No. 902
June 21, 2017

About The Autoextremist@PeterMDeLorenzo Author, commentator, influencer. "The Consigliere." Editor-in-Chief of

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On The Table


JUNE 21, 2017

Editor-In-Chief's Note: Since WG and I have spent many years in the advertising profession in our past lives, we hold a special affection for great ad work when we see it. This TV commercial for Samsung VR is simply breathtaking. And brilliant. Enjoy it here. -PMD

(Cadillac images)
Editor-In-Chief's Note: My current opinion of Cadillac has been well documented in our AE Brand Image Meter column from the last couple of weeks. Cadillac president Johan de Nysschen's drive to remake the brand in Audi's image is a work in progress, to put it mildly, and brand inconsistencies abound. Cadillac's biggest and most profitable seller is the Escalade, which besides having a real name has a street cred and on-the-road presence that are undeniable. Next up is the XT5, which is the reimagined crossover (formerly known as the SRX) designed to capitalize on American consumers' insatiable desire for SUVs and crossovers, and it is doing very well for that reason. The rest? The ATS is missing in action, the CTS is suffering from America's boredom with cars, and the CT6 is the Audi-BMW-Mercedes-Lexus wannabe that, though technically interesting, lacks fundamental appeal. The V-Series cars are an island unto themselves in the Cadillac portfolio - they're outstanding efforts by the True Believers at GM Engineering and Product Development, but they lack context with the rest of the product line, no matter how hard Cadillac operatives try to insist that the tenuous relationship Cadillac has with racing confirms their validity. The "forgotten" Cadillac is the front-wheel-drive XTS (also available with AWD with
electronically controlled limited-slip differential), which receives technical, chassis and appearance updates designed to heighten its appeal for 2018. Stuff our readers might be interested in: The updated chassis has revised wheel designs for both 19” and 20” tires; Brembo front disc brakes are standard; new exterior styling tweaks include new fenders, freshened front and rear fascias, grille, and the addition of LED headlights and taillamps; the usual updates in interior color and trim choices are available as well. The XTS Platinum V-Sport, which features an exclusive twin-turbo engine and all-wheel drive, is also still available. Far from being the "forgotten" Cadillac, I view the XTS - and the Escalade - as being closest to what Cadillac should be. Unapologetic American luxury with distinctive, compelling design is still a very potent and valid product premise. I even view it in better light than the much-ballyhooed CT6, because it isn't trying so damn hard to be something it isn't, which is a German luxury car wannabe. The XTS deserves better from Cadillac marketing operatives. -PMD

The new 2018 Lincoln Navigator will also be available in an Extended Length version (Black Label shown) to go up against the Cadillac Escalade ESV. It has an extra fifteen cubic feet of storage behind the third row seats.

The new Audi A8 makes its world debut at the Audi Summit in Barcelona on July 11. What's the big story about it? Here's what Audi has to say: "The all-new active suspension on the Audi A8 is a fully active, electromechanical suspension system, which drives each wheel individually and adapts to the prevailing road conditions. Each wheel has an electric motor which is powered by the 48-volt main electrical system. Additional components include gears, a rotary tube together with internal titanium torsion bar and a lever which exerts up to 1,100 Nm (811.3 lb-ft) on the suspension via a coupling rod." It has a front camera, which detects road imperfections and even before the car reaches a bump in the road, the preview function developed by Audi transmits the right amount of travel to the actuators and actively controls the suspension. Audi says that the suspension reacts precisely at the right time, virtually completely eliminating any vibrations and jolts. The camera generates information about the road surface condition 18 times a second. "The electronic chassis platform (ECP) processes the road surface information and precisely controls all suspension components almost in real time," according to Audi PR minions. (We assume the key word here is almost.) Audi continues: "In conjunction with the air suspension fine-tuned for the A8, the innovative suspension concept delivers an entirely new driving experience in this way." Editor-In-Chief's Note: Yes, advancements in automotive technology are (mostly) great and this complex suspension system may, in fact, be the future. But I just have to ask the obvious questions, as in how is anyone going to be able to own one of these things once the warranty expires? Can you imagine the cost to service this system or replace parts out of warranty? And what about crash damage repair? I would have to believe that the insurance companies are going to be looking long and hard at this too. These kinds of innovative systems are fantastic and all, but the manufacturers are going to have to factor in extended warranties into the equation or the resale of these techno-wonders will be affected too. And that's when it could get really ugly. -PMD

The 2018 Camaro ZL1 1LE has lapped
the Nürburgring’s 12.9-mile (20.8 km) Nordschleife (“north loop”) in 7:16.04. You can watch it at "the Green Hell" in a new video from Chevrolet. The ZL1 1LE’s time is quick enough to place it 13.56 seconds ahead of the Camaro ZL1 equipped with the 10-speed automatic that Chevrolet tested last year, making it the fastest Camaro to ever lap the famed German track. “With chassis adjustability unlike any vehicle in its peer group, the Camaro ZL1 1LE challenges supercars from around the world regardless of cost, configuration or propulsion system,” said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer. “To make up more than a second per mile on the Nordschleife compared to the ZL1 automatic is a dramatic improvement and speaks to the 1LE’s enhanced track features.” We concur.