2019 BMW Z4: Der Supragänger – Future Cars

2019 BMW Z4 (spy photo)2019 BMW Z4 (spy photo)2019 BMW Z4 (spy photo)2019 BMW Z4 (spy photo)2019 BMW Z4 (spy photo)2019 BMW Z4 (spy photo)2019 BMW Z4 (spy photo)2019 BMW Z4 (spy photo)2019 BMW Z4 (spy photo)2019 BMW Z4 (spy photo)2019 BMW Z4 (spy photo)2019 BMW Z4 (spy photo)2019 BMW Z4 (spy photo)2019 BMW Z4 (spy photo)

Powered by WPeMatico

GM’s Maven Extends Its “You Don’t Need a Car” Message to Canada

GM-Maven-1

The way automakers earn the bulk of their revenue has remained the same for more than a century: Customers step into dealerships once every few years and buy a new car. Now that automakers are branching into offering mobility services, however, the companies realize that their business model needs to be reconfigured to chase fickle consumers who, rather than signing new purchase or lease agreements every few years, are able to choose among various transportation options every single day.

“All that has to happen tomorrow morning is that people wake up and don’t come,” said  Rachel Bhattacharya, chief growth officer at Maven, the car-sharing brand that’s one of General Motors’ principal players in the new mobility realm. “That’s all that has to happen, and the company is dead. When you are in the services business, it’s a completely different animal. Every day, someone has to wake up and choose you. You live and die by that.”

One way Maven strives to keep customers in its vehicles is by having cars available in as many markets as are profitable. To that end, the car-sharing brand launched service in Toronto early in February, opening its first location outside the United States. At the outset, Maven will have 40 vehicles available in the city, some of which start at hourly rates as low as the equivalent of U.S. $7.25.

One way that Maven differentiates itself from competitors such as Zipcar is by offering a portfolio of vehicles that range in size from the subcompact Chevrolet Spark to the Cadillac Escalade luxury SUV. Customers can tailor the vehicle they borrow to the outing they’re undertaking.

GM-Maven-Toronto

With Toronto operational, Maven has spread to 16 markets across North America. Since its inception in January 2016, the brand has served some 114,000 customers, who have driven a collective 243 million miles. Those numbers are a microscopic sliver of the miles compiled on personally owned GM vehicles, but the company’s aggressive promotion and prioritizing of Maven shows a readiness to prepare for a future that will be less reliant on ownership.

General Motors says that each shared car removes approximately 10 private cars from the road, and that’s consistent with findings from a 2016 study conducted by researchers at the University of California at Berkeley. Their study of the effects of Car2Go, the world’s largest car-sharing company, found that members sold between one and three personal vehicles for each one available in the company’s fleet. Further, they said, between four and nine new-vehicle acquisitions were suppressed. Overall, that meant between seven and 11 vehicles were removed from the road across the study cities for each car-sharing vehicle available.

“When you are in the services business, it’s a completely different animal. Every day, someone has to wake
-up and choose you.”

– Rachel Bhattacharya, Maven

Subverting new-car sales may have once been heresy at a company like General Motors, but in a press release announcing the Toronto expansion, GM makes a bold statement: “Thanks to Maven, car ownership in Toronto is no longer necessary.”

By strategically choosing to locate near other transportation options, such as bus depots and train stations, Maven says its service functions as one cog among multiple options and that, by maintaining careful oversight of its fleet, it can attract customers.

“We have more points of control over our business. We control fleet size, fleet composition, and where it’s parked, and that gives us a lot more ability to influence that customer experience than, I think, a pure platform company would have,” Bhattacharya said. “There are actually advantages to owning and deploying your own fleet and making those decisions on your own.”

GM-Maven-3

If Toronto helps GM further its car-sharing aims, then Maven’s arrival furthers Toronto’s efforts to cast itself as a city eager to experiment with mobility options.

