challenger Hellcat in SUV form? Look no further than the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. With 707 hp and 645 lb-ft of torque under the hood, this is no average Grand Cherokee. We clocked this 5,448-pound SUV hitting 60 mph in 3.3 seconds, shaving 0.2 second off of Jeep’s claimed time.

2019 Porsche Cayenne Turbo

0-60 mph: 3.2 seconds

¼ mile: 11.8 seconds at 115.8 mph

The Cayenne Turbo shares its impressive powertrain with the new Panamera Turbo. Packing a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8, it makes 541 hp and 567 lb-ft of torque. That’s quite an upgrade from the standard Cayenne’s 335 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque.

2016 Tesla Model X P90D (Ludicrous)

0-60 mph: 3.2 seconds

¼ mile: 11.7 seconds at 116.0 mph

The Model X felt like a spaceship from the future when we tested it in 2016, and it pretty much still feels that way today. Our 5,516-pound tester scooted to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds, making it quicker than a Ferrari Enzo. Who would expect this kind of performance from a large SUV that seats up to seven passengers? We can’t wait to see what the updated Model X Performance with Ludicrous mode will do.

2018 Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S 4Matic+ Coupe

0-60 mph: 3.2 seconds

¼ mile: 11.7 seconds at 116.5 mph

The GLC 63 S reigns supreme among coupe SUVs. We tested it hitting 60 mph in 3.2 seconds using a powerful 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine making 503 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque.

2020 Bentley Bentayga Speed

0-60 mph: 3.1 seconds

¼ mile: 11.5 seconds at 120.7 mph

This year, Bentley is rolling out an even hotter Bentayga. The new Speed version makes 626 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque from its massive 6.0-liter W-12 engine. Top speed is rated a wild 190 mph. The model is available with the largest and most powerful ceramic brakes Bentley has ever used, boasting a maximum braking torque of 4,425 lb-ft.

2019 Lamborghini Urus

0-60 mph: 3.0 seconds

¼ mile: 11.3 seconds at 120.1 mph

Yes, folks, this is the single quickest SUV we have ever tested. Its twin-turbo V-8, which is probably the best-sounding engine of its kind, delivers a proud 641 hp and 627 lb-ft of torque. That’s enough to propel this 4,900-pound SUV to 60 mph in 3 seconds flat and on to a top speed of 189.5 mph. Not only is it fast, but it’s also a capable off-roader.

The post The 15 Quickest SUVs We’ve Ever Tested appeared first on Motortrend.

Categories: Property

Speed Kills, But Why It Does is Subject to Discussion – Reference Mark

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 05/13/2019 - 09:00

Every few years, some consumer advocacy group trots out some report that alarmingly purports that Americans are slaughtering one another on the nation’s roads and that we’d be so much safer if everyone would just slow down. Fear sells, after all. And, well, duh, physics.

This time around, it’s the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety waving the red flag—stating that the increase in speed limits by many states has resulted in a commensurate increase in roadway deaths. What’s more, IIHS has determined that a cumulative 37,000 Americans have died over the past 25 years due to those higher posted speed limits allowing drivers to go faster.

To be clear, the IIHS is not a bunch of pencil-pushing nannies seeking inscrutable ways for insurance companies to jack your policy rates. IIHS performs safety testing that goes well beyond government regulatory tests. Every year, it crash-tests dozens of vehicles at multiple velocities as a backstop for Department of Transportation testing. It has high-speed cameras that shoot at 500 frames per second to evaluate the exact moment of success or failure of a vehicle’s safety systems. I’ve seen it in person. It’s impressive. These guys know their stuff.

For the new study, Charles Farmer, IIHS vice president for research and statistical services, analyzed the effect of changes in the maximum posted speed limit in every state from 1993 to 2017.

Today, 41 states have a maximum speed limit of 70 mph or higher. Six states have an 80-mph limit, and drivers in Texas can legally drive 85 mph on some roads.

Farmer looked at annual traffic fatalities per mile traveled for each state, and his math shows that a 5-mph increase in the maximum speed limit was associated with an 8 percent increase in the fatality rate on highways.

This theory involves more than just transitive mathematical equations. IIHS also adjusted for the unemployment rate, the proportion of young drivers in the population, and seat belt usage rates.

