Category Archives: Automotive

HYPEBEAST 2018-09-22 08:25:59

By | September 22, 2018

American film star Burt Reynolds made an icon out of the Pontiac Firebird Trans Am in his 1977 movie Smokey and the Bandit. The legendary whip, dubbed the “Black Bandit,” was then recreated under Reynolds’ supervision, using a 1978 Trans Am model with …

Tire Review: Cooper SRX Discoverer

By | September 22, 2018

Tire reviews almost always focus on the sharp end of the market, that is, the extreme performance summer tire segment. While big sticky tires with rubber-band sidewalls are lots of fun to shred to a smoking hulk on a race track, such tires make up a notably small segment of industry sales and are rarely used on cars that are daily driven in most parts of the country.

While many Automobile readers own cars to take advantage of such a tire, it’s also true that almost every Automobile reader has a more ordinary vehicle—yes, a “boring” car—needing a boring car tire that optimizes comfort and wet weather performance over ultimate dry grip. To that end, we recently mounted up a set of everyday tires, the Cooper Discoverer SRX, on a very everyday vehicle, a 2006 Saturn Vue CUV and noted some of our impressions.

First of all, a little backstory. The Cooper Discoverer SRX is a tire specifically designed for CUVs and SUVs and specifically those which will be seeing most of their miles being driven on plain old, everyday roads.

To that end, Cooper was less concerned about how the tire would perform on off-road trails as it was how quiet and comfortable the ride would be when doing perfectly ordinary driving: going grocery shopping, picking up the kids from school, or heading off on a weekend road trip.

Cooper incorporates a few nifty features into the Discoverer SRX tire, each coming with a little bit of hyperbole, as is the norm for the industry. The first is something it calls Stabledge technology, which refers to the sidewall’s ability to resist twisting forces, providing better dry grip and stability.

Next, the silica compound is said to be a “competition-grade resin” which purports to give better traction and road feel in wet conditions. A Wear Square indicator, a square-shaped marking on the tire, offers at-a-glance feedback on how worn the tires are at any given time and 3D micro-gauge siping helps the tires tread blocks maintain their shape under heavy forces, such as cornering and braking.

If that all sounds like a bunch of manufacturer mumbo-jumbo, you may be right. That said, our impression of the tires on the road were very favorable. We ordered up four Cooper Discoverer SRX tires in the 215/70R16 size and had our local preferred tire store mount them up on our Saturn.

They were replacing a set of Michelins that were still within tread wear spec, but past their safe operating life at seven years old and showing signs of surface cracking. The shop had no trouble getting the tires balanced and mounted, so we put some miles on them to wear off the release lubricant and then put a lot of extra miles on them for impressions.

In our experience, the Cooper tires were actually a little quieter than the Michelins they replaced, though some of the noise from our old tires was likely due to their wear. We were also impressed with their dry grip. Hard cornering brought out squeals far sooner than your favorite set of sticky summer rubber, but for all-season tires on a CUV, they remained quiet in hard cornering for longer than we’d expect them to.

Most of all, we appreciated their ride quality and lack of any tramlining or other undesirable qualities—they tracked straight and true and generally did their job without alerting us to the fact. As passenger car tires go, the best ones are those you don’t even notice. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to test their wet weather grip, as rain in Southern California is about as common as spots on a zebra.

Our takeaway is that you can do a lot worse than add a set of Cooper Discoverer SRX tires to your all-season machine and Cooper’s prices are fairly competitive, meaning you’ll spend a lot less cash than if you were to shop some of the other big brands.

The post Tire Review: Cooper SRX Discoverer appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

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Peugeot E-Legend Concept to Debut in Paris

By | September 21, 2018

For the past few years, autonomous electric concepts have been all the rage on the international auto show circuit. These forward-looking vehicles tend to have boxy or egg-shaped designs in order to maximize interior volume. But every once in a while, an automaker introduces an autonomous concept that prioritizes style over practicality. The Peugeot E-Legend is one such concept.

Set to debut at the Paris motor show early next month, the E-Legend is a modern interpretation of the 1969 Peugeot 504 Coupe. With its heavy retro styling, it’s hard not to think of the never-built Nissan IDx concept when we look at the E-Legend. Both concepts were inspired by coupes designed in the late ‘60s, so any resemblance between the two can likely be attributed to the styling trends of the era. With that said, the E-Legend looks fantastic.

The design is true to the original three-box coupe yet modern at the same time. We love that the raked C-pillar, quad headlights, and other details were retained, but also love the bulging fenders and more contoured hood. The concept measures roughly 183 inches long, 76 inches wide, and 53.9 inches tall, making it close in size to a BMW M4 but with a shorter 105.9-inch wheelbase.

The E-Legend also gets a retro-inspired interior upholstered in ’60s-chic blue silk velvet. The door panels, seat buckets, and steering wheel feature paldao wood sourced from renewable forests and finished by French furniture design firm Hervet Manufacturier. There’s also a fragrance diffuser that can fill the cabin with one of two scents crafted specifically for the E-Legend by perfume maker Ex-Nihilo.

Because this is an autonomous concept, the steering wheel is retractable. Once the wheel is stowed, the autonomous system can be set to one of two modes: Soft for comfortable cruising, or Sharp for a more “dynamic” self-driving experience. The concept also has two manual modes, including Legend and Boost. Though you have the option to drive yourself, connectivity is a major focus inside, with a giant curved central screen offering integrated video games, movies, and access to social media.

The E-Legend’s all-wheel-drive electric drivetrain makes roughly 456 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque and is fed by a 100-kilowatt-hour battery pack. Peugeot says that battery provides about 373 miles of range based on the WLTP scale and can be recharged to 80 percent in 25 minutes through fast charging. Acceleration from 0-62 mph is estimated at less than 4 seconds, and top speed is pegged at 137 mph.

We know it’s only a concept, and one from a marque that isn’t sold in the U.S. currently, but we hope this isn’t the last we see of the E-Legend.


























The post Peugeot E-Legend Concept to Debut in Paris appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

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Peugeot E-Legend Concept for Paris is Our Kind of Autonomous Car

By | September 21, 2018

For the past few years, autonomous electric concepts have been all the rage on the international auto show circuit. These forward-looking vehicles tend to have boxy or egg-shaped designs in order to maximize interior volume. But every once in a while, an automaker introduces an autonomous concept that prioritizes style over practicality. The Peugeot E-Legend is one such concept.

Set to debut at the Paris Motor Show early next month, the E-Legend is a modern interpretation of the 1969 Peugeot 504 Coupe. With its heavy retro styling, it’s hard not to think of the never-built Nissan IDx concept when we look at the E-Legend. Both concepts were inspired by coupes designed in the late ‘60s, so any resemblance between the two can likely be attributed to the styling trends of the era. With that said, the E-Legend looks fantastic. The design is true to the original three-box coupe yet modern at the same time. We love that the raked C-pillar, quad headlights, and other details were retained, but also love the bulging fenders and more contoured hood. The concept measures roughly 183 inches long, 76 inches wide, and 53.9 inches tall, making it close in size to a BMW M4 but with a shorter 105.9-inch wheelbase.

