Tag: Supercharged

2018 Cadillac CTS-V RWD Sedan

2018 Cadillac CTS-V RWD Sedan

Let’s call it a 20-footer. From 20 feet away the Cadillac CTS-V RWD sedan looks like the unassuming young executive’s Cadillac CTS. You know, the one with possibly the 2.0-Liter turbocharged four-cylinder or even the 3.6-liter V6. But then you would come closer to notice the carbon fiber spoilers, inserts and side skirts, not to mention the hood that has been “pimpled-up” (not pimped, but Pimpled) to offer clearance for the 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine.

The Cadillac CTS-V is clearly a wolf in sheep’s clothing. How else would you explain how a supercharged engine and magnetic ride control both found their way under the skin of this normally staid, if somewhat creased, four-door five-passenger sedan? That’s not all. There’s a performance-calibrated 8-speed automatic transmission that smoothly steps through the cogs as the 6.2-liter winds toward redline.

A sum that is as great as its parts, the Cadillac CTS-V is one of those rare vehicles that has all the space and utility of a traditional family sedan, while being the perfect foil for an owner who once wheeled Corvettes or other high-performance cars but through practical realities (marriage, children, a desire for constant double dates) has had to step up to something larger. What the new CTS-V owner gets instead of a two-seat performance coupe or convertible is a sedan that tracks flatly, grips well, and even lets you toss the tail out every now and then.

The interior is a little too dark for our taste because of the black on black appearance of the faux suede seating. There are carbon fiber inserts throughout to give some of that boy racer appeal that is verging on being dated, albeit in a more sophisticated manner. The continual improvement of the Cadillac User Experience (CUE) system has rendered an in-car entertainment system with eight-inch display, that is actually easier to use than ever before and manages to pump out the jam nicely through the Bose Surround Sound system. The TFT gauge screen is totally configurable depending on which drive mode you desire. That doesn’t mean all is perfect. Too many tiny buttons tend to crowd up the steering wheel for our taste. But a Presidential-sized hand would probably appreciate it more.

Under the hood of the CTS-V lies the supercharged 6.2-liter V8 Engine directly from the Chevrolet Corvette Z06. In this guise,

CADILLAC CTS-V
CADILLAC CTS-V

it Is producing 640 hp and 630 lb-ft of torque. Zero to 60 comes on in 3.7 seconds with a top speed of 200 mph. An exhaust system that gives great throat is also part of the mix and makes the car all the more lusty, the harder you press the skinny pedal. It’s like driving a Corvette. With a larger, but shapely ass, that happens to house a bunch of suitcases for a road trip. An enthusiast will like it.

Behind the wheel.

The power from the 6.2-Liter V8 is ridiculous. Head snapping in its abilities, a HANS-device is almost required for every passenger inside. The magnetic ride control helps to keep the V’s chassis in check, firming up where needed, yet offering a relaxed, relatively comfortable ride during all other situations. In touring mode, the steering feels a bit lighter as opposed to the firmed up feeling we get from Sports mode setting. so good, in fact, Sports mode was our go-to default as it was unobtrusive for most driving circumstances. Ultimately, you didn’t get the feeling of being beaten up by your car, like you do in other examples.

The concept behind the CTS-V is to build a sedan that overpowers its competition whether domestic or foreign or even a coupe (we’re looking at you, SRT Challengers). In this, it succeeds and does so in spades. In a phrase, it’s a ballsy sedan that manages to do everything right. Except turn heads. Driving in car-loving South Florida, we were surprised at how little attention the CTS-V actually drew. I guess that despite the authoritative rumble from the twin stainless steel trumpets out back, the only way you would attract attention in SUV and Pickup-loving Palm Beach county, would be if this was a Cadillac Escalade-V, or GMC Sierra-V pick-em-up truck.

And that is so unfortunate, because this car is so much more.

2018 Cadillac CTS-V RWD Sedan.

Base MSRP:     $86,495  Price as Tested: $103,235.