Obviously, each 5-mph increase in speed also increases the distance a vehicle travels from the time a driver detects an emergency to the time a driver reacts. It increases the distance needed to stop a vehicle once the driver starts to brake. And every mph increases the crash energy exponentially. For example, when the impact speed increases from 40 to 60 mph (a 50 percent increase), the energy that needs to be managed by the car’s crash structure increases by 125 percent, according to IIHS.

Although the study did not break out fatality rates by individual state, on average, high-speed-limit states such as Texas, Montana, Utah, Nevada, and Wyoming suffered higher frequency of fatalities.

I asked Farmer if having more SUVs on the roads contributed to the numbers—given their relative inability (compared to sedans) to avoid accidents due to the facts that their higher center of gravity affects handling and their added bulk increases braking distances. There’s also the theory, posited by Tom Vanderbilt in his landmark book Traffic, that by sitting higher, SUV drivers have a lessened ability to sense the road’s “textural density” and therefore drive faster than conditions warrant and are also slower to react to potentially dangerous situations.

“Newer-model SUVs have some of the lowest fatal crash involvement rates,” Farmer said. “We have not seen evidence that they get into more crashes than other vehicle types.” So much for that idea (IIHS-tested vehicles are shown below).

My final haymaker at this report: I posited that people have a tendency to drive at their personal comfort level, regardless of speed limit. But there’s always the left-lane law-abider tootling along at the speed limit. If the speed limit is 65, that creates a hazardous pass-on-the-right situation for impatient drivers who feel road conditions warrant driving faster. But if the speed limit is 80, most folks are pretty comfortable at that speed and would likely allow the Prius to set the pace, lane discipline would be maintained, and safety might actually increase. True?

IIHS has an answer there, as well, from a 2016 study: “Raising speed limits results in higher travel speeds and more vehicles exceeding the new limit. It also undercuts the claim that raising limits reduces speed differences among vehicles on the same road.”

This is only the start of the conversation. Does the condition of our crumbling roads have an influence? With America’s aging vehicle fleet, how many of the fatalities occurred in older vehicles, rather than newer ones with better safety equipment? How do our fatality numbers compare to European countries where higher speed limits are commonplace? Food for thought.

More by Mark Rechtin:

The post Speed Kills, But Why It Does is Subject to Discussion – Reference Mark appeared first on Motortrend.

Categories: Property

2019 Honda Civic Touring First Test: Here to Stay

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 05/13/2019 - 09:00

America’s love for the crossover has forced a growing number of automakers to eliminate sedans from their lineups. Honda, however, will have no part in the trend. And why would it? A big chunk of its sales are still sedans. This includes the tenth-generation Civic, which has sold more than 1 million copies since its launch in November 2015. The compact is currently the automaker’s second-best-selling model behind only the CR-V, but is the updated 2019 Honda Civic good enough to keep the momentum going?

Our long-term 2016 Civic Touring was a solid product from the start, showcasing lots of the engineering magic Honda is known for. But we also found some room for improvement, most of which has been addressed with the refreshed 2019 Honda Civic.

For starters, the audio system has finally replaced the controversial capacitive touch slider bar with a volume knob. Sitting above it are a column of new physical buttons that are more satisfying and responsive than the capacitive touch ones they replace. The touchscreen section of the Display Audio System is pretty much the same, though we wish it had been upgraded to the more intuitive and responsive next-gen interface found in other Honda models such as the Insight.

External styling tweaks are subtle and mostly found up front. The large chrome bar, for example, is now black, and the lower bumper has been reworked. Around back, the distinctive C-shaped taillights remain untouched.

Another welcome update is Honda’s effort to reduce cabin noise. The 2019 Civic has more sound deadening material in its floor, trunk, and front fenders, as well as new insulation in the rear fenders. We’d need to drive an updated Civic back to back with a pre-refreshed model to verify the difference, but our 2019 Civic Touring sedan tester seemed adequately quiet on the rough roads around Los Angeles.

