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31 minutes ago

After showing a few autonomous and electric vehicle concepts, NIO has debuted its first model destined for full-scale production. The NIO ES8 is an aluminum-bodied, seven-seat electric SUV now available for pre-order in China. NIO is aiming this SUV at a performance-seeking crowd. A 70-kilowatt-hour battery powers two motors for an output of 644 hp […]

The post NIO ES8 Challenges the Tesla Model X in China appeared first on Motor Trend.

After showing a few autonomous and electric vehicle concepts, NIO has debuted its first model destined for full-scale production. The NIO ES8 is an aluminum-bodied, seven-seat electric SUV now available for pre-order in China.

NIO is aiming this SUV at a performance-seeking crowd. A 70-kilowatt-hour battery powers two motors for an output of 644 hp and 620 lb-ft of torque. The startup says the ES8 can hit 62 mph in 4.4 seconds, although the Tesla Model X P100D can reach 60 mph in 2.9 seconds.

The NIO ES8 comes standard with an adaptive air suspension and an all-aluminum body. The model also boasts a double-A-arm front suspension, multi-link rear suspension, and Brembo brake calipers up front. NIO claims a range of about 220 miles on the European cycle. Recently, NIO launched a battery swapping process that takes just three minutes, a similar idea to the one Tesla explored but never pursued further. NIO is also plotting “Power Mobile” charging concierge services for customers.

Not to be outdone in the tech game, the ES8 features a host of sensors for assisted driving. These sensors include four exterior cameras, a front-facing trifocal camera, five millimeter-wave radars, a driver monitor camera, and 12 ultrasonic sensors. Also, it’s the first vehicle in the world to come with Mobileye’s latest EyeQ4 chip technology as well as NOMI, an artificial intelligence system. NIO says its driver assistance system supports over-the-air updates so its vehicles can gain new features as they become available.

The new ES8 will launch with 15 active safety and convenience features including Highway Pilot, traffic jam assist, and automatic emergency braking. The hardware needed for these and other automated driving features will come standard on all ES8 models.

The ES8 starts at 448,000 RMB, which would equate to roughly $67,715 in U.S. dollars.

It was just months ago that NIO showed off its EP9 and EVE concept vehicles. The EP9 debuted with four individual gearboxes and an electric powertrain making 1,341 hp. Meanwhile, NIO’s EVE concept focused on what the interior of a future autonomous vehicle would look like. Although it’s unclear exactly what NIO plans for the U.S., the company has said it wants to introduce an autonomous vehicle in this market by 2020.

Source: NIO

The post NIO ES8 Challenges the Tesla Model X in China appeared first on Motor Trend.

1 hour ago

Since Formula 1 made the switch to turbocharged 1.6-liter V-6 hybrids, no other team has been able to hold a candle to Mercedes. It’s won four constructors’ championships in a row, and its drivers have taken both first and second place in three out of the last four drivers’ championships. Part of that success can […]

The post Mercedes’ Formula 1 Car May Break 1,000 HP This Season appeared first on Motor Trend.

Since Formula 1 made the switch to turbocharged 1.6-liter V-6 hybrids, no other team has been able to hold a candle to Mercedes. It’s won four constructors’ championships in a row, and its drivers have taken both first and second place in three out of the last four drivers’ championships. Part of that success can be attributed to the drivers, but Mercedes has also been able to get incredible power out of these new power units. In fact, engineers are reportedly close to exceeding the 1,000 hp mark.

Motorsport.com reports that according to Andy Cowell, Mercedes’ head of engine development, the team was able to get a total of more than 900 hp out of its power units. This year, it’ll likely surpass 1,000 hp soon, perhaps in the next season. “We’re close,” Cowell said. “I’m sure that’ll happen at some point.”

As Motorsport.com points out, last year, Mercedes also managed to get its engine to pass 50 percent thermal efficiency. Essentially a measure of how much power an engine can make from the energy it consumes, thermal efficiency has become a more important engine factor in the last several years now that F1 limits the amount of fuel an engine can use per hour.

But while 50 percent thermal efficiency was only seen on the dyno, Mercedes expects to know soon how long it will take to achieve it during an actual race. “It’s an answer for the early part of the next year,” said Cowell.

“We need to see how the power unit development goes through the winter and our prove-out goes through the winter, and it’s a balance with the car as well,” he continued. “There are engines running on the dyno—that’s one thing. When you go to total car lap time, that’s the bit where there’s work being done to improve the technology on the car to enhance both aerodynamic and power unit performance. Let’s see how it all works out.”

Source: Motorsport.com

The post Mercedes’ Formula 1 Car May Break 1,000 HP This Season appeared first on Motor Trend.

2 hours ago

Over the summer, Toyota and Mazda announced a new joint venture that they called “a business and capital alliance.” It included plans to build a factory together and working to develop better connected car technology, but it also included trading about $450,000,000 in stock. That way each company profits when the other succeeds. Around the globe, several other […]

The post Honda Wants Tech Partners, But Not if it Means Exchanging Stock appeared first on Motor Trend.

Over the summer, Toyota and Mazda announced a new joint venture that they called “a business and capital alliance.” It included plans to build a factory together and working to develop better connected car technology, but it also included trading about $450,000,000 in stock. That way each company profits when the other succeeds. Around the globe, several other automakers have made similar moves. But if you expect Honda to follow Toyota’s lead, you’re going to be disappointed.

Automotive News reports that Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo recognizes automation and electrification will cause major shifts in the global auto industry, but he has no interest in capital partnerships. “We do have a sense of crisis. Things are changing drastically. So we should not be late in responding,” Hachigo told Automotive News. “But it’s not the case where we have any plans for such equity holdings.”

