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Posts Tagged ‘Mercedes’

Fierce, Capable & Focused – The 2015 Mercedes-AMG C63

REPOSTED BY MIDWEST GLASS TINTERS FROM:  BUSINESS INSIDER

 

Mercedes-AMG C63

 

The introduction of the entry-level Mercedes-Benz CLA launched a new era for the C-Class. No longer at the bottom of the brand’s offerings, the C-Class enjoyed a dramatic redesign in 2014 that enabled it to more closely resemble a miniaturized S-Class; unfettered from its humble origins, it was free to evolve into a more luxurious, refined, and mature sedan.

 

The new 2015 Mercedes-AMG C63 takes this evolution a step further and embraces a more performance-oriented focus, starting with a twin-turbocharged 4-liter V-8—a modified version of the engine powering the new Mercedes-AMG GT. Available in standard (469 hp) and S (503 hp) variants, the engine is said to be the most fuel-efficient 8-cylinder in the high-performance segment. Considering this claim, the C63’s zero-to-60-mph time of 4 seconds (and the S’s 3.9-second sprint) makes this an exceptionally capable compact sedan. Also joining the C-Class family is the Mercedes-Benz C450 AMG, which is powered by a 3-liter twin-turbo V-6 that is capable of reaching 60 mph from a dead stop in 4.9 seconds.

 

At the Algarve International Circuit in Portimão, Portugal, the C63 S proved to be a dynamic, entertaining performer thanks to its prodigious power and dialed-in suspension. Despite numerous blind corners, elevation changes, and decreasing-radius turns, the C63 S felt tenaciously glued down with intuitive, reassuring handling. Unlike some all-wheel-drive AMG models (such as the E-Class), the rear-wheel-drive C-Class AMG is easier to steer with the right pedal, sliding the tail during heavy throttle application.

Mercedes-AMG C63

 

That characteristic makes for a sportier, more exciting dynamic. The 6-piston ceramic brakes do an impressive, fade-free job of slowing down this 3,935-pound car, though Mercedes-Benz’s preemptive braking system intruded during lead/follow sessions when we followed the car ahead too closely. Suspecting the potential for impact, the system braked in order to maintain a safe distance.

 

On the roads surrounding the racetrack, the C63 S felt fierce, capable, and focused, delivering notable performance for its size and weight. As relatively small as its cabin may be, this impressively tuned, nicely finished AMG proves that wonderfully entertaining things can come in small packages.

Mercedes-AMG C63

 

 

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE BENEFITS OF CAR WINDOW TINTING, ANSWERS TO FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS , MORE INFORMATION ABOUT AUTO GLASS TINTING IN CHICAGO, OR FOR A CAR TINTING QUOTECONTACT MIDWEST GLASS TINTERS 

 

 

 

9 Vehicles with Zero Driver Fatalities

REPOSTED BY MIDWEST GLASS TINTERS FROM:  YAHOO AUTOS

 

More than 30,000 people a year still die on American roads, and while that toll has been steadily declining for a decade, it still represents a massive, unending tragedy. Around the world, those figures are climbing, as more people spend more time behind the wheel. Nothing drives advocates of tech such as driverless cars like the potential for sharply reducing the cost in human lives of driving.

 

Last week came a piece of good news in that fight: We are closer than we thought to cars that could prevent all their drivers from dying in a wreck. The bad news? There’s still decades of work ahead.

 

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the research arm of the nation’s auto insurance companies, studied driver deaths between 2009 and 2012 for mass-market vehicles. (It did not examine passenger deaths due to unreliable data.) Overall, it found that new models with newer technology, especially stability control, had cut the overall death rate in vehicles by a third in the three years since it had last run the numbers. Had vehicle tech been frozen at 1985 levels, the IIHS estimates by 2012 an additional 7,700 people would have died in crashes.

 

Vehicle Deaths per million registered vehicle years Multi-vehicle crashes Single-vehicle crashes Rollovers
Audi A4 4WD 0 0 0 0
Honda Odyssey 0 0 0 0
Kia Sorento 2WD 0 0 0 0
Lexus RX 350 4WD 0 0 0 0
Mercedes-Benz GL-Class 4WD 0 0 0 0
Subaru Legacy 4WD 0 0 0 0
Toyota Highlander hybrid 4WD 0 0 0 0
Toyota Sequoia 4WD 0 0 0 0
Volvo XC90 4WD 0 0 0 0
Honda Pilot 4WD 2 0 2 0
Mercedes-Benz M-Class 4WD 3 3 0 0
Ford Crown Victoria 4 4 0 0
GMC Yukon 4WD 4 0 4 0
Acura TL 2WD 5 5 0 0
Chevrolet Equinox 2WD 5 3 2 0
Chevrolet Equinox 4WD 5 5 0 0
Ford Expedition 4WD 5 5 0 0
Ford Flex 2WD 5 0 5 0
Mazda CX-9 4WD 5 0 5 5

The IIHS calculates its death rate per years registered of a particular model; the industry average is 28 deaths per one million registered years for 2011 models in 2012; in 2008, the rate was 48. When it dug deeper, the IIHS found nine 2011 models that had no recorded deaths of drivers — the first time the group had found any such vehicles. Six of them were SUVs; overall, SUVs had the lowest death rates of any vehicle type, mostly due to the mandate of electronic stability controls and the physics of larger vehicles offering more protection from the forces of a crash than smaller ones. (Compared to 2004 models, SUVs from the 2011 model-year on have a rollover rate that’s 75 percent less.)

