Issuu on Google+

• 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage • 2015 Subaru WRX STI • 2015 Kia K900 • 2015 Audi S3 • • 2014 BMW S1000R • 2014 Honda Pioneer • spring 2014

Gridlock! Or how I learned to love signal synchronization

Kia K900

Surprising luxury from an unexpected source

Focus on

17 scintillating sporty sedans

The Last Word

Are luxury automakers getting too ambitious?

Autovision is an advertorial supplement to Business Information Group magazines

Cover-Spring.indd 2

14-02-24 5:54 PM


SIT BACK AND DON’T RELAX. This just in — a short wheelbase sports-coupe brimming with advanced performance-focused design. Extra thick rocker panels and framestrengthening adhesives boost body rigidity for uncanny agility. While a dual-injected 3.5-litre V6 breezily cranks out throaty decibels — and 318 hp. Prepare for lift off.

AMA ZING IN MOTION

LEXUS RC COMING SOON for more information, circle reply c ard no. 20

LEX-BR077-M-15_RC.indd 1 Lexus.indd 1

2014-02-03 2:17 PM 14-02-24 6:29 PM


Autovision spring 2014

Inside

4 What’s New

Pope approved

28 The Very First “Porsche”

Proof that Ferdinand was brilliant long before the first 356

Sophisticated Mobility

22 Gridlock

The Coming Crash?

W

2014 Mitsubishi Mirage

6

2015 Subaru WRX STI

The Secret to Getting Our Traffic to Move

30 The Last Word

previews 10

2015 Kia K900

12

2015 Audi S3

14

2014 BMW S1000R 

26

2014 Honda Pioneer 

27

e have all read that self-driving cars are in our future. Prognosticators are seducing a large portion of the motoring public with their promises of relaxed motoring, stressfree traffic jamming and a massive increase in productivity/leisure time as your car drives itself on the long, arduous commute to work. Factor in the greater safety of having bits and bytes driving rather than our own fallible selves and who wouldn’t be seduced? Nor do the technological obstacles seem insurmountable (at least in warmer, less snowy climes), some automakers making bold their statements that self-driving cars will here by the end of the decade. What may yet cause some consternation, however, is determining who will be legally responsible for such self-driving cars. The entire liability issue surrounding the operation of an automobile is based on the fact that the operator of said vehicle is responsible for its safe conduct. Oh, where there are failures caused by faulty equipment, the injured parties — as well as driver of the car — might have recourse to sue the offending automaker. But the basic theory remains that, if you’re behind the wheel, you’re responsible for any havoc that automobile might wreak. Yet, what happens if you’re not behind the wheel? What if you’re snoozing in the passenger seat? Having sex in the back seat? Or asleep in your bed because you’ve sent the car — completely driverless — to pick up the spouse at the airport? Surely, you can’t be held responsible if you’re not even in the car? Naturally, laws could be re-written so the automaker selling the supposedly self-driving car is the primary source of liability should said car be operating in autonomous mode. Indeed, some proponents of the technology have claimed that automobile manufacturers would gladly accept this liability because accidents would be so few and far between that the damages could easily be swallowed. This, of course, is beyond nonsense. Automakers, like manufacturers of all products, have consistently striven to eschew responsibility for any and all calamities their products might create. That’s why all automakers are insisting there be a driver behind the wheel of even their soonto-be-autonomous products: If you are behind the wheel, then there is no question as to who is legally responsible for that automobile, autonomous or not. But, let’s suppose liability laws are revised and automakers now accept their culpability in any and all accidents (Volvo recently has promised its cars will be accident-free by 2020). The first order of business to reduce their susceptibility to lawsuits will be to ensure no traffic laws are broken and no speed limits are exceeded. Indeed, if we want our cars to drive themselves without any input from ourselves whatsoever, you will never exceed 100 kilometres an hour again. That trip to Grandma’s house may be more relaxing, but it will be decidedly longer. And can you

imagine downtown traffic as every car adheres to every legal propriety? Of course, the laws may end up staying exactly as currently written. Then, though the car will slam on its own brakes, depress its own gas pedal and steer its steering wheel, it will still mean you, the driver, will have to be ready to take over should its operating system go all “Error Path Not Found” on you. And, since you are now ultimately responsible for the conduct of your automobile, the same traffic laws that currently apply will govern you. That means no texting, no cellphoning or — if you’re as aged as I am — reading a newspaper while behind the wheel. So, you will remain ultimately responsible for the car, even though it is in self-driving mode, thus rendering your stint behind the wheel nowhere near as relaxing as promised. Or, if the automobile is to be truly autonomous, automakers will then have to accept liability, with laws re-written and manufacturers charged with responsibility for whatever happens to their product — something they have vociferously avoided for the last century and a quarter. In the end, that may leave you where you’ve always been, still behind the wheel, no longer needed for the everyday machinations of driving but still not allowed to use that new freedom for leisure. That hardly seems like the carefree motoring being promised by autonomous driving protagonists.  s  David Booth

spring 2014

18 Focus On

Autovision 3

,

• Publisher David Booth (416) 510-6744 dbooth@autovisionmagazine.ca • • MANAGING EDITOR Brian Harper • Gear Head Graeme Fletcher • • Print Production Manager Phyllis Wright 416-510-6786 • art director Steve Maver •

ContentsSpring.indd 2

14-02-24 5:52 PM


what’snewconcepts to mainstream The Pope’s Harley

 No, Pope Francis did not ride this 2013 Harley-Davidson. But he did sign its gas tank, which means, that when Bonhams auctioned it off in Paris on February 6, there was a little hype about this brown Dyna Super Glide. Enough hype, in fact, that it sold for a whopping $363,771. For those looking for context, an identical Big Twin — sans the Francesco signature — retails for $14,989. A leather HarleyDavidson jacket, also signed by the Pontiff, went for $86,612. The funds raised will go to a good cause; all proceeds will help in rebuilding the Don Luigi di Liegro hostel and soup kitchen at Rome’s Termini railway station.

Video Reality

Autovision 4

spring 2014

The undisputed hit of this year’s Detroit auto show was Toyota’s FT-1 concept. Seemingly more Maserati sports car than Toyota, the FT-1 may be the ultimate melding of digital and analogue design. Its original shape was completely digital, penned by Toyota’s Calty design research facility in California for the latest, sixth-generation version of the Gran Turismo video game. Legend has it that Akio Toyoda, Toyota’s president, was so taken with the design while playing PS3 that he insisted the concept make the transition out of the digital world into the real. Maybe the worlds of metal and mainframes can co-exist.

Sleeker Subaru Subaru is stressing the sleekness and frugality of its all-new Legacy sedan. Official figures have yet to be announced for the 2015 model, but the company says both the Legacy 2.5i, which gets a 175-horsepower four-cylinder boxer engine, and the 256-hp 3.6-litre boxer six-cylinder, will get better fuel economy than their predecessors thanks to the continuously variable transmission (a six-speed manual is still available on the base 2.5) and enhanced aerodynamics. Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel drive is standard on all models, but now comes with an Active Torque Vectoring system purloined from the new STI model. A new rear radar system offers full perimeter monitoring with blind spot detection, lane change assist and rear cross traffic alert.

WN-Spring2014.indd 2

14-02-24 6:14 PM


Valiant Viking Volvo may yet shed its boxy, conservative image if the V60 and S60 Polestar catch on. Polestar is the performance brand for the previously stodgy Swedish automaker and, in this case, the wagon and sedan almost-twins are powered by a 345-horsepower inline six-cylinder, good enough to propel the bright blue cars to 100 kilometres an hour in just 4.9 seconds. Polestars come by their high-performance honestly, Volvo claiming that much of the technology is shared with its successful touring car racer.

briefly... According to an Urban Mobility report published by the Texas A & M Transportation Institute, traffic congestion in the United States wasted 2.9 billion U.S. gallons of fuel in 2011, enough to fill the New Orleans Superdome four times.

The congestion caused an additional 25.5 billion kilograms of CO2 to be emitted, equivalent to the weight of 12,400 Space Shuttles at takeoff weight, claims the UM report.

The cost of all this congestion (in 2011) was US$121-billion, or US$818 per commuter, measured

Valkyrie

congestion cost the average U.S. consumer $342 in 1982.

For Autovision’s full report on how to reduce traffic congestion, turn to page 22

Autovision 5

Eighteen hundred and thirty-two cubic centimetres, six cylinders, more than 100 pound-feet of torque and only two wheels! Welcome to the latest edition of Honda’s power-cruising Valkyrie F6C, the company’s GL1800 Gold Wing stripped of all its touring paraphernalia and rendered into a hot rod. In the process, it loses about 70 kilograms and gains some distinctly sportbike-like wheels. Honda’s intent couldn’t be clearer — the promotional video for the Valkyrie (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2aEZgLssEc#t=68) is long on burnt rubber and screaming motor.

total) and fuel consumed. Traffic

spring 2014

Ride of the

in time wasted (5.5 billion hours in

WN-Spring2014.indd 3

14-02-24 6:16 PM


PREVIEW ••>> 2013 2014 Jaguar Mitsubishi XJ 3.0Mirage AWD

Colourful Personality by Alex andra Straub in Quebec Cit y

M

itsubishi has no illusions about the Mirage despite the seemingly apropos name. With the all-new 2014 subcompact, what you see is what you get. And what you get is an aerodynamic and efficiently packaged vehicle, one that is great on fuel and has an affordable price tag. Those are its top selling features. So let’s talk about the bonuses. With a starting price of $12,498, the five-door Mirage offers a five-speed manual transmission, ABS, power windows up front, electric power steering and more. Like the “Mirage” chocolate bar, this vehicle is light and bubbly. Well, as bubbly as its 74-horsepower, 1.2-litre three-cylinder engine can get. It will get you from point A to B, and will do so without hassle. Keep in mind that its curb weight is a mere 895 kilograms. In comparison, the Chevrolet Spark weighs in at 1,029 kilos and has room for one less person. Speaking of room, the driver and front passenger are living the good life. In the rear, it’s pretty darn good, too. Even with the front seats pushed as far back as they can go, an average-sized adult shouldn’t have any issues in the back. With the second-row seats folded down, there is a 487 litres of cargo capacity. Not bad for a vehicle that’s smaller than the average subcompact. Safety tends to be a hot topic around smaller vehicles. Rightfully so. So Mitsubishi made sure its pint-size five-door was well equipped to handle life’s unexpected circumstances. Along with the aforementioned ABS, the Mirage comes with a brake assist and brake override system along with active stability control and traction control logic as standard features, even on the base ES model. So now that I’ve gone over a few of the Mirage’s fundamental features, what does it feel like when behind the wheel? It’s a vehicle that gets the job done, with a twist — the twist being that it comes

