Friday, May 8, 2015

2016 Mercedes-Benz G-Class

The G-Wagen has practically remained unchanged since the first model rolled out way back in 1979. I genuinely believe that you could practically replace certain exterior panels from the original 1079 G-Class to the 2016 Mercedes-Benz G-Class or vise versa.This just goes to show that if something isn’t broken, why bother changing it.However, this philosophy does not carryover to the interior of the 2016 Mercedes-Benz G-Class. While the interior of the 1979 Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen was meant for utility and heavy-duty hauling, the interior of the 2016 Mercedes-Benz G-Class is purely designed to cuddle its occupants in utmost luxury.

An average passerby may not notice any major differences between the 2016 Mercedes-Benz G-Class and its predecessors, but a keen eyed Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen enthusiast will quickly be able to point out the subtle differences between the 2015 and 2016 models.

For 2016, the “base” G550 get a new all-aluminum, twin-turbo 4.0 L V8, which produces 415 horsepower and 450 lb.ft. of torque. Compared to the old naturally aspirated 5.5 L V8 found in the 2015 model, the new engine produces an additional 34 horsepower and 59 lb.ft. of torque.

The 2016 G63 AMG gains 27 horsepower, but the torque output remains the same as the 2015 model. The re-tuned 5.5 L twin-turbo V8 now produces 563 horsepower and 560 lb.ft. of torque.  The power output in the top-of-the-range 2016 G65 AMG remains unchanged over the 2015 model.

The 6.0 L twin-turbo V12 produces a monstrous 621 horsepower and an earth shattering 738 lb.ft. of torque.

Regardless of the engine choice, all of the power from the engine is routed to all four wheels via a 7-speed automatic or a dual-clutch automated transmission.

If you can afford a G-Wagen in the first place, then filling up its gas tank is really not that big of a deal.But, for those G-Wagen owners who want to save a pipet of gasoline while idling at the stop light, the 2016 G550 and G63 AMG come standard with an automatic stop/start system – disabled by pushing the “Eco” button, located in the center console.

For 2016, Mercedes-Benz engineers have also tweaked the suspension and the electronic stability systems (ESP, ASR, ABS) for more sure-footed handling.

This update will definitely be appreciated by anyone and everyone who has driven the current G-Wagen and have come off stating that the SUV handles like a “dinosaur”.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

2015 Nissan GT-R

You have to be a little bit defiant to drive a 2015 Nissan GT-R. It’s likely that you’ll be the only GT-R in your neighborhood, and it’s not as if very many drivers will be pulling alongside and giving you the high sign.Sure, plenty of people will acknowledge that the 2015 Nissan GT-R is quicker, faster, and grippier in the corners than anything this side of an F1 car, and they’ll admit that it’s a general all-around miracle of vehicle dynamics besides. And then in the next breath, they will try to tell you that a Chevrolet Corvette Z06 or a McLaren 650S is actually better than a GT-R, even though these cars are not necessarily quicker, faster, grippier, etc., than the Nissan.

From the moment the Nissan GT-R set a record lap time at the Nurburgring’s Nordschleife in 2008, the whining hasn’t stopped. From every quarter have come complaints that the GT-R doesn’t track effortlessly straight and true on a bumpy freeway surface, plus the rear suspension sure does feel harsh. And what’s that clicking and whirring from the six-speed dual-clutch transmission? Sadly, it appears that these critics don’t actually understand what the GT-R is about. Perhaps what they’re looking for is some kind of Honda Accord, only one that looks like a BMW.

From the first, the Nissan GT-R has never made a secret of being anything other than a street-legal track car. The DOHC, 3.8-liter V-6 features twin IHI turbos to help pump out the power, and the engine is matched to a special quick-shifting dual-clutch transmission designed to withstand the torque loads. Nissan’s ATTESA E-TS all-wheel-drive system helps turn the power into forward motion instead of just tire smoke. The brakes are dead serious, with racing-style floating rotors matched up with six-piston calipers in front and four-piston calipers in the rear. The forged-aluminum RAYS 20-inch wheels carry wide tires, 255/40ZRF-20 front and 285/35ZRF-20 rear. And the all-singing, all-dancing electronics let you tune the transmission, suspension, and general vehicle dynamics to your needs.

