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    William Maley

    Geneva 2018: 2019 Bentley Bentayga Plug-In Hybrid Features Turbo-Six

      A sufficient range of 31 miles


    It seems we have been talking about Bentley's first plug-in hybrid for a number of years. But on the eve of the Geneva Motor Show, Bentley finally revealed the 2019 Bentayga plug-in hybrid.

    Instead of using a turbo V8 or W12, the plug-in utilizes a turbocharged 3.0L V6 engine paired with an electric motor. Bentley isn't revealing power figures or how big the battery is. but they do reveal the Bentayga can travel up to 31 miles on a full charge (based on the European testing cycle). There will be three driving modes specific to the hybrid - EV Drive, Hybrid, and Hold.

    When it comes to recharging the Bentayga plug-in hybrid, Bentley says it will take 2.5 hours when plugged into a charger or 7.5 hours when plugged into a socket.

    There are small differences between the plug-in hybrid and the gas variants. The charging port mirrors the location of fuel filler door on the other side. There are also copper-colored badges on the doors and tailgate.

    The order books for the Bentayga plug-in hybrid open up in select markets later this year.

    Source: Bentley
    Press Release is on Page 2


    SERENITY THROUGH TECHNOLOGY: THE PIONEERING BENTLEY BENTAYGA HYBRID

    • World’s first luxury hybrid
    • Serene driving experience utilises future-focussed technology
    • Bentley’s first step towards electrification
    • Advanced electric motor combines with new V6 petrol engine
    • Battery recharged in 2.5 hrs

    (Crewe, 5 March 2018) Bentley is today announcing full details of the world’s first luxury hybrid model. The Bentayga Hybrid represents Bentley’s first step towards full electrification, combining the serenity of silent motoring with exquisite comfort and effortless performance.

    Offering the best of both worlds, the new plug-in hybrid model combines an advanced electric motor with a powerful and efficient new-generation V6 petrol engine. The hybrid version of the world’s most luxurious SUV will be the company’s most efficient model ever with CO2 emissions of 75 g/km (NEDC).

    The Bentayga Hybrid feels and rides like a true Bentley, providing the refinement, effortless performance and exquisitely tranquil cabin environment for which the luxury British brand is famed. It represents the future of luxury mobility; an oasis of calm and tranquillity in the city and beyond.

    Adrian Hallmark, new Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Bentley Motors, said: “The Bentayga Hybrid is our first step on the road to electrification, combining traditional Bentley values with the very latest technologies. It gives customers the best of both worlds – engaging, effortless performance on the open road and silent, emission-free driving in the city, which will become increasingly important with the ever-changing regulations around the world.

    “Following Bentley tradition, the Bentayga Hybrid pioneers a new automotive sector – the luxury hybrid – and sets Bentley on the path towards a sustainable electrified future.”

    Bentayga Hybrid is not yet available to order. It will become available to order in selected markets from the second half of 2018.

    Intelligent, Experience-Enhancing Technology

    At the heart of the Bentayga Hybrid are two power sources – a highly efficient electric motor and a new turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine. The E Motor acts as both an electric motor and a generator to offer a seamless driving experience and guaranteeing maximum electric-only range.

    The Hybrid adds a new dimension to the existing range of luxury Bentayga models. It features all the flexibility associated with the W12, V8 Diesel and V8 derivatives, with the same sure-footed permanent four-wheel drive and four on-road modes – Sport, Bentley, Comfort and Custom.

    The Automatic Start-Stop switch is replaced with a control for the three E Modes – EV Drive, Hybrid Mode and Hold Mode. These will enable the driver to manage battery usage during a journey.

    The Bentayga Hybrid requires new and different information to be relayed to the driver. As a result, a revised infotainment screen and Driver’s Information Panel with E Motion information have been designed to provide details on performance, consumption and energy source.

    The traditional tachometer that displays engine speed is replaced with a dial showing when the car is operating in pure EV Drive, or engine speed if the combustion engine is operating. A battery status dial replaces the coolant temperature gauge.

