All Change: Are America’s Automakers Ready? – The Big Picture

Motortrend News Feed - Tue, 04/17/2018 - 09:00

We used to call them the Big Three because, well, they were the three biggest automakers in the world. For much of the 20th century, GM, Ford, and Chrysler each made more cars—and more money—than anyone else in the auto biz. They made Detroit the automotive capital of the world by the 1920s and one of the wealthiest cities in America by the 1950s. Back then, the masters of the universe cruised Woodward Avenue, not Wall Street.

A lot has changed.

For a start, the Big Three aren’t so big anymore. According to global sales figures from industry analyst JATO, GM now languishes in fourth spot, behind Volkswagen, Toyota, and Hyundai, fifth if you factor in the new Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance. Ford, for decades the world’s No. 2 automaker, is now merely the sixth largest. And 20 years after being swallowed by Daimler—and subsequently spat out before being merged with Fiat in 2014—Chrysler barely makes the top 10.

But that’s not all. Just two years after Toyota ended GM’s eight-decade reign as the world’s largest automaker in 2008, China became the world’s biggest single auto market, toppling the United States from the leadership position it had held for more than a century. The Chinese market has since grown to be 60 percent larger than America’s, with Chinese consumers buying more than 28 million vehicles last year.

A new world order is here. So what now for America’s automakers? The 2018 Geneva show addressed that question.

Jaguar beat its German rivals to the punch at Geneva with the launch of the I-Pace (pictured above), the first car to challenge Tesla’s hegemony in the premium electric vehicle segment. But Porsche, Audi, Mercedes, and BMW were all talking in detail about the swarm of BEVs they’ll have on the road starting in 2019. Brands as diverse as Nissan and Aston Martin showed BEV concepts touting Level 4 autonomous capability and foldaway steering wheels; the VW I.D. Vizzion concept (pictured below), built on VW Group’s all-new MEB electric vehicle platform that enters production next year, had no steering wheel at all.

Geneva 2018 was one of those rare auto shows—Tokyo 1989 was another—where the future felt real. Yet … there was not a single GM car on display, the Ford stand was a perfunctory affair highlighting the retro-hip Mustang Bullitt, and FCA’s star turn was the Jeep Wrangler, a vehicle whose roots go back to the 1940s. America, the nation that put the world on wheels, that shaped the 20th century, seemed curiously AWOL from the existential narrative reimagining the 21st at Geneva.

GM’s absence from Geneva reflected the company’s pivot away from Europe to China, the nation that’s now dictating the types of vehicles the world’s automakers must build. We may love our pickup trucks and V-8s, but China is demanding BEVs and autonomous capability, and when automakers contemplate a market that could be twice the size of America’s within the next decade, they’re going to follow the money.

In that context, GM appears to be well positioned. GM global product chief Mark Reuss has confirmed two BEV crossovers based on the Chevy Bolt platform will appear in the next 18 months. At least a further seven BEVs—and possibly as many as 18—will be built on a new modular vehicle architecture and carry a 300-mile range as soon as 2023. And as we’ve seen with Cadillac’s Super Cruise, GM is aggressively pursuing autonomous capability.

The Chrysler Portal concept

The jury is out on Ford and FCA, though. Ford has confirmed just one BEV by 2020, an all-wheel-drive SUV it claims will have a 300-mile range, and FCA’s Sergio Marchionne says a production version of the Chrysler Portal BEV minivan concept will go into production some time after 2018. Both companies are also working on autonomous drive: Ford is testing a fleet of self-driving Fusions as a prelude to launching a fully autonomous vehicle by 2021, and FCA is partnering with BMW and Intel to develop an autonomous vehicle platform.

But is it too little, too late? The electric realities of Geneva suggest it might be.

More from Angus MacKenzie:

The post All Change: Are America’s Automakers Ready? – The Big Picture appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: Property

2017 Jaguar F-Pace Long-Term Update 4: Ride Quality and Key Fob Foibles

Motortrend News Feed - Tue, 04/17/2018 - 09:00

In my second update, I outlined the advice given to me by an F-Pace owner/enthusiast with respect to softening up the Jag’s ride. I took the air pressure down in all tires, from 44 psi to 34 psi, and enabled “light load” mode in the vehicle settings so that the tire pressure monitoring system would not trigger a low tire pressure warning every time I drove. The latter took a bit of research to find that vehicle settings were accessed in the driver gauge cluster (left side), via the directional pad on the steering wheel. So how is the ride after a few thousand miles and a couple of road trips?

Kinda the same, to be honest. On smooth roads, the ride in light load mode is fine, not noticeably smoother or less jarring than when the tires are set at 44 psi. And on rough roads, the ride can still be quite harsh and brittle. Passengers unfamiliar with the F-Pace still comment on its roughness over bumps; those who rode in the vehicle before and after the tire pressures were reduced also don’t notice any major differences. For the daily driver, the effect of light load mode is probably mostly psychological. I can’t really discern if the ride is actually better, but I take comfort in the fact that I have done as much as I can to improve it (without swapping tires or going to a smaller-sized wheel for more tire sidewall).