Nevertheless, Nissan has done its best since the GT-R’s introduction to the U.S. in 2009 to make the car more street-friendly. And although the 2015 Nissan GT-R Premium remains a track car through and through, it is now quiet and comfortable enough to please even the faint of heart. Part of the reason is that the newly introduced GT-R Nismo can remain a hardcore product, so the Premium can get warm and fuzzy.

We must admit it doesn’t take more than a couple hundred yards on the freeway to figure out that this is a far more comfortable car than before. The car glides over seams in the concrete surface almost as if they weren’t there, which is quite something when you remember that these seams used to feel as tall as speed bumps in the 2009 GT-R. Thanks to softer springs and dramatically different calibration for the Bilstein dampers, the 2015 Nissan GT-R’s suspension feels supple, not stiff, and the car rides rough pavement without any annoying patter from the tires.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

2016 Lexus RX

The radically styled 2016 Lexus RX recently introduced at the New York International Auto Show is part of larger calculated risk by Lexus to appeal to a broader range of buyers than its traditional base. Built on value, quality and service, the Lexus franchise has never claimed to beat the cutting edge of design. However, that's changing. The ever-more-prominent spindle-shaped grille and bolder character lines of the new RX underscore the importance that Toyota's upscale division is placing on striking styling.

The shift to edgier styling is a huge bet, Jeff Bracken, group vice president and head of Lexus, admits. And he further admits that a few longtime Lexus fans are uncomfortable with the change.

"It's been a double-edged sword," Bracken told us in an interview during the New York Auto Show. "I can tell you I have taken multiple calls from owners who have owned, six, seven and even eight Lexus vehicles, and they feel like we've gone too far. They're very passionate about it."

But the shift is a gamble Lexus is willing to take. Bracken believes the division must continue to evolve if it wants to grow, and that evolution is to bolder exterior design.

"We know [the new design philosophy] can be polarizing and we know we can upset our real traditional owners," Bracken noted, "but if we don't do that, we can't open the minds or attract folks to us who would have never considered us. The downside of losing some of our loyal followers will be way offset by people who look at us because of that design."

Lexus created and popularized the upscale crossover SUV segment with the RX. At a time when other brands were building entries based off traditional sport/utility vehicles or purpose-built platforms with hardcore off-road ability, Lexus took the unusual step of modifying a front-drive car platform to underpin a new, taller vehicle counting on the fact that people wanted the look, ride height and cargo capacity of an SUV, but weren't necessarily going to tackle the legendary Rubicon Trail in California's Sierra mountains. Offering the choice of front or all-wheel drive, the original RX proved to be a gamble that paid off and created a whole new segment of vehicles.

2016 Hyundai Genesis

We all know this Korean company is in all probability the fastest-growing business in car industry. In the earlier, this model was regarded mostly for its compact and mid-size cars, but at present, Hyundai plays vital purpose in the market of luxury and unique cars too. The perfect case in point of it is Genesis. This full-size luxury car is below output from 2008. It is obtainable in sedan and coupe body styles. The sedan currently arrived as second-generation model, while new coupe is envisioned to incredibly shortly. According to our reputable supply, coupe will have Hyundai Genesis 2016 year model and it will be an superb model, just like sedan it is.

As we already mentioned, the biggest novelty about 2016 Hyundai Genesis are going to be that it will are available in coupe variant. As opposed to its predecessor, it can make significant move ahead in several areas and it will probably be much more than capable to compete with competition, which are typically from Germany. New coupe will definitely abide by the structure language that characterizes new sedan, but it may have a great deal of distinctive details too. Apart from big visible advancement, it is also expected that 2016 Genesis is going to be also more substantial than its predecessor, that will definitely guarantee the higher amount of comfort. The cabin of new coupe will feature plenty improvements much too. Beside new model, expect to check out a lot of superior systems installed and, which is extremely significant, much improved in general driving expertise far too.

