The BMW X2 Concept

If BMW chose the 2016 Paris Motor Show event to unveil the X2, then there has to be something special about it. As with any other model that BMW has rolled out, the X2 too is a model that has amazed people with its appearance. However, experts who know that beauty is only skin deep, are of the opinion that the car has more substance than just that. If hints dropped by the company are to be trusted, then you can expect a car that has been maximized for its functionality. After all, if BMW thought its new addition to the X series worthy of the Paris Motor Show, then there should be a good reason for it! As of now, however, we can only go by guesses as BMW has not officially revealed much information yet.

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Image Source: Wikimedia

‘Enjoyment and practicality’

Does this sound like something you are looking for in a car? Then maybe BMW was thinking of a market made of customers like you when it came up with this model. Senior Vice President BMW Group Design, Adrian van Hooydonk, revealed that this new concept has been specially designed for people who are ‘active’, and are looking for that perfect combination of practicality and enjoyment. Well, the words ‘active’, ‘enjoyment’, and ‘practicality’ may sound vague because everyone can have a different idea of what those words mean. However, perhaps you have got the fair idea of what Hooydonk is trying to say. Anyhow, what we can infer from this is that this SUV has been designed for adventuring families who are looking for a bit of daily commuting, as well as regular road-trips.

Snugly fits between the X1 and X3

The X2 fits perfectly in what anyone would describe as a ‘coupe’. BMW fans who have been closely following its models can tell you why the X2 makes such a great model. While the X1 was perceived to be more of a ‘box-like’ wagon, the X3 is a bit too ‘tall’ for people. The X2, needless to say, combines the two, thereby fitting perfectly between the two. This smart move by BMW aims at satisfying that segment of the market which was in a way disappointed by the limitations of the X1 and X3.

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Image Source: Wikimedia

Overall, the BMW X2 is a model that combines aggression with sleekness. Enthusiasts are now waiting excitedly to know more about what’s going to be under the hood as well.

Our Highlights From The Paris Motorshow

The 2016 Paris Motor Show saw some truly stunning concepts in the automobile world. The Paris Motor Show has been around since the 1800s, and still happens to be perhaps the most glamorous and awaited car show in the world. As such, it is no wonder that you would find only the most exquisite models unveiled at Paris.

Perhaps the most obvious feature of this time’s Paris Motor Show is the push towards electric technology. The trend of Electric machines is already gaining momentum and what better place for major car manufacturers to unveil their future plans than the Paris Motor Show? Here are a few highlights from the show that indicate what the world automobile engineering is headed to in the near future.

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Image Source: Wikimedia

 

  1. Emission Free concepts: This is the single most important feature of this year’s show. Well, the emergence of electric cars means that you can expect emission-free driving in future. As of now, all car manufacturers have unanimously bowed down to the market’s increasing concern towards the environment. As a result, all car companies are increasing their focus on developing technology that will ensure emission-free functioning. The Paris Motor Show 2016 saw some truly amazing emission-free models. Companies that took the show by storm with their emission free plans were Mercedes EQ Generation, Volkswagen’s ID concept, and of-course, Tesla.
  1. Technology is going to an all-new level: The plans that car manufacturers have for the technology that will be used by their models is phenomenal. Companies like Tesla and Mercedes have announced plans that when executed, will result in the emergence of cars that are highly sophisticated. Companies have unveiled ideas that will change the manner in which we think about of car infotainment, safety, autonomy and other such technology.
  1. Manufacturers are stepping up the designing: One feature that just could not be missed is how the appearance of each model was stunning. It looks like each of the manufacturers have taken it as a personal mission to launch cars that are built to kill with their looks. Especially notable are Mercedes’ Maybach and Generation EQ models, and the Volkswagen ID which has a very unusual, but futuristic appearance.

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Image Source: Wikimedia

  1. The absentees: Aston Martin, Lamborghini and Ford have not unveiled any model this season. However, executive from all three manufacturers were present at the show. When the rest of of the manufacturers have made some splendid launches, it is a matter of curiosity as to why these companies have not done so.

Perhaps they have something extraordinary in store for the 2017 Paris Motor Show?

Lewis Hamilton’s Current F1 Season Looks Very Bumpy

If you have followed Formula 1 star Lewis Hamilton’s performances carefully, then you’d be well aware of the hard times that he has fallen into. The 31-year old British Formula 1 racer’s steady rise to the top was harshly marred by an engine failure in his most recent race. This not only got the racer out of the race, but also sent his aspirations to reach the top, spiraling down.

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Image Source: Wikimedia

 

“A test of will”

Hamilton himself believes that his setbacks are nothing but a ‘test of will’.  He said that there is a ‘higher force’ at play in his life right now. He believes that this higher power is trying to lead him to something deeper, and that he has to now accept the challenging and face it rather than lose heart. His failure at the Malaysian Grand Prix has led him to believe that he has hit a point in life where his ‘spirit is being tested’, and has affirmed that rather than get discouraged by it, he will ‘get up and fight’.

The racer seems to be very optimistic about this hard phase. He believes that life is about how a person gets up after falling. As such, he says that no matter what, he will not give up. He also acknowledged the role that others have played in reaching this far in his career by saying that it is not him who feels the pain of what recently happened, but also his mechanics. He said that despite this recent failure, he and everyone who has played an important role in his career will reflect deeply about everything, and come back, stronger.

This was not the first that the Formula 1 star has faced a failure due to technical issues. During the Spanish Grand Prix, he collided with teammate Nico Rosberg, thereby losing his chance at winning the title then too. The same feelings that he went through back then is what he is currently going through, he revealed.