The E-Legend also gets a retro-inspired interior upholstered in ’60s-chic blue silk velvet. The door panels, seat buckets, and steering wheel feature paldao wood sourced from renewable forests and finished by French furniture design firm Hervet Manufacturier. There’s also a fragrance diffuser that can fill the cabin with one of two scents crafted specifically for the E-Legend by perfume maker Ex-Nihilo. Because this is an autonomous concept, the steering wheel is retractable. Once the wheel is stowed, the autonomous system can be set to one of two modes: Soft for comfortable cruising, or Sharp for a more “dynamic” self-driving experience. The concept also has two manual modes, including Legend and Boost. Though you have the option to drive yourself, connectivity is a major focus inside, with a giant curved central screen offering integrated video games, movies, and access to social media.

The E-Legend’s all-wheel-drive electric drivetrain makes roughly 456 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque and is fed by a 100-kilowatt-hour battery pack. Peugeot says that battery provides about 373 miles of range based on the WLTP scale and can be recharged to 80 percent in 25 minutes through fast charging. Acceleration from 0-62 mph is estimated at less than 4 seconds, and top speed is pegged at 137 mph.

We know it’s only a concept, and one from a brand that isn’t sold in the U.S. currently, but we hope this isn’t the last we see of the E-Legend.

Source: Peugeot


























The post Peugeot E-Legend Concept for Paris is Our Kind of Autonomous Car appeared first on Motor Trend.

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Leaked Document: 2019 Mazda CX-5 Getting Turbo Engine

By | September 21, 2018

The current-generation Mazda CX-5 is destined for some big updates after debuting for the 2017 model year. The compact crossover will add a turbo engine and new technologies for 2019, if we are to believe this leaked document.

The information was posted to Reddit this week, and as we can see from the bottom of the page, it comes from Mazda Canada. Nevertheless, the specs should be close to what we see here in the U.S., if the paper is genuine. According to the document, a 2.5-liter turbo-four engine will be available as an option on the CX-5, following in the footsteps of the Mazda6. The automaker is also adding a Signature grade, which will likely top the lineup.

Mazda is sorely behind the game when it comes to integrating Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in its cars, but finally progress is underway. The CX-5 will be the latest Mazda to offer the two smartphone integration systems as standard features on the base model, in addition to heated front seats.

The document also lists what Mazda is tentatively calling “G-Vectoring Control Plus.” It’s an advancement of the CX-5’s current G-Vectoring Control system, which reduces torque to shift the car’s weight to the front tires, improving cornering response and steering.

Ventilated seats are headed to the GT trim, similar to the Grand Touring trim here in the U.S. Mazda is also giving these models a new 7-inch LCD display as well as power folding automatic mirrors. Revised seats promise increased comfort.

No mention was made of the anticipated diesel engine. The EPA has rated the oil-burning variant for the 2018 model year, although it’s unclear when this model will reach our shores.

2018 Mazda CX-5 pictured

Source: Reddit








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Refreshing or Revolting: 2019 Cadillac XT4 vs. The Competition

By | September 21, 2018

Entry-level sedans were the first to prove that luxury can come in small sizes with relatively small price tags. But now that customer preferences have changed, automakers are starting to introduce more and more small crossovers. Cadillac just rolled out the XT4, joining another new entry, the Volvo XC40. These models compete against more established players, including the Audi Q3, Mercedes-Benz GLA, and others. But which one has the right look to attract buyers?

All four crossovers take design risks, and usually this starts up front. The Cadillac XT4 has a conventional-looking grille, but the vertical headlights add visual interest. Like the rest of the vehicle, the front end of the Volvo XC40 takes on a boxy shape, complemented by a square grille and distinctive Thor’s Hammer lights. Audi recently revamped the Q3, giving it a huge grille and large air inlets. The Mercedes GLA is the oldest of the four crossovers, having been fully redesigned for 2015 and mildly refreshed for 2018. Fortunately, the design holds up well with time, with a glitzy grille and rounded headlights.
















The Cadillac XT4 is a little larger than the other crossovers. It measures 181.1 inches long, compared to the XC40 at 174.2, Q3 at 176.6, and GLA at 173.9. Looking at its side profile, however, you probably won’t notice the extra length. Arguably, the XT4 looks pretty conventional from this angle, save for the window line that tapers off to a sharp point in the rear. Volvo’s XC40 has the most avant-garde design, continuing the boxy theme. Not only does it have unusual character lines, but the belt line rises sharply in the back. The Q3 stands out with defined hips, while the GLA looks the least SUV-like thanks to its raised hatchback proportions.
















In the rear, each vehicle does its own thing to stand out and grab entry-luxe crossover shoppers’ attention. Cadillac gave the XT4 long vertical taillights, echoing the crossover’s design up front. The Volvo’s taillights are also vertical, but the two vehicles look completely different from behind. Audi sticks to narrow horizontal taillights that sit low on the rear, giving the model a planted appearance. The GLA has a very short, round back end with prominent round taillights. Unlike the other models, the GLA features a silver bar connecting the taillights.
















Peek inside the cabin of the Caddy, and you might be a little disappointed with some of the materials. But we do like the new, responsive infotainment screen that sits above two clean rows of buttons. Volvo gets rid of many of the buttons you’ll normally find in a car, preferring a large touchscreen to dominate the center. The Q3 benefits from Audi’s available Virtual Cockpit gauge cluster, as well as high-quality materials and ambient lighting on offer. Unfortunately, the Mercedes can’t hide its age when it comes to the interior. Although we like the circular air vents, the GLA has too many buttons and a rather small screen.
















Which small crossover would you crown the design king? Let us know on Facebook.

The post Refreshing or Revolting: 2019 Cadillac XT4 vs. The Competition appeared first on Motor Trend.

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Tesla Model 3 Earns Five-Star Safety Rating From NHTSA

By | September 21, 2018

The 2018 Tesla Model 3 has aced its government safety evaluation, earning five stars overall and in every single category tested.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration put the rear-wheel-drive Model 3 through its usual battery of tests: front driver side, front passenger side, side barrier (driver and rear passenger), side pole, and rollover crashes. The Model S and Model X are also rated five stars across the board in government tests.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not yet issued a full rating for the Model 3, but it gets an “Acceptable” headlight score and the top score of “Superior” in front crash prevention. The vehicle was able to avoid collisions in both 12-mph and 25-mph tests. The Model 3 offers a number of advanced safety technologies, including forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and automatic emergency braking.

For Tesla, the results must be a welcome reprieve from the recent bad press. The automaker suffered criticism for failing to meet earlier production targets and building the Model 3 in an assembly line under a giant tent. On Twitter earlier this month, CEO Elon Musk revealed Tesla had “gone from production hell to delivery logistics hell.” But that sounds like progress, at least.

Source: NHTSA

The post Tesla Model 3 Earns Five-Star Safety Rating From NHTSA appeared first on Motor Trend.

