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McLaren Senna is Brand’s New 789-HP Ultimate Series Model

Motortrend News Feed - Sun, 12/10/2017 - 02:45

McLaren has revealed the latest car in its Ultimate Series: the McLaren Senna. While not quite a successor to the P1 hybrid hypercar, the Senna is a limited-production, track-focused coupe packing 789 hp and named after one of the greatest Formula 1 drivers of all time.

The McLaren Senna, of course, is named after three-time F1 World Champion Ayrton Senna, who died in a crash during the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. Senna was racing for Williams at the time, but he spent five years with McLaren prior to that. The sports car builder got the Senna family’s blessing to use his name for the car.

“Our family is extremely proud of the naming of the new Ultimate Series McLaren Senna. This is the first project that really connects with Ayrton’s racing spirit and performance,” said race driver and Senna’s nephew Bruno Senna, in a release. “The McLaren Senna honors my uncle because it is so utterly dedicated to delivering a circuit experience that allows a driver to be the best they can possibly be.”

While we’ve no doubt the late Ayrton Senna would be honored to have his name on such a track-focused car, we wonder what he’d think of its design. If you think the Senna looks like a 720S with a bunch of extra bodywork tacked on, you’re sort of on the right track. The car is underpinned by a further developed version of the 720S’ carbon-fiber monocoque, called Monocage III. McLaren promises that all of the bodywork is functional, designed to deliver “downforce and aerodynamic balance.” Every body panel on the Senna is made of carbon fiber, which helps bring the weight down to 2,641 pounds (without fluids). That makes this the lightest McLaren road car since the F1, according to the sports car builder.

Yes, you can drive it on the street, though McLaren says the Senna is “legalized for road use, but not sanitized to suit it.” The Senna’s true purpose is “to be the ultimate McLaren track-concentrated car for the road,” and the emphasis clearly is on the “track-concentrated” bit. The Senna packs a version of McLaren’s twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 that produces 789 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. The engine is code-named M840TR, and is the most powerful ever offered in a McLaren road car. The mill features a flat-plane crankshaft and dry sump, as well as lightweight internals and twin-scroll turbochargers with electronic wastegates. The engine, which is mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, gives the McLaren Senna a power-to-weight ratio of roughly 659 hp per ton.

McLaren says the Senna features next-gen active aerodynamics, including the front splitter, rear double diffuser, and 48-inch tall rear wing. The rear clamshell was designed to both cool the engine and provide optimum downforce, with Gurney flaps placed in front of stepped louvers that direct air to the sides of the body. The rear wing is hydraulically actuated and constantly adjusts based on what the car is doing. It has a total surface area of more than 1,007.5 square-inches and can act as an airbrake.

McLaren’s RaceActive Chassis Control II (RCC II) hydraulic suspension setup is used in concert with the already stiff carbon-fiber monocoque to deliver exceptional cornering ability. The system features a double-A-arm suspension with hydraulically interconnected dampers and hydraulically adjustable anti-roll bars. It also utilizes variable damping and ride height adjustment tech from the P1. Primary suspension settings include Comfort, Sport, and Track, but a Race mode can be engaged via a roof-mounted switch. The Senna rides on specially developed Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tires, and gets carbon-ceramic brakes at all four corners.

Inside, you’ll find the bare minimum of creature comforts. Exposed carbon fiber dominates the interior, and the seats can be upholstered in either Alcantara or leather, depending on customer preference. Controls are also minimalist to reduce clutter, with a buttonless three-spoke steering wheel and vertical central screen front and center. If you have stuff to transport, take a different car. The McLaren Senna has only enough room for two helmets and race suits behind the seats.

Being an Ultimate Series car like the P1 and P1 GTR, the Senna will have a limited production run of just 500 units. Each one will be priced in the U.K. at £750,000 (roughly $1,003,950) including taxes.

Source: McLaren

The post McLaren Senna is Brand’s New 789-HP Ultimate Series Model appeared first on Motor Trend.

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Updated Alfa Romeo 4C Arrives in 2019

Motortrend News Feed - Sat, 12/09/2017 - 23:00

The Alfa Romeo 4C will get a significant refresh for 2019, according to a new report from Autocar. The carbon fiber-intensive sports car will receive revised suspension and steering, and might even get a new engine. But sadly, no manual transmission is in the cards.

Roberto Fedeli, chief engineer for Alfa Romeo and Maserati, confirmed the refreshed 4C at the launch of the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio. The updated car could debut in fall 2018 and go on sale in early 2019.

