No. 955
July 18, 2018

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

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SEPTEMBER 13, 2017

arrowdown.gifarrowdown.gifarrowdown.gifSergio Marchionne. Editor-in-Chief's Note: As I predicted, when he got his hands on Ferrari it was going to get real ugly, real quick. First it was the continued push into more Ferrari "worlds" and tchotchke boutiques; then he changes the name of the California - a name with genuine Ferrari heritage - to Portofino, which sounds like a special option package on a Chrysler minivan; then the rumored Ferrari SUV is becoming a reality; and now he's going to ramp up Ferrari production by 40 percent because, well, greed is good, image be damned. The Carpetbagging Mercenary-in-Chief is hell-bent on turning Ferrari into just another car company, and he's well on his way. Paraphrasing the immortal words of Joe Pesci in "Casino," Marchionne "could fuck up a cup of coffee." This is a heaping, steaming pasta bowl of Not Good, folks. -PMD
(Mercedes-Benz images)
The Mercedes-AMG Project ONE celebrates its world premiere at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt. Mercedes PR minions are saying that for the first time, this "two-seater supersports show car brings the very latest and efficient, fully-fledged Formula 1 hybrid technology from the race track to the road almost par for par to represent the highlight of AMG's 50th anniversary." The high-performance hybrid produces over 1,000HP and can reach speeds in excess of 217 mph (350 km/h). Mercedes insists that the machine "combines outstanding racetrack performance and day-to-day suitable Formula 1 hybrid technology with exemplary efficiency. This is a world first."
Mercedes-AMG was responsible for the overall development of the Project ONE; it was carried out in close cooperation with Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains in Brixworth and with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport Formula 1 team in Brackley. Editor-in-Chief's Note: Bringing F1 technology from the track to the street is a nonstarter. What's the point? And to what end? So the biggest swinging dick "enthusiasts" can fulfill their destiny by spending millions on another trophy car that never sees the light of day - or the road - and sits in the garage just long enough before heading to auction?  The Project ONE is only "a world first" until the next trophy supercar emerges so the biggest tools in the shed can come out of the woodwork to clamor for it. And then what? What a monumental waste of time and money. -PMD

(Audi images)
Audi calls the Aicon "a design study, technology demonstrator and mobility concept." The Audi Aicon "exploits every possibility offered by a autonomous luxury sedan of the future with unprecedented consistency," according to the manufacturer. The four-door 2+2 envisions the exterior and interior design for the next decades. As a mobility concept, Audi claims that the Aicon shows us the world of tomorrow, in which "the advantages of door-to-door individual transportation are combined with the luxurious ambiance of a first-class airline cabin." (Uh, bad reference there, PR minions - WG). The Aicon has a cabin with no steering wheel or pedals but offers "all the comforts of modern communications electronics and perfect ergonomics – simply first-class." Audi says that in contrast to a robot taxi, which is reduced to pure functionality, the autonomous Audi Aicon concept vehicle's "presence is impossible to ignore, and its exterior hints at the spacious comfort afforded the passengers and the upscale technical aspirations." Audi insists that the "Aicon is a sneak peak at a prestigious automobile of tomorrow that stirs the desires of demanding customers." Editor-in-Chief's Note: We have to admit that it looks a helluva lot better than the Project One, but that's as far as it goes. -PMD 
(Bugatti images)
A Bugatti Chiron has accelerated from a standing start to 400 km/h and braked back to a standstill in just 42 seconds (41.96). This is a new world record and the fastest time ever reached and officially measured for a production vehicle. The run was supervised and officially certified by SGS-TÜV Saar, part of SGS, the world leader in inspection, testing, verification and certification. The 1,500 PS Chiron completed the run in a distance of only 3.112 kilometres. Juan Pablo Montoya was the driver for the new world record. The 0-400-0 performance run is the first step on the way to a new world speed record for production vehicles, which Bugatti intends to set in 2018 with the Chiron, which made its debut in 2016. Three hundred of these super sports cars - which are being produced in a limited series of 500 vehicles - have already been sold. Bugatti will have the record-setting Chiron at the Frankfurt auto show.
(Porsche images)
This is the new 2019 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S. It's quicker and faster - Zero to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds (with optional Sport Chrono Package) - with a top track speed of 177 mph; it has more standard equipment over the previous Cayenne Turbo; it has an MSRP of $124,600 excluding processing and delivery fee of $1,050, and it is expected to arrive at dealerships a year from now. Why are they showing it in Frankfurt now? Because Porsche has nothing else to talk about, apparently. That is all.