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2019 Ram 1500 Rebel 12 Brings in New Tech

By | September 21, 2018

The Ram 1500 Rebel has a refined interior. The black and red color theme befits the truck’s name, and we love the comfortable cloth and vinyl seats and the rotary shifter, among other things. But now Ram is offering Rebel buyers more technology and upgraded materials as part of a new special edition.

The Rebel 12 adds features you can’t find on the standard model, including leather seats. A large 12.0-inch touchscreen replaces the 5.0-inch and 8.4-inch units offered on the regular Rebel. Along with the bigger touchscreen comes Ram’s fourth-generation Uconnect system with improved processing power, multi-touch gestures, split-screen capability, and sharper graphics.

The special edition also gets a Harman Kardon sound system with 19 speakers, a 900-watt surround-sound amplifier, 10-inch subwoofer, and noise cancellation technology. Like many other interior components on the Rebel, the speaker grilles are framed in red.

The Rebel 12 is available in all the same powertrain configurations as the regular model. That means it will offer a 3.6-liter V-6 eTorque mild hybrid engine, a 5.7-liter V-8 eTorque, and a 5.7-liter V-8 without eTorque. Those who opt for the special edition also get the same colors and cab options as the standard Rebel.

The 2019 Ram 1500 Rebel 12 goes on sale in the fourth quarter of this year, with prices starting at $48,685.

The post 2019 Ram 1500 Rebel 12 Brings in New Tech appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

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Celebrity Drive: Matt Iseman of “American Ninja Warrior”

By | September 21, 2018

Quick Stats: Matt Iseman, comic/host/MD “American Ninja Warrior”
Daily Driver: 2008 Acura MDX (Matt’s rating: 8 on a scale of 1 to 10)
Favorite road trip: The American West
Car he learned to drive in: Oldsmobile 98
First car bought: 2008 Acura MDX

Since American Ninja Warrior host and comic Matt Iseman bought his 2008 Acura MDX, he’s been nothing but pleased with it. Although he’s had an eye out for other cars, nothing else has met this medical doctor’s criteria for a daily driver.

“I test-drove a lot of things when I was looking at [the MDX]—the Audi Q7, the Mercedes, the BMW X5. The thing I liked about the Acura—it was one of the best-handling SUVs. It handled like a car, which in L.A., as much driving as we do, I wanted something that handled well that didn’t feel big and boat-ish. As far as tech. I think the Acura is ahead of the curve, nailing it.”

When Iseman was growing up, his dad got one of the first Acuras that came out. That was when Iseman’s appreciation for the brand started, although he admits it’s not the flashiest one out there.

“As I looked at the cars financially, value-wise, we’re talking $20,000 less than what you’d have to pay for the Audi, BMW, or Mercedes,” he says. “So price-wise it was a great deal. There’s still nothing 10 years in that really grabs me that would make me give this car up.”

Iseman lives vicariously through his dad when it comes to cars, so he doesn’t miss out. “My dad was the car fiend. He had the BMW 2002 and then a 3.0CSi, which was his baby. He loved this Beemer but just had issues with it,” Iseman says. “He went to a Datsun 310 GX—we called it the Silver Streak—and then he got the first two-door Acura, I think it was the Legend.”

His dad has also owned a Porsche Cayenne and a Lexus SC400. “The Cayenne I kind of enjoyed,” says Iseman, “but the thing you heard about Porsche in terms of maintenance and the cost of maintenance was prohibitive. The Acura’s been much more reasonable,” he says.

Iseman calls his Acura an “unbelievably reliable car.” Even 10 years in, he’s had very few issues with it. “I keep it clean: I wash it once a week, which is my big indulgence with the car,” Iseman says.

Iseman inherited several cars from his folks, so the Acura is the first car he bought for himself. At that point, although Iseman is a medical doctor, he was making money from doing standup comedy. He also hosted TV shows like Clean House and Sports Soup (the sports version of The Soup), which landed him his current gig at American Ninja Warrior. Iseman often shares about his rheumatoid arthritis and cancer battle with fans, and although he doesn’t practice medicine, he keeps his medical license current.

Car he learned to drive in

Iseman’s dad taught him to drive in Denver, where he grew up. Iseman often drove the whole family to get in more practice, and his older brother wasn’t much help. “I think my mom at that time had an Oldsmobile 98, this big boat of a car that I might’ve taken the driver’s test in,” Iseman says. “I was 15 and a half, I had the learner’s permit, and we’re turning. It was a double turn lane and I didn’t realize it, and I turned into the inside lane and cut somebody off. I was panicking, and my dad’s like, ‘All right, you’re in the wrong lane’ (imitating his dad’s voice), and my brother’s like, ‘Come on! You cut somebody off!’”

He recalls that time as one of those stressful moments of learning to drive. “You don’t need that pressure coming from the back seat, from your brother who thinks he’s better than you at everything, or how you nearly took out the entire family and another family because you didn’t quite understand the principle of a double turn lane,” Iseman says. “My brother was the one who ratcheted up the intensity of driving. But I’ve grown up playing video games. I was an athlete, I had decent hand-eye dexterity. I think the biggest thing as we learned that really did take a while was just trying to be responsible.”

Photo courtesy Matt Iseman

It came time to be especially responsible when he turned 16 and inherited his grandmother’s 1973 Chevy Nova. His dad flew him out to Nebraska, where Iseman’s grandparents lived, to pick it up.

“This thing was pea green with a white top. When I got it, it must’ve been 1987. It had 9,000 miles on it, so I essentially got a brand-new ’73 Chevy Nova that had a 350-horsepower V-8 engine in it. I remember the drive back from Nebraska, which is all freeway, just getting the sense that, ‘Man, this 350 can really go!’” Iseman says, laughing. “You’re 16 years old and you’re in what is essentially an American muscle car. The thing I learned is the brakes were terrible and it didn’t handle very well. And a 16-year-old kid in a V-8 350 is going to make some bad decisions.”

Photo credit: Brittany Berggren

There were numerous dents and bent axles and things that Iseman had to cover up with creative storytelling for his parents.

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2019 Ram 1500 Rebel 12 Adds a Dose of Refinement

By | September 21, 2018

The Ram 1500 Rebel has a refined interior. The black and red color theme befits the truck’s name, and we love the comfortable cloth and vinyl seats and the rotary shifter, among other things. But now Ram is offering Rebel buyers more technology and upgraded materials as part of a new special edition.

The Rebel 12 adds features you can’t find on the standard model, including leather seats. A large 12.0-inch touchscreen replaces the 5-inch and 8.4-inch units offered on the regular Rebel. Along with the bigger touchscreen comes Ram’s fourth-generation Uconnect system with improved processing power, multi-touch gestures, split-screen capability, and sharper graphics.

The special edition also gets a Harman Kardon sound system with 19 speakers, a 900-watt surround-sound amplifier, 10-inch subwoofer, and noise cancellation technology. Like many other interior components on the Rebel, the speaker grilles are framed in red.