The 4C debuted in 2014 to mixed reviews. We loved the pure driving experience it offered on the race track but didn’t enjoy the stiff ride and manual steering rack on the street. Fedeli apparently recognizes the 4C’s flaws, and wants to improve the car rather than kill it off. In fact, he wants it to do more than just survive. “We are coming back to Formula 1, and we need the 4C to be our halo car,” he told Autocar.

But if you were holding out for a manual gearbox option, you’re out of luck. Fedeli says there are no plans to introduce manual transmissions on any future high-performance Alfa Romeo, Maserati, or Ferrari models. Fedeli cites lack of demand as the main reason. When he was at Ferrari, he says the brand spend 10 million euros to develop a manual transmission for the California convertible, and ultimately just two customers ordered their cars with the row-your-own option.

Source: Autocar

 

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Mercedes-AMG GT4 First Drive: AMG’s Gentleman Racer

Motortrend News Feed - Sat, 12/09/2017 - 09:00

As I stepped around the corner of the customer lounge at the pristine modernist HWA/Team AMG headquarters in Affalterbach, Germany, there they were on a wall-sized photo collage of AMG history, the founders, Hans Werner Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher. That one photo captures what defines the AMG brand and product.

It’s the early ’70s, and these two hard-core Euro hot-rodders are watching over their Frankenstein creation, about to score a stunning upset victory at the 24 Hours of Spa. It’s a big, unlikely Mercedes sedan with an enormous, rumbling V-8 and giant flares. So creative, so unique, and more than a little crazy.

Their eyes glint with the passion for performance and motorsports that I share with so many of you, dear readers. So much is written in their faces: determination, enjoyment, intelligence, and mischief.

Nearly a half century later, that passion is very much alive in AMG’s latest GT creation.

Mercedes-AMG automobiles are represented by their hearts—the engines. Always modified and muscled-up Mercedes-Benz powerplants, with an aggressive growl from the racy exhaust tips and an instantly accessible flow of torque over a wide range of revs. One man (or woman, I learned) is responsible for one engine, all the way down the assembly line.

Mounted low and well behind the front axle line of the AMG GT, this V-8 is one of my most favorites for its delicious thrust and the basso profundo that accompanies it. The importance of an engine’s sonic glory cannot be overestimated in the sporting automobile, and AMG has understood and capitalized on this aspect since the very beginning.

The thundering beast before me today at Circuit Paul Ricard—site of the French Grand Prix again next year—is the AMG GT4. It’s designed for the international FIA GT4 class, more street-oriented and less pricey than the GT3 versions we‘ve been seeing in IMSA and Pirelli World Challenge. Even at $239,000, it’s roughly half the price of the GT3 mode and about $100,000 more than the street versions.

But where does that money go? Is AMG just charging more for less? I mean, in the GT4, don’t they simply use the original car with a lot of expensive interior appointments removed?

Well, safety is a high priority. The GT4 incorporates all those features found on the GT3, including the rooftop port for better stabilized driver extraction and a seat molded right into the chassis, with pedals and steering that move, instead. The latter arrangement is far stronger than using sliders to both mount and adjust position, and the seat is the foundation of the restraint system.

Another value add is the motorsport gearbox with wheel-mounted shift paddles—again similar to the GT3. The main object here is reliability. Between this purpose-built transmission and the near-stock engine, the AMG GT4 can race for many hours before rebuilds. Pay more up front, pay far less long term, and finish your races. This machine is intended for endurance events, the longer the better. As on the road cars, it’s a rear-mounted transaxle for improved weight and mass distribution attached to the front-mid V-8 with the OEM carbon torque tube.

The GT4 also uses the same hot-V twin-turbo as the street cars and, in this application, likely will be producing less power than them, as well, depending on the race series’ Balance of Performance (BoP) setting. This means the powerplant will be quite understressed and stay competitive by racing engine standards nearly forever. Strangely, many race cars these days are restricted and actually generate less power than those on our public highways. This is an ongoing trend in FIA and sportscar racing, probably good for the sport long term.

AMG has wisely chosen to go with a motorsport engine management, as well, because street systems are a compromise in the racing environment. This also factors into the price and will be another long-term payoff. More and more these days, it is difficult to nearly impossible to take stock electronics from the road to road racing. Computers tuned for the street get confused and go into limp modes, and stability controls keep rearing their overbearing heads.