 

But the IIHS also gave out a warning that the gap betwen the best and the worst cars at preventing fatal crashes had widened. The rates in the IIHS study are corrected for demographics (young drivers who typically buy smaller vehicles tend to crash more frequently) but even after that adjustment, small cars dominate the most lethal list:

Vehicle Deaths per million registered vehicle years Multi-vehicle crashes Single-vehicle crashes Rollovers
Kia Rio 149 96 54 15
Nissan Versa sedan 130 44 87 51
Hyundai Accent 120 65 53 16
Chevrolet Aveo 99 65 31 10
Hyundai Accent 86 43 48 20
Chevrolet Camaro coupe 80 19 60 25
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew 4WD 79 40 36 17
Honda Civic 76 46 29 10
Nissan Versa hatchback 71 37 33 20
Ford Focus 70 55 13 5
Nissan Cube 66 38 29 6
Chevrolet HHR 61 34 25 9
Chevrolet Suburban 1500 2WD 60 31 28 9
Chevrolet Aveo 58 58 0 0
Mercury Grand Marquis 57 33 25 0
Jeep Patriot 2WD 57 44 9 3
Mazda 6 54 34 17 3
Dodge Nitro 2WD 51 7 50 40
Honda Civic 49 28 21 8

“The complete elimination of traffic deaths is still many decades away, and, along with vehicle improvements, getting there will require changes in road design and public policy that can help protect all road users,” said David Zuby, IIHS executive vice president and chief research officer.”Still, the rise in the number of vehicles with zero driver deaths shows what’s possible.”

 

The newest vehicles have gone well beyond stability control to include tricks like automatic emergency braking and radar-based cruise control to slow down the vehicle automatically in traffic. The safety benefits of those technologies have not yet been fully measured, but their real benefit may not become visible until they’re available outside luxury models — especially the small cars that still pose the greatest risk.

 

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE BENEFITS OF CAR WINDOW TINTING, ANSWERS TO FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS , MORE INFORMATION ABOUT AUTO GLASS TINTING IN CHICAGO, OR FOR A CAR TINTING QUOTECONTACT MIDWEST GLASS TINTERS 

 (847) 452-4818 or info@midwestglasstinters.net

 

 

Most Fun Cars for Winters Driving

 

REPOSTED BY MIDWEST GLASS TINTERS FROM:   YAHOO AUTOS

 

Mercedes 6x6 Snow photo

 

With winter upon most of the country, it seems the right time to make a list of the 5 best cars  for winter driving. A list comprised of a few select cars able to brave the freezing temperatures and snowy hell that will undoubtedly befall great swaths of the country.

 

From SUVs to sedans and even a few wildcards, these 5 cars will help you brave the winter weather all while having a good time doing it.

 

5. 2015 Subaru WRX STI

 

Subaru WRX STI winter driving photo

 

It’s a favorite for enthusiasts that live in an area that has the phrase Polar Vortex in the vocabulary. The WRX STI has remained the dominant winter car throughout its time here in the States.

 

Couple the rally heritage with interior space to fit your friends, and you’ve got the makings of one of the most perfect snow hooning machines on the planet. Add a set of snow tires and it’s a snow bound supercar!


4. 2015 GMC Yukon

 

2015 gmc yukon denali winter car photo

 

This truck is your family hauler most days, which means it barely sees the mud-strewn areas that it can rightfully handle. We had it for a week and it just plowed through everything we could throw at it; including a 500-mile road trip that seemed like it only took ten minutes.

 

Couple that wonderful V8 to the incredible 4WD system, and this truck is one of the most capable snow conquerors around.

 

It’s most likely invincible. However, if you ever are stuck, an occurrence we highly doubt is possible, you can always just relax in the back and watch Empire Strikes Back! You don’t even have to slice open a Tauntaun because this big boy has seat warmers throughout the cabin.


3. Mercedes-Benz G63 6×6 Brabus Edition

 

Mercedes-Benz G63 6x6 Brabus Edition photo

 

Whether you’re a oil sheik in the Middle East, a rich playboy in California, or a Russian oligarch, this is the ride for when you want off-roading performance, but want to stay classy. And show off how much cash you have to burn. The Mercedes-Benz G63 6×6 tuned by Brabus is possibly the most ostentatious automobile on the list.

 

It’s size could be compared to some small battleships and the interior is designed for someone with more money than taste. Nothing matters when you’re behind the wheel of this behemoth. Not sand, not snow, not the poor. Nothing. It will conquer all, and leave you with a satisfied look on your face while doing it. Polar Vortex be damned, nothing can stop this bruiser.

 

However, while its potent 700-horsepower engine can hit 60 in just 4.4 seconds, sometimes what you need is suspension travel. Something to help you go right over those snowplow made berms.


