Auto News For Sept. 11

 France and Great Britain have done it, and now China is formulating plans to end the production of gasoline powered vehicles and encourage the making of electric powered cars. No timetable was set, but France and Great Britain have said gas and diesel sales will end by 2040. A recent report said the air in Beijing can be as bad as smoking 40 cigarettes.

 Press days begin Tuesday at the Frankfurt auto show where backers say there will be 228 world premieres but Fiat Chrysler, Nissan, Infiniti, Peugeot, and Volvo and four other brands will sit out this year’s event feeling there are more productive ways to introduce new product.

 This is part of a growing trend in the auto world as companies balk at the huge cost of building new displays and having to share space in a huge auditorium with their rivals when other methods of introduction, such as the Internet and social media, give them the sole spotlight for less dough. Ford will be the lone member of the Detroit three to have a major presence at the Frankfurt show this year.

 However, all that does not mean auto enthusiasts should ignore the show for lack of excitement. BMW and Mercedes will have a strong presence in their homeland and grab some headlines with new offerings and vehicles of the future.

 Mercedes will give more information on a super high performance “Project One” hybrid that is said to bring Formula 1 technology to the autobahn. Not to be left behind, BMW will unveil an all new Z4 sports car and several other new models.

ferrari-portofino-2017-reveal-header

Ferrari will display the Portofino, the successor to the California model, and for the very rich who like to go fast McLaren will take the blankets off a high performance model with what is said to be a $750,000 price tag.

 Audi will display a number of self-driving cars right up to a Level 5, a car that can get you from here to there without any involvement from you. So in essence, say some, it will really be a lounge or office on wheels. One day then you will be able to not only take work home, but on the way home.  

 More relevant to current times comes a rear wheel drive version of the Audi R8 that should be incredible fun to drive.

 Want to see what the future holds? Look at the headlines out of Europe. VW will show off an electric crossover, Honda drops the diesel version of its CR-V, Jaguar Land Rover lovers will have electric vehicles to choose from soon, BMW will offer a dozen all-electric cars by 2025, and the fastest growing market segment in Europe is for electric cars. Yet market share for electrics remains low at just under one percent, according to Automotive News. But will that change as the continent phases out diesels?

 Elsewhere

2018-Clarity-PHEV

 Honda said its 2018 Clarity Plug-In Hybrid has earned the highest all-electric range rating among midsize plug-in hybrids with an EPA rating of 48 miles on a full charge.

 It will be sold in all 50 states with a 181 horsepower electric motor and a 1.5-liter Atkinson cycle 4 cylinder gas engine for longer trips. In gas only mode, the Clarity is rated at 44 mpg combined city/highway driving. It will seat five and be offered in Standard and Touring trim levels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Saturday Road Test – Infiniti QX60 AWD

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                        Infiniti QX60 AWD

               Lots of Options, Lots of Space

 By Ron Amadon

DAMASCUS, MD. – Americans buy their Sport Utility Vehicles with lots of optional equipment and then expect them to do everything.

 They must fit in perfectly at a high society country club on Saturday night, haul the kids, their buds, drums and trombones to band practice, then turn around and bring home leaking bags of wintertime sand and salt.  

 The QX60 will do all of that and, if equipped like this test vehicle, it will throw in a heaping helping of comfort. With just a few small adjustments it was easy to quickly get very comfortable in the leather covered driver’s seat with two way power lumbar adjustments.

 All Q’s seat 7 and the second row of seats will slide back and forth 5.5 inches for more passenger comfort and easier access to the third row. One does not have to remove a child’s seat for entry or exit. Both second and third row seats recline and are divided 60/40 in the second row with a 50/50 split in row three.

 Entrance to the third row was not too bad but kids might be more comfortable back there than adults. There is 15 cubic feet of storage space between the erect third row and rear hatch, enough to cope with day to day errand running.   

 

 Up front look for an 8-way adjustable power driver’s seat and 6-way power passenger’s seat. In the test model the front seats were both heated and cooled, the second row was heated as well as the steering wheel.

 No one should go thirsty with eight cup holders and six bottle holders scattered around the interior.

 A Theater Package adds dual second row 8-inch color monitors for multimedia video playback; two wireless headphones; wireless remote control; 120V power outlet and 12V power outlet; rear headphone jacks with volume control; HDMI port; and single USB port that is both audio/video capable.

 And it was quiet inside thanks to the acoustic glass in both front and side windows.

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 Key controls were within easy reach of the operator, the instrument panel was a good read even in bright sunshine, and bring your favorite music along on even short trips if your Q has the magnificent Bose Cabin Surround 15-speaker sound system.