Thankfully, the new sound insulation and volume knob didn’t add too much weight. Our Civic Touring sedan test car weighed in at 2,936 pounds, just 17 pounds more than our comparable long-term vehicle. Powertrains for the front-wheel-drive Civic carry over, including the 2.0-liter naturally aspirated I-4, the 1.5-liter turbo-four, and the Civic Type R’s high-strung 2.0-liter turbo-four. Transmission choices include a six-speed manual or continuously variable transmission depending on trim (Civic Si and Type R are manual only).

In our 2019 Civic Touring tester, the 1.5-liter turbo-four is paired to CVT and is tuned to make 174 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque. Power is more than adequate, and the engine and CVT behave well together. During testing, we made note of the Civic’s smooth power delivery. We recorded a 0–60 mph time of 6.8 seconds and a quarter-mile time of 15.2 seconds, matching the pace of our previous 2016 Civic long-termer. It put down a figure-eight lap time of 26.6 seconds, and the test crew found it an easy car to drive briskly.

The 1.5-liter is still among the most fuel-efficient powertrains in its class, returning an EPA rating of 30/38 mpg city/highway for the Civic Touring sedan (30/37 mpg for the Touring Coupe), increasing to 31/40 for Civic EX Coupe and 32/42 mpg city/highway for Civic EX and EX-L.

In another big change for 2019, Honda Sensing is now standard on every trim level. Previously standard on just Civic Touring, Honda Sensing’s list of driver assistance tech includes adaptive cruise control (with low-speed follow), automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, automatic high-beams, and a lane departure warning system.

The 2019 Honda Civic LX sedan, coupe, and hatchback start at $20,370, $21,570, and $22,370, respectively. Their long list of standard features includes the aforementioned Honda Sensing, electric parking brake, automatic climate control, and rear folding seats. The new Civic Sport sedan and coupe are new trim offerings for 2019, starting at $22,070 and $22,370, respectively. Meanwhile, a nicely equipped Civic EX—now only offered with the 1.5-liter turbo engine—can be had for $24,320, and our loaded Touring sedan rings in at $28,220.

With that said, the refreshed 2019 Civic’s strong value along with smart engineering and impressive efficiency serves as a reminder of why Honda’s compact sedan has been a standout in its segment for more than 40 years.

2019 Honda Civic Touring BASE PRICE $28,220 PRICE AS TESTED $28,220 VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan ENGINE 1.5L/174-hp/162-lb-ft turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4 TRANSMISSION Cont variable auto CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 2,936 lb (61/39%) WHEELBASE 106.3 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 182.7 x 70.9 x 55.7 in 0-60 MPH 6.8 sec QUARTER MILE 15.2 sec @ 92.2 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 113 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.88 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 26.6 sec @ 0.66 g (avg) EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 30/38/33 mpg ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 112/89 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.59 lb/mile

The post 2019 Honda Civic Touring First Test: Here to Stay appeared first on Motortrend.

Categories: Property

LondonMetric pre-lets Bedford distribution centre

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 05/13/2019 - 08:45
LondonMetric Property has let two logistics warehouses across 138,000 sq ft at its Bedford Link Logistics Park.
Categories: Property

Octopus agrees loan for retail to resi conversion

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 05/13/2019 - 08:38
Specialist property lender Octopus Property has agreed a £10m, 12-month loan, to support Strawberry Star’s acquisition of 110,000 sq ft of retail space in Harlow, Essex,
Categories: Property

Weston Homes embarks on £60m Military Hospital resi conversion

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 05/13/2019 - 08:28
Weston Homes is set to begin a £60m residential conversion of the Cambridge Military Hospital in Aldershot.
Categories: Property

ReSI appoints management group on retirement portfolio

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 05/13/2019 - 08:13
Residential Secure Income (ReSI) has signed a 10-year management agreement with Places for People group, covering the day-to-day management, rent collection and maintenance of its 2,219-unit retirement housing portfolio.
Categories: Property

2020 Toyota Supra

The Car Connection News Feed - Sun, 05/12/2019 - 23:23
It's been a 21-year wait, but sports car fans finally have a new Supra from Toyota. The 2020 Toyota Supra returns as a hatchback coupe developed as a collaboration between Toyota Gazoo Racing and BMW. It features inline-6 power, which enthusiasts will view as a proper engine for a Supra. Short, wide, and powerful, the 2020 Supra is one of the more...
Categories: Property