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Image Source: Wikimedia

Bumpy road ahead

Although Hamilton seems very hopeful about the future, circumstances seem to have gotten a little more difficult for him. The tough competition he is facing from other contenders like Red Bull and Ferrari is just one. A more serious issue is the rather disappointing start that Mercedes is giving him in the race. But perhaps the biggest cause of concern is the strict rules that F1 has in place that restrict a driver to just five power units in this season. Having almost exhausted this allowance by the race authorities, Hamilton has some serious challenges to face in the coming days.

Mercedes Maybach 6 Concept

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Image credits – Pixabay

If cars that are built to shock you into silence is your thing, then you should be aware of the Mercedes Maybach 6 Concept. Unmatched and unrivaled, this model is a whole new idea, a whole new vision of high-end luxury cars. The Maybach has already gained a reputation of being the ‘car of your dreams’.

The Maybach 6 was unveiled this August in Monterey Car Week in California. So what makes this car so special?

Looks:

Beauty maybe skin deep, but not in the case of Maybach. While many would think that a car’s appearance is not as important as its performance, Looks just had to be the first of the three for this beast. The reason for this is that the car’s appearance is something that is totally futuristic in style. The sleek cuts with the highly refined design makes it look as though it’s a miniature spaceship taken from a sci-fi movie. The most special feature, however, is the quaint retro look it has despite the highly modern design. The enormous hood and low roof are a perfect combination of the best that the ‘old days’ have to offer and the most creative ideas the future.

Performance:

The Maybach is an all-electric car with a shocking hosrepower of over 700bhp! The monster comes to life with four electric motors and a 80kWh battery pack. Being a Mercedes, you can expect that the power from the motors is equally distributed among the four wheels. The megacoupe boasts of reaching a speed 62mph in within 4 seconds. The Maybach has been designed to reach a top-speed of 155bhp. These are some really serious features in the power department.

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Image credits – Pixabay

Comfort:

It goes without saying that if Mercedes has taken up the challenge to create a legend like the Maybach, then the comfort features wouldn’t be something they’d ignore. The interiors of the car scream luxury and ooze comfort. With high-quality luxury Elm-wood trims and top-notch leather incorporated into the interiors, you would feel as though you are back to those days of elegance, style and highly personalized comfort. Couple this with the wide range of highly advanced technology on the inside, the Maybach 6 is going to be a new standard in luxury car manufacture.

Rich in looks, high on performance and sinfully comfortable, Mercedes may have pushed luxury automobile manufacture to a whole new level, impossible to beat.

Mazda CX 3

For the always-on-the-go driver, few cars can actually lived up to expectations as Mazda’s CX 3. This Crossover quickly gained popularity not only for its highly refined driving experience, but also for the functionality it has to offer. Compact, powerful and comfortable, the CX 3 provides the best option in the market for people who want to grocery shop at 10 am, and race around the empty city streets at 9pm. Here are five things that make the CX 3 a special car.

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Great performance:

The CX 3 is powered by Skyactiv-design 2.0 liter four cylinder engine. The engine promises a power output of 146-horsepower coupled with a torque of the same amount. These numbers are good enough if you are considering a car that is meant for every-day use on city streets. The power features ensure a great performance while on road, quickly picking up speed from where you halt.

Compact:

The car is more compact than the other models in this series. This mean better maneuverability and easy-to-manage features in heavy traffics and sharp cuts. The last thing you would want is to be stuck in a crowded street or road with a big model. As a car that has been designed for everyday use, the size is just perfect to heighten its functionality.

Cargo space:

For a model as compact as it is, the CX 3 gives ample space for storing luggage. The Hatchback Cargo area is modestly proportioned and can easily accommodate the moderate amount of luggage you would carry when using this carry. Again, everyday commute has been focused on while designing the cargo space. As such, passenger comfort has not been compromised on to increase cargo space.

Design:

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Image credits – Pixabay

The SUV has been built on a unique design. Rather than remodel it based on existing plans, Mazda engineers have endowed the CX 3 with its own unique features. The most striking aspect of the car is the subtle way in which it has been given a dominating, muscular appearance, while retaining its compact and humble features. The large wheels and high ground clearance add to the car’s overall functionality.

Comfortable interiors:

The CX 3 has interiors that give a feeling of high-end comfort to the passengers despite being budget-friendly. The interior shave been designed with high-quality material, enhanced to give a very heightened sense of comfort.

A lot of other things makes the CX 3 a great model to own. A winner on most counts, it is surely a keeper!

2017 C-Class Cabriolet

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If a sportscar meets luxury, then it will definitely look something like the Mercedes C-class Cabriolet. The convertible was unveiled in the 2016 Geneva car show. Mercedes-Benz already has a strong reputation as the manufacturer of some of the best models in the automobile world. With the C-class range, Mercedes has given a whole new dimension to launching cars that are simply amazing in terms of looks.

High in power

The C- Class Cabriolet has an engine that has a very heightened response. The car comes in these options:

The C300 has a 2.0 liter twin-turbo engine at its heart. The engine gives an output of 241bhp and 270 b-ft torque. The car has 9-speed transmissions and can rev up to 5500 rpm.

The AMG C43 variant is again a 9-speed transmission model just like the C300, but with an ability to shift between transmissions faster. The engine is a 3.0 liter V6 motor. The engine has an output of 362bhp at 5500 rpm with a 384lb-ft torque. This model can touch a speed of 60 in little over 4 seconds.

