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    Jaguar's Big Gamble: All-Electric By 2025

    Land Rover is planning six electric vehicles within the next five years

    Jaguar Land Rover hasn't been doing very well for the past few years. Numerous issues such as poor sales in China, demand for diesel powered vehicles dropping, and the pandemic have put the automaker in a difficult place. This morning in the United Kingdom, Jaguar Land Rover CEO Thierry Bolloré announced plans to make Jaguar an electric only brand by 2025; Land Rover to launch six electric models; and to become a net-zero-carbon business by 2039.
    "We are harnessing those ingredients today to reimagine the business, the two brands and the customer experience of tomorrow. The Reimagine strategy allows us to enhance and celebrate that uniqueness like never before. Together, we can design an even more sustainable and positive impact on the world around us," Bolloré said in a statement.

    Out of the two brands, Jaguar is hurting the most. Sales have dropped like a rock due to people stepping away from sedans and diesel powertrains. Bolloré's plan has the brand moving to an all-electric lineup by 2025. Not many details were released or talked about during the press conference this morning. What we do know is,
    Future models will utilize a new modular electric platform, known as the Electric Modular Architecture (EMA). The planned XJ replacement, rumored to go electric has been canceled. Likely reason for the cancelation is the platform that was going to be used for this model likely didn't scale to other models. Jaguar did say the XJ name could appear again on a future model. Automotive News (Subscription Required) reports that Jaguar will also move away from SUV-styled vehicles, likely meaning the end of the E and F-Pace. Land Rover

    Land Rover isn't going to dive in quickly as Jaguar into EVs. The plan is to continue offering a mix of powertrains, but with a heavy focus on electrification. Six all-electric models are planned to be launched by 2030, with the first model coming out in 2024. No word on what that model would be, but our guess is possibly a Range Rover EV. Land Rover will use Electric Modular Architecture for EVs, alongside the Modular Longitudinal Architecture (MLA) for hybrids. The goal is to have 60 percent of Land Rover sales be for electrics by 2030.
    Other Details
    Jaguar Land Rover said that it would keep all three of its U.K. plans open, but the Castle Bromwich plant(home to Jaguar XE, XF, and F-Type production) has a unclear future.
    “First we will continue production of our existing nameplates built there to the end of their lifecycle. Then we will explore opportunities to refurbish the plant, which could benefit from the consolidation of businesses scattered across the Midlands,” said Bolloré.
    Jaguar Land Rover is also planning on moving their executive team and other major management positions to a centralized location in Gaydon, and work more closely with their parent company, Tata Group.
    Source: Jaguar Land Rover
    Jaguar Land Rover reimagines the future of modern luxury by design
    New global strategy – Reimagine – announced for the British company under the leadership of Chief Executive Officer, Thierry Bolloré A sustainability-rich reimagination of modern luxury, unique customer experiences, and positive societal impact Start of journey to become a net zero carbon business by 2039 Reimagination of Jaguar as an all-electric luxury brand from 2025 to ‘realise its unique potential’ In the next five years, Land Rover will welcome six pure electric variants as it continues to be the world leader of luxury SUVs All Jaguar and Land Rover nameplates to be available in pure electric form by end of the decade; first all-electric Land Rover model in 2024 Clean-hydrogen fuel-cell power being developed in preparation for future demand Streamlined structure to deliver greater agility and promote an efficiency of focus Global manufacturing and assembly footprint to be retained, rightsized, repurposed and reorganised Collaborations and knowledge-sharing with industry leaders, in particular from within the wider Tata Group will allow the company to explore potential synergies on clean energy, connected services, data and software development leadership On a path towards double-digit EBIT margin and positive cash flow, with an ambition to achieve positive cash net-of-debt by 2025 with a value creation approach delivering quality and profit-over-volume Gaydon, UK - Monday 15th February 2021:
    A vision of modern luxury by design
    Jaguar Land Rover will reimagine the future of modern luxury by design through its two distinct, British brands.
    Set against a canvas of true sustainability, Jaguar Land Rover will become a more agile creator of the world’s most desirable luxury vehicles and services for the most discerning of customers. A strategy that is designed to create a new benchmark in environmental, societal and community impact for a luxury business.
    “Jaguar Land Rover is unique in the global automotive industry. Designers of peerless models, an unrivalled understanding of the future luxury needs of its customers, emotionally rich brand equity, a spirit of Britishness and unrivalled access to leading global players in technology and sustainability within the wider Tata Group.
    “We are harnessing those ingredients today to reimagine the business, the two brands and the customer experience of tomorrow. The Reimagine strategy allows us to enhance and celebrate that uniqueness like never before. Together, we can design an even more sustainable and positive impact on the world around us,” said Mr Bolloré.
    Two distinct modern luxury brands with sustainability at the centre
    At the heart of its Reimagine plan will be the electrification of both Land Rover and Jaguar brands on separate architectures with two clear, unique personalities.
    In a Land Rover, vehicle and driver are united by adventure. By breaking new ground, confronting new challenges and not being content with the expected, Land Rover truly helps people to go ‘Above and Beyond’. In the next five years, Land Rover will welcome six pure electric variants as it continues to be the world leader of luxury SUVs through its three families of Range Rover, Discovery and Defender. The first all-electric variant will arrive in 2024.
    By the middle of the decade, Jaguar will have undergone a renaissance to emerge as a pure electric luxury brand with a dramatically beautiful new portfolio of emotionally engaging designs and pioneering next-generation technologies. Jaguar will exist to make life extraordinary by creating dramatically beautiful automotive experiences that leave its customers feeling unique and rewarded. Although the nameplate may be retained, the planned Jaguar XJ replacement will not form part of the line-up, as the brand looks to realise its unique potential.
    Jaguar and Land Rover will offer pure electric power, nameplate by nameplate, by 2030. By this time, in addition to 100% of Jaguar sales, it is anticipated that around 60% of Land Rovers sold will be equipped with zero tailpipe powertrains.
    Jaguar Land Rover’s aim is to achieve net zero carbon emissions across its supply chain, products and operations by 2039. As part of this ambition, the company is also preparing for the expected adoption of clean fuel-cell power in line with a maturing of the hydrogen economy. Development is already underway with prototypes arriving on UK roads within the next 12 months as part of the long-term investment programme.
    Sustainability that delivers a new benchmark in environmental and societal impact for the luxury sector is fundamental to the success of Reimagine. A new centralised team will be empowered to build on and accelerate pioneering innovations in materiality, engineering, manufacturing, services and circular economy investments. 
    Annual commitments of circa £2.5bn will include investments in electrification technologies and the development of connected services to enhance the journey and experiences of customers, alongside data-centric technologies that will further improve their ownership ecosystem.
    Proven services like the flexible PIVOTAL subscription model (which has grown 750% during the fiscal year), born out of Jaguar Land Rover’s incubator and investor arm, InMotion, will now be rolled out to other markets following a successful launch in the UK.
    Quality and efficiency
    Reimagine will see Jaguar Land Rover establish new benchmark standards in quality and efficiency for the luxury sector by rightsizing, repurposing and reorganising.
    Central to that journey, and in order to establish different personalities for the two brands, is the new architecture strategy. 
    Land Rover will use the forthcoming flex Modular Longitudinal Architecture (MLA). It will deliver electrified internal combustion engines (ICE) and full electric variants as the company evolves its product line-up in the future. In addition, Land Rover will also use pure electric biased Electric Modular Architecture (EMA) which will also support advanced electrified ICE.
    Future Jaguar models will be built exclusively on a pure electric architecture.
    Reimagine is designed to deliver simplification too. By consolidating the number of platforms and models being produced per plant, the company will be able to establish new benchmark standards in efficient scale and quality for the luxury sector. Such an approach will help rationalise sourcing and accelerate investments in local circular economy supply chains.
    From a core manufacturing perspective that means Jaguar Land Rover will retain its plant and assembly facilities in the home UK market and around the world. As well as being the manufacturer of the MLA architecture, Solihull, West Midlands will also be the home to the future advanced Jaguar pure electric platform. 
    Key partners including Trade Unions, retailers and those in the supply chain will continue to play a vital part of the extended new Jaguar Land Rover ecosystem and its journey towards reimagining the future of modern luxury.
    ReFocus to a more agile operation
    As evidenced with the latest financial results, Jaguar Land Rover has a strong foundation on which to build a sustainable and resilient business for its customers and their communities, partners, employees, shareholders and the environment.
    Driving this transformation is the recently launched Refocus programme, by consolidating existing initiatives like Charge+ with new cross-functional activities.
    Reimagine will see Jaguar Land Rover right-size, repurpose and reorganise into a more agile operation. The creation of a flatter structure is designed to empower employees to create and deliver at speed and with clear purpose.
    To accelerate this efficiency of focus, the company will substantially reduce and rationalise its non-manufacturing infrastructure in the UK. Gaydon will become the symbol of this effort – the ‘reactor’ of the business - with the Executive Team and other management functions moving into the one location to aid frictionless cooperation and agile decision-making.  
    Leapfrog to leadership with Tata Group
    In order to realise its vision of modern luxury mobility with confidence, the company will curate closer collaboration and knowledge-sharing with Tata Group companies to enhance sustainability and reduce emissions as well as sharing best practice in next-generation technology, data and software development leadership. Jaguar Land Rover has been a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tata Motors, in which Tata Sons is the largest shareholder, since 2008.
    “We have so many ingredients from within. It is a unique opportunity,” said Mr Bolloré. “Others have to rely solely on external partnerships and compromise, but we have frictionless access that will allow us to lean forward with confidence and at speed.”
    Bringing all these ingredients together, Jaguar Land Rover is on a path towards double-digit EBIT margins and positive cash flow, with an ambition to achieve positive cash net-of-debt by 2025. 
    Ultimately, Jaguar Land Rover aims to be one of the most profitable luxury manufacturers in the world.
    Mr N Chandrasekaran, Chairman of Tata Sons, Tata Motors and Jaguar Land Rover Automotive plc commented: “The Reimagine strategy takes Jaguar Land Rover on a significant path of acceleration in harmony with the vision and sustainability priorities of the wider Tata Group. Together, we will help Jaguar realise its potential, reinforce Land Rover’s timeless appeal and collectively become a symbol of a truly responsible business for its customers, society and the planet.”
    Mr Bolloré concluded: “As a human-centred company, we can, and will, move much faster and with clear purpose of not just reimagining modern luxury but defining it for two distinct brands. Brands that present emotionally unique designs, pieces of art if you like, but all with connected technologies and responsible materials that collectively set new standards in ownership. We are reimagining a new modern luxury by design.”

