Home

Feed aggregator

Motortrend News Feed: Best Cars, Trucks, and SUVs We Drove in 2017

The Top Zones - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 09:00

We’ve traveled the world and tested well over 220 cars to bring you the very best automotive reviews around. In 2017, we were blessed to have the best access to cars all over the price spectrum, from one of the smallest cars offered today to some of the quickest and luxurious, too. Now that 2017 is coming to an end, we’re reflecting on some of the very best cars and trucks we drove this year.

Enjoy, and check out the best cars we drove in 2016 right here.

2016 Ferrari 488 GTB

Sure, it’s Motor Trend’s Best Drivers Car. It was also the best car I drove all year, of any aspect. It represents every teenager’s dream for getting into automotive journalism. I’ll admit it: Growing up, I had that Alpine stereo poster with the maroon Lamborghini Countach on my bedroom wall. That was my dream, which the fates have granted me. And although I’ve been fortunate to drive numerous outstanding vehicles in my career, I have found many of them wanting, of not measuring up to my teenage fantasies. But from the second I clicked shut the driver’s door, the Ferrari 488 fulfilled every automotive desire I’ve ever had. From its fingertip-precise driving manners to the snarl-to-shriek powerband of the engine to its origami sheetmetal designed to make pedestrians gawk. It made me laugh, sing, weep, and swear great glorious oaths. —Mark Rechtin

It’s kinda low hanging fruit, but I have to admit there’s one car this year that embodied everything I love about cars: (A) sexy styling, (B) an aural superstar, (C) in terms of performance, it more than cashes the check it writes with A+B, (D) it was pretty easy to get close to its limits without the threat of something going terribly awry, and (E) it was surprisingly livable. The Ferrari 488 GTB deserved our 2017 Best Driver’s Car award because it is exactly what it appears to be, and unlike some other exotics, it isn’t over the top in any way. —Chris Walton

2019 Mazda3 Prototype

I don’t even know what this car will look like, as I drove a mule made out of a current-gen Mazda3. Doesn’t matter. Under the hood beats a compression-ignition gas engine, promising diesel economy with gasoline emissions at an affordable price. For more than a decade plenty of gigantic automakers have loudly promoted then abandoned this concept while plucky Mazda has just quietly made its spark-controlled compression ignition Skyactive X engine work—and work really well. The car bristles with plenty more chassis and seating innovations aimed at maximizing driver satisfaction, which drives home the point that while everybody else is making noise about autonomy, Mazda still wants its cars to be fun for human beings to drive. Hallelujah. —Frank Markus

Bugatti Chiron

For me, 2017 was a super year for supercars. Porsche’s 911 GT2 RS, the McLaren 720S, and Ford’s radical new GT all delivered breathtaking, yet uniquely different, high performance driving experiences. But in a year of superlatives, one car brushed them all imperiously aside: the Bugatti Chiron. The fastest, most powerful street legal production car in history, the Chiron is an automotive engineering benchmark for the ages, a car that redefines the performance envelope for internal combustion engines. Cruising one effortlessly at 200 mph on a European freeway and realizing I was still only accessing 75 percent of this extraordinary car’s capability is an experience I will long remember. —Angus MacKenzie

2018 Ford F-150

Never have I encountered a vehicle that was excellent in every form it came in. The base XL work truck was utilitarian and geared perfectly for its intended mission, the Lariat (supposedly the lesser of the luxury trims) was well-appointed and rode comfortably, and the Raptor was just a beast on- and off the pavement. Both the 2.7-liter and 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 engines were exceptionally powerful; the 10-speed auto was a peach, and who knew that a sub-3.0-liter engine could pull that hard even with all the metal around it?! Regardless of the variant, the F-150 has grown into a solid truck with a great blend of performance, comfort, surprising fuel efficiency, and a slick multimedia system than many automakers could learn from (looking at you, Toyota, Mercedes, Mazda, and Lexus). —Stefan Ogbac

2017 Tesla Model 3

I spend most of my time reading stories other staffers write about driving cars, not so much driving cars myself. I’m also a relative EV novice; the only electric car I had driven prior to the Model 3 was the Kia Soul EV. So I didn’t fully know what to expect when I got behind the wheel of the Tesla. Even after driving it, I still don’t fully know what to think of it. It’s an experience unlike just about anything else. I’m not sold on putting virtually all functions into the tablet touchscreen, but the clean interior this allows is stunning. It felt more like relaxing at home, the dash a nice coffee table and the windshield a TV, than sitting in a car—only my furniture isn’t that nice. And when I finally got to driving instead of just admiring … wow. If I were a reservation holder, I might get a little antsy as I wait to actually get a Model 3 of my own, but there’s no denying that the Model 3 is a genuinely impressive machine. —Jesse Bishop

Well, this is a pretty predictable pick if you know me—the Tesla Model 3. How come?

Not because it’s been the talk of the automotive town; the only car I know that causes people at dinner parties to quickly walk across the room to hear about. As an introvert, I actually wish they didn’t.

No, the attraction is in its possibilities. The Model 3, right now, is a big blank canvas upon which Tesla has a once in a lifetime chance to truly paint the car of the future. Sure, right now it’s a canvas in the hands of a sprinkling of people who are getting their first taste of how beautifully a well-designed EV can drive. And it’s supported by the Supercharger network, underlining its uniqueness as the only long-range EV that can truly replace your internal combustion automobile. And—no small thing—it’s at a price that’s laser-guided at the heart of the market, too. But those aren’t any of my reasons, either.

I’m going to point at two things. Here on the side—see that video camera in the B-pillar and that other one in the front fender? They’re some of the eyes this car will use to see—via artificial intelligence—surrounding traffic for autonomous driving. Can Tesla pull this off without Lidar? I don’t know. But those cameras there indicate they’re sure going to try. And also look here—inside—at the big screen in the middle of the dash. It’s meant to replace the usual busy swarm of knobs and switches with a single touchscreen interface. Some have criticized this. I see it as an inevitable evolution toward a new language of man-machine interface, and Tesla, once again, is off to a giant head start in defining it. Some critics have cast these two features of the Model 3 as—at the moment—a glass half full. I see that empty half as where the future of the automobile could very well be poured. —Kim Reynolds

2017 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R

To help refresh my memory for this assignment, I scrolled through my Instagram account, which mostly serves as an archive of the good stuff I’ve driven. I paused at the Ferrari 488, stopped a tad longer at the fantastic Porsche 718 Cayman, but only the Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R gave me goose bumps. The wonderful wail from its Voodoo V-8 stands out the most, but the GT350R is much more than its engine. Its lively steering, precise shifter, and sharp handling all contribute to a unforgettable driving experience and without a doubt the best car I drove in 2017. —Erick Ayapana

2017 Mini Clubman S All4

This year I had the pleasure of chaperoning our long-term 2017 Mini Clubman S All4. In addition to being incredibly fun to drive and surprisingly spacious for hauling stuff around, the Mini facilitated some remarkable adventures—both impromptu and painstakingly planned. Whenever I had the Mini in my driveway, I was constantly coming up with excuses to get out and drive. Whether it was venturing into the heart of downtown L.A. for the afternoon or taking a day trip out to the middle of the desert, the Mini was ready for it. Limited parking? No problem. Got passengers? Pile ‘em in. Picking up something oblong and bulky? It’ll probably fit.

