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Corvette C8.R Lights Up Sebring Track At Night!

Corvettes Online News Feed - Fri, 12/07/2018 - 12:30pm
The C8.R Corvette was sighted recently making some hot laps around the Sebring course and now is a great time to hear Corvette's newest engine at full song.

Chevrolet Camaro Chief Engineer To Lead Electric Vehicle Programs

GM Authority News - Fri, 12/07/2018 - 12:19pm

Al Oppenheiser was chief engineer of both the fifth and sixth-generation Camaro.

2019 Audi E-Tron First Drive: All Electric, All SUV

Motortrend Magazine News - Fri, 12/07/2018 - 12:00pm

Dunes ripple off into the distance under a brassy sky. The Audi dances over stutter bumps as it slaloms between piles of soft sand. A quick flick of the wrist and flex of the right ankle: instant grip and grunt, dust and gravel spitting from all four wheels. The irony of the moment is delicious. We’re in the Middle Eastern emirate of Abu Dhabi, driving through a desert soaked in oil, having fun in an electric luxury SUV. Meet the 2019 Audi E-Tron.

The E-Tron is built on a brand-new battery electric vehicle (BEV) platform designed and engineered in-house at Audi. It follows the now-typical skateboard format, with a 95-kW-hr battery pack between the wheels and under the floor, and it has motors mounted front and rear to provide all-wheel drive. Despite a near 50/50 weight distribution, it’s not, however, as symmetrically laid out as other skateboard platforms. The rear motor is mounted coaxially with the rear driveshafts, but the front motor has been rolled rearward and upward, away from the axles, to allow Audi engineers to package steering from the MLB Evo components set used in vehicles such as the A6 and A8. They did it to save the expense of developing a bespoke system. For the same reason, the E-Tron platform also incorporates MLB Evo suspension and brake hardware.

That’s not the E-Tron’s only asymmetry, either. The rear motor is rated at 187 hp and 231 lb-ft, the front at 168 hp and 182 lb-ft, specifically to give the E-Tron a sportier, rear-biased dynamic balance. Audi claims the powertrain will deliver a total system output of 355 hp and 413 lb-ft on a sustained basis for up to 60 seconds, allowing for successive acceleration bursts with no reduction of performance. A boost mode gives a total of 402 hp and 489 lb-ft for up to 8 seconds. That’s enough, Audi says, to propel the 5,489-pound E-Tron (the battery pack weighs 1,543 pounds) from 0 to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 124 mph.

Freed from the need to package a bulky internal combustion engine and all its complex ancillaries, Marc Lichte’s design team endowed the E-Tron with a sporty silhouette and broad-shouldered stance. Dimensionally, it’s closer to Audi’s Q7 than the Q5, and it’s more efficiently packaged than either. Two key dimensions tell that story. Although it’s 6.6 inches shorter overall than the Q7, the E-Tron’s wheelbase is within 2.6 inches of the bigger Audi’s, and its roofline is 4.9 inches lower. It’s lower, even, than that of the Q5, which is a massive 9.4 inches shorter overall and rolls on a 4.3-inch-shorter wheelbase.

The E-Tron’s angular interior aesthetic is less conspicuously upscale than that of an Audi A8 or Q8, but with three HD displays—one Virtual Cockpit instrument panel, as well as haptic touchscreens for the infotainment interface and HVAC controls—there’s no mistaking the technology quotient. The center console features what appears to be a leather-covered handrest, but the silver tab at the end of it is the shifter. Move the tab forward with your thumb to engage reverse, rearward with your forefinger for drive. Tap it rearward again, and you’ll get Sport mode; tapping it rearward twice in quick succession activates Boost mode. Park is engaged by pressing the button on the side of the tab.