 Now what about hauling stuff other than humanoids? Folding the second and third row seats creates 76.5 cubic feet of cargo space, and that should be more than ample for a Saturday trip to whatever shops get you and your house ready for the fall season.  

 The 3.5-liter DOHC V6 is rated at 295 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque and can hustle the Q from 0-60 in a whisker over 7 seconds. It is married to a “better than the average bear” CVT transmission with “manual shift modes.”

 Look for 19 mpg city, 26 highway for a combined 22 according to EPA and the Q likes premium fuel. I came in at 22 mpg after treks on interstates, clogged suburban streets, and deserted back roads.  

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 Mounted on the center console is a knob that allows the driver to vary throttle response and gearshift patterns to optimize performance. The selections are Standard, Sport, Eco and Snow. The Sport mode did seem to liven up the performance a bit.

 There was good pickup for passing slow moving tractors, trucks and hay wagons out in the country, not to forget interstate introductions.

 Steering was on the light side, the suspension was on the soft side of medium and some larger pot holes made their presence known inside the cabin. But I would say the power and ride will meet the expectations of the typical customer looking to step up from a compact crossover.

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 For 2018, two models will be offered this fall: QX60 3.5 RWD and QX60 3.5 AWD. The QX60 Hybrid model will not be offered for the 2018 model year.

 So what does all this cost? The 2017 model starts at $44,900, in line with rivals such as the Acura MDX.

 However, add the four major option packages on the test Q totaling $13,750 bought the bottom line to $60,045 including delivery.

 Add away and you end up with a mid-size SUV that feels larger than it is, and one that should meet all of your desires and needs while pampering those on board.

 Factoid: The huge moon roof that covers all three rows of seats is an excellent addition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

                        Infiniti QX60 AWD

               Lots of Options, Lots of Space

 By Ron Amadon

DAMASCUS, MD. – Americans buy their Sport Utility Vehicles with lots of optional equipment and then expect them to do everything.

 They must fit in perfectly at a high society country club on Saturday night, haul the kids, their buds, drums and trombones to band practice, then turn around and bring home leaking bags of wintertime sand and salt.  

 The QX60 will do all of that and, if equipped like this test vehicle, it will throw in a heaping helping of comfort. With just a few small adjustments it was easy to quickly get very comfortable in the leather covered driver’s seat with two way power lumbar adjustments.

 All Q’s seat 7 and the second row of seats will slide back and forth 5.5 inches for more passenger comfort and easier access to the third row. One does not have to remove a child’s seat for entry or exit. Both second and third row seats recline and are divided 60/40 in the second row with a 50/50 split in row three.

 Entrance to the third row was not too bad but kids might be more comfortable back there than adults. There is 15 cubic feet of storage space between the erect third row and rear hatch, enough to cope with day to day errand running.   

 Up front look for an 8-way adjustable power driver’s seat and 6-way power passenger’s seat. In the test model the front seats were both heated and cooled, the second row was heated as well as the steering wheel.

 No one should go thirsty with eight cup holders and six bottle holders scattered around the interior.

 A Theater Package adds dual second row 8-inch color monitors for multimedia video playback; two wireless headphones; wireless remote control; 120V power outlet and 12V power outlet; rear headphone jacks with volume control; HDMI port; and single USB port that is both audio/video capable.

 And it was quiet inside thanks to the acoustic glass in both front and side windows.

 Key controls were within easy reach of the operator, the instrument panel was a good read even in bright sunshine, and bring your favorite music along on even short trips if your Q has the magnificent Bose Cabin Surround 15-speaker sound system.

 Now what about hauling stuff other than humanoids? Folding the second and third row seats creates 76.5 cubic feet of cargo space, and that should be more than ample for a Saturday trip to whatever shops get you and your house ready for the fall season.  

 The 3.5-liter DOHC V6 is rated at 295 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque and can hustle the Q from 0-60 in a whisker over 7 seconds. It is married to a “better than the average bear” CVT transmission with “manual shift modes.”

 Look for 19 mpg city, 26 highway for a combined 22 according to EPA and the Q likes premium fuel. I came in at 22 mpg after treks on interstates, clogged suburban streets, and deserted back roads.  

 Mounted on the center console is a knob that allows the driver to vary throttle response and gearshift patterns to optimize performance. The selections are Standard, Sport, Eco and Snow. The Sport mode did seem to liven up the performance a bit.

