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Property Week News Feed: BlackRock buys Morrisons in Borehamwood for £46.5m

The Top Zones - 3 hours 2 min ago
BlackRock has acquired a Morrisons supermarket in Borehamwood for £46.5m in an off-market deal from a private investor for its UK Long Lease Property Fund.
Categories: The Top Zones

Property Week News Feed: Savills takes on DP World London Gateway mandate

The Top Zones - 3 hours 19 min ago
DP World London Gateway has appointed Savills as sole agent for its 9m sq ft logistics park.
Categories: The Top Zones

Motortrend News Feed: 2020 BMW 7 Series Refresh Brings More Power, Larger Grille

The Top Zones - 3 hours 20 min ago

Mercedes creams BMW when it comes to sales of its flagship sedan in the U.S. But regardless of whether or not the 7 Series will ever beat the S-Class, BMW’s entry receives meaningful updates for the 2020 model year.

A new look helps solidify the sedan’s stance at the top of the BMW lineup. Not everyone is going to like it, but the grille is much larger than before, taking cues from the three-row X7 SUV. The trim surrounding the dual-kidney grille is also bolder. The model has a new hood, as well as redesigned lower front bumper air intakes with large air deflectors to curb turbulence around the wheel openings. In the rear, you’ll find slim taillights, which are connected by a thin light strip running across the entire tailgate.

Along with an updated exterior design, most of the engines receive more horsepower. The base turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder makes 335 hp, up from 320 hp on last year’s model. Torque remains at 330 lb-ft. The twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8 receives an even more sizable increase in power, coming in at 523 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque. That’s an increase of 80 hp and 74 lb-ft from the old model. The 6.6-liter V-12 holds steady at 600 hp, but torque has jumped to 627 lb-ft from 590 lb-ft. A Sport+ mode is now available on the top M760i xDrive trim.

Previously, BMW offered a plug-in hybrid variant with a four-cylinder engine. Now, BMW is switching out that model for a six-cylinder plug-in with a new lithium-ion battery that packs the latest battery cell tech. This variant produces a total output of 389 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque, up from 322 hp and 369 lb-ft. BMW hasn’t revealed the all-electric driving range, and fuel economy numbers have not yet been announced for any variant.

As you can imagine, models with the base engine are the slowest. BMW estimates a 0-60 time of 5.3 seconds with rear-wheel drive, or 4.8 seconds when paired with all-wheel drive. V-8 models can reach that speed in 3.9 seconds, while V-12 models can perform the task in just 3.6 seconds, according to BMW. The plug-in requires 4.9 seconds. All models are paired with an eight-speed automatic.

BMW promises a quieter cabin on the refreshed model, too. This has been achieved with new shielding in the rear wheel arches, improved sound insulation near the B-pillar and other areas, and thicker glass for the windscreen, side windows, and rear window.


Inside the cabin, the 7 Series adopts the latest iDrive operating system. There is a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, which has been redesigned so that there is room for a navigation map in the center. Standard features on the 2020 BMW 7 Series include soft-close automatic doors, wireless charging, gesture control, Wi-Fi hotspot, a Harman/Kardon surround sound system, and ambient lighting. Drivers can make use of BMW’s personal assistant to ask for parking suggestions, traffic information, and more.

The refreshed 7 Series arrives in April. Pricing has not yet been announced.

Source: BMW

The post 2020 BMW 7 Series Refresh Brings More Power, Larger Grille appeared first on Motortrend.

Categories: The Top Zones

Motortrend News Feed: 2019 Byton M-Byte First Look: Mega-Byte

The Top Zones - 4 hours 19 min ago

A couple of years ago, at the press introduction of the Toyota Prius C in San Diego, I was chatting with chief engineer Satoshi Ogiso, a central figure in the history Toyota’s hybrid technology. As we both stared at a Prius parked at the curb, I asked him what worried a guy like him about the future.

He answered more quickly than I expected (I’m paraphrasing here): “Startup car electric car companies. A gasoline engine has thousands of parts, and it takes a big company with a lot of resources to manufacture. But an electric motor is cheap with one moving part. The barrier for an electric car startup is very low. I worry about them.”

Five years later, his fear is realized: The entire drivetrain of the imminently arriving China-based Byton—its motors and powertrain electrics from Bosch, its underfloor battery pack from BMW-supplier CATL, with prismatic cells chargeable at a 180 kW rate—has been outsourced.

