2020 Mercedes-Benz S-Class

The Car Connection News Feed - Sun, 01/26/2020 - 12:00
The 2020 Mercedes-Benz S-Class is the yardstick we use to measure all large luxury sedans. It has power, sophistication, tech superiority, and endless paths to customization. Available in multiple body styles and with everything from a plug-in hybrid to a V-12, we give it 7.8 out of 10 overall, based on the base (if you can call it that) S450...
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2020 Honda Ridgeline

The Car Connection News Feed - Sat, 01/25/2020 - 12:00
The 2020 Honda Ridgeline is all the pickup truck most buyers will ever really use, and that’s what makes it an outlier in its class. With impressive comfort, efficiency, and practicality but lacking some of the ultimate off-road chops and capability of its rivals, we give it a TCC Rating of 6.8 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)...
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Official C8 Corvette Fuel Economy Is Pretty Good for a 495-HP V-8

Motortrend News Feed - Sat, 01/25/2020 - 01:36

Not a single C8 Corvette will be sold for its fuel economy, but as it turns out, the mpg numbers it returns aren’t actually all that bad. As we just learned from Corvette Chief Engineer Ed Piatek at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, the C8 has been EPA certified at 15/27 mpg city/highway.

The Corvette is powered by an LT2 6.2-liter V-8 engine producing 495 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque. Given that, 15 mpg in urban driving is good for such a burly block, but the 27-mpg highway figure is more impressive. Keeping revs low at speed is handled by the Corvette’s eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, but a cylinder deactivation system is largely responsible for reducing the LT2’s fuel consumption.

Additionally, the C8 will be a good road-trip cruiser thanks to its 18.6-gallon fuel tank. Filled to the brim and with judicious throttle application by the driver (a tailwind wouldn’t hurt, either), the Corvette will be able to cover just over 500 miles between refills.

Piatek says to look at the Corvette’s competitors to get perspective on how impressive its fuel efficiency is. So let’s compare mpg figures for the road-going versions of some of the sports cars the race-spec Corvette C8.R will face at Daytona this weekend.

The Porsche 911 Carrera S is rated at 18/24 mpg, not exceptional considering its flat-six engine has less than half the LT2’s displacement. BMW’s M850i uses a V-8, albeit a smaller one that’s twin-turbocharged, and returns 18/25 mpg. The Ferrari 488 GTB also uses a smaller-displacement twin-turbo V-8, but sucks down a gallon of premium every 16 miles in the city, and every 22 miles on the highway. Efficiency is even worse for the V-10-powered Lamborghini Huracan, which is rated at just 13/18 mpg.

C8 Corvette buyers will be drawn much more to the car’s radical styling and stupendous performance than its fuel economy figures. But no one likes putting gas in their car, and the C8’s good efficiency and large gas tank will keep visits to the pump relatively few and far between—assuming those buyers can resist frequently testing their car’s 2.8-second 0-60 acceleration time.

And it’s possible an even more fuel-efficient Corvette is on the way. We have it on good authority that the forthcoming C8 Corvette ZR1 will rely on hybrid power to achieve its near-900-hp output. Take that, Prius!

The post Official C8 Corvette Fuel Economy Is Pretty Good for a 495-HP V-8 appeared first on MotorTrend.

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There’s a Statistically Low Chance Volvo Will Give Away $1M in Cars During the Super Bowl

Motortrend News Feed - Sat, 01/25/2020 - 01:30

Volvo is synonymous with safety. Thus it’s no surprise that the brand is taking the statistically safe choice of giving away $1 million worth of cars should a safety occur during Super Bowl LIV.

As defined by the National Football League, a safety occurs “if the offense commits a foul in its own end zone or when an impetus by a team sends the ball behind its own goal line, and the ball is dead in the end zone in its possession or the ball is out of bounds behind the goal line.” If those conditions are met, then the defensive team receives two points.

Yes, we know that’s pretty jargon-y and difficult to decipher, which is why we’ll break it down even more simply: a safety is a rare scoring event. In fact, less than 0.5 percent of the more than 10,000 points scored by every NFL team throughout the 2019 regular season were the result of a safety.

Still, that doesn’t mean one won’t happen during the Super Bowl. As such, there’s no reason not to head over to to design your own Volvo between now and the day of the big game. Should either the San Francisco 49ers or Kansas City Chiefs benefit or suffer from a safety, then Volvo will randomly select entrants to award $1 million worth of cars to.

Sure, the chances of a safety occurring in the Super Bowl are low, but there’s an even higher chance that you’ll regret not signing up to win a Volvo if one or both teams happen to record a safety.

The post There’s a Statistically Low Chance Volvo Will Give Away $1M in Cars During the Super Bowl appeared first on MotorTrend.

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2020 Bentley Flying Spur Interior: Every Mind-Blowing Stat Behind How It’s Made

Motortrend News Feed - Sat, 01/25/2020 - 00:39

If you’re an assembly worker at Bentley, you must have a lot of patience. That’s particularly so if you’re handcrafting the new 2020 Flying Spur, which Bentley says is the most advanced car it has ever put on sale. Every Flying Spur goes through 84 different assembly stages at the company’s factory in Crewe, England, requiring nearly 200 workers. But what goes into making the most important part of the experience, the interior? A lot of time, and an even greater amount of jaw-dropping fun facts and statistics.