Autovision 6

spring 2014

, ‘

RT-MitsubishiMirage.indd 2

It’s a vehicle that gets the job done

Base Price:  Engine: 

$12,498

74 hp, 1.2L DOHC I3

Transmission: Five-speed manual Length: 3780 mm (148.8 in.) Fuel Economy, L/100 km: city - 5.9, hwy - 4.6

in a few fun colours. There’s standard hues like Cloud White, Starlight Grey, Thunder Grey or Mystic Black. But how about Sapphire Blue, Kiwi Green, Infra Red or even Plasma Purple? If the Mirage doesn’t attract stares on its own, surely one of the rainbow coloured models will turn heads. On the neutral-toned and cobblestoned streets of Quebec City, there wasn’t much flying under the radar in Plasma Purple. While you’re contemplating such colours, the personality of the Mirage also has sparkle to it. Offered with either a five-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission, both work as they should for the tasks at hand. Personal preference sways me to the five-speed manual, but the CVT, which uses an auxiliary gearbox — a fancy way of saying a weight- and fuel-saving technology that is easy to service and efficient in application — isn’t a bad option, either. Yes, there is some engine drone when accelerating quickly, but that’s the case for most smaller-displacement engines with this particular transmission. Noise, vibration and harshness is manageable, but weren’t the best since the cars driven were pre-production. Either way, the Mirage is very liveable for the price point. Inside, there aren’t too many bells and whistles although you’ll see a few of them on the topline SE Convenience trim. Still, the seats are cushy and the utilitarian-style centre stack and layout — with accents here and there — have appeal. It’s a back-to-the basics vehicle, which is what Mitsubishi set out to deliver. And it delivers it well. Overall, Mitsubishi Canada’s first foray into the subcompact segment left me with a smile on my face — a job well done. The target market the Japanese automaker is going after are those who are returning buyers to the market with a median age of 54, female and retired. But that doesn’t exclude anyone who is looking for affordable s transportation in a cute little package.

14-02-24 6:09 PM


With up to 30% better fuel economy than gas* and 15% more energy in every drop of fuel,** Audi TDI® clean diesel engines are not only incredibly efficient but surprisingly powerful as well. Making the intelligent choice has never been so easy.

Now available on the A8, A7, A6, Q7 and Q5 models. Learn more at audi.ca/tdi

©2014 Audi Canada. *Based on the estimated fuel consumption rating, determined using Natural Resources Canada’s approved criteria and testing methods, for the 2014 Audi A8 NWB 3.0 TDI clean diesel with tiptronic ® automatic transmission of 5.3/100 km (highway) compared to 7.6L/100 km (highway) for the 2014 Audi A8 NWB 3.0 TFSI with tiptronic automatic transmission. Actual fuel consumption will vary based on driving conditions, driver habits and vehicle’s additional equipment. **Diesel fuel has 15% higher energy density by volume (approx. 36.9MJ/L compared to 33.7MJ/L). Source: European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association, 2013. “Audi”, “A8”, “A7”, “A6”, “Q7”, “Q5”, “Vorsprung durch Technik,” and the four rings emblem are registered trademarks of Audi AG. “TDI” and “TDI clean diesel” are registered trademarks of Volkswagen AG.

for more information, circle reply c ard no. 21

Audi.indd 1

14-02-24 6:20 PM


INTRODUCING

PROJECT RUSHMORE

BUILT

BY

ALL

OF

US

FOR ALL OF US

Models Shown: Ultra Limited, Street Glide®, Road King®, Tri GlideTM Ultra and Electra Glide® Ultra Classic® With the purchase of any new Harley-Davidson® model from an authorized Canadian Harley-Davidson® Retailer, you will receive a free, full one-year membership in H.O.G.® Always ride with a helmet. Ride defensively. Distributed exclusively in Canada by Deeley Harley-Davidson® Canada, Richmond and Concord. Deeley Harley-Davidson® Canada is a proud sponsor of Muscular Dystrophy Canada.

HD-P-0167_MY14_Model_Lineup_DPS_CA-en_Autovision.indd 2-3 DH Rushmore DPS.indd 2

14-02-24 6:25 PM


They came straight out of the streets, the freeways, biker bars, scenic overlooks, and rallies. They came straight out of 110 years in the saddle and countless long rides where the destination didn’t even matter. They came straight out of the dreams of thousands of riders. They came straight out of Milwaukee by way of every road on earth. And now, they’re taking us places we’ve never been before. Introducing Project RUSHMORE and the next Harley-Davidson® motorcycles. Built by all of us, for all of us. LEARN MORE AT H-D.COM/RUSHMORE

UNITED BY INDEPENDENTS for more information, circle reply c ard no. 22

©2013 H-D or its affiliates. H-D, Harley, Harley-Davidson and the bar & shield logo are among the trademarks of H-D U.S.A., LLC.

DH Rushmore DPS.indd 3

21/02/2014 12:01:44 PM 14-02-24 6:25 PM


PREVIEW ••>> 2013 2015 Jaguar SubaruXJ WRX 3.0 AWD STI

Racetrack ready By David Booth in Carmel, Calif.

H

ere’s everything bad you need to know about Subaru’s new 2015 WRX STI — you really don’t want to be in the passenger seat. Oh, from behind the steering wheel, the STI will “surprise and delight,” as marketing mavens like to proclaim. But, if you’re riding shotgun, you’re sure-as-shootin’ going to get tossed about. Fillings will be loosened, sphincters tightened and, if you’re particularly queasy, lunches tossed. Think of it as a roller coaster for which you didn’t volunteer. If you’re behind the wheel, though, you’re screaming inside your helmet (if you’re using the STI on the racetrack, its preferred environment) and/or grinning like an idiot. You’ll be waxing lyrical to the poor vomiting schmo in the passenger seat about razor-sharp steering, grip that rivals Krazy Glue and brakes that make anchor metaphors seem trite. For 2015, the STI eschews much of its rally car roots for more racetrack-directed bona fides. Oh, given the right gravel backroad and its Driver Controlled Centre Differential-managed 41/59-rearward torque bias, it will hang the rear end out nicely. But the soft-ish suspension compliance required for challenging hill and dale has given way to F1-like stiffness, an almost complete lack of body roll and 911-challenging limpet-like grip. Pikes Peak is out, the Nürburgring is in — and don’t spare the horses, Nellie, Subaru is gunning for Porsche and BMW. The STI’s specs read like a how-to guide for hot rod production cars for SCCA racing. Torsion bars have been stiffened by 125%, the suspension’s springs have been firmed up by 22% and the steering ratio reduced from an already sporty 15:1 to a racetrack-ready 13:1. Overall, Subaru claims the chassis has been strengthened 30% in bending and the suspension’s resistance to roll increased by 24%. Suffice it to say that the STI feels planted. The result is a feeling of oneness seldom found behind the steering wheel of cars in the STI’s price point of $37,995. Connectivity is the automotive industry’s buzzword right now, sprinkled liberally throughout marketing bumpf as the industry struggles to appeal to the young and high-tech. But, in a sports car, there’s a far more important connection, one that connects man and machine in a more visceral manner. It’s the feeling that comes back through the steering wheel telling you that, no matter how tight that decreasing radius hairpin, the STI’s razor-sharp steering will

Pikes Peak is out, the Nürburgring is in — and don’t spare the horses

Autovision 10

spring 2014

‘,

RT-SubaruWRX.indd 2

Base Price: $37,995 Engine:  305 hp, turbocharged  2.5L DOHC H4 Transmission: Six-speed manual

guide you to the apex. It’s believing that, no matter how hard the Subie is tossed into Laguna Seca’s ‘gravity cavity’ Turn Six, all the car’s incredible traction (0.98 g’s of lateral grip compared with the 2014’s 0.92) will have you rocketing out the other end. As much as the new STI is now a certifiable track weapon, certain civilities have been maintained. For one thing, the engine, largely unchanged (it’s still rated at 305 horsepower), seems smoother in the 2015’s enhanced framework. The breathed-on boxer motor’s staccato exhaust note is still there, but much of the rest of the engine’s unpleasant noise, vibration and harshness is gone. Dare I say it: The new Subie feels almost sophisticated. Ditto its interior decor, which, being honest here, was an area in which the previousgeneration STI seriously let down the side. New, soft-touch materials, better quality seats and an interior that would not be completely out of place in a BMW have really moved the car up a notch. The audio system, a 440-watt harman/kardon affair, can now be heard over the din of the motor. And, what’s this, a gauge set that doesn’t look as though it was purloined from a 1980 Dodge Omni? Will miracles never cease? The one area where the new STI remains deficient, however, is the transmission — the car still offers only a six-speed manual gearbox. It would be much better served with a slick-shifting, paddle-operated manumatic. It certainly deserves it. The 2015 STI is the most willing of partners in four-wheel crime. There is no other four-door this inexpensive that goes this fast with this much control. Just make sure you’re driving alone. s

Length: 4595 mm (180.9 in.) Fuel Economy, L/100 km: city - n/a, hwy - n/a

14-02-24 6:10 PM


for more information, circle reply c ard no. 23

Jaguar.indd 1

14-02-24 6:27 PM


PREVIEW •> 2015 Kia K900

Making Move its

By Graeme Fletcher in Newport Coast, Calif.