The Rebel 12 is available in all the same powertrain configurations as the regular model. That means it will offer a 3.6-liter V-6 eTorque mild hybrid engine, a 5.7-liter V-8 eTorque, and a 5.7-liter V-8 without eTorque. Those who opt for the special edition also get the same colors and cab options as the standard Rebel.

The 2019 Ram 1500 Rebel 12 goes on sale in the fourth quarter of this year, with prices starting at $48,685.

Source: FCA



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World’s Greatest Drag Race 8: Who Wins? Lambo, McLaren, Porsche, ZR1, or a Surprise Guest?

By | September 21, 2018

Eight years isn’t a long time, but it’s long enough to forget. The World’s Greatest Drag Race has become such a normal part of what we do at Motor Trend that it’s hard to remember when we didn’t undertake the rather loony quarter-mile experiment of launching 12 sports and supercars simultaneously down a runway.

Now that the drag race is a given around here, we’re too busy looking forward to look back. The question is not whether we’ll do a race this year; it’s what we’ll do differently this time. Some would argue a new crop of cars is enough, but we know we can do more to boost the excitement factor.

Easter eggs in past drag races have varied. In the second race, the Subaru BRZ, which was going to come in dead last no matter what, did a donut across the finish line. In the fifth, I jumped the start in the Miata (and still lost). The next year, we added in a Dodge Charger Hellcat. Last year, it was the Miata that got the boot in favor of the quickest car we’d ever tested, the Tesla Model S P100D Ludicrous.

If you need a refresher or just a good binge-watching Saturday afternoon, you can find all seven previous drag races on MotorTrend.com/bdc.

This year, we were once again the guests of our outstanding hosts at Vandenberg Air Force Base, home of the cleanest, most race-ready airfield in the world (no hats on the flight line, please). You’ve already seen the pictures and know we had a special guest. Once again, the Miata was excused in favor of something with a bit more horsepower—the old-fashioned, gas-guzzling kind. Meet the 1320.

Formally known as the Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320, this 485-hp bracket racer’s dream stole all the Demon’s drag racing goodies, including a transmission brake, line lock, heavy-duty axle shafts, and drag-special damper and traction control programming. On the way out, the 1320 ditched its rear and front passenger seats and swiped a set of Nexen street-legal drag tires.

The 1320 will need every last advantage, as it’s lined up against some of the top supercars on the planet—each equipped with barely street-legal tires, launch control, and even more horsepower. Our quarter-mile times provide a hint of the finish, but if you want to really experience WGDR 8, you’ve got to watch the full video.

Watch World’s Greatest Drag Race 8 right here!


Bonus Race!

The half mile, double or nothing

Some years, World’s Greatest Drag Race is a blowout. Others, it’s a nail-biter. Last year was the latter; by the end of the quarter mile, the Ferrari, Porsche, and McLaren were running down the Tesla and would’ve beat it if the race were a bit longer. This year, we’re not playing “what if” bench racing games.  It’s time to see who’s a quarter-mile star and who has real legs. To find out, we added a standing half mile and brought some special guests. To find out who’s there and who wins, you gotta subscribe to Motor Trend OnDemand.














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2019 Volvo S60 Enters Production at New Plant in South Carolina

By | September 21, 2018

It’s official: Volvo has made its very first car in the U.S. Copies of the 2019 Volvo S60 are now rolling off the line at the automaker’s new plant in South Carolina.

The next-generation midsize sedan will arrive in Volvo dealerships in the U.S. later this year. Volvo will export half the sedans built at the plant to other countries, with global deliveries beginning in spring 2019.

The South Carolina facility is the only plant around the world that will build the S60. The 2.3-million-square-foot site features a body shop, paint shop, vehicle processing center, office building, and final assembly facility. Soon, it will also include Volvo Cars University, which will provide training and leadership development for the Volvo team.

The sedan sits on Volvo’s Scalable Product Architecture like its midsize siblings, the V60 and XC60. A number of engines will be available in our market: a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 250 hp, a supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 316 hp, and a plug-in hybrid making 400 hp. All of these powertrains are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Right now, the South Carolina facility is only producing the S60. But Volvo will add production of a second model, the next-generation XC90, in 2021. With two model lines, the automaker will be able to make 150,000 cars a year at the plant.












The post 2019 Volvo S60 Enters Production at New Plant in South Carolina appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

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A Decade’s Progress – Reference Mark

By | September 21, 2018

When Motor Trend started Best Driver’s Car back in 2007 (when it was known briefly as “Best Handling Car”), only one car in the field offered more than 500 horsepower—the 505-hp Chevrolet Corvette Z06, which we characterized as a “fire breather.”

Lord only knows what our 2007 staff would have made of an SUV showing up with just as many ponies under the hood, as we had this year with the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio. Or that, in just over a decade, Chevy engineers would create a ’Vette with an apocalyptic 755 horsepower.

In fact, 500 horsepower has nearly become the cost of entry into BDC these days. Seven of our entrants this year blasted past that barrier, and we could have added a couple more to the field were it not for things like “the value equation” (Civic Type R), “the surprise quotient” (Kia Stinger GT), and “staying true to our handling roots” (Mazda Miata).

Even the midpack cars approaching the five-century horsepower number are tremendous. The Audi TT RS has a 2.5-liter inline-five that pours out a gargling, snarling 400 horsepower. Consider the circa 2007 Porsche GT3 (winner of our debut Best Handling Car contest) barely exceeded that number—and we called it “a race car for the street.”

How far we have come, indeed.

Of course, all that power means nothing if you can’t get it to the pavement. Advancements in transmission technology and durability, not to mention tire stickiness, mean quarter-mile times have plummeted.

This marks the eighth year that we have conducted the World’s Greatest Drag Race. The winner of WGDR No. 1 was the 2012 Nissan GT-R, which turned in an 11.2-second quarter mile at 121.8 mph. Pretty impressive, right? If we were to run that year’s Godzilla against the collective WGDR pack, it would finish 22nd.

How quick is progress? The top three WGDR finishers this year all smoked last year’s winning Tesla Model S P100D Ludicrous. Just as we’d caught our collective breath thinking Elon had cracked the quick-acceleration code with batteries and motor-generators, the internal combustion boys have come roaring back.

But it’s more than just raw power. Suspension and traction technology improvements allow for handling performance that would have blown the minds of our 2007 judges.

Our 2007 winner of “max lateral g” was the Porsche Cayman S, which handled a respectable 1.001 g load that we described as “impeccably balanced.” Consider that this year a Ford Mustang and a Honda Civic Type R either matched or beat that skidpad number (granted, the testing was done on different surfaces, but still).

But let’s look at the extremes, too. If the Cayman’s winning 1.00 g was considered impressive in 2007, consider that five cars easily bested that score this year, topped by the Porsche GT2 RS’ face-warping 1.17 lateral g rating. If 1.00 g pulls hard at your innards, 1.17 flings them into next week.




To think, 2007 wasn’t that long ago. Sure, the intervening recession has made it harder to recall that era, but remember the average car on the road today was made in that year. It’s not like we’re showing grainy black-and-white movies here.