2. Local Motors Rally Fighter

 

local-motors-rally-fighter (2)

 

This truck/Baja buggy is one of the most insane things we’ve ever been in. It’s just ridiculous in its entirety. And that’s why we love it. Because of its ridiculous stats and technical engineering, the Rally Fighter hits our #2 spot with all the force that LS motor can muster.

 

Take away the crowd-sourced body and that wonderful sounding LS motors, and you would think you were staring at something that was purposely built for off-road racing. Races like Baja, or Dakar. Not something that could take your kids to school in on a public road.

 

The Rally Fighter is just one of those Frankenstein’s monster kind of cars. It combines all the right ingredients and then throws the entire thing on its head for sheer lunacy. It’s one of the quintessential off-road machines. However, it doesn’t hit our top spot, because nothing can compete with the original hoon.


1. Ken Blocks Hoonicorn 1965 Mustang

 

Ford_Unicorn_High_Front34_fnl_lay_rgb-s

 

If you haven’t seen this epically awesome, wonderfully insane, adjective inducing, KO punch to environmentalism, where have you been? Before it even debuted, spy shots had everyone talking about what a monster this next iteration of Gymkhana car would be. No one, though, expected what actually came out of Ken Block’s insane mind.

 

845 horsepower comes from a Roush Yates 410 cubic inch Ford V8 out of a NASCAR Sprint Cup Car. That was then matted to a 6-speed Sadev sequential all-wheel drive transmission, which turned 720lb-ft of torque and a set of Pirelli Trofeo R tires to pure smoke.

 

Who needs suspension travel or snow tires when you have 845 horsepower powering all four wheels? It is the ultimate snow hooning machine. Nothing can compare.

 

 

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE BENEFITS OF CAR WINDOW TINTING, ANSWERS TO FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS , MORE INFORMATION ABOUT AUTO GLASS TINTING IN CHICAGO, OR FOR A CAR TINTING QUOTECONTACT MIDWEST GLASS TINTERS 

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Review of the 2016 Mercedes – AMG GT S

REPOSTED BY MIDWEST GLASS TINTERS FROM:  YAHOO AUTOS

 

All over New York — and other upscale megalopoli like London and Vancouver — slender residential glass towers sprout, like some pernicious invasive reed. Each one touted as an order of magnitude more expensive than its predecessor, the apartments these buildings contain are outfitted with features so exclusive, the ordinary consumer will not even recognize their significance: book-matched Croatian walnut travertine, hand-polished Ecuadoran bocote, Grand Palais enamel ranges.

 

They are also empty. Generally devoid of permanent residents, these buildings and the apartments they contain act as transitory housing — pieds-a-terre — for the global one percent, who light upon their $50 million dwellings when the mood or season suits.

 

Those same economics have spawned a new thatch of elite sports cars. All-new or significantly updated two-seaters like the Jaguar F-TypeChevrolet Corvette Stingray, and (forthcoming) second-generation Audi R8, as well as slightly older and ostensible two-seaters like the Porsche 911 and Nissan GT-R, now duke it out for the AmEx Centurion Cards, and rear ends, of the beau monde as their second (or third or fourth or fifth) vehicles; something to keep at the house by the ocean, or the mountains, or the vineyard. Call them pieds-a-car.

 

2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S
2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S

 

Entering into this gilded fray this coming spring is the all-new, 503-hp Mercedes-AMG GT S (a less potent and “S”-less 456-hp variant will follow in mid-2016). Powered by a twin-turbocharged, 4-liter V-8, and transmogrifying its spirit to terra firma through an updated version of the 7-speed dual clutch transaxle, the GT S will rip its way to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, on its way to a terminal velocity of 183 mph. That’s comparable to its aforementioned competitors, and likely quicker than a major insider commodity trade.

 

This is a marked achievement, especially when considering that this is only the second complete car (after the rare SLS) built by Mercedes’ in-house performance sub-brand, AMG. Despite having dispensed with its older brother’s vital (and thirsty) 6.3-liter naturally aspirated V-8 and gullwing doors, one can see clearly the influence of SLS’ design on the GT S. It has a similar Olympic lap pool of a hood, squinty ovoid tail lamps, and tersely grimacing Bender the Robot mouth.

 

This isn’t surprising, because it shares a good deal of its aluminum sub-frame/mid-front engined/rear transaxled underpinnings with that previous model. Though we imagined it in our minds as much smaller and lighter, it also shares much of that outgoing model’s horizontal and gravitational dimensions, coming in at just 3.5 inches shorter and 175 lbs lighter the SLS—that means about 15 feet and 3,500 lbs.

 

2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S
2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S

 

This doesn’t serve it well, in our opinion. Whereas competitors like the F-Type look much smaller — and much better — in person than they do in photographs, the opposite is true of the GT S. Like a wide-eyed, pumpkin-headed starlet, who looks great projected at 60 feet but like a bonsai sunflower when spotted in the wild, the GT S has awkward proportions. We really like its broadly toned rear end and muscular quadriceps. But as much as recent Benzes like the S-Class and C-Class have reclaimed a sense of grace, we couldn’t locate the same in the GT S. We kept trying to come up with positive templates for its appearance, but all we could think was: cheesecake lollipop, extruded robot teardrop, or round of windswept boursault impaled on a butter knife.