The K900 manages to out-posh the German marques

‘, Base Price:

M

oving up-market is either a bold move or one fraught with risk. When Volkswagen decided it had enough street cred to move upscale, it launched its feature-packed Phaeton. It tanked in the sales department despite being one of the best full-sized sedans around at the time. Conversely, when Hyundai decided to woo a wealthier clientele, it launched the Genesis sedan, which was well received initially and has gone on to improve the automaker’s image in the process. Kia is about to make the same leap into the unknown as it launches its new flagship, the K900. While it shares its platform with the Hyundai Equus, the K900 projects a much more muscular appearance and has considerably more road presence. Yes, the base car makes do with xenon headlights. However, the loaded V8 model brings all-LED headlights. The light beam not only responds to steering angle, it also alters the light pattern according to vehicle

$49,995

Engine:  311 hp, 3.8L DOHC V6 Transmission: Eight-speed manumatic 5095 mm (201.0 in.)

Fuel Economy, L/100 km: city - 11.5, hwy -7.3 (est.)

Autovision 12

spring 2014

Length:

speed — it’s wide at slow speeds and longer at higher ones. This tidbit sets the tone for the rest of the K900, which is offered in base ($49,995) and premium V6s ($60,995) along with the Elite V8 ($69,995). The standard technology list is lengthy, especially on the Elite — lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, active cruise control and standard front and rear cameras

RT-Kia1900 DPS.indd 12

with parking sensors. If that’s not enough, the Elite has a 360-degree camera system that shows a bird’s-eye view around the car. Then there’s Rear Cross Traffic Alert, which is capable of detecting something as small as a shopping cart at 10 metres, as well as Kia’s Advanced Vehicle Safety Management. If a potential collision is detected, it warns the driver in three stages by cinching up the front

14-02-24 6:06 PM


seat belts. It also pre-pressurizes the brake system, which shortens the stopping distance.  The cabin is where the K900 Elite truly impresses. The materials are off the top shelf — Nappa leather trim, a suede headliner and real wood trim. You’ll also find some nice touches such as power door pull-ins, power trunk and a power panoramic sunroof. As for comfort, the K900 is right up there with its peers. The standard power front seats feature three-stage heating and

RT-Kia1900 DPS.indd 13

spring 2014

button located on the centre console offers three modes — Sport, Normal and Eco. Each modifies engine, transmission and steering feel to provide the desired response. A fourth mode, Snow, has its own button, which allows direct access to it without cycling through the others. Kia is rapidly establishing itself as a proven purveyor of affordable and reliable cars, but is there a market for a high-level luxury sedan like the K900 in its portfolio? Some will sniff at the thought. However, spend a little time behind the wheel and the K900’s focus comes through with remarkable clarity — the cabin’s execution is its claim to desirability. It manages to out-posh the German marques in just about every area. It also has as much or more equipment than any of its competitors without breaking the bank. For the shopper who appreciates the finer things in life without having to pay through the nose, the K900 makes eminent sense.  s

Autovision 13

cooling. Those in the rear need not fret, as they also receive the executive treatment. Legroom is vast (credit goes to the car’s 3,045-millimetre wheelbase) with threestage heated seats and, in the Elite, cooled seats, three-stage power lumbar support, power reclining seats and privacy blinds for the windows. The rear centre armrest also includes audio and climate controls as well as a USB input and 12-volt outlet. The rear-wheel-drive K900 is offered with a choice of two engines, both of which are married to an eight-speed manumatic. The base engine is a 311-horsepower 3.8-litre V6. It should be fine, but the up-level engine is the far better choice. The 5.0L V8 pumps out a potent 420 hp and, on the drive route, it delivered notable hustle over a broad range. Off-the-line pop is impressive, with a zero-to-100-km/h time of 6.1 seconds. Kia’s Drive Mode Select allows the K900 to be optimized for different scenarios. A

14-02-24 6:07 PM


PREVIEW ••>> 2013 2015 Jaguar Audi S3 XJ 3.0 AWD

Highly Motivated By Graeme Fletcher in Monaco

T

hink of it as the A3’s evil twin, everything about that sensible sedan amped to the max. The engine is turbocharged, the ride has been lowered and the exhaust note is very naughty. As with the A3 Cabrio, the S3’s body has grown ever so slightly with a new ground-effects kit, aluminum-capped mirrors and quad tail pipes that protrude from the rear valance. The biggest change to the S3 is its motivation. In this case, it’s a 2.0-litre turbocharged four that puts forth 300 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque at 1,800 rpm. The fact the intercooled air is blown into the direct-injected engine at 17.6 psi certainly helps the output and speed with which the S3 piles it on. The power is, to state the obvious, plentiful, especially for a car that tips the scales at a svelte 1,430 kilograms. Though our tester was equipped with a six-speed manual, when the car lands in Canada toward the end of 2014, it will only be offered with a six-speed S tronic (twin-clutch) transmission that includes a launch control function for maximum takeoffs. That aside, the manual gearbox was absolutely wonderful — please bring it here, Audi! — with perfect clutch engagement and a smooth-shifting gate. It helps the diminutive S3 run to 100 kilometres an hour in just 4.9 seconds. Even more impressive is the 80-to-120-km/h time as well as the engine’s flexibility. The passing move, according to my hand-held stopwatch, came in at 4.2 seconds. The engine’s true flexibility showed up in third gear; it pulled all the way from 30 km/h to 140 km/h without missing a beat. The handling is equally as impressive as its engine. To give it the right base, the S3’s ride height has been dropped by 25 millimetres when compared with the regular A3. Not only does this make the S3 look sportier, it lowers the centre of gravity for better handling. The optional magnetic ride control suspension dials out any body roll yet provides a surprisingly compliant ride — it can also be altered according to the tone of the drive. Then there’s the steering. It’s firm to the feel and razor sharp when entering a corner. The S3 will understeer

The steering is firm to the feel and razor sharp when entering a corner

Autovision 14

spring

2014

‘,

RT-Audi S3.indd 2

Base Price: $44,000 Engine:  300 hp, turbocharged  2.0L DOHC I4 Transmission: Six-speed twin-clutch Length: 4460 mm (175.6 in.) Fuel Economy, L/100 km: city - 6.8, hwy - 4.8

at the limit, but the electronic system acts very quickly to rein in the push and set the car pointing in the intended direction. A big part of the car’s dynamic stability comes from its quattro all-wheel-drive system. As with the A3 Cabriolet, the system sends the bulk of the power (56%) to the front wheels. When the optional P235/35R19 tires broke loose, the quattro system quickly reverted to a 50/50 split front-to-rear. Our tester also arrived with Audi’s drive select, which allows the driver to choose between efficiency, comfort, auto, dynamic and individual modes. This last lets the driver tweak individual facets — engine, suspension, steering, exhaust tone and the manner in which the cruise functions — to customize the S3’s comportment. The best setting, at least when out for a hard and fast charge, is dynamic mode. It sharpens the throttle and steering, firms the suspension and gives the S3 its aforementioned basso burble when charging to redline. Inside, the S3 is markedly different from the A3. To begin with, the steering wheel is flat-bottomed and the base sport seats provide plenty of lateral support. Moving up to the S sport seats, which include an integrated headrest and flared shoulder areas, should be considered a “must” option given the lateral forces the S3 is capable of generating. Ditto the Bang & Olufsen audio system and the sound it blasts through 14 speakers. Actually, cancel that thought, as the exhaust is music enough. The S3’s pricing starts at a very compelling $44,000, making it something of a bargain among premium performance sedans. Its combination of performance and price is going to give the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes s C-Class and even Audi’s own A4 fits.

14-02-24 6:05 PM


*Pioneer 700-4 shown with accessories.

THEY HAVE ARRIVED

Introducing the all-new and innovative Pioneer 700 and 700-4 side-by-side lineup from Honda. The Pioneer 700 carries two people, and the Pioneer 700-4 features the Industry’s first convertible seating designed for two, three or four. Learn more about Pioneer and the full lineup of accessories at honda.ca for more information, circle reply c ard no. 24

Honda Powersports Canada @HondaPowerCA Honda Pioneer is recommended for drivers 16 years of age and older, and tall enough to wear the seat belt properly and reach all the controls. The passenger should also be tall enough for the seat belt to fit properly and brace themselves, if needed, by placing both feet firmly on the floor while grasping the hand hold. Always wear protective clothing when operating your Honda product. Please respect the environment. Obey the law and read your owner’s manual thoroughly before operating your Honda Product. Model images and specifications subject to change without notice. Visit honda.ca for additional safety information.

Honda.indd 1

honda.ca

14-02-24 6:26 PM


S:15.75”

Luxury liberated.

Breathing new life into luxury. Well-equipped from $49,995†

2015 K900 Elite (KH743F) and 2014 Cadenza Premium (CA742E) models shown. *MSRP for 2014 Cadenza (CA741E)/2014 Cadenza Premium (CA742E) is $37,895/$45,095. †MSRP for 2015 fees up to $79, and other charges and taxes not included. Dealers may sell for less. See dealer or kia.ca for complete details. Kia is a trademark of Kia Motors Corporation.

Kia DPS.indd 2

14-02-24 6:28 PM

Kia K90


S:15.75”

but is that truly the case? Remove the wool that has been pulled over your eyes and discover a world of luxury that is very real. Introducing the all-new face of luxury, the K900, our first rear-wheel-drive luxury sedan. One that includes meticulously crafted exteriors that are impossible to ignore. And spacious, world-class interiors that are exceptional at every turn. With available features like wood trim accents and buttery-soft premium nappa leather. It’s everything you’d expect in a premium offering and more. And you can have it all in two luxury vehicles from Kia. So take another look and challenge the luxury you know. The all-new K900

S:10.375”

for 2015 ion.