And that’s about as tricky as driving the E-Tron gets. Everything else, from the Virtual Cockpit and Audi drive mode menus to the functionality of the infotainment and HVAC screens and the buttons on the steering wheel, works the same way as it does in any other current Audi. The E-Tron feels familiar on the road, too: Apart from the lack of engine noise and the eerily elastic surge of acceleration, it drives pretty much like, well … an Audi. The key to that is Audi’s innovative new electrohydraulic braking system.

In simple terms, the E-Tron braking system seamlessly combines motor regen and hydraulic braking. All braking up to 0.3 g is handled by the motors, which send the captured energy to the battery. But if the E-Tron’s neural network senses that more braking power is required, it activates a spindle drive on a displacement piston in the hydraulic braking system to get the calipers—six-piston units up front and single-piston items on the rear—to clamp the brake rotors, just as in a regular car. As most braking events in normal driving are less than 0.3 g, Audi claims regen handles 90 percent of the E-Tron’s braking chores. (It has even programmed the system to apply the hydraulic brakes at least once a day to clean rust off the rotors.)

The technology is clever, but the execution is brilliant. Unlike other BEVs, the E-Tron’s brakes have a wonderfully linear and consistent pedal feel. It is impossible to tell whether regen or hydraulic power is slowing the car, at any speed. At very low velocities—under 7 mph—the system automatically dials back the regen and switches up the hydraulic system, enabling you to gently glide to a smooth halt or engage in back-and-forth parking maneuvers without any of the herky-jerky shunting endemic with BEVs.

Also, because the system recoups so much energy under regular braking, the E-Tron can be driven without any liftoff regen dialed into the powertrain. This means the E-Tron coasts just like a regular car when you lift off the accelerator, which is useful for maintaining momentum when running on freeways—and releases you from the tedium of always having to have pressure on the accelerator pedal just to keep rolling with the traffic. It also enables you to better balance the car on corner entry when driving it enthusiastically on a winding two-lane.

You can dial in low and high regen settings if you wish; the latter allows the E-Tron to be driven with one pedal like a Tesla or Jaguar I-Pace in similar modes, but unless you desperately want to feel like you’re driving an electric car, don’t bother. Audi says the E-Tron is actually more efficient at recouping energy when the system is set to auto mode (where it works with the sat-nav and speed limits to further optimize the amount of energy recovered). More important, however, it endows the E-Tron with a lovely, fluid road manner other BEVs simply can’t match.

“One-pedal mode was a crutch for early BEVs to keep you from using the hydraulic brakes,” Audi product development exec Andrew Carter Balkcom said in Abu Dhabi. After driving the E-Tron, it’s hard to disagree. Audi’s electrohydraulic braking system is a game changer, a benchmark for BEV brake systems.

 

A height-adjustable air suspension is standard. The E-Tron’s default ride height is 6.8 inches. At speeds above 75 mph the suspension automatically drops the car 1.0 inch to reduce drag and improve handling. Switch to Off-Road mode on the Audi Drive Select menu, and the suspension lifts the E-Tron 1.4 inches. With 8.2 inches of ground clearance, Audi claims an 18.2-degree approach angle, 24.4-degree departure angle, and a 16.8-degree breakover angle. A Lift function provides an extra 0.6 inch of ground clearance when needed.

The two trim levels available in the U.S. at launch—the $75,795 Premium Plus and the $82,795 Prestige—come standard with 20-inch wheels fitted with 255/50 tires. Buyers can opt for more efficiency-oriented 19-inch wheels and 255/55 tires at no cost, and 21-inch rims with 265/45 tires will be available as an option at a later date. We sampled cars with both the 20- and 21-inch wheels in Abu Dhabi, and there wasn’t much between them in terms of ride comfort and noise. On either tire the E-Tron doesn’t quite have the rolling plushness of a Jaguar I-Pace, but it is quieter and more comfortable than a Tesla Model X.

