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It’s pronounced “shir- on,” costs $2.7M, and packs 1,500 hp. But how fast is it?

1,500-HP BUGATTI CHIRON ■ FIRST TESTS: LAMBORGHINI AVENTADOR SV AND MCLAREN 675LT ■ CAMARO VS. M4

MAY 2016 VOL. 68, NO. 5

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May 2016 EST. 1949 VOL. 68, NO. 5

36

COVER STORY

RESETTING THE BENCHMARK 2017 Bugatti Chiron Move over, Veyron. Here comes the faster, more powerful Chiron. Angus MacKenzie

TESTS & DRIVES

70

48 NO FUN ’TIL FELONY

72 MAKING A BACK ROAD MURDERER

56 DIGGING DEEPER 2016 McLaren 675LT

80 HYPED-UP HOT HATCH IS A KNOCKOUT

2015 Lamborghini Aventador SV Drive fast, or don’t bother driving. Scott Evans The latest big Mac further blurs the line between mechanical and computer engineering. Christian Seabaugh

62 NORTH STAR 2016 Cadillac CT6 Seeking brand guidance in the new big Caddy. Benson Kong

2015 BMW M4 VS 2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS When identical ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. Jonny Lieberman 2016 Ford Focus RS In this case, that’s a very good thing. Jason Cammisa

88 POWERAGE 2016 Audi S6 4.0T Quattro

VS 2016 Cadillac CTS V-Sport VS 2016 Lexus GS F With luxury sport sedans more powerful than ever, these three bridge the gap. Christian Seabaugh

68

MOTOR TREND (ISSN 0027-2094) May 2016, Vol. 68, No. 5. Published monthly by TEN: The Enthusiast Network, LLC, 261 Madison Ave., 6th Floor, New York, NY 10016-2303. Copyright© 2016 by TEN: The Enthusiast Network Magazines, LLC; All rights reserved. Periodicals Postage Paid at New York, NY, and at additional mailing offices. SUBSCRIPTIONS: U.S. and U.S. Possessions $18 for 12 issues. Canada $30 per year and international orders $42 per year (including surface mail postage). Payment in advance, U.S. funds only. POSTMASTER: Send all UAA to CFS. (See DMM 707.4.12.5); NON-POSTAL AND MILITARY FACILITIES: send address corrections to: MOTOR TREND, P.O. Box 420235, Palm Coast, FL 32142-0235.


Contents MOTOR TREND OnDEMAND IS NOW LIVE! FOR MORE THAN 1,000 HOURS OF ORIGINAL AUTOMOTIVE

1

programming, live motorsports, and an extensive historical archive, head to www.motortrendondemand.com.

DEPARTMENTS & FEATURES 8 14 14 22 24 24 26 28 30 32 118

LOHDOWN Edward Loh TREND INTAKE This month’s hot metal. NEWCOMER 2016 Buick Cascada convertible WE SAY Words from our editors. THE KIINOTE Ron Kiino TECHNOLOGUE Frank Markus DETOUR Gear, info. THEY SAY INTERVIEW Takahiro Hachigo YOUR SAY Our readers talk back. THE BIG PICTURE Angus MacKenzie

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6 MOTORTREND.COM / MAY 2016

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ARRIVAL Subaru BRZ UPDATES Chevrolet Colorado Z71, Honda CR-V Touring AWD, Mercedes-Benz CLA250 4Matic, Nissan Maxima SR VERDICTS Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, Volkswagen GTI

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The Lohdown

From Zero to a Billion

During the production of this issue, Motor Trend’s YouTube channel delivered its 1 billionth video view. To put that into context, 1 billion Motor Trend YouTube video views equal roughly: 4,978,014,801 MINUTES, 82,966,913 HOURS, 3,456,954 DAYS, OR 9,465 YEARS. But how exactly did we go from zero to a billion? I chatted with Jim Gleason and Mike Suggett, the two guys who (along with my predecessor, Angus MacKenzie) started it all.

ups didn’t really see value in video, especially putting our videos on YouTube for free. It was an uphill battle convincing people that video was not only fun but that it was our future.

When did you realize the channel was a “thing?” JG: I remember making our first Motor Trend drag race film: a Mercedes E63 against a BMW M5. We were quite proud of the final edit. It had the perfect blend of hot cars, racing, and Randy Pobst. However, at the time, we were strictly forbidden to post anything on YouTube by the upper management. I said screw it (sorry, Angus) What made the YouTube channel a success? and just posted it up for fun one night. The next Jim Gleason: I think Angus really deserves a lot day, I checked the video, and it had something of credit for the success of Motor Trend’s video like 15,000 views. I took it down immediately for channel. Video was critical in his mind, and fear of being fired, but I knew at that moment his support was essential for the success of the that we were on to something.  Motor Trend YouTube channel. Equally important was his hands-off managerial style, as that MS: For me it was “World’s Greatest Drag Race,” allowed us lots of creative freedom. We learned the very first one, because that was the first video so much in those super-creative early years, and where we uploaded it, looked at it an hour later, I think that had a profound effect on how we and saw it had 100,000 views. We checked back a shaped the channel in later years. few hours later, and it was at 400,000 views. The Mike Suggett: Another huge part was our collec- growth was unprecedented for us, and we knew that it was replicable. We’d hit upon a format that tion of directors, editors, producers, and hosts, we could revisit again and again and pretty much a team that didn’t necessarily come up through guarantee seven-figure views. the traditional Hollywood or broadcast system. We were a lot of people’s first directing jobs, first editing jobs, first on-camera jobs. They didn’t What does one billion views mean to you? know what they didn’t know, so a lot of the ways MS: A billion views in a genre that wasn’t really we went out and shot, how lean our crews were, YouTube-friendly, or at least YouTube-favored— how quickly we evolved shows on the fly, it was that’s a big deal. We aren’t a vlog. We aren’t a much more reactive and flexible than what a lot music, fashion, or gaming channel. I don’t think of people were doing with automotive video or automotive is even a drop-down category in video in general. YouTube, or at least it wasn’t for a long time. One billion is a testament to being authentic to the automotive community and respecting the What were some early mistakes? differences, and obviously trying to program to JG: We made so many mistakes in the beginwhat brings it all together: the passion. ning. I think the biggest one was not giving the YouTube crowd credit for being mature enough to consume real, meaty, and authentic content. What’s next? Where is this video thing going? In the early days of online video, there was this MS: Having come this far, we have a strong feel false belief that videos would only be successful for the kind of content people want to see and, if they were short and simple. We started to hit we believe, the right kind of content people will a stride on YouTube when we began to produce actually pay for. Motor Trend OnDemand, our longer-form videos with more in-depth content. new subscription video platform, represents the evolution of everything we have done to date. It’s very exciting to think about What kind of resistance did Suggett a business model where the you face early on? does his only programming concern is JG: I remember way early on, famous whether the video will resonate Mike and I were chomping at “Teen Wolf” impression. with the audience. In other the bit to get some videos up words, Motor Trend OnDemand on YouTube simply because we is an effort to actually program knew it would be the easiest way directly for the viewer. to validate what we were doing. Hopefully they will enjoy it At the time, Motor Trend was still and support it so we can just very much a magazine-centric continue to feed those viewers. business and many of the higher That is the next step for us. n 8 MOTORTREND.COM / MAY 2016

WHAT’S ON DEMAND THIS MONTH?

LIVE! Pirelli World Challenge racing!

We used to call it “Netflix for Car Guys,” but that’s not right, because nobody— not Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, or HBO Go—shows as much RACING as we do. Pirelli World Challenge kicks off this month’s racing schedule, along with brand-new episodes of our Motor Trend ORIGINAL PROGRAMS. For more info, head to motortrendondemand.com. MARCH 11 LIVESTREAM Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of St. Petersburg MARCH 14 FIM Superenduro World Championship (Brazil) Engine Masters ep. 8 MARCH 17 FIM Motocross World Championship (Qatar) MARCH 18 Roadkill ep. 49 MARCH 21 V8 Supercars Clipsall 500 (Australia) Ignition ep. 148 MARCH 23 RIM Freestyle MX World Championship (Germany) Head 2 Head ep. 75 MARCH 24 FIM Motocross World Championship (Thailand) Roadkill Garage ep. 3 MARCH 28 FIM Superenduro World Championship (Czech Republic) MARCH 29 Dirt Every Day ep. 50 MARCH 30 FIM Freestyle MX World Championship (Sweden) MARCH 31 FIM Motocross World Championship (Malaysia) APRIL 4 FIM Superenduro World Championship (Spain) V8 Supercars Tasmania SuperSprint Ignition ep. 151 APRIL 6 FIM Freestyle Motorcross (Poland) Head 2 Head Drag Race ep. 2 APRIL 7 Porsche Carrera Cup (Australia) Hot Rod Garage ep. 39 APRIL 11 Engine Masters ep. 9 APRIL 13 British Touring Car Championship (England) APRIL 14 Toyota Finance 86 Championship (New Zealand) APRIL 15 FIM Motorcross World Championship (Netherlands) Formula 4 (England) Roadkill ep. 50

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NEWS / OPINION / GOSSIP / STUFF

INTAKE P14

TREND5.16

THIS MONTH’S HOT METAL

WE SAY P24

WORDS FROM OUR EDITORS

DETOUR P28

GEAR, FACTS, INFO

AEROBLADE Air pulled through C-pillar vents is energized to create a virtual rear spoiler at speed. It’s called the Aeroblade.

FIRST LOOK

Aston Martin DB11 “The most beautiful DB car in the history of Aston Martin.” That’s a bold call in the context of Aston Gran Turismos designed by Zagato and Callum, but design chief Marek Reichman has reason to feel proud of the DB11. It’s a looker, extravagantly proportioned and carefully tailored. “Every millimeter of this car is where we wanted it,” he says.

14 MOTORTREND.COM / MAY 2016

All-new. Reichman and his colleagues at Aston Martin savor the phrase, rolling it around their palates as if they were gargling Cristal. And with good reason: The launch of an all-new Aston Martin is a rare occurrence. The car the DB11 replaces, the DB9, first appeared in 2004. And even then, the V-12 engine under the hood was a reworked version of a powerplant that debuted in the 2000 DB7 V12 Vantage.

“It’s not very often in your career someone says, ‘Here’s a blank sheet of paper,’ ” Aston Martin engineering boss Ian Minards says. “That’s a great moment.” And Minards’ team has made the most of the opportunity. The DB11’s core structure is a bonded aluminum

monocoque, but every pressing, every extrusion, every cast node is brand-new. The result is a claimed curb weight just under 3,900 pounds. Welded aluminum subframes support a new unequal-length control-arm suspension setup up front and a multilink rear axle. Shocks are the latest-generation DampTronic “skyhook” units from Bilstein, the steel brakes are from Brembo, the steering assist is ZF’s newest electric system,


I would love to see the manual transmission survive.” THEY SAY P30 INTERVIEW

TAKAHIRO HACHIGO, CEO, HONDA

YOUR SAY P32

READERS TALK BACK

The launch of an all-new Aston Martin is a rare occurrence.

and Bridgestone has supplied a bespoke tire called—wait for it— the S007. “It’s their formulation, their carcass design, their tread pattern,” Minards says, “but our compound.” The chassis has been tuned by Matt Becker, who joined Aston Martin in late 2014 as chief vehicle attribute engineer after a 26-year career at Lotus, where his credits include every Lotus road car since the 2001 Elise S2. With Becker’s input, expect the DB11 to be more agile and more nimble than its predecessor. Under the DB11’s hood—a clamshell unit made from a single aluminum pressing that Minards says is the largest in the industry—is a brand-new V-12 engine. Although it shares the same basic architecture as the current 6.0-liter V-12, right down to the bore center spacing, and is built in the same facility at Ford’s Niehl engine plant in Cologne, Germany, it’s been downsized to 5.2 liters and given a couple of twin-scroll turbochargers. In DB11-spec it delivers 600 hp and 516 lb/ft of torque, grunt enough, Minards says, to deliver a 0-60 time under 4.0 seconds and a top speed close to 200 mph. The new V-12 is also a lot more efficient. A deactivation system shuts down a bank of cylinders at cruising speeds, effectively turning it into a 2.6-liter straight-six. The clever bit is that the system automatically switches between deactivating the left and right side banks at 20- to 30-second intervals to prevent the catalytic converters from cooling too much and causing a spike in emissions when all cylinders fire up. Minards says the system, which is modulated by torque demand, cannot be detected by the driver and delivers double-digit improvements in fuel economy. Also helping fuel economy is ZF’s excellent eight-speed automatic transmission, MAY 2016 / MOTORTREND.COM 15


NEWS / OPINION / GOSSIP / STUFF

5.16 TREND

Intake

transaxle-mounted and connected to the engine by a torque tube. Other changes include a slightly taller final drive ratio and automatic stop-start functionality, a by-product of the DB11’s adoption of the Daimlersourced electrical architecture that also allows for three-way adjustable damping and three engine and three transmission calibration modes. The DB11’s body design is notable for its lack of obvious aerodynamic aids. High-pressure

air at the front is bled out through the rear of the front wheelwell, exiting via the vents on either side of the car. The underside of the strake that bisects each vent features ridges that cause the outrushing air to roll along the shapely flanks, an effect Aston calls “the curlicue.” Things get even more interesting at the rear, where air drawn in through vents at the base of the C-pillars is ducted through the body before being turned 90 degrees to exit vertically through

a slot across the trunklid, creating a wall of fast-moving air that acts as a virtual spoiler at speed. Called the Aston Martin Aeroblade, the patented system also includes a small mechanical Gurney flap that will extend an inch or so above the body surface above 90 mph to improve the virtual spoiler’s effectiveness at high speed. The interior is roomier and more lavishly finished than that of the DB9. The general topography is similar to current Astons, but there’s

much more technology embedded throughout, from the obvious stuff such as the new infotainment screen and fully digital instrument panel to niceties such as the electric e-brake, the powered center armrest, and seats that motor forward to improve access to the rear. The Mercedes-Benz touchpad on the center console is the only visible clue to the Daimler electrical architecture underneath. The DB11, which goes on sale in the U.S. in November at about $215,000, is a hugely significant car for the tiny independent British automaker. It debuts an engine, a body structure, and an electrical architecture that will appear in a whole new generation of Aston Martin cars to be rolled out over the next six years as part of CEO Andy Palmer’s “second century plan.” Ever since the launch of the DB2 in 1950, Aston Martin has been largely defined by the sporty, elegant DB Gran Turismos. More than six decades later, the DB11 carries on the tradition. Angus MacKenzie

SPECIFICATIONS Base Price $215,000 (est) Vehicle Layout Front-engine, RWD, 4-pass, 2-door coupe Engine 5.2L/600-hp/516-lb-ft twin-turbo DOHC 48-valve V-12 Transmission 8-speed automatic Curb Weight 3,900 lb (mfr) Wheelbase 110.4 in L x W x H 187.0 x 76.7 x 50.6 in 0-60 MPH 3.9 sec (mfr est) EPA city/Hwy/Comb Fuel Econ Not yet rated On Sale In U.S. November 2016

IN PLAIN SIGHT The MercedesBenz touchpad on the center console is the only visible clue to the Daimler electrical architecture underneath. 16 MOTORTREND.COM / MAY 2016


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NEWS / OPINION / GOSSIP / STUFF

Intake

THREESOME The 570GT will be one of a trio of body styles. We have driven the 570S, and now we see the 570GT. Next year comes a Spyder version.

FIRST LOOK

McLaren 570GT Having constantly striven to build the fastest and most track-capable players in every subsection of the supercar map, McLaren is now launching what it calls a GT, a car with a softer chassis, more luxury, and more cargo area. But with the 570GT, that softness is of course relative. This is still McLaren. This is still a car that weighs just 3,250 pounds and is catapulted by a 562-hp, twinturbo V-8, and it will still, McLaren claims, run a standing quarter in 11.1 seconds at 132 mph. McLaren is pricing the GT as the top-line 570, at about $198,950. The main difference between the GT and the S is in the body. There are no more flying buttresses behind the upper doors. Instead the bodywork sweeps into a gentle, softly curved fastback. To maintain near-zero lift, a slightly taller rear lip spoiler is fitted, and to keep the engine bay cool, there are larger exhaust vents aft of the backlight. Two soft airline carry-on bags will fit behind the seats, and a laptop case and suit carrier will lie on the deck above the engine. With those in place, the rearview mirror still affords a reasonable view. The rear space is 7.8 cubic feet, to add to the 4.6 cubic feet in the nose. The rear space isn’t offered in the 570S.

18 MOTORTREND.COM / MAY 2016

The front springs are softened by 15 percent, the rears by 10 percent. The steering ratio is 2 percent more relaxed than the 570S. The tires are bespoke to the 570GT, aimed at slightly better comfort and lower road noise. But they are the same size as on the 570S. The 570S uses carbon-ceramic brakes, but the GT’s iron rotors mean more progressive operation at road speeds and cheaper maintenance. Because the chassis and weight changes are so subtle, engineers claim the car still offers pretty much the engagement of the 570S.

ADJUSTABILITY All the modes of the 570S are retained: Normal, Sport, and Track for powertrain and chassis.

Extra luxury spec on the 570GT includes a beefed-up stereo, a standard heat-shielding glass roof, and leather across more cabin surfaces. The seats and steering column adjust electrically as standard. Parking sensors and soft-close doors are fitted, too. It’s not just the tires that are quieter; the exhaust muffles more than the one in the 570S, though the 570S’ system can be substituted as an option. No luxury maker misses the chance to sell high-priced accessories, and McLaren will sure enough be offering bespoke baggage. The 570GT’s exterior lines flow beautifully; the 570S is more visually aggressive. The GT also has fully body-colored door skins, whereas in the 570S the part behind the aerodynamic “tendon” is black. The 570S also has a black engine cover.

SPECIFICATIONS Base Price $198,950 Vehicle Layout Mid-engine, RWD, 2-pass, 2-door hatchback Engine 3.8L/562-hp/443-lb-ft twin-turbo 32-valve V-8 Transmission 7-sp twin-cl auto Curb Weight 3,250 lb (mfr) Wheelbase 105.1 in L x W x H 178.3 x 74.6 x 47.3 in 0-62 MPH 3.4 sec (mfr est) EPA City/Hwy/Comb Fuel Econ 16/23/19 mpg (est) Energy Consumption, City/Hwy 211/147 kW-hrs/100 miles (est) CO2 Emissions, Comb 1.05 lb/mile (est) On Sale In U.S. Fall, 2016 The net effect of the design changes is that the GT isn’t trying quite so hard to shout its sportiness. I chatted about this to a McLaren marketer; use a 570S for daily errands, we agreed, and it’s like you’ve shown up at the pub wearing a full Nomex race suit. By contrast, the 570GT is immaculately tailored but casual. Paul Horrell


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NEWS / OPINION / GOSSIP / STUFF

Intake

Insiders believe adding doors is key to Avista production.

MIKE CONNOR

MTCONFIDENTIAL

CONCEPTUALIZED Our illustration is based on the Avista coupe concept (top). Do the second set of doors work?

ILLUSTRATION By Radovan Varicak

Buick Avista Four-Door Coupe If Buick’s glamorous Avista concept is approved for production, it will be as a four-door coupe. That’s the hot tip from insiders who confirm a model of a four-door Avista exists inside GM’s design studios in Warren, Michigan. After the Avista concept’s reveal on the eve of the 2016 North American International Auto Show, GM execs were quick to point out any decision to put the car into production would depend on developing a viable business case. The Avista concept has a lot of enthusiastic supporters inside GM, including chairwoman and CEO Mary Barra, but many believe stretching the wheelbase and adding a couple of doors is key to getting the car approved for production. More practical than a regular coupe, less staid than a regular sedan, four-door coupes, pioneered in the modern era by the 2006 Mercedes-Benz CLS, have proven to be more than a short-lived fashion statement and have attracted a growing number of players since, from Porsche with the Panamera to Volkswagen’s CC, Audi’s A7, and BMW’s Gran Coupes. Compared with a conventional coupe, a four-door offers 20 MOTORTREND.COM / MAY 2016

the prospect of relatively stable sales volumes over a longer time period—and in Buick’s case, the opportunity to position itself alongside premium brands in one of the few non-SUV vehicle segments that has shown growth over the past decade. An Avista four-door coupe is therefore seen by supporters inside GM as a safer bet than the two-door. Making the Avista a four-door coupe would also give Buick a vehicle format that’s unique in the GM product portfolio. “I think we’ve earned the right to have the halo car in the Buick range,” says Duncan Aldred, vice president of Buick and GMC. With sales of 1.25 million vehicles last year, Buick is now GM’s second-best-selling brand worldwide after Chevrolet. Significantly, Aldred makes it clear that when the Opel Insigniabased Cascada convertible, Buick’s current halo car, reaches the end of its lifecycle—probably three years from now—it will be replaced with a new car. Although the Avista show car is built on a mash-up of GM Alpha and Omega parts, a production version would likely use the Alpha architecture, which underpins Cadillac’s ATS and CTS and the new Chevy Camaro. China, which accounts for

about 80 percent of total Buick sales, is a critical factor in any decision to build the Avista. But GM does not have to rely solely on demand from China and North America, the only two markets in which Buick is sold. The Alpha architecture and Avista’s design language, including the reimagined Buick grille, mean it could be marketed in Europe as an Opel and right-hand-drive versions sold in Britain and Australia as Vauxhalls and Holdens. The Avista concept featured GM’s new 400-hp, twin-turbo, 3.0-liter V-6 under the hood mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. This would likely be the default powertrain choice for the U.S. market and for premium versions of the car elsewhere, with all-wheel drive available as an option. GM’s 275-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder could be the base engine for all markets outside the U.S., and performance versions could use a variant of the 464-hp, twin-turbo, 3.6-liter V-6 from Cadillac’s ATS-V. Alpha also means a six-speed manual could be made available. There’ll be no V-8 Avista, though. GM sources say the Avista engine bay has not been protected for the 6.2-liter small-block even though it’s used in the Alphabased Camaro. Mike Connor

There’s no doubt here at MT HQ that Chevrolet was unhappy with the result of our comparison between the Corvette Z06, Viper ACR, and 911 GT3 RS. We suggested Chevrolet should develop an all-out track package for the Corvette as Dodge has done with the Viper ACR in order to be truly competitive, and it appears Chevrolet had already had the same idea. Sources have spotted a modified Z06 track testing with a massive wing on the back that they say wouldn’t look out of place on a Le Mans car. We’ve long argued the Z06 needs to put the power down better, and it sounds like Chevy intends to fix the problem with downforce. Our sources added that the winged car appeared to be lapping significantly quicker than a standard Z06 running with it on the track and appeared faster on the straights, suggesting it may have more power, as well… Cadillac has performance on the brain, too, and it may have found an easy hole to fill. There’s a little wiggle room between a standard 335-hp ATS V-6 and the 464-hp ATS-V. Pulling a page from the CTS’ playbook, Cadillac is working on an ATS V-Sport to fit the gap. Likely using the new 404-hp, 3.0-liter, twin-turbo V-6, the ATS V-Sport would offer greater performance than the standard V-6 ATS but without the hardcore compromises of the track-focused ATS-V. Sources indicate Cadillac is well into development already…The new three-row VW Tiguan is finally on its way to market, and a compact crossover to slot below it is coming. After that, there’ll be a larger three-row CUV. Where does all that leave the fancy two-row Touareg? Fancier. VW plans to push the Touareg upmarket into more luxurious, more expensive, and more profitable territory.


