No. 767,
October 1, 2014

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On The Table


Monday
Sep292014

ON THE TABLE - OCTOBER 1, 2014

Editor-in-Chief's Note: Our AE Quote of the Week this week goes to GM CEO Mary Barra, who was quoted in The Wall Street Journal on Monday as saying, "GM should be a company where employees go home enthused about a 'really cool project,' instead of complaining, 'I had to go climb Mt. Stupid today to try and get the right thing done.'" Yes, Mary, GM should be a company like that, however, I don't know if you realize it or not - maybe you've been immersed in GM so long you can't see the mountains from the relentless shit storms that are part of the micro climate here - but southeast Michigan is surrounded by mountain peaks. It's called The Pathetic Range and it's made up of Mt. Stupid, Mt. Silo and the volcanic Mt. Stronzo (formerly known as Mt. Lido but the Italians renamed it). There is also Idiot Pass and the pastoral Mediocre Valley, punctuated by the majestic Go Along To Get Along river. You really need to get out more. - PMD

(Chevrolet/newspressUSA)
Chevrolet has released performance figures for the all-new 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 and this just in: It's real fast.
The machine has 650HP/650 lb-ft of torque and accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 2.95 seconds when equipped with the all-new, available eight-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission. The figure is 3.2 seconds with the standard seven-speed manual transmission. The quarter-mile sprint takes 10.95 seconds with the eight-speed automatic and 11.2 seconds with the seven-speed manual. The Corvette Z06 hits 127 mph at the end of the quarter-mile with both versions. As for braking performance, the Z06 can stop from 60 mph in only 99.6 feet. That’s the best braking performance of any production car GM has ever tested. The Corvette Z06 also achieves 1.2 g in lateral acceleration compared with the Corvette’s previous best of 1.13 g. A key tidbit? The new Z06 is also the fastest production car ever tested at GM’s 2.9-mile Milford Road Course, beating the record set by the Corvette ZR1 by a full second. All test results were achieved with Z06 coupes fitted with the Z07 Performance package, which adds Brembo carbon ceramic brake rotors and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires. The Z07 package also features the most aggressive aerodynamic package available on the Corvette Z06, which delivers the most downforce of any production car GM has ever tested. “The Corvette has long been known as America’s sports car,” said Mark Reuss, General Motors’ executive vice president, Global Product Development. “With the capability of the new Z06 rivaling the best performance cars in the world, we will also be America’s Supercar.” “The defining aspect of driving the Z06 is seamless integration of power, technology and aerodynamics,” said Tadge Juechter, Corvette chief engineer. “As a result, the Z06 delivers ferocious acceleration, tenacious handling, and high-speed stability that few cars can match.” The 2015 Corvette Z06 coupe goes on sale in in early 2015 priced at $78,995, while the Z06 convertible goes on sale in the second quarter, priced at $83,995.

(Images courtesy of Aston Martin The Americas/newspressUSA)
Editor-in-Chief's Note: Aston Martin has released the first images of its new super saloon - the Lagonda. More details to come, apparently. I can't wait to see Casey Shain's take on it! - PMD


(Images courtesy of Honda/newspressUSA)
Honda says its new CRV is "boldly restyled and significantly enhanced" as it receives "the most significant mid-model cycle refresh in its history." New stuff includes a direct-injected Earth Dreams Technology™ i-VTEC® engine and continuously variable transmission (CVT) for improved fuel economy; a new suite of Honda Sensing™ safety and driver assist features and a new, premium Touring trim. We would say that "boldly restyled" is a reach, as the smorgasbord of design elements employed on the CRV is truly breathtaking (not in a good way), or simply horrifying (especially from the rear, yikes), depending on your point of view. The new CRV will be at Honda dealerships nationwide on October 1, 2014, with a starting MSRP of $23,3202.


