No. 793,
April 22, 2015

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

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On The Table


Monday
Apr062015

APRIL 8, 2015

 

Editor-in-Chief's Note: According to a report in The Detroit News, along with rampant speculation from the usual gaggle of gossipy analysts in this business, Cadillac will reveal its next-generation SRX SUV - renamed the XT5 - at the Los Angles Auto Show in November. When first introduced, the edgy SRX was a notable hit for Cadillac and it's still the brand's biggest seller here in the U.S., although sales are now plummeting because of fierce competition and the fact that Cadillac now has the oldest vehicle in the segment. The XT5 - for CrossTouring 5 - is likely to be well-executed, but the timing for it is severely lagging the market need. Cadillac needed it yesterday, not a year from now. Product cadence - and the money to execute it - is the consummate challenge in this business. And Cadillac's product cadence, or lack thereof, is going to make it hard for the brand to gain momentum going forward. - PMD

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Honda. The Japanese automaker has finally put the Crosstour out of its misery - a product that was an abject failure almost from the very beginning - so that it can focus its attention on the all-new 2016 Honda HR-V. This move was long overdue, but at least they acted instead of letting it languish any longer.

(Honda)
The HondaJet begins a world tour in late April, making its first appearances in Japan and Europe. The HondaJet will travel more than 26,000 nautical miles during the tour and stop in more than 13 countries along its flight route.

(Rolls-Royce Motor Cars images)
This is an engineering mule for a future Rolls-Royce, but not just any Rolls. This in fact is the first engineering mule for Project Cullinan - aka the upcoming Rolls-Royce SUV -
the high-sided, all-terrain motor car announced by Rolls-Royce Motor Cars in February. This early engineering prototype is based on a shortened Phantom Series II body with an all-wheel-drive suspension system that will deliver a ride "that will be Effortless … Everywhere," according to the luxury manufacturer. Project Cullinan engineering mules will spend equal amounts of time testing on- and off-road "to ensure that the customer will experience the same unrivalled ride quality on loose surfaces and challenging terrain as they do on the road today." We shall see about that.

Editor-in-Chief's Note: Well, now that the Bentley design chief has taken shots at the Lincoln design team through social media for ripping off the Bentley look for its new Continental - even though he hasn't seen the car in the flesh - the hand-wringing has begun. Car Design News reported that Bentley’s chief designer, Luc Donckerwolke, asked Lincoln chief designer David Woodhouse - on his Facebook page - "Do you want us to send the product tooling?" Oh my, really? That Donckerwolke even bothered to say a word is stupid, albeit entertaining. Designers have been borrowing looks and lines for years. Ever wonder why cars start looking all alike after awhile except for the "faces" expressed in the grilles? There are very few design pioneers at work in this era, remember that. Shifting gears, both the Lincoln and the new Cadillac CT6 merit deeper discussion, because the designs - when all is said and done - are rigidly conservative, almost painfully so, in fact. I will have plenty to say about it in next week's Rant. Today I will be wandering around the New York show. - @PeterMDeLorenzo

(Cadillac images)
Cadillac introduced the 2016 CT6 in New York Tuesday evening, a new top-of-the-range sedan that creates "a new formula for the prestige sedan through the integration of new technologies developed to achieve dynamic performance, efficiency and agility previously unseen in large luxury cars," according to the manufacturer. The CT6 is one of eight all-new vehicles Cadillac will launch by the end of the decade as part of its $12-billion product investment to expand and elevate.

Cadillac is touting the CT6 as having one of the industry’s most advanced automotive body structures, an aluminum-intensive architecture "that incorporates 11 different materials to achieve strength, performance and efficiency thresholds practically unmatched among the world’s elite luxury performance sedans." The CT6 is about the size of a short-wheelbase 7-Series BMW, but Cadillac says it has "the approximate weight, agility and efficiency of the smaller Cadillac CTS – which is lighter than a BMW 5-Series." The CT6 is lighter than the BMW 5-Series, 6-Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. “We reinvented the approach to structural underpinnings in the quest to develop a unique formula for the prestige luxury performance sedan,” said Johan de Nysschen, president of Cadillac. "Melding that new approach with the dynamics conveyed in our other award-winning rear-driven sedans – including V-Series – results in something that has been lost in the segment: the exhilaration of a true driver’s car.” We'll see about that when we get to drive one.

