2017 Jannarelly JD1 Arrives in USA! Rear-Engine and Road-Legal from $90k

Very exciting news today! The shockingly beautiful mid-engine Jannarelly JD1 is now in low-volume production, and coming to not just USA tracks near you… but also the roads there and back! This marks a big difference between Radical, Ariel and a few other boutique supercars.  The US market is both a holy grail and a huge barrier-to-entry in the supercar business.  If your car can’t be sold in the US, you have to cut volume projections in half. Thrilling news then that Jannarelly has a new US distributor established in VanDouble.  This Bedford Hills, New York firm promises hands-on help getting the car road-certified in America.  This means license plates and even insurance are do-able.  (This photoset is from HQ in Dubai, but is still the first real-life look at the production vehicle.) Will it be as simple as buying a Porsche at your local dealer?  No. But 1000X more …

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Standalone GENESIS Luxury Division Is Official! New G90 Sketches Preview 2017 Equus Replacement

Hyundai confirmed earlier this week that the Genesis luxury car will blossom into a full premium brand, distinct from its origins with Hyundai. Six new models are promised before 2020, with the first look today at the design direction and future name scheme for Genesis. This first look at the G90 shows the way for the next-generation Equus limousine, making its debut in early December 2015 in Seoul. The Equus sedan itself has been a massive hit in its home market, where it is currently named EQ900. The upgrade to a new Genesis brand is aimed as a springboard to make the S-Class rival more credible in major global luxury markets, including the United States. A special design team has created the next generation of Genesis models, with our first look at the design language coming via the Vision G Coupe concept from Pebble Beach 2015. The rollout of Genesis …

Read more Standalone GENESIS Luxury Division Is Official! New G90 Sketches Preview 2017 Equus Replacement

2016 Citroen DS4 and DS4 Crossback Revealed

  2016 Citroen DS4 Crossback   2016 Citroen DS4 NEW DS 4 AND DS 4 CROSSBACK: DS TAKES THE OFFENSIVE IN THE COMPACT VEHICLE SEGMENT One model, two distinct body styles and a new front end. A unique style featuring elements strongly emblematic of the DS style. Even more advanced technology, and extreme refinement still visible in every detail… Introducing New DS 4 and DS 4 Crossback. Sold in 115,000 examples since launch, DS 4 is gaining new impetus with the arrival of two complementary models: New DS 4, a dynamic and elegant hatchback for customers looking for feelings and driving pleasure, and DS 4 Crossback, an all-new body style with go-anywhere looks, and a higher driving position. With this twofold offering, DS is addressing the expectations of customers in the premium compact vehicle segment. A segment that has seen the appearance of new body styles with character in recent …

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2016 Scion iA Review – Best Compact Sedan… Ever? 55 Pics + HD Drive Video

Quick: what are the biggest issues with compact cars?

— They are typically a total snooze outside

— And alarmingly depressing to drive

Is that just an unbreakable curse, or can Scion engineer and design its way to greatness on its first attempt?


Scion has a double threat of new compacts for 2016: the all-new iA sedan and iM hatchback take over for the discontinued iQ, xD and xB.

After years of wild niche models, Scion is refocusing its mission to speak to 2015 buyer wants and needs via far more traditional body styles. The iM is a tC-based five-door hatchback in the Focus and Golf size class, while this iA the brand’s first-ever sedan.

We had a chance to drive both this week and are eager to share the full photo set, HD video and drive impressions — along with pricing and availability details.

So why start with the iA? Because it is fan-tas-tic.

The iA is instantly the best subcompact available in the US. Competing with the Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Accent and Chevrolet Sonic, the new iA sedan is an incredibly fresh take on low-cost transport via a triple threat of slick exterior design, fantastic cabin and ace handling.

Is it the perfect car for all people? Of course not. There are some tradeoffs for the iA’s 16k pricing… but upside galore: a five-seater for the price of the iQ supermini!

 2016 Scion iA Review


The iA is a platform share with the upcoming 2016 Mazda2 hatchback, but will be the only way to have a four-door version here in America.  With that sharing, there is clear family resemblance in the panel surfacing, slick creases and elegant overall proportions.

But where the Mazda2 might be forgettable from the nose and tail, the Scion iA makes those angles its most striking features.

First off, the nose.



NOSE – Design Analysis

This polarizing new look is completely unlike any Scion, Mazda, Toyota, or even Lexus on the market today. A deep singleframe grille in pinched trapezoid shape is deeply handsome and eye-catching. The grille mixes gloss black bumper elements with matte silver lower slats and a chrome edge element.

A mailslot intake above the grille is just as fresh, while the cascading jawline edge forms two strong bumper edges that meet the inner headlamp edges elegantly.

The overall form language is a breath of fresh air versus any competitor in the segment, or perhaps even the one above.

Tying this fresh face together is a long leading edge of the hood that visually lowers the car from the side, plus flows perfectly into the cab-backward windshield and A-pillars from dead ahead.

Not everyone will love the look, but we do. To be so fresh and enticing without any LEDs or glitz!? Major achievement.

And that’s not even the best part!  The profile is easily as fresh as any other angle, despite much sharing with the Mazda2.

PROFILE and TAIL – Design Analysis

Crisp shoulderlines flow from both the nose and tail into the bodysides, with the intersection and visual appeal of these creases playing nicely with a sharp rising sill of the lower doors.

As the pinched fender details resolve into the normal bodywork, the line from the nose continues visually around the rear wheels. Same with the crease coming off the trunk and into the rear doors: continue the line and it sweeps around the front axle.

Simple slimline rear taillamps and an interesting brakelight graphic forming a U-shape when lit. The iA’s sedan trunk also corrects the semi-awkward chopped rear overhang of the Mazda2 hatchback.

Overall, for this segment, the level of design quality on the iA makes it the coolest compact on the block. Even on fairly tiny four-lug alloys and riding too high off the ground, the iA looks fresh and playful in a way that the Fiesta, Sonic and Accent do not.





So, it looks fresh outside with premium aesthetic appeal and almost a rear-drive look from some angles.

But for a $15k base price on the six-speed manual, and $16k for the automatic — the cabin is set to be all hard plastics and blank switches, right?


Perfect driving position with rake/reach steering wheel and seat adjustments giving a big range of comfy positions. For us, the iA is best sitting low and reclined in the supportive seat; the three-spoke steering wheel extended out as low and far extended as possible. From here, the iA really feels ready to get down to business. Standard front collision warning and city braking support employs stereo cameras and lidar behind the rear-view mirror looking ahead into traffic. It bings a warning in dangerous scenarios, and can stop or slow the car automatically under 18-mph if it senses a crash is imminent. Perhaps more useful in day-to-day driving, when the system sees something ahead, it automatically primes the vacuum pump for the brakes so max stopping power is available the moment you peg the brake pedal. Impressive feature for such a value model.


Same goes for the standard media system.

A standard infotainment display lives atop the center stack with touchscreen controls, Bluetooth streaming audio and phone integration. The only option besides color and transmission from launch is an SD card for the navigation. All iA’s are wired and Nav-ready, so you can buy the estimated $600 nav card either at purchase or a later date. Installation? Just pop it in!

Notably, the iA lacks a central armrest altogether, which is disappointing. Scion is working on this accessory and expects it to be available a few months after launch.

So is it a total love-fest? Around town, absolutely. The iA is eager and its 1.5-liter four-cylinder has a gutsy growl up the tachometer. It feels airy and light in town driving, with good NVH isolation and little road noise.

As the pace picks up past 50-mph, the iA starts to suffer from big road rumble and tire noise. Par for the segment, but still a huge change versus the Mazda3 or Mazda6 — or the new Scion iM.

The back seat brings good leg, knee and foot room but is narrow. This notable shoulder tightness is a non-issue with two people in back, but with three riders the iA is notably tighter than the Corolla for entry/exit as well as once loaded up.