Like many of the primary components of the AMG GT4, the chassis is also taken from the road car, a sophisticated and lightweight aluminum space frame with strong torsional rigidity, including the control arms and suspension geometry. The shocks are pure racing components by KW, adjustable for compression and rebound, and the track-specific anti-roll bars are adjustable, as well, to tune to driver preference. On a related note, the GT4 also is equipped with traction control, a large yellow knob front and center on the carbon center console. Although it is my advice to turn that off while you tune shock and bar settings, a little TC in competition makes a great power-oversteer safety net, saves tires, and can genuinely save your Nomex-wrapped behind in the rain.

And it was appropriately damp (and chilly) when I first rolled out of pit lane at Ricard, too. I tested that traction control immediately, set by our AMG hosts to a please-don’t-crash Level 2, and it clamped down like a toddler’s mom near Niagara Falls. Yet combined with the also-tunable racing ABS, the car was an easy drive in the slimy conditions. From the very start, the GT4 felt brawny, sophisticated, and impressive, but it slewed around a lot on the treaded Pirelli rains as the surface began to dry.

To my great fortune, I was granted an extra shot just before lunch break, on slicks and a dry track. The AMG delivered neck-straining g’s in all directions of the horizontal plane. Fingertip shifts were as quick as thoughts and imperceptible to the seamless thundering flow of power. Going down gears was even better, with perfect roaring rev-matches. A good modern shifter such as this saves many engines and crashes by denying requests made too early, thus preventing over-revs and missed gears.

I could read the suspension tuning—a combination of Euro pro driver snappy turn-in and journalist-safe heavy front anti-roll bar. Steering response was instantaneous. Once the chassis took a set, considerable understeer showed up in the middle of the corner. Our GT4 was happiest in the fast sweeper on the back side of Ricard, where the sizable wing and splitter shoved tires to pavement in a balanced and effective way. In Ricard’s many slow corners, there was that strong but safe understeer and rewarding, relentless no-lag thrust on the way out. The brake pedal was a good leg-press workout, and the pedal could go numb (perhaps from ABS) but encouraged an aggressive attack on the entry to the corners, cranking up my adrenaline and cranking out smiles.

In true AMG fashion, the car was refined, elegant, and brutal, all at the same time. The package translates readily to the racetrack, and this piece makes an excellent choice for the gentleman or -woman racer, with its safety, quality, and performance. And it has a downright arresting stance on pit lane.

From the south of France, we jetted to Stuttgart, Germany, and the home of AMG, where I encountered that striking photograph of Herren Aufrecht and Melcher. We witnessed the one builder/one engine philosophy at work, and I successfully located the badge of the technician that built the V-8 in the AMG E63 S we tested the week before for MT. Computers track the tool usage, working in concert with the highly trained and respected engine builders. AMG seeks out Germany’s best technicians “that want to build engines.” Every engine is cold-dyno tested (turned to 3,000 rpm without running), and at random intervals some get selected for actual firing on the hot dyno.

The AMG line is, “We cannot make Mercedes engines better, only change them.” To a performance addict like me, more power is for the better, but best to keep the boss happy. The precision and dedication of the process is admirable.

Next, we stalked the race car assembly area, a true race shop, and I left impressed by the degree to which the GT4 is stripped down and prepared from the bottom up for competition. This is quite the complete package.

After a test drive and tour of the production facilities, what could be next? How about a visit to the next battle test of these new racers, the Euro-based Creventic 24H race at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas?

I found myself embedded with the Windward Racing/HTP Motorsport team of owner Bryce and lead driver Russell Ward. The team will be running the IMSA Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge Series GS class next season with a couple new AMG GT4s and was selected to run a test car, along with the Black Falcon squad, in another. Russell was joined by pro Damien Faulkner, a friend I met while coaching in the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup series, and Euro-pros Indy Dontje and DTM hotshot Maxie Gotz. And I was really thrilled to run into a favorite race engineer of mine from Alex Job Racing days, Greg Fordahl. It was a strong lineup.

All four drivers gave glowing reports on the raceability of the GT4, and it showed on track as I watched, nomadically working my around the CoTA circuit. Traffic was heavy, with the GT4s flirting with the top 10 of the 50-plus starters, so passing situations were constant. There were even a couple near-stock Honda Civics and a Peugeot RCZ that looked like a knockoff Audi TT.

The GT4 entries appeared strong in the brake zones and were often passing two wide around the outside, implying the kind of strong aero grip and stability that encourages aggressive moves. The live in-car video feed showed steady hands on the wheel and no evidence of the skittish corrections of a dicey chassis setup.

