Tag: Florida

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV: Batteries are included.

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV: Batteries are included.

The 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV is nearly the life-size representation of a childhood dream: to have what is essentially a full-size slot car that we can drive around on the street. Except that in this case we are not 3 inches tall, and there is no slot for the guide shoe. Oh, and it’s not as sleek as the slot cars of our youth.

The new Bolt EV is General Motor’s latest attempt to bypass the use of dead dinosaurs in order to make it go. Instead, the Bolt EV gets its motivation from lithium-ion batteries, which supply energy to the South Korean-built GM Electric Drive unit. The entire battery unit, by LG Electronics, weighs in at approximately 960-pounds, and accounts for slightly more than a quarter of the Bolt EV’s curb weight, which is located under the floor of the vehicle cabin. Active thermal conditioning, as used in the Chevrolet Volt, helps to keep the battery at an optimal temperature for maximum life, but in the off-chance it should fail, it’s covered by an 8-year / 100,000 mile warranty.

The batteries are replenished by an onboard 7.2 kW charger for regular charging from a 240-volt wall box. According to GM, power for a 50-mile commute can be acquired in less than two hours. Using a fast charger, the Bolt can receive up to 90-miles of range in 30 minutes. The Bolt EV is complete with an enclosed 120-volt charging cord.

This Coppertop-on-wheels offers innovative charging so that the car will know whether it is home or away. Once it is plugged in, using a GPS location signal, it will know to charge according to your preset schedule. For instance, if you have programmed it to charge during off-peak hours while at home, it will do so. But if it is sensed in a different location, it will know to start charging immediately.

Available in base LT and Premier trim levels; it competes directly against the Nissan Leaf, BMW i3, Ford Focus Electric, Kia Soul EV and Volkswagen eGolf.

Inside information.

Our Bolt EV Premier, although green, didn’t feature that same cheapish look found in other “green” vehicles that we have come across lately. Instead, we found a leather appointed interior that was comfortable enough for the long haul, even if that was a 200-mile jaunt across state from Miami to Fort Myers area. A two-toned Dashboard featuring dark soft touch material above over a white matrix design below offered just enough “real car feel” to the overall package. Speaking of package-ing (just work with us here), we were amazed at how big this “wagon” really was, once we were all in.

Chevrolet Bolt EV
Chevrolet Bolt EV

Although it doesn’t share any architecture with others built on the GM Gamma platform, the Bolt EV is built on the same assembly line as the Chevrolet Sonic compact car. It is offered for sale in Europe as the Opel Ampera-E. But this small station wagon, as the EPA calls it, is anything but small inside, with enough side-by-side seating in the front row for two adults, as well as plenty of legroom in the rear. There is 95 cubic feet of passenger volume inside, along with 16.9 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, and 56.6-cubic feet when the seats are folded forward.

Full driver information is available in various readouts from the gauge display screen, and from the center console’s 10.2-inch tablet-like display. Looking more android than Apple, it offered everything from battery consumption to audio, telephone, navigation and vehicle information. In regards to the connected car, the Bolt EV is all-in with OnStar’s WiFi hot spot, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity suites. A wireless charger is located at the base of the center console, and there is an under elbow storage bin large enough for most tablets. Software apps from ChargePoint display a list of types of chargers available in your general vicinity.

How It Drives.

Chevrolet Bolt EV
Chevrolet Bolt EV

Surprisingly well, thank you. The Chevrolet Bolt EV, although weighing half as much as a Bentley Continental GTC, still manages to produce enough torque to snap your head back into the headrest upon launching at the stop light dragstrip. Impressive in its might, the Bolt EV motor unit manages to produce up to 266 pound feet of torque, and 200 hp, for a 0 to 60 time of approximately 6.9 seconds.

We found the Bolt Regen system, which the General touts as providing one-pedal driving, managed to make us feel as though we were winding around a golf course in a Club Car or EZGO golf cart. Forward momentum was constant as you managed to push the accelerator; lift up, and it immediately caused you to lurch forward in just the same fashion you would while on the way to the 19th Hole. It’s just the thing to help give some power back to the battery, while in slower stop-and-go traffic.

The motor sends its power to the front wheels via Chevrolet’s electronic precision shift system. A shift-and park by wire arrangement, it sends electronic cues to the CPU, which in turn does their best to approximate what we would call a natural driving experience.

The ride quality was surprisingly supple, with the Bolt EV being able to maneuver from lane to lane in a split second. Surprised by the actual handling that this wagon exhibited, it was likely enhanced by having nearly 1,000 pounds of battery at one of the lowest points on the vehicle. Your mileage may vary, but we found the car surprisingly, er, car like in feel, response, and tractability.

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

Base MSRP: $40,905. As Tested: $43,510.

Includes: DC Fast Charger Connections, $750; Driver Confidence Package, $450; Infotainment Package, $485. Destination Fee, $875. Federal Government tax credits are available up to $7,500.

Key Specs

Type:                                                Rechargeable energy storage system

Mass:                                                960-pounds

Battery Type:                                 Lithium Ion

Power:                                             200 hp / 150 kW

Torque:                                           260 lb-ft / 360 Nm

Warranty:                                       8-years / 100,000 miles

Acceleration:                                  0-60mph in 6.9 seconds

Drive Type                                     Front Wheel Drive Single Motor and Gearset

Suspension:                                   Front: MacPherson Strut / Rear: Torsion Beam

Tire Size:                                        Michelin Energy Saver A/S 215/50R17

Unladen Weight:                          3,580-pounds

Length:                                           164-inches

Width:                                            69.5-inches

Height:                                           62.8-inches

Wheelbase:                                    102.4-inches

Cargo Volume:                              16.9 cubic feet

Cd:                                                   0.27

Range:                                            238 (EPA) up to 260+/- YMMV

City:                                                128

Highway:                                       110

Combined:                                    119 MPGe (MPG equivalent)

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The Jeep Switchback Concept

The Jeep Switchback Concept

The Jeep Switchback Concept is the more accessible relative of the Jeep Safari Concept, in that many of the parts are currently available in the MOPAR parts catalog at any Fiat Chrysler Automobiles dealership. Available with many bolt-on parts from the Jeep Performance Parts (JPP) line, the Switchback is a raised, and redesigned look at FCA’s venerable off-road badboy and favorite son of Toledo, Ohio, home of the Jeep factory.