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NEWS / OPINION / GOSSIP / STUFF

5.16 TREND

Intake 2016 Buick Cascada Convertible

“Look how much fun Buick can be!” That’s what we imagine some Buick dealers will think at the sight of the new 2016 Buick Cascada, an attractive soft-top convertible that’s soon to brighten showrooms everywhere, or at least in the five states the automaker says make up half of all convertible sales. Cascada should appeal to buyers who aren’t especially brand-loyal, as well, serving Buick as another brand perception-breaker, and you won’t find a convertible at Acura, Cadillac, or Volvo. The Cascada has been on sale in Europe for a couple years as an Opel. Buick sprinkled in a few changes—suspension and steering tweaks, for example—but almost nothing has changed with the design aside from the Buick badges (not yet in color as on the 2017 LaCrosse) and huge 20-inch wheels. They’re standard equipment on every Cascada, part of an impressive standard-equipment list that helps disguise that the car is closely based on a non-premium European model. Refrain from driving the 200-hp Cascada like a sports car, and the convertible performs well despite the 1.6-liter turbo-four engine not offering much below about 3,000 rpm. The smooth-shifting six-speed automatic lacks a Sport mode or paddle shifters, but the manual gate on the shifter is helpful if

Newcomer

a little slow to react. EPA-rated 20/27 mpg ranks at the bottom of the class, but the Buick’s wonderfully quiet interior with the top up could partially explain that. As with other convertibles, when it’s time to go top down, the Cascada will oblige in less than 20 seconds at speeds of up to 31 mph. If an old-school ignition with a switchblade key and an old instrument cluster design don’t bother you, the Buick Cascada could be compelling. Suddenly, a new four-

seat drop-top alternative exists for Mustang and Camaro buyers who want something different and no longer have the Chrysler 200 as an option or for Audi A3 buyers startled by prices with a few options. We can’t wait to see how Buick acts on the excitement the Avenir and Avista concepts have generated, but until that happens, the Cascada expands the brand’s lineup in a way some competitors can’t or won’t. Zach Gale

Suddenly, a four-seat drop-top alternative to the Mustang and Camaro exists.

SPECIFICATIONS Base Price$33,990 Vehicle Layout Front-engine, FWD, 4-pass, 2-door convertible Engine 1.6L/200-hp/207-lb-ft* turbocharged DOHC 16-valve I-4 Transmission 6-speed automatic Curb Weight 4,000 lb (mfr) Wheelbase 106.1 in L x W x H 184.9 x 72.4 x 56.8 in 0-60 MPH 8.9 sec (MT est) EPA City/Hwy/Comb Fuel Econ 20/27/23 mpg Energy Consumption, City/Hwy 169/125 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 Emissions, Comb 0.86 lb/mile On Sale In U.S. Currently *SAE certified, 221 lb-ft of torque with momentary overboost 22 MOTORTREND.COM / MAY 2016


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NEWS / OPINION / GOSSIP / STUFF

Ron Kiino THE KIINOTE

Globetrotting, Tiguan Style Crossing over from Africa to Scandinavia Nearly a decade ago, I traveled to Windhoek, Namibia, to evaluate a prototype of the first-generation Volkswagen Tiguan. VW’s foray into compact crossover country was cute, peppy, and displayed no problem bouncing all over the harsh Namib Desert, much like the springbok antelope that hopped around us like kids on a sugar high. Lightly camouflaged, the mule sported a 1.4-liter, twin-charged (turbocharged and supercharged) inline-four, a six-speed automatic, and a Haldex-based 4Motion all-wheel-drive system. A year later the Tiguan arrived in America as a 2009 model, albeit with a bigger, more powerful 2.0-liter turbo. It was on the small side of the compact CUV class (not exactly the best proposition when going after size-matters Yanks) and, worse yet, demanded a premium over established players from Asia and America. Unsurprisingly, sales were never stellar, at least next to the segment’s heavy hitters, peaking in 2015 at 35,843 units, barely a 10 percent slice of the best-selling Honda CR-V’s 345,647. Namibia sits a (really) far cry away from Sweden, where in the northern town of Arvidsjaur, just below the Arctic Circle, the winter snow falls heavy, the temperature anchors below freezing, and myriad lakes morph into giant expanses of ice-covered proving grounds. So, pretty much the opposite of Windhoek. Carmakers bring their

NO TDI The U.S. won’t be getting a VW Tiguan TDI (at least initially), but Europe will get four, including a twin-turbo with 236 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. 24 MOTORTREND.COM / MAY 2016

latest offerings here to test performance, durability, and chassis excellence in some of the coldest—and slickest—conditions on Earth. And it’s why Volkswagen brought me here to sample what could be, if predictions of never-ending SUV growth come true, the brand’s best-selling model in a few years. The big issue for VW is that the second-generation 2018 Tiguan, to be built in Puebla, Mexico, alongside the Golf and Jetta and arriving on our shores in the second quarter of 2017, can’t come soon enough. But trust me, it’ll be worth the wait. For the second-gen Tiguan, it all starts with MQB, the modular platform that underpins multiple front-drive-based VWs and Audis (e.g., Golf, A3, TT). Going MQB allows VW to reduce costs and build the Tiguan in both short- and long-wheelbase versions, the latter destined for North America and China. Thus, the U.S.-spec Tiguan will ride on a 109.9-inch wheelbase and measure 185.0 inches long, 72.4 inches wide, and 64.3 inches tall, elevating it to the same league as the CR-V (103.1-inch wheelbase, 179.4 by 71.6 by 64.7 inches LxWxH). Power comes from a 2.0T I-4 good for 184 horsepower and more than 200 lb-ft of torque, and thanks to an eight-speed automatic, fuel economy should come in above 30 mpg highway. A fifth-gen Haldex-based 4Motion AWD system, similar

Baby Q7, anyone?

to the one in the Golf R, distributes torque to each wheel as needed, and it now comes with a center console-mounted four-mode control knob (Onroad, Snow, Offroad, Offroad Individual). The interior resembles that of the Golf with familiar buttons, controls, steering wheel, and shifter, but it moves upscale à la an Audi-esque Active Info Display TFT instrument cluster. VW hasn’t decided whether to bring AID to the U.S. (it’d be foolish not to) but confirmed that my Habanero Orange tester’s head-up display would not be making the trip. Given that my tester’s Continental ContiVikingContact 6 winter tires only touched snow and ice, I can’t exactly attest to the Tiguan’s dry-road feel or handling chops except to say that it came across as vault solid, library quiet, and GTI fun when rolling atop frozen water. Further, the latest 4Motion seamlessly provided max traction at each corner, making the snow-packed roads and frozen-lake courses rousing, confidenceinspiring exercises—just turn the dial to Snow and enjoy the harmonious blend of 4Motion, ESC, and yaw. When the Golf won our 2015 Car of the Year, we lauded its understated elegance and premium construction. It wasn’t flashy or over-styled, but rather subtle in its remarkable surfacing and tight tolerances. The new Tiguan brings that same execution to the compact crossover. Baby Q7, anyone? In the midst of a diesel-emissions scandal, Volkswagen needs what the Tiguan is—a breath of fresh air. n


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NEWS / OPINION / GOSSIP / STUFF

Frank Markus TECHNOLOGUE Illustration Edmon de Haro

Audioventriloquism New Bose system throws voices like Edgar Bergen Just 33 years after revolutionizing the car-audio listening experience with its Symphony Sound System in the 1983 Eldorado and Seville, Bose has teamed with Cadillac to advance the road-jamming art to the next level in the 2016 CT6 (page 62). That first system installed speakers in four locations, each with its own amplifier and interconnected signal processing electronics. The new Panaray system boasts 34 speakers and four amps connected by a MOST data network plus low- and high-speed local area networks. But it’s not the hardware that earns Bose column inches here; it’s the technical innovation. Let’s start with the distributed bass. Giant woofers are impractical in cars. They’re bulky, and they risk vibrating the trim. Much of Panaray’s rumble comes from two 8.2-liter acoustic wave enclosures mounted under the driver and passenger front seat carpet. Each features its own amp and four 2.75-inch speakers mounted in back-to-back pairs in magnesium housings so that their mechanical vibrations cancel. Little grooves around the outer edges of the speaker cones prevent distortion at the extremes of these cones’ large excursions. A 10-inch subwoofer and amp reside on the rear package shelf, and four 4-inch speakers in the doors complete the

26 MOTORTREND

seven-channel bass contribution that also handles active powertrain-noise cancellation. (Each door speaker has a sealed enclosure to prevent sound energy from rattling things in the door.) The other real acoustic magic comes from a pair of 2-inch UltraNearfield front headrest speakers. Think of these like a head-up display for sound. Just as projecting two images slightly offset on the windshield makes it look like one image is hovering out at the end of the hood, by building in tiny delays in the sound hitting each ear, Bose can virtually place certain instruments or voices anywhere in the car. Those headrest speakers have a lot of help in Cadillac’s $3,700 Panaray setup, but they work even more impressive magic in Bose’s new Small Vehicle Series system

Think of these like a head-up display for sound, placing certain instruments or voices anywhere in the car.

aimed at economy cars. Paired only with two 6.5-inch front-door speakers (claimed to be the lowest-frequency, loudest speakers of their size) and two A-pillar tweeters, this budget system provides unbelievable spacial separation of sounds with amazing clarity at high volume. It hits production in 2017 in an unannounced car, hopefully at a Boserecommended price premium of around 2 percent of the car’s base MSRP—$300 on a $15,000 car—a sound bargain. Another trick application Bose is working on for those miraculous headrests is called N-EAR—non-entertainment audio rendering—for enhanced safety and awareness of navigation prompts, safety warnings, phone conversations, and other non-music sound. Imagine if the nav’s “Prepare to turn left” prompt seemed to come from ahead of the left A-pillar and its “Now turn left” prompt sounded as if it were even with your left ear. An emergency braking warning could emanate from wherever the potential threat lies. Research is ongoing, but Bose believes that placing sounds where attention needs to be directed will shorten reaction times, reducing accidents or their severity. User adjustability will also allow drivers to compensate for reduced hearing capacity in one ear. Sure, headrest speakers first appeared on the Pontiac Fiero and early Miatas, but those non-Bose setups lacked directional signal processing. Bose is now supplying the Miata (and Fiat 124) with a system that includes its magic headrest speakers and even a custom bass enclosure under the passenger footwell. The system knows whether the top is up or down and alters the equalization profile and output of every speaker to account for the sound-absorptive cloth top. Lots of branded car audio systems are available, but none can throw voices quite like Bose. n

NO DUMMY New smart speakers can throw voices anywhereeven out on the road ahead.


NEWS / OPINION / GOSSIP / STUFF

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5.16 TREND

K-band false alarms driving you nuts? The problem: Barraged by K-band false alarms lately? Seems like they’re everywhere, and they hang on and on. NEW: Computerized Junk-K Fighter analyzes What changed? A new safety and rejects most blind-spot warning systems. feature, the lane-change, or blind-spot, warning often uses K-band radar to “see” nearby cars.

From the Motor Trend Archive...

REARVIEW

V1 has the solution The old problem of K-band door-openers was self-limiting. Buildings don’t move. You’re soon out of range. But a blind-spot system may tag along with you for miles. You’re stuck, not knowing which car to maneuver away from. Introducing Junk-K Fighter : It recognizes these junky false alarms and excludes them. And it’s now built into all new V1s. We can build one for you. Try it for 30 days. If it doesn’t satisfy for any reason, send it back for a full refund. ©2016 VRI

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NEWS / OPINION / GOSSIP / STUFF

They Say Takahiro Hachigo Takahiro Hachigo took over as CEO of Honda last June and spent months settling into the job before opening up to the American press. Motor Trend was able to sit down with the engineer turned executive at a recent product demonstration to discuss the company’s present and future.

Interview

Honda recently demonstrated a highperformance EV. Is this a product you intend to pursue?

We do not have plans to commercialize [that vehicle], but we wanted to demonstrate what we think is fun to drive. In the future, those elements will be introduced to other products. We do not plan to offer a car like this but to develop the fun-to-drive concept, which can be applied to future products.

If sports cars are in your DNA, is the manual transmission, as well?

If you were to ask what changed five years ago, we tried to strengthen our global six-region operation into what it is today. We listened to the voice of our North American region.

I love driving, and I love the emotion of a manual transmission.”

Honda is one of only a few automakers to put a hydrogen car on the road. What’s your reasoning?

We think hydrogen, which is CO2-free, is the ultimate technology we should pursue. The key will be in how we create hydrogen. We have to have the infrastructure. For this, we have the [Smart Hydrogen Station], but we will not be able to do this alone. This will affect our business. I think in North America the infrastructure will be built, and we are working with the government in Japan, so these will be important markets. Technologywise, I think we have witnessed significant 30 MOTORTREND.COM / MAY 2016

progress in [fuel cell vehicles]. I think what remains is technology to produce hydrogen in large quantity and building infrastructure. I think in the next 10 years, we will see this technology and infrastructure improve and allow for mass production of FCVs.

We think the hybrid system is the first step toward electrification, and we have the plug-in hybrids and the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, which we think is the ultimate technology for zero emissions. It’s not the case we’re not going to do any BEVs; no, that will be part of our strategy.

When we talk about sports cars at Honda, it is in our DNA. We are planning and want to continue introducing more sporty cars, but this is part of a future lineup we cannot talk about yet. It will not just be in sports cars, but we will continue to offer cars that are fun to drive, such as the new Civic. S2000—I don’t know how you feel about this, but I would like to ask you how you feel about a revival. At Honda, we are still considering if there is a demand and a business case, and we will listen to the customer. Nothing has been decided yet.

Honda has been through a rough patch in the past five years and is still recovering. What happened?

CEO, HONDA

Will you still pursue hybrids and battery electric vehicles like your competitors?

There’s a new NSX and rumors of a new S2000. After so many years without any dedicated sports cars, why now?

I love driving, and I love the emotion of a manual transmission. Whether we can continue to offer the more sporty transmission—that is up to the customer, but I would love to see the manual transmission survive.

5 .16 TREND

You’ve spoken of being greener but also being fun to drive and building more sports cars. How do you reconcile these goals?

I think combining these things will be challenging and difficult, but fun to drive is an important quality to Honda, and we must preserve that going forward. There have been many calls for consolidation and partnerships in the industry recently. Is Honda open to either?

It is true we are working with GM on the next generation of FCVs. If we see there is an advantage for Honda, we are open to technical partnerships. We do not feel a pressure to make partnerships, but we are open to them. Given Honda is primarily an automaker, why is the company building the HondaJet?

FORESHADOWING Expect more sporty cars in the future, starting with the all-new NSX.

For Honda, we have this aim to try to offer the joy of mobility to people worldwide, and we believe mobility in the sky is part of this. This was a goal of our founder, and I think our founder’s dream is the biggest reason why we have decided to do this. It is a difficult market, and we must make sure we have a strong long-term plan. Scott Evans


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READERS’ THOUGHTS ON PAST ISSUES But the fix-a-flat failed miserably on the Odd Parallels I started flipping through my February 2016 issue, and I saw (I thought) a future rendition of a new Jaguar XK. Ohm’gosh, I mumbled to myself, Jaguar has decided not to can the XK series by making the 2015 model the last design to be marketed. Upon a slightly closer look I see that it’s a Mazda RX-Vision Concept (“Trend”). I’m thinking Mazda decided to step in and replace the Jaguar XK design with its own updated design of the most beautiful car in the world. You have to admit there is an uncanny resemblance between Mazda’s RX-Vision design and the Jaguar XK series. Is there some plagiarism going on here? TOM RINKACH PEORIA, ILLINOIS

Well, we suppose if we squint real hard, we can kind of make out an XK. Not that any XKs ever came with rotary engines.—Ed. RE: Acura NSX First Drive, February 2016. How very sad and disappointing. The original NSX was a paragon of simplicity, purity, and focus on the essentials of a great driver’s car. The new one is not. Too much technology for technology’s sake, and they completely missed what made the original better in every way. This NSX is too much like a Camry. Acura’s engineers should go study the new Miata. I would love to see what Mazda’s engineers would create if they set out to build a supercar. They get it! MICHAEL MELTON LAS CRUCES, NEW MEXICO

Wow. Sounds to us like you’ve been around some pretty fancy Toyota Camrys.—Ed.

Consumer Advice Section

Mike Royer’s Acura TLX flat tire episode hit a familiar note (“Garage,” February 2016). I’d had my 2014 TSX less than a year when I too got that TPMS low-pressure warning.

(pluggable) puncture, and even though Mike implies that there’s a spare (“I’m not all that skilled at pit stops”), there is no spare, no jack, no lug wrench, and no help from Acura’s roadside assistance program. Their service personnel will come out only to change the tire or tow the vehicle to the nearest Acura dealer—in my case, 22 miles away during rush hour and arriving after the service shop was closed. Luckily, I was able to call a friend who brought out a plug kit and a can of fixa-flat ($8.99 and $6.99, respectively, from AutoZone). I knew when I bought the car that it had no spare. It’d been more than 10 years since my last flat tire, and Acura’s description of the seal kit, although not invoking the geewhiz Tom Clancy stuff Royer gushes about, did imply that it was significantly more capable than the run-of-the-mill fix-a-flats. Nothing could be further from the truth. The only difference between it and the myriad cigarette lighter air compressors out there is that it comes in a bigger case that holds the sealant in the same unit. The sealant is the same creamy white stuff it’s always been. Like the airlines and their baggage fees, this is a place where auto manufacturers are going for an easy buck. But many consumers don’t know it’s happening and are finding out at the wrong time. Automakers haven’t been forthcoming with this change, and I’d bet most affected owners don’t know about the AWOL spare. Acura wants $400 for the kit (installed), but I spent $150 cobbling together the spare/jack/wrench stuff necessary. I may never use it again, but after my experience, it’s worth the peace of mind. TIM ROOLF IRWIN, PENNSYLVANIA

The message here to all others: No matter your spare-changing aptitude or physical ability, be prepared. Keep those toll-free phone numbers handy and donuts properly inflated.—Ed. ODD PARALLELS The Mazda RX-Vision or the Jaguar XK?

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5.16 TREND

WRITE US AT 831 S. Douglas St. El Segundo, CA 90245 Email us online at motortrend.com or send an email direct to motortrend@motortrend.com

Regarding Our Future

Our impending future of autonomous vehicles as presented by Angus MacKenzie (“Big Picture,” February 2016) only touches the surface of a desiccation of numerous industries, partly one of which may very well be the industry responsible for that technology: the auto industry itself. The vision being presented is an eventual totally driverless environment. The vehicle will go from point A to point B as

programmed. Concepts have shown the ultimate wheeled cocoon being windowless for better screen visibility in the cabin. The only thing different from car to car will be cabin comfort and technology within. Connective technology will be the key, and what’s under the hood goes the way of the horse-drawn buggy. Today’s auto advertising already demonstrates the path of the future; all talk of display screens and Wi-Fi, rarely a horsepower mentioned. The vision 20 years from now presents a bleak picture for those who care about 0 to 60 times, handling, and car performance. All vehicles will basically be governed to go the posted speed limits, whether it be in a school zone or on a highway. Given those constrictions, why would a car manufacturer present more than at most two or three models? All of their models will have the same output no matter what the power source is. You are just going from A to B. With this technology in place, the highpriced two-seater has no functionality. Exterior design may still matter. Or not. All things that influence today’s car buyer will be different. Eventually, over time, many

READERS ON LOCATION

WATERLOGGED Stuart Deibel found exactly what he was looking for beneath a shimmering blue surface. “I’m a longtime subscriber, and when packing for a vacation in Cancun, Mexico, I packed my most recent, fantastic Motor Trend magazine,” Deibel says. “The only time I could find peace and quiet to read it cover to cover was in the pool … underwater!”


NEWS / OPINION / GOSSIP / STUFF

5.16 TREND

Your Say... car manufacturers may fold. Basically, all vehicles will be the same, having the same function done in the same manner. Drivable cars will probably be sanctioned at special venues like racetracks and dragstrips. Vehicles we see on the road today will be relegated to museums. Publications such as this one will have very little to discuss. Seat comfort and console reception may be a few of the relevant topics of interest. The core of this magazine’s reporting (performance, performance, performance) will be a thing of the past. For some reason, the autonomous car technology is accelerating rapidly with no voice causing a red flag about the numerous negatives surrounding this driving path. Tremendous job loss coupled with major implications to many industries needs to be addressed now before the driver’s license will also be a thing of the past. DONALD PODOLSKY JUPITER, FLORIDA

We don’t see everything as fire and brimstone (yet). Perhaps your fellow readers feel the same way?—Ed. As a car enthusiast and veteran of the computer industry (a car/computer guy), I’ve watched with interest the inevitable merging of these technologies for years now. So I read with interest your two articles on the Google self-driving car (“Trend,” January 2016). I thought that you might be interested in my personal experience below. As residents of Mountain View, California, site of Google headquarters, we are aware of the company’s efforts to develop selfdriving automotive technology and vehicles. Google self-driving cars (Priuses, Lexus SUVs) have long been a common sight on our city streets; however, they always have a human onboard. This time it was different. I was driving to the gym one evening when I encountered Google’s prototype SDC as it was waiting at a stoplight. (It was easy to recognize, looking like a cross between a Fiat 500 and R2-D2, with its rooftop lidar pod and “Google self-driving car” inscribed on the rear bumper.) It didn’t seem to have any human occupants. This didn’t surprise me, as I’d heard that Mountain View had given Google limited permission to do driverless testing. Still, I was curious, so when the light changed, I pulled alongside and confirmed— no one inside. I was struck with two conflicting thoughts simultaneously, one rational, one irrational. Rational: There is virtually no complex software that is bug-free. Irrational: This 34 MOTOR TREND.COM / MAY 2016

PIPE DREAM OF THE MONTH

“Why don’t we have a kid giving reviews?”

LETTER OF THE MONTH Reference Points

Just got the February 2016 issue. I went right to “War of the Titans” with eyes wide in anticipation. I was disappointed enough to spit (figuratively). Whichever side of the Ford/Chevy fence you might be on, the comparo was found wanting when comparing a ’15 to a ’16. The previous test of the Mustang GT versus the Camaro SS was apples-toapples, showing the latest from each side (“You Again,” December 2015). Both camps had a reference point, a challenge, and an answer. You should have at least put an asterisk on the title page. CRAIG LEHRMITT MERIDEN, CONNECTICUT

In this battle of ponycar handling benchmarks, we had the 2016 Ford Shelby GT350R Mustang up against the 2015 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, the newer Ford’s personal reference point. This is the most natural pairing possible … until the new sixthgeneration Camaro’s Z/28 comes along.—Ed.

