Tag: Luxury Bloggers

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)

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”38″ gal_title=”Chevrolet Bolt EV”]

 

2017 Jaguar F-Type R Convertible AWD

2017 Jaguar F-Type R Convertible AWD

New ownership at Jaguar is not that new anymore. Tata (makers of Eight-O-Clock Coffee and others) came in and dropped the brand on its proverbial head and in the process, shook things up quite nicely, we’d say. One of their grandest achievements is the latest iteration of their flagship 2017 Jaguar F-Type R Convertible AWD. The ability to go topless has never been more appealing than in this personal two-seat neo-spectacular near-supercar. Sure it’s a mouthful, (with a few hyphens) but please work with us here.

Available in a variety of configurations, the Jaguar F-Type has even helped to grease the skids for its newly arrived F-Pace SUV. But is it really all that? We spend a week in the F-Type R Convertible to find out.

Breathtaking.

That’s pretty much what it will do. Designed to take your breath away from 20-feet, and mold you to it once inside, the 2017 Jaguar F-Type R Convertible AWD is the al-fresco (topless) version of the F-Type that was introduced in 2013. A two-door, two-passenger sportscar, it is offered with several engine flavors. Our sampler featured a 5.0-liter Supercharged V8 engine built by a Jaguar team in a dedicated facility within Ford UK’s Bridgend Engine Plant. In this guise, it produces 550-horsepower and 502 lb-ft of torque that is capable of motivating the all-wheel-drive F-Type to 186 miles per hour. Power is delivered to all four wheels, as sensors see fit, by a ZF-built eight-speed automatic transmission and Jaguar Instinctive All Wheel Drive.

Jaguar F-Type R Convertible

With its instinctive features, the system sends virtually 100-percent of the torque to the rear wheels for a typical sports/performance joint, in normal circumstances. Get in over your head (as determined by onboard sensors) and a center coupler can send up to 50-percent of the available torque forward to help control any possible over- or understeer that may swamp you. Like an insurance policy, it’s not always needed but good to know its there.

Also on board: Jaguar’s Intelligent Driveline Dynamics (IDD). As the company explains, it is capable of sensing rain, ice and snowy conditions on the road and provides full functionality of AWD to the F-Type. Conversely under dry, optimum conditions, it sends approximately 90-percent of the traction and torque to the rear wheels. The beauty of the system, according to company brass, is that it works seamlessly and still maintains the F-Type’s Jaguar DNA.

This Jaguar now comes in five flavors ranging from base F-Type, F-Type Premium, F-Type S, F-Type R and top flight F-Type SVR. The three former are equipped with supercharged 3.0-liter V6 engines, while the two latter are supercharged V8 powered.

While not necessarily in the same wheelhouse as a rear-engined supercar, the Jaguar F-Type could almost sit at the same table. As such, it will be cross-shopped with such legendary rides as the Acura NSX, the Audi R8, the Mercedes-Benz SL and Nissan GT-R.

A looker.

The 2017 Jaguar F-Type R Convertible, in our mind’s eye, appears shorter than its E-Type predecessor. Still, it’s plenty slick without being over the top. While the Jaguar signature grille reappears, the power bulged hood now features revised ventilation to allow trapped underhood air an escape route to aid in front-end stability.

Jaguar F-Type R Convertible

Designed at the same time as the coupé, the convertible has taken advantage of engineering that allowed the car’s rigidity to be a part of the initial construction rather than be cut out of it the same time the roof has been lopped off. The result is a car that is nearly as rigid as its hard-topped brother. The sidelines draw rearward in an appealingly swoopy design that culminates in signature LED taillamps and an underbumper diffuser. Oh did we mention the chrome-tipped exhaust finishers? A console-mounted button opens an internal exhaust baffle that makes the engine go from a purring gurgle to a toxic roar.

Inside lines.

With precision tailoring, occupants of the cockpit wear the Jag’s interior like a fine Savile Row suit. Constantly in flux, the F-Type’s interior has seen improvements since its introduction in 2013. While the basic design remains as it did four years ago, it has undergone refinements including updated gauges and other accoutrements. While we are not particularly warmed to the ivory and black leather color scheme, we like the way the seats fit with their adjustable bolsters and lumbar support. We did hear some whining about a hard seating surface here or there, but generally more occupants liked the seating than not.

Jaguar F-Type R Convertible

The F-Type now includes a standard 770-watt Meridian audio system with Sirius XM Satellite radio and Jaguar InControl Remote & Protect, and InControl Apps. With Remote & Protect, it’s possible for owners to check fuel level, door lock status, set the climate control temperature and even start the car remotely. InControl Protect automatically sends a call based on activation of a supplemental restraint trigger that alerts the emergency desk when a shunt has occurred.