The Mini also got me through a two-week, 2,000-mile road trip that included bucket-list places such as Death Valley, the Grand Canyon, historic Route 66, and so much more. The destinations were unforgettable, but the journey in the Mini was just as memorable. —Alex Nishimoto

2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia

When a car distinguishes itself after an entire day of driving most of its competitors on the same roads, you know it’s something special. That’s exactly what happened earlier this year with the 280-hp 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia, which won a comparison test against many formidable competitors. You’d expect the Alfa Romeo to look good and be one of the most engaging drivers in the class, but it was the car’s well-rounded appeal that really surprised. Sure, there are a few things in the interior I wish were different, and I personally have trouble trusting Alfa Romeo’s long-term reliability, but wow. What a car. —Zach Gale

2019 Lamborghini Urus

The best car I drove in 2017? The Lamborghini Urus. Even if it isn’t the actual best car (or in this case, hulking SUV), I’m the only American who has so far been allowed to drive the latest (and second) soft roader from Sant’Agata. All other sport-oriented SUVs are on notice: the Urus is better than you are. Yes, for $200,000+ it had better be. Initially, I was swayed by the 650 horsepower and the approximately 3.3 second dash to 60 mph. After many laps around a 4-mile circuit, however, I’m most in love with the Urus’ brakes. Which, at 17.3 inches up front, are the largest that have been fitted to any car. Ever. What a world we’re living in. —Jonny Lieberman

2017 Honda Civic Type R

My high points of the year include, as you’d expect, blasting up highway 198 in every single Best Driver’s Car competitor. The Porsche 718, 911 Turbo S, and Ferrari 488, of course, all stand out even months later. Oddly enough, so does the Corvette Grand Sport. Despite a gearbox that wasn’t quite right for the conditions (all too often I found myself running out of breath at the top of third into a corner or bogging in fourth coming out of it), I still remember how well that car stuck and steered, no matter how hard I was on the throttle or brakes. At the start of the 2017 Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance, I had the opportunity to drive Mercedes-Benz’s “rote Sau” (red pig) with racing royalty, Jochen “Mischievous” Mass. But it was a replica of the 1970 Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.8 AMG that we were driving; visually if not entirely mechanically accurate.

I knew I was going to drive all of these vehicles, weeks in advance, so I was mentally prepared for them and had my expectations going in. The one car that took me by surprise, however, was the Civic Type R—just one of the 46 vehicles I tested at Car of the Year. I had heard murmurs of how well it drove, so I can’t say I was completely surprised. Here is a sample of what I jotted down in my COTY notebook:

“I rolled my eyes when I first saw the vehicle, but after driving it I understand. It looks the way it drives: crazy fun. Haven’t had as much fun driving around the winding track in a very long time. Totally different approach from Porsche Boxster, but that’s as close as I can draw a comparison to in terms of overall joy of driving. Honda has put a lot of thought into the Type R, and it shows within the layers are refinement and sophistication. The shift feel is better than the Porsche. The engine doesn’t drone on the highway, and it’s not peaky—it just pulls hard in every gear. The engine just wants to rev and run all the way to redline. The seats are among best sport buckets I’ve ever sat in—holding monsters that don’t pop you in the jewels when you get in or out. Properly bolstered at the midsection but not overstuffed and in the way of flying elbows in tricky sets of corners. The wild bodywork doesn’t block outward vision or touch down/scrape on steep driveways. Honda didn’t just tart up the Civic Type R by slapping on OEM versions of aftermarket parts, they took a serious and seriously refined approach, considered everything, and it shows. It is cars like this that show Honda still has it. They might not be able build an F1 engine, but they can certainly build a Type R.” —Ed Loh

2017 Porsche 911 Turbo S

As a newbie for this year’s Best Driver’s Car, I was amazed by the organization and production that takes place during the “best week of the year.” I was lucky to find myself swimming in an ocean of supercars. From the Ferrari 488 GTB to Lexus’ new LC 500, I got to drive some of the most expensive, beautiful, and powerful cars in the planet. But above all, the one that stood out the most was the 911 Turbo S. The iconic roadster gave me goose bumps when I drove it up and down Highway 198, and it was so easy to control that inspired more confidence to push it harder. Not every supercar can be as fun to take to the canyons and be driven to work every day like the 911. —Miguel Cortina

2018 Maserati GranTurismo Convertible

Seven years ago, editor-in-chief Loh called in a favor and got me three days with a then-brand-new Maserati GranCabrio (known as the GranTurismo Convertible in the U.S.) on my honeymoon in northern Italy. This year, I drove the latest, and in all likelihood the last traditional GranCabrio through a neighboring province and to the famed racetrack at Monza. It’s not the fastest, most luxurious, best-handling, or most exciting car I’ve driven this year, but it’s my “best” because of what it means to me. A chance to revisit such an important time in my life so literally is worth its weight in Lamborghini Huracan Performantes, Jeep Wranglers, Chevy Colorado ZR2s, and every other awesome vehicle I drove this year. I’ll remember the sound of that glorious Italian V-8 rumbling through the tree-lined streets of the Parco di Monza long after it’s been replaced with a leaner, sharper, angrier, turbocharged car that won’t quite capture the same spirit no matter how good it is. —Scott Evans

Audi RS 4 and RS 6 on Frozen Tundra

This is an emotional pick: driving an Audi RS 4 and an RS 6 in the northernmost part of Finland. It was at the Nokian winter tire testing facility near Ivalo, a place nicknamed “White Hell” with miles of slalom and handling courses and speed runs on a frozen lake. In an AWD RS4 with studded Nokian Hakkapeliitta 9 tires, I played on the slalom and handling courses set up on the ice, looking for that sweet spot between the edge of control and drifting dangerously close to a snowbank. Then I hopped in the same blue RS6 that set the world record for fastest car on ice when it hit 335.7 km/h (208.6 mph) on the Gulf of Bothnia wearing studded Hakkapeliitta 8s. My amateur speed runs never came close to the record, but the adrenaline rush of hurtling on uneven ice, with the steering wheel chattering in my hands, until I blinked and released the accelerator pedal, is something I won’t forget anytime soon. It was the precursor to a Motor Trend road trip through Finland that included a visit to the birthplace of my Finnish grandmother. Unforgettable on so many levels … —Alisa Priddle

2017 Porsche Panamera

I have always drooled over Porsches and anything Steve McQueen drove, so when I laid my eyes on the Panamera at 2018 Car of the Year testing, I knew I had to drive that bad boy because it’s always been on my top 8. The cool thing about Car of Year is that you get to drive a swanky car, with no other car on the road, at an accelerating speed. I am also a newbie and youngster here at Motor Trend, and I had never driven a Porsche before. My oh my, the Panamera was everything I ever dreamed of—driving it was exhilarating; the only thing missing was Mulholland Drive and a sick playlist containing the Smashing Pumpkins’ “1979” and Modest Mouse. —Erika Pizano