Just after the Los Angeles Auto Show, the PR team at Jaguar Land Rover arranged a morning surf session with an environmentally friendly surfboard manufacturer it supports. I wrote about the fun we had with Skunkworks and the Waste-to-Waves program here.

During the session, Jaguar PR’s Nate Hoyt asked me if I had tried the F-Pace’s activity key for my morning surf adventures. I mumbled no and cited bogus excuses of not having the time to learn its complexities. Hoyt politely endured my bloviating and then explained there was really nothing to it. Jaguar’s activity key is actually a sensor embedded in a rubber strap. “You just put it around your wrist or ankle, leave the key fob in the car, and then shut all the doors,” Hoyt said. “To lock or unlock the vehicle, touch the flat part of the bracelet to the J of the Jaguar on the rear hatch. That’s it.”

Embarrassed yet excited about the prospect of no longer having to waste time securing the F-Pace’s key fob in a special combination lock, I strapped on the bracelet for that morning’s paddle out, and, well, I’ve been using it ever since.

Jaguar’s activity key works as advertised and is a godsend to anyone who doesn’t like to or simply can’t carry a key fob around with them. It’s a simple-looking device: a rubber strap like you would find on any sports watch but with thicker, flat, inflexible section where the sensor sits. It’s comfortable to wear even with my birdlike wrists, like a large Fitbit-style activity monitor, although it provides no data readouts because it has no screen or buttons. I wear it on my right wrist because the left is for my watch. After a few seconds, it’s forgotten, especially under the compression of a wetsuit.

There are a couple of interesting quirks to its use. For instance, when it’s time to lock the F-Pace, if any of the doors or the tailgate have been open for more than a few minutes, the system won’t respond when the bracelet is touched to the J of the rear Jaguar badge. That is easily remedied by opening and shutting any door. After activity, when it comes time to unlock the vehicle, sometimes the bracelet needs a couple of touches at the J, although this might be a quirk unique to my post-surf circumstances; the bracelet is often wet from seawater or a rinse from the beach shower.

The last obstacle is price; at $400, Jaguar’s activity key is certainly not as affordable as the $25 combination-locking container I have been using for the last few years to secure car keys while at the beach. But it is certainly a lot cheaper than the roughly $15,000 worth of flatscreen TVs that were charged to my credit cards when my wallet and iPhone were stolen from a previous press car. I had made the poor decision of attempting to hide the keys to a Mercedes-Benz GL test vehicle behind the cover of the trailer hitch—and, well, let’s just say thank heavens for American Express’ fraud protection division.

Next update: mysterious shut-off behavior revealed!

Read more about our long-term 2017 Jaguar F-Pace:

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Categories: Property

2018 BMW M5 First Test Review

Motortrend News Feed - Tue, 04/17/2018 - 09:00

I don’t like yams. There’s nothing you or my sweet potato fries–loving wife can do about that fact. I recently ate a meatball made from pig kidneys, lungs, stomach, and liver—paired with some mashed rutabaga—delicious! But yams? Yuck. They taste like pith, mush, sadness, and paste. I do not like them. I am aware that others do actually enjoy that vapid, nothingburger yammy taste, but you can’t change my mind. The end.

I mention my yam animus because there are certain cars I don’t like. Without unnecessarily sticking it to other manufacturers, I’ll just name two BMWs I don’t care for. The current G30 5 Series and the previous-gen F10 M5. Let’s start with the car the Bavarians no longer make. Although quick, the last M5 was dynamically identical to driving a bank vault with the speedometer constantly pegged at 100 mph. Corpses traditionally have more feeling. Plus, although that humdinger of a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 made copious amounts of power (550–575 horses, depending on the tune), you couldn’t hear a feedbag of it. Why? Well, the last-gen 5 Series was made from the same parts that underpinned not only the larger and heavier 7 Series but also the much bigger and fatter Rolls-Royce Ghost. So dull was that F10 M5 that the engineers (rightly) felt the need to pipe in fake engine noise through the speakers. Vroom, vroom, as it were.

Then there’s the new 5 Series. Not a fan. I’ve driven plenty of them, too: 530i, 530e, 540i, and the M550i. Forget about the derivative looks, behind-the-times interiors, and yamlike (ahem) steering. There’s nothing about any G30 that would allow you to jibe your behind-the-wheel experience with BMW’s shopworn but still fantastic tagline, “The Ultimate Driving Machine.” Honestly, I prefer the new Honda Accord, and I’ve said so repeatedly both in public and private. I don’t like those cars.

