FEED - MotorWeek
Track Test: 2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE
Goss' Garage: Brake Caliper Maintenance
Muscle Car Memories: Chevrolet Chevelle Laguna Type S-3
Quick Spin: Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo | 918 Spyder
Road Test: 2018 BMW X3
Engine: 6.2 liter
Torque: 650 lb.-ft.
EPA: 14 mpg city / 20 mpg highway
Back in the 60’s, you had to be “in the know” to get a ZL1 Camaro, from a dealer who knew how to exploit GM’s COPO special vehicle ordering system. Now, all it takes is a healthy checkbook. That doesn’t mean they’re not special. Quite the opposite actually. And you can get yourself this very special ZL1 1LE, if you know what to ask for.
While not everyone has access to Germany’s Nurburgring, there are plenty of great race tracks in our country; and believe it or not, there are more than a few Camaro owners who regularly partake in track days at many of those fine facilities. Well, this 2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE is for them.
It’s the answer to the question, “what can I do to make the ZL1 even more potent on a road course?”.
Well, more power was not really a necessity; the 650-horsepower and 650 lb.-ft. of torque coming out of the supercharged 6.2-liter LT4 V8 is more than adequate to get you around any race track. And with all of the plastic covers we see under hoods these days, it was refreshing to feast our eyes on lots of hard-working mechanical bits in plain view.
No, the real key to the 1LE Extreme Track Performance Package is more downforce, along with more grip to handle it and upgraded suspension to control it; as well as less weight for all of those components to deal with.
Now, we really didn’t notice much in the way of body roll in the ZL1 we tested at Roebling Road Raceway last year, but after putting this one through its paces this year, if there was any at all, it has now been eliminated.
Plain and simple, this car feels awesome on track; highly rigid with grip aplenty. It will basically do whatever you tell it to do. It has no problem with late braking, and on/off throttle hijinks don’t seem to upset it in any way. Even steering feel is quite good.
It’s hard to say that you can truly feel the additional downforce in corners, but there’s undeniably more grip for getting through them, and you definitely are making faster lap times. Although some of our driver’s did note they could sense some additional drag going down Roebling’s long front straight.
We’re well-documented fans of GM’s Performance Traction Management; between that and the new Multimatic Dynamic Suspension Spool Valve dampers; it’s like having your own personal pit crew to give you the ultimate setup every time you head out on track. You have to get to Sport 2 or Race mode if you want to have the real fun. Anywhere else, it does want to cut power from you.
If you prefer a custom setup, you can now manually adjust front ride height, camber plates, and the rear stabilizer bar as well.
Bottom line, it can be incredibly well-balanced and nailed down if you want it to be; but it can also be smoked and slid at will.
Now, going 1LE requires sticking with the standard 6-speed manual transmission. It worked just fine on track, with no complaints from our drivers; and active rev matching is as fun as it is useful.
But having 4-fewer gears than the automatic, and of course a third pedal to push, we couldn’t match the 3.5-second 0-60 run of the automatic equipped ZL1 that we had here last year.
Obviously it’s always fun ripping through the gears yourself; but keeping things pointed straight is a little more challenging with the manual too. So, if pink slips are your goal, stick with the automatic ZL1.
Either flying low or standing still, this is certainly one bad looking Camaro. The blacked-out ZL1 hood provides a true menacing element. What’s new for the 1LE are the added winglets on the front fascia; technically called “dive planes”, which sounds like something that you’d find on a submarine. And, of course, the impossible to miss carbon fiber wing at the rear.
But all this performance does come with costs. Like Gas Guzzler Government Fuel Economy Ratings of 14-City, 20-Highway, and 16-Combined.
But the biggest cost is the MSRP. ZL1s start at $63,795; adding the 1LE Extreme Track Performance Package takes it to $71,295.
That makes it one pricy Camaro. Still, you’d pay well over six figures for anything else close to it performance-wise, so we’ll call it money well spent.