Includes Advanced Security Package, $600; Carbon Fiber Package, $6,250; Luxury Package, $2,500; Recaro Sport seats, $2,300; Performance Data Recorder, $1,600; Gas Guzzler Tax, $1,000; 19-inch painted wheels, $900; Dark gold Brembo calipers, $595; Destination Fee, $995.

Key Specs:

Engine:                        6.2-liter Supercharged V8

Injection:                     Direct Injection

Horsepower:               640 HP

Torque:                        630 LB-FT

Transmission:            8-speed automatic

Suspension:                Front: MacPherson Strut

Rear:                            Independent MultiLink

Cargo:                          13.7 cubic feet

Length:                        197.6 inch

Curb Weight:              4141 pounds

Height:                        57.2 inches

Wheelbase:                 114.6 inches

Width:                         72.2 inches

EPA Estimate:            14 City/21 highway/17 combined

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”122″ gal_title=”2018 Cadillac CTS-V”]

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2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake S AWD

2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake S AWD

2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake
2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake

We won’t go out a limb to say the SUV is dead. But we will take a gamble and say that the station wagon, er, shooting-brake, like our 2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake S AWD, is making a comeback. And for us fans of sports wagons, this rebirth hasn’t come a moment too soon. Walks through dealership service departments show the majority of vehicles on the road and in for service are SUV or crossover-based in nature, with one car for every 10 SUVs on the lift.

But just what is a shooting brake, you ask? It’s a term that was popular in 19th-century Britain. Used by the “sporting set,” it was the name given to carriages and later motorcars that were outfitted to carry shooting parties, along with their long guns, hunting dogs and hopefully, game upon their return. In the case of our Jaguar, the company has modified the name from shooting-to Sportbrake, in a nod to those enthusiast drivers who choose to haul cargo, while at the same time, hauling ass.

Along the way, the Tata-owned brand has joined Mercedes-Benz with their E-Wagon and Volvo with their V90 in bringing an SUV/CUV alternative to this side of the big pond. In they process, the Jaguar also happens to best both of its rivals in terms of  performance and looks.

Power

2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake
2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake

Power for this Jaguar XF Sportbrake comes from the same 3.0-liter 380-horsepower supercharged V6 that finds its way into the Jaguar F type and other brands throughout the Jaguar-Land Rover (JLR) lineup. With ZF 8-speed automatic transmission. It is equipped with Jaguar’s all-wheel-drive system for added grip, and with Intelligent Driveline Dynamics (IDD) to assist with cutting corners in a torque vectoring sort of fashion, while at the same time, helping to make the AWD system offer a more rear-drive style of response.

A lead sled, this wagon is. Self-leveling Integral-Link air suspension levels out the heaviest of loads while the adaptive dynamics with configurable dynamics help to retune the grip and vehicle on the fly. Still at the end of the day, it’s every bit as stout as the XF sedan. Our Jaguar Sportbrake was equipped with intelligent driveline dynamics, which is a form of torque vectoring. The system also allows power to shift back and forth from front to rear to provide the best of both worlds : All-wheel drive from start to rear wheel drive while cruising. Surprisingly at 116.5 inches, it handles very similarly to its sedan sibling,

Stylistically Speaking

The 2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake S AWD as we tested it featured a gorgeously finished interior with two ebony-colored thrones in the front with adjustable lumbar, heating and ventilation. The dashboard featured a totally configurable screen in the instrument pod then measured out to 12.3-inches diagonally. To its right, was a 10-inch center stack display with the controls for navigation, climate, audio and Bluetooth, in addition to the car’s systems settings. This jag even included an activity key for active lifestylers who bike and swim but don’t want to worry about getting a key fob wet during those activities

2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake
2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake

The roof featured a full-length panoramic sunroof which really opened up the inside appearance which was a good thing with all this black leather that we found ourselves surrounded by. A one-piece polymer rear hatch help the Sportbrake shed some rear weight and maintain a 50:50 weight balance.

The entire rear area is what we would call cavernous, going from 31.7-cubic feet behind the rear seat to 69.7 once the 40:20:40 split rear seats are folded forward.

