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2020 Toyota Supra

It’s been a while, Supra.

In January of 2019, Akio Toyoda stood on the stage in Detroit. The throngs of media packed into the room knew what was coming and there was heavy anticipation. The Supra was back.

“They say all good things come to those who wait, even a really long time,” he said. “And now, finally, the next chapter in the story can begin!”

The Supra was officially launched in the US on the first day of 1979. With a 110-hp 2.6L six-cylinder engine, this offshoot of the popular Celica started at just over $10K. Five inches longer than the Celica, the Supra also included air conditioning, an AM/FM radio, and the option to add a sunroof and cruise control.

Alas, Toyota ceased production of the Supra in 2002, as demand waned; they had put the kibosh on exporting this sleek sports car.

Fun Fact: In 2001, Paul Walker drove a 1993 Supra stunt car in the first “The Fast and the Furious movie”. The characters worked it over and tweaked it until it was so fast that it beat a Ferrari on the street. It later sold for $185,000 at auction.

2020 Toyota Supra

A race car for every day

“I’m sure for each of you there’s been at least one car in your life that you have a particular attachment to, one car that holds a special place in your heart and for me, the Supra is it,” Toyoda told the crowd in Detroit last year. “Back in the day my old Supra and I spent countless hours together as I learned to become a master driver. But you can imagine the teasing and stares that I got from all the other manufacturers at Nürburgring, who were driving their beautiful new prototypes while I’m out there  driving what felt like an automotive version of Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree. I mean it was a great car but you know, a guy can only take so much!”

Toyoda told the crowd that the brand had no plans to make a new Supra, but diehard Supra fans around the world clamored for its return.

REVEALED: the 2021 Toyota Sienna and Venza

2020 Toyota Supra

Why choose a Supra?

After taking it on an extended test drive three and a half hours across the state of Texas, I get it. The Supra is highly addicting and it’s plush inside, sharing some DNA and a platform with the BMW Z4. As F1 driver Fernando Alonso says, it’s like a race car you can drive comfortably every day.

It’s wonderfully loud, so don’t think you’re going to sneak up on anyone in a Supra. It’s not afraid to burst into the space with flair and attitude. That means there is some road noise inside, but it’s not terrible. Storage space is surprisingly ample for such a small car, and the designers found ways to make every inch count.

What you need to know

  • The Supra is a two-seater; leave the kids at home and take this one out on date nights or commute the office
  • Turbocharged 3.0L six-cylinder engine (335 horsepower, 365 lb-ft of torque)
  • RWD and automatic are the only options
  • Standard features include 19-inch wheels, remote start, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather and simulated suede seats and upholstery, power front seats, 6.5-inch touchscreen, and a 10-speaker audio system
  • Standard safety features: auto emergency braking, lane keep assist, and auto high beams
  • Highly recommended: upgrade to the Navigation + JBL package for an upgraded 8.8-inch touchscreen with navigation, along with Apple CarPlay and a 12-speaker JBL audio system

 

REVIEWED: 2020 Toyota Avalon TRD

Music pairing

The first cassette I ever played in a car while I was driving was Guns N’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction. It felt so empowering to drive my own car and pressure from my right foot found the top range of the accelerator more often than I care to admit. As I was driving the Supra, this is the song that ran through my head:

 

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2020 cadillac CT4

The CT4 may be tamer than the CTS-V, but that’s not necessarily bad.

When the Cadillac CT4 showed up in my driveway, it evoked fond memories. Last year, I had a CTS-V in my possession for one glorious week. I took my mom on a three-hour drive north to Dallas for the day, and every time I revved the engine, she giggled. Every time the seat belt hugged us in for a tighter fit after we fastened it, she said “ooh!” The sedan topped out over $100K, but I can’t say it isn’t worth it: with 640 hp and a supercharged 6.2L engine, this was not your granddad’s Cadillac. It’s more of a luxury car with the heart of a muscle car, and it was awesome to drive.

Overall, the CT4 is a tamed steed versus a wild stallion. It’s smaller and lighter with half the horsepower. What you need to know, however, is that sometimes having a broken-in horse is the better choice – depending on what you need, of course.

Need more Cadillac? Check out the XT6

2020 Cadillac CT4

Two engine choices

The CT4 is an all-new sedan replacing the Cadillac ATS It’s part of the first generation of the sedan introduced for model year 2020. Compared frequently to a similarly-sized Audi A3 or a Mercedes-Benz A-Class, the CT4 can hold its own for fans of the brand.

The 2020 Cadillac CT4 is available in four trim levels: Luxury, Premium Luxury, Sport and the top-of-the-line V-Series. The one I drove this week was the Premium Luxury, which means it includes all the features of the ground-floor Luxury and is available with either the 237-hp 2.0L engine or an optional turbocharged 310-hp, 2.7L four-cylinder matched to a 10-speed automatic.

Engine choice alone is enough to choose the mid-range trim. Other features include auto-dimming mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, handsome 18-inch wheels, and forward collision alert (which flashes a big red box on the instrument cluster and emits a loud alarm if danger is imminent).

In the Sport trim, the CT4 comes with the same 2.0L engine as the Luxury model. The sport also adds meaty Brembo brakes and shift paddles along with a more athletic profile. Honestly, I’m perplexed by this combination of the smaller engine and bigger brakes on the Sport. It makes more sense that the next trim up (the CT4-V) comes standard with a tweaked version of the 2.7L turbocharged engine that generates 325 hp, and the Brembos.

If fuel economy is important to you, note that the epa-estimated mpg is 20 city/ 30 highway for the CT4. The CT4-V requires premium gasoline and costs about $6K more than the Sport trim.

