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Property Week News Feed: Santander hires HSBC's London real estate head

The Top Zones - 2 hours 27 min ago
Santander Corporate & Commercial Banking has appointed David Phythian as senior director in its real estate finance team.
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Property Week News Feed: Traffic Management takes Folkes' Britannia Park to fully let

The Top Zones - 2 hours 35 min ago
Family investor Folkes Properties has completed the lettings at its West Midlands’ industrial development Britannia Park, securing a 10-year lease to car park and highways safety supplier Traffic Management Products.
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Motortrend News Feed: Celebrity Drive: Stanley Cup Winner Nick Leddy

The Top Zones - 3 hours 29 min ago

Quick Stats: Nick Leddy, Stanley Cup champ/New York Islanders’ defenseman
Daily Driver: 2016 Ford F-250 (Nick’s rating: 10 on a scale of 1 to 10)
Other cars: See below
Favorite road trip: New York to Minnesota
Car he learned to drive in: Early 2000s Ford Escape
First car bought: 2008 Escalade

Nick Leddy’s first ever splurge car is his 2015 Bentley Continental GT3-R, though when it came time to buy a dream car after his 2013 Stanley Cup win with the Chicago Blackhawks, he originally had his eye on a Ferrari.

“I’m a huge Ferrari fan—just the way they sound, the looks, everything about them, [but] I found they don’t really have Ferrari dealerships in Minnesota. [The Continental] was the first car at the dealership, and I just fell in love with it,” he says of his Bentley. “I love it.”

Although the Bentley is the car the New York Islanders’ defenseman would take a friend out to dinner in, it’s not his daily driver. That doesn’t mean it’s a garage queen, though. Leddy isn’t afraid to take it out; in fact, it’s seen some track time.

“I got to bring it to the track two summers ago up in Brainerd, Minnesota, which was a blast because obviously you can’t really go too fast on the highways,” Leddy tells Motor Trend. “So that was a place where I could see its limits and actually push it a little bit.”

He admits it was a little unusual to see a Bentley out on the track. “It’s a little heavy to be on the track, but when I bought it, they had clients who had bought many cars and they rented out the track for the day and invited me. My dad and I went up there and saw some amazing cars and got to drive a few of them around other than my Bentley, but driving my Bentley around the track was a blast,” Leddy says.

Leddy, who rates the Bentley a perfect 10, chose this car for its uniqueness. “It’s got the carbon fiber on the inside, and most Bentleys have the wood paneling,” he says. “And the rareness of it—there’s only 300 of them out there.”

He also really enjoys the car’s power. “I haven’t driven a ton of sports cars, but for me the power of it is amazing.”

2016 Ford F-250

Rating: 10

“I live in Minnesota, and you need a truck when you live on a lake and I have a boat, so it’s a little easier to bring things around,” Leddy says. “I like it a lot. It’s a very nice truck. It’s very comfortable for me until you hit a bump, and then it’s a little rough for a second.”

The F-250 is Leddy’s daily driver. “I have a boat and a jet ski, so it’s easier to tow those around with that,” he says. “It’s very sleek and very comfortable on the inside. I think the power is pretty amazing. I have a wakeboarding boat, and it feels like you’re towing a little trailer on the back.”

Although his boat and jet ski are on the dock at the lake he lives on, it’s handy to tow them back and forth if he needs to. “If I want to go to a different lake—Lake Minnetonka is another big lake here, that’s a huge lake—I could go there, and you can go to a restaurant right on the lake,” he says.

Images courtesy of Getty

The only drawback of the Ford is the gas mileage. “I don’t think you buy the truck if you’re too worried about that,” he says.

Car he learned to drive in

Leddy grew up in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, where he learned to drive in a Ford Escape, which was a relatively new car when he was in high school in the early 2000s.

His mom gave him the Ford when she got a new car, so it was the one Leddy drove in high school and college. Both of his parents taught him how to drive, and learning was easy since his high school wasn’t far away.

“I just remember never wanting to take the highway because I was nervous,” Leddy says with a laugh. “It was more of a confidence thing at that point. I think my biggest fear was learning to judge your stop and learning to judge the distance between cars.”

