The best car configurator ever! Genesis’ new virtual showroom looks 3D-realistic.

The way consumers buy cars is changing, and Genesis has not only noticed, but is ready to evolve, too.

The auto giant is putting to work new tools to entice modern customers into digitally exploring its product offering.

A new web-based 3D showroom – currently live only in the U.S., with a Canadian equivalent not yet planned – gives users a close-up look at the Genesis line-up, allowing them to circumnavigate the vehicle; open doors to look inside; explore elements like the headlights, dashboard, sunroof and more. Read More

The 2019 Genesis G70 is Motor Trend’s Car of the Year

 Motor Trend has named the 2019 Genesis G90 its car of the year, beating out the BMW 3 Series and countless other sport sedan offerings from Germany.

Noted standout features that secured the car’s win for the magazine included Genesis’ balancing comfort and handling while keeping the car excellent to drive.

Value earned them marks, too, with loads of features included despite the sensible price point.

The engines are smooth and the power delivery is good, Motor Trend wrote, and the G70 can also be equipped with an increasingly rare option: a manual transmission. Read More

One-two Punch: Rivian Debuts Seven-seat Electric SUV, Promises 410 Miles of Range

Having just unveiled a rather impressive all-electric pickup for the LA Auto Show, Michigan-based automotive startup Rivian is following up with another model. Rivian’s second vehicle will be a seven-passenger SUV, called the R1S, that uses the same platform as the R1T e-pickup.

That results in the pair playing host to nearly identical specs. This isn’t a problem, as the automaker vows to provide between 300 and 562 kW (402 and 753 hp) in combined output. Range is similarly good. The company is also promising figures that would make most other electric vehicles of this size blush, especially if you opt for the bigger battery.

As with the pickup, the R1S can be had with a 105 kWh pack capable of about 240 miles of range, a 135 kWh version good for around 310 miles, and a 180 kWh unit rocking 410 miles. Those range estimates are slightly better than those cited for the pickup; they’ll surely fluctuate a bit when traveling with a full load in either vehicle.

Visually, the R1S resembles an EV concept from Land Rover with a dash of Ford Flex for taste. Interesting, considering it looks identical to the pickup from the front. But we didn’t really notice the R1T having so much in common with other models when we first laid eyes on it. Meanwhile, the R1S instantly makes us think we’ve seen it somewhere before.

Rivian’s SUV should be capable of reaching 60 mph in 4.9 seconds, according to the manufacturer. Higher-spec models should be able to shave at least a full second off that time. The R1S will have the same quad-motor setup as the R1T. Working together, the motors will yield around 400 horses on the base model, 750 hp when attached to the 135 kWh battery, and 700 hp with the 180 kWh unit.

The R1S also has the same frunk as the pickup, providing an additional 11.7 cubic feet of storage space where you’d normally find an engine. It also has a bin at the rear intended for a spare tire, but you can chuck whatever you want into it if you’re feeling bulletproof. The R1T’s “gear tunnel” does not carry over onto the SUV, however.

Less utilitarian and work-focused than the company’s pickup (towing capacity is down from 11,000 pounds to 7,700), Rivian claims the R1S will still be able to tackle bad roads and handle its business. There remains a clear emphasis on luxury, though. The SUV’s interior has a massive 15.6-inch touchscreen that’s impossible to miss. A second, 12.3-inch screen serves to provide meaningful data to the driver while a third 6.8-inch screen has been installed in the center console for rear passengers. According to the manufacturer, the model will come pre-equipped with sensors capable of some self-driving assistance at launch and upgradable over the air, like on a Tesla.

Scheduled for assembly in 2020 and on display at the LA Auto Show now, the R1S will be slightly more expensive than R1T pickup truck when it goes on sale. The base model starts at $72,500 (before the EV tax credit). If you’re interested, preorders begin this week via a refundable $1,000 deposit. Rivian has said both the SUV and pickup are both “extremely close” to what it plans to put into production.