If this Jaguar XF had a shortcoming, it’s in the controls. We have become tired already, of the submersible drive selector knob that raises to greet you once the ignition switch has been fired. But that’s just a minor quibble that hopefully will be excised with the next generation.

0-60 in 5.3 secs

Our time behind the wheel in the 2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake S AWD had us feeling like the leaper in the cage, because in addition to having a gorgeous red metallic finish with black enameled alloy wheels that would naturally attract attention, we were getting stared at because we were driving what people essentially knew to be a station wagon.

But, oh what a station wagon.

Power from the 3.0 Liter supercharged V6 came on at a relatively rapid pace as the supercharger wound up. It did manage to kick us back into our black leather-covered seats which we actually wished were tan hides rather than the ebony that our car was equipped with. But it was obvious Jaguar designers were capitalizing on a blackout theme, so there you go.

As equipped, this Jag with its integral-Link suspension featured automatic load leveling that manage to keep its composure regardless of what we were carrying. The adaptive dynamics dampers manage to “Read the road,” while we attempted to cut corners around our favorite driving loop. The results were a station wagon, er, shooting brake that behaves like its sedan sibling.

We still never tire do of being able to throw the transmission into manual (M) mode for some paddle-shifting hijinks that had us pretending we were a former Jaguar F1 driver, even though they haven’t existed for sometime now. But we can still dream.

Of course, we think the brand knows this will be a niche vehicle because everyone is still Jonesed about their Crossovers- and Sport Utility Vehicles, but at the same time, when you buy in to the Sportbrake as an owner, you are joining an impossibly exclusive club, that can compete with the Germans, and without apologies, at that.

To which we say, “I think I can hang with you brothers for a while.”

Story and photos by Mark Elias

2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake S AWD

Base MSRP:   $70,450         As tested: $84,815.

Includes:  Firenze Red paint, $565; Black Exterior Package, $360; Technology Package, $3,265; Driver Assistance Package, $3,495; Comfort and Convenience Package, $1,805; Premium Interior Upgrade Package, $2,860; 20-inch Wheels, $1,020; Destination fee, $995.

 

Key Specs

Cylinders:                     V6

Displacement:              3.0-liters

Power:                           380 hp @ 6,500 rpm

Torque:                         332 lb-ft

Fuel System:                direct injection/supercharged

Fuel:                               premium

Acceleration:                0-60mph in 5.3 seconds

Drive Type                    AWD

Gearbox:                       ZF 8-speed automatic

Unladen Weight:        4,045-pounds

Length:                          195-inches

Width:                           82.3-inches

Height:                          57.8-inches

Wheelbase:                   116.5-inches

Cargo Volume:             69.7-cubic feet rear seat folded

31.7-cubic feet rear seat up

 

City:                                18

Highway:                       25

Combined:                    21

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”105″ gal_title=”2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake S AWD”]

2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 AWD

2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 AWD

2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 AWD
2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 AWD

Missile-like in its appearance, the 2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 AWD is quietly showing that there’s still a lot of game in Gothenburg (Göteborg), Sweden. Now the proverbial last man standing in Swedish auto manufacturers, they continue apace with solid and actually surprising new vehicles.

2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country
2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country

The Swedish Auto Industry has been through some upheavals over the last ten years. Saab, formerly based up the road in Trollhattan, is no more, with the remains (carcass) surviving as the National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) electric carmaker.

Regardless, now under the auspices of Gheely Motors, the China-based parent company of Volvo is taking names and letting the world know that it is no longer necessary to use the words Volvo and conservative in the same sentence.

Everything old is new again

Although SUVs and crossovers are the big movers and shakers in dealership showrooms, Volvo, now the quirkiest Scandinavian on the Swedish automotive mantelpiece following the exit of Saab from the auto industry, has quietly and profoundly moved in with designs that are practical and sexy at the same time. Your honor, may we present exhibit A, the Volvo V90 Cross Country?

Tell It Like It Is.

2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country
2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country

Research commissioned by Volvo Cars has told them the people want to spend time pursuing outdoor activities and such with their vehicles. But what about those of us who just think that a station wagon with extended off-roading capabilities are cool? Could this be the vehicle for us?