    The infotainment screen can display energy flow in each of the three E Modes, showing whether the vehicle is being powered by energy supplied by the battery, or the combustion engine – or whether energy is flowing back to the battery in order to charge it.

    To maximise efficiency, the vehicle uses satellite navigation information to calculate the best usage of electric motor and engine for every journey. Inputting a destination into the navigation system will command the car to automatically engage the correct E Mode for each part of the journey, constantly calculating the most efficient use of battery charge and storing electrical energy for sections of the journey where it is most useful – such as when arriving in the city. The system will reduce on-board charge to zero just as the vehicle reaches its destination, maximising overall efficiency.

    A number of Hybrid-specific functions will also be introduced to the latest Connected Car ‘MyBentley3’ services, including My Battery Charge, My Cabin Comfort, and My Car Status, operated via a smartphone app.

    Bentley has prioritised the charging experience to ensure that owning a Bentayga Hybrid is as easy as owning a conventional car. Controllable remotely from a Smartphone, or in-person via the on-board charging point, the charging status and programming will be visible on the MMI drivers’ screen and on the user’s smartphone via an app.

    Other unique features include E-Charging, where the app will list nearby or relevant charging stations (based on your search criteria), and give you the option to set them as destinations on the car navigation system; and My Cabin Comfort which allows you to set the car to heat (or cool) itself so that the cabin is at the optimum temperature when the door is opened.

    The Bentayga Hybrid’s Vehicle Charge Point is located on the opposite side to the normal fuel filler. From here, the car can be connected to either a domestic power supply, or a public charger point. The rear luggage compartment will hold two bespoke bags containing the necessary cables to connect the car to either.

    With an impressive electric range of over 31 miles (50 km) in the NEDC cycle, a full charge of the battery from a domestic household socket will take 7.5 hours. However, customers with an industrial connection installed at home can reduce the charge time to just 2.5 hours.

    Timeless Bentley by Starck Power Dock

    Bentley has collaborated with renowned designer, Philippe Starck, to create a concept for a highly desirable recharging unit for Bentayga Hybrid customers – the Power Dock.

    The statement piece showcases the exquisite attention to detail you would expect from both Bentley and Starck, using sustainable and elegant materials. The stylish surround is formed from pressed eco-linen with bio-sourced thermosetting resin, while the domed frontage is fashioned using a hot-pressure aluminium casting.

    The minimal and elegant Power Dock is designed to keep charging cables neat and safe at home. Furthermore, it brings a luxurious touch to the act of hybrid recharging, acting as a functional piece of art that will enhance any home.

    Starck’s elegant creation – with its tactile surfaces and inviting aesthetic – will encourage Bentayga Hybrid customers to plug-in whenever they are at home, thus ensuring each journey begins with the maximum electric-only range.

    Innovative Features and Advanced Technologies

    A suite of driver assistance systems and infotainment features, designed to enhance safety, comfort and convenience make the Bentayga Hybrid an innovative and advanced SUV.

    Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and Traffic Assist enable the driver to maintain a time gap to the vehicle in front. Predictive ACC uses the navigation data, sensors and cameras to predict upcoming corners, city boundaries and speed-limit changes and can then modify the vehicle speed accordingly, improving both comfort and fuel economy.

    In urban environments, there are a number of driver aids available on the Bentayga Hybrid. These systems – such as Traffic Sign Recognition, which detects a wide variety of traffic signs and displays information to the driver; Rear Crossing Traffic Warning, which uses radar technology to detect crossing traffic when reversing out of a parking space; and Top View, a system which uses four cameras to display an overall picture of the vehicle’s surroundings – combine to enhance everyday usability.

    Park Assist is also available – a system that detects suitable parking spaces (both parallel and perpendicular) before autonomous steering takes over to support parking manoeuvres, even in narrow and tricky spaces.

    Other innovative systems available include Electronic Night Vision, which uses infra-red technology to identify potential obstacles ahead, and a Head-Up Display, which reduces driver distraction and increases safety.

    The Bentayga’s 8” touch screen infotainment system boasts class-leading navigation technology, a 60GB hard drive, and a choice of up to 30 languages.