    2022 Cadillac CT4 and CT5 Blackwing Bring A Performance Edge

    Missing the hot V models? Here are their replacements.

    After months of rumors and spy photos, Cadillac finally spilled the beans on their new high-performance CT4 and CT5 Blackwing. These new models are planned to give German rivals a bruising when they start arriving at dealers later this summer. Here is what we know.
    CT4 Blackwing
    The smaller of the two Blackwing models starts with a twin-turbo 3.6L V6 engine with 472 horsepower and 445 pound-feet of torque. To achieve this power, Cadillac upgraded the various internals with titanium connecting rods and a revised crankshaft. Power is routed to the rear-wheels by either a six-speed manual or ten-speed automatic. Performance figures are impressive with a 0-60 mph time of 3.8 seconds (automatic transmission) and a top speed of 189 mph.
    In terms of handling, the CT4 Blackwing features an electronic limited-slip rear differential and latest version of Magnetic Ride Control 4.0 - Cadillac claims the latter is the quickest-reacting suspension in the world. A set of Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires keep the vehicle glued to the road, while optional optional carbon ceramic brakes bring it to a quick stop.
    Visually, the CT4 Blackwing uses a new grille with larger openings to gobble up more air; functional fender vents, front splitter, and a rear spoiler. A carbon fiber package that claims to reduce aerodynamic lift by 214 percent is an option.
    CT5 Blackwing
    For those who want something a bit more mad can direct their attention to the CT5 Blackwing. Under its hood lies a massaged 6.2L supercharged V8 engine with 668 horsepower and 659 pound-feet of torque. Again, power is routed to the rear-wheels via a six-speed manual or ten-speed automatic. 0-60 mph takes 3.7 seconds (automatic transmission) and can cruise towards 200-plus mph. 
    What does this massaged V8 engine have? For starters. there's a larger supercharger (1.7-liters), aluminum cylinder heads, titanium intake valves, and improved airflow. 
    Like the CT4, the CT5 Blackwing gets Magnetic Ride Control 4.0 and electronic limited-slip rear differential. A set of forged 19-inch wheels exclusive to the Blackwing come wrapped in a set of Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires. 
    Outside, a new grille with larger openings to allow for more air, front splitter, and rear spoiler are the key changes to note. A carbon fiber package is optional.
    How Much?
    The CT4 Blackwing will set you back $59,990, and the larger CT5 Blackwing will cost $84,990. Both prices include a $995 destination charge. You can head down to your nearest Cadillac dealer to place a pre-order for either model right now.
    Source: Cadillac
    V-Series Blackwing: Ultimate Track Capability, Zero Compromise
    The 2022 Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing and CT5-V Blackwing, two of the most powerful Cadillacs ever, raise the bar on performance The 2022 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing and CT4-V Blackwing represent the pinnacle of Cadillac performance and craftsmanship, leveraging championship-winning racing heritage to create the most track-capable Cadillacs ever, while continuing to set new standards for luxury and comfort.
    Leveraging a Cadillac racing history that began in 1949 and has seen sustained success over the last two decades, the V-Series Blackwing models were developed with driver engagement and performance at the top of mind.
    “V-Series Blackwing stands for the very highest level of execution from Cadillac and offers a distinctly American vision of performance: incredible power and luxurious craftsmanship, with absolutely zero compromise,” said Brandon Vivian, executive chief engineer, Cadillac. “We looked to our championship-winning racing heritage and brought an uncompromising eye for detail to create two cars that elevate the V-Series experience.”
    V-Series Blackwing vehicles build on the already excellent performance dynamics of the CT5-V and CT4-V to create the top tier of the Cadillac sedan lineup.
    Highlights include:
    Evolutions of the track-ready Cadillac 6.2L Supercharged V8 in the CT5-V Blackwing and 3.6L Twin-Turbo V6 in the CT4-V Blackwing Upgraded TREMEC six-speed manual transmission standard Available 10-speed automatic transmission Electronic Limited Slip Rear Differential enhanced to reduce mass and improve on-track reliability Advanced suspension refinements providing greater body control and a more agile feel Magnetic Ride Control 4.0, the world’s fastest reacting suspension technology, sharpening the balance between daily-driving comfort and high-performance track capability Unique structural enhancements improving steering response and handling on the track Cadillac’s largest ever factory-installed brakes, available on the CT5-V Blackwing Extensive validation including 12-hour and 24-hour track testing Customizable integrated digital gauge cluster with Custom Launch Control and Performance Traction Management settings Liberating performance
    The CT5-V Blackwing uses an upgraded 6.2L supercharged V8 that, thanks to a higher flow air-intake and revised exhaust system, is rated at 668 horsepower (498 kW) and 659 lb-ft of torque (893 Nm), making it the most powerful production Cadillac ever. Each engine is hand-built at GM’s Bowling Green Assembly facility in Kentucky and features a signed engine builder’s plate.
    The CT4-V Blackwing sports an evolution of the Cadillac 3.6L Twin-Turbo V6 that features revised control system software and an improved air intake system to create 472 horsepower (352 kW) and 445 lb-ft of torque (603 Nm). The turbos’ low-inertia (titanium-aluminide) turbine wheels enable more precise and responsive application of torque throughout the rev range.
    Highlighted features and output:
    CT5-V Blackwing: 6.2L Supercharged V8 - 668 hp, 659 lb-ft of torque GM-estimated top track speed: over 200 mph GM-estimated 0-60 mph: 3.7 seconds (automatic transmission) Most powerful Cadillac ever Air intake airflow is improved by 46 percent vs. the CTS-V Compact, high-output 1.7L four-lobe Eaton supercharger with small-diameter rotors that enable boost to be generated earlier in the rpm band for instantaneous response Rotocast A356T6 aluminum cylinder heads are stronger and handle heat better than conventional aluminum-alloy heads Lightweight titanium intake valves Track-capable wet-sump oiling and vent system with external oil separator and drainback CT4-V Blackwing: 3.6L Twin-Turbo V6 - 472 hp, 445 lb-ft of torque GM-estimated top speed: 189 mph GM-estimated 0-60 mph: 3.8 seconds (automatic transmission) Most powerful and fastest Cadillac in the subcompact class Air intake restriction is improved by 39 percent vs. the ATS-V Turbocharger compressors matched for peak efficiency at peak power for optimal track performance Titanium connecting rods (manual transmission only) and revised crankshaft counterweights reduce main/rod bearing reciprocating loads Re-targeted piston oil squirters, which direct engine oil at the bottoms of the pistons, for improved temperature control The manifold-integrated water-to-air charge cooling system contributes to more immediate torque response Airflow routing volume is reduced by 60 percent when compared to a conventional design that features a remotely mounted heat exchanger Track-capable braking systems
    Both V-Series Blackwing models feature advanced high-performance braking systems that have been extensively track and road-tested. The exclusive V-Series Blackwing wheel designs enable an even larger rotor over the previous CTS-V, making the CT5-V Blackwing braking system the largest factory-installed brakes in Cadillac history. Additionally, an available carbon-ceramic brake package for the CT5-V Blackwing, featuring cross-drilled rotors, deliver several benefits including weight savings, durability and heat management.
    Highlighted features:
