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Property Week News Feed: Led by Taylor Wimpey housebuilders see strong day on the FTSE

Thu, 02/28/2019 - 07:49
Housebuilders enjoyed a strong day on the FTSE 100 on Wednesday led by Taylor Wimpey which saw its share price climb 3.45% to 177p after it announced a rise in revenue and profit for 2018.
Categories: The Top Zones

Property Week News Feed: Bovis sees revenue climb 3.2%

Thu, 02/28/2019 - 07:48
Bovis Homes has announced a 3.2% rise in group revenue to £1.06bn for 2018 as profit soared 47% to £168.1m.
Categories: The Top Zones

Motortrend News Feed: 2019 Ram HD First Test: How 1,000 LB-FT Performs at the Track

Thu, 02/28/2019 - 05:01

“Hey, man,” the Ram PR dude said to me. “Would you mind starting out in the Hemi 2500 Tradesman?” No, dude, I silently thought to myself. I did not drive 47 miles to spend the night at the Four Seasons Westlake Village only to drive some dirty old gasoline-powered Ram HD with only—only —429 lb-ft of torque.

No, sir! I made the sacrifice to stay in a five-star hotel away from my sleep-averse toddler only to play with the big dog, to experience the main event, to drive the Ram with the 6.7-liter Cummins turbodiesel inline-six with—are we all sitting down—1,000 lb-ft of torque! A Hemi 2500? Come on! “Sure,” I said, knuckling under to petty authority. “That’s fine.”

The shocking part is, said Hemi-powered truck is much better than fine. I remember back at the 2017 Truck of the Year competition, Ram lent us a gasoline-powered 2500. Hated it! Hated it to the point that I questioned why anybody would ever buy a gas-powered heavy-duty.

Well, let me announce that the 2019 Ram 2500 Hemi answers that question. Because it’s terrific. Same engine, in fact, so the question is, why is the 2019 version so much better? Gearing. The new version is mated to a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission (the 2017 model had a six-speed automatic), and that alone basically solves every issue I had with the last gen. Suddenly, the low-spec Ram HD feels quick, sporty, and swarming with torque. Even though the job-site-white, crank-window(!) Tradesman had 2,500 pounds of lumber in the bed, the thing still felt fleet and darty. Sure, any truck is going to ride better with weight in the bed, so yes, Ram PR totally tricked me.

However, if you actually use your truck to move stuff around, the 2500 Tradesman is a great, low-dollar, high-capability alternative to a half-tonner. Ram hasn’t announced pricing yet, but I’d guess you’ll be able to slide into the Tradesman’s vinyl-skinned interior for about $35,000 with no options whatsoever, just like the example I drove.

On the other end of the pricing spectrum sits the full-fat, 3500 Mega Cab dually with the aforementioned optional 1,000-lb-ft engine, in either Laramie Longhorn or Limited trim with the Max Tow package—which can set you back over $90,000.

What if you want the capability of a big, strong diesel powerplant, but the notion of a near-six-figure truck leaves you cold? Don’t worry. For $9,100 over the base gas engine, you can opt for a 370-horsepower, 850-lb-ft version of the Cummins. Jumping from 850 to 1,000 lb-ft—which requires a different transmission and transfer case—costs another $2,695. Still, you can buy a very capable Ram heavy-duty hauler for well under 50 large. How capable?

I got behind the wheel of a 3500 Limited dually with its 850 lb-ft of torque and a large, enclosed box trailer hanging off the gooseneck. All the trucks present had little white placards inside announcing both the trailer weight and the weight of what was on/in said trailer. All the trucks save for the Delmonico Red bruiser I was sitting in. Some other journo swiped it. I’ll ask the PR guy later, I told myself.

Even though 850 lb-ft of twist is weirdly a “normal” amount of torque these days, the trailer felt very light. “Maybe it’s empty?” my passenger mused. Yeah, maybe. The two of us guessed that the unladen trailer weighed 2, maybe 3 tons, max. We made this assumption because the ride quality wasn’t all that great. As stated earlier, heavy-duty trucks tend to ride much better when under a heavy load. Imagine our stunned shock to discover the trailer was full of bags of rocks; thus we’d been hauling 16,580 pounds. As for the ride quality, I’m thinking the Max Tow package solves that problem. Why am I thinking that?

Finally it was time to climb into the truck I’d come to drive, a 3500 Limited dually with the Max Tow package plus the 400-hp, 1,000-lb-ft king Cummins. As it happened, this particular truck was hooked up to an 8,440-pound trailer with a 9,100-pound skid-steer strapped to it (total: 17,540 pounds). Heavy, yes, but the crazy part is that 17,540 pounds is less than half of the truck’s capability. That’s right, this rig is capable of hauling 35,100 pounds.