This is the Mercedes-Benz Concept EQA show car, the company's first all-electric EQ vehicle proposed for the compact segment. How does it run? Two electric motors, with a system output that can be increased to over 200 kW thanks to scalable battery components, and permanent all-wheel drive with two drive programs that offer a choice of individual drive characteristics. The Concept EQA achieves a range of around 400 kilometers, depending on the battery capacity installed. It can be charged via induction or wall box and is also ready for rapid charging. The black panel at the front acts as a virtual radiator grille whose look changes according to the drive program (Uh, WTF?). And Mercedes has opted for laser fibers for the lights. The spiral-shaped light signet underlines the electric concept, its design evoking the copper windings of an electric motor and the animation visualizing electrical impulses, according to the manufacturer. (Sounds like unmitigated bullshit to us.) Editor-in-Chief's Note: Do we care? No. The car is about as exciting as, oh, never mind. Another example of Mercedes-Benz being the biggest Jekyll & Hyde car company on earth. When they have it goin' on, they do magnificent stuff. But then they turn around and phone it in with this thing.  Ugh. -PMD
(BMW images)
The BMW i Vision Dynamics is a four-door Gran Coupe that has a range of 600 km (373 miles), a top speed of over 200 km/h (120 mph) and acceleration of 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in four seconds, according to the manufacturer. BMW says that it will be offering 25 models with an electrified drive system – of which 12 will be pure electric - by 2025. Editor-in-Chief's Note: If this is BMW's "vision" for its future design think, they are in for a real bad time. This concept is flat-out ugly from the front, and the rest of it really doesn't get much better. BMW Design is stinking up the joint right now, there's just no two ways about it. -PMD
(Volkswagen images)
And now, back to the real electric car world. Volkswagen has announced that the
fully-electric 2017 e-Golf is notably upgraded with a longer EPA-estimated range, better fuel economy and more power than its predecessor. The starting MSRP for the e-Golf SE is $30,495 plus destination ($820). For 2017, Volkswagen is using an updated lithium-ion battery with an increased energy capacity of 35.8 kWh, up from 24.2 kWh. The revised battery helps increase the vehicle’s range from an EPA-estimated total range of 83 miles to 125 miles on a single charge. The 7.2 kW on-board charger is now standard on all trims, which enables the battery to be charged in less than six hours at a 240V charging station. When equipped with DC Fast Charging (optional on SE, standard on Limited Edition and SEL Premium), the battery can be charged up to 80 percent within an hour at a DC fast charging station. The maximum torque of the electric motor in the e-Golf has been boosted from 199 pound-feet to 214 lb-ft. The 2017 e-Golf runs zero to 60 mph in 9.6 seconds and has a top speed of 85 mph.

The 2018 Audi S4?  

Yes, please. 

So, as usual, Peter asked me to write a few words on this week’s driver, the 2018 Audi S4. Those are the best two I can think of. There really isn’t much to say (well, actually, there is a lot to say, but why write when I could be driving???). We are enjoying classic early fall here in Michigan - warm, sunny days with cloudless blue skies and clear, chilly nights that prophesy what’s to come. The leaves are just starting to turn, and the fall flowers are in full bloom. These are the days when you linger a little longer outside and make excuses to divert from your usual route - in my case, driving the S4. It’s not just that it’s a blast to drive (it is). Or that it’s luxurious without being showy (it’s that too). It’s that it’s just so well executed. Several years ago, Audi used the tagline “Never follow.” They wore their differences from Mercedes and BMW as a badge of honor. The True Believers at Audi have always displayed a quiet confidence about who they are and where they're going. I owned a few Audis way, way back in the day (before I become a Mercedes girl). I don’t think I really appreciated what they were trying to do with the brand like I do now. Cars like the 2018 S4 make the Audi vision come to life. I could go on, but why? So here are three more words. Damn. Near. Perfect. -WG

Editor-in-Chief's Note: I leased a V8-powered Audi S4 as my personal driver several years ago, and I loved everything about it. Despite Audi's meanderings of late - I wasn't exactly thrilled with Audi in last June's AE Brand Image Meter, because they seem to get easily sidetracked when it comes to image wrangling - when they put their minds to it, they still build some magnificent cars. Everything about this latest S4 is executed to a fine degree. Yes, the performance is there - in fact it's more than plenty enough for real-world driving - but it's the way the car is executed and finished inside and out that's impressive. Audi has a distinct point of view that's different from BMW and Mercedes - which often times is better, head-to-head - and I think they consistently nail the sweet spot, especially with their performance machines. Do I miss the V8? Well, yeah, but I'm a sucker for a fine running V8. But in terms of performance this new S4 lacks nothing, in fact it feels quicker and of course it's noticeably lighter on its feet. And the rest of the car is so well-executed that it would be easy to live with one for my daily driver. Damn. Near. Perfect. Indeed. -PMD

2018 Audi S4 Sedan 3.0T Tiptronic quattro: $59,550 ($50,900.00 Base Price; Targa Red metallic, $575; Black interior; 3.0-liter, direct-injected, turbocharged V6 with 354HP and 369 -lb-ft of torque; 8-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission with quattro all-wheel-drive; 18" 5 double spoke star-design wheels with 245/40 all season tires; S model quad exhaust pipes; Full LED headlights with unique daytime running lights; LED taillights with dynamic turn signals; LED front fog lights; Audi S exterior appearance including Platinum Gray Singleframe® grille, Aluminum-optic front/rear trim and exterior side mirror housings, body-colored door sill blades and integrated rear spoiler; Three-spoke flat-bottom multifunction steering wheel with shift paddles; Twelve-way, heated, power front S sport seats with driver memory including four-way power lumbar adjustment and massage function for driver and passenger; Leather/Alcantara seating surfaces with embossed "S4"; Bang & Olufsen® sound system with 3D sound with 19 speakers, 16-channel amplifier and 755 watts; Parking system plus with rear view camera and front and rear acoustic sensors; Audi Advanced Key with red ring on starter button; Audi drive select; Auto dimming, power folding, heated exterior mirrors; LED interior lighting; Power sunroof; Three-zone automatic climate control with digital rear display; SiriusXM All Access service with three-month trial subscription; Technology Package - Audi MMI Navigation Plus with MMI touch, Audi connect Prime and Plus with six-month trial, Audi side assist and pre sense rear, Audi virtual cockpit - $3,100; S Sport Package - Red brake calipers, Sport adaptive damping suspension, Sport rear differential - $2,500; Dynamic steering, $1,150; Rear side airbags, $350; Front filler panel, included; Many more features not mentioned; Destination charge, $975) 






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