2020 Toyota Supra First Drive: Automotive Husbandry

Motortrend News Feed - Sun, 05/12/2019 - 23:01

There was a time when Mama and Papa Toyota gave birth to strong, athletic sports cars, starting with the suave 2000GT, sent to boarding school in Coventry and raced by Carroll Shelby. Through the years the family grew to include lithe Celicas, stalwart Supras, even a scrappy rear-drive Corolla GT-S or two. Then something happened, and Mama Toyota found herself unable to conceive sports cars. An impatient Papa Toyota summoned his Fuji concubine, Subaru-san, who gave birth to identical twins—one of which he graciously allowed her to keep. Mama Toyota was furious and forbade Papa Toyota from ever showering his son, 86, with any affection or horsepower. To woo back his betrothed, who desperately wished to birth another great sports car, Papa Toyota hatched a plan to artificially inseminate an auspicious European egg for Mama Toyota to gestate. She’s just given birth, and now the world must determine how this half-breed stacks up against its all-Toyota siblings.

We created this origin-story myth for the joint development of the A90-generation Supra out of frustration when it proved impossible to pin down exactly what roles Toyota and BMW played in the initial design of this new car. The inline-six turbo is obviously all BMW’s—it served as the inspiration for this hook-up in the first place. (“Thy Supras Shall Have I-6 Engines” was chiseled as the forgotten 11th commandment.) Most invisible parts are shared and apparently developed by BMW, if the roundel stickers, engravings, and casting marks are to be believed. The bodywork and the tuning of every tunable element on the Supra was handled by Toyota. We’re told the joint-venture team aimed squarely at Porsche’s 718 range, with BMW targeting the Boxster; Toyota the Cayman.

As for the B58B30M1 engine, although its output roughly equates to that of the European-market BMW Z4 sibling, it does not in fact employ a particle filter in U.S. applications. This begs the question, why not uncork the extra horsepower BMW gets from its filterless U.S. application (tagged B58B30M0)? Chief engineer Tetsuya Tada answers by claiming that balancing the car’s engine and chassis at the Nürburgring led to the 335 hp/365 lb-ft rating. But we find it hard to believe that in this fanboy, numbers-obsessed market segment his team chose to remove 47 horsepower instead of fortifying the chassis to cope with 382 hp. Let’s hope that instead the strategy is to start out conservative and bring a steady stream of higher-output special editions in the years to come.

But let’s return to the essential question at hand: Is this bicontinental cross-breed a “real” Supra?

The striking design may not appeal to everyone, but at least it doesn’t look at all like any BMW and several design cues evince Toyota sports-car DNA: the hatch bustle shape and elements of the headlamp design hark to the previous (A80) Supra, and the side-window shape is pure 2000GT. The proportions are certainly fresh. It’s shorter in length and wider than any of its predecessors, with the cabin set well back behind the requisite long hood. It’s also impressive that the team managed to generate the aero forces required to guarantee stability at the car’s 155-mph-limited top speed with underbody features and the duckbill shape of the hatch surface, leaving the bodywork refreshingly devoid of external wings, spoilers, skirts, and splitters.

Inside, the 2020 Supra’s overall dash, door panel, and seat designs are unlike the Z4’s, but there’s no mistaking all the BMW switchgear—especially the entire iDrive system, complete with all BMW fonts (changing them would have reduced Tada’s budget for making the car lighter and quicker). Whatever you think of the appearance, the functionality of this interior is hard to fault. All controls are intuitive and within easy reach (Consumer Reports just rated iDrive second to Tesla among automotive user interfaces). The 14-way power seats are quite comfortable and supportive, with side wings that can adjust to hug you tight on a track, then relax for the drive home. And the whole driver’s side of the center console area is padded for taller drivers to brace their right knee against. Nice.

I drew the assignment to test out the new Supra in part because I’m old enough (just) to have been around for the 1993 A80 Supra’s launch. and I drove the 2000GT for MotorTrend Classic in 2005. Let me state right here that the 2020 Supra comes off as less exotic than either of those two. That’s OK. Evolving the A80 Supra Turbo, accounting for inflation, would have produced a low-volume 500-ish-hp car priced in the $75,000–$85,000 range, and the 2000GT’s successor was arguably the Lexus LFA.