They say tradition and heritage are what make a luxury sedan

and the Kia Cadenza, Road & Travel Magazine’s 2014 International Car of the Year. For more information, visit LuxuryLiberated.ca.

Where luxury meets technology. Well-equipped from $37,895* presented by Road & Travel Magazine

for more information, circle reply c ard no. 25 Kia K900 (KH741F)/2015 K900 Elite (KH743F) is $49,995/$69,995. Destination and delivery ($1,485), insurance, licence, registration, other government and retailer fees, other provincial

Kia DPS.indd 3

14-02-24 6:29 PM


17

focuson a snapshot of ’14 More information on each of these models is available by circling the appropriate number on the Reader Service Card

Sophisticated Mobility

30K-$65K

$

sport sedans

By Brian Harper

Autovision 18

spring 2014

ACURA TLX

FO-Spring.indd 18

Base Price

$n/a

Coming mid-year, the 2015 2.4L DOHC I4 TLX sedan will replace both Base Engine the current TL and TSX. Optional Engine 3.5L SOHC V6 Honda unveiled a “protoBase Transmission 8-speed manumatic type” at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show, which gives a Optional Transmission 9-speed manumatic clear vision of the production Drivetrain FWD/AWD version. While shorter than the TL, the TLX has the Length 4831 mm (190.2 in.) same wheelbase as its larger Fuel Economy (l/100 km) n/a predecessor. A new 2.4L 16-valve 4-cylinder engine is standard and is mated to a new 8-speed dual-clutch transmission. For more power and performance, Honda’s proven 3.5L SOHC V6 is now mated to a new 9-speed automatic with closely spaced gear ratios and a wide overall ratio range to further extend engine performance and fuel efficiency.  Front-wheel-drive models with either engine will utilize the next generation of Acura Precision All-Wheel Steer technology with independent left and right rear wheel toe control. The TLX SH-AWD, available exclusively with the V6, employs a new generation of Acura’s Super-Handling All Wheel Drive technology that is 25% lighter and incorporates new torque-vectoring control logic. The TLX will feature an Integrated Dynamics System with four driving modes to allow for driver personalization. one

AUDI A3

Base Price

$31,100

Launching in Canada this Base Engine 170-hp, turbo 1.8L DOHC I4 spring as a 2015 model, the compact-sized A3 notchback Optional Engine 220-hp, turbo 2.0L DOHC I4 sedan will be sold here as the Base Transmission 6-speed manumatic 1.8 TFSI and 2.0 TFSI. The front-wheel-drive 1.8 comes Optional Transmission none in Komfort and Progressiv Drivetrain FWD/AWD trims while the 2.0 — in Komfort, Progressiv and Length 4456 mm (175.4 in.) Technik trims — will be Fuel Economy (l/100 km) n/a fitted with Audi’s quattro all-wheel drivetrain. Powering the A3 line is a turbocharged four-cylinder — a 170-hp 1.8L for the 1.8 TFSI and a 220-hp 2.0L for the 2.0 TFSI. Both engines are mated to 6-speed S tronic manumatic transmissions. The S line package, which lends a more dynamic appearance to the car, is optional on both models. The package includes more aggressive S line rear and front bumpers as well as S line doorsills and exterior badging. The interior receives bolstered sport seats with improved lateral support. A 3-spoke multi-function flat-bottom steering wheel with shift paddles makes for an even sportier driving experience. Additional touches, such as a black headliner, brushed aluminum inlays and titanium-coloured wheels add to the car’s sporty nature. two

14-02-24 5:56 PM


$37,800

three

CADILLAC ATS The ATS compact luxury sport sedan, new last year, has been developed on a lightweight rear-drive architecture, making it the most agile and lightweight Cadillac ever, with one of the lowest curb weights in the segment –1,503 kilograms. All-wheel drive is also available. The ATS is offered in standard, Luxury, Performance and Premium editions. A trio of engines — two 4-cylinders and a V6 — delivers strong power and capitalizes on the car’s low weight. The base engine is a 202-hp 2.5L four. The optional engines include a 272-hp 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder and a 321-hp 3.6L V6. All of the engines feature direct injection five and are mated to 6-speed transmissions including an automatic and a manual for the turbo four. A driver-focused interior supports the ATS’s driving experience. Cadillac says everything from the placement of the pedals to the position of the shifter is designed for intuitive performance driving. Available performance seats have power-adjustable bolsters to optimize lateral support during high-speed cornering.

CADILLAC CTS

BUICK REGAL GS

Base Price

$40,650

The Regal receives a Base Engine 259-hp, turbo 2.0L DOHC I4 thorough freshening for 2014, including new front and Optional Engine None rear styling, new radar- and 6-speed automatic camera-based safety features Base Transmission — including Rear Cross Optional Transmission 6-speed manual Traffic Alert, Lane Change FWD/AWD Drivetrain Alert, Side Blind Zone Alert, 4831 mm (190.2 in.) Length Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Alert and Fuel Economy (l/100 km) 10.1 city, 6.6 hwy. Collision Mitigation Braking — enhanced in-vehicle connectivity, a more refined turbo engine and the introduction of all-wheel drive. The 2.0L turbo 4-cylinder engine is standard on the Regal and delivers 18% more horsepower than the 2013 Regal Turbo. The available Haldex AWD system helps make the most of traction in all driving conditions and also enhances the cornering capability of the topline GS when driven in the GS mode of the Interactive Drive Control System. IDCS allows a choice of three operating modes — Standard, Sport and GS Mode — that change the suspension settings and steering sensitivity according to driver preferences. The GS also features a 4-wheel independent suspension with a unique High Performance Strut front suspension design that improves ride and handling by reducing torque steer. four

FO-Spring.indd 19

Base Price $35,195 202-hp, 2.5L DOHC I4 Base Engine Optional Engines 272-hp, turbo 2.0L DOHC I4 /321-hp, 3.6L DOHC V6 Base Transmission 6-speed automatic Optional Transmission 6-speed manual Drivetrain RWD/AWD 4643 mm (182.8 in.) Length Fuel Economy (l/100 km) 9.2 city, 6.0 hwy.

The new third-generation CTS is based on the rear-drive architecture of the ATS. While stretched in overall length and wheelbase, the 2014 CTS has a lower curb weight than the preceding model. Lightweight features, including Cadillac’s first aluminum door structures, contribute to the lower weight and a nearly 50/50 weight distribution. Magnetic Ride Control, Cadillac’s real-time damping system, is available on base models. The range of powertrains includes the new TwinTurbo V6 and 8-speed automatic. The 420-hp 3.6L Twin-Turbo for the topline Vsport is, says GM, the most power-dense six-cylinder engine in the segment. It’s also available with a naturally aspirated six 321-hp 3.6L V6 with paddle-shift 8-speed automatic in RWD models (or 6-speed automatic with AWD); and a 272-hp 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder paired with a 6-speed automatic. Active grille shutters are included on some models, improving aerodynamic performance to enhance fuel efficiency. Seven available interior “environments” are offered, each trimmed with wood, carbon fibre or aluminum.

Base Price $50,895 Base Engine 272-hp, turbo 2.0L DOHC I4 321-hp, 3.6L DOHC V6, Optional Engine 420-hp, 3.6L twin-turbo DOHC V6 6-speed manumatic Base Transmission Optional Transmission 8-speed manumatic RWD/AWD Drivetrain Length 4966 mm (195.5 in.) Fuel Economy (l/100 km) 10.5 city, 6.6 hwy.

INFINITI Q50

Base Price $37,500 328-hp, 3.7L DOHC V6 Base Engine 302-hp, 3.5L DOHC V6 Optional Engine with 67-hp electric motor Base Transmission 7-speed manumatic none Optional Transmission RWD/AWD Drivetrain 4783 mm (188.3 in.) Length Fuel Economy (l/100 km) 10.6 city, 6.7 hwy.

The new 2014 Q50 — replacing the G37 sedan — is available with a choice of a 328-hp 3.7L V6 or performance-oriented Hybrid featuring Infiniti’s “Direct Response Hybrid System with Intelligent Dual Clutch Control.” The latter combines a 3.5L DOHC V6 and lithium-ion battery pack with an innovative one-motor/ two-clutch motor control. The system’s V6 is rated at 296 hp, while the electric motor is rated at 67 hp. The hybrid system net power is a robust 354 hp, providing strong acceleration and greater fuel economy. Both powertrains will be offered with rear-wheel drive or AWD. Two new performance seven technologies make their debuts —

spring 2014

Base Price

Last redesigned in 2009, Base Engine 220-hp, turbo 2.0L DOHC I4 changes are minor for the Optional Engine None 2014 A4. The lineup continues with the Base Transmission Continuously variable front-drive 2.0 TFSI and the Optional Transmission 6-speed manual/ 2.0 TFSI quattro, both 8-speed manumatic powered by a turbocharged 2.0L 4-cylinder that has seen Drivetrain FWD/AWD a bump in power to 220 hp. 4701 Length mm (185.1 in.) The base front-drive 2.0 TFSI Komfort model comes with a Fuel Economy (l/100 km) 8.6 city, 6.2 hwy. continuously variable transmission with an 8-speed manual mode; a 6-speed manual is standard for all quattro versions (Komfort, Progressiv and Technik), with an 8-speed manumatic optional. Active safety features such as ABS, electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist and an electronic stabilization program are standard across the model range. Audi’s renowned quattro all-wheel drive offers enhanced road-holding ability in bad weather conditions. One of the more popular options for the quattro Progressiv and Technik editions is the S line Sport package, which now includes a sport suspension and sport seats with leather surfaces.

Autovision 19

7

AUDI A4

Infiniti Direct Adaptive Steering technology and Active Lane Control. The steering system allows computer control of the car’s steering, reacting faster than a mechanical system. Four different steering settings are offered, allowing customization for firmness or road conditions. The Active Lane Control uses a camera-based lane marker detection system to assist on-centre driving capability.