(An aside: Sadly for Ram, Chevy just announced that its heavy hauler can handle 35,500 pounds. Meanwhile, Ford’s new thing is to announce numbers without actually revealing the numbers—such as saying the GT500 will be 700-plus horsepower. So, Ford’s 7.3-liter V-8 will have some sort of output—but you can rest assured that the 2020 Super Duty’s max tow rating will be at least 35,501 pounds.)

Up the Grapevine we went. Although it’s not quite the legendary Davis Dam towing test we employ as part of our Truck of the Year festivities, the California Grapevine up through and past Gorman is quite mountainous. The big Ram got itself up to 50 mph on a flat section of freeway, no problem whatsoever. I waited for the uphill and then punched it. As it turns out, knowing you have four-digit torque at your disposal and experiencing said tidal wave of force are two radically different things. I knew this truck wouldn’t sweat the load, but I wasn’t prepared for how effortless it would feel. To my astonishment, I watched as the 3500 HD accelerated up to 65 mph as easily as an unladen passenger car would perform the same act.

Going downhill was as easy. Ram includes an automatic exhaust brake that acts as a sort of smart descent control. After double-tapping the exhaust brake switch twice, all you do is ever so lightly drag the brake pedal to hold your current speed. Touch the throttle to override it. Simple. Also worth noting, with the Max Tow package, the rear brake rotors are larger (14.4 inches) than the fronts (14.2 inches). Why? The rear brakes of the truck act as the front brakes of the trailer. Think about it. Clever, no?

After turning around to head back to base camp, I found myself stuck behind a motorhome struggling to go 25 mph up the hill. During Truck of the Year, testing director Kim Reynolds calls this the Frustration Test, and it has become a staple of our Truck of the Year testing (though we test accelerating from 35 to 55 mph). I pulled out to the left and floored it as we passed Tejon Ranch on the way up to Frazier Park.

I checked my rearview display, and, yup, cars were bearing down on me and the giant Ram. I didn’t know it at the time, but the 3500 Limited I was driving weighs 9,060 pounds empty. Counting the trailer and at least 800 pounds of passengers (including Ram HD chief engineer Rod Romain, who has a 1,000-lb-ft handshake), we’re talking more than 27,000 pounds that needed to get from 25 to 65 mph uphill in a big hurry. Moment of truth, as they say.

In our standard testing, this big Ram hits 60 mph in 8.4 seconds and runs the quarter mile in 16.4 seconds at 84.9 mph. On paper, these numbers sound like nothing. Back to knowing versus experiencing, this big ol’ hoss feels much quicker than our instrumented numbers say.

There’s this Bentleyness (for lack of a better word) to this sensation—that the tsunami of torque you’re surfing will never crest, will never cease, will never relent. The times on paper aren’t quick by modern standards, but by the seat of your pants, this engine in the Ram feels invincible. Also, this 4.5-ton monster truck rides remarkably well completely empty. As for the Frustration Test, I ask, “What frustration?” We passed that slow-moving motorhome without breaking a sweat.

2019 Ram 3500 Heavy Duty Limited 4×4 BASE PRICE $66,945 PRICE AS TESTED $87,810 VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, 4WD, 5-pass, 4-door truck ENGINE 6.7L/400-hp/1000-lb-ft turbodiesel, OHV 24-valve I-6 TRANSMISSION 6-speed automatic CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 9,060 lb WHEELBASE 169.0 in LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 260.8 x 96.5 x 79.3 in 0-60 MPH 8.4 sec QUARTER MILE 16.4 sec @ 84.9 mph BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 140 ft LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.61 g (avg) MT FIGURE EIGHT 30.2 sec @ 0.53 g (avg)

The post 2019 Ram HD First Test: How 1,000 LB-FT Performs at the Track appeared first on Motortrend.