That’s not to say that the new Supra doesn’t feel special. All new two-seat coupes are rare and wonderful these days, and this one certainly outperforms all its predecessors. Our database confirms that if the factory-estimated 0–60 time of 4.1 seconds holds up, this new Supra will outperform all previous production Toyotas (a supercharged 2008 Tundra TRD and a 1997 Supra Turbo rank as the quickest we’ve tested at 4.4 and 5.1 seconds to 60 mph, respectively).

There’s a launch-control feature to aid in achieving that number, and the standard ZF 8HP eight-speed automatic fires off lightning-quick shifts along the way. Engage Sport mode, and the faultless shift programming preselects the right gear for every corner. This mode also opens an exhaust flap, alters the audio-system engine-note enhancer, and orders up a delightful snap-crackle-pop on overrun courtesy of gloriously wasteful fuel injection during the exhaust stroke (fun fact: This is said to be the only Toyota designed with no fuel-economy target).

Supras are not drag-strip cars. They also need to be able to handle the corners, and toward that end the joint team built a strong foundation—the Supra’s torsional rigidity reportedly exceeds that of the Lexus LFA (not to mention the open Z4). The front strut suspension emulates the ‘super strut’ design Toyota launched on its AE92 Corolla in the late-1980s, featuring two separate ball-jointed lower links for reduced camber change and improved steering feel. To assist with chassis tuning, Mr. Tada once again engaged the services of Dutch Nürburgring veteran racer Herwig Daenens, who assisted with the Toyota 86 (née Scion FR-S).

Their goal was to tune for neutral handling with no surprises. “With a snappy car, the customer will experience it once and never drive it hard again,” Daenens explains as he laps Summit Point Motorsports Park outside Washington, D.C. His first hot lap strings together all the tight corners with laser precision and minimal steering heroics. He then gives me a Formula Drift lap or two, with no giant hand-brakes or diff-locks, rolling on the stock Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires inflated to placard specs (38 psi all around, cold). Speaking of differential locks, the Supra’s is infinitely variable and tuned to reduce corner-entry understeer and to maximize corner-exit traction.

When it’s my turn to duck my helmet under the low window opening and buckle in, I am struck by the intimacy of the car and cockpit. It feels as though I’m positioned near the centers of gravity and rotation, making it feel like this little world indeed revolves around me. One nit to pick—the large driver’s side-view mirror obscures the view of an upcoming apex worse than some, and the tallest drivers may be chagrinned to find the seatback tilting forward toward the rear of the seat track’s travel.

We’re instructed not to switch stability control completely off, to trail-brake into the turns, and to roll judiciously onto the throttle. Indeed, all those driving-school techniques provoke textbook responses in the Supra sans drama or surprises. The steering is extremely precise and nicely weighted, though it lacks the intimate communication of the Cayman Toyota is gunning for. Stability intervention is pleasantly surreptitious. And the super-strong Brembo brakes survive lap after lap after lap without fade, even as we all learn to press deeper into each of the closely spaced corners. Then during a later afternoon session, when we’ve probably used up 280 of the tires’ 300 tread-life rating, I even manage to string together a couple of very nice, controllable corner-to-corner drifts. I emerge, sweaty but smiling.

Once the red mist subsides and we take to the country lanes surrounding Summit Point, the car’s Sunday-drive demeanor proves equally delightful. The 12-speaker 500-watt JBL system cranks out the jams, the ride quality in Sport mode is sufficiently compliant to encourage leaving the car in this ‘fun-exhaust’ mode, and when zipping through a series of S-bends with your phone on the Qi wireless charger, a cover and sufficient fencing keep it from flying into the passenger footwell.

So is this miracle of automotive husbandry worthy of the Supra name? Heck, yeah. It reinvents the concept in a guise that make sense for today’s world, and it’s offered at a price ($50,920 to start, $57,375 fully loaded) that’s a relative bargain when measured against both its predecessor and its Porsche competitor ($58,150, $70,640 similarly equipped to the Launch Edition model). If it’s not precisely what you had in mind, the aftermarket is gearing up to help you fix that.