The iA does trump the Corolla in the way-back, though: a 13.5-cubic-foot trunk for the Scion tops the Corolla’s 13-cubic-foot boot.2016 Scion iA Review2


That big trunk is partially thanks to a ‘sport-tuned torsion beam’ for the rear suspension. This design is not as well-liked as independent rear ends, but has been engineered to make it as sporty as possible.

And it seemed to work. The iA is seriously fun to chuck around corners. You can really push the car to its limits safely and at legal speeds. In the twisty roads around Grand Rapids, Michigan, the iA carries a ton of speed around corners effortlessly. With TCS off, the front end pushes a tiny bit at eight-tenths before a clean four-wheel-drift takes over. A very neutral chassis tune makes us imagine a roadster Mazda version of this front-drive iA…. MX-2?

Keeping up speed in the corners is critical for twisty-road pace in the iA. Like any Lotus or the MX-5 proper, keeping speed is easier than adding it back on corner exit.

The iA really pulls convincingly from a stop up to around 30-mph, and also has good chug for mid-speed passing from about 20-mph to 60-mph.

Once up to speed, though, the iA really needs a lead foot to build pace. The six-speed manual we spent most time in needs a downshift to second or third to gain pace on the highway. A big gear spread, it seems like, with super short entry gears and very tall top ends.

The flipside is that the iA can chill at 90-mph in sixth with barely 3,000-rpm on the tach.  The automatic is expected to dominate the sales mix for around 90-percent of buyers. And they are in for a treat. The six-speed auto is a classic torque-conveter unit that is far more pure and satisfying than any CVT — a cheap and light transmission that many competitors employ.

Either way, to make good speed the iA eggs you on: harder throttle! shift closer to revline! downshift sooner!

All this is to ring out the 106-horsepower of the iA.

Yes, that’s right.

106 ponies.

Seems wrong and far too low, right?


But with a curb weight of just 2400 pounds, the iA has a better power-to-weight ratio than the Fiesta 1.0-liter turbo triple or the Sonic 1.4T.  In fact, the iA has matches the ~9.0-second sprint of anything in its price range, plus tops them all with ridiculous EPA and real-world efficiency. The 1.5L iA is notably more efficient around town than the Sonic or Accent — which each barely nudge 28-mpg vs the iA’s ~33-mpg. Scion is shooting for 42-mpg on the highway — a deeply impressive score.


The iA manual stickers at $15,700 while the auto is priced at $16,800 (plus $795 delivery charge for either). The iA goes on sale on September 1st, 2015 as a 2016 model.

A nice surprise? Two years or 24-months of scheduled maintenance is included free of charge. Aside from a few BMW MINI’s, we cannot think of any other non-luxury make that offers such a perk.

Scion’s trademark Pure buying process with no-haggle prices still applies, and the firm is even Beta testing a Pure+ online buying system. You are still plopped into a dealer for the time being, but you can complete the entire financing and monthly costs online before the sale. Pure+ has halved the industry average showroom purchase time already: from a whopping 4 hours down to less than half that. The goal is, as it should be, to be able to walk into a Scion store at 11am, and drive away with your purcahsed car just an hour later.

This is especially critical for Scion and its under-35 target market. Regulatory issues mean a full online sale is not yet available, but Scion is far ahead of the overall Toyota/Lexus curve here. As ever, responding to wired buyer wants via their 1000 showrooms. That total, by the way, has Scion in more than 80-percent of Toyota showrooms nationwide.


So, we love this little car.

Hopefully the reasons are clear from the effusive praise above.

Would we like more power and perhaps even a lower price? Of course.

But like wishing to be thinner and younger, those wishes have some major technical limitations in real life….

Overall, the most impressive thing about the new iA is that it is pretty cool and not at all depressing. Something about many other compacts just makes you want to start shopping at Aldi for knockoff Oreos.

The iA is totally different.
It is a playful, confident expression of city-ready dimensions and mileage — with 90-percent of the great Mazda3/Mazda6 handling and cabin comfort at a fraction of the price.

Versus its competition and their mandatory and very pricey option groups, the iA rests its case the most innovative and fun-loving compact sedan on sale in 2016.

But why trust this hack? =]    The best possible thing to do is to drive the Sonic, Accent, Rio and Fiesta after you try out the iA. The antidepressant-style optimism of the iA is contagious — and puts its peers to shame.

The Scion iA is not just about its low price. It is about high value inside, outside and on full throttle.

 2016 Scion iA Review

Atelier Vitesse Launches AuDessus Bespoke Carbon-ization Services From New DC HQ

Atelier Vitesse AuDessus Bespoke Carbon Fiber 7

vitesse laferrari cfAn American startup challenging the likes of the world’s top tuners and car customizers!? Joining this Euro-heavy crowd of allstars like Brabus, KAHN, TopCar, Mansory and many more — Atelier Vitesse is breaking conventional rules right off the bat.

And its not s bunt: this new dream-factory is not even in California — but based in Bethesda, Maryland outside DC. Proximity to the huge loot up and down the east coast will be an asset for the firm, but their services are not a volume play.

The firm will makes its way by creating and embodying the wildest custom supercars.

Carbon fiber is core to the offering: with initial expertise clearly focused on the skills to completely reskin a vehicle. Example supercars show their ideals, with big names writ large. Aventador, P1, LaFerrari and more.vitesse lambo cf

But truly, the coolest part of the plan is that any car can have the upgrade. A cad-cam full scan lets them custom-create any panel — as discussed in the brief below. Then an owner will pick his or her preferred carbon-fiber weave designs, and the team will go to work. We’d ballpark they swap out up to 30 panels for CF items, so this will not be an afternoon job.

The demo cars and renders are all exposed carbon, but this is just to showcase the offering. In theory, you could just slap on a completely new exterior paint color or wrap. Or perhaps a mix of carbon contrasted with painted surface.

Sky’s the limit.

Pricing will be fairly buoyant as well. But exclusivity paired with huge performance gains? It may be just the match for supercar owners demanding the best, wildest upgrades available.

 vitesse 458 cfAtelier Vitesse Launches AuDessus Bespoke Carbon Supercars



Bethesda, Maryland – Boutique carbon fibre atelier Vitesse | AuDessus, manufacturer of bespoke automotive pieces, announces its launch worldwide.

Vitesse | AuDessus, (or “Superior Speed” in French), has just launched its services globally. The company handcrafts bespoke carbon fibre exteriors, interiors, components and monocoques for the world’s most exciting and exclusive automotive machines.

Using the best materials available and employing cutting-edge technologies, Vitesse | AuDessus produces one-off parts which meet, and often exceed, OEM standards.

“Our clients have already selected the very best in their lives,” says Vitesse | AuDessus CEO Stefany Sanchez. “Everything they own is a reflection of their unique taste: from their home, yacht or jet all the way down to their cufflinks. So why should they accept a supercar or exotic vehicle that is no different than the one in their neighbour’s garage? Thus, we had a challenge: how do we make something that is already incredibly rare, sexy and exciting even rarer, sexier and even more exciting? The answer? We adorn every inch of it in handcrafted carbon fibre.”

Vitesse | AuDessus offers full carbon fibre body OEM solutions for top-of-the-range extreme machines like the Bugatti Veyron, McLaren P1, Ferrari LaFerrari, Porsche 918, Lamborghini Aventador and many others.

“At Vitesse | AuDessus we provide our clients with the opportunity to tell a better story,” explains Sanchez.

To that end, the company encourages its clients to become engaged in the planning and creative process: supercar owners are furnished with the latest 3D renderings and physical samples to help them establish their personal mandate, and Vitesse | AuDessus’s creations conform or diverge from OEM standards accordingly.

This novel ‘Saville Row experience’ offers Vitesse | AuDessus clients a selection of weaves, colors and final finishes; after every seam is planned, each piece is meticulously fabricated and finished by hand. The company also carries out the installation with an onsite visit, where feasible.

