No. 774,
November 26, 2014

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

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On The Table


on the table - november 12, 2014

Editor-in-Chief's Note: GM PR is beginning a new charm offensive on behalf of Dan "I'm Gonna Be The Next GM Chairman, Watch Me" Ammann, so the obligatory interview in The Wall Street Journal appears today with the headline, "Would You Buy a Cadillac From This Man?" whereupon Ammann basically takes credit for all of the good things happening at GM right now. Funny, there's no mention of Johan de Nysschen, the true architect of the new Cadillac, or his momentous role in Cadillac's future, but hey, we better get used to it, because it's going to be all about Dan from this day forward. - PMD

arrowdown.gif arrowdown.gif arrowdown.gif GM. Editor-in-Chief's Note:Not that we, for one second, believed that GM's ignition recall fiasco would fade quietly into the night, but the latest revelations that the company placed a massive replacement parts order relating to the ignition switches a couple of months before notifying anyone is not only more than a little troubling, it just added several billion dollars more to GM's final bill. It also brings the whole "What Did They Know and When Did They Know It?" discussion squarely to the forefront all over again. A giant, steaming bowl of Not Good any way you look at it. -PMD

Editor-in-Chief's Note: From the "It's A SUV/Crossover World After All" File comes word that sports cars may never find as many buyers as they did in the market's glory days before the global recession. As reported by Bloomberg, Ian Robertson, the head of sales for BMW said in an interview at the company's headquarters in Munich, "The sports car market is roughly half of what it used to be. Post-2008, it just collapsed. I'm not so sure it'll ever fully recover." Ugh. - PMD

Editor-in-Chief's Note: There is goodness in substance, longevity and consistency. What the Morgan Motor Company does isn't everyone's cup of tea when it comes to automobiles, but there's no denying that with an industry capable of cranking out massive amounts of automobiles by the day, the detail and craftsmanship expressed at Morgan is tremendously appealing. Watch a fascinating video of how Morgan does it here. -PMD
(VW photos)

Volkswagen will show the GTI Roadster concept car in North America for the first time at the Los Angeles International Auto Show. The GTI Roadster is a Golf GTI show car that was originally created as a purely electronic CGI entity for the Sony PlayStation®3 classic "Gran Turismo 6" ("GT6"). First seen at the Wörthersee enthusiast festival in Austria in May, the two-seat convertible is powered by a 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbocharged TSI® engine that produces 503 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque between 4,000 and 6,000 rpm; from just 2,000 revs, 369 lb-ft of that torque is available. The power of the TSI engine is transferred to the 20-inch wheel-and-tire combination via a seven-speed DSG® dual-clutch automatic transmission and a 4MOTION® all-wheel-drive system. The 3,133- pound sports car sprints from 0 to 60 mph in an estimated 3.5 seconds and goes onto a top track speed of 192 mph.

After making its global debut at the Beijing Auto Show earlier this year, Volkswagen of America is presenting the Golf R 400 concept car for the first time in North America at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Developed by R GmbH, the Golf R 400 concept uses experience gained from VW’s involvement in World Rallycross (WRC). The “400” in the name refers to the vehicle’s 400 PS (394 horsepower) 2.0-liter TSI® engine, which propels the car from zero to 62 mph in 3.9 seconds and on to an electronically limited top speed of 173 mph. The Golf R 400, including its all-wheel drive system, weighs 1,420 kilograms (3,130 pounds). Its weight-to-power ratio is 7.72 pounds per horsepower (3.55 kg per PS). The car is painted in "Silver Flake" and features a gloss black roof, carbon-look front splitter, and genuine carbon mirror caps. Additional carbon accents can be found inside.

(Images courtesy of Porsche)
The new Porsche Cayenne and Cayenne GTS are upon us. Our focus will be on the Cayenne GTS, which is powered by a hopped-up 3.6 liter V6 twin-turbo engine that delivers improved performance compared to the previous model, which was powered by a naturally aspirated V8. The power output is increased by 20 hp to 440 hp and torque by 62 ft.-lbs. to 445 ft.-lbs., while fuel consumption is reduced. The Cayenne GTS accelerates from 0 to 62 mph in 5.2 seconds. A sport exhaust system is standard, as is a performance-oriented suspension.