14-02-24 5:56 PM


focuson a snapshot of ’14 INFINITI Q70 3.7 Now in its fourth year for this generation, the 2014 Q70 3.7 (formerly M37) is Infiniti’s flagship performance sedan and is offered in two models — the rear-wheel-drive Q70 3.7 and all-wheel-drive Q70 3.7 AWD. Under the hood is a refined 330-hp 3.7L V6 with Variable Valve Event & Lift system. Both models are equipped with a standard 7-speed automatic transmission. The sedan comes with a multitude of standard features, including leather-appointed seating, Japanese Ash wood trim, Intelligent key with push-button start, SiriusXM satellite radio, Bluetooth Hands-free Phone System, power sliding glass tinted eight sunroof and available premium audio and climate control systems. The Sport Package offers a sport-tuned suspension, sport brakes, 20-inch wheels and tires and, new for 2014, an engine cooler.

Base Price $60,100 Base Engine 330-hp, 3.7L DOHC V6 Optional Engine none Base Transmission 7-speed manumatic Optional Transmission none Drivetrain RWD/AWD Length 4945 mm (194.7 in.) Fuel Economy (l/100 km) 11.7 city, 8.1 hwy.

Autovision 20

spring 2014

JAGUAR XF 2.0 / 3.0 The XF, Jaguar’s mid-sized luxury sport sedan, is carried over for 2014. The base rear-drive 2.0 comes with a 240-hp 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder, with the optional 340-hp supercharged 3.0L V6 paired exclusively with Jaguar’s Instinctive All-Wheel-Drive system. The V6 features a stop/start system to optimize fuel efficiency. Both engines feature a standard 8-speed automatic transmission. The AWD system, which debuted for the 2013 model year, employs an active power transfer control technology that adds the benefit of enhanced all-season traction while retaining the agility and steering feel of the rear-drive version. When selecting nine “winter” mode, the car will optimize its systems for slippery conditions. Winter mode also pre-loads more torque to the front wheels at start-up and defaults to a 30/70% torque split between the front and rear to maximize traction on slippery surfaces. For all 2014 XF models, the infotainment system offerings include a premium audio system by Meridian.

LEXUS IS 250 / IS 350 The revamped 2014 IS model range consists of the IS 250 and IS 350 in both rear-wheel and all-wheel drivetrains. Enhancements include a more rigid yet lighter body structure with a lower centre of gravity, a new driver’s seat, increased rear seat legroom, new steering and suspension systems developed from the GS and more. Engine choice is unchanged from the previous-generation IS, with the IS 250 powered by a 204-hp 2.5L V6 and the IS 350 featuring a 306-hp 3.5L V6. The rear-drive IS 350 inherits the 8-speed Sport Direct Shift automatic transmission from the IS F high-performance sedan, with ten quicker shifts, full torque converter lockup and throttle blips in manual mode. The rest of the model range comes with a 6-speed automatic. The F Sport package enhances the IS with specially tuned suspension systems plus many details, including a distinctive 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels, sport front seats, perforated leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, interior trim, aluminum doorsill trim and more.

FO-Spring.indd 20

Base Price $53,500 Base Engine 240-hp, turbocharged 2.0L I4 Optional Engine 340-hp, supercharged 3.0L DOHC V6 8-speed manumatic Base Transmission Optional Transmission none Drivetrain RWD/AWD 4961 mm (195.3 in.) Length Fuel Economy (l/100 km) 13.1 city, 7.7 hwy.

LEXUS GS 350 / GS 450h

Base Price $52,200 306-hp, 3.5L DOHC V6 Base Engine Optional Engine 338-net-hp 3.5L DOHC V6/ electric motor Base Transmission 8-speed manumatic Optional Transmission 6-speed automatic (350 AWD) / Continuously variable (450h) Drivetrain RWD/AWD 4845 mm (190.7 in.) Length Fuel Economy (l/100 km) 10.7 city, 7.1 hwy.

The Lexus GS 350 sport-luxury mid-sized sedan, unchanged for 2014, is offered in both rear-wheel and all-wheel drivetrains and is powered by a 306-hp 3.5L V6 mated to either an 8-speed manumatic transmission (RWD) or 6-speed automatic (AWD). All GSs feature luxury levels of comfort and convenience, and are fully equipped with active and passive safety systems, including 10 air bags, backup camera, bi-xenon automatic headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, front windshield de-icer, onboard first-aid kit, vehicle stability control, traction control and Smart Stop technology. Equipped with Lexus Hybrid Drive, the rear-drive 2014 GS 450h features a 3.5L Atkinson cycle V6, high-torque electric motor and hybrid battery plus power management system mated to a continuously variable transmission. A four-setting drive mode control allows drivers to choose from normal operation, the additional performance of Sport S/S+ mode, the efficiency of Eco mode or the pure electric operation of EV mode (over short distances). Together, the powertrain produces 338 total horsepower. eleven

MERCEDES CLA 250/ Base Price CLA 45 AMG

$33,900 Base Engine 208-hp, 2.0L DOHC turbo I4 Optional Engine 355-hp, 2.0L DOHC turbo I4 7-speed manumatic Base Transmission Optional Transmission none FWD/AWD Drivetrain 4630 mm (182.3 in.) Length Fuel Economy (l/100 km) 7.8 city, 5.1 hwy.

Base Price $37,300 Base Engine 204-hp, 2.5L DOHC V6 306-hp, 3.5L DOHC V6 Optional Engine Base Transmission 6-speed manumatic Optional Transmission 8-speed manumatic Drivetrain RWD/AWD Length 4665 mm (183.7 in.) Fuel Economy (l/100 km) 9.8 city, 6.5 hwy.

The all-new 2014 CLA is a sleekly styled, compactsized, four-door coupe based on the B-Class platform. The entry-level front-wheel-drive CLA 250 gets its power from a fuel-efficient turbocharged 208-horsepower 2.0-litre four-cylinder that’s mated to a seven-speed automatic. Performance buffs will gravitate toward the CLA 45 AMG, which comes with a 2.0L turbo four pumping out a mighty 355 hp and sending all that power to the ground via a newly designed and lighter AMG 4Matic all-wheel drive system and SLS-inspired dual-clutch seven-speed transmission. During spirited driving, the fully variable AMG 4MATIC all-wheel drive splits the torque between front and rear axle up to a ratio of 50:50 front to rear. Standard on both CLA models is Collision Prevention Assist, which identifies the threat of a rear-end collision and provides visual and audible warnings to alert the driver. As soon as the brake is depressed, the integrated Adaptive Brake Assist system can boost the brake pressure to prevent the collision. twelve

14-02-24 5:57 PM


turbo four-cylinder-powered C 250, and it continues with the V6-powered C 300 4Matic, V6-powered C 350 in rear-wheel drive and 4Matic versions. Last year, Mercedes tinkered with the engines and drivetrains, with the C 300 4Matic receiving a new engine — a less powerful version of the 3.5L V6 that is in the C 350. All engines are mated to the 7-speed automatic transmission. The V6 models come with the Eco start/stop feature to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions. Two new 2015 C-Class models will arrive in the fall — the C 300 4Matic will be powered by a 235-hp 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder while the C 400 4Matic will offer a 329-hp 3.0L turbocharged V6.

thirteen

MERCEDES-BENZ E 250 BLUETEC and E 300

Base Price $57,800 Base Engine 195-hp, 2.1L turbodiesel I4 Optional Engine 248-hp, 3.5L DOHC V6 The ninth-generation E-Class 7-speed manumatic Base Transmission sedan gets a facelift inside and out for 2014, along with Optional Transmission none additional safety and assistance systems to go with Drivetrain AWD the comfort features and 4879 mm (192.1 in.) Length powerful yet efficient powertrains. To go with the Fuel Economy (l/100 km) 7.4 city, 4.6 hwy. revised front and rear fascias, LED headlamp and rear tail light systems are now standard, along with COMAND navigation, Eco start/stop, an updated Collision Prevention Assist and a new-generation Attention Assist. The base model E 250 BlueTec comes with an all-new 195-hp 2.1L turbodiesel 4-cylinder mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission. The E 300 is powered by a 248-hp 3.5L V6. Both models are fitted with Mercedes’ 4Matic all-wheel-drive system. An AMG Sport package is optional for the E 250 and E 300 and includes 18-inch AMG wheels, revised front apron and rear bumper and sport brake system with large perforated front disc brakes and Mercedes inscribed calipers.

fourteen

SUBARU WRX / WRX STI Designed around Subaru’s product concept of “pure power in your control,” the next-generation 2015 WRX features a thoroughly stiffened body and chassis to go with its new 268-hp 2.0L horizontally opposed direct-injection turbocharged 4-cylinder and symmetrical full-time AWD system. More importantly, in addition to the standard 6-speed manual, the compact sport sedan is available with an optional Sport Lineartronic CVT that, in Sport Sharp, offers an 8-speed manual shift mode. Multi-mode Vehicle Dynamics Control and Active Torque Vectoring have been added for a more precise driving experience. New electric fifteen power steering is employed with more rigid steering gearbox mounts for improved fuel economy and a more direct steering feel. A bolder front design and a 305-hp 2.5L boxer engine separate the more potent 2015 STI from the base WRX. The nose-cone configuration combines the grille and bumper cap into one unit ahead of the hood. Active Torque Vectoring joins the model’s performance technologies.

Base Price $n/a Base Engine 268-hp, turbo 2.0L DOHC boxer 4 Optional Engine 305-hp, turbo 2.5L DOHC boxer 4 (STI) Base Transmission 6-speed manual Optional Transmission Continuously variable Drivetrain AWD 4595 mm (180.9 in.) Length Fuel Economy (l/100 km) 9.8 city, 7.0 hwy.