Google’s Sidewalks Labs subsidiary has announced plans to transform a section of Toronto’s waterfront into a hub for urban innovation that includes “a mobility system that is safer and more convenient than the private car at much lower cost.” The city is also one of 20 finalists in the race to land Amazon’s second headquarters and the only one located outside the United States. In its request for proposals, Amazon noted that factors in its decision would include traffic congestion and the ability to offer a range of transportation options.

Even as Toronto touts visions of a better transportation future, it is grappling with some of the realities today. Start with the finite number of parking spaces for both car-sharing vehicles and privately owned ones. In January, city council members expressed concern that a Car2Go pilot project would take away too many parking spots in Toronto’s residential areas and balked at issuing the necessary permits to the company, which is a subsidiary of Daimler. In turn, Car2Go has been so incensed by the holdup that it has threatened to stop operating in Toronto, according to a CBC news report.

There’s an important difference in the ways that Maven and Car2Go function. Maven contracts for dedicated parking spots in both public and private garages and lots, whereas Car2Go relies on a “free floating” business model in which customers can park the cars anywhere on public streets within designated zones; they don’t need to be returned to a base location.

But the broader implications of the parking squabble in Toronto remain thorny for car-sharing operations. While government clamors about the perils of a car-centric culture, aiming to reduce traffic congestion and offer more mobility choices, in practice the city council’s reluctance here delivers a mixed message. If one thing is clear, it’s that car companies like Daimler and General Motors, through their car-sharing brands, are willing to shed the traditions and revenues associated with private car ownership and forge a new path.

Powered by WPeMatico

2018 Subaru BRZ tS Driven: It Needs More Power, So It Has More Grip

Limited to a production run of just 500 for 2018, the Subaru BRZ tS (“tuned by STI”) is the new benchmark version of the company’s rear-wheel-drive sports coupe. This dialed-in BRZ offers more grip and control than ever before while retaining the brilliant car’s familiar well-balanced character. A spoiler alert, though: If you’ve always thought the BRZ needs another 100 horsepower, you’ll come away from the tS experience with that belief intact. READ MORE ››

Powered by WPeMatico

2018 Subaru BRZ tS – First Drive Review

2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS2018 Subaru BRZ tS 2.0-liter flat-4 engine2018 Subaru BRZ tS 2.0-liter flat-4 engine

Powered by WPeMatico

Four-Leaf Figures: Alfa Romeo Announces Pricing for Its Stelvio Quadrifoglio SUV

2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio

Alfa Romeo is finally putting a price on its Stelvio Quadrifoglio crossover SUV. With a starting price of $81,590, the high-performance Quadrifoglio costs a mere $38,600 more than the entry-level, 280-hp Alfa Romeo Stelvio. For reference, Alfa charges $35,200 to upgrade from the bottom-of-the-barrel Giulia to the manic Giulia Quadrifoglio. 

Of course, the Quadrifoglio is a different beast. Unlike the four-cylinder Stelvio, the Quadrifoglio relies on a Ferrari-derived twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V-6 engine for momentum. An eight-speed automatic transmission with chunky column-mounted paddle shifters channels the engine’s 505 thoroughbred horses to the tarmac by way of a standard all-wheel-drive system.

2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio

Mat the throttle to the floor, and Alfa claims the Stelvio Quadrifoglio will get to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds, which is 1.5 seconds quicker than a four-cylinder Stelvio we recently tested, but 0.2 second behind the last Porsche Macan Turbo we took to the track (a 440-hp model equipped with the Performance package and an as-tested price of $96,295).

A handful of subtle exterior differences separate the Stelvio Quadrifoglio from its less powerful counterpart. Keen eyes will spot trim-specific features such as extra aggressive front and rear fascias, a vented hood, a pair of fender-mounted four-leaf-clover badges, special 20-inch wheels, and big six-piston Brembo brake calipers clamping on the front discs. Optional items include a set of carbon-ceramic brake rotors and lightweight Sparco front seats with carbon-fiber shells.

Sure, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio requires a pretty penny to own. However, if the 10Best Cars–winning Giulia Quadrifoglio is anything to go by, then the Stelvio Quadrifoglio seems sure to be one of the most enjoyable ways to spend north of $80,000 on a performance-oriented crossover.