This particular version of Ogiso-san’s nightmare adds a twist, though: The Byton isn’t just another 0–60 EV railgun. While the 680-hp Tesla Model S P100D, 1,000-hp Lucid Air, and 754-hp Rivian R1T will all bazooka onto on-ramps, the Byton’s standard configuration—with a modest 272 hp rear motor and 71-kW-hr battery (250-mile range)—will be merely “quick.” Its “fast” version adds a front 204-hp motor that’s really just a shortened (cheaper) version of rear one, and the automaker claims can travel a Tesla-like 325 miles on 95 kW-hr. But even then, its combined 476 hp won’t raise one eyebrow among performance wonks these days. Although Tesla has sometimes crowed in their quarterly reports about MotorTrend’s blistering Model S 0–60 times, Byton President Daniel Kirchert tepidly defended his car’s performance to me, saying it’s “not a lame duck.”

Underwhelming? It’s intentional, one leg of a three-legged stool of foundational design bets, each totally dependent on the other two.

To be honest, the keystone is probably another company entirely: Aurora Innovation, Byton’s autonomous-tech partner. Although overshadowed by Waymo, Aurora is a first-tier player headed by Chris Urmson, from autonomous hotbed Carnegie Mellon, who became Chief Technology Officer of Alphabet’s self-driving program; Sterling Anderson, MIT robotics Ph.D. who led the team that created Tesla’s Autopilot; and Drew Bagnell, associate professor at Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute and founding member of Uber’s Advanced Technology Center. It’s an all-star trio Byton is relying on when the M-Byte (Byton’s initial crossover offering) is delivered with available Level 3 autonomy late this year in China and 2020 in the U.S. and Europe. The prototype of the second Byton, the K-Byte sedan (due in 2021), even shows off visually obvious lidars—literally wearing its potential for Level 4 and 5 capability on its sleeve.

The puzzle pieces are starting to come together. Think about it: If a car is geofenced Level 3 autonomous, everyone inside is also usually a passenger, meaning the drivetrain really needs no more than chauffeur-level performance. All that supercar-level of horsepower is a waste of money better spent on the user’s digital experience and autonomy tech.

I’ve spent some time in Cadillac’s excellent L2+ Super Cruise system, and after about 10 freeway miles, you’re thinking two things. One: This thing’s noticeably destressing. Two: You’re pretty quickly bored. So last year I pilgrimaged to the opening of Byton’s satellite Santa Clara office—a 13-minute drive from Aurora’s Palo Alto location—where at that time, 150 people were focused on developing The Screen.

This thing is ridiculous

At 48 inches wide—spanning A-pillar to A-pillar—and 10 inches tall, The Screen has the surface area of more than 24 iPhone 10 Maxes. The glowing heart of the car, it’s the precious centerpiece that Byton isn’t outsourcing like its drivetrain or automation, and it’s designed to be replaceable as screen technology improves. Will it be 24 times more compelling than an iPhone 10? Our own Miguel Cortina, who grew up in Mexico City, saw the movie Roma in 70mm film at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood after first watching it on his tablet via Netflix. Better, Miguel? He strongly nods. Then again, while screen size matters, what matters most is what’s on it.

Directed by the Byton operating system, called Byton Life, the digital world being cooked up inside borders on the fantastical. Climb in the cockpit, and cameras on the dash identify you and everybody else while your phone and wrist heart-rate data is synced to the car. Blended with your seat-measured weight, health tips might appear: For instance, after setting a nav destination, the system might ask if you might like to park a half mile away from there to get a needed walk. The digital instrument display moves up and down on the screen when you adjust the steering wheel—there are plenty of extra pixels.

On the highway in Level 3, the Faurecia-supplied front seats can each swivel 12 degrees toward each other for easier chatting. To instruct the giant screen, the driver has a 7.0-inch touchpad on the steering wheel itself; no, the image doesn’t turn with the wheel (Byton calls the steering wheel an engineering feat all its own, given the airbag). The front passenger has an 8.0-inch touchpad in the center console, and both can just finger-point to spots on the screen using its gesture recognition. What about hand-bounce over bumps? Accelerometers compensate and predict where you’re pointing.

If you and a friend separately ask Alexa to play your individual music, it recognizes whose voice is whose. Do you like steak but your passenger is into seafood? Asking for a lunch recommendation returns places that serve both. Abe Chen, who leads Byton’s digital technology department, described another example: “Let’s say you drop your kid off every day at school and then go to Starbucks. The car recognizes your coffee appetite and suggests an interesting alternative nearby.” To enable this, the M-Byte will be the first car to have full connectivity on the go via multiple antennas and 5G preparation.

Creeped out by all this connectedness? Chen understands. At Apple, he created their worldwide new-product security team; he was Tesla’s director of information and product security; and in 2017, his group bested 75 other teams to win DEF CON’s Car Hacking Village Capture the Flag competition. CEO Carsten Breitfeld calls the Byton “mobility’s smartphone moment.”

Who the heck are these guys?

