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Miles for Parkinson’s Disease

Hagerty is partnering with non-profit Drive Toward a Cure to encourage enthusiasts to do what we all enjoy the most: DRIVE. Over 75 days of Summer 2020, licensed motorists nationwide can appreciate drives near or far and enter to win prizes based on the mileage they drive. Participants share their experiences on social media, while benefiting Parkinson’s Disease awareness, research, and patient care.

Affecting nearly one million Americans and 10 million worldwide, Parkinson’s disease is the second-most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s. It’s also the 14th-leading cause of death in the United States. The disease is associated with a progressive loss of motor control (like shaking or tremor at rest and lack of facial expression), as well as non-motor symptoms (e.g., depression and anxiety). There is no cure for Parkinson’s and 60,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the US alone.

Hagerty classic carDrives Generate Memories

According to Doug Clark, vice president of publishing and business development for Hagerty, the joy of driving builds bonds with people on every level.

“No one would deny the memories we all retain from great drives – whether youthful recollections for nostalgic cars or the roads we envision on a crisp and clear summer day or night,” said Clark. “The ‘Summer Drive Toward a Cure’ program is an opportunity to get out safely and just feel good, while doing some good for others, too.”

The first 100 registrants to enter at www.drivetowardacure.org/summer and create a public social media post on Facebook or Instagram featuring a photo of the car they have registered and the message “I’ve just joined the Summer Drive Toward a Cure in support of #ParkinsonsDisease! Will you join too? @drivetowardacure #getoutanddrive @hagerty #letsdrivetogether” will receive a free Hagerty ‘Shift Happens’ baseball cap and Drive Toward a Cure window cling.

Hagerty classic car

Join the Fun

Throughout the entire summer, Drive Toward a Cure and Hagerty will be sharing new suggested driving routes weekly on Hagerty’s Community pages and encouraging participants to share their own driving routes and scenic drives within a dedicated forum.  Weekly prizes will be awarded to individuals selected from social media and community posts, with overall program prizes to be announced on Labor Day.

Special awards for most miles driven and most money raised will be awarded after Labor Day when odometer readings and monetary contributions are tallied.  Top prizes include a certificate for four (4) Michelin tires, valued at $1,500; a $250 gift certificate for DriveShare by Hagerty; and a $150 value ‘Steve McQueen’ gift basket from Hunziker Design including t-shirts and Steve McQueen racing shoes.  Apparel gifts will be provided to entrants at various donation levels.  Initial registration is $20 but larger donations are encouraged – with the ability to make one’s own donation, have individual or corporate sponsors for personal driving experiences, or to bring friends together safely for a group drive through each registrants’ individual fundraising page.

Should an entrant wish to drive something other than their own registered vehicle, they can easily find a collectible or special vehicle through DriveShare by Hagerty.  All rentals applying code DTAC2020 will receive a 10% discount, plus DriveShare will donate their profits from the rental to Drive Toward a Cure!  Sign up to rent a car in your region at www.driveshare.com.

Raise Money by Doing what You Love: Driving

Hagerty has teamed with Drive Toward a Cure since the organization’s inception in 2016 when the Foundation first began blending cars and camaraderie to raise awareness and funds for Parkinson’s disease.  With more than $400,000 raised over the past four years, Drive Toward a Cure supports both Parkinson’s research AND patient care, raising funds through events and annual rallies enjoyed by the automotive enthusiast community at large.

According to Deb Pollack, founder of Drive Toward a Cure, as the organization enters its fourth year, its awareness is blooming on a national scale.  “During the past year alone, we’ve made some enormous strides.  With a large donation to the Parkinson’s Foundation, we were able to support specific patient care needs and focus on six Parkinson’s Centers of Excellence throughout the country.  By aligning our events to areas within those regions, we can potentially provide even more funds and make a significant difference for challenged individuals.”

Pollack concedes that the easiest way for her organization to raise funds has always been through interactive programs that are both fun and car-oriented, but one doesn’t have to drive to play a role.  Groups and organizations like local area Ferrari and Porsche clubs throughout the nation have come on board to offer panel discussions, garage tours, BBQs and social gatherings to raise funds on behalf of Drive Toward a Cure.  In 2018, the funds raised by those groups enabled the Foundation to offer grants to Parkinson’s patients residing in California that had lost their homes in the devastating fires, and has since become the organization’s ‘Special Assistance Fund.’  Applicants can gain additional funding to support patient care needs during overwhelming catastrophes and other special needs.

Classic cars Hagerty

More about Drive Toward a Cure

Drive Toward a Cure raises funds and awareness for Parkinson’s Disease research and patient care. Inspired by the camaraderie found within the automotive culture, the organization’s mission benefits equally from both enthusiast communities and industry professionals. Drive Toward a Cure events harness enthusiasm for cars and driving and turn that power into support for ongoing work to improve the lives of those living with Parkinson’s, as well as the research that will hopefully one day lead to a cure.

Drive Toward a Cure is a 501(c)(3) non-profit supporting beneficiaries including The Michael J. Fox Foundation The Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center and the Parkinson’s Foundation . For donations, sponsorship and event registration, please visit www.drivetowardacure.org.

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If you’ve never driven a McLaren, you might imagine how the wheel feels in your hands or how the seats cradle your body capably. You might imagine the roar of the engine and the supple materials inside.