I have since noticed that G-SDCs have human occupants, or perhaps just dummies to not startle drivers. Or maybe ghosts. Who knows? ANDREW BARNES MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIFORNIA

It is time to eliminate the ugliest part of every automobile on the market. The license plate. The technology is here, to be sure. I suggest the license plate be replaced by a simple transmitter that would send the VIN to a receiver. That receiver could be mounted in police vehicles, emergency vehicles, etc. The transmitter would transmit continuously while the vehicle is in operation. Data could include not only the VIN but also owner identification, registration information, and special status. Green LED indicates vehicle is properly registered; solid red LED, registration expired, owner wanted for whatever; flashing red LED for emergency, such as stolen vehicle, carjacking, etc. The transmitter would be installed on every vehicle manufactured and would be activated at time of sale. Green light status would be electronically added once the owner is properly registered with the state (paid the registration fee). Similarly, a change of status, such as sale of vehicle, would be updated electronically at the state vehicle registration site. Liberals will cite privacy issues, but the same information is now available simply by entering the license plate number. Of course, prisons would need to find other gainful employment for their residents since they would no longer manufacture license plates. I would love to see your artists do some sketches of what the rear view of the betterdesigned vehicles might look like sans the ugly license plate area. Actual replacement of the license plate to a transmitter will take years. So why not begin the process now?

SUPER

PRIZE

“Senza Freni” Speaking of reference points, this collaboration between Brembo and the journalists at La Gazzetta dello Sport in Milan includes stories in both English and the original Italian. Before long, you’ll be a bilingual Brembo expert. Dove è la biblioteca? Mi chiamo Ed, la ragno discoteca.

is strange, weird, and just not right! I was surprised at the later reaction since I knew exactly what was happening. I decided to pass by, just in case. I drove along thinking about how different the G-SDC was from my Porsche Cayman and that I may be driving one of the last analog cars. When I came to a stoplight, I noticed the G-SDC was right behind me and made a left turn, just as I did. Just coincidence? Then I made a right turn, and it followed me again. My mind got more irrational. Is the G-SDC following me like a duckling? Is it a ghost car? Finally, I pulled into the gym parking lot, and it didn’t follow me. I was safe!

WILLIAM P. ROVAN VIA THE INTERNET

Question for the masses: Will the Google selfdriving car or vehicle information transmitter arrive first? We’re betting on the former.—Ed.


S M A R T E R , ST R O N G E R , FAST E R . T H E 2 0 1 6 C H A R G E R , V I P E R A N D C H A L L E N G E R .

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FIRST LOOK | 2017 Bugatti Chiron When Ferdinand Piëch decreed the Bugatti Veyron would be built, his brief to the engineers was simple: The car had to have more than 1,000 hp; it had to be able to accelerate to 60 mph in less than 3.0 seconds; it had to have a top speed of 250 mph; and he had to be able to drive Mrs. Piëch to the opera in it in the evening. Piëch’s brief for the Veyron’s successor, the Chiron, was even simpler: It had to be better than the Veyron. No pressure, then. Indeed. For more than a decade the Bugatti Veyron has been the hypercar benchmark in terms of sheer power and raw speed, with the

2010 Super Sport version boasting 1,200 hp and a V-max of 268 mph. And while a couple of rivals are now nibbling at the margins, the Veyron has remained the world’s fastest, most powerful fully street-legal production car. Until now. Let’s cut to the chase: Bugatti engineers are keeping the actual numbers under wraps for now; however, they will admit the Chiron will accelerate to 60 mph in less than 2.5

Words Angus MacKenzie

Bugatti engineers admit the Chiron will accelerate to 60 mph in less than 2.5 seconds. 36 MOTORTREND.COM / MAY 2016

seconds, with 0-186 mph taking less than 15 seconds. It will do 236 mph in normal nanny mode. Insert the second, go-faster key that, as in the Veyron, sets up the car for ultra-highspeed running, lowering the ride height and reducing downforce and drag, and the Chiron will hit a computer-limited 261 mph. You read that right. The Bugatti Chiron is limited to 261 mph. It will go even faster, and for those owners who want to go to the very edge of the performance envelope, Bugatti will help them do it, either in a factoryowned car or the owners’ own Chiron, either fitted with a set of special, ultra-finely balanced wheels and tires, plus a battery of additional sensors to be monitored by factory


MOVE OVER, VEYRON—HERE COMES THE FASTER, MORE POWERFUL CHIRON

RESETTING THE BENCHMARK FIRST LOOK

MAY 2016 / MOTORTREND.COM 37


FIRST LOOK | 2017 Bugatti Chiron

CARBON COPY Bugatti Chiron body panels are all carbon fiber. A 1.5-inch increase in width, pronounced haunches over the rear wheels, and a truncated tail with full-width light graphic give the car a more muscular stance than the Veyron.

The Chiron will do 236 mph in nanny mode and hit a computer-limited 261 mph with a second key. 38 MOTORTREND.COM / MAY 2016


INSIDE STORY Specially coated carbon fiber reduces noise, and the speedo reads to 500 km/h.

CHIRON BY DESIGN What’s new and why The C-line element in the center Interior A special hinge allows the doors to open wider for easier entry and egress. The all-new carbon monocoque means a roomier interior. The passenger H-point is offset from the vehicle centerline by the same amount as in the Veyron, but the wider front track means better legroom. And although the roof is lower (the 0.2-inch increase in overall height is due to the fin), there is a half-inch more headroom.

of the cabin is not just for decoration. It is a structural element of the new monocoque. All switchgear is unique to Bugatti. And if it looks like metal, it is. The carbon-fiber trim in the interior is given a special layer to reduce reflected noise. The Chiron’s airbags can now be fired directly through the carbon fiber of the dash panel thanks to construction patented by VW Group. The speedo is analog and reads to 500 km/h (311 mph). It’s clever,

subtle marketing: “The speedo doesn’t fade away when the ignition is off,” says Bugatti chief Wolfgang Dürheimer, “and so when people look inside they can see how fast the car can go, and they will talk about it.”

Exterior All exterior panels are

carbon fiber. The crease running back from the grille becomes a suspended fin at the rear of the car and recalls the iconic Type 57SC Atlantic. A 1.5-inch increase in overall width completely changes the proportion compared with the Veyron and is accentuated by the new headlight treatment. The side view is dominated by the C-shaped “Bugatti line” that

echoes paint schemes from 1930s cars. It allows a front-to-rear color break, important as 75 percent of Veyrons have two-tone paint schemes. Like the Veyron, the Chiron has a negative wedge profile; unlike other supercars, the main bodyline drops down as it progresses rearward from the front wheels. Hidden inlets tucked in at the side actually deliver more, less turbulent airflow to the engine than the Veyron’s signature topmounted scoops. The cutaway rear improves aerodynamic efficiency and helps suck hot air out from the engine compartment. The rear spoiler/airbrake now runs almost full width across the rear of the car; extending it beyond the C-pillar cant rails improves performance.

MAY 2016 / MOTORTREND.COM 39


FIRST LOOK | 2017 Bugatti Chiron technicians during the V-max run. And V-max is? The Bugatti boys demur, but drop enough hints to suggest 275 mph or more. Bye, bye, Veyron. … At least that’s what the computer simulations say. At the time of writing—late January—no one had actually taken a Chiron above 250 mph. “We are approaching the 250-mph barrier very carefully because that speed is a big stress for all components on the car,” says Bugatti boss Wolfgang Dürheimer. “You need to be very advanced in the car’s development so the test drivers can do a professional job without risking their lives.” Dürheimer insists the data shows the Chiron will break the 268-mph two-way

Wolfgang Dürheimer

production car world record set by the Veyron Super Sport, and even the 270.49 mph set one way by John Hennessey’s Venom GT. “And not by just 1 mph,” he says emphatically. Final high-speed testing will be completed at VW’s Ehra-Lessien track this spring before the first production Chirons are delivered in August, wrapping up a development program that will have covered more than 300,000 miles on test tracks and open roads. Although it shares much of the same basic vehicle architecture as the Veyron, from the mighty mid-mounted, 8.0-liter W-16 engine with its seven-speed dual-clutch transmission mounted at the front of the block to the all-wheel-drive system, Bugatti engineering chief Willi Netuschil claims 95 percent of the Chiron is new. Compared with a Veyron it is slightly wider, slightly longer, and— discounting the fin on the roof—slightly lower, but it weighs about the same. The heart of the Chiron is an evolution of the Veyron Super Sport engine, reworked and strengthened to deliver a 25 percent increase in power and a 5 percent increase in torque. The numbers? Try 1,500 hp at 6,700 rpm, and a weapons-grade 1,165 lb-ft of torque from 2,000 to 6,700 rpm. The reason for the power and torque increases is auto engineering 101:

There’s simply more air going through all 16 cylinders. It starts with the design. The front half of the Chiron’s body tapers noticeably inward aft of the front wheels, which means the dramatic C-line that arcs all the Willi Netuschil way from the base of the A-pillar and swoops around behind the cockpit is able to cleverly hide a series of massive scoops. The big W-16 breathes deeply from intakes above the line that carries forward through to the door aperture from the pronounced haunch in the rear fenders, taking full advantage of the powerful laminar airflow streaming around the A-pillars. Unlike the Veyron’s rounded rump, the rear end of the Chiron is sharply truncated with a distinctive single light bar bisecting a swath of mesh. The idea, says Bugatti’s head of design, Achim Anscheidt, is to create a lowpressure area at the rear of the car that helps suck hot air out from the engine compartment. Exhaust gases exit via a massive titanium exhaust system that features six 3.2-inch outlets, the outer two of which exit

The numbers? Try 1,500 hp and a weapons-grade 1,165 lb-ft of torque. 40 MOTORTREND.COM / MAY 2016


FIRST LOOK | 2017 Bugatti Chiron downward to create an F1-style blown diffuser that increases downforce at speed. In between is what Netuschil calls a double-staged twin-turbocharger system. In simple terms, it’s basically a progressive quad-turbo setup with one turbo on either side of the block tuned to deliver low-end torque and the other pair kicking in above 3,250 rpm to deliver power. The system results in one of the most remarkable power and torque graphs you’ll ever see. The torque curve builds sharply to 2,000 rpm and then remains flatter than Kansas all the way to 6,700 rpm. Meanwhile, the power curve rockets upward in a near-vertiginous straight line to 6,700 rpm. The result, says Netuschil, is throttle response that is uncannily precise and linear. “It makes the car very easy to control,” he says. And that points to how the Chiron is going to differ most from the Veyron. It is, the men from Bugatti insist, going to be a lot more fun to drive. Make no mistake, experiencing the epic thrust of a Veyron, especially above 150 mph, will leave you shaking your head in awe and disbelief. But on winding roads or a racetrack, it feels a little … numb. “With the Veyron, the driving dynamics on a track—the agility getting into turns, and when you can push the throttle to accelerate out—was not a priority,” Dürheimer confesses. “But we listened carefully to the media and to some of our very fast customers who told us they would like to experience a Bugatti on the racetrack. They said they would like to have more braking power and more agility.” As a result, the Chiron is fitted with an all-new braking system. Up front are giant 16.5-inch carbon-ceramic composite rotors

42 MOTORTREND.COM / MAY 2016

Chiron stuff you need to know

• • • • • • •

The Bugatti badge on the Chiron’s grille is hand-enameled sterling silver and costs VW Group more than $550. The engine has been bench tested at full throttle for 25 hours; had it been in a Chiron in top gear, the car would have traveled the same distance as Wolfsburg, Germany, to Phoenix, Arizona. The engine cooling system pumps coolant at the rate of 211 gallons per minute. The entire Bugatti R & D team is composed of just 150 people, fewer people than work for a front-line Formula 1 team like Red Bull’s. The maximum production capacity at Bugatti’s tiny Molsheim assembly plant is 70 cars a year. A full-size Chiron model was taken on a world tour last year—from Molsheim, France, to Los Angeles, London, Dubai, and Japan—to show potential customers. The average Chiron buyer owns 42 cars, at least one jet, one yacht, three helicopters, and four houses. More than half are art collectors.

“You can make an abrupt lane change at up to 236 mph, and the car reacts immediately. ... You feel your cheeks being pulled out when you do.” AIR CRAFT The dramatic rear end features massive venting to draw hot air out from the engine bay. Exhaust gases exit via six 3.2-inch outlets.


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FIRST LOOK

and single-piece forged calipers with four pads—two per side—and eight titanium pistons. A shroud fitted to the front axle helps draw cooling air through system. At the rear the rotors measure 15.7 inches, and the forged calipers have six titanium pistons. A lot of attention has been paid to improving front-end grip and response. The all-new carbon-fiber monocoque is stiffer, and the revised, wider-track front suspension features new rubber and steel bushes. Steering is by way of a new ZF EPS system, and external reservoir Sachs dampers are fitted all around. Michelin developed an all-new tire

44 MOTORTREND.COM / MAY 2016

for the Chiron that delivers a 14 percent bigger contact patch up front and 10 percent bigger at the rear. Incidentally, these hand-built meats—285/30R20 up front, and 355/25R21 at the rear—are certified to 261 mph. “The lateral grip has increased dramatically,” Dürheimer says. “You can make an abrupt lane change at up to 236 mph, and the car reacts immediately and absolutely predictably. You feel your cheeks being pulled out when you do because the lateral acceleration you can create with these tires and the downforce is like in a race car.” But will it drift? “Oh, yes,” engineer Netuschil grins.

STYLE COUNSEL Bugatti design chief Achim Anscheidt says design work started on the Chiron before the car was named. Dramatic C-line arcing from the A-pillar back to the front wheel was a key graphic signature, recalling both classic 1930s Bugatti two-tone paint schemes and a style signature of Veyron, 75 percent of which have two-tone paint.


SPEED WARS Texas takes on Molsheim After Wolfgang Dürheimer’s son showed his dad the YouTube video of John Hennessey’s Venom GT running 270.49 mph one way at Kennedy Space Center, the Bugatti boss reached out to the Texas tuner during 2014 Pebble Beach car week. “I didn’t know what to expect,” Hennessey recalls, “but he was just the coolest guy. I thought I was just talking to another car guy from Texas.” And so began an unusual rivalry. “I give Bugatti a lot

of credit for setting such a high bar so long ago,” says Hennessey, who says the Veyron performance benchmark proved an inspiration. “I hope he makes his 270 mph in both directions pretty soon so he can enjoy being the fastest,” Dürheimer says with a smile before pausing to deliver

VENOM F5

RIVAL John Hennessey is convinced Chiron threatens his top speed record.

the kicker. “For three months.” That’s a challenge John Hennessey is looking forward to. “It’s a very cool validation for our little company,” he says. “We look forward to them beating our number. It gives us something to go out and try and leapfrog at one point.” After sharing what we know about the Chiron with Hennessey, what does he think the new benchmark will be? “They are the ultimate sandbaggers,” he says of the claimed 0-60 time. “Of course it depends on the tire, and it depends on the surface, but

I’ll be disappointed if the new Bug doesn’t go a 1.9.” And top speed? “I’m guessing it goes way past 270 mph, maybe pushing 280.” Given more road than the 3.4-mile runway used for the record run at Kennedy Space Center, Hennessey believes his Venom GT could still challenge the Chiron for top speed honors. He says the Venom GT accelerated from 260 mph to 270 mph in 11 seconds, and even assuming the rate of acceleration tapered off 1 mph every 2 seconds, he calculates that if he had the chance to run it at Ehra-Lessien, coming off the banking and onto the track’s 5.4-mile-long straight at 150 mph like Bugatti test drivers do, it could reach 275 or even 277 mph. “I asked Wolfgang whether I could bring a car over and line it up with a Bugatti,” Hennessey smiles. “He didn’t say yes. But he didn’t say no.”

If you have to ask the price, you can’t afford one, but for the record the Chiron costs 2.4 million euros. Bugatti only quotes pricing in euros, but at the time of writing that equated to $2.7 million. Planned production will total 500 cars—50 more than the Veyron—and Dürheimer insists that, unlike the Veyron project, the Chiron will make money for VW Group. By late December, 110 customers had placed orders for a car, handing over a 200,000-euro ($226,000) deposit, which means the first two years’ production is already sold out. Cynics will see the Bugatti Chiron as little more than an utterly pointless toy for the very, very rich. But in an era when you can buy a 707-hp, 204-mph sedan in a Dodge showroom, a car that unambiguously stakes its claim as the fastest, most powerful production vehicle ever built should be celebrated. It’s a bit like painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, like climbing Everest, like sending a man to the moon. VW Group has built the Bugatti Chiron for one simple reason: Because it can. n

2017 Bugatti Chiron BASE PRICE

$2,700,000 (€2,400,000)

VEHICLE LAYOUT

Mid-engine, AWD, 2-pass, 2-door coupe

ENGINE

8.0L/1,500-hp/1,165-lb-f DOHC 64-valve quadturbo W-16 7-speed twin-clutch automatic

TRANSMISSION CURB WEIGHT WHEELBASE

4,400 lb (est) 106.7 in

LXWXH 0-60 MPH

178.9 x 80.2 x 47.7 in 2.4 sec (mfr est)

EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON

Not yet rated

ON SALE IN U.S.

Currently

MAY 2016 / MOTORTREND.COM 45


T H E S T O R Y O F T H E A L L- N E W 2 0 1 6

M A L IBU H Y BR ID A S T OL D F ROM T HE DR I V E Râ&#x20AC;&#x2122; S SE AT The all-new 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid is taking efficiency to the next level while providing power that you might not expect in a midsize car. We sat down with the GM Global Chief Engineer for Hybrid and Electric Drive Units to hear firsthand about what makes this vehicle such a breakthrough.

Preproductionmodel modelshown. shown throughout. Actualmodel production model may vary. Available Spring 2016. Preproduction Actual production may vary.


JASON B. DITMAN GLOBA L CHIEF ENGINEER , H Y BRID A ND ELECTRIC DRIV E UNITS

What makes the all-new 2016 Malibu Hybrid so different

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Another difference is our battery. The all-new Malibu

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efficiency. Malibu Hybrid uses our new two-mode

Volt, delivers more power in less space and does so

hybrid system to give us greater flexibility in using two

more cost effectively (a low cost per kilowatt hour)

electric motors with an efficient new 1.8L gas engine.

than anything we’ve used before. Then there’s our

Like other hybrids, we accelerate from stop using an

new Exhaust Gas Heat Recovery (EGHR) system.

electric motor and travel at moderate speeds before the

The EGHR can help save energy in cold weather by

gas engine is needed. Our new hybrid system has the

harnessing previously lost energy. The proof is in the

flexibility to keep using the electric motors with the

mileage. The new Malibu Hybrid is expected to offer

gas engine for additional power and performance,

a remarkable estimated 48 MPG city.1

You don’t have to compromise your drive for efficiency. Jason B. Ditman GLOBA L CHIEF ENGINEER , H Y BRID AND ELECTRIC DRIVE UNITS

How does the efficiency of the Malibu Hybrid system

We understand that GM has developed a new electrification

translate to the driver’s experience behind the wheel?

platform that supports both HEVs and plug-in electric vehicles. How did you arrive at this and what are its advantages?

It’s a lot of fun to drive. Because the motor is tuned for a midsize car, it offers better performance. The

Our real-world experience with Volt has advanced our

two-mode operation lets us provide an exhilarating

knowledge of how to use electric motors and gasoline

driving experience and also saves gas as compared

engines together for greater efficiency and greater

to the 2016 Malibu with a 1.5L engine.2 The electric

performance. We’ve applied all of our learnings to create

motor has some zippy torque. Unlike a gas engine,

a single platform. This platform can now support hybrid

which takes time to ramp up, the instant torque of

electric vehicles (like Malibu Hybrid) as well as plug-in

the electric motor allows Malibu Hybrid to accelerate

electric vehicles (like Volt). The new Malibu Hybrid is the

quickly. The two-mode system can employ the gas

first Chevrolet vehicle, after Volt, to bring this platform

engine more selectively and more efficiently. This can

to market. And our electrification expertise doesn’t stop

translate into fewer stops at the pump. In terms of

there. This Fall we’re launching the 2017 Bolt EV,3 an

architecture, we’ve been able to engineer the battery

all-electric vehicle that is expected to offer an estimated

to lie flat and maximize trunk space. It’s also a pretty

more than 200 miles 4 of range on a single charge for an

sweet-looking ride.

affordable price.5 Malibu Hybrid, Volt and Bolt EV are going to change the way you think about electrification.

1 GM-estimated 48 MPG city/45 highway. Official EPA estimates not yet available. Fuel economy estimates based on GM testing. 2 Malibu with 1.5L engine EPA-estimated 27 MPG city/37 highway. 3 Available late 2016. 4 Based on GM estimates. EPA estimates not yet available. Actual range varies with conditions. 5 Priced as low as $30,000 after federal tax credit. Net price shown includes the full $7,500 tax credit. $37,500 MSRP including Destination Freight Charge with tax credit from $0 up to $7,500. Tax, title, license and dealer fees extra. Actual savings from the federal government depend on your tax situation. Consult your tax professional for details.


It’s not often you drive a car with a true split personality. We say we do on occasion, that a car completely changes when you press a certain button, and sometimes it’s not an exaggeration. This is one of those times. This is not a good car that gets better or a wild car that can be leashed and brought to heel. It is an all-or-nothing, love-it-or-hate-it, two-faced fanatic, and the trigger is speed. 48 MOTORTREND.COM / MAY 2016

To be blunt, the Lamborghini Aventador SV is as amazing to drive fast as it is miserable to drive slow. Should you be one of the lucky 600 to have had both the means and opportunity to have purchased one, you should use your ample cash reserves to have it trailered to your favorite tracks and roads. This car is designed for one thing only: driving feloniously fast. How feloniously? Achieving 60 mph from a standing stop takes 2.6 seconds, same as the McLaren P1, Audi R8, Tesla Model S P90D, and

Porsche 911 Turbo S. It’s the second-quickest time we’ve recorded for a production car. The electrically assisted Porsche 918 Spyder and Ferrari LaFerrari are 0.2 second quicker, and they both cost double or more what this special edition Lamborghini does. It’s also 0.2 second quicker than a standard Aventador. That’s also the case in the standing quarter mile. The Aventador SV needs 10.4 seconds to make the finish line, tying it with the Bugatti Veyron at fourth on our all-time list.