 

2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S

 

Inside, our feelings are similarly complicated, and we mean that quite literally. As in other contemporary Benzes, the materials are beyond reproach: metal, leather, carbon fiber, and piano black (or something like it in argent matte which we’ll call “synthesizer silver”) are expertly applied. And the new sloping center console is, as on modern Porsches, quite dramatic. But, as if in homage to 1980s Alfa Romeos or 2010s Aston Martins, the controls are placed in improbable — and in the case of the joyless joystick that acts as the transmission knob, impossible — locales. We have never before wished for a prehensile spinal column, but this is seemingly the only way one could comfortably place this car in park, drive, neutral, or reverse. Or reside in its seats, which were as firm and unsupportive as a reform-school principal.

 

We did very much like the big flip-top Porsche 928-esque hatchback, which granted a quantity of actual, usable trunk space — something jarringly absent from the SLS. Firmly in the positive column as well is the way the GT S performs. It is fast. Very fast. In fact, it gobbled up everything the northern California mountains pitched at its prominent proboscis. The transmission response is greatly improved over its often-laggardly behavior in the SLS. The engine’s baritone exhaust note amps toward the profound (especially from outside the car). The computer actuated, ridiculously acronymed suspension causes the big 265/295 series (front/rear) rubber mounted to the forged 19”/20” (front/rear) wheels to offer commendable grip — if a bit too much stiffness for our false teeth. And the optional carbon ceramic brakes are a drag, in the best possible way.

 

2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S
2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S

 

Yet, somehow, the GT S left us feeling dispassionate. It was wonderful in many respects, and a vivid and significant step forward for Mercedes-Benz sports cars. Yet it didn’t manage to grab us by the loins. In the context of the category, it lacked the precision of the Porsche 911, the incorrigibility (and seductive shape) of the Jaguar F-Type, or the functionality of the outgoing R8. We liked it, but we weren’t in love, and love is everything in a sports car. Its only job is to make you grin and salivate every time you touch it or sit in it or remember, in the drudgery of your hideous existence, that you actually own it.

 

Compared to the $220,000 SLS, the AMG GT S’ anticipated price of $130,000 to $140,000 will seem like a deal, albeit one slightly higher than the Jaguar competition but close to what the higher-end Porsche 911 models command. (The non-S may start around $110,000.) Like a perfectly executed but uninhabited showplace condo in the sky, the GT S is laden with all the compelling attributes that signify absolute desirability. Yet it lacks that odd and unconscious anima that lights up our irrational emotional receptors. Like Burt Bacarach said, “a room is not a house, and a house is not a home.”

 

 

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE BENEFITS OF CAR WINDOW TINTING, ANSWERS TO FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS , MORE INFORMATION ABOUT AUTO GLASS TINTING IN CHICAGO, OR FOR A CAR TINTING QUOTECONTACT MIDWEST GLASS TINTERS 

 (847) 452-4818 or info@midwestglasstinters.net

 

The Most Durable Cars

REPOSTED BY MIDWEST GLASS TINTERS FROM:   YAHOO AUTOS

 

 

Everybody wants to own a keeper. A car that provides so much personal satisfaction that the years and miles can just fly by, while the enduring qualities of that daily driver remain picture perfect.

 

The hard part for most folks comes down to hype.

 

To sell more cars, manufacturers continue to promote short-term quality studies that have little or nothing to do with the long-term ownership experience. For example, J.D. Power’s Initial Quality Study only covers the first 90 days of ownership, while its long-term survey tracks three-year-old vehicles over a short 12 month span.

 

In a market where the average car and truck is now over 11 years old, a long-term reliability study requires a much longer view of car ownership. For those of us who are looking to find a good used car, or even feel concerned about how a new car will hold up, we should be able to know the longevity of a vehicle for the entire life cycle instead of just a random early point in time.

 

This is why Nick Lariviere and myself have developed the Long-Term Quality Index. With over 550,000 data samples from all over the country, we have been able to look specifically at measuring the three key ingredients that tell you how well a given model has performed in today’s marketplace; mileage, age and condition.

 

To make this study fair and impartial, we have also taken two unique steps that represent a first for long-term reliability studies in the auto industry. The first is removing owner bias. Certain people will always recommend a car simply because that’s what they bought in the past and if something bad happens, they won’t tell you about it. Others are just oblivious to the thumping of a bad transmission, or the knocking of a bad motor. That is why we only have mechanics and skilled professionals appraise the vehicle’s condition.

 

Second, we focus exclusively on condition and longevity. Cars that are either 18 years or older, or have 180,000 or more miles, have endured well past the average life-span of the average vehicle.

 

In our study, we’re finding that only a chosen few can routinely achieve these two levels of longevity without a major mechanical defect. It’s this level of engineering excellence that we want to highlight in our study.

 

So what have we found so far? Some of what you might expect, but a lot of surprises.

 

Rennett Stowe via Twitter

The Over-300,000 Club Is Still Pretty Exclusive: Five types of vehicles make up more than 60% of the cars and trucks with at least 300,000 miles. They are:

By our calculations, these models are about 2.5 times more likely to hit 300,000 miles than any other vehicle.