The C63 has much more power than the above two. Powered by a 4.0 twin-turbo V8 engine, this car gives an output of 469bhp and 479lb-ft torque. The C63 S variant has an output of 503 bhp and 516lb-ft torque.

All models are powerful and make revving up an absolute pleasure for the driver. For drivers who have a taste in style and elegance, yet are looking for an amazing experience in sportscar driving, the Cabriolet gives the perfect options to choose from.

High in style

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Image credits – Pixabay

The Cabriolet has been designed to offer the perfect combination of luxury and a sporty look. All the variants are convertibles. The roof opens and closes quickly at the touch of a button, and do not occupy too much space at the back when folded. The Cabriolet has a minimalistic-yet-majestic looking appearance, with a high-set, solid looking body. The Cabriolet has something of a classical feel about it- the steep windshield and long hood add to the overall ‘old-school’ retro look of the models. However, the sharp creases, sleek headlight and tail-lamps bring the design of the car to a futuristic look.

The interiors have been inlaid with high-quality French-stitched leather that do the double-duty of looking elegant and heightening comfort at the same time. With the roof covering the interior, sound is completely eliminated so that driving this model would be an experience similar to cruising through the air.

The 2021 Apple iCar – What Is The Buzz About?

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From computers, through iPads and today to a whole lot of products, right since its inception, Apple has carved a niche for itself. The company is something of a legend, and their products are brands unto themselves – each speaking for itself, and none needing any introduction.

After conquering the world of digital technology and retaining its hold over the market, Apple has now dared to think about venturing into the world of automobile-manufacturing. Of course, no cars have been manufactured as of now, and the idea is still at its inception stage. However, do not let it shock you if by 2021, the current craze of iPhones is replaced by a craze for iCars!

What we can expect

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Ever since the rumors have surfaced, Apple loyalists worldwide are excited beyond limits as to what exactly Apple is going to do. Ever since they released the iconic iMac G3 back in the 90s, the company has never failed to leave the market spellbound by their products. It is only natural, then, that the iCar is going to set a new standard when it comes to automobile engineering.

While it is difficult to speculate right now as to what technological marvel Apple is going to bring to us in 2021, what we do know for now is that the car is going to be an all-electric machine. This is an important point to note because today the automobile world is moving towards an era of electric machines, leaving behind the traditional fuel-engines. As such, it is very clear that Apple intends to build a car that will be highly futuristic and technologically advanced.

While other car manufacturers are thinking of ways to shed the fuel-based engines and move towards electrification, it looks like Apple intends to actually start its new venture by incorporating this new trend. Naturally, this means Apple fans can expect really awesome upgrades on the iCar, along with never-seen-before-technology. If we go by the rumors, we can also conclude that this car will be equipped with highly advanced autonomic features.

Apple seems to be all set to take even the automobile market by storm, and give other giants tough competition.

Nothing concrete yet

Rumors about the iCar are increasing by the day, and are even coming from reliable sources. In fact, Apple has never denied these rumors and are subtly indicating that they actually are planning on such a venture. However, current CEO Tim Cook insists that the company has no concrete information to publish as yet.

Until Apple tells us more, all we can do is wait patiently and expect the best.

Brief Review of Top Five Cars in Performance Motor Segment in the Paris Motor Show 2016

Here are five performance vehicles that car enthusiasts are excited about seeing at the Motor Show in Paris this year.

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With an output of 550bhp, the Mercedes GT C’s V8 engine simply shouts performance. With an extremely futuristic-looking body, the GT C is an upgrade of the iconic AMG GT model. What makes everyone so excited about the car is the fact that it can touch 60 mph in a mere 3.7 seconds! Thank the 502lb-ft torque for this mind-boggling speed. With its awesome looks, power and speed, this is one model that everyone is craving to set their eyes on.

The Bentley Muslanne Speed

The Bentley Muslanne is another car that boasts of touching very high speeds. With a 6.5 liter twin turbocharged V8 engine, the Muslanne promises to touch a speed of 60mph in 5 seconds and a top speed of 164mph. The name is taken directly from VW’s legendary Bentley that was the ultimate name in sportscars back in the day. VW has brought back the Bentley, upgraded to the most advanced technological features that exist.

LaFerrari Aperta

Formerly called the ‘Spider’, this car by Ferrari is another highly anticipated model at the Paris Motor Show. Set to be launched for sale in 2017, the car comes alive with a V-12 6.3 liter engine. Hitting a speed of 60mph in just a little over 2 seconds, this can be one of the fastest cars in history. The Aperta will have a total output of 950 horsepower and a torque 664pound-feet. This vehicle is one of the most futuristic cars set to be presented in the Paris Motor Show.

Audi RS7

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Image credits – Pixabay

With a sleek, dignified appearance that is also subtly suggestive of its sporty nature, the 2016 Audi RS7 has a V8 Turbocharged machine that can produce up to 560hp. Audi is known for equal power distribution among all four of its wheels. This car is undoubtedly going to be a steady, balanced and powerful model that promises to provide a driving experience that is both elegant, as well as aggressive.

Lamborghini Asterion

The Asterion is a go-green concept, a hybrid model with three electric engines at its heart. With a top speed of 897hp, the car is a special model for its two main features- for being eco-friendly, and for promising a high speed driving experience too.

Autonomic Vehicles – 5 Things You Must Consider

It wouldn’t be wrong to think that with time, autonomic technology will be the norm of the automobile industry. However, before we head towards this automated future, there are certain things we need to consider: 

How reliable is technology?