2015 Lamborghini Aventador SV | FIRST TEST

NO FUN ’TIL

FELONY DRIVE FAST, OR DON’T BOTHER DRIVING Words Scott Evans Photographs Robin Trajano

MAY 2016 / MOTORTREND.COM 49


FIRST TEST | 2015 Lamborghini Aventador SV

The faster cars are all roughly as expensive as the Veyron, and again, all require electrical assistance (918, P1, LaFerrari). It is only in trap speed where, at 134.7 mph, the Lamborghini is bested by something other than the million-dollar cabal, as the McLaren 675LT, Ferrari Enzo, and Saleen S7 sneak ahead (but still lose the drag race). The regular Aventador needs 10.6 seconds at 133.9 mph. So what if Lamborghini has made the car a little quicker in a straight line? That’s nothing new. This one, though, goes around a corner, as well, a new concept for V-12 Lamborghinis. On our skidpad, it pulls 1.05 g, which is far from the highest number we’ve ever recorded but still very good. Rather surprisingly, it’s matched by the standard Aventador, a car that doesn’t go around corners nearly as well. Our figure-eight test, where the SV posted a 23.1second lap at 0.92 g average to the standard car’s 23.3 seconds at 0.93 g, is more revealing. The fastest cars are in the low 22s, averaging just over 1.0 g in acceleration, braking, and cornering around the whole course. Stopping, as with the rest of these metrics, has improved thanks to the SV’s weight reduction. At 3,900 pounds, this SV is 209 pounds lighter than the Aventador. Lamborghini claims the SV is only 110 pounds lighter, but the Aventador we tested

was heavier than Lamborghini claimed. Regardless, the SV managed to stop a foot shorter, needing only 99 feet. The record stands at 87 feet and was set by a car 532 pounds lighter. Here’s where things get more interesting: The Lamborghini Huracán weighs nearly 500 pounds less. Its stats are as follows: 2.8 seconds to 60 mph, 10.6 seconds at 132.8 mph in the quarter, 1.02 g on the skidpad, 23.0 seconds at 0.98 average g on the figure eight, and 104 feet to stop from 60 mph. The SV’s performance is impressive considering it’s based on an older, heavier car with a considerably less-advanced transmission. The number you’ll be even more interested in is 1:25.42, the SV’s lap time at Willow Springs International Raceway’s “Big Track.” That’s quicker than a GT-R NISMO, a 911 Turbo S, and even a McLaren 650S. It’s only tenths off the Huracán, which posted a 1:25.17 using non-factory Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tires. The SV, meanwhile, is fitted with P Zero Corsas, though Lamborghini says a stickier Trofeo R fitment is in the works. Such a fitment would likely make a noticeable difference. Randy Pobst could find little to dislike about the SV’s track behavior but called out its moderate mid-corner

TRAINED V-12 Lamborghinis have always been wild beasts, but this one has been trained just enough to make it accessible and enjoyable rather than scary and deadly.

understeer. “It’s a little drifty on the way in, a little loose,” he said. “It’s nice. I like it—moderate understeer mid-corner, which makes it stable, but I’m waiting on the front tires. Then it gets neutral at the exit and really puts the power down.” Pobst noted that the problem is prevalent only in low-speed corners; the car is better balanced mid-corner at higher speeds, where he called the car a “pleasure” and a “joy.” His other complaints were equally mild, the first being the throttle mapping, which increases exponentially the farther you press the pedal and comes on too strong as you approach full throttle. The second was the fixed paddle shifters, which he had trouble reaching with the wheel turned. He also managed to fade the carbonceramic brakes and brought the car back with the pads smoking, but he said the stopping power had been excellent until then. In fact, Pobst very much liked the car. He had high praise for its predictable handling, which he said took away much of the

Only in trap speed is the SV bested by something other than the million-dollar cabal.


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FIRST TEST | Aventador fear inherent to a 740-hp car. It’s the exact opposite of what he said about the standard Aventador. Pobst also had kind words for the damping, which he found firm but compliant when needed (that’s often on a track as rough as Big Willow). Should you, Aventador SV owner, ever get your car to the track, you’ll be happy to know it’s quite the performer. If you’re not the track type, you might be wondering what it’s like to drive everywhere else. As long as you restrict your definition of “everywhere else” to your favorite driving roads and you’re willing to completely disregard the posted speed limit, it’s fantastic. The exponential throttle curve and relatively low torque at lower rpms work

As long as you completely disregard speed limits, it’s fantastic. in concert with the excellent all-wheel-drive system to keep the massive tires stuck at all times, no matter how hard you abuse them. A hint of mid-corner understeer can be provoked if you go to power too early, but otherwise, the car is as neutral as can be. Higher in the rev range, the car surges forward in a way only supercars can, with a ferocity that defies comparison. Falling out of a plane strapped to a piano might come close. More than just a ballistic missile, the rest of the car is finally up to the task

of dancing with the engine. Brake force is immediate and incalculably huge. The ride is stiff but only so much as is necessary to keep the car planted over bumps and bad pavement. The steering is lightning quick and extremely precise with a surprising amount of road feel for an all-wheeldrive car. Even the finicky single-clutch automated manual transmission gets in the game with better shifts exactly when you want them, though it’ll still kick you in the back when accelerating in a straight line.

GRACELESS The SV’s non-adjustable racing seats are as low to the floor as can be, partially blocked by the massive side sills, and installed in a very, very low car. There is no graceful way in or out. Period. 52 MOTORTREND.COM / MAY 2016


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FIRST TEST

2015 Aventador LP750-4 SV

2010 Murciélago LP670-4 SV

BASE PRICE

$497,895

PRICE AS TESTED

$524,895

$452,995 $480,325

VEHICLE LAYOUT

Mid-engine, AWD, 2-pass, 2-door coupe

Mid-engine, AWD, 2-pass, 2-door coupe

ENGINE

6.5L/740-hp/ 509-lb-f DOHC 48-valve V-12

6.5L/661-hp/ 487-lb-f DOHC 48-valve V-12

TRANSMISSION

7-speed autoclutch manual

6-speed autoclutch manual

CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)

3,900 lb (43/57%)

3,894 lb (42/58%)

WEIGHT TO POWER

5.3 lb/hp

5.9 lb/hp

WHEELBASE

106.3 in

104.9 in

LXWXH

190.4 x 79.9 x 44.7 in

185.2 x 81.0 x 44.7 in

0-60 MPH

2.6 sec

3.2 sec

0-100 MPH

5.8 sec

7.5 sec

QUARTER MILE

10.4 sec @ 134.7 mph

11.4 sec @ 125.8 mph

TOP SPEED

217 mph (mfr)

212 mph (mfr)

BRAKING, 60-0 MPH LATERAL ACCELERATION

99 f

98 f

1.05 g (avg)

1.00 g (avg)

MT FIGURE EIGHT

23.1 sec @ 0.92 g (avg)

24.5 sec @ 0.81 g (avg)

EPA CITY/HWY/ COMB FUEL ECON

11/18/13 mpg

9/14/11 mpg

ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY

306/187 kW-hrs /100 miles 1.46 lb/mile

374/241 kW-hrs /100 miles 1.81 lb/mile

CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB

MT October 2009

54 MOTORTREND.COM / MAY 2016

Superveloce is a superb improvement With the performance tide ever-rising, it’s easy to grow jaded about the latest high-water mark. Take for instance the 2010 Murciélago LP670-4 SV reviewed in our October 2009 issue. Look at the stats for that car compared to the new Aventador LP750-4 SV. Not only is the power up by 79 hp, but the weight has risen by just 6 pounds, and that results in a more favorable weight-topower ratio—5.3 versus 5.9 pounds for each horsepower to move. Perhaps the greatest improvement the new supercar enjoys is its evolved single-clutch automated manual; shifts are now smoother and take less time. Our figure-eight test reveals a grip delta, and all those fractions of a second add up to a 1.4-second advantage for the new car. And although the difference to 60 mph is just 0.6 second, by the time they both reach 100 mph, there’s a 1.7-second chasm between them. By the end of the quarter mile, the Murciélago claws back some time but can’t even come close with an 8.9-mph disadvantage in trap speed. Behold the new Superveloce. It truly is a masterpiece. p Chris Walton

It’s the rest of the world you want to avoid. At anything less than 80 mph, the SV is absolutely miserable. The tiny windows make outward visibility precious and hard to come by—massive A-pillars and the rearview mirror hamper forward visibility, gun slits restrict side visibility, and there’s just enough rearward visibility to avoid backing into a house. (There’s no backup camera or parking sensors.) This in a car as wide as a Ford F-150. The ride is stiff, compounded by the fixed carbon-fiber seats, which have roughly the same amount of padding as the dashboard and are uncomfortable inside an hour. It’s quite loud inside, as it has zero sound-deadening material, and the engine doesn’t sound good until you’re up to at least 4,500 rpm and accelerating hard. The transmission is abysmally slow and jerky in Strada mode, and the throttle is quite lazy. The transmission puts itself in neutral while sitting at stoplights for no discernable reason. Getting in and out is difficult. The blind spots are a mile wide, and there is always, always someone in them trying to take a picture of your car while driving. Our car didn't have the optional nose lift feature, which you should absolutely get if you ever want to drive in the real world. Otherwise, your half-milliondollar car scrapes on everything. It doesn’t matter how shallow a driveway is. You will rip the air dam off sooner or later. It’s inevitable. Also, this car chugs premium gasoline the way a college freshman chugs cheap beer. We achieved 4 mpg on one particularly bad tank. You would like to think these are the kind of problems you’d love to have. You would be wrong. A car like this is something you’d like to enjoy. Being uncomfortable, unable to see where you’re going, and constantly afraid that a cellphone-wielding admirer is going to crash into you or that you’ll grind the nose into the pavement is not enjoyable under any circumstance. Neither is taking it to the gas station every 100 miles. For these reasons, we return you to our previous recommendation: Don’t drive this car to your road or racetrack of choice. Ship it there, and ship it home. Enjoy the car as it’s meant to be driven: at least 100 mph, preferably with your hair on fire for good measure. n


Direct from our imagination. Introducing the all-new Civic. Civic Touring Sedan shown. Š2015 American Honda Motor Co., Inc.


LATEST BIG MAC FURTHER BLURS THE LINE BETWEEN MECHANICAL AND COMPUTER ENGINEERING

DIGGING DEEPER Words Christian Seabaugh Photographs William Walker

The Internet comment boards can be an awful place, but sometimes I can’t resist looking. I can’t count how many times I’ve seen complaints about standard anti-lock brakes, traction and stability controls, performance drive modes, and quick-shifting dual-clutch gearboxes. These drivers describe their ideal supercar as having a big engine up front, a manual transmission, and no traction control or ABS. Basically, a 1992 Dodge Viper. 56 MOTORTREND.COM / MAY 2016

But times change. High-performance cars are ever-more reliant on computer-controlled traction aides and driver modes, and they’re faster for it. Since its rebirth in 2010, McLaren has drawn a lot of online ire for the role electronic aids play in its vehicles, but I’m not afraid of a little divine—or computer-aided— intervention, especially in a car as capable as the new 2016 McLaren 675LT. With only 500 coupes and 500 spiders to be made, the 675LT is the closest one can get

to McLaren P1 performance without having to drop seven figures on a hypercar. Based on the already impressive 650S and built using lessons learned from McLaren’s GT3 racing program, the 675LT is a leaner, longer, and more powerful track-focused animal. Named for its metric horsepower rating and after the legendary McLaren F1 GTR Long Tail, the 675LT is powered by an overhauled 3.8-liter, twin-turbo V-8. Sporting faster-spinning turbos, new camshafts, revamped ECU


2016 McLaren 675LT | FIRST TEST

SLAY THE DRAGON We’ve been told those titanium exhaust tips spit fire in Track mode at night.

join the carbon-fiber MonoCell tub. All that combines to help the flyweight 675LT sneak in under the 3,000-pound mark, tipping our scales at 2,993 pounds. At our dragstrip, the McLaren 675LT proved itself to be a rather charming Brit. It’s reserved compared to a Lamborghini, but it’s perfectly capable of the theater (excuse me, theatre) you’d expect from a 666-hp, carbon-tubbed supercar. Take launch control, for instance. In a car such as a Porsche 911 Turbo S, you simply put the car in Sport Plus, hit the brake, nail the gas, dump the brake, and you’re off. Easy. In the 675LT, it’s apparent that this car comes from the country that gave us Shakespeare. First you hit the Active switch on the center console to turn Active mode on. Next you twist the left-hand Handling mode knob to the left to Normal, the softest suspension setting, which allows the McLaren to squat and put its power down better on launch. Then you twist the right-hand Powertrain knob all the way right for Track mode, the most aggressive setting. Finally, press the Launch button to enable launch control. A message on the leftmost screen on the instrument cluster pops up to tell you to depress the brake hard with your left foot and floor the gas with your right. As the engine surges behind you, that same display tells you “Boost Is Building,” then “Boost Ready,” and then to let go of the brake. Off you go. A 675 launch is like little else; the little V-8 quickly revs up to its 8,500 rpm redline, and the transmission rattles off shifts so fast, you’re hardly conscious they’re happening. With the computer working hard to manage power and grip, the 675LT rockets from 0 to 60 mph in 3.0 seconds. Stay buried in the throttle, and the quarter mile comes in 10.5 seconds at a staggering 139.7 mph—low weight and slippery body work help out just as much as the 675LT’s power output here. Thankfully, the McLaren is just as capable at stopping as it is going. With its big carbonceramic brake rotors and a rear spoiler that can function as an airbrake, the 675LT aces our 60-0 tests, needing only 94 feet to stop. The 675LT’s acceleration and braking potential really shine on the figure eight. Thanks in large part to McLaren’s ProActive hydraulic suspension system tying everything together, the 675LT is one of the quickest cars to ever lap our figure eight, needing 22.4 seconds and

tuning, and a myriad of other modifications, the McLaren’s mid-mounted V-8 makes a devilish 666 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. The eight-pot is mated to a seven-speed twinclutch automatic, which McLaren says can shift gears in as little as 40 milliseconds. The 650S was already a light car, but McLaren took things further with the 675LT. Carbon-fiber bumpers and fenders, a titanium exhaust system, lightweight wheels, and a fixed polycarbonate engine cover MAY 2016 / MOTORTREND.COM 57


FIRST TEST | 2016 McLaren 675LT averaging 0.98 g. That time is just a tenth of a second behind a Dodge Viper ACR with a track setup, and it easily beats fellow European iron such as the Porsche 911 GT3, Lamborghini Huracán, and Mercedes-AMG GT S. With all that performance potential, we were quite eager to see what Randy Pobst could manage around Willow Springs Raceway. The McLaren, simply put, was staggeringly fast. Its 1:24.29 lap was the second fastest we’ve ever posted around Big Willow, just behind the mighty Porsche 918 Spyder’s 1:23.54 record. “I think we can get in the 23s easy,” Pobst said after his lap. He was fond of the 675LT’s firm chassis, accurate steering, and, of course, its 4.5 pounds per horsepower weight-to-power ratio. “The power really makes it a thrilling ride. It reminds me of the P1 a lot—you can tell it’s the same personality. It doesn’t even feel that much slower. It hauls the mail! It just rocks!” Ever the perfectionist, Pobst found a little room for improvement. For starters, he felt that getting to the McLaren’s tremendous braking power took too much effort.

“The power really makes it a thrilling ride. It reminds me of the P1 a lot. ... It just rocks!” And then there’s the issue of mechanical engineering versus software engineering that has so plagued every McLaren review dating back to the MP4-12C. “I would say McLaren’s software engineers are as involved with the driving experience as its mechanical engineers are,” he said. “I can tell McLaren is getting to a whole new level of stability control, but at the same time I feel less and less like I was the one driving. I know I’m leaning on that traction control a lot, and that bugs me. I don’t like using my crutch when both my legs are good.”

58 MOTORTREND.COM / MAY 2016

Pobst may not like the computer intervention, but it doesn’t bother me. I’m not a tenth of the driver he is, so I don’t mind the digital aides helping every once in a while, especially when they’re as unobtrusively integrated as they are in the McLaren. After a day spent tossing the 675LT around the canyons, I only saw the traction control light flicker at me once or twice. Otherwise, I was left enjoying Track mode’s instantaneous throttle response and lightning-quick shifts and the perfectly weighted steering. The 675LT’s performance in the canyons isn’t exactly surprising, but its road manners sure are. Left alone with the modes set to Normal on the highway, the McLaren is quite nice to drive. The ride is exceptional for a supercar, cabin noise is relatively quiet, and visibility is surprisingly good, too. The McLaren doesn’t stutter in stop-and-go traffic, either—the car is seemingly just as happy slogging it at 14 mph as it is accelerating past 140.


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FIRST TEST

675LT LEAVES SHELBY’S SNAKE IN THE DUST

2016 McLaren 675LT BASE PRICE

The McLaren isn’t perfect. My list of complaints, however, is short: A pre-production prototype fuel line clamp failed after the track session, giving us starting issues; the engine cover rattles when the engine’s cold and idling at 1,500 rpm; the seats get uncomfortable after a few hours in the saddle; and the infotainment system works about as well as you’d expect of a 3-year-old Android tablet. But what supercar is perfect? Who would want a perfect supercar anyway? Aside from those small eccentricities, the 675LT is a remarkable supercar that even at nearly $400,000 still manages to punch way above its weight. Some may bemoan the computer intervention, but the average driver should welcome it, as it helps even the most ordinary of us dig deeper into the McLaren’s worldbeating performance. n

$353,600

PRICE AS TESTED

$399,271

VEHICLE LAYOUT

Mid-engine, RWD, 2-pass, 2-door coupe 3.8L/666-hp/516-lb-f twinturbo DOHC 32-valve V-8

ENGINE TRANSMISSION CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)

7-speed twin-clutch auto.

WHEELBASE

105.1 in

LXWXH

179.0 x 82.5 x 46.8 in

2,993 lb (42/58%)

0-60 MPH

3.0 sec

QUARTER MILE

10.5 sec @ 139.7 mph

BRAKING, 60-0 MPH LATERAL ACCELERATION

94 f 1.09 g (avg)

MT FIGURE EIGHT

22.4 sec @ 0.98 g (avg)

EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON

16/22/18 mpg

ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY

211/153 kW-hrs/100 miles

CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB

1.06 lb/mile

Back in the day, the 0-100-0-mph test was a common performance benchmark. Legend has it that Carroll Shelby was the first to boast that his Cobra would take less time to make the trip to the century mark and back to a standstill than your car would need to make it to 60 mph. His much-disputed claim was 13.8 seconds. With that test in mind, in our April 2000 issue we picked one of five extant McLaren F1 LM supercars and enlisted “veteran McLaren driver Andy Wallace—one of the elite cadre of drivers who contributed to a McLaren juggernaut that took first, third, fourth, fifth, and 13th places overall and stormed to a 1-2-3-4 sweep of the GT category at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, when the car debuted there in ’95. Toss in a full factory support staff, sophisticated Datron timing equipment, and a suitable venue in the heart of East Anglia, and you’ve got the makings of a great day, indeed.” Mind you, tires weren’t what they are now, launch control wasn’t part of the program, and the Big Mac didn’t have ABS. The resulting 0-100-0 time of 11.5 seconds broke the record and shattered the Shelby brag by a whopping 2.3 seconds. Which got us thinking: What would the latest, greatest McLaren 675LT do? It decimated the revered mark by another 2.2 seconds, requiring just 9.3 seconds total. Chriis Walton

HEAD TO HEAD

2016 675LT

1996 F1 LM 3.4 lb/hp

WEIGHT TO POWER

4.5 lb/hp

0-100

5.7 sec

6.7 sec

BRAKING, 100-0 MPH

3.6 sec

4.8 sec

0-100-0

9.3 sec

11.5 sec

TOP SPEED

205 mph (mfr)

225 mph (mfr)

MT April 2000

SWEET SUEDE Those parkbench-sized door sills are about as comfortable as the 675LT’s suede sport seats. 60 MOTORTREND.COM / MAY 2016


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FIRST TEST | 2016 Cadillac CT6

SEEKING BRAND GUIDANCE IN THE NEW BIG CADDY

Cadillac, one of the oldest and most inventive automotive marques, is at yet another intriguing juncture in its 114-year history. The brand of Leland, Murphy, and Bowen has spent the past few years obsessing over its street and track performance image. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. 62 MOTORTREND.COM / MAY 2016

There was Bob Lutz’s CTS-V Challenge in 2009 and then the ATS commercial spots all about aggressive driving. Luxury customers in recent years might not have understood the hullabaloo around Cadillac’s fascination with going fast around corners, but we know a core set of buyers has been waiting for a new big Caddy. These customers are probably looking for a Cadillac like the CT6.

Or are they? Perhaps they would be swayed by testing director Kim Reynolds after he circled our figure eight in an $88,960 CT6 housing all the Platinum-grade trimmings and the new LGW 3.0-liter, twin-turbo V-6 with 404 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. His initial observation: “I thought it’d be bigger,” in reference to the overall dimensions. His follow-up? “Amazingly driftable.”


Words Benson Kong Photographs William Walker

AUDIO CONDUCTOR Bose was not hamstrung with weight limitations while arranging its Panaray system’s 34 speakers.

The CT6 is the biggest sedan in the Cadillac lineup, so it’s the de facto flagship, and it’s the first in the collection to use the new alphanumeric naming policy (Cadillac Touring plus a number). It adheres to the classical “long, low, wide” aesthetic more successfully than in the large and less elegant XTS; the CT6 boasts body measurements 2.1 inches longer, 1.5 inches lower, and about an inch wider.

Plus, critically, it has a wheelbase 10.7 inches longer. Although the CT6 will be naturally positioned to challenge the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series, and Audi A8 club, Cadillac tells us it’s aiming to bridge the gap between traditional luxury midsize and full-size sedans by melding midsize on-road agility and full-size interior space. MAY 2016 / MOTORTREND.COM 63


FIRST TEST | 2016 Cadillac CT6 Enter the first application of GM’s Omega platform, a product of advanced aluminum and steel unibody manufacturing and joining processes. Paring poundage so effectively at the structural level pushes the base CT6 with the 265-hp, 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder to a manufacturer-claimed 3,650-pound curb weight, a feathery estimate for a prestige luxury car. Our Platinum AWD test vehicle checked in at 4,350 pounds, within spitball distance of the aluminum Audi A8. It’s nearly 500 pounds lighter than a carbon-fiber-intensive BMW 750i xDrive. A Mercedes S550 4Matic packs on more than a quarter-ton of additional heft. We can see the mass savings in the figureeight times even when the gaps are measured in tenths of a second. Our less powerful long-term 2012 Audi A8 with the outmoded 372-hp, 4.2-liter V-8 is 0.3 second off the CT6’s best 25.4-second lap. The 445-horse, 480-lb-ft 750i powers its way to a tie with the CT6, and the 455-horse, 516-lb-ft S550 flexed its potency to a 0.2-second advantage. The dragstrip results are predictable; the CT6’s 5.0-second 0-60 and 13.4-second quarter-mile times look comparatively slower than the more powerful Germans (the A8 is 0.1 second behind the CT6 to 60) but also remain more than speedy enough for everyday consumption. The Cadillac is “amazingly driftable” when trail-braking into a corner. Trail-braking induces a rotation that is much appreciated; once the car settles into the turn, there isn’t a

Aluminum Steel

Mixed-Media Art Steel saves weight. When Cadillac turned its bodystructure computers loose and let them optimize each part for its mission, the CT6���s unibody ended up 62 percent aluminum, 38 percent steel, and 220 pounds lighter than the smaller CTS. The front-door hinge pillars are two of 13 high-pressure aluminum die castings. Each pillar replaces 35 steel stampings, greatly simplifying assembly and reducing mass while improving strength and dimensional accuracy. The

total part count is 20 percent lower than the average car. Between these pillars is a steel firewall—an aluminum panel 1mm thick would have transmitted more noise, requiring 60-70mm of acoustic damping material and adding considerable cost and weight. Another GM breakthrough is its patented spot-welding technique for joining aluminum panels. A typical blunt, 8mm spot-welding tip tends to burn through sheet aluminum, so GM devised a new tip with concentric

rings that better distributes the current, fusing the panels without burning through them. Spot welds weigh less, they’re faster and easier to execute than the more common rivets, and they permit flanges to shrink by 4mm, enlarging door openings by that amount all around. The CT6 employs 3,073 such spot welds. Where greater strength is required, the CT6 uses 879 feet of structural adhesives, and self-piercing rivets or flow-drilled screws join steel to aluminum. Frank Markus

Cadillac has spent recent years obsessing over performance.