When it comes to top dog Camaro performance, the 2018 ZL1 1LE, is without a doubt the “one” you want, even if you never plan on taking it to a race track. It’s simply the best Chevrolet Camaro yet.
Engine: 3.0 liter (xDrive35i) / 2.0 liter (xDrive30i)
Horsepower: 355 (xDrive35i) / 248 (xDrive30i)
Torque: 369 lb.-ft. (xDrive35i) / 258 lb.-ft. (xDrive30i)
0-60 mph: 6.5 seconds (xDrive30i)
1/4 mile: 15.0 seconds @ 90 mph
EPA: 22 mpg city / 29 mpg highway (xDrive30i)
Energy Impact: 14.2 barrels of oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 5.9 tons/yr
We tested the original BMW X3 sports activity vehicle back in 2003. We marveled at how the brand’s second utility managed to add boat-loads of everyday comfort and versatility while maintaining so much of its namesake 3-series sport sedan’s concise driving character. Now, as the 3rd generation X3 has arrived, it’s time to take stock of BMW’s compact ute once again, and see just how it’s evolved.
BMW jumped into the premium utility market before most. They were a true early adopter in embracing the new “utilitarian” norm for luxury carmakers. But, the 2018 X3 drives into a much more crowed automotive landscape than the original did, with rival luxury utes at every turn. Still, BMW didn’t want to mess too much with success.
So, they kept the new X3’s exterior dimensions almost the same as the outgoing model. Yet, they stretched the wheelbase by over two inches for additional interior space.
That’s because its lesser sibling the X1, which has the advantage of being front-wheel-drive based, had almost the same amount of room inside as the out-going rear-drive based X3.
But behind the wheel, there’s no comparison. While the X1 is indeed very fun to drive, it’s more like a lightweight, nimble plaything, whereas the X3 feels solid and nailed down; yes still very much like a 3-Series sedan.
And, since BMW does place such a high priority on that driving experience, it’s notable that an M Performance model is newly available in the X3.
The M40i, which replaces the xDrive35i, features BMW’s 3.0-liter turbo inline-6, outputting 355-horsepower and 369 lb.-ft. of torque, an 8-speed automatic transmission, and more rear-bias for the standard xDrive all-wheel-drive system.
It does indeed feel powerful, but like any performance machine, things can be loud and a bit abrasive at times.
M40i’s get sportier-looking trim inside too, as well as an aero kit for the exterior; where you’ll also notice black chrome tips for the performance exhaust system, M Sport brakes, and 19, 20, or 21-inch wheels.
But, we also spent time in the much higher volume xDrive30i, which replaces the xDrive28i base model. Under its hood, is a slightly updated 2.0-liter I4 turbo; now with 248–horsepower, 8-more than before, and 258 lb.-ft. of torque.
It ramped us to 60 in 6.5-seconds. Really good for any “base model” utility. The M40i does the same deed about two seconds quicker.
All-wheel-drive grip, and easy to use launch control, get you off the line efficiently; while the 8-speed automatic that comes with all X3s, snaps off shifts with an almost brutal immediacy, that keeps the turbo-4 in its sweet spot for the whole ¼-mile trip, which takes 15.0-seconds at 90 miles-per-hour. It may not be the absolute fastest SUV out there, but it feels like it.
Weight is also virtually the same as last year, but it has been shifted around, with a little more now supported by the rear wheels for improved handling.
Even more so here in the 30i where turn-ins are deadly quick, and body roll comfortably minimal. You do have to keep inputs smooth however, as stability control is quick to trigger.
Two thumbs up for braking, as stops from 60 averaged just 102-feet. A firm pedal with short travel leads to a comfortable and reassuring feeling. All-in-all a very well-balanced package.
With X1 now taking up entry-level SAV duties, even the base X3 gets much nicer materials throughout the cabin, part of a pleasant overall evolution to the familiar layout inside. The dash-top touchscreen now stretches over 10-inches, and the available Head Up Display is 75% larger than before.