VOLKSWAGEN CC VW dropped the Passat portion of the CC name last year to go along with revised front and rear styling and more standard equipment, including bi-xenon headlights and LED tail lights. Changes for 2014 include the addition of keyless access with start/stop button and the availability of the R-Line package on the Sportline trim. The R-Line comes with a more aggressive front bumper design that incorporates a large lower air intake and projector-style foglights. Side skirts and the R-Line logo on the grille further differentiate it from the Sportline, along with unique and dramatic 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels. The CC remains powered by sixteen either a 2.0L turbocharged TSI 4-cylinder (Sportline and Highline trims) or a 280-hp 3.6L V6 (Highline V6). Both 2.0L models are front-wheel drive, with the engine mated to either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic. The V6 comes with a 6-speed manumatic with Tiptronic shifting and paddle shifters, driving through Volkswagen’s 4Motion AWD system.

Base Price $36,050 Base Engine 200-hp, turbo 2.0L DOHC I4 280-hp, 3.6L DOHC V6 Optional Engine Base Transmission 6-speed manual 6-speed manumatic Optional Transmission Drivetrain FWD/AWD 4802 mm (189.1 in.) Length Fuel Economy (l/100 km) 10.2 city, 6.4 hwy.

VOLVO S60

Base Price $39,750 Base Engine 250-hp, turbo 2.5L DOHC I5 300/325-hp turbo Optional Engine 3.0L DOHC I6 6-speed manumatic Base Transmission None Optional Transmission Drivetrain FWD/AWD 4635 mm (182.5 in.) Length Fuel Economy (l/100 km) 9.9 city, 6.5 hwy.

Volvo has given its S60 sport sedan a comprehensive makeover for 2014, with a refreshed exterior look and updated interior and chassis revisions. As for chassis revisions, there is a choice of three chassis types — Touring, Dynamic and Sport, previously only available on the R-Design. The S60 is available in T5, T6 and R-Design versions — the latter two with turbocharged six-cylinder engines and all-wheel drive. Further enhancing the S60’s performance lineup late this year will be the 2015 Polestar, a new model with a 350-horsepower six-cylinder fitted with a twin-scroll turbo. The chassis and brakes are also up-rated. seventeen Making its debut in 2010, the

spring 2014

Base Price $37,350 Base Engine 201-hp, turbo 1.8L DOHC I4 The current version of the C-Class sedan, which was Optional Engines 248/302-hp, 3.5L DOHC V6 introduced for the 2008 Base Transmission 7-speed manumatic model year, last saw major styling and interior updates Optional Transmission None for 2012. In its final year, the RWD/AWD Drivetrain 2014 C-Class sedan line (non-AMG versions) starts Length 4591 mm (180.7 in.) with the rear-wheel-drive, Fuel Economy (l/100 km) 9.5 city, 6.2 hwy.

Autovision 21

MERCEDES-BENZ C 250, C 300 and C 350

S60 was the first model with Volvo‘s Pedestrian Detection system. Among other preventive safety technology available is Road Sign Information and Active High Beam. Road Sign Information displays upcoming road signs in the instrument display. Active High Beam automatically switches to low beam when opposite traffic is coming into the high beam zone.

FO-Spring.indd 21

14-02-24 5:57 PM


The Secret to

Getting Our Traffic to Move

Hurry up. Wait. Accelerate. Stop. Accelerate again. Or is that wait again? How many times have you sat grumbling at a red light at an empty intersection? Or watched, helplessly, as the light changed multiple times while you were stuck in traffic?

FT-GridLock.indd 22

by nadine filion

W

hen the media covers traffic congestion — if it covers it at all — it generally looks at the inconvenience of delays, the cost of time wasted and the psychological stress of sitting in traffic. But rarely does the general media address the issue of wasted fuel and added emissions. We ask automakers to build more efficient vehicles, urge commuters to take public transit and subsidize electric cars like they will be the panacea that cures all. But precious little is done to ease traffic flow in Canadian cities, where fuel consumption soars (an ad

hoc simulation conducted by Autovision shows that a Toyota Camry consumes three times more fuel in stop-and-go traffic than at a constant 50 kilometres-an-hour). The sad thing is that the technologies to relieve all this fuel waste and unnecessary stress are available. Simple synchronization of traffic lights or integrating new Adaptive Signal Control Technologies (ASCTs) dramatically reduces fuel consumption and green house gases (GHGs). However, most Canadian jurisdictions lump traffic flow management in with their public transit initiatives. And why wouldn’t they? There are no federal or provincial regulations governing traffic management and precious little incentive encouraging them to do so.

Grid 14-02-24 5:59 PM


idlock! FT-GridLock.indd 23

spring 2014

It’s a shame because projects stewarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation have shown that reducing traffic congestion has manifold benefits. The SURTRAC adaptive traffic control system implemented at some 20 Pittsburgh intersections has reduced travel time by a quarter and reduced GHG emissions by 21%. Canada, which is seeking to reduce its 2005 GHG levels by 20% by 2020 — with vehicles accounting for 13% of those levels — has nothing, or nearly nothing, like it. In researching this report over the last two years, Autovision met with almost total indifference. The federal government pointed out

that road transportation falls under provincial jurisdiction, while provincial transport departments argued that urban road networks were municipal, emphasizing instead their public transit initiatives. More importantly, discussing traffic congestion reduction seems almost taboo in Canada: Why make drivers’ lives easier when we want them to be using public transportation? Of course, that ignores the fact that 82% of commuters still drive to work (StatsCan, 2010).

Autovision 23

Canada lags behind

14-02-24 6:00 PM


UnSynchronized traffic lights: a bygone era? The traffic light was invented in England in 1868, before the automobile was a gleam in Gottlieb Daimler’s eye. Since then, traffic lights have advanced considerably with electrification, the addition of a yellow light and automation. By the mid-20th century, mechanical controllers were programmed for simple morning, evening and rush-hour sequences; in the 1970s, “modern” traffic lights started fine-tuning their synchronization with detection loops and, more recently, cameras. And yet, most traffic management still requires laborious manual counts and control by technicians at a traffic centre. The task is so complex that, in order to keep on top of its 2,300 traffic lights, the City of Toronto would have to hire 30 or so full-time engineers. More modern ASCT traffic lights use artificial intelligence to deliver a real-time response. What happens after an accident, during a snowstorm or in a construction zone? The lights re-synch themselves, intersection after intersection, accommodating disturbances any time of the day and rendering the laborious — and often ignored — job of re-timing traffic lights obsolete.

Autovision 24

spring 2014

Canada has the worst traffic Everyone thinks “their" traffic is the worst, but Canadians might have a right to claim the throne. TomTom’s 2013 congestion index ranks Vancouver the most congested among North American cities, ahead of L.A, ahead of Chicago and, yes, ahead of New York. Toronto, which was seventh in TomTom’s list of most congested cities, was among the first in the world to try real-time detection in the early 1990s. The city’s Split Cycle Offset Optimization Technique (SCOOT) system was installed on 350 lights at a cost of up to $30,000 each. However, Myles Currie, director of the Traffic Management Centre, admits that SCOOT is starting to wear out; the system is complicated and the detection loops are easily broken. As well, Toronto’s 2,000 other nonSCOOT traffic lights need to be resynchronized. A few — in the Adelaide/Richmond, Kennedy and Bloor corridors — were recently re-timed. Stop-and-go traffic decreased by 12% and fuel consumption and emissions dropped by 8%, but most are out of step with current traffic flows. One city that seems to have it right is the nation’s capital. For 25 years, Ottawa has manufactured, maintained and managed its 1,120 traffic lights. All the lights (and 200 cameras) are linked to the Loretta Street Traffic Control Centre, one of the most advanced centres on the continent, where technicians monitor some 30 screens and

FT-GridLock.indd 24

computers, optimizing traffic signals in realtime based on traffic disruptions. Few North American cities have adopted an in-house system, but director Chris Brinkman is adamant that Ottawa has proven that it works. What about Vancouver, which, according to TomTom, is North America’s most gridlocked city? It has chosen not to invest in improving its 800 traffic lights, mistakenly believing that the new ASCTs would be too disruptive to the crossflow of traffic. Rather, it is working on getting commuters out of their cars in favour of walking, biking and taking public transit.

Fine-tuning… every three years Synchronizing traffic lights is an art. The urban road network is a complex web that needs to accommodate pedestrians, cyclists, cars, buses and emergency vehicles — all jockeying for space on the road. Most importantly, traffic conditions change. New big box stores, residential developments and industrial plants cause lights to be desynchronized. According to the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), this is why cities need to resynchronize their traffic lights every three years, an operation that costs roughly $3,000 per intersection. Unfortunately, few municipalities have a traffic department and even fewer conduct performance studies or periodic checks. Instead, they respond to problems — when reported — their corrective measures often doing more harm than good.

When hands are forced Better than re-timing, however, are new ASCT systems, popular in the United States and “one of the most cost-effective means to improving transportation system efficiency,” says the ITE. Such adaptive systems fall into two groups: supposed “self-learning” systems (such as the University of Toronto’s Marlin system being considered for Burlington, Ont.) and “realtime” technologies that react instantaneously to changes in traffic flow. According to Stephen Smith, researcher at Carnegie Mellon University, (developers of the real-time, SURTRAC system), self-learning systems are at a disadvantage because it takes them longer “to respond to disruptions than it does for the disruptions to resolve themselves.” The problem, in either case, is cost: the SURTRAC comes in at US$17,500 per intersection, double if cameras, radar or detection loops are also needed.

