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Monthly Archives: May 2019

3 Things Highlighting The 2020 Audi S4 Avant

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We won’t be seeing the Audi S4 Avant in the US market unless Audi changes its mind. That, at least, is worth noting before we delve into why the S4 Avant will make a splash in the American soil if Audi finally relinquishes to our desires to see these on our roads.

When Audi promised a redesigned A4, we didn’t expect it to be this elegant, classy, and sophisticated. We also didn’t expect they will redesign the entire line and gift us with the chance to see (but not get our hands on) the high-performance wagon that is the S4 Avant.


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The changes in the exterior are as clear as the day. The front fascia is different as it’s less angular now with the removal of the small upward notches on the lower-inner corners. The big change can be significantly seen in the position of the lights. It now has LED “eyebrows” compared to the LED lamps that run along the borders of the headlamps before.

This makes the Avant look more menacing, but it also goes along well with the hood that slopes slightly downward to create a sportier look.


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The cabin looks just the same as the outgoing model, except for the removal of the large knob that sits in front of the gear shifter on the center tunnel. Instead, the Avant has a digital screen to display audible feedback. There’s another 8.3-inch screen that’s on the dashboard, above the two air-conditioning vents. The screen displays a variety of information that’s powered by the MMI operating system. One of the most notable features of the OS is its ability to control the car—door locks and heating and cooling—from a distance through the owner’s smartphone.


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The Audi S4 Avant will have a 3.0-liter V-6 TDI engine, the best 3.0-liter turbo diesel engine in the market. It produces 342 horsepower at 3,850 rpm and 516 pound-feet of torque at 2,500 rpm. This engine is paired with a 48-volt electrical system and a compact, air-cooled 0.5 kWh lithium-ion battery.

This mild-hybrid setup can lower fuel consumption by up to 0.4 liters per 100 kilometers, from 6.7 liters per 100 km to about 6.3 liters per 100 km.

The 2020 Audi S4 Avant is in competition with the Mercedes-AMG C 43 Wagon and the BMW M3 Wagon.

BMW 1 Series Is Now More Practical Due To Customer Feedback

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BMW has finally heeded their customers’ feedback on the 1 Series. They wanted a more practical entry-level car and they got it with the re-engineered 2019 BMW 1 Series that can now compete with the Volkswagen Golf. On sale now for £24,430 ($31,074.96), this year’s 1 Series has undergone a complete overhaul to look exactly like the compact car of your dreams.

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The hatchback is larger and uses a front-wheel-drive configuration for the first time since it was launched in 2004. With the 1 Series hatch getting more practical, BMW decided that its three-door 2 Series coupe will also be transformed into a five-door Gran Coupe.

The front-wheel setup is the same architecture that the MINI uses for its range of ultra-cute compact cars. This change will come with another upgrade on the platform. Jochen Schmalholz, BMW’s 1 Series product manager, told Auto Express that the upgraded platform will highlight the salability of the 1 Series—a sporty design and strong driving dynamics.

The car is more compact, although it is larger than its predecessor. The 1 Series now stands with a height of 1,434mm (+13mm), 4,319mm long (-5mm), and 1,799mm wide (+34mm). The wheelbase is also longer at 2,670mm. That’s 20mm more than the previous generation.

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This allows the driver and the passengers to be more comfortable inside. There’s an extra 33mm of leg space and 19mm of headroom. While it may not sound much, that’s the same space you’ll find inside the Golf.

Drivers and passengers would love to know that the cabin has been upgraded, too, to the latest system and tech that was usually found inside the larger 3 Series. Even entry-level cars are getting 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster but a 9.2-inch head-up display and upgraded 10.25-inch infotainment screen can be options, too.

The 1 Series is currently on sale and we’ll start to see them on the roads by September.

Hyundai Ioniq Electric Gets Update To Improve Power And Range

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Information from Hyundai Europe is indicating that the Hyundai Ioniq Electric will get a bigger battery pack and more range. As of now, this update was only confirmed by the South Korean company’s European arm and we still don’t know if the same update will be carried to the US.

Autoblog said it already asked Hyundai for confirmation that the update will follow through in the US market, but the South Korean automaker hasn’t given any information on that yet. Does it make sense for only the European version to get this update? No, right? So, we’ll assume that the same specs will be inputted in the US’ Ioniq Electric.

As of now, the electric vehicle has a 28 kWh battery pack that has 124 miles of range according to the EPA. With this update, the Hyundai Ioniq Electric’s range is expected to jump near the 183-mile–range on the WLTP cycle, thanks to its new and improved 38.3 kWh battery pack. We still have to wait for official EPA ratings for the new pack.