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Image credits – Pixabay

How much can we really rely on a car’s judgment? Sure, the vehicles will be equipped with sensors that offer give a close to accurate judgment about driving conditions. However, the question is to what extent are these features reliable? The reason one would be apprehensive about relying on technology entirely, is because driving is a highly unpredictable experience. No two driving situations are the same. As such, there is no saying what you can expect on the road at any given time.

Are humans responsible enough?

Manufacturers may issue guidelines that the autonomic technology is just a feature that a driver can rely on when he is mentally distracted. However, to what extent can we trust ourselves to not rely on the technology entirely just because it makes things easier for us? Chances of accidents are definitely high if human judgment is absent because technology has its limitations.

How flexible will the car be?

When you drive your car yourself, you know exactly where you want to go, where you want to stop and where you want to take a detour. But if the car is autonomic, how far can technology understand these things? What if the car takes you a few yards ahead of where you actually want to get off because that spot has been programmed to be the destination point? This is another difficult question to answer.

Whose fault will accidents be?

In case of accidents where one party is an autonomic car while the other is a car driven by a human, how can anyone decide which party is to be blamed? As it is, things are complicated even when both cars are driven by humans. Naturally things will be more difficult to figure out if one car is a automatic one. 

Can the car deal with changing weather conditions?

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Image credits – Pixabay

This may seem like a minor issue, however, it is still a good point to consider. How will the car figure out road markings in snow? How would the car determine driving conditions in thick fog or rain? Can the autonomic technology ensure a safe drive even in storms or tough terrains?

That being said, it should be understood that this does not mean autonomic technology is a bad idea. In many ways, it is really good. However, drivers will have to remember that having autonomic technology does not mean their carefulness and driving skills can take a backseat.

The 2017 Jaguar XE Is a True-Blue Sports Sedan Which Makes You Feel Alive

The Jaguar XE is a God sent gift in this age when luxury sedans are omitting sportiness altogether as they feel that providing a car with crisp dynamics and ability to make sharp turns can’t be blended with practicality, refinement and fuel economy. Well, after long, here is a car which has all the qualities that you would crave for in a sporty, luxury sedan. The smallest Jaguar sedan is the most engaging car in the 3-series class. As a driver, you will feel each of the road undulations without as much as a twitch and cornering is so easy. However, what happens at the tires will never impact the ride quality negatively thanks to the tightening of the bushings with just the right proportion.

The ride will not feel mechanical or overly rational thanks to smart computers driving these days. You will get the real pleasure of driving without too much interference that purists had been missing for so long.

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Lighter

Jaguar has claimed that the new Jaguar XE to be launched in 2017 is lighter than many other Jag models due to the use of steel in a way that the weight is distributed towards the rear wheels. It is made from aluminum but steel has been used strategically in the doors, lift gate and the floor pan near the rear seats. It still weighs 3700 pounds but the weight never interferes with your driving pleasure. It is extremely nimble. Jaguar’s first electronic power steering wheel is also extremely precise and very driver-friendly.

Trims and engine options

There are four trim levels for you to choose from. These are Base, Premium, Prestige and R-Sport. There are also multiple engine options to choose from. There is the gasoline four cylinder engine with markings ‘25t’, the diesel four cylinder engine identified by markings ‘20d’ and the gasoline six cylinder marked as ‘35t’. The V6 is undoubtedly the most fun to drive. AWD and RWD options are offered in the 35t and 20d engine specifications on the new Jaguar XE. The XE 25t uses a 2.0 liter gasoline engine which produces 240 bhp power and 251 ft-lb of torque. The XE 20d uses turbocharged diesel engine which produces 180 bhp power and 318 ft-lb torque. But the crème a la crème has to be the 3.0 liter V6 which cranks out a maximum power of 340 bhp and also a maximum torque output of 332 ft-lb and is extremely quick.
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There are three drive modes Normal, Eco and Dynamic to choose from. The base gets 17 inch wheels keyless remote entry , electronic parking brakes, 8-inch central infotainment system, 6-speaker audio system with HD radio, etc. You can additionally choose the InControl navigation app.

The RE-sport gets leatherette wrapped panels as well as leather seats, adaptive dynamics, satellite radio and a host of safety packages.

Conclusion

The car not only has an elegant exterior, beautiful interiors and a refined engine but it also has a number of safety features like driver drowsiness alert, blind spot monitoring, front and rear parking sensors, cross-traffic alert, collision warning and mitigation alert and Driver Assistance Package with additional features. It is a very practical choice with a price tag which starts from $34000 odd and ends below $70000. Jaguar has finally a lethal weapon which it can use to challenge the supremacy of the class leading brands. From the buyer’s perspective, it’s always better to have more options. Don’t hesitate to book a Jaguar XE if you are looking for a 3-series “mini sedan”.

Toyota Prius Prime Will Be a Smart Choice in the Hybrid Segment Come 2017

The Toyota Prius Prime is an improved version of the redesigned 2016 Prius which had an EPA estimated electric range of 11miles, which was way too short for the daily needs of most of Toyota’s customers. Prius has been suffering in the recent years due to the lack of range issue. However, Toyota has solved this issue by providing a plug-in hybrid Prius Prime with an electric range of 22 mph and a projected efficiency of 120 MPGe with full charge.  The car is slightly bigger than a standard Prius and Toyota has claimed that it will provide the same 52 mpg combined EPA rating as the standard model, when the charge has been exhausted completely. After charge depletion, a 1.8 liter, 4-cylinder engine takes over which is capable of producing a max power of 121 bhp. It is 2.4 inches longer than the previous edition and 0.5 inches wider. Toyota says that the new Prius will be launched in all the 50 states of the US, a first for any Prius
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Toyota also claims that with a full charge and a full tank, the new Prius Prime will have a range of 600 miles which is quite impressive. The 8.8 kwh battery doubled from the earlier 4.4 in Prius plug-in and positioned below the rear seat, can be charged in 5.5 hours using a normal household AC connection and within an estimated 2 hours using 240 Volt connection.