Editor-in-Chief's Note: Our "Quick Take" this week involves a tale of two MINI Coopers, the standard Hardtop and the "S." I'll be right up front and say I'm not a MINI freak by any stretch. I have friends who swear by them and that's cool, but in BMW's zeal to be all things to everybody, they've extended the MINI lineup into areas the brand doesn't belong and it has been a disaster from where I sit, because they seem to have lost the plot entirely. So I was eager to experience the latest iteration of the MINI exactly for that reason, just to see where BMW has taken the modern original (as opposed to the original original). First of all the car is slightly larger, which isn't a drawback as far as I'm concerned. It doesn't change the impact of the design on the street all that much so to me it's a non-issue, plus the feeling of a little more room is welcome. The standard MINI Cooper Hardtop was loaded and stickered for more than the S, which was weird and a testament to the MINI customization program, which unleashes a barrage of optional tricks at your fingertips, all designed to lighten your wallet. Take a good look at the MINI Cooper Hardtop's equipment list and you'll see what I mean. Personalization is a selling tool - up to a point at least - but it's easy to see how one can get carried away. The MINI Cooper Hardtop's big attraction was its 3-cylinder engine, because of its economy mission. With judicious gearing and decent responsiveness, the engine performed flawlessly and certainly provided adequate power for the urban slog. Yeah, you have to stir the gearbox a little, but it was up to the task and relatively fun doing so. The sound of the engine wasn't all that pleasant but the mileage was, with a 30/42 mpg rating (city/highway) and a rating of 34 mpg combined in a responsive, modestly fun-to-drive package. The MINI Cooper S was an entirely better story altogether. With an extra 55HP and 45 lbs-ft of torque, the Cooper S was a lot more fun to drive, and much more in tune with the enthusiast-oriented driver. To me, if you're looking at the MINI Cooper, there's no point in getting the standard car at all, get the S and be happy with it. It's fun, responsive and runs down the road with spirit, which should be the point, after all. As for the rest of the car I have to say that I'm finding the interior a bit overplayed. Yes, vive la difference and all, but it seems to be veering into the gimmicky zone, which to me doesn't suggest hip and cool, just tedious. And one more thing. If you're looking at the standard MINI Cooper and you don't at least drive the new Ford Fiesta with its new, standard 3-cylinder engine, you'd be making a mistake. As for the MINI Cooper S, the new Ford Fiesta ST is so good that I'd be hard pressed to just automatically tell someone to go out and get a Cooper S without driving the super Fiesta first. I guess you really just have to want the MINI Cooper - S or otherwise - badly, to ignore the other good stuff that's out there. - PMD


2014 MINI Cooper Hardtop: $29,795 ($19,950 Base Price; Blazing Red metallic, $250; Leatherette Carbon Black; 1.5-liter MINI TwinPower 3-cylinder with 134HP and 162 lbs-ft of torque; front-wheel drive; Six-speed Getrag manual transmission with rev matching; MINI Driving Modes - Sport, Mid, Green; Dynamic Stability Control (DSC); Dynamic Cruise Control; MacPherson strut front/multi-link rear suspension; 15" alloy wheels; Four-wheel disc brakes; Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD); ABS; Corner Brake Control (CBC); Multifunction sport leather steering wheel; Floor mats; Hidden dash storage; Interior LED mood lighting; On-board computer; Bluetooth and USB/iPod interface; Interactive LED ring; Audio system with AM/FM HD radio, 4 speakers, presets and auxiliary input; 8 airbags including side curtain and knee airbags; ISOFIX (LATCH) Child Seat Restraint System; Tire-Pressure monitor; Spare wheel; Driveway lights; Cold Weather Package - Power folding mirrors, Heated front seats - $600; Premium Package - Panoramic moonroof, Automatic climate control, harmon/kardon premium sound - $1,750; Park Assist Package - Park Distance Control, Parking Assistant - $1,000; MINI Wired Pack, $1,750; Runflat tires; 17" Cosmos Spoke wheels (silver), $1,250; Heated mirrors and water jets; Bonnet stripes in white, $100; Chrome Line exterior, $250; Roof and mirror caps; Rear view camera, $500; Center armrest; Sport seats, $250; Storage package, $250; Headliner in Anthracite, $250; Interior surface Firework, $200; Color Line Glowing Red, $100; Fog lights, $250; Satellite radio with 1-year subscription, $300; MINI Connected; MINI Connected XL; Real Time Traffic Information; All-season tires; Destination charge, $795)