He got over that fear quickly though with help from his parents. “My parents would force me onto the highway,” he says. “It’s like learning to swim, I guess—throw you in the water. The more I got used to it, obviously, the easier it gets.”

First car bought

When Leddy turned pro playing hockey for the Blackhawks, he bought a used Cadillac Escalade. “At the time it was a couple years old,” he says. “When you buy a new car, it depreciates so much right off the top. Where I was financially, it just made sense to do it that way. It was still a very nice car; it was fully loaded. So for me at the time, it was perfect.”

Since half of Leddy’s games were on the road, he mostly drove the Escalade to practices and home games and out to visit family in Geneva, Illinois.

“Sometimes my one teammate would give me a hard time for the car because it wasn’t exactly white—he called it a ‘pearl white,’ but I don’t think it was that,” he says. “It was just an off-white, so he would just make fun of me and say it’s not really a man’s color, just was giving me a hard time for it like that.”

Favorite road trip

Although Leddy used to drive back to Minnesota from Chicago, he’s driven from New York a couple of times now since he’s based in Long Island during the hockey season.

“My dad came out this year, and we drove home together. So that was interesting driving 18 hours,” he says. “I have two dogs, so we rented an Expedition and threw the crates in the back, and that was really the only car that could hold both crates.”

The drive back from New York is now Leddy’s favorite road trip. “We got to go through so many states,” he says. “The only states going to Chicago, you go through about four and a half hours through Wisconsin and then into Illinois, so it’s not really too crazy.”

The first time he did that drive from New York, Leddy visited his friends who were in college at Bowling Green, Penn State, and one buddy studying in Wisconsin. “I literally didn’t have to veer off track at all. They were all on the way home—it was the same way the whole time, which was fun,” he says.

On the road trip with his dad, the two had wanted to do the entire drive in one sitting. “We left a little later than we wanted, but if we’d left on time, we would have probably gone the entire way,” he says.

Leddy likes that long road trip because it’s a combination of nostalgia and seeing the change in scenery. “It’s cool to see different states. Pennsylvania was very pretty going through the hills and very woodsy there on the way home,” he says. “And then going through Chicago again is always cool. I played there for four years and won a Stanley Cup there. So driving there brought back some memories.”

The New York Islanders’ season opener was October 4 and their next game is on Saturday, October 20. For more information you can visit nhl.com/islanders.

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Warmups. ???? #NYIvsPHI

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The post Celebrity Drive: Stanley Cup Winner Nick Leddy appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: The Top Zones

Motortrend News Feed: 2019 Audi A8 L Review: High-Tech Luxury

The Top Zones - 3 hours 29 min ago

Nobody needs a luxury flagship. Even if you ignore the fact that by definition, luxuries are things people don’t need, midsize luxury sedans have become so large, it’s hard to imagine anyone who drives themselves needing more space than an Audi A6 or BMW 5 Series provides. And for the same money, you typically have the choice between a midsizer that’s loaded to the gills and a base-model flagship.

Instead, you buy (or more likely lease) a car such as the A8 because you want it. It’s a status symbol. A sign that you’ve made it. So tossing logic and practicality out the window for a moment, is the 2019 Audi A8 a car that makes you want it? Does it stroke your ego and make you feel special the way a luxury flagship should?

Judging purely on exterior design, probably not. In spite of the light show it performs every time it’s unlocked, the A8 is understated, almost to the point of looking plain. A four-door Prologue concept, this is not. Then again, aside from the Jaguar XJ and perhaps the Maserati Quattroporte, cars in this segment aren’t usually known for their striking looks. They’re more about luxurious cabins, cutting-edge technology, and imposing length.

Even if the A8’s styling isn’t exciting enough for you, it only takes one glance to recognize it’s a large car. The U.S. only gets the longer A8 L, which has a 123.1-inch wheelbase and measures 208.7 inches overall. Compared to the A6, that’s an extra 8.0 inches of wheelbase and 14.3 inches of overall length.

Inside, however, it’s a different story. If you’ve seen the new A6, the layout will be familiar, but the clean, modern design still feels fresh. The wood trim on the dash that retracts to reveal hidden air vents is an especially nice touch. If you’re going to buy an A8, though, you better like piano-black plastic. It doesn’t show fingerprints as much as you’d expect, but it’s a major part of the design of the dash and center console.