Carbon fibre exteriors typically range in price from $100k-$200k; bespoke pieces for Bugatti Veyron, Mclaren P1, Ferrari LaFerrari and Ferrari Enzo may carry a premium over that.

Vitesse | AuDessus. Tell a better story.


For more information, contact Will Adams, Vitesse | AuDessus, USA (press@vitesseaudessus.com) or AV PR EMEA, China, India and Japan (angie@av-pr.com).

Useful links:




Website: www.vitesseaudessus.com


Note to Editors:

Vitesse | AuDessus’s products are 100% carbon fibre, pre-impregnated with activated resin. After laying the fabric by hand, the part is autoclave-cured, then meticulously finished, again by hand. Creating a full carbon fibre exterior to OEM specs typically takes 6-8 weeks.

Vitesse | AuDessus offers onsite installation in the US, UK, Europe, Middle East and Singapore. The installation process typically takes 1-2 weeks. After installation, all original equipment is returned in pristine condition.

Carbon fibre offers extraordinary weight savings over aluminium and steel and increased structural rigidity. Beyond function, Vitesse | AuDessus carbon fibre creations are individual works of handcrafted art.

As with any luxury good, rarity is an important valuation component. There are few full carbon fibre exotics and supercars on the market today. Thus, each full carbon fibre automotive machine delivered may become more valuable than its standard version.

2016 Mercedes-Benz A-Class Refreshed With New LEDs, Fascias and Adjustable Drive Modes

Mercedes-Benz A-Klasse (W 176) 2015

Mercedes-Benz revealed the fresh A-Class this weekend at the Goodwood Festival of Speed — showing off the new AMG A45 among its brothers like the new G500 4×4-squared and the AMG GT-S.

This refresh for the A-Class updates the nose and tail designs with fresh fascias and LEDs. It is particularly convincing from the back — where even the entry-level A180 and A250 have a much sleeker appearance. The look blends the best of hot-hatch proportions with the fast and low-roof wagon style we always love.

A big mechanical change for the nw A-Class are adaptive and adjustable dampers, controlled via the new Drive Select controls to choose among four intensity levels. New and shorter gear ratios for 3rd through 7th gear of the automatic also promise a bit more urge at highway speeds and for passing.

As previously, the A-Class is not likely in the US market. But these changes likely preview updates to the GLA and CLA in the mid-term future.

For Euro shoppers, the new A-Class can be ordered from Wednesday of this week, with first deliveries promised for September 2015.


2016 Mercedes-Benz A-Class






Stuttgart.  With the new generation of the A-Class, Mercedes-Benz reconciles the conflicting aims of sporty performance and enhanced comfort: With DYNAMIC SELECT the driver is able to change the car’s characteristics in just seconds – at the touch of a button the A-Class drives in a particularly comfortable, sporty or efficient manner. Mercedes-Benz has also increased the range of available engines. The new efficiency champion is the 80 kW (109 hp) A 180 d with CO2 emissions of 89 g/km. Also new to the range is the A 220 d 4MATIC. And with its dramatic design in the style of the successful MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula 1 team, the special “Motorsport Edition” model will particularly appeal to racing fans. The Mercedes-AMG A 45 4MATIC also benefits from the model facelift. With peak output of 280 kW (381 hp) and a maximum torque of 475 Nm, the entry-level model from Mercedes-AMG is the world’s most powerful compact sports model. The revised gear ratios, aerodynamic fine-tuning and the new DYNAMIC SELECT driving modes raise overall performance to a higher level, underlining the claim to leadership in this market segment. The new-generation A-Class can be ordered from 3 July 2015. The first models will be in dealer showrooms at the end of September.

“2012 was a year of paradigm change in the compact class. The new A-Class was a radical departure from the preceding series. And a successful one: as the most progressive model in the compact class, the model series has done much to make the Mercedes-Benz brand more youthful. With this model facelift we are now meeting the wishes of many customers for even more comfort with no loss of dynamic performance,” says Ola Källenius, member of the Daimler AG Board of Management responsible for Mercedes-Benz Cars Marketing & Sales. “In addition, with Apple® CarPlay® and MirrorLink® the A-Class has taken the next step for comprehensive and intuitive smartphone integration.”

A 220d 4MATIC (Style), Elbaitgrün. Interieur Schwarz / Grün A 220d 4MATIC (Style), elbaite green, Interior black / green
A 220d 4MATIC (Style), Elbaitgrün. Interieur Schwarz / Grün
A 220d 4MATIC (Style), elbaite green, Interior black / green
A 220d 4MATIC (Style), Elbaitgrün. Interieur Schwarz / Grün A 220d 4MATIC (Style), elbaite green, Interior black / green
A 220d 4MATIC (Style), Elbaitgrün. Interieur Schwarz / Grün
A 220d 4MATIC (Style), elbaite green, Interior black / green
A 220d 4MATIC (Style), Elbaitgrün. Interieur Schwarz / Grün A 220d 4MATIC (Style), elbaite green, Interior black / green
A 220d 4MATIC (Style), Elbaitgrün. Interieur Schwarz / Grün
A 220d 4MATIC (Style), elbaite green, Interior black / green

Striking lines, dynamically curved surfaces and coupé-like window lines characterise the exterior of the A-Class, following the design philosophy of sensual clarity. The form of the new, more arrow-shaped front bumper takes its lead strongly from the Concept A-CLASS (2011). With a diamond grille, new LED High Performance headlamps (optional extra; standard for A 45) and newly designed rear lights with exhaust tailpipes integrated into the bumper, the new generation emphasises the sportiness and dynamism of the successful compact class series.

An instrument cluster of tubular design with high-quality dial graphics and galvanised switches upgrades the quality interior, as does the large, free-standing and frameless display of the head unit, which is now to be had with a larger screen diagonal of 20.3 cm (8 inches) – standard on Sport and AMG Line. New colours and materials, as well as new finishes for the trim in the dashboard, ensure a fresh ambience. New features include Sahara Beige / black leather in the Exclusive package.

Optional LED High Performance headlamps and ambience lighting which can be individualised with twelve colours and five dimming levels – the equipment range for the A-Class has been judiciously expanded in many areas. Also new is seat cushion depth adjustment by up to 60 mm – a standard feature on all models.

With its dramatic design in the style of the successful MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula 1 team, the special “Motorsport Edition” model will particularly appeal to racing fans. Areas of the front and rear bumper trim are painted in petrol green, and the same colour adorns the rim of the AMG light- alloy wheels. Eye-catching details in the interior include the petrol green surrrounds of the air vents and the contrasting topstitching in petrol green. The sport seats upholstered in black leather/DINAMICA microfibre have petrol green decorative strips, as have the seat belts. The “Motorsport Edition” is available on the A 220 d / A 220 d 4MATIC upwards (except the A 45).

Drive system: engine range extended further

The new efficiency champion is the 80 kW (109 hp) A 180 d SE, which is happy with an NEDC fuel consumption of just 3.5 l/100 km. Its CO2 emissions are 89 g/km. Numerous measures to enhance efficiency have made these outstanding figures possible. Also new are the manual transmission versions of the A 250 AMG.

The A 220 d is now 5 kW (7 hp) more powerful than before with 130 kW (177 hp), while the A 250 AMG and A 250 AMG 4MATIC now develop 160 kW (218 hp) instead of the previous 155 kW (211 hp). In combination with the 7G-DCT dual clutch transmission, the A-Class now has “Launch Assist” for even faster acceleration from standstill. The “ECO display” also takes a new form to assist the driver in maintaining an environmentally friendly style of driving.