You’ll likely notice, even from photos, that the Bentley Flying Spur’s interior is awash in rich leather. (We loved being assaulted by the leather’s scent during our recent review of the luxury sedan.) Bentley says the leather hides used inside the cabin come from Northern European bulls, sourced sustainably as by-products of the meat industry. Since these future hamburgers with legs live in temperate climates, they encounter fewer parasites, leaving their leather hides free of blemishes. Still, it takes an enormous amount of work to create a finished product from these hides.

Each interior is comprised of 350 individual leather pieces that need to be stitched to or for 60 different components throughout the cabin. To accomplish this task, Bentley needs more than three kilometers (that’s 1.86 miles) of thread per interior. Assembly requires 141 craftspeople working with the more than 14 interior leather hide colors and 13 different colors of thread customers may select. If buyers opt for embroidery on the headrests, that’s another 5,103 stitches those workers have to make.

It takes 12 hours to hand-assemble just the Flying Spur’s four seats. A craftsperson will spend a painstaking three and a half hours on the steering wheel’s stitching alone. This is why craftspeople undergo at least five months of training before being set loose building Bentley interiors.

Among the Flying Spur’s interior goodies are massaging seats, crown-cut walnut veneer trim, a 12.3-inch touchscreen, and unique three-dimensional diamond-quilted leather door inserts. But in our recent review, we noted the Bentley Flying Spur is not just about the comfortable interior. Despite its large size, the Flying Spur offers true sport sedan performance, aided by a 626-hp twin-turbo W-12 engine with 646 lb-ft of torque on tap, as well. Top speed is an exceptional 207 mph. If a six-figure SUV is more your speed, the Bentley Bentayga also offers top-notch craftsmanship and customization. It competes in a rapidly expanding super-luxury-SUV segment that also includes the Rolls-Royce Cullinan, and Aston Martin DBX.

Check out the gallery below for more Bentley Flying Spur interior images.

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Porsche’s First Super Bowl Ad in More Than Two Decades Is Epic

Motortrend News Feed - Fri, 01/24/2020 - 23:00

Porsche’s first Super Bowl commercial since 1997 is seemingly just the beginning of something bigger—a statement that applies not only to the short version of the ad below, but also the brand as a whole. 

Dubbed “The Heist,” the 60-second spot starts in the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, Germany, where a bevy of security guards mull about the premises unaware that a Porsche Taycan is silently moving about. While the Taycan’s electric powertrain allows it to slip through the halls of the museum undetected, the modern powertrain is unable to do anything about the car tripping the building’s alarm. 

In short order, security is on alert and the crew of guards quickly slip into some of Porsche’s most vaunted vehicles in search of the elusive Taycan. Engines spin to redline, tires howl into the night, and then … it’s over. Or is it? 

It turns out the shorter Super Bowl spot merely serves as a sort of opening sequence to a longer version available to watch on Porsche’s YouTube channel and video site, NewsTV—or as embedded below. If the 60-second spot feels like a Mission Impossible film, the longer clip’s second half plays like Bad Boys, as more than a half dozen Porsches race through the German town of Heidelberg in pursuit of the stolen Taycan. Epic oversteer and various sight gags lighten the mood, which ultimately concludes with a twist.

As mentioned, the entire commercial is analogous to the Taycan’s impact on Porsche’s future as it moves from the maker of some of history’s most legendary fossil-fuel-burning machines to a more electrified future. Indeed, as the first mass-produced electric vehicle by the German automaker, the Taycan previews a Porsche era that promises driving engagement and environmental conscientiousness. And if “The Heist” is anything to go by, then we have no doubt Porsche’s electric future will be as exciting as its gas-driven past.

The post Porsche’s First Super Bowl Ad in More Than Two Decades Is Epic appeared first on MotorTrend.

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Got a Few Million Just Lying Around? Buy This Lamborghini Veneno Roadster

Motortrend News Feed - Fri, 01/24/2020 - 21:00

The Veneno is one special edition Lamborghini that is impossible to forget. After making four copies of the Veneno coupe in 2013, Lamborghini introduced the roadster version, of which nine were produced—each costing around $4.5 million. Now, a Veneno Roadster formerly owned by a member of the Saudia Arabian royal family is on the market, and RM Sotheby’s estimates its value at roughly $5-6 million.

This particular copy was the second roadster to leave the factory, and it sports a black and lime green exterior. This color scheme continues inside the cabin, which features green sport seats and dashboard accents. According to RM Sotheby’s, the car has just 280 miles on the odometer from its two previous owners.

Power comes from the Aventador’s naturally aspirated 6.5-liter V-12 engine. However, the Veneno makes 49 more ponies than its progenitor for a total of 740 hp. The car is estimated to go from 0-62 mph in 2.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 221 mph. Carbon fiber is key: All exterior parts are made from carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer, and the carbon-fiber monocoque is visible inside the car around the central tunnel and the sills.

Unsurprisingly, Venenos have sold for top dollar at previous auctions. Last year, a Veneno Roadster fetched around $8.5 million at auction in Switzerland.

The black and green Veneno Roadster hits the auction block in Paris on February 5.

The post Got a Few Million Just Lying Around? Buy This Lamborghini Veneno Roadster appeared first on MotorTrend.

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Jeep Surely Loves the 2020 Mahindra Roxor’s Newly Un-Jeep-Like Face

Motortrend News Feed - Fri, 01/24/2020 - 20:34

You might as well call the Mahindra Roxor off-road utility vehicle Raymond, because just about everybody loves it. Well, almost everybody. Predictably, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is less than enthused about the little off-road-only side-by-side and its mini-Jeep Wrangler–like appearance. FCA filed a complaint with the United States International Trade Commission alleging the Roxor infringes on the “trade dress” of Jeep, and, well the trucklet’s multi-slat grille and two round headlights do look very . . . Jeep-ish.