With Audi’s Virtual Cockpit and two large touchscreens, the center console is largely devoid of knobs and buttons. Thankfully, Audi also took the time to develop a system that’s intuitive to use and responds quickly to inputs, so the lack of buttons shouldn’t be an issue. Even the remote for passengers lucky enough to ride in the back seat is easy to use. The fact that Audi’s high-resolution graphics look great is just a bonus.

Eventually, the U.S. will get an optional V-8, but for now, the A8’s only engine is a 3.0-liter turbocharged V-6 making 335 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. Paired with an eight-speed transmission, standard all-wheel drive, and a 48-volt mild-hybrid system, Audi estimates the A8 L will hit 60 mph in 5.6 seconds. That’s not especially quick, but it’s still far from slow. Besides, cars like the A8 are more about cruising in comfort than racing to the next traffic light.

Surprisingly, the A8 handles curves pretty well. It’s no R8, but in Dynamic mode, it’s more nimble than you’d expect a 17-foot, 4,700-pound luxury sedan to be. Does it understeer at the limit? Probably. But if you plan to take corners fast enough to find out, full-size luxury sedans probably aren’t for you.

On the highway, the A8 is impressively quiet, almost keeping road, wind, and tire noise out of the cabin entirely. Add in comfortable seats with an excellent massage function, a smooth ride, a high-quality Bang & Olufsen sound system, and a 21.7-gallon gas tank, and you have a recipe for a truly fantastic road trip car.

As for the A8’s much-anticipated Traffic Jam Pilot, a Level 3 system capable of handling most driving responsibilities on divided highways at speeds less than 37 mph, don’t expect it to be available in the U.S. anytime soon. From the sound of it, the complexity of federal and state regulations forced Audi to shelve Traffic Jam Pilot for the foreseeable future.

The good news is, many of the A8’s other desirable features are on their way. The U.S. has to wait until next year to get four-wheel steering and a predictive active suspension, but both systems will be worth the wait. With the rear wheels turning, Audi says the A8 actually has a smaller turning circle than the A4. The result is a car that’s noticeably more agile.

The active suspension, meanwhile, can raise and lower each wheel independently as it scans the road ahead. Not only can it skip over potholes, it also flattens out speed bumps as you drive over them. And if the system recognizes you’re about to be T-boned, it can tilt up that side of the car to reduce the risk of injury.

Considering how much the four-wheel steering system and active suspension improve the A8, you’ll want to make sure your A8 has both. Just be prepared to pay up. Although the 2019 A8 starts at $84,795, well-equipped versions easily sail past the $100,000 mark. With the V-8, the A8’s two most desirable features, and a few other options, a $150,000 price tag wouldn’t be surprising.

Then again, if you’re looking for a car that celebrates your success, who cares about saving money?

The post 2019 Audi A8 L Review: High-Tech Luxury appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: The Top Zones

Property Week News Feed: ​Tunstall hires White from CR to grow lending business

The Top Zones - 3 hours 53 min ago
Tunstall Real Estate Asset Management has expanded its senior management team with the appointment of David White from CR Management as head of debt strategies. Tunstall is part of the M7 Group.
Categories: The Top Zones

Property Week News Feed: Consortium fires open salvos in Intu takeover talks

The Top Zones - 4 hours 7 min ago
Intu has received an indicative proposal to acquire the company at 215p from a consortium comprising Peel Group, the Olayan Group and Brookfield Property Group.
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Motortrend News Feed: 2019 Acura NSX First Drive: Complicated Emotions

The Top Zones - 7 hours 28 min ago

As the chief engineer of the 2019 Acura NSX program, Satoshi Mizukami’s main goal of this year’s refresh is, as he puts it, “more emotional involvement.” Judging by my brief time with him, I’d say he’s living evidence of accomplishing this goal.

I’m riding shotgun with Mizukami as he pilots a 2019 Acura NSX around the Winding Road course at Honda’s Takasu Proving Ground in Hokkaido, Japan. Inspired by the mother of all test tracks—the Nurburgring—Winding Road is a deviously treacherous course. It features 17 corners (many of them blind) and 188 feet of total elevation change, with the majority of the circuit cloaked under a claustrophobic canopy of trees.