Exterior and interior upgrades

The new Prius, with a carbon fiber liftgate and plenty of high strength steel, has undergone quite a few design changes and is fun to drive and ride. For one, it is light and peppy. The new Prius Prime gets a new spoiler and still has a long tail, as a part of the “kammback” or lift back design. It has a lower nose, thinner, more stylish and slightly lower quad LED headlamps with running lights and the rear windows get concave gets a concave glass center section which neither affects visibility nor aerodynamic drag. It also features a “dual wave” look at the back which in conjunction with the futuristic front fascia gives a very glamorous look.

The car is also tighter, more rebound damping and a new suspension setting which is distinct from a standard Prius. The reason is a better driving experience and it handles better in S-sections of the road and other corners as well. Toyota claims that this car handles differently from the other Prius models because it has been built on Toyota’s new Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA).

Toyota has thoughtfully included a number of safety features in the car which is a part of the P Suite. It provides pedestrian recognition, pre collision warning, dynamic cruise control, proactive emergency braking and also lane keeping assist. Some other features are available as options. There is an 11.6 inches centrally located HD infotainment system which has integrated smartphone apps, public charging booth locators and other connectivity and navigational functionality. It will also have the Siri- eyes free app. There will also be a 4.2 inch TFT cluster behind the steering wheel for reading vital car stats. The seats are comfortable and there is also much lower cabin noise than in the past.
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Conclusion

The car will have three distinct driving modes- EV, EV auto and hybrid. Toyota claims that it is easier to drive in the EV mode at lower speeds and the hybrid is better at high speeds with the normal hybrid mode although Toyota says that you can drive in the EV mode up to 84 mph, which is a big improvement over the last model. The EV auto mode is for higher speeds.

The car is a very good addition to the hybrid scene which is getting more competitive with other manufacturers launching their new cars. It is a good time for a buyer to go green and Toyota is a good option.

The 2016 Mazda MX-5 Is A Spitting Image of the Quaint 1st Generation Model

Very rarely will you come across a car which has reduced weight, size or even maximum power to improve the driving dynamics and increase the fun quotient. Mazda has always been unconventional in its outlook and has never hesitated to take bold decisions if it meant better performance and a better experience for the driver. The new 4th generation Mazda Miata or Mazda MX-5 lends further credibility to this reputation.

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What is the change?

For one, it is the quickest Miata ever. It can make 0-60mph in just 5.9 seconds flat. The car is actually dimensionally smaller than the last iteration and stands at a mere 2320 pound which is almost similar to the 1st generation Miata that took the motoring world by storm in the early 1990s as a worthy successor to cars made by Lotus. It has been ruling the below $30000 sports convertible roost for over two and a half decades and is yet equally loved. It remains the benchmark for other manufacturers in the segment.

Mazda has decided to limit the power output to 155 bhp @ 6000 rpm and the torque has been limited to 148 ft-lb @ 4600 rpm. These may be less impressive than the stats of the last iteration on paper, it needs to be clarified that the car is definitely faster and also much easier to maneuver due to its unbelievably light weight. A 2.0 liter, inline-4 engine which uses the celebrated SkyActiv technology seats pretty under the hood. 6-speed manual transmission is standard but the option of auto is available on all the trim levels. It also uses a soft roof top. The reasons for which you have been crazy for Mazda Miata are all present in the latest iteration and it has added some more extraordinary features. Also, could you believe that it has reduced the wheel base from outgoing 3rd generation model to make it more compact and tighter around corners without compromising on cabin or trunk space? Miata is still defiant in this age of monster SUVs, automatic transmissions and an obsession with horsepower.

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A peek into the cabin 

The first thing that would pleasantly surprise you is that despite the reduction in overall dimensions, the 130 liter boot space remains adequate for a 2-seater, ‘feisty’ roadster. The manual soft top roof is easy to operate. Although, the cabin may not seem palatial, it is not cramped either. The ergonomics of the seats have definitely been improved and the cabin has been refreshed.

Each car gets a 7 inch touchscreen and a new infotainment system. All the three trims: Sport, Club and Grand Touring have some really impressive cabin features. All the standard safety features in modern cars like air bags, blind spot monitoring, traction control, cruise control are available as standard features or in certain packages.

Conclusion

The new LED head and tail lights look classy. There is some body roll and also a lot of noise inside the cabin, especially if you are driving with the roof retracted. But the limited slip differential and Bilstein shock absorbers in the higher trims reduce the impact significantly.   But, it is extremely easy and fun to corner, especially around twisty bends. You can expect a targa top in the 2017 edition and one thing is certain is that Mazda will continue to raise the bar with its marquee!

The 2017 M2 May Be the Most Nimble Track-Bred Performer from BMW Ever

Some of you Bimmer enthusiasts may be wondering that as BMW already has M-series of sports coupes and convertibles, what is the need for the M2? Well, the answer lies in dimensions and weight. BMW has tried to reduce weight of this car in order to increase its agility. It has extensively used aluminum to keep the weight under check.

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CarAndDriver speculates that in order to keep the curb weight below 3300 pounds or less, the BMW engineers from the in-house M GmbH racing division of the company are planning to make the suspension in aluminum, the brake rotors in carbon-ceramic and the oil sump may well be a magnesium casting. This in addition to M2 being 4.8 inches shorter wheelbase than M3/M4 will make it easier to handle around bends and generally more fun to drive.