Very minor changes to cargo capacity, with rear space up slightly to 28.7 cubic-ft., while overall volume with rear seats folded, falls just a tad to 62.7 cubic-ft.
This X3 is also the first BMW utility to offer a factory-installed trailer hitch. Towing capacity is good for a compact, at 4,400-lbs.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the 30i are 22-City, 29-Highway, and 25-Combined; our average was a disappointing 23.3 miles-per-gallon of Premium. Still, there’s an average Energy Impact Score of 13.2-barrels of yearly oil use, with C02 emissions of 5.9-tons.
X3 pricing starts about the same as before, with an xDrive30i at $43,645. M40i’s begin at $55,495.
Keeping performance high on the priority list, while bringing more utility and luxury along for the thrill ride, will surely keep the 2018 BMW X3 a popular choice, we also think the X3 has evolved enough for many of them to continue to look on with envy.
Cars keep evolving, and as they evolve there are new procedures and problems that go along with that evolution. Not the least of which are modern breaks, now here we have a four-piston caliper, they’ve been around for years, but they typically were not used on garden-variety cars and sometimes they are today.
Now the big thing with a four piston caliper is that it’s mounted rigidly, It doesn’t move, it has the four pistons the four pistons have to work in unison which means that periodically you have to clean around the pistons because dirt can actually migrate through the seals and cause the pistons bind. The other thing is if the pistons or the caliper doesn’t move and the pistons do, that means that the pads move on the pins. So those pins have to be lubricated in order for the pads to move smoothly, and if they don’t if one of these pistons is out of sync or if you don’t move the pad properly you can wind up with what we have here. One end is like new the other end is almost worn out. So, periodic cleaning and lubrication, very good idea.
Now over here we have a two piston caliper, now the pistons are side by side and the caliper slides back and forth, now the thing with that is because it slides, these slide pins right here have to be lubricated in order to keep the caliper moving smoothly and not rocking on its slides. Again, you want to clean around the pistons and so on during a normal brake inspection.
And finally we have our old tried and true single piston caliper that again slides back and forth on some type of mechanism. It, like all the others, needs to be lubricated so that it slides freely. If you have uneven wear on a pad or something like that, suspect that there’s probably an issue with the caliper or the sliding mechanism of the caliper. Now the thing here is that you should be checking your brakes and lubricating all this stuff about every 12-15 thousand miles or once a year. But, the product you use has to be designed specifically for brakes because of the excessive heat, you can’t use normal grease because normal grease will melt and go away. It also collects dirt and the dirt makes things bind up. So proper maintenance, pads will last longer, brakes will work better.
And if you have a question or comment, drop me a line, right here at MotorWeek.
Road Test: 2018 Cadillac CT6 PHEV/Super Cruise
Goss' Garage: Tire Pressure Monitoring System
Auto World: Simeone Museum
Quick Spin: 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross
Quick Spin: 2018 Infiniti QX50
Quick Spin: 2019 RAM 1500
Road Test: 2018 Honda Accord
In Podcast 178, John Davis and the MotorWeek crew talk about testing the new Cadillac CT6 plug-in hybrid. Plus, Zach Maskell discusses his drive of the new RAM 1500 and Ben shares his experience with the new BMW X2. Then, Zach talks about his latest story on a company that builds electric dirt bikes, and the group answers a viewer question about manual transmissions and gas mileage.
Engine: 2.0 liter
Torque: 432 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 5.6 seconds
EPA: 62 MPGe / 31.0 mpg on premium
Energy Impact: 5.6 barrels of oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 2.4 tons/yr
You may not see too many Cadillac CT6’s on your daily commute, and that’s okay with Cadillac; as their flagship sedan is intended as an aspirational showcase of the brand’s design and technology. And there are some new options for the CT6, both heavy on the technology side. So it’s time to check them out with some hands on and hands off driving.