There’s also plenty of road imperfections, as I’m about to discover. We’re approaching a curve at a rapid clip. Mizukami stabs the brakes, saws the wheel left, then just as quickly tugs it hard to the right. The NSX straightens out just as we crest a hill and take flight.

“Jump!” he cries, as the NSX launches several feet before returning to the pavement. But the NSX, like Mizukami, is unflappable. The suspension absorbs the impact with little drama, and Mizukami rolls back on the throttle. That he’s enjoying this romp is obvious. What’s less obvious, he hopes, is the technology conspiring to make it possible.

Three years after its introduction, the NSX heads into 2019 with a raft of improvements across the board. Exterior changes are subtle: The lip of the beak above the grille is now body-colored instead of silver, while high-gloss trim replaces the previously matte finishes found throughout the body. Want even more glossy trim? Opt for one of the exterior carbon fiber packages for the ultimate in shiny, woven flair. If that’s not enough, a retina-searing Thermal Orange paint color is now available. Complete the look with orange calipers on available carbon-ceramic brakes—a $10,600 option. Gulp.

At least four-way power seats are now standard and can be outfitted in a swanky new Indigo Blue theme. Other previously optional equipment, including premium audio and satellite navigation, are also now standard, though frustratingly, there’s still no volume knob.

But, one might argue, why the need for a volume knob when there’s a 500-hp twin-turbo V-6 bellowing just inches from your head? This sensorial immediacy has always been the hallmark of a mid-engine sports car. As before, the V-6 is paired with a nine-speed dual-clutch automatic and electric motor, both driving the rear axle. Two smaller electric motors (known as TMU, or twin-motor unit) are housed in the front axle to offer additional thrust, giving the NSX a total power output of 573 hp. Operating independently, these motors can infinitely vary the torque to each front wheel in order to enhance turn-in precision around corners. This dual-axle power delivery gives the NSX through-the-road all-wheel drive.

Although power output remains the same as before, Acura made a number of handling tweaks. Stabilizer bars are larger at both ends, increasing front stiffness by 26 percent and the rear by 19 percent, augmented by rear toe link bushings that are 21 percent stiffer. New Continental SportContact 6 tires, developed exclusively for the NSX, take advantage of this stiffer setup. Acura claims that all of these improvements add up to net a lap time around the Suzuka Circuit that’s nearly 2 seconds faster than the 2017 model.

When Mizukami discusses the importance of driver involvement, it’s hard not to compare the current NSX to its groundbreaking predecessor (especially when Acura has a 2001 Type S on hand for me to sample). Although it might be most famous for being billed as the world’s first “everyday supercar,” the original NSX is also a brilliant communicator, featuring a taut chassis and a hungry-sounding, high-revving, naturally aspirated engine. Simplicity rules—there’s no barrier between the driver and the performance potential of this superb combination. But today, the rubric has changed. Demanding the simplicity of the original NSX in 2019 is like wanting a Shamrock Shake to taste the same as it did when you were 6 years old. It’s not going to happen.

Yet it evokes a sensation of raw tactility that Mizukami still wants to deliver within this high-tech package. Hybrids can be funny creatures: Those electric motors, so potent with torque, can also act as a filter to these feelings, especially when asked to play nicely with an internal combustion engine. Economy-minded cars dial in some elasticity between the two as a solution. But with the NSX, the opposite is required. Every input should feel direct, consistent, and predictable. Particularly on the track.

So in addition to the hardware, Mizukami and his team also dove into the software, fine-tuning the programming of the hybrid powertrain, magnetic-ride suspension, power steering, and stability control systems to improve, as Mizukami says, “the feel-good factor.”

As before, the NSX offers a big, fat knob in the console labeled “Dynamic Mode” with four settings: Quiet, Sport, Sport+, and Track. Track mode is the only choice here if I want to have any chance of keeping up with Mizukami as we play lead/follow around Winding Road—it quickens shifts by 40 milliseconds compared to Sport+ and administers a tranquilizer dart to the stability control intervention. Pressing the stability control button for 6 seconds would deliver a total knockout to the systems, but I’m merely feeling competitive, not suicidal. The safety net remains, albeit loosened.

