The recent Geneva Motor Show brought welcome news the Porsche faithful and enthusiasts, the “Drivers 911″ the 911 GT3 would once again be offered with a manual transmission!
In an ever increasing world of automation and complication, there comes a time and reason to unplug from it all and get back to basics, or at least as basic can get in this current day and age. When the 991 GT3 debuted it was hailed as the next great step, save for one thing, the lack of a manual transmission. The Porsche PDK is a superb transmission, and if the goal is to get around the race track in the quickest time, then there is no better tool to row through the gears. In the daily commute, stuck in traffic, the PDK also shines saving your left leg in stop and go traffic.
However, there are times when you want to row your own, to truly feel connected to the car and the driving experience, and for that, the best tool for the job is a manual transmission! If you wanted something close to the GT3 with a manual, you had to be lucky enough to get the 911R, but those were only offered to those who purchased the 918 Spyder, or, if you found one second hand, they started at $500,000 and went up quickly from there.
Porsche heard loud and clear that the faithful still wanted a manual gearbox and now they have responded. With the 991.2GT3 a six-speed manual returns attached to a 4.0 liter naturally-asperated flat six developing 500 horsepower and 339 lb/ft of torque. It wasn’t that long ago that 997 Turbo topped out at 450 horsepower, and now, the GT3 brings 500 naturally-asperated horsepower to the dance to sing that glorious song as it approaches it’s near 9,000 rpm redline.
Deliveries of the 991.2GT3 will begin in September, if you’d like to reserve one today, please contact us as these will be very hard to get.
Please have a look at this video as Andreas Preuninger, Porsche GT Project Director, guides DRIVETRIBE’s Features Editor Henry Catchpole around the latest Porsche 911 GT3.
We were very happy to hear that with the sunset of the Scion brand, Toyota was still committed to bringing the C-HR to our showrooms. We had the opportunity for a ride and drive last week in Austin, Texas of the new C-HR, and we think you are going to LOVE this new small crossover.
The C-HR (Coupé-High Riding) slots in just below the RAV4 in overall size and pricing, however, it is very roomy on the inside. The C-HR will be a front-drive only crossover, no all-wheel drive is available, it is offered with a 2.0-liter four cylinder producing 144 horsepower and 139 lb/ft of torque, and this is backed by a CVT transmission with seven simulated gears.
Perhaps in the past, you have experienced a CVT transmission where you put your foot down and the engine seems to rev to a point and never go beyond? With the CVT in the C-HR, that is mostly eliminated by the seven simulated gears. You get all the fuel efficiency of a CVT, yet it feels like a standard automatic transmission, it’s the best of both worlds.
In stop and go driving, and merging onto the highway, the C-HR has plenty of power so that you don’t have to worry about merging with oncoming traffic, nor getting away from stoplights.
On the road is where the C-HR really shines. Built off the same platform as the new Prius, it has a double wishbone rear suspension and SACHS dampers at all four corners. What this means to you is a very connected feeling to the road that is firm and well controlled while maintaining a pleasant ride quality.
On the inside, the quality of materials is much better that you would expect for the price point. There are plenty of soft-touch materials around, a rear vision camera integrated into the rearview mirror, a seven-inch touch screen display with Bluetooth and USB integration, dual zone climate controls on the XLE Premium trim, and a driver’s cockpit layout that will remind you of the Lexus IS!
Toyota is putting a premium on safety with the C-HR. Included as standard on all cars is:
- Toyota Safety Sense™ P (TSS-P) – Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD), Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/SA), Automatic High Beams (AHB), and Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC)
- Electric Parking Brake (EPB)
- Star Safety SystemTM – includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA) and Smart Stop Technology® (SST)
- 10 airbags — includes driver and front passenger Advanced Airbag System, driver and front passenger and rear seat-mounted side airbags, driver knee airbag, front passenger seat cushion airbag, and front and rear side curtain airbags
- LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) includes lower anchors and tether anchors on
- outboard second-row seats
- Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) and Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) – XLE Premium only
- Hill-Start Assist Control (HAC)
- Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS). When the tire pressure drops to a critically low level, a light on the instrument panel alerts the driver.
- Child-protector rear door locks
The styling for the C-HR is a standout! It combines beautiful curves with diamond shaped angles. The more you walk around the car, the more interesting shapes you find, and they all flow together in a fun and sporty package.
In keeping with the Scion heritage, the C-HR does not have any options other than paint color. There will be two trim levels, XLE and XLE premium. Pricing for C-HR XLE will be $22,500 and for the XLE Premium $24,350, with $960 for destination and delivery on top.
Fuel economy for the C-HR is also very good for the crossover market, it is EPA-rated at 27 MPG City, 31 MPG Highway and 29 MPG Combined.