That doesn’t mean, however, that Honda plans to develop new technology entirely on its own. In fact, it’s been working to develop partnerships with other companies that will avoid shouldering the full cost of developing new technology. “Next year, too, we will build such partnerships speedily,” said Hachigo. He would just prefer to do so with agreements that don’t involve trading stock around.

For example, Honda recently announced an agreement to develop artificial intelligence with China’s SenseTime Group, and last month, it partnered with Japan’s Softbank Corp. to bring fifth-generation mobile network tech to future cars. Honda also has a partnership with Hitachi Automotive Systems to develop electric motors and a deal with General Motors to build hydrogen fuel cell stacks in Michigan.

Over the next few years, Honda knows it will have to make sure it doesn’t get left behind on the electrification front while still selling more profitable gas-powered cars. “One technical challenge on our side is to try to make it possible to produce gasoline-engine cars, hybrids, plug-in hybrids and battery EVs in the same way at the same factory,” said Hachigo. “The biggest challenge for us is how to make that happen.”

But even as Honda partners with other companies, develops new technology, and works to modernize its manufacturing, Hachigo doesn’t sound worried about the future. “We don’t think it’s business as usual,” he said. “But we must recognize our strengths. If we continue to play to our strengths, we can gradually adapt to these changes and make whatever changes are necessary.”

Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)

 

The post Honda Wants Tech Partners, But Not if it Means Exchanging Stock appeared first on Motor Trend.

3 hours ago

Toyota is gearing up to join the electrified vehicle party, announcing a plan to introduce electrified versions of every Toyota and Lexus model it sells by 2025. That will help the automaker sell more than 5.5 million electrified vehicles by 2030, including more than 1 million battery electric or fuel cell vehicles a year. The […]

The post Toyota to Offer Electrified Versions of Every Car it Sells by 2025 appeared first on Motor Trend.

Toyota is gearing up to join the electrified vehicle party, announcing a plan to introduce electrified versions of every Toyota and Lexus model it sells by 2025. That will help the automaker sell more than 5.5 million electrified vehicles by 2030, including more than 1 million battery electric or fuel cell vehicles a year.

The plan builds on the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050 commitment announced in October 2015, which set the goal of reducing the average CO2 emissions of its vehicles by 90 percent from 2010 levels. Toyota’s electrified vehicle strategy will help it meet that goal. The automaker will continue to develop traditional hybrid cars and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, and it will increase its commitment to plug-in hybrids and battery electric vehicles.

Toyota says that every one of its models sold under the Toyota or Lexus banner around the world will offer an electrified variant by 2025. By the early 2020s, Toyota will offer more than 10 battery electric models worldwide. The pure electric offerings will roll out first in China, where demand for electric cars is booming, before spreading to other markets including the U.S., Japan, and Europe. The automaker will also expand its plug-in range by the early 2020s, and it will continue rolling out models using a further development of the Prius’ Toyota Hybrid System II drivetrain. Toyota is also looking into both more powerful and simpler versions of the system.

Confirming previous reports, Toyota is conducting a feasibility study on a joint prismatic battery business with Panasonic. Though some might wonder why it has taken so long for Toyota to get on the battery electric bandwagon, the automaker says it has been busy developing solid-state batteries for use in its next-gen EVs of the 2020s. Getting a leg up on battery technology could give the automaker an edge in the next decade.

Source: Toyota

 

The post Toyota to Offer Electrified Versions of Every Car it Sells by 2025 appeared first on Motor Trend.

4 hours ago

As I write this, our long-term 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC300 4Matic has just finished up its first service and is on its way to a car wash before the keys make their way back into my hands. The GLC’s first service, or Service A according to the on-board reminder, includes an oil and filter change, the […]

The post 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC300 4Matic Long-Term Update 2: Camping and Cargo Covers appeared first on Motor Trend.

As I write this, our long-term 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC300 4Matic has just finished up its first service and is on its way to a car wash before the keys make their way back into my hands.

The GLC’s first service, or Service A according to the on-board reminder, includes an oil and filter change, the requisite inspection, and weirdly enough, an alignment. The total cost for our Mercedes’ first service is $461.64.

A day of pampering at the Mercedes dealer is just what our GLC300 4Matic deserves after 10,000 largely trouble free miles. Aside from a broken cargo cover (just replaced under warranty) and the tire pressure monitoring system deciding to randomly act up one day before fixing itself, our 2017 SUV of the Year has proven itself to be a steady travel companion.

The past few months haven’t been particularly glamorous for the GLC, and yet it has served well. In the daily grind of Los Angeles traffic, its 241-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 and nine-speed auto always seem to be in the sweet spot of the engine’s powerband, and the cabin is a quiet respite from the chaos outside the windows.

When the Mercedes’ cabin wasn’t enough of an escape on its own, my wife and I pressed the GLC into service for a weekend of car camping at Yosemite National Park. With the rear seats folded flat, the cabin easily swallowed up our massive Napier Sportz SUV tent, a large cooler, camp stove, hiking gear, suitcases, and a long weekend’s worth of food, with room to spare. With excellent visibility and the optional panoramic sunroof (not to mention heated seats for those cold mornings), I can’t think of a better SUV to take in the sites of Yosemite.