While the ITC has yet to officially rule on its investigation, Mahindra isn’t waiting around for a response to the Commission’s pending review of the matter. The company has (preemptively) updated the styling of the Roxor for 2020. In place of the model’s previous Jeep CJ–like mug, the 2020 Roxor wears a face that combines elements of the 40-series Toyota Land Cruiser with cues from the Nash-Healey roadster of the 1950s. The new maw certainly has less Jeep in it, but we hardly think it’s less attractive for it. 

The updated Roxor’s appeal goes beyond its styling. Mahindra’s wee four-wheel-drive utility vehicle benefits from improved off-road performance, thanks to shorter new 5.38:1 axle ratios that replace the prior model’s 3.73:1 gears. With the 62-hp turbodiesel 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine’s mighty 144 lb-ft of torque available from as low as 1,400 rpm working in tandem with the standard five-speed manual or available six-speed automatic transmission and two-speed transfer case (and 9 inches of ground clearance) the Roxor is a proper rock-crawler.

Unfortunately, off-road is where it has to stay, as the $16,599 Mahindra, which tops out at 55 mph, is not street legal. While the Roxor’s refreshed face might help pacify FCA, it won’t prevent authorities from citing individuals who dare to drive the little trucklet on public roads. Turns out every Raymond has a Robert.

The post Jeep Surely Loves the 2020 Mahindra Roxor’s Newly Un-Jeep-Like Face appeared first on MotorTrend.

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This 100+MPH Rally Crash Is Absolutely Crazy to Watch (and Everyone’s OK)

Motortrend News Feed - Fri, 01/24/2020 - 18:36

The Hyundai i20 rally car appears to understeer just slightly coming out of a gentle lefthand bend in the road, enough to place its two right tires into the ditch at a reported 115 mph. Physics takes over from there: The car is seemingly yanked to its right, down the short embankment, where it catches on something and begins tumbling end-over-end through a narrow field. Mid-air, the vehicle strikes the bendy top half of a coniferous tree at the end of the field and … disappears.

Its horrific journey is only half over. After being nearly caught in the tree like a baseball in a mitt, the Hyundai i20 race car competing in the 2020 Monte Carlo rally plummets to a craggy hilltop—pauses, briefly—and then lurches and bounces down a rocky mountainside to a different paved road about 100 feet below. Driver Ott Tänak and co-driver Martin Järveoja make it out of the car, which has come to rest nearly unrecognizable, just fine.

While video of the incident is hard to watch—we’ve embedded a clip of the crash here—it’s probably less noteworthy to those in the racing community. Modern race cars are simply marvels of safety engineering. Look at the Hyundai i20 WRC car, post-crash: Sure, its four wheels are barely clinging to the chassis, and its nose and tail have been reduced to crumpled cavities. But the passenger cell surrounding the driver and co-driver is intact. We imagine the multipoint harnesses, the occupants’ neck-saving HANS devices, and helmets all played a role in avoiding fatal or injurious consequences. Credit also goes to the car’s roll cage, which clearly had to deal with many, many rolls here. We should probably also thank the tree, which seemed to do its part slowing the Hyundai down.

Tanak’s near 115mph shunt saw him get airborne, fell a tree and plunge down the arrowed rock face. Modern WRC cars are built tough, and thank god for that. #TGC #montecarlorally #wrc #otttanak #hyundaiwrc

— The Gravel Crew (@The_Gravel_Crew) January 24, 2020

For those curious, this is what Tanak’s car looked like before the crash:

The post This 100+MPH Rally Crash Is Absolutely Crazy to Watch (and Everyone’s OK) appeared first on MotorTrend.

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2020 Jeep Gladiator vs. 2020 Ford Ranger: Compare Trucks

The Car Connection News Feed - Fri, 01/24/2020 - 16:47
Mid-size pickup buyers have big decisions to make. The 2020 Ford Ranger and 2020 Jeep Gladiator are relatively new mid-size trucks available to buyers after a nearly decade of mid-size pickup delinquency from both Ford and Jeep-parent Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. The two trucks go about their business in very different ways, although they both...
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2020 Gladiator vs Ranger, Capone's Caddy for sale, Mercedes EQC issues: What's New @ The Car Connection

The Car Connection News Feed - Fri, 01/24/2020 - 16:30
2020 Jeep Gladiator vs. 2020 Ford Ranger: Compare Trucks The two new mid-size pickups vie for new buyers, but which one is best? GM develops system to make towing behind pickup trucks safer The system would use trailers equipped with disc brakes and ABS to stop faster. 2020 BMW X2 review The stylish cousin to the X1, the 2020 BMW X2 snips some...
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GM develops system to make towing behind pickup trucks safer

The Car Connection News Feed - Fri, 01/24/2020 - 16:30
A deer leaps into the road. It freezes in your pickup truck's lights. The impulse is to slam on the brakes, but the heavy trailer you're towing could buckle and crash into the truck or flip them both. What do you do? GM is developing an advanced trailer braking system that will let pickup truck drivers react to such perilous situations the same...
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2020 Ford F-Series Super Duty First Test: Thinking Bigger

Motortrend News Feed - Fri, 01/24/2020 - 14:00

In 2017 we named the then all-new Ford Super Duty our Truck of the Year. I’ll never forget it, for a couple of reasons. The big one is that at our gala Of The Year event held at the Deco-meets-Gaudi Theatre inside the Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, yours truly gave Ford the big award. “It’s the truckiest truck that ever trucked,” is how I concluded my speech. We had never seen anything like that Super Duty. Gargantuan, dripping with functionality, and oozing capability, the Super Duty wowed us like few other vehicles have during my decade-long experience with Of The Year events. “Sometimes, one vehicle so clearly satisfies or exceeds our criteria that we spend more time looking for faults than attributes,” features editor Scott Evans said. Amen.