So does that make the 2018 field light-years better than what was around a decade ago? To some technically minded folks, the answer is a definitive yes. But there also exist many drivers for whom a particular generation of 911 delights them—be it a 1973 RS 2.7, a 1987 911 Carrera with a G50 manual, or that 10-year-old GT3 whose 415 horsepower is “just right.” Is the current GT2 RS’ outrageous 691 hp too much? Ask me in another decade.

More by Mark Rechtin:

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Doubling and Tripling Down on Best Driver’s Car – The Lohdown

By | September 21, 2018

What an amazing week this has been. Absolutely epic. I’m proud to say it is by far the most ambitious Best Driver’s Car program—and Best Driver’s Car Week—we’ve ever attempted. We really poured our hearts into this one and pulled together the most ridiculous set of supercars and superstars—from our test drivers and editors to our visual creatives and special guests. I hope you agree this is automotive storytelling at its finest—both within the pages of Motor Trend and at MotorTrend.com, MotorTrendOnDemand.com, and on TV’s new Motor Trend Network, formerly known as Velocity.


There is so much to stir the soul in this year’s BDC, I don’t want to lose sight of a few of the special moments. First, study the photos above. That, my friends, is the business end of a Delta IV Heavy rocket. I wasn’t there for this shot, but I nearly throttled the guys lucky enough to see it in person. The only reason I didn’t is that nobody knew our crew would end up at this particular hangar located at a far edge of the stunning Vandenberg Air Force Base—or that the massive bay doors would slide back to reveal more than 1.4 million pounds of total thrust.

So I have to give a shout-out to Colonel Michael Hough and his exceptional crew of airmen at the U.S. Air Force 30th Space Wing. For the second year in a row, we were hosted by the Air Force’s finest team of professionals for two very special editions of our World’s Greatest Drag Race. We didn’t think we could do better than our first visit to Vandenberg, but as you’ll see in this year’s drag race videos (yes, plural), we doubled down in more ways than one.

That goes for the entire BDC program; we doubled down with video coverage of our Route 198 hill climb to make sure we got the best footage without shortchanging driver evaluations. We added a third day at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca for the same reason and dropped in two additional production days to finish off the 60-minute Best Driver’s Car selection video. That video is hosted by Jonny, staff pro racer Randy Pobst, and, new for this year, drift king Jethro Bovingdon (on loan from Automobile and Head 2 Head), not to mention two other special guests we added to the video mix. Heck, we even tripled down on the finest tacos in Central California.

Enough bragging. Ready for liftoff? Head to MotorTrend.com/bdc to watch it with your kids and please enjoy the ride.

Tacos y quesadillas y Mike Finnegan?

More from Ed Loh:

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2017 Infiniti QX30 S Four Seasons Wrap-Up

By | September 21, 2018

Asking us why we chose to add an Infiniti QX30 S to our Four Seasons fleet is a lot like asking someone why they got a tattoo when they were drunk. Although the details are fuzzy now, it seemed like a good idea at the time. Unlike the tattoo, however, we’ll never regret adding the Infiniti to our long-term test stable.

The QX30 was an intriguing and somewhat controversial vehicle when it first debuted, and it piqued our interest immediately. More of a big hatchback than a (sub)compact crossover, it’s also a close relative of the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class—a German-Japanese mashup that led to more than a few scratched heads. Although they share plenty of genetic traits, one thing was evident from the outset: The Infiniti won the beauty contest.

Indeed, the QX30’s exterior styling found plenty of fans from the day it rolled into our parking garage. Associate editor Conner Golden preached the Infiniti’s gospel early.

“Forget compact crossover, this thing is the size of a Focus, and it’s gratifying to drive a compact luxury hatchback,” he wrote in the first logbook entry. “We don’t get cars like this on our shores very often—or at least we didn’t used to—so it still feels intrinsically special. Infiniti has come a long way with its design language, and I think the QX30 is one of its best. I like the proportions and the star-spoke wheel design.”

Senior editor Nelson Ireson chimed in, “I love the look of this car. That’s all the more impressive because it’s a crossover—and I hate crossovers.”

Augmenting the QX30’s slick and sharp looks was its unusual Liquid Copper hue, which attracted attention wherever we went. “People stop and look at the car and admire the way the paint seems to change with natural sunlight,” wrote graphic designer Michael Cruz-Garcia. Golden added, “The Liquid Copper paint is one of the most interesting and polarizing hues I’ve seen. Some say pink, I say rose gold. I like it.”

The praise continued for the QX30’s interior layout. “Given the combination of Infiniti and Benz bits, it could have been a disaster,” wrote editor-in-chief Mike Floyd. “But they took the best of both and mixed it into a cohesive whole.” Cruz-Garcia expressed similar sentiments. “The mix of smooth finished metals with high-quality plastics adds a touch of luxury that reflects the interior of a Mercedes,” he wrote. “Sturdy and comfortable leather seats put you at ease when driving long distances.” Other staffers felt it was a good idea that Infiniti installed its own infotainment setup instead of the Mercedes COMAND system, and Infiniti’s standard AroundView 360-degree monitor was cited as a top-notch feature.

The Infiniti QX30 is a German-Japanese mashup, but in terms of build quality, it leans to the East. Aside from routine maintenance, we never needed to return to the dealership.

However, both Floyd and Cruz-Garcia took issue with the cabin’s overall space, one of the traditional selling points of a crossover. “Despite the pronouncements that this is some sort of crossover, it’s a hatchback, plain and simple,” Floyd said. “It’s smaller inside than your average compact sedan, and its swoopy lines are a major drawback for rear-seat passengers in the form of a claustrophobic feel.” Cruz-Garcia agreed: “The back seats can use a bit more room to accommodate three people comfortably. There really isn’t any room once a child seat is added in there.” In addition to the rear-seat passenger issues, cargo capacity is small for the segment at 19.2 cubic feet with the second-row seats up and just 34.0 with the 60/40 setup down.

Out on Los Angeles streets (the Infiniti also made forays into Arizona and Nevada during its stay) we found the QX30’s ride and handling satisfying, thanks in large part to its MacPherson front, multilink rear suspension setup and 19-inch tire and wheel package. “The more I drive the QX30, the more I like it,” Floyd said. “It’s nimble and drives like a car, which it basically is, with a well-balanced, on-center steering feel.”

Ireson, as usual, waxed poetic: “Wielded with impatient severity, the QX30 dances with nimble grace through the lethargic, texting hordes of L.A. traffic.” Online editor Ed Tahaney was of two minds about it, however: “The QX30 feels pretty good on the highway, but it’s a bit of a slug around town.”

Although we’re sure Infiniti would prefer we ignore the QX30’s German lineage, we couldn’t help but delve deeper into the differences (and similarities) between the two cars. That said, most of us saw the partnership as a good thing on balance.