Yosemite is probably one of the most developed national parks in the country, with no real opportunity for heading off the pavement, but I did get a chance to test our GLC300 4Matic’s off-road prowess a bit at Honda’s proving grounds in the Mojave Desert. Our Merc was hard at work as a camera car for our 2018 SUV of the Year competition. Despite having no dedicated off-road mode, the GLC plowed through our sand pit, (designed to mimic snow) without any trouble. With traction control disabled and the GLC in Sport mode, the Merc gets quite fun through corners. The 4Matic all-wheel-drive system happily overpowers the rear wheels on command for some immensely satisfying drifts. Ride quality was also particularly noteworthy considering we skipped the optional air suspension when ordering our GLC300; the Mercedes handled the deep ruts in the hard-packed dirt road section far better than some of its direct competitors, with no impact harshness transferred into the cabin. For a four-cylinder, all-wheel-drive luxury SUV, our GLC300 was surprisingly capable.

Back at the Mercedes dealer, a black G550 sitting just outside the waiting room gives me an idea—I wonder if I can make our GLC300 4Matic even more capable. Tires would probably go a long way—but before I can fire up Tire Rack’s site, our metallic brown GLC pulls up fresh from its wash. It’s time to go, but I’m thinking our GLC will be far dirtier by the time it makes its next visit to the Mercedes dealer in 10,000 miles.

More on our long-term Mercedes-Benz GLC300 here:

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13 hours ago

Test cars for long enough, and pretty soon you’ll have a default answer for anytime someone asks for a car recommendation. Want a compact car? Get a Civic. Looking for an affordable sports car? Miata. Want to survive the apocalypse? Land Cruiser should do the trick. Easy. For decades, the default choice when buying an […]

The post BMW 740e vs. Lexus LS 500 vs. Genesis G90 3.3T vs. Lincoln Continental 3.0 appeared first on Motor Trend.

Test cars for long enough, and pretty soon you’ll have a default answer for anytime someone asks for a car recommendation. Want a compact car? Get a Civic. Looking for an affordable sports car? Miata. Want to survive the apocalypse? Land Cruiser should do the trick. Easy.

For decades, the default choice when buying an executive luxury sedan has been the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. But what if you want to stand out from your fellow titans of industry in their everyday Newport Nissans? What if you shudder at the thought of dropping 100 large on a depreciating asset?

We’ve got you covered.

We assembled four Mercedes S-Class challengers from each major auto-producing nation to see which has the best shot at challenging the Merc on its throne. And because most of this country doesn’t have the cash (or credit) to easily part with six-figure sums, we set a rough $100,000 price cap on our luxury sedans, with each luxobarge sporting six-cylinders (or fewer) and all-wheel drive.

Our appropriate setting for the test: The tony coastal environs of Palos Verdes Estates, where you’ll quietly find one of the greatest concentrations of wealth in America. With views of the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island looming offshore, the average home value is $1.9 million, according to Zillow. From there, we would journey to Malibu, where the Hollywood elite sun and splash. Would any car not bearing a three-pointed star turn the heads of the landed and beached gentry?

Let’s take a look at the challengers.

From Germany is the S-Class’ archrival, the BMW 7 Series. Representing Bavaria’s best is the 2018 BMW 740e xDrive iPerformance. Powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 paired with an electric motor, the 740e is an admittedly odd choice for this test, given the rest of our competitors are powered by twin-turbo V-6s. But considering the segment is moving toward increased electrification (and that no I-6-powered 740i models were available for testing), it was the right choice. Plus 14 miles of EV range in a 4,700-pound limo is just plain cool. Our very lightly optioned 740e tester sneaks right in under our price cap, stickering for $99,845.

There was a time when Lexus was seen as the new kid on the block challenging the established German automakers. Nowadays, Lexus is part of that establishment, and its latest fifth-generation LS is arguably the best since the original. Sporting bold styling to emphasize its confident stature in the face of Europe’s best, our LS 500 AWD tester costs around $103,000.

Just as the original Lexus LS disrupted the luxury car space in 1989 with equivalent luxury to the Germans for a cut-rate price, Hyundai Motor is hoping to do the same with its upstart Genesis brand—representing South Korea’s sole global luxury brand is the 2018 Genesis G90 AWD 3.3T. Taking the place of the Hyundai Equus, the G90 is a remarkable effort at a luxury flagship, putting aside any questions as to whether the Koreans can do more than just imitate. And much like Lexus once did, the G90 takes a chainsaw to its competition’s price premium by selling for $71,825.

Representing the stars and stripes is the 2017 Lincoln Continental AWD Black Label 3.0. Wait, you say, why isn’t the California-born and -bred Tesla Model S the American pick? After all, it is far and away the best-seller in this segment—it even outsells the Mercedes S-Class—so we reasoned we’d hold it back for a future test with this comparison’s winner and the S-Class. As for the “other” big American luxury car, the Cadillac CT6, well, it’s unimpressive, finishing third to the Mercedes E-Class and Volvo S90 in its last comparison. With no major changes to the CT6 since then, we thought we’d give the Continental, a proper flagship for the Lincoln lineup, its shot at glory. Our loaded Continental Black Label tester stickered for $79,780. If it’s more expensive than the Genesis, it must be pretty good, right?

Whether luxury car buyers realize it, the holistic luxury car experience can be broken up into categories: the drive and the experience. The drive is pretty self-explanatory—it’s all about how effortlessly a luxury sedan wafts away from a stoplight, how quickly it gets up to speed, and how confidently the car rides and handles. The experience, on the other hand, entails the lavishness of the cabin and how it swaddles you in luxury. It’s about the thoughtful touches such as spacious executive back-seat packages, massaging leather seats, and cool metal door handles that click just so. In other words, it’s all about the things that make the car—and you by association—feel special.

With that in mind, let’s dig in.

The Drive

With such similar powertrains, you’d think that all four of our competitors would drive pretty much the same, but each has a unique personality from behind the wheel.