A thrilling new McLaren Tech Club film looks at the materials selected for the McLaren GT. Blending greater comfort, space and usability with the levels of driver engagement, dynamic ability and performance for which McLaren is renowned, the GT has its own unique identity – inside and out.

New interior materials are a key aspect of the GT’s credentials and appeal. The McLaren design team explored alternatives to traditional coverings in areas such as luggage spaces, as well as on seats and other trim. The appearance and tactile attraction of driver controls are also an important part of the interior design, with machined and knurled aluminum that looks and feels both beautiful and technical while delivering precise functionality.

McLaren is committed to pursuing lightweight solutions across all aspects of design and engineering and the interior of the GT is no exception.  A new material called SuperFabric, originally designed for military and aerospace applications, is available as a covering for the floor of the luggage bay. This innovative woven fabric is infused with a layer of tiny armored guard plates, providing increased resistance to stains, cuts, nicks and abrasions.  Breathable, easy to clean and quick to dry, the surface of the SuperFabric is embossed with a hexagonal pattern to provide optimal protection.

This single-minded approach to light weighting extends to more traditional cabin materials with McLaren adopting a contemporary approach to achieve the brand’s design philosophy of ‘everything for a reason’, bringing fashion and lifestyle inspirations to the finest materials and developing new exclusive colorways.  The supple Nappa leather offered as standard in the GT can be upgraded to softgrain luxury leather or Alcantara but regardless of owner preference all of the fine leathers used in the GT are sourced from Scotland’s Bridge of Weir company. Alternatively, cashmere is available in either Dove Grey or Jet Black as one of the most exclusive options from McLaren Special Operations, the chic fabric featuring on the seats and key ‘touchpoints’ in the cabin. McLaren is the first car manufacturer to offer the softest and most luxurious of wools in a production version supercar.

Introducing innovative new interior materials for any McLaren is a huge challenge. With the GT we were creating beauty and luxury but with the additional layers of functionality and advanced technology that are inherent in every car we design – and all delivered in a very modern way. Everything in a McLaren is there for a reason, not simply to look good; the materials need to be authentic not only in appearance and to the touch, but also in meeting our requirements for minimizing weight and performance in use.

Jo Lewis, Colour and Materials Design Manager, McLaren Automotive Ltd.

 

In line with McLaren’s pursuit of innovation while retaining authenticity, machined and knurled aluminum driver controls engage the senses both through touch and by visually ‘guiding’ the driver around the cabin. Designed to harmoniously bring together the full concept of the interior design, the finishers, bezels, paddles and switches create a sophisticated and inviting ambiance that reinforce McLaren’s technical precision. The GT also features the first application of ‘hidden until lit’ interior illumination; appearing at first as a solid metallic finish, this pioneering light design reveals a calming, ambient glow once the ignition is turned on. For design continuity, the ambient lighting pattern also links visually to the speaker grills of the recently awarded Bowers & Wilkins audio system. Detailed around the doors and passenger-side dash, the lit hues can be changed to suit interior colors or mood.

More information about the McLaren GT – and an online configurator that allows you to choose your own perfect specification for the car – is available at https://cars.mclaren.com/gb-en/new-mclaren-gt.

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Do you think of Jeep as a green machine? Jeep’s manufacturer Fiat Chrysler Automotive has completed its latest Global Warming Potential (GWP) analysis, and it compared the redesigned-for-2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited with the previous-generation vehicle. Overall, the GWP is 15 percent lower than that of its predecessor.

The GWP improvement was calculated using industry-standard software that examines multiple factors associated with a vehicle’s design, production and on-road performance. These factors include:

  • the environmental impact of fuel production and delivery
  • material use
  • the vehicle’s own fuel consumption

Determinations are based on 150,000 miles of operation. And improvements are measured by contrasting anticipated C02-equivalent greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions, with those of comparable vehicles. C02-equivalent, or CO2e, is a term for describing various greenhouse gases as a common unit. For any quantity and type of greenhouse gas, CO2e signifies the amount of CO2 that would have an equivalent effect on global warming.

In this case, the comparison was made with the previous-generation Wrangler Unlimited, as powered by its only available engine – FCA’s 3.6L Pentastar V-6 – and a since-discontinued five-speed automatic transmission.

The new Wrangler’s performance was measured as equipped with the available 270-hp, 2.0L turbocharged I-4 engine, featuring engine stop-start. Accordingly, each new Wrangler Unlimited has the potential to account for a 14-metric-ton reduction in GHG emissions, which is equivalent to:

  • GHG emissions of three passenger cars, driven for one year
  • C02e output from 7.7 tons of coal burned in a power-generation plant
  • C02e produced when powering 2.4 average American homes for one year

The reduced emissions from each 2.0L Wrangler Unlimited, over its lifetime, has the potential to account for the carbon sequestration that occurs in 16.5 acres of U.S. forest, over an entire year.

Photo credit: US Forest Service

Material choices also contribute to the new Wrangler Unlimited’s greener performance. Its ferrous metal content was reduced to 54 percent from 68 percent in the previous-generation vehicle. Non-ferrous metal content, which contributes to weight reduction and corrosion resistance, increased to 20 percent, from 12 percent.

Further improving its on-road performance, FCA’s TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission benefits fuel economy, whether mated to the 2.0L turbocharged I-4 or the 3.6L Pentastar V-6. In I-4 configurations, the celebrated transmission helps the 2020 Wrangler Unlimited achieve a 21 mpg rating in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s combined city/highway test cycle – an increase of three mpg over the previous-generation vehicle and its five-speed automatic transmission.