Categories: The Top Zones

The Car Connection News Feed: First Drive: 2019 Ram 2500 and 3500 heavy duty puts 1,000 lb-ft of torque to work with confidence

Thu, 02/28/2019 - 05:01
The 2019 Ram 2500 and 3500 heavy-duty trucks can tow up to 35,100 pounds and can boast a turbodiesel with 1,000 pound-feet of torque, but they do even more than those massive numbers indicate. The theme with the latest, big daddy Ram is more: More power. More gears. More technology. More refinement. More capability. More safety. Ram flew us to Las...
Categories: The Top Zones

Property Week News Feed: Brockton wins bidding war to land Southwark office scheme

Thu, 02/28/2019 - 00:00
Real estate fund agrees deal with Janus Henderson to buy 169 Union Street for more than the £95m guide price
Categories: The Top Zones

Property Week News Feed: Moda/Apache JV link up with North Star in York

Thu, 02/28/2019 - 00:00
Trio comes together to build £200m, 710-home scheme at former gasworks site
Categories: The Top Zones

The Car Connection News Feed: 2019 Lexus LC

Wed, 02/27/2019 - 11:00
Gone are the days of inoffensive styling and safe decisions at Lexus. The Lexus LC launched the brand into the luxury stratosphere with striking design, exciting powertrains, and impressive quality, but as most first efforts go, it’s not perfect. The 2019 Lexus LC earns 7.0 overall on our scale, picking up points for its design and engines...
Categories: The Top Zones

The Car Connection News Feed: Senators push for keyless ignition standards

Wed, 02/27/2019 - 11:00
After a bombshell report showed that keyless ignition systems have contributed to a rise in accidental carbon-monoxide deaths, two senators are pushing for new standards. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) and Edward Markey (D-Massachusetts) introduced last week the PARK IT Act, which specifically calls for new vehicles to feature an...
Categories: The Top Zones

Property Week News Feed: Mayor of London warns of ‘catastrophic’ no-deal Brexit impact on housing

Wed, 02/27/2019 - 10:40
The Mayor of London, London Councils and the G15 group of London’s largest housing associations have written an open letter to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government warning of the “catastrophic” effects that a no-deal Brexit could have on affordable housing delivery.
Categories: The Top Zones

Property Week News Feed: Aberdeen Standard sells £16m Travelodge Brent Cross

Wed, 02/27/2019 - 09:57
Aberdeen Standard Investments has sold the Travelodge hotel in Brent Cross, north London to a private investor for £16m.
Categories: The Top Zones

Property Week News Feed: Unite posts NAV rise as student bookings continue at record highs

Wed, 02/27/2019 - 09:03
Student accommodation giant Unite has posted a 9.7% increase in net asset value (NAV) for the full year to 31 December.
Categories: The Top Zones

Motortrend News Feed: Four Technologies We Love in the 2019 BMW 330i

Wed, 02/27/2019 - 09:00

In an era when automakers are leaving auto shows for technology shows, it’s a given that cars are smarter than they were a decade ago. Whether for safety or convenience, new technologies are constantly grabbing our attention. BMW is competitive in this game; the automaker has equipped the new 2019 and 2020 3 Series model with many safety technologies we tested and liked after driving a 2019 BMW 330i recently. Here are four of those tech features.

Looking for a full review? Check out our 2019 330i M Sport First Drive here.

Parallel Parking Assistant

This feature isn’t new for the BMW brand, but it’s the first time we’ve seen it on a 3 Series. Park Assist Plus lets the driver parallel park with the touch of a button. To activate, press the parking button next to the shifter and start moving ahead. This will turn on the side and front cameras, showing their views on the infotainment screen, and alert the parking assistant to start looking for a parking space. Once found, an upright “P” appears on the screen, and you must touch either that or the iDrive knob on the center console to confirm.

After that, two green lights will illuminate on the steering wheel, the turn signal will automatically turn on (whether it’s the left or right will depend on the side you’re parking on), and the car will start to back into the space. At this point, the driver must let go of the brake, throttle, and steering, as the system will take control of all of that plus the transmission. The system will switch from reverse to drive depending on where it needs to go, and once it’s done parking it will switch the gearbox to park and activate the parking brake. The whole thing happens in about the same amount of time it took you to read this paragraph, and it’s impressive to experience the first few times.

Perpendicular Parking Assistant

Just like with the parallel parking assistant, the 2019 3 Series can automatically park itself in a Costco parking lot. To activate, follow the same steps as above, but the upright “P” that appears on the screen will instead be oriented sideways to indicate that the system has found a perpendicular spot. This feature is a bit trickier, as I had to leave more space between myself and the other cars in the lot than what I’m used to when looking for parking. The system will reverse into the space in three points (usually) and will make sure the 3 Series is parked precisely between the two adjacent cars, leaving enough space to open the doors on both sides.

Back-Up Assistant

Similar to the parking assist, backup assist remembers the vehicle’s trace of the last 160 yards. For instance, if your driveway is a bit twisty, or if you’re parking on a long driveway, backup assist will automatically remember the steering inputs of the last 160 yards so that when it’s time to leave, you can back out of the driveway without looking at the mirrors or rear camera. When you’re about to leave and engage reverse, simply press the backup assist button on the screen, and two green lights will illuminate on the steering wheel, indicating that backup assist has been engaged. This means the system will take control of the steering, and all you have to do is control the brake pedal to moderate the backup speed. If you exceed 5 mph, the system will send an alert to slow down, and after it has completed the 160 yards, it will also alert you to take control of the car. This is especially handy when it’s dark outside or hard to see through the side mirrors.

