Audi has received a 2014 Best Resale Value Award from Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com, the leading provider of new and used vehicle information. The annual Kelley Blue Book Best Resale Value Awards recognize vehicles expected to maintain the greatest proportion of their original list price after five years of ownership. The 2014 Audi A5 was named Best Resale Value in the Luxury Car class.
“Audi always strives to produce innovative, top performing, luxury vehicles that retain their value. We’re proud that the 2014 Audi A5 has received a stamp of approval from Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com,” said Scott Keogh, President, Audi of America.
Each year, Kelley Blue Book announces the vehicles that will best retain their value during their first five years of ownership, based on the Kelley Blue Book® Official Residual Value Guide.
The Audi A5, available in Coupe and Cabriolet models, offers drivers and passengers exceptional performance and safety. For the 2014 Model Year, the A5 – powered by the 2.0 TFSI® turbocharged and direct-injected, four cylinder engine – gets an increase in horsepower to 220. Torque remains unchanged at 258 lb-ft. The Audi Convenience package – which includes Bluetooth® technology, HomeLink®, Audi Music Interface, and the driver information system – is now standard on 2014 A5 models. The Audi A5 model line continues in 2014 with A5 and S5 Coupe and Cabriolet models, which continue to set standards for sportiness and efficiency in the mid-size segment of the premium market. In addition, the recently-introduced RS 5 Cabriolet – which combines track-tested engineering with the freedom of open air driving – joins the successful RS 5 Coupe for the 2014 Model Year.
The Porsche Panamera has been named the recipient of the 2014 ALG Residual Award for the Premium Executive Car segment. This award recognizes brands whose vehicles are most likely to maintain the highest percentage of their original value after three years. Many considerations are involved in the selection process, including overall success of a vehicle, from the physical product to the brand’s values and marketing strategies.
Since 1964, ALG has provided a benchmark for vehicle values, automotive industry insights and consulting services to its customers. The 14th Annual Residual Value Awards are the standard for residual value projections in North America.
“Each year, ALG’s Residual Value Awards recognize the vehicles and brands that deliver a complete product experience to their customers – exceptional vehicle quality, strong brand desirability, and long-term reliability. Residual value is the ultimate measure of product success – consumers voting not with survey results, but with their wallets,” said Larry Dominique, President of ALG.
Last month, Subaru of America, Inc. introduced the 2015 WRX at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Touted as a more powerful and better handling version of the iconic high-performance model, the 2015 Subaru WRX is powered by a new 268-horsepower 2.0-liter direct-injection turbo BOXER engine. It also debuts the model’s first six-speed manual transmission and a new, optional performance automatic transmission, the Sport Lineartronic with two manual modes.
An evolutionary step is evident with its bold new wide-body design and expanded performance envelope giving it a more aggressive stance with a sophisticated sports sedan feel. The bold front-end design features a deep front spoiler and unique grille. Grounding the entire frame are new, standard 17-inch wheels. All unique to the 2015 WRX is the hood, front fenders, rear doors and quarters, bumpers, as well as headlights and taillight clusters.
For 2015, the Subaru WRX employs a new torque-vectoring system that supplements the standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system. Torque vectoring allows for improved cornering and handling. A stiffer chassis, larger brakes, performance-tuned suspension and a driver-focused interior all contribute to the overall WRX performance character. A roomier interior, upgraded cabin comfort and materials and a variety of new user technologies are some of the added highlights. In addition, a harman/kardon® premium audio system is offered for the first time.
The new 6-speed manual transmission provides a wider ratio spread than the previous 5-speed and incorporates several performance and durability improvements for this high-performance application, including carbon synchronizers on first and second gears.
The new WRX body structure makes greater use of high-tensile strength steel than the previous model and features special stiffening elements at key locations. Combined with the new Electronic Power Steering system, specially tuned suspension and 235/45 R17 94W Dunlop SP Sport Maxx RT tires, the stiffer chassis yields steering response that was benchmarked against top-handling sports cars.
The new WRX 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder BOXER engine uses a combination of direct fuel injection, high compression (10.6:1), Subaru Dual Active Valve Control System (D-AVCS), a twin-scroll turbocharger and an intercooler to achieve outstanding performance and high efficiency. The engine produces 268 horsepower at 5,600 rpm, accompanied by a broad torque curve that peaks at 258 lb.-ft. over a 2,000-5,200 rpm engine speed range.