The BMW 740e is quite sporty, shockingly so for a big sedan. Its 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 and electric motor powertrain combine for a middling 322 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, giving it the lowest power output of all the sedans here. Yet this nearly silent sedan was the quickest of the bunch, thanks to smart use of carbon fiber (think of it as Cool Sculpting for cars). It’s just 7 pounds heavier than the lightest car in our test, the Continental. Add in short gearing of its eight-speed automatic and instant-on electric torque, and the 740e accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds and blows through the quarter mile in 13.6 seconds at 102.9 mph. Its handling performance is second-best in the test, lapping our figure-eight course in 26 seconds flat while averaging 0.71 g. But its braking performance brings up the rear with a 123-foot stop in our 60–0-mph test.

Away from the test track and on our test loop, the BMW is a solid driver. The Bimmer’s electric motor gives the 7 Series a helpful shove off the line, providing smooth, seamless acceleration until the four-cylinder’s turbocharger has time to spool up and provide boost. It’s also possible to creep along in stop-and-go traffic in the blissful silence that defines electric motoring. Even with its 9.2-kW-hr battery depleted, the 740e feels more powerful than its specs would suggest. But when the battery motors hand off duties to the engine, the tranquility is shattered as the gas engine fires up. “Lots of vibrations and unpleasant noises coming from the engine whenever it turned on or off—something I haven’t felt in other PHEVs,” said Motor Trend en Español editor Miguel Cortina.

Although its powertrain could perhaps use a bit of fine tuning, the Bimmer’s ride and handling is among the best here. The 740e’s steering is light and direct. The suspension is as adept at minimizing body roll on tight canyon roads as it is eating up strips of the rotten cliffside pavement eroding into the sea. “This is how you do luxury sedan ride and handling,” said associate editor Scott Evans. “The little bumps barely register, and the big ones are one and done. No floatiness at all.”

Just like Republicans and Democrats have effectively swapped ideologies over the years, BMW and Lexus seemed to have changed M.O.s in the past five years or so. The Lexus LS used to be soft and cushy, but now it offers up damn near sports car levels of performance. Its new 3.4-liter twin-turbo V-6 makes 416 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque, and when combined with its new 10-speed auto, it hustles the LS to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds and through the quarter mile in 13.7 second at 103 mph. Not enough evidence for you? The LS 500 lapped our figure eight in a test-best 25.7 seconds at 0.73 g, and it aced the 60–0 braking test with a 113-foot stop.

Driven back to back with the BMW, Genesis, and Lincoln, the Lexus feels an order of magnitude sportier than the rest of the pack. The new V-6 maintains the Lexus tradition of buttery-smooth revs, with plenty of low-end torque, and the automatic happily shunts through its 10 cogs in the background. However, if you ask for moderate or more acceleration from the LS 500, the V-6 struggles to move the 5,103-pound sedan, and the transmission’s shifts get harsh.

The LS 500’s steering is much more new-gen and away from the numb appliances of yore. Sporty, direct, and with a stiffness that will be unfamiliar to the Lexus legions, the LS 500 is a good set of tires away from being a true canyon carver. Our test car’s air suspension sorted out big bumps but struggled with small, high-frequency bumps such as the Botts’ dots that line California lanes. “We’re on pretty new pavement here, and I’m still getting lots of small vibrations from all the little bumps in the road you can’t see from the driver’s seat,” Evans said.

From a performance standpoint, the Genesis G90 splits the difference between the Lexus and Bimmer. The Hyundai-sourced 3.3-liter twin-turbo V-6, sporting 365 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque, helps get the G90 from 0 to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds, tying the LS 500, and through the quarter mile in 13.9 seconds at 99.9 mph. The Genesis can hang with the BMW in our handling tests, too. It laps our figure eight in 26.1 seconds at 0.72 g, just a tenth of a second behind the Bimmer but at a higher g. The G90’s 60–0 performance of 122 feet edges out the 740e by a foot.

Although the G90 is just a nose behind the LS 500 at the track, it couldn’t feel more different on the road. Everything about the Genesis G90 is as smooth as a Marvin Gaye ballad. Its engine and transmission are particularly noteworthy for how effortless they make the process of driving.

Dip into the throttle, and the G90 accelerates with pure elegance, with no noise from the V-6 under the hood and no physical sensation of gearshifts, save for the tach needle’s swing. The G90 imparts a sensation of calm capability to the driver. When the roads get twisty, the G90’s steering isn’t nearly as talkative as the Lexus’ or BMW’s, but it’s appropriate for the segment. Its ride falls between the 740e and LS 500; it doesn’t have the BMW’s solidity, but it handles bumps both large and small ever so slightly better than the Lexus.

The Lincoln Continental brings up the rear—though not by much—in our instrumented testing. churning out 400 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque under the hood and paired with a six-speed automatic, the Lincoln needs 5.5 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph and 14.0 seconds to finish the quarter mile at 100.4 mph. Despite the inherent disadvantages of Lincoln’s front-drive-based platform, the Continental’s torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system helps the Lincoln hang with the others in the figure eight, lapping the course in 26.1 seconds at 0.70 g. The Continental has the second-best brakes of the group, needing 119 feet to come to a stop from 60 mph.

Out on the road, the Continental could benefit from a bit of finishing school. There’s too much unnecessary drama and not enough finesse for what purports to be a luxury sedan. “For a brand that has officially eschewed sportiness, it’s trying very hard to be sporty,” Evans said. “The throttle tip-in is aggressive, and the engine is loud. It’s difficult to leave a stop without being thrown back into the seat. It’s a powerful engine, but it feels like it hasn’t fully been tamed for the job.”