Since then, both Chevy/GMC and Ram have completely revamped their heavy-duty lineups. Ram even took the logical/ridiculous step of endowing its biggest hauler with 1,000 lb-ft of torque. GM kept the numbers down (“only” 910 lb-ft of twist), but thanks to a fantastic 10-speed transmission, properly equipped 3500 HDs can tow 35,100 pounds, beating the giant Ram by a meaningless (but fundamentally important) 400 pounds. Naturally, Ford had to respond, and a midcycle refresh at the four-year point in the Super Duty’s lifecycle is the place to do it.

If you ask me, Ford brought a tank to a gunfight. This puppy is strapped.

The biggest news is that Ford’s truck team figured out a way to extract an additional 125 lb-ft of torque from its 6.7-liter Power Stroke turbodiesel V-8. Yes, folks, the Blue Oval’s big dog now makes 1,050 lb-ft of torque. Put that in your four-inch tailpipe and smoke it, Ram. Oh, and Chevy, GMC? Thanks to a hugely beefed-up version of that 10-speed transmission (jointly developed with GM), a certain Ford F-450 can tow—wait for it—37,000 pounds (!). However, that’s only kinda the big Super Duty engine news. Say huh? Yeah, see, Ford has finally dropped the venerable/ancient 6.8-liter V-10 (a Modular engine family member with roots going back to 1981) with an all-new 7.3-liter naturally aspirated pushrod V-8. If you plug that big V-8 into a F-350 with four wheels on the rear axle, the thing’s payload is 7,850 pounds, the best in the industry.

You might be saying, hey, wait a second. That Silicon Valley mag/website/talking head assured me that all cars will be electric by the end of the month! What gives? Well, the Ford Motor Company, the people betting big on the Mustang Mach-E, predict that by 2024 only 8 percent of the U.S. market will be electric, and a teeny, tiny sliver of that will be trucks. Moreover, zero percent of that small slice will be heavy-duty, medium-duty, chassis cab, or van-cutaway trucks. Now, Ford did make the bold, brave, and smart decision to strike a deal with the California Air Resources Board and “recognize[s] California’s authority” in setting emissions standards. We salute them for that. Turns out that relatively simple, huge-displacement V-8s offer the most flexibility when it comes to controlling both NOx emissions and CO2. Who knew? This new V-8 is a bruiser, too, kicking out 430 horsepower and 475 lb-ft of torque. Did I mention that the Power Stroke now makes 475 horsepower? What a (truck) world.

I did mention that 10-speed transmission already, but ye olde six-speed TorqShift is nearly gone forever. The six-speed is still available on the F-250 with the 6.2-liter V-8. Let’s call it an eventual good riddance. If you do want a $35,300 Super Duty, though, that’s the engine/transmission combo to get. I say that $2,045 to jump up to the new 7.3-liter V-8 is money expertly spent, however.

Between Ford (Raptor) and GM (Camaro ZL1), I’ve become pretty familiar with this new 10-speed gearbox and its closely spaced lower gears. Before I drove the new Super Duties, I would have given the programmatic edge to Team Chevy. However, this iteration of the 10-speed seems perfectly tuned to the big Fords while also expanding the truck’s capabilities. The new first gear is Empire State Building tall at 4.615:1, trumping the old first gear (4.17:1) by almost half a rotation. GM’s HD 10-speed transmission uses a 4.54:1 first gear, and we saw it used to humiliate the Ram 3500 HD in acceleration (6.9 seconds to 60 mph vs. 8.8 seconds, despite the Ram having more torque). The Ram’s eight-speed uses a 4.10:1 first gear ratio. Ford’s new 10-speed feels at least as good as, if not better than, what GM offers.

Nearly as big a story as the powertrain news, and to certain MotorTrend staffers the only thing that matters (Hi, Christian Seabaugh): the Tremor off-road package. You can easily think of the Tremor package as Ford’s answer to Ram’s (totally awesome) Power Wagon but with several important differences.

First of all, Tremor is available on four trim levels: XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, and Platinum. Only XL and Limited, the bottom and top trims, can’t be had with the Tremor package. You can’t get it on duallies, either. I asked. You can, however, get Tremor with a diesel, something you cannot get with the Ram. Word on the street is that Ram couldn’t figure out how to cool the big Cummins with the standard winch in place. So the Power Wagon is gas-only. Ford offers an optional ($3,000) 12,000-pound Warn winch with either engine. I should point out that, unlike the Power Wagon, Ford’s winch can be operated wirelessly. And yeah, the winch works with the diesel.