The Windward/HTP team led the class for most of the first day (as did its AMG GT3 brother, vying with a 911R for the overall)—the only setback being a tendency to toss off its alternator belt, an issue that only showed up this race with the addition of air conditioning. (Yes, modern FIA GT rules require this for driver safety … it’s hot in there.) Still in the hunt for the class lead 11 hours into the event, both GT4s dropped back when misfires appeared and grew serious, eventually diagnosed by Windward/ HTP as a cranky crank sensor. The team pulled the transaxle and got back in the fight, on the pace, right to the end. At Black Falcon they decided to park the GT4 and focus on the GT3 for the overall.

When the checkered flag fell on Russ Ward in the GT4 after 24 grueling, flat-out hours, Windward/HTP had clawed its way back to midpack, and the Black Falcon GT3 came home a strong second overall to the Porsche.

The AMG GT4 proved itself a gorgeous, imposing racetrack presence with speed and durability to match under tough marathon conditions. One of my favorite road cars has translated into a formidable and enduring competitor, and frankly, I expected nothing less from the company built by those two AMG men in the old photograph, with that racer’s gleam in their eyes.

The post Mercedes-AMG GT4 First Drive: AMG’s Gentleman Racer appeared first on Motor Trend.

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Oregon cedes freedom of speech case against red light camera critic

The Car Connection News Feed - Sat, 12/09/2017 - 05:01
It is, perhaps, human nature to harbor grandiose dreams of fighting a traffic ticket, even to the point of arguing before a local judge. For the past four years, however, an Oregon man has taken that fantasy to extreme levels, ultimately resulting in the state’s senior assistant attorney general admitting in federal court that the state...
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Refreshing or Revolting: 2019 Lincoln Nautilus

Motortrend News Feed - Fri, 12/08/2017 - 23:00

Last year, at the Detroit Auto Show, Lincoln showed off its new flagship sedan, the Continental. It not only marked the return of a legendary nameplate but was also a sign that Lincoln was considering moving away from its MK nomenclature. Then, at this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show, we got another surprise. The MKX would become the Nautilus. Beyond the new name, it got a new front end, as well. So how does the Nautilus’ look compare to the outgoing MKX?

The front end is obviously where most of the changes were made. The Nautilus now gets the corporate grille we first saw on the Continental, as well as updated headlights and a redesigned bumper. Putting a new grille on a vehicle that was designed around a different one could easily end up looking awkward, but we have to admit, it looks a lot better than we would have thought.

In profile, it looks pretty much the same because, despite what the name change would suggest, Lincoln only gave the Nautilus a mid-cycle refresh. The Continental-inspired Nautilus badge on the front fender is a nice touch, though. Out back, Lincoln made a few more changes. Most noticeably, the taillights have been updated, and the liftgate has been restyled. It’s not a drastically different look, but it’s a nice refresh for a car that only received minor changes.

Inside, you won’t see any major changes, either. The center stack and most of the other design elements have all been left alone. So if you were hoping the Nautilus would get rid of the MKX’s push-button transmission, you’ll be disappointed. But Lincoln did manage to add more rear-seat headroom and legroom by tweaking the seats. It didn’t, however, add a third row to the Nautilus.

The good news is, this change to an actual name will soon spread to the rest of the Lincoln lineup. To avoid too much confusion, the MKC won’t get a new name just yet, but we’ve been told that the MK names will eventually all be phased out. And while the Nautilus and the Navigator both start with the same letter, Lincoln says it doesn’t plan to give all its new vehicles N names. Considering how confusing the lineup has been over the last several years, we say this is good news.

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Congress Urged Not to Throw out EV Rebates

Motortrend News Feed - Fri, 12/08/2017 - 22:00

Congress has been pushing to finalize a tax reform plan by the end of the year, and it could have consequences for the future of electric vehicles. Although the Senate wants to keep federal EV rebates, a proposal from the House would eliminate the $7,500 tax credit that consumers receive for buying an electric vehicle. Now, several city leaders and industry members are warning Congress not to throw out the rebates they say benefit the economy and reduce our dependency on foreign oil.

In a letter to members of Congress, 22 mayors underscored the importance of EV rebates. The letter notes that the rebate program has “proven to be a tremendously effective policy” for the adoption of EVs. In turn, the widespread use of EVs will transition the country to more cost-effective energy production, the letter argues.