The Mercedes-AMG A 45 4MATIC also benefits from the model facelift. With peak output of 280 kW (381 hp) and a maximum torque of 475 Nm, the entry-level model from Mercedes-AMG is the world’s most powerful compact sports model. This powerpack delivers a dynamic performance that is unrivalled: 100 km/h is already reached from standstill in 4.2 seconds. This means that the new Mercedes‑AMG A 45 accelerates 0.4 seconds faster than its predecessor. At the same time its fuel consumption has been kept at the previous level: no other high-performance model in this class can match its NEDC fuel consumption from 6.9 litres per 100 kilometres (corresponds to 162 g/km CO2).

Mercedes-Benz is also using the A-Class model facelift as the opportunity to introduce the new nomenclature for the drive variants in this model series. While the petrol models have no suffix, the small letter “d” replaces the previous “CDI” – the A 200 CDI is now called the A 200 d, for example.

An overview of the data for the A-Class diesel models:

DieselA 180 dA 180 d SEA 200 dA 220 d/ A 220 d 4MATIC
Number of cylinders/
4 in-line4 in-line4 in-line4 in-line
Displacement (cc)1461146121432143
Rated output
(kW/hp at rpm)
80/109 at 400080/109 at 4000100/136 at 3200-4000
(at 3400-4400)
130/177 at 3600-3800
Rated torque
(Nm at rpm)
260 at 1750-2500260 at
300 at 1400-3000350 at 1400-3400
Combined fuel consumption from (l/100 km)4.1-3.7 (3.9-3.7)3.54.5-4.1 (4.1-3.8)(4.2-4.0) [4.9-4.6]
Combined CO2 emissions from (g/km)107-98 (104-98)89116-106 (108-99)(109-104) [127-121]
Efficiency classA+ (A+)A+A (A+)(A+) [A]
0-100 km/h (s)
11,3 (11,3)11.39,3 (8,8)(7,5) [7,5]
Top speed (km/h)190 (190)190210 (210)(224) [220]

Figures for version with 7G-DCT dual clutch transmission in round brackets; figures for version with 4MATIC and 7G-DCT dual clutch transmission in square brackets

An overview of the data for the A-Class petrol models:

PetrolA 180A 200
Number of cylinders/ arrangement4 in-line4 in-line
Displacement (cc)15951595
Rated output (kW/hp at rpm)90/122 at 5000115/156 at 5300
Rated torque (Nm at rpm)200 at 1250-4000250 at 1250-4000
Combined fuel consumption from (l/100 km)5.7-5.5 (5.4-5.1)5.7-5.5 (5.4-5.1)
Combined CO2 emissions from (g/km)133-127 (126-119)134-128 (126-119)
Efficiency classB (B)B (B)
Acceleration 0-100 km/h (s)8.9 (8.6)8.1 (7.8)
Top speed (km/h)202 (202)224 (224)

Figures for version with 7G-DCT dual clutch transmission in round brackets

PetrolA 250 AMG/ A250 AMG 4MATICA 45 4MATIC
Number of cylinders/ arrangement4 in-line4 in-line
Displacement (cc)19911991
Rated output (kW/hp at rpm)160/218 at 5.500280/381 at 6000
Rated torque (Nm at rpm)350 at 1200-4000475 at 2250-5000
Combined fuel consumption from (l/100 km)6.8 (6.2) [6.6][6.9]
Combined CO2 emissions from (g/km)158 (143) [154][162]
Efficiency classD (C) [C][D]
Acceleration 0-100 km/h (s)6.3 (6.3) [6.3][4.2]
Top speed (km/h)240 (240) [240][250]

Figures for version with 7G-DCT dual clutch transmission in round brackets; figures for version with 4MATIC and 7G-DCT dual clutch transmission in square brackets

Suspension: Comfort at the touch of a button

With DYNAMIC SELECT the vehicle characteristics can be adjusted in seconds at the touch of a button, as the system modifies the engine, transmission, suspension, steering and air conditioning at the driver’s behest. The four driving modes “Comfort”, “Sport”, “Eco” and “Individual” can be conveniently selected using the switch in the upper control array.

Sport model line upwards are equipped with DYNAMIC SELECT as standard. The system is also included as standard in all models with 7G-DCT.

DYNAMIC SELECT allows a particularly broad range of setting options in combination with the new suspension with adaptive damping (optional extra on AMG Line and above). In this case the driver is able to modify the vehicle’s damping characteristics using the DYNAMIC SELECT switch. There is a choice between Comfort mode with comfortable damping characteristics and Sport mode for a sporty and more taut damper setup. Acceleration sensors are used to measure the vehicle’s body movements, and other current information about the vehicle status such as the steering angle, steering speed and yaw rate is included when calculating the damping characteristics. A proportional valve is actuated electronically at each shock absorber to control the oil flow and therefore the damping characteristics. The damping system is infinitely variable, and the configuration is individual for each wheel.

The Mercedes-AMG A 45 4MATIC is equipped with the DYNAMIC SELECT driving modes “Comfort”, “Sport”, “Sport +” and “Individual”, which are familiar from the Mercedes-AMG GT sports car and the top-of-the-line C-Class model, the Mercedes‑AMG C 63, as standard. As a new optional feature, the AMG DYNAMIC PLUS package includes a mechanical front axle locking differential, the AMG RIDE CONTROL sport suspension with adaptive damping and the fifth DYNAMIC SELECT driving mode “Race”.

Multimedia: trailblazer in smartphone integration

The new-generation A-Class is the first Mercedes-Benz model to be available with comprehensive smartphone integration: from the beginning of 2016 the infotainment systems Apple® CarPlay® (for iPhone® owners) and MirrorLink® will become available.

In the case of e.g. Apple® CarPlay® the system supports telephoning, navigation and listening to music, receiving and sending SMS and emails as well as Siri voice control. To avoid distracting the driver during a journey, only the relevant smartphone content is displayed on-screen.

At the same time the new generation telematics are being introduced into the A-Class. Operation is now even more intuitive, with the functions accompanied by animated menus and visual depictions on the even larger display in the head unit. On Sport model line and above the screen diagonal now measures 20.3 cm (8 inches), making it at least 2.5 cm (1 inch) larger than before.

Assistance systems: Improved support, LED headlamp on request

With numerous driving assistance systems from the drowsiness detection system ATTENTION ASSIST to DISTRONIC PLUS distance control, the A-Class is able to give its driver comprehensive support and protection. Some of the assistance systems have been revised. For example, the standard COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS extends the functions of the previous COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST (radar supported proximity warning and braking assistance by Adaptive Brake Assist) with autonomous partial braking to reduce the risk of rear-end collisions.

The drowsiness detection system ATTENTION ASSIST (standard) has been similarly upgraded: operating within an extended speed range (60 – 200 km/h), it now uses a five-stage bar display to visualise the driver’s current attention level.

Apart from their distinctive look, the new LED High Performance headlamps (optional extra, standard for A 45) offer added safety at night thanks to their wide beam pattern and light of a colour similar to daylight.

Success story: two out of three customers new to Mercedes-Benz

The new generation of the A-Class entered the market in September 2012. Owing to the great success enjoyed by this model around the world, it is manufactured not only in Rastatt, but, since August 2013, also by the Finnish production specialist Valmet Automotive. Unit sales soared by over 46% in Great Britain last year, and by over 51% in the growth market of China. However, most A-Class models continue to be sold to customers in Germany.

Around one in two drivers of a Mercedes-Benz A-Class or B-Class, GLA or CLA in Germany and western Europe previously drove a competitor vehicle. In the case of the A-Class, no less than two out of three European customers come from competing brands. The Mercedes-Benz brand has also undergone a noticeable rejuvenation since the introduction of the new compact models. Nowadays, the average age of European drivers owning the new A-Class is around 13 years less than for the preceding model series. In China the average age is 34 years.