In the Sahara trim level, the 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited may be equipped with a version of the 2.0L turbocharged I-4 that features FCA’s eTorque mild-hybrid technology. In addition, the new-generation Wrangler Unlimited is available with a 3.6-liter V-6 from FCA’s award-winning Pentastar engine family. It comes with a choice of a TorqueFlite eight-speed transmission or a six-speed manual gearbox.

RELATED: RAM 1500 ECODIESEL GOES FOREVER

The 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 is also available in the Jeep Cherokee midsize SUV. To accommodate its continued proliferation across the FCA lineup, the company is committing $400 million to produce the engine at a former transmission plant in Kokomo, Indiana, a project that will bring FCA’s total employment in the state to 8,300.

The results of this latest GWP analysis come on the heels of FCA’s 2019 Sustainability Report. Distributed on April 16, it says the Company further reduced its environmental footprint around the world.

Among the highlights, FCA cut its water use by nearly 40 percent, compared with 2010. Over the same time period, the Company also shaved its carbon footprint by 27 percent, and slashed its waste generation by 64 percent.

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Although car manufacturing has been temporarily suspended, production of another unique product is running at record levels at Rolls-Royce: the world’s most exclusive honey.

In their third full season of production, the dedicated 250,000-strong workforce in the company’s Apiary are set, once again, to exceed their 2020 volume targets for the ‘Rolls-Royce of Honey’. Having come through the winter in excellent health, Rolls-Royce’s English Honey Bees are currently emerging from their hives and foraging on the half-a-million trees, shrubs and wildflowers flourishing across the 42-acre Rolls‑Royce site, plus the eight acres of sedum plants growing on the manufacturing plant’s ‘living roof’ – the largest of its kind in the UK. The more adventurous bees make sorties into the surrounding Goodwood Estate, whose 12,000 acres of West Sussex countryside are among the glories of the South Downs National Park.

Established in 2017, the Goodwood Apiary comprises six traditional, English-crafted, wooden beehives, each bearing a polished stainless steel nameplate handcrafted in the company’s Bespoke Workshop. Five are named after cars in the Rolls-Royce product family – ‘Phantom’, ‘Wraith’, ‘Ghost’, ‘Dawn’ and ‘Cullinan’ and the ‘Spirit of Ecstasy’.

Like the 2,000 employees at the Home of Rolls-Royce, the bees are responsible for producing a rare and desirable product. At the end of each season, ‘The Rolls-Royce of Honey’ is meticulously hand‑processed by local specialists and served to guests of the marque, including customers commissioning their motor cars in the company’s Atelier suite.

The Apiary project is Rolls-Royce Motor Cars’ response to the real and present threat facing Britain’s Honey Bee population. Honey Bees are the principal pollinators of numerous tree and plant species, including many of the fruit and vegetable crops that are crucial to the local agricultural economy around the Home of Rolls-Royce. However, a shortage of suitable forage, primarily caused by habitat loss, has put their numbers under great and growing pressure in recent years.

The South Downs National Park, on the doorstep of the Home of Rolls-Royce, mirrors this national trend. Chalk downland, which supports pollinators including honey bees, bumblebees and the Adonis blue butterfly, now accounts for just four per cent of the National Park’s total area, in fragmented pockets that make it harder for pollinators to move through the landscape.

The creation of the Apiary gave an early boost to a new South Downs National Park Trust campaign to address this critical problem. The Bee Lines initiative supports farmers and landowners in creating new flower-rich ‘corridors’ to link areas of habitat and help bees and other pollinator species to thrive. Residents and businesses within the National Park boundaries are also being encouraged to get involved through initiatives such as planting wildflowers in gardens and grounds.

 

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For successful executives, entertainers, athletes, and entrepreneurs, $200K might be as simple as a weekend expenditure; it is for that market that the 2020 Bentley Continental GT exists. The Bentley has long been a name that evokes words like elegance, exclusivity, and style. And the 2020 Continental fits right into that camp with both coupe and convertible body styles.

Even if a Bentley isn’t in your budget this year (or for the next decade), it’s still quite satisfying to take a few minutes to open up a browser tab and have some fun designing your own dream car with the brand’s car configurator.  First, start with the model you like best. If you have your eye on a brawny sedan, the Mulsanne or the Flying Spur is where you’ll begin. Have a need for a sporty coupe? Check out the Continental GT. Or if you want the combination of roomy seating and elegance, the Bentayga SUV is going to be your groove. Next, pick your interior hide colors, trim, headliner, wheels, and more. Then sit and stare at your creation and wish really hard.

For me, the Continental was an easy pick. In 2019, the Continental was redesigned inside and out with a new body structure and updated materials. As a big sports fan, I could not resist a Cricket Ball Red interior, designed to evoke the deep hue of cork cricket balls. Never seen a cricket game? It’s kind of like baseball, but there are some significant difference. For instance, a cricket ball is harder and slightly heavier. And games can last up to five DAYS in cricket, whereas even baseball games with extra innings will finish within hours.

In any case, the color of a cricket ball is a gorgeous, rich red. In my opinion, it works very well with Imperial Blue in the Bentley I designed. If you like choices, you’ll be thrilled with the sheer number of them on the Bentley Continental GT. We’re talking about seven interior hood colors; Magnolia, Camel, Light Grey, Grey, New Blue, Saddle, Beluga, Red. And a further eight options for the roof headliner. For the wheels, I was totally enamored with the 21″ five tri-spoke alloy option in black.