Carsten is a craggy, steel-eyed Ph.D. in mechanical engineering, a 20-year BMW veteran, a 10-year BMW Group Vice President, and most recently project manager of BMW’s carbon-tub Batmobile i8. His co-founder and Byton’s president, Daniel Kirchert, is lean, speaks concisely, and has spent much of his life in China learning its culture and business ropes as managing director of Infiniti China. These guys are the antithesis of an Asian web tycoon-turned-lawsuit-refugee or pot-puffing Twitter warrior. Breitfeld and Kirchert are seasoned, no-nonsense auto-industry Germans with decades of experience experiencing “manufacturing hell,” brought together by a Chinese seed-money investor.

During a Q&A session after the car’s debut at CES 2018, the more spontaneous Breitfeld leaned back and got to free-talking (in a manner that reminds me of a German James Mason). At 50 years of age, he could have ridden out that big career at BMW. But he chose to throw himself into one last life-defining battle and pull the ripcord into this uncharted new jungle of EVs and autonomous and connected cars.

One reason is the conviction that China will be writing the next chapter of the automobile. Problems at Byton, he says, are fixed by the time a legacy automaker would be drawing up a Gantt chart. Quickening the timeline is designer Benoit Jacob, responsible for the BMW i3 and i8. Breitfeld relies on his sensitivity to production practicalities, to avoid time-wasting misunderstandings between engineering and design. The $45,000 base-price M-Byte advanced from a conversation to reality in 28 months compared to the customary four, even five years for most automakers. Maintaining that pace, their third car—a bigger, seven-passenger MPV—will be based on the same platform and drivetrain as the M and K. (Byton openly questions Tesla judgement in creating two platforms.)

Although hubbed in Shanghai, Byton’s 1,500 employees are dispersed among five locations. Construction of the nearby Nangyang factory is complete with equipment now being installed. (Breitfeld says its initial capacity of 100,000 cars is a critical threshold for meaningful economies of scale; total capacity will be 300,000.) Roughly 100 M-Byte prototypes are being tested right now; design and engineering happens in Munich.

When I asked where Breitfeld finds scarce software engineers in the Silicon Valley area, Carsten smiled. “They just drive north up Interstate 5 from Gardena,” he said. That’s code for the home of Faraday Future and its perilous existence. Mention Faraday, and Byton’s founders simultaneously wince. Yep, they fully understand the skepticism—another futuristic, China-based EV startup, right? At every opportunity they seem anxious to be crystal-clear about their financials and partners.

The Ride

One evening during this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show, I stood in the chill night outside the mostly deserted convention center waiting my turn to ride in an M-byte prototype.

The car was a cobbled-together mule that snail-drummed over the street’s ripples and snapped Buddy Rich rimshots over the potholes. In actuality, its screen graphics were just a quickly monotonous video loop. So I sat back and just stared as the streets of downtown L.A. slowly reeled by me.

Ahead are two illuminated worlds. Looking up, the still-glowing neon office towers are slowly sliding past each other like giant playing cards. Left and right, people are prowling the dirty sidewalks beneath the  renovated Depression-Era masonry lofts. Some of them are pausing to consider a restaurant I don’t know or crowding around a club or gallery that might be fun. Cocooned in this car, I’m abstracted from them. Like watching aquarium fish through the thick glass.

I stared at the other illuminated world in front of me—the panoramic Byton screen that’s still looping its same graphics. In a matter of months this could be the portal through that barrier, merging me to them, those places, that world out there. Recently, I called the Tesla Model 3 the Automobile 2.0. Maybe the Byton is what the post-automobile will look like. It’s not about driving. It’s about living. Suddenly conventional cars seem one-dimensional. Go from here. To there. This is 3-D.

A few years ago, we did a speculative story about what an Apple Car might be like. (Apple’s Project Titan was an open secret.) Soon after, Tim Cook pulled its plug, though smart money says they’re still developing an autonomous system. Now, the iPhone’s sales have softened, Apple’s stock has tumbled, and its failure to bet big again in the time since the Steve Jobs days is coming to roost. I ask you, Mr, Cook, how did the scrappy guys at Byton build the Apple Car you guys couldn’t?

The post 2019 Byton M-Byte First Look: Mega-Byte appeared first on Motortrend.

Categories: The Top Zones

Motortrend News Feed: The Chinese Are Coming – Reference Mark

The Top Zones - 4 hours 20 min ago

Time to adjust your worldview a bit farther east.

The Chinese auto market is larger than that of either the U.S. or Europe. Soon, it will be larger than the U.S. and Europe. That will have dramatic impact on the kinds of cars Western consumers can buy, as automakers adapt their designs and component sets to the desires of the world’s largest customer base.