    Rear seat passengers benefit from the Bentley Entertainment Tablet – a removable 10.2” Android device with 4G, WiFi and Bluetooth for effortless, high-speed on-board connectivity.

    Customers can choose between three different sound systems for the Bentayga Hybrid: Bentley Standard Audio, Bentley Signature Audio and Naim for Bentley Premium Audio. The latter is the most powerful system in the segment, with 1,950 watts, a network of 18 speakers and super-tweeters for unrivalled recreation of the highest audio frequencies.

    Sculptural Form, Sharp Lines and Elegant Execution

    The Bentayga Hybrid’s wheel arches, fenders and bonnet deliver a balance between sportiness and SUV presence.

    The ultra-sharp Bentley power line and muscular rear haunch display a taut tension in side profile, as part of the largest single-piece aluminium pressing in the automotive world. Trademark Bentley features such as the large matrix grille and B-shaped wing vents afford the Bentayga a modern, dynamic elegance.

    At the rear, within the segmented tail lights, a ‘B’-shaped illumination graphic is incorporated that affords the Bentayga an instantly recognisable and striking night-time signature.

    Bentley’s most efficient model ever will be identifiable thanks to a number of elegant exterior styling cues. Copper-coloured ‘Hybrid’ badging on the lower front doors and tailgate – and a copper finish to the wheel centres and Bentley badges – highlight the electric performance potential of the Bentayga’s new powertrain. Additionally, the insert on the tread plates will also read ‘Hybrid’.

    The World’s Finest Cabin, Handcrafted at the Home of Bentley

    Step inside the Bentayga Hybrid and you find the finest automotive interior in the world, with handcrafted wood and leather throughout – engineered with precision to deliver absolute perfection.

    The attention to detail in metal, wood and leather is the epitome of modern British luxury, and is only achievable thanks to the exceptional skill of the workforce in Crewe.

    The Bentayga’s cockpit sets new standards for both luxury and precision, with meticulous tolerances between the exquisite veneered woods and metal elements. The dashboard takes the iconic Bentley ‘wing’ design as its inspiration, with the beautifully finished surfaces flowing gracefully from door to door over the top of the instrument binnacles, down under the centre console and back up around the passenger side fascia and foot well.

    The hand-selected veneers form pure and elegant surfaces throughout the cabin, and each of the 15 pieces are shaped by Bentley’s artisans from a choice of seven different veneers, and finished with trademark Bentley attention to detail.

    Highly polished, handcrafted metal elements adorn the dashboard, centre console and doors. Trademark Bentley knurling on the drive mode selector, gear knob, iconic bulls-eye vents and organ pulls adds sophistication and tactile refinement.

    Sumptuous front seats, individually handcrafted in Crewe and featuring 22-way adjustment including adjustable cushion and backrest bolsters, provide superb support and comfort for all conditions. This cosseted feeling is further enhanced with a six-programme massage system, seat heating and ventilation.

    Whether selected in four- or five-seat configuration, all of the leather seats in the Bentayga are available with contrast stitching and a quilted diamond design applied to the ‘shoulders’ and bolsters, echoing the design of a finely tailored British hunting jacket.

    Bentley specialists individually select only the finest bull hides, all of which are sourced from cool European climates, naturally tanned and never over-printed. Customers have the choice of 15 colours, in three duo-tone and one single mono-tone colour split.

    The four-seat configuration makes the ultimate statement in design, comfort and luxury.  The two individual rear seats adjust in 18 different ways and include massage and ventilation functions as well as footrests. The veneered rear console hides additional functionality such as cup holders, generous storage areas and USB charging sockets. 

    The opulent feeling is completed by the fixed back, dividing the interior cabin from the boot.  Also trimmed in the signature diamond quilting and including a ski-hatch, it creates an enclosed rear cabin space that sets new standards in the SUV sector.

    The full-length panoramic sunroof with acoustic interlayers allows ample natural sunlight to highlight the surfaces and detailing.



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    Saw one of these overstuffed couches today, waddling thru a dunkin donuts parking lot.

    Nothing says 'class' like a $2 donut & a $230,000 SUV.