    CT4-V Blackwing: 14.96 x 1.34-inch (380 X 34 mm) front rotors and 13.4 x 1.1-inch (340.5 x 28 mm) rear rotors CT5-V Blackwing: 15.67 x 1.42-inch (398 X 36 mm) front rotors and 14.7 x 1.1-inch (373.5 x 28 mm) rear rotors Staggered Brembo® six-piston front calipers and four-piston rear calipers Available on the CT5-V Blackwing, the lightweight carbon-ceramic brake package significantly improves heat management, as well as greater resistance to wear under extreme conditions on the racetrack, while also reducing unsprung mass and rotating mass: 53-pound (24 kg) reduction in unsprung weight 62-pound (28 kg) reduction in rotating mass High-performance copper-free brake linings comply with California law and deliver superior fade resistance with an excellent pedal feel on and off the track Brake systems are integrated to each vehicles’ selectable drive modes, including brake pedal feel. Brake pedal feel can also be assigned within My-Mode and V-Mode Manual transmission is standard
    Rare for sport sedans today, a six-speed TREMEC manual transmission is standard on both vehicles. It has been optimized for each V-Series Blackwing vehicle to provide an engaging experience on the track or on the road. Details include:
    LuK twin-disc clutch for high torque capacity and great pedal feel Active Rev Matching accessible via a console mounted toggle switch to automatically adjust engine speed to match anticipated downshifts No-Lift Shift allowing the driver to shift gears without letting off the gas pedal. In the case of the CT4-V Blackwing, it allows the turbos to remain spooled, resulting in faster lap times Transmission and rear differential cooling – the manual and automatic transmissions use the same track-performance cooling system for greater track performance Clutch and brake pedals positioned for optimal driver ergonomics A physical barrier stop for the clutch pedal rather than a hydraulic master cylinder stop provides greater driver feedback during clutch operation A shorter shifter ratio than previous generations for more precise shifts Ten-speed automatic transmission
    The CT5-V Blackwing and CT4-V Blackwing are available with a 10-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission. It is tuned to complement the dual-personality experience of each respective model.
    Highlighted features:
    Tap Shift/Manual Mode allowing the driver to use integrated magnesium paddle shifters to select a gear and hold it until selecting the next gear, up or down Sport Mode providing real-time interpretation of driving conditions, adjusting the transmission to reduce shift busyness and improve performance, while retaining aggressive driving dynamics Twenty-four-hour track testing resulted in several improvements in response to the demands of a high-g track environment, including a unique oil pan design and priority valve changes Unique control systems with performance calibrations tailored for each model Ten forward gears offer the most available transmission speeds in each sedans’ respective segments, helping keep the engines within their optimal rpm bands, while also anticipating the next shifts Dynamic Performance Mode is calibrated specifically for V-Series Blackwing to deliver track focused shift patterns and automatically activates when high-g forces are experienced in Sport or Track mode An auxiliary pump primes the automatic transmission system from the time the vehicle door is opened for improved cold-shift performance. Both V-Series Blackwing models also feature an enhanced Electronic Limited Slip Rear Differential. It weighs less and has been optimized for each driving mode and each Performance Traction Management setting.
    Highlighted features:
    More control of the rear differential compared to traditional open and mechanical limited-slip differentials Enhances road grip by automatically allocating torque to the rear wheel with the most traction during hard cornering — with the capability of sending up to 1,475 lb-ft (2,000 Nm) of locking torque across the axle High-performance differential cooler An aluminum housing replacing the previous generation cast iron housing, reducing mass by more than 22 pounds (10 kg) Exclusive integrated heat exchanger for enhanced cooling Advanced suspension systems and strengthened chassis
    V-Series Blackwing combines the fourth generation of Magnetic Ride Control (MR 4.0), with improvements to the front and rear suspension systems. Stiffer spring rates, unique hollow stabilizer bars, higher-rate bushings and more enable a driving experience that isolates the driver from road imperfections, while also providing a precise, engaging connection with the road.
    MR 4.0 highlights:
    Immense performance envelope that gave Cadillac engineers the freedom to optimize everyday driving and aggressive track performance New accelerometers and an inertial measurement unit that transmit and process changes in road conditions four times faster than the previous generation system Secondary temperature maps that enable engineers to compensate for changes in damper fluid temperature for more consistent performance, even during performance driving Inertial measurement unit that provides more precise measurements of body motion relative to the wheel for more accurate readings under heavy braking, hard cornering and other driving conditions Improved magnetic flux control that creates a more consistent and accurate transition between rebound and compression Improvements to transient body control that allow the vehicle to remain more level while transitioning between corners MacPherson strut front suspension:
    Ride link includes an all-new 100-percent elastomer bushing on the CT4-V Blackwing and a retuned hydro bushing on the CT5-V Blackwing, for improved ride response Handling link has cross-axis ball joints for improved lateral control and quicker steering response Five-link independent rear suspension:
    Lateral link features stiffer bushings for faster response and increased cornering agility Toe link has cross-axis ball joints for increased stability and driver confidence Rear knuckles have increased stiffness for improved braking and better control during cornering Rear cradle mounts have been stiffened for optimum balance between road comfort and track performance V-Series Blackwing models are built on Cadillac’s award-winning rear-wheel drive architecture and feature unique structural enhancements including shock tower braces, an underside shear plate and thicker rear cross members to improve chassis rigidity. Along with the unique suspension elements, the stiffer structure enhances steering response, handling and the everyday driving experience.
    All-day performance, on and off the track
    The CT5-V Blackwing and CT4-V Blackwing build on Cadillac’s racing heritage and were developed to be track-capable straight from the factory. That includes an intensive validation program to ensure consistent performance during the most challenging track conditions.
    Validation for both models included:
    Twenty-four-hour continuous track testing with the available automatic transmission, available carbon fiber aero package, aluminum wheels and available carbon ceramic brake package Twelve-hour continuous track testing with the standard manual transmission, available carbon fiber aero package, aluminum wheels and available carbon ceramic brake package Functional aerodynamics, including an available carbon fiber aero package, contribute to the V-Series Blackwing models’ track prowess to support a variety of cooling needs for the cars’ respective engines, transmissions, axles and other supporting systems.
    Additionally, MICHELIN® Pilot Sport 4S tires developed exclusively for the V-Series Blackwing models contribute to their balance of track capability and road comfort. Highlights include:
    Unique, multiple-compound tread composition: Contact patch composed of three unique tread rubber compounds Racing “R compound” used for the majority of the tread Compounds optimized for wet traction, enhanced street and track durability, as well as rolling resistance The mold shape of the tire has been specifically engineered for Blackwing models to optimize contact with the road Tire sizes: CT5-V Blackwing tire size: 275/35ZR19 (front) and 305/30ZR19 (rear) CT4-V Blackwing tire size: 255/35ZR18 (front) and 275/35ZR18 (rear) Both V-Series Blackwing vehicles feature standard forged aluminum alloy wheels with staggered widths, front to rear. These forged wheels are stronger and lighter than conventional cast aluminum.
    Wheel sizes:
    CT5-V Blackwing: Front – 19 x 10 inches / Rear – 19 x 11 inches CT4-V Blackwing: Front – 18 x 9 inches / Rear – 18 x 9.5 inches Coming this summer
    Reservations for both vehicles open on Feb. 1, 2021 at 7:30 p.m. ET on Cadillac.com, with deliveries later this summer. Pricing begins at $59,9901 for the CT4-V Blackwing and $84,9901 for the CT5-V Blackwing.