This shift also might affect which brands are sold here, as the writing is on the great wall that Chinese car companies desire global expansion. As the U.S. and European markets aren’t going to get any larger, that means the new Chinese brands are going to take market share out of someone’s hide. Lynk & Co, a luxury arm of Geely (which also owns Volvo), wants to sell 125,000 cars a year in America. If that happens, Lynk & Co would outsell Lincoln Motor Co.

There are already a couple of Chinese-built vehicles on sale in America: the Volvo S90 and the Buick Invasion, er, Envision. How good are the Chinese at building cars? According to Volvo executives, the quality of the S90 coming from its Daqing plant is better than what was coming out of Europe. I’m old enough to recall the jingoistic jibes about “beer can” Toyotas back in the ’80s. Look at the Japanese car companies now—having won 39 percent of the U.S. market and cratesful of J.D. Power quality awards. Ignore or mock newcomers at your peril.

Granted, this is Geely building a car coming from Volvo platforms and Volvo manufacturing engineering. As for Chinese-designed, -engineered, and -built cars, they are still on a steep learning curve. It’s hard to forget the horrifying 2007 YouTube video of the Brilliance China BS6 sedan crumpling its test dummy in a European crash test. Of course, a lot can improve in a decade.

For instance, the Haval SUV made by Great Wall could easily be mistaken for a Mazda, Nissan, or Hyundai, contends China-market expert Michael Dunne.

Pictured above is the GAC GS5 crossover, shown at the 2019 Detroit auto show.

According to Dunne’s ZoZo Go automotive consultancy, there are 36 legitimate Chinese automakers with series production. The leaders are the Big 6 (which have Chinese government backing): SAIC, Beijing, First Auto, Dongfeng, Guangzhou, and Changan, which account for 75 percent of China-market sales. Then there are the Big 3 private companies (Geely, BYD, and Great Wall), followed by 21 joint ventures with Western automakers and six independents. GAC displayed its lineup at the 2019 Detroit auto show, and plan to sell cars in the U.S. in the next couple years. Chinese automakers are ambitious and have millions of units of capacity to burn.

“Chinese companies are a wild mix of state enterprises, private companies, and tech-backed EV startups all with their own priorities, strengths, and weaknesses,” Dunne said in an interview.

For all of Congress’ saber rattling about U.S. jobs being exported to China, Chinese automakers and suppliers have already spent $31 billion (per Bloomberg data) to establish an automotive beachhead in America.

Automakers that don’t even have market-ready cars are setting up operations here. One of the latest is Zotye—pronounced ZOH-tay—which has corralled a few U.S. industry veterans to help with the launch. (Full disclosure: Chassis dynamics ace Gordon Dickie, our SUV of the Year guest judge, is doing R&D consulting for them.)

Zotye’s website proclaims it will be the first Chinese car company to sell cars in America under its Chinese brand name, with a target launch of fall 2020. That remains to be seen, as U.S. CEO Duke Hale admits Zotye’s compact T600 crossover entry hasn’t been homologated yet. But they are moving fast.

“The cupholders are too small, it needs a different user interface for cruise control, the owner’s manuals are in Chinese,” Hale said. “They need advanced airbags and OBD-II. If the gas tank is in the wrong spot, you can’t homologate. But we already have [soft]-close doors. If you want that in a Hyundai, you need to buy a Genesis G90.”

Zotye’s initial plan: Win on price, as much as 20 percent cheaper than the mainstream brands. While acknowledging Zotye’s determination, Dunne sees Guangzhou as “the most advanced in terms of readiness. Then come NIO, Byton, and SF Motors.”

According to a recent poll by Autolist.com, about one-third of 1,264 U.S. consumers surveyed said a vehicle being built in China would affect their decision to buy it; 49 percent said it would have no impact, while 21 percent said they were unsure.

Regardless of our desires, the Chinese are arriving on our shores, just as the Europeans, Japanese, and Koreans before them.

“The Chinese are coming in fits and starts, hot and cold, in a nonlinear and unorthodox fashion,” Dunne said. “Think guerilla tactics, not a disciplined standing army.”

More by Mark Rechtin:

The post The Chinese Are Coming – Reference Mark appeared first on Motortrend.