    • Haha 2

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    This still is one of the weirdest CUV/SUVs I have seen. The type of auto just does not work with the Ubber Luxury car thing in my opinion.

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    Weird lighting on the front end, strong similarities to VW and Audi exterior profile and rear styling, rather plain interior for the price...nothing about the interior really shouts ultra luxury, IMO.

    • Upvote 1

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      The ES 350, on the other hand, is the more impressive of the two. You have to wonder if Lexus was motivated by what Toyota was able to pull off with last-generation Avalon. In a lot of ways, the ES 350 looks and feels like a proper luxury car. Add in a new platform that doesn’t make you feel like you’re going to tip over and Lexus is very close to that idea of “Experience Amazing”. The only fault is Remote Touch which sours many of the dramatic improvements. If Lexus can get that new touchscreen into the ES ASAP, I would gladly give it my “Most Improved Car of the Year” award. 
      How I would configure a 2019 Lexus ES 350 or Toyota Avalon Hybrid
      Starting with the ES 350, I would skip the base model and go with the Luxury trim. This adds such items as leather upholstery, heated and ventilated seats, and ambient lighting. On top of this, I would add Blind Spot Monitoring package and a power rear sunshade. With destination, I'm out the door with a final price of $45,540.
      For the Avalon Hybrid, I would pick the XSE. This is positioned as the sporty model with various exterior treatments including a mesh insert for the grille. Other standard equipment includes a moonroof, leatherette and suede upholstery, and wireless phone charging. The only two options I would tick are the Ruby Flare Pearl paint and 14-Speaker JBL Audio System. Add destination and the final price comes to $41,480.
      Alternatives
      Genesis G80: A perennial favorite, the G80 slots between the Avalon Hybrid and ES 350 in terms of price - $41,750. It comes showered with loads of standard equipment and an excellent engine lineup. It cannot match the ES and Avalon in terms of interior design, but provides a more modern and easier to understand infotainment system. Ride quality is similar in all three vehicles, but the ES and Avalon have a slight edge in handling. Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas 
      Year: 2019
      Make: Lexus
      Model: ES 350
      Trim: Luxury
      Engine: 3.5L DOHC 24-Valve with Dual VVT-i V6
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Eight-Speed Automatic
      Horsepower @ RPM: 302 @ 6,600
      Torque @ RPM: 267 @ 4,700
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/33/26
      Curb Weight: 3,649 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Georgetown, Kentucky
      Base Price: $42,755
      As Tested Price: $45,955 (Includes $1,025 Destination Charge)*
      Options:
      Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Intuitive Parking Assist with Auto Braking - $1,065.00
      18-Inch Split Five-Spoke Alloy Noise Reduction Wheels - $950.00
      Wood and Leather Trimmed Steering Wheel - $300.00
      Power Rear Sunshade - $210.00
      *No window sticker was provided for the ES 350. This is me taking a guess as to final price and options.
      Year: 2019
      Make: Toyota
      Model: Avalon Hybrid
      Trim: Limited
      Engine: 2.5L 16-valve DOHC with Dual VVT-i Four-Cylinder, 650V Electric Motor
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, CVT
      Horsepower @ RPM: 176 @ 5,700 (Gas);  118 (88 kW) (Electric); 215 (Total Output)
      Torque @ RPM: 163 @ 3,600-5,200 (Gas)
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 43/43/43
      Curb Weight: 3,715 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Georgetown, Kentucky
      Base Price: $42,800
      As Tested Price: $45,118 (Includes $920.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Advanced Safety Package - $1,150.00
      Carpet Mat Package - $248.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      When Toyota introduced the last-generation Avalon for the 2014 model year, I was shocked by how Toyota had built the better Lexus ES. On the surface, this seems a bit crazy. But Toyota had put a lot of effort into shedding the image of Avalon of an old person’s car by bringing a modern and sleek look; luxurious interior, and a balance between a relaxing ride and sporty dynamics. This became more apparent when compared to the ES launched a couple of years earlier, looking very dated in terms of looks and driving like a cream puff.
      The times are a changing and the two brands have launched new versions of their respective sedans within the past year. I find myself wondering if Toyota still builds the better Lexus or if the ES has finally stepped up and can give the Avalon a real challenge.