It would also be competitively priced in order to attract the young and upcoming target group who are not the ideal customers for the $60000 plus M3, M4 or higher M-series variants. This is one of the biggest highlights of the car. When you consider the features and advanced technologies that BMW would include in this car, it would seem to be a good value for money car.

Engine specs

It is expected that the BMW M2 will feature the 3.0 liter, inline-6, dual turbocharged engine fitted with a Valvetronic variable–intake-valve-lift system. This directly injected engine is quite distinct from what you will normally find on BMW sedans. Being a track ready car, it gets some performance upgrades like grey-cast iron liners and powerful track pistons. The DCT manual transmission will get an oil system which will have a new oil cooler so that the oil sump can handle higher lateral gravitational forces.

The redline is expected to be at 7000 rpm and the maximum power is 365 bhp @ 6500 rpm and 369 ft-lb of torque @ 4700 rpm. There is also an electrically controlled limited slip differential at the rear to provide rebound damping and also reduce wheelspin. Between 5000 and 7000 rpm, the car produces some exotic musical notes due to the flapped exhaust. It can also do 0-60 in 4.3 seconds flat.

Inside M2

Starting at a price somewhere around the $53000 mark, the car will offer many modern features as standard. There will be an impressive array of safety features like electronic parking system, parking assist, adaptive cruise control, active driving assistant, park distance control and many other features. There is an impressive amount of space at the back for a compact coupe and if the rear seats are folded, you will get about 14 cu ft of trunk capacity. The seats are very comfortable and can absorb a significant amount of impact to give you a peaceful and comfortable ride on twisty or uneven tracks. You will get the option of heated seats, infotainment screen and navigation. Some more features will be part of add-on packages.

The front fascia has the BMW’s characteristic twin-kidney grille and large air intakes with big ducts also capable of taking in air.   

Conclusion

The BMW M2 is for the smart generation. It will definitely provide better fuel economy numbers that bigger M-series cars. It may not look like much like a sporty coupe with serious track credentials but, be rest assured that it is.

Kia GT Is a Sport Sedan That Promises To Offer Great Value

The new Kia GT promises an athletic and agile sports sedan with a rear wheel drive configuration and a refined zippy 3.3 liter engine giving it the legs that a sports car needs. It’s currently expected to hit full production by early 2017 and some sources claim that it would be launched globally as a brand building project and hence may come in both left-hand and right-hand drive options.

The 4-door, 5-passenger sedan wears the characteristic Kia look of a long, overarching bonnet which reclines back towards a long, low and flowing roofline which is characteristic in many coupes around the world. It also has a tail behind the rear axle and will come with a rear spoiler. It is expected that it will closely resemble the Kia GT concept car that was unveiled in 2011.

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Engine expectations

It is expected that the 2017 Kia GT would probably come in two or three different engine specifications. One could be the 3.3 liter, twin turbocharged V6 engine and another could be its naturally aspirated variant. The third that is expected to be on the anvil is the 4.6 liter V8 turbo that would interest the real sports car enthusiasts who may have inclinations to take their car to tracks on weekends. No doubt, if the V8 gets used, it would be a maniacal muscle car which would do crazy power and torque numbers. Possibility of a 5.0 liter V8 can’t be ruled out also!

It needs to be noted here that the 3.3 liter, turbocharged V6 that came with 8-speed automatic transmission which was revealed at the 2011’s Frankfurt Motor Show, promised to produce a maximum power of 389 ponies and a torque in excess of 394 ft-lb. Hopefully, the numbers would be retained and bigger numbers will be made by the V8. There could be a performance based model as well. There are speculations that instead of the RWD, the upper trims could also offer AWD options. Also a full manual or dual clutch auto with manual shifting could also be offered. However, it would be a psychological boost for the company if it can breach the 400 bhp mark with its V6! If a cue is taken from Hyundai’s Genesis G90, the V8 could make 420 bhp or more.

Interior and exterior 

The Kia GT seems to be a wide bodied, 4-door coupe. The roof is low and ducks further towards the back. There will possibly be a wide air dam at the front with a short grille. There will be air intakes also. The rear fascia may be flat and will have robust quad exhausts. Not much is known about the design of the head and tail lamps but it is expected to be trendy with accent lights and day time running lights being standard.

 

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Since, Kia will be taking on its more celebrated and experienced German rivals in this segment, it is expected that the cabin will be upscale and may be even futuristic. It will also borrow liberally from its sibling G80 or G90. There will be a large central touchscreen/ infotainment system and a large TFT cluster of instruments between fuel gauges. There may be entertainment options for rear seat passengers as well in the form of screens attached behind front seats. The seats will be ergonomically designed and will have good height to provide good front visibility.

Kia seems to be back on track with this masterpiece. Hopefully, a 2-door coupe will also be offered. But this car has the class, style and driving dynamics that is not generally associated with Kia. Most importantly for any grand tourer it is also expected to be very fun to drive.

The 2017 Subaru Impreza Is As Utilitarian As Ever and Makes for a Sensible Choice

The 2017 Subaru Impreza is bigger, more powerful and more fuel efficient than before although it doesn’t have the most balanced look. Subaru is known for usability and fighting spirit which is writ large all over the gaiety and stance of this car. This Impreza has deliberately tried not to make fancy upgrades, inside or outside but has focused on improving performance stats and adding more features which is good for an average American who wants a lot of bang for every buck spent.