It remains to be seen, though, if the new battery pack will simply be larger or if it will be more efficient, too. Hyundai has yet to release the car’s specs for its US audience.

The car’s electric motor also gets a power boost. The current Hyundai Ioniq Electric only produces 118 horsepower and 218 pound-feet of torque, but the new one is expected to increase that output to 134 horsepower and the same torque rating. Also, the Ioniq’s onboard charger gets an upgrade, which means faster charging time for you folks out there.

The 6.6-kW unit has been bumped to a 7.2-kW unit, which will allow the car to go from zero charge to about 80% in 54 minutes when plugged into a 100-kW fast charger.

This new version of the Ioniq Electric will also get a few design changes, the most obvious one being a new shield grille.

The Hyundai Ioniq Electric has to compete with the likes of the Hyundai Kona Electric, the Kia Niro EV, and the Soul EV. All of these cars pack a larger 64-kWh battery pack that has ranges from 239 to 258 miles. Hyundai’s best bet to be competitive in this market is to put the Ioniq within a more reasonable budget range.

Are You Ready For The New BMW M8 This September?

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The all-new BMW M8 Performance coupe, with its 600+ horsepower and twin-turbocharged V8 engine, is scheduled to make its grand debut at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show in September. Are you ready for it?

The new M8 Performance coupe is at the tail end of its development program. It has been testing its power output at the Estoril circuit in Portugal and BMW has even made available a list of performance enhancements that it plans to fit into the new M8.

BMW plans to launch its flagship M car, which looks to be the most powerful road car the German automaker has ever produced, together with the latest M3 sports saloon and the new M135i hot hatchback.

The new M8 is powered by the same 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine as the BMW M5. The engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, as well as the company’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system, which will reportedly be rear-biased (similar to the M5). There will be two power outputs available—the base model can generate 600 horsepower while the Competition variant will make 625 horses.

The M8 coupe will be joined later on by a convertible and a four-door Gran Coupe. These were all hinted upon us by the M6 Gran Coupe concept back at the 2018 Geneva auto show.

Aside from the power output, the M8 will also get a reduced curb weight, a wider track, a lower center of gravity, increased body and chassis rigidity, and revised steering and suspension setup.

There’s still no word on how fast the new M8 will get to 62 mph from a standstill, as well as the car’s top speed. However, BMW did say that the car’s combined fuel economy rating will be in the 26 mpg region. CO2 emissions are expected to be somewhere between 243 and 246 g/km.

2020 Toyota Prius Prime Gets Fifth Seat, Apple CarPlay, And Black Interior Trim

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Rejoice, Toyota Prius Prime fans who are constantly asking the Japanese automaker to equip the hybrid plug-in vehicle with a fifth seat, your wish has been granted. Finally, the 2020 Toyota Prius Prime is being updated with a fifth seat, as well as standard Apple CarPlay, two USB ports at the rear, SiriusXM radio, and black interior accents.

Prius Primes before the 2020 version have only two seats at the back. In place of what is typically a third middle seat are two cupholders. While a person can cram in there for very short trips, it’s mighty uncomfortable and there is no seatbelt to keep him/her safe.

Supposedly, the reason for the elimination of the fifth seat was efficiency. Back in 2016, Toyota executive Nathan Kokes said that with five seats, the car would need more reinforcing material and its 3.3-kWh charger would have to be moved.

This is ironic because the main objective of the Prius Prime is, aside from fuel efficiency, to negate the need for more cars on the road. Not adding a fifth seat prevented Prius Prime owners from maximizing said efficiency.

Back to the present, the Prius Prime didn’t get any styling updates or engine upgrades this year, much unlike what the regular Prius had last year. This doesn’t do Toyota any good since the Prius Prime only depends on its 25-mile range while other plug-in hybrids have bigger battery packs and much longer range at only slightly a higher price range.

The Prius Prime’s 25-mile range is possible when it’s running solely on electric power from a battery that has been aptly charged. When the battery’s charge drops below a certain level, the Prius Prime reverts to a gas-electric hybrid state.

When operating as a hybrid, Toyota has one of the best EPA ratings. The Japanese automaker said its Prius Prime has an EPA-estimated rating of 56 mpg combined in a hybrid state. That’s a far better rating compared to its competitors once battery power has run out.



2020 Nissan Titan Gets New Front, Rear, And Interior


Nissan is preparing its new 2020 Titan to go against the likes of the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado 1500, Ram 1500, and Toyota Tundra. The Japanese automaker’s new 2020 Nissan Titan pickup truck is expected to wear a new front and rear, as well as an entirely revamped interior.