Beauty is only trim deep, but the Bentley Continental has it all, with two different engine options for the coupe and the convertible:

  • GT V8 coupe: $207,825
  • GT W-12 coupe : $224,225
  • GT V8 convertible: $228,025
  • GT W-12 convertible: $246,125

With an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission, it can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds  and reach a top speed of 207 mph. In a convertible, you can even open or close the roof while driving at speeds up to 30 mph. While surely built to make the most of sunny days, it’s also ready for cooler conditions. For instance, it’s equipped with active AWD for icy and rainy conditions; both the front seats are equipped with innovative cooling technology to keep you comfortable in the height of summer; and heated armrests, heated steering wheel and front seat neck warmers circulate warm air around your neck and shoulders in the winter. A four-layer insulating roof ensures you’re ensconced in a cozy bubble if you like.

Let’s talk about the size of the Bentley Continental for a sec:

  • 5,322 pounds curb weight
    • In comparison, the Mercedes-Benz SL maxes out at 3,959 pounds. Even the M-B S-Class sedan is 500 pounds lighter, so this car will hold its weight on the road.
  • 8.3 cubic feet trunk space, or about five pieces of carry-on luggage
    • Compare to Mercedes-Benz SL, which offers 8.5 cubic feet)
  • 190.9 inches long
    • The Mercedes-Benz SL is 182 inches long; the S-Class is 206.9 inches long

In terms of safety and driver-assistance features, Bentley doesn’t include as standard adaptive cruise control. Other optional features include a head-up display to inform you of your speed, the speed limit, and directions from the navigation system. Bentley offers two package deals: the city specification (hands free trunk opening, top view camera, traffic sign recognition, pedestrian warning) and the touring specification (active lane assist, active cruise control with traffic assist, Bentley safeguard plus and a night vision camera).

You could even add a Bentley child seat matched to the same interior as the car. In colder weather, you might opt for Bentley winter tires. If you’re planning to store your Bentley for an extended period of time, the battery charger and conditioner helps it start up again when you’re ready.

Go ahead, dream a little. You might be tempted.

Want to see my configuration? Click here

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Rivian says they’re on a mission to keep the world adventurous forever. Robert “RJ” Scaringe founded the company in 2009 with the idea that he wanted to find a more responsible way to explore the world and make the transition to sustainable transportation an exciting one. RJ earned his MS and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he was a member of the research team in the Sloan Automotive Laboratory.

Eleven years, millions of dollars, and the growth to a couple of hundred employees in seven locations later, Rivian is poised to launch its all-electric pickup truck. The R1T truck claims 400+ miles of range; an impressive 0-60 in three seconds; wading depth over three feet; max towing 11,000; and a a jaw-dropping 750 hp. The R1T is roughly the same length (within an inch) of a Jeep Gladiator and about a half-inch wider than a Honda Passport; it should be nimble enough for both work and play, city and country.

We spent a little time with Rivian chief engineer of special projects Brian Gase, who drove the brand’s in-development three-row SUV (the R1S) from the southern tip of South America all the way up to Los Angeles. But first, they had to design and install the electric infrastructure to do it. What is this upstart company up to?

Kristin Shaw:  Hi, I’m here live at Fully Charged Live USA in Austin at COTA and I’m here with Brian Gase from Rivian. So we’re very excited to hear what Rivian is up to. Brian heads up special projects, which means he gets to do really cool stuff…

Brian Gase:  Sometimes…

Kristin Shaw:  …like driving from Argentina to L.A.

Brian Gase:  Yup, so we ship vehicles end of August for durability testing. We went down the southern tip of South America and then drove for about 105 days up to L.A through all conditions and all weather. We’re doing tremendous amounts of durability testing on our vehicles, normal proving ground types of work. But we’re an adventure company first, so we went out and said, “Let’s do something that’s a little bit more extreme. Let’s build up the charge infrastructure and go and have this journey now that we’ve put that grid in place.” It was, for me, a really amazing lifetime experience. But also, seeing our vehicles on the road for the first time, driving along, was really, really cool.

Kristin Shaw:  So you set up an infrastructure of charging stations along the way?

Brian Gase:  Absolutely. We built basically two Level Two chargers every – give or take – one hundred miles throughout the route. The reason was, while the vehicles we took had a 300 mile range with it, you might not want to stop at the end of every day and fully charge it, so we put it in place so that we could stay where we wanted to, go off the path, go off-roading, do some cool things, see some really cool places.

Kristin Shaw:  Which model did you take on this trip?

Brian Gase:  We took two of the R1Ts.

Kristin Shaw:  Okay. You went off-roading. So off-roading in a EV: what’s it like compared to a fuel-powered car?

Brian Gase:  The cool side of it is: obviously, with four motors you’ve got all time, all-wheel drive, with independent power per wheel. The vehicle has a lot of capability. On the downhill side in an EV I no longer have to downshift the engine brake, I’ve got a generating system that’ll hold the vehicle in position on a hill. On one of the coolest weather days, we were up on this mountain and we took a bunch of photos, then we went down and the battery was at 6% more at the bottom than at the top.

Kristin Shaw: And now you’re offering a three-row SUV.