Oshkosh JLTV

In a year filled with supercars such as Ferrari’s GTC4Lusso and 488, and super trucks, such as the Ford Raptor, Chevy Colorado ZR2, and Ram Power Wagon, I’m going to cheat and pick something that’s neither a car nor a truck—the Oshkosh JLTV. The JLTV is an impressive machine. With its bulletproof Duramax turbodiesel V-8, a Baja-tuned suspension, and two levels of armor, the JLTV is the ultimate go-anywhere, do-anything off-roader. Although you can’t buy one (unless your name is Uncle Sam), the Wisconsin-built JLTV is a remarkably fun, and more importantly, well-engineered military vehicle that will serve our country faithfully, just as the Humvee, MUTT, and original Jeeps did before it. —Christian Seabaugh

The post Best Cars, Trucks, and SUVs We Drove in 2017 appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: The Top Zones

Motortrend News Feed: 2018 Jeep Wrangler First Drive Review: Because It’s There

The Top Zones - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 05:01
TWENTY-FOUR DEGREES, INCLINED

We find ourselves on New Zealand’s South Island, perched on a soggy, precipitous mountainside east of Lake Hawea—following a long morning crawl down the ridge of Mount Prospect and crossing the Lindis River more times than I could remember.

While my off-road spotters discuss the merits of trying to creep forward versus backing down the narrow path cut in the hillside, I steal a glance at the Pitch and Roll feature displayed between the gauges of the new Jeep Wrangler. It was at least as informative as the view out the windshield—which by that point was mostly sky and mountaintops, with the occasional sight of a spotter’s head poking up over the hood. For reference, the steepest paved road in the world is 20 degrees.

Not that there was anyone to talk to. My driving partner had hopped out several minutes earlier, after watching the Jeep ahead struggle with the same obstacle. We resolved to make it without the support Jeep’s saving winch, but it was a precarious position. I needed to make a left turn up this 24-degree slope, with a steeper uphill slope to my immediate left and an equally sheer drop to my immediate right. For good measure, the light rain falling for the past hour had turned the hillside into a muddy mess. I didn’t begrudge my co-driver his choice to bail; I encouraged it.

We’re here because an all-new Jeep Wrangler is a rare thing to behold, one that arrives once in a decade at most. It is the rugged flag-bearer of the Jeep brand, the ur-SUV, and the most symbolically important vehicle Fiat Chrysler makes, which can only be properly showcased in the most extreme environments. It’s also an anachronism, a holdover from a bygone era of vehicle making that, had it never existed previous, would never be approved by a responsible corporate board today. It also is the one vehicle in the world that could properly surmount this ridiculous obstacle, and the Jeep folks wanted to prove it.

The Jeep Wrangler makes every bit of sense and none at all, and it must be accepted by a wildly devoted fan base that will tolerate no weakness. Fortunately for everyone involved, it doesn’t have many faults. In fact, it has so few we might as well just get them out of the way. First, the clutch take-up on the six-speed manual transmission is so vague even our officemates at JP and 4-Wheel and Off-Road were stalling. Second, the V-6 still feels a bit gutless at low rpm on pavement despite improvements. That about covers it.

Back on that hillside, I was driving a two-door Rubicon with the standard 3.6-liter V-6 and optional eight-speed automatic. It makes the same 285 hp and 260 lb-ft as before but gets better fuel economy and low-end torque. At crawling speeds and with four-wheel-drive gearing advantages, torque wasn’t an issue. Two days later, driving back into town in a heavier four-door Rubicon Unlimited with the same engine but standard six-speed manual, the lack of grunt was more apparent.

The enormous improvement in ride quality was also more apparent on the road. Don’t worry. It still drives like a truck, just one from this century. Moving the shocks farther outboard and raising the roll center have seriously reduced the head toss and impact harshness in everyday driving. Getting to the trail has never been so pleasant.

Although you’ll spend far more time on the road than the trail, we know you don’t care about that part, so let’s dive back into the mud. After lunch on the trail, it was a higher-speed two-track out to camp with one last river crossing to round things out. As if to drive the point of the new generation’s excellence home, one of the previous-generation Rubicon Unlimited support vehicles beached itself trying to climb out, right after the new ones drove right through.

After a night of unexpectedly heavy snowfall and several collapsed tents, we ran for the shores of Lake Wanaka and out another two-track toward Mount Aspiring National Park. On this day, I’d made a point of claiming the all-new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. It makes 268 hp and 295 lb-ft and uses a belt alternator starter system that can take some load off the engine. This is the first four-banger Wrangler in over a decade and an optional upgrade over the V-6, so I had to know if it’s any good. This would be the day to find out. We were headed for a boulder field at the base of Mount Aspiring.

Available only with the eight-speed automatic, the turbo-four felt perfectly at home bumping along the two-track and down a stretch of paved road. The transmission, paired with either engine, continues to be a gem with quick, smooth gearshifts and a smart computer that always seems to know what gear it ought to be in. On-road and off, the engine felt just as powerful as the V-6, and its automatic start/stop system is among the smoothest on the market in any vehicle type. The real test, though, would be crawling.

Our test bed was a boulder-strewn gully 10 feet deep and in places just wider than the Jeeps. I dropped our Rubicon Unlimited into 4Lo, hit the switches to lock the front and rear differentials and disconnect the front anti-roll bar, and tiptoed in. I didn’t air down the tires, though; the Jeep people were so confident in the Wrangler they wouldn’t let us. Within 50 feet, every concern I had about power and turbo lag had been scraped away along with the paint on the factory rock rails. This little bugger crawls just as well as the V-6.

To be sure, I took another run in the other Rubicon Unlimited with the V-6 and the manual. Were it not for the shifting, I could barely tell the difference in power delivery. Between the belt alternator starter and turbocharger, the four-cylinder needed less revving to get the job done.

Speaking of, bouldering with a stock manual transmission has never been easier. Jeep has upped the crawl ratio from 73:1 to 84:1 on the manual (and from 55:1 to 77:1 on the automatic), so it can creep along at a half mile an hour in first gear in 4Lo without stalling. I only ever used the clutch to come to a complete stop while my spotters repositioned for the next obstacle.

The sun and cold wind beating on my face, this was Jeeping at its best: tough trail, manual transmission, roof down (thankfully now a tidy five-step process), and windshield down (now two wipers and four bolts, down from seeming dozens). We’d have taken the lightened doors off, too, if there were a place to put them. The included toolkit makes removing them and the windshield so easy you’re effectively obligated to do so.

The rock sliders thoroughly evaluated, I made one more run in the two-door Rubicon. Granted, the four-door Unlimiteds went everywhere the two-door went, but nothing makes a challenging trail easier than a shorter, lighter rig with a tighter turning radius. Regardless, the new 33-inch BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires did a remarkable job at street pressure, and the extra inch of ground clearance afforded over the old 32-inch Mud Terrain T/A KMs was welcomed.