Want more Supra? Check these out:

2020 Toyota Supra BASE PRICE $50,920 VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, RWD, 2-pass, 2-door hatchback ENGINE 3.0L/335-hp/365-lb-ft turbocharged DOHC 24-valve I-6 TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic CURB WEIGHT 3,400 lb (mfr) WHEELBASE 97.2 in LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT 172.5 x 73.0 x 50.9 in 0-60 MPH 4.1 sec (mfr est) EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 24/31/26 mpg ENERGY CONSUMPTION, CITY/HWY 140/109 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.79 lb/mile ON SALE IN U.S. July 2019

The post 2020 Toyota Supra First Drive: Automotive Husbandry appeared first on Motortrend.

Categories: Property

BMW, Microsoft team up to improve in-car voice recognition

The Car Connection News Feed - Sat, 05/11/2019 - 18:00
BMW and Microsoft have forged a partnership to improve in-car voice-recognition systems. Both companies announced at Microsoft's Build developer conference on Thursday a partnership for improved machine learning and artificial intelligence. The goal is to create an open-source platform for voice recognition and in-car commands. BMW already uses...
Categories: Property

2018 Volkswagen Atlas SE Mileage and Range – Long-Term Update 3

Motortrend News Feed - Sat, 05/11/2019 - 09:00

Between my daily 45-minute commute and pulling support and transportation duties on out-of-town photo and video shoots, we have been putting some miles on the Atlas. With 11,087 miles on the odometer, it was finally time to visit our local Volkswagen dealership to get the oil changed. In addition to changing the oil, they completed a software update and inspected the seatbelt latches as part of a recall. The latches must have appeared fine, as no update to them was needed at this time. With parts and labor, our final bill came to $80.40.

With all of that time the behind the wheel, I feel like this is a good opportunity to address the poor fuel economy that we’ve been observing; 18.1 mpg is not only on the low side of the expected EPA numbers of 18/25 mpg (city/highway), it’s lower than the EPA mileage of our all-wheel-drive long-term 2018 Subaru Ascent as well as that of my long-term Mazda CX-9.

On top of my normal transportation needs, driving is part of my job, and therefore the overall mpg rating is less important to me personally. Good range and miles between trips to the gas station are criteria I look for in a good car, and the fuel-gulping Atlas rates low in this department. A quick, non-scientific glance at the Atlas’ fuel log shows that most fill-ups happened around the 250-mile mark. Compare that to the CX-9, which usually made it to the 300-mile mark and beyond. Although 50 to 70 miles doesn’t seem like a big deal, it means an additional couple of days between fill-ups during the workweek or the ability to drive a few extra miles without stopping during a road trip. Given the poor mileage, I wish Volkswagen had fitted the Atlas with a larger fuel tank.

I realize that the shades are meant for human passengers, but they make perfect dog barriers, so my mutt doesn’t venture too far out of the window while we’re driving. Read more about our long-term 2018 Volkswagen Atlas SE:

The post 2018 Volkswagen Atlas SE Mileage and Range – Long-Term Update 3 appeared first on Motortrend.

Categories: Property

Dozens of Vintage Chevrolets Burn With HBO Film Set

Motortrend News Feed - Fri, 05/10/2019 - 22:37

A massive fire that broke out on the set of an HBO miniseries in Ellenville, New York, early Thursday morning destroyed a used-car dealership and several circa 1990 cars and trucks, including Chevrolet Corvettes and Camaros. The cars were among 27 vintage vehicles that Automobile Magazine New York bureau chief Jamie Kitman had supplied to the HBO production via a film-car company he owns separately. No one was injured in the blaze.

The precise number of vehicles lost is not yet known, though Chris Busby, general manager for 613 Automotive Group, told the Poughkeepsie Journal; “There’s nothing left.” The dealership buildings, and “about a dozen vehicles were destroyed,” he said. Images published by the local Shawangunk Journal and reposted here with permission show the extent of the devastation, while others provided by Kitman show the cars prior to the fire. According to the Shawangunk Journal, the fire is said to have started in the showroom building and also claimed camera and film equipment, with damages possibly reaching into the millions of dollars. [Read Jamie Kitman’s story on the devastating fire here.]