“The increased consumer demand for electric vehicles that arose through this tax credit has resulted in the creation of 200,000 new jobs in the U.S. automobile industry, driven technological innovation, reduced oil dependency, saved consumers money, and generated economic benefits,” the letter reads.

Meanwhile, the Electric Drive Transportation Association sent its own letter urging members of Congress to keep the rebates. This organization represents automakers as well as energy companies, tech companies, and suppliers. “Promoting investment in electric drive helps ensure that the U.S. does not lose its competitiveness in a market that we built,” the letter said.

The organization points out there are more than 40 electric, plug-in hybrids, and fuel cell cars available today. Still, they make up only 1 percent of cars sold.

Soon, California could take a bold step forward when it comes to the future of electric vehicles. State assemblymember Phil Ting plans to introduce a bill that, in 2040, would only allow the DMV to register cars that don’t emit carbon dioxide. This announcement came after California Governor Jerry Brown expressed interest in stopping the sale of new vehicles with gas engines.

Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)

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Company Will Make You a Watch From Recycled Ford Mustang Parts

Motortrend News Feed - Fri, 12/08/2017 - 20:30

Though it may not be possible to return every classic Ford Mustang to the road, pony cars that are beyond saving can at least live on as decoration for your wrist. A company called REC Watches in Denmark takes parts from old Mustangs and incorporates them into custom timepieces.

The company salvages Mustang parts from junk yards all over the world, but will also accept parts from a customer’s personal car to create a one-of-a-kind watch. REC Watches researches the history of each vehicle by tracking down previous owners and finding vintage photographs showing its past life. The company then creates a video for each watch telling the story of the car that donated parts for its creation. Each watch also lists a car’s VIN and model year, and works in styling cues such as a battery dial designed to look like a fuel gauge and hands and numbers inspired by the Mustang’s instruments.

“Most people would just see a pile of metal, a ghost of a Mustang,” said REC Watches co-founder Christian Mygh, in a release. “We see something completely different–the soul of a car and a story that needs to be told. I’m not cutting up Mustangs. I’m bringing Mustangs that are beyond repair back to life as a watch.”

REC Watches’ customers include Formula Drift champ Vaughn Gittin Jr., who owns a watch made from his Mustang RTR drift car’s carbon-fiber body panels. But turning your old Mustang into a unique watch doesn’t come cheap. REC Watches’ Mustang pieces start at $1,495. For the chance to wear your old car wherever you go, though, that might be worth it to some.

Source: Ford

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2019 Toyota Avalon Previews Bolder Design

Motortrend News Feed - Fri, 12/08/2017 - 18:45

The 2019 Toyota Avalon will debut at the Detroit auto show in January, the automaker has revealed today. If this teaser image is any indication, the large sedan could adopt a much more aggressive look as it enters its fifth generation.

The photo shows what appears to be new headlamps with unusual light graphics. It looks like the Avalon will feature a clamshell hood, given the lack of visible cut lines. The model could receive a large, gaping grille much like the one on the new 2018 Camry.

Currently, the flagship looks noticeably more conservative than Toyota’s other sedans. It’s unclear if buyers in this category will appreciate an especially bold design, although it seems to work for the Nissan Maxima. Expect the new Avalon to feature higher-end features than the current model, possibly including an available dual-panel moonroof and head-up display.

Toyota hasn’t revealed powertrain options for the new Avalon, but it’s likely the model will pack a V-6 engine making over 300 hp. A hybrid option will also likely be available again for this generation.

Hopefully a redesign will boost slowing Avalon sales in the U.S. Toyota has sold 30,156 copies during the first 11 months of the year, down 29.9 percent from the same period last year.

The Avalon originally debuted in North America for the 1995 model year. The current generation debuted for 2013 before undergoing a refresh for 2016. It is built exclusively at Toyota’s manufacturing facility in Kentucky.

Source: Toyota

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Mazda MX-5 Z-Sport Features Cherry Red Roof

Motortrend News Feed - Fri, 12/08/2017 - 18:15

Here’s yet another special edition Miata we won’t see on our shores. The Mazda MX-5 Z-Sport goes on sale next year in the U.K. with cosmetic upgrades including a cherry red fabric top.

Mazda first showed off a cherry red-roofed Miata at the recent Tokyo auto show. After receiving positive feedback on this feature, Mazda has added it to the Z-Sport model for the U.K. The automaker says this is the first time it’s offering the new generation Miata with an alternatively colored fabric hood.