Every luxury coupe is characterized by wonderful performances, so 2016 Hyundai won’t be an exception. It is going to be accessible in two variants. The base model is going to be run by V6 device. This 3.3 liter Lambda engine has an output of 278 horsepower, though max torque is 256 lb-ft. This coupe might be also offered in V8 variant. It will use powerful 5.0 liter V8 Tau engine, which outputs 420 horses and 383 lb-ft of twist. All engines the two in sedan and coupe variants will be paired with 8-speed automated transmission.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

SLS Beverly Hills hotel

The luxury SLS Beverly Hills hotel created by hotel and nightclub mogul Sam Nazarian has been sold for $195 million to Torrance multilevel marketing and hotel firm Sunrider International.Nazarian's company SBE opened the 297-room hotel in 2008, just as the hospitality industry was going into a recession-related skid. The hotel business has since recovered and investors have snatched up high-end Southern California properties at steep prices in recent months.

In January, the five-star Montage Laguna Beach sold for $360 million — a record $1.4 million per room for a California hotel. The 47-room Malibu Beach Inn traded for $79.9 million in February, and the trendy 182-room Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles just sold for $103 million.

This year's sales are building on a 2014 trend that saw real estate investors rush into the hotel business as tourism and business travel surged.

Investors bought 399 California hotels for a total of $5.1 billion in 2014, a nearly threefold increase from 2009, when 92 hotels sold for a combined value of nearly $1.8 billion, according to research by Atlas Hospitality, an Irvine hotel industry consulting firm.

Nazarian said nearly a year ago that he was putting the SLS Beverly Hills up for sale as part of a strategy to reduce SBE's holdings in real estate while expanding its contracts to manage hotels for other investors.

Sunrider was founded by an herbalist born in Taiwan. It makes nutritional supplements, beauty products, weight loss drinks, household cleaners and other food supplements, beauty supplies and other products distributed in more than 40 countries.

Monday, May 4, 2015

2015 Mitsubishi Pajero

The Mitsubishi Pajero defies its age by selling strongly, largely due to its reputation for reliability.A mild makeover for the 2015 models is accompanied by price cuts of up to $8000 on the range-topping Exceed.By any measure the big four-by-four is an old car — the basics have been around since 1999 — that's had more plumping than Kim Kardashian's butt.

In Exceed guise there are some luxury touches to soften the impact of a car designed to head off-road and/or lug a decent caravan. At $66,000 there'd want to be — the new Nissan Pathfinder tops out at $65K and there's a Range Rover Discovery at $69,330 though the Toyota Prado raises the bar considerably at $84,500.The slab-sided Pajero doesn't lack for interior space in most dimensions. Rear occupants are fine but the driver's perch is narrow, with little room between the non-adjustable steering wheel and the door.

Switchgear is standard Mitsubishi fare and not even chrome highlights can brighten the staid interior. The touchscreen with satnav looks aftermarket rather than an integral part of the dash.The fold-flat third row seats are a kids-only environment but there is a full-size spare wheel hanging off the side-opening tailgate.Glossy wood inserts (natural and matt veneer finishes are in vogue among the Europeans) in the dash and steering wheel look conservative against the alloy and faux fibre highlights found in newer rivals but the interior feels robust enough to resist squeaking when the suspension and chassis is being torsioned and twisted off-road.

A four-cylinder diesel is never going to make nearly 2.5 tonnes get a move on and that's how the Pajero rolls. From rest to 100km/h takes somewhere north of 10 seconds. Time off the line is more impressive as peak torque, available from 2000rpm, arrives in the first couple of metres to power the SUV across intersections.

2016 Toyota Hilux

According to reports coming from Thailand, Toyota will unveil the next generation 2016 Hilux pickup on May 21, 2015. The Hilux Revo model will be revealed on this date, while sales in Thailand and other important Asian countries will start later in the year.

What we know thus far on the new Hilux is that it will be based on a new, or heavily re-engineered version of Toyota’s IMV (Innovative International Multipurpose Vehicle) platform. The new generation pickup will continue with its predecessor’s petrol engine, but the diesel engine range will be updated.

Starting the diesel range is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder unit with 164 hp and 343 Nm (160 hp and 400 Nm in case of the AT) while a larger 2.8-liter with 174 hp and 420 Nm (450 Nm in case of the AT) will cater to customers seeking better performance. These engines replace the 2.5- and 3.0-liter diesel engines respectively.