The C-HR will arrive in our showrooms in April, and we can’t wait for you to come in and take one for a drive.
While Toyota isn’t quite as excited at the prospect of self-driving vehicles as some other automakers on the market are, the auto giant is interested in the potential safety benefits of partially automated vehicles. Toyota would like to create a guardian angel type system that gets people out of trouble when they are about to get into an accident. Similar systems already exist today that wills low your vehicle down and issue warnings to help the driver pay attention, but Toyota wants to take all this a step further to design systems that will actually prevent accidents through more advanced self-driving.
Safety Maneuvers out on the Road
Right now there are vehicles that can slow you down before you rear end someone else. That’s pretty cool, and very helpful, but it’s also pretty basic. Imagine a vehicle that can speed you up when you’re about to be hit from the side to help you dodge the impact. Or a vehicle that can change the direction of your vehicle to help you go around a drunk driver that swerves into your lane. This is the kind of tech that Toyota is interested in and the automaker says there is a lot more that can be done with sensors and automatic driving tools.
Safe Driving Earlier on
While Toyota believes that fully-autonomous vehicles are still quite a ways away, an advanced safety setup might not be that far off into the future. It’s possible to create much more advanced safety features over the next year or two, and they could dramatically help make roads safer for drivers of all types. That’s why Toyota wants to focus on these safety tools before worrying about releasing fully self-driving vehicles. They can bring some benefits to drivers earlier on.
There’s a lot to be said for this type of safety advancement in a vehicle, but Toyota won’t say how long it believes the technology will take to develop before release. There are still some issues to work out, such as creating tech that will function alongside a human driver without causing additional problems. There needs to be a balance between vehicle and driver, and that’s something that must be fine-tuned to avoid causing more harm than good.
Toyota is working really hard to make a name for itself for safety reasons. The automaker is already known for reliability and resale value, but a recent push toward active safety technology is making Toyota stand out for that as well. In 2018 the Toyota Tundra will be the first full-sized pickup on the market to come with automatic emergency braking as a standard feature. That means that every 2018 Tundra buyer can make use of that feature without paying any extra for it. That’s pretty darned cool.
Emergency automatic braking has been found to reduce the number of accidents around the road, according to the AEB. The tech looks out for obstacles on the road ahead and applies the brakes in order to slow the vehicle when something pops up ahead. The tech does two things. It alerts the driver that something is going on, and it starts the slow down process so the driver can safely come to a stop, or decelerate enough to avoid the obstacle.
That’s Not all There are Other Features!
The 2018 Tundra doesn’t just come with emergency automatic braking though, there are additional features too. It’s getting everything in what Toyota calls its Safety Sense-P package. This includes lane-keep assist, forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning and adaptive cruise. If you decide to get the latest Tundra, you’ll enjoy all of those added safety features as well, making it one of the safest stock pickups soon to be on the market.
Toyota is extending this technology to many of its other models as well, and it’s something you’ll find on all the 2018 Sequoia models as well.
With cool added safety features becoming the standard, it will be easier and easier to pick up a good all-around vehicle from Toyota soon enough. Safety is one of the most important features that drivers look for when making a purchase, so it makes sense to build the best safety packages right into the base vehicle and stop making cost a factor when deciding whether to be safe or not.
In Japan the Prius Prime can now come with a solar roof that helps recharge the batteries every second the car is out in direct sunlight. That means while you’re driving down the road, sitting in a parking lot, or just waiting in traffic, the car is charging up and extending its electric range. This is an enhancement that makes the Prius Prime slightly more efficient and can help boost the overall electric range so that you don’t have to rely on fuel quite as much.
The Cool Solar Roof
This solar roof is produced by Panasonic, and it’s approximately three times more efficient than the older solar roof that came on some Prius vehicles. That probably sounds like a very nice improvement, and it is, but overall the roof isn’t going to give anywhere near the power to fully rely on just the solar roof to get around. It’s curved to match up with the look of the car, it’s designed to manage heat nicely and to stand up to everyday use attached to the top of the vehicle. It’s a pretty cool tech marvel in itself, and something that will hopefully begin showing up in more hybrid vehicles over time.
Will it Make a Difference?
This upgraded roof solar setup will make a slight difference on the total overall range that you get from the Prius, but overall the panel will likely only add about 3.7 miles to the total electric range of the car. That might not sound like much, but it’s added range every time that you go out driving, and the more the car sits in the sunlight, the more the battery will charge up. If nothing else, the solar panel will help keep the battery from dying while the vehicle sits, or for powering up accessories without draining down the battery unnecessarily.