Driving Assistant Professional Package

As part of the Driving Assistance Pro Package, the 2019 BMW 3 Series gets Extended Traffic Jam Assistant and Active Driving Assistant Professional, two technologies that help drivers on their commute. The package is priced at a whooping $1,700, but we liked its features, especially the semiautonomous driving capabilities. This technology works once the driver turns on adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist, at which time a steering wheel icon will appear on the TFT display. If the steering wheel is green, it means the system is activated and can read the lanes and road ahead; if it’s yellow, it’s having some trouble reading the road and will need control from the driver. I tried this feature on a mostly straight and calm two-way road with heavy rain, and the system was able to read the road most of the time. To test it, I took my hands off the steering wheel and my foot off the pedal and let the system do the work. After five seconds, the system asked me via the TFT display and an audible alert to take control of the steering, but I refused; after 10 more seconds, a louder alert started ringing, with the TFT screen turning bright red. At that time, a message popped on the screen saying that the 3 Series was going to stop if I didn’t take control, so it did. A BMW spokesman said that the car can pull over by itself, but I didn’t experience this. Instead, the 3 Series just stopped in the lane, but this was probably because there was no real shoulder on the road I was driving on. However, the audible alerts were strong enough to wake anyone up.

Read our First Drive impressions of the 2019 BMW 330i M Sport here.

The post Four Technologies We Love in the 2019 BMW 330i appeared first on Motortrend.

Categories: The Top Zones

Motortrend News Feed: 2018 BMW X3 M40i Long-Term Update 1: The Switcheroo

Wed, 02/27/2019 - 09:00

Call me immature, but I like cars that are loud, fast, eye-catching, and generally obnoxious. After spending a year piloting our long-term CX-5, the plan was to take the reins of a BMW X2, which is none of those things. Every time I laid eyes on Brian Vance’s X3 M40i, the X2’s bigger, angrier brother, I couldn’t help but jokingly offer a switcheroo—especially when I heard him grumbling about the X3’s loud exhaust possibly annoying his neighbors.

To my surprise, he actually seemed interested. After a weeklong test drive, he liked the X2 enough to swap. This made me very excited.

My first X3 impressions are all positive. It’s definitely handsome, especially in Phytonic Blue Metallic. The interior is also a welcome upgrade from the X2. It’s much more luxurious, and I’m loving all the tech and convenience features. Which makes me question Brian’s choice to switch even more. I guess that loud exhaust really bothered him. I, on the other hand, love it, especially in Sport or Sport Plus mode when it burbles and backfires on overrun.

Some think it’s out of place coming from the back end of a practical SUV, but I like that surprising aspect. It’s like when you find out your college math professor can burp the alphabet. Uncharacteristic, but it shows the person has a fun side.

Speaking of fun, we have yet to take the X3 to the track to do our standard testing, but my butt-dyno is expecting it to be true to BMW’s claim of 4.6 seconds to 60 mph. It’s deceptively quick, thanks in part to the smooth power delivery of the B58, the turbocharged inline-six that it shares with much of BMW’s lineup. It’s the successor to the venerable N55 and feels just as buttery. I’ll report on what our test team learns in the next update.

Read more about our long-term 2018 BMW X3 M40i:

The post 2018 BMW X3 M40i Long-Term Update 1: The Switcheroo appeared first on Motortrend.

Categories: The Top Zones

Property Week News Feed: Ocado and M&S shares rise on deal news

Wed, 02/27/2019 - 08:37
Ocado’s share price jumped 11.7% on Tuesday making it the best performing share on the FTSE 100 after it was revealed it is in talks to enter into a deal with Marks & Spencer.
Categories: The Top Zones

Property Week News Feed: Taylor Wimpey posts profit and revenue rise for 2018

Wed, 02/27/2019 - 08:34
Britain’s third-largest housebuilder Taylor Wimpey said on Wednesday that demand for its homes remained strong at the start of the year, reporting a 5.5% rise full-year pre-tax profit.
Categories: The Top Zones

Property Week News Feed: Capco posts third successive annual writedown of Earls Court

Wed, 02/27/2019 - 08:20
Capital & Counties (Capco) has posted a 15.6% writedown in the value of its Earls Court assets, the third annual loss in value at the scheme in succession.
Categories: The Top Zones