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2020 Lexus LC 500 Inspiration Series Glistens in Green

Motortrend News Feed - Wed, 08/14/2019 - 11:00

Lexus is bringing back the LC 500 Inspiration Series, and once again, it will be a very limited edition model. Last year it was yellow, and this year, it receives a more subtle Nori Green paint job. Complementing the green exterior of the 2020 Lexus LC 500 Inspiration Series is a set of 21-inch wheels in a two-tone scheme.

Open the doors, and you’ll see a tasteful tan and black interior. The seats are trimmed in tan aniline leather, and black leather trim adorns the steering wheel, center console, doors, and dash. Alcantara accents can also be found on the door panels.

Lexus made no mechanical changes to the coupe, so it packs the same 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V-8 as other LC 500 models. The engine makes 471 hp and 398 lb-ft of torque, enough to propel the coupe to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds, according to our tests. A 10-speed automatic transmission sends power to the rear wheels.

The 2020 Lexus LC 500 Inspiration Series goes on sale this fall, and only 100 copies will be made for the U.S. Pricing has yet to be announced, but it should be close to last year’s model that went for $107,235.

Fittingly, the coupe will make its first appearance at The Quail, a Motorsports Gathering on Friday, August 16. Check out our Monterey Car Week coverage here.

Source: Lexus

The post 2020 Lexus LC 500 Inspiration Series Glistens in Green appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

Ford Ranger FX2 Package Brings Off-Road Style to 2WD Trucks

Motortrend News Feed - Wed, 08/14/2019 - 11:00

Ford is offering an FX2 Package for its two-wheel-drive Rangers. The new off-road styling kit is available for order right now, and adds an electronic-locking rear differential, off-road rubber, off-road-tuned suspension, front underbody guard, and a nifty off-road cluster screen. It’s no Ranger Raptor substitute, but the new package is made for urban truckers who don’t need a four-wheeler for their daily commute. The new goodies are available for $595 (plus tax) and Ford says deliveries are expected to start in late 2019.

The FX2 Package rolls on 17- or optional 18-inch off-road tires and sports a front underbody guard and an air dam-delete that shields the truck’s belly from potholes and other hazards. It also helps improves those tricky parking structure approach angles. The electronic-locking rear differential and off-road-tuned suspension are sure to increase traction and performance off-road as well as crawling through the long lines at your local Starbuck’s drive-thru.

To help keep things interesting while you are waiting for your Frappuccino, Ford’s off-road cluster screen allows drivers to see pitch, roll, and yaw in real time. Under the hood, the Ranger is still powered by a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that delivers 270 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. The EcoBoost engine is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission.

The FX2 Package joins the new Black Appearance, Sport Appearance, Chrome Appearance, STX Appearance, and the FX4 Off-Road Packages. In addition, Ford states that over half of Ranger buyers also order the Trailer Tow Package that comes with a wiring harness and trailer hitch receiver. When it comes to trucks, it’s nice to have options.

The post Ford Ranger FX2 Package Brings Off-Road Style to 2WD Trucks appeared first on MotorTrend.

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2020 Ford Ranger FX2 is the baja pickup ready for cities

The Car Connection News Feed - Wed, 08/14/2019 - 11:00
Tradition won't skip Ford's newest pickup truck. On Wednesday, Ford announced that the 2020 Ford Ranger FX2 will be available for order as a $595 upgrade on the mid-size pickup. The package adds off-road tires, front skid plates, an electronically locking rear differential, and chunkier styling. Ford said the FX2 package is available for ordering...
Categories: Property

Vita Group completes £600m student portfolio sale

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 08/14/2019 - 10:29
DWS has completed its £600m purchase of a portfolio of Vita Group’s student assets.
Categories: Property

CBRE Capital Advisors acts for Hyde in first housing association debt deal

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 08/14/2019 - 10:26
CBRE Capital Advisors has acted for Hyde Housing Association to secure two revolving credit facilities totalling £350 million.
Categories: Property

Here’s How the Jeep Grand Cherokee Has Changed Over Four Generations

Motortrend News Feed - Wed, 08/14/2019 - 09:00

From its inception, the Jeep Grand Cherokee has been designed for adventures on-road and off. Unlike many trail rigs (like its Wrangler stablemate), the Grand Cherokee uses a unibody chassis instead of a body-on-frame setup for better manners on pavement. Luxurious appointments and ample interior volume make it popular with urbanites and families. Still, it’s a genuine Jeep that can go well off the beaten path. Over four generations, Jeep has continually improved the Grand Cherokee formula. Let’s see how it’s changed from then to now.

First Generation (1993–1998)

The original ZJ Grand Cherokee debuted sensationally at the 1992 Detroit Auto Show, when Lee Iacocca drove it to Cobo Hall, up a staircase, through a window, then onto the floor amidst whooping crowds, trailing a cascade of shattered glass behind it. Based on a steel unibody, it was initially powered by a 190-hp 4.0-liter I-6 engine sending power to either the rear or all four wheels. A four-speed automatic transmission came standard, though Jeep briefly offered a five-speed manual. Toward the end of the run, an available 5.9-liter V-8 with 245 hp and 345 lb-ft of torque made it the quickest SUV we’d ever tested. This 5.9 Limited set the stage for hi-po Grand Cherokees to follow in later generations.