 

One Nissan model is greater than all of Volkswagen:

We’re not talking about a mid-sized Altima, or the Sentra compact which has become the official taxi south of the border. The biggest surprise so far in the study has been the Nissan Maxima. Older models (2002 and earlier) with the 3-liter engine and four-speed automatic offer exceptional long-term reliability.

 

In the long-term reliability study, 1,038 Maximas out of 4,825 have gone over 180,000 miles (21%), versus only 785 Volkswagens out of 14,518 (5.4%)

 

Cadillac has VW levels of long-term reliability:

Both brands have abysmal long-term reliability with Cadillac scoring the same 5.4% as Volkswagen, which is less than half of the industry average. Head gasket issues for most years of the Northstar V-8 along with high maintenance costs make older Cadillacs a nadir when it comes to finding a long-term keeper.

 

How bad does it get for Cadillac? Well, here’s a shocker for you.

 

Cadillac Cars = Older Kias: If you removed the Cadillac Escalade, which is nothing more than a full-sized primped-up version of the less expensive Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon, the Cadillac brand becomes a true bottom dweller. Kias that were made before Hyundai’s takeover of that brand show similar levels of long-term failure.

 

The Honda Accord Crushes Nearly All of Europe: Thanks in great part to the sound reliability of older Volvos, all European brands are barely able to beat the number of Accords that have been traded-in with over 180,000 miles. The Honda Accord‘s tally of 3,826 trade-ins with over 180,000 out of 12,398 nearly beats Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes, VW, Volvo, Saab, Porsche, and BMW’s sub-brand MINI combined. These European models required a staggering 67,484 vehicles and an army of old Volvos to surpass the mileage tally of one popular Honda model.

 

British Roots Do Not Bear Reliable Fruit: You have about as much chance of dying from an injury this year as you do buying a Land Rover and a Jaguar with outstanding reliability. The chances of both vehicles combined lasting over 180,000 miles before getting kicked to the curb is an eye-popping 1,700:1.

 

The Accord and Camry Are Workhorses: Even with well-known transmission issues for certain six-cylinder Honda Accords, the two most popular mid-sized vehicles continue to be kept for far longer periods of time than their competition. The Accord and Camry have remained cars worth keeping with 28% of all Accords traded-in with over 180,000 miles, and 24% of all Toyota Camrys following suit. Both are more than twice the industry average of 11%.

 

Exceptional Reliability Is Still A Rare Thing: A lot of manufacturers have applied cost-cutting measures and decontenting methods to extremes. These engineering shortcuts often don’t reveal themselves until after the vehicle goes beyond 100,000 miles. However, there is still a very wide gulf that separates the market leaders from the market laggards as those miles and years add up.

 

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE BENEFITS OF CAR WINDOW TINTING, ANSWERS TO FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS , MORE INFORMATION ABOUT AUTO GLASS TINTING IN CHICAGO, OR FOR A CAR TINTING QUOTECONTACT MIDWEST GLASS TINTERS 

 (847) 452-4818 or info@midwestglasstinters.net

 

 

2015 Car of the Year

 

REPOSTED BY MIDWEST GLASS TINTERS FROM:  YAHOO AUTOS

 

Overwhelming. That was our first reaction as we began the task of choosing the best new car for our annual Yahoo Autos Car of the Year. The previous winners — the Tesla Model S in 2013, and the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray in 2014 — had been drawn from a tight pack of favorites. The 2015 model year offered dozens of new models, yet not one had emerged as the front-runner by the time we assembled in California last month.

That would hold true as we winnowed our choices down to 17 vehicles and ran them through our most extensive battery of tests to date — with hundreds of miles of driving loops and countless sessions around our autocross course. We set loose at speed, opened and closed everything with a hinge and debated questions from the nature of transportation in the 21st century to seat-fabric stitching to whether 707 hp was too much or just enough.

 

2015 Yahoo Autos Car of the Year. Photo illustration by Robert Kerian
2015 Yahoo Autos Car of the Year. Photo illustration by Robert Kerian

 

Yes, our gathering included the whooping Dodge Challenger Hellcat, along with that other high-end piece of Detroit iron, the Chevy Camaro Z28. Ford sent the new Ford Mustang Ecoboost, while the luxury performance world was represented by the Alfa Romeo 4C and BMW M235i. From the more affordable side came the Honda FitSubaru WRX and a pair of new midsize sedans, the Hyundai Sonata and Chrysler 200C. For luxury cars, we invited the Mercedes-Benz C-ClassHyundai GenesisKia K900Acura TLX and Maserati Ghibli. Rounding out our class was the Mercedes GLA-Class and the quirky BMW i3 electric car.

When we ran our final poll, none of the editors chose the same top three models — yet only one car landed on most lists and topped a majority, proving itself worthy of our highest endorsement. For 2015, our Yahoo Autos Car of the Year honor belongs to the new Volkswagen Golf GTI.

As we have in years past, the editors at Yahoo Autos weighed five categories when making their choices: Performance, efficiency, value, design and engineering — not just how well individual pieces worked, but how they meshed as a whole. Because we were judging so many different types of vehicles, managing editor Justin Hyde offered what he called the Westminster Kennel Club rule: A car has to be among the best in its breed before it can compete for the top prize.