Unfortunately, the ride and handling balance also seem tilted a bit too far toward the ragged end of the spectrum, with a brittle, almost harsh ride quality, especially over larger impacts. The unexpected sportiness does have one positive trade-off, though, as all four of us found the Conti surprisingly fun in tight switchback corners.

There is a cure to the Continental’s harshness, though: Comfort mode. Buried under five layers of menus on the Continental’s instrument cluster, defeating the default sportier mode helps smooth out the Lincoln with an ever so slightly softer setting of the Lincoln’s electronic dampers, smoother throttle input, and lighter steering. Yes, this is an automotive journalist asking an automaker to not make Sport the default drive mode. Comfort vastly improves the Continental’s driving experience. We can’t help wonder how many potential buyers might opt for the Continental without such a harsh first impression if the car came equipped from the factory in this softer setting.

The Experience

The other half of the luxury car equation involves enveloping its occupants in swaddled comfort, sharp interior design, elegant tactile quality, and advanced features.

The Lincoln makes a great first impression, but like its drive experience, it’s a bit inconsistent. Click open the doors with a gentle pull of the window-line-mounted door handles, and you’re greeted by an art deco–themed cabin swathed in contrasting white and black leather and flamed wood. The cabin, the second-smallest by passenger volume, feels refreshing and airy. Up front, the 30-way adjustable seats are supremely comfortable, and the back seat is Town Car–spacious, with reclining seats and an executive package for good measure. “It kind of takes you back to the era when the Continental had its golden years,” Cortina said.

Little details matter in luxury cars of this caliber, and unfortunately the Conti doesn’t hold up under our magnifying glass. The cabin, already on the sonically louder side in terms of exterior noise seeping in, suffers from squeaks and rattles from the fancy front seats and center console lid. Switchgear, both up front and in back, is also lacking the quality action and feel that the rest of the group exhibit.

These might seem like little things, but details matter in this segment. Example: The fonts for the Continental’s digital instrument cluster don’t match those of the Sync 3 infotainment system. You might not notice it on the test drive, but six months in, you’ll grit your teeth. “For better and worse, no car here is quite like the Lincoln,” senior production editor Zach Gale noted. “It delights and surprises in some ways but disappoints in others.”

The Lexus’ cabin matches the Lincoln’s for its distinctiveness but outstrips it in elegance. The LS 500’s interior perhaps isn’t quite as revolutionary as its LC sister’s, but it’s a huge step forward for the sedan, with beautiful wood, bright metallic trim running horizontally across the cabin, and a cool backlit piece of artwork on the passenger dash like in the new Rolls-Royce Phantom. The LS’ doors are also particularly noteworthy, with an artful origami-inspired finish.

“The Lexus blows the others away in making the owner feel rich and successful,” Gale said.

The Lexus gets most of the details right, but there are still a few disappointing misses. Despite having a longer wheelbase than the last-gen’s long-wheelbase model, the LS 500 has the smallest passenger volume of the group. It feels it, too, especially in back, where the adjustable executive-spec rear seat effectively doesn’t have any room to actually adjust—leaving adults sitting uncomfortably upright. Folding the front passenger seat forward helps some, but it’s a compromise no other sedan here needs to make.

The LS 500’s electronics are also baffling. The infotainment system remains the bane of the brand. Cluttered, unintuitive, difficult to navigate, and operated via a wonky touchpad on the center console, it is by far the worst user interface in the auto industry. We are thisclose to declaring it downright dangerous to operate while the car is in motion. We recommend caution and a clear, straight road when using it.

There are other frustrating electronic choices made by the Lexus team that severely detract from the luxury experience. The Lexus’ oncoming traffic safety alert system is overeager, distractingly turning the LS’ head-up display into flashing arrows and alerts at every stoplight. We’re also mildly annoyed by the LS’ insistence on beeping audibly inside the cabin when in reverse. “This is not a commercial vehicle,” Evans said. “Shut up.”

After the sensory overload of the Lexus’ electronics, the G90 is a welcome respite. Hop in the cabin, shut the door, and you’re in a peaceful sensory deprivation chamber. You know, like Lexuses used to be. The leather seats are “buttery smooth,” as Gale put it, and enormously comfortable both up front and in the cavernous rear passenger area. With much to prove, Genesis appears to have thought out every function of the G90’s interior—with high-quality materials on every surface and easy-to-find controls for everything from the 360-degree camera and radar cruise control to the infotainment system.

If there’s one criticism to make of the G90’s cabin, it’s that it takes no risks. It’s simple black leather with wood trim. “Really rich-looking” wood trim, Evans noted as a caveat, but it’s quite sterile compared to the visually stimulating Lincoln and Lexus. “Just imagine this interior with more interesting wood trim and a more exciting interior color” Gale said.

Our BMW 740e also seems to have been bitten by the boring bug—though in fairness to the BMW you can tack another $5K to our tester’s $99,845 as-tested price to inject a bit of color into the cabin. But our price cap once again highlights BMW’s insistence on offering expensive options packages that are standard features for most other automakers. Inside the base-equipped 740e, you’re frequently reminded of the options you’re missing, such as articulating front seats, the “executive” rear-seat package, or even the appearance of more than one USB plug. “I’m a little let down by this interior, but I guess this is what you get for competitive money,” Evans said.

Regardless of what the 740e’s cabin is missing, it’s serene, put together well, and spacious—edging out the G90 by a cubic foot for largest in our test. The cabin is also filled with much of the technology we’ve come to expect from flagship sedans, including a few gimmicks. The gesture-controlled audio functions are a waste of motion, but all agreed that the LED “red carpet” that illuminates when you unlock the 740e at night was pretty cool.