      Exterior
      Toyota stuck with the shape of the previous Avalon but gave it some refinement. The low roofline and sloping rear glass shape are paired with more aggressive rear end featuring a full-length taillight. Where the new design falls apart is in the front. Toyota must have taken some of the pages out of Lexus’ design book on grille design as the Avalon has a massive grille. Lower trim models make do with black slats for the insert, but my Hybrid Limited tester features chrome slats that make it more polarizing. I understand Toyota wants to give the Avalon a bit more presence on the road, but this new grille design is a bit much.
      The ES 350 is a different story as Lexus’ designers pulled off an extensive transformation. Wearing a toned-down version of the brand’s current design language, the new ES has an overall look of something formidable and elegant. The spindle grille is front and center, but Lexus has made it slightly smaller to have fit in with the flowing lines. Other design traits include a sloping roofline and shortened rear deck.
      Interior
      Like the exterior, the ES’ interior is completely unrecognizable from the outgoing model. Gone are the cheap feeling and mismatch plastics. In their places is a combination of leather, soft-touch plastics, and wood trim that brings forth a sense of premium uniformity. Ergonomics are also top of the class with such touches as control knobs sitting on either side of the instrument panel, and controls for the climate and audio being in easy reach for driver and passenger.
      Those sitting in the front are treated to leather-covered seats that provide an excellent balance between support and coddle. Those sitting in the back seat might complain about the low position, but will like the ample amount of head and legroom.
      Stepping inside the Avalon Hybrid, Toyota has given it a major makeover. Gone is the flowing and rounded center stack with capacitive touch controls. Instead, the Avalon uses a narrower and blocky center stack with actual buttons. I’m sad to see the touch controls go away as I found them to be quite responsive. Toyota likely dropped them as buyers complained there was no feedback - a click sound or pulsation - to whoever was using it. Other changes include a slim chrome bar running along the dash vents and more color choices.
      Finding a comfortable position in the Avalon was no problem due to the numerous amount of power adjustments available on the Limited. Like the ES, the Avalon’s seats strike the balance of comfort and support just right. In the back, there is an abundance of legroom that allows passengers to stretch out. Headroom is fine for most adults.
      Infotainment
      Toyota has installed the latest version of Entune for the 2019 Avalon. While looking somewhat dated with a muted color palette and dull screen, Entune retains its ease of use. The menus with large touchscreen buttons make it very easy to move around the system, along with clearly marked buttons and knobs sitting on either side. Toyota has also got with times and made the Avalon the first model to feature CarPlay integration. Those wanting Android Auto will need to wait until 2020.
      If there is an Achilles heel to the ES 350, that would be Lexus’ Remote Touch. I have written numerously about how using this system is not only a pain, but very distracting when driving. Take for example changing an XMSirius station.
      Look at the screen to see where the cursor is. Use the touchpad to move the cursor to the station you want, making sure to keep an eye on the screen. Press down on the touchpad to make the selection, hoping you’re finger doesn’t slip and causes something else to happen. This whole routine plays out time and time again whenever you want to do something. Even Apple CarPlay which was introduced for 2019 is a pain to use with Remote Touch. There is salvation on the horizon. Earlier this year, Lexus unveiled an updated RX crossover with a touchscreen for the infotainment system. The automaker said that it will be available on other models in the coming years. Here’s to hoping the ES is one of the first recipients. 
      Performance
      Both vehicles come with the choice of either a 3.5L V6 or hybrid system using a 2.5L four-cylinder. An eight-speed automatic is teamed with the V6. The hybrid uses a CVT.
      The 3.5 V6 has been given a bit more power for 2019, now producing 302 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. This bump makes for a noticeable improvement in overall acceleration, feeling slightly quicker than the last ES 350 I drove. Power builds on a smooth and linear fashion. The engine is also noticeably refined, with barely a rumble coming from underneath the hood. 