The new Mercedes-AMG A 45 4MATIC

The world’s most powerful compact sports model

Affalterbach.  Following a comprehensive upgrade, the Mercedes-AMG A 45 4MATIC opens up a new dimension in vehicle dynamics. With peak output of 280 kW (381 hp) and a maximum torque of 475 Nm, the entry-level model from Mercedes-AMG is the world’s most powerful compact sports model. The revised gear ratios, aerodynamic fine-tuning and the new DYNAMIC SELECT driving modes raise overall performance to a higher level, underlining the claim to leadership in this market segment. The compact saloon absolves a sprint from standstill to 100 km/h in 4.2 seconds, 0.4 seconds faster than the preceding model. Maximum traction also on tight bends is ensured by the standard all-wheel drive and the optional front axle differential available for the first time. At the same time fuel consumption has remained as before: no other high-performance model in this class can better its NEDC fuel consumption from 6.9 litres per 100 kilometres (corresponding to 162 g/km CO2).

Mercedes-AMG’s entry into the compact class in 2013 exceeded all expectations: the sophisticated A 45 immediately took the top position in its market segment. The sporty and exciting driving experience plus an emotionally appealing design immediately impressed the dynamic and individualistic target group, and gained new customers for the sports car brand.

“We never rest on our laurels, but constantly strive to develop our products further,” says Tobias Moers, Chairman of Mercedes-AMG GmbH. “The A 45 still had so much improvement potential that we felt compelled to realise it to the full. Our brand claim simply obliges us to.” The AMG development team intelligently optimised numerous features of the compact bestseller to further enhance the vehicle dynamics and driving pleasure.

Modifications to the transmission, suspension, electronics, design and appointments have turned the compact sports model into a completely new car delivering 280 kW (381 hp) and 475 newton metres of maximum torque to enter dimensions previously the province of higher vehicle classes, and unrivalled by any competitior: 100 km/h is already reached from standstill in 4.2 seconds. This means that the new Mercedes-AMG A 45 accelerates 0.4 seconds faster than its predecessor.

Low fuel consumption at the level of the preceding model

At the same time its fuel consumption has been kept at the previous level: no other high-performance model in this class can match its NEDC fuel consumption from 6.9 litres per 100 kilometres (corresponds to 162 g/km CO2). The agile, turbocharged four-cylinder engine combines its power and efficiency to produce a top figure in its class: the output of 141 kW (191 hp) per litre marks a record for a series production four-cylinder engine, and raises the high-performance AMG power unit to the level of thoroughbred super sports cars.

The engine specialists at AMG mainly achieved this increase in power output with a newly configured valve assembly. In addition the combustion processes have been optimised by reconfigured timing and turbocharging. The maximum charge pressure continues to be 1.8 bar.

On the road the turbocharged AMG 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine thrills with extremely fast responses to accelerator movements, high torque, enormous flexibility and an emotional engine note. The exhaust system features an automatically controlled exhaust flap as standard. The emotional appeal of the engine sound can be varied depending on driving mode or at the touch of a button.

From the GT and C 63: The new AMG DYNAMIC SELECT driving modes

Already familiar from the Mercedes-AMG GT sports car and the top-of-the-line C-Class model, the Mercedes-AMG C 63, the DYNAMIC SELECT driving modes “Comfort”, “Sport”, “Sport +” and “Individual” now also allow the driver of the Mercedes-AMG A 45 to preset the handling characteristics according to personal preferences or the driving situation.

Driving mode “Comfort” allows relaxed, non-stressful driving with a subdued engine note and gentle gearshifts. The “sailing” function installed for the first time, plus the ECO start/stop system, help to save fuel. “Sport” mode emphasises agility and driving pleasure, with a sporty engine and transmission configuration. The sound of the turbocharged engine becomes more throaty. In “Sport +” mode the transmission responds even faster to dynamic load changes. The shift strategy of the transmission is optimally modified for the needs of a very sporty driving style – including extremely short shift times, emotional double declutching and faster responses to the accelerator. Over and above the preconfigured modes, the “Individual” driving mode makes it possible to vary individual parameters for the engine, transmission mode and 3-stage ESP® .

New: The AMG DYNAMIC PLUS package as an optional extra

Completely new for the Mercedes-AMG A 45, the AMG DYNAMIC PLUS package sharpens up the vehicle dynamics even further. It clearly shows the influence of the numerous motor racing successes by Mercedes-AMG on the development of road vehicles. One major component is the newly developed, mechanical front axle locking differential, which significantly improves traction when driving in a sporty style. The greatest advantages become apparent during fast acceleration out of bends, where the locking differential allows maximum grip and high rates of lateral acceleration. Moreover, the A 45 is stabilised even more effectively during load changes and at high speeds.

The AMG DYNAMIC PLUS package also includes the AMG RIDE CONTROL sport suspension: one of its new features is the two-stage, adaptive damping adjustment. The system operates fully automatically, adapting the damping forces for each wheel according to the driving situation and road conditions. The driver is also able to preselect the basic damping characteristics in two stages for a personally configured setup. The RIDE CONTROL sport suspension is also available individually as a separate optional extra. The speed-sensitive sports power steering of the A 45 fundamentally supports a sporty driving style with its high steering precision and direct self-steering characteristics. It likewise has two different sets of characteristics: depending on which damper setup the driver has selected, it provides a taut, sporty or more comfortable steering feedback.

The fifth DYNAMIC SELECT driving mode “Race” is included with the AMG DYNAMIC PLUS package and the AMG RIDE CONTROL sport suspension: this makes the Mercedes-AMG A 45 ideally suited to fast laps on the racetrack.

The response characteristics of the 2.0-litre turbocharged engine and the accelerator are now even more immediate than in “Sport +”. The exhaust system, suspension and steering remain at “Sport +” level, while 3-stage ESP® changes to “SPORT HANDLING MODE” and allows wider drift angles. The transmission activates “Race” mode, which is configured to maintain an optimum engine speed in the lowest possible gear when driving at racetrack speeds. “RACE” mode is rounded off by rapid and responsive gearshifts.

Lower ratios: The AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed sport transmission

Another dominant factor in the agile and dynamic character of the power transfer is the AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed sport transmission. Thanks to the now shorter transmission ratios in 3rd to 7th gear, the driver experiences even more dynamic acceleration in all speed ranges. Together with optimised response and shift times, the closer ratio spread ensures better transitions when upshifting.

Excellent traction and great driving pleasure: The all-wheel drive AMG Performance 4MATIC

The AMG Performance 4MATIC all-wheel drive system combines the best possible traction with outstanding driving pleasure. To suit the dynamic handling requirements, the Mercedes-AMG A 45 features infinitely variable torque distribution. The range extends from front-wheel drive only to a 50:50 percent distribution to the front and rear axles. In the compact class this variability suited to the driving situation results in an optimum measure of dynamism, efficiency and traction.

Design and aerodynamics: More stability, more dynamism

The influences from motor sport are immediately apparent in the new Mercedes-AMG A 45: the muscular AMG design with new features impressively accentuates the dynamic design idiom of the A-Class. The front skirt in the new A-wing design gives the compact proportions an even sportier emphasis. The distinctive, three-dimensional A-wing also acts as an air feed to the three exclusively styled, AMG-specific cooling air inlets. New LED High Performance headlamps with “eyebrows” as daytime driving lamps are included as standard. The A 45 also shows clear motorsport influences at the rear: the rear apron with four vertical fins and a striking spoiler lip in the diffuser provides a visual highlight.

Yet it is not only the design, but also the aerodynamics of the A 45 that the AMG developers have improved even further. The aim for a sports car is not only to achieve perfect streamlining, but also the greatest possible downforce. In the A 45 the new combination of a spoiler lip under the front splitter, a rear apron with a diffuser insert and an AMG spoiler lip on the roof spoiler generates even more downforce for increased handling stability. These measures also improve the aerodynamic balance, with a positive effect on handling.

Passion for performance extends into the interior

The dynamic and sports character continues in the interior: the new multifunction performance steering wheel ensures a perfect link between the car and its driver. The steering wheel rim with a flattened lower section, DINAMICA in the grip area and red contrasting topstitching is both attractive and pleasant to the touch.