Bringing it to the U.S.
At the moment, Panasonic isn’t able to bring its solar roof to the United States and use it on the Prius Prime. That’s because the panel isn’t yet capable of passing U.S. rollover tests. That’s an issue that the company is currently working on, but there is no timeline concerning when it could potentially offer that feature to customers.
The EURO NCAP is a serious batch of crash tests that go on in Europe. They’re just as stringent, if not more so, than the tests that are done here in the states, but they’re looking at some different vehicles in the process. In order for vehicles to sell well in Europe, especially luxury vehicles, they need to perform well in the NCAP crash tests. That’s something that the latest Audi Q5 did with ease.
The Q5 Receives a Top NCAP Rating
The Q5 received 5 stars on the NCAP crash tests, the highest rating that you can get for tests of this type. The final score the vehicle received was a 93% for adult occupant protection. That’s a major boost up from the 89% that sedans based on the same platform received. This shows that if you want the safest Audi that you can get, you want to go with the SUV if you can.
About Euro NCAP
Euro NCAP has been putting out their own tests since 1997 and have been looking at test results carefully to help pick out the safest and least safe vehicles out on the road ever since. Their tests are regarded highly by automotive experts, and taking a top score is an impressive feat that helps set the Q5 apart as a solid safety vehicle.
How the Tests Work
During testing the Audi vehicle was smashes from all sides to look at how it held up to serious pressure. The results of all these crashes and smashes are monitored closely. Electronic crash test dummies fitted into the seats of the vehicle make it clear how the vehicle did on the test. A set of crash avoidance tests were put out too, showing that the Q5 is capable of avoiding collisions with other vehicles as well as pedestrians.
There are plenty of vehicles on the market today that talk about being safe, but it’s more important to look at test results and crash reports than to take the word of a company about how safe it is. That’s why the test results for the Q5 are important, and why more buyers that are interested in safety should take a close look at the Q5.
In most other countries station wagons are more popular than sedans or coupes. They offer similar performance while offering more storage space. Sure they aren’t the sexiest of vehicles most of the time, but they are highly practical and make for more efficient living. Well Audi has been selling station wagons for a few years now, and the automaker is really pushing the S5 sportback. Audi is pushing the wagon so much that it’s actually giving buyers a discount for choosing the S5 sportback over the coupe version of the vehicle.
The discount isn’t a significant one, but essentially when you go for the Sportback version you’ll save $200. It’s hard to decide if this is Audi’s way of just encouraging more people to try out a version of the vehicle that isn’t as popular, or if this is how Audi is moving some inventory that it doesn’t expect to sell as well. Either way, you’re getting more car for less money, and you’ll be able to enjoy all the things that you love from the S5 in this vehicle too.
When you opt for the S5 Sportback you’ll get two additional doors as well as more storage space at the rear of the vehicle. Handling characteristics are very similar and so are fuel efficiency figures. That means you can have the same amount of fun with this vehicle, you will just be able to bring more things along for the ride as you do it. That’s a pretty compelling reason to upsize to the Sportback, rather than settling for the standard coupe.
No Manual Transmission
The one downside to picking up the S5 sportback over the coupe is that you won’t be able to get yourself a manual transmission in the process. The car is only available with the automatic, so if you want to shift yourself you’ll have to go with the sedan or coupe instead, which is real shame for enthusiasts looking for that experience.
The S5 Sportback comes packed with a 3.0 liter V6 that’s attached to an eight-speed auto tranny and it can blaze from 0 to 60 in just 4.5 seconds. That’s some serious power and should make for a exciting station wagon experience.
If you are in the market for a station wagon with some serious teeth, you’ll want to check out the Audi S5 sportback. It offers all the best characteristics of the coupe, other than the look of course, as well as some added space for all your goodies.
By now most Lexus fans know all about the reliability of the brand, or at least the supposed reliability that it has to offer. That’s because companies are constantly going on about the benefits of relying on Lexus. Sure luxury vehicles are more expensive, but the added cost pays off in the case of Lexus thanks to its exceptional dependability. To prove that point further, the luxury brand just received the J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study for the sixth year in a row. If that’s not impressive I don’t know what is.
Dominating the Dependability Study
Lexus is known as a highly reliable brand, in part because it’s a branch of Toyota, but also because the luxury brand continually dominates reliability tests. According to the J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study, Lexus vehicles have been the most reliable luxury model widely sold throughout the U.S. for the last 6 years. That’s something worth bragging about, and even before Lexus was the top brand, it was still known for its reliability.