FUTURE PLANS The CT6 is Caddy’s big alpha dog now, but we’re told there’s still room in the lineup to go bigger. 64 MOTORTREND.COM / MAY 2016


Upper Class Just Got Lower Priced Finally, luxury built for value—not for false status

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nly a few of us are born with silver spoons in our mouths. Magnificat II and studied the escapement, balance wheel and Until Stauer came along, you needed an inheritance to buy the rotor. He remarked on the detailed guilloche face, gilt winda timepiece with class and refinement. Not any more. The Stauer ing crown, and the crocodile-embossed leather band. He was Magnificat II brings the impeccable quality and engineering intrigued by the three interior dials for day, date, and 24-hour once found only in the watch collections of the idle rich. If you moon phases. He estimated that this fine timepiece would have actually earned your living through intellicost over $2,500. We all smiled and told him that the gence, hard work, and perseverance, you will now Stauer price was less than $90. He was stunned. We be rewarded with a timepiece of understated class felt like we had accomplished our task. A truly that will always be a symbol of refined taste. The magnificent watch at a truly magnificent price! striking case, finished in luxurious gold, compliTry the Magnificat II for 60 days and if you are ments an etched ivory-colored dial exquisitely. not receiving compliments, please return the By using advanced computer design and robotics, watch for a full refund of the purchase price. When you use your we have been able to drastically reduce the INSIDER OFFER CODE The precision-built movement carries a 2 year price on this precision movement. warranty against defect. If you trust your own

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FIRST TEST whole lot of cornering attitude adjustment to be found in the gas pedal. This is an all-wheeldrive car, after all. (Only the four-cylinder CT6 is equipped with rear-wheel drive.) An Active Chassis package featuring magnetorheological shock absorbers, active rear steer, quicker steering, and 20-inch wheels is standard on Platinum and costs $3,300 on lower grades. We suspect the rear steering ability (the rear wheels turn in-phase up to 2.75 degrees at higher speeds for faster lateral response) deserves some of the credit for the spry behavior. Our car’s optional 245/40R20 Pirelli P Zero summer tires (a $500 option) probably don’t hurt the cause, either. Both CT6s we sampled (we drove but did not instrument-test a four-cylinder model) steer with more clarity than a 750i xDrive with the M Sport package. The Cadillac feels nimbler and lighter on its feet from behind the steering wheel. The more basic rendition with conventional shock absorbers, 19-inch wheels, and Goodyear Eagle all-season tires achieves a nice equilibrium of suppleness, roll control, and grip. Fortunately, the fourcylinder does not feel out of place in the CT6. The one with the “big” LGW engine seems ready to haul POTUS away from baddies on a mountain road at a breakneck pace. The ride is firmer, the body control is sharper, and the rearend lets you know it can be of assistance at turn-in. This is how the CT6 must live. It

2016 Cadillac CT6 3.0TT AWD BASE PRICE PRICE AS TESTED VEHICLE LAYOUT

$65,390

ENGINE

3.0L/404-hp/400-lb-f twinturbo DOHC 24-valve V-6*

$88,960 Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan

TRANSMISSION

8-speed automatic

CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)

4,350 lb (53/47%)

WHEELBASE

122.4 in

LXWXH

204.1 x 74.0 x 57.9 in

0-60 MPH

5.0 sec

QUARTER MILE

13.4 sec @ 105.0 mph

BRAKING, 60-0 MPH

106 f

LATERAL ACCELERATION

0.88 g (avg)

MT FIGURE EIGHT EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON

25.4 sec @ 0.75 g (avg) 18/26/21 mpg

ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY

187/130 kW-hrs/100 miles

CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB

0.93 lb/mile

*SAE Certified

must be the definitive luxury car, but Cadillac can’t throw the performance card away. The CT6 corners a lot better than it needs to and provides a spacious and quiet interior. The cabin is fairly well-upholstered, though some of the flat-black plastic buttons look and feel lower rent than desired. Available features include a video camera-fed rearview mirror display and a Bose Panaray sound system that incorporates a mind-boggling 34 speakers mounted in 19 different locations. Super Cruise, the much-hyped one-touch semi-automated driver’s aid, is due in 2017. And if your idealized version of a big and comfortable Cadillac includes a unique V-8 such as the overhead-cam Northstar series of old, keep your eyes peeled for those extra two cylinders down the line. Cadillac has endured many ups and downs but is looking to etch a new place in history with its ingenuity. With the CT6, we suspect we’re in an upswell. n

POMP If circumstance lands you in the back seat, relish the rear dual-zone climate control, reclining and massaging seats, 10.1-inch screens, and plentiful electronics-charging options.

66 MOTORTREND.COM / MAY 2016


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HEAD TO HEAD | 2015 BMW M4 VS 2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS

OCULAR RIFT Decades of diďŹ&#x20AC;ering pedigrees means the auto-enthused traditionalist may not comprehend this seemingly unnatural comparison. Welcome to a new age. 72 MOTORTREND.COM / MAY 2016


MAKING A BACK ROAD MURDERER

WHEN IDENTICAL AIN’T ALL IT’S CRACKED UP TO BE Words Jonny Lieberman Photographs Jessica Walker

We named the sixth-gen Camaro our 2016 Car of the Year. That’s the highest praise we can give a vehicle. I remember sitting around after the vote with my fellow judges expressing the following sentiment: “Forget Mustang and Challenger. The Camaro now competes with BMW and Audi.” We proved that just days later when the new Camaro beat the Mustang GT in a Head 2 Head.

“Here’s a sentence I never thought I’d write,” boss man Angus MacKenzie wrote at the time. “The Chevrolet Camaro is a better, more entertaining car to drive than a BMW 3 Series.” MacKenzie was talking about the brand-new 340i, a car that most certainly did not take home our Golden Calipers. But what if we put our new darling COTY winner up against the gold standard of Teutonic performance machines, the venerable BMW M4?

We’ve done this before. Five years ago, editor-in-chief Ed Loh pitted a 2011 Ford Mustang with the 5.0-liter Coyote V-8 up against an E92 M3. That one ended with Ford in second place, BMW winner of the chicken dinner. About that Mustang: “Never has a loss felt so much like a win. From not once considered to full-blown contender, 5.0 officially puts the world on notice.” MAY 2016 / MOTORTREND.COM 73


About that Bavarian: “Did you blink and miss the M3’s onionskin advantage over the GT? Here’s a hint: It’s in the chassis, not underhood.” The point in all this is that although the M4 remains a monument to itself, there are cracks in its armor. Our COTY award went to the Camaro lineup as a whole, but the model that really sold it for us was the SS. It’s got a 455-hp, 455-lb-ft, 6.2-liter LT1 V-8 heart connected to a stout six-speed manual transmission powering only the rear wheels. The chassis is the latest version of GM’s highly acclaimed Alpha platform, the same underpinnings you’ll find beneath the skin of the Cadillac ATS and CTS, the latter also a COTY winner. The M4 comes with so many changes compared to the regular 3 Series that BMW gave it a new chassis code: F82 instead of F32 for the run-of-the-mill 4 Series. Under the Haube rests a 3.0-liter inline-six souped up by way of two turbochargers that help pump out 425 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. Like the Camaro, the M4 has a six-speed manual and is rear-wheel drive. Although the Chevy has more power and torque, the BMW is lighter at 3,512 pounds versus 3,696. “I ran the numbers a couple of times just to make sure these were as close as the charts show,” road test editor Chris Walton noted when he emailed us the performance results. “FREAKY close, nearly identical.” He ain’t kidding. It’s a virtual tie to 60 mph, the BMW needing 4.2 seconds and the Chevy taking 4.1 seconds. Same story in the quarter mile: Camaro in 12.4 seconds at 115.8 mph, M4 in 12.5 seconds at 116.5 mph. What about the figure eight? Both contenders came in at 24.1 seconds even though the Camaro’s average lateral acceleration is 1.01 g compared to 1.00 g for the M4. The wheelbases are 74 MOTORTREND.COM / MAY 2016

What if we put our COTY winner up against the gold standard of Teutonic performance machines, the venerable BMW M4?

identical: 110.7 inches each. We had Randy Pobst lap each around the Streets of Willow: 1:22.94 for the BMW, 1:23.15 for the Chevy. Confession time: Due to an oversight on our end, the BMW was lapped with only half a tank of premium. Our standard testing procedure is to test and lap all cars with full tanks. Assuming 7 gallons were missing, that’s about 40 pounds. We asked our SCCA Hall of Fame buddy what difference 40 pounds

makes on a racetrack. “Maybe a tenth,” Pobst said. Apologies to Camaro Nation, but our point about these two cars being near indistinguishable performers remains. You Ford fans? The new Mustang GT takes 1:24.32. As my fellow senior features editor Jason Cammisa says, all of these numbers are “within the noise.” Meaning that tenths of seconds and hundredths of g’s don’t actually matter in the real world. The only outlier


BMW M4 VS Chevrolet Camaro SS | HEAD TO HEAD

THE OFFICES The M4’s interior features the stern and serious design themes expected of the Bavarian, but the Camaro SS’ cabin couldn’t be further from where the gloomy fifth gen left off.

It’s a virtual tie to 60 mph. Same story for the quarter mile. MAY 2016 / MOTORTREND.COM 75


HEAD TO HEAD | BMW M4 VS Chevrolet Camaro SS PRECEDENT The 2011 BMW M3 did 1:27.67, and the 2011 Ford Mustang GT lapped a 1:27.76.

Track Length: 1.55 miles

8 M4 1.29 g SS 1.00 g

7

SS 1.22 g M4 1.12 g

Cornering

SS 1.11 g M4 1.00 g

4 10 M4 1.20 g SS 1.14 g

Braking

9

M4 1.23 g SS 1.21 g

5

SS 1.12 g M4 1.12 g

2

M4 1.05 g SS 0.99 g

6

M4 1.16 g SS 1.13 g

SS 0.93 g M4 0.86 g

THE STREETS OF WILLOW SPRINGS RACEWAY

SS 1.46 g M4 1.43 g

SS 1.02 g M4 0.99 g

M4 1.18 g SS 1.17 g

3 11

13

12

14

Vehicle positions at 8.29 second intervals SS 1.07 g M4 1.05 g

1 SS

M4 1.25 g SS 1.08 g

BEST LAP TIMES

BMW M4

M4

CAMARO SS

1:22.94 1:23.15

SPEEDS AROUND TRACK

130 120 110

SS 1.13 g M4 1.06 g

M4 120.4 mph SS 119.8 mph

TOP SPEEDS

M4 109.7 mph SS 107.4 mph M4 88.0 mph SS 86.1 mph

100 SS 81.4 mph M4 80.1 mph

90 80 70

SS 71.4 mph M4 68.4 mph

M4 69.5 mph SS 67.9 mph

60 50 40 30

M4 46.3 mph SS 44.5 mph

M4 37.0 mph SS 34.1 mph

LOW SPEEDS

M4 44.9 mph SS 42.7 mph

M4 37.7 mph SS 37.5 mph

MPH

20

SS 44.8 mph M4 44.6 mph

M4 43.1 mph SS 42.2 mph

TURNS

1

2

3

4

5

6

confidence. Yet from there until Turn 9 the M4 and SS are virtually roped together again—and it’s a very short leash. The BMW is usually a smidge faster in the corners. The Chevrolet sometimes gains but sometimes loses under acceleration (its shifts

Our flying hot lap starts with the BMW M4 and Chevrolet Camaro SS within 0.5 mph of each other. By the first corner, the BMW holds a very slight advantage on the Bow Tie, but through this very fast right-hander, the Teuton delivers Randy Pobst loads more

TRADE-OFFS Carbonceramics look good, brake great, and make lots of noise when cold.

76 MOTORTREND.COM / MAY 2016

7

8

9

being noticeably slower). This slower-shifting by the SS causes bigger trouble on the back straight, but the Camaro reels in the M4 by its ability to brake much later coming into Turn 10. This later braking helps again as the SS bears down on Turn 11.

in terms of performance was braking: 108 feet for the BMW against 102 feet for the Chevrolet. A bit disappointing on that last one, as the M4 comes with $9,350 carbonceramic brakes. (Yes, the brakes are “only” $8,150, but you have to get a $1,200 set of wheels to get the fancy stoppers.) That said, Cammisa, Pobst, and I all preferred the way the M4’s brakes worked to how the Chevy’s did. Of course, the other numeric outlier is price: $46,095 as tested for the Camaro SS, $77,495 for the M4. That’s more than $31K.

10

11 12 13 14

Unfortunately, this slightly erodes its pace in the subsequent corner, and the BMW proceeds to edge out another small advantage with quick bursts of better speed until they finally reach the finish line— where the BMW is ahead by a mere 30 feet. Kim Reynolds

That is all of the objective stuff. Measured, timed, and weighed. As you know, though, objective information is indeed useful, but it’s certainly not the entire picture. For instance, this Camaro SS is the 2SS model. Even though it’s about $9K pricier than the 1SS model we tested for Car of the Year, we don’t like it as much. Objectively, the performance is almost identical. Look at the figure-eight times. Both ran a 24.1-second lap. However, both Cammisa and I preferred the ride and handling from the fixed suspension


on the 1SS to the adjustable magnetorheological dampers on the 2SS. We also both preferred the way the Camaro tore up a ribbon of asphalt compared to the M4. The Alpha chassis is worth its weight in … aluminum. It’s properly stiff and sporty; we’ve yet to find an Alpha car that didn’t handle at or near the top of its class. “We’re hard on the M4 because of our high expectations from anything with a Roundel on it— and that absurd price,” Cammisa said. “But the fact is that the 4 Series is still a reasonably well-engineered car, and a beautiful-looking one at that. What’s missing is any trace of that special sauce that used to make BMWs worth the additional price: tuning.” All the little things that used to come standard on not just M Division cars but with BMWs in general seem to be lacking. “The steering’s numb, the shifter’s sloppy, the engine’s response is nonlinear, and the clutch pedal has far too much travel,” Cammisa said. The Camaro had far superior electric power steering and a more precise shifter, and its clutch, which by no means is world-class, is better than the third pedal in the M4. As for the engine, no contest here— small-block all the way. Again, we know the performance numbers are a virtual dead heat, although the Camaro is so much easier to launch that on the street the Chevy will win

Our combined eight decades of spinning around the sun make us not take the Camaro as seriously as we could. 90 percent of the time. That’s not what we’re talking about. We enjoyed the 6.2-liter natural breather more. Cammisa had much to say on the subject. “Any criticism of the BMW’s power delivery needs to be tempered by the harsh reality that governments are waging a war against fuel consumption, especially in Europe,” he said. “Downsized turbo engines do well on standardized tests even if they don’t deliver fuel savings in the real world. For a turbocharged engine, the BMW motor is great. Sure, it has lag—all turbos do—but it’s got an enormous powerband and pulls incredibly hard to seven grand.” He then tempered his own comment. “Then again, maybe if BMW wasn’t so obsessed with selling every model in enormous volumes, a slurpy, thirsty M3/M4 wouldn’t be a big deal.”

We get that the M-Division’s hand was (probably) forced to produce a turbocharged motivator for the M3/M4. However, we do not get the noise this thing makes. “It’s possibly the coarsest straight-six ever,” Cammisa said. “It sounds like a Cuisinart choking on concrete. Scott Evans described its cold idle as ‘one of those small, portable air compressors you plug into the lighter socket.’ He’s dead on.” That’s on the outside. Inside’s worse, and it’s made no better by the fake engine noise pumped in through the M4’s speakers. “BMW’s active sound management amounts to little more than spraying air freshener to drown out nasty bathroom smells,” Cammisa said. It’s fake, and noticeably so. The small-block is GM’s core competency. The three most expensive products the General sells—Escalade, Z06, CTS-V—all have small-block V-8s. That compact, big-lunged, power-dense cam-in-block throwback is what Chevy and the rest do best. Same story here for the LT1 in the SS. It’s linear, sonically awesome both at idle and wide-open throttle, and just as fuel-efficient in the real world as the S55B30 in the F82. Instead of phony noises, the Chevy features an intake resonance tube plumbed right off the cold air pipe and mounted to the firewall. “Which,” Cammisa said, “is not only simpler but also sounds better. Sometimes simple just works better.” Amen.

SECOND PLACE 2015 BMW M4

It’s time for BMW to either rethink or reclaim ye olde Ultimate Driving Machine. Times done changed.

FIRST PLACE 2016 CHEVROLET CAMARO SS

The hits keep on coming. Chevy’s people’s sports car continues its winning streak. Who’s next? Audi? AMG? Porsche? 78 MOTORTREND.COM / MAY 2016


2015 BMW M4

POWERTRAIN/CHASSIS

Front-engine, RWD

DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT

Twin-turbo I-6, alum block/head

That’s not to say the Camaro is a perfect car. Like all cars, it isn’t. Cammisa and I much preferred the M4’s looks. Even if you like the Camaro’s design more, you have to admit that it’s childish. Although we’re young at heart, my and Jason’s combined eight decades of spinning around the sun make us not take the Camaro as seriously as we could. Maybe a little less cartoony next time around? The BMW is straight up handsome, no two ways about it. Aside from looks, Cammisa tabulated a litany of things we don’t like about the SS: “The back seat is a cruel joke. The HVAC vents love to freeze and/or slow-cook your right hand, and their cleverly integrated temperature knobs feel cheap. When it’s hot under the hood, the starter can barely crank the V-8 over quickly enough to start it. Steering weight can’t be selected individually from the drive modes—and it’s artificially heavy in both Sport and Track modes. The powertrain suffers from some big NVH issues.” However, he quickly adds, “All of those flaws suit the Camaro; this is a car with a clear understanding of what it is, who it appeals to, and what it needs to do.” By dint of declaration, Cammisa’s saying that the BMW does not know what it needs to do. The numbers show the M4 has it when it counts. But just driving the thing around? Feels like a plain old luxury car. Refined and nice enough but not the be-all, end-all of hot Germanic muscle machines. Admittedly, faulting a car like the M4 is akin to feeling the pea under the mattresses, but it’s more than one pea, and them’s pretty thin mattresses. “I was genuinely concerned that the M4 would wipe the streets with the Camaro, and yet the exact opposite happened,” Cammisa said. “The Camaro’s win was wholesale.” Hats off once again to Camaro boss Al Oppenheiser and his team. They took on Germany’s performance standard-bearer, objectively tied it, and subjectively blackened the M4’s eye. “The Camaro’s biggest weakness is its own badge,” Cammisa said. “Discounting the 1LE and Z/28, the Camaro was so bad for so long that it’s hard to take this car seriously against the M4. Until you start driving it.” Yup. If how a car drives matters more to you than badge cachet, Chevrolet has you covered. n

DOHC, 4 valves/cyl 181.8 cu in/2,979cc 10.2:1 425 hp @ 5,500 rpm 406 lb-f @ 1,850 rpm 7,500 rpm 8.3 lb/hp 6-speed manual 3.46:1/2.93:1

Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar 15.0:1 2.3 15.8-in vented, drilled, carbonceramic disc; 15.0-in vented, drilled, carbon-ceramic disc, ABS 9.0 x 19-in; 10.0 x 19-in, forged aluminum 255/35ZR19 92Y; 275/35ZR19 100Y Michelin Pilot Super Sport

ENGINE TYPE VALVETRAIN DISPLACEMENT COMPRESSION RATIO POWER (SAE NET) TORQUE (SAE NET) REDLINE WEIGHT TO POWER TRANSMISSION AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE RATIO SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR STEERING RATIO TURNS LOCK-TO-LOCK BRAKES, F; R

WHEELS TIRES

2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS Coupe (2SS) Front-engine, RWD 90-deg V-8, alum block/heads OHV, 2 valves/cyl 376.1 cu in/6,162cc 11.5:1 455 hp @ 6,000 rpm* 455 lb-f @ 4,400 rpm* 6,500 rpm 8.1 lb/hp 6-speed manual 3.73:1/1.87:1 Struts, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar 15.8:1 2.3 13.6-in vented disc; 13.3-in vented disc, ABS 8.5 x 20-in; 9.5 x 20-in, cast aluminum 245/40ZR20 95Y; 275/35ZR20 98Y Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 3

DIMENSIONS

110.7 in 62.2/63.1 in 184.5 x 73.6 x 54.4 in 40.0 f 3,512 lb 52/48% 4 39.8/36.1 in 42.2/33.7 in 55.3/51.7 in 11.0 cu f

WHEELBASE TRACK, F/R LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT TURNING CIRCLE CURB WEIGHT WEIGHT DIST, F/R SEATING CAPACITY HEADROOM, F/R LEGROOM, F/R SHOULDER ROOM, F/R CARGO VOLUME

1.8 sec 2.7 3.4 4.2 5.3 6.5 7.7 9.1 1.6 12.5 sec @ 116.5 mph 108 f 1.00 g (avg) 24.1 sec @ 0.82 g (avg) 82.94 sec 2,250 rpm

ACCELERATION TO MPH 0-30 0-40 0-50 0-60 0-70 0-80 0-90 0-100 PASSING, 45-65 MPH QUARTER MILE BRAKING, 60-0 MPH LATERAL ACCELERATION MT FIGURE EIGHT 1.55-MI ROAD COURSE LAP TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH

110.7 in 63.0/62.9 in 188.3 x 74.7 x 53.1 in 38.4 f 3,696 lb 54/46% 4 36.6/35.0 in 42.6/29.9 in 55.0/50.4 in 9.1 cu f

TEST DATA

1.7 sec 2.4 3.1 4.1 5.0 6.4 7.7 9.2 1.8 12.4 sec @ 115.8 mph 102 f 1.01 g (avg) 24.1 sec @ 0.83 g (avg) 83.15 sec 1,400 rpm

CONSUMER INFO

$65,195 $77,495 Yes/yes Dual front, front side, f/r curtain, front knee 4 yrs/50,000 miles 4 yrs/50,000 miles 4 yrs/unlimited miles 15.8 gal 17/26/20 mpg 198/130 kW-hrs/100 miles 0.96 lb/mile Unleaded premium *SAE Certified

BASE PRICE PRICE AS TESTED STABILITY/TRACTION CONTROL AIRBAGS BASIC WARRANTY POWERTRAIN WARRANTY ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE FUEL CAPACITY EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB RECOMMENDED FUEL

$42,295 $46,095 Yes/yes Dual front, front side, f/r curtain, front knee 3 yrs/36,000 miles 5 yrs/60,000 miles 5 yrs/60,000 miles 19.0 gal 16/25/19 mpg 211/135 kW-hrs/100 miles 1.02 lb/mile Unleaded premium


HYPED-UP HOT HATCH IS A KNOCKOUT IN THIS CASE, THAT’S A VERY GOOD THING

Words Jason Cammisa

“What is the point of a sleeping pill,” she asked, “if it just knocks you out?” That question might seem silly, except my grandmother didn’t want a good night’s sleep. She wanted to get a little silly. Instead she got a Lunesta—and eight hours of perfect sleep before a blaring TV, next to a bottle of wine she didn’t even have time to open. She was livid, having been robbed of a fun night thanks to a drug that skipped the journey and jumped straight to the destination. Before you judge, remember that you don’t drink alcohol for the purpose of obtaining a

80 MOTORTREND.COM / MAY 2016

hangover. And no one buys a fast car to get to work earlier. They’re for fun—though these days, finding a fast car that’s also fun is as tough as finding the Quaalude that Grandma really wanted. Just like modern drugs that put you to sleep almost instantly, today’s cars fly around the Nürburgring faster than ever. Too often, the driver is only marginally involved.