Categories: The Top Zones

Property Week News Feed: Hibernia appoints Ryanair's Brennan to board

The Top Zones - 5 hours 5 min ago
Hibernia REIT has appointed Ryanair director Róisín Brennan as a non-executive director.
Categories: The Top Zones

Property Week News Feed: Bovis set to produce record annual figures

The Top Zones - 5 hours 20 min ago
Bovis Homes is set to reveal a record annual profit and a “significant step-up” in margins in its annual figures, according to a trading update to the stock market this morning.
Categories: The Top Zones

Property Week News Feed: Emoov exec backed by Russian VC to take online agent out of administration

The Top Zones - 6 hours 20 min ago
Emoov’s chief technology officer (CTO) Ivan Ramirez has bought the failed online estate agent out of administration, Property Week can reveal.
Categories: The Top Zones

Property Week News Feed: Emoov executive backed by Russian VC to take online estate agent out of administration

The Top Zones - 6 hours 20 min ago
Emoov’s chief technology officer (CTO) Ivan Ramirez has bought the failed online estate agent out of administration, Property Week can reveal.
Categories: The Top Zones

Motortrend News Feed: This Matched Pair of 1987 Buick Grand National Coupes is up for Grabs

The Top Zones - 10 hours 55 min ago

The Buick Grand National is a pretty rare sight these days. It’s even rarer to find one with less than 1,000 miles on the clock. But you know what’s even rarer than that? Finding two Grand Nationals each with less than 1,000 miles. With sequential VINs. Oh, and did I mention they’ve been kept together their entire lives?

Lot #1307 and #1307.1 at Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale sale will be auctioned as a pair this Thursday, January 17. Known as “The Twinz,” the two identical 1987 Buick Grand Nationals were built one after the other, optioned exactly the same, and were never sold as new cars. According to our friends at Hot Rod, who have the full story on these Turbo Regal twins, the cars were ordered by a family Buick dealership and kept in the showroom until the business shuttered. The owner’s son eventually took the cars home and stored them in a barn for a majority of the last 30-plus years, which helps explain the low miles and time capsule condition. The auction house reports that one has less than 600 original miles while the other has fewer than 900. One car even has the original brake switch still installed, which likely means it never saw a GM service department after it was driven home, as that part was recalled back in 1987. Both cars wear their original window stickers and come with all factory documentation.

Given that they’re unrestored and factory-original, these cars pack the same turbocharged 3.8-liter V-6 and four-speed automatic transmission they left the assembly line with. That engine was rated at 245 hp and 355 lb-ft of torque—a respectable amount even by today’s standards. Options include a concert stereo system, power driver seat, power windows and locks, and a G80 limited-slip differential.

If you want not one, but two, unrestored Buick Grand Nationals for your collection, you should register to bid now. There’s pretty much no chance a pair like this will ever be offered again.

Barrett-Jackson ushers in a new year of high-octane auction action during its 48th Annual Scottsdale Auction, featuring some of the world’s most coveted collector vehicles and authentic automobilia collectibles, January 12-20, 2019, at WestWorld of Scottsdale. As in decades past, The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auctions will be the epicenter of Collector Car Auction Week and entertain thousands of automotive enthusiasts with interactive exhibits, entertainment, and activities. Check your local TV listings to see it live on MotorTrend Network and download the app for exclusive, live coverage.


The post This Matched Pair of 1987 Buick Grand National Coupes is up for Grabs appeared first on Motortrend.

Categories: The Top Zones

Property Week News Feed: Global uncertainties set to lead to flat 2019 for Savills

The Top Zones - Tue, 01/15/2019 - 08:56
Savills is predicting Brexit and other global political uncertainties will result in a flat 2019 for the group.
Categories: The Top Zones

Property Week News Feed: Property shares have strong start to the week

The Top Zones - Tue, 01/15/2019 - 08:34
Property companies on the FTSE 100 saw a strong start to the week with Landsec, Persimmon, Segro, Barratt Developments and British Land all among the top 20 performing listed companies over the day.
Categories: The Top Zones

Property Week News Feed: Watkin Jones posts record annual figures to welcome new CEO

The Top Zones - Tue, 01/15/2019 - 08:33
Watkin Jones has posted a leap in revenue and profit in its annual results with its new chief executive predicting further gains in the years ahead.
Categories: The Top Zones

Motortrend News Feed: Toyota Supra Offers Four-Cylinder Engine in Japan

The Top Zones - Tue, 01/15/2019 - 00:13

The 2020 Toyota Supra made its long-awaited debut at the Detroit auto show today. The U.S. version will come exclusively with an inline-six-cylinder engine just like all previous generations of the Supra. But customers in Japan will have the option to buy one with a four-cylinder.

That shouldn’t come as too big a surprise considering the BMW Z4 that shares its platform and drivetrains with the Mk V also offers a turbo-four, but the idea of a four-banger Supra is still a little weird to us. In Japan, Toyota is offering a 2.0-liter twin-scroll turbocharged inline-four in two different states of tune. The more conservative one makes 194 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque, enough to propel the car to 62 mph in 6.5 seconds, according to Toyota. The more robust version makes 255 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, matching the BMW Z4 sDrive30i. Toyota says this engine allows the Supra to hit 62 mph in 5.2 seconds.