For the first time on the Hilux, Toyota will offer dual driving modes – Eco and Power – by which the driver can choose better fuel efficiency over performance or vice-versa. Spyshots have shown that the interior is heavily redesigned with top-end models getting a ‘floating center console’ touchscreen infotainment system.

Post the unveiling of the new Hilux, Toyota will take the wraps of the next generation Fortuner which would be based on the same underpinnings as the Hilux. A Thai unveiling of the new Fortuner is expected to take place by July this year.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Tesla announces electric energy

Electric car maker Tesla could soon be coming to a home near you – though not as you know it.The American company on Friday announced its new investment in batteries for homes, businesses and utilities, as it continues to leverage its booming empire beyond the electric car."Tesla is not just an automotive company, it's an energy innovation company," the company said in a statement.

"With Tesla Energy, Tesla is amplifying its efforts to accelerate the move away from fossil fuels to a sustainable energy future with Tesla batteries, enabling homes, business, and utilities to store sustainable and renewable energy to manage power demand, provide backup power and increase grid resilience."

A major proponent for Tesla's new investment is a domestic device it calls the Powerwall: a rechargeable lithium-ion battery designed to store energy at a residential level for load shifting (charging during low rate periods and discharging during higher rate periods), backup power and self-consumption of solar power generation.

The devices employ a liquid thermal control system and software that receives dispatch commands from a solar inverter. It is wall-mounted and is integrated with the local power grid to harness excess power and give customers the flexibility to draw energy for their own source.

The device will be available in the US from around August, priced at approximately $4435 (AUD) for a 10kWh version, or $3800 (AUD) for a 7kWh version.

The batteries are wall-mounted, offered with 10 or 20 year warranties and measure 1300mm high, 860mm wide and 180mm deep. Tesla says the Powerwall can operate in a temperature range of between minus-20 degrees celcius and 43 degrees celcius.

"Both can be connected with solar or grid and both can provide backup power. The 10kWh Powerwall is optimised to provide backup when the grid goes down, providing power for your home when you need it most," Tesla says.

"When paired with solar power, the 7kWh Powerwall can be used in daily cycling to extend the environmental and cost benefits of solar into the night when sunlight is unavailable."

Ford Mustang pricing revealed

The Ford Mustang will have hot hatches in its sights when it arrives in Australia later this year thanks to a starting price under $45,000.The blue oval has revealed the full price list for the new coupe ahead of it hitting showrooms in December. And the headline number is $44,990 (plus on-road costs) the starting price for the 2.3-litre EcoBoost Fastback, with the automatic variant costing an additional $2500.

That price undercuts many hot hatches such as the Volkswagen Golf GTI Performance, Subaru WRX STI and Renault Megane RS265, putting the Mustang in the middle of the hot hatch market.

The V8-powered Mustang GT is also keenly priced at $54,990 for the manual and $56,490 for the six-speed automatic.

While the GT is more expensive than Ford's XR8 - which starts at $52,490 - it is still competitively priced against other six-cylinder, two-door sports coupes such as the Lexus RC350 (from $66,000), Nissan 370Z (from $56,930) and BMW M235i (from $79,930). It is also comfortably underneath V8-powered coupes such as the Lexus RC F which is priced from $133,500.

Ford already has 1200 firm orders for the Mustang and has also received interest from more than 15,000 potential customers and believes that more customers will flock to the new sports car after the announcement of its competitive pricing.

"With such sharp pricing, we're signaling that there's a new Ford performance car coming and we intend to grab our rightful share of enthusiasts who value style, technology, performance and the history that the Mustang name brings," says Graeme Whickman, Vice President Marketing, Sales and Service.

Both variants come with the option of either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission, electric power steering,  19-inch alloys, LED taillights, rain sensing wipers, sat-nav, reversing camera as well as Ford's new SYNC2 infotainment system which is accessible through an eight-inch monitor on the dash .

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Lamborghini still working on SUV

If Lamborghini adds another model to round out its supercar portfolio, it will be a sport utility vehicle, CEO Stephan Winkelmann said."We are working on it, but there is no decision taken," he told Autoblog in an interview in April.The Italian automaker currently has the V12-powered Aventador and V10-powered Huracan in its lineup. Both are two-seat supercars that cater to a niche of sporting-minded enthusiasts.