Mizukami wastes no time, expecting that I’ll keep pace. I have a general rule in lead/follow situations: If the car ahead of me doesn’t brake, then I don’t, either. It’s easier said than done, especially since he knows every single one of these curves intimately, including that jump.

Oh, and about those road imperfections: They’re all done on purpose. Anyone who’s driven the Nurburgring knows that the quality of the road surface can quickly change between corners—sometimes even midcorner. It’s as much a challenge for the driver as it is for the car, and here on Winding Road, it’s designed to replicate a real-world track experience rather than the usual test-track utopia.

It’s also the perfect place to put the hybrid system to the test. A hard stab to the pedal in the first heavy braking zone is punctuated by the chop of rough asphalt. Still, the NSX tracks straight. Six-piston Brembos up front work in concert with the TMU to provide a combo of traditional and regenerative braking. Pedal feel and modulation is excellent, with no discernible transition between the two modes.

Back on the throttle to chase Mizukami on the next straight. The aural nature of the V-6 is enhanced in two ways: Mechanically, a tube connected directly to the intake manifold splits into two pipes as the sound is routed to behind the outboard of each seat. That’s augmented by active exhaust valves, transmitting full exhaust flow through all four pipes in Track mode. Feel-good factor, indeed. But the addition of electronic enhancement on top of these mechanical touches layers on a decidedly flatulent note inside the cabin at full throttle. It’s wholly unnecessary in a mid-engine car, especially when compared to the full-throated howl of an Audi R8 or the flat-plane-crank wail of a McLaren 570S. Inches from your head, remember? This added digital flourish is akin to a comedian explaining a joke.

The first seven gears of the transmission are closely spaced, cracking off shifts instantly at the 7,500-rpm redline—also the engine’s power peak. It’s nice that Acura took advantage of the spacing to keep the engine in the powerband instead of using the higher gears as impossibly tall fuel savers—I’m looking at you, Lexus LC 500. Top speed is achieved at the height of eighth gear, with ninth reserved for relaxed highway cruising.

Then—the jump. Knowing that I need to be pointed straight before I sail over the edge, I set myself up for the quick left–right combo to put me in line, where I discover that I’ve turned in too early. The active torque vectoring of the TMU sharpens my initial angle, so I pull back to correct my approach. The NSX prefers a later turn-in for a more precise attack. The effect is predictable, but it takes some getting used to. By the end of our laps, I’m charging through the corner with the same delighted fervency as Mizukami.

It’s important to note that Takasu offers more than just a diabolical road course. Also nestled within the 2,000-acre campus are replicas of European and American roadways. Honda went so far as to import native soil, grasses, and foliage to accurately re-create environments that one might find in, say, Germany or California. The patchwork nature of the asphalt I discover in the “Carpool Lane” of the American circuit is insultingly accurate. It’s also here where I test Quiet mode, which enables the NSX to cruise up to 50 mph for brief periods of time. In practice, this electrical serenity is short-lived, far below the advertised speed threshold. The V-6 kicks in even at partial throttle, acting as nothing more than a really loud generator to keep the batteries charged.

Like the origins of the proving ground itself, the 2019 NSX is but a faithful reinterpretation of the real thing, a simulacrum of what our senses see, hear, and feel. With a base price of $159,300, it might not provide a totally raw, visceral experience, but then again, it’s not designed to—at least not in the traditional sense. If Mizukami’s joy on the track is any indication, technology and emotion can happily coexist, counterintuitive as that might seem.

The post 2019 Acura NSX First Drive: Complicated Emotions appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: The Top Zones

Property Week News Feed: Strong investor demand lifts mood at Expo Real in Munich

The Top Zones - 11 hours 29 min ago
Robust Asian demand, the appeal of value-add and the logistics boom were among key talking points.
Categories: The Top Zones

Property Week News Feed: Hammond urged to help retail in Budget

The Top Zones - 11 hours 29 min ago
Reform of business rates and tax on online retailers top property’s wish list.
Categories: The Top Zones