Brian Gase:  Correct. The R1S has about a 12-inch shorter wheelbase than the truck. It’s built on the same chassis and is common forward of the B pillars, which helps us to develop it more quickly, keep investment low, and put out a vehicle that will be on the same line as its sister product, the truck.

Kristin Shaw:  When is it going to be available?

Brian Gase: The truck will be end of this year and the SUV Q1 of next year (2021).

Kristin Shaw: And have you announced pricing?

Brian Gase:  We’ve announced that it’ll come pretty well equipped so not fully loaded; it’s $72,500, before federal tax credit, and you can go up from there, with additional functions and features, or you can go down from there.

Kristin Shaw: Now I’m excited because the three-row SUV market is hot. Kia has the Telluride, and Hyundai the Palisade. The Rivian is going to be competitive.

Brian Gase: Absolutely.

Kristin Shaw:  It might be one of the more expensive, but it’s an EV. What would make somebody choose the R1S: what kind of features do you offer, especially with regards to safety, that makes it comparable?

Brian Gase:  That’s a great question. So I’m a family guy; I have a wife and three boys: a 10 year old and twin eight year olds. I actually joined Rivian in 2010, just before my kids were born. Safety absolutely matters, and our SUV is a vehicle designed to be safe. It’s set up that way. The most important thing to have at the end of the day is making sure that if something bad does happen, you’re as protected as you possibly can be. From the vehicle perspective, safety is one way we differentiate ourselves outside of just being an EV.

Also, we wanted it to be known as an adventure vehicle you can use to have family adventures, take your kids, get to the beach, go out on the trail, get up to the base camp that you’re hiking, whatever it is. There’s a lot of off-road capability with the vehicle, especially with the 400 or so mile range. It’s a comfortable seating pattern with a third row that will comfortably fit a child or an adult in the back seat.

Kristin Shaw:  I know there are some automakers who are doing a really good job offering safety features standard. Is that the same with Rivian? It’s included in the base model?

Brian Gase: Yup, yup. So we have, some of our autonomous systems features are with the higher level trim packages but from advanced collision detection, all of that stuff is based on what is absolutely critical to us.

Kristin Shaw: And Brian, you’ve been with Rivian for eight years?

Brian Gase:  Nine and a half. I joined in 2010.

Kristin Shaw:  What was it like when you first started? What were you thinking, this new company…?

Brian Gase:  It was a very interesting place. We were a really small team, and everybody was quick to align; we all had shared values and a shared vision of doing something better. From our CEO down, we’ve never wanted to build a car company or a vehicle just to put another car on the road. The goal isn’t to make another SUV so that you can have another three-row SUV in the market. The goal is to put a product out there that is compelling and exciting and different.

To get back to the family side, let’s make the world better for our kids and our children’s children. We feel that electrifying the vehicle space, doing it this way, where you’re not making tradeoffs and going into a smaller footprint vehicle, where you can still have your stuff, still have your adventure, and then being able to use those batteries sustainably for a second life, to electrify the grid that provides power to the vehicle.

The thing that won me over, the reason I joined Rivian and the reason I’m extremely excited to talk to people now is this. The product is great, but the leaders have always said, “We’re going to build this thing that doesn’t exist. We’re going to do something.” And you’re like “Yeah, but what about all these challenges?” We’ll solve the problems, we’ll bring in the funding, we’ll get the right team, we’ll get the right product. When you’re around people who are just eternally optimistic, it’s so refreshing. It makes you motivated to do what you’re doing. When we spend time with our CEO, R.J., we might say, “I’m going to tell him this isn’t going to work. I’m going in,” and you walk in, and by the time you leave, you’re saying “Why am I excited to do this thing?” And you know you got “R.J.ed” again.

Kristin Shaw:  You got “R.J.ed”. It’s a verb.

Brian Gase:  Exactly. The fun side of it though is as you build people that share those values and share that sense of “No, we’re going to do this because we’re determined and we’re passionate.” Because we’re big-picture thinkers. It’s really, really cool to be a part of. I mean it’s so much more exciting to work with positive people in general.

Kristin Shaw:  That sounds like a great company to work with. How does it compare with its competitors?

Brian Gase:  From a current market today, there are a few EVs out in space. But from a SUV perspective, finding a vehicle that does 0-60 in three seconds, has 8,000-pound towing capacity, goes through three feet of water, has 400 miles of range, and is built in America just doesn’t really exist out there. Competitors are a really interesting thing though, because you can look at us from specialty truck side: are we competitive with trucks or are we competitive with EVs?

We’ve got the performance specs of sports cars, and it’s this real cool dichotomy of this and that, where you can bring all these features of a sports car into this truck but it fits more of their stuff. Or from the perspective of the vehicle as a truck, you have the space but you’re not trading off all those other daily uses to emissions. We’re really proud of that combination.

Kristin Shaw:  I think that’s where families are really going to see the difference. They buy vehicles for what they might do, maybe not what they do every day. They might tow a boat, they might tow a camper, they might need it to tow plywood or put furniture in it, but they can also not have a gas-guzzling vehicle.

Brian Gase:  We’re an adventure brand; we want people to go out and see the world and do things. For me, my adventure is no longer going out and snowboarding with friends, it’s taking my kids to a park and hanging out with them. I’ve got three kids in Cub Scouts – I pre-ordered the R1T as soon as I could and I can’t wait to have the kitchen and go to the Cub Scout campout with my boys and pull out the kitchen and cook off my battery.