(Images courtesy of the Lincoln Motor Company)
Editor-in-Chief"s Note: Taking yet another step in rebuilding the brand, Lincoln is unveiling the Continental Concept this week at the New York International Auto Show. The Continental Concept projects what the production full-size luxury Lincoln will look like when it makes its debut in the U.S. and in China in 2016. The fact that Lincoln is bringing back the iconic Continental name is huge news unto itself. By doing so is Lincoln finally sending a message that it's walking away from its awkward and confusing naming regimen? Don't count on it. Just be glad that at least one great Lincoln name is returning. The Continental Concept is introduced with the brand's three key descriptors placed front and center, with Lincoln's PR minions calling it, "elegant, effortlessly powerful and serene, the Continental Concept blends meticulous craftsmanship and technologies designed to create better drivers and provide passengers with a more relaxing and entertaining environment inspired by first-class travel." Lincoln president Kumar Galhotra had this to say: “Some brands talk about ‘the machine,’ Lincoln is different. For us, it is about more than the machine. It is about what our vehicles do for our clients.” Translation? Lincoln will not attempt to out-German the Germans at the Nurburgring, but they are hell-bent on finding a niche for the brand in the luxury space. The design is intentionally conservative, almost to a fault, but at least Lincoln isn't phoning it in. -PMD

Rhapsody Blue metallic paint recalls Lincoln Continental’s classic signature color.

The Lincoln Continental Concept has Venetian leather seat and door panels, Alcantara® seat inserts and armrests, a satin headliner, and shearling wool carpet. Rose Gold trim is placed around the instrument cluster for warmth, with the bright chrome trim on the instrument panel adding contrast. Ambient lighting is provided by soft-gold LED lights that glow from the center console and from the halo light overhead. Patented 30-way Lincoln-designed seats use a new-to-market design that conforms to passengers’ sizes and shapes. The passenger-side rear seat can fully recline by moving the front passenger seat forward with the touch of a button. The rear seat compartment is jam-packed with accoutrements aimed at the Chinese market, including a tablet-supporting lap tray and a SPD SmartGlass® tinting sunroof, which allows passengers to control heat from direct sunlight. With the touch of a button, the glass can cool the vehicle interior by as much as 18 degrees Fahrenheit, while blocking 99 percent of UV rays.

The Lincoln Continental Concept has full-width tail lamps featuring advanced "light-through-chrome" technology. “The Lincoln Continental name is associated with iconic beauty and elegance,” said David Woodhouse, Lincoln design director. “Capturing those qualities and building upon them drove us as we crafted this thoroughly modern sedan concept.” The Continental Concept is powered by a Lincoln-exclusive 3.0-liter V6 EcoBoost® engine. It also features Lincoln Drive Control ride-enhancing technologies and Adaptive Steering. The concept rides on polished-aluminum, painted-pocket 21-inch wheels for show, but don't expect those for production, however. Is the Continental rear-wheel, all-wheel or front-wheel-drive? Lincoln didn't comment on that detail.

The Lincoln Continental Concept has LED matrix head lamps with laser-assist high beams. A cool detail? The raised Lincoln badge in the new-look chrome grille is surrounded by a span of repeating polished aluminum Lincoln Star emblems.

(Porsche images)
Porsche has taken the wraps off of the new Boxster Spyder at the New York International Auto Show. The new top model of the Boxster is meant for the brand's hardcore True Believers - at least the ones with boatloads of cash - to that end it is only available with a manual gearbox and a top still opened and closed by hand. Other stuff? A firm sport suspension with a 20-mm lower ride height, brakes taken from the 911 Carrera S, more direct steering, and a 3.8-liter horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine with an output of 375HP. It is the lightest and the most powerful Boxster to date. 0 to 60 mph? 4.3 seconds, with a top track speed of 180 mph.