Second Generation (1999–2005)

The WJ generation brought more rounded, sophisticated styling, along with some novel drivetrain technology. Its four-wheel drive system relied on rear-axle slippage to send power to the front, and the automatic transmission used three planetary gear sets with a divided second gear that selected distinct ratios depending on load. A revised 4.0-liter I-6 and a more modern 4.7-liter V-8 provided better refinement and acceleration. Comfort, NVH, and ergonomics were improved over its predecessor, but solid axles were retained front and rear for off-road performance. In 1999 we kept one in our long-term fleet, and over a year of driving we  found it to be a great all-rounder whether cruising city avenues or exploring chunky trails.

Third Generation (2005–2010)

Styling for the WK generation Grand Cherokee returned to its more boxy, angular roots. With standard engines ranging from a 3.7-liter V-6 to a 5.7-liter V-8, off-road capability was furthered by available true low-range gearing and electronic limited-slip differentials. Simultaneously, Jeep replaced the solid  front axle with an independent front suspension and added an available hydraulic active stabilizer system, both of which enhanced on-road composure. That street-oriented focus paved the way for the 6.1-liter V-8-powered Grand Cherokee SRT8, which in 2006 recorded better 0–60, quarter mile, skidpad, and slalom figures than the twice-as-expensive Porsche Cayenne Turbo.

Fourth Generation (2011–Present)

In the late 2000s, Chrysler found itself in dire financial straits. It had to bring its best to survive. With the WK2 Grand Cherokee, it did—and earned a lifesaving federal bailout. Inside and out, the car became more attractive and luxurious than ever. New four-wheel independent suspension smoothed the ride on-road, while adjustable air springs allowed over 11 inches of ground clearance in its highest off-road setting. Electronic control modes let the driver dial in traction for pavement, snow, sand, or rock. Standard engines were a 3.6-liter V-6 or revised 5.7-liter V-8, but the SRT8 made its return with a 475-hp 6.4-liter V-8. For some, however, that wasn’t enough, so Jeep created the Hellcat-powered Trackhawk with 707 hp. Again, for a moment, a Jeep was the quickest SUV we’d ever tested. Now approaching the end of its life cycle, we’re eager to see where the Grand Cherokee goes from here.

The post Here’s How the Jeep Grand Cherokee Has Changed Over Four Generations appeared first on MotorTrend.

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Chevrolet Corvette C3 History: It Saw the End of an Era and Braved a New One

Motortrend News Feed - Wed, 08/14/2019 - 09:00

In this installment of Corvette history, we swim with the “Shark,” a name synonymous with the C3 Corvette. This car was met with mixed reviews when it made its debut in 1968 and braved the endless changes in emissions regulations of the ‘70s and ‘80s. Development of the C3 Corvette began before the big-block C2s even came out! GM and the Corvette’s designers knew that they couldn’t let the C2 have as long a production run as the C1, which ran for 10 years. So, they set up an in-house design competition with one stipulation: have the car ready for the 1967 model year.

This article was originally featured on HOT ROD. For more stories like this, check out the HOT ROD Network. Interested in the 2020 Corvette Stingray? Get the full story on the C8 here.

Two teams quickly emerged, one lead by Zora Arkus-Duntov and the other by the Chevrolet Engineering Center’s director, Frank Winchell. A mid-engine car had been a conversation topic since the early ‘50s, and though these two men’s opinions on specifics differed, both team’s designs revolved around a mid/rear-engine platform. They drew upon inspiration from the Corvair and European cars of the time, like the Porsche 911 and Lamborghini Miura.

Bill Mitchell, one of the integral leaders of the C2 Corvette, wanted in and formed his own design team. The three teams were all fighting the same fight with different styles. Zora and Mitchell pulled from the early Mako Shark I concepts, and Winchell referenced the Corvair. The swooping lines and sharp edges of the concepts made for stunning artistic installations; however, the cars were all proving to be impractical in their design and difficult mechanically. With the limited technology of the times and parts available to them, coupled with cost constraints, none of the teams were able to make a design work, and the mid/rear-engine concepts were scrapped.

Bill Mitchell turned around and solicited the help of designer Larry Shinoda, and together they created a concept that went straight from the drafting table to full-size model. The design was adaptable to work with a front or mid-engine layout and was passed through the Chevrolet’s design department which cranked out the Mako Shark II concept car. It began the auto show circuit in the middle of C2 production, hinting at the Corvette of the future.

The car was receiving mixed reviews. Despite the underpinnings of the car being essentially the same as the tried and true C2, the car was immediately met with problems. The wedged nose and ducktail rear wing created excessive front-end lift (an issue that plagued the early concepts of Frank Winchell). Cooling was also a problem. The narrow body style carried through to the engine bay which heat-soaked the motor. With such a small nose, the radiator was not getting enough airflow, perpetuating the issue. Overheating problems remained a thorn in the side of the C3 from the sale of the first cars all the way to the end of production.