Both four-cylinder options come paired with an eight-speed automatic, just like the inline-six that is also available in Japan. As we learned at the Detroit show, the twin-scroll turbo-six engine makes 335 hp and 365 lb-ft of torque. According to Toyota, it can hit 60 mph in 4.1 seconds, making it the quickest Toyota-branded production vehicle ever.

Toyota has given no indication that we should expect a four-cylinder Supra here in the U.S. Normally, we’d take a moment to lament the fact that we can’t have this forbidden fruit, but in this case we’re cool with the version we have—especially after hearing the sweet sound of that turbocharged straight-six.

Source: Toyota

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Categories: The Top Zones

Property Week News Feed: General Medical Council to open new assessment centre in Manchester

The Top Zones - Tue, 01/15/2019 - 00:01
Doctors’ regulator the General Medical Council (GMC) is under offer to take 22,000 sq ft of Royal London’s 3 Hardman Square in Manchester, in a move from its existing office in 3 Hardman Street.
Categories: The Top Zones

Motortrend News Feed: 2020 Kia Telluride Could Get an Off-Road-Themed Trim Level

The Top Zones - Mon, 01/14/2019 - 23:17

Today, Kia officially revealed the production version of its latest three-row crossover, the Telluride. The design wasn’t much of a surprise, though, because a modified Telluride already made a surprise appearance at New York Fashion Week before showing up at SEMA. The crossovers we saw previously were all modified with off-road accessories—parts that had little to do with the production version, we thought. But as crazy as it might sound, Kia is considering offering something like those early off-road-oriented Telluride prototypes.

While speaking with Tom Kearns, the Telluride’s designer, at the Detroit auto show, we asked whether there were any plans to offer some of the SEMA concepts’ accessories to customers. He didn’t confirm anything, but his response did include an interesting tidbit we weren’t expecting.

“I can’t really speak to that right now,” Kearns said, “but we’re definitely interested in something along those lines, either for a trim level or accessories in the future.”

So there’s not just a chance that Kia dealers will offer off-road accessories for your Telluride. There may be an actual off-road trim level. Odds are it would be more along the lines of the Toyota RAV4 Adventure than what we saw at SEMA, but it could still be cool.

But if you were hoping Kia would find a way to fit the Stinger GT’s 3.3-liter twin-turbo V-6 into the Telluride, you’re probably out of luck. In addition to it likely being difficult to adapt the longitudinal engine for transverse duty, Michael Cole, Kia America’s chief operating officer, told us the Telluride’s 3.8-liter V-6 is the only engine the brand is planning to offer.

The post 2020 Kia Telluride Could Get an Off-Road-Themed Trim Level appeared first on Motortrend.

Categories: The Top Zones

Motortrend News Feed: 2019 Ram Power Wagon First Look: Powering On

The Top Zones - Mon, 01/14/2019 - 22:54

Ram claims the original World War II army truck–derived Power Wagon was the first 4×4 pickup and that that truck’s successor remains the most capable off-road pickup on the market—fans of the 1913–1928 Jeffery Quad might debate that former claim, but we more or less validated Ram’s capability boast on a run across the Newfoundland Labrador wilderness. As the Ram 2500 line gets upgraded for 2019, most of those upgrades get applied to the Power Wagon while it carries over most of its previous unique features.

Retained features include the custom-tuned suspension with the 2-inch lift, electrically disconnecting anti-roll bar, and Bilstein shocks, the locking front and rear differentials, and the 12,000-pound Warn winch. A major upgrade involves that integrated front-mounted winch. The new Warn Zeon-12 model features “a unique fairlead and fairlead retainer with a new synthetic line that cannot kink, does not fray, and is more maneuverable.” The new line is also 28 pounds lighter. This winch, by the way, is one small reason why the Cummins diesel is not offered on the Power Wagon—it occupies space the Cummins setup needs for cooling. (The diesel engine is also too heavy and expensive to suit the “ultimate off-road pickup.”)

Another major improvement is a new 360-degree camera option, which provides a top-down view of the entire truck while forward cameras provide a close-up view to help place the tires when rock crawling. The standard 6.4-liter gas V-8 engine gets the MDS cylinder-deactivation system that launched on the half-ton version, along with all the noise and vibration countermeasures that allow these trucks to operate in four-cylinder mode more often—new engine mounts, vibration-canceling frame shakers, and active noise cancellation through the stereo plus all new exhaust hanging brackets that transfer less noise and vibration. Heavy-duty trucks don’t get an EPA rating, but internal testing suggests customers should see an 8–10 percent improvement in fuel economy. The engine is now teamed with an 8HP75R strengthened version of the eight-speed that has been powering the 1500 series trucks. The much shorter first gear ratio in this transmission reportedly improves the Power Wagon’s low-range crawl ratio from 35:1 to an impressive 51:1.