Progress at a standstill Easing traffic flow, of course, does have its limitations. “Only so many vehicles can use a traffic lane per hour, regardless of technology,” explains Daniel Beaulieu, traffic engineer for the city of Montreal. That said, the new adaptive traffic lights should ease traffic as much as possible, pushing back the need for building — and funding — new roads. Except the message isn’t getting through. Unlike in the United States, where the federal Department of Transportation has a website listing the benefits, costs and lessons learned from various systems (http://www.itsknowledgeresources.its.dot.gov/), our federal and provincial departments of the environment and transportation are strangely silent. Government subsidies are needed to fuel development. Software exists for measuring GHG reductions when traffic is better managed. Indeed, our southern neighbours calculate subsidies that are in line with the environmental gains attained. In Canada, the gas tax fund could be used for municipal initiatives. Even something as comparatively low-tech as the resynchronization of the 25,000 traffic lights across the country wouldn’t be prohibitively expensive: $75-million over three years. Compare that with the $121-billion that traffic congestion costs (admittedly, in the United States, where such statistics are measured) s in 2011 alone.

14-02-24 6:00 PM


BMW.indd 1

14-02-24 6:22 PM

R1200RT_E_Autovision2014.indd 1

THE NEW R1200RT. UNSTOPPABLE TOUR.

The Ultimate Riding Experience.®

14-02-13 9:51 AM

for more information, circle reply c ard no. 26

Prices are manufacturer’s suggested retail prices for base models only. Applicable taxes, license, insurance, freight, retailer preparation and administration charges are extra. Freight and PDI are $750. Retailers are free to set individual prices. All prices and specifications including standard features, accessories, equipment, options and colours are based on product information available at the time of printing. BMW reserves the right to revise price and specifications at any time, without notice. Further information can be obtained from your authorized BMW Motorrad Retailer or www.bmw-motorrad.ca. ©2014 BMW Canada Inc. Not to be reproduced wholly or in part without prior written permission of BMW Canada Inc. “BMW”, the BMW logo, “The Ultimate Riding Experience” and all other BMW related marks, images and symbols are the exclusive properties and/or trademarks of BMW AG, used under licence.

We don’t just travel for the destination, but for the experience. With the R1200RT, you rack up the memories with every passing mile. The distances you cover come at no cost to comfort thanks to the new boxer engine, the Pro on-board computer and optional extras such as Pro gearshift assist and central locking. Safety features such as the optional Dynamic ESA rider assist system and the Headlight Pro help provide total peace of mind. Three colour schemes – Quartz blue metallic, Callisto grey metallic matt and Ebony metallic – complement the bike’s dynamic design. It all adds up to make every tour unforgettable: even if you lose track of the miles, you can always count on maximum riding pleasure. Find out more at bmw-motorrad.ca.

EXPERIENCE MORE WITH EVERY MILE.

bmw-motorrad.ca

$20,850

R1200RT


twowheels rollin’ down the highway

2014 BMW S1000R The Best Naked Ride, Ever

Autovision 26

spring 2014

By David Booth In Palma de Majorca, Spain

BMW’s S1000RR has the baddest, highestrevving superbike engine on the planet. It packs 999 cubic centimetres of four-cylinder Formula One technology and claims to have 193 horsepower on hand to hasten barely 200 kilograms of bike, which accelerates harder than anything else on wheels. It does so by revving as hard as a 600 supersport machine, maximum horsepower not occurring until a MotoGP-like 13,200 rpm. So, when BMW decided to make a “naked” bike out of the S1000, everyone’s first thought was how all that high-revving power would work in a segment known for prodigious low-end torque. And yet, somehow BMW has taken all this hardware, originally designed to conquer the high-revving world of F1, and managed to make it tractable. To be sure, this new 160-hp single-R version still screams frenetically to a 12,000rpm redline. But far more impressive is that it makes all that power over a 10,000-rpm span. A simple re-jigging of the camshaft timing and some narrower, higher-velocity intake ports later and, presto change-o, the big BMW thinks it’s a Harley, pulling from

RT-twowheels.indd 26

2,000 rpm in top gear like a champ. Although those who buy bikes by the spec sheet will likely complain about the 33-hp downgrade from the giant-killing original, it’s a good thing. For one, it imbues the S1000R with instantaneous throttle response that makes wheelies a doddle. More pertinent, though, is the fact the horsepower deficit (the R version is actually seven pound-feet stronger than the RR from 3,000 to 9,000 rpm, although its peak remains 86.2 lb-ft) is all at high revs. Specifically, the single-R loses the double-R’s final 12,000-rpm “kick” where the café racer slips in one final burst of mega-horsepower insouciance on its way to making those 193 horses. For hooligans lamenting that the S1000 has been too tamed, rest assured its tractability doesn’t mean civility. Indeed, the 1000R’s engine remains just as insistent as the double-R version, the highly tuned engine nervously “hunting” on steady throttle, as if it can’t quite believe anyone would bother riding it below 4,000 rpm. It barks on overrun, occasionally spits when backing off from high rpm and always howls like a superbike

no matter what speed it’s cruising at. Naysayers looking at that horsepower deficit will decry the R as too civilized. In reality, it still chomps like a leashed Rottweiler with its eye on a particularly poofy poodle. BMW further tries to tame the R’s wayward ways by kicking out the frame’s steering angle 0.8 degrees and increasing the trail by five millimetres, both measures adding to the R’s 22-mm longer wheelbase. All the changes are designed to render a little stability to what otherwise might be a hyperactive ride at high speeds. That said, and despite the wide handlebar offering leverage, the raked-out front end renders the R’s steering heavier than the double-R’s, and not quite as linear. Again, critics will decry the horsepower deficit, but I’d suggest the real loss is that smidgen of reluctance to turn in that BMW built into the S1000R’s frame geometry in its quest for high-speed stability. Nonetheless, in comparison to anything else than an S1000RR, the R’s handling is a dream. The resultant seating position, however, is comfy as a couch, the higher handlebar and slightly lower and farther-forward footpegs a tonic to those who suffer from wonky spines. The seat itself is also 40-mm lower to the ground despite being more generously padded than the RR’s perch. It all adds up to a bike more comfortable than a hyper-focused superbike but with most of its capabilities. That’s also true of the S1000R’s electronics. In base form, the R manages traction by cutting out engine output. Higher up the food chain there’s a Sports package with a more sophisticated engine management package as well as a Dynamic package that adds BMW’s Dynamic Damping Control (DDC). By flipping through the ABS switch, one can alter both front and rear suspensions between Soft, Normal and Hard damping settings. Set to its softest position, however, compliance is almost sport-touring friendly. Indeed, that’s the allure of the single-R version. It’s barely diminished as a track weapon and, yet, thanks to the superior seating position and the sophistication of its (optional) suspension, it remains something you can commute on every day. That’s the magic of the naked versions of superbikes and none does it better than BMW. s

14-02-24 6:12 PM


H

ere’s another market niche I had yet to discover. What I know about the burgeoning side-by-each all-terrain-vehicle market could be summed up in a single observation. I knew Kawasaki made some ungainly four-wheeler called the Mule. I knew this because I would see them at motorcycle races. And, since Kawasaki was big into superbikes, many of its sponsored teams felt obligated to use the Mule as their pit lane transportation. As for the rest of the market, I assumed it was an ultra-tiny niche for oil field engineers and the occasional Texan farmer with a spread that ranges “as far as the eye can see.” Who knew that the side-by-side market reached almost 100,000 units last year in North America? Or that — and this still seems a little like putting lipstick on a sow to me — you can get something called a Kubota RTV with air conditioning and power steering? Perversely dilettante-ish I’ll admit, but obviously some adventuresome Boomers are trying to bring a little civility to the off-road experience. Nonetheless, I had little context to fall back on when Honda invited me to take a little tootle on its new 2014 Pioneer. Workaday ATVs are hardly my cup of tea; I could only imagine a larger, slower version would be like watching paint dry. That the mercury just so happened to register about -5C the day I was to go “pioneering” lowered my expectations even farther. Give me the fully covered version with heater — Pioneers, both the two-seater and four-seater offer an optional quasi-cabin with hard plastic sides and a glass windshield — and I’ll give you 30 minutes of my time. Staying cozy looked like it would be the highlight of the test. And then knobby rubber hit snowy field and all manner of sliding-sideways, OMG-Ijust-did-a-360-and-I’m-still-pointed-in-thesame-direction-at-full-speed hilarity ensued. Every slippery, ice-filled corner was a chance to get seriously crossed-up; every S-

RT-twowheels.indd 27

turn was an opportunity to perfect my rally driving, swing-one-way-then-flip-it-sideways-the-other skills. Much merriment ensued, my cackling like a madman often drowning out the Pioneer’s subdued exhaust. It’s worth noting that Honda’s take on the side-by-side is very much utilitarian. Yes, it has built more suspension travel into its new offering — 200 millimetres for the front double wishbones and 230 mm for the rear independent system — but this is a “truck” with an emphasis on towing (680 kilograms) and payload (454 kg). Indeed, according to Honda’s press bumpf, the Pioneer’s key feature is that its rear cargo bed (in the Pioneer 700-4) can be rearranged for two rear seats. Said cargo bed also tilts, dumping its cargo just like a real, well, dump truck. It’s also imbued with Honda’s emphatic obsession with safety. All four seats feature safety belts, there’s an especially annoying

Every slippery, ice-filled corner was a chance to get seriously crossed-up

spring 2014

By David Booth, in a snowy field somewhere in Ontario

Autovision 27

2014 Honda Pioneer Silly Good Fun

netting that prevents arms from flailing outside the cabin in the case of a rollover and the cargo box cannot be tilted when the rear seats are deployed. No, there will be no “unfortunate” ejection of the mother-in-law while deep in the woods (I saw the gears churning in your devious little minds). And there’s the aforementioned cabin enclosure whose bolt-on plastic bits (there’s also a lower-cost canvas top as well) make the Pioneer relatively airtight and cozy enough for even Northern Alberta climes — provided you’ve donned the requisite winter clothing. Nonetheless, much to my surprise (it was really cold out, at least by gentrified Torontonian standards), I liked the barebones Pioneer the best. Levered into 2WD mode (there are also 4WD and 4WD with locking front differential mode), the darned thing is an absolute hoot with just enough power from its 675-cc single-cylinder engine to get you into trouble, but not enough to hurt you. Cue offroad roller derbies and mini-Baja rallies, the more snow and/or mud the merrier. It’s the Pioneer’s multi-faceted usefulness that Honda sees as the unit’s key strength. An RTV from Kubota might have more utility, and Polaris offers more models with more sporting intent, but Honda Canada sees the growth in the market for something that bridges that gap, as comfortable working as sliding. The Pioneer (which starts at $11,999 for the base model) isn’t a bad place to start.s