Other features include 17-inch black BBS wheels, a Machine Grey Metallic paint job, and Sand Leather seats. Each car features a “Z-Sport” plaque with a number indicating its order in production. Mazda is making just 300 copies of the special edition car.

Under the hood sits a 2.0-liter gas engine making 158 hp. Since it’s based on the Sport Nav trim in the U.K., the model features a limited-slip differential, Bilstein dampers, and a strut brace for improved performance.

The Mazda MX-5 Z-Sport goes on sale March 1, only in the U.K. Because it’s a limited edition model, it comes with a fairly big price tag of 25,595 pounds, or roughly $34,230 at current exchange rates.

Source: Mazda

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Beer Company Orders 40 Tesla Semi Trucks

Motortrend News Feed - Fri, 12/08/2017 - 16:45

If you see a Tesla Semi on the road in the next few years, it could be delivering beer. Anheuser-Busch has put its name down for 40 Tesla Semis in one of the largest reported reservations so far for the electric truck.

The beer conglomerate has taken an interest in the Tesla trucks as it works to reduce its operational carbon footprint 30 percent by 2025. Achieving this goal is the equivalent of removing nearly 500,000 cars from the road globally each year, the company says.

“At Anheuser-Busch, we are constantly seeking new ways to make our supply chain more sustainable, efficient, and innovative,” said James Sembrot, the company’s senior director of Logistics Strategy. “This investment in Tesla semi-trucks helps us achieve these goals while improving road safety and lowering our environmental impact.”

Tesla unveiled the Semi in November, and a number of big companies have already placed reservations. Wal-Mart plans to buy 15 trucks, five for the U.S. and 10 for Canada. J.B. Hunt, a big truck fleet operator, will purchase “multiple” Semis that will deploy on the West Coast.

Assuming a speed of 60 mph, Tesla says the Semi can travel 500 miles on a single charge at max weight. At one of Tesla’s new solar-powered Megachargers, the Semi can regain 400 miles back in just 30 minutes. The truck can go from 0-60 in just 5 seconds, or 20 seconds while towing. Tesla promises semi production will begin in 2019, though it’s currently suffering huge losses on account of Model 3 production delays.

The trucks will come equipped with Tesla’s Enhanced Autopilot semi-autonomous system, which will allow for partial self-driving capability on the highway. Last year, an autonomous truck from Uber made a beer run 132 miles through Colorado in what was said to be the world’s first commercial shipment by a self-driving truck. And the company behind the stunt was no other than Anheuser-Busch. The truck carried 51,744 cans of Budweiser on its autonomous journey.

Source: Anheuser-Busch

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Categories: Property

Flexible office market growing 13% a year

Property Week News Feed - Fri, 12/08/2017 - 16:02
Over the past decade the global flexible office market has been growing at an average of 13% per annum, with CBRE projecting the growth to continue further in the future.
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Volvo XC60 road test, Jaguar skipping V-8s, Volkswagen ID electric car: What’s New @ The Car Connection

The Car Connection News Feed - Fri, 12/08/2017 - 15:30
2018 Volvo XC60 video road test Volvo builds sublime sedans and wagons, but these days, it’s best known for its SUVs. The big XC90 has been a knockout, and there’s a new, tough-looking XC40 compact crossover coming soon. Uber investor pumps $500 million into Lyft First, it was Uber’s misfortunes helping to accelerate arch-rival...
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2019 Volvo XC40

The Car Connection News Feed - Fri, 12/08/2017 - 14:41
Hope springs eternal for Volvo. The 2019 Volvo XC40 compact crossover is unapologetically cast toward shoppers who can’t remember the first season of “The Simpsons.” It pioneers a new way to pay for a car, and the 2019 XC40 sports many features that may impress younger shoppers. The color palette skips swatches from your...
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Kennedy Wilson completes €284m refinancing deals in Dublin

Property Week News Feed - Fri, 12/08/2017 - 12:53
Kennedy Wilson has completed two refinancing deals with the Bank of Ireland across seven Irish assets located primarily in Dublin.
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Knight Frank promotes 10 to proprietary partner

Property Week News Feed - Fri, 12/08/2017 - 12:19
Knight Frank has announced a range of promotions including making Neil Brookes head of capital markets for Asia Pacific and James Lewis their new Middle East regional head.
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Trio of occupiers take 80,000 sq ft at Aldgate House

