Rejoice, the F-TYPE is getting a manual gearbox!
-Jaguar Land Rover announced their F-TYPE range would be greatly enhanced next year with the addition of an optional all-wheel drive, a manual gearbox and improved interior.
-A new version will also join the range in the shape of the Jaguar F-TYPE R Convertible, a model which will replace the V8 S Convertible with a topspeed of 186mph.
-Jaguar Land Rover also announced a breakthrough in new in-car technology at the Connected Car Expo in LA. Jaguar is aiming to be an industry leader in voice control technology with full smartphone integration. While many similar systems can operate basic in-car features, Jaguar's new 'justDrive' system can browse the internet and even Tweet from your voice.
It seems GM didn’t come back to the midsize truck segment just to play around.
Story by: Will Sabel Courtney
Everybody wants a truck. Some people wear their desire loud and proud, others bury it deep down inside, but on some level, every one of us wants to have a tough pickup to tow, haul, off-road—or just feel like a king while surveying all the poor saps below in their puny “cars.” One glance at the charts holds the proof; the Big Three’s Big Trucks (F-150, Silverado/Sierra, and Ram) consistently rank in the top five best-selling passenger vehicles in the States.
But those trucks aren’t simply big sellers—they’re big vehicles, period. With curb weights north of three tons, dimensions close to those of a small bus and turning circles similar to a Navy destroyer, living with these monster rigs can be trying if you don’t own your own farm…and don’t mind leaving the back 40 fallow to use as a parking lot. And with top-of-the-line trucks packing price tags reserved for Bimmers and Benzes a decade ago, bringing home a pickup can mean picking up every penny and nickel you find just to keep gas in the tank.
Enter the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon. You might remember those names; they’re the same ones General Motors slapped on their last couple of mid-size pickup trucks. That’s about the only thing these new rigs share with their predecessors, though. The Colorado and Canyon are new from tip to tail.
They’re also good-looking from tip to tail. In person, the Colorado comes across as sportier and younger, whereas the Canyon’s more distinguished. The insides are pretty much the GMC scores a sleeker, swankier interior that feels worthy of the higher price tag it commands over the Chevy. Both rigs are nice places to watch the world go by, though, with airy, open cabins and ergonomics most other car companies could take a page from.
Looks are important, of course, but for trucks, capability and features are tops on the list of importance. GM’s mini-rigs come with a standard 200 horsepower inline-four, but unless you never plan on towing or hauling anything other than yourself and your phone, you’re better off with the 305 horsepower 3.6L V6—and if you’re not gonna haul anything, what’d you buy a truck for? (You don’t lose much on the gas mileage front with the bigger engine, either—the V6 still gets 24-26 mpg on the open road, which is a lot better than most full-size trucks.)
Both trucks come in a choice of 2WD or 4WD, short or long bed, and extended or crew cabs—the latter of which is actually big enough to seat four or five full-grown people. Don’t think these two small trucks lack the ability to move big items, either. The trucks can haul around three-quarters of a ton of payload, or tow up to 7,000 pounds. That ain’t small potatoes.
GM says a lot of Colorado and Canyon buyers will be moving up from passenger cars and crossovers, so the General went out of its way to pack on features that would have seemed like luxuries in a truck only a few years ago. On-board Wi-Fi, thanks to AT&T 4G LTE? Covered. A rear-view camera? Standard. Lane-departure warning, an 8-inch color touchscreen for radio and navigation, forward collision warning, a spray-on bedliner? All available. There’s even a whole bunch of accessories designed just for the truck, to make hauling everything from bikes to boats easier.
And best of all, these trucks come in nice and cheap. You can score a Colorado for around $21K; most will likely come in around $30-35K, but even so, that’s a deal for a rig that does all that these trucks do. It seems GM didn’t come back to the midsize truck segment just to play around; they’re playing for keeps. And odds are good they’re gonna see these trucks sell like whoa.
Model Tested: 2015 Chevrolet Colorado 4WD LT Crew Long Box
Base Price: $20,995
Price as Tested: $38,870
Power: 305hp, 269 lb.-ft.
Gas Cash: 17 city, 24 hwy
The Maybach is back with a little name tweaking and a V12 biturbo kicking out 523hp.
With the world premiere in Guangzhou and the presentation in Los Angeles, the new Mercedes- Maybach S-Class will be unveiled almost simultaneously in its two key markets of China and the USA. At 214.6 inches long and with a wheelbase of 132.5 inches, the flagship of the Mercedes-Benz model range is 8.1 inches larger in both dimensions than the S-Class Sedan. Rear passengers benefit from this increased size as well as from standard equipment that includes executive seats on both the left and right sides and other exclusive details. In the rear, the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class is also the world's quietest production sedan. The US will launch with the Mercedes- Maybach S600 in April 2015.