2014 MINI Cooper S Hardtop: $27,595 ($23,600 Base Price; Volcanic Orange; Leatherette Carbon Black; 2.0-liter MINI TwinPower Turbo 4-cylinder with 189HP and 207 lbs-ft of torque; front-wheel drive; Six-speed Getrag manual transmission with rev matching; MINI Driving Modes - Sport, Mid, Green; Dynamic Stability Control (DSC); Dynamic Cruise Control; MacPherson strut front/multi-link rear suspension; 16" alloy wheels; Runflat tires; Four-wheel disc brakes; Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD); ABS; Corner Brake Control (CBC); Sport seats including lateral support and thigh support; Multifunction sport leather steering wheel; Floor mats; Hidden dash storage; Interior LED mood lighting; On-board computer; Bluetooth and USB/iPod interface; Interactive LED ring; Audio system with AM/FM HD radio, 6 speakers, presets and auxiliary input; 8 airbags including side curtain and knee airbags; ISOFIX (LATCH) Child Seat Restraint System; Tire-Pressure monitor; Fog lights; Driveway lights; Spare wheel; Driveway lights; 17" Tentacle Spoke Wheels (silver), $750; Heated mirrors, washer jets; Rear spoiler, $250; Bonnet stripes in black, $100; Roof and mirror caps in black; Panoramic moonroof, $1,000; Headliner in Anthracite, $250; MINI Excitement Package; MINI Driving Modes; Rain sensor and auto headlights, $250; Automatic climate control, $500; White turn-signal lights, $100; All-season tires; Destination charge, $795)


Adherence to Brand Image: The MINI occupies a planet of its own making. BMW created a hit initially, but they've been struggling ever since trying to figure out what to do with it. It might behoove the BMW overlords to be satisfied where the MINI is, instead of trying to chase things with it that it can't live up to. It will never be a high-volume player, which must distress BMW to no end, but they better learn to live with that, instead of screwing it up. The MINI is a state of mind, which for the people who love it, is just fine. - PMD

(Digital illustration by Casey Shain - artandcolourcars.blogspot.com)
Editor-in-Chief's Note: Our old friend Casey "art and colour" Shain has sent us another selection of his digitally enhanced - and wonderful - automotive images (my favorite? the Mercedes 280S). We know the design community gets a kick out of seeing Casey's creativity, so we're pleased to present his latest work, along with his commentary. The example above is a Camaro LT hatchback, as Casey says, "To bring back glass for visibility, plus a practical hatchback." Enjoy. - PMD

(Digital illustration by Casey Shain - artandcolourcars.blogspot.com)
Corvette eGT: Run silent, run deep, a plug-in version of America's sports car.

(Digital illustration by Casey Shain - artandcolourcars.blogspot.com)
Mustang Heritage Glassback: Recalling the initial mid-engine Mustang's lines with a "basket-handle" look and other retro cues brought up to date.

(Digital illustration by Casey Shain - artandcolourcars.blogspot.com)
Lincoln Continental: Uber sports luxury "saloon" with 3-piece retracting backlight recalling classic Lincolns and Mercurys in a new way.
  

(Digital illustration by Casey Shain - artandcolourcars.blogspot.com)
Buick Limited sedan: Stepping up from the LaCrosse in the same way the Limited was once a step up from the Roadmaster.

(Digital illustration by Casey Shain - artandcolourcars.blogspot.com)
Cadillac Fleetwood sedan: Slated above the XTS with RWD/AWD in a modified 3-box design although I'm pretty sure the real one coming will be a fastback like the XTS.

(Digital illustration by Casey Shain - artandcolourcars.blogspot.com)
Lamborghini MPV: Just in case the Italians have a sense of humor after all...

(Digital illustration by Casey Shain - artandcolourcars.blogspot.com)
Mercedes 280S: Completely reinventing MB's current over-the-top angular flying doorstop design language. Sensuous curves, ample glass area and aero-superiority so MB can stop being the German Lexus these days.