[Images: Rivian]

RS e-tron: 590 HP, Audi Sport-Built e-tron GT Concept Finally Unveiled in LA

The wraps have finally come off, and here it is, the 590 hp, all electric e-tron GT. Better yet, the concept previews Audi’s vision for performance EVs since (like the R8 and all of its RS cars) the production car it previews will be made by Audi Sport.

Performance for the concept is suitably extreme. Its 590 hp and full-time all-wheel-drive allow it to get to 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds, to 124 mph in just a shade over 12 seconds, and all the way up to 150 mph. Read More

2020 Lincoln Aviator Lands In LA With Potent Plug-In Power

After showing the prototype at the New York Auto Show earlier this year, Lincoln is opening the door on the production model of the 2020 Aviator, showing off both gas and plug-in variants ahead of its world debut at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show.

The production model looks much the same as the prototype. According to Aviator design boss David Woodhouse, the Lincoln design team looked to aeronautical history for inspiration while penning the new SUV.

The instruments and gauges draw inspiration from Bell and Ross, a watchmaking company renowned for its devotion to aviation-inspired design, and in place of wood trim pieces, there are polished, engine-turned aluminum accents, calling to mind the instrument panels of vintage aircraft. The pattern of aircraft runway lights inspires the perforation pattern on the cushy leather seats – massaging 30-way chairs are, of course, available – while the new Black Label interior theme, Flight, combines tan leather modeled after classic luggage. But it’s not all old-timey touches. To use another aviation phrase, the Aviator has a “glass cockpit,” with a large 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a head-up display. These are good, modern touches.

Lincoln scored big hat-tips when it debuted the Navigator, and its little brother features similar lean, long horizontal lines, with little perpendicular interruptions to distract from the front to back narrative. Black pillars disappear in a sea of tinted cabin glass, making the window line its own horizontal front-to-back design stroke, with no vertical interruptions.

“Lines that pull back and downwards suggest the Aviator is ready to take flight,” Woodhouse told Motor1.com. Read More

Compact, Mid-Size, or Corvette Z06? Hertz Now Renting Special-Edition Vette

It’s likely that the most memorable car Hertz ever made available for the great unwashed to rent was the Shelby GT350-H of 1966. In that era, we described the extra-zoot Mustang as “a real guts sports car—with hair on its chest all the way down to its navel.” Ford, which later owned Hertz from 1987 to 2005, paid tribute to the original 1000 rentable GT350s in 2006–2007 and again in 2016 with the sorta-breathed-on GT-H, celebrating the 40th and 50th anniversaries of the program, respectively. But to celebrate its 100th anniversary as a going concern, Hertz turned to another former owner, General Motors, for a vehicle endowed with hair from its palms to its toes: the 650-hp Chevrolet Corvette Z06. Read More

Image of VW’s first new production electric car reportedly leaks

Volkswagen is planning to start launching a new generation of electric vehicles based on its I.D. electric concept vehicles next year.

A report from Germany claims to have the first image of the first production version of those vehicles as well as its name.

VW’s series of “I.D.” concept vehicles are powered by the company’s new MEB platform.

There’s the I.D., which is a Golf-sized vehicle expected to be their first mass-market EV for the model year 2020, there’s also the crossover all-electric I.D. CROZZ Concept, and then there’s the I.D. BUZZ electric microbus coming in 2022.

Finally, VW unveiled the I.D. VIZZION sedan last month.

The Golf-sized I.D. is the one that was reportedly revealed this week in a report by Germany’s Bild (paywall).

They say that it will be called the ‘Neo’ and they claim that the picture above and below is the first image of the production version to be unveiled next year.

Here it is next to the official I.D. concept (left) unveiled last year:

The report reiterates the range that VW originally announced, which was a NEDC-rated range of “400 to 600 km” (~250 to 375 miles) depending on the battery pack configuration – though we expect it to drop significantly under the WLTP standard.

As for pricing, a Volkswagen executive said last year they were aiming for the mass-market vehicle to be “about $7,000 to $8,000 cheaper than the Model 3”.