The concept C3s had squeaky roofs due to chassis flex because of the removable one-piece roof. The center roof beam was added to increase rigidity in the roof and thereby created the iconic T-Top. The convertible optioned cars did not have this problem. With these and other issues piling up, the production of the C3 was delayed a whole year to 1968. Once the car officially went on sale, it was apparent that the build quality of the cars was lacking compared to the previous years and other cars on the market. The mixed reviews remained as the styling was criticized for being too extreme and even the T-Tops weren’t as exciting as GM had hoped. A high note was the tremendous straight-line performance numbers of the big-block cars and on-track fun of the sub-400-hp small-block cars.

The 1968-’69 models carried nearly everything over from the C2, with only minor changes to the fit the new design. 1969 did see the arrival of the first ZL-1 car that featured an all-aluminum 427ci big block. The engine was rated by the factory at 430 hp however, according to Corvette Legends and Corvsport, they could actually make more in the neighborhood of 580 hp with the stock manifolds ditched for headers. The crazy engines didn’t stop there. In 1970, the new solid-lifter LT-1 engine was introduced which boosted the C3’s performance such that the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) deemed it eligible to run in their Class B Production class. Essentially, racing enthusiasts could, if they selected the right options, by a factory-prepped, race-ready Corvette in 1970.

Read about this 1969 Chevrolet Corvette LT-2, the stillborn supercar, right here.

By 1972, the car was getting tamed a bit, with touring and road comfort being the focus. The chrome front bumpers would go away in favor of increase crash safety ratings. The molded bumper and taillights arrived in 1974 for the same reasons. Away went one of the coolest features on any car ever: the vacuum actuated windshield wiper door. Like many other cars in the 70s, big engines were getting choked out by the EPA’s emission’s regulations. The small-block cars made between 190 and 250 horsepower, and the behemoth 454 was down to 275 hp.

Despite early criticism, the car received more praise as time went on, as the typical growing pains of a new car following a highly successful model (the C2) seemed to be wearing off. We considered the LS4 454 roadster models of 1973-74 to be among the “10 Best Muscle Car Buys” in the January 1986 issue of HOT ROD!

Come 1975, and you get the catalytic converter to keep “Captain Planet” happy. A steel floor was added the following year to keep that emissions device from heating up the cockpit. Fast forward to 1978, and to the 25th anniversary of the Corvette; which had fancy silver visual treatments to indicate the celebration. Power accessories like locks and windows started becoming available too.

In the 1980s, tilt columns and A/C became standard equipment, along with more emissions controls. California cars had lower horsepower ratings compared to other states because of pollution legislation. In response to this (and probably to make the car still feel fast) Chevrolet took weight-saving measures with the use of aluminum. In 1981, the only available engine was the 350, and in ’82, the C3’s last year of production, it was outfitted with the infamous Cross-Fire injection.

The ‘70s and ‘80s were a dark time for the American car market and as demonstrated by the C3 Corvette, Chevrolet and GM did all they could to maintain the badge’s prowess as a desirable performance car. While cars like the Camaro were meeting their demise, the Corvette soldiered on, braved the storm, and came out on the other side.

The post Chevrolet Corvette C3 History: It Saw the End of an Era and Braved a New One appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

Why We Still Love Our Alfa Romeo Giulia a Year Later

Motortrend News Feed - Wed, 08/14/2019 - 09:00

Some people worry the machines will rise up against us when they become self-aware, but I reckon they’ll all be too self-conscious to try it. If my long-term 2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia heard half the mean things folks said about it, it would never leave the garage. That would be a crying shame, because like all stereotypes, those nasty generalizations aren’t really true. The Alfa’s a great car, no matter what the internet says.

Remember Marvin the Paranoid Android from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? Or the way Han Solo treats droids? Ever stopped to think about the truly awful things you’ve said to your printer? Ignorance, for our machines, is truly bliss. Despite this, I often find myself complimenting the Giulia when I’m alone with it, just to prop up its self-esteem. I try not to be patronizing, because nobody likes that.

What do people say? Mostly that same old line about Italian-car reliability. If the whole country of Italy wasn’t so easygoing, it would have a complex, too. Fact of the matter, though, is my Giulia’s been as good or better than the average car in our long-term fleet. In 12 months and 20,220 miles, the Giulia made four trips to a shop, two planned and two unplanned, but even that doesn’t tell the whole story.

The first of the two unplanned stops was at the tire shop for a nail in the tread, hardly Alfa-specific. The second we initiated ourselves, not because there was anything wrong with the car, but because with 17,000 or so miles on the clock it didn’t feel fair to put it in a head-to-head comparison with a brand spankin’ new BMW 330i M Sport without at least a checkup. While giving it a once-over, the tech found the only mechanical issue of the car’s life to date: a tiny coolant leak weeping from the turbocharger we were unaware of. A new O-ring on the coolant inlet is all it needed, but the tech did the coolant outlet O-ring, too, just to be safe, and the whole thing was covered under warranty.