Property Week News Feed: Nottingham and Reading join 'first-class' student towns

The Top Zones - 11 hours 29 min ago
Nottingham and Reading have risen through the ranks to become ‘first-class’ locations for student accommodation development, according to Savills’ latest Student Housing Spotlight.
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The Car Connection News Feed: 2018 Toyota Sequoia Limited 4x4 review update: SUV from the land before time

The Top Zones - Thu, 10/18/2018 - 09:00
The 2018 Toyota Sequoia's design is nearly old enough to start preparing for its bar mitzvah. The second-generation Sequoia full-size SUV bowed in 2007, so long ago that its rivals have all been redesigned. That's not to say the Sequoia hasn't been updated, but it's as old as the trees it's named after. The Sequoia received a raft of active safety...
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Property Week News Feed: Triple Point exceeds target with £108m initial raise

The Top Zones - Thu, 10/18/2018 - 08:14
Specialist REIT Triple Point Social Housing has raised gross proceeds of £108.15m from an initial share raise and triggered a second supplementary raise.
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Motortrend News Feed: 2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan First Drive: A True Rolls or Brand Dilution?

The Top Zones - Thu, 10/18/2018 - 08:00

Off-roading isn’t usually so quiet, yet as I traverse a rocky trail in Wyoming, the 2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan’s hushed cabin makes an impression. While the SUV gives me a massage, I sneak a peek out the windows to admire the Grand Tetons before regaining my focus, doing my part to maneuver an SUV half a foot longer than a standard Escalade off-road. Rolls-Royce’s first-ever all-wheel-drive vehicle is a 210.3-inch SUV that doesn’t make sense at first, but the more you drive it, the more it feels true to the brand.

An enormous 12-cylinder SUV with a $330,350 starting price (including destination and gas guzzler fees) is overkill for off-roading, but the Cullinan’s basic trail-ready credentials help justify its place in Rolls-Royce’s lineup. Most American buyers won’t take their super-luxury SUVs off-road, but should such a situation present itself, simply press an off-road button to optimize the Cullinan’s performance for the trail that leads to your luxurious hillside hideaway.

The Cullinan is a Rolls-Royce first and an SUV second, however, which means the new model’s styling, interior richness, and on-road behavior are arguably more important than its off-road abilities. First impressions are strong; the blocky, imposing presence of the Ghost and Phantom sedans extend naturally to an SUV body style. Cullinan drivers enjoy a commanding view of the road ahead, highlighted by the Spirit of Ecstasy at the edge of the hood. Rolls-Royce remains one of the very few luxury automakers that can pull off a hood ornament that will command respect and not ridicule.

The deal-maker/breaker of a design feature is the way the rear windshield meets the pushed-back liftgate lid, which is said to pay homage to early 20th century Rolls-Royces that still held luggage in an actual trunk behind the passenger compartment. From the side, Rolls-Royce’s distinctive front-mounted rear door handles catch your eye, as does the thick stainless steel trim that extends in one piece from the base of the D-pillar over the top of the doors to the A-pillar.

In the U.S., 22-inch wheels will be standard with 21s and winter tires offered, as well. Unless you need winter tires, stick with one of the 22-inch options to maximize curb appeal every time you approach the valet. Even with the larger wheels, the Cullinan retains the smooth ride you expect of a Rolls-Royce thanks in part to an updated self-leveling air suspension and special tires designed to keep road noise to a minimum. The SUV’s eight-speed automatic, 563-hp V-12 with 627 lb-ft of torque, and brakes are all tuned for smoothness; those 12 cylinders will move the three-ton Cullinan with authority at wide-open throttle, but the engine never yells.

Even with a four-wheel steering system, the Cullinan carries itself with a heaviness that communicates its preference for a more comfortable pace. Want a sporty six-figure super-luxury SUV? Get a Bentley Bentayga. But if your goal is total comfort in a spacious interior, the far more expensive Cullinan may be a better fit. Rolls-Royce expects most Cullinan owners to actually drive their own SUVs—something you wouldn’t find as much in the Phantom flagship sedan.

Even that level of brand recognition can’t make up for the Cullinan’s lack of Apple CarPlay, a feature that—no matter your income tax bracket—facilitates audio, navigation, and text messaging functions. Rolls-Royce says it wants to introduce the feature only after Apple and the automaker can make it work from the rear-seat touchscreens in addition to from the front. Although future Cullinans could add that feature, current rear-seat passengers may be too impressed by the view from the large side windows and all the room to stretch out to notice.