So I had no hope for the new M5. The confusingly coded F90 M5 wouldn’t drive anywhere as great as the near-flawless E39 version or be a high speed ’bahn burner like the glorious, unappreciated in its time, V-10-powered E60. The new M5 wouldn’t even sport the sinister looks of the OG supersedan, the E28. No, this model is an aesthetic rehash of the mild-looking E34 version, a sleeper if there ever was one, and would obviously drive like a slightly (600-horsepower, but really 592-hp) more powerful F80 M5, right? After all, the new M5 had gone all-wheel drive. I mean if that’s not sacrilege, what is? However, after the X5 M and X6 M, is there really such a thing as sacrilege? Also, gone are both the manual transmission and the dual-clutch. Instead we get an eight-speed automatic. Just like a Toyota minivan. My hate was gearing up.

I first heard that my assumptions were wrong after talking to road test editor Chris Walton, who went on the M5’s launch and actually had driven the car. He more than liked it. “The BMW M5 is once again completely bonkers, hair-on-fire great in its current F90 form,” he said. “It’s once again the proverbial ballerina body builder able to balance on one toe while holding a two-ton weight over its head with one hand behind its back.” I also spoke with my Ignition and Head 2 Head co-host, Automobile’s Jethro Bovingdon. He too had nothing but nice things to say about the F90. Hmmm. I’m often (loudly) wrong, but could my assumptions be this far off base?

As soon as schedules permitted, I hopped in our white M5 tester and headed straight up my own personal test track (6 miles from my house), Angeles Crest. A couple of the negatives I’d anticipated were there. The engine’s still muted. On the F10 version, BMW seemed to be faking the sound of the V-10 from the E60. On the F90, the soundtrack has been dropped an octave—much more of a V-8 baritone than what sounded like a V-10 before. But it’s still phony and psychically annoying. Also, I’m not sure how or why, but the three-way adjustable steering feel is bad. Comfort is better than Sport, which in turn is better than Sport Plus. Yes, I tried all three modes in both AWD and RWD (you can do that!), and although the car is more pleasant with two wheels being driven than four, the new M5 just doesn’t feel great when turning the wheel. I don’t know what else to say.

But you know what? I was having fun. Unlike the numb supersedan that came before, the new M5’s chassis was playful. The car enjoyed being in corners. Huge props and credit the M boys and girls for adding the mass of AWD but lowering the vehicle’s overall weight: 4,268 pounds versus 4,369 for the previous generation. So you know, the E60 iteration clocked in at 4,107 pounds. Back to the driving experience, not only was there something confidence-inspiring about the way the M5 ate up one of the world’s better public highways, but there was something pleasantly familiar, as well.

I’m doing you, dear enthusiast reader, a disservice if I type another sentence without mentioning the new M5’s performance. I’d ask if you’re sitting down, but you might as well be standing on your head. Zero to 60 mph happens in 3.0 seconds. Yes, 3 seconds flat to 60 mph. McLaren 675LT? Zero to 60 mph in 3.0 seconds. Acura NSX? 3.1 seconds. More important, the 603-hp Mercedes-AMG E 63 S 4Matic+ takes 3.2 seconds to hit 60 mph, the 605-hp Audi RS 7 does 3.3 seconds, and the 640-hp Cadillac CTS-V needs 3.8. If you want to get to 60 mph quicker in a four-door vehicle, call Tesla, as the instant-torque Model S P100D Ludicrous Plus is our all-time champ at 2.3 seconds. The M5 is real quick.

This fact is further borne out down the quarter mile. A Ferrari Enzo and the 2017 Nissan GT-R NISMO both rip up the quarter in 11.0 seconds. The BMW M5, like the 991.1 Porsche GT3 RS, Carrera GT, Ferrari 458 Italia, and AMG SLS Black Series, is slower, all needing 11.1 seconds to go 1,320 feet. Corvette Z06? 11.2 seconds. That’s just plum whacky. Are you not impressed? Also, the BMW’s ridiculous numbers aren’t just the result of AWD grip during the launch. The four-door’s 126.7-mph trap speed is just 0.3 mph behind the 3,550-pound Z06. Please note: Out here in the Golden State, we’re (stupidly, pointlessly, frustratingly) running our tests on 91-octane “premium,” not 93, so in many other places, the M5 will be even quicker. As for the direct competition, the AMG E 63 S (more than 300 pounds heavier at 4,581) comes closest, doing 11.3 at 124.2 mph. The Audi RS 7 takes 11.5 seconds at 120.4 mph, and the RWD-only Caddy CTS-V brings up the rear, doing the quarter in 11.9 at 122.0 mph. Your takeaway: This new M5 is an accelerative monster.