The other two stops were for routine maintenance, the first just short of 10,000 miles and the second just over 20,000, both prompted by the car. The first set us back $197.35 for oil, filter, washer fluid, and oil and fuel “conditioners” the dealer slipped in. The second pit stop was a steeper $272.20 for just an oil and filter change, because dealer number two marks up a quart of oil 87 percent higher than dealer number one and the filter 97 percent. It also charges 69 percent more for labor, so let that all be a lesson to shop around if you can.

A recall was also performed free of charge during the first service to prevent backfiring, an issue we never experienced.

At $469.55, the maintenance wasn’t cheap, but it still cost less than our 2017 Audi A4 2.0T Quattro for the same service ($561.36 for two oil changes and inspections). On the other hand, our 2012 BMW 328i Sport didn’t cost a dime in maintenance because BMW throws that in for free the first three years or 36,000 miles. Then again, that BMW’s entire steering rack failed and had to be replaced at 14,500 miles.

All that time the Giulia spent not breaking down like everyone predicted, it was busy handling situations it wasn’t intended for. This is a sport sedan through and through, and yet when I had to take a detour down a 3-mile Forest Service road around a washout and when I got caught in a late-season snowstorm, it behaved as though it were driving down fresh pavement on a beautiful spring day. The compliance in the suspension kept it riding nicely in the dirt, and the Pirelli P Zero summer tires didn’t mind the cold.

It worked damn well in the situations it was intended for, too. Whether it was taking down that BMW or putting my mother-in-law who’d recently had a double knee replacement and my 6-foot-6 father-in-law in the back seat, the Giulia was a champ.

It wasn’t perfect, though. The infotainment system developed a bug where it occasionally reset itself within the first minute or two of starting the car. It would show up, stick around for a few days, then disappear for months. It’s kind of like an app crashing on your phone—annoying but quickly forgotten until it happens again. I also took issue with the programming of the parking sensors (too eager to turn off when you still need them) and the automatic engine stop/start system (too eager to activate when the interior is still too warm or too cold).

Software isn’t what won this thing Car of the Year, though. Faced with a decision between a technological marvel and a car that inspires you to drive, we took inspiration. Every time I mindlessly caressed the big, metal shift paddles, every time I turned the knob to Dynamic mode, every time I whipped around a freeway cloverleaf and dreamed about skipping work and going for a drive in the mountains instead, I remembered why cars like this win awards.

Read more on our long-term Alfa Romeo Giulia here: Our Car SERVICE LIFE 13 mo / 21,926 mi BASE PRICE $41,440 OPTIONS Sport RWD ($2,500: 19″ dark alum wheels, all-season perf tires, alum interior accents, paddle shifters & pedals, yellow brake calipers, gloss black window surrounds, leather sport seats & steering wheel, power lumbar/manual thigh support, F/R sport fascias); Driver Assist Dynamic Plus ($1,500: adaptive cruise control with stop, auto high beams, fwd collision/lane-departure warnings, infrared windshield); Dual Pane sunroof ($1,350); Sport Performance ($1,200: active suspension, limited-slip differential); Leather dash and door uppers ($995); Harman Kardon premium audio ($900); Driver Assist Static ($650: auto-dimming mirrors; blind-spot & cross-path detection); Blue metallic paint ($600); 19″ bright alum wheels ($500) PRICE AS TESTED $51,356 AVG ECON/CO2 24.1 mpg/0.80 lb/mi PROBLEM AREAS None MAINTENANCE COST $470 (2 x oil change, inspection,etc.) NORMAL-WEAR COST $0 3-YEAR RESIDUAL VALUE* $29,600 (57%) RECALLS 1: Reprogram PCM software to quell backfiring and overheating catalytic converter *IntelliChoice data; assumes 42,000 miles at the end of 3-years 2018 Alfa Romeo Giulia Q2 Ti (Sport RWD) POWERTRAIN/CHASSIS DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Front-engine, RWD ENGINE TYPE Turbocharged I-4, alum block/head VALVETRAIN SOHC, 4 valves/cyl DISPLACEMENT 121.6 cu in/1,993 cc COMPRESSION RATIO 10.0:1 POWER (SAE NET) 280 hp @ 5,200 rpm TORQUE (SAE NET) 306 lb-ft @ 2,000 rpm REDLINE 5,500 rpm WEIGHT TO POWER 12.9 lb/hp TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE RATIO 3.15:1/2.02:1 SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Multilink, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar STEERING RATIO 11.8:1 TURNS LOCK-TO-LOCK 2.4 BRAKES, F; R 13.0-in vented disc; 12.5-in vented disc, ABS WHEELS 8.0 x 19-in cast aluminum TIRES 225/40R19 89W; 255/35R19 92W Pirelli P Zero AR DIMENSIONS WHEELBASE 111.0 in TRACK, F/R 61.3/64.0 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 182.6 x 73.7 x 56.5 in TURNING CIRCLE 35.4 ft CURB WEIGHT 3,600 lb WEIGHT DIST, F/R 50/50% SEATING CAPACITY 5 HEADROOM, F/R 38.6/37.6 in LEGROOM, F/R 42.4/35.1 in SHOULDER ROOM, F/R 56.1/53.6 in CARGO VOLUME 13.4 cu ft TEST DATA ACCELERATION TO MPH 0-30 1.7 sec 0-40 2.6 0-50 3.8 0-60 5.2 0-70 6.8 0-80 8.6 0-90 10.9 0-100 13.6 PASSING, 45-65 MPH 2.7 QUARTER MILE 13.8 sec @ 100.6 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 110 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.91 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 25.6 sec @ 0.71 g (avg) TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 1,600 rpm CONSUMER INFO BASE PRICE $41,440 PRICE AS TESTED $51,635 STABILITY/TRACTION CONTROL Yes/Yes AIRBAGS 8: Dual front, front side, f/r curtain, front knee BASIC WARRANTY 4 yrs/50,000 miles POWERTRAIN WARRANTY 4 yrs/50,000 miles ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE 4 yrs/Unlimited miles FUEL CAPACITY 15.3 gal REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB 23.1/30.1/25.8 mpg EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON 24/33/27 mpg ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 140/102 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.71 lb/mile RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded premium