What do you get with Tremor? First and foremost, custom 1.7-inch-dimeter twin-tube dampers. Tremor-equipped trucks are also lifted by more than an inch and have 10.8 inches of ground clearance. The 18-inch wheels are wrapped in 35-inch Goodyear Wrangler rubber. There’s a locking rear differential, a limited-slip front differential, and a new rock-crawl off-road mode (one of six new off-road modes; non-Tremors get five), as well as a trail-control mode that’s essentially off-road cruise control. You actually set the vehicle’s speed with the cruise-control buttons. A raised front air dam increases the approach angle to 31.7 degrees, while the departure angle is 24.5 degrees. You can ford 33 inches of water thanks to vent tubes on the transfer case and axles. The side steps are actually Raptor-style rock rails, and the bottom sports the armor plating found on the (still available) FX4 package. Keep in mind, the FX4 is largely a $400 appearance package, whereas the Tremor goodies go for $3,975. A bargain, says me, for all that you get.

Ford also heaped a couple helpings of electronic technology into the 2020 Super Duty. Most of these technologies have been in the F-150 and Expedition (and other Ford products) for a year or two and for 2020 trickled their way up to the Super Duty. These are: Pro Trailer Backup Assist, where you turn a dial instead of the steering wheel to back your truck and trailer up; Trailer Reverse Guidance, which shows the trailer angle and direction and provides you with suggestions on how to best back it up; Ford Co-Pilot360 (debuted on the Edge), which includes automatic high beams, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and trailer coverage; and lane-keeping alert. The Super Duties now have USB-C ports and wireless phone charging.

How do the updated Super Duties drive? Pretty darn well. There was an 820-pound jump from the 6.2-liter gas V-8 to the 6.7-liter diesel when we weighed two comparable F-250s back in 2017. I’d imagine the new 7.3-liter V-8 weighs a bit more than the old gas engine, but we won’t know until we weigh the two of them side by side. Still, on the road you definitely feel the weight of the diesel, especially in terms of the rear end feeling even more unloaded. In layman’s terms, the diesel Super Duties bounce around more than the gasoline-powered ones. I went into this thinking the 1,050-lb-ft monster diesel would be the one I’d like best simply because of its acceleration. But let me be the first to tell you that the 430-hp, 475-lb-ft 7.3-liter is awesome and feels a tick quicker just by the seat of my pants, probably because it has less weight to haul around. Sounds much more sinister, too.

I was able to sneak a F-350 King Ranch Tremor with that sweet 7.3-liter V-8 back to L.A. for some instrumented testing. (Fine, Ford let me drive it away from the launch.) A few observations and provisos: The only 2017 F-350 we tested was a diesel Lariat 4×4 dually that crushed our scales to the tune of 8,643 pounds. We did weigh an F-250 Lariat 4×4 with the 6.2-liter V-8, and despite its “lightweight” aluminum body panels, it clocked in at 7,070 pounds. Much to our surprise, the 2020 F-350 Tremor with the bigger V-8 weighs 7,200 pounds. Yes, an F-350 will outweigh an F-250, and the Tremor package should add weight, too. Seems as if the new V-8 weighs less than the old one, though, despite being larger in displacement and cleaner and making much more power. Go, science!

The slightly heavier 2020 model hits 60 mph in 7.3 seconds before tackling the quarter-mile in 15.6 seconds at 90.9 mph. The 2017 beastie gets to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds and runs through 1,320 feet in 15.9 seconds at 88.8 mph. The new Super Duty stops from 60 mph in 147 feet, three feet shorter than the 2017 version. As for our patented figure-eight test, the King Ranch Tremor is 0.1 second behind the 2017 model at 29 seconds flat. Putting heavy-duty trucks through our figure-eight (torture) test is ridiculous, as notes our testing guru Kim Reynolds: “These tires are very tall and knobby and will quickly (almost immediately) disintegrate if you push it very long on asphalt.” Does comparing any Tremor-equipped Super Duty to a non-Tremor truck make any sense? Not really. But as Kim concluded, “It did the laps, so there you go.”

Back to the actual launch: For the towing portion, Ford turned us loose up Arizona’s Granite Mountain in six Super Duties towing everything from a 9,000-pound off-road trailer to a 27-foot, 12,000-pound RV trailer. Gas or diesel, the engine didn’t matter, and the new 10-speed transmission worked beautifully. News flash: Super Duties remain as good at towing as any vehicle you can purchase, especially the six-wheeled versions. With the 12,000-pound trailer hooked up to a diesel F-350 dually, I tried out Reynolds’ tried and true frustration test, a key metric at our Truck of the Year festivities. Essentially, when pointed uphill, you slow down to 20 mph as if you’re stuck behind an annoyingly slow driver. Then you floor it and time how long it takes you to hit 60 mph. It took 17 seconds, which is damn good for six tons hanging off a gooseneck. Impressively, 20 mph to 40 mph seemed to take about five seconds. That’s what 1,050 lb-ft of torque gets you. Strong, strong truck.

Wait a moment—can’t these trucks haul (well) over 30,000 pounds? Yes, they can! That’s why Ford had one hooked up to a 30,000-pound trailer. Because I don’t have a CDL (which you need to legally haul more than 26,000 pounds), a Ford engineer did the driving. Key observation: As we headed uphill towing 15 tons, the transmission happily sat in seventh gear, which just happens to be 1:1. Meaning the engine produces such copious amounts of torque that no multiplication is needed. Again, we were headed uphill on a stretch of road Ford uses as a development substitute for the legendary Davis Dam. Color me incredibly impressed. I also kept an eye on the temperature gauge. Didn’t budge.