She handles great, too. In our figure-eight testing the M5 put down a 23.3-second lap. That’s extraordinary. That’s 1.1 seconds off of a Lamborghini Huracán Performante with triple-sticky tires and 0.9 second behind the alien-technology-infused McLaren 720S. As for the direct competition, the E 63 S does a 23.6, the RS 7 lays down a 24.6, and the CTS-V is good for a 24.2. For just a little more perspective, the lightweight track-day-special BMW M4 GTS also does a 23.3-second lap, as do the Shelby GT350R and the Corvette Grand Sport. Crazy plus amazing equals cramazing. The Mercedes-AMG GT S, our former Best Driver’s Car, needs 23.4 seconds. Oh, and let’s not forget braking. The M5 needs just 97 feet to stop from 60 mph, whereas the E 63 S requires 116 feet, the Audi RS 7 needs 105 feet, and the Cadillac uses 99 feet. What a beast.

I spent a week with the sixth-generation F90 M5, and every day I drove it, I enjoyed it more and more. Especially once I figured out how to turn off the front wheels with a double click of my right thumb; you can configure either M button to run the car in RWD mode. Press once to engage, twice to confirm. This is worlds better than the secret cheat code—activate Race mode, turn the traction control all the way off, put the transmission in manual, foot on brake, pull both paddles toward you—AMG forces you to perform each and every time you’d like your car to be in rear-wheel drive. Curiously, both the AMG and the M5 require you to have all safety systems totally off when only two wheels are being powered. Not sure why that is, and it seems counterintuitive. Like with the AMG, I preferred driving the M5 around in RWD, world-beating acceleration numbers be damned.

Not only was I learning to like the car more and more with each passing day, but that creeping sense of familiarity from earlier in the week was also back. I’d experienced a machine like this before. Then it rained, and I decided to leave the car in AWD and put the engine, transmission, and suspension in Sport or Sport Plus. Aha! I know where I’d driven this before: BMW’s own heretic, the X6 M: that lovable brute, the mighty thing that both degraded and emboldened the M Division, the vehicle that upon sighting most enthusiasts claim to hate but once driven secretly yearn to own. I realized I was rolling around a slick Los Angeles in the 1,000 pounds lighter sedan version of the X6 M. And I liked it. Fancy that.

Conclusion? For pure driving thrills in the just-over-two-ton sedan class, I still believe I’d prefer the purer, more focused Cadillac CTS-V. But without driving the two cars back to back on the same day on the same road, it’s hard to say for certain. Call it a hunch. I can say that compared to E 63 or RS 7, BMW’s got ’em licked not just in terms of performance but also in terms of driving pleasure. I think what I’m most shocked about is that this F90 M5 shares a platform with all the other G30 5 Series that I’ve driven, and it is superior to the point that the car honestly doesn’t feel related. No, it’s not an E39 M5. Want a new one of those? Maybe some Chevy dealer still has a recently discontinued SS lying around. Also no, this big beast is not the deceptively great, F1-engined E60. But you know what? The wallflower-looking F90 does indeed rock. More important, unlike the last version, I say this M5 is worthy of the badge. Future performance icon? Just maybe. Although maybe I’m just getting soft. Maybe I’ve been seduced by the F90’s crazy numbers? Last night I tried one of my wife’s sweet potato fries. Nope. I still hate yams.

2018 BMW M5 BASE PRICE $104,595 PRICE AS TESTED $129,795 VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan ENGINE 4.4L/600-hp/553-lb-ft twin-turbo DOHC 32-valve V-8 TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 4,268 lb (55/45%) WHEELBASE 117.4 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 195.5 x 74.9 x 58.0 in 0-60 MPH 3.0 sec QUARTER MILE 11.1 sec @ 126.7 mph 0-100-0 MPH 10.7 sec BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 97 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 1.00 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 23.3 sec @ 0.91 g (avg) EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 15/21/17 mpg ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 225/160 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 1.13 lb/mile

The post 2018 BMW M5 First Test Review appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: Property

Comer agrees £45m loan from Investec

Property Week News Feed - Tue, 04/17/2018 - 08:57
Comer Homes has secured a £45m loan from Investec Structured Property Finance for the development of the Royal Winchester House, in Bracknell, Berkshire.
Categories: Property

F&C's lack of industrial assets leads to underperformance in 2017

Property Week News Feed - Tue, 04/17/2018 - 08:03
F&C Commercial Property Trust has blamed underperformance during 2017 on its underweight position in the south east of England industrial sector.
Categories: Property

Intu reports growth, but fails to update on Hammerson deal

Property Week News Feed - Tue, 04/17/2018 - 07:33
Intu has issued its latest trading statement without referring to the £3.4bn proposed takeover by Hammerson.
Categories: Property

Pininfarina Relaunches as Electric Car Brand

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 22:30

Pininfarina has rolled out a slew of electrified car concepts, and now we know why. The renowned Italian design firm, acquired by Mahindra & Mahindra a few years ago, is relaunching as an electric car brand.

Headquartered in Europe, Automobili Pininfarina will design, engineer, and manufacture luxury electric vehicles. The brand will utilize Pininfarina’s design background as well as the knowledge Mahindra has gained from its experience in the Formula E championship. As of this writing, Mahindra is ranked No. 3 in the current standings, behind DS Virgin Racing and Techeetah.