Like the rest of the Ram 2500 lineup, the 2019 model carries over much of the sheetmetal from the previous model (much of the cab, doors, and box) while face-lifting the design to resemble the 1500s, switching to an aluminum hood (saving some 27 pounds), and adding features such as the power-release tailgate with damped lowering. We still regard it as a new truck, however, because of the extensive powertrain improvements and the all-new frame, which is 31 pounds lighter and considerably stronger and less prone to transmitting vibration to the cab. The same is true inside, where the look resembles that of the 1500, borrowing some parts directly and modifying others to mount to the unique HD cab.


As before, the Power Wagon is offered in crew-cab 6.4-foot box configuration only, and the functional aspects of the package can be ordered on the Tradesman trim truck of that configuration. (The option added $7,950 in 2018.)

Production is ramping up now in Saltillo, Mexico, with sales beginning in the second quarter. Pricing has yet to be announced, but expect only a modest bump up from the $54,540 Ram asked in 2018.


Photos of the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty truck lineup are shown below.

The post 2019 Ram Power Wagon First Look: Powering On appeared first on Motortrend.

Categories: The Top Zones

Motortrend News Feed: Six Secrets of the 2020 Toyota Supra

The Top Zones - Mon, 01/14/2019 - 22:30

Immediately after the sheet dropped on the all-new fifth-generation Supra, we caught up with several key Toyota personnel responsible for the development and validation of Akio Toyoda’s pet project and the company’s flagship sports car.

As we profiled in Chris Walton’s detailed First Look, the all-new fifth-generation 2020 Toyota Supra has a body made up of a mix of aluminum alloy, steel and composite. The vehicle is made in Graz, Austria, in a Magna Steyr plant contracted by Toyota, via development partner BMW. In that relationship lies a few of the interesting facts we uncovered:

Huge Hood is Huge

According to Nobuo Nakamura, Supra’s project chief designer, the hood is the largest that Magna Steyr could make. Toyota apparently had to push its partners to make a single-piece, wraparound bonnet of that size. The limiting factor, says Nakamura:  the width of the rolls of aluminum raw stock, from which the hood is pressed.

Toyota Draws Deep

We know Porsches were squarely in the sights of Supra’s performance engineers, but the exterior designers also targeted a specific area of one Porsche’s raciest models. In attempting to go wider than the rear fenders of Porsche 911 GT3 (991 version), it appears the Supra has also set a record for Toyota production cars. To use industry jargon, the Supra steel rear fenders should have the “deepest draw” for a Toyota vehicle. This means that the single piece of steel that forms the fender has been stamped with aggressive depth.

Nakamura says the Lexus LC coupe’s rear quarter panels own the depth record for all Toyota brands, but he adds that the flatter LC panels aren’t as tricky to manufacture as the super-curvy Supra rear flanks. (MT technical director Frank Markus confirms that deep stampings of complicated shapes risk tearing sheetmetal or introducing imperfections.) Although Nakamura wasn’t ready to say outright that Supra has Toyota brand’s deepest draw ever, he couldn’t think of a production Toyota that beats it. Neither can we.

Room for Boost

Toyota would not officially comment on how much boost pressure is created by the twin-scroll single turbo that feeds the 3.0-liter I-6 engine. Sources we chatted with estimate it to be around 0.7–0.8 bar, which is somewhere around 10–11 psi. A separate, well-placed source told us that, apparently, there may be as much as 40 horsepower available via ECU tuning and boost pressure increase.

It’s a Real Driver

Toyota factory drifter Fredric Aasbo spent significant time behind the wheel of a pre-production Supra at a driving event at Jarama Circuit in Spain and raves about the vehicle’s balance and immediacy. “Jarama Circuit was a great place to [drive] the Supra because it is banked with lots of surface features—these can expose a lot of weaknesses,” Aasbo said. He says Supra fans will not be disappointed, especially if they want to compare it to the much-beloved previous generation A80 Supra (which was last sold in the U.S. in 1998). Aasbo should know: He owns three fourth-generation Supras and claims the fifth-generation A90 has power that’s available on demand and much quicker steering.

… That Drifts on Command

When not testing cars for Toyota, Aasbo is a top-level drift driver in America’s premier Formula D drifting series. The world champion confirms that the A90 Supra will drift by simply shutting down the completely defeatable traction and stability control systems. “On the first turn at Jarama, I turned the wheel and was drifting. Just like that.”