Off the rocks and back on the trail in the four-cylinder, we popped out the hard top’s “Freedom Panels,” which are held on by simple latches now instead of 1,000-turn knobs. It made for a better vantage point standing up through the roof as we crisscrossed the noticeably deeper Matukituki River’s West Branch. The 30-inch fording depth is engraved along with other stats on a panel on the inside of the tailgate for handy reference.

The next morning, leaving camp with the worst obstacles behind us, I decided I needed more than a mere trail run with the manual transmission. It’s a new Aisin unit with a shift linkage that has taken out most of the previous model’s slop. Were it not for the funky clutch pedal, I’d have nothing to complain about. The gates are easy to find, and the throws are short enough for a truck.

Read more about the 2018 Jeep Wrangler in our thorough First Look here.


Its crown is a nicely detailed metal and rubber shift knob with exposed bolts that cap off a wonderfully improved interior. The flat dash, round gauges, and front passenger oh-lordy handle are complemented by burly knobs, belt-buckle door handles, and exposed bolts that walk a fine line between historically informed and gaudy retro. Peppered in among them are welcome modern conveniences such as an optional 8.4-inch infotainment system, optional heated seats and steering wheel, optional high-end stereo, standard in-cluster digital display, and standard USB 2.0 and micro USB ports front and rear.

Descending through the Rees Valley and crossing its namesake river a few times (because at this point, why not?), we began the long trudge back down paved roads to the hotel and a hot shower. The improved ride is a welcome respite from three long days bouncing down the trail, as is the new electro-hydraulic steering that’s taken all the vagueness out of the rack. The Jeep is confident and planted on the road in a way Wranglers have never been. The hardcore guys will say the old trucks had more character, but the casual off-road enthusiast won’t mind the trade-off a bit.

The drive back gives time to reflect. If you went to an automaker today and asked them to build a two-door body-on-frame trucklet with a convertible roof and almost no cargo space—riding on live axles (and oh yeah, the windshield needs to fold down and you should be able to take the doors off and hose out the waterproof interior)—you’d be laughed out of the room. This Wrangler, this iconic Jeep, exists because it’s always existed, and this new one is the best one yet. No, Jeep faithful, they didn’t ruin it. They didn’t even make it just as good as the old one. They made it better in every way.

2018 Jeep Wrangler BASE PRICE $28,190-$31,690 VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, 4WD, 4- or 5-pass, 2- or 4-door SUV ENGINES 3.6L/285-hp/260-lb-ft DOHC 24-valve V-6; 2.0L/268-hp/295-lb-ft turbocharged DOHC 16-valve I-4; 3.0L/260-hp/442-lb-ft turbodiesel DOHC 24-valve V-6 TRANSMISSIONS 6-speed manual; 8-speed automatic CURB WEIGHT 4,000-4,700 lb (est) WHEELBASE 96.8-118.4 in LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT 166.8-188.4 x 73.8 x 73.6 in 0-60 MPH 7.0-8.0 sec (MT est) EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 17-18/23/19-20 mpg (3.6L) ENERGY CONSUMPTION, CITY/HWY 187-198/147 kW-hrs/100 miles (3.6L) CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.97-1.01 lb/mile (3.6L) ON SALE IN U.S. January 2018

The post 2018 Jeep Wrangler First Drive Review: Because It’s There appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: The Top Zones

The Car Connection News Feed: 2018 Jeep Wrangler price climbs to $28,190

The Top Zones - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 05:01
The redesigned 2018 Jeep Wrangler will see a hefty price hike to $28,190 when it goes on sale early next year. That's the base price of a two-door Wrangler Sport and it includes a mandatory $1,195 destination charge that's among the highest charged by any automaker. The four-door Wrangler Unlimited Sport runs $31,690. MORE: Read our 2018 Jeep...
Categories: The Top Zones

Motortrend News Feed: Novitec Will Give Your Tesla Model S a Style Upgrade

The Top Zones - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 01:15

Looking for a sexier Model S? Novitec gives Tesla’s flagship sedan a stealthy exterior upgrade for drivers that want to stand out.

The Stetten, Germany-based tuner now offers a few choice carbon fiber aerodynamic bits that provide modest accents to your 2016 or later Model S without drastically changing its appearance.

For starters, the outside gets a carbon front spoiler lip, side panel set, and rear diffuser. Novitec suspension and chassis tech offers new electronic adjustable shock absorbers with hydraulic height adjustment options.

There are two suspension options available for the Tesla. Models without air suspension can opt for an electronically adjustable coilover suspension that can lower ride height by 1.5 inches, while Model S sedans with air suspension can receive a sport upgrade package that lowers ride height by about 0.9 inch.

Novitec’s Model S rolls on custom 21-inch forged wheels designed by Vossen that are available in a range of transparent and solid colors. We are partial to the gold ones seen here, which look pretty rad.

Novitec also offers a carbon-ceramic brakes to help your Tesla stop better. The kit consists of ventilated carbon-ceramic discs, new calipers, and brake pads.

Inside, Novitec offers exclusive interiors made from leather and Alcantara in any color you can dream up. Of course, none of this will really make your Model S quicker, but think how much cooler your Tesla will look with just those new rims alone.

The company also provides upgrades for the Model X SUV as well as many fine bits for Italian sports cars—especially ones from Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Maserati.

Pricing hasn’t been announced at this time, but you can visit the company’s site for more details.

The post Novitec Will Give Your Tesla Model S a Style Upgrade appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: The Top Zones

Motortrend News Feed: So Many People Want Ferraris, the Factory Has to Increase Production

The Top Zones - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 00:30

Ferrari makes very nice cars that are fun to drive fast. For most people, however, they’re also prohibitively expensive. But even though the least expensive car in next year’s lineup, the Portofino, will cost more than $200,000, people are apparently ordering so many Ferraris, it has to increase production next year.

Bloomberg reports that in order to meet demand, Ferrari will double factory shifts to two a day. As a result, it will be able to deliver nearly 9,000 cars in 2018. Previously, Ferrari had hoped to hit that number in 2019, but strong interest in its cars has apparently accelerated that timeline. When Ferrari finally introduces its first-ever SUV, expect annual production to increase even further, potentially pushing past 10,000 units a year.

This production boost is reportedly part of CEO Sergio Marchionne’s plan to increase the Italian automaker’s profits without hurting exclusivity. In the first quarter of next year, Marchionne is expected to present a more detailed plan for the next five years. When that happens, we’ll likely learn more about his plans for the SUV, as well as production volume. One goal is reported to be doubling operating profits to about $2.35 billion (€2 billion) per year by 2022.

As Bloomberg points out, Ferrari’s strong sales performance is due in part to an increasing number of millionaires worldwide. By the end of 2016, there were an estimated 13.6 million people in the world with seven-figure net worths. That’s a 36-percent increase since 2006. One report estimates that in the next decade, that number will increase another 37 percent.

And as long as there are wealthy customers in the world looking to make rare and exotic purchases, we suspect Ferrari’s business will continue to do well.