 There was good pickup for passing slow moving tractors, trucks and hay wagons out in the country, not to forget interstate introductions.

 Steering was on the light side, the suspension was on the soft side of medium and some larger pot holes made their presence known inside the cabin. But I would say the power and ride will meet the expectations of the typical customer looking to step up from a compact crossover.

 For 2018, two models will be offered this fall: QX60 3.5 RWD and QX60 3.5 AWD. The QX60 Hybrid model will not be offered for the 2018 model year.

 So what does all this cost? The 2017 model starts at $44,900, in line with rivals such as the Acura MDX.

 However, add the four major option packages on the test Q totaling $13,750 bought the bottom line to $60,045 including delivery.

 Add away and you end up with a mid-size SUV that feels larger than it is, and one that should meet all of your desires and needs while pampering those on board.

 Factoid: The huge moon roof that covers all three rows of seats is an excellent addition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Auto News for Sept. 8 – X-7 Concept Revealed

P90274805_highRes_bmw-concept-x7-iperfP90275917_highRes_bmw-concept-x7-iperf 

 BMW has pulled back the covers on the “Concept X7 iPerformance” SUV which it called “a whole new take on luxury” for the brand.

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 Inside there is lots of leather, seating for six, “open-pore ash in a dark-stained, matt finish” and aluminum trim. The instrument panel and center console wrap around the operator with a 12.3 inch instrument cluster and central touchscreen information display.

 “Partially backlit crystal glass in the dark Silver Night shade lends sophisticated flourishes to control elements like the selector lever, iDrive Controller and multifunction buttons on the steering wheel,” BMW said.

 All six occupants get their own screens and will be able to share songs, information and what have you via simple hand gestures. They can watch it happen on “interactive LED choreography” mounted on the doors.

 “Mom to second and third row… Knock it off… NOW.”

 BMW released little information on what makes this concept go, all we know is that it is plug-in hybrid.

 The concept X7 makes its formal debut next week at the Frankfurt show. The production model, Motor Trend said, will go on sale next year as a 2019 model.

 It will top the company’s SUV lineup, since it will be larger than the X5, and many expect some of the exterior design touches to be toned down or eliminated in the production version.

 The start of the Miami auto show will be delayed, AutoNation is shutting down 35 outlets, and other Florida dealers are doing the same ahead of Hurricane Irma. This morning, hurricane models agree that South Florida will get a direct hit from Irma and it may move north to cover much of the state.

 A new Progressive Insurance study shows about one third of drivers feel confident in their own ability to text and drive, yet the majority believe distracted driving is the biggest cause of auto accidents and more than 90% say it should be illegal.

 The starkest difference in attitudes is between younger and older drivers. More than 60% of 18-34 year olds are confident in their ability to safely text while driving compared to less than 6% of individuals 55 and older.

 Individuals are most likely to think it is ok to engage with the following activities on their phone while driving: listening to music (43%), use a map (30%) and make a call (25%).

 The most common feelings evoked when seeing another driver texting is concern (62%) followed by irritation (50%). These top two feelings didn’t vary by age or gender.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Auto News for Sept. 7 – Electric XKE!!!

  jagetypezerocm28396070917xke electric interior

  An Electric XKE!!!!!!!

 Jaguar calls it simply, “The most beautiful electric car in the world,” and who am I to argue.

 Decades after it released the XKE, the two seater sports car still turns heads and commands high prices at classic car auctions.

 And now Jag has released, just in time for a tech show in London, an electric powered XKE. Better yet, you might be able to own one. Elon Musk, are you listening?

 An electric powertrain developing 220kW has been specially designed for the new concept model called E-type Zero. Its lithium-ion battery pack has the same dimensions, and similar weight, to the XK six-cylinder engine used in the original E-type.

 The experts responsible for developing the electric powertrain have ensured it will be placed in precisely the same location as the XK engine. The electric motor (and reduction gear) lies just behind the battery pack, in the same location as the E-type’s gearbox. A new propshaft sends power to a carry-over differential and final drive. And it is slightly lighter than the original E-type.

 The Jaguar E-type Zero not only drives and looks like an E-type, it also offers outstanding performance. It’s quicker than an original E-type: 0-62 mph takes only 5.5 sec, about one second quicker than a Series 1 E-type.

 “E-type Zero combines the renowned E-Type dynamic experience with enhanced performance through electrification. This unique combination creates a breathtaking driving sensation. Our aim with E-type Zero is to future proof classic car ownership. We’re looking forward to the reaction of our clients as we investigate bringing this concept to market,” said Tim Hannig, Director of Jaguar Land Rover Classic.