Lamborghini has flirted with several kinds of vehicles in recent years that could add to its volume and customer base, including the hybrid Asterion revealed at the Paris Motor Show last year, and the Estoque sedan that debuted in Paris in 2008. It also showed the Urus SUV prototype at the Beijing Motor Show in 2012. Seemingly a sure thing three years ago – the Urus even had sales projections of 3,000 per year – the project's future has remained uncertain to enthusiasts.

"If we do a third model, then it's better to have the SUV as this is a growing segment, a more emotional segment, a segment which is very well-distributed in terms of volume all over the planet," Winkelmann said. And therefore this is a car which is more likely."

While Lamborghini has focused on building high-powered, carbon-fiber intense supercars lately, it has also produced iconic grand tourers, like the Espada and 350GT. And of course, it once made an SUV, the LM002, from 1986-1993.

The potential new SUV, however, would be different than the Rambo Lambo. The Urus had a contemporary design – more Porsche Macan or Cayenne than military grade – and it would appeal to Lamborghini owners that also have an SUV in their garage. It would also add significant volume for the company, which delivered 2,530 cars in 2014.

The SUV offers Lamborghini a logical platform for a hybrid system. "Due to packaging, due to the weight of the entire vehicle, it's more likely that the hybridization is getting in place," Winkelmann said. "It's less a car which is about absolute performance. So this could be an opportunity."

2015 Alfa Romeo Giulietta

MANY will attest that you make your own luck, but surely a four-leafed clover must help?Not so long ago you needed a hefty amount of good fortune to reach your destination in an Alfa Romeo.Nowadays the marque is under the guidance of Fiat, which aims to mix some longevity and reliability with the traditional Italian passion.The Alfa Romeo Giulietta Quadrifoglio Verde (QV for short) is a fine example of the partnership.

The QV lineage can be traced back to Alfa Romeo's 1920s racing days when securing victory in the Targa Florio with Ugo Sivocci at the wheel.

This Giulietta is a racy little thing, sharing its engine with the carbon fibre 4C mini-supercar. It's not quite as potent, but you do get a whole lot more convenience, with five seats and a ride which doesn't rattle your fillings.

 Passion is ignited within the cabin and the relationship is somewhat love-hate.The combination leather and alcantara sports seats offer the typical sporting support, but it's the Alfa embossing and the contrasting green and white QV stitching used on the park brake, gear shifter and white on the flat-bottom steering wheel which sets things apart.

Aluminium pedals and slick kick plates; there is ample Italian charm to make it feel like something special.But there are drawbacks. Some interesting rough material is used on the door-tops, nothing that would remove skin but still an interesting texture to be used in such a location.

Then there is the cruise control stalk which is awkwardly positioned behind the steering wheel. They must have taken inspiration from the French.There is also a pair cup holders in the console which are so close together that it's difficult to fit two coffee cups. Mamma mia!

Not all find it an accommodating cabin. Being vertically challenged assisted this author, but it can be difficult to get the steering wheel in the right spot even with telescopic adjustment and the centre console encroaches on legroom, with the pedals too close for comfort.

 Under normal and well-behaved circumstances the six-speed twin clutch automatic can feel jilted and sluggish. It's not as jerky or poorly behaved like some of the Fiat drivetrains, just don't expect silky- smooth cog-swapping.There are three personalities available at the push of a switch, dynamic for unleashing the QV beast, natural for the majority of driving and all weather for when you need extra grip in slippery conditions.

It's in dynamic that things really get interesting and those gear shifts feel more cohesive.With the auto box it's 0.8 quicker in the 0-100kmh sprint than the manual and achieves a pretty swift six seconds when you use the launch control function.Accompanying the squirt of the throttle is a nice exhaust tune, aided by the fuel intake unit called QV Intake Engine Sound. Fancy name, but the soundtrack is up to the hype.

The front-wheeler likes being pushed too, and hangs on nicely when the road gets bendy.Pull left or right on the wheel and the driver can feel confident with direct steering that gives a sense of control.Four-piston Brembo brakes offer some handy breaking power and jumping on the picks has a nice linear feel through the pedal.