More Power, Less Weight

We couldn’t confirm if a hotter version of Supra is in the works, but it stands to reason, given Akio’s interest in high performance under the Gazoo Racing (Meisters of Nürburging) banner. But aside from turning up the boost for more power, where other improvements could be made is not immediately clear. Weight savings could come with the switch to lighter materials, but with that huge aluminum hood, aluminum door skins, and composite rear decklid, Toyota’s performance gurus would have to use massive swaths of carbon fiber to realize significant gains. The separate roof panel that comprises the double bubble roof could be switched from steel to a lighter material, Nakamura says, but it’s such a small panel that it wouldn’t be huge savings. Perhaps Supra will pull tricks from the Lexus F playbook; the just-announced RC F Track Edition received lightweight upgrades that include forged racing wheels, aluminum-intensive suspension, and acres of carbon-fiber panels for a claimed savings of nearly 180 pounds over the standard RC F.

The post Six Secrets of the 2020 Toyota Supra appeared first on Motortrend.

Categories: The Top Zones

Motortrend News Feed: The 2001 Ford F-150 Lightning Rod is a Forgotten Show Car You Can Own

The Top Zones - Mon, 01/14/2019 - 21:26

The 2019 Detroit auto show is now in full swing, and as always, automakers are showing off a number of concept vehicles. It may be difficult to imagine now, but one day the concepts on display at this year’s show will be little more than a distant memory for most. But that will just make rediscovering them in 20 years all the more fun. Take a look at this 2001 Ford F-150 Lightning Rod concept, for example. First shown at the Chicago auto show in February 2001, this chopped and stretched Ford F-150 was inspired by hot rods and the tattoo culture of New Zealand’s Maori people—and it can be yours when it crosses the block at Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale auction later this week.

“Wait, back up,” you say? We did a double take when we read that bit about tattoos, too. You can’t see it very well in the auction photos, but in the original press photos (above) you can see the Lightning Rod concept features a Maori-inspired design on the leather-wrapped tonneau covering the truck bed. There are similar designs cut into the tread of the tires, but the vaguely Polynesian motif is subtle until you step inside. The custom red interior is highlighted by Maori tattoo patterns cut into the leather-wrapped bucket seats and headliner. This may seem like an unusual theme for Ford to go all in on, but keep in mind that “tribal” tattoos were all the rage when this concept came out.

“Lightning Rod draws from the passion of the muscle cars of the 1960s, the hot rod industry, and the current body art craze to take America’s best-selling pickup to a new level of performance excitement,” Ed Golden, then–North American executive director of design for the Ford brand, said in a 2001 press release.

The hot rod influence is easier to spot at first glance. The roof has been chopped 1 inch, and the body has been lowered on 20-inch custom five-spoke wheels. The front and rear overhangs have also been shortened, with the bumpers integrated into the bodywork for a smooth, flush look. One particularly cool touch is the headlights, which feature two horizontal neon tubes.

As the name suggests, the concept is powered by the same 5.4-liter V-8 engine found in the Ford F-150 SVT Lightning of the day. That engine makes 380 hp and 450 lb-ft of torque. Unfortunately, whoever buys this concept won’t get to enjoy that power on the road. According to the seller, the truck runs and drives but is not DOT- or EPA-certified and thus cannot be registered in the U.S. But if you want a unique F-150 show car to display in your collection, you can catch this one at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale on Thursday, January 17.

Barrett-Jackson ushers in a new year of high-octane auction action during its 48th Annual Scottsdale Auction, featuring some of the world’s most coveted collector vehicles and authentic automobilia collectibles, January 12-20, 2019, at WestWorld of Scottsdale. As in decades past, The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auctions will be the epicenter of Collector Car Auction Week and entertain thousands of automotive enthusiasts with interactive exhibits, entertainment, and activities. Check your local TV listings to see it live on MotorTrend Network and download the app for exclusive, live coverage.

The post The 2001 Ford F-150 Lightning Rod is a Forgotten Show Car You Can Own appeared first on Motortrend.

Categories: The Top Zones

Motortrend News Feed: 2019 Detroit Auto Show Sporty Car Gallery … PHOTOS!

The Top Zones - Mon, 01/14/2019 - 18:15

Sporty comes in all automotive shapes and sizes. The 2019 Detroit auto show is the latest example of that, with Ford’s powerful Explorer ST said to be sportier (and more powerful) than the average 2020 Explorer. At the Detroit show, there’s also the 700-plus-horsepower Mustang Shelby GT500 and, oh yeah, the return of the legendary Supra nameplate from Toyota.

So although sporty means different things to different enthusiasts, enjoy our gallery of sporty vehicles, with both auto show floor and manufacturer-provided photos.

2019 Hyundai Elantra GT N-Line Cadillac CT6-V Nissan IMs Concept Lexus LC Convertible Concept


2020 Toyota Supra 2020 Ford Explorer ST 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 2020 Lexus RC F and RC F Track Edition

The post 2019 Detroit Auto Show Sporty Car Gallery … PHOTOS! appeared first on Motortrend.

Categories: The Top Zones