Thanks to latest-generation telematics, the new A 45 can also be perfectly networked with the modern smartphone and internet environment. Options include e.g. COMAND Online with a WLAN module and extended functions such as optimal smartphone integration by Apple® CarPlay® for iPhones® and MirrorLink®. The Mercedes-AMG A 45 also exudes superiority with respect to safety, for example with improved, innovative safety and driving assistance systems such as the autonomous braking function in COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS, Traffic Sign Assist or the improved ATTENTION ASSIST.

2015 Lexus RC Playdate Includes Vossen SEMA Showcar and APEX Radio-Controlled Drifters!

2015 Lexus RCF #RseaF SEMA Showcar 2


Two things you must drive ASAP to push the limits of your smile muscles?

The 2015 Lexus RC Coupe and the matching Team Associated RCF radio-controlled car!

A quick meeting with the rockstar team of the Lexus Southern region this week offers definitive proof that the RC marks a seachange for Lexus overall. The playful new mood of the Japanese luxury juggernaut is clear from first approach: five RC coupes to test drive, joined by a handful of the ultra-rapid RCF radio-controlled cars.

The ‘RC-RCF’ is another stark reminder that your drive memory for Lexus (and all radio-controlled cars) needs major updating. As a hardcore hobbyist in the 1990s, we packed giant tool bags and car kits to head off to anywhere we could test our RC trucks speed. Tiny allen wrenches and constant swapping of batteries in the chargers provided years of engineering-nerd entertainment as kids in the 1990s, so we naturally assumed we’d be instant experts driving RC cars of 2015.IMG_0150

With the ready-to-run (pre-assembled) APEX RCF from Team Associated, you have to reset all your senses to fire at lightning speed. The RC-RCF is an absolute rocketship with drifty cornering and incisive steering bite. A light drizzle dashed our hopes for being quickest through the cones in this parking-lot racetrack — but we left grinning like a 10-year-old all the same. The RC-RCF is so low that it drifts and slides joyfully where our old Tamiya stadium RC trucks would have rolled onto their lexan roofs. A big change in drive strategy is needed.

A similar level-reset is mandatory if your impression of Lexus drive manners is locked in the 1990s. Smooth, sedate and serene sedans defined Lexus for its first decade.

Cresting 26 years in the luxury market, Lexus has grown up and gone wild.

How wild? The Lexus Southern region office rolls around Atlanta in a clone of the SEMA InstaBuilt RCF with its eye-popping seafoam green wrap and giant Vossen alloys.


Substantively, the RC and RCF performing exceptionally well. They are neck and neck in sales with the BMW 4 series and M4 two-doors (within this zone of the country.)

Additional info tidbits? The Torque-Vectoring Differential that is so incredible on the RCF Carbon Package can be ordered individually — without the price jump of the carbon roof and spoilers.

The RC350 F Sport and RCF both flip from calm to climactic in Sport Plus drive modes, with the F Sport’s all-wheel-steering a joyful co-conspirator in corners and the RCF’s torque-vectoring diff an even more evil angel on your shoulder.

Faster, harder, louder — the new RC and RCF are uninhibited playthings – in all their forms.

Get to a showroom (and RC car hobby shop!) now to reflash your circuits. An update is required to feel the joyful 2015 Lexus performance mood — or simply to turn any dull day into a laughing, tail-out riot!


“Drift44” Arai Yutaka driving the Team Associated Lexus RC F radio-controlled car

2015 Lexus RC Playdate

Team Associated APEX Lexus RCF


2015 Lexus RCF #RseaF SEMA Showcar

RCF Color and Wheel Visualizer


RCF new 434


RCF Carbon Pack Track Drive Video

2015 Lexus RCF



Road Test Review – 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe LWB Ultimate

2015 Hyundai Santa Fe LWB Ultimate 7

2015 Hyundai Santa Fe LWB UltimateThe seven-seat crossover market is a cut-throat place for carmakers. These fairly wealthy families are the bulls-eye for more than three dozen unique SUV models in 2015 — and earning big sales and market share is extremely difficult for even the best new machines.

With so many choices, three-row SUVs have become the new wild west of the car biz. Explorer vs Highlander becomes the modern equivalent of a pistol duel at high noon.

As such, Hyundai threw a huge amount of resources at its redesigned 2015 Santa Fe — thinking through every step of the consideration and ownership process to make a top-flight crossover that rises to the top of the class.

We’ve spent time recently in two loaded Santa Fe models: the Sport 2.0 Turbo and this, the LWB Ultimate with a 3.3-liter V6. Both were front-drive and both are immediately impressive outside and in.

This larger Santa Fe is the real breadwinner of the family. If only one were to survive a deathmatch, the LWB would be it — simply because it has that must-have third row. [In fact, the LWB description is just added for clarity here. This is simply the Santa Fe. It is the Polo that sets the tone for Polo Sport, if you will.]

Although the Sport and the LWB share name and over half their components, they really are two vastly different trucks. If the Santa Fe Sport and its $33,000 price aims at the Nissan Murano and Lincoln MKC, the Santa Fe has its sights set on the Audi Q7 or BMW X5.

Bottom line? Hyundai has lofty goals for the 2015 Santa Fe.

How does the truck deliver on its mission of Audi-like tech and cabin comfort, but with pricing that starts at $30k?

Read on to find out!  Standard structure here of Exterior, Interior, Performance, Pricing and Summary. We also have a ‘Scorecard’ at the end of the review.



The clearest difference between the two Santa Fe models is the windowline: the Sport has a sharp upkick from the rear doors, while the LWB continues the glass just above the beltline all the way back. The other key difference, of course, is length: the LWB has a four inch longer wheelbase and an overall length pushing 8.5-inches longer.

But despite many shared design elements and even exact components, the Santa Fe twins are definitely not identical. The fraternal pair might share its headlamps, but the rest of the cars are actually quite different. They have unique noses and tails, unique door sizes, roof size, tailgates… etc. Actually, summarizing what is shared is far easier: the headlamps and the first row of seats.

The Sante Fe LWB Ultimate here has trim-exclusive LED taillamps and dark grey metallic for its alloy wheels. It is a really good-looking SUV, with premium details like the lowerbody fascias closely recalling the BMW X5. The overall proportions and scale of the Santa Fe LWB are near identical to the Audi Q7.

The lines are far more premium than the Toyota Highlander or Nissan Pathfinder, to say nothing of the somewhat downmarket Chevrolet Traverse and Dodge Durango.

There are two places we think the Santa Fe could be better, however. The LED lighting solution up front is not great. There is no way to have the LED accent on the top of the lamp illuminated by itself. It is either no lights, all lights on, or the white LED running light + highbeam as the DRL. It looks far less cool than it should.

Also in the lamp area, the projector beams are squared-off in a cool way — and provide great light on the road. But they are a yellower hue than the LED above them, as well as the highbeam DRL.

Last place where the style underwhelms is down below. Those X5-like plastic shrounds around the lower bumpers and all fenders are nice, but there is a reason the loaded X5’s are fully painted: it looks twice as nice. The lower cladding of the Santa Fe would look much nicer if it were painted body-color.

2015 Hyundai Santa Fe LWB Ultimate 34DSC_0415 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe LWB Ultimate 35


The cabin of the Santa Fe is absolutely fantastic. You immediately feel special and classy as you slip onto the leather drivers seat. Power controls galore, a jumbo nav/infotainment screen, and premium materials at every touch point.

The moonroof of this Ultimate Santa Fe is the largest we have ever seen on a production car. It literally extends from the windshield header all the way to the tailgate spoiler. Only the front third opens, but it is the cool slide-above glass panel type. Very cool. The wind deflector deploys and keeps the air inside calm even at highway speeds.

A power sunshade is a full blackout with one-touch power controls — making this nicer than the dotted screen shade of the Q7.