"The history of prestige vehicles made by Daimler extends back to the earliest days of the motor car. We have now commenced a new chapter with the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class," points out Ola Källenius, member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars responsible for sales. "As an addition to the portfolio of S-Class sedans, the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class sets new standards in the luxury segment. The vehicle satisfies the very highest requirements in terms of exclusivity appointments and comfort."
"Perfection down to the last detail and a new dimension in seating and resting comfort for the rear passengers are the hallmarks of the new Mercedes-Maybach", says Professor Dr Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG with responsibility for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. "Our exceptionally successful new S-Class already defines the pinnacle of automotive engineering in a host of technical disciplines such as safety, efficiency, climate control and noise characteristics. The Mercedes-Maybach now sets the benchmark in the luxury segment even higher."
Mercedes-Maybach: a new sub-brand offering peerless exclusivity
The Mercedes-Maybach S-Class melds the perfection of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class with the exclusivity of Maybach. Mercedes-Maybach motor cars epitomize peerless exclusivity. Some of the features that distinguish these vehicles from production models include extra spaciousness with lavishly designed, prestigious interiors offering an extensive scope of individualization. As a result, the cars fulfil the requirements of even the most discerning customers worldwide.
Mercedes-Maybach is not an equipment line – it is a sub-brand that in the future will provide Mercedes-Benz vehicles in an even more exclusive form. Alongside Mercedes-AMG, Mercedes-Maybach is thus the second sub-brand in the Mercedes-Benz brand world. Providing both prestige and exclusivity, it is aimed at customers for whom status is important.
The US market launch of the Mercedes-Maybach S600 is scheduled for April 2015. Its V12 biturbo engine has an output of 523 hp. With a displacement of 5980 cc, the maximum torque of 612 lb-ft is available from 1900 rpm.
Inside the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class, the level of wind noise is impressively low and in the rear, despite the large windows, betters even the quietest car in the world – the S-Class Coupe. For passengers in the rear, the Mercedes- Maybach S-Class is the world's quietest production sedan.
In its exterior design, the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class combines stylish, effortless superiority with trend-setting exclusivity. The vehicle makes modern luxury come alive in an exceptional way. Along with the extended wheelbase, emphatic lines suggest power and dynamism. Due to the side profile's special design, characteristic design elements for the S-Class are retained such as the sweeping, dome-shaped roofline.
The key distinguishing feature is the new side line: by comparison with the long-wheelbase version of the S-Class, the striking rear door has been shortened by 2.6 inches and therefore appears to meld seamlessly into the overall composition. The door has no triangular window because this has been relocated into the C-pillar. As a result, the rear seats are situated beyond the door cutout, which creates a feeling of exceptional privacy and exclusivity. The elegant Maybach Manufaktur logo – a double M inside an arched triangle – adorns the C-pillars on both sides.
In the interior of the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class, passengers are enveloped in lounge-style, modern luxury. With its clear architecture, refined materials and stylish controls, the vehicle embodies a sensuous elegance. For an exclusive look, the front center armrests with exclusive nappa leather or optional semi- aniline upholstery feature embossed Maybach crests. Another special feature in the dashboard is the analogue clock with an IWC design.
The high quality standards of the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class are impressively evident from the doors, which even have handstitched door trim as part of the standard equipment. This extravagance is part of the interior's luxurious, hand-finished "Manufaktur" character. Exclusive features used in the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class are trim parts in wood/chrome and leather at shoulder height in the door panels, chrome-plated tweeter grilles and fiber- optic cables for the ambient lighting to the side on the armrest. Together they create a unique atmosphere conveying a sense of capacious style.
As the flagship of the Mercedes-Benz model range, the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class satisfies the very highest requirements in terms of luxury appointments and comfort. In addition to all the amenities of the conventional S-Class, a number of exclusive interior touches underscore the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class's ambition to lead. These include the exclusive Maybach perfume AGARWOOD for fragrancing as part of the AIR-BALANCE package and two silver-plated, handcrafted champagne flutes. The standard Burmester® High-End 3D surround sound system offers a unique optical and acoustic experience. As a visual highlight, the tweeters in the rear doors of the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class are particularly sophisticated and can also be moved towards the passengers in a spiral motion.