    Quick Drive: 2020 Genesis G90 5.0 Ultimate

    Is eight better than six?

    Do you need a V8 engine in your flagship luxury sedan? That's a question I posed myself when a Genesis G90 equipped with a 5.0L V8 engine was dropped off for a week. The standard G90 with the twin-turbo V6 offers an impressive amount of performance and refinement. But the V8 offers much more power, along with some extra goodies you cannot get with the V6. 
    Since our last visit with the G90, Genesis has given a bit of a facelift. The front end prominently features a new diamond-shape. I found myself growing to like it, even if I thought it was a tad too large. But I can see this becoming a point of contention. Other changes include new wheels and a restyled rear end that makes the G90 look a bit cleaner. No changes of note for the interior. It still is very luxurious to sit in and the controls are logically laid out. The only item I'm sad not to see is the new 12.3-inch digital cluster that is found in the all-new G80 and GV80. Opting for the Ultimate means back seat passengers get their own screens mounted behind the front seats. This allows you to tap into the G90's infotainment system to play audio, check various information, and look at the navigation system. Ultimate models come with the larger 5.0L V8 producing 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with an eight-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is available as an option. The V8 is a bit of a tough sell when compared to the twin-turbo 3.3L V6 as it slower off the line and not as flexible whenever you need to accelerate quickly. Both engines also are similar in terms of refinement, offer a muted engine note. The only place I found the V8 to be slightly better than the V6 was in my average fuel economy. The V8 returned 24.7 mpg, while the V6 only got 20.3 mpg. A combination of the V8 G90 being rear-wheel and not all-wheel, along with more miles being done on the highway likely contributed to the better fuel economy figures. Ride quality is still on the hallmarks of the G90. With the adaptive suspension in either SMART or Comfort, the G90 glides along any road surface with nary a bump or pothole coming inside.  Around bends, the G90 doesn't feel at home with a fair amount of body roll. There is a Sport model to help reduce this, along with adding more weight to the steering. For the as-tested price of $76,695, you are getting quite a lot of equipment. There are LED headlights, Nappa leather upholstery, three-zone climate control, 17-speaker Lexicon audio system, power sunshades, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, memory settings for seats, and much more. The only way I could recommend the G90 Ultimate is either if you're operating a livery service or just want a V8 engine no matter what. Otherwise, you'll be happy with the G90 Premium and its twin-turbo V6. That said, the current G90 is starting to show its age, especially when compared to some of the new Genesis models such as the G80 and GV80. A new model is coming down the pipeline and if the recent models are any indication, the G90 has a real shot of becoming one of the best luxury sedans. Disclaimer: Genesis Provided the G90, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
    Year: 2020
    Make: Genesis
    Model: G90
    Trim: 5.0 Ultimate
    Engine: 5.0L GDI V8
    Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Rear-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 420 @ 6,000
    Torque @ RPM: 383 @ 5,000
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 16/24/19
    Curb Weight: 4,817 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Ulsan, Korea
    Base Price: $75,700
    As Tested Price: $76,695 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
    Options: N/A

    Review: 2020 Genesis G70 3.3T Sport

    The Challenger from Korea

    Genesis has come a long way since it was spun off to its own brand back in 2015. We have heaped praise on the G80 and G90 sedans, but it needs to be noted that these were badged as Hyundais before becoming Genesis models. The real test would be seeing how an original model stacked up. Our chance came in the fall when a 2020 Genesis G70 3.3T Sport was dropped off for a week. This new entrant into the compact sport luxury sedan appears on paper to have the goods, but how would fare in the real world?
    The Heart & Bones
    Power in this G70 is the optional twin-turbo 3.3L V6 engine providing 365 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque. This is mated with an eight-speed automatic which routes power to the rear wheels. All-wheel drive is an option. Having some experience with this engine in the Genesis G80 Sport and Kia Stinger GT, I knew this engine would pack quite the punch. Step on the accelerator and the V6 provides a massive wallop of power for any situation needed. The eight-speed automatic delivers rapid and smooth gear changes.
    Where the V6 falls apart is in fuel economy. EPA figures for the G70 3.3T RWD are 17 City/26 Highway/20 Combined. My average for the week landed at a disappointing 19.2 mpg. The standard turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder is better at 22/25/30 with the automatic.
    Handling is where the G70 shines. My 3.3T Sport comes with a couple of extra goodies - an electronically controlled suspension and a set of Michelin Pilot Sport summer tires. On the test route I use to evaluate handling, the G70 felt nicely balanced and provides the driver a big grin when going into a corner. The steering provides the right amount of weight and feels needed for enthusiastic driving. 
    When it comes time to do the daily commute, the G70 surprises here. Turn the drive mode knob into either Comfort or Smart, and the suspension softens up to provide a mostly smooth ride. I do wish the Pilot Sports had a slightly taller sidewall as some bumps do make their way inside. Also, barely any outside noise comes inside.
    Outside In
    While it may share the same bones as the Kia Stinger, I find the G70 a little bit easier on the eyes. Some of this comes down to the G70 being shorter in overall length (about a foot), and wheelbase (around three inches). Details that will catch your eye are gloss black wheels which come as part of the Sport package; the large front grille, and slim headlights.
    The G70's interior is very well done. Genesis' designers were able to craft an interior that not only looks nice but is also very functional. Many of the materials used are some of the best in the class with leather, aluminum, and soft-touch plastics. I also appreciate that the center stack is angled slightly towards the driver, allowing for easier access to the various controls. Speaking of that, there are a fair number of them for the audio, climate control, and other systems - primarily made up of large knobs and buttons. It may lack the minimalist look many are trending towards, but the ease of use cannot be beaten.
    For those sitting up front, Genesis provides a set of supportive sport seats with adjustable bolsters. I found the seats to do an excellent job of holding you in place while driving aggressively, but also providing the support and comfort needed on long trips. The back seat is a different story as there is barely any head and legroom available. The limited legroom also makes entry and exit difficult.
    Another issue with the G70 is the infotainment system. It's the same eight-inch system you'll find in several Hyundai vehicles such as the Kona and Venue, not the one seen in the G80 and G90 sedans. While the system is very easy to use and snappy, it doesn't fit the luxury image that the G70 is portraying. The good news is that the G70 will get a new infotainment system more fitting of its image as part of a refresh for 2022.
    A Threat?
    For a first attempt at the highly competitive luxury sport sedan class, Genesis knocked it out of the park. The G70 provides a triple threat of excellent performance, sharp handling, and a design that stands out. But now comes the big challenge for Genesis; luring buyers from the old guard. If they can do that, then the G70 can lay its mark.
    Potent Twin-Turbo V6
    Crisp Handling
    Premium Interior
    Infotainment System Hampers Luxury Ideal
    Cramped Rear Seats
    Fuel Economy Trailing the Pack
    How I Would Order a G70: Basically I would order the vehicle seen here, but in blue. That brings the as-tested price to $51,245.
    Kia Stinger GT: The sister model to the G70, the Stinger is more daring in its design with a hatchback shape. This also makes it slightly more practical than the Genesis. Where the G70 clobbers it is in the interior as the Stinger lacks the design and quality of materials. Performance and handling is a dead heat. Alfa Romeo Giulia: The G70's closest competitor when it comes to driving fun. No matter which version you choose, the handling is sublime and the steering is slightly better. I also find the Giulia's looks to be towards the top of the class with an elegant shape. But being an Alfa Romeo, the Giulia's reliability is very questionable.  Disclaimer: Genesis Provided the G70, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
    Year: 2020
    Make: Genesis
    Model: G70
    Trim: 3.3T Sport
    Engine: 3.3L Twin-Turbo GDI V6
    Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Rear-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 365 @ 6,000
    Torque @ RPM: 376 @ 1,300
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 17/26/20
    Curb Weight: 3,774 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Ulsan, Korea
    Base Price: $44,650.00
    As Tested Price: $51,245.00 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
    Prestige Package: $2,850.00
    Elite Package: $1,450.00
    Sport Package: $1,300.00