The post Why We Still Love Our Alfa Romeo Giulia a Year Later appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

Henderson Park buys Green REIT for €1.34bn

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 08/14/2019 - 07:55
Henderson Park is set to buy Irish based property group Green REIT for €1.34bn (£1.24bn).
Categories: Property

CLS half-year NAV and profit rises

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 08/14/2019 - 07:38
Property investment group CLS has posted a 5% rise in net asset value (NAV) for the six months to the end of June.
Categories: Property

Iacobescu to step back from Canary Wharf role

Property Week News Feed - Wed, 08/14/2019 - 07:20
Sir George Iacobescu, is set to step down at the helm of Canary Wharf Group (CWG) after more than two decades in the role.
Categories: Property

2020 BMW 330e Euro-Spec Review—Driving the Un-Hybrid

Motortrend News Feed - Tue, 08/13/2019 - 23:01

Compromise—a word not even lawmakers in Washington like. Inherent to the concept is a concession; you give up something you want in exchange for something you desire even more. Regardless of the nature of the trade, it can be tough to deal with. Just a few years ago, hybrid cars came with a lot of compromises: Their drive wasn’t great, and their looks were quirky and different. But their fuel economy and low CO2 emissions eventually made them popular. In the past five years, however, things have changed. Hybrids have started to look similar to regular cars, and they’re delivering even better efficiency numbers; they’ve even improved their driving dynamics to deliver a fun experience at the wheel. (Heck, we’ll soon have a plug-in Ferrari.)

BMW is not behind the curve. Its i division is responsible for the all-electric i3 and hybrid i8, and the brand plans to have 25 electrified models on the road by 2023. One of those models is the 2020 BMW 330e, the 3 Series plug-in hybrid based on the new G20 platform. It looks just like the standard 330i, and it requires very little compromise (the U.S. spec model will appear as the 2021 BMW 330e)

If not for its charging port next to the driver’s door, it would be easy to confuse this electrified variant for the pure internal combustion model. Unlike the previous 330e, there are no blue kidney grilles, no blue surround on the wheels, and no  badges that identify this car as a hybrid. And that was on purpose. BMW likes the idea of having a hybrid that doesn’t look like a hybrid, where the driver doesn’t have to give up the looks to get a fuel-efficient model. That’s exactly the case with the 2020 BMW 330e.

Things could not be more different under the hood and sheetmetal, though. All 330e units will be powered by a 2.0-liter turbo-four making 184 hp married to a 113-hp electric motor for a combined output of 252 hp, just shy of the regular 330i’s 255 hp. But the plug-in magic doesn’t stop there; the electrified sedan can release 41 additional horses when driving in standard XtraBoost mode, increasing the combined output to 292 hp. No compromise here.

The hybrid model’s additional power translates to a 5.9-second 0–62 run, according to BMW tests. In our own testing, the internal combustion 330i ran from 0 to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds. If you’re a fan of speed, the hybrid can get all the way up to 143 mph; the 330i can do 155 mph with the optional performance tires (otherwise it gets to 130 mph).

And the magic continues. The U.S. model should get about 30 miles of electric range. That’s more than double the range of the previous-gen 330e. Although the 2020 330e’s all-electric range has been rated in Europe at 66 km (41 miles), BMW said a more realistic number is 60 km (37 miles). Translate that to American certification numbers, and we’re probably looking at something just north of 30 miles of all-electric driving. Not bad. And while you’re driving in pure EV mode, you can reach speeds of up to 87 mph.

It’s also too early for EPA fuel economy ratings, but expect its numbers to be above the 2018 330e, which delivered 71 mpg-e combined.

