May 16, 2012
Facebook. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that GM will stop advertising on Facebook after the auto company's marketing executives determined their paid ads had little impact on consumers. The move couldn't have come at a worse time, as the social network is expected to hold a historic initial public offering on Friday. Then again, more companies are questioning the effectiveness of advertising on the social networking site, so this shouldn't come as a complete surprise. The WSJ reports that GM will continue to expand its use of marketing through Facebook's pages, in which marketers can display content at no cost.
GM. Well, they're not getting out from government ownership anytime soon, but at least there's this: Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc., bought 10 million shares of GM in the first quarter, worth about $214 million.
Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, Stuttgart, has completed the initial prototypes of its 918 Spyder, which is planned for production at the end of September 2013. “What we are doing with the 918 Spyder is redefining driving fun, efficiency and performance,” said Wolfgang Hatz, Member of the Executive Board Research and Development of Porsche AG. The prototypes - complete with camouflage harking back to historical Porsche 917 racing cars - signal the final touches to the 918 Spyder. The super sports car is designed as a plug-in hybrid vehicle combining a high-performance combustion engine with advanced electric motors for extraordinary performance. The 918 will deliver more than 770 hp, while delivering fuel consumption in the neighborhood of three liters per 100 kilometers. The 918 also has a full carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) monocoque with unit carrier, fully adaptive aerodynamics, adaptive rear-axle steering and upward-venting “top pipes” exhaust system. The first customer deliveries in the U.S. is currently scheduled for late 2013.
From the "Fools And Their Money" File comes word that with the MINI John Cooper Works GP, the BMW-owned British premium brand may have finally gone too far. In an exercise in how to make the MINI as incongruous and ugly as possible, "the sportiest road-registered MINI ever made" will go on sale later this year in a limited run of 2,000 cars. The MINI John Cooper Works GP is said to have lapped the the Nürburgring’s Nordschleife circuit in 8 min. 23 sec., beating the lap time set by its predecessor, the MINI Cooper S with John Cooper Works GP Kit, by almost 19 seconds. We don't care. It's just plain ugly.
Editor's Note: I. Love. This. Car. I am speaking of this week's Quick Take subject, the Audi A8L (or, if you must, the 2012 Audi A8L 4.2 FSI quattro Auto Tiptronic Sedan). I know, I know, you're thinking - that WordGirl is always falling in love with big honkin' luxury cars - what's up with that? Well, I say, what's wrong with that?!?! I can't help it, I tell you. But I didn't start the week that way, honest. I was prepared to be just so-so on the Audi flagship because our A7 tester from last summer was so stellar in its design. The A8L styling is much more subdued - classic and unmistakably Audi, which to me is a good thing. But it is inside where the A8L truly shines. I have long been critical of Audi for what I felt was a sort of sterile luxury -- just a bit too reserved and understated for my tastes. No worries in that department with the A8L. The cabin is spacious, yet warm and inviting. And the elegance and refinement strike the perfect balance between out-and-out luxury and the serious business of driving. From the abundant wood and aluminum trim (wood trim on the backs of the front seats, anyone?) to the clean, sleek controls that consume the center console, the A8L environment is just about perfect. WiFi enabled for up to eight devices? Check. 22-way front seats? Check. (Probably 20 ways more than I need but comforting, somehow, to know they're there.) The ambient interior LED lighting is particularly chic and really enhances the nighttime driving experience (I know, that sounds crazy). I also like the way the center console controls are mostly horizontal, rather than vertical -- it seems more like a computer interface this way and just feels more natural to the hand. I decided I could do without the rearview backup camera. The beeping is more annoying than helpful, because you constantly think there's something in your way. And if the audio system isn't on, the screen pops up when you shift into Reverse, shows your backup progress, then disappears when you're in D. Oh, yeah, about that time spent in DRIVE! To begin with, we need a new word for smooth, not to mention poised and confident. The 4.2 liter V8 delivers 372 hp and 328 lb-ft of torque. If this just will not do, you can order the new-for-2012 A8L W12, which is equipped with a 6.3 liter W12 engine that delivers 500 hp and 463 lb-ft of torque (I like that idea a lot -- the $133,500 price tag? Not so much.) Not surprisingly, the A8L is a delight in highway driving, which ensures that its skills as a German luxury sedan are on full display. Bottom line? If you love your luxury big, but if you also crave technological prowess, take it from WordGirl and check out the A8L. - WG
Editor-in-Chief's Note: I second WordGirl's assessment of the big Audi, and then some. Quite simply the Audi A8L is as impressive as a luxury road machine gets. Poised, confident, smooth as silk, yet satisfying when you want to put your foot in it as well. I dislike the pop-up screen immensely, but other than that it's damn near perfect. I love the thing. - PMD
2012 Audi A8L 4.2 FSI quattro Auto Tiptronic Sedan $89,175 (Base Price, $84,700; Phantom Black pearl effect, Included; Velvet Beige, Included; Eight-speed tiptronic transmission, Included; Premium Package--22-way comfort climate front seats w/massage, $2,000; LED headlights, $1,600; Front filler panel, Included; Rearview Camera Prep, Included; Destination Charge, $875.00)
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