To keep things simple, Jeep started with many of the parts that are available to customers right off-the-shelf. Power comes from a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine that puts out 285 horsepower and 360 lb-ft of torque. It spreads its power to all four wheels via a five speed automatic transmission and Rock-Trac transfer case for part-time 4WD. Lifted four-inches via the JPP 4-inch lift kit with remote reservoir Fox shocks, it has front and rear Dana 44 axles and hits the ground with 37-inch BF Goodrich Mud-Terrain knobbies on 17-inch satin black wheels with machined facings.

It comes complete with a full-array of JPP parts including rock rails, Rubicon winch, winch guard, cold air intakes, custom axle back exhausts, and special cast differential covers, its has nearly everything in the parts catalog other than windows.

Jeep Switchback
Jeep Switchback Concept at the 2017 Easter Jeep® Safari in Moab, Utah.

That’s right. The Jeep Switchback has no windows.

Not for poseurs, the Switchback has no windows. Instead, it features cutouts in the removable door’s lower bouts, which allow occupants to see what is directly below the perimeter of the jeep for both safety and scenic perspectives. It’s a cool idea that could end up in a production vehicle in the future, but one that will need to be modified to allow the upper panes of glass to slide down. During our recent jaunts around the property at the Perez Art Museum in Downtown Miami, Florida, we were glad the FCA air conditioning units performed so flawlessly. With temperatures hovering right around 98-degrees, it was all the a/c units could do to keep pumping cold air into the open sided cabin.

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Oligarch for a day in the 2017 BMW M760i xDrive

Oligarch for a day in the 2017 BMW M760i xDrive

Being the halo car means nothing is spared. Or, at least that’s the way it’s supposed to be. With the 2017 BMW M760i xDrive, the company has pulled from all disciplines and departments to provide a top line offering that can go head to head with all the other halos in the business.

 Subtly understated with its matte-black finish, the M760i makes a quick U-turn from that subtlety in exchange for a little bling on the D-pillar. Spelling out V-12 means it’s the biggest engine on offer. It’s also somewhat prophetic that BMWDesignworks chose to place the V12 designation directly above the fuel filler cap. That alpha-numeric lets all others, including your business manager, know you’re a big spender.

2017 BMW M760i xDrive

Cruising in the new Borscht Belt.

We are cruising on East Hallandale Beach Boulevard-the new Borscht Belt. Forget the Catskills in upstate New York. This borscht is Russian, owing to the influx of residents from the former Soviet Union. Nightclubs keep up the tradition of over the top food and entertainment, coupled with copious amounts of vodka. With thuggish looking bodyguard types chainsmoking outside, there must be an oligarch or three in our midst as the parking lot is littered with a Phantom Roller, a couple of Bentleys, a Merc and more. Save a spot for our murdered out 2017 BMW M760i xDrive, which would not look out of place, whether you are Millionaire Russian Playboy, or not.

The M760i is one of the new “bridge the gap” series of BMW vehicles that are classified as M-Performance models rather than an actual M7. That’s why BMW sells the Alpina B7 hot rod instead. But M-Performance doesn’t mean it’s a slouch. The 760i features the brand’s first M Performance TwinPower Turbo 12-cylinder engine, which actually slots in as a 6.6-liter V12. Single scroll turbochargers sit on either side of the cylinders to help it produce 601 horsepower at 5,500 rpm, and 590 lb-ft of torque at just 1,500 rpm. Zero to 60 mph ticks off in just 3.7-seconds and is electronically capped at 155 mph. But why, damn it? That’s like being chemically castrated.

2017 BMW M760i xDrive

That power is sent through a ZF 8-speed Steptronic Sport Automatic transmission for dynamic and sure shifting through the range. Launch control is included but really, do you seriously plan on going to a track day in this car? Paddle shift levers let you place the gearbox in manual mode where it will hold the gears until you actually shift it. Just be prepared for it to bang up against the rev-limiter if you forget, once the stoplight turns green. The xDrive system features a rear wheel bias that enthusiasts demand, and is coupled with the anticipatory chassis control and active comfort drive with road preview, that allows the M760i to utilize all its talents to minimize body roll while maximizing comfort tuning. Oh did we mention it gives great throat? When driven in anger, the 2017 BMW M760i xDrive bellows out a guttural moan that will cause the hair on your neck to stand right up.

Former Trump pen-pal, Vlad Putin, your chariot awaits.

2017 BMW M760i xDrive

As tested: $154,795.

Destination fee, $995.

 

Key Specs

Cylinders:                                            V-12

Displacement:                                    6.6-liter

Power:                                                 601 hp

Torque:                                               590 lb-ft

Fuel System:                                      Petrol Direct Injection

Fuel:                                                    Premium

Acceleration:                                     0-60mph in 3.7 seconds

Drive Type                                         xDrive All-wheel-drive

Gearbox:                                            8-speed Shiftronic Automatic

Tire Size:                                           20-inch

 

City:

Highway:                                          Are you serious?

Combined:

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