As in politics and relationships, the 330e does require some compromises. But there’s not a lot of giving up. The car weights about 440 pounds more than the regular 3 Series (the battery weighs about 330 pounds, and other components add 110 pounds), it will have a higher price, and there’s less cargo room because the 12-kW-hr battery is under the rear seat (and the gas tank is now above the rear axle). The good news is that the trunk is the only place where space was sacrificed, and part of the cargo floor can be lowered to fit in a golf bag. The bad news is that cargo room went from the 330i’s 17 cubic feet down to 13.2 cubes.

Also, BMW says the 12-kW-hr battery will charge to 80 percent in about two and a half hours when it’s connected to a 220-volt charger; expect three and a half hours for a regular 110-volt. Even if you leave it on a charger all night, the battery will still only be charged to 80 percent (10.4 kW-hr); engineers are leaving the other 20 percent for “green energy” charging, meaning brake regen, downhill cruising, etc.

The 330e is also packed with technology that thinks green. Hybrid mode works with the built-in navigation to come up with a route that will maximize its hybrid abilities based on the geography and traffic. Using geofencing technology, the 330e will also automatically switch to all electric when driving through “green zones,” emissions-free areas in some European cities where only electric cars are allowed.

Whether we were driving with Auto, Hybrid, or Electric mode on the twisty, hilly roads outside of Munich, the ride was pleasant, but the added weight is noticeable. The car feels heavier than the regular 330i and more planted in tight corners. I was particularly impressed by how smoothly the battery and engine work together; you don’t really notice when the engine is taking over or has turned on. The 330e can also be very quiet, which is quite a difference compared with the 330i.

But switch to Sport mode or XtraBoost, and the 330e turns into an angrier machine. With XtraBoost, the 330e releases its additional 41 electric horses for 10 seconds, launching the car with force and letting a powerful exhaust note into the cabin. The quiet car we had just driven a few feet back turned into a sport sedan that delivered instant power to the wheels. It takes the corners with agility and delivers a pretty fun experience at the wheel. The steering becomes a bit more rigid in Sport or XtraBoost, and you’ll see different graphics on the instrument panel, with the display turning red. It’s a bizarre feeling switching to XtraBoost: The 330e has a different character and becomes un-hybrid for a moment, feeling closer to an M Sport car.

Selecting the driving mode is easy. Each mode is clearly labeled next to the shifter. Press the Sport mode button twice to get to XtraBoost. It still offers paddle shifters, and the M Sport package will be available in the U.S.

Part of that fun experience at the wheel is because the 330e is only available as rear-drive (for now). BMW hasn’t made a decision on whether it will make an xDrive version, but because Americans tend to like all-wheel-drive sedans, there’s a chance we might see that on our shores next year; the 330e will arrive to the U.S. for the 2021 model year.

We still don’t know how much more the plug-in hybrid will cost over the 330i, and that will probably be the biggest compromise consumers will have to make. But when you look at how much money you’ll save on gas without significant sacrifices to performance, looks, or interior space, the compromise might be no compromise at all.

The post 2020 BMW 330e Euro-Spec Review—Driving the Un-Hybrid appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

The Type S Concept Is the Hottest Acura Since the NSX

Motortrend News Feed - Tue, 08/13/2019 - 20:10

Acura has spent the past few years reinventing itself as a performance brand, and the Type S Concept at the Pebble Beach Car Week takes a big step toward solidifying that image. The concept previews the second-generation TLX sedan, specifically the Type S version, but also gives us an idea what to expect from future Type S models. Hint: actual performance.

The Type S concept draws inspiration from the Acura Precision concept of 2016, but also pays homage to the top-dog NSX supercar as well as past Type S models. Up front, you have side vents lifted almost directly off the NSX, which are positioned beneath what might be Acura’s best execution of its Diamond Pentagon grille yet. The front end is aggressively styled with a sculpted hood that that forms the top edge of the grille and a new interpretation of the Jewel Eye headlight setup, which is recessed slightly. In front and back you’ll see Acura’s new “Chicane” light signature, born from the ARX-05 Daytona Prototype racer. The large four round exhaust tips are a nod to the 2007 TL Type S.

What you immediately notice in person are the car’s proportions. The Acura Type S features a relatively long dash-to-axle ratio, which gives the appearance of rear-wheel drive. Because this is a design concept, Acura didn’t give us any details on drivetrain. However, it’s probably a safe guess that the production TLX Type S won’t be rear-drive-based as Honda doesn’t have a platform to support that. Though we didn’t get any specs, Acura did hint at what it’s planning.

“For Acura, Super Handling All-Wheel Drive is a performance technology that we’re heavily invested in, from NSX on down, and that’s something that will continue,” a spokesman said. We also know that Acura has been working on a new turbocharged V-6, and that seems like a good fit here.

Even if the next-gen TLX continues to be front-drive-based, the new more cab-rearward look goes a long way in communicating sportiness. The concept has no problem getting that message across, riding low on 21-inch multi-spoke wheels wrapped in 285-series summer tires. Behind those two-tone alloys are drilled Brembo brake rotors clamped down by four-piston calipers.