Next we showed up at a quarry where Ford had built an off-road course for us to torture the Tremors. I’ve been on dozens of press trips where manufacturers set pathetic little off-road courses to selectively show off a vehicle’s rather limited capabilities. In fact, Ford did exactly this on the launch of the previous-generation Explorer. A good 90 percent of the obstacles happen when the truck’s pointed downhill. This Tremor course was not that. The course began with a rock crawling section that perhaps a dozen other production vehicles on sale could handle, and three of them are Jeeps. The trail grew harder-core from there, with mud, water, and what seemed like a wall to climb. The Tremors never so much as flinched. I will say that the Tremors equipped with the 7.3-liter gas V-8 felt about twice as good off-road as the diesel-powered trucks did. The Power Strokers completed the course just fine, but that extra several hundred pounds over the front wheels did them no favors. As capable as a Power Wagon? Boy, the Tremors sure felt as good if not a bit better—meaning better body control, torquier, better gearing, and of course the 2-inch-larger knobby tires seemed to have more purchase. Now, true, the Tremor package does not offer a locking front diff, nor does it have FCA’s detachable anti-roll bar for hyper articulation. Kinda felt like those things weren’t needed, but I can’t say for certain. You better believe a comparison test is coming, and soon.

By all rights, Ford could have turned in a minor refresh of an already superior truck, sat back, and counted the cash. After all, Americans did purchase more than 890,000 F-Series trucks last year, down from more than 909,000 in 2018. That’s one full-size truck sold ever 35 seconds for an entire year, just to sort of (but not really) put these mega-sales into perspective. Instead of mild updates, though, the Blue Oval made the gutsy decision to reassert its dominance in the highly competitive and hugely lucrative (did I mention that the F-450 Limited starts at $92,125?) heavy-duty truck race. In almost every measurable way, the new Super Duty numerically beats (and beats up) the competition. We can’t render an actual verdict as to which big truck is best until we drive them back to back to back on the same day on the same roads and trails, towing the same trailers. However, my instincts are telling me that I’m seeing if not feeling the writing on the wall. It might not be from me, but you very well could hear “the truckiest truck that ever trucked” again real soon.

2020 Ford F-350 Super Duty King Ranch Tremor BASE PRICE $71,140 PRICE AS TESTED $75,630 VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, 4WD, 5-pass, 4-door truck ENGINE 7.3L/430-hp/475-lb-ft OHV 16-valve V-8 TRANSMISSION 10-speed automatic CURB WEIGHT 7,200 lb WHEELBASE 159.8 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 250.0 x 80.0 x 79.1 in 0-60 MPH 7.3 sec QUARTER MILE 15.6 sec @ 90.9 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 147 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.71 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 29.0 sec @ 0.58 g (avg) EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON Exempt from testing

The post 2020 Ford F-Series Super Duty First Test: Thinking Bigger appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

2020 BMW X2

The Car Connection News Feed - Fri, 01/24/2020 - 12:00
The 2020 BMW X2 is the most style-oriented bite-size luxury-brand SUV, but it’s largely in a class of one. There’s a reason you don’t see many on the road: paying more for less doesn’t have wide appeal. For those willing to trade interior space for a sleek roofline, the 2020 X2 rewards with a fun-to-drive nature and a...
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Ethos Property secures £29.7m student accommodation refinancing

Property Week News Feed - Fri, 01/24/2020 - 10:52
Ethos Property has refinanced two of its recently developed student accommodation assets for £29.7m.
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Frasers Property acquires Lakeshore for £135m

Property Week News Feed - Fri, 01/24/2020 - 10:50
Frasers Property has acquired Lakeshore in Bedfont Lakes Business Park for £135m.
Categories: Property

Rockwell and FirethornTrust secure planning for 40-storey scheme

Property Week News Feed - Fri, 01/24/2020 - 10:10
Rockwell and FirethornTrust have secured planning for their redevelopment of Quay House in Canary Wharf.
Categories: Property

The Best Affordable Track-Friendly Cars You Can Buy In 2020

Motortrend News Feed - Fri, 01/24/2020 - 09:24

Want a car you can schlep to work during the week and take to an autocross course or a racetrack on the weekends? They exist, trust us—you don’t need to purchase two separate cars to fill those seemingly disparate needs. You don’t even need to spend all that much money to buy one car that can handle commutes as well as tracks. Cars at the lower end of the price spectrum these days are better than ever at most things, and the vehicles listed here also happen to be adroit when it comes to road holding—without sacrificing comfortable road manners. Though not all of these fun, dual-purpose cars are your typical budget sports cars, they are all competent contenders for at least light track work. And all of them can be had with a manual gearbox, which ups the fun factor on streets or circuits.

2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata | Price: $28,000

Let’s start with the obvious: The Mazda MX-5 Miata is always the answer. It almost doesn’t matter what the question is, unless, of course, you’re looking for something with more than two seats that also isn’t fun to drive. Anyone seeking out a budget-friendly excitement generator that’s easy to approach and fun to drive will want to take a hard, long look at the Miata. Sure, it’s tiny. But the Miata feels fast at nearly any speed thanks to its light weight and elemental man-machine connection; as of 2019, however, the Miata actually is kind of fast, with 181 horsepower pushing its featherweight body around. The chassis is the real star, and its ability to telegraph impending understeer, oversteer, and general grip levels through the driver’s seat and steering wheel is revelatory—and valuable for teaching newbies how to handle track driving.