Behind the wheel

The 5.0-liter supercharged V8 is an eight-pot jewel of an engine that offers supercar performance at a not-too-outrageous price. Sporting an oil filler cap with the legend FOMOCO imprinted on it, the engine shows off some of the lingering remnants of the technology swap that did, and may still benefit the two automakers. The F-Type’s electric power-assisted steering offers, for the first time in Jaguar brand history, a more efficient, and in this case, better steering feel than found in any previous Jaguar.

Jaguar F-Type R Convertible

The cabin remains relatively quiet while at speed, thanks to the multi-layer fabric roof, which features a mechanism that can raise and lower in under 20-seconds at speeds up to 30 mph. On the other hand, if the interior gets too quiet, an exhaust by-pass valve can be opened which makes for a throatier growl coming out of the chrome exhaust finishers located within the rear under bumper diffuser.

The ZF eight-speed Sportshift automatic transmission really threw down when asked to, with sure shifts and no hunting for a proper gear. While it operates in a seamless manner in automatic mode, working the paddle shift levers clearly appeals to a driver’s emotional side. Downshifting while heading into a tight right-hander saw rev-matching do its thing to impart a feeling of oneness with the car. It was almost as if you thought about what your next move behind the wheel would be, and the F-Type would execute it for you. Flick the switch into Dynamic mode and it instantly causes a pushback into the seats. Running on bumpy roads did soak up most of the road imperfections but some of them still made their way through the harder than average seat cushioning.

Conclusion

Between the sound, performance and looks, the Jaguar F-Type R-Spec Convertible is firing on all cylinders. Along with others under the Jaguar/Land Rover (JLR) concern, it’s clear to see that Jaguar has a range of contenders in the stable.

2017 Jaguar F-Type R Convertible AWD

Story and Photos by Mark Elias

Base MSRP: $108,250         As tested: $109,245.

Includes: Destination fee, $995.

 

Key Specs

Cylinders:                                         Supercharged V8

Displacement:                                  5.0-liter

Power:                                               550 hp @ 6,500 rpm

Torque:                                              502 lb-ft @ 2,500-5,500 rpm

Fuel System:                                    Direct Injection

Fuel:                                                  Gasoline

Acceleration:                                   0-60mph in 3.9 seconds

Top Speed                                        186 mph (limited)

Drive Type                                       AWD

Gearbox:                                          ZF eight-speed automatic with “Quickshift”

Tire Size:                                         255/35R20 front/255/30R20 rear

Unladen Weight:                           3,847-pounds

Length:                                            176.0-inches

Width:                                             75.7-inches

Height:                                            51.7-inches

Wheelbase:                                    103.2-inches

Cargo Volume:                              7.3-cubic feet (trunk only)

Cd:                                                   0.37 Cd

City:                                                15

Highway:                                        23

Combined:                                     18

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”35″ gal_title=”Jaguar F-Type R Convertible AWD”]

 

2017 Genesis G90 RWD Ultimate

2017 Genesis G90 RWD Ultimate

Even though the 2017 Genesis G90 5.0 Ultimate is a totally new vehicle- and Genesis is now a stand-alone brand, parent company Hyundai has had a few years to get it right. As far as luxury goes, the South Korean company introduced the Equus, in 1999. We didn’t see it until its second-generation sibling appeared in North America, which was an okay first effort for these shores. Still, it suffered from some cost-cutting measures that rendered that horse a little lame from the start.

What a difference a name change and a total re-imaging of Hyundai’s prestige brand can accomplish. We are just thankful they have re-imagined their current ad campaign (“Respect is the ultimate Luxury.” Huh?) Hop in as we test the new 2017 Genesis G90 5.0 Ultimate.

Choices: You get two.

Available in two trim levels, the 3.3T Premium, and as our tester, the 5.0 V8 Ultimate, the G90 is the large flagship of the Genesis premium line. A five-passenger unibody design, it is adaptable for family or executive transportation duties nearly anywhere in the world.

2017 Genesis G90 5.0-liter V8

Our tester received motivation from a 5.0-liter V8 direct-injection engine making 420-horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque. It is mated to an eight-speed electronic automatic transmission with Shiftronic manual shift mode using the steering wheel-mounted paddle shift levers.

This sled rides on a Nürburgring-developed multilink front and rear suspension with Genesis Adaptive Damper Control, allowing the driver to adjust ride characteristics according to road conditions and driver’s mood. They can be set for Eco, Smart, Sport and Individual drive modes that set specific calibrations for throttle and road conditions.