Throughout the body you’ll find forged carbon accents. In case you’re not familiar, forged carbon bonds layers of carbon to achieve higher strength compared to carbon fiber, which is woven. The process also results in a very distinctive look. Forged carbon can be found on the front lip and side intakes, side skirts, rear valance and diffuser, ducktail rear spoiler, and even decorating the wheel spokes.

To help the Type S concept stand out on the lawn at Pebble Beach, Acura finished it in a shade it calls Double Apex Blue Pearl. The paint uses the same nano-pigments as the NSX, and also gets a tinted clear coat that helps accentuate the car’s sharp body lines. Acura says the color is inspired by the blue Type S models from its past.

The concept will certainly inspire the TLX Type S, but Acura says it will deliver a second Type S model within the next two years. We’re thinking the RDX would be next in line to get the treatment. The RDX A-Spec is already pretty sporty, so we’re looking forward to what a Type S model might bring. There’s also a next-gen MDX on the way, which is a likely candidate for the aforementioned turbocharged V-6.

Whichever Acura model gets a Type S badge next, we hope this Pebble Beach Car Week concept closely previews the level of performance we can expect.

The post The Type S Concept Is the Hottest Acura Since the NSX appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

Jeep Wrangler JL vs. JK: What’s the Difference Between New and Old

Motortrend News Feed - Tue, 08/13/2019 - 18:43

No other vehicle is as synonymous with off-roading as the Jeep Wrangler. The latest generation arrived in 2018 and has impressed everyone who has driven it. But should you upgrade from the already capable Jeep Wrangler JK? This video gives you nine reasons why you should get a Jeep Wrangler JL over a JK.

9) Interior, Dash & Doors

The interior alone is a big step up in the Jeep Wrangler JL vs. JK. You get more space in the JL thanks to the retro-inspired flat dash and an eye-catching design, a key difference from the JK. The waterproof interior makes cleaning the Jeep Wrangler JL’s interior as simple as pulling some drain plugs and aiming the hose.

Comparing the Jeep Wrangler JL vs. JK in the interior department shows big improvements. Like most new Jeep models, the Jeep Wrangler JL gets FCA’s intuitive UConnect multimedia system with either a 5.0-, 7.0-, or 8.4-inch touchscreen depending on the trim level. In comparison, the Wrangler JK utilizes an older infotainment system that’s at least a decade old and has no smartphone integration.

8) High-Strength, High Clearance Bumpers

Compared to the JK Wrangler, the JL Wrangler features more extensive use of high-strength steel to cut weight and its wheelbase has been stretched for a more spacious interior. You’ve also got redesigned bumpers that are more durable and that enable superior departure angles.

7) Bigger Flares

The Wrangler JL has bigger flares than the outgoing Wrangler JK, which means you can equip it with tires up to 35 inches in diameter.

6) True 33-inch Tires

One of the key differences comparing the Jeep Wrangler JL vs. JK are the tires. The Wrangler JL Rubicon comes from the factory with 33-inch tires, giving it better off-road credentials.

5) Reduced Weight

The use of aluminum in the doors, hood, and fenders make the JL Wrangler lighter than its predecessor. Lighter doors and hard top panels mean they’re easier to take off, and the soft top slides on or off with minimal fuss since the zippers from the JK Wrangler are now gone.

4) Fully Foldable Windshield

There’s also an easy-to-fold windshield to let nature in when removing the roof and doors aren’t enough. When you compare the Jeep Wrangler JL vs. JK, there’s more ways to drive with the wind in your hair thanks to that folding windshield.

3) Great Grille

Like past Jeep Wranglers, the JL keeps the exterior evolutionary and includes a grille that pays homage to the CJ generation produced from 1944 to the late 1980s.

2) Upgraded Axles

Stronger Dana 44 axles mean the Jeep Wrangler JL can take more abuse off the beaten path.

1) Turbo Power

The available turbocharged 2.0-liter engine gives the Jeep Wrangler JL a meatier torque band versus the Wrangler JK and its 3.6-liter V-6. When you put the Jeep Wrangler JL vs. JK, the former offers superior powertrains and will also be available in diesel and plug-hybrid flavors, further creating more difference between the two generations.

The significant improvements made to the Wrangler JL were enough to earn it MotorTrend’s 2019 SUV of the Year award. Between the improved on-road comfort, new tech features, and superb off-road credentials, the Wrangler JL is a clear upgrade over the Wrangler JK.