Property Week News Feed - Fri, 12/08/2017 - 12:04
Hermes Investment Management and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), have announced 80,000 sq ft of lettings at the recently refurbished Aldgate House, EC3.
Categories: Property

EPIC completes purchase of four parks for £144m

Property Week News Feed - Fri, 12/08/2017 - 11:52
Ediston Property Investment Company (EPIC) has completed the acquisition of four retail parks for £144m.
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Glenmark takes ground floor at Croxley Park

Property Week News Feed - Fri, 12/08/2017 - 10:40
Croxley Park has signed a 20,000 sq ft deal with research-based pharmaceutical company Glenmark at its newly-completed Grade A office building.
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2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo First Drive Review

Motortrend News Feed - Fri, 12/08/2017 - 09:00

Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo: It might be the longest make/model name in automotive history, but the marketing guys at Porsche want you to know exactly what you’re getting when you shell out almost $190,000 for the company’s fastest, most powerful, ultra-luxe wagonoid thingy. Arno Bögl, director of powertrain for the Panamera lineup, describes it another way, however: “The 918 Spyder for the whole family.”

The Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo is … Hold up. Before we go any further, how about we adopt military practice and use an acronym instead? Our hardworking Motor Trend copy editors, Jesse and Mary, would appreciate wrangling fewer words. So how about P-TEST? Yeah, there’s an S missing, and pedants would probably want the H in there as well, but the folks in the Pentagon’s acronym department don’t let awkward letters get in the way of their mission. Let’s go with P-TEST. It’s close enough for government work.

Now, where were we? Ah, yes … The P-TEST is Porsche’s idea of a plug-in hybrid family hatchback, combining the company’s new 550-hp twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 with a 136-hp electric motor mounted between the engine and the eight-speed PDK transmission to create a driveline with a system output of 680 hp from 5,750 rpm to 6,000 rpm and 626 lb-ft of torque from 1,400 rpm to 5,000 rpm. Although it has room for five, and more load space than its sedan counterpart, Porsche’s idea of a plug-in hybrid family hatchback is clearly a little different from Toyota’s.

Plug-in hybrids are supposed to be all about fuel efficiency, and although we don’t yet have official EPA numbers, the P-TEST is sorta, kinda fuel-efficient in the sense that you can drive it up to 30 miles, at speeds of up to 86 mph, without burning a drop of gas. But to Bögl, this is almost a fringe benefit: “We regard the hybrid system as a performance system,” he says, “the performance system of the future.” Philosophically, the Porsche P-TEST’s hybrid powertrain is similar to that of the 918 Spyder—the 214-mph, 887-hp hypercar that once held our production car lap record at Laguna Seca. Bögl says the P-TEST will hit 60 mph in 3.2 seconds and zoom to 192 mph, making it—along with the standard wheelbase Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid sedan—the quickest and fastest of the 16-model Panamera lineup.

In that sense, the P-TEST is indeed a 918 Spyder for the whole family. But that’s about as far as the analogy goes—for despite all the electrons whizzing around under the skin, helping deliver those the impressive acceleration and top speed numbers, getting all donner und blitzen on a tight and twisting canyon road is a strangely uninvolving experience. Although loaded with the latest in Porsche dynamics technology—all-wheel steering is about the only option—this turismo is simply too big, too heavy, to drive like a sports car.

Switching to Sport or Sport + modes—Porsche’s Sport Chrono package is standard—stiffens the P-TEST’s sinews, keeps the twin-turbo V-8 fired up at all times, and switches the electric motor to DEFCON 1, ready to instantly assist the internal combustion engine to deliver maximum thrust on demand. Thus configured, the big Porsche indeed makes rapid progress. But despite the test track data, from behind the wheel it doesn’t feel as thunderously fast on the road as, say, a Mercedes-AMG E63 wagon or even the bigger AMG S-class sedan.

That’s the downside of having to haul around a 14.1kWhr lithium-ion battery pack. Tipping the scales at a hefty 5,125 pounds, the P-TEST weighs 456 pounds more than an E63 wagon and 319 pounds more than an S63 sedan. Although the Porsche still has a marginally better power-to-weight ratio than either AMG car, the hybrid powertrain’s delivery is much less melodramatic, and the big V-8 seems oddly reluctant to be taken to its 6,800-rpm redline. And—despite all-wheel drive and a torque-vectoring e-diff at the rear, plus massive tires (275/35 ZR21 up front, and 325/30 ZR21 at the rear)—there’s no disguising the effect of that extra mass in the twisty bits, even in cars fitted with the optional rear-wheel steering.