Volkswagen is taking everything it has learned from the introduction of the XL1, the world’s most fuel-efficient hybrid car, and applied it to a high-production vehicle, a plug-in hybrid version of the up!, called the twin up! concept. To be presented at the Tokyo Motor show this year, the four-seater shares certain parts of its drive system with the XL1 including its diesel engine, electric motor, and DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission.
It was an easy conversion to install the compact plug-in hybrid since all new Volkswagen vehicles are configured to accept alternative drive systems as well as conventional ones. The only modification made in the production version was to lengthen the extremely short front overhang by 1.2 inches.
The twin up!’s 55 kW (75 PS) drive unit—consisting of a 35 kW (48 PS) 0.8-liter TDI Clean Diesel engine, a 35kW electric motor, a seven-speed DQ200 DSG transmission, and the power electronics—is mounted at the front of the car. Installed at the back, behind the rear seats and under the trunk, is the “fuel storage system”: an 8.6 kWh lithium-ion battery, the 12-volt battery for the electrical system, and an 8.7-gallon fuel tank.
The car attains impressive efficiency thanks to a combination of good aerodynamics (0.30 Cd), a low unladen weight of 2657 pounds, lightweight plug-in drive components, and low rolling resistance 165/65 R15 tires. In all-electric model, for example, the twin up! has a driving range of 31 miles. In the “New European Driving Cycle”—the standard testing and comparison driving cycle for plug-in hybrid vehicles in Europe—the concept car returns a sensationally low fuel consumption figure of 214 mpg, which equates to CO2 emissions of just 27 g/km.
The twin up! highlights the fact that efficiency and driving fun will not be mutually exclusive in the future. In the city, in electric mode, the twin up! accelerates from 0 to 37 mph in 8.8 seconds on its way to a top speed of 78 mph. In hybrid mode, the car delivers 159 pound-feet of torque, a high number for such a small car. Out of town, the twin up! goes from 0 to 62 mph in 15.7 seconds and reaches a top speed of 87 mph.
Toyota has been actively involved in a number of research projects that aim to better leverage vehicle design and interaction to help drivers keep their eyes on the road, hands on the wheel, and brain engaged and aware.
“At Toyota, our focus is not only on protecting people in case of an accident, but also on preventing that accident from happening in the first place,” said Chuck Gulash, Director of Toyota’s Collaborative Safety Research Center (CSRC). “While the auto industry will never eliminate every potential driver distraction, we can develop new ways to keep driver attention and awareness where it needs to be – on the road ahead.”
In particular, Toyota is heavily involved in three initiatives which include the development of the new concept research vehicle, the Driver Awareness Research Vehicle (DAR-V), and funding two university research programs focused on how human factors relate to automotive technologies.
“Cars have become an interaction of multiple screens. Initially, there was the windscreen, and rear window and the rear and side-view mirrors,” said Gulash. “We now have multiple gauge clusters, large information screens and heads-up displays all feeding us information and competing for our attention.”
The DAR-V, which debuted at the L.A. Auto Show this year was developed in partnership with Microsoft Research where the focus is on reducing driver distraction even before the key is in the ignition. Utilizing Microsoft technologies such as Kinect, the system will display important and highly personalized information on the side window as the driver approaches. Information such as traffic updates, weather, appointment for the day and even routes to the nearest gas station if the vehicle is low on fuel. The key is that addressing these daily priorities before setting foot in the car will allow the driver to merely focus on driving.
Toyota is also funding a study, undertaken by MIT AgeLab’s researchers Dr. Bryan Reimer and Bruce Mehler, that seeks to understanding the of human factors of voice command. What they found was that the mental demands of the driver while using voice commands were actually lower than expected. Reasons cited were because drivers compensated by slowing down, changing lanes less frequently or increasing the distance to other vehicles. However, in a number of the voice interaction studies, the amount of time drivers took their eyes off the road during voice command tasks was greater than expected. It was also found that the situation was more pronounced with elderly drivers, some of whom were found to physically orient their bodies towards the voice command system’s user interface when engaging with it.