Spy photographers have recently caught a prototype of the Titan testing on the roads of Michigan. The front and rear designs are wrapped in heavy camouflage but a quick look into the interior says Nissan is busy upgrading the truck’s cabin, too.

The current-generation 2017 Titan was expected to go head-to-head with the F-150’s and the Silverados of the light-duty pickup truck segment, but the Titan lags both in rugged capability and interior quality. This new look could be the break Nissan is looking for in terms of sales.

Nissan only said 9,700 units of the Titan and the larger Titan XD in the first quarter of 2019. That’s a decrease of 24% from the same period last year. The numbers lag behind Ford, GM, and Ram with more than 100,000 units sold. Toyota had 25,000 Tundra trucks sold during the same period.

Though the prototype has hidden its front headlights, taillights, and front grille well, the photos showed that the bumper grille appears the same as the current models. The Titan’s silhouette and body styling remain unchanged, too.


It is in the interior that Nissan seems to be apologizing to its market as it now removed, thankfully, the CD slot and upgraded that into an infotainment screen. The new truck will also have an eight-inch screen, a tad bigger than the five-inch and seven-inch screens the current generation has.

The current Titan falls below in engine options and high fuel-economy ratings but that might change with the 2020 Titan as Nissan could offer a 3.7-liter V6 as its base engine. The larger Titan XD may also come with the standard V8 engine or the optional five-liter Cummins turbodiesel to increase the towing capacity and driving range.

3 Things To Know About The 2020 Aston Martin Rapide E

The Aston Martin Rapide E is the all-electric version of the company’s four-door sedan and also happens to be its first electric vehicle. We first saw it as a concept called the Rapide E in 2016 but the production model just made its debut at the 2019 Shanghai Auto Show.

Instead of the 6.0-liter V-12 engine we’ve come to love in the regular Rapide, we’re faced with a battery pack and a pair of electric motors that can generate a whopping 602 horsepower and 701 pound-feet of torque. That’s 50 horses and 236 pound-feet of torque more than what the gasoline-powered Rapide S makes.

It Has Zero Emissions

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Aston Martin takes pride in the fact that its very first all-electric vehicle will have zero emissions. Thanks to the company’s collaboration with Williams Advanced Engineering, this has been made possible.

Williams manufactures battery systems for Formula E cars, which gives it extensive knowledge on how high-performance electric drivetrains operates. Lagonda, a subsidiary brand under the Aston Martin name, will take over as the zero-emission luxury brand but the Rapide E will first introduce the market to the concept.

It Has Better Aerodynamics

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Technically, EVs have lower cooling requirements compared to gasoline-powered vehicles. This allowed Aston Martin’s engineers to redesign the front and rear fascias to minimize airflow and improve the car’s aerodynamics, which is important in trying to increase the car’s range. The result is that the Rapide E looks identical to the gasoline-powered Rapide design-wise but the aggressive styling brings it closer to the Rapide AMR.

It Has A More Modern Interior

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While Rapide’s brand suffers from having an outdated interior compared to Aston Martin’s newer sports cars and grand tourers such as the DB11, the Vantage, and the DBS Superleggera, the Rapide E thankfully addressed some of these concerns. Its interior still looks similar to the regular sedan but it now has a 10-inch digital instrument cluster that gives the cabin a more modern vibe compared to the regular Rapide. The display gives info about the car’s motor power levels, real-time energy consumption meter, regenerative performance, and battery status.

GM Is Planning An Electric Pickup Truck


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We might have just heard the first true plan from GM to come up with an electric pickup truck. During the company’s quarterly earnings call, GM CEO Mary Barra said they intend to create an all-electric future that has a complete range of electric vehicles, including full-size pickups.

The last we’ve heard, GM is merely “considering” the possibility of engineering an electric pickup truck, as well as a number of SUVs. When asked about the plans, Barra formerly said “stay tuned” in reference to the probability of GM creating a pickup truck that will compete with Tesla’s truck.

Barra’s statement now is a bit more specific than all the things we heard from GM’s official statements. Although still in line with the company’s generic and vague statements about an all-electric pickup truck, the GM CEO said the company believes that an EV future is where the company should be heading.

Both GM and Amazon previously had plans to invest in startup electric carmaker Rivian months ago, but it was only Amazon that inked the deal for a $700-million round of funding. Rivian introduced both an electric pickup truck and SUV, which impressed GM and Amazon.

Earlier this month, Ford also invested heavily in Rivian. The $500-million investment is said to confirm plans for Ford and Rivian to engineer an all-electric vehicle together.