The vehicle is expected to be first available in Europe, where Tesla has yet to confirm pricing for the Model 3, but it should result in a price for the I.D. concept, or now the VW Neo, of about 25,000 euros (~$30,000 USD).

Documents leaked Read More

Lewis Hamilton Previews the Mercedes-AMG Project One Hypercar

Lewis Hamilton greets me in his air-conditioned trailer holding a box of raw cremini mushrooms. “Want one?” he asks, extending his arm. I decline. “Suit yourself,” he says, and pops one in his mouth. “I quite fancy mushrooms. Well . . . not those kind of mushrooms,” he adds with a laugh. He is still wearing the last look from his earlier photo shoot for Robb Report, an outfit he chose himself after eschewing a more traditional suit. The black trousers and houndstooth-and-velvet coat by Colombian-​born designer Haider Ackermann are far too glamorous for our digs—a Star Waggon parked on a dusty runway in Inyo-kern, roughly 3 hours by car from Los Angeles in Southern California’s high desert. What the locale lacks in panache, however, it makes up for in scenery—an arid pastel landscape set against the Sierra Nevada foothills. For racing fans, Hamilton needs no introduction. Last year he earned his fourth Formula 1 world championship, putting

him on par with Sebastian Vettel and Alain Prost and surpassed only by Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher. Back in 2007, I watched from turn 10 at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal as the 22-year-old rookie won his first F/1 race, a victory he claimed without ever having previously raced at that circuit. (He attributed his knowledge of the track to racing simulators.) When he earned his first world championship a year later, he became the youngest driver ever to claim the title. In 2013 he signed with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport F/1 team and went on to win three more world championships, the most recent being last year.

Of course, Hamilton didn’t do it alone. His accomplishments are shared with the hundreds of men and women who work long, hard hours in design studios, laboratories, and garages, creating and perfecting some of the fastest, most technologically advanced cars in the world. Although Mercedes dominated F/1 racing in the 1930s with its famous Silver Arrows, the German
automaker was absent from Formula 1 (aside from a brief return to the sport in the 1950s) until 2010, when it bought a minority stake in the Brawn GP team and kept F/1 heavyweight Ross Brawn on as team principal. In a move that shocked the Ferrari tifosi, Mercedes even enticed Michael Schumacher—who had spent the majority of his career driving for the Italian marque—out of retirement for its first three seasons. Since then, the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport F/1 team has gone on to rule the sport, claiming the constructor’s championship every season for the past 4 years.

Project One by Mercedes-AMG  Photo by Jonathan Glynn-Smith

But we haven’t trekked to the middle of nowhere to rehash past wins. (Hamilton doesn’t watch them anyway, he tells me.) Mercedes-AMG has brought its first hypercar, Project One, to the desert and offered Robb Report an exclusive look at the vehicle with one of its biggest proponents.

First shown last year as part of AMG’s 50th anniversary, Project One is the company’s answer to the Porsche 918 Spyder and the forthcoming McLaren BP23. The limited-edition halo car takes most of its workings straight from Formula 1, packed into a breathtaking example of style and performance for the road.

With a price tag of about $2.7 million, Project One will be limited to 275 examples—and the waiting list is already three or four times that number. It will use a high-performance plug-in hybrid drive system—that comes directly from Formula 1—combined with a 1.6-liter turbocharged V-6. Although exact specifications of the mid-engine production car were not available at press time, AMG chief Tobias Moers has said Project One will produce more than 1,000 hp and reach a top speed of nearly 220 mph. Hamilton says it’s about time.

“I’ve been nagging Mercedes for years, because we’re in Formula 1 and we have all this technology,” says Hamilton, who has pulled up a stool next to the sofa where I’m sitting. His box of mushrooms lies abandoned on the counter behind him. “We’re winning world championships, yet we don’t have a car that can match a Ferrari road-going car. So I guess they eventually decided this is actually a good idea. I’m not saying it was my idea, but I did nag them for ages to do it.”