2020 Toyota Corolla SE 6MT | Price: $23,705

Maybe this isn’t the Toyota you’d expect to be here, but the Corolla sedan or hatch in SE trim with a manual gearbox is a genuinely sporty car. The 2020 Corolla is a big improvement over the past generation. Not only is it well-designed inside and out, its manual gearbox with auto rev matching (!) is one of the easiest to use, especially for beginners. (It automatically raises engine revs when downshifting so that all a driver needs to do is clutch in, select a lower gear, and clutch out—no tricky heel-toe throttle blipping necessary.) While we wouldn’t necessarily take the Corolla to a track day, we could see it being fun enough on a lower-stakes, weekend autocross course. Its generally comfortable suspension means it’ll shine on your commute.

2020 Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ | Price: $28,015–$29,745

The Toyota 86 and its nearly identical cousin the Subaru BRZ are obvious contenders here. The coupes both start under 30 grand, and autocross events and track days have been awash with these two since they were introduced for 2013. They’re both extremely well-supported by the aftermarket, so owners can easily modify them, and they’re rear-wheel-drive. In fact, think of these as slightly larger, heavier Miatas with fixed roofs and (okay, nearly useless) back seats. Their added size makes them more livable than the Mazda, if only just, but their playful chassis make it easy to slide them around even at legal speeds. And, both can and should be equipped with a manual gearbox.

2019 Volkswagen Golf | Price: $22,740

We’re not going to beat around the bush here, we really like the Mk 7 Volkswagen Golf. In fact, we liked it so much that we named it MotorTrend’s 2015 Car of the Year. It’s not particularly fast, but it’s balanced, eager to turn in, and it comes with a manual option. Yes, we’re aware that the spicier Golf GTI also exists—and we very much recommend that car for enthusiasts who need it all—but the regular Golf costs much, much less and is still quite fun to wheel around while being supremely premium-feeling in everyday driving. The Golf can easily pull double duty and haul the kids and all their gear to school and soccer practice when you’re not tearing up an autocross course.

2020 Ford Mustang Ecoboost | Price: $28,410

While the base Ford Mustang EcoBoost may not be the hardcore enthusiast’s choice, it is still extremely competent and the most powerful base Mustang in history (more so in available High Performance guise). The turbocharged 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder makes a solid 310 horsepower and comes standard with a six-speed manual ‘box. Mustangs are so well loved by the aftermarket that endless upgrades exist. You could easily spend upwards of $20,000 on bolt-on parts and go-faster bits, but sticking to brakes and tires should be plenty for the casual weekend track enthusiast.

2020 Chevrolet Camaro 1LS | Price: $25,000

You can’t talk about the Ford Mustang without following up with a mention of its key rival, the Chevy Camaro. In this affordable performance conversation, the Camaro’s base four-cylinder LS trim is the Mustang EcoBoost’s direct competitor. As does the Mustang, the Camaro, too, comes with a manual transmission standard. The Chevy’s turbocharged four-cylinder engine is down on power compared to the ‘Stang, with 275 horsepower to the Ford’s 310, but that disparity is partially made up for by Camaro’s lighter weight. The Chevy was MotorTrend’s Car of the Year in 2016, and though its aging looks might not be for everyone, it is a phenomenal driver’s car.

2020 Honda Civic Sport | Price: $22,505

The Honda Civic Sport trim is available on the coupe, sedan, and hatchback body styles, and we like them all very much. But, we like the slightly more worked-over hatch just a little bit more. In a recent First Test review, we said, “No other compact car is as multi-talented as the Honda Civic hatchback,.” With its suspension’s deft balance between comfort and performance, peppy turbocharged engine, and available manual transmission, the Civic Sport hatch sits near the top of the compact class both dynamically and in terms of livability.

2020 Hyundai Veloster Turbo | Price: $24,305

The Hyundai Veloster Turbo is one of the newest cars on this list, and it’s properly fun, too. Even though it’s not the full-on Veloster N, the Turbo trim is still sporty in its own right. Its little 1.6-liter turbo makes a respectable 201 horsepower (that’s one more pony than in a previous-generation, Mk-6 Volkswagen Golf GTI) and the B&M shifter kit in the base Turbo R-Spec is surprisingly notchy and satisfying to use. Plus, it’s difficult to argue against the base Veloster Turbo R’s sub-$25,000 price.

Best Budget Track Cars of 2020

The post The Best Affordable Track-Friendly Cars You Can Buy In 2020 appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

1953 Porsche 356 America Roadster vs. 2019 Porsche Speedster: Old Meets New, Old Beats New

Motortrend News Feed - Fri, 01/24/2020 - 09:00

A funny thing happened on the way to drive the Porsche Speedster. That thing is a 1953 Porsche 356 America Roadster, the 17th of 17 ever built, a distant predecessor of the 2019 Speedster. We’ll get to the Lilliputian Porker in a moment, but first I should put my cards on the table regarding the newest chopped-windshield speed machine from the folks at Zuffenhausen by way of Weissach. What’s the best car on sale today? If you ask me, it’s the 991.2 Porsche GT3 with a manual transmission. Hurry if you want one, as they’re just about all gone. The Speedster, then, is that same world-beating driver’s car with the roof lopped off and another 20 horsepower from a reworked engine. Still a manual, too. Therefore, because I’ll be able to hear the glorious, naturally aspirated, 4.0-liter flat-six with its joy-inducing 9,000 rpm redline even better, all the while still shifting my own gears, the Speedster would be, should be my new favorite car. Yes, sure, Porsche trucked out a bunch of museum cars (917, 918, 959!) for us to horse around with, but surely a 70-hp anachronism from Nixon’s first term as vice president would be nothing more than an amuse-bouche before the entrée; a short film to get through before the film starts. An undercard before the main … you see where this is going, yes?