“While driving it around, I’d think, ‘Wow! This is the best-driving Infiniti they make,’ before realizing that I’m enjoying the fruits of the Mercedes-Infiniti partnership,” Golden said. “I wasn’t the biggest fan of the GLA, but with the Infiniti badge, I think it works. It’s much more in line with the Japanese luxury brand than with Benz, and it fits Infiniti’s lineup perfectly.”

“Wielded with impatient severity, the QX30 dances with grace through the lethargic, texting hordes of L.A. traffic.”

In order to get a better feel for how closely related the two really are, we devoted an entire online piece to a comparison between the QX and the Benz. While the QX30 deploys the same 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 as the Mercedes, with the same 208 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, the biggest difference we noticed was with each car’s transmission tuning. Both use the same seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, but several staffers took issue with how Infiniti set up its version of the hardware—at least on the 2017 model we tested.

“The transmission makes low-speed driving,

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Travis Pastrana Gives Us the Dirt on Nitro Rallycross

By | September 21, 2018

If you’ve never seen a rallycross event before, you probably should. It’s essentially the action sports version of motorsport, with huge jumps, alternate routes, plenty of dirt, and world-class drivers who love to fly around (literally) in high-strung, rally-style cars. We caught up with the megastar of the action sports set and the driving force behind the Nitro Circus and Nitro World Games extravaganzas, Travis Pastrana, ahead of the first-ever Nitro Rallycross taking place near Salt Lake City, Utah. The motorcycle stunt king and rallycross racer gave us the lowdown on what fans can expect to see starting this Saturday.

(You can watch the Nitro Rallycross live on the Velocity channel or the Motor Trend App. Qualifiers and heat races start September 22, at 1 p.m. Pacific/4 p.m. Eastern. Semifinals and finals start September 23, at 1:30 p.m. Pacific/4:30 p.m. Eastern).

Can you give us a little background on what the Nitro Circus is all about?

Nitro Circus is basically started from a group of friends. Guys from all around the world would come and really try to learn back flips and we filmed everything. Then we got picked up on MTV. A couple of us were under the influence of Johnny Knoxville, which was a scary proposition.

Then we started our live touring show about 10 years ago and we tour pretty much every continent in a year, about 70 shows with the world’s best action sports athletes. We just started Nitro World Games three years ago, which is basically a big air action sports [event]. We were doing bigger stuff in our backyard than they could do at any of the biggest contests because our ramps were just a lot bigger. It’s been a cool ride.

Tell us more about Nitro Rallycross.

This thing is really a motorhead’s dream. We’ve gone away from the stadium because we wanted more room for motorsports. And this is the first year we’re having rally.

We’ve got first-time guys like Mattias Ekström, the 2016 World Rallycross champion, as well as Ken Block coming to race rallycross for the first time in a while. We have Scott Speed and Tanner Foust and that’s just to name a few of the guys coming out.

This track has a double 130-foot jump on the track. And that jump goes over top of a tabletop that’s underneath it, and if you don’t want to take either jump, it’s a slower route, but you can go underneath the tabletop and underneath of the jump, so there could be three cars overtop each other at the same time in in one event in one lap. This is basically taking rallycross and making it “America” style and “Nitro” style by adding huge jumps, Talladega, berms, and lots of dirt, more dirt than anywhere else. That’s really how to rallycross. This isn’t a parking lot demolition derby—it’s a full-on track.

What other big air stuff can fans expect to see?

Our ramps are twice to three times as big as any other contest. In the quarter pipe these guys will be going over 80 feet off the ground. So, that’s eight stories plus, with a 250-pound bike over their head.

We’re also adding the quarter pipe, which is the biggest quarter pipe ever made for motorcycles, so [I’m] really excited about the events and [we’ll] see what happens.

If you had unlimited budget, what event would you want to put on?

This is it. We’re living it right now. Having the rallycross this weekend has been a long time in the making. Finally, we were able to pull the trigger on it and I’m really looking forward to having an amazing event.




You can see how high Pastrana and the rest of the Nitro Rallycross drivers will fly live on the Velocity channel or the Motor Trend App. Qualifiers and heat races start September 22, at 1 p.m. Pacific/4 p.m. Eastern. Semifinals and finals start September 23, at 1:30 p.m. Pacific/4:30 p.m. Eastern.

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2019 Lincoln Nautilus: 6 Things to Know

By | September 21, 2018

The 2019 Nautilus furthers Lincoln’s mission of reminding luxury buyers it not only exists but is also worth their attention (and money) beyond trips to and from the airport. As a replacement for the five-passenger midsize MKX, the Nautilus looks to sway buyers out of their Lexus RX and BMW X3 crossovers. Don’t miss our full 2019 Nautilus review right here, but if you’re seeking even more info about the new Lincoln, keep reading.


From Navigator to Nautilus, What a Family (Look)

The Navigator’s influence appears in the Nautilus’ completely redone front styling, from its compound headlights to its updated grille. Like the Navigator SUV and Continental sedan, the Nautilus gets nameplate badges behind the front wheels, reserving the back of the car for a large L I N C O L N badge. In person, I found the Nautilus badges on the front doors too big, but the Lincoln badge out back looks great.


Going All Out

Lincoln offers an impressive number of luxury features on the 2019 Nautilus, just like its MKX predecessor. About that crossover, Lincoln says the second-highest Reserve trim accounted for a surprisingly high 60 percent of sales. Early Nautilus sales are also heavily weighted toward Reserve and Black Label (the highest trims), which makes sense considering the former’s extra features and 20-inch wheels. The Black Label’s 21-inch wheels are as enormous as they are attractive.

The Black Label trim is available with the turbo-four or twin-turbo-six engine and with front- or all-wheel drive.


Looking Beyond the Label

There’s more to the Black Label trim than extra features and a much, much higher price. Aside from the Nautilus Black Label’s upgraded leather, Alcantara headliner, dual-panel sunroof, interesting interior color schemes, and 21-inch wheels, you also get four years or 50,000 miles of complimentary maintenance. One free detail a year for the first four years of ownership is also part of the deal, as is an extended 50-mile range for Pickup and Delivery, instead of the 20 miles standard with other models. With the service, a valet picks up your car when it’s time for service, leaves you a loaner car, and returns your car once it’s done, so you never need to visit the dealer.


Downsizing

Although fuel economy from the 2019 Lincoln Nautilus’ 2.0-liter turbo-four isn’t as impressive as you’d think, the new base engine’s EPA-anticipated 20–21/25–26 mpg city/highway figures are improvements over the outgoing base engine, a 3.7-liter naturally aspirated V-6. In fact, Lincoln tells us the 2.0-liter, which provides customers a greater driving range, was a late addition to the package of changes the automaker made to the 2019 Nautilus.


Low Displacement, High Volume

Lincoln expects the new 2.0-liter turbo-four base engine option will be the volume engine. The four-cylinder powerplant produces 250 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque, compared to the $2,070-extra 2.7-liter twin-turbo V-6’s 335 hp and 380 lb-ft. Lincoln does a good job of reducing road and engine noise from all Nautilus models, but when you do hear that 2.0-liter engine, it’s not a very luxurious engine note.