This target-fixated fun-thievery has become an epidemic, but Ford has a pill for it. It’s called the Focus RS, and though it’s been legal in Europe for years, it’s just now coming to the USA. The RS team decided the new RS needed to send power to its rear wheels to go faster than its front-drive predecessors but wasn’t willing to kill the fun in the process. For this reason, the new Focus RS doesn’t use Haldex-type all-wheel drive like most transverse-engine cars, including chief rival Volkswagen Golf R. That system is a prescription for corner-exit speed, but it comes with


2016 Ford Focus RS | FIRST DRIVE

WORKAROUND The driver is actively involved with this hot hatch. Sure, much of the handling is guided by a computer, but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not a simulation. MAY 2016 / MOTORTREND.COM 81


FIRST DRIVE | 2016 Ford Focus RS the serious side effect of power-on understeer. Ford’s performance division experimented with a Focus RS with a Haldex-type system but had an adverse reaction. Instead, they turned to supplier GKN’s Twinster arrangement, which uses a permanently rotating driveshaft. The rear diff decides how much power goes to the rear wheels, and with two independent clutchpacks, it can send everything it receives to one side, the other, or anything in between. Gearing the rear axle to turn 1.8 percent faster than the front, the Focus can send more than half the engine’s power rearward, and to show that off, the Focus RS has a Drift mode. Confirmed: You can do big, smoky donuts in the Ford Focus RS. Is Drift mode important? Is it even relevant? Was it worth Michelin’s engineering effort to create a bespoke Pilot Super Sport tire that can withstand this perverse use of rubber? You tell me: Was your last trip to Vegas worth it? Speaking of STIs, that Subaru and the Golf R are the Focus RS’ direct competitors. Motivation for the good fight (and the donuts) comes from a revised version of the Mustang’s direct-injected, 2.3-liter I-4 with a larger, twin-scroll turbocharger; upgraded cylinder head and liners; and the biggest intercooler Ford could fit. It’s force-fed 23 psi of air and spits 350 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque to a six-speed manual transmission. If you’d prefer an automatic, you’re out of luck. Also, we recommend you try huffing chloroform instead of sipping that glass of wine.

Braking is accomplished via fixed, fourpiston Brembos up front and single-piston sliders at the rear, each of which can be actuated individually to help turn the car. Crucial parts of the chassis have been reinforced, but the suspension is upgraded Focus stuff, with stiffer springs (+33 percent in front, +38 percent in the rear) and electronically adjustable shocks. In Standard mode, they help give the RS a taut but civilized ride. In Sport mode, the shocks cause the car to buck, bounce, and heave over bumps you can’t even see. The RS has four drive modes, starting with Normal. Sport adds more rear bias to the AWD system, boosts the throttle curve, reduces steering assistance, opens the exhaust, and instructs the computer to send multiple explosions down the tailpipe every time you lift your foot off the gas. Track mode adds suspension misery and relaxes the stability control. Finally, Drift mode sends as much power as possible to the rear and instructs the stability control to help you hold a slide. It’s frustrating that there is no custom mode where you can select the settings you like, though the RS does, mercifully, allow you to override suspension and ESP settings in any mode. Launch control locks the rear clutches, limits the engine to 5,000 rpm, SEATLOCK Want these Recaro shell seats? Tough—they’re not available in the U.S. because they don’t have side airbags. You might one day find similar seats in the Ford performance-parts catalog. Perhaps.

82 MOTORTREND.COM / MAY 2016

and helps build boost before you dump the clutch. We recommend trying this at your dealership. It’s a violent way to start a relationship with your salesman, but you can ask him to time the run. If he says no, know that Ford claims 0-62 mph takes 4.7 seconds. We’ll test a U.S.-spec RS as soon as we can. Inside the cabin, about a third of the engine sound you hear is noise played through the stereo speakers. It sounds good—an inoffensive, muffled moo—but the music coming from the exhaust pipes is deep, aggressive, and awesome. In other words, the engine sounds nothing like it does in the Mustang. This is a good thing. At engine speeds over 2,000 rpm, lag is insignificant enough that it never gets on your nerves, and the open-filter air cleaner up front lets delicious turbo noises out from the engine compartment. The cabin itself is very quiet, and the Recaro seats are superbly comfortable. At 2.0 turns lock-to-lock, the steering is very fast, but it’s also entirely devoid of feel. Unless you count torque steer, which seems to show up at strange times when the electric power steering gets a half-beat behind in canceling the lateral forces on the front wheels. The cable-actuated shifter is precise enough that you’ll never miss a shift, but it has long, ropy throws, and like other Focuses, the engine hangs on to revs during shifts to “help” you shift more smoothly into the next gear. I wish it could be switched off, as it just makes the whole experience inconsistent. But the dominant impression is that the AWD system delivers speed, not stupidity. The RS is very fast—but in a deceiving way. It’s shocking how civilized 350 hp feels in what


Confirmed: You can do big, smoky donuts in the 2016 Ford Focus RS.

is effectively a factory-tuned economy car. A 155-hp Mazda Miata is much slower but feels more on the ragged edge. The RS delivers plenty of speed but not quite the visceral, tailout, you’d-better-be-on-your-game thrill that lunatics like me find so intoxicating. Then again, any disappointment might just be a matter of high expectations set by the presence of that Drift mode. Drift mode, it turns out, is a singular tool for doing parkinglot donuts, not a handling philosophy. Out on the road, this is a car that’s refined, composed, and fast. But also fairly sober. That means it’s less fun than the Focus ST— admittedly an outlier. In a world where most cars have no personality, the ST has enough of one to have a disorder. It could probably use a dose of Prozac, but then the ST wouldn’t be the same wheel-spinning, torque-steering, snap-oversteering psychopath we love.

After a few hours, I was prepared to compare the RS to Lunesta in the destinationover-the-journey way. But then we made it to the racetrack. Here, the RS goes all Ambien— that drug that sometimes knocks you out but sometimes leaves you awake and very silly. Pull out on the track on a fresh, cold set of the optional Michelin Pilot Cup 2 tires, and any comparisons to a sedative are vaporized. Steering response is instantaneous, and the RS flings itself sideways into each corner and maintains the slide with power on the way out. As the tires heat up, the RS becomes more neutral, but it remains an absolute riot. The brakes are unfadeable, and we experienced none of the engine overheating problems that plague the ST on track. Basically, the only demerit is significant body roll that you notice when the RS snaps back at the end of a drift. The RS is that rare front-drive-based

car that can actually hold its own on a racetrack. It’s not quite as throttle-adjustable as a Mitsubishi Evo or a Subaru WRX STI, but it’s fast, capable, and predictable. Torque-vectoring or not, the RS’ front tires are doing most of the work. They get hot more quickly than the rears, inducing understeer and revealing the limitations of this particular torque-vectoring system: It can only fix the understeer when you’re on power. Alas, that requires a simple workaround—enter the corner slowly so you can get back on the gas sooner to let the rearend turn the car. And then the smile returns. So although the RS doesn’t quite match the ST’s smiles-on-the-road factor, it’s a permagrin machine on track, and that’s something special indeed. As long as you’re not popping pills or drinking alcohol before getting in, we wouldn’t judge you for indulging in either of these Ford-branded hallucinogens. n

2016 Ford Focus RS BASE PRICE

$36,605

VEHICLE LAYOUT

TRANSMISSION

Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door hatchback 2.3L/350-hp/350-lb-f turbocharged DOHC 16-valve I-4 6-speed manual

CURB WEIGHT WHEELBASE

3,550 lb (mfr) 104.2 in

LXWXH 0-62 MPH

172.8 x 71.8 x 58.0 in 4.7 sec (mfr est)

EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON

Not yet rated

ON SALE IN U.S.

Spring 2016

ENGINE


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RAGE COMPARISON | 2016 Audi S6 4.0T Quattro VS 2016 Cadillac CTS V-Sport VS 2016 Lexus GS F

WITH LUXURY SPORT SEDANS MORE POWERFUL THAN EVER, THESE THREE BRIDGE THE GAP

It’s not much of a stretch to say the horsepower wars have gotten a bit ridiculous these days, especially when it comes to big luxury sport sedans. In the early 2000s, cars such as the Audi RS 6, BMW M5, and Cadillac CTS-V made 444, 394, and 400 horsepower, respectively. Nowadays, their descendants churn out 552, 553, and 640 hp.

So what are enthusiasts to do if they want a luxury sport sedan without the impending fury of 640 hp a toe away? Thankfully, a handful of other cars fill the gap—all with badges signifying some of the performance potential of the top-of-theline models but without the price tags, fuel economy penalties, or inevitable domestic squabble after you’ve gone through your third

set of tires in just as many months. These three “compromises” represent two of our old favorites and one newcomer. Representing Germany is the 2016 Audi S6. Yeah, we could’ve invited a BMW 550i with the M Sport package or a Mercedes-Benz E400 with some AMG-branded door pins, MAY 2016 / MOTORTREND.COM 89


COMPARISON | 2016 Audi S6 4.0T Quattro VS 2016 Cadillac CTS V-Sport VS 2016 Lexus GS F

but to us, the updated-for-2016 S6 better represents what this niche segment is all about: a balance of luxury, performance, and drivability. The key to the trifecta of Teutonic goodness lies under the S6’s hood, where a thunderous twin-turbo, 444-hp V-8 lives, and it’s just as happy loping along around town as it is banging off its limiter. The other old favorite proudly represents the red, white, and blue. The 2016 Cadillac CTS V-Sport follows the tried-and-true luxury sport sedan blueprint: potent engine—in this case a 420-hp, twin-turbo V-6—a featherweight chassis, and drop-dead good looks.

90 MOTORTREND.COM / MAY 2016

The combo was good enough to earn our Car of the Year award just two years ago, and it still remains a must-drive. As for the newcomer, well, this one might leave you scratching your head, but hear us out: the 2016 Lexus GS F. The GS F at first glance seems destined for comparison tests with the Audi RS 7 or Cadillac CTS-V, yet its V-8 just doesn’t hang with the big boys. Bringing the GS F to a CTS-V and RS 7 comparison test would be like bringing a squirt gun to a bazooka fight. Putting it up against the S6 and CTS V-Sport evens the odds

for the Lexus and provides a serious challenge for those two rivals. All three of our contenders follow the same general formula. The most powerful of the bunch, the Lexus GS F, showcases Lexus parent company Toyota’s aversion to forced induction with a wonderful naturally aspirated, 5.0-liter V-8 making 467 hp and 389 lb-ft of torque paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission that sends power out through a trick driver-controlled rear differential. Cadillac made a name for itself selling

AGELESS WONDER You wouldn’t know it by looking inside, but the Audi S6 is the oldest model here. Audi’s done a great job keeping the S6 up to date.


big, heavy luxo-barges, but the CTS V-Sport displays the brand’s newfound penchant for smaller engines, more power, and less weight. The CTS V-Sport’s 3.6-liter, twin-turbo V-6 is the smallest and torquiest engine here, making 430 lb-ft of twist. As in the Lexus, power is routed rearward through a traditional eight-speed automatic. As you’d expect from Audi, the S6 differs from its two rivals in its drivetrain. The S6 sports a 4.0-liter V-8 with two turbos mounted right inside the vee under its hood. The V-8 sits in the middle of its rivals when it comes to power—444 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque—but its seven-speed twin-clutch automatic and all-wheel-drive system set it apart from the Cadillac and the Lexus. Given that the players in this segment straddle both the luxury and performance realms, they’ll be judged as such. The winner won’t necessarily be the fastest or pull the most g’s, nor will it be the cushiest cruiser, but it will offer up the best balance of luxury, performance, and drivability both at the track and in the real world, where these cars will spend most of their lives. Our evaluations start in Los Angeles’ ritzy

The winner will offer up the best balance of luxury, performance, and real-world and track drivability. but rain-soaked Rancho Palos Verdes. Our drive loop replicates how we imagine the wealthy buyers of these cars will actually use them—heavy on in-town driving with some quick, hilly, twisty roads thrown in to replicate the escape to the owner’s mountain retreat. Afterward, we head east in search of a metaphor, toward a powerplant in Palm Springs to rack up some highway miles. We wrap things up at our Fontana test track after some instrumented testing.

3RD PLACE: Audi S6 All-Weather Autobahn Cruiser From the get-go, the S6 revealed itself to be cut from a different cloth than the other two cars. The why is initially hard to pin down, but it boils down to it being much more mature than the Cadillac or Lexus. Think Johnnie Walker Gold versus Johnnie Walker Black. The maturity factor is apparent from the first glance at the Audi’s sheetmetal. “It’s

technical, sporty-ish, inoffensive, like a North Face pullover,” editor-in-chief Ed Loh said. And just like a North Face, the all-wheel-drive S6 proved itself plenty capable during the pouring rain we experience on the first day of our evaluations. The twin-turbo V-8 and seven-speed dual-clutch combo is a force to be reckoned with. Quiet and out-of-the-way in Comfort mode, the powertrain really wakes up in Dynamic mode. The transmission bangs off blitzkrieg-quick shifts, and the V-8 offers up wave after wave of torque to surf. “This motor is under-stressed and simply magnificent,” senior features editor Jonny Lieberman said. “The eight-banger is also perfectly paired to Audi’s quick-shifting, seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, arguably the best cog-swapper of the bunch.” The Audi’s torque-vectoring all-wheeldrive system was also much appreciated in the flooded L.A. streets, though it did have some downsides—chiefly its rather sluggish steering feel. The S6 is sure-footed, but there’s no fighting physics—its V-8 is still hanging right off the Audi’s bow, forward of the front axle. “The Audi’s tiller felt sluggish,” Lieberman said. “Comfort mode felt disconnected, and Dynamic is too heavy while still feeling disconnected.” The S6’s air suspension, which gives it the plushest ride of the bunch, also doesn’t help things much when it comes to corner carving. “The tightness of the chassis compared to the plushness of the suspension only highlights the gluey and artificial feeling of the electric MAY 2016 / MOTORTREND.COM 91


COMPARISON power steering,” Loh said. “It’s like night and day when compared to the CTS and Lexus— especially at parking lot speeds.” Where the Audi S6 really starts to make sense is in a straight line. “This car is a total cruiser,” associate online editor Stefan Ogbac said. “It’s at home devouring long stretches of highway at extremely high speeds.” Testing director Kim Reynolds agreed, finding it “a very satisfying on-road conveyance.” What makes the S6 so great to drive over long distances is not only its plush ride and powerful engine but also its interior. Although the other two are nice inside in their own rights, the Audi package is the most complete with attractive, high-quality leather and the best infotainment system of the trio. At the test track, the S6 is a solid performer. Its all-wheel-drive-aided 0-60-mph run of 3.8 seconds is the quickest here. The Audi’s quarter-mile time of 12.4 seconds at 111.4 mph is also the fastest of the group, although it begins losing steam by the end of the quarter. The Audi’s figure-eight performance falls in line with what we observed during our road loops—its 24.9 seconds at 0.77 g average lap is the slowest of the three, and its 0.91 g average of lateral acceleration is the lowest, as well. Although we all enjoyed our time in the Audi S6, for us it was too singularly focused on straight-line speed and not focused enough on being a jack-of-all-trades sport sedan. There’s absolutely something to be said for its long-distance cruising ability, interior amenities, and performance numbers, but our other two competitors provide an better balance than the S6.

92 MOTORTREND.COM / MAY 2016

2ND PLACE: Lexus GS F Lexus Turns A Corner With its gaping maw and Nike swoosh daytime running lights, the Lexus GS F sits at the opposite end of the spectrum. Whereas the Audi emphasizes comfort, the GS F focuses on sportiness, so long as you’re out of the default Normal drive mode. In Sport and Sport+ modes, the 5.0-liter V-8 sounds burbly and aggressive and the eight-speed automatic responds quickly to changing throttle demands. The Lexus feels most at home in these more aggressive drive modes, the engine happily singing to its high rev limiter as the transmission snaps off shifts. “Great engine,” Lieberman said. “Loved it in the RC F; love it much more in the GS F.” The GS F is a touch less thrilling at more

sane speeds. Although steering response remains pleasantly sharp in Normal mode, the throttle and transmission tuning is a bit of a letdown. Throttle response in the default drive setting is muted, and the transmission is reluctant to shift down a gear or three when called upon. “When cruising, the transmission in Normal and Eco will not kick down for a good second and a half when floored,” Loh said. “The delay feels like eons when you’re trying to drive fast.” Somewhat at odds with Lexus’ origins as a company making comfortable luxury cars, the GS F’s ride is on the stiffer side. The Lexus’ suspension, unlike the Audi and Cadillac’s, is nonadjustable—it’s set from the factory for track work. That and the GS’ already stiff chassis make for a ride

LOST The Lexus GS F has a wonderful cabin, as long as you never feel compelled to dive into the mouse-controlled infotainment system and its dated interface.


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COMPARISON that borders on harsh on California’s poor roads. “The dampers transmit a lot of vibration and shock to the driver,” Loh said. “I had a noticeable amount of head toss and belly jiggle, and my belly ain’t that big.” The head toss and belly jiggle are further compounded out on the highway, where the suspension struggles to mask road imperfections. The ride is properly stiff—an electronically adjustable suspension with a Comfort mode would be near the top of our list of wants. The quick steering ratio also means the Lexus struggles with straight-line stability at highway speeds, requiring near-constant corrections from the driver to stay in the lane. With the exception of a few hard-to-find buttons (go ahead and find the parking brake, we dare you), the interior is well-executed. The brasslike trim materials are a neat touch, and we’re big fans of the red leather seats. “It looks the most like an $85,000 car,” Loh said of the interior, “so long as you don’t look too closely at the navigation screen.” The TomTom-esque Lexus navi screen and mouselike joystick control for the infotainment system do much to ruin an otherwise solid interior. Lieberman: “How on earth did this get past the beta stage?” Our guess? Lexus was far more focused on outright performance. Zero to 60 mph takes the GS F 4.4 seconds, and its quarter-mile time is 12.8 seconds at 112.2 mph, which is the fastest trap speed of the bunch. With its rear diff in Slalom mode, the GS F posts a 24.3second figure-eight lap with a 0.81 g average. “Easy to drift like mad,” the normally reserved Reynolds said, “so much so that it’s easy to get carried away and do too much.”

We went back and forth on placing the Lexus in first, but what sunk it in the end was its highway performance and its price. Yeah, the GS F is quicker than the CTS V-Sport, but is it $14,000 quicker? For our money, no. “I dig the GS F,” Lieberman said. “Problem is, for the money you’d pay for the GS F, you could have the 640-horsepower CTS-V. Badge snobbery is a thing, but in this case, it’s straight-up ridiculous.”