 

 

In that light, the GTI might seem like a dachshund winning Best in Show. The previous generations of the 40-year-old hot hatchback brand have built a fervent but limited fan base in the United States. “A lot of people who were attracted to the GTI over the years would walk away because it was too small, too expensive or too European for them,” said Hyde. “This 2015 edition should make them reconsider.”

Built from VW’s new MQB chassis — an attempt to make a Lego-like kit of parts to underpin almost any size and style of vehicle — the 2015 GTI has grown longer, lower and lighter; about two inches in overall length and wheelbase, about 80 lbs. fewer overall. On the inside, those extra inches have gone into cargo space; the GTI now has 22.8 cu. ft. behind the rear seats, more than our favorite compact car from 2014, the Mazda3.

Outside, the new dimensions and sharper bodywork make the GTI the most attractive model VW sells on these shores. Inside, the cabin and sightlines feel solid and Germanic in the best sense. The interior “brings Audi-level refinement,” said contributing editor Steve Siler. “I wish the styling had evolved a bit more, because no one will be able to tell how much better it is merely by looking.”

Power comes from the traditional 2-liter turbo four, boosted this year to 210 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, paired with either a six-speed manual or six-speed, dual-clutch automatic with launch control.

But that’s not exactly what we drove. Instead, our tests of a four-door automatic GTI included what VW calls the Performance Pack — a set of upgrades that adds 10 hp, better brakes and a trick new style of limited-slip differential known as VAQ. Like its competitors such as the Ford Focus ST, the regular GTI has software that can lightly blip an individual front brake to even power delivery. The VAQ goes much further; it’s a set of electric clutches and software controls on the front driveshaft that anticipates what wheel needs more power. In the right moment, VAQ can send the engine’s entire grunt to one wheel, and add power when coming out of a turn to nearly eliminate understeer.

No other front-wheel-drive car in the world has this technology, and it’s the key innovation that defines the GTI and set it apart on our custom-built autocross route. You might assume, that, being front-wheel drive, the GTI would have a hard time navigating the tight, twisty course we constructed — the kind that makes such cars stumble into curve-destroying understeer.

 

 

Only it didn’t. The GTI managed a 44.9 second lap time in editor/racer Alex Lloyd’s hands, bumper to bumper with that of the Ford Mustang and not too far off the more powerful, rear-wheel-drive BMW M235i. The only hint of understeer came under hard acceleration from tighter turns. Trail-braking into a corner, the hot hatch is lively — the rear end dances on its toes. At corner apex, the slowest part of the turn, there’s a delightful pivot around the front axle that none of us have personally experienced before from a front-wheel drive machine.

The GTI also beat the 707-hp Challenger Hellcat on our autocross, by a decent margin. Admittedly, the big ol’ Hellcat isn’t at home on such a tight course, but it’s an able demonstration of the GTI’s prowess. The GTI’s time was a far cry from the 40.5-second fast lap set by the Camaro Z28, but then the Z28 was built to go fast around a track and little else.

The GTI, however, can ably serve as a Costco-to-schoolhouse shuttle. The rear seat of the GTI was more comfortable than some of the midsize cars we tested. The suspension lets you feel the road but not so much that you tire of driving around rough urban pavement. And, as we’ve seen, it can handle itself on track with more poise and dignity than expensive cars whose handing was their calling card. Did we mention it was faster than a Subaru WRX?

“Out on the streets, it’s composed with excellent road feedback that makes you feel connected,” said road test editor Aki Sugawara, “yet it’s still refined enough to pass as a luxury car.”

When we ran down our five categories, the Golf GTI shined in all of them. As equipped, our GTI was rated at 25 mpg city/33 mpg highway. Sticker price on our full-boat edition was $31,040, but the regular GTI starts around $24,000 for a two-door stick (with the traditional plaid-cloth seats), and the performance pack will list for $1,495 when it becomes available next month.

The GTI “constantly delivers more than you expect,” said Lloyd. “It’s a lovely cruiser, nippy and fun during city driving, and downright magnificent for a front-wheel drive machine on the autocross.” For all those reasons and more, we’re glad to welcome the Volkswagen Golf GTI into our garage of vehicles we’ve deemed worthy of being a Yahoo Autos Car of the Year.

Five other cars impressed us enough to earn their own individual accolades as the best new vehicles in the performance, enthusiast, luxury, value and green categories, and several others came close. Click the tiles below to see what cars prevailed, and which ones left us wanting more.

 

 

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Consumer Reports’ 6 Popular Cars to Avoid

REPOSTED FROM CONSUMER REPORTS BY MIDWEST GLASS TINTERS – AUTO

 

Our auto experts test dozens of cars every year. In addition to pushing them to their limits on our professional track, they use them for daily transportation, commuting, ferrying around kids, going on road trips, and so on. They get to know each car inside and out. And they learn which ones they’d consider buying themselves and those they’d avoid. To save you the frustration of having to find that out for yourself, here are a half-dozen to pass up.

Mercedes-Benz CLA

 

Price we paid: $36,500

It’s billed as an “affordable” Mercedes. But what you won’t get is Mercedes luxury for less. It’s a cramped compact with a stiff ride and poor visibility. It’s tough to get into and out of the car, and it lacks the handling finesse and refinement you might expect.