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One of the most impressive features is that the AWD has been made standard across all trims. This improves handling and also power delivery. This also improves traction under rough weather conditions. Both the hatchback and sedan become roomier than the last iterations. The wheelbase has been increased by 1 inch, the overall length by 1.6 inches and the width has been pushed up by 1.5 inches although both the sedan and the hatchback are 0.4 inches lower in height than before. The body structure is stiffer than before and there are not many lines and angles all over the body. The sidelines are also less prominent. The nose is lower but the distinctive Subaru hexagonal grille seats tight.  Whether the car can provide tauter handling is what remains to be seen. The new cars will be made in the US for the first time.

Trims and features

The 2017 Subaru Impreza offers 4 trim options. These are Base, Premium, Sport and Limited.  The active safety systems are an improvement as also the crash protection technology over the outgoing model. The 2.0 flat Boxer-4 engine now in the 2017 Impreza will crank out 152 bhp against 148 in the last iteration and while the lower trims will offer a manual transmission gear shifter, the higher trims will come with continuously variable transmission (CVT) shifter. There will also be a manual mode which can be operated using the paddle shifts mounted on the steering. The transmission will pass through seven fixed ratios and will add more zip to the car.

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The Sport trim is also expected to get active torque vectoring technology to make it more lively and fun to drive while also reducing driver fatigue. The Sport trim also gets sporty gauges while all the trims get red interior stitching and LED running lights. The dash, cockpit, consoles and trims are far more aesthetically designed than the last edition which was Spartan in comparison. The lower trims get a 6.5 inches touchscreen while the higher trims (Sport and Limited edition Impreza) get a bigger 8.0 inches touchscreen. A new infotainment system has been added to the car which supports Android Auto as well as Apple Carplay and will allow you to sync the contents of your smartphone so that you can drive without taking the hands off the wheel at any point, even when you are on the phone.

Conclusion 

The new Impreza gets impressive safety features like standard rear parking camera and Starlink batch of safety and security features. The engine immobilizer is also standard and Sport and higher trims get tire pressure monitoring. The wheel also upgrades from 16 inches to 18 inches. The Harmon/Kardon audio system is also available. Adaptive cruise control, collision warning system, blind spot detection and high beam assist are standard in the Eyesight safety system package.

The car is really impressive. Although the price and fuel economy figures are not yet available, it can be safety concluded that it would meld affordability with convenience. You can’t go much wrong with this Subaru. It’s a safe bet!

The New 2017 Ford Fusion is about Performance and Value

The new 2017 Ford Fusion is nothing more than a mid-cycle update but it does add a lot of impressive features on the inside. On the outside, the car looks quite similar to previous editions but it is definitely more curvaceous and angular with larger doors and bigger dimensions. It also has a new hexagonal grille which gives it a rakish look and a wider front fascia. The gloss black air dam and grille are also very sleek and elegant and the new headlights and tail lights are more attractive and feature LED lights. The accent lights are an impressive addition to the front fascia.

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It won’t be an exaggeration to call the look rather “aggressive” which is uncharacteristic for a mid-size family sedan, but, it suits the car well. There are a number of trims, performance packages and engine options. That is what makes Ford such a versatile and widely accepted automaker. The car has a wheelbase of 112.2 inches and an overall length of 191.7 inches and also an acceptable 16 cu ft cargo volume but the legroom at the back is limited and the headroom could have been better.

What about the engine and trims? 

The car is quite fast although not the quickest. It is a very stable car. Ford Fusion is available in four trim levels: S, SE, Titanium, Platinum and the performance model V6 Sport. A hybrid and a plug-in hybrid model called Energi Fusion are also available. Even the lowest trims get impressive features like adaptive cruise control, tilt and telescoping steering, height adjustable driver’s seat, rotary dial shifter which saves up some space, electronic parking brake, new, illuminated USB ports, Ford’s improved Sync 3 infotainment system, smartphone app integration and Bluetooth connectivity and 4-speaker sound system. The seats are also plush, the cupholders are more ergonomic and functional and a longer center arm rest and all part of the new offering. The higher trims get 8-inch LCD screens, advanced self-parking technology, adjustable driver and passenger seats, leather steering, heated grips, bigger wheels, dual zone climate control and impressive safety features like collision warning and mitigation and Ford MyKey feature which allows the owner to preset secondary driver controls.

The base trim gets 2.5 liters, naturally aspirated, inline-4 and 6-speed automatic transmission (manual isn’t available). There is also a1.5 liter, turbocharged EcoBoost, inline-4 engine with auto transmission. Start/ stop button is standard. Next up is the 2.0 liter, turbocharged, inline-4 EcoBoost engine which makes 240 bhp power and 270 ft-lb torque. The Fusion Sport is the latest addition to the lineup and produces an impressive 325 bhp power and 380 ft-lb torque from the twin, turbocharged 2.7 liter V6 engine.

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Conclusion

The cars have undergone both cosmetic and functional changes between. It also has more space in cubbies and on doors. You can set various memory settings on the seat and trims used are nice although the quality of plastic could have been better. Ford Fusion as before provides an economic ride and also comes loaded with features. The EPA-rated fuel economy is above average on all the engine options and the hybrids are outstanding. If you are planning for city commuting and occasional interstate driving, the Ford Fusion makes a lot of sense.

The Chevrolet Camaro Is a Smart Muscle Car Which Offers Unparalleled Comfort

The Chevrolet Camaro is impressive not only because of the mind-boggling horsepower numbers that it regularly delivers but also because it is smart, driver-friendly and offers many state of the art technologies that you won’t commonly associate with a muscle car. Chevrolet will soon launch the ZL1 version which promises to offer 640 bhp power and 640 ft-lb of torque from the Chevrolet LT4 supercharged 6.2 liter V-8 engine which is shared by its more vaunted sibling Corvette Z06. This means, there will be an increment of 60 ponies and 84 ft-lb or torque respectively over the last generation ZL1 which used a 6.2 liter LS3 V-8 powerplant.