Also impressive: The Cullinan makes the laborious task of closing doors a thing of the past. Once inside, front and rear passengers need only press and hold a switch and watch as the door pulls itself shut. Upon exiting the car, press a button on the door and the door shuts itself. Although having to hold the door-close button from inside isn’t as convenient as pressing a button once, this virtual chauffeur service is still cool. (Rolls-Royce says holding the button down is a safety feature that prevents the door from closing on you.) Other niggles: The lane departure system merely warns but doesn’t keep the SUV centered in its lane as on less expensive cars, and the metal trim on the doors and on the center console shines in your eyes in just the right light. Focus instead on the huge panels of wood trim and leather headliner around the edges of the panoramic roof. Or remind yourself why this SUV carries a six-figure price tag by running your fingers across almost every surface, including the especially solid-feeling stainless steel door handles or air vents.

Most U.S. buyers are expected to go for the Cullinan’s five-seat option—the three-across seating makes the Rolls-Royce a family-ready option for those who find Escalades and Range Rovers too common. A four-seat option with two reclining and massaging rear seats is also available. Whichever model you get, Rolls-Royce has largely delivered with the Cullinan. And once owners drive their SUVs beginning at the end of this year, they’ll find a Rolls-Royce that absolutely deserves its place in the garage next to the rest of the family fleet.

The post 2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan First Drive: A True Rolls or Brand Dilution? appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: The Top Zones

Motortrend News Feed: 2018 Range Rover Velar R-Dynamic SE Long-Term Update 3

The Top Zones - Thu, 10/18/2018 - 08:00

In the Arrival article for the Velar, I mentioned my thrill at experiencing this crossover’s 825-watt Meridian sound system. Now for some details as to how good this system actually is.

With a suitably hi-def audio file loaded up, you can hear the finger drags on the slinky opening bass line of Chris Isaak’s “Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing.” You can hear the distinction between the first and second violins in Mozart’s Divertimento in D major, K. 131. And you can actually hear the soul of Radiohead singer Thom Yorke crack just a little in the soaring bridge of “Fake Plastic Trees.”

Car stereos aren’t supposed to be this acoustically dynamic. A car’s interior contains too many oblique angles and soft surfaces for sound waves to bounce off and be absorbed by—creating aural chaos. I’m a serious audiophile, and the fidelity of the Velar’s Meridian system is one of the finest I’ve heard in more than 2,500 cars I’ve reviewed—in the same class with the fullness and range of the Bowers & Wilkins system in the new Volvo V90, and the clarity of the Nakamichi in the original Lexus SC 400 coupe.

A great stereo is key to a vehicle that is going to make lengthy road trips—in this latest case, that of senior copy editor Jesse Bishop, who squired his betrothed Teresa from L.A. to be married outside of Seattle. And back.

Other than a long-suffering right-rear tire that needed a quick replacement, the occasional proximity key nonfunction, and some infotainment system quibbles (which we’ll detail in the next Update), the Velar was a luxurious wedding coach for 3,000 miles over a week’s time.

“Overall, the Velar is outstanding,” Bishop noted. “Probably my favorite vehicle I’ve driven from the MT fleet.”

However, Jesse noticed that the power rear hatch doesn’t cotton to countermanded, “Whoops, I forgot that last little box,” orders when closing, preferring to force its way through physical declinations unless seriously resisted or keyfobbed.

Seeing this as a potential safety hazard for the fingers of Great Britain’s royal family, (to whom Jaguar Land Rover provides vehicles), I undertook some scientific investigation. Three rolled-up magazines? Smooshed, without the hatch retracting. An empty soda can? Crushed. Two cans? Again, crushed, with no retraction. One could only imagine the commotion on Fleet Street should the Duchess of Kensington or HRH Baby Arthur get a pinchy-owie. See to this promptly, Land Rover engineers.

Read more about our long-term Range Rover Velar R-Dynamic SE:

The post 2018 Range Rover Velar R-Dynamic SE Long-Term Update 3 appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: The Top Zones

Property Week News Feed: Urban Exposure grows loan book to £230m

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