The Boxster Spyder includes stylistic elements that pay tribute to the 718 Spyder from the 1960s. The front and rear fascias also are unique to the Boxster Spyder, and an air outlet is located in front of the forward luggage compartment.

(Lexus/newspressUSA)

This is the new Lexus RX. They'll probably sell the shit out of 'em but, really?

 

(Chevrolet images)

The all-new 2016 Malibu has been completely restyled - long overdue as the previous update was eminently forgettable - and engineered to offer more efficiency, connectivity and advanced safety features. The 2016 Malibu is longer and lighter, with more interior space and improved fuel efficiency. Its wheelbase has been stretched close to four inches and it is nearly 300 pounds (136 kg) lighter than the current model. An all-new hybrid powertrain is available, which leverages technology from the Chevrolet Volt, offering an estimated combined fuel economy rating exceeding 45 mpg. The Malibu’s standard 1.5L turbo powertrain is projected to offer 37 mpg highway. The 2016 Malibu goes on sale in the fourth quarter of 2015.

(McLaren Automotive)
McLaren will introduce
the 570S Coupé at the New York International Auto Show. Part of the "Sports Series" family, the McLaren 570S Coupé fits below the McLaren Super Series and Ultimate Series in the brand's model hierarchy. The Sports Series "introduces McLaren race-derived technologies and design values to a new segment and audience," according to the manufacturer. In other words, at a lower price point. Which isn't to say that it's a slouch by any means. Powered by the 3.8-liter, twin turbo, 562HP M838TE V8, the 570S accelerates from 0 to 100km/h (62 mph) in 3.2 seconds, while 200 km/h (124 mph) is reached in just 9.5 seconds. The top speed is 328 km/h (204mph).

(Honda/newspressUSA)
Finally listening to well, just about everybody, Honda unveiled its "completely reimagined" 10th-Generation Civic at the New York show. The Civic Concept provides a glimpse forward to the design direction for the all-new 10th-generation Civic lineup launching in the U.S. this fall. Longer, lower and wider; the new Civic boasts a more aggressive demeanor and a more engaging experience behind the wheel. (Wow, what a revelation!) Honda says that the new Civic lineup has a sharper focus on spirited performance and class-leading versatility, and will include Civic Sedan, Coupe and Si models along with the return of the Civic hatchback, followed by the launch of a new Civic Type-R as the performance flagship of the Civic lineup. The new Civic also will feature new VTEC® Turbo engines too. "The new Civic will be, flat out, the most dynamic, the most technologically advanced and the most refined and stylish Civic we've ever made," said John Mendel, executive vice president, Automobile Division, American Honda Motor Co., Inc.  "In every way, this will be an epic Civic." You had us until you said "epic." Let's just hope that Honda delivers on their boasts.

(Nissan/newspressUSA)
This is the new Nissan Maxima. It is supposed to be better in every way. We didn't like the concept they showed in Detroit, and we like the production version even less. And so it goes.

(Nissan/newspressUSA)

(Nissan/newspressUSA)

(Chevrolet)
Chevrolet continues leak to out details of the all-new 2016 Camaro in dribs and drabs before its official introduction
on Saturday, May 16, which will take place during a special public event at Detroit’s Belle Isle Park. The latest info? Chevrolet says its engineering team spent nine million hours of computational time honing the driving experience of the all-new 2016 Camaro before the first prototype turned a wheel. The result? Chevrolet says the Gen 6 Camaro is 28 percent stiffer than the current model. “The modeling abilities of computer aided engineering are advancing at incredible rates,” said Jim Karlavage, Camaro program engineering manager. “Today, we can accurately model opportunities to add torsional strength without adding unnecessary mass. The result is a lighter, stiffer structure that benefits every aspect of the driving experience.” The more rigid body structure allowed the engineers to more precisely calibrate the steering and suspension systems because they didn’t have to compensate for chassis flex. The lighter structure also enabled the size and mass of elements such as the wheels, tires and brakes to be scaled accordingly. “The structural weight savings are compounded by opportunities to reduce un-sprung weight,” said Karlavage. “The result is a more nimble driving experience that rewards the driver with satisfying feelings of responsiveness and control.”