Pininfarina’s first model will be an electric hypercar scheduled to arrive in 2020. The EV maker hasn’t provided additional details, but according to Autocar, the new model will use modular underpinnings co-developed by Rimac and Mahindra’s Formula E Team. The vehicle is rumored to produce enough power to rival the 1,479 hp of the Bugatti Chiron.

Paolo Pininfarina, grandson of Pininfarina founder Battista Farina and Pininfarina SpA chairman, said in a statement, “This project helps me and my family to realize my grandfather’s dream of seeing outstanding innovative cars solely branded Pininfarina on the roads.”

At this year’s Geneva Motor Show, Pininfarina revealed the Hybrid Kinetic (HK) GT concept (pictured above) as one of the many joint ventures with Hong Kong-based Hybrid Kinetic Group. The concept takes cues from the previous year’s H600 hybrid sedan concept and the K500 and K750 SUVs. Pininfarina even rolled out a hydrogen track car in the form of the H2 Speed. The automaker is also rolling out an H500 electrified concept sedan alongside a four-seater K350 SUV at the Beijing auto show later this month.

Source: Mahindra, Autocar

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Categories: Property

Tesla CEO Elon Musk Admits Missteps in Model 3 Production

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 22:00

Tesla didn’t exactly meet its goal of producing 5,000 copies of the Model 3 on a weekly basis by the end of the first quarter. Instead, Tesla made just 2,020 units despite the company’s best efforts to address bottlenecks in the production process. Now, in an interview with “CBS This Morning,” Elon Musk admits to mistakes that have hindered the rollout of its most important vehicle to date.

The CEO says “production hell” related to the Model 3 sedan has been worse than he expected. “We got complacent about some of the things that we felt were our core technology…We put too much new technology into the Model 3 all at once. This—this should have been staged,” he said.

Tesla’s highly automated assembly line actually contributed to a slowdown in production. Eventually, Tesla had to eliminate its “crazy, complex network of conveyor belts,” Musk said. In a recent post on Twitter, the CEO further indicated Tesla went too far with automation.

Yes, excessive automation at Tesla was a mistake. To be precise, my mistake. Humans are underrated.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 13, 2018

Tesla received a downgraded credit rating from Moody’s last month, one sign that many pundits used to speculate about the company’s overall well-being. But Musk has a brighter outlook. “The problem that people have, a lot of the analysts, is they kinda look in the rearview mirror instead of looking at the front windscreen,” Musk said. “This has very frequently been why people have underestimated Tesla, because they would look at Tesla’s – what Tesla’s done in the past and use that as proxy for what we’re able to do in the future.”

Despite a slower-than-expected first quarter, Musk expects Model 3 output to increase dramatically in the next few months. “We’ll probably have, I don’t know, a three or four-fold increase in Model 3 output in the second quarter,” he told CBS. In its recent quarterly report, Tesla indicated it would not need an equity or debt raise this year other than standard credit lines.

According to analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg, Tesla is expected to suffer adjusted net losses of around $192 million in the third quarter and $35 million in the fourth quarter. Musk, however, claims Tesla will be cash flow-positive in the last two quarters of the year.

The Economist used to be boring, but smart with a wicked dry wit. Now it’s just boring (sigh). Tesla will be profitable & cash flow+ in Q3 & Q4, so obv no need to raise money.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 13, 2018

Source: CBS, Elon Musk via Twitter, Bloomberg

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Categories: Property

2019 Audi A7 preview

The Car Connection News Feed - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 21:40
The 2019 Audi A7 arrives in showrooms this fall with reworked styling and a heaping dose of new technology. It's the second generation for the fastback (a hatchback, technically speaking), and it precedes the arrival of a new A6 sedan that shares its mechanicals by a few months. Audi design chief Marc Lichte and his team penned the new shape, but...
Categories: Property

Feature Flashback: Remembering the Malaise Ferrari

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 21:30

Ferrari is riding an ever-growing tsunami of success with nary a clunker among its many new offerings of late—the Motor Trend Best Drivers’ Car–winning 488 and its latest Pista variant being terrific cases in point. Who knows—at this rate, the SUV they’ve long threatened to introduce may even connect as a home run. This wasn’t always the case, however. To illustrate this let’s take a look back at what may rank as the ultimate malaise Ferrari—the 348. The car that replaced Magnum PI’s iconic Pininfarina beauty 308/328 was the first Ferrari I drove as a cub reporter, during which time the seat back broke and we experienced antsy limit handling and poor cross-wind stability. See, this was the last Ferrari developed before the Acura NSX showed the world that sexy mid-engine supercars didn’t have to be finicky, fragile, ergonomic disasters. Here’s what Motor Trend had to say about the 348.