The Results

At the end of two weeks of testing, we all felt we could make a pretty compelling argument in support of purchasing any of these luxury cars. But only one truly nailed both the drive and experience criteria.

The sedan furthest from encapsulating all we expect from a flagship luxury sedan is the Lincoln Continental. There’s a lot to like about the Lincoln, from its art deco interior trim to its spacious cabin and tidy footprint. But its lack of polish unfortunately holds it back. “I really wanted the Continental to knock it out of the park,” Evans said. “Instead, it’s a base hit.”

Taking an honorable bronze medal is the BMW 740e. The 740e’s plug-in hybrid powertrain brings a lot in terms of luxury. It provides smooth, silent acceleration and trades the hassle of the gas station for the convenience of plugging in to charge at home. “Imagine going to a show across town and not using a drop of gasoline, in a very quiet cabin—that’s the appeal of having a plug-in,” Gale said. But as much as we like the powertrain, we don’t like having to pay more for options that are either standard or more affordable on the other three vehicles. At this lofty price point, we see no compelling reason to buy a 7 Series over the two cars that finished above it.

Sitting in second place by a nose is the Lexus LS 500. The new LS is worlds better than the version it replaces. It’s a compelling, fun-to-drive sedan that makes you feel special. “I’m very pleased with the way it drives, and I really like the design,” Cortina said. Yet three things sunk the LS: its tight rear seat, user-unfriendly technology, and sticker price. In committing these errors, Lexus left enough room for our winner to sneak by—just as the German brands left a similar opportunity for Lexus back in 1989.

I have to say, this result surprised us. It’s easy to dismiss upstart luxury automakers such as Genesis as luxury car imitators. But the G90 is no knock-off Rolex—it’s a proper luxury flagship in its own right. Although we admittedly wish the G90 made more of a visual statement, the cabin is comfortable, luxurious, and filled with the latest creature comforts and semi-autonomous technologies. The drive is smooth yet engaging. And its value story is undeniable. “Value shouldn’t be a top concern in this segment,” Gale said, “but it’s hard to ignore a car that competes so well yet still leaves enough money left over for a kitchen remodel or a Hyundai Sonata for your kid.”

After all, the rich don’t get richer by spending their money—and the Genesis G90 is not only a convincing S-Class alternative but is also a proper executive luxury sedan. Welcome to the club.