Jaguar said the car has a “real world” range of about 170 miles with a 40 KW battery which can be recharged from home overnight. There is no quick charge.

 The 4.2 liter straight six in the original XKE was also fitted to other Jaguar models from 1949 to 1992 and Jaguar said the electric powertrain could be theoretically fitted into every one of those cars.

 Officials agree that some Jaguar fans might be upset that the petrol engine was replaced but add this move is “future proofing” classic car ownership. They said it is not unthinkable that a city like London could one day ban internal combustion vehicles.

 I think this is an outstanding development for one of the most beautiful set of wheels ever to grace a roadway. And I love Jaguar’s teasing that this concept might one day be for sale to XKE lovers.

 In case you have forgotten, The E-type, launched in 1961. It has regularly been voted the best-looking car of all time. Even Enzo Ferrari called it “the most beautiful car ever made”.

 Jaguar also announced it will offer an electrified powertrain on every model starting in 2020. That will include fully electric, plug-in hybrid and mild hybrid vehicles.

 Elsewhere:

BMW Tease

 BMW is teasing on Twitter. “Get ready for something big. Find out September 8th” is all that we know this morning. Clearly this is big enough to be announced ahead of the Frankfurt auto show which opens next Tuesday, and promises lots of interesting new models.

 There is speculation that the teaser is the X7 concept, BMW’s ultra-high lux SUV four seater with a six digit price tag. That would present new competition for the Bentley Bentayga, a just launched Volvo XC90 high lux model, and upscale Range Rovers

 And speaking of the Frankfurt festivities, I have seen spy photos of a Kia Proceed Concept that will knock your socks off. It said to have a potential new body style for Kia. We will know more when the wraps come off next week.

 Can’t wait? Check out Car magazine’s web site, carmagazine.co.uk

 

 

 

Auto News for Sept. 6 – Suppose U Only Owned The Steering Wheel?

 

 It is called “Sayer” and Jaguar calls it the steering wheel of the future, in fact, it would be the only part of a car that you would own. Instead, Jaguars would be on call with Sayer retrieving one when you need it, and directing it to your location.

 For instance: Need to be at a meeting two hours away from home by 8am tomorrow? Simply ask Sayer from your living room and it will work out when you get up, when a car needs to autonomously arrive at your door and even advise which parts of the journey you might enjoy driving yourself.

 The first voice-activated artificial intelligence steering wheel will be able to carry out “hundreds of tasks,” Jaguar said. Sayer will make its debut tomorrow at a tech show in London. We might see it in autonomous cars by the year 2040.

 Nissan has unveiled the redesigned 2018 LEAF with extended range and a lower price, starting at under $30,000. It will go on sale in all 50 states early next year.

 Range is increased from just over 100 miles to 150 and Nissan is promising a more powerful version of the LEAF next year with more miles per watt.

 As is, even the extended range falls behind that of the Chevrolet Bolt EV and the Tesla Model 3. Price wise, the new model comes to market for $29,990 base or $690 below the current model. So price wise, Nissan is turning over a new leaf. (Come on, someone had to say it.)

 On the tech front, the 2018 will feature ProPILOT Assist that is said to ease driver workload by reducing the amount of driver acceleration, steering and braking inputs under certain driving conditions. It is a “hands-on” system that Nissan said shows its drive to develop future autonomous drive technologies. A part of that will be “e-Pedal” that will allow drivers to accelerate, decelerate and stop using just one pedal.

 “Drivers can cover 90% of their driving needs with the e-Pedal, making the process of driving more exciting. In heavy traffic and during city commutes, drivers will greatly reduce the need to shift from one pedal to the other, making your drive simpler and more engaging,” Nissan said.

 Four small pickup trucks out of eight evaluated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety earned good ratings for occupant protection in all five IIHS crashworthiness evaluations, but the lack of an automatic emergency braking system and poor-rated headlights mean these pickups fall short of qualifying for either of the Institute’s safety awards.  

 The Toyota Tacoma crew cab, which Toyota calls the Double Cab, was the top performer in the small overlap test. Toyota’s Access Cab finished fourth in the testing with a good rating.

 The Chevrolet Colorado Crew Cab and its GMC Canyon Crew Cab twin earned good ratings for occupant protection in a small overlap front crash. The Colorado and Canyon extended cabs earned an acceptable rating.

 The Nissan Frontier King Cab and Crew Cab came away with “marginal ratings” mainly because they are an older design, with no structural changes since the 2005 model year, IIHS said.