Beer-goggle Beauty

“How do you replace a classic? It’s tough, but it needs to be done eventually. Ferrari’s transformation of the 328 into the 348 is much more interesting from a technical and engineering viewpoint but it’s bound to be the shape that people talk about first. Quite simply, the 308/328 was probably the prettiest production car Ferrari has ever built. You can look at the 348 and decide it looks quite nice when approached carefully from the right direction, but you wouldn’t say it’s pretty unless you’d had a couple drinks—and that’s no way to approach any car, especially a Ferrari.”

Nice caboose

“The most flattering angle for the 348 is from slightly above the rear three-quarters. The line of the rear side windows is neat, with the rear window more reminiscent of the 246 Dino than the 328. But even from there, the sensuality is gone. Least flattering is the full frontal view, and that dummy grille is a copout: If you don’t need a grille, why have one? An innovative aerodynamic approach would have made more sense. In the press handout (referring to the Testarossa-style side strakes) is the following remark: ‘On a Ferrari a technical requirement becomes a stylistic theme and nothing is simply there for decoration.’ Oh, really?”

Better Beneath the Skin

The “T” in 348 TB and later TS stood for Transversale, referring to the transmission’s orientation, not the engine’s. This represented a swap from the 308/328’s transverse engine/longitudinal transaxle design, as author Peter Dron explained. “The main reason for this was not any philosophical dislike of transverse engines, but simply a search for better cornering behavior. Like the Testarossa, the 328 had too high a center of gravity for ideal handling, and the rearrangement has permitted Ferrari to lower the engine by more than 5 in.” This engine orientation also made it possible to move the cooling from the front to the rear side openings, improving the car’s polar moment of inertia.

Shorter, Taller, Wider, Heavier?

Perhaps some of the 348’s design challenges were dimensional. “The dimensional changes are in line with the current move toward extra width and height. Almost 2 in. shorter than the 328 (but with 4 in. extra in the wheelbase), the 348 is 8.5 in. wider and 1.7 in. taller. It weighs 2,740 lb, an increase of more than 200 lb, due mainly to extra equipment but also because of the more rigid chassis.”

Sounds “Efficient”

Engine sound has long been a hallmark pleasure of any Ferrari, although the turbocharged 488 has taken some flak on this score. The 348 didn’t impress us much on this count, either: “It doesn’t sound like a V-8; in fact, the noise it makes is more like a high-pitched turbine than anything else, the characteristic whine of the flat-plane crank. It doesn’t have the hard edge of Lamborghini’s V-8 (similar to the old Cosworth DFV) or the deep, throaty rumble of the high-performance domestic engines. It isn’t an unpleasant noise, but it won’t make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on edge. It’s simply an efficient device, to be used to the fullest.”

Sub-Supercar Performance

“For some manufacturers, it might be hard to go to market when competitors are offering cars with demonstrably better performance for tens of thousands of dollars less. Ferrari, however, seems blessed with such cache that the numbers gleaned from mere fifth wheels don’t seem to make much of a difference. Take the Ferrari 348, for example. Its 0-60-mph time of about 6 seconds can be bested by such lesser-priced machinery as an L98 Corvette. Its slalom speed of a little over 63 mph is flat blown away by the humbly priced Nissan 300ZX Turbo. Even with anti-lock brakes, its stopping performance from 60 mph is bested by any number of ABS-equipped cars.”

Almost Testarossa-Quick/Fast

When it first arrived on the market, the 348 nipped at the heels of the range-topping, Miami Vice/Sonny Crockett–popularized Testarossa. “It certainly does take off, too, with 0-60 mph in under 5.5 sec and a top speed of more than 275 kph (171 mph). This calls into question the purpose of a Testarossa, which is no more practical, doesn’t handle as well, and is no longer significantly faster. It’ll be interesting to see what Ferrari does with the ‘face-lifted’ Testarossa (an engineering as well as a cosmetic job), which is due out in the next couple years.”

Underselling the Flagship

Indeed that flagship replacement, the flat-12-cylinder 512 BB, quickly eclipsed the $100,000 cheaper 348 in terms of performance and sales, as we reported in our April, 1993 issue. This situation called for drastic action: “… radical surgery to increase the latter’s appeal to Americans. The operations included a roofectomy along with some minor bodywork nips and tucks. The result is the new 348 Spider, Ferrari’s first two-seat convertible since the 365 GTB4 Daytona. Along with its manual soft top, the Spider gets body-color lower cladding and engine cover, plus oversize prancing-horse badges front and rear. The open-air 348 gains added stability thanks to a 50-millimeter increase in rear track. And Ferrari claims a modest horsepower bump-from 300 to 312. Coupled with a new transverse gearbox and slightly lower differential gear ratio this should help the Spider scamper 0-60 mph in under 5.5 seconds. The price for all this al fresco excitement is expected to start around $120,000.”