The new generation Camaro will also get the 1LE package not just in the monstrous V8 engine but also the V6 engine. This means the awe-inspiring and redoubtable muscle car gets some much needed track-ready suspension settings as well as bigger brakes, bigger tires and hence better traction and handling.

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Following the heritage

The Chevrolet Camaro will complete its 50th anniversary this year and Chevrolet has made every effort to stick to the legacy of this beast. The naturally aspirated engine and 1LE package means that this track-bred car can be used on normal roads on a daily basis. The new iteration is also slightly smaller in dimension and almost 200 pounds lighter, which is a great improvement. Chevy says the new Alpha platform is the reason behind the weight reduction.

The current generation V6 is no pushover. It has clocked times which are comparable with the last generation V8 engine. The Camaro SS is also faster and more agile than the standard Camaro SS.  One thing is for certain. Keeping true to the heritage, the car will be a hooner although spec wise, it falls just short of the Corvette. There will be a difference in the 1LE package for both V6 and V8 engines due to different weight distributions of the engines. The suspension-settings are also engine specific.

Under the hood

The 2017 V6 Camaro will have a 3.6 liter all-aluminum engine, capable of producing a maximum power output of 335 bhp and a maximum torque output of 284 ft-lb. The 1LE package adds a short-throw shifter to the manual transmission. It also gets a limited slip differential which increases traction. It gets a dual-mode active exhaust and track-cooling package.

The ZL1 which has a standard six-speed manual may now be the first car from General Motors to feature a 10-speed auto transmission. It will be offered as an option, though.

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Inside the cabin

 

The first and most important addition is the Performance Data Recorder which you find mainly in track cars. A camera fitted to the rearview mirror will record your performance for future analysis. You will be able to get an insight into your lap times, average engine revolutions, top speed, average speed, lateral acceleration, etc.

The trims and materials are of superior quality and made with a lot of caution. The seats are snug, especially the optional Recaro front seats. The steering and gear lever are covered in suede for better gripping. The overall cockpit dynamics is sleek and it features MyLink navigational software from Chevrolet, a touchscreen, a TFT cluster between the speedometer and the rev counter gauges behind the steering wheel a plush dashboard.

Conclusion

Although most enthusiasts would probably look at the V8 option, the 1LE V6 engine is equally impressive. The Camaro is here to stay for many more years to come and its V8 proves that it is still in demand.

Acura NSX is an Aggressive Supercar and a Refined Luxury Sedan at the Same Time

Confused? Acura NSX is no doubt a mean, overly aggressive supercar which can be also be a shy if you want it to be. It has four driving modes and its behavior oscillates wildly from being a polite, level-headed gentleman to a raging bull in a matter of minutes. It seems Honda has tried to play it safe in a competitive supercar world dominated by some very big Italian and German names.

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Acura has claimed that the new 2017 NSX, one of the most awaited cars in the coming year, can be driven around everyday instead of being taken out occasionally on track days. That is why they have blended advanced technology with practicality. Well, sports car purists may snigger at what Acura has marketed as the USP of NSX but it is true that there may not have been many buyers for a car which comes with a price tag in excess of $150000 but can’t be driven around regularly. The last iteration was produced a decade back and a lot is expected from the new edition.

 

Why is the engine special?

Acura claims that the 2017 NSX would have a top speed of over 190 mph and will make 0 to 60 mph in 3 seconds! Now, the question is, will the new NSX manage to attain the same cult status that the original NSX, the first all-aluminum mass produced car had attained 25 years back? Only time will answer this question. NSX had been discontinued after production for over one and a half decade because Honda had refused to enter into a mindless race for horsepower among the then sports car manufacturing fraternity.

Acura, however, this time, has an engine which can go ballistic without compromising the safety and utility of Honda sedans like the venerable Accord. It is a hybrid engine which uses a mid-mounted twin dry sump V6 engine with three additional electrical motors for a company which would help the engine to send power equally to all the four wheels. Engine performance and driving dynamics is assisted and monitored by a powerful computer which makes power delivery, torque vectoring, acceleration or deceleration, application of brakes and management of battery precise. There is almost no scope for the driver making a mistake.

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The turbo-charged twin V-6 can produce 500 bhp power 406 ft-lb of torque although there were plans originally to incorporate a naturally aspirated engine under the hood. But that’s not all. The electrical motors can provide an additional 73 ponies of power to make a combined power output of 573 bhp and a combined torque of 476 ft-lb. The four driving modes are quiet, sport, sport plus and track. While the quiet mode is exceptional for roads where you don’t like a noisy supercar, the track can make the steering so tight that you will literally need to apply force to make it rotate. The nine-speed, dual-clutch automatic with manual driving mode is standard along with the 4WD drivetrain. Importantly, the car is adjustable to different conditions and each mode is useful according to the driver’s specific needs.

Conclusion   

The car may be porky, flat with a snout at the front with conventional angularity all through the body, yet it is surprisingly agile. The power delivery because of the electric motors is smooth and there is no sudden spike or drop. There is tremendous torque presence throughout the power range, with the redline at 7500 rpm. If one has to summarize, it has to be said that this supercar, despite its impressive dynamics and technology doesn’t lose sight of the fact that it has to be made usable. In that regard, it offers a great package. It’s a very smart car!