      With only a total output of 215 horsepower, the hybrid system in the Toyota Avalon may seem underpowered. This is only an issue when climbing a steep hill or needing to make an immediate pass. Otherwise, the hybrid system provides plenty of oomph for the daily drive. I like how the system seamless transitioned from electric to hybrid power with only a minimal buzz coming from the engine bay. Like other Toyota hybrids, the Avalon Hybrid can travel on electric power alone - albeit a short distance and at speeds below 25 mph.
      In EPA testing, the ES 350 returns 22 City/33 Highway/26 Combined and the Avalon Hybrid returns 43 City/43 Highway/43 Combined. I clocked averages of 25 in the ES 350 and 40 in the Avalon Hybrid.
      Ride and Handling
      Aside from engines, the Avalon Hybrid and ES 350 share another vital component. Under the skin of both models is a version of Toyota New Global Architecture (TGNA) known as GA-K. This variant provides the stiffer structure and lower-center of gravity found on other TGNA models, but allows both Toyota and Lexus to build larger front-wheel drive vehicles.
      In the Avalon Hybrid, the move to GA-K doesn’t change much. The last-generation model showed that you could have good driving dynamics and retain a mission of comfort. The new model continues that with slightly improved handling and sharper steering response. The ES 350 is a different story. Changing over to GA-K transforms the model from a creampuff on wheels to a luxury sedan with that can take corners without embarrassing itself. Body roll is significantly reduced and the steering responds to inputs without fuss. Neither one of these sedans will challenge the likes of the Germans or the Kia Stinger GT, but they will not fall over and cry uncle when pushed.
      Ride quality is still one of the impressive points for both models. On some of roughest, pothole-ladened streets that the Metro Detroit has on offer, the Avalon Hybrid and ES 350 made it feel like mere ripples. Not much outside noise comes inside the cabin of either model, making them a perfect place to decompress after a long day.
      Verdict
      Let’s begin with the 2020 Avalon Hybrid. This updated sedan didn’t surprise me and that’s fine. Aside from the styling, Toyota made small changes to address certain issues of the previous-generation and build upon its strengths. Getting 40 MPG is still an impressive trait for such a big sedan. With a starting price tag of $35,560 for the gas version and $36,650 for the hybrid, the Avalon is still the one to buy if you want the luxuries of the ES without the luxury tax.
      The ES 350, on the other hand, is the more impressive of the two. You have to wonder if Lexus was motivated by what Toyota was able to pull off with last-generation Avalon. In a lot of ways, the ES 350 looks and feels like a proper luxury car. Add in a new platform that doesn’t make you feel like you’re going to tip over and Lexus is very close to that idea of “Experience Amazing”. The only fault is Remote Touch which sours many of the dramatic improvements. If Lexus can get that new touchscreen into the ES ASAP, I would gladly give it my “Most Improved Car of the Year” award. 
      How I would configure a 2019 Lexus ES 350 or Toyota Avalon Hybrid
      Starting with the ES 350, I would skip the base model and go with the Luxury trim. This adds such items as leather upholstery, heated and ventilated seats, and ambient lighting. On top of this, I would add Blind Spot Monitoring package and a power rear sunshade. With destination, I'm out the door with a final price of $45,540.
      For the Avalon Hybrid, I would pick the XSE. This is positioned as the sporty model with various exterior treatments including a mesh insert for the grille. Other standard equipment includes a moonroof, leatherette and suede upholstery, and wireless phone charging. The only two options I would tick are the Ruby Flare Pearl paint and 14-Speaker JBL Audio System. Add destination and the final price comes to $41,480.
      Alternatives
      Genesis G80: A perennial favorite, the G80 slots between the Avalon Hybrid and ES 350 in terms of price - $41,750. It comes showered with loads of standard equipment and an excellent engine lineup. It cannot match the ES and Avalon in terms of interior design, but provides a more modern and easier to understand infotainment system. Ride quality is similar in all three vehicles, but the ES and Avalon have a slight edge in handling. Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas 
      Year: 2019
      Make: Lexus
      Model: ES 350
      Trim: Luxury
      Engine: 3.5L DOHC 24-Valve with Dual VVT-i V6
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Eight-Speed Automatic
      Horsepower @ RPM: 302 @ 6,600
      Torque @ RPM: 267 @ 4,700
