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Road Test: 2018 BMW 640i GT
Goss' Garage: Oil Viscosity
Over the Edge: East Coast Defender
Long Term Update: 2017 Kia Niro
Quick Spin: 2018 Range Rover
Road Test: 2018 Tesla Model 3
Volkswagen is giving customers a new way to make their ride stand out from the rest. The company has announced the 2019 Golf R will be part of the Volkswagen Spektrum Program. This gives buyers the choice of 40 custom order colors, along with the standard five colors. The special paint will add about $2,500 to the sticker. To help you decide, Volkswagen plans on adding a builder tool to www.vw.com, so you can see how all 40 of the different colors look from a variety of angles.
Engine: 3.0 liter
Torque: 332 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 4.8 seconds
1/4 mile: 13.3 seconds @ 105 mph
EPA: 20 mpg city / 28 mpg highway
Energy Impact: 14.3 barrels of oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 6.4 tons/yr
BMW seems to on a mission to be all things to all people…or at all least to all luxury car buyers. So, in addition to being early adopters to the luxury SUV game, they’re now trying to fill every niche possible, including ones that only they seem to be competing in. Well, maybe that explains the 6 Series Gran Turismo; let’s see if there is a method to their marketing madness.
It’s hard to classify the 2018 BMW 640i xDrive Gran Turismo. It’s certainly not your typical sedan or hatchback; and don’t confuse it with the 6 Series Gran Coupe either. But, if you remember the 5 Series GT from 2010, think of this 640 GT as its replacement; or perhaps the closest thing to a 5-series wagon that we’re likely to get here in the states.
And like its predecessor, there’s an enormous amount of space inside, thanks to a 120.9-inch wheelbase that’s almost 4-inches longer than a 5 Series sedan.
It’s still a far cry from beautiful, but the design appears much more cohesive than before. The rear remains tall; but in profile, it now looks more like a traditional 5-door hatchback, and less like a truncated wagon.
The aggressive nose, and lots of taut body lines, are all BMW hallmarks, and BMW continues to have some of the coolest headlights out there. Standard wheels are 19s.
You’ll enjoy all of the roominess no matter which seat you find yourself in.
Those up front will also experience the typical BMW sporty cockpit feel; while those in back, will get full-size sedan amounts of legroom and headroom.
Interior design is similar to the 5 Series and just about every other BMW for that matter; high quality materials, large dash-top mounted infotainment screen, iDrive controller, electronic shifter, shift paddles on the wheel, rudimentary manual controls, and great looking wood trim.
And of course available niceties such as a head-up display, soft close doors, 3D surround view, heated seats and steering wheel, panoramic moonroof, and even remote control parking.
Under the power-operated rear hatch is a very wide opening, and 31.0 cubic-ft. of nicely finished space. Folding the seatbacks, ups it to 65.0 cubic-ft. Even though the swoopy roof will cut into cargo height, capacity is directly in between BMW’s X3 and X5 Sports Activity Vehicles, and more than the bulbous looking X6.
Much like the 5 Series, it has the perfect balance of luxury and sportiness. Want to relax and cruise on the highway? It does that with true tranquility and silkiness. Want to whip it around your favorite back road? No problems there either; it stays very flat and responds immediately to every input.
Though our car was aided by the available Dynamic Handling Package, which adds Active Roll Stabilization and Integral Active Steering to the Dynamic Damper Control air suspension. It all works together to make the Gran Turismo’s 4,400-lbs. all but disappear through high speed sweepers.
The experience however was slightly different through our tight cone course. Here, the steering feels over-boosted, and we wished for more feedback from all parts of the car. Yet, grip remained fantastic throughout.
There was traction a-plenty for launching as well; and a launch mode that worked flawlessly, getting us to 60 in just 4.8-seconds.
Power pours on strong, and never lets up; despite a bit of a see-saw weight-transfer effect when the 8-speed automatic transmission triggers a shift. And a healthy bellow from the exhaust accompanied us for the entire 13.3-second trip through the ¼-mile, at which time we were travelling at 105 miles-per-hour.
Making all of this happen, is BMW’s 3.0-liter inline-6 turbo engine; rated at 335-horsepower and 332 lb-ft. of torque. All-wheel-drive is standard.
There’s plenty of whoa to go along with the go. 99-feet was our average stopping distance from 60. We did experience some fade as the runs added up, but there is an awful lot of weight to bring to a stop that quickly.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 20-City, 28-Highway, and 23-Combined. Our average on Premium was just about right on, at 23.2 miles-per-gallon. Making for an average Energy Impact Score, with yearly use of 14.3-barrels of oil, and C02 emissions of 6.4-tons.