Source: Bloomberg

The post So Many People Want Ferraris, the Factory Has to Increase Production appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: The Top Zones

Motortrend News Feed: 2019 Volkswagen Jetta Teased Ahead of Detroit Debut

The Top Zones - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 23:45

The 2019 Volkswagen Jetta has been teased ahead of its official debut at the 2018 Detroit auto show via exterior and interior sketches. From the outside, Volkswagen’s new sedan looks more mature and restrained with cues from the Arteon–especially in the new front fascia and grille. Its side profile is familiar and more upright, eschewing the swoopy silhouette that rivals like the Mazda3 and Honda Civic have embraced–though the roofline does appear sportier in the rear. Out back, the restrained design continues, hinting again at the 2019 Jetta’s more mature exterior design direction.

Perhaps the most notable sketch is the interior because it shows some key features that could possibly be available on the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta. The dash in particular has a look that’s reminiscent of the Alfa Romeo Giulia’s dash and features a large screen integrated into it as the center piece. Unlike some of its rivals, the Jetta doesn’t go with a floating screen that looks like a tablet, giving the dash a more traditional appearance. Volkswagen’s digital cockpit also appears to be featured in this sketch because there doesn’t seem to be a traditional rev counter and speedometer in the gauge cluster. The rest of the center stack appears to have a straightforward design as well, as it appears that the 2019 Jetta will stick with a combination of buttons and knobs for its infotainment controls, in addition to the touchscreen.

When it goes on sale sometime in 2018, the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta will be the latest vehicle to move to the automaker’s MQB platform that also underpins the Golf, Atlas, Tiguan, and Audi’s A3 and TT. Expect it to feature a turbocharged four-cylinder engine as standard paired to either a manual or automatic transmission. The sporty Jetta GLI could appear later in the lineup and should feature more power and a sportier suspension setup than the standard car.

Source: Volkswagen

The post 2019 Volkswagen Jetta Teased Ahead of Detroit Debut appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: The Top Zones

Motortrend News Feed: Inside the Redesigned 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class

The Top Zones - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 23:01

The interior of the original Mercedes G-Class has been nipped and tucked more frequently and thoroughly than almost any other part of the vehicle, yet this second-generation version’s interior is unmistakably all-new and vastly improved.

The 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class’ high, wide instrument binnacle brow links this dash design with those of most Mercedes sedans—especially on AMG Line models that upgrade the mechanical speedometer and tach to virtual gauges on a second thin-film transistor screen.

The multifunction steering wheel with paddle shift switches is shared with the revised S-Class. But the new G shares its electrical architecture, including the bank of silver organ-key switches that control the heating and air conditioning, the analog clock below them, and the buttons that direct the infotainment system to the navigation, radio, media, telephone, or car screens, with the E-Class.

Does that mean the Geländewagen’s look has gone all futuristic? Hardly. All the other design cues hark back to G-wagen’s strictly utilitarian roots. The round air vents are meant to echo the (still) round headlights. The stereo tweeters on the upper corners of the dash are designed to look like the iconic turn-signal indicator lights that still mount to the front fender tops. Opt for Burmester sound, and the total speaker count hits 16.

Two more G-Class icons remain. The three differential lock switches are prominently centered between the middle air vents, and a robust grab handle gives passengers something to hang onto when the terrain introduces extreme pitch and roll angles. The low-range selector switch is on the center console near the user-interface rotary push knob. Speaking of the console, switching to a standard Mercedes-Benz column shifter and an electronic parking brake freed up sufficient center console space for cupholders and a 390-cubic-inch stowage bin (adding to the 317 cubes available in the glove box).

Rear-seat passengers are treated to considerably better accommodation that’s much easier to access, thanks to a wheelbase stretched by 1.6 inches. Foot clearance from the seat support structure to the B-pillar is greatly improved, and legroom improves by a claimed 5.9 inches. Shoulder and elbow width also grow by 1.1 and 2.3 inches in back, three-position seat heating is provided, air vents are now offered on the B-pillars, and the backrest offers nine recline positions from vertical. An elevated rear-seat hip point and narrow-back front seats promise great outward visibility, and rear cargo capacity is said to be roughly unchanged.

Naturally, Mercedes will offer abundant opportunity for individualization. At the G’s interior launch event, 10 two- and three-tone interior upholstery color schemes were presented alongside seven trim choices—carbon fiber, metal, piano black, and four types of wood—at least a few of which could perfectly coordinate with any of the 11 standard and 13 Designo exterior paint colors.

Other cool facts about the new G-Class’ interior:

  • The windshield and side glass are now curved, but barely enough to notice. Probably enough so that they don’t reflect like mirrors, though.
  • The doors had to get thicker to accommodate the stronger reinforcement needed to pass FMVSS 214 side-impact pole testing.
  • Two elements customers deemed absolutely crucial to the G-wagen were the sound that the doors make when they close and the rifle-bolt sound the power locks make when they actuate. These both seemed authentic on the demo vehicle I saw.
  • Aerodynamics: The design team knew better than to set ambitious targets for improving aero on this brick, but the mandate was to be no worse than the original. No Cd numbers were shared, but we were told the more critical CdA (drag area) remains the same despite the frontal area growing, so the coefficient is at least slightly better.

Read about how a 2016 Mercedes-Benz G550 fared in a comparison against a Jeep Wrangler and Toyota Land Cruiser right here.

The post Inside the Redesigned 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: The Top Zones

Motortrend News Feed: GM’s Mary Barra: Driver-Owned Vehicles Not Going Away

The Top Zones - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 22:45

General Motors CEO and chairwoman Mary Barra believes that even with the move to ride-sharing and mobility services, there’s still a future for driver-owned vehicles. Speaking at an Automotive Press Association event in Detroit, Barra said that there isn’t an industry that technology isn’t disrupting and that dealers need to adapt to changes happening in the automotive sector. However, driver-owned models will be still be the core part of GM’s business in the near future despite the growth of ride-sharing.

“The transformative technologies–electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles–provide an opportunity to grow, again, where it makes good business sense. If you look at where ride-sharing is the most popular, it’s in dense, urban environments where we have low market share, so that’s where we see it as additive,” Barra told Automotive News. “I do think that we’re going to be in the core business for a very, very long time, but we’re going to continue to be led by the customer.”

Barra’s comments run counter to other predictions that ride-sharing and autonomy will cause driver-owned vehicles to dwindle in numbers. Former GM product development boss Bob Lutz believed that the retail model is under threat because ride-sharing will cause consumers to not be loyal to one brand. GM President Dan Ammann recently revealed that the automaker’s investment in Lyft has had a 50-percent return over the original $500 million it put down.

In addition to talking about the effects of autonomy and ride-sharing, Barra also revealed that GM praised the Trump administration’s desire to increase manufacturing employment in the U.S. President Donald Trump wants to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) by requiring a larger percentage of U.S.-made content on vehicles being produced in Canada, the United States, and Mexico, a move considered too disruptive to existing supply chains by auto industry suppliers.

Barra says that talks about how reworking NAFTA will impact jobs and businesses have happened. She also noted that at a meeting that involved the Detroit 3 automakers and vice president Mike Pence all were in agreement that NAFTA needs to be modernized and is hopeful that the information from manufacturers is considered. Additionally, Barra also supports tax reform and a U.S. Senate bill that aims to keep the $7,500 EV tax credit alive, which she believes would benefit the country.

Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)

The post GM’s Mary Barra: Driver-Owned Vehicles Not Going Away appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: The Top Zones

Motortrend News Feed: Uber Charges Toronto Man More Than $14,000 for a Ride

The Top Zones - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 21:45

At this point, anyone who uses Uber should understand what surge pricing is. When there are more riders requesting rides than drivers in the area, Uber raises its prices. But while you might expect to pay as much as 10 times the normal fare on a particularly busy night, surely Uber would never expect you to pay 1,000 times that rate, right?

According to The Comeback, that’s exactly what happened to Toronto rider Hisham Salama. Salamatweeted a screenshot showing that after using the app to take a 21-minute ride across part of the city, he had been charged a whopping $18,518.50. At current exchange rates, that works out to a little more than $14,300 in U.S. dollars, which sounds ever so slightly less egregious. But still. The Comeback estimates that the ride should cost him about $10 to $12 (U.S.) without surge pricing.

@Uber @Uber_Support what turned out to be an honest mistake is now turning into the biggest blunder of 2017. I’m no longer laughing at wondering when #uber will get their act together. Can anyone help? Obviously, no 20 min fare is $18,500. pic.twitter.com/zBhtMSBy67

— Hisham Salama (@The_Hish) December 9, 2017

As you can see, not only did Uber charge Salama an insane amount of money for such a short trip, it then stood by that charge. Luckily for Salama (and Uber’s public relations department), Uber eventually refunded the charge.

Thank you to everyone who tweeted and retweeted about my magical $18,500 @Uber ride. @Uber_Support has refunded the fare and apologized. I am hopeful that I will be able to speak to someone on their leadership team about my issue and timing of resolution next week.

— Hisham Salama (@The_Hish) December 9, 2017

“There was a an error and we have provided a full refund. We sincerely apologize to this rider for his experience,” a spokesperson told The Comeback. “We have safeguards in place to help prevent something like this from happening and we are working to understand how this occurred.”

Source: The Comeback

The post Uber Charges Toronto Man More Than $14,000 for a Ride appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: The Top Zones

Motortrend News Feed: PepsiCo Orders 100 Tesla Semi Trucks

The Top Zones - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 20:45

PepsiCo has placed the largest order for Tesla Semi trucks yet, reserving 100 units. The electric big rigs will join PepsiCo’s existing fleet of nearly 10,000 diesel semis to serve specific routes in North America.

PepsiCo is the latest company to place an order for Tesla’s upcoming Semi, which was unveiled in November alongside the 2020 Tesla Roadster. PepsiCo follows Wal-Mart, J.B. Hunt, Anheuser-Busch, and food distributor Sysco in placing Tesla Semi orders. Reuters reports Tesla has received 267 reservations so far. Initially, Tesla charged $5,000 per truck to place a reservation but that has since risen to $20,000.

PepsiCo intends to use the trucks for shipments of beverages and snacks foods from factories or distribution centers to retailers, and is currently deciding which routes would best suit the electric semis. Tesla claims the Semi has a range of 500 miles when towing a full 80,000-pound load, and that 400 miles of range can be restored in just 30 minutes at one of its new Megacharger stations.

While 267 trucks sounds like a lot, it’s just a drop in the bucket compared to the 260,000 Class-8 heavy-duty diesel trucks produced in North America each year. Reuters suggests the relatively small orders placed by companies so far reflect the industry’s uncertainty about electric trucks replacing diesels.

Tesla’s ability to fill large orders of trucks may also be a factor in the companies’ decisions. The automaker continues to struggle with production of the mass-market Model 3, and is far behind in deliveries. Tesla has also been burning through cash at an astounding rate, and recently posted its largest quarterly loss yet. Still, Tesla says production of the Semi will begin in 2019.

Source: Reuters

The post PepsiCo Orders 100 Tesla Semi Trucks appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: The Top Zones

Motortrend News Feed: 2018 Dodge Durango R/T V-8 Long-Term Arrival

The Top Zones - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 09:00

Let’s try this again.

Last year, William Walker welcomed a Granite Gray 2017 Durango GT to our long-term fleet, only to have it stolen two months after its arrival—lock, stock, key fob, and 25 large worth of photo gear in the back—from a Los Angeles–area restaurant’s valet lot. It’s probably been hauling Russian mobsters around Kamchatka since shortly thereafter because it was never recovered. For a hot minute we considered quietly replacing it with a doppelganger and carrying on, but the ’18 models were just being announced, and we couldn’t resist upgrading to an R/T model with the cool new SRT nose. And because Dodges are less rare and exotic in the brand’s hometown (and hence hopefully less of an attractive nuisance than they apparently are in L.A.), the replacement vehicle has been entrusted to our Detroit office for safekeeping.

Upgrading from a GT V-6 to an R/T V-8 adds $5,900. Figure the engine is worth $3,995 of that (that’s the option cost on Citadel trim levels), with the extra two grand buying the aforementioned angry SRT bodywork (vented hood, blackout grille, sport front fascia), a lowered sport suspension with load-leveling, fancier lighting, rain-sensing wipers, parking sensors, Radar Red Nappa sport leather seating (with eight-way power in front), and the big-screen infotainment setup. Our snowbelt geography demanded another ($2,600) “Durango 4” upgrade. An MP 3023 transfer case delivers on-demand variable torque-split all-wheel drive with low-range gearing and a neutral setting (take note flat-tow RVers!). To this already high level of standard equipment we only added a tech package (adaptive cruise with collision and blind-spot and lane departure warnings for $2,495), the trailering group ($995), murdered-out black wheels and mirrors ($695), and a cargo package of roof rails, cross bars, and a cargo cover ($395). At $51,970 out the door, it’s $9,195 spiffier than our 2017 GT.

Having put our order in just as 2018-model production started, our White Knuckle beauty was built on August 17 and delivered to us on September 22. As any good new owner should, we consulted the owners’ manual break-in requirements, which were pretty simple: “Drive moderately during the first 300 miles,” and “while cruising, brief full-throttle acceleration within the limits of local traffic laws contributes to a good break-in.” Can do! Two trips to my lakeside cabin-restoration project had our Durango fully ready for action. On those treks we made abundant use of the 47.7 cubic feet of cargo space behind the middle row of seats to haul tools and supplies, but the 43-inch-wide rear deck will preclude us from using it for drywall or paneling delivery.

So far we are still grooving on our truck’s bad boy looks, the Hemi’s ready rumble, and the sport suspension’s ride/handling trade-off (reasonably supple on the bumps, respectably flat in the curves). To date, our Hemi Durango 4’s fuel economy is trailing that of our 3.6-liter rear-drive GT noticeably. After a month of service and about 1,800 miles of driving, we’re averaging 15.0 mpg. The GT managed 18.9 mpg over about 7,100 miles of driving. It’s tempting to hope our R/T’s fuel economy will improve as the engine continues to break in, but the 20 percent drop almost exactly mirrors the 19 percent difference in EPA combined ratings, so we’re not holding our breath.