Is the Hellcat the best pound-for-pound vehicle on the planet?
Story by: Evan ‘Evo’ Yates
Photography by: David Yates
The term ‘dream car’ is tossed around pretty loosely in the automotive world, as new mind-blowing, internet-crashing rides tend to come and go as the years pass. In 2010, I decided I would save up to purchase my dream car, a Dodge Challenger SRT8. It took a few years but I finally put myself in position to purchase a pre-owned First Edition with low miles. Funny thing is, for once in my life I vowed to keep the car completely stock as I was more than pleased with the factory performance, looks and feel. As it tends to happen, I ended up modifying my Challenger a bit, but I still owned my dream car and wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world – until I got a phone call saying I would be receiving a Hellcat for a week. This longwinded intro is relevant to the review because if the standard SRT8 was my dream car, imagine the pedestal I put the Hellcat upon. Does that make the review biased or will I be more strict than usual? You be the judge.
I was pleased to see that I was entrusted with the red key, which is important because it meant I had full access to all of the Hellcat’s 707 horsepower. Upon start-up, the Hellcat sounds like a full-on muscle car. Admittedly, its factory SRT exhaust sounds much better than the modified aftermarket exhaust on my personal Challenger and that was a pleasant surprise. Plenty of times I’ve seen factory-tuned vehicles with mundane exhaust systems and it has never made sense. The exhaust rumble is ferocious, yet tuned at idle and everyone within a three block radius experiences the thunderous, raspy roar when the Hellcat is first started. Once on your journey, it’s apparent there are a few extra ponies under the hood and if you dare to open it up – especially from a stop or slow roll – you better hold on tight. Acceleration in the Hellcat is a visceral experience as a myriad of sounds and emotions rush through you as the supercharger screams, the exhaust howls and you’re planted in your seat.
For a 4500-pound car, the Hellcat feels relatively light but I attribute that to the fact that you can easily sling it around like a rag doll. However, with the upgraded sway bars and other suspension components, Dodge did a great job at making the Hellcat agile. Regardless, it does not feel like simply a big car with a big motor and even though it may not beat a Z28 Camaro around an autocross track, it definitely holds its own in the corners for a new-age muscle car. And even with its massive horsepower on tap, the Hellcat is actually a quite capable daily driver and on the highway it gets pretty decent gas mileage, too. The only negative side to the impressive power is that there are very few opportunities to fully tap the Hellcat’s potential on city streets without tacking on a couple reckless driving citations to your resume. The amount of power at your disposal is almost a tease and admittedly, if I had this car every day I would certainly be tempted to utilize it.
For the exterior, the Hellcat is almost a sleeper (minus the TorRed hue, of course) as its profile is virtually the same as every other Challenger on the road. Head on, the sleeper bit goes out the window as the viper-inspired hood certainly raises an eyebrow and the bold front fascia is a reminder that this vehicle comes from the depths of hell. The new grille and headlights are a nice touch and the factory ‘halo’ headlights are downright awesome. The updated taillights for 2015 are also a nice addition, which is a good thing because if you’re running head-to-head against a Hellcat you better get used to how those sexy LED tails look. Oh, and as sweet as the TorRed tone looks on the Hellcat, you may want to opt for a more subtle color as the bright red screams ‘PULL ME OVER’ on the highway which ultimately forced me to drive like an 80-year-old retired granny on the expressway. The 20-inch forged SRT wheels are perfect on the Hellcat even though I would have loved to see a 22-inch factory option. The 275/40/20 Pirelli rubber does its best to keep you planted on the pavement but get used to swapping the rears out quarterly as most of the tread ends up on your rear fender when driving a Hellcat. You just spent $70k on a modern muscle car – you can afford it.
The updated interior is a welcome addition as its much more attractive, ergonomically-correct and actually feels bigger than the previous models. The driver-focused dash with the 8.4” UCONNECT system is a much-needed upgrade for the Challenger platform and the plethora of performance options available on the system is awesome. The ‘Laguna’ toffee tan leather was a nice touch and a little unexpected as I thought the Hellcat may come with the standard red or black interior. Even though I would still opt for all-black guts, the tan certainly gives the impression you got what you paid for which could be important to some.
The 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is hands-down the best bang for your buck in the automotive world. You simply can’t get the power-per-dollar benefit in addition to the creature comforts that make the Hellcat a worthy daily driver. The bad news? It seems that I have a new dream car.
Power: 707 hp, 650 lb.-ft.
0-60: 3.5 sec
MPG: 13 City, 22 Hwy
Miles Driven: 300
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