Part of our drive included a spirited sprint up the iconic Jebel Hafeet Mountain Road, which packs 60 turns and 4,000 feet of elevation change into just 7.3 miles. Pushed hard, the E-Tron’s powertrain delivers the same punch and responsiveness as some of the more performance-oriented SUVs, and the chassis feels well planted and has less obvious body roll through corners. You need to watch all that instant-on torque, though—get on the power too early, and the nose will push wide—and although the weight is low in the chassis, there’s no mistaking that you’re waltzing almost 5,500 pounds across the road during rapid changes of direction. The downhill run was equally entertaining, not the least because the electrohydraulic braking system barely broke a sweat. No smoke, no smell, no spongy pedal as we rolled back onto the flat. Impressive.

OK, the question everyone wants answered: What’s the range? Audi’s not quoting an EPA number yet, but the 248-mile range it claims for the E-Tron on the European WLTP test cycle suggests it will be somewhere between 210 and 225 miles. That would put the E-Tron just behind the Jaguar I-Pace’s EPA-rated 234-mile range and the efficient Tesla Model X 75D’s 238-mile range.

What’s more, our testing shows the Jaguar to be a full 1.5 seconds quicker to 60 mph, and that the Model X 75D matches the Audi’s claimed 5.5-second time for the sprint. On paper, then, the E-Tron doesn’t seem to move the needle. But the Audi’s cabin is way more upscale than the Tesla’s, and it offers better rear passenger room than the Jaguar. The E-Tron’s real strengths, however, include better everyday drivability than either, courtesy of that clever brake system and a quieter powertrain, plus superior build quality. And the Electrify America 150-kW fast chargers being installed around the country will bring the E-Tron’s battery to 80 percent charge in a Tesla-rivaling 27 minutes.

The E-Tron is the first of four all-new, all-electric Audis scheduled to go on sale in the next two years, the spearhead of a sweeping transformation of VW Group’s premium brand that will see a fully electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle available in every model line by 2025. Audi is betting heavily on electrification. But if our first experience with the E-Tron is any indication, it’s a safe bet. Quick and quiet, stylish and practical, innovatively engineered and intelligently executed, the E-Tron brings the BEV another step closer to the automotive mainstream.

The post 2019 Audi E-Tron First Drive: All Electric, All SUV appeared first on MotorTrend.

Chevrolet Incentives: $3,500 Off 2018 Trax In December 2018

GM Authority News - Fri, 12/07/2018 - 11:43am

The discount brings the starting price of the range-topping Premier model down to $24,795.

GM CEO Mary Barra Meets With Flustered Politicians

GM Authority News - Fri, 12/07/2018 - 11:27am

Political elites from both sides are upset at GM’s proposed $6 billion restructuring.

2001 Pontiac Aztek GT Gets The ‘Regular Car Review’ Treatment: Video

GM Authority News - Fri, 12/07/2018 - 11:21am

The crossover people love to hate finally found an audience.

Win A New Sleigh From The National Corvette Museum

Corvettes Online News Feed - Fri, 12/07/2018 - 10:58am
Your holiday cheer could be provided by a sleigh in the form of a 2019 Corvette coupe if you are the lucky winner of the NCM's latest Corvette raffle.

PRI 2018: T&D Machine Products’ Billet Chromoly LT Rocker Arm Ki

Corvettes Online News Feed - Fri, 12/07/2018 - 10:32am
T&D Machine Products has debuted a drop-in billet rocker arm upgrade for Gen-V Chevrolet engines. Robust and overbuilt, they can handle anything you throw at them.

2020 Silverado HD’s Allison Transmission Isn’t Really An Allison

GM Authority News - Fri, 12/07/2018 - 10:23am

It's just General Motors' 10-speed with Allison branding.

Acura TLX, Kia Stinger Significantly Outsell Buick Regal In Q3 2018

GM Authority News - Fri, 12/07/2018 - 9:33am

In fact, the Acura moved over twice as many units as the Buick.