    Peugeot's Boss Has Second Thoughts on U.S. Return

    Peugeot & U.S.: Its Complicated Due to Stellantis

    Yesterday, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Groupe PSA officially merged to become Stellantis, the fourth-largest automaker in the world. But this merge has produced some consequences that need to be addressed. One of those being Peugeot's re-entry back in to the U.S.
    “We were last speaking about [Peugeot’s U.S. re-entry] a year and a half ago, before Stellantis. We can’t not take into account that in the coming days Peugeot will be part of this new world. I imagine in the coming months due to the new strategy we will have to adapt and reconsider all elements, including this one,” said Peugeot CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato to Automotive News.
    A key reason for this reconsideration not wanting overlap brands in the U.S.
    This is a polar opposite to comments made last year by Larry Dominique, CEO of PSA North America.
    Imparto's focus for Peugeot in the near future is concentrating on its core markets - Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. There are also plans to get the brand back on track in China. As for the U.S., Imparto said it was "still on the table" down the road.
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

    Rumorpile: Chevrolet Ponders An Expansion of the Corvette

    Most likely model could be an electric crossover

    General Motors has toyed with the idea of expanding the Corvette lineup, but has always gotten cold feet as there were worries that expansion would dilute the image. But a new report from Bloomberg says the company is considering this idea again, this time in electric form.
    Sources say that designers are currently on "several Corvette-brand concept vehicles that target a wider range of buyers," that will "blend Corvette’s reputation for high-performance driving and rakish styling with creature comforts such as more interior room and storage." If approved, the new model would be electric and could arrive as early as 2025, utilizing GM's new BEV3 electric platform and Ultium batteries. The most likely candidate at the moment is a crossover, following in the footsteps of Ford with their Mach-E.
    Not surprising, a GM spokesman declined to comment.
    Source: Bloomberg via Automotive News (Subscription Required)

    CES 2021 - The Cadillac Celestiq Concept

    Adding to Cadillac's EV future....

    Over the course of CES 2021, Cadillac dropped a few bombs upon the critics and car enthusiasts with their PAV Pod and eVTOL. However, they also unveiled their “EV Flagship” known as the Celestiq. Following the recent reveal of what would be Cadillac’s first electric vehicle, the Lyriq, in August of 2020, the Celestiq will be a hatchback while the Lyriq is an SUV.
    The Celestiq will be a four-seat hatchback with standard all-wheel drive. However, it will come with up and coming technology in its four-wheel steering, allowing it to make sharper and more precise turns. The vehicle will also come with transparent glass roof panels that each passenger can control to different levels of transparency, as well as a large LED display that stretches across the entire dashboard and personal screens for the rear passengers.

    The Celestiq will be powered by a 100-kWh battery pack allowing it to have a 300+ mile range but will most likely come with a six-figure price tag. However, Cadillac asserts that it will be bespoke and hand-built in the Detroit area and be completely customized for individual customers. So if you are looking for a 4-seat luxury hatchback EV, start saving up for the 2025 release. 

    CES 2021 - Cadillac looks outside the box and finds.... a box.

    Will extreme concepts show the way of the future at Cadillac?

    The 2021 Consumer Electronics Show was supposed to be held in Las Vegas from January 6th to January 9th. However, because of the pandemic affecting normalcy around the world, it was moved to solely online for the first time since its inception. Companies still came to show off and show off they did. Cadillac, in particular, unveiled two new products from its HALO portfolio: the PAV Pod (personal autonomous vehicle), or more commonly referred to as the “Toaster-Shaped Party Bus”, and the eVTOL aircraft (electric vertical take-off and landing), or more simply a personal flying vehicle.
    This party bus is seemingly a driverless limo for the more elegant nights with friends and/or family. The vehicle comes fully equipped with technology to make the drive as enjoyable as possible for the guests by using biometric sensors in each seat. These sensors read vital signs of the passengers, which is encroaching on Big Brother territory and adjusts a variety of settings such as heat, lighting, and humidity. However, if you wanted a different setting, the pod allows for voice control and hand gestures to change the experience, as well as snap some selfies along the way to the club.
    As Michael Simcoe, the VP of Global Design at GM, says, the PAV is a “social space for a group of friends or family to spend time together on their way to a destination.” This is quickly obvious by looking at the PAV as it comes without any windows. If one doesn’t feel like chatting, however, it sports a full-length see-through roof so that the sky and skyline can be seen instead. And in case this pod hasn’t screamed luxury at you already, it also comes with a virtual fireplace, in case you want to have that cozy feeling of home within a limo.
    The eVTOL is a four-rotor aircraft that is more similar to a personal aircraft, rather than a flying car. This is based on the images provided by GM showing an aircraft with room for only one passenger. However, this aircraft is no slouch with its 90-kWh battery allowing it to travel up to speeds of 56 mph. And with the way transportation technology is going, it will most likely be an autonomous aircraft, allowing you to get around the city quickly and easily.

    Cadillac is not the first company to dabble in the eVTOL industry as Airbus, and Uber, as well as others, have presented ideas of aerial transportation. As both the Vahana project from Airbus and the Elevate project from Uber have closed or been sold to outside companies, Cadillac is now the new entry into the industry, sparking new debate as to whether this might become a reality with a new competitor in the mix. 
    These concepts might become a reality in the future, or they might just be another idea to put on the shelf. Only the future will tell.

    No Detroit Auto Show for 2021, Organizers Go A Different Route

    Remember the Detroit Auto Show?