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/33/26
      Curb Weight: 3,649 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Georgetown, Kentucky
      Base Price: $42,755
      As Tested Price: $45,955 (Includes $1,025 Destination Charge)*
      Options:
      Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Intuitive Parking Assist with Auto Braking - $1,065.00
      18-Inch Split Five-Spoke Alloy Noise Reduction Wheels - $950.00
      Wood and Leather Trimmed Steering Wheel - $300.00
      Power Rear Sunshade - $210.00
      *No window sticker was provided for the ES 350. This is me taking a guess as to final price and options.
      Year: 2019
      Make: Toyota
      Model: Avalon Hybrid
      Trim: Limited
      Engine: 2.5L 16-valve DOHC with Dual VVT-i Four-Cylinder, 650V Electric Motor
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, CVT
      Horsepower @ RPM: 176 @ 5,700 (Gas);  118 (88 kW) (Electric); 215 (Total Output)
      Torque @ RPM: 163 @ 3,600-5,200 (Gas)
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 43/43/43
      Curb Weight: 3,715 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Georgetown, Kentucky
      Base Price: $42,800
      As Tested Price: $45,118 (Includes $920.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Advanced Safety Package - $1,150.00
      Carpet Mat Package - $248.00
    • By William Maley
      Expectation can be a very dangerous thing. You come into something thinking it will blow your mind and more often than not, it comes up short. That’s how I felt during the first few days into a loan of a 2019 Buick Regal GS. What was being presented didn’t match up with my experience. But over the week I had the vehicle, it began to grow on. That isn’t to say some issues need to be addressed.
      At first glance, you might think Buick decided to stick with a sedan shape. But the sloping rear hatch gives away its true identity as a Sportback. This helps give the impression that the Regal is sporty, helped further by short overhangs. By adding small touches such as large front air intakes, GS-specific 19-inch wheels. Brembo front brake calipers finished in Red, and a small lip spoiler, the GS transforms the Regal into looking like a red-blooded sports sedan. 
      The interior sadly doesn’t match up with what is being presented on the outside. While there was some effort to make the GS stand out with faux carbon-fiber trim, special sport seats, and GS badging, it doesn’t quite match with what is being presented outside. Not helping are some cheap plastics littered throughout the Regal GS’ interior. If this was a standard Regal, I may have given it a slight pass. But considering this GS carries a price of almost $43k, it becomes a big issue. The interior does redeem it somewhat with a logical and simple layout. No one had any complaints about whether the controls were confusing or hard to reach.
      Let’s talk about the front seats, The Regal GS comes fitted with racing-style front seat with aggressive side bolstering and faux holes towards the top where the belts for a harness would go into. This design seems more at home in a hardcore Corvette than a Buick. Before you start thinking that the seat design only allows a small group of people to fit, Buick has fitted adjustable bolstering to allow a wide set of body types to sit comfortably. With this and other power adjustments, I was able to find a position that suited me. Over a long drive, the seats were able to provide the right amount of support and comfort.
      The back seats don’t get the same “race car” treatment as the front, but they do offer ample head and legroom for most passengers. Cargo space is quite impressive with 31.5 cubic feet with the seats up and 60.7 when folded. The Kia Stinger I drove back in January pales in comparison with 23.3 and 40.9 cubic feet.
      The Regal GS features an eight-inch touchscreen with the new Buick Infotainment 3 system. As I mentioned in my Silverado/Sierra 1500 review, the new system is worlds better than Intellilink. The interface has been cleaned up with simpler graphics and fonts that are much easier to read. Also seeing noticeable improvements is the overall performance. The system is much faster when bringing up different functions or crunching a route on the optional navigation system. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and OnStar 4G LTE round off the system. 
      With the effort Buick has put in, you might have the feeling that the Regal GS has something special under the hood. That isn’t the case. Under the hood of the GS is GM’s venerable 3.6L V6 with 310 horsepower and 282 pound-feet. While the V6 packs 40 more horsepower than the 2.0L turbo-four from the last-generation model, it is also down 13 pound-feet. This absence becomes apparent when you decide to sprint away from a stoplight or exiting a corner as you need to work the engine to get that rush of power. A numb throttle response doesn’t help. If you resist from attack mode, the V6 reveals a quiet and refined nature. But again, you will need to work the engine when merging or making a pass.