Other goodies include Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) damping, which - with the air suspension - means the Cayenne GTS sits 20 millimeters lower. Brakes are from the Cayenne Turbo with 390 millimeter rotors on the front axle and 358 millimeters at the back, along with red painted brake calipers. The Cayenne GTS has the turbo nose fascia with large air intakes and the Sport Design package, including more contoured rocker panels and wheel arch extensions. The roof spoiler, wheel arch extensions and lower rear of the vehicle are painted in body color. All GTS lettering is black, as are the 20-inch RS Spyder wheels, the exhaust tailpipes, the Bi-Xenon™ headlights' inner apertures and the fittings of the tinted LED rear lights. GTS lettering is also included.

The interior of the GTS has eight-way electrically adjustable sports seats clad in leather/Alcantara® upholstery, including GTS lettering on the headrests. Alcantara® is the predominant upholstery material used inside the car. The interior GTS package is optionally available in Carmine Red or Rhodium Silver with rev counter face, decorative stitching, headrest lettering and safety belts in a contrasting color. The new Porsche Cayenne and Cayenne GTS will make their world premiere on November 19th at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. They will be available at Porsche dealers in the United States at the end of February 2015. The MSRP for the Cayenne is $58,300 and for the Cayenne GTS is $95,500. A destination charge of $995 is additional.

Editor's Note: Life has conspired to plague me with a severe case of mood poisoning these past several weeks, so I was not in a particularly joyful state of mind when I took the key to our Shiraz Red Metallic Audi A3 TDI (although I do like Shiraz/Syrah and Cabernet and Zinfandel, but I digress) for our "Quick Take" this week. We've also had a passel of Audi test cars lately, too, so I was just not all that enthused. But then something happened, namely tons of low-end torque. And suddenly I perked up a bit - this Audi was fun to drive! I was not focused on the diesel or mileage or noise or the noticeable bit of heaviness over the front wheels. I was just running around town doing errands - and having a more-than-decent time of it. The Audi was unexpectedly adept and surprisingly enjoyable. And despite my love of 'big' this Audi seemed perfectly proportioned, in a 'just right' Goldilocks sort of way. Yes, it is a bit small-ish, but it is so well done. Audi has always been a bit on the spartan side for me - I prefer outright luxury in my luxury cars. But I really warmed to the interior of this car - it has a distinctly retro German car feel - and I mean that in the best possible way. It is tasteful and refined, understated in its approach. Yes, you need to buy into the whole diesel thing, but that, combined with the practical luxury aesthetic that Audi has mastered, makes the Audi A3 TDI a compelling choice in the small luxury segment. -WG

2015 Audi A3 Sedan TDI FWD S tronic: $39,195 ($32,600 Base Price; Shiraz Red Metallic, $550; Chestnut Brown Interior; 2.0-liter TDI clean diesel with 150HP and 236 lbs-ft of torque; Six-speed S tronic transmission; 17" 10-spoke-dynamic-design wheels with 225/45 all-season tires; Electromechanical speed-sensitive power steering; Ventilated front and solid rear disc brakes with ABS; Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with secondary collision brake assist; Panoramic sunroof with retractable sunshade; Audi xenon plus headlights with LED DRLs and taillights; Power adjustable exterior mirrors; Three-spoke leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel; 12-way power adjustable driver seat including lumbar adjustment; Leather seating surfaces; 60/40 split-folding rear seat; Dual-zone automatic climate control; Audi sound system; AM/FM/SAT radio with SD card reader and aux-in; SIRIUS Satellite radio with three-month complimentary subscription; Preparation for mobile phone (Bluetooth); Audi MMI Navigation plus package - 1 CD/DVD-player with HD radio, Audi MMI Navigation plus with voice control, Audi MMI touch, Color driver information display, Audi connect with online services (six month subscription) - $2,600;  A3 Premium Plus Model - 18" 10-spoke-design wheels, all-season tires, Heated power front seats with 4-way lumbar, Heated exterior mirrors, Audi advanced key, Aluminum window surrounds, Aluminum interior package - $2,550; Front filler panel; Destination charge, $895)

Adherence to Brand Image: Some have criticized Audi for the sameness of its design across the lineup, but I find this consistency rather comforting. Audi knows who it is and it is unwavering. If the brand doesn't appeal to you, fine, but at least there is no doubt as to what Audi is all about, from its entry-level models to its top-of-the-line supercars.