In addition, Toyota is also involved in a collaborative project between the CSRC and Stanford University which studies how drivers interact with new automated safety technologies, specifically with regard to autonomous driving. The system combines EEG sensors to track brain activity, skin sensors to measure emotional arousal and eye-tracking headgear to follow directional glances. The system can perfectly align what’s happening inside the car, what’s happening outside the car and what‘s happening inside the driver’s brain.
The simulator provides the capability of switching from fully automated control to fully driver controlled and a mixed combination control. The goal of this research initiative is to help inform design improvements to automated systems that will improve how they work in partnership with the driver to help improve safety for everyone.
“These are questions that need to be answered”, Gulash concluded, “not only to help build a product. But also, to build a foundation of understanding and guidelines for how we proceed with further research into the human factors of automated vehicles.”
With Thanksgiving over, the holiday season is officially upon us. In preparation for Christmas, Santa will be stopping by the LAcarGUY stores to spread the joy of the holidays.
Do you have a gift you’d like to ask Santa for? Are you unsure if you’re on the naughty or nice list? Or do you just want to take a picture with the big guy himself?
Child or adult, LAcarGUY encourages you to stop by its stores to meet Santa and enjoy breakfast on us. Full details are below. Be sure to find the store nearest you, or the store with the vehicle you’ll be asking Santa to bring you for Christmas, to see if Santa will be stopping by from 9 a.m. to noon on December 7th or 14th!
Dec 7th from 9am – 12pm:
Audi Pacific: 20460 Hawthorne Blvd. Torrance, CA 90503
Pacific Volkswagen: 14900 Hindry Ave Hawthorne, CA 90250
Pacific Subaru: 20550 Hawthorne Blvd. Torrance, CA 90503
Dec 14th from 9am – 12pm:
Toyota of Santa Monica: 801 Santa Monica Blvd Santa Monica, CA 90401
Lexus of Santa Monica: 1501 Santa Monica Blvd Santa Monica, CA 90404
Volkswagen of Santa Monica: 2440 Santa Monica Blvd Santa Monica, CA 90404
Toyota of Hollywood: 6000 Hollywood Blvd Hollywood, CA 90028
Pacific VW (Pet Day): 14900 Hindry Ave Hawthorne, CA 90250
Come meet SpongeBob Squarepants and see the all-new Highlander Hybrid at the LA Auto Show this weekend
Toyota’s Highlander Hybrid has always been a near-perfect combination of size, luxury, fuel efficiency and power, and for 2014 a dose of style can be added to its long list of positive attributes.
With the recent redesign of the gas-powered Highlander, the Highlander Hybrid benefits from fresh new looks. With an increase in length and width over the outgoing model, the new Highlander Hybrid has road presence like no Highlander before it.
Using the same powertrain as it predecessor, the V6-powered 2014 Highlander Hybrid should manage the same combined EPA fuel economy rating of 28 mpg.
The 2014 Highlander Hybrid will be available in two trims: Limited and Limited Platinum. Starting at $47,300, the Highlander Hybrid Limited comes standard with an eight-inch touchscreen display with navigation and Toyota’s Entune system, eight airbags, and a backup camera among other things.
Moving up the Highlander Hybrid Limited Platinum adds Safety Connect subscription emergency services, a radar-based cruise control with Toyota’s Pre-Collision safety system to help in avoiding accidents, a lane departure warning system, panoramic moonroof, and heated seats in the second row. The Highlander Hybrid Limited Platinum will be priced at $49,790.
Meet SpongeBob Squarepants
If the passengers you’re hauling in your 2014 Toyota Highlander or Highlander Hybrid happen to be children, be sure to stop by the Los Angeles Auto Show this weekend (Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday) to meet SpongeBob Squarepants and see the SpongeBob Squarepants Toyota Highlander.
Teaming up with Nickelodeon, Toyota will offer a build your own SpongeBob booth, airbrush tattoo artists, and a chance to win a surfboard by Santa Cruz Surfboards from the non-profit environmental group Heal the Bay.
On top of this, Toyota and Nickelodeon will work together to donate $5 to Heal the Bay for each individual who Tweets or Instagrams a picture of the SpongeBob Squarepants Highlander with #SpongeBobHighlander up to $10,000.
To learn more about the 2014 Highlander, Highlander Hybrid, or the SpongeBob Highlander keep following LAcarGUY News.