Things are as simple as it gets when it comes to pricing; just one version of the Gran Turismo, starting at $71,195, to which you can add a host of options, either in package form or a la carte.
Well, if you were looking for a very luxurious ride with plenty of comfort and performance, there were already plenty of BMWs to choose from. Now you can add one more to the list, the 2018 BMW 640i xDrive Gran Turismo. It is the best of BMW sedans, SUVs, and hatchbacks, all rolled into one. We agree that the brand may indeed be slicing the marketing onion super thin, but if that means competing in a class of one, no one does it better than BMW
While 1st gen Chevrolet Camaros draw most of the collector car attention, it’s a matter of fact that the original Camaro was a hastily assembled compromise based on the Chevy II, so that GM would have something to counter the wildly popular Ford Mustang. It wasn’t until the ground-up design of the 2nd generation that GM really had something on their hands.
And indeed, it was the most popular generation to date, with almost 2-million sold. If you want to learn more about these American classics, pick up a copy of The Definitive Camaro Guide: 1970½ - 1981. In this Must Read, Jason Scott tells the story behind the development, as well as gives you a complete run through of model year changes; along with plenty of pictures, so you know what to look for if you’re in the market for one of these highly collectible, highly fun hot rods.
Road Test: 2019 Jeep Cherokee
Goss' Garage: Headlamp Upgrades
Two Wheelin': BMW K1600 B
Long Term Update: 2018 Mazda 6 | 2018 Subaru Crosstrek
Quick Spin: 2018 Buick LaCrosse eAssist
Quick Spin: Mercedes-AMG Family Haulers
Road Test: 2018 Audi TT RS
In Podcast 187 the MotorWeek staff does something a little different. After discussing the awesome Dodge Durango SRT and the exotic McLaren 570 S Spider, Brian, Greg and Joe try their hand at answering some "grab-bag" viewer questions.
Luxury off-roader brand Land Rover has announced 2019 Model Year updates to its Range Rover and Range Rover Sport models: The brand’s first plug-in hybrid vehicle, to be badged P400e, has an estimated all-electric driving range of 31miles. It will slot into the middle of the lineup, priced around $78,000 for the Range Rover Sport P400e, and $95,000 for the Range Rover HSE P400e. All 2019 Range Rovers will offer a new Driver Assist Pack, which adds Adaptive Cruise Control with Steering Assist to their already-comprehensive suite of electronic driving, crash avoidance and parking systems. And, enhancing the brand’s legendary off-road prowess, a new Wade Sensing system gives real-time water depth measurements when traversing deep water.
On Tuesday, billionaire visionary Elon Musk caused turmoil for the publically traded stock of his Tesla automotive company by tweeting his desire to take the company private. He tweeted that the buyout price could be $420 per share. The stock immediately shot up to almost $380 per share, or an 11 percent gain on the day, before trading was halted. Stock market watchers have been increasing critical of Tesla’s money loosing performance, and the public irritation it has caused Musk is obviously part of what is behind such a move. If the plan were to go through, it could require $72 billion in funds. Many skeptics wonder where that would come from given the company’s money loosing performance and the enormous debt load it already carries. However, current stockholders would be given the opportunity to either cash out or become private investors. If enough stockholders opt for the later course, it would substantially cut the cost of going private. Clearly if such a bold plan comes to pass, it will say as much about investor faith in the man as it does in the company.
Engine: 2.0 liter
Torque: 295 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 6.7 seconds
1/4 mile: 15.2 seconds @ 90 mph
EPA: 21 mpg city / 29 mpg highway
Energy Impact: 13.7 barrels of oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 6.1 tons/yr
To say that the styling of the reborn 2014 Jeep Cherokee was polarizing is an understatement. Well for 20-19 Jeep has tried to bring the “love it” and “hate it” folks a little closer together, although technically, the latest Cherokee is just a mid-cycle refresher. Still, there’s much more going on than just a styling mea culpa.
As is often the case, while many reviewers and bloggers gave the car-based squint-eyed Jeep Cherokee a hard time, it has actually done very well for the brand. Even outlasting the Dodge Dart that it was based on, and more importantly bringing many new people into the brand as first-time Jeep owners. The 2019 edition looks to broaden that appeal even more, while also attempting to more endear itself to the Jeep faithful.
While there already was a choice when it came to the engine, either a 2.4-liter I4 or a 3.2-liter V6; Jeep has added another option into the mix, a 2.0-liter turbo that outputs 270-horsepower, just one less than the V6, and 295 lb-ft. of torque, 56 more than the 6.