Formula 1 legend Lewis Hamilton’s persistent pleas for higher performance have paid off with Mercedes-AMG’s $2.7 million road rocket.  Photo by Jonathan Glynn-Smith

As with F/1 cars, Project One’s monocoque structure is made of carbon fiber. Designers, led by Daimler design chief Gorden Wagener, followed the credo of “no styling,” so every detail is functional; there are no scoops, outlets, or power bulges merely for vanity’s sake. Flat LED headlamps frame the car’s face, which is dominated by a large front spoiler. A wasp waist, vertical shark fin, and long tail are all nods to racecar design. Inside the minimalist cockpit, fixed sculptural seats seem to flow out of the surrounding cabin.

Part of Project One’s achievement lies in the fact that so much F/1 technology will be applied straight to the production car. Certain features, like sequential (paddle-​shifter) gearboxes, have trickled down from racing to road cars in the past, but the direct lineage has never been as clear as it is now.

Project One, however, wasn’t always a clear fit for Mercedes-AMG. “I always thought AMG was not at the level to have a kind of super-, hyper—whatever—car. But I was approached by customers over the last few years, and that brought everything together,” Moers told us in a previous interview. Once the decision was made to pursue the project, the company was unwavering in the direction it should take. “We see major transitions in the automotive industry for the future, in all segments. It was very clear for us it would not be a V-8 or V-12 because that’s, well, I call it old school,” Moers added. “We are going to move on to electrified power trains and add more efficiency. With today’s spec of Formula 1, the door was opened to make this car happen.”

Bringing a car from the track to the street is not without its hurdles. In particular, the longevity of the engine is a major concern. In racing, an engine may be swapped out several times each season. And although the road car, according to Moers, will be assisted by two additional electric motors and rev at 11,000 rpm (compared with an F/1 car’s 13,000 rpm), the wear and tear will necessitate a complete rebuild after about 31,000 miles. “It’s the most challenging project we’ve ever done,” Moers said.

Setting a new paradigm for Mercedes-AMG, Project One packs more than 1,000 hp and plenty of Formula 1 functionality.  Photo by Jonathan Glynn-Smith Read More

Detroit Looks to Save Its Floundering Auto Show by Moving to October—And It’s About Time

It’s official: The Detroit Auto Show is in full-blown crisis. BMW’s decision to ditch Motown’s 2019 show—in a city that’s already seen defections from Mercedes-Benz, Mazda, Land Rover, Tesla and most ultra-luxury brands—makes it clear that Detroit’s decades-long reign as the nation’s preeminent auto show is at an end.

The Drive had it right just a few months ago, when I called out January’s North American International Auto Show—the most boring and irrelevant auto showin my long career of covering Detroit—as largely a fraud. We got it even more right when I argued that, to survive, Detroit must swallow its pride and move its show to fall—specifically, to October. That move would put Detroit front-and-center as the first major American show of each new model year. As things stand, Detroit is being blitzed by the competition; and not only traditional show cities, but also the tech-media-heavy Consumer Electronics Show (or CES) in Las Vegas. Here’s what we said then:

It’s become obvious that Detroit must move from its January time slot to stay relevant and revive its once-prime position. October would be the ideal month because it’s the traditional beginning of a new model year. It would come on the heels of Frankfurt in September, but well before the LA show and CES, encouraging automakers to introduce the most important North American cars in Detroit. And journalists and attendees from around the world would see Michigan weather at its crisp, fall-color best, rather than a depressing Arctic tundra with perilous roads and the constant threat of flight delays and cancellations.

Apparently, Detroit show organizers have seen the autumn light. (Hey, maybe they do read The Drive). As first reported by The Wall Street Journal, the Detroit Auto Dealers Association will vote in coming weeks on a plan to move the show to October, beginning in 2020. People familiar with the plans specifically cited the desire to move Detroit out of CES’s increasingly long shadow, and—wonder of wonders—the possibility of staging outdoor exhibits or events. That switch would require a contract renegotiation with the city’s Cobo Center, which has an $11.8 million contract to stage the show through 2025.