With both Ford and Amazon riding on Rivian’s coattails and with no GM in sight, it looks like the latter will stay in-house for its EV plans. Just last month, GM said it would develop a Chevrolet EV that will be manufactured at the same factory that makes the Bolt EV. The new Chevrolet EV will reportedly use an “advanced version” of the Bolt’s architecture.

GM has been reluctant to reveal any substantial details about its plan to manufacture an electric pickup truck but judging from Barra’s statements, it looks like an EV truck is definitely in the pipeline for the company.


3 Things We Know About The New 2020 Nissan Sentra

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Nissan just unveiled the new Sylphy at the 2019 Shanghai Auto Show. Known as the Sentra in the US, this sedan is an important component of the Japanese automaker’s lineup. While it’s a successful little piece, the Sentra never did much for people who want more from a car then simply taking them from point A to B.

That’s about to change with the 2020 Nissan Sentra. It looks like Nissan is following in on the footsteps of Hyundai and how it upped the game with the 2020 Sonata.

A New Face With Massive Grille

Nissan decided to go all the way out by incorporating the trendy massive grille on its Sentra. The big grille was toned down by the signature-collar design, known as the V-motion grille, that now sits just a little above the front bumper. The Sentra also features LED headlights and daytime running lights, as well as new rectangular fog lamps.

All in all, Sentra looks similar to its siblings, the 2020 Altima and the 2020 Versa, when seen from the front.

A Cabin With Luxury Written Over It

When you step inside the 2020 Sentra, it doesn’t at all feel like you’re in a car that’s in the $20,000 range. The now flat-bottom steering wheel is less cluttered than the one in the 2019 Sentra. There’s a blank space on the right which might mean that the Sentra can come with active driving assistance such as cruise control.

There’s a seven-inch TFT color screen in the instrument cluster and it gives off information to the driver and the passengers. The highlight of the console, however, isn’t even the floating infotainment system. It’s the three circular air-conditioning vents that are controlled by knobs and buttons. There will be no touchscreen display for the 2020 Sentra, which is a bummer and could seriously affect its marketability. We’ll know more when this moves into showrooms.

Perhaps, the best thing about the new Sentra is its cabin space. You can haul a lot more people in this sedan and they’ll still feel comfortable. Safety tech includes forward collision warning, blind spot warning, lane departure warning, cross traffic alert, and intelligent driving alert.

An Engine That’s Nothing New

Nissan is marketing 2020 Sentra’s engine as “new,” but we have seen this same setup in the Versa, Kicks, Note, Dacia Lodgy, and Duster. This is the third-generation version of that engine—a 1.6-liter four-cylinder HR16DE unit that generates a meager 137 horsepower, 13 more than the outgoing Sentra.

Ford Reveals Ranger Raptor’s Price And Specs

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The new Ford Ranger Raptor, the flagship model of the revised Ranger line-up, has been revealed at the 2019 Commercial Vehicle Show in Birmingham this week. Developed by Ford with the aim to deliver better off-road capability than the standard Ranger, the performance-focused Raptor will start deliveries in summer for £40,696 ($53,017.73).

Ford aims to improve the pickup truck’s on-road and off-road capabilities, fitting the Ranger Raptor with 2.0-liter EcoBlue diesel engine that can make 210 horsepower and 500Nm of torque. This engine is paired with the same 10-speed automatic transmission that can be found in the US version of the F-150 Raptor. There are six different driving modes available: two for on-road use and four for off-road driving.

The F-150 Raptor enjoyed massive success in Britain’s store and if that’s not enough, the Ford offices in Britain lobbied to bring the smaller Ranger Raptor to its shores.

For that price, British buyers will get the Raptor’s aggressive visual transformation, as well as many standard equipment and driver and safety assistance tech that comes with this pickup truck—lane keep assist, traffic sign recognition, rearview camera, and a collision mitigation system. The seats are all wrapped in leather and Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment can be controlled through the eight-inch touchscreen on the dash.

Outside, the Ranger Raptor has a new grille, extra ground clearance, and LED fog lamps. The wheels are larger, which pushed the bumper to flare out to accommodate them. The long-travel suspension is made for durability, stability, and better handling. Since the truck is made for the great outdoors, the front bumper uses composite materials to better withstand the expected dings and dents. Even the side steps are intended to drain mud, snow, and dirt since they are made of tough aluminum alloy with holes for proper cleanup.

The chassis has been upgraded to further handle the demands of off-road driving. The frame is tougher and stiffer. The brakes have been upgraded. And the race-bred suspension was set up to handle high speed in rough terrains.

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