Our Durango’s dance card is already filled with scheduled trips to antebellum Vicksburg, Mississippi, northern Canada, and numerous tailgate outings with the TEN party trailer in tow. We’ll report on all its surprises, delights, and any potential foibles. In the meantime, if you’re traveling in some sketchy foreign country and spot a nice Granite Gray Durango GT, send us a snapshot.

2018 Dodge Durango 4 R/T BASE PRICE $47,390 PRICE AS TESTED $51,970 VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, 4WD, 7-pass, 4-door SUV ENGINE 5.7L/360-hp/390-lb-ft OHV 16-valve V-8 TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 5,426 lb (51/49%) WHEELBASE 119.8 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 201.2 x 75.8 x 69.8 in 0-60 MPH 6.7 sec (est) EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 14/22/17 mpg ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 241/153 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 1.16 lb/mile TOTAL MILEAGE 1,678 mi AVERAGE FUEL ECON 15.0 mpg

The post 2018 Dodge Durango R/T V-8 Long-Term Arrival appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: The Top Zones

Property Week News Feed: Hadaway served noticed to leave Empiric with immediate effect

The Top Zones - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 08:36
Paul Hadaway, chief executive of Empiric Student Property, has been ejected from the company, after being served notice by the group’s board.
Categories: The Top Zones

Property Week News Feed: Unibail buys Westfield for £18.5bn to create global shopping mall giant

The Top Zones - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 08:06
Unibail-Rodamco has agreed to buy Australia’s Westfield for £18.5bn to create the world’s largest shopping mall operator.
Categories: The Top Zones

Motortrend News Feed: Six-Cylinder Mercedes-AMG CLS53 Coming in Lieu of CLS63

The Top Zones - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 00:30

When Mercedes-Benz debuted the 2019 CLS450 at the L.A. Auto Show last month, it made no mention of an AMG version. A new report from Automotive News says there will be no top-shelf CLS63 variant, but there will be a new CLS53.

Speaking to Mercedes-AMG head honcho Tobia Moers, Automotive News learned that the Mercedes-AMG CLS53 will launch in the U.S. by the end of 2018. The model will be powered by a more potent version of the new turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six, and will also get Mercedes’ fancy 48-volt electrical system and EQ Boost electric motor. Exact power output was not disclosed, but Moers said horsepower will “for sure be in the 400s.” AN predicts around 430 hp, which is more than the current twin-turbo V-6-powered AMG 43 models put out. Moers says to watch out for AMG 53 variants of the E-Class coupe and convertible and GLE as well.

The reason Mercedes isn’t doing another CLS63 is because it wants to give its similar four-door Mercedes-AMG GT (rumored to be called GT4) some breathing room. Both will be coupe-styled sedans based on the E-Class’ platform, but the GT4 will be positioned as the sportier option packing AMG’s twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8. In addition, a hybrid variant is rumored to be in the works.

More details on the CLS53 will be announced at the Detroit auto show next month. The AMG GT4 is expected to go on sale in 2019.

Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)

Mercedes-AMG GT Concept

The post Six-Cylinder Mercedes-AMG CLS53 Coming in Lieu of CLS63 appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: The Top Zones

Motortrend News Feed: Volkswagen Changes Compliance System to Prevent Another Dieselgate

The Top Zones - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 23:50

By our last estimate, Volkswagen has spent about $30 billion dealing with the scandal that broke after it was caught installing emissions-cheating software in its diesel vehicles. To make sure it doesn’t make such a costly mistake like that again, the German automaker has decided to change the structure of its compliance systems.

Automotive News reports that while there used to be 25 different compliance systems in place across all of the brands Volkswagen owns, those have all been consolidated into a single system. Kurt Michels, Volkswagen’s anti-corruption head, says he wants to work to make it easier for whistleblowers to come forward by changing the company’s “culture of silence.”

“Now we have an internal whistleblower system, where you can talk to your colleagues in the compliance department, so you don’t have to call outsiders,” Michels told reporters recently. “You can still call the lawyers nevertheless, you can issue topics anonymously. We try to open every channel available.”

When he joined the company back in April, Michels said he was surprised that employees weren’t willing to speak up or ask questions. Instead, they simply waited for him to give them orders. Michels also found little to no coordination between the brands. “It’s like living in a house and ‘my room is clean and proper and I don’t care about the rest’,” he said. “You’re living in one room, but you’re responsible for the entire building. That’s the mindset I want to create.”

We also recently learned that Volkswagen plans to fire Oliver Schmidt, the executive who was sentenced to seven years in prison and ordered to pay a $400,000 fine for his role in attempting to cover up the scandal. He’s reportedly requested to be able to serve his sentence in Germany instead of the U.S., but it’s unclear at the moment whether the Justice Department will grant his request.

Source: Automotive News 1, 2, 3 (Subscription required)

The post Volkswagen Changes Compliance System to Prevent Another Dieselgate appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: The Top Zones

Motortrend News Feed: Dutch Designer Pens a Tesla Model S Shooting Brake

The Top Zones - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 22:30

Elon Musk has his hands full with Model 3 production, Tesla Semi truck orders, and the second-generation Roadster. Currently, there are no plans or time for the company to build a Tesla Model S Wagon.

Instead of waiting for the next Tesla project launch, London-based Niels van Roij Design studio and RemetzCar of Amsterdam stepped in to make a few lucky owners some very special Model S P90D station wagons they’ve dubbed Shooting Brakes.

Dutch designer Niels van Roij started with a client’s Tesla Model S for a one-off car.

“Design is the most important reason for purchase globally—regardless of the purchase price, gender, or age of the buyer. So, we’ve invested a lot of time in the design process of our Shooting Brake, ” said Van Roij, in a release. “We started with writing the design strategy, after which the design research was initiated, then sketching began. The aesthetics of this conversion have been developed thoroughly by producing three design propositions, within which 16 different design themes were generated. Our research focused on benchmarking high-end performance station cars, one-off vehicles and market trends.”

Now that first Shooting Brake is nearing completion, there are plans to create a limited series of 20 units based on based on its design.

“Based on this extensive design research, we developed the brand DNA for the Shooting Brake. The conversion merges seamlessly with the Tesla base vehicle, whilst clearly communicating though form, design language, and materials that this is a tailor-made Shooting Brake,” said Van Roij.

“And of course we added a completely new sculpted rear-end, keeping the shoulders of the car alive, thus ensuring a bold stance.”

The first Tesla Model S Shooting Brake conversion is expected to make its debut in March. Orders and deposits are being taken and pricing depends on conversion costs and options requested, we are told.

We can’t wait to see the final version.