That, to me, is going to be such a cool experience for people to see that you can use this electric footprint to do some really amazing stuff, and you can do it in a way that you no longer have a gas-guzzling vehicle. For me, it’s a really cool story to be a part of.

 

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The heartbeat of Aston Martin’s sports car range just got a little bit faster with the introduction of the new Vantage Roadster. Joining the Vantage Coupe, which was launched in 2018, Aston Martin says this convertible model amplifies the emotional appeal of a model renowned for delivering a compelling blend of potent performance, outstanding dynamics and everyday usability.

Powered by Aston Martin’s 4.0L twin-turbo  V8 engine and mated to an 8-speed ZF automatic transmission, Vantage Roadster accelerates from 0-60mph in just 3.7 seconds and is capable of 190 mph with the roof raised. Weight increases by just 132 pounds (60 kg) compared with the Coupe thanks to a new, lighter Z-fold roof mechanism and optimized exterior and chassis revisions throughout.

Aston Martin President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Andy Palmer, said of the Vantage Roadster: “Open-top Aston Martins are always firm favourites with our customers, so it’s very exciting to introduce the Vantage Roadster. For many, driving with the roof down is the true definition of the sports car experience as it truly brings your senses to life. Vantage has always delivered the purest of thrills, but in Roadster form that adrenaline rush is set to go to the next level”.

Careful development of structural shear panels and chassis components ensures the Vantage Roadster retains the strong dynamic ability and sporting character achieved in the Coupe with no compromise to feel or refinement. Sharing the same adaptive damping, dynamic stability control, dynamic torque vectoring and electronic rear differential, the Roadster benefits from specific dynamic refinements. These include a bespoke tune for the rear dampers, adaptive damping system software and ESP calibration.

As you’d expect from a dedicated sports car, a choice of Sport, Sport + and Track chassis modes – also tuned specifically for the Roadster – give the driver control of its dynamic character and behaviour. Working in harmony with Sport, Sport+ and Track powertrain modes retained from the Coupe offers the ability to progressively increase the car’s overall responsiveness and excitement, meaning the Roadster has a tremendous breadth of ability and feels equally at home on road or race track.

Aston Martin Vantage

While Vantage Roadster mirrors the Coupe’s exceptional tactility, pace and cornering performance, the design of the body is very much its own. The tautly tailored fabric hood features a compact powered Z-fold mechanism that ensures rapid operation (lowered in 6.7 or raised in 6.8 seconds at speeds of up to 50 kmh/31 mph). In fact, the roof of Vantage Roadster has the fastest full operating cycle of any automatic automotive convertible system.

An impressively low stack height pays the double dividend of allowing Aston Martin’s award-winning design team the latitude to create a seamless rear profile with minimal impact on the Roadster’s luggage space. For all of you who love the links, the Vantage has a trunk large enough to stow a full-sized golf bag and accessories.

The introduction of the Vantage Roadster sees a range of new options introduced across the Vantage range. To celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the Vantage nameplate, Aston Martin is introducing the company’s iconic ‘vane’ grille as an option, available on both Coupe and Roadster as an alternative to the track-inspired ‘hunter’ grille featured on the Coupe from its launch in 2018. There is also a new range of optional alloy wheel designs in a choice of finishes. Enthusiasts will also welcome the manual 7-speed transmission being offered as an option on the Coupe, having initially only been available in the limited-edition Vantage AMR.

Matt Becker, Aston Martin Chief Engineer, adds: “Convertible sports cars are often seen as compromised when compared to their Coupe equivalents, but the Vantage Roadster remains absolutely dedicated true to its mission of delivering precise, agile and expressive handling dynamics combined with stonking straight-line performance. And of course, there’s the added dimension of driving a great-sounding sports car with the roof down”.

The Vantage recommended retail price of the Vantage Roadster starts from $161,000 in USA. First deliveries of the Vantage Roadster are scheduled to begin during Q2 2020.

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The Toyota Camry is the best-selling sedan in the U.S. Not just one of the best, but the best model in the sedan category for the last 17 years prior. Sedan sales overall, however, have eroded due to the popularity of crossovers. And one advantage crossovers have held over sedans up to now is all-wheel drive.

While others are abandoning the sedan segment, Toyota continues to double down with new variants of its sedans. Right now, in the middle of winter, Toyota is aptly launching the new all-wheel drive Camry and Avalon models to combat that erosion.

It’s the first AWD Camry since 1991 (Toyota offered an AWD Camry in 1988-1991, called the AllTrac), and the first-ever Avalon with AWD. The Toyota-developed AWD system will be available as a standalone option for the Camry LE, XLE, SE and XSE grades and on Avalon XLE and Limited grades.

Both the Camry AWD and Avalon AWD get a high-efficiency 2.5-liter DOHC four-cylinder engine teamed with an 8-speed Direct-Shift automatic transmission. Most Camry AWD grades have 202 horsepower, while the Camry XSE AWD and both Avalon AWD grades have 205 hp with dual exhaust. The new AWD system balances added traction with exemplary fuel efficiency.

The Camry and Avalon AWD models underscore Toyota’s commitment to the sedan category. Both the new-generation Camry and Avalon sedans offer hybrid models, and, last fall, both added their first-ever TRD (Toyota Racing Development) performance versions.