In fact, the cabin of the Santa Fe is simply better than the 2015 Q7. Yes, the new Q7 is coming very soon — but even so, for any Hyundai to deliver the ultra-high-quality and stylish execution of the Audi flagship is quite impressive. The Q7’s climate, stereo and nav system are virtually incomprehensible versus the easy Hyundai. The Audi does have Google Earth 3D satellite maps, but the screen is teeny-tiny.

In the second row, captains chairs are nicely elevated with great room all around. They slide and fold for third row entry, where the room is near class best for wayback passengers. Still plenty of glass back there all around, with a third set of climate knobs and vents just for the third row folks. Second class citizens no more!


The seat base adjustment does not go low enough to the floor to get into truly sporty position, and there is some wind noise around the side mirrors at highway speeds.

A new Saddle leather trim caps off the Santa Fe price lists — and looks worth it. This grey leather feels nice but is a bit shiny and slippery versus true luxury cars, whose hide is thicker-feeling. Last note: lateral support around corners is not class-best.

Otherwise, solid A-grade for this cabin. Very posh but useful.


LWB vs Sport – Key Element Comparison

Santa Fe LWB

Santa Fe Sport

Base drive wheelsFWDFWD
Base drive engine3.3-liter V62.4-liter I-4
Optional drive wheelsAWDAWD
Optional drive engineNone2.0-liter Turbo I-4
Base Pricing2980024950
Optional Turbo Base PriceV6 Only30650
Standard Seating75
Third Row?YesNo
Second Row Legroom41.3 in39.4 in
SAE passenger volume146.6 cubic ft.108.0 cubic ft.
Total interior volume160 cubic ft.143.4 cubic ft.
SAE cargo volume – Behind front seats (est.)80.0 cubic ft.71.5 cubic ft.
Wheelbase (in.)110.2106.3
Total Length (in.)193.1184.6
SAE cargo volume – Behind 2nd row seats (est.)40.9 cubic ft.35.4 cubic ft.
SAE cargo volume – Behind 3rd row seats (est.)13.5 cubic ft.N/A


The Santa Fe LWB comes with a 3.3-liter V6 as standard in its $30,000 GLS base trim and the Limited/Limited Ultimate of the test car. This 290-horsepower engine sounds great and loves to rev — which is always somewhat surprising for a family crossover.

Just 252-pound-feet of torque mean it does need some revs to move around quickly, mind you.

The big engine helps most in full-car trips or when towing, when the LWB can haul 5,000 pounds vs the Sport’s 2,000 pounds. Big difference there.

The biggest dynamic differences between the Sport and LWB are immediately clear in a full-throttle launch or with heavy gas around a corner. Where the Sport rides more level in these scenarios, the LWB has more movement. Particularly in the trunk area. You have a sense of squat on throttle that is not present in the Sport.

Neither Santa Fe loves hard cornering, but they do have good steering precision around town and on the highway. There is some nervousness in the rack at straight-ahead on country two-lane roads, but overall much better than ever for a Hyundai SUV. The test trucks were front-drive, with mild torque steer when really hammering it. Three settings of Comfort, Normal and Sport for the rack are all pretty good, with the difference mainly the effort needed. Sport is heavier while Comfort makes it finger-tip easy.

In the crossover ranks, the Santa Fe trails the BMW X5 dramatically but is as composed as the Q7 — which also does not much enjoy being hustled.  The Toyota Highlander feels more confident on first drive, with more control to the helm. We’d love to sample the AWD Santa Fe’s to see any differences in the dynamics — but overall the Santa Fe scores just a B on the Perfomance tally.


 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe LWB Ultimate 25


The Santa Fe is a great value. With the Ultimate pack including everything you might want for $4,000, the truck came in just below $40,000. This compares very well to the Ford Explorer, which can touch $53,000 these days. The Hyundai is fancier than the V6 Highlander outside and in, which mirrors the Santa Fe pricing almost dollar for dollar.

Considering the Santa Fe LWB Ultimate’s equipment and cabin premium-ness, we give it an A for Value.

2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Pricing

Santa Fe GLS FWD


Santa Fe GLS AWD


Santa Fe Limited FWD


Santa Fe Limited FWD – Saddle Interior


Santa Fe Limited AWD


Santa Fe Limited AWD – Saddle Interior


 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe LWB Ultimate 15


Okay!  Long review here for the long-wheelbase Santa Fe.

It is a really impressive SUV that makes room at the top of its class. You should definitely drive it before buying a Honda Pilot or any of the other competitors listed here.

The Audi-beating tech and comfort in all three rows of the Santa Fe is a huge selling point. There are places where we’d take the Santa Fe even further upmarket, and even sportier around corners.

But for this price level, the Santa Fe LWB Ultimate will make you and your family very happy campers indeed.













 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe LWB Ultimate 50 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe LWB Ultimate 57





Exterior DimensionsExterior Dimensions
Wheelbase110.2 in.110.2 in.Wheelbase106.3 in.106.3 in.
Overall length193.1 in.193.1 in.Overall length184.6 in.184.6 in.
Overall width74.2 in.74.2 in.Overall width74.0 in.74.0 in.
Overall height (with roof rack)66.5 in. (66.9 in.)66.5 in. (66.9 in.)Overall height (with roof rack)66.1 in. (66.5 in.)66.1 in. (66.5 in.)
Wheel Tread, front64.1 in.64.1/64.5 in.(18″/19″)Wheel Tread, front64.3 in.64.1 in.
Wheel Tread, rear64.5 in.64.5/64.5 in. (18″/19″)Wheel Tread, rear64.7 in.64.5 in.
Coefficient of Drag (Cd)0.340.34Coefficient of Drag (Cd)0.340.34
Interior DimensionsInterior Dimensions
Head Room (with sunroof)Head Room (with sunroof)
Front39.6 in. (38.2 in.)39.6 in. (38.2 in.)Front39.6 in. (38.2 in.)39.6 in. (38.2 in.)
2nd row39.4 in. (38.3 in.)39.4 in. (38.3 in.)2nd row39.1 in. (37.4 in.)39.1 in. (37.4 in.)
3rd row35.7 in. (35.7 in.)35.7 in. (35.7 in.)
Leg roomLeg room
Front (MAX)41.3 in. (44.1 in.)41.3 in. (44.1 in.)Front (MAX)41.3 in. (44.1 in.)41.3 in. (44.1 in.)
2nd row41.3 in.41.3 in.2nd row39.4 in.39.4 in.
3rd row31.5 in.31.5 in.
Shoulder roomShoulder room
Front59.4 in.59.4 in.Front59.4 in.59.4 in.
2nd row58.6 in.58.6 in.2nd row58.3 in.58.3 in.
3rd row53.9 in.53.9 in.
Hip roomHip room
Front56.7 in.56.7 in.Front56.7 in.56.7 in.
2nd row55.4 in.55.4 in.2nd row55.4 in.55.4 in.
3rd row44.1 in.44.1 in.
SAE passenger volume146.6 cubic ft.146.6 cubic ft.SAE passenger volume108.0 cubic ft.108.0 cubic ft.
Total interior volume160 cubic ft.160 cubic ft.Total interior volume143.4 cubic ft.143.4 cubic ft.
SAE cargo volume – Behind front seats (estimated)80.0 cubic ft.80.0 cubic ft.SAE cargo volume – Behind front seats (estimated)71.5 cubic ft.71.5 cubic ft.
SAE cargo volume – Behind 2nd row seats (estimated)40.9 cubic ft.40.9 cubic ft.SAE cargo volume – Behind 2nd row seats (estimated)35.4 cubic ft.35.4 cubic ft.
SAE cargo volume – Behind 3rd row seats (estimated)13.5 cubic ft.13.5 cubic ft.


Explore the Santa Fe and schedule a test drive over at the below link!


