2016 BMW M4 GTS

There are only 300 of these stunningly hot cars headed to the USA. The first water injection system on a production car and the M dual-clutch transmission with Drivelogic is an innovative 7-gear dual-clutch transmission are only a couple of the technological innovations BMW is introducing on this machine. There is even a heads up color display so you can keep your eyes ahead which is a pretty good idea particularly if you decide to apply the full 493 bHP to the asphalt! This is a seriously fast road car coming in at a reported (by BMW) top speed of 250 k/hr which translates in my book to slightly over 156 mph and the 0-100 k/hr is 4.1s which is under 4.1 for 0-60 translated into Detroit lingo. See it and read about it here at the webpage BMW dedicated to it. And after talking to Joe Victor the other day there is a rumor floating around that one of the 300 may be on the way to Stark County,

Jody

A vehicle for your next wilderness adventure

It will be trail season again soon in Northeast, Ohio and that means camping, fishing, off-roading and other activities in rugged terrain. Jody Victor wanted to know which 2014 off-road vehicles were up to the test of wilderness trails, rocky inclines, and uneven terrain.

Consumer Reports uses a seemingly unsophisticated, but useful system to test “…axle articulation, suspension travel, traction, approach and departure angels, and more.” The test system is a simulated “Rock Hill” consisting of a 23 degree incline of boulders arranged in cement.

They suggest the benefits of their testing system are twofold: first, it provides a “repeatable terrain” or one that doesn’t change after many test runs; second, it simulates an honest, if not extreme, terrain. This terrain is similar to something one would find in the American Southwest.

They further explain that sophisticated off-road 4-wheel drive systems helped scores on some vehicles, but were not a major factor in determining off-road performance. The Toyota FJ Cruiser came out on top over vehicles like the Land Rover LR4 which employs such off-road gadgetry.

In fact, Toyota came in second, fifth and ninth as well with their Tacoma, Sequoia Limited and their 4Runner SR5.

Jody, you can find out more at Consumer Reports.

~ Joe Victor

Plug-In Car Technology: From Economy to Royalty

Well, Jody Victor, if you haven’t yet seen the 2014 Cadillac ELR, you need to take a look. Like the rest of the 2014 fleet, the ELR is far from the big, square asphalt-sailing boats some of us remember our grandparents driving. The design of the ELR has been described by Car and Driver as: “Low, chiseled, aggressive, provocative, and uncompromised by any concession to practicality, it seems to have been time-warped out of some Gene Roddenberry–spec, 23rd-century future onto today’s roads.”

Over the years Cadillac has done a great job keeping their image relevant, whether it has been through their advertising or product design. Now, keeping step with the cleaner, “greener” car movement, the ELR is the next step in their ever evolving product line and image.

Car and Driver reports that the ELR is based on the same technology as the “humble” Chevy Volt! Though you wouldn’t know it by looking. Like the Volt, the ELR runs mostly on electricity, though the vehicle does still need a standard combustion engine to keep the lithium ion battery charged. Which means the almost 80K vehicle qualifies for a federal tax credit of up to 7,500 dollars.

You can read more about what Car and Driver had to say here.

Jody, Cadillac sure has taken the clean car movement to the next level.

~ Joe Victor

There’s a new luxury car in town

Jody‘s crew went looking into a new luxury car out there. You may have seen the commercial with Morpheus from the Matrix selling a new kind of luxury car. Did you really pay attention to the car they were advertising? It is the new Kia K900. The new 2015 Model will be available Spring 2014. Most surprising is its $59,500 starting price. They believe they can compete with BMW or Audi money with this luxury car.

As a side note, the K900 in Korea is known as the K9 (in a succession of K3, K5, K7, K9) but the American Marketers knew that calling a car after a dog would never fly so they renamed it the K900.

Joe Victor

New 2014 Mercedes-Benz S550

Jody and I were looking into the new 2014 Mercedes-Benz S550. Wow! What a car! This car claims to be ahead of the pack in technology.

This car has only LED’s for all lights, an aromatherapy system, full LCD instrument cluster, stereoscopic cameras in from of rearview mirror just to name a few.