Smarter All-Wheel Drive

To many car buyers, “all-wheel drive” may mean one thing, but there are many different AWD technologies on the market. Toyota found an ideal type of AWD for Camry and Avalon in its new-generation RAV4 compact SUV introduced for 2019. The Dynamic Torque Control AWD system provides effective traction for inclement and slippery weather while minimizing AWD’s typical drag on fuel economy. Admittedly, the system name is a mouthful; Camry and Avalon models equipped with it will carry a simple “AWD” badge on their trunk lids.

The Camry and Avalon AWD system can direct up to 50 percent of engine torque to the rear wheels, in response to acceleration from a start or slippage at the front wheels.

Notably, when AWD isn’t needed, such as on long highway stretches, the electromagnetic controlled coupling on the front of the rear drive axle can disengage the propeller shaft from the differential to prioritize fuel efficiency. The AWD is designed to re-engage in an instant when needed. AWD operation is transparent to the driver and passengers. On that note, the Camry and Avalon AWD models match their FWD counterparts in critical passenger space, trunk room, ride comfort, cabin quietness and vehicle agility.

Made in the USA

The Camry AWD and Avalon AWD are North America-only models developed in the U.S. and assembled exclusively at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky.

Neither the new-generation Camry nor Avalon was originally planned to have an AWD version, so the engineering team at Toyota Motor North America Research and Development in Saline, Michigan, developed them to meet the market demand for AWD sedans.

Since the RAV4 is also based on the same platform as the Camry and Avalon, the opportunity to share components and basic engineering was built in. The team combined the upper body structure of the Camry and Avalon with the engine, transmission, transfer case and rear differential from the RAV4. The RAV4’s version of the multi-link rear suspension was adapted with some modifications and tuning to suit the sedans. Both the Camry and Avalon AWD use a modified version of the propeller shaft from the all-new Highlander SUV.

Adapting the AWD drivetrain to the Camry and Avalon required floor structure modifications, plus the use of an electronic parking brake and a saddle-style fuel tank with an optimized capacity for AWD models rather than the flat-style tank in the FWD models. Inside the car has the same rear seat hip point height as the Camry and Avalon hybrid models. Despite the addition of a rear differential, the trunk floor height remains the same as in the FWD versions.

The transformation to AWD adds just 165 lbs. over the Camry FWD while the Avalon AWD weight is similar to that of its FWD V6 siblings.

Customers can expect the Camry and Avalon AWD to provide similar ride and handling characteristics as the FWD models, plus of course the added traction capability. The suspension tuning, wheels, and tires differentiating the Camry and Avalon model grades carry over to the new AWD models. That means, for example, the Camry XSE grade features the same sport-tuned suspension and 19-inch wheels in FWD and AWD versions.

The Camry AWD will be model year 2020 and arrive at dealerships in early spring. All AWD grades can get an optional Cold-Weather Package, which adds heated seats and mirrors on the LE, heated seats, mirrors and steering wheel on the SE, and heated steering wheel on the XLE and XSE. All other standard and optional features carry over from the FWD versions of the LE, XLE, SE and XSE model grades, including the latest Toyota Audio multimedia systems with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa compatibility.

The Avalon AWD will be model year 2021 and go on sale next fall. Both XLE and Limited AWD grades will receive a standard heated steering wheel while other standard and optional features carryover from the FWD versions.

Safety Features Standard

All 2020 Camry and Avalon models come standard with Toyota Safety Sense-P (TSS-P) a suite of active safety systems that includes:

  • Pre-collision system with pedestrian detection
  • Dynamic radar cruise control
  • Lane departure alert with steering assist
  • Automatic high beams

Blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert are available on Camry and standard on Avalon. Intelligent clearance sonar with rear cross traffic braking also are available on both models.

All 2020 Camry and Avalon models have 10 standard airbags and Toyota’s Star Safety System, which includes enhanced vehicle stability control, traction control, electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist, anti-lock braking system, and smart stop technology. All come equipped with a standard backup camera.

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The new 2021 GMC Canyon was revealed in the mountains of Colorado today, including a first-ever Canyon AT4 aimed squarely at premium midsize truck customers who purchase their trucks to venture off-road. The AT4 brings capability and appeal to the updated Canyon range.

“The new 2021 Canyon AT4 broadens the appeal to midsize truck customers who live an active lifestyle,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of Global Buick and GMC. “Much like the Sierra AT4 has attracted new customers from outside GMC, the Canyon AT4 will attract outdoor enthusiasts looking for a premium midsize truck to GMC with the capability, technology and refinement they’ve come to expect.”

2021 GMC Canyon AT4

First-Ever Canyon AT4

The Canyon AT4 advances the brand’s commitment to offering premium off-road capable vehicles with impressive styling details. Bolder exterior design is defined by dark chrome finishes, with a new larger grille design and red recovery hooks. The interior features premium detailing, including unique Kalahari stitching and AT4 headrest embroidery which brings the Canyon interior design in-line with its stablemates.

Added off-road confidence comes from standard equipment, including:

  • Greater capability from 31-inch Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac® tires fitted to 17-inch aluminum wheels
  • Off-road tuned suspension with Advanced Hill Descent Control System
  • Four-wheel drive system with Eaton G80 Rear Automatic Locking Differential
  • Transfer case skid plate providing additional protection when traveling off the beaten path

“This is a truck created with outdoor adventurers in mind,” said Aldred. “The Canyon AT4 is a perfect complement to the driver’s other passions and appreciation of the details, whether that’s a mountain bike, a snowboard or their truck.”