    It has not been an easy go for the organizers of the Detroit Auto Show. Last year, they had to cancel the revamped show due to concerns about the growing COVID-19 pandemic. The hope was to launch the indoor-outdoor event that would sprawl various parts of Detroit for 2021. But with COVID-19 still a major issue, organizers this afternoon announced the 2021 version would be canceled.
    Automotive News reports that a new, outdoor program called Motor Bella will take its place from September 21st to 26th at the M1 Concourse in Pontiac - about 40 minutes north of Detroit. The new program "will bring next-generation mobility and exciting vehicle debuts to media, show-goers and the automotive enthusiasts," according to a statement released by the Detroit Auto Dealers Association (DADA) - the organizers of the show. Plans are to have "1.6 million square feet of dynamic vehicle and technology display space," along with the 1.5-mile road course for technology and vehicle demonstrations.
    “The pandemic has caused changes in our society and world in ways not previously imagined, and we all should be looking for new and highly creative ways of doing business. This new event captures that creative spirit. It will provide new mobility experiences and increasingly innovative approaches to tapping into the industry and its products," said Rod Alberts, executive director of DADA.
    Motor Bella was originally planned to be a festival for European supercars that would take place with the updated Detroit Auto Show. 
    "With our new program for 2021, we will take the Motor Bella concept to the next level with multiple brands and mobilities represented, from hometown to international nameplates, autonomous vehicles to high-performance supercars, and everything in between, It will be a mobility-filled event. One that will provide our show partners with a cost-efficient backdrop to share all of their brands, products and technologies in a fun and festival-like atmosphere that's completely outdoors," said event chairman Doug North.
    There are some big questions that face organizers. Will they be able to get the revamped Detroit Auto Show launched for 2022, or will Motor Bella take the place? Plus, will COVID-19 be a point where all of us can go this event safely?
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), DADA

    New All-Outdoor Motor Bella at M1 Creates Bridge to the Future While North American International Auto Show Pauses for 2021
    TROY, Mich. – (January 11, 2021) – The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) today announced it will not hold its 2021 auto show as planned. Instead, show officials revealed a "bridge to the future" with an auto-centric event called Motor Bella.
    The new event will bring next-generation mobility and exciting vehicle debuts to media, show-goers and the automotive enthusiasts' world in a never before experienced way while also addressing continued COVID-19 concerns about indoor events.
    Motor Bella will be held from Sept. 21-26, 2021, at the M1 Concourse in Pontiac, Mich. Centrally located in the metro Detroit area, M1 Concourse, often referred to as an "87-acre playground for auto enthusiasts," enables exhibitors to showcase key vehicles and technologies in an outdoor setting.
    Plans call for 1.6 million square feet of dynamic vehicle and technology display space including terrain ideal for showcasing off-roading capabilities. M1 Concourse also offers a 1.5-mile hot track on the grounds for technology and vehicle demonstrations.
    "The pandemic has caused changes in our society and world in ways not previously imagined, and we all should be looking for new and highly creative ways of doing business," said Executive Director Rod Alberts. "This new event captures that creative spirit. It will provide new mobility experiences and increasingly innovative approaches to tapping into the industry and its products."
    Alberts said attendees can expect a multi-sensory experience at the new event. "This all-outdoor venue, with adrenaline-pumping track activities and a full complement of OEM and technology exhibits, is going to offer the sights, sounds and even the smell of all that the new world of mobility has to offer." 
    As auto shows around the world are being reimagined and will continue to do so in the wake of the pandemic, NAIAS had been reimagining its position for some time.
    "While auto shows remain an important platform to promote new mobility innovations and to help people make major vehicle purchase decisions, the traditional auto show model is changing," Alberts said. "We cannot ignore the major disruptions caused by the pandemic and the impact it has had on budgets. As such, we will be providing an amazing experience to the media, the auto industry and the public in a cost-effective way."
    Event Chairman Doug North noted that the M1 Concourse was envisioned as part of the 2021 Motor Bella activities, so it was "a natural progression" to build upon it in light of the growing demand for experiential mobility shows and an increased appetite for outdoor events as a result of the pandemic. Motor Bella was originally conceived as a celebration of Italian and British supercars and classic vehicles and was to have debuted at the June 2020 NAIAS.
    "With our new program for 2021, we will take the Motor Bella concept to the next level with multiple brands and mobilities represented, from hometown to international nameplates, autonomous vehicles to high-performance supercars and everything in between," North said. "It will be a mobility-filled event. One that will provide our show partners with a cost-efficient backdrop to share all of their brands, products and technologies in a fun and festival-like atmosphere that's completely outdoors." 
    Jordan Zlotoff, CEO of M1 Concourse, said, "We are proud and honored to be hosting this world-class automotive event. Motor Bella will allow journalists, industry executives and the public to interact with vehicles in a fully dynamic and experiential format, well beyond the limitations of static displays. As the largest Private Garage community in the world, we at M1 Concourse share the enthusiasm for creating a unique automotive environment built specifically for car enthusiasts."
    North added, "We see this outdoor experience at M1 as a bridge to the future. One that will continue to evolve as we explore new ways of presenting mobility and as we navigate through these unprecedented times. We are very cognizant of the importance and impact our show and our events have on the state and the entire metro Detroit area. This will always be part of our considerations for the future."
    Dates for the 2021 Motor Bella are: 
    Press Preview, Tuesday, Sept. 21 AutoMobili-D, Tuesday, Sept. 21 through a half-day Thursday, Sept. 23 Industry Preview, Wednesday, Sept. 22 and a half-day Thursday, Sept. 23 Public Show, Thursday, Sept. 23 through Sunday, Sept. 26

    Ford Maverick Makes An Early Appearance

    Alright, who let the cat out of the bag?! -Someone at Ford

    We've been reporting on Ford's upcoming truck, the Maverick since 2018. The truck would sit underneath the Ranger and become the entry-level model for the brand. Now, we have gotten our best look at what it will look like.
    The Maverick Truck Club forum got its hand on an image showing a prototype Maverick on the line reportedly at Ford's Hermosillo, Mexico plant. Up front, the Maverick borrows some ideas from the Bronco Sport with C-shaped headlights and a horizontal bar splitting the grille. We don't know if Ford is planning to offer any cab configurations aside from the crew-cab seen in the photo.
    Ford did not immediately reply to comment on this when reached out by Roadshow. 
    The Maverick is expected to use the C2 architecture which underpins the new Escape and Bronco Sport. Autoblog speculates there could be two rear suspension setups based on spy shots that show a mule with twist-beam style setup with no rear differential for the front-wheel driver version. A slightly beefier setup might be used for the all-wheel drive version.
    Right now, everyone seems to think that the Maverick could debut as a 2022 model year vehicle.  
    Source: Maverick Truck Club, Roadshow, Autoblog
    Pic Credit: Maverick Truck Club