Just over 70 percent of MKX sales in the past were for crossovers with the 3.7-liter V-6; Lincoln predicts the 335-hp 2.7-liter engine will pick up a few percentage points on the Nautilus, with most customers sticking with the 2.0-liter turbo-four.


What If I Want Three Rows?

When your vehicle needs call for something larger than the five-passenger 2019 Nautilus but less expensive than the $70,000-plus Navigator, Lincoln currently offers the MKT. Based on the Ford Flex, the MKT is a three-row crossover that’s been around for years. Before long, Lincoln’s next three-row crossover will make its debut. With a rear-drive platform, a plug-in hybrid option, and styling that reflects the hot-selling Navigator, the Aviator should better bridge the gap between the Nautilus and that even larger SUV serving as the brand’s flagship. Learn more about the Aviator here.

The post 2019 Lincoln Nautilus: 6 Things to Know appeared first on Motor Trend.

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First Drive: 2019 Lincoln Nautilus

By | September 21, 2018

SANTA BARBARA, California — After years of futile experimentation with its design past, Lincoln has finally found the right proboscis for its cars and sport/utility vehicles. The modern Lincoln front end premiered on the Continental sedan, but the design was first unveiled at a consumer clinic where potential customers were shown several new proposals for a facelift of the mid-size MKX sport/utility.

Consumers liked it, this new nose, and so now the MKX finally gets it along with a real name. It’s the 2019 Lincoln Nautilus.

Although it comes with two new engines both combined with an eight-speed automatic transmission, a retuned chassis, and an upgraded interior featuring a comfortable 22-way power seat option, the Nautilus carries forth the MKX’s CD4 (Ford Edge) platform and its sheetmetal from the A-pillar back. The new sheetmetal forward of the A-pillar makes for much more cohesive styling, next to the MKX.

The new nose is just a few millimeters longer than the old one, thanks to ditching the canted-back 1941 Continental-style split-wing grille, though its upright rectangular replacement makes the Nautilus look much longer than the MKX, and more distinct from the somewhat dowdy Ford Edge, which also benefits from a mid-cycle update for model year ‘19. Enhancement of Ford-Lincoln delineation is important, because the Edge Titanium, with a base price of $39,545 and the EcoBoost V-6 ST, at $43,350, encroach on lower-trim Nautilus territory.

Your humble servant also reported on the first drive of the ’14 MKX, also in Santa Barbara, and found that Lincoln’s chassis tweaks of the Edge’s chassis did wonders to make it a credible premium highway cruiser. Lincoln engineers retuned the ’19 SUV’s front and rear suspensions, with larger rear bushings, softer tuning and new, cushier Continental tires on wheels of up to 21 inches.

The ’19 Lincoln Nautilus is rather nautical in its highway dynamics, but that’s a good thing. “Nautical” in this case does not mean it wallows while canyon carving. It’s a soft and well-controlled ride, which is what the segment needs.

Nevertheless, the Nautilus comes with dynamic chassis control; “normal,” “comfort” and “sport” when the eight-speed automatic is placed in Drive, and “normal” and “sport” when shifted into Sport. The S-mode holds gears longer, for more aggressive acceleration, and it locks out eighth gear and the stop/start system. Switching between these various modes requires digging through digital pages on the instrument panel menu, so probably only Lincoln engineers and auto journalists will use them.

A Lincoln engineer told me he likes the “comfort” mode for Metro Detroit’s war-zone-like roads, and “sport” for twisty mountain roads like the ones just outside Santa Barbara, but the only difference I could detect was in the steering, with sharper turn-in under “sport.”

The front seats are fabulous, especially the Black Label trim my drive partner and I first sampled. (Our Black Label color and trim combo was “Gala”—the others are “Thoroughbred,” and “Chalet.”) The optional Ultra Comfort 22-way power seats, with lumbar control and a massage feature are far more comfortable, and more premium in look and feel than anything from Cadillac.

On the driver’s side, the SUV sits a bit tall for my taste, probably to assure sufficient forward view over that long, un-sloped hood. But there’s not a lot of extra headroom with the seat in its lowest position even for a sub-six-foot driver like me.

Most of the Nautiluses—Nautili?—in Lincoln’s test fleet here were equipped with the optional 335-hp 2.7-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6, same engine as in the Ford F-150, even though the company forecasts 70 percent of buyers, more or less, will choose the 250-hp 2.0-liter EcoBoost turbo I-4. Lincoln offers either engine up and down the Nautilus line, from the base and Select to the Reserve and Black Label. Any trim level, with either engine, is available with front- or all-wheel-drive. Lincoln says the AWD take rate has been about 55 percent for MKX, and that won’t change much.

The 2.0 EcoBoost is perfectly adequate for the 4,305-pound SUV (all examples in the fleet had AWD), and probably the better choice for everyday fuel efficiency and road trip range, but the engine sounds thrashy. Full-throttle acceleration can get the engine winding out a bit and holding a gear too long after lifting, which makes the eight-speed automatic wind out like a CVT.

The EcoBoost V-6 better suits the Nautilus’ premium aspirations, with a throatier sound and good power for accelerating up steep hills. The third who choose this engine will be the same sort of customers who take the time to find the dynamic suspension control settings in the IP menu.

Available driver assist systems include automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot detection with cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, lane-centering technology, evasive steering assist, back-up camera, automatic high-beams, and enhanced active park assist. Happy to say we didn’t use much more than the blind-spot and cross-traffic features, and the lane-centering technology, which seems to aggressively turn in around tight canyon corners. For the most part, this is good, reliable state-of-the-art stuff, though not cutting edge (see Cadillac Super Cruise), that should provide some stress-reduction on long drives.

The top-of-the-line Black Label trim advances experiential luxury, and the notion that time saving is the ultimate indulgence. It adds dedicated showroom personnel, extended premium service and maintenance, car washes any time, annual vehicle detailing, Avis President’s Club membership, and the Culinary Collection, with “access to select restaurants” nationwide. The Lincoln Nautilus Black Label’s base price is $8,020 more than the next-highest trim level, Reserve, which raises the question of whether a.) all that experiential luxury is worth it,

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2019 Lincoln Nautilus First Drive: Challenging Lexus With Comfort and Style

By | September 21, 2018

Before you even glimpse the 2019 Lincoln Nautilus’ updated sheetmetal, the American crossover has already distinguished itself from the Lexus RX and its European rivals. Ditching dry alphanumeric names is a crucial move for a brand looking to extend the new Navigator’s momentum down to a segment Lexus owns with the RX, but Lincoln will need more than just a new name to elevate the game of a two-row crossover formerly known as the MKX. We drove the new Nautilus to determine where the updated model fits in a very competitive segment.