Kitman says the losses include “several Corvettes, Camaros, a minty C1500 pickup, a 454 SS pickup,” and a “super-low-mileage 1990 Chevrolet Beretta Indy Pace Car” edition. The 613 Automotive Group used-car dealership was dressed as a Chevrolet/Pontiac/Oldsmobile/Isuzu store for an HBO miniseries based on Wally Lamb’s 1998 bestselling novel I Know This Much Is True and which stars Mark Ruffalo and Juliette Lewis. The novel takes place, at least partially, in October 1990. The fire broke out about 12:45 a.m. Thursday, the Shawangunk Journal reports, and the investigation into its cause is ongoing.

The dealership location for HBO’s I Know This Much Is True miniseries prior to the fire.

Photos of the damage courtesy Amberly Jane Campbell/Shawangunk Journal.

The post Dozens of Vintage Chevrolets Burn With HBO Film Set appeared first on Motortrend.

Categories: Property

Uber IPO Gives Company a Value of $81.4 Billion

Motortrend News Feed - Fri, 05/10/2019 - 20:00

Uber began trading as a public company at $42 per share Friday, nearly 7% below its initial public offering price on an already volatile day for the markets.

The ride-hailing giant priced shares in the IPO Thursday at $45 each, raising $8.1 billion and giving the company a valuation of $82 billion.

Shares began publicly trading on the New York Stock Exchange about 2 1/2 hours after the markets opened Friday, with investors already feeling jittery over an escalating trade dispute with China.

They recovered to just over $44 by midday as analysts still called the offering a success despite the price drop.

SharesPost principal analyst Alejandro Ortiz said the timing for Uber to start trading was bad given the uncertainty over the trade spat with China. But Uber’s story can’t be just one day of trading because of its potential to make billions in a growing ride market, he said.

“It’s going to keep bouncing around for months to come,” Ortiz said. “It’s an important thing to consider if you’re an investor and you saw value in the company and its disruptive potential, nothing has really changed in the past 48 hours.”

The true story of Uber will come with quarterly earnings reports and at the end of the six-month lockup period in which original IPO investors are prohibited from selling their shares, Ortiz said.

It’s not the first time a company’s stock has started off trading below its IPO price, not even this week. On Thursday, Axcella Health began trading well below its $20 IPO price and ended its first day at $13.80.

But it’s relatively uncommon for U.S. technology companies backed by venture capital, like Uber. Over the past five years, just 10% of such companies finished their first day of trading below their IPO price, said Matt Kennedy, senior IPO market strategist at Renaissance Capital, a manager of IPO focused funds.

“We were not expecting much of a pop, given the size of the deal” for Uber, Kennedy said. “The last U.S. company of this size to IPO was Facebook, for example, and you may remember how that traded initially.”

Facebook debuted in 2012 and, after technical difficulties delayed its start to trading, it ended its first day just 23 cents above its IPO price of $38.

“Unlike Facebook, however, Uber does not make money,” Kennedy said. Facebook’s stock now trades just below $200.

For his part, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi tried to manage expectations for the first day of trading, telling CNBC that Uber investors are in it for the long ride.

“Today is only one day. I want this day to go great, but it’s about what we build in the next three to five years,” he said. “And I feel plenty of pressure to build over that time frame.”

The IPO price on Thursday came in at the lower end of Uber’s targeted price range of $44 to $50 per share. The caution may have been driven by escalating doubts about the ability of ride-hailing services to make money since Uber’s main rival, Lyft, went public six weeks ago.

Jitters about an intensifying U.S. trade war with China have also contributed to the caution. All major indexes were down at least 1% on Friday after the two countries failed to reach a deal before Friday’s tariff deadline.

Shares of Lyft fell as Uber entered the public markets. They were down 1.6 percent to $54.28 at midday, almost 25 percent below Lyft’s IPO price of $72.

Even at the lower share price, Uber’s market value of $81.4 billion was five times more than Lyft’s.

Austin Geidt, one of Uber’s first employees, rang the opening bell. Both Uber co-founders Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp were present at the exchange but absent from the podium during the bell ringing.