No, the P-TEST does its best work as … a hybrid. Leave the steering wheel mounted Sport Chrono controller switched to Hybrid mode, and P-TEST comes into its own as a fast, relaxed, efficient grand touring car. The height-adjustable three-chamber air spring suspension and active anti-roll bars deliver a comfortable yet controlled ride (though, as with the Panamera sedan, the aggressive wheel/tire package means more road noise and impact harshness on less than perfect roads), and the software controlling the hybrid powertrain seamlessly integrates operation of the internal combustion engine, e-motor, and eight-speed PDK transmission to deliver the best mix of performance and fuel economy.

The standard 3.5kW on-board charger replenishes the P-TEST’s battery in 6 hours when plugged into a Level 2 charger, and an optional 7.2kW on-board charger drops that time to 2.4 hours. In Hybrid mode, with the battery at a normal state of charge, the P-TEST automatically drives off under electric power, with the internal combustion engine firing up only when the computer decides it’s required to meet load demand or battery charge parameters. However drivers can choose to activate an E-Hold mode to maintain battery’s state of charge, ensuring there’s adequate charge left for zero-emission e-driving at their destination, or an E-Charge mode that gets the V-8 engine to develop more power than is actually needed for driving so the battery can be charged on the fly.

 

The P-TEST is the second-most expensive Panamera you can buy, topped only by the extended wheelbase Executive sedan with the same powertrain, which stickers for about $195,000. Porsche is clearly positioning hybrid as a premium powertrain, laying the groundwork for further electrification of Porsches over the coming decade and the forthcoming launch of the all-electric coupe-like four-door based on the gorgeous Mission E concept.

Technically, the smooth and fast 2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo is an impressive piece of work. And that mouthful of a moniker pretty much tells you exactly what you’re driving, though we’d argue it’s more ‘turismo’ than ‘sport.’

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2017 Jeep Renegade Sport Long-Term Update 4: Road-Tripping the Jeep

Motortrend News Feed - Fri, 12/08/2017 - 09:00

In previous updates, we concluded that the Jeep Renegade’s removable MySky roof and go-almost-anywhere off-road capability make for a solid millennial Instagram vehicle. For impromptu urban photo shoots or for traversing the final mile to a photogenic trailhead, the Renegade offers just about everything you need. But what about when those trails are a few states away?

To assess the how well the Renegade handles long-distance trips, my girlfriend and I loaded up for a quick camping trip to Colorado. We fairly easily fit the necessary supplies. And then we crammed in enough stuff for another two people for good measure; we were expecting overnight temperatures to fall below freezing and didn’t want to die of hypothermia. It would’ve been a tight fit for any additional people, but I could see a group of four making it work with some pragmatic packing strategies (perhaps leave the four extra blankets at home, and buy your food when you get there). So on the cargo front, the Renegade earns a passing grade.

It was efficient, too. One of my first impressions upon driving the Renegade around Los Angeles was that it sucked gas just about as quickly as my old Ford Explorer. That’s not a good thing, especially considering how much smaller the Renegade is. The EPA gives this Jeep a 21-mpg city rating, which seems generous. My around-town driving was routinely returning numbers much closer to our Real MPG results of 16.6 mpg in city driving. Once I got on the highway, though, things changed in a big way. Over roughly 2,000 miles of highway driving, I was consistently seeing mpg numbers in the mid-30s, beating both EPA (29 mpg) and Real MPG (30.4) figures—decidedly unlike my Explorer and a blessing on a long trip.

The transmission, though, was less of a blessing. We’ve shared our criticisms of the Jeep’s nine-speed automatic before, but in my own driving (mostly on city streets), I had never had any issues. That changed when I finally got out on the open road, though. The 180-hp I-4 is generally enough power, but on a few occasions when merging into traffic required power in a hurry, the transmission took its time dropping into the appropriate gear to get me there. This was mostly an easily accommodated problem, but it did lead to one scary moment when a semi attempted to move into my lane while I was passing; I attempted to floor it to get around the truck in time, and the Jeep didn’t seem to move. On the plus side, nearly getting sideswiped gave me a chance to test the brakes. In our instrumented tests, stopping from 60 mph took 123 feet. I didn’t bother to break out the tape measure on the side of the road, but in our real-world emergency stopping situation, the Renegade, my fiancée, and I all survived, so I’ll call that a success.

More on our long-term Jeep Renegade here:

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