    Quick Drive: 2020 Lexus RC F

    Finding a bit of V8 joy

    Considering the number of Lexus RC coupes I have driven over the years, there has been a significant hole - the V8 RC F. Whenever I have asked for one, the vehicle either wasn't in the press fleet or someone else was driving it during the dates I had available. But I was able to finally get my hands on one for a week in early fall. It was good timing as I was feeling the effects of being home for the past six months due to COVID-19. Maybe this coupe could give me a bit of joy.
    The RC F is not a shrinking violet. From its bright yellow paint, blacked-out 20-inch wheels, and optional carbon fiber package that includes a retractable rear spoiler, this coupe is very brash and proud of it. I'll admit that I was worried about scraping or cracking the carbon fiber front splitter if I took a steep entrance ramp or bump a bit too aggressively. It looks cool on the car, but the existential dread of an expensive repair bill does sour the appeal.  Not much changes on the inside for the RC F except for carbon fiber trim and a set of racing-style seats. Usually, I have a lot of trepidation on this type of seat because I don't fully fit in due to my slightly wide shoulders. But the seats conformed to my body within a day or so and I found them to offer the balance of support during hard-driving, and comfort for day-to-day - something I find to be hit and miss on seats from other automakers. Lexus Enform is still a frustrating infotainment system to use on daily basis. With a touchy control pad, it is easy to find yourself changing the song or end up in a different section of the system. This means you need to pay close attention to any change being made, which becomes a distraction hazard. Apple CarPlay is standard and does make using the system a bit more bearable. But I do wish Lexus would roll out their touchscreen system which makes it much more intuitive. Though, that likely will not come until a redesign, possibly in the next year or two. The main event for the RC F is under the hood. A 5.0L V8 engine with 467 horsepower and 389 pound-feet of torque - figures that slightly pale when compared to the BMW M4 or Mercedes-AMG C63. This is paired with an eight-speed automatic which routes the power to the rear wheels. The initial acceleration is a slight disappointment as the throttle response feels a bit sleepy. I'm not sure if this was due to improve fuel economy or throttle feel higher in the rev band. Thankfully, this sleepiness goes away as the car climbs up in speed and the V8 reveals its party trick. The noise that comes out of this engine sounds like a muscle car and you find yourself stepping the accelerator to enjoy it. Not much to say about the eight-speed automatic. It goes about its business smoothly and quickly. Fuel economy was surprising in the least, as I got an average of 18 mpg in mostly city and suburb driving. A set of adaptive dampers comes standard for the RC-F and gives it a split personality. Turn the drive mode knob to Sport+ and the dampers tighten up to make the coupe feel more agile than its weight of 4,017 pounds would suggest. Also helping in the handling are a set of Michelin Pilot Sport 4S summer tires, providing tenacious grip. But switch the drive mode into normal and RC F becomes a very comfortable and refined grand tourer. Ride quality is very good with only a few bumps making their way inside. A minimal amount of road and wind noise is present. One area where the RC F holds a distinct advantage over the completion is the base price of $65,925 - undercutting most by a few grand. The danger is going through the option list and deciding to go crazy, which explains the as-tested price of $89,654. You can chop off over $11,000 by skipping the Performance package which brings all of the carbon fiber bits. The RC F lacks the outright performance as those from Germany. But I'm willing to overlook it because sometimes you want a car that just shouts to the world and the RC F does that very well. During my week, I found myself reveling in the engine and the grand touring characteristics of the suspension. It brought me the joy which sometimes is all you need a car to do. Disclaimer: Lexus Provided the RC F, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
    Year: 2020
    Make: Lexus
    Model: RC F
    Trim: -
    Engine: 5.0L DOHC 32-Valve V8
    Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Rear-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 467 @ 7,100
    Torque @ RPM: 389 @ 4,800 - 5,600
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 16/24/19
    Curb Weight: 3,958 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Tahara, Aichi, Japan
    Base Price: $64,900
    As Tested Price: $89,654 (Includes $1,025.00 Destination Charge)
    Performance Package - $11,400.00
    Premium Package - $5,350.00
    Navigation System w/Mark Levinson Audio - $2,725.00
    Torque Vectoring Differential - $1,250.00
    Premium Triple Beam LED Headlamps - $1,160.00
    Flare Yellow Premium Paint - $595.00
    Intuitive Parking Assist - $500.00
    Illuminated Door Sills - $449.00
    Orange Metallic Brembo Brake Calipers - $300.00

    Quick Drive: 2020 Toyota 86 GT

    Can a sports car act as a blank canvas?

    The 86's exterior has undergone some significant changes. The most apparent is the front where the front bumper has been swapped to give the coupe a slightly more aggressive look. There are also new headlights with the "86" logo seen on the outside edge. These changes, along with a rear wing really help the 86 still look quite fresh. A feat when you take into consideration that this car, along with its sister, the Subaru BRZ has been around for eight years. The interior boasts a new steering wheel, updated instrument cluster with a color trip computer; and a seven-inch touchscreen radio featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.  Trying to find a comfortable position the 86 took longer than I expected due to the limited amount of adjustments on offer. The sport seats provide excellent bolstering to hold you in during enthusiastic driving but falter in terms of comfort when it comes to long drives. As for the back seat, I would only recommend it for either very small kids or extra storage space. We come to the key weak point of the 86, the engine. It is the 2.0L Flat-Four from Subaru which produces 205 horsepower and 156 pound-feet of torque when equipped with the six-speed manual - figures drop by five when equipped with the automatic. Not much has changed in the performance department. At low speeds, the 86 goes along merrily. But then the power band falls off a cliff and you're left wondering when it will come back.  It doesn't help that the engine note of the 2.0L sounds like a bucket of bolts dumped into a dryer. This doesn't encourage wanting to climb higher in the rev band and giving the illusion of going faster - something Mazda does quite well with the MX-5 Miata. On my test car, an optional TRD exhaust was fitted and it somehow makes the noise worse. It sounded like a group of cats fighting one another to get that prime spot in the box from an Amazon delivery. The manual transmission does not like being shifted quickly as it becomes slightly stiff and bulky. Go slowly and the gear lever responds with a smooth and positive feel. An option that was ticked on this vehicle was the TRD handling package which adds a set of SACHS dampers. The SACHS do make an improvement in terms of body control as the 86 doesn't really exhibit any sort of roll. What you get a vehicle that is fun to toss in the corners. Helping out is the steering that responds quickly and provides a decent feel. But there is a downside to the TRD Handling package and that is the ride quality. I found the FR-S to be quite stiff and transmit most bumps and road imperfections. This package only increases the frequency and impact them. I would highly recommend driving a standard 86 against one with the Handling Pack to see which one you would prefer. The 86 GT starts at $30,115 and my tester with the two TRD options and some other items stickers at $34,783. If you drop the TRD options, then it becomes slightly better at just under $32,000.  Who is the 86 for? The obvious answer to this is someone who wants something fun to drive but doesn't have that much to spend. Of course, there are other options that offer more performance, the 86 shines on a winding road. But as someone pointed out in our interactive review, the 86 is a good option for someone who wants a blank canvas. This and the BRZ have a large aftermarket which means an owner can build their coupe to their desires. Want to upgrade the suspension and brakes? There are parts available. Feel like dropping in a larger engine? That is possible. It's a blank canvas ready for someone to make it their own. Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the 86, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
    Year: 2020
    Make: Toyota
    Model: 86
    Trim: GT
    Engine: 2.0L DOHC D-4S 16-Valve Flat-Four
    Driveline: Six-Speed Manual, Rear-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 205 @ 7,000
    Torque @ RPM: 156 @ 6,400
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 21/28/24
    Curb Weight: 2,817 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Ota, Gumma, Japan
    Base Price: $30,115
    As Tested Price: $34,783 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
    TRD Handling Package - $1,270.00
    TRD Exhaust System - $1,100.00
    TRD Sway Bar - $550.00
    Special Color - $425.00
    Center Armrest - $199.00
    All-Weather Floor Mats - $169.00

    ZETA - Zero Emission Transportation Association - What is it?

    What is ZETA you ask?

    This is the first industry-backed coalition of 28 businesses and growing covering employees in all US states advocating for a national policy that supports the sale of electric vehicles only starting in 2030 of light, medium and heavy-duty auto's. This group calls for the accelerated transition to EVs.

    Securing American global EV manufacturing leadership, dramatically improving public health and significantly reducing carbon pollution is some of the key goals that ZETA or Zero Emission Transportation Association was formed for.

    This industry association is focused on creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs. In quoting their www.zeta2030.org web site they state the 3 core points.
    Job Creation - Enacting ambitious, but realistic policies to accelerate transportation electrification will create hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs. Congress must seize this opportunity or risk ceding this economic growth to others. Cleaner Environment - The transportation sector emits more carbon pollution than any other sector of the U.S. economy. Electric vehicles produce no tailpipe emissions and are 67% less carbon intensive than gasoline-powered auto's over their lifetime. Real Savings - By going electric, vehicle owners can save over $700 a year in Fuel and an additional $330 in annual maintenance costs. Federal, state and local incentives can drive greater consumer benefits. Their press release has the ZETA five key policy pillars:
    1. Outcome-driven consumer EV incentives. Point-of-sale consumer incentives drive adoption, provide cost reductions and achieve real results in pushing transportation electrification. In addition, incentivizing early retirements while encouraging EV adoption will speed the transition and meet the urgency of the moment.
    2. Emissions / performance standards enabling full electrification by 2030. Emission targets are a key piece of protecting public health and sending the correct market signals to support and accelerate the transition to zero emission transportation.
    3. Infrastructure investments. Strong federal charging infrastructure investments will drive the electric transportation transition and ensure that the United States is leading the way in a clean recovery where everyone is better off.
    4. Domestic manufacturing. We should not only accelerate U.S. transportation electrification, but also work to ensure that we secure domestic economic growth and leadership in EV manufacturing. Federal policies must encourage job creation and economic activity across the entire EV supply chain and lifecycle, from critical materials to vehicles.
    5. Federal leadership and cooperation with sub-national entities. Federal support should invest in research and development, provide an aligned vision for electrification, and ensure local leaders are empowered with the expertise and resources to support full vehicle electrification.
     Further details about their key issues can be found here: https://www.zeta2030.org/key-issues/
    ZETA includes the following founding members:
    ABB Albemarle Corporation Arrival ChargePoint ConEdison Copper Development Association, Inc. Duke Energy Edison International Enel X EVBox EVgo Ioneer Li-Cycle Lordstown Motors Lucid Motors Piedmont Lithium PG&E Corporation Proterra Redwood Materials Rivian Siemens Southern Company SRP Tesla Vistra Volta Uber WAVE ZETA mission statement:
    ZETA brings together those whose values and strategic interests support 100% electric vehicle sales by 2030.
    This diverse non-partisan group coordinates public education efforts and federal policy development to promote EV adoption with the goal of creating American electric vehicle manufacturing jobs, better serving consumers, improving air quality and public health, and significantly reducing carbon pollution.
    ZETA can be contacted at the following:
    Joe Britton
    Executive Director, ZETA
    David Ganske
    Communications and PR for ZETA