A black Uber logo was hanging over the exchange floor and bright green Uber Eats trucks were parked outside. Men in black T-shirts and hats with the Uber Eats logo handed out drinks and snacks on the trading floor while photos of sedans, helicopters, and Jump bikes were shown on screens above.

Regardless of Uber’s stock swings Friday, the IPO has to be considered a triumph for the company most closely associated with an industry that has changed the way millions of people get around. That while also transforming the way millions of more people earn a living in the gig economy.

Uber’s IPO raised another $8.1 billion as the company it tries to fend off Lyft in the U.S. and help cover the cost of giving rides to passengers at unprofitable prices. The San Francisco company already has lost about $9 billion since its inception and acknowledges it could still be years before it turns a profit.

That sobering reality is one reason that Uber fell short of reaching the $120 billion market value that many observers believed its IPO might attain.

Despite all that, Uber’s IPO is the biggest since Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group debuted with a value of $167.6 billion in 2014.

Uber boasts growth galore. Its revenue last year surged 42% to $11.3 billion while its cars completed 5.2 billion trips around the world either giving rides to 91 million passengers or delivering food.

Uber might be even more popular if not for a series of revelations about unsavory behavior that sullied its image and resulted in the ouster of Kalanick as CEO nearly two years ago.

The self-inflicted wounds included complaints about rampant internal sexual harassment, accusations that it stole self-driving car technology, and a cover-up of a computer break-in that stole personal information about its passengers. What’s more, some Uber drivers have been accused of assaulting passengers, and one of its self-driving test vehicles struck and killed a pedestrian in Arizona last year while a backup driver was behind the wheel.

Uber hired Khosrowshahi as CEO to replace Kalanick and clean up the mess, something that analysts say has been able to do to some extent, although Lyft seized upon the scandals to gain market share.

Kalanick remains on Uber’s board and while he kept a relatively low profile on Friday, he can still savor his newfound wealth. At $45 per share, his stake in Uber will be worth around $5 billion. Hundreds, if not thousands, of other Uber employees are expected to become millionaires in the IPO.


Meanwhile, scores of Uber drivers say they have been mistreated by the company as they work long hours and wear out their cars picking up passengers as they struggle to make ends meet. On Wednesday, some of them participated in strikes across the United States to highlight their unhappiness ahead of Uber’s IPO but barely caused a ripple. A similar strike was organized ahead of Lyft’s IPO to the same effect.

Uber may be able to avoid Lyft’s post-IPO stock decline because it has a different story to tell than just the potential for growth in ride-hailing, says Ortiz of SharesPost. Uber, he said, has plans to be more than a ride-hailing company by being all things transportation to users of its app, offering deliveries, scooters, bicycles, and links to other modes of transportation including public mass transit systems.

“Whether or not that pitch will work kind of remains to be seen. It’s nearly impossible to tell now,” he said. “Obviously the risk to the company now is they have a lot more shareholders that they have to convince.”

The post Uber IPO Gives Company a Value of $81.4 Billion appeared first on Motortrend.

Categories: Property

2019 BMW 3-Series

The Car Connection News Feed - Fri, 05/10/2019 - 18:47
With the 2019 3-Series, BMW wants to remind the world that it makes the compact sport sedans that define what sport sedans actually are. Nevermind that its own X3 SUV is superior for carrying people, and comes eerily close to the 3-Series performance bogeys of steering and ride—the 3-Series is BMW’s franchise player. As it veers back...
Categories: Property

2019 Nissan Altima

The Car Connection News Feed - Fri, 05/10/2019 - 18:41
The 2019 Nissan Altima needed a hook. It found two. New this year, the 2019 Altima adds optional all-wheel drive and an optional high-po turbo-4 borrowed from Infiniti—except both can’t be had together. That’s fine, and what’s left for buyers who don’t opt for either isn’t bad. We give the mega-popular sedan a...
Categories: Property

Court rules that Michigan can suspend driver's licenses for unpaid fines

The Car Connection News Feed - Fri, 05/10/2019 - 18:00
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled Michigan is allowed to suspend a driver's license over unpaid fines, something opponents argue disproportionately affects poorer people. Reuters reported on the ruling in a Wednesday report after the court ruled 2-1 in favor of suspending driver's licenses to uphold court orders and pay collect...
Categories: Property