PRESS RELEASE DESIGN FOR ELECTRIC SHOOTING BRAKE REVEALED •Bold, expressive design •Based on extensive research •Launch planned for March 2018 The Dutch coach building and design team working on the full electric Shooting Brake reveals more details on the design of the car, based on the Tesla Model S. Designer Niels van Roij explains the strategy behind this one-off car. “Design is the most important reason for purchase globally – regardless of the purchase price, gender or age of the buyer”, Van Roij says. “So, we’ve invested a lot of time in the design process of our Shooting Brake. We started with writing the design strategy, after which the design research was initiated, then sketching began. The aesthetics of this conversion have been developed thoroughly by producing 3 design propositions, within which 16 different design themes were generated. Our research focused on benchmarking high end performance station cars, one-off vehicles and market trends.” “Based on this extensive design research, we developed the brand DNA for the Shooting Brake. The conversion merges seamlessly with the Tesla base vehicle, whilst clearly communicating though form, design language and materials that this is a tailor-made Shooting Brake.” According to Van Roij, the essential elements of the theme that was chosen are its dynamic, bold profile with continuously flowing lines. “And of course we added a completely new sculpted rear-end, keeping the shoulders of the car alive, thus ensuring a bold stance.” Full release on: www.nielsvanroij.com

A post shared by Niels van Roij Design (@nielsvanroijdesign) on Dec 11, 2017 at 4:12am PST

The post Dutch Designer Pens a Tesla Model S Shooting Brake appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: The Top Zones

Motortrend News Feed: New Ford Mustang Bullitt Possibly Caught in the Wild

The Top Zones - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 21:40

Back in 2001, Ford released a special edition Mustang to commemorate the famous 1968 Steve McQueen film Bullitt. The 2001 Mustang Bullitt was styled more subtly than the regular Mustang GT but got improved handling and some extra power. In 2008, Ford brought the Mustang Bullitt back following a similar formula. We’ve also heard rumors for a while that Ford plans to offer a Bullitt version of the current Mustang, but it never materialized. That, however, may be about to change.

A few days ago, in the Facebook group “Chicagoland Petrolheads and Car Spotters,” member Tony Zaleski Jr. posted five photos of a Mustang that sure looks a lot like a Bullitt. It’s green, missing the GT’s rear spoiler, doesn’t have real plates, and best of all, it has a badge on the trunk that sure looks like the previous generation’s badge (pictured below).

Zaleski says that, while setting up a trade show at one of the local hotels, he caught the car in the middle of a photo shoot. It reportedly had a police escort and was covered with a sheet until it got to the lower-level loading docks. Sure, this could be a one-off or limited edition that a local dealer created, but this level of attempted secrecy makes it much more plausible that Ford itself is responsible.

When we reached out to Ford for more information, the spokesperson told us, “Sorry, not sure when any official information will be released.” We don’t want to read too much into that response, but the wording sure does sound like a backhanded confirmation that the Mustang Bullitt is coming. 

As the Detroit Auto Show gets closer, keep an eye out for possible leaks. For all we know, the 2019 Mustang Bullitt could be Ford’s big surprise for this year’s show. After all, 2018 will mark Bullitt’s 50th anniversary.

Source: Tony Zaleski Jr. via Facebook

The post New Ford Mustang Bullitt Possibly Caught in the Wild appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: The Top Zones

Motortrend News Feed: W Motors Reveals the Production Version of the Fenyr SuperSport

The Top Zones - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 20:25

At the Dubai Motor Show last month, W Motors showed off its Fenyr SuperSport concept, promising the production version was coming soon. A few days ago, it released the video below, showing off the Fenyr SuperSport in production form. Well, at least in production CGI form.

W Motors also held a private reveal party that it documented on its Instagram page. As you can see, the design of the SuperSport is about as subtle as a brick to the face. If you want an attention-grabbing supercar, this might be the perfect car for you.

The brand new @wmotors Fenyr SuperSport was unveiled in its production trim tonight at the new W Motors Gallery in Dubai ????

A post shared by W Motors Official Account (@wmotors) on Nov 29, 2017 at 7:40am PST

Out back, the SuperSport gets even more aggressive styling. You can see a little bit of Acura NSX in there, but compared to the SuperSport, the NSX is dull and practically invisible.

The brand new @wmotors Fenyr SuperSport, what are you thoughts on the second creation signed by our team? ???? #WMotors #Fenyr #SuperSport

A post shared by W Motors Official Account (@wmotors) on Nov 29, 2017 at 7:43am PST

Under the hood is a Porsche-sourced 4.0-liter flat-six that RUF tuned to make a tire-roasting 900 hp and 885 lb-ft of torque. Paired with a dual-clutch transmission, W Motors claims it can hit 60 mph in 2.7 seconds and has a top speed of 249 mph. To keep the weight down to only 2,645 pounds, the Fenyr SuperSport has a tubular aluminum chassis and a carbon-composite body. When it comes time to stop, there are 16.5-inch carbon-ceramic brakes with six-piston calipers.

Welcome to the new wolf in the family ???? #WMotors #Fenyr #SuperSport

A post shared by W Motors Official Account (@wmotors) on Nov 29, 2017 at 8:15am PST

With a starting price of $1.9 million, the Fenyr SuperSport won’t be cheap, but only 25 will be built, so there won’t be many to go around. Then again, compared to W Motors’ previous car, the Lykan HyperSport, this is the affordable, mass-production model. Only seven Lykans were ever built, each with a starting price around $3.4 million.

Source: W Motors via YouTube and Instagram

The post W Motors Reveals the Production Version of the Fenyr SuperSport appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: The Top Zones

Motortrend News Feed: Kahn Announces Flying Huntsman Soft-Top

The Top Zones - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 19:25

British coachbuilder Kahn Automobiles gave us the six-wheeled Flying Huntsman back in 2015. Now, the company is teasing a retractable soft-top variant of the stretched Land Rover Defender.

A rendering posted on Kahn’s website shows the Flying Huntsman with a convertible top over the rear axles, much like the limited-production Mercedes-Maybach G650 Landaulet. That model only had four wheels, but did receive the same portal axles and wide-body fenders found on the AMG G63 6×6 and G500 4×4². The special Flying Huntsman receives unique pillars and rear quarter windows to accommodate the folding top. This rendering doesn’t feature the long wheelbase and “long nose” conversion Kahn offers, but that option could be available at some point down the road. Kahn says this teaser is a “statement of intent,” and that more details will be revealed in the coming months.

Kahn Flying Huntsman 110 WB 6×6 Long Nose

The Flying Huntsman debuted in 2015 packing a GM-sourced 6.2-liter V-8 making 430 hp and a six-speed automatic transmission. Since then, a pickup version was introduced with Land Rover’s 2.2-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder. All models feature a custom six-wheel drive system with a switchable electronic center differential. Pricing for the soft-top Flying Huntsman hasn’t been announced, but Kahn has 6x6s listed on its website for as much as £249,995 (roughly $334,000).

Source: Kahn Automobiles

The post Kahn Announces Flying Huntsman Soft-Top appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: The Top Zones

The Car Connection News Feed: What's New for 2018: Volvo

The Top Zones - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 17:55
Volvo's full lineup transformation continues for 2018 with several new models. The highlight this year is arguably the brand's XC60 compact crossover. If you're familiar with the groundbreaking XC90 that debuted a couple of years ago, you can take that idea and leave it in the dryer for too long. The XC60 uses the same engines and tech as the...
Categories: The Top Zones