2015 BMW Motorrad Concept 101 Is Lux Cruiser

2015 BMW Motorrad Concept 101 13

2015 BMW Motorrad Concept 101 Is Lux CruiserBMW Motorrad’s sales are on an absolute tear in the US and worldwide in recent years. Where to take the brand that dominates the desirability of the entire two-wheeled world? Upward and onward!

The highest-margin area of the motorcycle market is for large cruisers. This new Concept 101 takes the BMW riding-pleasure mantra into this huge new area.

A bike that surely makes many German minimalists cringe, the Concept 101 is a firm statement of intent. The machine debuted this weekend at the BMW-sponsored Villa d’Este Concours.

It is a long-range cruiser with hardshell luggage cases, a relaxed riding position and ultra-modern LED lighting front and rear.

Created with the help of famous bike-maker Roland Sands near Los Angeles, the Concept 101 is decked out with lovely wood accents over exposed carbon-fiber, polished alloys and airbrushed silver accents.

Will it be made?

We would not bet against it!2015 BMW Motorrad Concept 101 13 2015 BMW Motorrad Concept 101 12 2015 BMW Motorrad Concept 101 10

There is just too much cash on the table to ignore. This Concept 101 would be a luxury motorcycle for those who would never own a Harley Davidson or a Honda Goldwing. Pricing could easily touch $35,000 for a production variant of the Concept 101, which would comfortably put the 101 near the priciest bikes on the market.

Even so, for the millionaire riders out there who might buy it, the jump from the $20,000 sale price of a Honda or Harley is barely important at all. In many global markets, Harley-sized bikes are quite popular, even among those who claim to hate Americana.

The technology and speed of a BMW combined with the road-trip-ready feel of a luxury cruiser? Sounds like a divine match to us — if BMW can stomach making such a machine.

2015 BMW Motorrad Concept 101

BMW Motorrad “Concept 101” – The Spirit of the Open Road.

  • 22.05.2015

Munich/Cernobbio. Every year, the most impressive representatives of the mobile past and future on both two and four wheels assemble at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este for a very special get-together on the shores of Lake Como. Amid this extraordinary blend of the traditional and the contemporary, BMW Motorrad once again presents a breathtaking concept study: the BMW Motorrad “Concept 101”.

“The Concept 101 opens up a new chapter in the history of our concept bikes. It is the BMW Motorrad interpretation of endless highways and the dream of freedom and independence – the perfect embodiment of “American touring”. Designing this big touring bike study was amazingly exciting for us because we haven’t been involved with a motorcycle concept like this before. To me, the Concept 101 is the epitome of elegance, power and luxury on two wheels,” says Edgar Heinrich, Head of BMW Motorrad Design, describing the character of the concept bike.

The epitome of power and exclusivity.

The name “Concept 101” indicates the capacity of the concept bike, which has its roots in the USA. The capacity of the six cylinders is 1,649 cc – approximately equivalent to 101 cubic inches, which is the American unit of measurement for cylinder capacity. So the “Concept 101” moves into a sphere that goes beyond mere horsepower and acceleration figures – all that counts is the remarkable riding experience full of power and tranquillity. The enormous torque of the in-line 6-cylinder engine generates extraordinary pulling power in every situation on the road.

The number 101 also stands for the place where the vehicle came into being. It was not far from Highway 101, at the design studios of the BMW Group subsidiary Designworks in Newbury Park, California, that the BMW Motorrad designers got together with their Designworks colleagues to create a truly special motorcycle that would extend the limits of quality and exclusivity and reflect a whole new touring philosophy: “We had a clear vision when we were designing the bike: under the motto “The Spirit of the Open Road” we wanted to build a high-performance, emotional and highly exclusive 6-cylinder vehicle that would make every ride a special experience. A bike that would make the moment so special, you would forget your destination,” explains Ola Stenegard, Head of Vehicle Design BMW Motorrad.

This vision is expressed in the BMW interpretation of a “bagger” – an exclusive type of custom bike especially popular in the USA. The very elongated and streamlined silhouette is especially striking from a distance. Unlike the low front section and the high rear of supersports motorcycles, the BMW Motorrad “Concept 101” has a drop-shaped silhouette that is typical of baggers, reaching the highest point at the front trim. Below this, the large front wheel appears to pull the flat, stretched silhouette behind it. At the same time, the characteristic styling of the bike visually suggests a forward urge. Two side cases integrated in streamlined form add the final touch of a quintessential bagger.

Precision and emotion.

The consistent flow of the lines from the front to the rear symbolises the riding experience offered by the “Concept 101”. Within the flowing silhouette, clear lines and elaborately modelled surfaces shape an athletic body. This creates a dynamic contrast between flowing movements and clearly defined lines that further emphasises the bike’s character. The horizontal subdivision into two areas of colour lends greater emphasis to the overall impression of flatness. While the lower section – the powerful mechanical unit – is dark, the upper area has been deliberately designed in lighter colours so as to reflect elegance and finesse.

The dynamically designed front trim in brushed aluminium is flatly integrated into the flow of the styling. The integrated headlamp with striking double circular appearance gives the front section a distinct and highly expressive look. It also provides the point of departure for the characteristic split face which runs across the entire bike through to the rear in the form of a brushed aluminium trim section. Two striking side panels encase the front trim almost like a suit of armour, thereby creating a broad shoulder section which further highlights the power of the “Concept 101”. Tailpipes on both sides, each with three outlets, visualise the number of cylinders and therefore the supreme performance and high torque of the engine. They also ensure the appropriate sound, making the potential of the 6-cylinder engine audible.

The rear view harmoniously rounds off the bike’s overall visual impression. A particular highlight is the unusual rear light cluster. It provides a frame for the dark-coloured rear section in the form of two LED bands. The design of the lights is formally reminiscent of former road cruisers. At the same time the expressive appearance grants a fascinating technical and aesthetic style.

High performance, high tech, high value.

The entire design of the “Concept 101” right through to the colours and materials used reflects power, contemporary flair and exclusive appeal. The side trim parts and cases feature an elaborate two-colour finish: a light silver surrounds the surface while the inner section is a somewhat darker silver with more of a metallic effect. The two areas are separated by a line marking applied by hand. The paint finish also includes a shadow effect which gives the manually applied line marking greater depth towards the inside. The dynamic front trim adds a touch of cool, technical style with its unpainted, brushed aluminium. The aluminium’s modern, technological statement is supplemented in the bike’s lower section by means of generous carbon surfaces with a silky gloss.

Amid silver paint surfaces, brushed aluminium and carbon, there are dark wood elements that add a warm, exclusive counterpoint. The elaborately milled wood, only treated with oil, emphasises the horizontal gesture of the side sections with its discreet grain. The model designation is integrated in the wood surfaces as an elaborate aluminium insert and badge. On the seat, two leather qualities further reflect the bike’s exclusive character: the fine-grain black leather of the side sections adds a touch of elegance to complement the perforated black leather of the seat area itself. A brown leather strip separates these two distinct sections.

In cooperation with Roland Sands Design.

The concept bike took concrete shape on the premises of Roland Sands – just under an hour away from Newbury Park amid the heartland of the Los Angeles custom bike scene. In close collaboration with the BMW Motorrad design team, Roland Sands assembled the exclusive parts of the “Concept 101” at his own workshops. BMW Motorrad and the custom bike specialist have worked together successfully for several years, having completed inspiring projects such as the Concept Ninety, for example.

Roland Sands’ familiarity with the scene and enormous expertise in custom building combined with the possibilities and history offered by BMW Motorrad make for an exciting partnership. Sands put together the many parts of the BMW Motorrad “Concept 101” in his workshop, elaborately producing individual elements exclusively by hand. As a result, signature machine parts such as the clutch cover, timing chain cover and wheels all bear his logo, discreetly bearing witness to a collaboration that has proved successful for many years. The material finish and technical design are state-of-the-art, thereby reflecting in detail the fundamental BMW Motorrad statement: precision and emotion.