I’d emphasize that the problem isn’t about public attendance, especially in my hometown of car-crazy Detroit. More than 800,000 people bought tickets for the 2018 show, up nearly 10 percent over 2017. Whether it’s Detroit or Beijing, auto shows are still ideal one-stop shops for consumers who want to kick the tires of multiple brands’ vehicles, or car fans who just want to dream. But just as Amazon is driving brick-and-mortar businesses into irrelevancy or bankruptcy, the Internet has sucked some of the fun, surprise, and newsworthiness from the media’s auto show coverage. By the time the car company CEO whisks the sheet off a new model, the “news” is already old news, with cars often long-since exposed by enterprising journos. It doesn’t help that automakers increasingly tease or leak their own material, or stage “off-site” reveals away from convention centers, hoping to garner more coverage with splashy debuts—and free-flowing booze—in rented studio space, warehouses, or other, hipper venues. Automakers themselves have only so many marketing dollars to throw around, and they’re increasingly deciding to spend them in places other than traditional car shows.

Just listen to the companies themselves. “BMW Group has decided to withdraw from the North American International Auto Show in Detroit,” BMW said in a statement last week. “This decision was made as BMW Group is constantly examining our presence at trade-shows and other engagements, while, at the same time, also exploring alternative platforms and formats.”

Those “alternative platforms” range from virtual reveals to the CES extravaganza. Strategically held just one week before Motown, CES has increasingly cuckolded Detroit, forcing it to watch the sexy new cars being unveiled in Vegas instead. I might say “Get a room,” but that raises another issue: Automakers and showgoers alike may prefer flashier, more tourist-friendly Las Vegas to a winter convention in Detroit, thanks to factors like that city’s dire shortage of high-end hotels downtown. Most distressingly perhaps, even the Big Three automakers have been shunning their hometown (and mine) to unveil their coolest technology at CES—including autonomous gadgetry that generates the tech-media coverage they crave.

Mercedes-Benz, America’s best-selling luxury brand, has already announced it’s spurned Detroit for 2019, adding to a list of recent defections that now includes BMW and Mini, Mazda, Jaguar, Land Rover, Porsche, Mitsubishi, Aston Martin, Bentley, Lamborghini, and Ferrari. And while public attendance remains strong for now, the AWOL status of such storied brands —okay, Mitsubishi is no real loss—really saddens me. Young people especially, who represent the future of car buyers, aren’t going to care about shows that offer little besides boring SUVs and are bereft of the dream machines that made them love cars in the first place.

And not to single out BMW, but if I’m a Detroit-area dealer, I’m looking to read the riot act to BMW corporate: You’re not supporting our local stores and customers by shining a once-a-year spotlight on our Ultimate Driving Machines? Then screw you. We figured we were in this together. And we’ll remember this the next time you ask us plow our own money into showroom upgrades, or incentives to keep those X3s and 3 Series rolling out the doors.

Brand politics aside, Automotive News reports that Detroit’s dealer association envisions a pared-down October show more in the vein of Geneva—a bit less glitz, perhaps fewer multi-level displays, but more focus on product and technology. I’m not sure that’s what Detroit really needs—a little Barnum-style razzle-dazzle never hurt anyone—but I do know what it doesn’t need: The threat of frostbite every time you walk to Cobo Center. Some picturesque falling leaves and a glass of cider sounds infinitely better. Dealers, if you’re reading this, you already know where The Drive stands: To save Detroit’s auto show, it’s time for an October surprise

2019 GMC Sierra AT4 gives Raptor and Ram a new off-road rival

The 2019 GMC Sierra AT4 blends off-road hardware into a modern, thoroughly updated pickup truck that doesn’t skimp on power, luxury, or safety equipment. From its higher suspension setup to its available carbon-fiber cargo bed and the new MultiPro tailgate, the 2019 Sierra AT4 is a direct shot across the bow — or cargo beds, if you prefer — of staunch rivals like the Ford F-150, Dodge Ram and Toyota Tundra.