The Ford Edge–based luxury crossover starts with a four-cylinder base engine that wasn’t initially part of Lincoln’s plans for this 2019-model-year refresh. The 2.0-liter turbo-four replaces the MKX’s 3.7-liter naturally aspirated V-6 and is good for 250 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. Don’t be dissuaded by the fact that the 2019 Nautilus’ base engine has two fewer cylinders than what you’re used to—the engine moves the Nautilus with enough authority around town that it doesn’t feel like a slug. And thanks to the new engine, fuel economy and driving range see meaningful improvements compared to that old 3.7-liter V-6. It’s just a shame that sticking with the Nautilus’ 2.0-liter base engine doesn’t translate to a jump in fuel economy compared to the V-6 option; EPA-anticipated fuel economy for the Lincoln’s base engine is 20–21/25–26 mpg city/highway, compared to the much more powerful V-6’s 19–20/26–27 mpg. For comparison, the 295-hp 2019 Lexus RX 350 is EPA-rated at 19–20/26–27 mpg.

If you’re committed to outrunning other luxury crossovers for that last parking spot at Whole Foods, spend the extra $2,070 for the 335-hp 2.7-liter twin-turbo V-6, which produces 380 lb-ft of torque. You feel that power on the road, and perhaps just as important for a luxury-branded vehicle, the muted engine note sounds much stronger than the slightly wheezy—but admittedly hushed—tones you hear from the 2.0-liter engine. Plus, the difference in fuel economy is negligible. With both engines, a new eight-speed automatic almost always provides smooth shifts and is clearly tuned more for comfort than snap-of-your-fingers aggressive throttle response.

And really, there’s nothing wrong with that. Although the roads on which we drove the 2019 Nautilus were nearly devoid of potholes and imperfections, every Lincoln we drove provided a reasonably comfortable ride—even the ones with gorgeous, oversized 21-inch wheels. Most Nautilus models ride on an adaptive suspension with basic customizable settings buried in a submenu of the well-executed 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. The idea is to set Drive and Sport mode preferences once (Comfort, Normal, and Sport) and then never have to find that settings page again. Moving from the car’s most comfortable setting to Sport mode revealed noticeable changes in throttle response and steering weight, but the suspension modifications were harder to discern. Although the crossover doesn’t drive sloppily on winding roads, the Lincoln feels more disconnected than an Alfa Romeo Stelvio or sporty variants of more luxury-minded competitors.



The Nautilus is quiet, too. Except for a little noticeable wind noise, the updated Lincoln effectively eliminates most of the outside world so you can concentrate on your massage from the Ultra Comfort front seats. Consider conducting a test-sit of that pricey $1,500 option (on the top two trims) before buying a Nautilus without them. The seats are 22-way adjustable, heated, and ventilated, and—perfect for your evening commute—they can give you a lumbar massage. The ventilation fans were a bit loud, but the massaging feature wasn’t nearly as loud in the Nautilus as it was in a Continental Motor Trend tested last year with similar seats or even an MKX from a 2016 comparison—we hope that improvement is representative of how well the feature is integrated on Lincolns moving forward.

Even if you don’t splurge on $1,500 massaging seats, every 2019 Lincoln Nautilus includes a package of active safety tech with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, and a lane keeping system that can nudge you back into your lane. Although the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tells us it has yet to test the 2019 Nautilus’ headlights and automatic emergency braking, the 2018 MKX received a top score in front crash prevention and earned Good ratings in crashworthiness safety tests. (The latter ratings will carry over to the Nautilus.) The new Lincoln also offers evasive steering assist and a lane centering system that, when combined with the available adaptive cruise control, may impress buyers by how little driver input is required once both systems are active. The lane centering system shows promise, but on a brief stint of Route 101 along the California coast, it required more steering course corrections than should be necessary. Were it my Nautilus on a long road trip, I’d stick with the adaptive cruise and the more basic but still helpful lane keeping assist.

Along with the attractive (and standard) digital instrument cluster, the Nautilus gets by with an 8.0-inch touchscreen display that’s too small for the class and mounted too low on the center stack for optimal visibility. Go for a fully loaded Nautilus Black Label … and that 8.0-inch screen is still part of the package. At least the infotainment system is easy to use, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, two features still unavailable at any price on the Lexus RX. The Nautilus also offers an integrated navigation system with pinch-to-zoom functionality for those times when your phone lacks reception.




The interior is otherwise solid, but there are a few minor issues. Lower-end models end up with a long black plastic placeholder trim piece on the right side of the center stack where loaded Nautilus crossovers with a tech package add buttons for a multicamera surround-view system,

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Barrett-Jackson to Auction Five Burt Reynolds Collection Cars at Las Vegas Sale

By | September 20, 2018

One of the more surprising revelations to come from the death of acting legend Burt Reynolds, perhaps best known for his starring role in the “Smokey and the Bandit” film series, is that Reynolds reportedly was feeling fine in the days leading up to his fatal heart attack. Reynolds was reportedly reading a script for an upcoming movie when he suffered cardiac arrest at the age of 82 and plans had long been made for him to attend Barrett-Jackson’s annual Las Vegas auction, where he was scheduled to auction off five of his personal vehicles. The Bandit may no longer be with us, but his cars will still head to auction in Las Vegas as planned.

Among the vehicles to be auctioned are several re-creations of his famous movie cars, including a black and gold 1979 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am as he drove in “Smokey and the Bandit.” The Trans Am has a 400-cubic-inch V-8 underhood, paired to a four-speed automatic gearbox and was built to resemble the famous “Bandit” movie car right down to its CB radio, by Bandit Movie Cars Florida. The air conditioning was rebuilt, per the Bandit’s wishes, and the car is also signed by Burt Reynolds himself, prior to his passing. A no-reserve sale, we’ll be watching to see how much the new owner is willing to pay to park his butt in the Bandit’s seat.

Also on offer is a 1978 Pontiac Firebird Formula built to re-create the movie car from the 1978 film “Hooper,” in which Reynolds played the title character Sonny Hooper, an aging movie stunt driver.  This Firebird is powered by a 403-cubic-inch V-8 and has a three-speed automatic transmission. Looking for a more modern pony car? Reynold’s personal 1984 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am used as a promotional car for the actor’s Tampa Bay Bandits USFL football team is also on offer, as is a custom Trans-Am-look 2015 Chevrolet Camaro with a 7.4-liter V-8 and said to be one of just 77 such cars built.

If trucks are more your thing, the Reynolds collection also includes a 1987 Chevrolet R30 pickup built to replicate Reynold’s “Indy Hauler” pace truck rig in the 1981 film “Cannonball Run.” With the same two-tone livery as seen on the movie truck, the aesthetics look pretty authentic. It should go as well as it looks with a 496-cubic-inch, fuel-injected V-8 paired to an automatic gearbox. Power brakes and steering, along with air conditioning are all upgrades not featured on the original truck.

All of the Burt Reynolds collection vehicles were owned personally by Reynolds, titled in his name and signed by the man himself.

Stay tuned to Automobile to see how much these vehicles bring Saturday, September 29 at the Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas auction at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. And watch the auction live on the Discovery and Velocity networks September 27-29.

The post Barrett-Jackson to Auction Five Burt Reynolds Collection Cars at Las Vegas Sale appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

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