Jeep Wrangler JL vs. JK 9 Differences:
  1. Interior, Dash & Doors
  2. High-Strength, High Clearance Bumpers
  3. Bigger Flares
  4. True 33-inch Tires
  5. Reduced Weight
  6. Fully Foldable Windshield
  7. Great Grille
  8. Upgraded Axles
  9. Turbo Power

The post Jeep Wrangler JL vs. JK: What’s the Difference Between New and Old appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

River Island asks landlords for 40% rent cuts

Property Week News Feed - Tue, 08/13/2019 - 17:54
River Island is asking landlords to slash its store rents by up to 40%, as reported by Property Week’s sister title Drapers.
Categories: Property

River Island asks landlords 40% rent cuts

Property Week News Feed - Tue, 08/13/2019 - 17:54
River Island is asking landlords to slash its store rents by up to 40%, as reported by Property Week’s sister title Drapers.
Categories: Property

New data reveals European hotel investment on the rise

Property Week News Feed - Tue, 08/13/2019 - 17:53
Hotel investment plummeted 26% in the UK in the 12 months ending 31 June 2019, despite strong appetite for the asset class across Europe, according to CBRE.
Categories: Property

Ford Working on EV with Rivian: Will It Be an SUV?

Motortrend News Feed - Tue, 08/13/2019 - 17:50

In addition to the whack of electrified vehicles in its future stable, Ford will pursue three different paths, with intriguing partners, to get them all to market.

Ford is investing $11.5 billion to introduce 40 electrified vehicles by 2022, of which 16 will be fully electric; the rest will be hybrids or plug-in hybrids. In addition to engineering its own electric vehicle architecture, Ford will use Volkswagen’s electric vehicle platform to expand its European lineup and is working with tech company Rivian in the U.S. on larger vehicles.

“They’re all teaching us different things, and the platform rationalization may come years later,” Ford President and CEO Jim Hackett said in an interview with MotorTrend.

Working with Rivian

One of Ford’s intriguing partnerships is with Rivian, a Michigan-based tech company that has developed cool electric pickup and SUV concepts that are slated to go into production in late 2020.

Ford has invested $500 million in Rivian and will use its skateboard chassis that provides a full electric powertrain complete with battery pack, electric motors, suspension, axle, and other key components to power a vehicle for about 400 miles. “Rivian is a really special thing that’s teaching us about merging not only the powertrain, but the architecture that the ECUs [electronic control unit] and other things connect to,” said Hackett. “So think of it as architecture for the operating system of the vehicle.”

Ford will develop its own body to wrap around the skateboard.

“You shouldn’t go down the path of assuming it’s a pickup,” Hackett told MotorTrend, which has us assuming it will be an SUV. Many of the details are now finalized. “At the senior levels it’s pretty close,” he said. “I think a lot of that has been settled, but not ready to talk about.”

Rivian will build the skateboard and likely assemble the entire vehicle. “It would be counterproductive for us to try and make what they have capacity to do in the beginning here, because they’ve got a factory in Illinois that meets a lot of our criteria,” Hackett said.

Hackett said overall he likes Rivian founder RJ Scaringe’s clean sheet approach and thinks tapping into the tech company’s engineering will speed up Ford’s rollout of smart vehicles.

Electric vehicles with VW

Ford is collaborating with Volkswagen, too. It will use VW’s new MEB architecture, a global modular platform designed to underpin millions of electric vehicles for the Volkswagen Group (VW, Audi, Seat, Skoda) as well as other interested automakers.

Ford is the first major carmaker to tap in. The agreement gives Ford the parts and components it needs to build a small front-drive electric vehicle at a Ford plant, starting in 2023. It would be for the European market. “The small cars on MEB are not for N.A.,” Hackett confirms. A second vehicle could be added as part of Ford’s plan to sell 600,000 MEB-based vehicles in Europe over six years.

Homespun electrics

All Ford utility vehicles in the future will offer a hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or both. Ford has vowed to be the top producer of hybrids by 2021, jumping ahead of Toyota, with plans to offer some degree of electrification on every mainstream vehicle.

Adding batteries and motors to Mustang will enhance performance. There will be a Mustang hybrid, and a pure electric SUV with Mustang styling is due to launch in 2020.

For trucks, electrification adds capability and efficiency. An F-150 hybrid is due in 2020, and Ford is working on an electric F-Series pickup. No time line has been given for that model.

The post Ford Working on EV with Rivian: Will It Be an SUV? appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

2020 Nissan Altima

The Car Connection News Feed - Tue, 08/13/2019 - 17:00
Come for the bargain, stay for the value. The 2020 Nissan Altima will attract many buyers for its affordability. It costs less than $25,000 in base trim. Over time they’ll appreciate their choice more: the 2020 Altima’s a good mid-size sedan with impressive value. It’s a 6.7 on our scale, which reflects its good base features...
Categories: Property

2020 Honda Odyssey is here, drive-thrus in Minneapolis are banned, Porsche's carbon credit offsets: What's New @ The Car Connection

The Car Connection News Feed - Tue, 08/13/2019 - 17:00
2020 Honda Odyssey gets standard 10-speed automatic, 25th anniversary package Honda's mega-selling minivan will add an appearance package for its 25th birthday and make standard a 10-speed automatic for all versions. 2019 Lexus NX aces IIHS tests, earns Top Safety Pick+ nod The small crossover earned top marks for its crashworthiness and crash...
Categories: Property

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