      Before someone shouts “put a turbo on it”, Buick cannot do that as there isn’t enough space in the engine bay due to the design of the platform. We’ve known about this issue since 2016 when Holden was gearing up to launch the Commodore - its version of the OpelVauxhall Insignia.
      The nine-speed automatic transmission goes about its business with unobtrusive shifts when going about your daily errands, but offers up snappy shifts when you decide to get aggressive. A glaring omission on this sports sedan is the lack of paddle shifters. 
      Fuel economy for the 2019 Regal GS is 19 City/27 Highway/22 Combined. I saw an average of 20 during the week. This can likely to be attributed to the test vehicle having under 1,000 miles on the odometer. 
      On paper, the Regal GS’ handling credentials seem top-notch with Continuous Damping Control (CDC) system and a GKN all-wheel drive system featuring a twin-clutch torque-vectoring rear differential. The latter allows a varying amount of power sent to each rear wheel to improve cornering. In the real world, the GS is more Grand Tourer than Gran Sport. While the sedan shows little body roll, its reflexes are slightly muted due to a nearly 3,800 pound curb weight. The steering provides a decent amount of weight when turning, but don’t expect a lot of road feel. What about that AWD system? For the most part, you really won’t notice working unless you decide to push the limits or practice your winter driving skills in a snowy and empty parking lot. 
      Thanks to the CDC system, the Regal GS’ ride is surprisingly smooth. With the vehicle in Tour, the suspension glides over bumps and imperfections. The ride begins to get choppy if you One area that I’m glad Buick is still focusing on is noise isolation. Road and wind noise is almost non-existent. 
      The 2019 Buick Regal GS is a case of expectations being put too high. Despite what the exterior and sports seats of the interior may hint at, this isn’t a sports sedan like a Kia Stinger GT or something from a German luxury brand. But my feelings began to change when I thought of the GS as being more of a grand tourer. It has the ingredients such as a refined powertrain, a suspension that can be altered to provide either a comfortable or sporty ride; and minimizing the amount of outside noise.
      There lies the overall problem with Regal GS as Buick doesn’t quite know what it wants to be. Does it want to be a sport sedan or a luxury sedan with grand tourer tendencies? This confusion will likely cause many people to look at something else which is a big shame.
      How I Would Configure a 2019 Buick Regal GS.
      My particular configuration would be similar to the vehicle tested here with the Driver Confidence Package #2, Sights and Sounds, and Appearance packages. The only change would be adding the White Frost Tricoat color, which adds an additional $1,095 to the price. All together, it comes out to $44,210.
      Alternatives to the 2019 Buick Regal GS:
      Kia Stinger: The big elephant in the room when talking about the Regal GS. For a similar amount of cash, you can step into the base GT model with its 365 horsepower twin-turbo V6 and rear-wheel drive setup (AWD adds $2,200). I came away very impressed with the styling, performance on tap from the V6, and handling prowess. Downsides include the interior design being a bit too minimalist and the ride being a bit rough. Volkswagen Arteon: The other dark horse to the Regal GS. There is no doubt that the Arteon is quite handsome with flowing lines and sleek fastback shape. Having sat in one at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year, I found it to be very roomy and upscale in terms of the interior materials. I hope to get some time behind the wheel in the near future to see how it measures up in handling. Disclaimer: Buick Provided the Regal GS, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2019
      Make: Buick
      Model: Regal
      Trim: GS
      Engine: 3.6L V6
      Driveline: Nine-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 310 @ 6,800 
      Torque @ RPM: 282 @ 5,200
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 19/27/22
      Curb Weight: 3,796 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Rüsselsheim Germany
      Base Price: $39,070
      As Tested Price: $43,115 (Includes $925.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Driver Confidence Package #2: $1,690.00
      Sights and Sounds Package: $945.00
      Appearance Package: $485.00

      View full article
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