    Quick Drive: 2020 Volvo V60 Polestar

    Can a Volvo Wagon Be Wicked and Green?!

    Back in the spring, I spent some time with two different Volvo 60 series models - the S60 Momentum and V60 Cross Country. I came away impressed with the work Volvo had done, picking Cross Country as my favorite. A couple months back, another 60 series model rolled up for a week long evaluation. This one is very different.
    Unlike most performance wagons that grab a bullhorn and shout for attention, the V60 Polestar goes for a more sedate approach. From afar, it looks like your standard V60. Get closer and you begin to see the small changes such as the lowered ride height, 20-inch grey wheels that cover up the massive gold brake calipers, and the two Polestar badges. Only changes for the interior are the Polestar logo embossed on the front headrests and gold seatbelts. Under the hood is Volvo's T8 powertrain. This is the 2.0L twin-charged four-cylinder paired with an electric motor on the rear axle to produce a total output of 415 horsepower and 494 pound-feet of torque. This setup also provides all-wheel drive. It is quite shocking (pardon the pun) as to how fast the V60 Polestar goes. Step on the accelerator and it feels like you have engaged warp drive as the two powertrains work together.  But there were times where the gas engine and electric motor didn't seem to be on the same page. There would be the odd delay or surging of the gas engine when driving around town in the hybrid mode. Hopefully, this is something that could be addressed with an update to the engine software. The other party trick of the V60 Polestar is the ability to run on electric power alone. This comes from an 11.6 kWh lithium-ion battery pack underneath the cargo floor. Volvo claims a range of 22 miles on electric power alone, but I was able to stretch it out to around 23 to 25 miles throughout the week. Recharging took around eight to eleven hours if the battery was near or fully depleted.  For the week, I saw an MPGe average of 52.1. With the battery drained, I saw the average fall to around 29.1 MPG.  Volvo turned to suspension supplier Öhlins to develop something bespoke for the V60 Polestar. What was delivered is a special set of dampers that are manually adjusted by gold-colored aluminum knobs. You'll easily find the ones in the front by opening the hood - sitting on top of the shock towers. The ones in the back are slightly harder to find as they're located above the wheels in the wheel housing. This is something that feels like more of a talking point when showing off the wagon, not something you want to mess with unless you are knowledgeable on damper tuning. The V60 Polestar may be the best handling Volvo I have driven in quite some time. The Öhlins dampers do make a difference as they minimize body roll. But the dampers cannot fully hide the massive weight of the Polestar - tipping the scales at 4,522 pounds. This makes the wagon not feel as nimble. In terms of ride quality, the V60 Polestar does well on smooth roads. Take it on a road with a litany of bumps and potholes and the ride becomes very choppy. This is where I wished Volvo had gone for a computer-controlled damper system to make the ride slightly smoother. A price tag of over $68,000 is a bit much for a Volvo, but you need to take into consideration that you're getting everything as standard. That includes the premium B&O audio system, full LED headlights, Nappa leather upholstery, heated/ventilated front seats, Pilot Assist, and more. The only option on our tester is the metallic paint. Despite the price tag and rough ride, I'm happy to see Volvo venturing out and doing some wild as the V60 Polestar. This vehicle is a prime example of having your cake and eating it by delivering excellent performance and efficiency in one package. The fact that this package is in a wagon shows this for someone who doesn't want to follow the Joneses and get a performance crossover. Would this be the 60 Series model I would buy? No, that honor falls to the V60 Cross Country I drove in the early spring. But the Polestar runs a close second. Disclaimer: Volvo Provided the V60 Polestar, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
    Year: 2020
    Make: Volvo
    Model: V60
    Trim: T8 Polestar Engineered 
    Engine: 2.0L Twincharged DOHC 16-Valve Four-Cylinder, Two AC Electric Motors
    Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 328 (gas), 46 (electric motor front), 87 (electric motor rear), 415 (combined)
    Torque @ RPM: 317 (gas), 111 (electric motor front), 177 (electric motor rear), 494 (combined)
    Fuel Economy: Combined MPGe/Gas - 69/30
    Curb Weight: 4,522 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Gothenburg, Sweden
    Base Price: $67,300
    As Tested Price: $68,940 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
    Metallic Paint - $645.00

    BMW iX - New Era, New EV Flagship

    BMW and Electric Cars, Take iX!

    BMW announced today their new flagship electrical SUV, the BMW iX. This SUV will launch late in 2021 as a 2022 model. The style will likely be controversial as it retains the concepts overly large kidney grill front end but maintains a sleek drag coefficient of 0.25 Cd which is equal to the Tesla X.

    This AWD SUV has one motor per axles giving a combined 370 kW or 500 horsepower with a 0 to 62 mph of under 5 seconds. A 100 kW battery pack that will give 600 kilometers on the WLTP cycle or 300 plus miles on the EPA cycle FTP-75. These figures are subject to change once official testing is done.
    The BMW iX has a 200 kW charging controller for DC fast charging that will allow up to 80% charged battery in 40 minutes equaling about 75 miles of range every 10 min. For level 2 home charging, it will take less than 11hrs for a full battery recharge from zero.
    The interior is a appears to be a two tone renewable material based on past comments from BMW. They have gone with a minimalist interior, but using what appears to be jewel like controls for the doors and center console. One observation is the metal rings in the top section of the seats just below the headrest.

    One does have to wonder if shorter drivers and front passengers might not hit their head on this. An interesting trend as we have seen Cadillac do this with the speakers built into the sides of the Head rest area on the seats.

    BMW announced in 2019 that they would have a dozen EVs by 2025 which was later revised to be 25 new electrified models on sale by 2023, majority will be pure ev.

    Interactive Review: 2020 Lexus RX 350L Lux

    Lexus' popular crossover arrives for its interactive, with three-row seating!

    This week at the Cheers & Gears' Detroit bureau sees the 2020 Lexus RX 350L Lux come in for an interactive review. It has been some time since I last drove any version of the RX and it has gone some significant changes. The key one is the introduction of a three-row version - designated by the L at the end. Another welcome change is an introduction of a touchscreen for the Lexus Enform infotainment system.
    Power comes from a 3.5L V6 with 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with an eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. Out the door, this RX 350 comes with an as-tested price of $63,540 with a $1,025 destination charge.
    Here are some quick thoughts,
    Acceleration isn't the RX's strong suit. The V6 moves the crossover at an adequate speed. The touchscreen makes a huge difference in overall usability with Enform. I find myself not screaming at it - both internally and externally. Third-row does eat up a lot of cargo space when up. I'll be trying to squeeze myself into the third-row along with other items throughout my week in the RX. In the meantime, drop off any questions you have.

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