Better choices: Acura TSXBMW 320iMercedes-Benz C250

 

Gallery: Volkswagen BeetleGallery: Volkswagen Beetle

Volkswagen Beetle

 

Price we paid: $20,835

Yes, the retro look is cute. But this bug could end up squashing you with repair costs because reliability has been far below average. Also, the rear seat is cramped, the view to the rear is restricted, and a wide center console intrudes on front knee room.

Better choices: Mazda3Subaru ImprezaVolkswagen Golf

 

Gallery: Nissan VersaGallery: Nissan Versa

Nissan Versa sedan

 

Price we paid $15,49

It’s economical but a bummer to drive. The Versa feels slow, and the interior is noisy and looks cheap. This model scored poor in a recent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash test and got near-bottom scores in our owner-satisfaction survey.

Better choices: Chevrolet SonicHyundai AccentKia Rio

 

Honda Crosstour

 

Price we paid: $34,730

The Crosstour will make you cross-eyed. The sedan/SUV’s swoopy styling looks nice, but it cuts visibility and cargo space. And convoluted touch-screen controls are hard to use. Plus, handling is clumsy, and the wide turning circle makes parking a chore.

Better choices: Subaru OutbackToyota VenzaVolkswagen Jetta SportWagen

 

Scion tC

 

Price we paid: $21,130

Though the ads may rave about the great handling of this sporty-looking hatchback, we found the tC’s performance to be uninspiring. Plus, its ride is uncomfortable, too much noise creeps into the cabin, the interior feels cheap, and it’s hard to see out.

Better choices: Mazda3 hatchbackSubaru Impreza Sport

 

Gallery: Mitsubishi OutlanderGallery: Mitsubishi Outlander

Mitsubishi Outlander

 

Price we paid: $27,180

This is one of the few small SUVs that can carry up to seven people. But the Outlander handles clumsily, is slow to accelerate, assaults your ears with engine noise, and shakes your  body with a nervous ride. And the third-row seat is tiny.

Better choices: Honda CR-VMazda CX-5Subaru Forester

* * * * * *

 

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BMW’s Electric Engines are Gaining Ground on Tesla

REPOSTED BY MIDWEST GLASS TINTERS FROM:  QZ.COM

German luxury carmaker BMW reported new sales and profit records in its latest quarterly results, thanks to the steady rollout of well-received new models. One of its highest-profile investments—a new line of electric-powered vehicles—generated only 2,000 unit sales, out of nearly 430,000 BMW-branded cars delivered during the quarter, but analysts are watching the BMWi series very closely. Some consider it the strongest competition yet for Tesla, the electric vehicle market leader.

BMW recently upped its production target for the i3 due to higher-than-expected demand. The $41,350 city car, launched late last year in Europe, has a range of around 100 miles on a full charge, or nearly 200 with an optional gas-powered “range extender.” The i8 (pictured above) goes on sale next month, with a hefty $135,700 price tag. The sports car will travel only 20-odd miles on electric power alone, and a bit more than 300 using its hybrid engine. Gull-wing doors, 357-horsepower, and headlights that literally shoot lasers round out the package.

If you think that neither of these models sounds much like the Tesla Model S, you’d be right. The BMW i3 costs half as much, and travels only half as far on a single charge. The i8 costs twice as much and isn’t electric-only, but boasts more power and high-end supercar features.

At business schools, what BMW is doing to Tesla is known as the “sandwich strategy“—squeezing the competition by offering products pitched both above and below a rival’s offering. A new research note from analysts at Barclays fleshes out this theory, noting that surveys show that most common car brands buyers replace with Teslas are, in order, Toyota, Mercedes, and—yes—BMW.

The Barclays analysts reckon that BMW’s i-series can pick off both Prius partisans and German sedan fans:

The Tesla Model S appeals to both Prius drivers as well as prestige and performance-oriented buyer; its nearest comps are Porsches and Aston Martins. At the same time, the i8 also may appeal to that flashier driver who wants a car the valet will leave parked in front of the high-end restaurant (an important criteria, in our view, in Southern California). The BMW i3 buyer is likely more of a Prius graduate, a bit more motivated by green concerns than by what car the valet chooses to leave in front of the car park stand.

Barclays forecasts that BMW will sell up to a third as many electric vehicles as Tesla in the next few years. The i-series will account for less than 2% of BMW’s overall shipments and a vanishingly small share of its overall profit over this period. But the deep-pocketed German firm dabbling in Tesla’s market represents a risk, at the margin, to the American electric-vehicle maker’s richly valued shares.

A future refresh of the lower end of BMW’s electric range—an i5, perhaps—could aim more directly at the current Model S market. Meanwhile, Tesla’s so-called “Gen III” model, a mass-market car rumored to price at $35,000 and launch in a few years, sounds a bit like the existing BMW i3. In the end, it all adds up to more congestion on the road that Tesla has had mostly to itself.

 

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Audi Brings back Hipster Wagon – New A3 TDI Sportback

REPOSTED BY MIDWEST GLASS TINTERS FROM:  FORBES

 

 

Hipsters rejoice: Audi has deigned to return its Audi A3 Sportback to the United States, and better yet it’ll be in diesel form.