The Cadillac CT6 arrived just two years ago; and we knew then, that this 2018 Chinese-assembled plug-in hybrid was also a part of the plan.
Its 18.4-kWh battery pack is fairly sizable for the plug-in hybrid breed, getting you over 30-miles of EV range; plenty for most people to get to work in the morning.
Rear-wheel-drive only, the Electric Variable Transmission system features two electric motors very efficiently packaged inside of the transmission, along with three gear sets. It’s paired with a 2.0-liter turbo I4, making a total output of 335-horsepower and 432 lb.-ft. of torque.
It all worked together effortlessly from 0 to 60 in 5.6-seconds, just 2/10ths off our time in the twin-turbo V6 CT6.
As for fuel economy performance, the Government’s Combined Rating is 62-MPGe. With a full charge, we drove this PHEV on a long weekend unplugged, and still achieved 31.0 miles-per-gallon on Premium; compared to the 22.3 miles-per-gallon we saw for that twin-turbo V6.
And it makes for a very good Energy Impact Score of just 5.6-barrels of yearly petroleum use, along with 2.4-tons of CO2 emissions.
Now, “plugging in” is not all that’s new on the CT6 technology front. Those of you wanting to “drop out” may be interested in Cadillac’s new Super Cruise semi-autonomous driving system.
Cadillac calls super cruise “the world’s first true hands-off driving system for freeways.” That’s because it will only work on Interstate-style, controlled access highways that are already mapped into the system.
“To engage Super Cruise, you first set the Adaptive Cruise Control, and if conditions are right, like you’re centered in your lane and its dry weather, you’ll get a white symbol on the dash. Hit the Super Cruise button. That symbol, along with the top of the steering wheel will turn green. Sometimes it took a couple of tries to get it to engage. But once all that happens you can take your hands off the steering wheel and put them in your lap.“
The system does the steering completely without you. No warning lights or buzzer to tell you to put your hand on the wheel or else. There is some slight pin-ponging like all other semi-autonomous systems we’ve tried, but not much. On the other hand, it will not change lanes or automatically move over for construction like some rival systems claim.
“On a curve, you do feel like you are hugging the right side of the lane, and that can be a little alarming when someone passes you on that side. But, overall I found Super Cruise handled curved interstates in traffic very well, and did allow me to relax, if just a little, but far more than semi-autonomous systems where your hands have to constantly be touching the wheel.”
Just like regular cruise control allows you to relax your right foot for a bit, Super Cruise does the same for your hands. But, look away from the road too much, or down at your phone, and a camera alerts the system, which first prompts you with lights and vibrations, and then if you ignore it, shuts down.
“This is the first semi-autonomous system that I’ve driven that didn’t disappoint because it does not over promise, and you really can drive hands free for long distances. I drove it 70 miles an hour on open interstate for over a half an hour and did it with minimal fear. Indeed, Super Cruise is exactly what Cadillac says it is, a superior cruise control system.”
Super Cruise is part of a $5,000 package added to Premium trim, or standard with top Platinum, which starts at $85,290. There is only one trim choice when buying the Plug-In. It is very well-equipped at $76,090.
It’s hard not to be impressed with the technology that GM has packed into the 2018 Cadillac CT6. As with the Chevrolet Volt and Bolt EV, the CT6 PHEV is ahead of the curve in affordability for EV-based luxury. And, now, by plunging into the autonomous driving pool with Super Cruise, they’re making quite a splash there as well. All making the CT6 a worthy technology showcase of what GM and America are capable of.
Track Test: 2018 Lamborghini Huracan Performante
Goss' Garage: Grease, Lube and Oil
Over the Edge: Alta Motors Dirtbikes
Motor News: 2018 Geneva Motor Show
Long Term Update: BMW X1 | Volkswagen Passat
Road Test: 2018 Lexus LS 500