2017 Lincoln Continental AWD 3.0 (Black Label) 2018 BMW 740e xDrive iPerformance 2018 Lexus LS 500 AWD 2018 Genesis G90 3.3T HTRAC (Premium)
DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Front-engine, AWD Front-engine, AWD Front-engine, AWD Front-engine, AWD
ENGINE TYPE Twin-turbo 60-deg V-6, alum block/heads Turbocharged I-4, alum block/head, plus AC synchronous electric motor Twin-turbo 60-deg V-6, alum block/heads Twin-turbo 60-deg V-6, alum block/heads
VALVETRAIN DOHC, 4 valves/cyl DOHC, 4 valves/cyl DOHC, 4 valves/cyl DOHC, 4 valves/cyl
DISPLACEMENT 180.4 cu in/2,956 cc 121.9 cu in/1,998 cc 210.2 cu in/3,444 cc 204.0 cu in/3,342 cc
COMPRESSION RATIO 9.5:1 10.2:1 10.5:1 10.0:1
POWER (SAE NET) 400 hp @ 5,750 rpm 255 (gas)/112 (elec)/322 (comb) hp 416 hp @ 6,000 rpm 365 hp @ 6,000 rpm
TORQUE (SAE NET) 400 lb-ft @ 2,750 rpm 295 (gas)/185 (elec)/369 (comb) lb-ft 442 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm 376 lb-ft @ 1,300 rpm
REDLINE 6,200 rpm 7,000 rpm 6,400 rpm 6,500 rpm
WEIGHT TO POWER 11.7 lb/hp 14.6 lb/hp 12.3 lb/hp 13.3 lb/hp
TRANSMISSION 6-speed automatic 8-speed automatic 10-speed automatic 8-speed automatic
AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE RATIO 3.39:1/2.51:1 3.23:1/2.16:1 2.94:1/1.76:1 3.54:1/1.97:1
SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Struts, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar Struts, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar Multilink, air springs, adj shocks anti-roll bar; multilink, air springs, adj shocks anti-roll bar Multilink, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar
STEERING RATIO 14.8:1 16.9:1 14.5:1 12.9:1
TURNS LOCK-TO-LOCK 2.0 2.3 2.8 2.5
BRAKES, F; R 13.9-in vented disc; 13.6-in vented disc, ABS 13.7-in vented disc; 13.6-in vented disc, ABS 14.0-in vented disc; 13.1-in vented disc, ABS 14.2-in vented disc; 13.4-in vented disc, ABS
WHEELS, F; R 8.5 x 20-in cast aluminum 8.0 x 19-in cast aluminum 8.5 x 20-in forged aluminum 8.5 x 19-in; 9.5 x 19-in cast aluminum
TIRES, F; R 245/40R20 99W Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric (M+S) 245/45R19 102V Bridgestone Turanza EL 450 RFT (M+S) 245/45R20 99Y; 275/40R20 102Y Bridgestone Turanza T005 RFT 245/45R19 98W; 275/40R19 101W Continental ContiProContact (M+S)
DIMENSIONS
WHEELBASE 117.9 in 126.4 in 123.0 in 124.4 in
TRACK, F/R 63.2/64.1 in 63.4/64.6 in 64.4/64.4 in 64.6/64.5 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 201.4 x 75.3 x 58.5 in 206.6 x 74.9 x 58.2 in 206.1 x 74.8 x 57.5 in 204.9 x 75.4 x 58.9 in
TURNING CIRCLE 39.0 ft 42.3 ft 39.4 ft 39.2 ft
CURB WEIGHT 4,697 lb 4,704 lb 5,103 lb 4,861 lb
WEIGHT DIST, F/R 58/42% 49/51% 54/46% 52/48%
SEATING CAPACITY 5 5 5 5
HEADROOM, F/R 39.3/37.7 in 39.9/38.9 in 36.8/36.4 in 41.1/38.0 in
LEGROOM, F/R 44.4/41.3 in 41.4/44.4 in 41.0/38.9 in 46.3/37.8 in
SHOULDER ROOM, F/R 58.3/55.9 in 59.2/57.7 in 58.8/56.4 in 59.1/57.9 in
CARGO VOLUME 16.7 cu ft 14.8 cu ft 17.0 cu ft 15.7 cu ft
TEST DATA
ACCELERATION TO MPH
0-30 1.8 sec 1.7 sec 1.8 sec 1.8 sec
0-40 2.7 2.6 2.8 2.8
0-50 4.0 3.7 3.8 4.0
0-60 5.5 5.1 5.3 5.3
0-70 7.1 6.5 6.7 7.1
0-80 9.0 8.4 8.6 8.9
0-90 11.2 10.4 10.5 11.2
0-100 13.9 12.9 12.9 13.9
PASSING, 45-65 MPH 3.1 2.7 2.7 2.8
QUARTER MILE 14.0 sec @ 100.4 mph 13.6 sec @ 102.9 mph 13.7 sec @ 103.0 mph 13.9 sec @ 99.9 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 119 ft 123 ft 113 ft 122 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.84 g (avg) 0.85 g (avg) 0.85 g (avg) 0.85 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT 26.1 sec @ 0.70 g (avg) 26.0 sec @ 0.71 g (avg) 25.7 sec @ 0.73 g (avg) 26.1 sec @ 0.72 g (avg)
TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 1,900 rpm 1,500 rpm 1,200 rpm 1,500 rpm
CONSUMER INFO
BASE PRICE $66,000 $91,695 $85,000 (est) $71,825
PRICE AS TESTED $79,780 $99,845 $103,000 (est) $71,825
STABILITY/TRACTION CONTROL Yes/Yes Yes/Yes Yes/Yes Yes/Yes
AIRBAGS 10: Dual front, front side, f/r curtain, front knee, rear belts 8: Dual front, front side, f/r curtain, front knee 10: Dual front, f/r side, f/r curtain, front knee 9: Dual front, f/r side, f/r curtain, driver knee
BASIC WARRANTY 4 yrs/50,000 miles 4 yrs/50,000 miles 4 yrs/50,000 miles 5 yrs/60,000 miles
POWERTRAIN WARRANTY 6 yrs/70,000 miles 4 yrs/50,000 miles 6 yrs/70,000 miles 10 yrs/100,000 miles
ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE 6 yrs/70,000 miles 4 yrs/Unlimited miles 4 yrs/Unlimited miles 5 yrs/Unlimited miles
FUEL CAPACITY 18.0 gal 12.1 gal + 6.5 kWh Lithium-ion battery 21.7 gal 21.9 gal
REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB 16.1/26.4/19.5 mpg 30.0/39.4/33.6 mpg 17.2/33.1/22.0 mpg 17.0/26.2/20.2 mpg
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON 16/24/19 mpg 25/29/27 mpg 18/27/21 mpg (mfr est) 17/24/20 mpg
ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 211/140 kW-hrs/100 miles 135/116 kW-hrs/100 miles 187/125 kW-hrs/100 miles 198/140 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 1.03 lb/mile 0.73 lb/mile 0.92 lb/mile 0.99 lb/mile
RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded regular Unleaded premium Unleaded premium Unleaded premium

The post BMW 740e vs. Lexus LS 500 vs. Genesis G90 3.3T vs. Lincoln Continental 3.0 appeared first on Motor Trend.

23 hours ago

It’s fun to read about half-million dollar cars online, but it’s even better to see them in person. Following the international debut of the 2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom earlier this year, the British luxury automaker is bringing the new Phantom to the 2018 Detroit auto show next month, giving potential customers and fans a chance to […]

The post 2018 Rolls-Royce Set to Make U.S. Debut at Detroit’s The Gallery appeared first on Motor Trend.

It’s fun to read about half-million dollar cars online, but it’s even better to see them in person. Following the international debut of the 2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom earlier this year, the British luxury automaker is bringing the new Phantom to the 2018 Detroit auto show next month, giving potential customers and fans a chance to see the car on the show floor for the first time in the States.

Detroit’s first glimpse of the ultra-luxe sedan will be at The Gallery event that precedes the full auto show. The Gallery is a separate preview collection of haute automobilia, including the newest models from Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bentley, Aston Martin, and Porsche. For interested  parties, The Gallery kicks off on January 13, 2018. Make sure you get your tickets ahead of time here.

There’s no word yet on the Phantom’s availability on the public showfloor space, but look for more information closer to the show’s starting date on January 13. If you miss the Phantom at Detroit, there’s always a chance the Rolls will make it to the packed New York auto show floor later on next year.

The post 2018 Rolls-Royce Set to Make U.S. Debut at Detroit’s The Gallery appeared first on Motor Trend.

1 day 23 hours ago

Amidst the Chevy Truck Centennial celebrations down in Fort Worth, Texas, Chevrolet dramatically helicoptered-in the all-new 2019 Chevrolet Silverado for a sneak peak ahead of its Detroit debut next month. Technical details are scant, but from the looks of things, this is the slimmest, most streamlined Silverado design to date. Chevrolet is holding its cards […]

The post Helicopter Drops 2019 Chevrolet Silverado on the Texas Motor Speedway appeared first on Motor Trend.