Room With a View

“All-around visibility in the 348 is much better than in most mid-engine cars, and the large door-mounted mirrors are ideal. At first, it’s hard to spot the changes to the interior, and the character of the 308/328 has been carried forward into the 348. But there are significant improvements, not the least of them being an important increase in leg and head room and a better driver’s seat. For the first time with a Ferrari V-8 behind my shoulders, I was truly comfortable and didn’t feel cramped. At last, the factory has recognized that some of us—and quite a few Italians these days—are over 6 ft tall.”

Parting Shot

After damning some ergonomic and build quality aspects with faint praise (“Heating and ventilation systems in Italian cars have moved from effectively non-existent through fairly feeble to a point where they are now almost as good as anything from anywhere else;” and “The interior was well put together, except the two outer vents were not perfectly aligned in the fascia”), Dron closed with this zinger: “There’s no doubt that the 348, from a dynamic point of view, is a serious and important step forward from the 328. It’s just as well, because it’s a bit like the plain sister who got all the brains.”

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The post Feature Flashback: Remembering the Malaise Ferrari appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: Property

Cadillac Offers $10,000 to Keep Escalade Leasees out of the Lincoln Navigator

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 20:00

Through the first quarter of this year, the Cadillac Escalade has easily been the most popular full-size luxury SUV in the U.S. Not only has it outsold competitors such as the Infiniti QX80 and the Mercedes-Benz GLS, year-to-date sales are also up more than 8 percent. Unfortunately for Cadillac, the redesigned Lincoln Navigator has been getting a lot of attention lately, forcing Cadillac to offer some serious incentives on the Escalade.

Bloomberg reports that in order to keep customers from considering the Navigator, current Escalade leasees can now get a $10,000 discount on a new one. Escalade owners are also eligible for a $7,500 discount. These incentives are reportedly available nationwide, but the lease deal is only targeted at drivers of 2016 Escalades that will presumably be coming off lease soon.

Interior of the 2017 Cadillac Escalade

“GM is trying to keep Escalade buyers out of Navigators, for sure. You’ve got a fresh Navigator and you’ve got an Escalade that is not new and is starting to age,” Jeff Schuster, an analyst at LMC Automotive, told Bloomberg. “GM is willing to forgo a little profit to keep loyalty within the brand, but they’re still making money. The new Navigator has sent a signal to Cadillac that they need to be in front of this and be aggressive.”

That said, Lincoln still has a long way to go before it dethrones the Escalade. Sales through the first quarter were about half that of the Cadillac, and three other full-size luxury SUVs, including the Land Rover Range Rover, also outsold the Navigator. But March sales were up about 90 percent year-over-year, and first-quarter sales were up about 63 percent. Plus, as we recently reported, the Navigator’s average transaction price of $82,500 is up more than $25,000 in the past year, and dealers can barely keep them on the lot. Navigators typically sit on dealer lots for only 10 days, with six-figure Black Label versions selling in seven days.

Interior of the 2018 Lincoln Navigator Black Label

As Schuster mentioned above, Cadillac also has to contend with the fact that the Navigator is much newer than the Escalade. The Navigator went on sale late last year, but the current Escalade has been around since 2014. Even the update it received for the 2016 model year isn’t enough to make the Escalade feel fresh when the Navigator’s cabin now looks and feels so luxurious.

Considering Cadillac reportedly makes about $20,000 on each Escalade it sells, it makes sense that to try to keep current customers from jumping ship. “This is a particular battle that GM doesn’t want to lose ground in,” Schuster said. “It speaks to the importance of the Escalade.”

Source: Bloomberg

The post Cadillac Offers $10,000 to Keep Escalade Leasees out of the Lincoln Navigator appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: Property

Cadillac targets Lincoln, offers $10,000 discount on 2018 Escalade SUV

The Car Connection News Feed - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 19:40
Cadillac has put a price on loyalty: $10,000. That's the discount GM's luxury brand is offering certain owners as an incentive to take home a new 2018 Escalade SUV. That hefty price-cut on the 2018 Cadillac Escalade isn't mere generosity, it's a ploy to keep owners from defecting to the Lincoln Navigator. Redesigned for 2018, that model poses a...
Categories: Property

2019 Honda Odyssey Starts at $31,065

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 19:00

Building on the fifth-generation Odyssey’s successful launch last year, the 2019 Honda Odyssey has arrived at dealerships starting at $31,065 for the base LX trim, or $100 more than last year’s model. Prices go up from there, topping out at $47,945 for an Elite model—which rises $200 from the 2018 model.

Pricing adjustments for the rest of the Odyssey lineup are similarly minor. The Odyssey EX starts at $35,035, a bump of $100. Meanwhile, the EX-L and EX-L with navigation and rear entertainment both go up $150 to $38,585 150 and $40,585 150, respectively. Lastly, the Touring trim’s starting price inflates by just $50 to $45,635.