How the Study Determines Winner
The dependability study relies on a very simple metric in order to decide which vehicles are the most dependable overall. It looks at the number of reported problems for the vehicles sold, and then compares that figure with the level of vehicles sold. These two figures together lead to an average set of problems per 100 vehicles sold, and that’s the number that J.D. Power uses to determine which vehicles are the most reliable and which are the least.
Individual Lexus Standouts
On top of coming in first place for a luxury brand overall, Lexus also had three different models that scored highest in their respective categories. In the Midsize Premium Car category the Lexus GS came out on top with a score of 94 problems per 100 vehicles, which is actually exceptionally low. The Lexus RX had a similar score with only a small number of more problems per 100 with 105 problems per 100 vehicles on average. The Lexus ES took the luxury compact car segment with ease with just 91 problems per 100 vehicles.
Either Lexus vehicle is exceptionally reliable and worth taking a look at if you are considering buying in the category.
Lexus vehicles might not be the most flashy, or the most powerful of all the luxury models on the market today, but they are the most reliable. For buyers serious about the value of their purchase, and cost of maintenance over time, a Lexus makes a lot of sense compared to the many other luxury options on the market today.
Self driving vehicles are an important goal that most modern-day automakers are striving for, but there is one thing that’s standing in the way of many of these vehicle companies, strict laws to work around. Right now in the US there are different self-driving laws in each state of the country. These different laws make it very difficult for automakers to innovate, and Toyota, along with a few other companies are calling for more uniform laws. These companies understand that to have a chance to really innovate and create this new technology in a way that can be released to the public, laws have to cooperate a bit more.
States Keep Putting out Laws
More than 20 states have begun drafting, or already put out laws related to self-driving vehicles. States understand that the progress is coming, but they want to have a way to stay ahead of the technology and make sure that passengers and vehicle owners are all safe from these vehicles. It’s understandable that states want to regulate self-driving vehicles, but they have to be careful to avoid creating unnecessary barriers for automotive companies to try and get over. This is what’s happening currently because there are just too many different sets of rules that automakers have to follow. Companies like Toyota are making self-driving vehicles for the whole country, and it’s tough to do that when different states have different restrictions.
Both Political Parties are for Self Driving Vehicles
Both republicans and democrats recognize that self-driving vehicles have the potential to make driving a whole lot safer. There are currently more than 35,000 fatalities each year that are directly related to driving and it’s hard to turn down technology that could potentially change that figure. That’s why politicians express their support for the technology, they are just afraid that vehicles that aren’t actually safe will be released to the public.
Self-driving vehicles are expected to be the way of the future, and they’re exciting, but if lawmakers don’t take the time to change their laws, or try to come up with more uniform laws in between the states, it is going to be a long time before innovative companies like Toyota can release self-driving vehicles in the United States.
The 2017 Audi A4 Allroad is an SUV version of the Audi A4 wagon and it’s a darned good option for drivers that want a mix of power, luxury and practicality. It’s a blast to drive, it comes with all the luxury features you would expect, and it looks pretty good too. Sure it’s not actually a wagon, for fans that are dying for an Audi wagon, but it’s the closest you’ll get in the U.S. and it’s basically the same vehicle as the wagon sold over in Europe.
Cargo Room to Spare
Let’s face it, if you’re planning on buying this mini SUV over a more sporty sedan, you’re probably interested in cargo space and what sorts of things you can store in the back. You’ll have no trouble slipping in camping gear, groceries, a stroller, or just about anything else that you can think of. There’s a nice covered cargo area that’s designed for easy access and the space at the rear of the vehicle is impressively large for the size of the thing.
Switch to Just the Right Drive Mode
While operating this A4 SUV you have a few different drive modes to choose from, and the impressive thing with these modes is that you’ll notice very distinct differences as you switch from one to the other. The two main drive modes that you’ll use are comfort and dynamic. Comfort allows you to glide over the road without feeling its imperfections. Dynamic forces you to feel every little bump and bruise on the road and really gives you improved control over the vehicle. Flipping from comfort to dynamic is like hopping from one vehicle to another. Performance is that vastly different, and that’s pretty impressive.
Powerful and Fun
With a total of 252 HP this little SUV packs a punch. 0 to 60 takes about 6 seconds, and you’ll find yourself moving faster than expected in this vehicle. The dual-clutch is smooth and responsive and accelerating is mostly enjoyable.
Finally I have to take a moment to talk about the interior of the vehicle and all that it has to offer. It’s outfitted with leather and wood and black. It’s soft to the touch, sophisticated to look at, and it fits right in with the other Audi vehicles sold today. If you’re looking for a vehicle that will impress on the inside, this one is it.
Audi fans will love the look and feel of the A4 Allroad, but they’ll have more storage than most other Audi drivers out on the road, which is really nice most of the time.