Refined Canyon Denali

GMC designers enhanced the iconic Denali grille with a more sculpted and layered pattern. Coupled with 5-inch chrome assist steps, signature chrome accents and Denali-exclusive 20-inch Diamond Cut aluminum wheels, the new Canyon Denali is modernized with a new look similar to the new Sierra and Sierra HD trucks.

“Denali represents GMC’s bold design philosophy and these changes further elevate the Canyon from the mainstream competition, while delivering a modern look for the customer,” said Holt Ware, director of GMC exterior design. “It features a more distinctive and sophisticated design that has become synonymous with Denali.”

Interior refinements include authentic open-pore ash wood trim, aluminum decor and unique stitching. A new Cocoa/Dark Atmosphere color theme further elevates the Denali interior and gives customers more options. Standard heated and ventilated front seats with a heated steering wheel increase driver comfort.

The new Canyon Denali and AT4 are powered by a best-in-class 308 horsepower (230 kW) 3.6L V6 engine. Additional power comes from an available 2.8L Diesel engine, offering 369 lb-ft (500 Nm) of torque.

The new 2021 GMC Canyon is built at GM’s Wentzville Assembly Center in Wentzville, Missouri.* The 2021 Canyon will be available later this year, with pricing announced closer to production.

Original post on the GMC site.

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If you don’t know Lexus, you might not know about the donation match up to $10,000 for each of their 200+ dealerships across the country. Or about their Eco Challenge, a nationwide STEM contest for students in grades 6-12. Or their devotion to quality materials and Takumi master certification.

You might not know the vision of their design, based on Japanese iconic elements like a samurai sword, or a traditional tea whisk, or origami folds. Or that the engine designers might dream of the faces of every person who contributed to the process over a six-year time period.

You would be surprised to discover how much of the Lexus process involves individual people doing very precise, challenging jobs that require perfection, like logo placement and ensuring the surface is absolutely smooth.

When you sit inside the a Lexus ES, now in its 7th generation of this vehicle, you may not think of these things. But you’ll know it feels like luxury. And you might feel a little closer to the brand. It’s about much more than the new paint colors or even the styling alone. It’s all of the little touches together.

The Knife’s Edge Of Luxury Sedans: The F SPORT

The F SPORT model is geared toward buyers who are ten years younger than the typical buyer of the ES. Lexus shows off its sporty side with aluminum pedals on the F SPORT that make the driver feel like mashing them to the floor. (We didn’t, but it was tempting.)

Lexus continues to impress with their innovation in interior design. In model year 2019, the ES offers three choices of wood trim: Linear Dark Mocha, Linear Espresso, and Matte Bamboo. They now offer a metallic trim that is standard on the F SPORT model called Hadori Aluminum, which is inspired by the Samurai sword-polishing process. The Hadori Aluminum trim has a 3D appearance, and the effect is indicative of the level of detail and craftsmanship that Lexus seems to display at every turn.

New Technology In The ES

The 2019 ES was the first Lexus to offer in-car integration of Amazon Alexa, called Lexus Plus Alexa. Much like someone might use it at home, drivers may use voice commands to direct Alexa, including Alexa Home Automation, which guides tasks such as turning on lights, setting a thermostat in the house, and, of course, even ordering Amazon purchases.

The 2019 ES was also the first Lexus to offer Apple CarPlay. The 2019 model didn’t offer Android Auto, but take heart: the brand added it for the 2020 model.

For music fanatics, the audio system can be upgraded to the spectacular Mark Levinson system. I had a chance to listen to the Mark Levinson system in Nashville, and the quality was unreal. Whether you go for hip-hop, rock, pop, or classical, it’s going to sound incredible in this vehicle.

The Sounds Of Silence

Chief Engineer Yasuhiro Sakakibara and his team were tasked with improving the performance of the ES.

According to Sakakibara-san, “We knew that this ES had to feel responsive and easy to drive, no matter what kind of road it was on and that can only be achieved with a solid foundation.”

Part of that foundation on the inside of the car is the extraordinary attention paid to noise. More accurately stated, the vast reduction of noise.

The new ES features absorbing materials that covers 93% of the interior, and incorporates a silencer pad that muffles unwanted engine noise. Noise-reduction wheels on the available 18-inch version have hollow sections and a “resonator hole”, which directs the air through the tire to helps to reduce road noise, too. And under the floor, performance dampers have been added improve handling stability and ride comfort.

Our Pick: The 300h

Of the three trims available – the ES 350, ES 350 F SPORT, and the ES 300h – the 300h was our favorite. The zippy hybrid engine puts up an impressive 44 mpg, which is stunning. And the 2019 model adds 15 to the total horsepower, and it feels evident from the first acceleration. Built exclusively at the Kyushu plant in Japan, the 300h is something special; the rest of the ES trim levels for North America will be built in Georgetown, Kentucky.

FACTS: We’ve Got ‘Em

  • This is first Lexus to offer Apple CarPlay
  • Largest in class 10.2-inch head up display as an option
  • The new model offers increase of 34 horsepower and 0-60 MPH in half a second faster
  • Overall greater fuel efficiency then the previous model
  • Updated battery placement gives the vehicle an additional four and a half cubic feet of cargo storage area in the 300h
  • Plenty of new technology and features in all models to reduce road noise
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