But even with that extra torque, it’s still the V6 that rates the highest towing capacity, at 4,500-lbs; very good for the segment. The 2.0-liter however, does feel incredibly powerful for a vehicle of this size, and indeed it has 80 more horsepower than you can get in a Honda CR-V.
Like the rest of the engines, it works with a 9-speed automatic. But, unlike in earlier versions of Cherokee, the 9- speed is much smoother and more determined in shift points. It makes this Cherokee drive almost like a totally different vehicle.
And no other cute ute in its price class can hang with Cherokee when the pavement ends. There are even 3-different Active Drive 4X4 systems to choose from. Now, some may question the need for all of that, since most Cherokees will never set rubber on anything but asphalt; but it’s a Jeep thing, and Jeep wants to make sure that is indeed still a thing. Opt for the Trailhawk, and its 1-inch of lift, if that is truly your thing as well.
Chief among the updated styling elements is a new front end that falls more in line with Jeep’s upright and conservative past. A new hood as well; and of course updated lighting. There are also some new wheel options, and even better, a lighter liftgate with hands free operation.
The cargo area has been reconfigured a bit. Space is up to 27.6 cubic-ft. from 24.6; max capacity with seatbacks folded stays about the same, at 54.7.
There’s some upgraded interior trim up front; as well as some new color choices, and the latest version of UConnect.
As for what the new 2.0-liter adds to your get-up-and-go, well it gets to 60 in 6.7-seconds. Not screaming fast, but quick for a utility; and about ½ a second quicker than what you’d expect to get from the V6.
Good snap off the line, great traction, and spirited punch from the boosted 4-banger, which likes to rev up quickly. It sounds eager and sporty as well, while the 9-speed clicks through gears comfortably but directly. The ¼-mile ends in 15.2-seconds at 90 miles-per-hour.
No major changes to the suspension, but we had high hopes that a little less engine weight over the front wheels, would work some magic on the handling side.
Well, no magic; steering is still slow and understeer present. But, grip is very solid and body sway minimal for its class.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the 2.0-liter with four-wheel-drive are 21-City, 29-Highway, and 24-Combined; though Premium is recommended. That makes for an average Energy Impact Score; using 13.7-barrels of oil yearly, with C02 emissions of 6.1-tons.
Pricing starts at $26,935 for front-wheel-drive, which is a considerable step up from our ‘14’s base price of around $24,000; though that entry level Sport model is no more; leaving the much better equipped Latitude as the new base model. All-wheel-drive adds another $1,500, and things top out with Overland trim at $37,470.
Old style, new style, doesn’t really matter; the 2019 Jeep Cherokee is a wildly popular utility that seems to be attracting both compact as well as midsize buyers due to all of its capabilities. The skin may now be a bit less controversial, but the Cherokee is one adventure vehicle that harkens back to what SUVs were all about from the beginning; go anywhere vehicles that you can live with day in and day out.
Since the end of World War II, off road vehicles that resemble the original Willys Jeep have been made in India. While originally this was done under license, the vehicle has dramatically evolved since then, as has the Jeep brand’s ownership, although the Indian produced vehicle is still recognizable as a military-style Jeep. Now, Fiat Chrysler America is fighting to keep Indian automaker Mahindra from manufacturing it’s Jeep CJ clone in the U.S. Known as the Roxor, it would be a non-street-legal vehicle intended for farm or otherwise private property use. FCA argues that Mahindra has no rights to build a Jeep lookalike model for sale in the U.S. Mahindra has already announced that the U.S. made Roxor would have a starting prices of $15,499, and would lead to a street-legal future vehicle to be made at its new Ann Arbor, Michigan plant.
BMW is expected to pull the cover off a production version of the all-new Z4 roadster during the upcoming Monterey Car Week later this month. A Z4 concept (pictured here) debuted last year in Monterey. The new Z4 shares a platform with the upcoming Toyota Supra sports car, with turbo four and six-cylinder power options anticipated under the hood, though Toyota may opt for their own engines. The Z4 is expected to appear first at Weathertech Laguna Seca Raceway on August 23rd as part of the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, followed by stops at the Quail Lodge in Carmel and the Pebble Beach Concours concept lawn on the following days.
Road Test: 2018 McLaren 570S Spider
Goss' Garage: Transmission Fluid Flush
FYI: Katzkin Leather Interiors
Long Term Update: 2018 Toyota Camry | 2018 Honda Odyssey
Road Test: 2019 RAM 1500