Amidst the Chevy Truck Centennial celebrations down in Fort Worth, Texas, Chevrolet dramatically helicoptered-in the all-new 2019 Chevrolet Silverado for a sneak peak ahead of its Detroit debut next month. Technical details are scant, but from the looks of things, this is the slimmest, most streamlined Silverado design to date.

Chevrolet is holding its cards close to its chest at the moment, but did give us a few key insights to the next-generation truck before whisking it away off-site. The preview truck wears the forthcoming Z71 Trailboss package, an off-road kit that likely adds all the rough-and-tumble goodies from past Z71s. Skidplates, aggressive all-terrain tires, bigger wheels, and darkened exterior accents are all likely part of the equation. Chevy did mention the Trail Boss designation adds a factory two-inch suspension lift.

In keeping up with the ultra-competitive segment, Chevy looks to offer more engine and transmission options than recent generations, likely including the new 10-speed automatic that can be found in the 2018 Tahoe and Suburban, alongside the existing 6.2-liter L86 V-8, currently putting down 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. Expect a range of diesels and lower output powertrains as well.

Physically, the Silverado looks sleeker than ever before. There’s a fair bit of Colorado in the design, especially in the rear cabin area. It looks narrower, too—at least from out semi-distant viewing position. We didn’t get a chance to climb around the new truck, but we think it’s a handsome design.

It’s not yet known if the new Silverado incorporates aluminum to the same extent as the rival Ford F-150, but the automaker hinted at utilizing mixed materials throughout the truck. Chevy claims the new truck has a new alloy of high-strength steel for the base of the bed, leaving us to speculate on the rumors floating around regarding a bed lined with some new carbon composite material.

For now, we’ll have to make do with a few photos. Look for more information closer to the official debut of the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado closer to its debut at the 2018 Detroit auto show next month.

The post Helicopter Drops 2019 Chevrolet Silverado on the Texas Motor Speedway appeared first on Motor Trend.

2 days 1 hour ago

This just in—the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado LT Trailboss was revealed at the Chevy Truck centennial event in Fort Worth, Texas. The new Silverado LT Trailboss is one of eight 2019 Silverado models that will make their public debut at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show. Bow-Tie brass says the Trailboss, “integrates the off-road equipment of the Z71 […]

The post All-New 2019 Chevrolet Silverado LT Trailboss Revealed appeared first on Motor Trend.

This just in—the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado LT Trailboss was revealed at the Chevy Truck centennial event in Fort Worth, Texas.

The new Silverado LT Trailboss is one of eight 2019 Silverado models that will make their public debut at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show.

Bow-Tie brass says the Trailboss, “integrates the off-road equipment of the Z71 package as well as a two-inch suspension lift. Unlike aftermarket lift kits, the Trailboss suspension is fully tested, validated and warrantied by Chevrolet.”

“Our owners’ passion for Chevrolet trucks is truly humbling,” said Alan Batey, president of GM North America, and global head of Chevrolet in a statement.

“Many of our owners depend on their trucks for work and play, personalize their trucks in astonishing ways and pass their loyalty for Chevy Trucks down from generation to generation.

“For the Chevy Truck Centennial, we wanted to recognize the customers who have made Chevrolet part of their lives, and have them help kick off the next 100 years of Chevy Trucks.”

The 2019 Silverado 1500 is all-new from the ground up. Stay tuned for more photos and updates from our truckers on the scene at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.

The post All-New 2019 Chevrolet Silverado LT Trailboss Revealed appeared first on Motor Trend.

2 days 4 hours ago

Here’s a rare bird we wish was parked inside our garage—a Signal Red 1964 Porsche 901/911. The Porsche 356 successor became the 911 because of a trademark dispute with Peugeot. This particular 901 was built in October of 1964 as one of the first series-production models—number 57 to be exact. Because of the dispute, all […]

The post 1964 Porsche 911 Barn Find Now Parked at the Porsche Museum appeared first on Motor Trend.

Here’s a rare bird we wish was parked inside our garage—a Signal Red 1964 Porsche 901/911. The Porsche 356 successor became the 911 because of a trademark dispute with Peugeot.

This particular 901 was built in October of 1964 as one of the first series-production models—number 57 to be exact. Because of the dispute, all of the 901s were renamed and later sold as 911s.

Number 57 was discovered nearly a half a century later in a Brandenburg, Germany barn by a TV crew in 2014. The Porsche Museum needed one for its collection and bought it for about $126,000. It spent the next three years bringing the rust bucket back to its original condition.

According to the museum, genuine body parts from a different vehicle were used to restore this classic coupe.

When it was discovered, its front wings were missing, the interior was in shambles, and its brakes and six-cylinder engine were seized.

“Many of the features only included in the very first models have been preserved in the car,” said Kuno Werner, Porsche Museum workshop head, in a statement.

For example, a leather sleeve around the shift lever was only installed in this form in the 901s. One of the hardest parts to replicate was the ashtray—sadly, the chrome-plated cigar holder had rusted away.

Parts and fragments from a 1965 911 donor vehicle were used instead of simply replacing them and over 50 percent of the original sheet metal was saved, which explains the three-year restoration progress. The results are stunning and the car looks incredible.

If you’d like to see the classic coupe in the flesh, it’s on display at the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart now through April 18, 2018.

The post 1964 Porsche 911 Barn Find Now Parked at the Porsche Museum appeared first on Motor Trend.

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