2018-Alfa-Romeo-Stelvio-Quadrifoglio-REEL

Powered by WPeMatico

Four-Leaf Figures: Alfa Romeo Announces Pricing for Its Stelvio Quadrifoglio SUV

2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V-6 engine

Powered by WPeMatico

Time Is Money: We Test a $200K 1981 Toyota Land Cruiser

1981-Toyota-Land-Cruiser-FJ43-Resto-PLACEMENT

Keeping up with the increasingly powerful and computer-assisted automobile is serious work. It can dazzle our senses one minute and numb them the next. We’re not complaining; we just sometimes need to unwind with a hot soak in frivolity. Such as driving a custom 1981 Toyota Land Cruiser that costs as much as a new Lamborghini Huracán. READ MORE ››

Powered by WPeMatico

How the FJ Company Turns a Vintage Toyota Land Cruiser into a $200K Custom 4×4

How the FJ Company Turns a Vintage Toyota Land Cruiser into a $200K Custom 4x4Them BonesThe BreakdownWhere’d This Go?The FoundationPlumbing the SystemGet Rollin’Skin DeepGettin’ Its Shine OnAlways Wear ProtectionShimmy ShimmyThat’s More Like ItTopping It OffHefty HardwareClassy TouchesNew FurnishingsContemporary ThronesMaking It YoursWait for It

Powered by WPeMatico

Time Is Money: We Test a $200K 1981 Toyota Land Cruiser – Instrumented Test

1981 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ431981 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ431981 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ431981 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ431981 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ431981 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ431981 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ431981 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ431981 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ431981 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ431981 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ431981 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ431981 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ431981 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ431981 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ431981 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ431981 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ431981 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ431981 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ431981 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ431981 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ431981 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ431981 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ431981 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ431981 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ431981 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ431981 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ431981 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ431981 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ431981 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ431981 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ431981 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ431981 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ431981 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ431981 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ431981 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ43

Powered by WPeMatico

Prime Mover: Subaru Looks to Toyota Prius for Its First Plug-In Hybrid

Toyota Prius Prime - foundation for Subaru PHEV

Subaru’s first ever plug-in hybrid, which is due to go on sale late this year, will use technology from the Toyota Prius Prime.

That detail was revealed in a recent report from Automotive News, quoting Subaru’s chief technical officer, Takeshi Tachimori, as saying that they “have used Toyota’s technologies as much as possible.”

That borrowing strategy might serve Subaru quite well—and fit Subaru’s strategy of sticking to all-wheel drive whenever possible. Toyota in Japan actually already sells an all-wheel-drive version of the current Prius. It’s called the E-Four, and it has a separate (third) electric motor that’s mounted in back and drives the rear wheels.

While that AWD version isn’t offered in a plug-in hybrid version, it might just be a matter of mixing and matching components. Subaru, of course, will need to alter the hybrid components to work with the longitudinal engine layout of its own platform. That’s a task that Subaru looked at tackling once before—a decade ago, when a technology-sharing agreement gave the automaker access to Toyota’s hybrid hardware.

Subaru Hybrid Tourer concept

Subaru also dabbled at least once before with the rear-motor strategy, in the Hybrid Tourer concept [above] from 2009, but the company took a less adventurous route with its only production hybrid for the U.S. market to date: the Crosstrek hybrid, a model with lackluster performance, a hefty price premium that offset any improvement in mileage, and what we described as crude hybridization. It was only sold for the 2014 through 2016 model years.

The plug-in hybrid project stands apart from an electric-vehicle effort that also has the two automakers working together. Late last year, Subaru joined an alliance with Toyota, Mazda, and the supplier Denso to work toward electric-vehicle development. The venture now also includes Suzuki, Daihatsu, and the truckmaker Hino.

As for which Subaru model will get the plug-in hybrid treatment, that information is still under wraps. What isn’t a secret at this point is that Subaru plans to reveal the model later in the year, and it could go on sale by the end of the year as Subaru works to comply with California’s Zero Emission Vehicle requirements.

Powered by WPeMatico