Revealed tonight in New York City, ahead of this week’s New York International Auto Show, the truck may seem to be in a strange setting. Then again, with the amount of tire-swallowing potholes currently scattered around the Big Apple, a rugged truck like the Sierra AT4 could be the perfect vehicle for either off-road excursions or an especially bumpy commute.

Riding two inches higher than the standard 2019 Sierra, the AT4 comes with standard features like all-wheel-drive with a two-speed transfer case, locking rear differential, Rancho monotube shock absorbers designed specifically for off-roading, along with skid plates and 18- or 20-inch alloy wheels fitted with all-terrain tires or optional, mud-loving Goodyear Wrangler Duratecs.

Hill descent control and GMC’s Traction Select system are also standard. The latter of these two lets the driver choose between preset drive modes, suitable for various types of terrain and weather conditions. The system then adjusts throttle response, shift points, and the electronic stability control according to each mode.

“The 2019 Sierra AT4 is designed for the customer who wants an elevated presence on the road and the capability to venture off life’s beaten path,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of Global GMC. “It’s also the beginning for the AT4 brand, which will be seen on every vehicle in our lineup in the next two years.”

Based on the new 2019 Chevrolet Silverado, the GMC Sierra (including the AT4 model) looks to stand out from its corporate cousin in terms luxury touches, along with some subtle exterior details. For the AT4, these visible differences include a body color grill surround and bumpers. Meanwhile, the inner grille, front fog-lights and faux fender vents feature a black-chrome finish. It’s not flashy, which is probably exactly what GMC wanted for its upscale truck.

The standard engine is a 5.3-liter V8, though buyers can choose an optional 3.0-liter turbo-diesel inline-six or 6.2-liter V8. These two engines both come fitted to a 10-speed automatic gearbox, while the 5.3-liter is paired to an eight-speed.

There are plenty of options to choose from, including safety-conscious choices like a surround-view camera, blind spot alerts, automatic low-speed emergency braking, and lane change alerts. Convenience features include a head-up display, as well as a lightweight cargo bed constructed partly out of carbon-fiber.

This cargo bed, called the CarbonPro, uses carbon-fiber composite in the floor and inner panels, to help trim approximately 60 lbs. of weight compared to a traditional, all-steel bed construction. GMC has even molded in three wheel indents into the forward section of the bed, for those truck owners who routinely haul motorcycles and quads.

Another intriguing item that comes standard on the GMC Sierra AT4 is the new MultiPro tailgate. This handy feature flips and folds itself into six different configurations, making life much simpler when it comes to loading up the cargo bed, or working from the road. Combined with the CarbonPro cargo bed, GMC is making a good case for itself as being a leader when it comes to taking the stress out of heavy-hauling in a pickup.

The 2019 GMC Sierra AT4 goes on sale this fall. Exact pricing will be announced closer to the truck’s on-sale date.

The new Toyota Corolla will have Apple CarPlay and Amazon’s Alexa

Still no word on Android Auto, though.

The 2019 Toyota Corolla is making its global debut at the New York International Auto Show this week, and it has a few surprises hidden inside its tiny hatchback — most notably Apple’s CarPlay and Amazon’s Alexa.

Toyota first added CarPlay earlier this year in the 2019 Avalon. It was a shift for the Japanese automaker, which famously abstained from adopting either CarPlay or Android Auto in its cars for years. Up until 2015, Toyota was on record as preferring its own in-house proprietary operating system, and even when Toyota eventually switched to another company’s system in 2016, it was to adopt Ford’s SmartDeviceLink app platform, not Apple or Google’s software. Read More

These are the 20 cool cars we can’t wait to see at the 2018 New York Auto Show

After the annual supercar festival that was the Geneva Motor Show, the New York International Auto Show is a much more laid-back affair with more of a focus on cars for everyday life.

But don’t you worry. There’s still plenty of automotive hotness to go around.

For over 115 years, the New York Auto Show has been one of the largest car shows in the US and a place for carmakers to see and be seen. Read More

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