 

Audi has announced it’ll make only 3,600 or so of this new wagon, due out under the 2016 model year, but the cars pay strong dividends for the automaker as it tries to create a fresher, more progressively cool image than competitors like BMW and Mercedes. And now that A3 has launched a sedan—to be followed by an A3 convertible—this new variant is free to appeal directly to the hard-line car nerds, hipsters and ex-pat Europeans who bought it in the first place.

 

“Not everyone can appreciate a sportback, but man the ones who are into it are into it,” Audi of America President Scott Keogh said. He added that the diesel engine is especially alluring to the set of buyers who prefer the Audi wagon: “With new TDI editions like this we’re on target for a record year.”

 

The car will have an all-new four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine with 150 horsepower and an “S-tronic” dual-clutch automatic transmission. There’s also a decent 236 lb-ft of torque, which is the key to any diesel model’s performance and highway economy. (Strong torque means strong acceleration under low rpms rather than venturing high in the rev range and therefore using more fuel. It also means the car can pull off longer, highway-friendly gear ratios than its l0w-torque competitors.)

 

Indeed, when Audi starting using TDI technology in the early 1990s it quickly developed a new market for “premium” alternative fuel like diesel. One out of every 10 Audis on the road has a diesel engine, and 40 percent of the A3 TDI Sportbacks sold before they initially left the US were sold in California.

 

In addition to the sportback and sedan, which will debut stateside later this year, an Audi e-Tron A3 Sportback plug-in hybrid will go on sale soon after. Pricing has yet to be announced. Watch the video for more.

 

 

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Consumer Reports Names each Brand’s Best and Worst Cars

REPOSTED BY MIDWEST GLASS TINTERS FROM:  YAHOO AUTOS / CONSUMER REPORTS

 

While car brand reputation can be a strong influence on purchase decisions, such perceptions can be misleading. The reality is, every brand offers models that perform across a spectrum, with some clearly better than others.

 

As we see in our annual Car Brand Perception survey, how consumers view brands can often be a trailing indicator and not reflect the current reality. To further illustrate this point, we have compiled a list chronicling the best and worst models by brand based on our overall test scores.

 

The test performance variation differs from brand to brand, with some brands’ worst model being still doing rather well, while others span a wide range, making any generalities quite misleading. Take Audi, for example. Even its worst model, the A5, scores a 74 (out of 100) and meets our performance standards, safety, and reliability criteria to be Recommended. Meanwhile, the best Jeep is the Grand Cherokee Limited. It earns 77 points in our tests, only three points more than the worst Audi. But the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited marks the low point in our current ratings, scoring only a 20. The gap between best and worst can be even broader. Chevrolet, for instance, spans from the Impala (95) to the Spark (36).

 

The list below includes all brands for which Consumer Reports has tested at least three different models recently, thereby excluding Land Rover, Mini, Ram, Smart, and Tesla.

 

Make Best Worst
Acura Acura TSX (4-cyl.) Acura RLX Tech
Audi Audi A7 3.0 TDI Audi A5 Premium Plus (2.0T)*
BMW BMW 328i BMW 750Li*
Buick Buick Regal Premium I* Buick Encore Leather
Cadillac Cadillac XTS Premium Cadillac SRX Luxury
Chevrolet Chevrolet Impala 2LTZ (3.6) Chevrolet Spark 1LT
Chrysler Chrysler 300 (base, V6) Chrysler Town & Country Touring-L
Dodge Dodge Durango Limited (V6) Dodge Journey Limited (V6)
Fiat Fiat 500 Abarth Fiat 500L Easy
Ford Ford Fusion SE Hybrid Ford Fiesta SE sedan
GMC GMC Sierra 1500 SLT (5.3L V8) GMC Terrain SLE1 (4-cyl.)
Honda Honda Accord LX (4-cyl.) Honda Insight EX
Hyundai Hyundai Sonata Limited (2.0T) Hyundai Accent GLS sedan
Infiniti Infiniti Q70 (M37, V6) Infiniti QX80 (QX56)
Jaguar Jaguar XJL Portfolio* Jaguar XK Convertible*
Jeep Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited (V6) Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara
Kia Kia Cadenza Kia Rio EX hatchback
Lexus Lexus LS 460L Lexus IS250 (AWD)
Lincoln Lincoln MKZ Hybrid Lincoln MKS (base, 3.7)
Mazda Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring Mazda2 Touring
Mercedes-Benz Mercedes-Benz E250 BlueTec (AWD) Mercedes-Benz CLA250
Mitsubishi Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution GSR Mitsubishi iMiEV SE
Nissan Nissan 370Z Touring coupe Nissan Versa SV sedan
Porsche Porsche Boxster 2.7 Porsche Cayenne (base, V6)
Scion Scion FR-S Scion iQ
Subaru Subaru Forester 2.5i Premium Subaru Tribeca Limited
Toyota Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE Toyota FJ Cruiser
Volkswagen Volkswagen Passat SEL Premium (V6) Volkswagen Beetle 2.5L (MT)*
Volvo Volvo S60 T5* Volvo XC90 3.2

 

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