No. 942
April 18, 2018
 

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

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On The Table


Monday
Feb262018

FEBRUARY 28, 2018

(Buick images)
Longer, lower, wider, uh... never mind. The 2019 Buick Envision is about "Refined design cues, responsive performance enhancements and intelligent technology... " according to Buick PR minions. To that end it has tweaked front and rear styling, a "signature" Buick grille and new wheel choices. A new nine-speed automatic is available for 2.0L turbo models and that 2.0L turbo engine has 252HP and 295 lb-ft of torque, which results in a 0-60 mph time just under a half-second quicker than the 2018 model. The new Envision has myriad other updates throughout, and it will be available in five trim levels, with the Premium ($41,695) and Premium II ($44,595) models at the top of the lineup when it goes on sale in the spring. And since we're now living in an All-SUV-All-The-Time world, we're sure someone will buy it, although it bores us to death.
(Lexus)
The is the first official photo of Lexus UX urban compact crossover that will be introduced at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show next week. We'll spare you the blah-blah-blah from the Lexus PR minions, suffice to say this will be the new entry-level compact Lexus crossover aimed at one of the hottest segments in the market.

(Audi images)
This is the new, eighth-generation Audi A6. It's better in every way, according to Audi, but the press release was so filled with digitalization and connectivity superlatives that our eyes glazed over and we stopped reading. It looks good though.

(GMC images)
GMC has introduced the completely redesigned 2019 Sierra Denali and SLT. The high hard ones? A GMC exclusive, industry-first MultiPro Tailgate has six unique functions and positions offering enhanced second-tier loading and load-stop solutions, a standing workstation and easier access to items in the box. A GMC exclusive, industry-first Carbon Fiber Pickup Box, the CarbonPro, was developed to increase durability, efficiency and functionality while offering best-in-class dent, scratch and corrosion resistance, making it the most durable pickup box in the segment, according to GMC. The Sierra Denali offers a full suite of available advanced safety features, along with exclusive chassis technologies such as Adaptive Ride Control. The Sierra is larger than the previous truck in virtually every dimension (Wow, could they get any bigger? -WG). The wheels are pushed closer to the corners and wear larger diameter tires. Denali features available 22-inch Ultra Bright aluminum wheels; the SLT model offers its own unique 22-inch dark aluminum wheels finished with chrome accents.


The VW R: More Better? 

Editor-in-Chief's Note: Make no mistake, the 2018 Volkswagen R is an excellent machine. But when you start with one of the best all-around high-performance cars available - the VW GTI - that really shouldn't be a surprise. Start with the already sterling credentials of the GTI - 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 with 220HP and 258 lb-ft of torque - and then add 72HP, 22 lb-ft of torque, all-wheel-drive, a digital cockpit, leather and other assorted goodies, and you have one formidable high-performance machine, at least on paper. But the reality is something else all together.

It's time for full disclosure at this juncture, because my personal driver is a 2017 VW GTI (6-speed, Sport Package, plaid cloth seats, etc.). I am 14 months into a 36-month lease, and I must say without equivocation that it is one of my all-time favorite cars, and fortunately I've been able to drive a lot of great stuff over the years. The GTI does everything exceedingly well. It handles the urban slog with aplomb, yet, when I have the opportunity to hammer it, the GTI responds with the kind of engagement that's eminently satisfying, as if you've discovered a secret that nobody else knows about. For True Believer enthusiasts, however, the GTI is far from a secret, which is a very good thing. To me, the best thing about the GTI is that you can fly under the radar with it yet enjoy the act of driving on a daily basis much more so than one would with a heavy-payment, exorbitant insurance premium, high-reputation sports car that you have to constantly be worried about. (Not that I wouldn't love to have a rear-wheel-drive Lamborghini Huracan Spyder, but you get what I'm talking about.)
All that being said, is the R really worth $13,000 more than the GTI? (We didn't receive a window sticker with this press car, unfortunately. -WG) The R has more power, yes, but with its all-wheel-drive system it also weighs 232 lbs. more (3300 vs. 3062 lbs. for the GTI). That's a lot and it makes a big difference, too, in that the R doesn't feel all that much quicker than the GTI. Yes, it's nice to have all-wheel-drive in certain driving situations, but in terms of comparing the driving experiences, I'd give the nod to the GTI over the R all day long. Don't get me wrong, the R is still more car than a lot of other alleged, "decorated" sports-oriented sedans and coupes, but for pure driving pleasure combined with considerable bang-for-the-buck, I'd opt for the GTI. And then maybe I'd get the new, all-electric, BMW C Evolution scooter with the change. -PMD