Gran Turismo Sport Update Adds C2 Corvette And Pontiac Trans Am

GM Authority News - Fri, 12/07/2018 - 8:45am

We can't wait to race them.

Chevrolet Awards Big Winners From 2018 SEMA Show

Corvettes Online News Feed - Fri, 12/07/2018 - 4:57am
Each year, at the SEMA show, Chevrolet chooses a few cars to receive the Chevrolet Design Award. Check out this year's winners.

2019 Mercedes-Benz G 550 First Test: Grown-up G-Wagen?

Motortrend Magazine News - Fri, 12/07/2018 - 4:00am

The G-Wagen isn’t a logical vehicle. It’s the kind of car you buy because you want it and because you can. It may have started life as a utilitarian off-roader, but for the last several decades, it’s been luxed up to the point that many owners won’t hit the trails in one.

Thanks to an iconic design, though, the G-Wagen has remained popular with owners who could easily have bought a luxury SUV that didn’t drive like a farm truck. We can’t blame them, either. If you want a G-Wagen, even a Range Rover won’t do.

But the fact that a G-Wagen is an irrational purchase for most people doesn’t mean we shouldn’t run the new one through our regular series of performance tests. How else are we supposed to know how much better the redesigned version is?

What makes things even more interesting is that even though Mercedes gave the G-Wagen a complete redesign for the first time ever, its 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 makes the same 416 hp and 450 lb-ft as the outgoing G550. But with less weight to haul around and a newer nine-speed automatic transmission, Mercedes’ latest four-wheeled brick should be a much better performer.

In acceleration testing, our G 550 ran from 0 to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds and finished the quarter mile in 14.1 seconds at 98.4 mph. That’s relatively quick, but for a vehicle weighing 5,665 pounds, it’s impressive. For comparison, the last G550 we tested needed 5.9 seconds to hit 60 mph and ran the quarter mile in 14.4 seconds at 95.7 mph. More gears and less weight really paid off.

Of course, complaints about the previous G-Wagen typically didn’t focus on acceleration. Anyone who wanted something quicker could get the AMG-tuned G63 or G65. Handling, however, was definitely an issue. So how improved is the G 550 in that regard?

Well, in our testing, the new G-Wagen averaged 0.61 g on the skidpad and needed 30.7 seconds at 0.53 g to complete the figure eight. The 2016 version, meanwhile, posted 0.71 g and a 28.7-second time at 0.59 g in the same tests. Braking from 60 to 0 mph took 136 feet and 122 feet, respectively.

Wait, what? How can the new G-Wagen possibly handle worse than the old one? Part of that might have to do with how hot it was. We attempt to correct for temperature, but extreme heat can still be an issue, and during SUV of the Year testing, it was regularly well over 100 degrees. But there were two other problems that probably contributed even more: understeer and stability control.

In normal situations, stability control is an important safety feature that helps keep small mistakes from turning you into a played-out Cars and Coffee meme. But in a limit-pushing handling test at the track, programming that’s undefeatable or too conservative can get in the way. As testing director Kim Reynolds found, the G-Wagen’s stability control definitely got in the way.

“Stability control massively screws up cornering such that you’re often full throttle and going remarkably slowly,” he noted.

Stability control stepping in probably wouldn’t have been as big a problem if the G 550 had more neutral handling. Unfortunately, we found it loves to understeer, meaning the stability control had to work overtime. Throw in vague, spongy brakes that didn’t always feel up to the task of stopping such a heavy vehicle, and you have a recipe for poor performance on the handling course.

The good news is, few people are going to buy a G-Wagen expecting it to handle like a sports car. Even the AMG version is clearly not meant for the racetrack. Not to say we approve of any vehicle posting one of the slowest figure-eight times we’ve ever recorded. The G-Wagen’s design just clearly telegraphs its poor cornering abilities.