14-02-24 6:12 PM


spring 2014

Autovision 28 FT-Porsche.indd 28

14-02-24 6:01 PM


the very first

“Porsche”

T

Proof that Ferdinand was brilliant

long before

the first 356

FT-Porsche.indd 29

By Brian Harper in Stut tgart, Germany

he brilliance of Ferdinand Porsche is unquestioned. The only thing is that most people, even diehard Porsche fans, don’t really know how brilliant he really was. Yes, most of us are aware he was the architect behind the development of the Volkswagen Beetle. And we know he launched the first car bearing his name, the Type 356, in 1948. But Porsche’s brilliance goes back even further — to the end of the 19th century, in fact — to when the young engineer from Bohemia began to direct his interest in electricity to the production of electric vehicles. In January, the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart unveiled Ferdinand Porsche’s earliest work, an original and unrestored Egger-Lohner electric vehicle C.2 Phaeton from 1898, known as the P1. Of three built, it is the only one known to exist. More or less resembling a horse-drawn wagon, the P1, which was designed and built by the 23-year-old Porsche while he was working for the Lohner carriage company, was discovered in a warehouse in Austria last year, where it had been parked since 1902. (History has it, that to ensure he would take credit for the vehicle’s design, Ferdinand engraved the code “P1” — P for Porsche, No. 1 — into all of the key components, thus giving the carriage its unofficial name.) Dieter Landenberger, the historical archivist at the museum, looked positively beatific when describing the find. Going to see it in Austria, he says, “was one of the highlights of my life. When I saw the car for the first time, I had shivers.” Purchased by the automaker for an undisclosed sum, it is now the centrepiece of the Porsche Museum. For the P1’s drive, Ferdinand used an electric motor in an octagon-shaped housing. According to the museum, shock absorbers were used to protect the electric motor, which was suspended so that it oscillated around the vehicle axle. Weighing 130 kilograms, the compact electric

drive had an output of three horsepower. For short periods, up to five horsepower could be achieved in overloading mode, allowing the P1 to reach up to 35 kilometres an hour. To transfer power, a single-speed differential was used. Vehicle speed was regulated via a 12-speed controller. To enable this setup, says the museum, Porsche coupled the commutators of the electric motor both consecutively and in parallel. Thanks to the 500-kg batteries, the 1,350-kg P1 could travel up to 80 kilometres, or three to five hours of operation. A further innovation was the Lohner alternating vehicle body, which allowed the P1 to be used in both summer and winter. In September 1899, a race for electric cars over a 40-km distance to test their capabilities and performance took place in Berlin. With three passengers on board, Ferdinand Porsche won with the P1, finishing 18 minutes ahead of the next competitor. More than half of the participants failed to reach the finish line due to technical problems, while others were disqualified because they failed to meet the specified minimum speed. For the young Porsche, the P1 was just the start of his vehicle-engineering career. In November 1899, he became Lohner’s chief designer, where he started working on his next idea — the electric wheel-hub motor. The following year, a Lohner-Porsche, driven by steered wheel-hub motors, caused great excitement at the Paris Exposition. While unveiling the P1, the museum also debuted the new 918 Spyder, the company’s hybrid sports car. Drawing parallels to the P1, Porsche declared the 918 to be the first production vehicle to have three independent power units that can be controlled separately. One hundred and sixteen years after the fact, the engineering innovation that Ferdinand Porsche started is alive and well in his eponymous company. s

14-02-24 6:02 PM


It w p a se n g

thelastword around the watercooler

THE COMING luxury CRASH? By Jeremy Cato

Autovision 30

spring 2014

T

he other day, I drove past the newest Mercedes-Benz Canada factory store in Vancouver. I nearly hit a lamppost. I was distracted, gobsmacked by the lavish excesses of this monument to optimism. Or is that corporate self-delusion? Imagine something as large as a Costco big box dressed up in glass and steel. Picture a see-through airplane hangar filled with sedans, sports cars and SUVs. Really? Does Mercedes Canada really expect to sell a million cars in Vancouver this year? Next door on Terminal Avenue is a new Porsche Centre. It opened late last year within days of another new Porsche Centre in Oakville, Ont. Both are wonderfully elegant stores designed to accommodate Porsche’s endlessly expanding line. A 10-minute drive from both is Brian Jessel’s BMW store in Burnaby, B.C. Jessel has been the king of BMW sales in Canada for a decade, and to keep up with the latest from Mercedes and Porsche, he is spending bags of money to reinvent his store. Meanwhile, the Dilawri brothers, who own 46 stores, including the Porsche one on Terminal, are building a new Audi outlet on Vancouver’s Burrard Street. And so on. Yes, the Germans are planning for explosive growth, and in developed markets like Canada’s, their gains can only come out of the hides of other car companies. Which ones? It could be any or all of them. Mercedes-Benz’s new CLA sedan starts at about the same price as a well-equipped Honda Accord. It’s the same

LW-LastWord.indd 2

for the least expensive BMW 3 Series. Mercedes is also launching a new small SUV, the GLA, into a segment dominated by Ford Escapes and Honda CR-Vs. Audi has the new Q3 coming late in 2014, and BMW already has the X1. Ah, BMW. Among the premium German brands, the Bavarians have been playing this game for a few decades — with the 3 Series, the up-market ride for the masses. What’s different? BMW and its rivals have stomped on the growth pedal. BMW, for instance, doesn’t have just one version of the 3 Series; the company has more than 20. As the Wall Street Journal notes, 15 years ago BMW’s lineup was limited to the 3, 5 and 7 Series sedans, the X5 SUV and the Z4 roadster. Today, the WSJ points out, “BMW is advising dealers to remove sales cubicles to make more room for cars. The company also wants to use flat-screen displays to help customers understand the dizzying array of choices. BMW is looking to set up centralized fleets so shoppers can test-drive them all. The idea: dealers won’t have to stock each version. As BMW’s global sales and marketing chief Ian Robertson tells the WSJ, “The physical environment is not capable of handling all of the product portfolio.” So if you want a small sedan or coupe, suggests the WSJ, all the Germans have something — medium and large ones, too. SUVs in all shapes and sizes? Of course. Electrified cars? BMW has its own line of them, including the i3 and the coming i8. Audi Canada will soon start selling the A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid and Mercedes has, for starters, the Smart fortwo electric runabout. And if you want to go

fast, BMW has its M line, Audi the S and R models and Mercedes the AMG brand. All of this is quite astonishing and it begs the question: Have these Germans saturated the market? BMW, Mercedes and Porsche have long traded on exclusivity. But, if every Tom, Dick and Harriet have a 3 Series or a CLA or a Macan, what’s so special about a so-called premium German car? Executives like Robertson say they are only doing what the marketplace demands. Buyers embrace German cars for their design and technological excellence and, if the likes of BMW and Mercedes can provide that at a lower price, why not? Why not poach a few Ford or Honda buyers? Good question, and I have an answer: Because the German premium brands, by chasing customers hiding in every nook and cranny, are devaluing their brands — and they’ll be past the tipping point before they know it. The hordes will then look for the next new thing and, who knows, it might be a car from China? Or maybe even a Volvo? This may have started to happen in Canada already. Despite the proliferation of models, BMW brand sales in Canada last year were up just 1%, that in a market which rose overall by 4%. BMW actually lost market share in 2013. Mercedes beat the market, barely, with a 5% jump in 2013, but that hardly seems enough to justify new retail stores the size of ocean liners. BMW, Audi, Mercedes and Porsche are all planning important product launches this year. What happens if nothing happens – if sales remain flat and all the feel-good growth projections are shown to be a fantasy? What’s the plan then? Want a nearly new Mercedes store in Vancouver?  s

14-02-24 6:03 PM


ENTIRELY NEW FROM MITSUBISHI

2014

OMG. MPG.

Mirage SE model shown^

The 2014 Mirage is so fuel-efficient you won’t believe your gas gauge. With class-leading 64 mpg (4.4 L/100 km)†, 7 standard airbags, a 10-Year Powertrain Limited Warranty** and a starting price of $ 12,498 ^, now you can get around town without having to pay for it.

10

YEAR 160,000 KM

POWERTRAIN LTD WARRANTY**

^

Prices not applicable in Quebec. $12,498 purchase price applies to 2014 Mirage ES. Mirage SE model shown has an MSRP of $15,398. Freight $1,200, $250 in PDI, new tire duties, taxes and other government and dealer fees not included. Dealers may sell for less. Vehicle shown features optional accessories not included in price. Combined city and highway ratings for non-hybrid sub-compacts based on Natural Resources Canada test requirements: Mirage highway 4.4 L/100 km (64 mpg), combined city/highway 4.9 L/100 km (58 mpg) and 5.3 L/100 km (53 mpg) in the city for CVT-equipped models. * Best backed claim does not cover Lancer Evolution, Lancer Ralliart or i-MiEV. ® MITSUBISHI MOTORS, BEST BACKED CARS IN THE WORLD are trade-marks of Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. and are used under license. ** Whichever comes first. Regular maintenance not included. See dealer or mitsubishi-motors.ca for warranty terms, restrictions and details. Not all customers will qualify.

Best backed cars in the world*

for more information, circle reply c ard no. 27

MITSUBISHI-MOTORS.CA / FIND A DEALER: MITSUBISHIDEALERS.CA

Mitsu.indd 1

14-02-24 6:30 PM


for more information, circle reply c ard no. 28

Cadillac.indd 1

14-02-24 6:23 PM


Autovision Spring 2014