What’s new on the 2021 Cadillac Escalade? 

 

CT4 or CT5? That is the question.

The CT4 is a smaller, more compact sedan. It’s nearly six inches shorter than the CT5 but interestingly, the headroom in front is only less than an inch taller in the CT5.  If you regularly ferry tall teens from place to place, the CT5 offers four inches more legroom, which will make a difference for them.

In terms of engine size, the base model of the CT4 and CT5 both come standard with the 237-hp 2.0L.

Base model pricing:

CT4 Luxury (2.0T engine) $33,990 $36,590
CT5 Luxury (2.0T engine) $37,890 $40,490

2020 cadillac ct4
In summary…

If a luxury sedan is on your mind, the CT4 checks all of the boxes. The drive was incredibly smooth and the seats supremely supple and comfortable. As an audiophile, I was a little disappointed in the sound quality of the Bose audio system and felt it might need some retooling of the locations of the speakers. On the other hand, I appreciated all of the options to change the station without looking down; there are three places to turn the volume up or down and two knobs to scroll through the channels. It all works together very well.

Musical pairing

Is the CT4 worth it? I say yes. It’s fairly priced and it’s a great choice for the luxury set.

This Missy Elliott song matches our theme well:

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“Obsessive” is not a bad word at Rolls-Royce

When reviewing client feedback from the first Goodwood Ghost, it became clear to Rolls-Royce that its cocooning, near-silent acoustic properties were of the utmost importance. Ghost owners value the sense of calm and wellness that their Rolls-Royce creates. Therefore, in creating new Ghost, the marque’s team of acoustic specialists were obsessively focused on this highly complicated engineering task.

To achieve a sense of absolute serenity, the acoustic team began by adapting the marque’s proprietary aluminum spaceframe architecture. A double-skinned bulkhead section was selected to insulate the cabin from the already near-silent 6.75L V12 engine, and space in the roof, trunk, and floor were created to fill with more than 100 kg of sound-absorbing materials. Additionally, the brand chose double-glazed windows with a clear composite center sheet as well as tires lined with lightweight acoustic insulation foam.

New Ghost Acoustic Engineering Lead Tom Davis-Reason says, “The extraordinary acoustic quality of new Ghost is the result of significant engineering developments and fastidious attention to detail, but it really is underpinned by the marque’s proprietary aluminum architecture. There is simply no way we could have created such an acoustically refined environment using a steel platform.”

Once the sound stage was created, every component was obsessively interrogated for its acoustic properties. Those that produced unacceptable levels of noise were discarded and completely redesigned at the home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, West Sussex. Even the inside of the air conditioning ducts were smoothed to better insulate clients from intrusive noises.

Whisper-soft sound quality

Here’s the interesting part: upon early testing the acoustic team discovered that removing all noise was disorienting. Their solution was to create a ‘whisper’ – a soft undertone that clients experienced as a single, subtle note. To achieve this, each component had to be tuned to a specific resonant frequency. This task included the creation of acoustically tuned damping units for the seat frames, as well as a suite of ports between the cabin and the large 500-litre boot to ensure the low frequency it generated was consistent with new Ghost’s ‘note’.

The marque’s experts named this exhaustive process the Formula for Serenity. Following its creation, these specialists presented the acoustic advances they had made, showcasing how these developments would serve the demands of new Ghost clients. Rolls-Royce has elected to share elements of these internal briefings to demonstrate the engineering substance that underpins this extraordinary new motor car ahead of its official unveiling this year.

 

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Nissan safety

Important safety technology now in more Nissan models

Nissan is now offering its Rear Door Alert (RDA) technology on 12 models and is expected to be available on all four-door trucks, sedans and SUVs by 2022.  Designed to help reduce risks posed by dangerous interior car temperatures, this technology was invented by a pair of Nissan engineers who are also mothers. RDA was inspired by pan of lasagna accidentally left in the back seat of a car overnight.

Marlene Mendoza, one of the inventing engineers and a mother of three, was pregnant when the idea struck. “[After the lasagna incident] the car smelled for days, but it made me ask myself, ‘What if I left something far more important back there?'”

Rear Door Alert reminds owners to check the rear seat upon exiting their vehicle by using a series of distinctive honks as the driver walks away from the vehicle. Nissan is the first automaker to use a honking horn as an alert for this type of feature.

The system uses door sequence logic, the center instrument panel message display and multiple horn honks to help remind drivers to check the rear seat after the vehicle is parked. The system can help remind parents and caregivers that precious cargo is in the back seat.

RDA expansion

For model year 2020, RDA is standard on the Nissan Altima, Armada, Kicks (SV and SR), LEAF, Murano, Maxima, Pathfinder, Rogue, Rogue Sport, Sentra, TITAN (King Cab and Crew Cab) and Versa (SV and SR).

In 2019, Nissan joined other vehicle manufacturers in a pledge to have a rear seat reminder feature in essentially all cars and trucks by model year 2025 or sooner. Under this commitment, automakers will introduce a wide range of approaches to help parents and caregivers remember to check the back seat as they leave a vehicle.

How RDA works

Once activated, the system monitors when a rear door is opened and closed before and after the vehicle is in motion. If a rear door was used before a trip but was not opened after the vehicle is parked, the system reminds the driver to check the rear seat. Once the vehicle is in park, the system will first display a notification in the instrument panel. If the driver exits the vehicle and does not open a rear door, the system progresses to distinctive chirps of the horn.

The RDA system is easy to configure and can be temporarily, or permanently, turned on through a menu in the cluster display or through a separate RDA switch, depending on the model.

To learn more about Rear Door Alert and the full Nissan vehicle lineup, visit here.

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Hagerty classic car

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.

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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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