It just might be. The 2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 AWD is powered by Volvo’s in-line four-cylinder supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-liter engine with eight speed automatic gearbox and a full-time all-wheel-drive system. We have enjoyed this proud engine in several other Volvo vehicles through the years. Energy checks in at 316 horsepower and 295 lb-ft torque. This super- and turbocharged engine, pushes the 4,200-pounder to a 0 to 60 time of 6.0-seconds.

Our tester is outfitted essentially like the standard Volvo V90, but that it rides with an additional 2.3-Inches of ground clearance (8.3-inches) over the standard 6.0-inches found on the regular V90. Available in one trim level, ours was equipped with a premium load leveling air suspension system ($1,200).

Rearranging The Furniture.

Scooped out like a cantaloupe, the grille of the Volvo V90 features the new face of Volvo, complete with the trademark “Ironmark.” Slitty looking LED style headlamps tart up the V90’s peepers for a more aggressive look, which is completed with the silvered skidplate treatment at the front and rear of the Cross Country. We don’t think they are functional skids; and it would be sacrilege to subject such a good looker to those kinds of off-pavement abuses. Along the sides, enhanced body cladding gives off a more utilitarian look into the capabilities this off-roading wagon possesses.

As good as the exterior of the Volvo V90 appears, the inside is plenty fresh as well. While most vehicles feature what the youngsters call landscape-oriented central displays, the V90’s in-dash display flips things on its side to orient itself in a Portrait position. Dark walnut wood inlays set off the two-tone interior, which includes brushed aluminum, leather, rubber and plastic, and helps to enhance the acoustic qualities of the Bowers and Wilkins premium audio system.

2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country
2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country

The 10-way power front seats with Nappa ventilated leather offered an infinite number of adjustments and an aggressively lovely back massage to keep us refreshed while at speed. Rear seat outboard passengers get to take advantage of heated seating surfaces during the two days of Florida winters.

Looking skyward reveals to us what is possibly the largest sunroof in automobiledom. And then, in another apparent Swedish fetish, Volvo has adopted the Saab penchant for placing the vehicle’s ignition switch, just to the rear of the V90’s shift lever.

Behind the wheel

Color us impressed with the V90 Cross Country’s T6 engine. At 316 hp, it did not seem to struggle at all in pulling this 4,200-pound “station wagon” whether we were taking off from a stop light or accelerating on the Interstate. Power seemed evenly split amongst all four wheels depending on the traction needs that on-board sensors monitored along the way.

The ride quality in the Volvo V 90 Cross Country puts it on the same footing with offerings from Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Jaguar. A plush quiet ride clearly bore this out, with a floaty feeling that might have been enhanced by the extra cost Premium Air Suspension, which also serves as a load leveler when the V90 is fully laden. The Volvo engineers, through their spectacular tuning abilities, have managed to make this “Wagon” more Cocoon than Conestoga.

Story and photos by Mark Elias

 2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 AWD

Base MSRP: $55,300. As tested: $69,440.

Includes: Bowers and Wilkins Premium Sound system, $3,200; HUD $900; 20-inch alloy wheels, $800; Premium Air Suspension, $1,200; Destination fee, $995.

Key Specs

Cylinders:                                    4-cylinders

Displacement:                            2.0-liter Supercharged and Turbocharged

Power:                                          316 hp @ 5,700 rpm

Torque:                                        295 lb-ft @ 2,200-5,400 rpm

Fuel System:                               Gasoline Direct Injection

Fuel:                                              Premium

Acceleration:                               0-60 mph in 6 seconds

Drive Type                                   Transverse AWD

Gearbox:                                       8-speed Automatic Transmission

Unladen Weight:                        4,221-pounds

Length:                                         194.4-inches

Width:                                           75.9-inches

Height:                                          60.8-inches

Wheelbase:                                   115.8-inches

Cargo Volume:                             53.9-cubic feet, rear seat up

City:                                                22

Highway:                                       30

Combined:                                    25

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”80″ gal_title=”2017 Volvo V90 AWD”]

 

 

 

 

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”]