We found an online review that tells about this new car. You can read the full review here.

~ Joe Victor

Electric Cars

Jody Victor‘s crew found out that driving an electric car will certainly save fuel consumption, but it presents other problems.

How do we charge them?
Where do we charge them?
Can our power current grids handle them all?

President Obama in 2011 set a goal to have 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015. Most cars get between 50 to 80 miles on a single charge, although the Tesla electric sports car Model S can get up to 300 miles.

Most people charge at night so their vehicle is ready for their morning commute. Power companies can keep their eyes on where power is being drawn so they can see if an area needs to be upgraded. If they knew where all the electric cars were, when they needed to be charged by, how much of a charge they needed, they could figure out a way to round-robin the charges to keep everybody happy. In the meantime, we just have to wait and see.

Joe Victor

Snakebit F-100: a Ford Collaboration

So who did Ford collaborate with to make this truck? None other than Gene Simmons and his wife Shannon Tweed. The KISS bassist, his wife and Ford customized the 1956 Snakebit F100 show truck as a salute to the Shelby Mustang.

Extensive modifications were made: wheelbase lengthened 5″, the floor mimics a wood pattern, 20-inch rear wheels to name a few. The interior, handmade, features two-toned leather, a contoured bench seat and a custom leather covered dashboard. It will be auctioned next year for charity at a Barrett-Jackson event with proceeds going toward the construction of a children’s hospital in Saskatoon, Canada. This project is also named “Wheel of Dreams.”

Catch some of the pictures on MotorAuthority.com.

~ Joe Victor

Volvo testing self-driving cars

The Volvo Car Group will release 100 self-driving cars on public roads in Gothenburg, Sweden. Endorsed by the government there, the “Drive Me” project aims to pinpoint the benefits of driving autonomously. It will give them insight to challenges they will face technologically as well as provide a way of receiving feedback from their customers.

The study will start in 2014 with the hopes of having the first cars on the road by 2017. The car will be developed on Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) and the first model will be the Volvo XC90 to be introduced in 2014.

The car will also feature autonomous parking. You can leave the car at the entrance and the car will park itself.

Joe Victor

Black Friday Car Deals

Curious if what has become known as “Black Friday” affects car sales, the Victor crew set about to find out what kind of deals there were out there. Here is what we found:

Houston, TX: Sterling McCall Toyota is slashing prices by thousands of dollars for their “Slicer Sale” and some hopefuls may drive away with a car as low as $1. There will be 3 sold at this price. Some people arrived early and camped out hoping for this deal.

GM: Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick, GMC have deals being promoted. Cadillac is offering Black Friday cash discounts, and GMC truck is taking off $5000 on Sierra 1500 Crew Cab for example. Watch for promotions on TV.

Ford: Ford’s website has a promotion called “Black Friday Survival Guide” on their website. You can get up to a $1000 prepaid MasterCard to use toward your purchase or keep for your Christmas shopping.

Hyundai: Their Black Friday special is offering 0% financing for 72 months on four of their Elantras this week.

Totally unrelated to Black Friday, Victory Honda in Monroe Michigan is refunding the price of all Toyotas bought there between now and the big game of MSU vs OSU IF the Wolverines can shut out Buckeyes completely!

~ Joe Victor

Want to pimp your ride?

Business Insider has a list of the most outrageous customizations buyers wanted for their Rolls-Royce cars. They present them in a slide show on their site. Here is the list of customizations you can get if you want your own decked-out Rolls Royce, Jody:

  • In-door thermos
  • Hand-crafted picnic set
  • Wine glass storage
  • Seven sets of wheels – one for each day of the week
  • Matching luggage
  • Built-in jewelry box
  • Your initials (or RR) on the head rests
  • Hand made personalized wood veneers (marquetry)
  • Have the wood sourced from a tree on your estate
  • Get any color interior and exterior you want
  • Aviation-grade clock for center console
  • Aluminum cup holders
  • Art deco inspired car
  • Collector car called Celestial Phantom has 446 diamonds
  • Optic lights in the Starlight Headliner (can customize to include any constellation)

~ Joe Victor