1ST PLACE: Cadillac CTS V-Sport Cadillac Hits the Sweet Spot The Goldilocks of the trio is the Cadillac CTS V-Sport. It’s neither too soft nor too stiff; it’s just right. On our road loops, the CTS expertly balances ride quality with handling prowess. The magnetorheological shocks ride well over poor roads and help the V-Sport rip around corners at speed. The nice, meaty steering wheel offers up plenty

of road feedback and excellent turn-in. “I can’t believe how far Cadillac has come from waterbed cornering and Cool Whip steering,” Loh said. “There’s nothing soft or light about this beast; everything is thick and requires a bit of manhandling, from the thick-rimmed steering wheel to the, erm, erect shift lever.” Speaking of shifting, we’re mighty pleased with the eight-speed auto’s updated shift mapping. Shifts are now quicker and smarter than before, taking full advantage of the twin-turbo V-6’s massive torque curve. “I really dig driving this car,” Lieberman said. “I can’t emphasize enough how great this car’s steering feel is. Joyful—there’s no other word for it.” Things are pretty good out on the freeway, too. The Caddy is comfortable, buttoneddown, and quiet out on the open road. The CTS V-Sport is planted and confident

HEMINGWAY’S HUMIDOR Ed Loh on the Caddy’s cabin: “It’s brutish and hypermasculine, especially with the baseball glove leather, nickel-toned brightwork, and open-pore burl wood trim. I feel like I’m inside Hemingway’s humidor.” 94 MOTORTREND.COM / MAY 2016


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COMPARISON EXTRA | 2015 Chevrolet SS

The Enthusiast’s Four-Door Choice What’s the most underrated car on the market? You’re never going to guess, so I’m going to tell you: the Chevrolet SS with a manual transmission. The only other equally forgotten new ride is the Ford Fiesta ST, but that’s another story. (I own one; it’s awesome.) I’m not saying there aren’t lots of other fantastic cars for sale. I am saying: When’s the last time you saw a Chevy SS, let alone thought about one? But you should be thinking about the big four-door Chevy because it rocks. Holden began building the fourth-gen Zeta-platform

Commodore in 2006. Then the glorious Pontiac G8, specifically the rip-snortin’ GXP variant, came to America in 2008. Bankruptcy forced GM to kill Pontiac in 2010. A shortened, two-door version of the Commodore showed up with a Chevy badge in 2010. We called it Camaro. In 2014 Chevrolet began selling the SS in America. Its halflife is short, however, as it’s going away in 2017 when GM shutters the Holden factory. Get yours now. Here’s why: The Chevy SS is the sedan that in theory everyone wants. Under the hood sits a LS3 6.2-liter, small-block V-8 that makes a square 415 hp and 415

lb-ft of torque. These days, 415 hp might sound like the power of a healthy riding lawnmower, but it’s plenty. Especially because of the optional six-speed manual. Having complete control over the engine makes a little power feel like a lot and a good amount of power feel absolutely excellent. In short, the SS is a naturally aspirated V-8,

manual-transmission, rear-wheeldrive sedan. What’s not to love? In a straight line, it’s right on top of the Cadillac CTS V-Sport: 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds compared to 4.7 for the Caddy. Quarter mile in 12.9 seconds at 110.8 mph compared to 13.1 seconds at 109.0 mph. Chevrolet’s best-kept secret also weighs 89 pounds less than our Caddy. Then there’s the price: $48,570. It’s not for those earning minimum wage, obviously, but it’s one hell of a performance bargain for what you get. Also, it’s $24,475 less than the Cadillac and $38,200 less than the Lexus GS F. True, Dodge is selling those 485-hp, 6.4-liter Charger R/T Scat Packs starting at $40,990. Although quicker than the SS, the big Dodge is nowhere near as compelling to drive. And you can’t get it with a manual. Trust me. If you want the ultimate in a performance sleeper sedan, think Chevy SS. Jonny Lieberman

ANTIPODAL It’s no Cadillac, but the SS’ interior sports all the touches enthusiasts love, such as Alcantara trim, leather sport seats, and a manual. 2015 CHEVROLET SS Base Price $48,570 Price As Tested $48,570 Vehicle Layout Front-engine, RWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan Engine 6.2L/415-hp/415-lb-ft OHV 16-valve V-8 Transmission 6-speed manual Curb Weight (F/R DIST) 3,918 lb (52/48%) Wheelbase 114.8 in L x W x H 195.5 x 74.7 x 57.9 in 0-60 MPH 4.5 sec Quarter Mile 12.9 sec @ 110.8 mph Braking, 60-0 MPH 110 ft Lateral Acceleration 0.94 g (avg) MT Figure Eight 24.9 sec @ 0.81 g (avg) EPA City/Hwy/Comb Fuel Econ 15/21/17 mpg Energy Cons, City/Hwy 225/160 kW-hrs/100 miles CO2 Emissions, Comb 1.13 lb/mile 96 MOTORTREND.COM / MAY 2016


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COMPARISON

at speed, the electromagnetic suspension isolating the driver from poor pavement. “Magnetic Ride Control really shines on the highway,” associate online editor Erick Ayapana said. “It soaks up bumps without transmitting any harshness to the cabin.” The cabin itself is “brutish and hypermasculine,” as Loh put it, with gorgeous baseball-glove leather and open-pore wood trim. Although backseat accommodations are tight, the front seats are comfortable with a commanding driver’s position. Cadillac’s CUE infotainment system remains a bit of a disaster, but hey, at least it’s now compatible with Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto. Despite the 50-horsepower gap between it and the hot rod Lexus, the Cadillac CTS V-Sport puts up quite a show at the dragstrip. The slick black Cadillac accelerates to 60 mph from a standstill in 4.7 seconds and on through the quarter mile in 13.1 seconds, trapping at 109 mph even. The Cadillac splits the difference between the GS F and S6 on figureeight time, lapping the course in 24.7 seconds averaging 0.80 g. The Cadillac might not be the quickest car of the three, but the balance of driving dynamics, comfort,luxury, and value push it over the top. This is a Cadillac that will surprise people who’d otherwise never consider buying one. It’s a driver’s car, a luxury cruiser, and a killer value. Cadillac may not yet be the “Standard of the World” again, but it’s well on its way. n

HOW THIS COMPARISON WOULD’VE LOOKED A DECADE AGO With our three sporty cars each making more power than their supersedan predecessors, we turned the clock back to see how the originals stacked up.

2005 Cadillac CTS-V

2003 Audi RS 6

2001 Lexus GS 430

ENGINE 5.7L V-8; 400 hp/ 395 lb-ft

4.2L twin-turbo V-8; 444 hp/413 lb-ft

4.3L V-8; 300 hp/ 325 lb-ft

TRANSMISSION 6-speed manual

5-speed automatic

5-speed automatic

0-60 MPH 4.7 seconds

4.3 seconds

5.9 seconds

QUARTER MILE 13.1 seconds @ 109.8 mph

12.6 seconds @ 108.6 mph

13.9 seconds @ 103.2 mph

FIGURE EIGHT 25.6 seconds @ 0.72 g (avg)

N/A

N/A

The CTS-V made its debut with a 5.7-liter V-8 making a modest 400 hp and 395 lb-ft of torque. The 420-hp CTS V-Sport’s twin-turbo V-6 matches the original V’s 0-60 and quarter-mile times. “The Caddy’s turn-in is scalpel-sharp, the front end bites hard, and just as the car is beginning to push, a squeeze on the throttle brings the rear end out ever so gently and the nose back in line. Few sport sedans— or sports cars, for that matter—are so beautifully balanced and neutral.”

The 2003 RS 6 makes its power from a 444-hp, twin-turbo V-8. The bigger engine on the RS 6 makes a hair more torque, but its fivespeed auto won’t launch as quickly as the seven-speed dual-clutch in the S6. “Press as hard as you like on the throttle—anytime, anywhere—and the Audi rushes forward in a muffled whoosh of pressurized potency. No hiccups, not so much as a chirp from the tires. The RS 6 spools up with so little drama, it doesn’t feel as quick as it is.”

In the early 2000s, the GS 430 was the sportiest four-door Lexus sedan you could get. Its lazy but refined 4.3-liter V-8 can’t hold a candle to the GS F, but its 300 hp puts it in line with the current Lexus GS 350 F Sport’s 311-hp V-6. “The five-speed transmission kicks down, the tail squats slightly, and you’d better have the vehicle pointed in the right direction. Hit the brake pedal and hope nobody’s tailgating you: The GS 430 goes from 60 to parked in an amazing 108 feet, just a handful of feet more than a Corvette Z06.”

Arthur St. Antoine February 2005

98 MOTORTREND.COM / MAY 2016

Arthur St. Antoine September 2003

David Newhardt June 2001

These three offer top-of-the-line performance potential without the price tags or fuel economy penalties.


COMPARISON

THIRD Audi S6 As close a

third-place finish as could be, the S6 is a little too soft for our tastes, but it’s a stellar car nonetheless.

SECOND Lexus GS F If this comparison test were purely about performance, the tightly wound GS F would have rightfully won the gold.

FIRST CADILLAC CTS V-SPORT Yeah, GM has been winning lots of awards lately, but when you’re churning out fantastic world-beating cars such as the CTS V-Sport, praise is warranted.

100 MOTORTREND.COM / MAY 2016


POWERTRAIN/CHASSIS

2016 Audi S6 4.0T Quattro

DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT ENGINE TYPE

Front-engine, AWD Twin-turbo 90-deg V-8, alum block/heads DOHC, 4 valves/cyl 243.7 cu in/3,993 cc 10.0:1 444 hp @ 5,800 rpm 406 lb-f @ 1,400 rpm 6,500 rpm 9.9 lb/hp 7-speed twin-clutch auto. 4.09:1/2.12:1 Multilink, air springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar; multilink, air springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar

2016 Cadillac CTS V-Sport 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T 6.4 Scatpack Front-engine, RWD Twin-turbo 60-deg V-6, alum block/heads DOHC, 4 valves/cyl 217.5 cu in/3,564 cc 10.2:1 420 hp @ 5,750 rpm* 430 lb-f @ 3,500 rpm* 6,500 rpm 9.5 lb/hp 8-speed automatic 2.85:1/1.97:1 Struts, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar

DOHC, 4 valves/cyl 303.2 cu in/4,969 cc 12.3:1 467 hp @ 7,100 rpm 389 lb-f @ 4,800 rpm 7,300 rpm 8.8 lb/hp 8-speed automatic 2.94:1/2.01:1 Control arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar

WHEELS

16.1:1 2.2 15.7-in vented disc; 14.0-in vented disc, ABS 8.5 x 20 in, cast aluminum

15.4:1 2.3 13.6-in vented disc; 12.4-in vented disc, ABS 8.5 x 18 in; 9.5 x 18 in, cast aluminum

13.2:1 2.8 15.0-in vented, grooved disc; 13.6-in vented, grooved disc, ABS 9.0 x 19 in; 10.0 x 19 in, forged aluminum

TIRES

255/35R20 97Y Pirelli P Zero

245/40R18 93Y; 275/35R18 95Y Pirelli P Zero

255/35ZR19 92Y; 275/35ZR19 96Y Michelin Pilot Super Sport

114.8 in 63.6/63.2 in 194.4 x 73.8 x 56.8 in 39.0 f 4,392 lb 57/43% 5 37.2/37.8 in 41.3/37.4 in 57.5/56.3 in 14.1 cu f

114.6 in 61.4/61.7 in 195.5 x 72.2 x 57.2 in 36.7 f 4,007 lb 52/48% 5 42.6/35.4 in 39.2/37.5 in 56.9/54.8 in 13.7 cu f

112.2 in 61.2/61.4 in 193.5 x 72.6 x 56.7 in 36.8 f 4,090 lb 53/47% 5 38.0/37.8 in 40.6/32.8 in 57.2/55.7 in 14.0 cu f

1.3 sec 2.0 2.8 3.8 5.1 6.4 7.9 9.9 2.0 12.4 sec @ 111.4 mph 112 f 0.91 g (avg) 24.9 sec @ 0.77 g (avg) 1,850 rpm

1.8 sec 2.6 3.5 4.7 5.9 7.3 9.0 11.0 2.2 13.1 sec @ 109.0 mph 107 f 0.93 g (avg) 24.7 sec @ 0.80 g (avg) 1,550 rpm

1.8 sec 2.5 3.4 4.4 5.7 7.0 8.5 10.3 2.0 12.8 sec @ 112.2 mph 109 f 0.95 g (avg) 24.3 sec @ 0.81 g (avg) 1,600 rpm

$71,825 $80,800 Yes/Yes Dual front, f/r side, f/r curtain, front knee 4 yrs/50,000 miles 4 yrs/50,000 miles 4 yrs/unlimited miles 19.8 gal 18/27/21 mpg 187/125 kW-hrs/100 miles 0.92 lb/mile Unleaded premium N/A

$71,445 $73,045 Yes/Yes Dual front, f/r side, f/r curtain, front knee 4 yrs/50,000 miles 6 yrs/70,000 miles 6 yrs/70,000 miles 19.0 gal 16/24/19 mpg 211/140 kW-hrs/100 miles 1.03 lb/mile Unleaded premium 19.9/27.4/22.7 mpg

$85,390 $86,770 Yes/Yes Dual front, f/r side, f/r curtain, front knee 4 yrs/50,000 miles 6 yrs/70,000 miles 4 yrs/unlimited miles 17.4 gal 16/24/19 mpg 211/140 kW-hrs/100 miles 1.03 lb/mile Unleaded premium 20.2/27.8/23.0 mpg

VALVETRAIN DISPLACEMENT COMPRESSION RATIO POWER (SAE NET) TORQUE (SAE NET) REDLINE WEIGHT TO POWER TRANSMISSION AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE RATIO SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR STEERING RATIO TURNS LOCK-TO-LOCK BRAKES, F; R

DIMENSIONS WHEELBASE TRACK, F/R LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT TURNING CIRCLE CURB WEIGHT WEIGHT DIST, F/R SEATING CAPACITY HEADROOM, F/R LEGROOM, F/R SHOULDER ROOM, F/R CARGO VOLUME TEST DATA ACCELERATION TO MPH 0-30 0-40 0-50 0-60 0-70 0-80 0-90 0-100 PASSING, 45-65 MPH QUARTER MILE BRAKING, 60-0 MPH LATERAL ACCELERATION MT FIGURE EIGHT TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH CONSUMER INFO BASE PRICE PRICE AS TESTED STABILITY/TRACTION CONTROL AIRBAGS BASIC WARRANTY POWERTRAIN WARRANTY ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE FUEL CAPACITY EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB RECOMMENDED FUEL REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB

*SAE CertiямБed

2016 Lexus GS F Front-engine, RWD 90-deg V-8, alum block/heads

MAY 2016 / MOTORTREND.COM 101


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• Pair of arbor plates included

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LOT 61971/61972 98199 shown

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10" SLIDING COMPOUND MITER SAW

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20 TON SHOP PRESS Customer Rating

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LOT 66783/605 60653 shown

12 VOLT, 10/2/5 BATTERY CHARGER/ RTER ENGINE STA81/62 334

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3

LOT 62434/62426 62433/62428 62432/62429

YOUR CHOICE

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Includes one 18V NiCd battery and charger.

3/8" DRILL/DRIVER WITH KEYLESS CHUCK

PON WOW SUP18ERVOLCOUT COR DLESS

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ht.com or by calling our stores, HarborFreig LIMIT 3 - Good at used with other discount or coupon or prior t. 800-423-2567. Cannot be from original purchase with original receipbe days al coupon must purchases after 30 last. Non-transferable. Origin Offer good while supplies7/18/16. Limit one coupon per customer per day. presented. Valid through

99

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LOT 62234 61917 shown

• 1250 lb. capacity

$

comp at $119.99

99 $5999 $89

Vehicles • 3-1/2 Pumps Lifts Most • Weighs 32 lbs. 160 53/62 2/680 LOT 6925 n 62496/62516/60569 show

RAP ALUMINUM RACING JACK

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SUPER COUPON OW W TON SAVE ID PUMP 1.5

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id hroug

20% OFF

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VALUE

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LOT 69091/67847 shown 61454/61693/62803

2.5 HP, 21 GALLON 125 PSI VERTICAL AIR COMPRESSOR

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$

Customer Rating

1/2" ELECTRIC IMPACT WRENCH

$76

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11999

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Words Motor Trend Editors

ARRIVAL 2016 Subaru BRZ Emiliana Sandoval “I’m looking forward to shifting my way through L.A. this year in the delightful BRZ.” @Emiliana505

EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 22/30/25 MPG BASE PRICE $28,485 PRICE AS TESTED $28,485 In October I got a surprising email from our garage gurus: Did I want to swap the automatic 2016 Nissan Maxima SR I’d just started driving for a Mazda MX-5 or Subaru BRZ, both with manual transmissions? I assumed I was being punked—was it really my lucky day? I can already hear the comments: “Y U NO CHOOZE MIATA?” Because I hang out with my 5-year-old niece on weekends, and she needs to sit in the back seat, which the Miata doesn’t have. Plus I took part in a BRZ/Miata comparison (“Joyrides,” August 2015) and picked the BRZ. (The Miata won.) This is the second BRZ MT has had. When the car first vroomed onto the automotive scene in 2012, we couldn’t wait to get our hands on one. Our dearly departed Rory Jurnecka (now spinning wheels at Automobile mag) happily chaperoned a 2013 Silver Sterling Metallic specimen. This time around we’ve 104 MOTORTREND.COM / MAY 2016

got a 2016 Series.HyperBlue model, which is, well, bluer. Other than the color, what’s changed from then to now on the boxer-engine, rear-drive Zenith coupe? Not much. It’s still running a 2.0-liter flatfour making 200 horses and 151 lb-ft of torque. We again chose the six-speed manual transmission. Our 2016 weighed in at 2,763, a 9-pound increase from the 2013, and front/rear distribution remains at 55/45 percent. Wheelbase, length/width/height, EPA mpg are, yup, same as before. We did a 6.4-second 0-60 in the 2013 and a 6.8-second in the new one. Our test team noted that the current BRZ was tested with 1,400

miles on the odo and the other had 2,900, so the longer break-in period and car-to-car variation might have affected our results. The 2016 BRZ comes in two trim levels, Premium and fancier Limited. All trims have electric power-assisted steering, ventilated disc brakes, 17-inch alloy wheels with 215/45 hi-po summer tires, HID headlights, a tire pressure monitoring system, two 12-volt outlets, a rearview camera, and an updated 6.2-inch touchscreen with Starlink infotainment. Limited trim goodies include foglights, heated front seats and side mirrors, a trunk spoiler, and dual-zone automatic climate

I love the blue stitching on the 2016 Subaru BRZ’s black interior, but I’m less thrilled with the lack of available nav.


ACURA TLX

AUDI S3

UPDATE CHEVROLET COLORADO Z71

KIA SOUL EV+

LAND ROVER RANGE ROVER SPORT SC

MERCEDES-BENZ CLA250 4MATIC UPDATE

CHEVROLET CORVETTE

CHEVROLET TAHOE LT

MITSUBISHI OUTLANDER SEL

NISSAN MAXIMA SR UPDATE

UPDATE HONDA CR-V TOURING AWD

HONDA PILOT AWD ELITE

KIA SEDONA

NISSAN MURANO

RAM 1500 ECODIESEL

SUBARU BRZ ARRIVAL

RIDE ALONG FOR UPDATES ON OUR LONG -TERM FLEET

PAUL LAGUETTE

50.6”

SPECS 2016 Subaru BRZ

” 101.2 7” 166.

69.9”

CO2 emissions 0.78 lb/mi

6.8 sec

MT figure eight 26.1 sec @ 0.68 g (avg)

15.3 sec @ 92.3 mph 114 ft

0-60 mph Quarter mile

Braking distance, 60-0 mph

Vehicle Layout Front-engine, RWD, 4-pass, 2-door coupe Engine 2.0L/200-hp/151-lb-ft DOHC 16-valve flat-4 Transmission 6-speed manual Lateral Acceleration 0.91 g (avg) Curb Weight (F/R dist) 2,763 lb (55/45%) Energy Cons, City/Hwy 153/112 kW-hrs/100 miles

control. The Limited fetches a $2,000 premium over the Premium, and the Series.HyperBlue gear adds $295, for a total of $28,485. (Our 2013 was $28,265.) So what’s up with the HyperBlue special edition? There are only 500 of ’em in the wild. The black wheels are complemented by gloss black badges and exterior mirrors. The black leather and Alcantara upholstery is shot through with matching HyperBlue stitching on the seats, steering wheel, and parking brake handle, and there’s faux black carbon-fiber trim on the dash. I think it looks kickass, but I prefer the traditional Subaru Blue Pearl paint to the HyperBlue. I’m so happy to be shifting gears for the next year, though, that the BRZ could be pea soup green, and I wouldn’t mind.

2016 Nissan Maxima SR Jason Udy “With 300 hp and 261 lb-ft on tap, the Maxima SR’s traction control gets a workout when pulling away from a stoplight.” @MT_JasonUdy In my time as the chaperone for the 2016 Nissan Maxima SR, I have embarked on several long trips to the Rocky Mountains, including one during the snowy winter. The premium front-drive midsize sedan provides a comfortable ride on the open road, and the 300-hp, 3.5-liter VQ V-6 returns relatively good fuel mileage for its size and power. Over the course of three road trips, the 2016 Maxima SR achieved as much as 28.3 mpg overall (1,559 miles) and as much as 33.0 mpg on its best leg. Its worst fuel mileage, 27.4 mpg (over 1,581 miles), came on a leg with mixed driving. Much of that trip involved

Despite the Nissan Maxima SR’s “sport-tuned” suspension and 19-inch wheels with low-profile tires, the premium midsize sedan provides a smooth ride on broken city streets and long highway drives.

Service life / 6 mo/14,475 mi Avg CO2 / 0.73 lb/mi Energy cons / 127 kW-hrs/100 mi Unresolved problems / None Maintenance cost / $70.71 (oil change, inspection, tire rotation) Normal-wear cost / $0 Base price / $38,495 As tested / $38,750

REAL MPG FUEL ECON 26.6 MPG comb. subfreezing temperatures, snowy roads, and a liberal use of remote start to warm up the engine and interior before driving. The Maxima has traveled as far as 445.2 miles on a single tank of fuel. The remote engine start is a godsend when temperatures dip below freezing. (The remote start can also be used to cool the interior and seats during hot summer days.) Nissan’s radar-based cruise control does an admirable job, and the forward collision warning feature intervenes if it believes a crash is imminent. I haven’t needed it, but it does seem to be a bit hyperactive. Although the Maxima proved a competent road-trip companion, I noticed one issue on each 700-mile one-way stint behind the wheel. It could benefit from some heat-reflective window film. Despite nearly 300 miles spent driving in subfreezing temperatures, the glass let in lots of heat. In fact, once the cabin warmed up, I had to remove my coat, set the air-conditioning to 70 degrees, and turn on the cooled seats to counteract the heat transmitted through the glass. I even got a light tan around my sunglasses.

MAY 2016 / MOTORTREND.COM 105


LONG-TERM TEST | Updates

The CLA250 has been out for more than two years and still looks good anywhere.

2015 Honda CR-V Touring AWD Zach Gale

2015 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 4Matic Chris Clonts “I love smart UXD. On the Mercedes CLA250, the cruise stalk has two positions: one for 1 mph increments and another for 5 mph.” @CClonts I’ve seen a few complaints in online forums about build-quality issues, but in this car, the only sign of wear seems to be the tires; 14,000 miles seems a little early to replace them, but that’s what I’ll be doing next. I’ll definitely look for tires that could help mileage a bit because there has been no improvement in the CLA’s sub-22 mpg overall number. That’s significantly below the EPA estimate of 27 mpg and our Real MPG test number of 26.1 mpg combined. Our Real MPG page at motortrend.com offers a good estimation of what your real-world mileage

Service life / 8 mo/12,870 mi Avg CO2 / 0.74 lb/mi Energy cons / 129 kW-hrs/100 mi Unresolved problems / None Maintenance cost / $181.18 (oil change, inspection) Normal-wear cost / $0 Base price / $34,425 As tested / $46,140

@zachgale

REAL MPG FUEL ECON 26.1 MPG comb. would be under your driving conditions. In a worst case scenario, I was able to get my Real MPG estimate down to 22.6. The interior, meanwhile, falls short in two places: The hatch over the center console storage and the glove box feel cheap. If you slam the center console hatch down, it closes with a loud plastic-meeting-plastic noise. A gasket or a soft-close mechanism wouldn’t hurt.

The running boards are snow and ice magnets.

2015 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Edward Loh “I love our Truck of the Year Colorado, but I hate the side steps, which dirty your pant legs and catch snow.” @edloh

While I took off for Australia over the holidays, I lent our Z71 to head photographer Brian Vance. It was Brian’s first road trip with our Colorado, and he was pleasantly surprised with what he found. “Thanks to the roll-up tonneau cover [by Bak] and carpeted bedliner [from BedRug], I was able to haul my skis, boots, a workbench, ski tuning gear, a coffee kit, and my luggage,” Brian said. “After dinner I drove from Sacramento to Lake Tahoe in a late-night snowstorm. Toward the top of the crest of the Sierra Nevadas, I had to go from 2WD to

106 MOTORTREND.COM / MAY 2016

“The dual info screens on the dash form one of my favorite CR-V features— how many other vehicles below $35K have that functionality?”

