No. 774,
November 26, 2014

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

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On The Table


Monday
Oct062014

ON THE TABLE - OCTOBER 8, 2014

Editor-in-Chief's Note: The Great Sergio announces "he's done" in 2018. Makes sense, since he will be able to extract boatloads of cash out of the company over the next four years. - PMD

Editor's Note: Okay, so two weeks ago we have the Cadillac press release saying that "Cadillac’s mission is to reinstate the brand to a pre-eminent position among global luxury brands" and announcing that Cadillac is moving its headquarters to New York, because "there is no city in the world where the inhabitants are more immersed in a premium lifestyle than in New York." Fast forward to this past Monday, and the announcement that Cadillac has partnered with American Airlines "to offer a broad series of exclusive benefits to travelers, ranging from luxury, on-site airport transfers to AAdvantage miles earning opportunities to Cadillac exhibits at major airports." Test drive a Cadillac, earn frequent flyer miles on American! Wow. Is it just me, or does this seem to be a bit of a disconnect with the lofty goals of the "new" Cadillac? There were several highlights in the press release, like this quote from Suzanne Rubin, president of the AAdvantage Loyalty Program. "American and Cadillac are two iconic American brands, both in the process of redefining the contemporary American luxury experience.” American Airlines, seriously? Iconic? Redefining the contemporary American luxury experience? Let's move on. "Traveling in style is a shared interest of premium customers the world over," said Uwe Ellinghaus, Cadillac's chief marketing officer. Um, excuse me, Uwe, been on a commercial flight lately? Anyone who thinks that modern day air travel - other than by private jet - is a luxurious endeavor is kidding themselves. And so is Cadillac. But let's leave the last word to Johan de Nysschen, discussing the decision to move to New York in Automotive News: "We must develop corporate processes, policies, mindsets, behaviors, attitudes, which are right-sized for Cadillac. … No distractions. No side shows. No cross-brand corporate considerations. …  Just pure, unadulterated CLASS." Why do I get the feeling that things are not getting off to a particularly auspicious start here? -WG

(Images courtesy of Porsche Cars North America)
Porsche has unveiled the second generation 911 Carrera GTS. The new GTS models are available as coupe and cabriolet versions, with rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The good stuff? The GTS includes the 430 horsepower engine from the Carrera S Powerkit, which incorporates the Sport Chrono package and Sport Exhaust. And the standard PASM active damper system lowers the ride height by 10 mm compared to the 911 Carrera.

All GTS versions are based on the 911 Carrera 4 body with flared rear wheel arches and a wider track. Also standard are 20-inch center lock wheels, painted in an exclusive gloss black. Special trim elements and tinted Bi-Xenon™ headlights dominate the front end, while black trim strips on the customized GTS air intake and black chrome-plated exhaust tailpipes distinguish the rear of the Carrera GTS models.

Standard equipment includes leather-trimmed sport seats with center panels made of Alcantara®.

When equipped with PDK, the 911 Carrera GTS does zero to 60 MPH in 3.8 seconds (Cabriolet: 4.0 seconds) – just one-tenth of a second faster than the S model (Uh, that's a lot of extra cheese for that one-tenth of a second, just sayin' - PMD). Top track speeds for the GTS models range from 187 to 190 miles per hour, depending on drivetrain and transmission. The 911 Carrera GTS starts at $114,200, while the 911 Carrera GTS Cabriolet starts at $126,100. The 911 Carrera 4 GTS stickers for $120,900 in Coupe and $132,800 in Cabriolet form. A destination charge of $995 is additional. The new 911 Carrera GTS will be available at U.S. dealers at the end of the year.

Editor-in-Chief's's Note: Our loaded-to-the-gills tester for our "Quick Take" this week is the 2015 BMW X4 xDrive35i. Seeing as we are officially living in a crossover/SUV world, these kinds of machines are proliferating at an inexorable - and some would say alarming - rate. BMW first weighed-in to the "sort of a crossover, sort of a coupe" market with its X6, which initially defied explanation and still does, for that matter. Perhaps it is because the X4 is a little more compact and tautly rendered (it's an offshoot of the X3 architecture) that I found it more appealing than the X6, or maybe it's because though it offered a little more seat height and versatility it still conducted itself like a fully functional and authentic BMW that I found that it grew on me with each passing mile. Dial-up the suspension to full sport settings and mash the gas, and the X4 definitely goes down the road in entertaining fashion and with a level of aplomb that is unmistakable for anything but a BMW. Not-so-good stuff? It's not all that roomy, but if you're leaning to the more stylish side of the crossover equation then that shouldn't be an issue. And it costs too damn much as configured. A more judicious selection from the available option list would save you some dough, but everything on it is craftily packaged and parceled so as to make sure you want to check all of the boxes. The German manufacturers are geniuses at it, there's no doubt. But $61,000? Really? Ugh. - PMD

2015 BMW X$ xDrive 35i: $61,325 ($48,000 Base Price; Melbourne Red Metallic, $550; Ivory White Nevada Leather, included; 3.0-liter, Direct-injected, inline 24-valve 6-cylinder BMW Twin Power Turbo engine with 300HP and 300 lbs-ft of torque, Valvetronic and Double-VANOS variable valve control; Auto Start-Stop function; Driving Dynamic Control with ECO PRO mode; 8-speed sport automatic transmission with Sport and Manual shift modes; xDrive all-wheel-drive system; Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) including Brake Drying, Brake Stand-by, Start-off Assistant and Brake Fade Compensation; Hill Descent Control (HDC); 4-wheel ventilated anti-lock disc brakes with Dynamic Brake Control (DBC); Xenon Adaptive Headlights with auto-leveling, LED Corona headlight-rings and LED fog lights; Adaptive Light Control with LED Adaptive brake lights; Privacy glass; Power front seats with driver's seat and mirror memory; 40/20/40 split folding rear seats; Automatic climate control; 2-way power glass moonroof; Park Distance Control (PDC), rear; Rain-sensing windshield wipers; Automatic-dimming interior rear view mirror and exterior side-view mirrors; Power tailgate; 3-spoke leather-wrapped multi-function sport steering wheel; USB audio connection with Bluetooth including Audio Streaming; iDrive system with on-board computer and touchpad controller with 8 programmable memory buttons; Dynamic Cruise Control; AM/FM/CD/MP3 player audio system with HD radio; M Sport Package - 19" light alloy wheels, Sport seats, Brushed aluminum trim, M steering wheel, Aerodynamic kit, Shadowline exterior trim, Anthracite headliner - $1,900; Dynamic Damper Control (required with M Sport Package), $1,000; Driver Assistance Package - Rear-view camera, Park distance control - $700; Lighting Package - Adaptive full LED lights, Automatic high beams - $1,900; Premium Package - Comfort Access keyless entry, Lumbar support, Satellite radio with 1-year subscription - $2,200; Technology Package - Navigation system, Head-up display, BMW online and BMW apps, Advanced RTT, Remote services - $3,150; Heated front seats, $500; Enhanced Bluetooth and Smartphone in, $500; Destination charge, $925)

Adherence to Brand Image: It drives like an authentic BMW, which is saying something. I don't much care for the continued degradation of the sacred "M" designation, however, with BMW basically foisting off "M" cosmetics as being "authentic" to make some cash, but all the manufacturers are doing it and BMW is not immune from the temptation. It's flat-out wrong, though, make no mistake about it. And I believe that somehow the German performance gods are going to come down and smack BMW for dumbing-down the vaunted "M" designation. As Chris Rock so eloquently puts it, "It Ain't Right." And it needs to stop. - PMD