What a fantastic thing! I’ve driven stripped-down, purpose-built sports cars before, but never one like the America Roadster. The story is that after World War II, people were hungry to go racing. This was especially true in the United States, where the economy was booming. Early Porsches were small and light and easily modifiable, and people were taking them racing. Much better, though, (for Porsche) to build a car at the factory that customers could then race, no? That’s what legendary importer Max Hoffman told/sold Porsche, at any rate. Who better to drive such a car than John “Johnny” Von Neumann. Hoffman knew Von Neumann, as both were Austrians who fled the Nazis and wound up in New York. Most people know Von Neumann from the pile of money he made as a Ferrari and Porsche importer, but he had a pretty decent racing career before going on to support such legends as Phil Hill, Ken Miles, and Jack McAfee. He was also one of the first members of the CIA and married a Ziegfeld Follies dancer. More important for our purposes is that Von Neumann also founded the California Sports Car Club after moving to—you guessed it—California. As such, he and those like him needed cars to race.

Enter the America Roadster. A total of 17 were built, 16 of which featured lightweight aluminum bodies. Total weight of this particular example (number 17 of 17) with gas in the tank is under 1,350 pounds. That’s about 100 pounds heavier than a Lotus 7, a car so light it might actually be a motorcycle (not really). The air-cooled, 1.5-liter flat-four produces 70 horsepower, which may not sound like much until you realize that in 1953 the regular 356 kicked out just 40 ponies. Not to be confused with the 356 Speedster—that came later and cost two-thirds the price—America Roadsters weren’t a commercial success. But boy oh boy did they have the formula correct.

You’re familiar with decontented Porsches costing more? Well, the America Roadster is where that concept began. The white car I drove has headlights and a switch on the dash to turn said headlights on—and that’s it! The only other control is a keyhole and a starter button. Originally, this particular Von Neumann car was spec’d without turn signals. That’s nuts. The Porsche Museum went ahead and installed indicator bulbs below the headlights (little red lights) so that the car could legally be driven on public roads—but again, nuts. There are also no door handles, no wipers, no roof of any kind—literally no nothing. OK, at some point someone installed lap belts, but I didn’t find them until after my drive when I looked under the seat for my phone. Small side note: This particular car might be the very first 356 to ever sport twin grilles on the engine lid. Yours truly may (or may not) have made that discovery.

Did I mention I drove it? What a hoot! “Pure,” I guess, is the world I’m looking for, but I always cringe at that one. Exhilarating is a better descriptor. As are uninhibited, raw, and fantastic. The skinny Avon race tires offered more grip than I’d assumed possible, and the more I kept driving the America Roadster, the more charming and fun it got. You know how us auto scribe types are always complaining about thick A-pillars you can’t see around? Well, not only does this 356 have little more than quarter-height, vestigial A-pillars, I could put my head over the windshield in order to look around corners! Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful! I fell in love—I’m only human. I got confident, too. By the end of my day on a private, one-lane wine-country road I was flinging and zinging the little thing around with a certain amount of recklessness. Hey—the brilliant little car made me do it. That’s when they informed me that car 17 is valued at $4 million. Talk about a big gulp.

As I thought more and more about the America Roadster after my all too brief stint staring at it (the thing is gorgeous) and my time behind the wheel, I realized something. This car is why Porsche matters. This car is what it’s all about. This is what little Porsche—especially back in 1953—brought to the table. This is what the brand was capable of. Its future potential. All these supercars from Weissach, those GT2 RSs trading hands for $150K over sticker, 30,000 people paying $65 a ticket for Luftgekühlt to look at parked Porsches—all of that comes back to these 17 original factory hot rods.

I’d even argue that it might all come back to this particular car, number 17, the one ordered without turn signals, door handles, a wing mirror, or even a trunk handle. This phenomenon that us gearheads are collectively enamored with, this runaway German success story—I, for one, am a little closer to understanding where it all began. Car 17 is a museum piece, and perhaps another 100 people will be lucky enough to drive the thing before I’m dead. I thought I was just going to work that day, but I’ve unwittingly become an ambassador for one of the most amazing machines I’ve ever driven. Built in the aftermath of the most destructive war in human history, with huge assists from two men literally chased from their home by the Nazis—I don’t know, the car gives me hope for humanity. Maybe I’m getting carried away, but I really loved driving the damn thing.

Oh, and I drove the new Speedster, too. Yeah, great car, pretty much what I thought and said in the opening paragraph. A 991.2 GT3 sans roof. You got $360,000 laying around? You should buy one. Our tech guru Frank Markus wrote a solid First Drive review of one—read it. The newest Speedster is totally great, got it. But that America Roadster, man, that car is just something else. Something past, something truly analog, honest, yet magical. Something built with an unflinching singularity of function, and something gone.

The post 1953 Porsche 356 America Roadster vs. 2019 Porsche Speedster: Old Meets New, Old Beats New appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

Four lenders refinance Warehouse REIT £220m facility

Property Week News Feed - Fri, 01/24/2020 - 08:00
A club of lenders has refinanced a £220m debt facility for Warehouse REIT.
Categories: Property