The Odyssey carries over mostly unchanged, with power still coming from a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that makes 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. Touring and Elite trims come mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission, while all other trims get a nine-speed. Fuel economy remains unchanged for the 2019 model  at 19/28 mpg city/highway.

Just like last year, EX trims and above come standard with the Honda Sensing suite of active safety and driver-assist goodies that include collision mitigation braking system, lane keeping assist, road departure mitigation, and adaptive cruise control. For 2019, EX-L models and above get a second 2.5-amp USB port for the center console.

Touring and Elite trims feature CabinWatch, so parents can keep an eye on the kids in the second and third rows via the 8.0-inch screen. Mom and dad can use the available CabinTalk public address system to tell them “to stop messing around or I’m going to turn this thing around” or relay other important messages without taking their eyes off the road.

The Odyssey is also Android Auto- and Apple CarPlay-friendly, and there’s a 10-inch, high-resolution Rear Entertainment System with Blu-Ray player available to keep rear passengers pacified.

The 2019 Honda Odyssey is on sale now.

Source: Honda

The post 2019 Honda Odyssey Starts at $31,065 appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: Property

Canada Life acquires Northants CC HQ in sale and leaseback deal

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 17:31
Northamptonshire County Council has agreed a sale and leaseback deal on its One Angel Square headquarters to Canada Life Investments for £64m.
Categories: Property

Report: Mercedes-Maybach SUV due in 2019

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 17:15

Mercedes released a teaser last week for what appeared to be a Maybach SUV. Speaking with unnamed sources from Mercedes, Autocar confirmed everyone’s suspicions, reporting that the automaker will unveil a near-ready concept at the Beijing auto show before rolling out the final production version later this year.

The new SUV will debut in production form at the Los Angeles auto show in November. Sales of the new model will begin in 2019, Autocar reports, when it will take on a price tag of £120,000 (roughly $171,800 at today’s exchange rates).

Just like the current Mercedes-Maybach sedan is based on the S-Class, the Maybach SUV will sit on the same platform as the new GLS. This platform, also expected to underpin the new GLE, will support a 48-volt mild hybrid setup. Expect the Mercedes-Maybach SUV to feature some kind of autonomous driving functions.

“We have been quietly surprised by the sales success of the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class, which is proving extremely popular in many key markets,” a Mercedes official told Autocar. “The plan now is to extend the exclusivity surrounding the Maybach name into the upper end of the SUV segment. We’re confident that this new model will leave little to be desired in terms of luxury.”

The Maybach SUV will receive unique visual cues to differentiate itself from the GLS. Look for a new grille and a new interior, which Mercedes previewed on social media when teasing the concept SUV. In the video, you’ll notice quilted leather, chrome accents, and lots of rear headroom.

Luxury at its finest. Coming soon.#MercedesBenz #MercedesMaybach #UltimateLuxury #MBcars #MBdesign #AutoChina

Mercedes-Benz (@MercedesBenz) April 13, 2018

Instead of the current 4.7-liter V-8, the new GLS will likely feature a version of Mercedes’ twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 equipped with cylinder deactivation. Autocar says Mercedes is also discussing a plug-in version that takes the 3.0-liter inline-six and electric motor hybrid setup in the S560e.

The Mercedes-Maybach SUV will challenge a fast growing group of ultra-lux SUVs including the Bentley Bentayga, Lamborghini Urus, and Rolls-Royce Cullinan. We should learn more about the model at the Beijing auto show which begins April 25.

Source: Autocar

The post Report: Mercedes-Maybach SUV due in 2019 appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: Property

TH and Allianz provide £100m finance for 80 Fenchurch Street

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 16:30
TH Real Estate and Allianz have provided funds managed by Partners Group with £100m in debt finance for the development of 80 Fenchurch Street in London.
Categories: Property

CBRE acquires Israeli affiliate

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 16:24
CBRE has completed the acquisition of its affiliate company MAN Properties Real Estate Consultants in Tel Aviv to strengthen its profile in the Israeli market.
Categories: Property

Gas prices on the rise, Bugatti reliability, Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid driven: What’s New @ The Car Connection

The Car Connection News Feed - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 15:30
Gas prices expected to rise this summer Be prepared to adjust your family’s summer vacation budget. Prices at the fuel pump are expected to be 14 percent higher than last summer and the U.S. government predicts a national average of $2.74 per gallon. Dubai's new "smart" license plates can communicate with onlookers New license plate...
Categories: Property

GVA strengthens hotels team with double hire

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 15:24
GVA has expanded its hotel valuations offer with the appointments of former Knight Frank duo Ian Elliott and Jon Critchley to its retail, hotels and leisure team.
Categories: Property

Cording purchases retail and office investment in Utrecht

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 14:27
Investment management firm Cording Real Estate Group has acquired the mixed-use asset Ganzenmarkt 2-6 in the Netherlands from a private investor.
Categories: Property