Both 3.3T and 5.0 versions are available with optional all-wheel-drive.

Looks.

While not exactly following the design ethos of its Mercedes S-Class, BMW 7-series or Lexus LS competition to the “T,” the G90 is still as large and imposing. Accented with just the right amount of chrome brightwork, the exterior of the new G90 also features the trademarked Genesis grille as seen through most of the lineup. Expressive LEDs illuminate the G’s path and include self-leveling and steerable lighting to brighten up the darkest corners of the night.

The swept-back roofline finishes with a short rear overhang that is elegant and functional at the same time. The rear fascia includes a pair of chromed finishing pipes that exit just under the rear bumper.

Interior fitment.

The part where driver and passengers interact shows that Hyundai / Genesis have been paying close attention to the cabins of their competition. Well-made, the G90 interior breaks no new ground but, with a few exceptions, does offer all the features you would expect from highline rides costing thousands more.

2017 Genesis G90’s 14-way adjustable front seats.

Workmanship in the car is beautiful, and a huge improvement in quality over the Equus. Gone is the polished leather feel found in that dearly departed, replaced with a higher-quality, more heavily-gauged Nappa hide that actually feels like it belongs here. The buttons are all over the place–lots of them. But their arrangement is much better sorted than the outgoing model. Still there is room for improvement.

Seating in the G90 is found at the intersection of elegant and comfortable. A 14-way driver’s seat offers a multitude of adjustments including bolsters that widen or narrow as needed. Heating and ventilation occur in the outboard seats, which also include reclining front and rear seatbacks. We were only wishing they included a massage function.

On the dashboard sits an analog clock that is a nice touch, but we think it is definitely in need of a specialty watchmaker brand, to boost the caché of this car. IWC, Bulova, and other brands could be leveraged in this spot.

While a factory rear seat DVD system does not currently exist, we were thoroughly entertained by the Lexicon 900-watt audio system with Clari-fi technology, which helped to restore sound quality lost in digital audio tracks. It goes a long way to enhance the musical quality coming from the 17-speaker 7.1 Surround-Sound system.

Safety

The Genesis G90 is loaded with all the safety features typically found in this class of vehicle including a forward collision warning system with automatic braking, driver drowsiness sensing, blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic sensing, full front, rear and side air curtain airbags, and of course, lane departure warning and prevention.

Behind the wheel

Intensely quiet, the Genesis G90 sits alongside such segment luminaries as the BMW 7-Series, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Audi’s A8, Lexus’s LS460, and even the Cadillac CT6. Except for the engine raising its voice under pressure, it manages to proceed with little more than a purr from the pavement. Credit to the ContiProContact tires and the gobs of underbody insulation to keep the road noise at bay.

Power from the 5.0-liter V8 is immense. While not absolutely necessary for most people, it will still be the choice for those who equate luxury with power. Steering from the motor-assisted power steering system offered a competent feel that is perfectly at home in a luxo-barge like this Genesis. If the standard Smart setting is not to your liking, a quick flick of the switch will place you in either Eco, Sport or customizable Individual settings, that while not appreciably firming up the suspension to any major degree, still offer a slight throttle and suspension remap. Either way, it results in a satisfying ride quality.

The wrap-up.

Despite the fact the Genesis G90 will feel to some as the next-generation Equus, it is all new from the ground up. While the G90 may not attract the conquest buyer the brand is hoping for, it is priced right. Going for the fences, this Genesis hits solidly. While it may not be a grand slam, this one is out of the park.

2017 Genesis G90 RWD 5.0 Ultimate

Story and photos by Mark Elias

MSRP: $69,700. Price as tested: $70,650.

Includes: $950 Destination fee.

 

Key Specs

Cylinders:                                            V8

Displacement:                                    5.0-liter

Power:                                                420 hp @ 6,000 rpm

Torque:                                              383 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpm

Fuel System:                                     Direct Injection

Fuel:                                                   Gasoline

Acceleration:                                    0-60mph in 5.3 seconds

Drive Type                                        4WD

Gearbox:                                           8-speed automatic with Shiftronic

Tire Size:                                          245/45R19F front — 275/40/R19 rear

Unladen Weight:                            4,905-pounds

Length:                                             204.9-inches

Width:                                              75.4-inches

Height:                                             58.9-inches

Wheelbase:                                      124.4

Cargo Volume:                                15.7 cubic feet

Cd:                                                      0.27

City:                                                    15

Highway:                                           23

Combined:                                        18

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”24″ gal_title=”2017 Genesis G90 RWD Ultimate”]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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:

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”19″ gal_title=”2017 BMW M760i xDrive”]