This year’s Los Angeles Auto Show served as the unveiling of the all-new Audi A3 for the North American market. Filling the spot of the A3 Sportback, the new A3 will shun the hatchback configuration for most models and will instead adopt more traditional sedan and convertible bodystyle.
If you’re a die-hard fan of the A3 Sportback, don’t lose hope yet, as Audi will continue to offer the hatchback body in the e-tron Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle model. As the name suggests, this model will be able to run on electricity alone for some miles before its gas engine kicks in.
For those of us interested in saving fuel at the pump, but not quite ready to make the transition to a plug-in hybrid car, the new A3 will be offered with Audi’s 1.8 TFSI and 2.0 TFSI four-cylinder engines, producing 170 and 220-horsepower respectively. Audi will also offer a 150-horsepower 2.0-liter TDI diesel engine that will offer extended range and fuel efficiency over its gas-powered brethren.
If you’re a speed demon, you can also make your way up to the 290-horsepower S3 model. Expect a future RS3 model offering in excess of 300-horsepower.
But the A3 isn’t so much about horsepower, as it is about bringing Audi’s pursuit of luxury and technology to the masses. With a base price of $29,900, the all-new A3 gives customers the opportunity to own the first vehicle in its class with 4G LTE connectivity. This technology allows the all-new A3 to incorporate features such as Google Earth and Google Street View in its MMI infotainment system.
Operating in conjunction with a 7-inch screen that rises from the dash, MMI’s latest trick is the incorporation of a touchpad onto its rotary wheel. Teamed with the A3’s available 705-watt Bang & Olufsen Sound System, the compact Audi is turned into a miniature A8.
With available safety features such as active lane assist and adaptive cruise control, the Audi A3 incorporates a host of technologies to keep its passengers safe. Whether your new to the Audi brand, want to cut your emissions by investing in the A3 Sportback e-tron PHEV, or feel the need for speed that is the sporty S3, Audi’s latest compact model will leave you more than impressed with its available luxury and technology features.
Let’s be honest, as Americans we invest in a car for the pleasure and convenience having a vehicle offers us and not for an eventual return on investment. In fact, in 99% of cases you will lose money by purchasing a car simply because of depreciation. Smart car buyers know this, and in turn they attempt to purchase vehicles that are noted for having high resale value.
For 2014 you can count Audi among those manufacturers with vehicles that offer above-average residual value, as ALG is awarding the Audi A5, A6, and Q7 for their ability to maintain the highest percentage of their original value over a typical three-year ownership period.
While all Audi’s offer residual value that will impress new car shoppers, the A5, A6, and Q7 each stood out above other competitors’ models due in part to strong demand in the market for these three vehicles.
This is no surprise, as each model offers quality and style that many competitors lack. More importantly, each model has evolved over time to appeal to a larger audience.
The A5 enters 2014 with 10 more horsepower from its standard turbo four-cylinder engine. It continues to be available as both a coupe and convertible, offering an option to both driving enthusiasts and sun worshippers alike.
For the 2014 model year, Audi added a diesel engine to the A6 range. Capable of achieving 24 mpg city and 38 mpg highway, the A6 TDI gives consumers an entirely new way to think about the mid-size luxury sedan segment.
Meanwhile, the Q7 continues to offer the quality and class expected of an Audi product, with the capabilities and comfort of a seven-passenger SUV. Available with both gas and diesel engine options, the Q7 is able to reach a wide audience of interested customers.
Subaru is preparing to release an all-new Legacy mid-size sedan. But before it does that, the company is teasing us with this sexy 2015 Legacy Concept set to debut at next week’s Los Angeles Auto Show.
Moving away from the somewhat blocky styling of the current Legacy, the 2015 Legacy Concept hints at a more coupe-like profile for the 25-year-old nameplate. Like the current Legacy, though, the 2015 Legacy Concept doesn’t ignore its standard all-wheel-drive system, and blistered fenders are visual reminders of this.
Though the 21-inch wheels may fail to materialize when the production 2015 Legacy is unveiled, expect front and rear end styling to remain consistent with the 2015 Legacy Concept. Subaru refers to the design of the 2015 Legacy Concept’s head- and taillight’s as “hawk-eye”. Paired with the new hexagonal grille design, the 2015 Legacy Concept certainly makes a memorable impression upon first appearance.