Service life / 11 mo/27,360 mi Avg CO2 / 0.98 lb/mi Energy cons / 171 kW-hrs/100 mi Unresolved problems / None Maintenance cost / $0 (3-oil change, inspection; 2-tire rotation) Normal-wear cost / $0 Base price / $34,990 As tested / $37,265

REAL MPG FUEL ECON 19.7 MPG comb.

Service life / 9 mo/14,178 mi Avg CO2 / 0.77 lb/mi Energy cons / 134 kW-hrs/100 mi Unresolved problems / None Maintenance cost / $277.30 (2-oil change, inspection, tire rotation; 1-rear differential service) Normal-wear cost / $0 Base price / $33,775 As tested / $33,775

REAL MPG FUEL ECON 25.2 MPG comb. Our 2015 Honda CR-V long-termer is knobless, and that’s no reason for the crossover to feel embarrassed. After driving the CR-V for thousands of miles, I’ve come to realize that—as a driver—I no longer have a use for volume or tuning knobs. That’s right. I don’t miss the knobs and instead appreciate the extra halfinch the refreshed 2015 CR-V’s display screen gained, in part, by eliminating knobs. At least that’s how I feel as a driver. When you’re alone, removing your hand from the steering wheel to reach a volume knob is not only not as safe as keeping your hands on the steering wheel, but it’s also less convenient compared with stretching your left thumb to the wheel’s volume button. I don’t see the inconvenience, but associate online editor Erick Ayapana felt different about the issue with our long-term 2015 Honda Fit. If you generally yield DJ duties to a front passenger, the little plus and minus volume buttons on the right side of the 7-inch display won’t cut it. Ultimately, I’ve found that the larger screen of 2015-2016 models (plus that wonderful second screen at the top of the dash) and the steering wheel controls combine to form an advantage over the previous system in most situations.

4WD Hi. Easy to do by just turning the dashmounted switch and waiting for the message indicating that all four wheels were engaged.” Downsides? “The running boards collect ice until you have big chunks hanging at shin level, and the Z71’s V-6 seems to struggle at altitude. When climbing Sierra passes at 8,000-9,000 feet, I noticed lots of downshifting and hunting from the transmission.” Nearly 20 years of the Honda CR-V in two (and a half) parking spots.


18 years in the military and my biggest battle was against cigarettes. Brian, age 60 Air Force Veteran Texas

Brian smoked and got heart disease. He went from serving his country overseas to spending his life in emergency rooms and operating rooms. Finally, he quit smoking and, years later, got a heart transplant that saved his life. You can quit smoking.

For free help, call

1-800 -QUIT-NOW.

#CDCTips


LONG-TERM TEST | Verdict

2015 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 Scott Evans “My wife understood the Z/28 but rarely enjoyed it. Now that it’s gone, even she misses it.” @MT_Evans

Angus MacKenzie and I got into a debate years ago about performance driving aids. I argued there is nothing wrong with using technology to go faster. MacKenzie argued they were Band-Aids for insufficient suspension tuning, that good, old-fashioned testing and tuning could produce the same results without computer intervention. I don’t think either of us was completely wrong, but I’ve come to see his point more and more clearly over the past 12 months spent living with the Z/28. Of course, the Z/28 does have a sophisticated computer with impressive performance handling software queued up, but the beautiful thing is you don’t need it. Camaro engineers tuned and tuned

108 MOTORTREND.COM / MAY 2016

Service life / 12 mo / 18,237 mi Base price / $75,000 Options / Air conditioning ($1,150), rear wicker bill spoiler with dealer install labor ($512) Price as tested / $76,662 Avg fuel econ/CO2 / 13.1 mpg / 1.48 lb/mi Problem areas / Driver’s seat power adjuster, wheel speed sensor, rear popping noise Maintenance cost / $525.27 (3-oil change, inspection; 1-rear differential service) Normal-wear cost / $7,218.00 (3 sets Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tires, mount and balance) 3-year residual value* / $32,149 Recalls / Side airbags

REAL MPG CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 15.0/20.4/17.1 MPG *Automotive Lease Guide data

No, it’s not a $75,000 interior, but it’s got it where it counts. Great seats, shifter, and steering are all you really need.

The Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 was never happier than when it was driving fast on a good back road. It made all the sitting in traffic worth it, every time.

this car’s suspension geometry and shock valving and aerodynamics until the computer wasn’t necessary. Each time it hit the track, we had no second thoughts about turning off the computer because the grip was so high, the handling so good, and the on-limit and over-limit behavior so predictable and controllable that the safety net was redundant. The Z/28 did need some things, though. Tires, mostly. We burned the first set off tracking it against the Porsche 911 GT3. The second set was cooked after a retest with the optional wickerbill spoiler attachment installed. The third was sacrificed in the long-awaited test against the new Mustang GT350R. We ran out of time before we could destroy the fourth set, which is probably for the best because each set cost between $2,300 and $2,400. All told, we spent $7,218 just on tires in 12 months. That doesn’t include two patches to the same tire a week apart from running over screws in the road or a blowout on a brand-new tire that left an editor stranded for seven hours on the side of a desert back road. It was replaced under warranty There were other service items, as well. The car took three oil changes in the 18,000 or so miles we drove it. The first was elective, not required, as the owner’s manual wisely suggests changing the oil and differential fluid after break-in and before tracking the car. That service and two more computer-recommended oil changes set us back $525.27, partly because the dry sump oiling system requires 10 quarts of full synthetic.


2015 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 POWERTRAIN/CHASSIS

DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT ENGINE TYPE VALVETRAIN DISPLACEMENT COMPRESSION RATIO POWER (SAE NET) TORQUE (SAE NET)

The 2015 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 is a toy, a track special, and I’m going to miss driving the hell out of it every day. Then there’s the elective stuff. Before we tracked it the first time, we had the factory-recommended track alignment set, which cost $70. The car felt uncharacteristically loose and squirrely during that test, so we had the alignment double-checked and the optional wickerbill spoiler installed. Chevrolet, owner of the car, insisted on paying for the add-on, and we stuck Chevy with the alignment bill, too. (We tallied the $697.50 spoiler in the vehicle price.) We also ran into a few unexpected repairs. A few months in, the car started making a popping noise when the chassis twisted, such as when entering a driveway at an angle. It’s a known problem with the fifth-generation Camaro and was fixed for free by “dimpling” the offending metal under the car with a hammer. Around the same time, the driver’s seat recline function stopped working. A new power recline motor was ordered and installed under warranty. Finally, just before we returned the car, it developed an intermittent power steering problem that was traced to a loose wheel speed sensor at

Living in a big city, every on-ramp, off-ramp, and flyover ramp becomes an opportunity to unleash the beast for a moment.

the front left wheel, probably knocked loose during the last tire change and also fixed under warranty. All in all, my year with the Z/28 was an expensive one, but only because I wanted it to be. The Z/28 is designed to be driven hard, and it begs for rough treatment every time you get behind the wheel. Anyone who’s ever tracked a car knows how fast you go through tires; it’s just the price of admission. Goes through gas pretty quick, too, with an observed average of just 13.1 mpg. (Track days will get you into the single digits easy.) Sure, there were a few complaints along the way, but they were mostly compromises demanded by any track car. It’s loud, the interior is cheap, and it rides like that project car you put coil-overs on when you were 18 (hard, very hard). Others, such as the poor outward visibility and the infuriating skip shift “feature,” weren’t specific to the Z/28. None of this was enough, in part or as a whole, to dampen my enthusiasm for the car. Not even the rain could do that, as the Z/28 performed as well as any other Camaro in the rain despite its tires and dire warnings from people who’ve never driven it. No, the Z/28 was never intended to be driven daily, but I’m no worse off for having done it. Bouncing around on bumpy roads and trying not to crunch the big front splitter on everything were prices I was willing to pay to have 500 naturally aspirated horsepower under my right foot, a manual shifter in my right hand, Thor’s personal trumpet playing behind my head, and the ability to out-corner nearly every other car on the road at any time. It’s a toy, a track special, and I’m going to miss driving the hell out of it every day.

Front-engine, RWD 90-deg V-8, aluminum block/ heads OHV, 2 valves/cyl 427.6 cu in/7,008cc 11.0:1 505 hp @ 6,100 rpm* 481 lb-f @ 4,800 rpm*

REDLINE

7,000 rpm

WEIGHT TO POWER

7.7 lb/hp

TRANSMISSION AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE RATIO SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR

6-speed manual 3.91:1/2.46:1 Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar

STEERING RATIO TURNS LOCK-TO-LOCK BRAKES, F;R

16.1:1

WHEELS TIRES DIMENSIONS WHEELBASE TRACK, F/R LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT TURNING CIRCLE

CURB WEIGHT WEIGHT DIST., F/R SEATING CAPACITY HEADROOM, F/R LEGROOM, F/R SHOULDER ROOM, F/R CARGO VOLUME TEST DATA ACCELERATION TO MPH 0-30 0-40 0-50 0-60 0-70 0-80 0-90 0-100 0-110 0-120 PASSING, 45-65 MPH QUARTER MILE BRAKING, 60-0 MPH LATERAL ACCELERATION MT FIGURE EIGHT TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH CONSUMER INFO STABILITY/TRACTION CONTROL AIRBAGS BASIC WARRANTY POWERTRAIN WARRANTY ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE FUEL CAPACITY EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB

REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/ COMB RECOMMENDED FUEL

2.5 15.5-in vented, drilled, carbonceramic disc; 15.3-in vented, drilled, carbon-ceramic disc, ABS 11.0 x 19-in; 11.5 x 19-in, forged aluminum 305/30R19 102Y Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R 112.3 in 66.1/64.7 in 192.3 x 76.9 x 52.4 in 39.0 f 3,882 lb 53/47% 4 37.4/35.3 in 42.4/29.9 in 56.9/42.5 in 11.3 cu f

1.6 sec 2.3 3.0 4.0 4.9 6.2 7.5 9.0 11.0 13.1 1.8 12.3 sec @ 116.1 mph 100 f 1.08 g (avg) 23.6 sec @ 0.89 g (avg) 1,950 rpm Yes/yes Dual front, front side, f/r rear curtain 3 yrs/36,000 miles 5 yrs/100,000 miles 5 yrs/100,000 miles 19.0 gal 13/19/15 mpg 259/177 kW-hrs/100 miles 1.28 lb/mile 15.0/20.4/17.1 mpg Unleaded premium *SAE Certified

MAY 2016 / MOTORTREND.COM 109


LONG-TERM TEST | Verdict

The $995 Lighting package adds an adaptive system that swivels the bi-xenon headlights.

2015 Volkswagen GTI Ron Kiino “Our GTI didn’t have the Performance package, but for $1,495, it’s a deal worth taking (less for the power, more for the brakes).” @RonKiino After the Golf won our coveted 2015 Car of the Year trophy, we were presented with a tough, albeit enviable, decision: Pick a long-termer, any variant configured with as many options as our hearts desired. As much as we loved the 170-hp TSI and the 45-mpg-highway TDI (glad we didn’t go that route), and as eager as we were to wait for a 292-hp R, we had to go with the most desirable choice at the time. Which left the GTI. I know, woe is us. Opting for the slightly more powerful Performance package (plus 10 hp, limited-slip diff, and Golf R

110 MOTORTREND.COM / MAY 2016

Service life / 14 mo / 27,115 mi Base price / $24,715 Options / Autobahn package ($5,700: 12-way power driver’s seat, navigation, automatic climate control), DSG transmission ($1,100), Lighting package ($995: bi-xenon headlights, adaptive front lighting, LED running lights), Driver Assistance package ($695: forward collision warning, parking sensors) Price as tested / $33,205 Avg fuel econ/CO2 / 26.6 mpg / 0.73 lb/mi Problem areas / Door hinge bolt Maintenance cost / $184.87 (2-oil change, inspection, tire rotation; 1-cabin air filter) Normal-wear cost / $0 3-year residual value* / $15,938 Recalls / Fuel pump, fuel delivery rail, front anti-roll bar

REAL MPG CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 25.4/33.2/28.4 MPG *Automotive Lease Guide data

brakes) would’ve meant months of delay, so we went with a standard 210-hp GTI in Autobahn spec, the top-level trim that adds a 12-way power driver seat, 6.5-inch touchscreen navigation, and dual-zone automatic climate control. We also checked boxes for the $1,100 six-speed, dual-clutch automatic, the $995 Lighting package (bi-xenon headlamps with adaptive front-lighting system), and the $695 Driver Assistance package (front and rear parking sensors, forward collision warning). All said, our four-door Tornado Red GTI came in at $33,205. The break-in period for the GTI’s EA888 2.0-liter turbo is 1,000 miles. So at around 1,001 miles we took the GTI to the test track. There, on a warm, sunny Fontana day, the GTI put down impressive numbers: 0 to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds, quarter mile in 14.7 seconds at 96.9 mph, 60 to 0 braking in 105 feet, figure eight in 25.7 seconds, and average lateral acceleration of 0.93 g. Our long-term 2012 BMW 328i, with a 240-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo,

The cabin gets even better for 2016 thanks to standard Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a USB input. The last is especially useful; we had to adopt a plug-in adapter with a USB slot.


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Our Autobahn’s Titan black leather looks nice and aged well, but we yearned for the nostalgic plaid cloth. The 60/40-split folding back seat provided ample space for kids, and in a pinch it even accommodated three adults.

Front-engine, FWD Turbocharged I-4, iron block/alum head DOHC, 4 valves/cyl 121.1 cu in/1,984cc 9.6:1 210 hp @ 4,500 rpm 258 lb-f @ 1,500 rpm 6,000 rpm 15.0 lb/hp

6-speed twin-clutch auto. TRANSMISSION AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE RATIO 4.77:1 (1-4); 3.44:1 (5-6,R)/2.20:1 SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar 9.5-14.1:1 STEERING RATIO

TURNS LOCK-TO-LOCK BRAKES, F;R WHEELS TIRES DIMENSIONS WHEELBASE TRACK, F/R LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT TURNING CIRCLE

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2.0 12.3-in vented disc; 10.7-in disc, ABS 7.5 x 18-in, cast aluminum 225/40R18 92V Bridgestone Potenza S001 103.6 in 60.6/59.7 in 168.0 x 70.8 x 56.8 in 35.8 f 3,159 lb 61/39% 5 38.4/38.1 in 41.2/35.6 in 55.9/53.9 in 52.7/22.8 cu f

TEST DATA

ACCELERATION TO MPH 0-30 0-40 0-50 0-60 0-70 0-80 0-90 0-100 PASSING, 45-65 MPH QUARTER MILE BRAKING, 60-0 MPH LATERAL ACCELERATION MT FIGURE EIGHT TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH CONSUMER INFO BASE PRICE PRICE AS TESTED STABILITY/TRACTION CONTROL AIRBAGS BASIC WARRANTY POWERTRAIN WARRANTY ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE FUEL CAPACITY EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON

2.6 sec 3.5 4.7 6.1 7.8 10.0 12.7 15.7 2.9 14.7 sec @ 96.9 mph 105 f 0.93 g (avg) 25.7 sec @ 0.84 g (avg) 1,800 rpm $24,715 $33,205 Yes/yes

Dual front, front side, f/r curtain 3 yrs/36,000 miles 5 yrs/60,000 miles 3 yrs/36,000 miles 13.2 gal 25/33/28 mpg ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY 135/102 kW-hrs/100 miles 0.69 lb/mile CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 25.4/33.2/28.4 mpg REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/

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was quicker to 60 (5.5 seconds) and the quarter (14.1 seconds at 98.2 mph) but couldn’t match the GTI in braking (113 feet), figure eight (26.3 seconds), or average lateral accel (0.89 g). And back in ’12, that Bimmer listed for $50,845. Easy to see why the GTI-led Golf lineup won our 2015 COTY. During its 27,115-mile stay with us, the GTI required just two maintenance visits (the third would’ve come at around 30,000). Both included an oil change, inspection, and tire rotation, the first one covered under VW’s one-year 10,000-mile maintenance plan. The second stop, which also incorporated a cabin air filter, set us back $184.87. Our long-term 2014 Mazda3 S GT hatchback racked up a bill of $162.55 (two oil changes, tire rotations, and inspections) over 21,726 miles, and our longterm 2015 WRX STI cost us $0 (four oil changes and inspections, two tire rotations) through 26,359 miles thanks to Subaru’s complimentary maintenance for the life of the basic warranty.  The GTI garnered praise from our staffers from the get-go. Its original chaperone, Rory Jurnecka, who’s now at our sister pub Automobile, gushed over the GTI’s utility, which he noted was able to accommodate his family of five during Thanksgiving, not to mention a 6-foot vintage sign from an old Fiat dealer showroom. Visual assets manager Brian Vance took over the GTI and spent the next several months behind the wheel. It didn’t take long for him to applaud the GTI’s subtle attributes. “The rear hatch will open and unlock with the keyless fob, and assuming you don’t access any other door, the car gives a reassuring horn beep when you close the rear hatch to let you know that it’s still armed with the factory alarm,” he wrote. “The GTI’s multifunction sport steering wheel features one of my favorite items in the car. On the left spoke, a plus/minus toggle allows for 5-mph incremental bumps in cruise control speed, and a separate up/down toggle allows for more traditional 1-mph bumps.”

Unleaded premium

112 MOTORTREND.COM / MAY 2016

Standard 18-inch alloys with 225/40 tires give the GTI a sporty, mature stance.

Me? I appreciated the GTI’s turbo punch, especially when entering the highway or exiting a tight turn on a mountain road. I also enjoyed its 26.6-mpg observed fuel economy; that my kids (and their booster seats and toys) fit comfortably in the back seat; the utility of having a cargo-friendly hatchback, certainly one with fold-down rear seats; the large front-door pockets with integrated cupholders that can fit a 1-liter bottle; the easy-to-use infotainment/ nav system, whose real-time traffic updates and auto rerouting never steered me wrong; and the sublime feel of the helm in Normal mode, which makes a case for losing the numb Sport-mode steering. The list of nitpicks is a small one. Jurnecka experienced a loose door hinge bolt that prompted an annoying creak. A wrench and one minute of tightening fixed the problem. Our long-term Mazda3 experienced one issue, as well—outage of the infotainment system—which the dealer remedied via a software update. Meanwhile, the STI suffered from two gremlins—a faulty fuel regulator and rear differential gasket—during its tenure. Vance felt the side mirrors were too small, creating unwelcome blind spots. For 2016, the Driver Assistance package (now up to $1,495) includes a blind-spot monitor with rear traffic alert and lane-departure warning. My only grumbles had to do with features and aesthetics. Although I liked the leather seats, every time I got in, I yearned for the plaid cloth buckets from the base S. But they can’t be had on the Autobahn, the only trim with car-based navigation, or even the mid-level SE. Further, both the SE and Autobahn come standard with a panoramic sunroof. I’ve never found use in a sunroof, and I certainly don’t want one adding weight to the roof of my performance car. I’d suggest a new trim that ditches the sunroof but includes navigation and plaid seats. Build that, VW, and I’d fork out my own money for a personal long-termer. n


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AMERICA STILL DOESN’T GET IT

Even before the #Dieselgate fiasco, Volkswagen had a big problem: America. Born from the ashes of World War II and Hitler’s fraudulent people’s car scam, Volkswagen made a global reputation for itself in the 1950s and ’60s as a producer of quirky litle bug-shaped cars that were tough, durable, and oddly endearing. Riding a wave of social rebellion as the first baby boomers came of driving age, the Volkswagen Beetle became an American pop-culture icon: the anti-establishment automobile, an underpowered, flower-powered middle finger to Detroit’s self-obsessed excess. Even the ads, created by New York agency Doyle Dane Bernbach, broke all the rules, with taglines like “Lemon” and “Think small” and “Don’t laugh” appearing under photos of the product. One of the best ads didn’t even show the car at all. Instead was a picture of a model of the Lunar Module and the tagline, “It’s ugly, but it gets you there,” with a VW logo underneath. Published in Life magazine on August 8, 1969, two weeks afer the Apollo 11 astronauts returned from the moon, it perfectly captured Volkswagen’s place in the American zeitgeist. A radical transformation of the Volkswagen brand began during the 1990s under the leadership of Ferdinand Piëch, the grandson of the Beetle designer Ferdinand Porsche, and saw what had become a dull, dowdy product lineup replaced with cars that drove well, looked sharp, and set new standards for interior design and presentation. There was a proliferation of new models, too, from the extravagant 12-cylinder Phaeton to the tiny Apple-esque Up! city car. Sales soared, particularly in Europe, where by 2014 the VW brand had a 13.5 percent market

the industry, probably beter than many of the premium brands.” Diess acknowledges history might be at work here. In 1976 Volkswagen took over an unfinished Chrysler plant in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, becoming the first foreign automaker to assemble cars in the U.S. since Rolls-Royce built cars in Springfield, Massachusets, from 1921 to 1931. However, the Americanized Rabbits and Golfs that came out of Westmoreland were compared poorly with German-made Volkswagens, and the company’s decision to close the plant afer a decade of fairly consistent losses did litle to improve perceptions. Fast-forward to 2016. Sales of the revamped Tiguan compact SUV are solid, and the long awaited three-row SUV will go into production in Volkswagen’s state-of-the-art factory in Chatanooga, Tennessee, before year’s end. But in the afermath of #Dieselgate Volkswagen needs to make a bold statement about quality and reliability. Something, perhaps, like offering a 10-year/100,000-mile warranty on all Volkswagen products sold in the U.S. “I think it’s an important point you’re making,” Diess says afer a moment’s pause. “And I think we have to think about what to do. We have to talk more about quality, demonstrate more quality. Perception will change because the product quality is good, but the real question is how fast will it change. Because perception is reality.” Exactly. n

VW became a pop-culture icon: an underpowered, flower-powered middle finger to Detroit’s selfobsessed excess. 118 MOTORTREND.COM / MAY 2016

share, easily dominating GM and Toyota. But in the U.S., Volkswagen sputered and stalled. Despite an ambitious 2007 plan to triple sales in the U.S. by 2018 the brand finished 2014 with just 2.2 percent of the market. Long before #Dieselgate erupted, this stark disconnect between Volkswagen’s sales performance in Europe and the U.S. perplexed senior execs in Wolfsburg. It still does. “It is hard to understand,” admits Herbert Diess, the former BMW engineer who now heads Volkswagen Passenger Cars. Diess gets that the Golf hatchback, the car that overwhelmingly drives Volkswagen sales volume in Europe, is a niche product in America. And he acknowledges Volkswagen has taken too long to develop the SUVs and crossovers American consumers demand. Case in point: 63 percent of GM and 50 percent of Toyota vehicles sold last year in the U.S. were light trucks. And Volkswagen? Barely 14 percent. But Diess struggles with the idea that Americans no longer think of Volkswagens as high-quality, durable vehicles. “Our warranty claims are down to historic lows,” he insists. “The perceived quality is probably the best in PLANTING THE FLAG VW’s first foray into American manufacturing at the unfinished Chrysler plant in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.



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