Around town, Mercedes has greatly improved how the G 550 behaves. You still get lots of body roll, and there’s lots of wind noise, especially at higher speeds, but there’s only so much you can do with an off-road vehicle shaped like a shipping container. On the plus side, it’s relatively easy to drive considering its size. As Detroit editor Alisa Priddle put it, “On the road, it no longer steers like a school bus, but that was not a high bar to clear.”

The cabin also finally feels like it belongs in an SUV that costs six figures. Mercedes kept the passenger grab handle and three locking differential switches, but other than that, the interior looks like it was pulled right out of the S-Class. Some potential buyers may look at the twin displays, multifunction steering wheel, and high-end materials and feel like the G-Wagen’s lost some of its character. But at least it now feels more worthy of its sky-high price tag.

Ultimately, Mercedes did a commendable job of improving the G-Wagen’s on-road driving dynamics while preserving its legendary off-road capability. It’s still a niche vehicle not everyone will understand or appreciate, but that’s OK. We just wish there’d been a bigger improvement in the handling department.

2019 Mercedes-Benz G 550 4Matic BASE PRICE $125,495 PRICE AS TESTED $145,095 VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, 4WD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV ENGINE 4.0L/416-hp/450-lb-ft twin-turbo DOHC 32-valve V-8 TRANSMISSION 9-speed automatic CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 5,665 lb (53/47%) WHEELBASE 113.8 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 189.7 x 76.0 x 77.2 in 0-60 MPH 5.4 sec QUARTER MILE 14.1 sec @ 98.4 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 136 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.61 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 30.7 sec @ 0.53 g (avg) EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 13/17/14 mpg ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 259/198 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 1.33 lb/mile

The post 2019 Mercedes-Benz G 550 First Test: Grown-up G-Wagen? appeared first on MotorTrend.

[VIDEO] Corvette C8.R Night Testing at Sebring

Corvette Blogger - Thu, 12/06/2018 - 9:59pm

Although we haven’t seen any public activity out of the Corvette production team with the C8 mid-engine prototypes in nearly two months, it appears that testing of Corvette Racing’s C8.R is still a go!

Here’s some exciting video capturing the C8.R testing at Sebring International Raceway during a nighttime practice session.

Continue reading [VIDEO] Corvette C8.R Night Testing at Sebring at Corvette: Sales, News & Lifestyle.

Mid Engine Corvette C8.R Goes Night Testing At Sebring: Video

GM Authority News - Thu, 12/06/2018 - 9:35pm

Well that's an interesting exhaust note.

PRI 2018: Cloyes New Single Roller Undersized Timing Set

Corvettes Online News Feed - Thu, 12/06/2018 - 9:00pm
Cloyes new single roller undersize timing set debuts at the PRI show. Purpose-built for engine builders that line bore main journals.

PRI 2018: Keep Your Oil Cool With DEI’s Oil Filter Heat Shield

Corvettes Online News Feed - Thu, 12/06/2018 - 8:42pm
Design Engineering Inc's new Oil Filter Heat Shield will help keep your engine's oil performing its best. The shield is designed to lower the amount of heat oil is exposed to by the filter.

2020 Buick LaCrosse Refresh To Be Discontinued Months After Launch

GM Authority News - Thu, 12/06/2018 - 8:37pm

By the time the updated model goes on sale, it will only be sold for a few short months.

PRI 2018: Save Space With Canton’s Two Quart Expansion Tank With Integrated Recovery

Corvettes Online News Feed - Thu, 12/06/2018 - 8:05pm
Canton Racing Products two-quart Expansion Tank with Integrated Recovery cuts down on engine bay clutter. This tank is designed to eliminate plumbing by bringing these two tanks into one location.

PRI 2018: Cometic Gaskets Is More Than Head Gaskets

Corvettes Online News Feed - Thu, 12/06/2018 - 7:17pm
Cometic Gaskets make gaskets for practically every engine application on your foreign or domestic automobile. They also have engine gaskets for powersports and marine applications.

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